Nutrition News: Packaged-Food Changes at Target, USDA GMO-Free Labels, Banishing Belly Fat

Target targets healthier foods, and the USDA introduces a new GMO-free labeling system. Also, find out the best way to whittle your waistline.
Target to Promote Healthy Foods

These are not great times for the packaged-food industry, thanks to Americans’ increasing interest in fresh ingredients and growing disregard for things boxed and canned. Target has just informed some of the nation’s biggest food companies that its stores will no longer be promoting their products or featuring them as prominently as Target has in the past. This means that instead of pushing sugared cereals, processed snack foods, canned items, and stuff like mac and cheese in the front of the store, close to checkout areas, Target will be promoting healthier foods like yogurt and granola, which happen to have a higher markup. Industry analyst Amy Koo told The Washington Post that Target’s move may signal a shift at other retail outlets as well. “Fundamentally, food suppliers are going to have to grapple with this new landscape," she said.

Look for the GMO-Free Label

Want to know if the foods you buy are free of genetically modified ingredients? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has come up with a new government certification and label to indicate that foods are free of GMOs. The certification and "USDA Process Verified" GMO-free label (not to be confused with existing non-governmental GMO-free labels) would be voluntary and paid for by the companies whose products carry it. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told USDA employees about the new certification process in a May 1 letter, explaining that a “leading global company” had asked for a government-certified GMO-free labeling process. Still, some consumer advocates contend that the voluntary labeling system may be confusing, and they’ve called for a mandatory system instead, the Associated Press reported.

Stroll Your Way to a Slimmer Belly?

How best to whittle your waistline? The New York Times’ Well blog notes that belly fat, which is made of visceral (aka deep) fat, can be especially difficult to get rid of and can lead to increased inflammation and even premature death. Still, all hope is not lost. The Times points to evidence that engaging in moderate exercise twice a week coupled with cutting calories can help people shed visceral fat. The best sort of exercise to rid you of belly fat is open to debate, but contrary to popular belief, the sit-up will not actually help you lose your spare tire. “You’re better off going for a walk,” Gary R. Hunter, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the paper.

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. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish .

Keep Reading

Next Up

Nutrition News: Nutrition Labels, GMO-Free Products and Organic Recalls

Front-of-pack nutrition labels prompt buying, more GMO-free products contain labels, and organic-product recalls have increased.

Nutrition News: Chipotle Goes GMO-Free, Diet Pepsi Ditches Aspartame, and The Reason Your Diet Is Doomed

Chipotle will now cook with only non-GMO ingredients, Diet Pepsi is trading aspartame for Splenda, and find out why diets go awry (and what to do about it).

Nutrition News: Commercial Egg Shortage, Labels and Local Foods, and a Way to Eat Fat and Stay Lean  

The USDA moves to alleviate the commercial egg crisis, food labels and local farms have great potential, and researchers find an enzyme that prevents weight gain (in mice).

The Nutrition Label's New Look

The food label on packaged food has been there since the early 1990’s. With all the label confusion, the FDA finally decided it was time the nutrition label got a makeover (we couldn’t agree more!). Although the proposed changes were released a few months ago, a new black and white food label photo was released this morning.

Nutrition News: Diageo to List Nutrition Info, Paleo Diet Debated, Changes at the Supermarket

Beverage company Diageo updates labels to include nutrition info, experts debate paleo diet, and food retailers regroup with health-conscious shoppers in mind.

Nutrition News: Fiber's Sleep Effects, Sugar Warning Labels, Coffee and Exercise

A high-fiber diet could help you sleep; sugar warning labels prove effective; coffee may be key to fitness-plan success.

Nutrition News: Craft-Beer Labeling, Gluten Sensitivity, Healthier Checkout Lanes

FDA requires nutrition labels on craft beer, research offers insight into gluten sensitivity, checkout lanes go family friendly and candy free.

Nutrition News: Added-Sugar Labeling, Mediterranean Diet Benefits, Panera Bread Slices 150 Artificial Ingredients

Mars, Inc. isn’t so sweet on added sugars, a study reveals the brain-boosting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and Panera Bread boots 150 artificial ingredients off of their menu.

Nutrition News: Papa John’s Ingredients, Good Fat, Creative Hydration Tips

Papa John’s to eliminate artificial ingredients and additives, low-fat diets fall out of favor, and hydrating beyond the water bottle.

Nutrition News: Fats and Carbs, Quinoa’s Many Benefits, Oprah and Weight Watchers

Oprah and Weight Watchers forge a partnership, moving beyond fat phobia and why quinoa’s so darn great.