Nutrition News: FDA Cookie Dough Warning, Coffee Benefits, The Skinny on Pasta

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Oh, no! No more dough?

Eating a furtive spoonful (or three) of raw cookie dough before you pop the baking sheet in the oven or letting your kids lick the bowl is one of life’s great pleasures, but alas, the killjoys at the FDA are strongly warning against it.

“Eating raw dough or batter — whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas — could make you, and your kids, sick,” the FDA warned in a recent blog post, noting that the uncooked flour in the dough — no matter what brand it is — “can contain bacteria that cause disease.”

Apparently there’s been an outbreak of a strain of E. coli linked to the flour in raw dough or batter. In fact, the FDA says, even letting kids play with raw dough or clay made with flour “could be a problem.” Sheesh. On the bright side: Less raw-cookie-dough sneaking means more actual cookies!

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The skinny on pasta

We don’t necessarily think of pasta as a diet food, but a new study out of Italy (where else?) suggests it might be. A team of researchers at the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed analyzed data from more than 23,000 men and women and concluded that eating pasta correlated with a lower body mass index, helped people stick to a healthy diet and was associated with a lower risk of being overweight or obese.

“Both in women and men, the obese population was older and at lower socioeconomic status, had higher waist and hip circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio, and consumed more pasta (grams per day) than normal or overweight participants,” the researchers wrote. The study didn’t suggest how much pasta consumption is ideal (you probably don’t want to overdo it), but at least, now that you have to give up cookie dough, you get noodles back!

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Coffee wins!

Coffee is either good for you or bad for you, depending on which study you’re paying attention to. The contradictory findings can be utterly confusing, but a new research review — looking at 1,277 studies about coffee, dating from today all the way back to 1970 — has concluded that the potential health benefits of moderate coffee drinking (about three to four cups per day) for adults outweigh the health risks. The researchers at Ulster University, who published their study results in the Institute of Food Technologists’ Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, concluded that, on the whole, moderate coffee drinking is either neutral or “mildly beneficial” to your health. Another cup?

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.