Friday, July 10, 2009

Food & Nutrition Weekly News Round-Up

As a dietitian, if I don't stay on top of the latest nutrition and food industry news, I'm of no use to my readers, clients, or my mom! If you are seeking nutrition counseling, always be sure it is from a Registered Dietitian (RD). There are many people out there practicing as "nutritionists" who may have had little coursework in nutrition. An RD must have at least a bachelor's degree, if not a master's in nutrition, complete a 9-12 month dietetic internship and pass the board exam before becoming an RD. Once an RD, we must continuously stay on top of the latest news and scientific studies to maintain our credentials, or else we lose the RD after our name. Anyone can call themselves a "nutritionist", but they do not have the training and coursework behind them or the RD credentials.

Tons of food and nutrition news comes out every week. I read as much as I can to stay current. Here are some headlines with web links from this week, plus a brief summary from yours truly! Email me directly or send a comment if you would like me to address any of these topics in more detail on Food Chat.

Nutrition News Round-Up
Week of 7/6/09

Organic vs. natural a source of confusion in food labeling
Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2009
Many Americans think the term "organic" is a marketing label meaning "expensive". Most believe that foods labeled organic are not regulated by the government, but foods labeled "natural" are government-regulated; in reality, it's the other way around.

Calorie Disclosures Fail to Weigh Whole Enchilada
Laws Requiring Restaurants to Post Nutritional Data Lean on Slim Research, Overlook 'Compensation' Meals

Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2009
New York City chain restaurants are mandated to post calories. Is this making you change your selection at your local Applebees? Sometimes the calories posted are lower than what you think your chowing down on.

Cooking Healthy: Turkey burgers can be made tasty, juicy
Salem Journal (NC)/The Associated Press, July 8, 2009
Most people associate turkey burgers as the lower calorie, lower fat burger option. But depending on what type of turkey meat is ground into that burger, it could be just as caloric and fattening as a beef burger. The leanest ground turkey will yield a healthy burger, but also may lead to a dry hockey-puck. Read this article for tips on keeping it lean, yet moist and juicy.

Food Rating Systems: Grocery stores roll out nutrition rankings
Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2009
Have you been noticing all the labels on food packages telling you what's a healthy choice, heart-smart, good-for-you food? Is this helping or causing more confusion? Are these foods really what the label claims they are, or is this just another marketing ploy?

Dole and Monsanto join forces to develop new breeds of veggies
Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 7, 2009
These companies will be "plant breeding" mostly with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce to improve taste, texture, aroma, look and in some cases, nutritional value of these foods. Do we need to improve the nutritional value of already naturally-nutritious foods? Read on.

Many parents lack confidence in changing behavior
Reuters Health, July 3, 2009
As a dietitian and mother-to-be, you'll see more of my commentary on this topic. Harvard researchers found most parents do not have enough self-confidence to enforce changes in their child's behavior that will help reduce the risk of obesity later in life.

Why diets don't work, July 6, 2009
My sentiments exactly! Another topic I will blog on in more detail. For now, check out this article written by a fellow dietitian, Kristen Rezabeck, MS, RD, CD, CDE.

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