Study Finds Menu Labels Including Daily Caloric Requirement are Much More Effective Than Labels Alone

Last week I discussed why obesity experts, such as Drs. Kelly Brownell and David Kessler, believe highly processed foods are leading to excessive overeating. Until healthier unprocessed foods are more readily available and affordable, today I want to focus on one way we can thwart the cravings believed to be triggered by eating foods engineered or prepared with extra fat, sugar and salt and that’s by reducing your daily caloric intake.

With our fast paced lives and limited time to prepare meals, Americans are eating out much more often than just a decade ago. The latest numbers show that we spend almost half of our food expenditures outside the home.

Since foods purchased outside the home are often higher in calories and served in larger portions there’s been a push at all government levels to encourage restaurants to post calorie labels on their menus to give consumers a better idea of just how many calories they’re consuming. New York City was first to pass a menu-labeling law in 2006. Since then several cities and states, including Philadelphia, Nashville, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon have all passed their own menu-labeling legislation. The latest state to approve a menu-labeling bill is New Jersey. And soon we could see a federal law passed. Both House and Senate versions of the Health Care Reform Bill have menu-labeling provisions attached. Read More >

10 in 10: Ensure Every American Child Has Access to Healthy and Affordable Food: A “Gentle” Wish For a New Decade

10in101A new decade brings new opportunities and challenges. The interaction between diet and health received significant attention during “The Aughts.” What will we do during this next decade to respond to the call for action for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle? This is the fourth in a continuing series highlighting 10 ways you can help this year.

Knowing that the obesity epidemic in the United States has some scientists predicting that for the first time in history American children will live shorter lives than their parents, my wish for the next decade is to see First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and his administration succeed in their mission to ensure that every American child has access to healthy and affordable food. A recent gathering of Obama Administration officials invited to discuss their efforts to improve America’s food system left me hopeful that my wish will come true.

Courtesy: White House Blog

Courtesy: White House Blog

Last month in D.C. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Dora Hughes, Counselor to the Secretary of Health, and Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and Food Initiative Coordinator for the First Lady each shared their goals for the next year during an event for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Community Program. Surprisingly it wasn’t their words that left me so inspired; rather it was the words of 10-year-old David Martinez-Ruiz. Kass shared with the audience a letter that the D.C. elementary school student had presented to the First Lady following his class visit to the White House Garden.

One of the things that I want to say about being at the White House was how gentle the feeling was. It felt surprisingly natural to be there. We planted on a warm day. The sun was out and there was a little breeze. The grass was beautiful and green. The people made us feel good. I liked the way the staff person who helped me was very gentle with the worms we found. I think about the garden as being gentle: gentle with nature, gentle to your body, and gentle with each other. Read More >