Author: Marcia Smith

UK Government Poised to Introduce Menu-Calorie Labeling Rule in Food Retail Sector

UK Government Poised to Introduce Menu-Calorie Labeling Rule in Food Retail Sector

In the speech delivered by Queen Elizabth II last May 11, to mark the opening of the parliament’s 2021 session, she touched on the obesity and mental crises. The subjects form part of the parliament’s law making agenda for the year, to which one of the actions to be taken will affect the country’s food and beverage industry.

All participants in the country’s food service sector will have to label each meal with caloric contents, while manufacturers of the so-called “junk food” will no longer be allowed to advertise online. Restaurants, cafes, food delivery and takeout services will be required to indicate the calories for each meal (excluding beverages) listed in their menus.

At the Queen Mary University of London, the Chair of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, Professor Graham MacGregor welcomed the news that the UK government will finally introduce landmark obesity policies. He added that such policies are crucial not only in treating those with overweight problems but in preventing obesity.

According to Professor MacGregor, including product reformulation is a must. Due to the worrying figures and reports that link obesity to the COVID-19 mortality rates, it’s important for the food and drink industry, as well as the hospitality sector, to act immediately and without further delay.

The ban on online advertising on junk food is still undergoing consultation with manufacturers, as there is not clear definition of what are regarded as junk food.

According to those who oppose the proposed ban, there should be a limit to the scope in the advertising ban. Many producers have already carefully reformulated, or provided smaller portions in line with the UK Government’s previous campaigns in battling the country’s obesity crisis.

The US FDA Implemented the Menu-Calorie Labeling Rule in 2018

Actually, the menu-calorie labeling rule is not new to food retail establishments in the US, since the US-FDA officially implemented the rule in May 2018. Moreover, the rule requires the display of statements informing customers that the menu-calorie information are available upon request, and general information for general nutrition advice about daily calorie intake and of how calorie needs tend to vary.

Why Eating Carbs-Rich Food in Moderation is Still the Best

Why Eating Carbs-Rich Food in Moderation is Still the Best

Eating carbohydrates has been a source of confusion to many as there have been recommendations to consume carbs-rich foods, while others say low carb is better. Yet these are suggestions either for people with a high demand for energy in relation to their physical activities, or for those looking to cut down on calories in order to lose weight. A research study says that as far as proper nutrition goes, eating carbohydrates in moderation is still the best when looking to improve one’s life longevity.

A 2018 research report published in the The Lancet Public Health journal, gives information about the findings of a study involving more than 15,000 Americans whose carbo-eating habits were tracked for 25 years. The findings on those who maintained either low carb or high carb diets revealed higher risks of dying early during the study period, when compared to those who simply kept to eating carbohydrates in moderation.

To better explain their findings, the report cited as an example those who consumed carb-rich foods in moderation starting at age 50, when the average life expectancy is at 83 years old. This group showed they lived longer by four years, when compared to those who maintained a low-carb diet as their average life expectancy was up to age 79 only. Still, the life longevity among the low-carb eaters who participated in the study depended on the type of protein they consumed.

Type of Protein Source Can Also Impact Life Expectancy of Low-Carb Dieters

Based on their findings, the low-carb dieters who consumed animal-based proteins and fats, were linked to increased risks of early death. On the other hand, those who had low-carb diets but at the same time ate plant-based protein and fats, had links to those who had reduced risks of early deaths.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Sara Seidelmann, a cardiovascular research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that their data suggest that if one is to follow a low-carb diet, eating plant-based proteins and fats as carb replacements could actually boost life longevity.

Methodology Used by Researchers on Study About Carbs and Longevity

The more than 15,000 American adults whose diets were monitored for 25 years were between ages 45 and 64, and living in a selected community in four states, namely Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina. The study started sometime in the late 80s, in which after six years, the participants completed surveys that asked about the kind of food they ate and how often they had them. During the period of study, 6,283 of those who participated in the initial phases of the study had died.

This was how the researchers found links to carbohydrate intakes and life longevity, as those with high or low carb consumption had greater risks of dying early as opposed to those who ate carbs-rich foods in moderation.

Using data pulled from seven similar studies, the researchers performed a separate analysis related to the consumption of carbs-rich food of more than 432,000 individuals located in 20 countries. The results of the analysis confirmed the researchers’ findings that 20% of deaths that occurred earlier than the average life expectancy, were linked to high or low carb intakes.

Curious about Disgusting Foods? Sweden Has a Museum Full of Them

Curious about Disgusting Foods? Sweden Has a Museum Full of Them

In Malmö, Sweden, there’s a quaint food exhibit called the “Disgusting Food Museum” featuring delicacies that are revolting especially for the faint of heart. You would probably think so to, as the disgusting food collection includes beverages as vile as a wine made from feces, gin brewed from ants, and an Icelandic craft beer brewed from whale testicles.

Actually, the museum is known for its unusual displays of various international cuisine. The strangest and the most repugnant food coming from different parts of the world have been in exhibit since last September.

How Disgusting Can the Food and Drinks Be?

According to Andreas Ahrens, director of the Disgusting Food Museum, they made sure that all alcohol drinks on exhibit are acceptable in other parts of the world regardless of how repulsive the ingredients or revolting the process used in making the beverage.

Mr. Ahrens cited a drink called Ttongsul as an example, which is a medicinal rice wine in South Korea that is brewed using fermented human excrement. While the production process is disgusting in other countries, the brewing process is widely acceptable in South Korea.

One of the main beverages that draws much attention is a Scottish beer that is touted as the strongest beer in the world as it contains high alcohol content of 55% per measure of volume. Yet the disgusting aspect of the Scottish beverage is not the staggering level of alcohol content but the manner by which the beer is served. The drink is poured and served inside a taxidermied squirrel.

Mr Ahrens takes pride in saying that their showcase of culinary concoctions includes homemade brews dating as far back as thousands of years ago; many of which were experimented by local brewers.

As an example, Mr. Ahrens pointed to the aforementioned whale testicle beer that is seasonally made available by a local brewery in Iceland that goes by the name of Brewery Steðji. In making the alcoholic beverage, the brewery first cures whale testicles using an old Icelandic tradition of adding a slight amount of salt and smoking the testicles for a long period.

The ant-brewed alcoholic beverage called Anty Gin contains about 62 redwood ants. It is said to be the first-of-its-kind-brewed-insect gin in the world, which gives the beverage a sharp hints of citrusy flavor.

The museum’s website invites adventurous people to visit the exhibit and try the concoction as a way of challenging their concept of disgusting while simultaneously exploring the world of food.

CDC Cautions People on Dining Out, as States Ease Down on Mitigation Restrictions

CDC Cautions People on Dining Out, as States Ease Down on Mitigation Restrictions

The CDC released a report that cautions people about eating in restaurants, as such activities present higher risks of exposure to the coronavirus while in public venues. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control predicts that by early October, in roughly a matter of 3 weeks, about 25,000 fatalities will be added to the present death toll of 192,000.

The report came out ahead of the center’s monthly update and in the wake of state government announcements about easing down on mitigation measures. The most is New York, where NY Governor Cuomo announced that effective September 30, 2020, restaurants can reopen for indoor dining but only at 25 percent capacity.

Why the Centers for Disease Control Believe that Dining Out Increases Risk of Exposure

Based on an analysis of 300 people who underwent testing for showing symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC reported that dining out is still a major health threat. Mainly because of the fact that when eating and drinking, it is difficult to maintain mask use and safe distancing as a means to reduce possible exposures. The report warns:

“Eating and drinking on-site at locations ….might be important risk factors associated with COVID-19 infection.”

The analysis indicated that compared to those who tested negative, it is anticipated that about half of those who tested positive are likely to have dined at some restaurant, two weeks before they started showing symptoms. The report though did not specify whether those who did so had drank or ate in an indoor or outdoor dining area.

Although the people who underwent testing reported engaging in similar activities in the 14-day period prior to experiencing the coronavirus symptoms, 74% of those who had tested negative said they always had their mask on, or some form of face coverings while in public places. Whereas, only 71% of those who tested positive made the same claim.

Inasmuch as restaurant diners cannot effectively wear protective masks when eating and drinking, the CDC concluded that dining out tends to raise the risk of catching the viral infection; as opposed to shopping, or even going to a salon and other activities that do not preclude putting a mask on as protection.

Drunkorexia : A Dangerous Binge Drinking Behavior Emerging in Australia

Drunkorexia : A Dangerous Binge Drinking Behavior Emerging in Australia

A large number of female university students in Australia are showing symptoms related to drunkorexia, and have raised concerns among clinical psychologists. Actually the disorder is a combination of binge drinking and of skipping meals as a way of paying for calories gained from consuming alcoholic beverages.

According to researchers from the University of South Australia, the information gathered revealed that about 82.70% of young female university students in Australia who responded to their survey, indicated signs of drunkorexic behaviors during the past three months. Of those who showed signs of drunkorexia, more than 28% regularly consume low-calorie, sugar-free cocktail drinks then purposely skip meals; or engage in exercises at least 25 % of the time, to purge calories out of the their body.

Clinical psychologist Alycia Powell-Jones who led the UniSA research study, expressed concerns, saying:

”Excessive consumption of alcohol when combined with disordered and restrictive eating habits, is extremely dangerous.”

Ms. Powell-Jones explained that this type of behavior can drastically increase the risk of developing serious physical as well as mental health issues; examples of which include nutrition deficiency, liver cirrhosis, hypoglycemia, liver cirrhosis, blackouts, memory lapses, cognition deficiency, as well as brain and heart damage.

 

Excessive alcohol consumption is already a global issue, being the cause of millions of deaths; many thousands of which involved young lives. In Australia alone, one in six individuals regularly drink alcohol at dangerous levels, increasing their risk of developing alcohol-related health disorder or injury during their lifetime.

The findings that almost a third of the young female university students who responded to their survey, are purposely avoiding food as trade off for regular alcohol consumption, is a serious health concern and requires addressing.

Good to Eat or Not Eat Breakfast?

Good to Eat or Not Eat Breakfast?

Last January 2020, talk show host Dr. Oz, started a controversy when he made arguments against eating breakfast. Naturally, the doctor’s judgment became the subject of debates, to which actor Mark Wahlberg participated actively.

Well if anyone earned points for this, it’s Doctor Mehmet Cengiz Oz. Not for his argument but for his career as a TV personality.

After all, making highly contentious medical statements paved the way for his fame. He gained popularity among the not-so health conscious audience; but notoriety among the opposite, particularly nutrition experts. His TV exposure came about in 2004, where he frequently appeared as guest in “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Although his statements were widely criticized, it did not stop Oprah’s Harpo Production from syndicating Dr. Oz’s own TV show. Apparently, the decision to do so was right, since “The Dr. Oz Show” is still airing and going strong.

Dr. Oz Says Promoting Breakfast is a Mere Advertising Ploy

Recently, Dr. Oz furthered his arguments about not eating breakfast as an alternative way to start the day. In “The Today’s Show,” the controversial doctor said that the benefits of partaking breakfast are not really based on medical facts. He contends that the meal was actually hyped-up for commercial purposes.

Doctor Oz said that this year, he plans to ban breakfast, which intends to carry out by telling people that it is just an advertising ploy. He commented that people have been fed with a lot of opinions that have been exaggerated by advertisers, even if not based on medical truths.

Nutrition Expert from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Gives Enlightenment about Breakfast

Jessica Randall, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who is also a registered dietitian, provided enlightenment about breakfast and its benefits, via WebMD. According to Ms. Randall, the benefits actually depend on the kind of breakfast that a person takes.

She added that an ideal breakfast is one that pairs carbs with proteins, as those nutrients serve as a person’s fuel and nutrition.Carbohydrates provide the fuel that the body and the brain need during the day. Protein on the other hand, furnishes the stamina needed to sustain the body until the next meal.

 

Ms. Crandall explained that it is not a question of whether to eat or not to eat breakfast. It’s a matter of knowing what to eat and how much to take as breakfast. She said the amount of protein needed in the morning, to maintain proper metabolism and muscle mass, depends on the person’s age and gender, as well as on how active he or she is,

Chrissy Teigen’s Hulu “Family Style” Cooking Show Teased in Chef Chang’s Netflix Docu-Series

Chrissy Teigen’s Hulu “Family Style” Cooking Show Teased in Chef Chang’s Netflix Docu-Series

Hulu, the on-demand TV show streaming service, announced in May 2019 about an upcoming cooking and talk show featuring Chrissy Teigen. Chrissy’s show is actually part of Hulu’s expansion into the food programming format, which the streaming network has partnered with Ms. Teigen’s Suit and Thai Productions, Chef David Chang’s Majordomo Media and Vox Media Studio.

Ms. Teigen, who, aside from being a topnotch swimsuit model, is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks “Cravings.” it was announced in May 2019 that she will be hosting Hulu’s first food-centric programme entitled “Family .Style” at Hulu’s Kitchen. Fans were promised to see Chrissy in action, pitting her cooking expertise with Chef Chang, also a well-known TV personality and popularly known for his Momofuku chain of restaurants.

The good news is that Netflix’s release of David Chang’s “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner” docu-series last October, is said to be a bit of a preview of the forthcoming “Family Style” cooking and talk show hosted by Teigen and Chang.

What Makes Hulu’s “Family Style” Different from Other Food Television Shows

Hulu’s “Family Style” cooking and talk show content is highly anticipated. Many are looking forward to see Chrissy and Chef Chang explore different ways on how and what people cook for friends and family as their way of expressing their love.

When Hulu’s plans for “Hulu’s Kitchen” was first announced, Chrissy visualized the “Family Style” show as akin to having her and David Chang’s families moving in together, to cook under one roof. That is why fans of the “Cravings” cookbooks are hoping Chrissy will from time to time, feature her Thai mom to share more of the authentic Thai recipes not included in her two top-selling books.

According to Hulu, the two culinary experts will also be working behind the scenes. As Chef David Chang puts it, he says they plan to keep integrating fresh perspectives into the topics of their conversations. Mainly because they will try to change the conventional concepts on what can and should be included in TV food shows. He added that he believes,

“There is an audience out there, who celebrates and understands the world through food; therefore, hungry for television shows that will supplement their sense of curiosity in new ways.”

Eggless Cookies : Not a  Bad Choice Even if You’re Not Vegan

Eggless Cookies : Not a Bad Choice Even if You’re Not Vegan

If you think recipes for eggless cookies became popular only because they satisfy a vegan’s aversion to eating anything that exploited animals, then that means you have not tried eating eggless cookies yet. Eggs as cookie baking ingredients are important because they make baked goodies chewier; but going eggless with your cookies is not a bad idea at all even if you are not vegan.

Eggless cookies are still flavorful and gives the same mouthfeel as the conventional egg-bound cookies. The only difference is that they tend to be crumbly and less chewy.

After all, the most important function of eggs in cookie structure-building is the egg’s ability to bind all other ingredients, whilst giving the cookie dough, a better rise. This can still be remedied by using other binding ingredients as well as using a self-rising flour. However, if you are strictly vegan, make sure the self-rising flour you are using is egg-ingredient free.

You can still make your eggless cookie chewy by using arrowroot powder, or extracts from soy lecithin or flax-seed mix. Vegetable or fruit puree, silken tofu or agar agar (unflavored gelatin powder) can also perform well as binders. The replacement ratio is 1 egg to ¼ cup of the substitute binder.

Here is one example of a recipe for eggless cookies.

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces self-raising flour
  • 8 ounces soft spreadable margarine
  • 8 ounces superfine sugar, also known as caster or baker’s sugar
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chips or drops and/or white chocolate drops

Mixing and Baking Directions

  1. Using a big mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together to make the eggless chocolate chip cookie dough.
  2. Knead the dough with your hands. If it is still crumbly, add a little more of the soft spreadable margarine.
  3. Make small balls of the dough, roughly about the size of ping pong balls and then press on them to make a circle that is about 1and !/2 cm thick. You will make about 16 to 22 pieces of eggless cookie dough.
  4. Arrange the pieces in greased trays, with which you will be needing two.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven that was preheated at 180 degrees.

Serve and eat while freshly baked. Best when taken with a glass of milk… that is if you are not vegan.

Nutrition Scientists Present Data Challenging FDA Proposal to Revoke Heart-Health Benefit of Soy Protein

Nutrition Scientists Present Data Challenging FDA Proposal to Revoke Heart-Health Benefit of Soy Protein

A team of nutrition experts led by Professor David J.A. Jenkins at the University of Toronto (U of T) in Canada, gathered data from clinical trials from the past 2 decades, and found consistent information attesting to the cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein. The primary purpose of their study is to contend the US FDA’s plans of revoking the health benefits linked to soy protein in addressing heart diseases.

The UK-born professor of U of T’s Department of Nutritional Sciences is renowned in his field for having developed the concept of the glycemic index, as a means of explaining how dietary carbohydrate affects blood sugar. In their most recent study, Professor Jenkins and his colleagues developed a dietary portfolio consisting of plant-based protein, plant sterols, nuts, and viscous fibre, which combined together can reduce risk factors for heart disease by as much as 30 per cent.

Nutrition researchers performed a cumulative meta-analysis, which allowed them to look at the effect of soy in all the trials combined, at different points in time but with the addition of data from each new trial. The analysis showed that soy helped in lowering both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, substances that can damage the heart. The effect remained consistent in all 46 trials cited by the Food and Drug Administration, when it first announced in 2017, the proposal to revoke heart-health claim attributed to soy based foods.

Professor Jenkins asserts that

“At no time since, when the original claim for soy as a reducer of serum cholesterol was introduced, had the ability of soy been questioned.” “Data has not changed and remained consistent since 1999.”

Canadian nutrition scientist John Sievenpiper,also of Nutritional Sciences at the U of T and a clinician-scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, who co-authored the study added,

There are times a regression to the mean is seen; as where analyses with small scale studies produce big effects, which diminish over time when sample sizes increase and results become more precise “”We saw that happen with fish oil; but in the soy protein study, nothing has changed.”

Why the US FDA Proposed a Reversal of Soy Protein Health Claim in 2017

According to Susan Mayne, Director of the US FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,, it became necessary for them to propose a rule revoking a health claim for soy protein because numerous studies made since the claim was authorized in 1999, presented findings that were inconsistent with the supposed relationship between soy protein and heart disease.

Dr. Karol Watson, Director of the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center and a cardiologist supported the FDA’s proposal saying that there has never been any clinical trials that prove eating more soy can improve heart health. She added that not every method of lowering cholesterol yields benefits; asserting that some things that lower cholesterol have actually shown harm.

WHO on Dietary Fiber : Eating Fiber-Rich Food Can Prevent Development of Top Killer Diseases

WHO on Dietary Fiber : Eating Fiber-Rich Food Can Prevent Development of Top Killer Diseases

A recent study sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO), revealed that including fiber in one’s daily diet, greatly reduces a person’s risk of heading to early mortality.

Dietary fiber, also called as roughage, helps the digestive system in removing wastes via regular bowel movements. Such wastes and other forms of excesses, if not excreted by the body, can cause cholesterol and blood sugar imbalances that eventually lead to health disorders like diabetes, heart problems, or any of a host of cancer-forming diseases.

WHO Study Shows Rising Global Statistics of Death via Diabetes

.The WHO study also disclosed that millions of adults across the globe, including British and Americans, are hardly eating foods with high fiber contents. In an earlier study conducted for the WHO, it was disclosed that globally, the number of individuals suffering from diabetes had increased from a previous 108 million to 422 million in 2014.

Back then, the medical advice given by the earlier WHO report focused mainly on seeking immediate treatment as soon as symptoms of diabetes are experienced. Furthermore, diabetes prevention can be achieved by taking in balanced diets, and engaging in physical activities. Early symptoms must be addressed through immediate medical consultations for prescription of appropriate medication, whilst having regular checkups can help arrest complications.

In the World Health Organization’s 2018 Fact Sheet for Healthy Diet, emphasis was given on the importance of dietary fiber occurring naturally in vegetables, fruits and other types of whole grains. In order to prolong one’s lifespan, one must include dietary fibers as part of daily intakes. Doing so reduces risks of developing disorders related to diabetes, heart ailments and cancerous diseases.