diet quality

The obesity epidemic has helped focus attention on Americans' eating habits, with an eye to the extent to which they are associated with consumption of excess calories. In addition, understanding these habits may lead to means of improving diet quality. In the interests of both these aims, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, led by Dr. Adam Drewnowski (an ACSH scientific advisor) queried 437 consumers on what and where they ate. In particular, the investigators were interested in following up on previous studies suggesting that meals consumed at home were of higher quality than those eaten outside the home. Their study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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shutterstock_153667229If you're reading popular media on the topic, you might well be convinced that when it comes to eating produce — fruit and vegetables, that is — fresh is the only way to go. Some advisors suggest that any processing must lead to a lessening of nutritional quality. But that's just not true.

Sure, fresh, perfectly ripe produce is great — chock full of those vitamins and minerals we're always told to eat — but only if it's really fresh. Produce that's been hanging around for a while can lose nutrient content and not provide what we think it should. But there are good substitutes, and they can...