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Wansink Studies Discredited

Some of the most profound and useful study findings on the psychology and marketing of food and eating published over the past two decades may be invalid. The famed, and now shunned, Cornell researcher Brian Wansink and his Food and Brand Lab published hundreds of studies, many of which have not stood up to scientific scrutiny.

Experts Torn On Weight Watchers’ Free Teen Program

As part of an effort to rebuild its brand as a health-and-wellness company rather than a diet brand (and to gain new loyal customers), Weight Watchers® announced in February that it will start a free weight management program for teens this summer. Controversy erupted immediately among health professionals and the public.

USDA Retires SuperTracker

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will retire SuperTracker on June 30. SuperTracker is a free online nutrition, goal-tracking and food analysis tool, which more than 27 million people have used since its launch in 2011. The USDA says many other private nutrition tools are readily available and that it would like to spend its resources finding more efficient and modern ways to “help Americans find an eating style that is right for them.”

Curried Shrimp Kebabs With Spring Slaw

This recipe by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD, author of Anti-inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain (Sasquatch Books 2016), is one of 75 in an evidence-based cookbook that aims to teach readers how to use diet to improve one’s state of mind with anti-inflammatory foods. Babb opens the book by explaining the science behind this eating plan and then provides the “how-to” with tasty con­coctions ranging from simple to easy gourmet. Satisfy your taste buds, your microbiome and your mood with this dish, just right for ushering in spring.

Question of the Month

Despite government-funded health campaigns promoting healthier eating, Americans still eat shockingly low amounts of fruits and vegetables. According to a state-by-state survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 American adults meets federal fruit or vegetable recommendations—at least 1½–2 cups per day of fruit and 2–3 cups of vegetables.

Greens on Your Mind

Maybe smart people do eat more kale. A study published in the journal Neurology in December 2017 discovered that eating daily servings of leafy greens is associated with more youthful brains.

When at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again . . . and Again

Persistence pays off when fostering a new generation of healthy eaters. A paper published by pediatric researchers from the University of Buffalo in the December 2017 edition of Obesity Reviews shows that repeatedly exposing infants and children to healthy foods, even when they snub their noses at them at first, is key to promoting healthy eating behaviors over the long term. This don’t-give-up attitude is particularly effective at getting little mouths to eat a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.

Alcohol May Boost Cancer Risks

Previous studies have associated light to moderate alcohol consumption with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and maybe even diabetes, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Nutrition Source, but teetotalers may have a leg up on avoiding cancer.

Waste Not, Want Not

In America, 30%–40% of the food supply goes to waste, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. You probably know by now that most “use-by” and “best-by” dates are not toss-out dates, and you’re likely monitoring the contents of your fridge so you use as much of your food as possible before it goes bad. But you may be less aware of another important way to take a bite out of food waste.

Ask the RD

Question: I bought tahini to make hummus, and now I have most of the jar left. Are tahini and sesame seeds nutritious, and what else can I use them for?

Informed Protein Consumption

It’s true: Muscles do thrive on protein. In combing through 49 high-quality studies involving 1,863 men and women, a team of international researchers found a strong link between protein supplementation intake and increased muscle size and strength among those who regularly engaged in resistance training, according to a study in the January edition of the British Journal of Sports Nutrition.

Low-Fat Versus Low-Carb: It’s A Draw

We have more proof that no single diet reigns supreme. Slashing either carbs or fats can trim the waistline to the same degree, according to a major study from Stanford University School of Medicine in conjunction with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The study was published in JAMA in February.

Slow and Steady Wins the (Fat Loss) Race

Mealtime is a good time to remember the saying “slow as molasses.” Research published in the journal BMJ Open in February found that Japanese adults with type 2 diabetes who reported a habit of wolfing down their meals were 29% more likely to be overweight than those who ate at a normal pace. Fast eaters were 42% more likely to exceed weight norms than people who lingered over their meals for an especially long time.

Health at Every Size: A Sound Approach to Behavior Change

The correlation between obesity and chronic disease is well established (Bacon & Aphramor 2011; Bombak 2014; Penney & Kirk 2015). Causality, however, is not so clear (Bombak 2014).
For decades, efforts to fight chronic disease have focused primarily on obesity—encouraging dieting as the best way to lose weight. But even as the U.S. weight loss industry has grown to $58.6 billion annually, we haven’t seen significant improvements in rates of chronic disease (Bacon & Aphramor 2011).

A Handy Way to Count Calories

If you want to lose weight, you know that calories matter. But in most cases, meticulously counting calories is not the solution. That approach is often tedious, inexact and unsustainable—and when eating becomes too complicated, people are more likely to give up and fall back on old habits.
So what can you do? The key is to find ways to eat quality foods in appropriate amounts.

Recipe for Health: Freekeh-Stuffed Peppers

When it comes to grains in our diet, we now have more proof that whole is a whole lot better. In a study published last October in Gut, a team of Danish researchers assigned 50 adults to follow one of two diets for 2 months—one where all grains consumed were unrefined varieties, like brown rice and oats, and one where most grains were refined options, such as white rice and white pasta.

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