Search “diet” on an image site like Shutterstock and you’ll be presented with dozens of photos of miserable looking people surviving on rabbit food or exercising until they’re exhausted. But is this really what eating healthy and regularly exercising does to the body and brain? A new Shape magazine article says no, and we wholeheartedly agree. Turning the corner with your health is not only a cause for celebration, it will literally make your mind and body want to celebrate.
With the new year, New York City bid farewell to Mayor Mike Bloomberg after a twelve-year term. Love him or hate him, his achievements in public health were stunning. While others only talked, he managed to act on smoking, obesity, and hypertension—and he placed the burden of fixing them on the industries that profited at the cost of the public’s health.
The Mayor showed that public health is a priority for local government, not just for the federal government to create health policies from on high. Bloomberg used New York City as a laboratory for public health innovation, spotlighting issues and testing solutions on a relatively small scale.
Here’s a reminder of Mayor Bloomberg’s most significant public health campaigns:
As you know by now, trans fat is finally getting kicked to the curb. Trans fat, a packaged food additive also known as partially hydrogenated oil, is added to food for its preservative quality and contributes to artery clogging and cardiovascular disease. The FDA’s proposed ban hopes to prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease and 20,000 deaths from heart attack per year.
Over the next 50 or so days, the FDA will be pouring over scientific data to determine if trans fat needs to be removed from the GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” list of foods. If trans fat are indeed determined to not be GRAS, any food product with trans fat will be deemed illegal for sale in the U.S. Under current guidelines, if a food product contains less than 0.5 grams trans fat, shown as partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list, the nutrition label can claim it has 0 percent. Sketchy stuff.
Trans fat won’t disappear completely, as it naturally occurs in some dairy and meat products. But the artificial stuff—created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil—is lurking in many of the popular food items on grocery store shelves. Peanut butter, popcorn, and frozen foods are the more well known products that contain trans fat, but those are just the tip of this fatty iceberg. Soon, trans fat will be banished from the supermarket, but until then, we’ve compiled a list of the trans fattiest foods at your local grocer.
Betty Crocker Bisquick and Canned Frosting
- Kellogg’s: Corn Pops, Eggo Cereal, Honey Smacks, Smorz, Mini Swirlz Cinammon Bun, Rice Crispies Cereal
- General Mills: Basic 4
- Post: Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, Oreo Os, Waffle Crisp
Coffee Mate Coffee Creamer (Multiple Flavors)
Duncan Hines Cake and Cupcake Mixes
Nabisco Fig Newtons (more…)
The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian (more…)
The FDA has announced that partially hydrogenated oil—aka trans fat—has been deemed unsafe for use in our food, and proposes it be banned completely.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD said “Good riddance to those greasy foods! Canned frosting? Stick margarine? Fake frozen treats? Gross. Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food.”
Artificial trans fat—an artery clogging substance responsible for the rise of heart disease in America—is created when big food manufacturers create solid fats from liquid oils.
For the next 60 days, the general public is encouraged to comment on the proposal, and food manufacturers will have the tough task of finding scientific evidence proving trans fat is safe for use in our food. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist for TheBestLife.com
French fries, cola, cocktails—in a perfect world, you’d be able to eat these foods even while trying to lose weight. It’s all about moderation, of course…but moderation is easier said than done. After all, who can stop at just seven fries or six ounces of soda?
I’ve found that it can be helpful to go the other direction—ban problem foods, at least for a while (Bob Greene recommends four weeks on his weight loss website TheBestLife.com). Doing so trains down your tastes, helps curb cravings, and teaches you to enjoy more healthful alternatives while cutting calories. Bob chose the foods below because they’re so universally problematic, but you can substitute your own particular problem foods.
After you’ve had a few (or even one), your resolve to eat well can start to waver. And don’t forget about the calories: Wine is about twice as caloric as soft drinks, while an 8-ounce margarita can contain a whopping 535 calories. (For more on how alcohol can interfere with weight loss, click here.)
Have instead: Sparkling water with a twist of lime (more…)
A recent study shows that New Yorkers are eating much less of the trans fat since the ban took effect back in 2023.
The city passed the ban back in 2006 that limited the amount of trans fat per serving to be less than 0.5 grams.
Americans eat about a third of their meals away from the home which meant at the time a larger consumption of this dangerous fat. Trans fats are even more dangerous than saturated fats because not only do they raise total cholesterol levels but also lower good cholesterol, which helps fight against heart disease.
The recent study done by Christine Curtis, MBA, of the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and colleagues looked to see how much, if at all, the effect of the ban was having on New Yorkers. They looked at 6,969 lunch receipts from before in 2023 and 7,885 after the ban in 2023. They reported their findings in the July 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. (more…)
Obesity rates and other related statistics are rolled out every year, sometimes even more frequently, with each seeming worse than the last. The U.S. is on a fast train that’s heading towards a brick wall, unless something can be done to put on the brakes, and better yet, put it in reverse!
The overriding question that has to be on everyone’s mind is how did we get here and why does it seem we are helpless when it comes to making better food and lifestyle choices?
There is no doubt that a major component to our growing obesity problem is that we are less active than ever before. We live in a technology-based world where more and more of us sit in front of computers and televisions (remember when you didn’t have 300 channels and the entire world’s information at your fingertips?). Even careers in manual labor fields that provide some form of physical exercise have become more automated. (more…)
Who didn’t grow up eating peanut butter sandwiches? While peanut butter and jelly has been a lunchbox staple for as far back as anyone can remember, the delicious sandwich spread is far from diet-friendly.
“Peanut butter in its basic or pure form is a healthy source of protein,” said Oliver Gerard Heffern, owner of glor foods. “It’s what’s added there after that can cause concern: sugars, preservatives, additives and colors.”
According Brandon May, author of The Healthy Advocate, peanut butter label claims can be be misleading. “No matter which brand, any peanut butter labeled ‘reduced fat or ‘low-fat’ should be avoided,” May said. “They typically have fillers that increase the sugar content, making them potentially more harmful to your health than a higher fat version.”
Additionally, most commercial peanut butters have oils that have been fully or partially hydrogenated, which creates trans-fat. “It isn’t peanut fat that’s a problem, it is the trans-fats in the peanut butters that contributes to poor health,” said May. “Any peanut butter labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ will not have hydrogenated oils, but you should always check the label to see the sugar content.”