Reading List: Trouble For Meat Lovers, Weight Loss Apps and Take Back Your Lunch Break
In this week’s nutrition news: Slashing sugar helps make you healthier, enjoying lunch away from your desk and the truth about the “5-second rule."
If you just can’t get enough meat, you may want to think before you dig in. A new study published in the UK followed about 400,000 European men and women for 5 years to see how much meat they ate verses the amount of weight gained. Danes, Germans, Spaniards and Swedes topped the list of meat-eaters (men got about 300 calories per day on average), while Greek men ate the least meat (about 200-calories per day on average). The study concluded that the more meat a person ate, the more weight they gained. Every additional half-pound of meat they ate (on average) tacked on a whopping 4.4 pounds.
Before Dana and I wrote for Healthy Eats, we worked together at a desk job in New York City (Dana, remember those days ?) and ate lunch at our desks side-by-side several times a week. According to the American Dietetic Association, we were not alone! About 75 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desks about two to three times a week. Some even skip lunch altogether. Eating hurriedly in front of a computer is not the healthiest way to eat, plus you miss out on a much-needed break. More than 1,200 people have vowed to unchain themselves from their desks for a noontime break at takebackyourlunch.com. I just made the vow and hope you will, too!
We've all heard of the “5-second rule ” or the even “30-second rule:” This means that if food drops on the floor, you have 5 seconds to pick it up and keep using it. So does this rule hold true? Well, depends on who you ask. According to research that was conducted in two Connecticut colleges, they found that apples tossed on dining hall floors picked up bacteria only after a minute. However, a recent study found that bacteria like salmonella can live on dry surfaces for up to four weeks and concluded that a “zero-second rule” should exist. But most researchers agree that it’s also where you drop the food that makes a difference. Kitchen floors often contains juices from raw meats and poultry — not something you want food to come in contact with for any number of seconds.
Everybody’s always talking about cutting back on fat, but we’re also eating loads of sugar. According to a report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, most Americans consume around 22 teaspoons (or 355 calories) of sugar each day. That’s more than double the amount recommended by the American Heart Association for men and more than triple for women. Too much sugar contributes to weight gain, tooth decay and other complications such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Don't worry, you don't have to eliminate your sugar fix completely -- eating natural sugars rather than refined sugars and consuming all sweeteners in moderation is the way to go.
Weight loss is one of the thousands of things that smart phone apps are trying to make a little easier. These simple, free apps help you track how much you eat in a day, so you know when you've reached your daily calorie limit -- like a mobile diet diary. Many times folks forget what they ate, so conventional diet diaries often have errors. The apps allow you to create a diet diary in real time.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »