You Asked It!

Category: March 2017

Sugary Beverage Consumption

The data backs the message. Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute calories and added sugars to the diets of U.S. children.

Studies have suggested a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and dental caries, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in children. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend reducing added sugars consumption to less than 10% of calories per day and, specifically, to choose beverages with no added sugars.

Data from the National Healthy and Nutrition Examination Survey shows the following:

  • Almost two-thirds of U.S. youth consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day.
  • Calories from sugar-sweetened beverages increased with age for both boys and girls.
  • Boys consumed an average 164 kilocalories (kcal) from sugar-sweetened beverages, which contributed 7.3% of total daily caloric intake. Girls consumed an average 121 kcal from sugar-sweetened beverages, which contributed 7.2% of total daily caloric intake.

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National Nutrition Month®

Put Your Best Fork Forward! That is the theme for National Nutrition Month® sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The key messages include:

  • Include a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
  • Practice cooking at home and use healthful ingredients.
  • Eat and drink the amount for you using MyPlate guidelines.
  • Be physically active most days of the week.
  • Consult a registered dietician for help.

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What Does “FDA Approved” Mean?

You see it in commercials, the news, websites and more for new products. Companies say their products are “FDA approved,” but how can you know for sure what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves?

FDA is responsible for protecting public health by regulating human drugs and biologics, animal drugs, medical devices, tobacco products, food (including animal food), cosmetics, and electronic products that emit radiation.

Some products do not undergo premarket approval — that is, a review of safety and effectiveness by FDA experts and agency approval before a product can be marketed. In some cases, FDA’s enforcement efforts focus on products after they are already for sale. Even when FDA approval is not required before a product is sold, the agency has authority to act when safety issues arise.

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Food Safety Communication Resources

Many free resources are available to communicate food safety messages.

Presentations from the Consumer Food Safety Education Conference


Changing Food Safety Behaviors

“I’ve handled food this way for 50 years. I’ve never gotten sick!” That person has been lucky, or got sick but didn’t know why. How can risky food safety behaviors be changed?

  1. Communicate the severity and susceptibility of the threat in words consumers use using metaphors or analogies. Use a 4th-6th grade level.
  2. Use graphics to show what the data means.
  3. Communicate efficacy using “should do”, “could do”, “You can do this!”, or “this works!”
  4. Use stories and emotion to connect to people personally.
  5. Make risks real, meaningful, connect, and explain how to fix risks.


Safe and Healthy Food Pantries

Food pantries help meet the nutrition and health needs for people who are food insecure and low-income who may have chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Without food pantries, many buy inexpensive, unhealthy foods for their families. Food pantry guests are at increased risk for foodborne illness.

Research conducted by the University of Wisconsin shows food pantry guests want more fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, turkey, fish, chicken, peanut butter, and eggs. The challenges with offering these foods are many including equipment to store these foods. Food pantries need to make these foods more visible before less healthful foods. Recipes to use the foods will also encourage guests to chose them.

Donors must be mindful of the foods they donate. Establish a nutrition policy to guide donors of needed foods. Providing lists of needed foods helps reduce unwanted donations that may be wasted.

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Eat Out without Pigging Out!

Celebrating special occasions often involve dining at a favorite restaurant. The temptation to overeat is a strong urge to fight. But it can be conquered!

More restaurants are offering “small plate” options. These can help with portion control.

Slow down and put your fork down! Enjoy conversations more by taking an eating break. Put your fork down and hands in your lap to slow down.

Share a meal to reduce portion sizes and money.


What is Corned Beef?

St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional holiday to serve corned beef. Originally, “corned beef” was salted or brined during the winter to preserve it. After the long meatless Lent, this preserved meat was eaten.

Corning is a form of dry-curing meat with “corns” of salt. Today, beef brisket is cured in salt brine with spices but we still maintain the name “corned beef.” Corned beef is available as a sliced deli meat for sandwiches or whole corned beef briskets are available and often served with cooked cabbage.

Cook corned beef low and slow so it is “fork tender.” It will retain a pink color from the nitrites used in the curing process. Cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Go Green!

Lettuce in Colander

Spring is almost here! So it’s time to think green for your menu. Green produce can help reduce some cancer risks, build bone and teeth health, and improve vision health.

Challenge yourself to eat more green foods. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • All leafy greens including lettuce, spinach, kale and more.
  • Edamame adds protein to snacks and meals.
  • Avocados can be added to sandwiches, salads and dips.
  • Broccoli and broccolini can be steamed, roasted, or sautéed for a side dish.
  • Green fruits such as kiwi, honeydew melon and apples add sweetness and crunch.
  • Asparagus just screams spring!

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