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Published Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Monday, October 01, 2007

Hot News

MORE FRUIT, LESS HEART DISEASE RISK

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EAT MORE TO LOSE MORE?

Adding Fruits & Veggies More Slimming Than Simply Cutting Fat

Sometimes more is less. Low-fat dieters who were told to eat unlimited fruits and vegetables lost 21% more weight than those who just reduced fat intake. It may sound like magic, but the fruit and veggie group actually consumed fewer calories -- even though they were eating 25% more food by weight. By relying on fruits and vegetables -- "heavy" because of water content, but "light" in terms of calories -- the dieters naturally felt fuller, and cut back on other fattening foods.

Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of the top-ranked Volumetrics Weight Control Plan, wanted to investigate the effects of unrestricted access to fruits and vegetables. Her team of Pennsylvania State University researchers recruited 100 obese women, telling half to limit fat, and the other half to limit fat while eating more fruits and vegetables. After one year, the produce-unlimited ladies had lost an average of 17 pounds -- vs. 14 pounds lost by the low-fat-only group.

These same researchers previously found that healthy women tend to eat about 3 lbs. of food a day. We calculated the difference between 3 lbs. of junk food vs. 3 lbs. of fruit and vegetables in our Women's Health brochure and the results give graphic definition to the term "empty calories." The same "amount" of food added up to 4,500 calories on one side of the scale -- 500 calories on the other.

Such disparities demonstrate how it's possible for the same person to be stuffed and starved -- consuming two or even three times as many calories needed while falling short on vital nutrients. By eating your fill of fruit and vegetables you'll automatically reduce calories and curb cravings.

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DOLEORGANIC.COM

Banana Code Connects Consumers & Farm

"In a world where the concept of ethics seems to have gone bananas, it turns out that bananas can teach a lesson or two about ethics," observes Andrew Wooldridge, of Inside Work. With the launch of doleorganic.com, consumers can use the three-digit code on labels for Dole organic bananas to virtually visit the farm where the fruit was grown: view the fields via Google Earth; read e-mails from farm workers; learn about the growing regions and their local communities.

"Customers can personally monitor the production and treatment of their fruit from the tree to the grocer," says Wooldridge. "The process assures the customer that their bananas have been raised to the proper organic standards on an environmentally friendly, holistically minded plantation."

The site reflects Dole's dedication to transparency, sustainability and corporate responsibility. It's these kinds of practices, together with the company's commitment to nutrition education, which won Dole recognition in Ethisphere Magazine's 2007 World's Most Ethical Companies Ranking, as the most ethical company in the "Agricultural & Food Processing" category.

Doleorganic.com includes a blog, which features correspondence between an American consumer and workers at the Don Pedro Farm in La Guajira, Columbia. One letter is from a harvester, Hicho Arpushana, of the Wayuu Indian Tribe, who says, "Because people like you choose our product, I have a good job in this farm and my wife and seven children have a better life...I will keep harvesting the best bananas for you."  Likewise, the consumer says she will now be thinking "of the people and the beautiful landscape at Don Pedro Farm every time I eat a Dole organic banana." She'll also be enjoying a bevy of nutrition benefits, including:

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BETTER TO BOTTLE ANGER

Venting Only Aggravates Aggression

What's the best way to deal with anger: let it out or lock it inside? While you might think that by "letting off steam" you're less likely to explode, the preponderance of modern research suggests the exact opposite. Venting doesn't defuse anger -- but rather ratchets it up.

University of Arkansas scientists contributed to a chapter in the newly published book Anger, Aggression, and Interventions for Interpersonal Violence. Numerous studies show that those who vent anger -- whether with an inanimate object (like throwing a vase), or about a third party (like an employer), or directly to the person who angered them -- end up angrier than those who keep their cool.  

In one example, a researcher posing as a co-worker insulted study participants, half of whom were then told to hammer nails. When study subjects were allowed to confront the insulting imposter, those who'd pounded nails were more hostile than their hammer-less cohorts. In another study, people who had recently lost their jobs were allowed to verbally express their disgruntlement directly to their former employers. Later, those given the chance to vent were more disparaging in their descriptions of their previous employer.

So, how should you deal with pent-up frustrations? We asked chapter co-author Jeffrey Lohr, who said, “Walk away calmly, take deep breaths to relax, and then address the issue with the other person in an assertive, problem-solving manner to resolve the conflict.â€

If you tend to lose your temper easily, the first step in preventing escalating aggression is to make mental note of the fact that venting will only make matters worse. Practicing restraint will strengthen the emotional muscle that will help you keep calm in the face of adversity. Stress management techniques like meditation can also quell nerves while protecting your brain.

Bonus: Equanimity isn't the only benefit of reigning in your resentment -- you'll also improve lung function. Research suggests more mistrustful, malevolent male seniors experienced greater decline in lung capacity than their sunnier peers.

Nutrition News Desk

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MILK + AN-TEA-OXIDANTS

Polyphenols Unchanged, Heart Benefits Blunted

It's called the "British Paradox": Why doesn't England's tea consumption translate into the same protective effects observed in Asia? In the French Paradox, red wine polyphenols get credit for countering the effects of saturated fat in French cuisine. In the British Paradox, it's milk that gets the blame for neutralizing tea's polyphenol activity. But new findings suggest that blame might be misplaced: Scottish researchers found blood levels of antioxidants unchanged by the addition of milk to tea.

In the University of Aberdeen study, nine male volunteers ages 24-37 had their blood tested for antioxidant presence after drinking tea with and without milk. A brewing time of 7 minutes yielded the maximum antioxidant activity. Addition of milk did not compromise this effect. The results challenge previous assumptions that milk proteins bind with and neutralize tea polyphenols. But another recent study raises the possibility that milk may act in some other way to blunt tea's cardiovascular benefits.

Tea consumption significantly lowers blood pressure -- reducing hypertension risk by as much as 50%.  German researchers used ultrasound to observe how tea caused blood vessels to relax and expand, thus facilitating vascular flow. But when the healthy post-menopausal subjects drank tea with milk, the effect vanished. We contacted Mario Lorenz, co-author of the study published in the European Heart Journal, who conceded that "there are quite conflicting results around the impact of milk in tea...[which] contains a huge number of different substances." Since milk doesn't appear to mitigate antioxidant activity in tea, it's possible some other milk-reactive compound may be buffering the blood pressure benefits. Moreover, heart health is just one of tea's myriad advantages, including:

Cancer protection
Lower cholesterol
Dental health
Liver rehabilitation
Weight management

The jury is out on whether milk interferes with these benefits. In the meantime, those who prefer tea with milk may want to substitute soymilk or nondairy creamer, as suggested in "Heart Healthy Hot Chocolate."

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PREBIOTICS BOOST BONES

Calcium Absorption Increased by 15%

The same prebiotic fiber that helps fight food-borne pathogens may also protect against osteoporosis. Increased inulin intake improved bone mineral density by 15% among children -- primarily by helping boost calcium absorption. Only a tenth of girls, and less than a third of boys, get enough calcium. But encouraging research suggests inulin -- found in Prebiotic Superfoods such as bananas, leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes and asparagus -- could join the ranks of other bone-boosting nutrients like magnesium and vitamin D.

The Baylor College study examined the cumulative effects of daily prebiotic fiber intake on the bone mineral density of a test group of 100 children, ages 9-13. After one year, those on a regimen of 8 grams of supplemental inulin a day had increased calcium retention and bone density compared to those given a placebo.

Readers may recall that prebiotic fiber is essentially food for probiotic bacteria – the “good†gut bugs that help guard the intestinal tract against “bad†gut bugs like E. coli. A beneficial by-product of this process is an increase in the acidic environment of the colon, making calcium more soluble and thus easier to absorb.

Other studies have found that as little as 4 grams of prebiotic fiber – the amount found in roughly a half-cup of chopped onion – can trigger a surge in healthy intestinal microflora. You’ll get about double that inulin content in one serving of this issue’s Featured Superfood Recipe, “Creamy Leek & Artichoke Soup."

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MORE FRUIT, LESS HEART DISEASE RISK

Each Fruit Serving Cuts Risk 7%

Each extra (1/2 cup) serving of fruit you eat a day reduces your risk of heart disease by 7%, according to new research. If you consider how many servings you get with some of your favorite fruits, you'll see how easy it is to significantly slash your disease risk through fruit consumption. Three large bananas, for example, would provide 42% more protection -- possibly much more when you consider the concentration of nutrients like potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6, which make this fruit a Superfood for Your Heart.

French researchers analyzed nine studies involving over 220,000 individuals and found that the risk of cardiovascular problems declined as fruit intake increased. They also found an 11% drop in stroke risk per extra fruit serving consumed. Thus, three large bananas would slash your stroke risk by 66%!

To learn more about a dietary approach to preventing heart disease, check out our video interview with UCLA Cardiology Professor Linda Demer, MD, or download our Heart Healthy brochure.

Bonus: Can Beets Beat Heart Disease?  Warm borscht on cold nights could help protect you against future heart problems. The beets in borscht contain the antioxidant betanin, an antioxidant which may help keep LDL ("bad") cholesterol in check.  

Kids Corner

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NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH WEEK

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Oct 15-19 is National School Lunch Week. While recent efforts to reform school nutrition have zeroed in on vending machines, subsidized lunches are also a prime opportunity to address the nation's growing obesity epidemic. As we continue to report on progress in making schools a junk-food-free zone, it's instructive to remember how the school lunch program came about. Here are the highlights of this history:

America was founded on a system of private education characterized by diversity and competition. Nearly a century after our nation's founding, reformers imposed a mandatory system of universal government education based on a German model. Back in America, reformers wanted a state-run system to help acculturate immigrants. While only two states had mandatory attendance laws before the Civil War, most others passed such laws after Reconstruction.

  • The history of school lunches follows a similar path. As far back as 1790, the Germans had incorporated food provision into their education system. In the U.S. this became more common about 100 years later.
  • In 1937, school boards in 15 states instituted lunchrooms to serve food at cost, though debates continued regarding how much taxpayers should cover, and how much families with school children should pay.
  • In 1946, the National School Lunch Act was signed into law, shifing focus from hunger to nutrition, categorizing different levels of lunch provision not just by quantity but by nutrient content.
  • In 1962, National School Lunch Week was established and begins on the second Sunday of October each year.
  • In 1946, 7.1 million kids ate lunch from school programs at a cost of $70 million. In 2006 that number has risen to 30.1 million with an annual cost of over $8 billion.
  • An interesting, if lesser-known, aspect of the school lunch program is that the USDA procures food surpluses, including fresh produce, from the Department of Defense.





Last update on 10/2/2007
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