November 2014

View or print a copy of the entire November 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition

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Mushroom Magic

Subscribers Only - Rich in the savory flavor sense known as umami , mushrooms are neither plant nor animal—they are classified in the fungi kingdom and offer much more than just good taste. With only 20 calories per cup, mushrooms are rich in a type of fiber called beta-glucans, as well as other beneficial plant compounds, such as sterols and terpenoids, which have been linked to cholesterol-lowering effects and antioxidant activity. What’s more, mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light during cultivation can be an excellent source of vitamin D, which is important for bone and immune health.

Cook at Home, Weigh Less

Subscribers Only - People who eat out consume an average of 200 more calories a day than when they cook and eat at home. Restaurant dining also serves up more unhealthful saturated fat, sugar, and salt. The findings indicate a disparity between the way people eat at home and away from home, according to researchers.

Double Up on Your Fruits and Vegetables

Subscribers Only - It’s not rocket science: Eating fruits and vegetables is good for you—even your grandmother knew this. However, we still don’t seem to meet our daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.

Hemp for Health

Subscribers Only - In the past, hemp has gotten a bad rap because of its close plant relative, marijuana; while these plants are both in the cannabis family, they are very different. Unlike marijuana, hemp seeds contain only 0.001% of the active compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), thus hemp does not cause a psychoactive effect, and is completely safe. In fact, hemp has some distinct health and environmental benefits that makes it a great choice.

Food Toxins Linked to Obesity

Subscribers Only - There are many factors behind the rising rate of obesity, such as the increased intake of highly processed foods and lower physical activity. But scientists also are exploring less obvious connections, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and even the presence of toxins in the food supply.

Use Caution with Fortified Foods

Subscribers Only - Should you choose instant, flavored oatmeal fortified with eight vitamins and minerals or traditional rolled oats? Canned pasta with added calcium or unfortified whole wheat spaghetti? At first glance, it may appear fortified foods offer more nutrition for your dollar, but some experts warn that the added vitamins and minerals often aren’t needed, and too much of a good thing increases risk of harm. Fortification also may trick you into viewing something as a better choice when it’s really not.

Protein Power in a Powder

Subscribers Only - Protein powders—designed to be mixed with water for an easy, protein-rich beverage—used to be found only in gigantic cans at the gym and were targeted towards body builders looking to “bulk up.” But these days you can find powdered protein in any grocery store, and it’s marketed for gaining or losing weight, vegan or carnivorous diets, and even managing your diet with a busy lifestyle. Protein powders are basically dehydrated forms of the protein found in foods. The most common come from milk (whey or casein), egg whites, or soy, and protein content ranges from 10-30 grams (g) per serving. (Recommended daily protein amount for adult women is 46 g/day; for men, 56 g.)

Living With Gluten Sensitivity

Subscribers Only - You may have noticed lately that gluten-free options are everywhere. It’s easy to find just about any food that involves grains, including breads, cookies, breakfast cereals, and snack bars in gluten-free form. So, should you go gluten-free? The odds are you don’t have to. But if you suspect gluten may be bothering you, here’s what you need to know before you take the gluten-free plunge.

EN’s Guide to Artificial Sweeteners

Subscribers Only - The label says, “no sugar added,” “sugar-free,” or “diet.” So what makes the food or drink inside the package so sweet? Chances are it’s an artificial sweetener, a chemically processed sugar substitute. Also known as non-nutritive, non-caloric or high-intensity sweeteners, these synthetic sweeties are hundreds or even thousands of times sweeter than table sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not carbohydrates, so they don’t raise blood sugar levels.

Get “Choked Up” for Sunchokes

Subscribers Only - Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes, sunroots or earth apples, are not artichokes at all, nor have they anything to do with Jerusalem. Yet, the story behind the misnomer reveals a history as delightfully quirky as this tuber’s knotty appearance. First cultivated by Native Americans, the small, artichoke-flavored tuber was so enjoyed by French explorer Samuel de Champlain during his visit in 1605 that he brought it home to France, where its popularity quickly spread to other countries, including Italy, where it was dubbed girasole, the name for its relative, the sunflower. The name morphed into Jerusalem artichoke, which remains, along with its many aliases, today.

Research Roundup: November 2014

Subscribers Only - Between 65 percent and 76 percent of added sugars in the U.S. diet came from foods purchased in supermarket or grocery stores, research shows. Soda, energy, and sports drinks are the largest contributors of added sugars, at 34 percent. Grain dessert (i.e., cakes and cookies) was the next largest contributor at 13 percent, followed by fruit drinks, candy, and dairy desserts at 8, 7 and 6 percent, respectively. The study used the 24-hour dietary recall data of over 31,000 children, adolescents, and adults from the National Health and Nutrition Survey from 2003 to 2010 to evaluate added sugar consumption. The proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label to include added sugars may help reduce added sugar consumption.