Heavier dieters using diet drinks should look at food too, study says

Jan. 16, 2014, Los Angeles Times

By Mary MacVean

Overweight and obese adults who use diet drinks to help them lose weight need to take another look at the food they eat, according to researchers who reported Jan. 16 that those people ate more food calories than overweight people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages.

The scientists writing in the American Journal of Public Health did not say the dieters should give up on no- and low-calorie drinks; rather, they said the dieters should look at what else they’re consuming, especially sweet snacks, to find other ways to modify their diets. Continue reading

Study: Most people don’t know how not how many calories are in soda

Jan. 3, 2014, Huffington Post

Even though it’s widely known that soda can contribute to weight gain, the majority of adults don’t actually know how many calories are in a bottle of soda, a new study reveals.

The research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and based on data from 3,926 adults, shows that eight in 10 adults — 84.4 percent — know that sugar-sweetened beverages can promote weight gain. However, nearly the same percentage of adults — 81 percent — did not know (or inaccurately stated) the number of calories in 24 ounces of soda. (There are 251 to 350 calories in a 24-ounce soda).

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, as well as the calorie information of sugar-sweetened beverages, differed by sex, household income, education level, and race. Continue reading

Changes in fast food combo meals means fewer calories for kids

Dec. 20, 2013, Red Orbit

By Gerard LeBlond

Obesity among children is a growing problem, especially with the abundant availability of fast food establishments. Public health officials estimate there is a 17 percent obesity rate among youths.

Recently, two researchers at Cornell University, Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Andrew Hanks, analyzed data from 30 representative McDonald’s restaurants to find out if children would choose a higher calorie meal to compensate for smaller combo meal portions.

Before 2012, Happy Meals were served as either a chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, or hamburger entrée. The side items were either apples or a small fry, and the beverage was either a fountain drink, apple juice, white milk, or chocolate milk.

As of April 2012, all restaurants in this chain served a smaller portion of fries “kid fry.” The smaller portion is 1.1 ounce instead of the 2.4 ounces previously served. Continue reading

NCCOR members contribute to new research that shows major food companies have cutback on calories

Sixteen of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies have cut 78 calories out of an American’s daily diet according to a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). This is the result of a five-year (2007-2012) reduction in sales of food and beverages totaling 60.4 trillion calories. The data collection and analysis of this study was overseen by a handful of national experts including members of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).

The companies involved, including Campbell Soup, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, acted together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF). The companies pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. The study found that, thus far, the companies have exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent. Continue reading

Study: As cost of sugary drinks go up, sales go down

Nov. 14, 2013, USA Today

By Nanci Hellmich

People bought fewer sugary drinks when the price was higher than no-calorie or low-cal drinks.

Raising the cost of high-calorie beverages by a few cents — and highlighting calorie content in places where they are sold — decreases sales, a new study shows.

This research comes after much discussion in recent years about trying to combat the nation’s obesity crisis by adding extra taxes to the cost of sugar-sweetened beverages, sometimes called a “soda tax.”

Researchers at Harvard conducted a study in the cafeteria of a financial services company. They increased the price of high-calorie beverages (those that contained 150 calories or more per container), mostly soda, lemonade, whole chocolate milk, and some juices, by $.01 cent per ounce. Continue reading

Sugar is sugar: Fruit juice just as bad as soda for kids

May 31, 2013, Everyday Health

By Amir Khan

Doctors and public health officials have long called for parents to eschew soda, but what you replace it with is just as important. While kids are drinking less soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, many minority kids are switching to 100 percent fruit juice – which can be just as bad for you as soda according to a new study published yesterday in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

But while African-American and Latino children have increased their consumption of 100 percent juice, the same isn’t seen in Caucasian children, according to the study. Continue reading

Teens ate ‘too many calories’ at Subway and McDonald’s, study says

May 8, 2013, Los Angeles Times

By Mary Macvean

Adolescents who went to McDonald’s and Subway in Los Angeles bought about the same number of calories at each, despite Subway’s reputation as a healthier place to eat, researchers said.

The menus are not the point, lead researcher Dr. Lenard Lesser of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute said by phone. “Our study was not based on what people have the ability to pick, our study was based on what adolescents actually selected in a real-world setting.”

The adolescents bought an average of 1,038 calories at McDonald’s and 955 calories at Subway. The calorie difference was not statistically significant, the researchers said. Their work was published May 6 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Continue reading

Despite more ‘healthy’ options, little change in fast-food calorie counts

Nov. 29, 2012, HealthDay

By Barbara Bronson Gray

You’d like a salad? Want some fries with that?

A new study shows that providing more menu options on a fast-food menu doesn’t mean the average diner chows down fewer calories.

Researchers found that although there has been a 53 percent increase in the total number of menu offerings over the last 14 years, the average calorie content of foods sold by eight of the major U.S. fast-food chains has not changed much. Continue reading