This Week's Nutrition News Feed

School Lunch

465087771

Pink lunch box for little girl

In this week's news: Parents get schooled about the healthfulness of home versus school lunches; weight-loss study tips the scales in favor of vegan diet; and researchers suggest attempts to reset metabolism are likely futile.

The Lunch Box Blues

Parents like to think the lunches they pack for their kids are way healthier than the school lunches they love to complain about, but guess what? A new study, published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, suggests just the opposite is true. After analyzing the nutritional value of 560 home-packed lunches brought in by pre-K and kindergarten students at three different schools and comparing them to 750 school lunches, the researchers concluded that the "packed lunches were of less nutritional quality than school lunches," according to the study’s lead researcher. While some lunches were healthier than others, overall, the packed lunches were higher in calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar, as well as in vitamin C and iron, than school lunches and lower in protein, fiber, vitamin A and calcium, as well as sodium, than school lunches. The packed lunches were also less like to contain fruits, vegetables, sugar-free juice and milk and more likely to contain chips, crackers and other snacks than school lunches.

To Lose Weight, Go Vegan

If you want to lose weight, think (and eat) plants. A new study has found that people who followed a strict vegan diet, eating no meat or animal products, shed more pounds than those following any of four other diets: semi-vegetarian (eating meat only occasionally), pesco-vegetarian (eating no meat except seafood), vegetarian (eating no meat or seafood, but eating animal products), and omnivorous (with no foods excluded). Those following the strictly vegan diet also had lower levels of saturated and unsaturated fat, lower BMIs and improved macro nutrients, researchers reported. Also of note: The vegan participants lost weight and enjoyed the other health benefits even though they freely consumed carbs. "We've gotten somewhat carb-phobic here in the U.S. when it comes to weight loss,” lead author Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy observed. "This study might help alleviate the fears of people who enjoy pasta, rice and other grains but want to lose weight."

Exploring the Mysteries of Metabolism

Can you train your body to maintain a higher metabolism? Sure would be nice if you could, but a new study, presented recently at the Obesity Society's annual meeting, suggests that the answer is, alas, no. Researchers found that healthy participants who were overfed high-, normal- and low-protein diets all gained similar amounts of weight, but that those who ate normal- and high-protein diets had a higher metabolism and stored 45 percent of the excess calories they consumed as lean tissue (a.k.a. muscle) mass, while participants fed a low-protein diet stored 95 percent of the excess calories they consumed as body fat. The study also showed that the metabolic uptick seen by those eating a higher-protein diet was not sustainable when these participants switched to a normal-protein diet, which suggests, researchers say, that "the human body cannot be trained to maintain a higher metabolism." Oh, well.

Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.

Next Up

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

Check out this news on pregnancy and exercise, the Mediterranean diet and the truth about sports drinks from Food Network

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week’s news: Sugar addicts beware, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you’re confused about nutrition, you’re not alone!

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: School bake-sale restrictions spark a tempest in a muffin tin; homemade yogurt is, yes, whey better than the store-bought kind; and veganism gets a high-profile new cheerleader.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Rappers delight in healthy eating; Alice Waters predicts a farmers markets bonanza; and scientists do the important work of building a healthier hot dog.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Vegetables save lives; baseball stadiums cater to the Whole Foods set; and scientists keep putting monkeys on wacky diets.

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week’s news: reasons to eat more nuts, soda sales are on the decline, and how much more does healthful eating cost? (hint: not much!)

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Michelle Obama stumps for kale and more, while the dairy industry shelves its Got Milk campaign; obesity rates for young kids nosedive; and researchers show why Tetris may be good for your waistline.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The World Health Organization doesn't sugarcoat its advice; fruits and vegetables feel the love -- even in school cafeterias; and food labels get ready for their makeover.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's Nutrition News, the benefits of yoga, dark chocolate and breathing deeply.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Bean buffs have reason to rejoice; "plant-based protein" shapes up to be the other white meat; and vitamin D is back in the spotlight (make that the sunlight).

Related Pages