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Food Insight Blog

Shedding light on the science behind nutrition and food safety.

Note: Below is a transcript of our 2/24/10 chat on food safety with Christine Bruhn, PhD, Director, Center for Consumer Research, UC Davis. If you have any additional questions for Dr. Bruhn or the chat please let us know and be sure to follow @IFICMedia & @FoodInsightOrg on twitter to join us for future chats.

IFICMedia: #safefoodchat is officially starting. We’ll be talking #foodsafety w/ Dr. Christine Bruhn from UC Davis. She’s tweeting @foodinsightorg.

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By: Christine Bruhn, PhD, Director, Center for Consumer Research, UC Davis   Date 2/25/10

With your ready-to-eat, bagged salad and scissors in hand, you might wonder whether you should just dump the prewashed greens into your bowl or take the time to wash them again. It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds, especially after a recent magazine review of prewashed bagged salads reported a significant number of bacteria on the greens, concluded that sanitation was not up to par, and advised consumers to wash the greens again. But is this sound advice?

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By: Katie Burns Date: 2/23/10 

Food safety continues to be a topic of discussion in major news outlets and for the general public, so the International Food Information Council Foundation has decided to provide you the opportunity to ask questions to a well known food safety expert and Director of Consumer Research at the University of California at Davis, Dr. Christine Bruhn.  The Foundation will host a “live chat” with Dr. Bruhn via Twitter on Wednesday, February 24 at 10:00am ET.   

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By: Kimberly Reed Date: 2/22/10

Buon giorno! Greetings from Florence, Italy, where I am attending a conference focused on my favorite topic: food.


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By: Kimberly Reed   Date: 2/19/10

Today, my two worlds of professional experience -- food and finance -- collided in the name of bettering America's communities when First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new multi-year "Healthy Food Financing Initiative."  You might wonder how food and finance intersect for me.  

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By: Michelle Ronholm   Date: 2/16/10

Olympic fever is setting in. In fact, on my dining room table right now is the Sports Illustrated Olympic Preview and the Washington Post Vancouver Games edition. Every time I log onto the Internet, I'm taken directly to the official Olympic homepage (the hockey section, of course!)

Olympic athletes a serious trainers. Proper nutrition and a customized fitness regimen are key to keeping them in competitive shape. But what about those of us who aren't competitive athletes, but have still harbored dreams of Olympic podiums and Wheaties box covers?

Getting out and playing can be a great way to burn calories. Here are just a few ways to play the Games and get a little exercise to boot.

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 2/15/10

My heart sings at the sight of chocolate. Though my gut instinct is to restrict myself to one small treat, I often find myself indulging in one of life’s greatest pleasures: the sweet taste of chocolate. With that in mind, you and I both may be pleased to know that chocolate, famous for its rich taste, sweet flavor, and melt-in-your-mouth texture, may actually be beneficial to your health, in small doses.

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By: Tony Flood   Date 2/12/10

Did you know that acrylamide has been around since we began cooking food?  It is a naturally occurring chemical compound that results from a reaction of sugars with specific amino acids during the cooking and frying process.  Have you ever toasted a piece of bread and noticed the browning effect?  That effect is known as the maillard reaction.  Simply put, during this reaction, acrylamide as well as number of other compounds, are formed.

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By: Marianne Smith-Edge, MS, RD, LS, FADA   Date: 2/11/10

The International Food Information Council Foundation applauds First Lady Michelle Obama's new initiative to get kids eating healthier and exercising more, and we share her passion. At the Foundation, we have been addressing the importance of the relationship between food choices, regular daily activity, and obesity for over a decade and recognize that solving the epidemic requires a lifestyle and cultural change.

Recognizing the need to communicate healthy eating and physical activity messages that resonate with kids and parents, the Foundation initiated an in-depth consumer research in 1999-2000 and again in 2005 to better understand children’s and parents’ attitudes, perceptions and behaviors about preventing overweight in childhood.

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By: Tony Flood Date: 2/10/10

Last night, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric aired the first of a two-part TV segment on the use of antibiotics in farm animals, which investigated a suspected link between farm workers’ exposure to animals treated with antibiotics and the potential development of a bacterial infection that could be resistant to antibiotics used to treat infections in humans. 



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By: Bridget Hollingsworth   Date: 2/5/10

On February 7th friends and families all over the U.S. will get together for the Super Bowl. Although Peyton Manning and Drew Brees won’t be watching the game like the rest of us, the two quarterbacks playing in Sunday’s Big Game are family friends. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees had a friendly connection early in their careers, but when Brees moved to New Orleans to play for the Saints, he became close friends with Archie Manning - Peyton’s dad and a former Saints quarterback. The connections have only grown deeper over time, and the families have grown closer. They've even talked about planning a joint Super Bowl party.

Food For Thought
Friendship and family brought these quarterbacks together, and perhaps it reminds you of the values and traditions that are shared with the important people in your life. Whether watching the Super Bowl or the infamous commercials, research has shown that we tend to eat more when we eat with our family or friends perhaps because we are relaxed and enjoying ourselves.

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By: Katie Burns   Date 2/4/10

Recently there’s been lots of discussion about the quality and safety of canned foods, but its important to remember the many benefits that canned foods bring to our food supply.  So, in honor of Canned Food Month, I wanted to highlight the history and value of one of the most durable, widely available and reasonably priced foods.

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By: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD   Date 2/2/10

In the minds of many, football (as in the NFL) really has become “America’s Game.” With the Super Bowl close at hand, we will watch with great anticipation as the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts take the field, knowing that only one team will take home the title of champion.  But off the field, players from the Saints and the Colts, and many others, are uniting to champion healthy living and tackle one of America’s biggest public health issues - obesity among this nation’s children. 

Together, the NFL along with the National Dairy Council (NDC) and other health organizations, launched the partnership program, “Fuel Up to Play 60” (FUTP60) last October.  Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with the NDC, held their first ever blogger conference call with Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack announcing that the USDA was joining this roster.  The International Food Information Council Foundation was invited to join this call and had the opportunity to hear more about FUTP60 and ask questions.  The program’s mission is to empower our nation’s youth in a fun way to make positive lifestyle changes by eating healthy and being active.  Here are a few details on the program:

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By: Food Insight Blog Contributors Date: 2/1/10

2010 is officially a month old and we thought it would be a good time to take a look at how we're doing on our New Years Resolutions. 

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By: David Schmidt, International Food Information Council Foundation President and CEO Date: 1/29/10

This week, the President, in his State of the Union, noted that First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010 “is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make our kids healthier."

We at the International Food Information Council Foundation also are committed to helping families and children lead healthful and active lives. One of the ways that we have been addressing this matter is through our childhood obesity prevention initiative,, a healthful eating and active living Web site for children and their families, as well as for health professionals and educators. 

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 1/28/10

We talk a lot about mindful eating on this blog because it’s a concept that resonates with a lot of the health professionals and nutrition communicators here at the IFIC office. However, we recognize that mindful eating can be a hard thing to get your head around if you are not working in the food, nutrition, and health world 24/7 or have strong interest in these matters.

How Mindful Eating Works
Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab has done research showing that the average person makes over 200 decisions about food everyday. That might sound like a big number, but when you breakdown all of the small decisions that are centered on eating one meal, you can begin to see how all these food decisions add up. These decisions can include things like this:

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By: Jennifer Schleman   Date: 1/26/10 

Last fall shortly after reading our Putting the BRAT on a Diet post, I came down with the dreaded flu. Not the H1N1 variety, but the good, old-fashioned, upper respiratory influenza.

It got me thinking – what could I have done to prepare myself for cold and flu season? And now that I had the flu, what could I do to help me quickly get back on my feet? I asked several of my colleagues, and here are a few tips.

To help prepare for possible illnesses:

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 By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date 1/25/10

The IFIC 2009 Functional Foods/Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey found that people’s top health concerns are (in order of importance) heart health, weight management, cancer, diabetes, nutrition/diet, and exercise. Interestingly, people don’t always prioritize their New Year’s resolutions the same way. In fact, most people—including my colleagues here at the International Food Information Council Foundation—mention losing weight, improving diet, and exercising more as their top resolutions for the New Year. 

Are you one of the people who made a resolution to improve your health? Whether your goal is to manage your weight, improve heart or digestive health, or improve your energy levels so that you can exercise more, the benefits of adding fiber to your diet should not be overlooked. One key that can help you find success with your New Year’s resolution is to break down your ultimate goal into smaller, more achievable, baby steps. Adding more fiber to your diet can be one of these steps.  Why should you add fiber? Here are just a few good reasons:

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 1/22/10

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is often mentioned in media articles pertaining to food safety and nutrition, especially if there is a regulatory implication. Have you ever wondered: What exactly does the FDA do? If so, you are in luck!  

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By: Jennifer Schleman   Date: 1/20/10

After hearing so much about today’s Kaiser Family Foundation study on kids and their “screen time” habits, I think this bright paper from 2006 is still extremely relevant.

So, what's the big deal?

Children who don't get enough physical activity are at increased risk for becoming overweight or obese. Spending hours watching TV and surfing the Internet crowds out time for physical activity.

Experts recommend that children total at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week but, ideally, every day. They can accumulate this total throughout the day in chunks of 10-minutes or more. Activities may include sports, active play such as biking or jumping rope and household chores such as vacuuming and sweeping.

Try these tips to set some limits on screen time and get your kids moving:

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