Nutrition News: Diageo to List Nutrition Info, Paleo Diet Debated, Changes at the Supermarket

Beverage company Diageo updates labels to include nutrition info, experts debate paleo diet, and food retailers regroup with health-conscious shoppers in mind.
Cocktail calorie count

Ever wonder how many calories are in your cocktail or your pint of beer? Soon that will be easier for diet-watching drinkers to discern. Alcoholic-beverage behemoth Diageo PLC — the global giant behind Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey, Smirnoff vodka, Guinness and countless other products — says that, starting in a few months, it will begin including information about nutrition, including calories and fat content, and alcohol content per serving on its U.S. product labels and online. This is an industry first, according to the company. After the labels’ U.S. rollout, they will be introduced in Europe. Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes told the Wall Street Journal the company wants “to provide alcohol and nutrition information that consumers can quickly understand, instead of expecting them to do the math.”

Paleo pro and con

The paleo diet: good or bad? “Does the path to weight loss and better health lie in eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, eschewing grains, dairy products and the other foods of the modern agricultural era in favor of protein, nonstarchy vegetables and healthy fats such as coconut oil?” the Wall Street Journal recently wondered, before airing both sides of the debate. Naturopathic physician Kellyann Petrucci argues that the paleo diet “is the best diet to foster weight loss and good health.” But Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, contends that we actually have no idea what cavemen ate and that reducing the variety of foods consumed, as the paleo diet calls for, increases “the chance of nutrient deficiencies.” Plus, she said, giving up foods we love “can take some of the joy out of eating.”

Supermarkets sell health

Grocery stores are responding to consumer demand for healthier foods by changing the way they stock their shelves and promote products, FoodNavigator.com reports, citing a Food Marketing Institute survey. Stores are increasingly grouping products by lifestyle, like vegan and kosher, and moving away from identifying products as beneficial to specific health conditions, like gluten intolerance and diabetes. What’s more, according to the survey, they are increasingly “directly placing alternative healthful products [such as reduced sodium] next to original versions” and using “health and wellness buzz words” — gluten-free, organic and low-sodium — to highlight the healthfulness of products.

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