Tag Archives: sugar

Week in Brief: February 28-March 2

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 27-March 2.

Growing Number of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds

From HuffingtonPost.com, read article here.

In a recent report from the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit research group, 1 out of every 5 Americans, or 18.6%, told Gallup pollsters that they couldn’t always afford to feed their family.  Although the unemployment rate has fallen in the past few months and one would think the amount of income being spent on food would increase, the percentage has actually decreased.  Factors such as increases in food and gas prices, as well as decreases in income for most low-to middle-class Americans, contributed to this decrease in money spent.

The report also found that only 12% of voters believe our country spends too much money on food assistance programs.  78% believe we should spend more or the same amount on food stamp and other food assistance programs, due to our growing disastrous economic outlook. Read the full article on HuffingtonPost.com

School Cafeterias To Celebrate National School Breakfast Week March 5-9

From SchoolNutrition.org, read press release here.

Next week (March 5-9), school cafeterias across the country will celebrate National School Breakfast Week.  The slogan this year is titled, “School Breakfast – Go for Gold”; its focus will be on encouraging students to eat healthy breakfasts at school, which studies have shown improve a student’s behavior in class,  test scores, and lessens sick and tardy days.

“School Breakfast – Go for Gold” will incorporate special menus and breakfast recipes, as well as puzzles and brainteasers to help students use their brains before starting class.  They are even offering students the chance to design their own t-shirts that highlight the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast.  Read the full press release on schoolnutrition.org

Sugar Should be Regulated Like Alcohol, Tobacco, Commentary Says

From CBSNews.com, read the article here.

A new commentary published in the February issue of Nature says sugar is as toxic as alcohol and tobacco, so it should be regulated similarly in order to curb its consumption.  (Photo supplied by MorgueFile.com)

According to the authors, sugar consumption has tripled over the last 50 years, causing a 30% increase in obesity.  They argue that sugar is toxic to the body due to its consumption often resulting in chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, and that it is potentially addictive because it acts on the same part of the brain.

The authors argue that’s why the government should step in and regulate sugar consumption among consumers, by taxes, age restrictions and other policies.  Read the full article on cbs.com

Still Hungry?  Many Americans Having a ‘Second’ Breakfast

From USAToday.com, read the article here.

Due to the current fast-paced society, most Americans don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, so many are grabbing ‘on-the-go’ snacks to carry them through the morning until lunch.  Many food companies are now marketing toward this trend by introducing smaller snacks that tend to be lower in calories and filled with fiber in order to curb appetites, since consumer seem to be more calorie-conscious in the mornings.

General Mills introduced its Fiber One bars, both in a 140-calorie and 90-calorie option, while Quaker Oats is focused on selling its banana nut bar, which also has 140 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

Yet, this snacking habit could lead to overindulging and extra calories and pounds, say experts.  The key is to limit your amount of calories, while still fueling your body consistently throughout the day to receive the energy it needs.  Read the full article on USAToday.com

Upcoming Food Holidays in March

From Gone-ta-Pott.com, read the list here.

March is a month full of National food holidays!  Here’s just a short list of what holidays fall in March:

–Maple Sugar Month

–National Nutrition Month

–National Frozen Food Month

–Great American Meatout Month (You know Man vs. Food will be all over this!)

–National Peanut Month

–National Sauce Month

–National Flour Month

–National Noodle Month

–International Hamburger and Pickle Month

Read the complete list on Gone-ta-Pott.com

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Advertising to Children: Harmless Fundraising or Obesity Threat?

Remove; Image from MorgueFileWe’ve all seen them, whether it was when we ourselves were kids or just last week:  Advertisements featuring happy, healthy kids running into the kitchen for a meal or snack.   It sounds harmless enough until you factor in that many of these ads are pushing items like sugary cereal, drinks with copious amount of food dyes and other items with way more than the daily recommended amount of fat, calories, etc.   While that may be bad enough, it gets worse when you realize that many (if not most) of the commercials for sweetened or fatty food and drink are geared towards school-aged children.  The Federal Trade Commission stated that, “The food industry spent more than $1.6 billion in 2006 alone to market messages to kids promoting foods that often are high in calories and low in nutrition.”  Taking into consideration that one in three children in the U.S. is overweight or obese, what can be done to make sure that future generations have a fighting chance against food advertisers?

In recent years, there has been at least a glimmer of hope on this front in the form of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign.   Although her terms are voluntary, she has put out a plea to food manufacturers to reexamine how they market to kids up to age 17.  Mrs. Obama gave this message to manufacturers saying, “It’s going to be so critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy. And if there is anyone here who can sell food to our kids, it’s you. You know what gets their attention…You know what gets them to drive their parents crazy in the grocery store.”  According to Obama Foodorama, Mrs. Obama’s Principle can be broken down into two areas.

1)      Food advertising and marketing aimed at children up to age 17 should encourage them to choose foods that “make meaningful contributions to a healthful diet from food groups including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products, fish, extra lean meat and poultry, eggs, nuts or seeds, and beans.”

2)      Saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium in foods marketed to children should be “limited to minimize the negative impact on children’s health and weight.”

In order to really make a difference, the Federal Trade Commission is shooting for all of the food industry to join in with the saturated fat, trans fat and sugar guidelines by 2016 and the sodium guidelines by 2021.  A forum will take place to discuss the Principles on Tuesday, May 24 with public comments being considered.

But while Mrs. Obama’s Principles are a huge step forward in admitting that there is a problem and making an attempt to fix it, it’s crucial to know that at the same time children are now being faced with advertisements in a place that is unavoidable: schools.   Because kids must attend school, advertisers have begun targeting the education system as a way to gain a captive audience while kicking a little money back for learning costs.

While some school advertising could be inconspicuous and never even seen by students (According to Time Magazine, a Massachussets school has been approached about placing advertising on the roof for planes to see while passing over), most are right within the eyesight and impressionable minds of students.  One of the biggest proponents of this, according to the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, is a program seen in many schools each morning called Channel One.   The Center says that Channel One currently reaches 8 million middle and high school students each day, showing two minutes of advertising during a single news broadcast.  And while many would think of encouraging kids to watch the news every day as educational, it may actually be costing more than it is worth.  According to a 1998 study on the Analysis of Commercialism in Education, it was found that $26,333 is spent by the average secondary school on just the commercials shown during a year’s worth of Channel One programming.

Advertising in schools isn’t all just on the TV though.  In school districts like the one in St. Francis, Minnesota, 10-15% of the lockers are covered in ads.  In many townships, extra money has been awarded for struggling programs like art and music by putting ads on the sides of school buses (sometimes up to $1,000 per bus).   There have even been lessons to teach students about wildlife and architecture promoted by companies such as Exxon and McDonald’s.

In these cases, it seems there are only a few choices.  Instead of waiting for Mrs. Obama’s Principles to become a reality, there is  always the opportunity for communities to rally together to ensure local schools are not promoting products, especially those for foods that could lead to increased obesity and related health issues.   It’s also imperative to explore all options of raising money when a district is presented with the option of combining advertising and education.  Finally, it’s important to educate children about eating healthy and making decisions based on that instead of a commercial or signage.

Are unhealthy foods used in your or your child’s school?  What are your thoughts on advertising to children both in and out of school?  Please share your comments with us below.