Nutrition News: "Healthy" Trumps "Diet," Eating Snow Deemed Safe, Healthy Fats Could Save Lives

Dieting is out and healthy eating is in; eating snow is safe (with caveats), and one study suggests we should eat more healthy fats.
Diets Are Out, but Healthy Is In

Have you given up dieting? Consider yourself on-trend. Brand-name diets like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine are falling out of fashion, NPR’s The Salt reported. Healthy eating is in. In a recent survey by the market research firm Mintel, 94 percent of respondents said they’ve ceased to see themselves as “dieters” and doubt the healthfulness of brand-name diets. " Consumers are not dieting in the traditional sense anymore — being on programs or buying foods specific to programs," Mintel analyst Marissa Gilbert told The Salt. Those who are trying to lose weight are increasingly taking what market research firm Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy described as “a more holistic, more health and wellness approach.”

Photo by: Jonathan Austin Daniels ©2013

Jonathan Austin Daniels, 2013

Snow Good? So Good

Winter question: How safe is eating snow? The Salt asked a bunch of experts and concluded that, overall, it’s pretty safe — but with a few caveats. It may contain some air pollutants, so you should wait for snow that falls toward the end of a storm, as it is likely to be cleaner. Avoid collecting snow from areas where there may be a lot of pesticides, or where blowing dirt may have mixed with the snow; avoid snow that’s been plowed. And of course the old advice about not eating yellow snow (or snow from, say, a freshly manure-fertilized field) stands. But in general, University of Arkansas chemistry professor Jeff S. Gaffney told The Salt, contaminants found in fresh, clean snow are generally "at levels well below toxic." Phew.

Photo by: Dejan Lecic

Dejan Lecic

Fat Could Save Lives

The case for a “fat-free” diet continues to crumble. Now a new study suggests that if we were to eat more healthy fats — like polyunsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke — while eliminating those that are unhealthy, such as saturated and trans fats, tens of thousands of lives could be saved. "Our findings highlight the importance of ending America's fear of all fat,” the study’s lead author, Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, told HealthDay. “We estimate that nearly 50,000 Americans die of heart disease each year due to low intake of vegetable oils."

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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