Nutrition News: Cutting Sugar, Fast-Food TV Ad Consequences and November’s Best Vegetables

Cutting sugar is great for kids’ health, yet watching fast-food TV ads may not be. Plus, find out which vegetables are at their best in November.

Related To:

Hide the Leftover Halloween Candy

Cutting back on sugar consumption can dramatically improve the health of obese children in only 10 days, even when they remain at the same weight, a new study has found. Foods with added sugar were eliminated from the diets of the children who participated in the National Institutes of Health-backed study and replaced with other carbs to maintain calorie intake. The children’s weight was deliberately kept stable; nevertheless, all 43 children in the study showed improvements in blood pressure as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. “We can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight — just by taking the added sugars out of their diet,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. “From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.”

Turn Off the TV

Kids who watch TV channels that air advertisements for fast-food restaurants are far more likely to visit those restaurants with their families, especially when offered a free toy with their meals, a new study has found. The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics , included 100 children, ages 3 to 7, and one of their parents, who responded to a series of questions. Parents of the children who watched four kids’ networks that aired nearly 80 percent of two fast-food restaurants’ child-directed ads said they visited those restaurants 37 percent more frequently. What’s more, 54 percent of those kids had asked to visit at least one of the restaurants, and 29 percent of the kids collected toys from the restaurant. The children who collected the toys were nearly 83 percent more likely to ask to visit one or both of the restaurants. Children with more TVs in their homes, with a TV in their bedroom or who spent more time watching TV in the daytime were also more likely to visit the fast-food restaurants.

Choose Seasonal Delights
Now that it’s November (how did it sneak up so fast?), you may want to adjust your produce purchasing to suit the season. Time consulted author Tara O’Brady, who recommended five vegetables that are at their tastiest this month. They are, according to Time: Brussels sprouts (“cold temperatures tame their bitterness”), carrots (root vegetables “convert their starches to sugar after a frost”), cranberries (the freshest ones “have tight, shining skins and bounce when dropped”), leeks (like carrots, their “flavor benefits from the chill of a frost”) and onions. “Fall and winter onions are more robust than their early-year counterparts,” O’Brady said. And who doesn’t prefer their onions robust?

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 .

Next Up

Nutrition News: FDA Sets Sugar Cap, Pros Offer Pantry Tips, Junk Food Gets an Out

Junk food alone isn’t driving the obesity epidemic, one study indicates. The FDA recommends a sugar limit, and nutrition pros offer pantry tips.

Nutrition News: Chipotle Unseats Subway, FDA Added-Sugar Label Rules and Soybean Oil Health Effects

Subway cedes top “healthy” chain spot to Chipotle; FDA to require added-sugar info on labels; and a study says soybean oil may be making us fat and diabetic.

Nutrition News: Healthy Food Choices, Fructose and Trans Fat Under Fire, Top Produce Picks in June

Researchers urge focus on healthy food benefits, fructose study has startling results, the FDA may ban trans fats, and get the top produce pick for June.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

This week's Nutrition News Feed covers sugar, working out and all those vitamin drinks.

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 news: Mondays get even more meatless; the world learns what happens when a household bans sugar (hint: a book deal); and coupon-clipping takes a healthier turn.

News Feed: Fish and Brains, Sugar in Fruit, Pomegranate Healthfulness

Eating fish may aid your brain, sugar in fruit beats sugar in soda — plus, parsing pomegranates and health.

Reading List: Alli Linked to Liver Failure, New Sugar Guidelines & Becoming a Locavore

In this week’s nutrition headlines: the danger in taking supplements, American’s drowning in sugar, and the popular weight loss pill Alli is linked to liver failure.

The Best Substitutes for Sugar

Find a great swap if you're out of the sweet stuff.

3 Ways to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

Here are a few tips you can use immediately to reduce the amount of sugar in your daily routine and return your taste buds to normal.