News Feed: Organic Food, McD's Kale Salad, Vacation Weight Gain

Found out the latest research on the value of buying organic food and more.


Woman grocery shopping

Photo by: Jupiterimages


Organic may be a good deal

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.

Kale salad more caloric than a Big Mac?

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.

pina colada on tropical beach

pina colada on tropical beach

A one-way ticket to “creeping obesity”?

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Bad Habits = Weight Gain

Most studies try to tell us what we should be eating or doing. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed top habits that rack up the pounds. See if the top “bad” habits are some of your own.

Weight Gain As You Age: Is It Inevitable?

Many people gain weight as they age -- is this weight gain inevitable or are there things you can do to prevent it? The good news is that yes, you can prevent this weight gain.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Restaurant chains reduce sodium levels on the sly; the buzz on edible insects keeps growing; and doctors confess to being clueless when it comes to nutrition.

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The rise of vegan Thanksgiving, food banks that grow kale and the problem with pizza joints and calorie counts.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Google lets us compare apples to oranges; "real food" wins the latest diet smackdown; and Bittman says butter is back.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Rappers delight in healthy eating; Alice Waters predicts a farmers markets bonanza; and scientists do the important work of building a healthier hot dog.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Cravings could be a gut thing (if not a good thing); the outdated BMI system gets a checkup; and the "all-natural" label is, well, kinda fake.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Bean buffs have reason to rejoice; "plant-based protein" shapes up to be the other white meat; and vitamin D is back in the spotlight (make that the sunlight).

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's Nutrition News Feed, why smoothies are best, quinoa in your Cheerios, and choosing your sugars wisely.