Interesting Food Related (& One Not So) Studies For The New Year
I’ve been off the last two weeks spending time scouring the 2014 General Assembly legislative session that began this month for food policy legislation of interest. In the weeks ahead, I will write about the progress of such bills in the state house. If you are aware of any legislation to bring to my attention, please email me.
In the meantime, some more interesting studies have come across my desk.
Tricky Diet Drinks. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University has concluded that adults who consume diet beverages consume more calories than adults who consume sugar-sweetened beverages. See http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/01/17/diet-soda-weight-loss The researchers stated “The results of our study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight—who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages—may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification.”
E-Cigarettes. E-cigarettes are getting a lot of attention these days as a substitute for smoke cigarettes. These battery-operated devices heat nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerin into a vapor and unlike conventional tobacco-burning cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not deliver poisonous tars or carbon monoxide upon inhaling. According to Los Angeles Times reporter Monte Marin, there are no studies to indicate whether these devices will combat the harmful effects of tobacco smoking or encourage it. No one has an idea of the effects of long term use of e-cigarettes. See his article at http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-e-cigarettes-science-20140117,0,7562029.story#axzz2qgWMt9Cp So don’t make any assumptions about these devices.
Eating Tree Nuts Lowers Risk of Obesity. Researchers from Lorma Linda University have concluded that there is a strong correlation indicating that people who eat 5 grams to 16 grams of tree nuts per day were 37% less likely to become obese. The category of tree nuts include: Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. A summary of that study can be found at http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Tree-nut-consumption-may-cut-obesity-risk-Study
Kids Using Debits Cards for Unhealthy Eating Choices. As reported on NPR, compared with kids who use cash in school cafeterias, kids who use debit cards seem to make more unhealthful eating choices, according to a behavioral economist at Cornell University. Not only did three times as many kids buy vegetables when they were paying with cash over debit cards, but they also ate 10 percent fewer calories. See Shankar Vedantam’s NPR report at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/17/245033267/cash-or-credit-how-kids-pay-for-school-lunch-matters-for-health
Steve Holt, a Boston based writer who covers food topics has an interesting short piece on how 2013 may be the year which set American food policy backwards. See http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/12/06/was-2013-step-backward-american-food-policy
Finally, for your enjoyment and having nothing to do with food advocacy: in case you ever doubted this truth, researchers report in the British Journal of Psychiatry that comedians have high levels of psychotic personality traits. The researchers recruited 523 comedians – 404 men and 119 women – and asked them to complete an online questionnaire designed to measure psychotic traits in healthy people. You should see what the study says about actors. See http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/us-comedians-psychotic-idUSBREA0F00M20140116
If you have topics you want me to look into or items that you want to bring to my attention, please email me. Thanks!