Nutrition News: Fats and Carbs, Quinoa’s Many Benefits, Oprah and Weight Watchers

Oprah and Weight Watchers forge a partnership, moving beyond fat phobia and why quinoa’s so darn great.
Quinoa: quite the healthy food

There’s been so much “superfood” hype around quinoa — is all the excitement justified? Time magazine asked five nutrition experts, and they overwhelmingly agreed that it was. The seed is high in fiber, iron and protein, provides essential amino acids, and is gluten-free. Generally eaten as a whole food, quinoa prevents the loss of nutrients. Plus, recent research suggests the proteins in quinoa may decrease cholesterol levels and lower oxidative-stress levels. Quin- … whoa.

You get to diet, and you get to diet!

Weight Watchers just got some heavyweight support from a star. And not just any star: Oprah. On Monday, Oprah Winfrey and Weight Watchers announced that they were forming a partnership, with the lifestyle guru buying a 10 percent share in the company (for about $43 million) and assuming a seat on its board. Weight Watchers also announced plans to extend its focus beyond weight loss — "to helping people lead a healthier, happier life,” its president and CEO, Jim Chambers, said. News of the deal — which includes the right for the company to use Winfrey’s name, image and endorsement for five years — has sent the company’s stock soaring. Winfrey, who will also make personal appearances on the company’s behalf, said her endorsement grew out of a personal belief in the organization.

Kick carbs to the curb — fat’s where it’s at

For years, dietary fat has been maligned as the root of all evil in American diets. But Dr. Frank B. Hu of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has told The New York Times that Americans “have to get out of the fat phobia mind-set” as well as the idea that all complex carbohydrates are beneficial. Basically, Americans are suffering from “an oversimplification of dietary recommendations,” which led us to conclude that all fats are bad and all carbs are good, Hu says. In fact, while saturated fats like those in meats and dairy products may raise cholesterol levels unhealthily, fats like olive oil are good for our cardiovascular system and weight maintenance. And while carbs that are low on the glycemic index, like chickpeas, peanuts and hummus, are healthy, high-glycemic carbs, like baked russet potatoes, white baguettes and white rice, are not.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish .

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