Nutrition News: Chipotle Goes GMO-Free, Diet Pepsi Ditches Aspartame, and The Reason Your Diet Is Doomed
Calling all burrito lovers! Chipotle has announced that it has eliminated all genetically engineered ingredients from the food it prepares. The New York Times calls the move “a first for a major restaurant chain,” but notes that it is yet another milestone in the move by many companies to remove GMOs from the foods they offer consumers. “Over the years, as we have learned more about GMOs, we’ve decided that using them in our food doesn’t align with [our] vision,” the company said in a detailed explanation on its website. “Chipotle was the first national restaurant company to disclose the GMO ingredients in our food, and now we are the first to cook only with non-GMO ingredients.” Prices may go up slightly as a result, the Times notes, adding that the company will continue to serve soft drinks that may use genetically engineered corn sweeteners.
PepsiCo has announced plans to swap out the artificial sweetener it currently uses — aspartame — in Diet Pepsi for one customers may consider more appealing, sucralose (aka Splenda). The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture both consider aspartame (aka Equal or NutraSweet) safe in the amounts Americans generally consume, but the Associated Press reports that “there is still uncertainty about whether the sweetener increases risk for some blood cancers in men.” And what’s got PepsiCo worried is the widespread perception that aspartame isn’t safe, which has prompted more people to pass on diet drinks. (By one measure, aspartame ranked below Congress in terms of positive perception.) Still, even though sales of Diet Coke, which also contains aspartame, are falling, Coca-Cola says it has no intention of making a similar sweetener swap.
Stop beating yourself up for not sticking to your diet — again. Two recent studies have found that we eat to rid ourselves of the negative feelings associated with hunger — and they suggest a way we may be able to feel full even when we haven’t eaten. Research published in the journal Nature suggests that when we take in fewer calories and our energy plummets, our agouti-related peptide neurons (AgRP) kick into gear and our appetite increases. “When we start to lose 5 percent, or 10 percent of body weight, that’s when these neurons are kicking in. And they are a big part of why most diets fail even though people do succeed in initially losing weight,” researcher Scott Sternson told Time. Another study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found that it may be possible to manipulate a cluster of cells in the hypothalamus into creating the sense of satiety we feel when we have already eaten our fill — curbing the craving to eat and helping us stick to our diets. Skinny jeans, here we come.