News Feed: Organic Food, McD's Kale Salad, Vacation Weight Gain
If you pay the premium for pricey organic food when you shop for groceries, you may wonder if it’s worth it. A review study just published online in the journal Nature Plants has concluded that when it comes to sustainability — as measured by “productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing” — organic food is definitely worthwhile. What’s more, organically farmed foods are not only better for the environment than conventionally farmed food, but also better for us. The research indicates organic foods have equal or higher nutritional value (containing more vitamin C and beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, Time reports) and few or no pesticide residues.
When McDonald’s announced last year that it was adding a kale salad to its menu, it was hailed as a move toward healthier fast food. Not so fast. The chain’s “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad of crispy chicken and Asiago Caesar dressing contains “real parmesan petals” and a lettuce blend that includes baby kale, which sounds good until you realize that it also contains 730 calories, 53 grams of fat and 1,400 milligrams of salt, CBC News reports, noting that actually has more calories, fat and sodium than you’d get if you ate a Double Big Mac. (And the Big Mac has more protein!) A McDonald’s spokesman suggested those who wish for a healthier salad may wish to skip the dressing and go for grilled chicken instead of “crispy.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Ah, vacation. It’s hard not to look forward to the chance to enjoy new and different food and drink. However, most of us can also look forward to gaining weight in what may lead to “creeping obesity,” a new study indicates. Researchers surveyed 122 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who went on vacation for one to three weeks, and found that 61 percent of them gained weight while traveling, packing on just shy of an extra pound on average and in some cases gaining as much as 7 pounds. Study author Jamie Cooper, of the University of Georgia, believes drinking more alcohol may be partly to blame, and also warns that those pounds could add up. "Unless you're diligent about weighing yourself before and after vacation,” Cooper said in a release, “usually you're not going to notice a pound of weight gain." And if you don’t know you’ve gained it, you’re less likely to make sure you lose it.
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.