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Food Insight Blog

Shedding light on the science behind nutrition and food safety.

By: Tony Flood   Date: 6/28/11

According to the 2011 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey, the percentage of people following general safe food handling practices is high, yet on the decline.  Even the simplest forms of safe food handling such as “washing hands with soap and water”, “cook to required safe internal temperatures” and even “properly storing leftovers within 2 hours” have been dropping in recent years.  This lets us and other fanatics of food safety know that there is definitely room for improvement on these and other safe food handling practices.

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By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, IFIC Foundation   Date: 6/27/11

On a recent visit to Chicago, I visited with Jeffrey Klein, the new President and CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), and some key GFN staff on the important role of nutrition and food safety at food banks.  GFN is an international organization dedicated to creating and strengthening food banks and national food bank networks around the globe. They currently work with food bank systems in 15 countries.

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By: Kay Sisk, Graduate Student and Dietetic Intern, Case Western Reserve University   Date: 6/24/11

Last week, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) held its Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans, LA.  Over the course of four days, from June 11-14, 2011, between 13,000 and 15,000 food science professionals, researchers and educators from the U.S. and around the world came together to learn about the latest developments in food science, ingredient technology, and the newest products and trends.  I had the privilege of joining the IFIC team as an intern at this year’s Annual Meeting and Expo and would like to share some highlights from my experience.

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By: Robyn Flipse, MS, RD Date: 6/22/11

The new Choose My Plate icon released on June 2, 2011 by the USDA/HHS was developed to replace the food pyramid in order to make it easier for consumers to both visualize and apply the recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The simplicity of filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables may signal a true turning point in the quality American diets if adapted.  

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By: Katie Burns   Date: 6/20/11

It’s been a week since I left the heat and humidity of Washington, D.C. and headed to the heat and humidity of New Orleans, LA for the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting.  Perhaps you read my colleague’s blog, “The Latest Buzz about IFT 2011,” and are curious to hear how the various sessions went, or perhaps you were at the IFT meeting but didn’t get a chance to attend all of the sessions you wanted given the jam-packed schedule, or perhaps you weren’t there but have a curiosity nonetheless… Regardless, I’m going to let you in on some of the highlights and my key takeaways of this exciting meeting!

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By: Jania Matthews   Date: 6/17/11

The BlogHer Food conference is long gone, yet I can reflect on the experience and agree with other attendees that the conference proved to be a positive and enlightening experience. The topics discussed and the networking opportunities were top notch.  The conference was a great way to engage with bloggers who have diverse and interesting perspectives as it relates to food. 

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By: Catherine Metzgar, Dietetic Intern, Penn State University Date: 6/15/11


Bloated? Gassy? Constipated?  

Ever wonder if these and other digestive woes could be related to what you eat? The food choices we make each day impact the way our digestive system works. Some foods and beverages such as fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and certain yogurts can even benefit your digestive system and help “quiet the storm” below. Read on for other tips and strategies to make smart dietary choices and settle your tummy troubles.

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By: Kris Sollid, RD and Catherine Metzgar, Dietetic Intern, Penn State University Date: 6/13/11

Quick, what’s the first food that comes to mind when you hear the word potassium? Like me, you probably thought of bananas, right?

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By: Anthony Flood Date: 6/10/11

From the opening session, to the annual awards ceremony, to guest keynote speakers and notable lecturers - Michael Specter, author of “Denialism”, Regina Benjamin, MD – Surgeon General of the US – to new products showcased from over hundreds of product developers, to updates on the latest developments in food science - the city of New Orleans welcomes the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting!  The city will be bustling with over 20,000 attendees from as far away as CA, Canada, Mexico, Korea and of course Washington DC.

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By: Anthony Flood Date: 6/9/11

Until recently, you probably never heard about arsenic.  And if you did, perhaps it was about the 1944 classic movie “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant.  Aside from it being used as a weapon in the stage play and movie, arsenic occurs naturally in the environment.  Arsenic is distributed in the earth’s crust and is found in plants and animals.  Arsenic has a number of industrial uses – its compounds are used for pesticides and wood treatments.

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By: Catherine Metzgar, Dietetic Intern, Penn State University Date: 6/8/11 

If you’re like most Americans, the main source of protein in your diet comes from animal sources. But, did you know dairy products and certain plant sources, such as grains, soybeans and nuts, are sources of protein as well? All sources of protein—animal, plant, and, dairy—are generally recommended as part of a healthful and well-balanced diet. Protein is an energy source for the body and is particularly important during growth and development. Want to know more perks to consuming protein? Read on.

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By: Katie Burns Date: 6/6/11

Over the past few weeks, there has been increasing attention on the current E. coli outbreak in Europe as the numbers of those affected continue to increase well into the thousands.  Questions remain about the source of this outbreak, the unfamiliar strain of E. coli (STEC O104:H4), the number and reach of those infected, and how to stop the spread of contamination and unfortunate illnesses. 

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By: Kay Sisk, Dietetic Intern, Case Western Reserve University         Date: 6/2/11
      Catherine Metzgar, Dietetic Intern, Penn State University
      Emily Chin, Intern, University of Southern California

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a new food icon, MyPlate, which replaces MyPyramid as the government’s primary food group symbol.  MyPlate is meant to serve as a simple guide to help consumers choose healthful foods.

The launch took place at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack revealed the new icon.  Those in attendance included food industry representatives, health advocates, educators, and chefs.

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By: Anthony Flood Date: 5/31/11

This year as we enter the summer grilling season, it’s important to be food safe and always remember to…

Clean – wash hands and surfaces often;

Separate – don’t cross contaminate;

Cook – cook to proper temperatures; and

Chill – refrigerate promptly

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By: Lindsey Loving Date: 5/27/11 

With all the talk about local, organic, natural, and biotech, it’s enough to make someone’s head spin! Probably not many would have predicted that these terms would be important to consumers, but we have become a country focused on food. And not just taste (although taste is still the most important factor in consumers’ food and beverage purchase decisions, according to the latest IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey) – where our food comes from and how it’s produced have been topics of increasing interest. It’s not uncommon for food issues to be discussed at the dinner table or around the water cooler.

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By: Robyn Flipse, MS, RD   Date: 5/25/11

Are you someone who thinks you are better off choosing a granola bar over a candy bar when looking for a diet-friendly snack in a vending machine? Would you also select the fruit juice over the fruit drink for the same reason? If so, you may be suffering from “calorie confusion”, a condition that leads you to irrationally believe that the nutrients in some foods and beverages magically cancel out the calories, when in fact, all of the calories we consume are counted the same way by your body. 

Calorie confusion spreads whenever someone tries to rank foods and beverages into those with “good calories” and those with “bad calories” based on whether they are “nutritious” or not. This simplified interpretation of the concept of nutrient-density has allowed people to feel it is okay to eat more than they need of certain foods and beverages because they are good for them.  But that is not how energy balance works, and this calorie confusion is contributing to the rise in obesity rates.

 

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By: Kay Sisk, Dietetic Intern and Graduate Student, Case Western Reserve University Date: 5/23/11

As the aging population of America grows, some researchers are taking a closer look at age-related health issues.  Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, was a common theme of Midwest Muscle Day (held on May 10th in St. Louis, MO).  The seminar brought together food scientists, clinical researchers and educators to discuss current research in muscle health and ways to prevent and treat muscle loss.  During the seminar, it was suggested that it may be beneficial to integrate food science, food processing and current research in this field. 

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By: Jania Matthews   Date: 5/20/11

My days are spent in an environment that focuses on food, health, and nutrition so attending my first BlogHer Food conference is a welcome experience. BlogHer's mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community, and economic empowerment.  It feels great to be in the company of women who have a passion about blogging and food. 

Food is such a broad term and can mean different things to different people.  While some focus on food for health and nutrition others see food strictly as a something to enjoy.

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Note: This blog is being co-published on the Global Health Council Blog .

By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, International Food Information Council Foundation  Date: 5/17/11

This week, I am attending the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA), an annual gathering of health ministers and global health leaders, in Geneva, Switzerland, as a civil society delegate with the Global Health Council.  I am here because of WHA’s focus on noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention and control.  NCDs include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease, and are responsible for two-thirds of all deaths globally.  

The outcomes from WHA, like those coming out of the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and NCD Control last month in Moscow (to which the IFIC Foundation provided input), will inform the U.N. General Assembly discussion on the same topic in September.

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By: Kay Sisk, Dietetic Intern and Graduate Student, Case Western Reserve University   Date: 5/16/11

May is Older Americans Month, sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging.  The theme of this year’s celebration, “Older Americans: Connecting the Community,” pays respect to the many ways in which adults 60 years and older contribute to our communities.  This year, Older Americans Month also highlights the many ways technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier and more engaged lives.

One fun event that promotes fitness and fosters connections among older adults is the Community Center Video Game Tournament.  Across the county, older adults can visit a participating community center and register for the Nintendo Wii video game tournament.  One category of these interactive games is muscle-strengthening exercise, an activity that’s key for healthy aging.

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