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Healthy Eating


EWG’s Report on Worst Kid’s Breakfast Cereals: More Sugar Than Snack Cakes and Cookies

Breakfast is an important part of starting off a productive day, providing nutrition, energy, and focus, but not all breakfasts are created equal, especially when it comes to kids’ cereals.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published a report that examined 84 popular Highest sugar content in the EWG report. Stock photo.cereals for sugar content, finding that most had more sugar than your average snack cakes and cookies.

The nonprofit research and consumer advocacy group found that children who eat high-sugar breakfasts have more problems at school.

“They become more frustrated and have a harder time working independently than kids who eat lower-sugar breakfasts. By lunchtime they have less energy, are hungrier, show attention deficits, and make more mistakes on their work,” said the EWG.

Topping the EWG’s list for most sugar in a kid’s cereal was Kellogg’s Honey Smacks at nearly 56 percent sugar content by box weight. “A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie,” said the group.

EWG Top 10 Worst Kid’s Cereals for Sugar Content (sugar percentage by box weight)

  • Kellogg’s Honey Smacks – 55.6 percent
  • Post Golden Crisp – 51.9 percent
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow – 48.3 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch OOPS! All Berries – 46.9 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original – 44.4 percent
  • Quaker Oats Oh’s – 44.4 percent
  • Kellogg’s Smorz – 43.3 percent
  • Kellogg’s Apple Jacks – 42.9 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Berries – 42.3 percent
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original – 41.4 percent

The EWG finds that overall, only one in four kids’ cereals meets the voluntary guidelines proposed earlier this year by the federal Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children – a panel of federal nutrition scientists  and marketing experts assembled by Congress in an effort to fight childhood obesity in the United States.

For ready-to-eat cereals, the federal interagency guidelines recommend that there be no more than 26 percent added sugar by box weight.

The EWG would like to see even stronger federal guidelines proposed, saying that, “they should limit sugar content in cereal to no more than 15 percent, a bar already met by a number of children’s cereals, not the 26 percent cap currently proposed. They should be mandatory, not voluntary.”

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Recalling Crispy Brand Cookies For Allergy Threat – Almonds and Milk Not Declared on Labels

TWI Foods is voluntarily recalling its Crispy brand cookies and rusk because the products many contain milk and/or almonds that are not declared on the labels.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

So far illnesses have not been reported, but consumers are being told to stop eating the products if they have allergies to milk or almonds.

The Canadian-manufactured cookies were distributed nationally in Canada, and in the U.S., they were sent to distributors in the following 15 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.

The following products were shipped to the U.S:

  • Product: Crispy Pistachio Cookies   UPC: 6 27265 00601 3 Size: 400 g
  • Product: Crispy Pistachio Cookies   UPC: 6 27265 00161 2 Size: 200 g
  • Product: Crispy Almond Cookies    UPC: 6 27265 00120 9 Size: 400 g
  • Product: Crispy Almond Cookies    UPC: 6 27265 00520 7 Size: 200 g
  • Product: Crispy Coconut Cookies   UPC: 6 27265 00121 6 Size: 400 g
  • Product: Crispy Coconut Cookies   UPC: 6 27265 00521 4 Size: 200 g
  • Product: Crispy Almond Cake Rusk UPC: 6 27265 00217 6 Size: 750 g

Food allergy symptoms typically appear within few minutes to up to two hours after a person has eaten the allergen.

Common allergic reactions can include: hives; flush skin or rash; tingling or itchy sensations in the mouth, face, or tongue; lip swelling; vomiting and/or diarrhea; abdominal cramps, coughing or wheezing; dizziness and/or lightheadedness.

A person can also experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can lead to:

  • Constricted airways in the lungs.
  • Severe lowering of blood pressure and shock (called anaphylactic shock).
  • Suffocation by swelling of the throat.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also warms that, “Initially mild symptoms that occur after ingesting a food allergen are not always a measure of mild severity. In fact, if not treated promptly, these symptoms can become more serious in a very short period of time, and could lead to anaphylaxis.”

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First Time In 15 Years U.S. Public School Menus With Higher Healthier Nutrition Standards

Over hauling a national school diet of mostly greasy, over-processed foods with little nutritional value, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have unveiled new healthier meal requirements that will raise nutritional standards for the first time in 15 years.

Chicken nuggets, hash browns, apple sauce, and low fat chocolate milk, an average public school lunch under current U.S. federal regulations. Photo courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.

“As parents, we try to prepare decent means, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure that they have a reasonably balanced diet. And when we are putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria,” said the first lady.

“When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables,” she added.

The new healthier meal requirements – which will start phasing in this summer – are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the first lady as part of her Let’s Move! campaign and signed into law by the president.

The first changes to school meals will become effective with lunch menus beginning July 1, 2012. Also, with the exception of the new milk requirements, changes to the breakfast program will be phased in beginning July 1, 2013.

The new milk requirements says that only fat-free (flavored or unflavored) and low-fat one percent unflavored milk may be offered as part of a meal.

One of the biggest changes to students’ school diets will be that while now whole grains are “suggested,” according to the USDA, after the new requirements go into effect, the agency says that, “At least half of the grains must be whole grain rich beginning July 1, 2012. Beginning July 1, 2014 all grains must be whole grain rich.”

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Conventionally Grown Apples Top 2011 List of Fruits and Vegetables High in Pesticides

Informing consumers about the amounts of pesticides sprayed onto conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, and their potential effects on the human body (especially children), the Environmental Working Group has come out with its seventh annual “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”

Photo courtesy of arch1design.com.

The shopper’s guide updates information on 53 fruits and vegetables, highlighting the worst pesticide offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the cleanest conventional fruits and vegetables with its “Clean 15” list.

The six worst offenders of the dirty dozen (from highest pesticide levels to least) are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, and imported nectarines.

The rankings were synthesized by analysts at the EWG and based on data collected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2009.

The produce was ranked on a composite score, weighing factors including: the percent of individual produce tested and found to have detectable levels of pesticide on them; and the percent of individual produce with two or more pesticides on them.                                        

Of the apples tested, 97.8 percent had detectable levels of pesticides on them, and of those with pesticides on them, 92 percent contained two or more pesticide residues, according to the findings.

To make matters worse, most samples were washed and peeled prior to testing, so the rankings reflected the amount of chemicals likely present on the foods when eaten.

Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and greens (kale and collards) were the vegetables most likely to retain pesticide contamination.

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Increasing Evidence That Adding More Vitamin D To Your Diet Reduces Heart Disease

We’ve known for a long time that vitamin D aides in the development of strong bones, but increasing research is now also showing that it’s also a vital factor in lowing heart disease and high blood pressure.

Image courtesy of healthmango.com.

Some of the best natural sources of vitamin D are found in fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Smaller amounts of natural vitamin D are found in foods like beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. It’s a little less known that mushrooms also contain some natural vitamin D.

Vitamin D is so important that other foods are fortified with it. These include some breakfast cereals, orange juices, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

People also naturally make vitamin D when their skin is exposed to the sun, but today’s largely indoor lifestyles are making it harder and harder for people to get the necessary benefits of sun exposure, especially during the wintertime, according to research from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG).

We use to only associate vitamin D deficiency with rickets (a softening and weakening of the bones) and osteoporosis (the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time).

New research is now also showing a correlation between low levels of vitamin D in a body and the presence of heart disease and high blood pressure.

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