Fast food has changed little in nearly 20 years Two studies published in Preventing Chronic Disease show that there has been little change in fast food portion sizes and product formulation between 1996 and 2013. The researchers, from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, analyzed the calorie, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat content of popular menu items served at three national fast-food chains between 1996 and 2013. They found that average calories, sodium, and saturated fat stayed relatively constant, albeit at high levels. The exception was a consistent decline in the trans fat of fries.
The researchers focused on the four most popular menu items: fries, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and regular soda, looking for trends in portion size and nutrient content over an 18-year period. They examined 27 items including small, medium, and large fries and cola beverages, a grilled chicken sandwich, and 2-oz and 4-oz cheeseburgers. The authors used a public database and the Internet to access the archived nutrition data.
They found only small fluctuations in calorie content and the amount of saturated fat and sodium. The notable exception was fries, which decreased first in saturated fat in 2001 and then trans fat, likely due to changes to the frying fat. Abstract: Study 1 Abstract: Study 2 1-7-15
Consumption of fresh foods grew by 20% from 2003 to 2013, and the youngest generations, Generation Z and Millennials, are driving the trend, according to The NPD Group's The Future of Eating: Who's Eating What in 2018? Fresh food consumed at breakfast is forecast to grow the most, increasing 9% by 2018, and fresh food consumption will grow 7% at lunch and 5% at dinner. Full Story 12-10-14
Voters in Berkeley, CA approved a 1 cent-an-ounce tax on sodas and energy drinks, adding about 12 cents to the price of a can of soda and about 68 cents to a two liter bottle. A similar measure in San Francisco would have imposed a 2 cent-an-ounce tax, but it fell short of the two-thirds super-majority vote needed for passage. Advocates of the tax pointed to links between sugary drinks and diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay, reported CNN. Full Story 11-5-2014
Fast food restaurants sell healthier and safer products in other countries than the US. It’s a common practice for food companies (everyone from Betty Crocker to Pringles to Quaker Oats) to reformulate their products with safer ingredients overseas, while they continue to sell us inferior products with unhealthy ingredients here in the States. If you walk into any McDonald’s in the U.K. you’ll find organic milk available for children in their Happy Meals, and no chocolate milk. Full Story …
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