Final menu labeling rules released, how they can help cancer prevention

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A year from now when you dine out, you’ll be seeing just how many calories you’re ordering up with that muffin, salad or drink, thanks to the just released final FDA guidance for menu labeling. If you live in places like New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and California, you already see this information, but these new rules – part of the Affordable Health Care Act – are the first national standards for menu labeling.

bigstock-Eat-healthy-with-this-menu-of--35851439The requirements mean that any restaurant, concession stand, bakery or other eating venue with 20 or more locations will need to post calorie counts on their menu. Other nutrient information, such as saturated fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, will need to be available upon request.

Some national restaurants have already started to do this. Enforcement for everyone begins in May 2017.

This is an important tool for cancer prevention because Americans eat at least one-third of their meals away from home – usually with more calories than meals at home. With eleven cancers now linked to obesity, this information can help Americans choose healthy, moderate calorie meals more often and help prevent over 130,000 cases of cancer every year in the US. Read more… “Final menu labeling rules released, how they can help cancer prevention”

Smoothies for Kids: Just Another Sugary Drink

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They are colorful, squeezable and have the term fruit all over, but kid-friendly smoothies are often just another sugary drink, as a study published last month highlighted. That study found that these drinks in the United Kingdom often come with as much added sugars as soda, giving a young child half of the highest amount of added sugar recommended per day.

That can lead to unhealthy weight gain in children. And that weight gain can mean higher cancer risk when children become adults, because many cancers are now linked to obesity, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.

In the US, the story on smoothies is much the same. Many of the baby and child-focused drinks are called smoothies but the first two ingredients are milk and sugar. After that, comes fruit purees or juices, which means there is more sugar added than fruit. And some smoothies are simply milk, sugar and flavors, with no fruit at all. In two familiar brands, added sugar alone contributes 40-50% of the calories.Sugar in kids drinks[1]

Read more… “Smoothies for Kids: Just Another Sugary Drink”

New Diet Rankings: The Best Ones Look Like… Our Diet for Cancer Prevention

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Just in time for your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose weight, US News published Best Diets 2016, a comprehensive review of diets of all kinds, including for overall health, weight loss and chronic disease prevention. They didn’t include lowering cancer risk in their analysis, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the highest ranking diets would work well with AICR’s New American Plate model – designed for reducing risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.46467264_s

They asked experts in nutrition and weight loss to rate – using the research behind them – how strong the diets are for long and short term weight loss, nutrition, safety, preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease, and how easy it is to follow. The DASH diet (to lower hypertension)won in the most categories, with Weight Watchers ranking highly too. Others scoring well were a diet for brain health (MIND) and for lowering cholesterol (TLC). Read more… “New Diet Rankings: The Best Ones Look Like… Our Diet for Cancer Prevention”