Nutrition News: White Pasta Alternatives, Dietary Guidelines and Sustainability and Social Media’s Nutritional Impact

Revised dietary guidelines won’t consider sustainability; know what to eat instead of white pasta; and social media use affects teens’ nutritional choices, one study finds.
Beyond White Pasta

White pasta can spike blood sugar and lead to an increased risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and other health issues. So look no further if you’re searching for a few healthy alternatives to white pasta, because U.S. News Health & Wellness reporter K. Aleisha Fetters has some suggestions: Why not try whole-wheat pasta, quinoa pasta, buckwheat noodles, sprouted-grain pasta, spelt pasta or brown-rice pasta instead? “Luckily, the more heat white pasta receives from critics, the more food manufacturers work to up their alternative-pasta game with whole grains, heart-healthy fiber, filling protein, and more vitamins and minerals than you’ll find in a salad,” she wrote. That is lucky!

Sustainability Beyond the Scope?

Should the new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans factor in sustainability, considering not only Americans’ health and well-being but also that of our planet? A group of public health and sustainability experts argued last week in the journal Science that they should — echoing the recommendation made by a federal advisory committee of nutritionists in April. But lawmakers and administration officials apparently disagree. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday that the updated dietary guidelines to be released in December will not consider environmental sustainability — which would have endorsed a diet with fewer animal-based foods. Some congressmen, who had argued that sustainability was outside the guidelines’ scope, cheered the decision on Wednesday.

Instagram for Breakfast

Parents may feel as if social media is consuming their teens’ lives, but it may also be affecting what those teens consume. A cross-sectional study of about 9,000 middle- and high-school students conducted by Canadian researchers and published in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that the more time teens spent on social media sites — like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter — the more likely they were to make poor nutritional choices, like not eating breakfast or drinking sugary beverages and energy drinks. Teens who used social networking sites for less than one hour a day had a 67 percent higher chance of drinking sugary beverages, while those who used them for just under two or five hours had a 90 percent and a 3.3-fold increase, respectively, in the odds of doing so, according to the researchers. Gulp.

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