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Tagged with obesity

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Mimicking Big Tobacco, Big Soda blows smoke in Philadelphia

Big Soda can blow smoke with the best of 'em.Coke image: Andrew AtkinsonFor years now, numerous commentators (myself included) have made comparisons of the food industry with Big Tobacco. The most recent example should become the poster child for how the most egregious tactics of tobacco companies are alive and well. Last month came the announcement that the American Beverage Association (the lobbying arm of soft drink companies) was donating $10 million to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Why Philadelphia? Could a proposal to place a tax on soft drinks have anything to do with it? Here's how the Philadelphia …

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Fat chance

The last days of the low-fat diet fad

A spoonful of fat makes the pseudo-science go down. (Photo by Julia Frost.) The low-fat trend finally appears to be on its way out. The notion that saturated fats are detrimental to our health is deeply embedded in our zeitgeist -- but shockingly, the opposite just might be true. For over 50 years the medical establishment, public health officials, nutritionists, and dietitians have been telling the American people to eat a low-fat diet, and in particular, to avoid saturated fats. Only recently have nutrition experts begun to encourage people to eat "healthy fats." This past December, the Los Angeles Times reported …

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Fat chance

Why new dietary guidelines can’t solve the obesity crisis

Ahh, breakfast.Photo: Elana's PantryThe USDA released a new set of dietary guidelines this week and the updated guidelines were enough to put nutritionist Marion Nestle in "shock": I never would have believed they could pull this off.  The new guidelines recognize that obesity is the number one public health nutrition problem in America and actually give good advice about what to do about it: eat less and eat better. For the first time, the guidelines make it clear that eating less is as priority. She did criticize the guidelines for talking about "food" when it came to things you needed …

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Central paradox

The 'food desert' in the heart of California's farming region

Green is the valley: Does this look like a desert to you?Photo: Bithead The produce stand looks like a typical farmers market booth, with a few women and men milling around looking at fresh-picked limes and rosy red tomatoes. But this market is also full of kids, lined up at a neighboring tent waiting for smoothies, and carrying off fruit cups as big as their heads. "The first few weeks I forgot my money, and couldn't get anything," confides one excited elementary-school girl. "Now I get a smoothie after school every week.  My mom makes me them at home for …

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Central paradox

The ‘food desert’ in the heart of California’s farming region

Green is the valley: Does this look like a desert to you?Photo: Bithead The produce stand looks like a typical farmers market booth, with a few women and men milling around looking at fresh-picked limes and rosy red tomatoes. But this market is also full of kids, lined up at a neighboring tent waiting for smoothies, and carrying off fruit cups as big as their heads. "The first few weeks I forgot my money, and couldn't get anything," confides one excited elementary-school girl. "Now I get a smoothie after school every week.  My mom makes me them at home for …

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OPEN WIDE

Starbucks’ 31-ounce 'Trenta' size won’t fit in your stomach

Diehard coffeeholics may already gulp down an entire Nalgene's worth of coffee, but now Starbucks regulars can do the same. The new 31-ounce "Trenta" size, essentially the Big Gulp of joe, debuts in 14 states today. (It'll be available nationwide in May.) As an infographic from the National Post illustrates, it's disturbingly larger than the average human stomach: Image: National Post Better not spill that one. Only iced drinks will be available in the "Trenta" size, so don't throw out your Nalgene just yet. What's next, the Quaranta? Because I love being befuddled by Italian words when barely conscious.

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Wake up and smell your vegetables, America!

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of fatness

We pledge allegiance.Photo: Keo 101Working with people as a nutritionist, I'm often met with resistance. I try to explain how to make healthful food choices without using trigger words like "organic," "sustainable," or even "local." "When I hear the word organic I think of Birkenstock-wearing hippies in Cambridge or Berkeley," one of my clients told me recently. Other clients have referred to whole, organic foods as "yuppie food." There's no doubt that food choice and diet is an indicator of class and culture. But what perplexes me is this notion that eating a diet of processed, sugary junk foods is …

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Save the half-pints

Getting sugar out of schools means getting it out of milk too, says head of Harvard nutrition

This is no way to start a kid's day.Photo: Ed BruskeThe USDA requires that schools offer milk with breakfast and lunch. Given a choice, kids unsurprisingly and overwhelmingly prefer chocolate milk over plain. Estimates indicate that between 60 and 70 percent of the milk consumed in the school meals program is flavored. Many children start their day with a government-sponsored breakfast consisting of strawberry-flavored milk containing nearly as much sugar ounce-for-ounce as Mountain Dew, poured over a bowl of Apple Jacks or other sugar-enhanced cereal. Until recently, kids as young as five in the District of Columbia routinely were being …

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Vitamin D-bate heats up

New report challenges whether chocolate milk is better than no milk in schools

Photo: Ed Bruske"Milk -- it does a body good," claimed a '90s dairy industry advertising campaign, and few have dared to question the industry's position that children need calcium and vitamin D however they can get it, even if it comes from sweetened flavored milk. (The National Dairy Council's latest campaign is even called "Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk.") But a landmark study on calcium and vitamin D nutrition recently published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) poses a serious challenge to that idea, finding that only girls aged 9 to 18 might need more calcium -- and only …

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How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?, video

'The Daily Show' investigates San Francisco's Happy Meal toy ban

A not-so-happy meal?Photo: Jason WhittakerStarting in December 2011, McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco won't be able to put a toy in their Happy Meals unless the box meets nutritional guidelines for kids -- i.e., contains some fruits and vegetables in addition to the fat, salt, and sugar designed to get kids hooked for life on fast food. Which is too bad because as Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi points out, these plastic little choking hazards are the most nutritious part of the meal. The new law, pushed through by San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, represents the triumph of the "nanny …

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