November 3, 2012 |
Anywhere someone is lifting a weight, strapping on a football helmet or lacing up running shoes, there's probably a big bottle of green, blue or neon orange liquid nearby. Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks have drenched just about every sport in America, from triathlons to pee-wee soccer. But sports drinks are also popular with spectators in the stands, kids playing video games, long haul truckers and office workers. Lots of people chug down sports drinks without ever breaking a sweat.
September 28, 2012
Was the American Beverage Assn. trying to defend sugary sodas when it said last week that they amounted to just 7% of the typical American's caloric intake? The association may have thought that sounded like very little, but it's actually a lot. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day - the level the federal government assumes in calculating nutritional requirements - consuming 7% fewer soda calories would theoretically lead to a loss of 14 pounds a year, with little if any loss of nutrients.
September 18, 2012 |
The federal food assistance program SNAP pays $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion for purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages every year, a new study has found. Meanwhile, the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we cut back on consumption of sugary drinks. A disconnect? The authors seem to think so. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are important, they stress, but "allowing annual use of multibillions of SNAP benefits to purchase products that are at the core of public health concerns about obesity and chronic illnesses appears misaligned with the goals of helping low-income families live active, healthy lives.” They suggest that reauthorization of the SNAP program, set for later this year, "could be a good time to reconsider the program priorities to align use of public funds with fostering public health.
September 15, 2012 |
Every couple of years a food or beverage is crowned with what nutrition experts call a "health halo. " Some of the foods -- wild salmon, blueberries, flax seeds -- deserve it. But others gain status for no apparent reason. Acai berry, anyone? It's not that the trendy food is unhealthful. It's just that if you're already eating a well-balanced diet it's unnecessary. And possibly expensive. The latest entrant in this category: coconut water. Coconut water -- the mildly sweet liquid from the center of young, green coconuts -- has been popular in tropical areas since, well, as long as people have lived among coconut palm trees.
August 6, 2012 |
This post has been updated. See note below for details. The high school or middle school student who can grab a sugar-sweetened soft drink on school grounds during class hours is becoming a rarity, a new study finds. But lots of kids still can buy high-sugar beverages in schools: Fruit juices and sports drinks that are designed for serious athletes engaged in vigorous physical activity remain widely sold in U.S. middle and high schools. In 2010-11, 25% of high school students had access to sugary sodas during school -- either at cafeteria concessions or from vending machines.
July 6, 2012
A third of kids in U.S. public elementary schools can buy such beverages as sports drinks and full-fat milk at school, according to a study looking at wellness policies in schools. And that's an improvement, the researchers said. “Elementary schools across the country are improving the beverage landscape, showing that change is possible and it's already happening,” the lead author, Lindsey Turner, said in a statement. The work is part of an effort funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; it was published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.