Monthly Archives: May 2014

Project Review

Objective:
Taken straight from my project proposal, “There is a obesity epidemic in the U.S. and in order for fix this Americans need to become more knowledgeable about nutrition. My goal is to inform people about how to make healthier decision and the tricks food producers use as marketing tactics, as well as promote cooking at home.”

Medium:
I chose a blog because I really like the way that some “internet personalities” are able to create communities through their blogs. The whole set of wikis kind of turned me off because I was not a fan of how they are set up. When I was trying to make a new page it took me like a hour, and let me tell you I am very technology literate and have no problem working with new programs but something about wikis had my mind drawing a blank. The way WordPress has a text box set up with all the links I need is comforting.  Furthermore the whole concept of a wiki page always being under construction is not my style at all. It just doesn’t work for me to publish unfinished work.

What I did:
Looking back at my archives I did a lot of posts. At first my goal was to do two long posts of about 800 words and one other smaller one that would be on a popular topic like a new ad or something. For my informative posts I use a style of writing that reminds me of what I would do if I was writing an article. I spend a good amount of time looking at other recent articles and research about the topic, use those articles to find the key information and then bring that all together to create one comprehensive blog posts. Through my post I then link back to the articles that I used as references, for example this post on drinking your calories.  I think it is very important I use trustworthy sources for my information.  That way my readers can go look at more information and verify what I am saying in my posts.

I wanted to post more about marketing techniques that food producers use.  The issue I had with this is that new products or advertisements only come out so often, because of this I could not assume that there was going to be a new topic for me to write about each week.

There was times when I needed to restructure the way that I was working.  During April I started posting four times a week because I was not getting the length that I wanted so I compensated by posting more often.  I feel like posting often is a good way to direct traffic to your blog and is very important in the initial creation of a blog.

What went not so well?
This wasn’t an issue per se but I found while I was gaining traffic on my blog that I should disclose that I am not a registered dietitian. For each post I spend about two or three hours becoming knowledgeable about a topic, post the important information I have learned, and then share links in order for readers to find out more information themselves.  I find myself staying away from some topics and trying to be purely informative about the nutrition posts because I would never want to influence someone to make damaging decisions.

Did I accomplish my objective?
I choose the topics I write about because I want to inform people so that they can live a happy, healthy life. In my objective it may seem I focusing on overweight and obesity issue but that is because being overweight leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes 2, and some cancers which can all be prevented by living a healthy life. Therefore I simply want to share information about how important it is to have a healthy diet and how you really are what you eat. A cool quote from my project proposal:

“I want to unmask the processed foods industry and help people make better decisions about the products they are consuming.”

Based on that quote I feel like my blog has done this and is continuing to inform people about their food purchasing decision.

Findings?
Partially through this blog I discovered that my true passion is food psychology. I remember this moment like ti was just yesterday. I was, like I am now, sitting at Cantabria looking for topics online through some of my usual sources. Because of my thesis topic also being about food, if you haven’t noticed its my favorite thing, I am familiar with this area of study and have read multiple research papers and articles in this field. One of the major players in this filed, Dr. Brian Wansink, tweeted about research he had conducted about chocolate milk in schools. While reading that article I was strangle fascinated with their findings, partially fueled by coffee, but never the less I was have a great time reading about why schools shouldn’t ban chocolate milk. We are all nerds about something but I feel like my is a partially small niche.

I definitely got better at writing posts as time went on. At first I would struggle to hit 800 words but in my last post I was able to get more than 700 words about whole wheat. Who know so much could be said about whole wheat/whole grain foods?  It is extremely important to be passionate about what you are blogging about because you spend hours and hours during the week researching topic and then writing about those topics.  So because of this you better really like what your are blogging about otherwise you will get bored and burnt out real quick.

 

 

summary

 

Future?
Initially had in-visioned making a space that is open for dialogues.  In my proposal I said, “blog is the perfect medium for my project because it allow me to be more personal with the readers, hopefully create a community, and allow for open communication through comments.”  So far I haven’t received many comments on my posts.  Maybe the people looking at my blog are just lurkers? I would like to look at information on how to connect with your readers.  I would like to learn more about the analytics that WordPress uses in order to find out what type of posts receive the most traffic.

Should You be Eating Whole Wheat or Whole Grain, and Why?

Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed,” as defined by the Whole Grains Council.  For instance, regardless of how oats are rolled, cut, or ground during processing, the oat does not lose any of its nutritional content. The three fundamental parts of the kernel is the bran, germ, and endosperm.  In order to be considered a whole grain, the food item must contain 100% of the original kernel.WholeGrainKernel_WGC_0

Whole grain is processed to include the whole grain seed, whereas white flour uses only the less nutritious endosperm.  By using all parts of the grain whole grain is more nutritious because it has higher levels of fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium.  The majority of which are lost when processing occurs to make white flour.  Refining wheat creates fluffy flour that makes light, airy breads and pastries. But nutrition is compromised for the taste of the beloved refined grains. The process strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber.

The health benefits of switching from refined to whole grain foods are well established, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.  Based on this evidence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume at least three servings of whole grain products daily, and the new U.S. national school lunch standards require that at least half of all grains be whole grain-rich. However, no single standard exists for defining any product as a “whole grain.”

Determining what food items are actually whole gain or whole wheat can be challenging in the grocery store.  And then we ask the question: what is the difference between whole grain and whole wheat?  The Whole Grains council describes the difference between whole grain and whole wheat as the same difference between a carrot and a vegetable?”  We all know that all carrots are vegetables but not all vegetables are carrots. It’s similar with whole wheat and whole grain: Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain, so all whole wheat is whole grain, but not all whole grain is whole wheat.

A meta-analysis of seven major studies showed that cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, or the need for a procedure to bypass or open a clogged artery) was 21 percent less likely in people who ate 2.5 or more servings of whole-grain foods a day compared with those who ate less than 2 servings a week.

The whole grain stamp produced by theCollage_webres Whole Grain Council started to appear on store shelves in mid-2005.  It recently received some criticism from the Harvard School of Public Health.

A common “Health Halo” is that often times people incorrectly assume that a product that is whole wheat is healthier than one that is not, in every sense.  Health claims, in this case whole wheat, on a product can produce a “halo effect” where consumers reported beneficial effects from the product beyond those specifically mentioned in the claim.  One healthy attribute leads consumers to assume that foods offer other healthy but unclaimed attributes.

The Harvard School of Public Health “found that grain products with the Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely-used front-of-package symbols, were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, but also contained significantly more sugar and calories compared to products without the Stamp”.

This stamp only relays information about a food items whole grain content. It is not surprising that food producers have to add extra sugars to whole wheat products in order to achieve the taste that consumers demand.  Through this study Harvard simply found that just because has one good quality doesn’t equate to the entity of that product being healthy.

The key thing to remember is it must be 100%.  At the grocery store, check labels and chose items made with 100 percent whole wheat — meaning it is made with only whole-wheat flour, whereas breads and other things labeled simply “whole-wheat” might contain a mix of whole wheat and white flours.  Also as Harvard showed us, be conscious of the sugar content as well.