Healthline Blogs

Newsbites: March 3

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Unlike last week all kinds of things happening this week. Here goes a sampling:

Probably the biggest piece of news was schools may actually be the institution that's helping prevent obesity in children rather than exacerbating it. Or at least slowing it down. New research has found that when kids are in school they are less likely to gain as much weight as they are during summer vacation. It's not known exactly why but one theory credits the more structured environment. When kids are in classrooms they don't have access to foods. Makes sense.
One caveat: this study only looked at kindergartners and first graders. Would the same hold true for older primary and secondary kids? Or would they have adjusted to the structured system by then?

In interesting celebrity-ish news, Prince Charles made it clear he is no friend of McDonald's. While visiting a diabetes center in the United Arab Emirates this week, the royal was overheard making the comment "Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key" to a center nutritionist. Ooo Boy! Of course McDonald's fired back calling the remark disappointing and not reflective of their current menu or business. To their credit they did add some nutrition facts labels on their packaging and have been promoting their salads. But they are still selling Whoppers. Hmmm.. wonder where this is gonna go?

What else? The Journal of the American Dietetic Association (published by my very own professional org) finds more evidence that dieting in teens does the opposite of its intent. Dieting appears to actually increase adolescents' chances of gaining weight. The authors of the study found teen dieting predicted increased binge eating and decreased breakfast consumption in both boys and girls. Girls were also less likely to eat fruits and vegetables when dieting, and boys were less likely to exercise. How do we get this across to our kids?

And I know you had to have heard the news that those annual delectable Girl Scout cookies have gone (nearly) trans fat free. The troupe is also debuting a sugar free cookie called the Little Brownie. The Little Brownie=y still packs 130 calories for a serving of 4 cookies; so sugar free is definitely not calorie free. The cookies also contain sugar alcohols (maltitol, isomalt, sorbitol) ergo beware of eating too many. Overdoing it on sugar alcohols may spell G-A-S and more.
But hey, they're cookies so enjoy in moderation.

That's the news, have a pleasant fruit and veggie filled weekend!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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