Reading List: ConAgra Cuts the Sodium, Alcohol Warnings & Men Aren't Washing Up
In this week’s nutrition news: Revamping school lunches menus, examining health claims of alcohol and Cocoa Puffs won't have that “Smart Choice” label for long.
How in the world could sugar-packed cereals like Cocoa Puffs and Froot Loops have a "Smart Choice" label? Several products that get almost 50% of their calories from sugar are sporting this healthy stamp. The FDA is stepping in and sending letters to food manufacturers to tell them using the label on certain products is misleading and should stop. The FDA is also developing stricter standards for the labels.
With everyone on high alert for swine flu, hand washing is in the spotlight as one easy and cost-effective way to help reduce spreading germs. This is especially important after using the bathroom as many bacteria and viruses are spread from our intestinal tract. But a recent British study monitored more than 250,000 people and found only 32% of men and 64% of women used soap after using the restroom. How can so many folks (specifically men) NOT wash their hands? I think my hand-shaking days are over!
Studies have suggested that red wine is good for your heart and that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart disease in women. But don’t go running to your corner liquor store just yet. Experts with the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association say that the health risks from drinking alcohol far outweigh the benefits. Drinking alcohol (even a moderate amount) has been linked to various types of cancers such as mouth, esophagus, colon and breast. Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, suggests that if you’re at high risk for cancer, you should really think about how much alcohol you drink.
A few months ago, the CSPI released a report on the ridiculously high levels of sodium in restaurant foods. Since then, the sodium content in prepared and packaged foods has been under scrutiny. Last week, ConAgra, a leading food manufacturer in the U.S., promised to reduce sodium levels by 20% by 2015 -- the means removing about 10 million pounds of salt from the American diet. This is a pretty big step since ConAgra products are in 97% of American households.