If you follow the thinking of some activists, you'd think that the only way to get consumers to make better food and beverage choices is to tax the less healthy ones — usually sugar-sweetened beverages. But Maryland's Howard County just may have found a better way to influence (and educate) consumers.
Food & Nutrition
Outside of the Western world, insect consumption is common. The Chinese, for instance, will eat just about anything that crawls on six (or more) legs. Centipedes and fried scorpions appear on the menu. Not only is entomophagy widespread, it's also probably healthier for people -- and the planet -- than eating other animals.
How do we get people to make better food choices — to decrease the amounts of calories, fat and sugar in their diets? A new study examined the potential of restricting "unhealthy" food choices vs. incentivizing "healthier" choices, to influence purchasing practices of low-income Americans. The upshot: Both can work, especially in combination.
Many Americans whose BMI puts them in the obese category either don't know it, or assume they're "just overweight." This misperception can lead to fewer consultations with healthcare providers, and less attention to dealing with the issue, according to a recent survey.
The North American Mycological Association keeps records of mushroom poisonings; it reported 67 incidents of human poisoning from mushrooms in 2013. Fortunately, none were lethal. There were also 49 cases of dogs being poisoned, as well as one cat.
For a scientist, a trip to Whole Foods is equal parts amusement and Dante's Inferno. These guys are selling some crazy stuff (along with some damn fine pie).
Age plays a role in how people view food and make food choices, as depicted by a recent survey. In particular, baby boomers and millennials differ as to (1) whom they most trust to advise them about foods, and (2) what health aspects of food they're most concerned about.
Cranberry juice has been promoted for relief of urinary tract infections for decades. But scientists have had trouble providing convincing evidence that it really works. A new attempt to address UTIs in elderly women also fails to provide support. Maybe the best use for cranberries is really an accompaniment to your Thanksgiving feast.
What we eat – as opposed to how much – is a hot topic, and meat consumption is often scrutinized. A study that tracked almost 100,000 Americans for five years found that non-meat eaters were less likely to die – of any cause – during the study period than meat eaters. Now not all studies agree, however, as some show no difference at all in longevity between meat eaters and non-meat eaters.
Flummoxed parents have had many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to get their kids to regularly eat fruits and vegetables. While some will stand firm in their resolve to be convincing, there's another group of parents that believes providing incentives -- critics would call it bribery -- is an effective way to get kids to eat more healthfully.
A recent study found that only about 15 percent of the sweetener sucralose, when consumed in a beverage, is actually absorbed into the blood. Within five days about 93 percent is excreted. Children, because of their smaller size, had significantly higher blood concentrations than adults. But these results don't imply negative health consequences for either group.
Makers of gluten-free food are well aware of two main consumer groups that buy their products: (1) Those who have to for medical reasons, and (2) those who want to because they think they're healthy. But if consumers' misconceptions are not corrected, more and more of them without gluten sensitivities will continue to falsely believe that avoiding gluten is somehow better, and smarter and healthier.