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By: Kerry Phillips, RD   Date: 3/29/11

Many of us can probably remember a time when we’ve had difficulty paying attention, sitting still, or focusing on a particular task. And, most of the time, after a good night’s rest or a moment of relaxation, we are able to refocus on the task at hand. However, for a certain number of children and adults, these behaviors are so persistent that they interfere with work or school and negatively impact everyday activities.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological disorder characterized by impulsive behavior, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. While the exact causes of AD/HD are unconfirmed, experts agree that heredity plays an important role.  Medication and behavior modification are the two methods found through scientific research to be most effective in treating AD/HD. Yet, despite these proven treatments, misinformation persists regarding the role of food and nutrition, particularly artificial food colors, in hyperactivity in children, with this very issue taking center stage at an upcoming public meeting of FDA’s Food Advisory Committee on March 30-31.

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 3/28/11

I spent a nice Sunday afternoon hanging out at a friend’s house with her husband and their 120 pound Newfoundland. The beast of a dog couldn’t have been sweeter for her size and stature, but admittedly this was one of her better days. Some weeks before my arrival, the dog had chewed the wires on my friend’s brand new treadmill, making it difficult for my friend to exercise as she had planned. She joked that it was the dog’s fault that she gained five pounds!

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 3/25/11

The American Heart Associationhas set a goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20%, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% by the year 2020. Public awareness campaigns, like the AHA’s “Go Red for Women,” in February (coinciding with American Heart Month) can go a long way in increasing awareness of the incidence of heart disease among the public, and especially women. Indeed, according to our Functional Foods/Foods for Health Survey, “Forty-eight percent of Americans cite heart-related concerns, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular health, as their top health concern. Heart-related concerns were ranked higher than weight and cancer, which were second and third, respectively. Yet, even with the best intentions many Americans still fumble in their effort to improve heart health.

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By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, IFIC Foundation   Date: 03/23/11

When I first joined the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation in 2009, Dr. Nancy Wellman, the Chair of our Board of Trustees urged our Foundation to focus on the topic of healthy aging, especially as the Baby Boomer generation was starting to reach age 65.  Nancy is an esteemed nutrition expert with a special focus on aging, and each time we talk, Nancy wows me with examples of how she is keeping physically active in her retirement years, including her passion for kayaking.  After our conversations, I always say to myself: “I want to be like Nancy . . . someday.”

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By: Kris Sollid, RD   Date: 3/21/11

March has come (and almost gone) and spring is finally here.  Every year, March awakens our senses from their winter slumber offering a virtual appetizer for the seasons to come.  The sights, the smells, and the spectacular colors will all soon return to remind us that life isn’t always black and white.  March is National Nutrition Month® and fittingly, this year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color.”

As a registered dietitian, I love colorful food.  It makes food fun, it makes food visually appealing, and most importantly, it makes food healthful.  The colors of our food represent the myriad of nutrients that our bodies need to thrive.  However, that doesn’t mean that all foods lacking in color are somehow less nutritious.

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By: David B. Schmidt Date: 3/18/11

While some regions of California have experienced the effects of the tsunami, consumer concern about food contaminated by radiation from damaged nuclear power plants in Japan is unwarranted at this time.  The level of radiation that could potentially reach the USA is anticipated to be very low and winds will dissipate it further.  

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By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, IFIC Foundation   Date: 03/16/11

The International Food Information Council and numerous other scientific societies, universities, and commodity groups celebrated 2011 National Agriculture Week by launching the “Alliance to Feed the Future” and the Alliance’s new website -- www.alliancetofeedthefuture.org – at the U.S. Capitol. Thanks to decades of investment and innovation, America’s food and agriculture producers feed the world with safe, nutritious, affordable food. It’s a system that we can take pride in, and it will become even more essential in the coming years as the world struggles to feed a growing global population. The Alliance is an ever-growing umbrella network that connects various efforts regarding the benefits that our modern, efficient food system provides to consumers and society. As part of the Ag Week celebration, the group also heard from U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas and an inspiring Future Farmers of America young leader.

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Note: This Blog post is the winning post from the Community Nutrition class at the University of Maryland after IFIC Foundation Executive Director spoke there last month. See her post for more on the class and the new Alliance to Feed the Future.

By: Mehdi Naqvi, Senior Nutrition Major, University of Maryland

Introduction

When first hearing that a certain food is “processed,” consumers often make the mistake of assuming that the food is automatically unhealthy and should be avoided.  The wealth of misinformation surrounding processed foods is to blame for this common misconception.  The truth is that processed foods are not always unhealthy for you and can be beneficial for us, both nutritionally and for the sake of convenience.

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By: Katie Burns   Date: 3/14/11

March marks National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme, as set by the American Dietetic Association, is “Eat Right with Color.”  As you have read on our blog, there are many ways to have a healthful and nutritious diet by incorporating foods rich in variety and color.  However, Claudia Stein of the World Health Organization emphasizes, “Food cannot be nutritious unless it is safe.”  With that, let’s explore ways to “Eat Right with Color” while recognizing the role of food safety.

 

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By: Robyn Flipse, MS, RD   Date: 3/11/11

Being overweight or obese is no longer a private matter discussed behind closed doors with your physician. The problem has become one of national concern that is openly debated across every major media channel and is responsible for menu changes occurring everywhere from school cafeterias to fast-food restaurants. The energy imbalance of our nation also appeared as a central issue in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), shifting attention away from eating advice to creating healthy diets for a healthy body weight. Now more than ever, we need to use every tool at our disposal to make this a reality for more Americans.

 

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD  Date: 3/9/11

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fear as “to be afraid or apprehensive of something.” Food on the other hand, gives us energy and helps to sustain our day-to-day lives. It almost seems like an oxymoron that someone would “fear food.” Yet, when we are exposed to media stories like, “Obesity: Like the New Smoking,” “Is it healthy to drink diet soft drinks? The answer is fizzy,” or “The six-legged meat of the future,” it is not surprising that many people find themselves apprehensive or even fearing food. In reality the US food system is one of the safest in the world. This result is due to a coordinated effort between regulatory agencies, the food industry, health professionals, and others along the food supply chain, including consumers. While we have many safe guards in place to help us manage risks, there is no such thing as zero risk when it comes to food, or anything for that matter!  Read on to see what influences consumer risk perception and what we can do to help reassure people of the safety of our food supply.

 

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Note: This post is part of a special RD Day blog carnival organized by Janet Helm at Nutrition Unplugged. For more posts as part of the carnival, check out the links at the end.

By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 3/7/11

How many times have you looked at a meal and wondered how can I get more color on my plate?  We all have days when we’re running low on groceries, time, or motivation to put together an A+ meal, but usually, those are the days when we need a meal that looks as good as it tastes the most!  March is the American Dietetic Association’s National Nutrition Month,® and this year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color.”  This theme is not just a push to incorporate a variety of colorful foods in our diets—it is a great tool for getting more health benefits on your plate.  Planning colorful meals will make your food look better and can serve as a way to check that your meal is well-balanced and includes nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and low-fat dairy or soy products, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt.

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By: Rachel Miller, Virginia Tech, Dietetic Intern   Date: 3/4/11

For just a minute, think about the types of books you were reading in 6th grade.  You may have wanted to be in The Babysitter’s Club or maybe the Goosebumps books were keeping you awake at night.  Perhaps you were instructed to read something more traditional like Little Women or The Swiss Family Robinson.  While these books were probably challenging for you to read at the time, you may now be able to nostalgically breeze through their chapters.  However, the story may be different if you’re trying to make sense of a food ingredient list or the multi-page insert that comes with your new computer.  

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 3/2/11

Momentum around nutrition and health is building, from the release of the First Lady Michelle Obama’s  Let’s Move! campaign last year to the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January of this year. March brings National Nutrition Month® and another opportunity to celebrate the role of food and physical activity in moving all Americans toward a healthier lifestyle, regardless of age and current health status.  

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