Reading List: Tomato Troubles, Food Poisoning's Costs & a Food Blogger Challenge

In this week’s nutrition news: Study shows that weight loss may reverse artery clogging, a cure for shrimp allergies, and restaurants dropping tomatoes from menus


Red tomatoes

Photo by: Stefano Tiraboschi

Stefano Tiraboschi

In this week’s nutrition news: A new study shows that weight loss may reverse artery clogging, shrimp allergy findings and restaurants are dropping pricey tomatoes from their menus.

Shed Pounds, Open Clogged Arteries

Research shows that gaining weight by eating the wrong foods can clog your arteries and up your chances for a heart attack and stroke. A new study now shows this idea works in reverse, too. If you lose weight, it can help unclog your arteries and stave off heart attacks or stroke. Researchers looked at middle-aged people with heart disease and diabetes and found that those who lost more than 12 pounds over two years lowered their artery-clogging plaque deposits. Conclusion: Maintaining your healthy diet over the long run is what really makes a difference.

Tomatoes Cut From Menus

If you're dining at Wendy's anytime soon, you’ll need to request tomatoes on your next burger. The unusually cold weather in Florida this winter destroyed 70% of the state's tomato crops. Since Florida is the U.S.'s main tomato source this time of year, this means prices are soaring. Some restaurants are holding the tomato topping on sandwiches unless requested, while other places just aren’t buying any. The good news is Florida will harvest their new tomato crop in April, which will bring tomato prices back down.

The Costs of Food Poisoning

Every week, it seems like we have news about a new food recall -- something or other is always tainted with a bacteria. But here’s the big picture: All those recalls and illnesses caused by the contaminated food costs the U.S. $152 billion a year (that’s a billion with a “b!”). Each year, there are 76 million cases of food poisoning, including 5,000 deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control estimates. Take a look at this USA Today video and see how scary food poisoning can be -- especially for higher-risk folks like children. The U.S. Senate is getting ready to vote on a food safety legislation to help make the foods we eat safer; it’s a step in the right direction.

A Food Blogger Challenge
She’s not a chef or nutritionist, but blogger Jennifer McGruther loves to write about food. Recently, she challenged her readers to eat real food (i.e. nothing processed) for one month. More than 900 folks signed up for the challenge, and many found it was more difficult than they thought! Jennifer advised her readers to toss processed items such as margarine, processed cheeses, refined salt and dried pastas. The positive here is that you have to eat more fruits and veggies, but you don’t want to take it too far. Milk is processed in order to kill off bacteria that cause illness and many other processed foods such as cereals, canned, and jarred foods can also be part of a healthy diet. Could you eat “real food” for a month?
Boiling Shrimp Helps Cut Allergies

We've talked about nut allergies before, but shrimp is another big food allergy, affecting one in 50 Americans. A new study shares good news with affected seafood lovers: Boiling shrimp can help cut the allergic effect. The study tested boiling shrimp extract for 10 minutes and it helped reduce its allergenic properties (meaning it had much less of the stuff that causes problems). We’ll need to see future studies done with humans, but this is the first step in the right direction.

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