Reading List: Fat Blasters Approved, POM’s Questionable Claims & Lunchboxes, Exposed

In this week’s nutrition news: Ben & Jerry’s drops “natural,” study finds children don’t drink enough fluids and fat blasters approved by the FDA

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kids looking into lunchbox

In this week’s nutrition news: Ben & Jerry’s drops “natural,”  study finds children don’t drink enough fluids and fat blasters approved by the FDA.

Ben & Jerry’s Drops “Natural”

The FDA’s definition of the term “natural” is pretty loosey-goosey, and many food companies take advantage of this. Case in point: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They’re now dropping the term from their labels after a request was made from the consumer advocacy group CSPI (Centers for Science in the Public Interest). Ben & Jerry’s products contain ingredients like corn syrup, hydrogenated oil and other unnatural ingredients. The issue really stems from the fact that the FDA doesn’t clearly define this term, which also bring more confusion to shoppers who are trying to read labels to make healthier choices.

Dehydrated Kids

We told you about the big milk debate, but what about drinking good old water? According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition only between 15 to 60 percent of boys and 10 to 54 percent of girls, depending on age, drink enough water. Most of the water consumed is actually in the form of sweetened beverage calories.  The consequences? Mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and dry mouth. Mental and cognitive performance can also be affected—not something you want for your kids.

TELL US: Do your kids drink enough plain water?

FDA Approves Fat Blaster, But Fat-Removal Risks Remain

Now hitting the gym or the plastic surgeon aren't the only options to get rid of fat -- the FDA has approved two non-invasive fat blasters, CoolSculpting and Zerona Laser. The former costs $700 to $1500 per site treated, while the latter runs about $1800 for a two-week treatment.  So, how safe are these treatments? While the technology is still new, experts worry that rouge fat cells could wreak havoc on the bloodstream. The bottom line: Machines like these give false hope to people and send the message that you can eat what you want and just use technology to remove fat. Learning healthy eating habits is the only real “trick” in the book.

POM's False Health Claims

Pomegranate products claim to prevent lots of things, including erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer and heart disease.  Do they work? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says no. Its issued a complaint against POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice and POMx pills and extracts,  saying they need proof to back up their health claims. ( Learn more about the pomegranate's real health benefits.)

Lunchboxes, Exposed: Where's the Veggies?

I try to pack my kids a pretty well-balanced lunch, but I always wonder what other parents are packing. A Canadian dietitian surveyed several Kindergarten classes and found that 85 percent of the 82 lunches checked had no veggies and almost 100 percent contained at least one sugary treat (some had up to 5!). Only five lunches included milk, but almost 100 percent had a sugary-fruit flavored drink. The eating habits that children develop at a young age stay with them a lifetime, so make lunchtime lesson time!

TELL US: What do you pack in your child’s lunchbox?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

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