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Tag: nutrition

American Toddlers Favorite Vegetable

FITS is a survey of national estimates of early feeding behaviors which can influence the development of dietary guidelines.

When toddlers reach the age of two, many have established food preferences that can last a lifetime. So parents should do their best to get toddlers eating behaviors established early. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, they found that while toddlers eat vegetables, the number one choice is french fries.

The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) was a large study of nearly 10,000 parents and caregivers of children age four and younger. Here are some of the shortfalls they found:

  • Only 18% of infants, aged 6-12 months, get the recommended amount of iron.
  • Less than 25% of infants get the recommend amount of vitamin D.
  • Sodium intake is high. Of 1-year-olds, 40% exceed the upper limit of sodium; of children aged 2-3, 70-75% exceed the upper limit of sodium intake.

Learn more at


Probiotics and Prebiotics

Gut health is important for a healthy quality of life. Maintaining good gut health can help prevent disease, enhance health, help you live longer and improve physical and mental performance. Therefore, many people consume probiotics and prebiotics to improve gut health.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, can give a health benefit. When consumed regularly, they help enhance the immune system. They are found in many yogurt products, beverages and even certain candy products.

Prebiotics are non-digestible oligosaccharides that survive digestion and move into the colon. These are found naturally in fiber-rich foods or added into foods. The best foods include bananas, berries, legumes, onions, leeks, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Learn more from this presentation at, and


Fish Oil Supplements Deemed Non-beneficial

Fish oil supplements have been touted as beneficial for the heart and eyes. But, a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials with almost 78,000 participants showed that the fish oil caplets are of little benefit to patients with heart disease.

Another study, regarding dry eye disease, also concluded that fish oil supplements are not beneficial. This study compared fish oil supplements with olive oil supplements.

Evidence still supports the benefits of eating eight ounces of fish per week to reduce cardiovascular disease risks.

Sources: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2018 and


What is A2 Milk?

Have you seen the television commercials about A2 milk? Do you wonder, what is A2 milk? Is it better for me?

All milk contains beta casein protein which has several variants. The two most commonly found are A1 and A2. Certain breeds of dairy cattle only produce A2 beta casein proteins. In general, those breeds include Guernsey, Jersey, and Asian herds. Human milk and other animal milk also mostly A2. Holstein milk has both A1 and A2.

So what’s the big deal about A2 milk? Research is very limited, but some claims say that milk containing A1 leads to Type 1 Diabetes, coronary heart disease, and maybe, schizophrenia and autism if immune deficiencies are present. Some claim that A1 is digested differently than A2 and causes negative health effects.

Scientifically, the evidence is very limited. Only rat studies have shown any benefit of consuming A2 milk. Human clinical studies have not shown evidence to match the rat studies. Therefore, the information to show benefits of A2 milk are anecdotal. Also, those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies will not benefit from A2 milk.

To learn more about A2 milk, see:


NIH Body Weight Planner

The NIH Body Weight Planner (BWP) has moved from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) SuperTracker webpage to the NIDDK website at the new link

The BWP is a free, interactive tool developed by NIDDK researchers that can help people create physical activity and calorie plans to reach their goal weight and maintain it afterward. The tool uses science-based technology to tailor recommendations to individual users and accurately calculate how their bodies adjust to changes in diet and physical activity.

If you have not yet tried the Body Weight Planner, we invite you to visit the new page to practice using the tool. A short instructional video can be found at


The Changes are Coming to Nutrition Facts

The Food and Drug Administration is updating the Nutrition Facts label and changes will be required starting Jan. 1, 2020. The updates include:

  • Added sugars will have a separate line directly under “Total Sugars.”
  • Serving sizes are based on what people actually eat at one time. These figures are being updated for the first time since 1993.
  • Calories will be more noticeable in bigger and bolder font, you can’t miss them.
  • Updated Daily Values reflects how much of the nutrient is needed in a 2,000-calorie diet. Five percent is considered low, 20 percent is considered high.

Sources: and


Eating Out by the Numbers

An example of calorie labeling on menus. Photo: FDA

Beginning in May 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring certain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. This is applies to chain restaurants and retail food establishments with more than 20 locations. These operations include:

  • Foods served at sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurant-type foods in certain grocery and convenience stores.
  • Take-out and delivery foods.
  • Foods purchased at drive-through windows.
  • Foods that you serve yourself from a salad or hot-food bar.
  • Alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails that appear on menus.
  • Foods at places of entertainment, such as movie theaters or amusement parks.

Calorie information on menus and menu boards must be clearly displayed. For self-service foods, such as foods served at salad bars and buffets, the information must be clearly displayed so consumers can see it when they are serving themselves.

Learn more at


CFSAN Resources for You!

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has a large catalog of publications and videos on food safety, nutrition, dietary supplements, and more. Best of all, they are free!

The Education Resource Library is searchable by topic, audience, format, interactive and audio. Many are downloadable to print or you can order printed materials. There are many resources in a variety of languages. Sign up for CFSAN News for Educators to receive quarterly newsletters.

Go to for more information.


What is the Keto Diet?

With the new year underway, so are many types of diets to kick the year off in a healthy way. One of those diets is the ketogenic, or “keto”, diet. But is it a safe diet to use?

The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet. It has been a treatment for those with epilepsy since the 1920s as it can help reduce seizures. Today, anti-seizure medications are more commonly used. The diet does not allow fruits, some vegetables, grains, potatoes, sweets, or other high carbohydrate foods. The main purpose of the diet is to create ketones to get fuel into your cells instead of glucose. Excess ketone production results in ketosis.

While the keto diet may help you lose weight, it is a difficult diet to stick with in the long run. You miss out on beneficial nutrients from fruits, vegetables and grains. Once ketosis sets in, a rapid loss of “water weight” occurs which is not successful weight loss. And, in the long run, this type of diet can lead to eating disorders.

To learn more about the keto diet, see “Keto Diet 101: What to Know Before You Commit” from

Science and Our Food Supply Curriculum

What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really!

The Science and Our Food Supply Teacher Guides are challenging hands-on, minds-on activities that link food safety and nutrition to students’ everyday lives. They are crafted in a teacher-friendly modular format that easily fit into science, health, and other classes.

FDA in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have created Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes.

The topics include learning about bacteria, food storage and handling, pasteurization technology, the science of cooking a hamburger, DNA fingerprinting, and outbreak analysis. Nutrition topics include the Nutrition Facts Label, serving size and calories, sugar in beverages, sodium in snack foods, meal planning, and eating away from home.