Nutrition News: Healthier Hershey’s Kisses, Pregnancy Weight Guidelines, Ditching Sugary Sodas

Hershey’s Kiss ingredients simplified, doctors urge healthy eating during pregnancy, IHOP and Applebee’s cut sugary sodas from kids’ menus.   
A healthier Kiss

The thing about Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars is that they’re always reliably the same, right? Not this year. Hershey’s has announced that both of those candy staples will now be made with simple, recognizable ingredients and no artificial flavors. The formula change, starting with holiday Hershey’s Kisses, is part of the chocolate giant’s larger commitment to greater transparency about ingredients. “We started making our great-tasting chocolate in 1894 with ingredients you might find in your pantry, like cocoa, milk, sugar and vanilla, and we’re continuing that tradition today,” Mary-Ann Somers, Hershey’s vice president and general manager of U.S. confection, said in a press release. “People want to see ingredients that they know and are familiar with in their foods and we’re listening.” The holiday Kisses will also come in packs featuring a SmartLabel QR code that provides consumer access to information about nutrition and allergens.

Keeping baby weight in check

The “eating for two” excuse for having that third bowl of ice cream — while parked in front of the TV — may not be the best idea after all. Women may need to take greater care to eat healthily and exercise before, during and after pregnancy in order to stave off weight gain, obesity and related health issues, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says. According to new ACOG guidelines, obese women who lose even just a little bit of weight may reduce the risk of problems with their own health, and those of their babies. "Maintaining a healthy weight is important to overall health at all times, but it becomes a vital sign when a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy," Dr. Patrick Catalano, an OB-GYN who helped compile the new guidelines, said in a news release. Co-author Dr. Raul Artal called pregnancy "an ideal time for lifestyle modification … because more than any other time in her life, a pregnant woman has the most available access to medical care and supervision."

Moms make a difference

Let’s hear it for moms. Under pressure from a grassroots group called MomsRising, which has urged chain restaurants to improve the healthfulness of the foods they serve to kids (and adults), . Other restaurant chains, including Dairy Queen, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, Chipotle and Panera, have taken what MomsRising calls an “important first step” in improving child nutrition. “Currently, almost one in three young people are at risk for nutrition-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association,” the group said in a press release. “Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda play a unique role in promoting disease because they are the largest source of added sugar in children’s diets.”

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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