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10 Things the Food Industry Doesn

10 Things the Food Industry Doesn

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8 Foods That Fight Fat SELF.

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By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief - Posted on Thu, Oct 08, 2009, 3:32 pm PDT

Happier, Healthier You by Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief a Yahoo! Health Expert for Women's Health VISIT WOMEN'S HEALTH HOME » MORE BY THIS EXPERT

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Want to lose weight as you chow down? Your wish is granted! (I promise, this is no fairy tale.) Your supermarket is filled with foods that studies show have lipid-melting powers to help melt fat and keep you slim. Stock up on these fat-fighting super bites, and you'll be trimmer even as you indulge. Read on to discover the eight foods that deserve a permanent spot in your fridge—and in your diet! Almonds These yummy nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. In fact, dieters who ate 3 ounces of almonds daily slashed their weight and body-mass index by 18 percent, while those who skipped the nuts reduced both numbers less— just 11 percent—a study in theInternational Journal of Obesity revealed. Chomp almonds à la carte (limit yourself to 12 per serving to keep calories in check). I get a pack at Starbucks and nibble throughout my day. Or sprinkle them into a recipe such as Black Bean–Almond Pesto Chicken. Go nuts! Berries I tell my daughter, "These are nature's candy!" Turns out they're also your body's best friends. Strawberries, raspberries and other vitamin C–spiked fruit can supercharge your workout, helping you burn up to 30 percent more fat, research from Arizona State University at Mesa has found. If they're not in season, buy the little gems frozen in a bulk-sized bag so you'll always have them on hand to whip up a Berry Bliss Smoothie or Strawberry-Sunflower Pops, regardless of whether berries are in season. Cinnamon Adding 1/4 teaspoon to your plate may prevent an insulin spike—an uptick that tells your body to store fat. Sprinkle it on your morning cereal or coffee or on your yogurt in the A.M., or savor it in Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal. Mustard It's heaven on a soft pretzel, but mustard may also be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its color, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the

journal Endocrinology finds. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayo, or sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower pre-roasting to give it a kick. Try it on tuna salad—I promise it adds zest. Oranges This citrus fruit, which contains fat-blasting compounds known as flavones, deserves to be your main squeeze. Women who ate the most flavones had a much lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Eat oranges sliced or swig fresh OJ (including pulp!) to get the best benefit from the fruit. Soybeans Reason to toss a half cup on your salad? Soybeans are rich in choline, a compound that blocks the absorption of fat and breaks down fatty deposits. Oh, and they're addictively delish! But if breast cancer runs in your family, experts suggest you should talk to your doc before adding soy to your diet. Sweet potatoes The colorful spuds' high-fiber content means they keep your insulin steadier than their white sisters, which means less fat packed on your hips, research finds. Top a small baked tater with lowfat cottage cheese for a tempting side dish, or whip up Miso Soup With Sweet Potato Dumplings. Swiss cheese Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase fat breakdown, and Swiss has more calcium than many of its cheesy peers. Choose the reduced-fat variety, such as Sargento. Slip it into your sandwich, put it on top of high-fiber crackers or use it for a healthier grilled cheese. Yum! For other tricks to eating your way to your healthy, happy weight, load up on these 20 slimming superfoods atSelf.com.

10 Things the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know

10 Things the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know
• Two nutrition experts argue that you can't take marketing campaigns at face value With America's obesity problem among kids reaching crisis proportions, even junk food makers have started to claim they want to steer children toward more healthful choices. In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese, and 11 percent were extremely obese. Food giant PepsiCo, for example, points out on its website that "we can play an important role in helping kids lead healthier lives by offering healthy product choices in schools." The company highlights what it considers its healthier products within various food categories through a "Smart Spot" marketing campaign that features green symbols on packaging. PepsiCo's inclusive criteria--explained here--award spots to foods

of dubious nutritional value such as Diet Pepsi, Cap'n Crunch cereal, reduced-fat Doritos, and Cheetos, as well as to more nutritious products such as Quaker Oatmeal and Tropicana Orange Juice. But are wellness initiatives like Smart Spot just marketing ploys? Such moves by the food industry may seem to be a step in the right direction, but ultimately makers of popular junk foods have an obligation to stockholders to encourage kids to eat more--not less--of the foods that fuel their profits, says David Ludwig, a pediatrician and the co-author of a commentary published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association that raises questions about whether big food companies can be trusted to help combat obesity. Ludwig and article co-author Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, both of whom have long histories of tracking the food industry, spoke with U.S. News and highlighted 10 things that junk food makers don't want you to know about their products and how they promote them. 1. Junk food makers spend billions advertising unhealthy foods to kids. According to the Federal Trade Commission, food makers spend some $1.6 billion annually to reach children through the traditional media as well the Internet, in-store advertising, and sweepstakes. An article published in 2006 in the Journal of Public Health Policy puts the number as high as $10 billion annually. Promotions often use cartoon characters or free giveaways to entice kids into the junk food fold. PepsiCo has pledged that it will advertise only "Smart Spot" products to children under 12. 2. The studies that food producers support tend to minimize health concerns associated with their products. In fact, according to a review led by Ludwig of hundreds of studies that looked at the health effects of milk, juice, and soda, the likelihood of conclusions favorable to the industry was several times higher among industry-sponsored research than studies that received no industry funding. "If a study is funded by the industry, it may be closer to advertising than science," he says. 3. Junk food makers donate large sums of money to professional nutrition associations. The American Dietetic Association, for example, accepts money from companies such as Coca-Cola, which get access to decision makers in the food and nutrition marketplace via ADA events and programs, as this release explains. As Nestle notes in her blog and discusses at length in her book Food Politics, the group even distributes nutritional fact sheets that are directly sponsored by specific industry groups. This one, for example, which is sponsored by an industry group that promotes lamb, rather unsurprisingly touts the nutritional benefits of lamb. The ADA's reasoning: "These collaborations take place with the understanding that ADA does not support any program or message that does not correspond with ADA's science-based healthful-eating messages and positions," according to the group's president, dietitian Martin Yadrick. "In fact, we think it's important for us to be at the same table with food companies because of the positive influence that we can have on them." 4. More processing means more profits, but typically makes the food less healthy. Minimally processed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables obviously aren't where food companies look for profits. The big bucks stem from turning government-subsidized commodity crops--mainly corn, wheat, and soybeans--into fast foods, snack foods, and beverages. High-profit products derived from these commodity crops are generally high in calories and low in nutritional value. 5. Less-processed foods are generally more satiating than their highly processed counterparts. Fresh apples have an abundance of fiber and nutrients that are lost when they are processed into applesauce. And the added sugar or other sweeteners increase the number of calories without necessarily making the applesauce any more filling. Apple juice, which is even more processed, has had almost all of the fiber and nutrients stripped out. This same stripping out of nutrients, says Ludwig, happens with highly refined white bread compared with stone-ground whole wheat bread. 6. Many supposedly healthy replacement foods are hardly healthier than the foods they replace. In 2006, for example, major beverage makers agreed to remove sugary sodas from school vending machines. But the industry mounted an intense lobbying effort that persuaded lawmakers to allow sports drinks and vitamin waters that--despite their slightly healthier reputations--still can be packed with sugar and calories. 7. A health claim on the label doesn't necessarily make a food healthy. Health claims such as "zero trans fats" or "contains whole wheat" may create the false impression that a product is healthy when it's not. While the claims may be true, a product is not going to benefit your kid's health if it's also loaded with salt and sugar or saturated fat, say, and lacks fiber or other nutrients. "These claims are calorie distracters," adds Nestle. "They make people forget about the calories." Dave DeCecco, a spokesperson for PepsiCo, counters that the intent of a labeling program such as Smart Spot is simply to help consumers pick a healthier choice within a category. "We're not trying to tell people that a bag of Doritos is healthier than asparagus. But, if you're buying chips, and you're busy,

and you don't have a lot of time to read every part of the label, it's an easy way to make a smarter choice," he says. 8. Food industry pressure has made nutritional guidelines confusing. As Nestle explained in Food Politics, the food industry has a history of preferring scientific jargon to straight talk. As far back as 1977, public health officials attempted to include the advice "reduce consumption of meat" in an important report called Dietary Goals for the United States. The report's authors capitulated to intense pushback from the cattle industry and used this less-direct and more ambiguous advice: "Choose meats, poultry, and fish which will reduce saturated fat intake." Overall, says Nestle, the government has a hard time suggesting that people eat less of anything. 9. The food industry funds front groups that fight antiobesity public health initiatives. Unless you follow politics closely, you wouldn't necessarily realize that a group with a name like the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) has anything to do with the food industry. In fact,Ludwig and Nestle point out, this group lobbies aggressively against obesity-related public health campaigns--such as the one directed at removing junk food from schools--and is funded, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, primarily through donations from big food companies such as Coca-Cola, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and Wendy's. 10. The food industry works aggressively to discredit its critics. According to the new JAMA article, the Center for Consumer Freedom boasts that "[our strategy] is to shoot the messenger. We've got to attack [activists'] credibility as spokespersons." Here's the group's entry on Marion Nestle. The bottom line, says Nestle, is quite simple: Kids need to eat less, include more fruits and vegetables, and limit the junk food.

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