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Nutrition News Roundup

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Lots going on in the news this week. I was thinking of doing a roundup at the end of the week if there's enough newsy stuff to talk about. This week there are a few interesting items. I'll try to touch on a couple and we'll see how this goes.

Fat Free - Have you heard about the school district in Pittsburgh that is using a pretty effective fat substitute in school meals called Z-trim? They're using it in the ranch salad dressing and the kids are loving it. Z-trim is plant based and unlike some other fat substitutes it has no ghastly gastrointestinal side effects (according to the company anyway). So is this a good thing? Yes and no. Great that they're consuming fewer calories and fat. But perhaps we want to get kids accustomed to the taste of foods with less fat? Will they mistake full fat dressings for the healthier version? Yes, it's another one of those two-sided issue things. What are your thoughts? (Click here to go to the USDA website to find out more about Z-Trim)

What's Really in That Bottle? - Your multi may not contain the amount of vitamins and minerals that it claims to on the label. And there may be lead in it! Consumerlab.com (a private consumer watchdog group) released results today of lab tests done on 21 brands of multis. Over half of them did not contain the levels of nutrients listed on the nutrition facts label. And one, The Vitamin Shoppe Multivitamins Especially for Women, was contaminated with lead, a toxic mineral. Careful ladies. One children's multi, Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears, contained more than double the amount of Vitamin A! Yes we need vitamin A but too much can weaken bones and harm the liver. Several of those that didn't pass muster contained less of the vitamin or mineral claimed, and/or didn't break down in the body, essentially passing through us unabsorbed. The good news is almost half of the brands did contain what they were supposed to contain. So what to do? If you are consuming a balanced diet you shouldn't have to worry about taking a multi, but if you're not go with a brand that's well known and has a good track record. This is definitely a toughie. If you want to find out which multis passed and which didn't go to their website at www.consumerlab.com.
I am very curious to know your thoughts on this topic and how you feel about taking a multi in general.

Nuts for Walnuts - (I couldn't think of anything more clever) - Walnuts, high in omega 3 fatty acids, may be good for bones. In a small study out of Penn State University, diets high in omega 3 fats from walnuts and flax seed seemed to have a protective effect on the bones of the subjects who ate these diets. This could be significant given the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Keep in mind though, that walnuts are high calorie and a little goes a long way. Sprinkle them on top of your salad or have a handful as a snack. Avoid eating them one after the other out of that big econo bag from Smart and Final. If you want to read more on this study click here to check out the abstract.

Three's a charm?

Have a fantastic weekend that is fruit and veggie filled with walnuts sprinkled on top with some lowfat salad dressing.
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About the Author

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

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