Author Archives: Halie Westphal

Banning Chocolate Milk Doesn’t Have Outcomes Parents Hope For

71805_webA simple way to cut calories and sugar is to watch what you’re drinking.  The increasing numbers of children with obesity is causing much concern and there is a eager search for a solution.  Concerned parents and teachers of the PTA turned to banning chocolate milk to lower their children’s sugar intake. As a sample test 11 elementary schools in Oregon banned flavored milk (strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, herby referred to as chocolate milk).  Research released by Cornell University this week was conducted in-order to understand the potential impact of removing chocolate milk has on milk sales and intake, which concluded that removing chocolate milk from schools had a ill affect on children’s meals.

Schools have done this before.  In 2011, Los Angeles Unified School District removed flavored milk from its schools in order to battle youth obesity.  It is known that this may not be a successful way to combat childhood obesity.  In 2012 after the US Department of Agriculture updated school meal standards, the National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jerry Kozak cited other research that showed milk consumption can drop 35 percent when flavored milk options are removed.

“When schools ban chocolate milk, we found it usually backfires. On average, milk sales drop by 10 percent, 29 percent of white milk gets thrown out, and participation in the school lunch program may also decrease,” reports Andrew Hanks, lead author and research associate Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “This is probably not what parents wanted to see.”Chocolatemilk1

Though it was shown in sales data that students did substitute chocolate milk for plain milk, they also wasted an average on 40.9% of milk they selected.  Students were forced to chose another drink option by eliminating the availability of chocolate milk, but this did not encourage them to drink it.  Cornell’s findings suggests that eliminating chocolate milk can increase total milk waste by 29.4%

Children, and adults alike, do not choose foods because they are nutritionally good for them, they choose foods that taste good.  Of the students who purchase lunches served as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), two-thirds choose chocolate over white milk.

These results are from a pilot test and further research must be done, but it does provide us with some insight of what some of the unforeseen affects are of getting rid of flavored milk in schools.  This information needs to be considered when deciding whether the amount of sugar children consume with flavored milk is validated because of the nutrients that milk offers.  The study authors suggest taking other tactics to encourage white milk over chocolate, rather than an outright ban.

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Weekly Review

I felt very good about the project two weeks about, but last week was kinda tough.  I was determined to post four times, which I did so that’s a win.  For some odd reason last week was just off for me.  I pushed through by posting drafts so that I was always posting things, and then go back to them to later and expand the post.  What gave me the most trouble this week was that I just couldn’t sit and write.  Additionally I didn’t feel invested in the topics I was writing about which probably was the source of my issues.  What I would do differently would be work on the post in shorter segments of time, and give myself time to reflect on what I’ve written before adding more to it and posting.  Post this past week include:

4/8 Chipotle Focuses on Promoting High Quality of Fast Food
4/10 Microwaving Food
4/13 What Benefits does Organic Food Offer?
4/13 The Many Forms of a Oat

The Many Forms of a Oat

Oatmeal is very popular in the health community.  It’s a great whole grain which offers many health benefits including it being a complex carb that is good for your cholesterol, rich in fiber, antioxidants, and great for your heart.  I’ve mention before why I think everyone should be eating oatmeal for breakfast ,top it off with a bit of protein and its the true breakfast of champions.  The breakfast aisle has a variety of packaged oatmeal’s like cinnamon roll, peaches and cream, apples and cinnamon, the varieties are abound.  Stay clear from these instant oatmeal flavored packages all together, the best option is to and buy a container of plain oats.  There is variety in plain oats too, which come in multiple forms.  In order to pick out which one you want to cook with we must learn about the many from of plain oats (groats): steel cut, Scottish, rolled oats(regular or old fashioned) and instant.  What are the differences between these form of oats and does the nutrition value vary?types-of-oats

When oats are harvested: removed from the hull and stalked they are called a grain kernel, the the kernel gets broken down and depending on how processed the kernel the cooking time decreases.  Once milled, where the outer shell (hull) is removed from the oats, oats are steamed, heated and cooled in a kiln, which brings out their nutty flavor. The oats are then processed by either being rolled, cut or ground to produce flakes, oatmeal or flour.

  • Whole oat groats are the whole oat kernel that has had the inedible hull removed.  These oats take the longest to cook at about one hour.
  • Steel cut oats are cut into a few pieces by a metal blade, these take about 45 minutes to cook.
  • Scottish Oatmeal is stone-ground , and the the kernel is crushed into multiple irregular pieces, a method that originated in Scotland centuries ago.  The finer the oats the quicker they cook, these take about ten minutes.
  • Rolled oats (old fashioned) are made by steaming the kernel and then rolling them into flakes.  This process stabilizes their healthy oils and extends their self life, all without compromising their health benefits.  During the steaming process the oat partially cooks, this allows the oat to cook much faster later on, generally about five minutes.
  • Quick or instant oats, these oats have been rolled thinner so they will cook even faster.

Usually we view processed as a bad term, but when it come to oatmeal the degree in which the oats are processed does not affect their nutritional value.  Steel cut, Scottish, old-fashioned, and quick oats are all made from whole grains and contain approximately the same amount of fiber, protein, calories, and other nutrients.  Rolling the oats and then steaming them make it so that they can be cooked in just minutes.  You should make you decision based on what type of texture you want your oatmeal to have, how much time you have to cook them, or weather you are using it in a recipe, which typically calls for traditional oats.

What Benefits does Orangic Food Offer?

According to the USDA Organic “is a labeling term that indicates hat the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”  In order to be certified by the USDA no synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering can be used.  Furthermore, to insure that you are purchasing organic food make sure there is a USDA organic seal in order to verify that the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content.

There is a whole assortment of terms used on labels like free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, pasture-raised, humane, no added hormones, and last but not least natural.  Natural, as required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.  This regulation only applies to the processing of meat and egg products, and does not include any standards regrading farm practices.  So that natural pasta sauce doesn’t really mean much of anything.

As long as the product is actually certified, we can feel secure that it has been produced in a better method than usual, but what about the food item itself.  It wrong it assume that just because a food item is organic that it has better nutritional value.  While there may be no significant nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce, organic does have lower levels of pesticide residue.  “The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods” a review done at Sanford University.

Everyone is taking a part of the rise of organic food.  Walmart plans to partner with the Wild Oats organic products  “a range of wallet-friendly organic food products” which cuts label prices by at least 25 percent compared to other brand-name organic competitors.  Target is also expanding its partnerships with 17 natural and organic brands in order to expand its selection.  Sales of products labeled natural and organic grew 7.5 percent in 2012, twice the overall growth rate of conventional food and nonfood products, according to the Organic Trade Association.  Organic food accounted for $29 billion in United States sales in 2012, according to the most recent data, the Organic Trade Association said. Ten years earlier, its sales were $8 billion.

Microwaving Food

Today’s society is spending less time in the kitchen and eating more meals in restaurants.  We live in a world of convince.  Microwaves become popular in the 70’s and ever since we have been enjoying its ability to heat things in minutes.  There has been skepticism of whether cooking with a microwave takes nutrients out of food.

Sources as varied as the American Cancer Society and the European Food Information Council—not to mention numerous studies—agree that these ovens are a nutritious way to cook.

In order to retain as many nutrients as possible one must wisely choose the way they cook their food.  Microwaving is one of the best options to conserve nutrients.  If you use a small amount of water your basically steam the food from the inside; retaining more vitamins and minerals than most other cooking methods.  Whenever food is cooked there will be some loss of nutrients, in order to retain as much as possible the best method is to cook the food quickly, short exposure to heat, and a minimal amount of liquid.  Just like a microwave would do.

Microwave ovens cook food with waves of oscillating electromagnetic energy that are similar to radio waves but move back and forth at a much faster rate.

The method of steaming can be equal to microwaving, if not better in some cases: One small study found that steamed broccoli retained more of its cancer-fighting sulforaphane than microwaved broccoli.  Regardless some nutrients do break down when they’re exposed to heat, no matter the souce.

Chipotle Focuses on Promoting Hight Quality of Fast Food

Chipotle is taking a new approaching at advertising, in fact they’re not even self-promoting their own brand. Through its show “Farmed and dangerous”, and two videos released on YouTube over the past two years Chipotle has taken on stance against traditional practices in the food industry. Through cause marketing Chipotle has been promoting raising the quality of fast food. This marketing strategy, Chipotle executives say, is not about “product integration,” but “values integration.”

Farmed and Dangerous,” a four part comedy series that takes a satirical look at industrial-scale farming. The common theme for Chipotle has been to not focus on their brand, rather than raising the quality of fast food.  “We’re trying to educate people about where their food comes from,” says Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer at Chipotle. But, he says, Millennials “are skeptical of brands that perpetuate themselves.”  The Chipolte original is available excusivly on Hulu.

The tv show is larger part of their… of their two videos that have been produced.  Over the past few years, the chain has released two short animated films on YouTube that highlighted the ills of factory farming.  The animation is superb and songs used in the videos have been sung by Willie Nelson and Fiona Apple.

Why is Chipotle putting all this money into ads that don’t directly advertising themselves? It’s not solely based on getting your name out, it’s all about linking its name with the strong Millennial values to eat better, eat local — and brand lightly. It’s all in the hopes that Millennials — who are the heart of Chipotle’s target customer — will make Chipotle’s better-for-you messaging go viral.

Weekly Review

This week went really well.  In order to make things easier on myself I have been compiling a list of topics on my phone whenever I have ideas for future posts.  This has been working pretty well and I have avoided that awful moment when you need to write a post but have no inspiration for a topic. The posts I did this past week consist of:

4/06 Coconut Water Wha’ts So Good About It?
4/05 Nuts, Far More Than a Tasty Snack
4/03 Smell has a Major Impact on Taste and Our Purchase
4/02 Drinking Your Calories Absentmindedly Leads to Weight Gain

Considering my experience in writing posts such as these I feel very proud of the posts I have created during this project.  I tend to write these as if I were writing and article.  I look at multiple sources, preferably ones from within a year, analyze the information and bring it all together in my own way.  For one post it takes me at least a few hours and based on that I think I’m doing good work and I pleased with the end product.

This past week there wasn’t any new advertisements to make posts about.  In order to find recent topics about advertising I have been using ad-week as my main news provider.  Ad-week is nice because they have this handy dandy food & beverage section.  Other advertising/marketing magazines I have looked into so far just don’t have the type of content I’m looking for.  So the only trouble I have come across is that sometimes there just isn’t any pop news about new ads.

Additionally I have learned that I need to make an effort to present all sides of the story, like with the coconut water story.  I shouldn’t just dismiss it as a product because no health benefits has been verified, it still is beneficial for hydrating and if someone likes the taste it is a great alternative to other sugar sweetened beverages.

I will continue to move forward in a similar manner with my posts.  Maybe I will try to do a post from one of my categories that isn’t used as much to add variety to my blog.

Coconut Water, Whats so Good About It?

Called “dew from the heavens,” or “noelani” by Hawaiians coconut water has been drank for years in tropical countries.  With help from celebrity spokespersons, health trends, and marketing, coconut water has been filling beverage coolers across the country.  To keep up with demand, new product launches in North America have grown to 35% from, 17% in 2008. There seems to be an endless list of health benefits that coconut water has to offer, but before buying into all of the craze and drink bottles after bottles maybe we should know what’s in this stuff.coconut-water-6f51be99d73fb9aacd1358747aea2de85aa4d2ff-s6-c30

Coconut water is not to be confused with coconut milk.  The liquid is clear (95 percent water), light, and extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity.  Young coconuts differ in that they are white, smooth, and pointed on one end, on the other, rather than the common brown hairy ones.

The most prominent nutrition benefit that coconut water has to offer is potassium.  Potassium is found in many foods, but Americans usually fall short of their daily requirements, mainly because they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies.  On top of that there is no fat or cholesterol and not many calories, perfect for marketing as a healthy product.  Coconut water contains electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and plant nutrients.

Beyond containing nutrients, the scientific literature does not support the hype that this drink actually beneficial. “There is a lot of hype about coconut water, yet the research is just not there to support many of the claims and much more research is needed,” says Lillian Cheung, DSc, RD, of Harvard School of Public Health, “while coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, and fat and cholesterol free, the evidence that it is actually better than plain water for simple hydration is unfortunately lacking.”

Dubbed “Mother Nature’s sports drink” by marketers, the demand is skyrocketing.  If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, pure water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated.  According to Ms. Zelman, coconut water may potentially be better at keeping you hydrated than a sports drink or water.  Zelman describes a study published in 2010 from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise which demonstrated that coconut water replaced body fluids as good as a typical sports drink, and slightly better than water. Other studies have shown that drinking coconut water with added sodium is as good as a typical sports drink for re-hydration after exercise.  Although coconut water is rich in potassium, it is low in carbohydrates and sodium- two potential issues for those who do endurance training or prolonged aerobic workouts.

Coconut water has it benefits, even has been used as an emergency substitute for IV solutions.  But as far as making it a part of your daily diet it’s not necessary and there is no proof of its benefits.  This product is great as an alternative to any other sugar-sweetened beverage because it is lower in calories and the nutrients are a extra bonus.  But experts from the Mayo Clinic strongly suggest that you consider maintaining an active lifestyle if consuming large amounts of coconut water since each eight ounce serving is accompanied by 45 to 60 calories.  Unless you really enjoy the taste, its not worth the $3 a bottle.  Stick to plain water, it’s all you need.

Nuts, Far More Than a Tasty Snack

The benefits of nuts are finally being recognized now that the anti-fat craze has passed. We now know better than to automatically cast aside a product because of its fat value.  Today there is a clear understanding of fats and there types: “good” and “bad”.   Nuts, contain unsaturated fat, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. What makes them such a great snack, are inexpensive and ready to eat, and easy to find.  Not only are they tasty they are good for heart health, lowering cholesterol, and promote weight loss.

In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized several nuts, including walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios, to be promoted as helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and cholesterol problems.  Walnuts stand out in particular because they are the only ones with omega-3s.

“When you look at the health benefits, I have to put walnuts at the top of that list because they are good source protein, good source of fats and they have a moderate amount of carbohydrates,” said dietician Connie Diekman of the California Walnut Board’s scientific advisory committee.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnuts come out on top with their omega-3 values but all kinds of nuts are nutritious in any form regardless of plain, roasted, or a spreadable butter.

People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein “bad” cholesterol level in their blood.  Tree-nuts should be apart of your diet because they promote a healthy heart.  Harvard’s report, in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that daily nut-eaters were ‘less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. Overall, the daily nut-eaters were 20% less likely to have died during the course of the study than those who avoided nuts.”

Research now shows that eating tree nuts can help with weight management.  As much as 80 percent of a nut is fat, don’t be scared it is unsaturated fat, “good” which is why nuts are heart healthy.  A study released this past January confirms that consumption of tree nuts had a inverse relationship with weight gain.  Researchers found that study participants who ate the most tree nuts – such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios and walnuts – were between 37 and 46 percent less likely to be obese than those who ate the fewest tree nuts.

“Nuts are high in protein and fiber, which delays absorption and decreases hunger,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, adding that nuts contain mostly unsaturated healthy fats.  So you will be more satisfied if you eat a handful of nuts rather than some potato chips.

Nuts aren’t a magic pill in food form.  In order to rep all of their benefits they need to be consumed proportionately, will little or no salt, and not coated in chocolate.  Also they should be substitute for unhealthy fats, not cutting back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products won’t do your heart any good even if you eat a few nuts.  If whole nuts aren’t your thing nut butters are great, but be picky when picking out your next jar of peanut butter.  Many brands add sugar, molases, hydrogenated oil and other ingredients.  The best peanut butter is made with only peanuts and salt, so be sure to read the nutrition label even if it says its natural and healthy.  Remember sugar is natural and so are the oils they add.  Finally, never ever by reduced-fat peanut butter, the high fat content is okay in the regular varieties because its unsaturated fat and they add even more junk into those poor reduced-fat jars.

 

 

Smell has a Major Impact on Taste and Our Purchases

Taste and smell are intimately entwined.  Interestingly, food and drink are identified predominantly by the senses of smell and sight, not taste.  Generally we associate taste to our taste buds, in actuality “taste” is actually a blend of a food’s taste, smell and texture into a single sensation.  The senses taste and smell and very complex.  Smell is a vital part of flavor, when smell is lessened the flavor of food is diminished.  This is caused because only the taste, not the food odors, is being detected.

Only in recent years have taste receptors been identified.  The tongue map, which classified sections of the tongue with specific taste receptors, was debunked in 1974, a scientist named Virginia Collings re-examined Hanig’s work and agreed with his main point:  “There were variations in sensitivity to the four basic tastes around the tongue.  But the variations were small and insignificant.  Collings found that all tastes can be detected anywhere there are taste receptors—around the tongue, on the soft palate at back roof of the mouth, and even in the epiglottis, the flap that blocks food from the windpipe”.tongue_map

“The sensation of flavor is actually a combination of taste and smell,” said Tom Finger, a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver Medical School and chairman of the 2008 International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste, held last month in San Francisco. “If you hold your nose and start chewing a jelly bean taste is limited, but open your nose midway through chewing and then you suddenly recognize apple or watermelon.”  Acquiring information related to scent through the back of the mouth is called retronasal olfaction—via the nostrils it is called orthonasal olfaction.

During the process of chewing air is forced through the nasal passages, carrying the smell of the food along with it.  Without the sensation of smell supplementing taste one would only be able to experience the five taste recognized by taste buds: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami.  It’s the odor molecules from food that give us most of our taste sensation.

The process of tasting, described by Dana Small, is “When food and drink are placed in the mouth, taste cells are activated and we perceive a flavor. Concurrently, whatever we are eating or sipping invariably contacts and activates sensory cells, located side-by-side with the taste cells, that allow us to perceive qualities such as temperature, spiciness or creaminess. We perceive the act of touch as tasting because the contact “captures” the flavor sensation,” a neuroscientist as the John B. Pierce Laboratory in New Haven, Conn. and the Yale School of Medicine.

When people’s sense of smell diminishes, for various reasons notably smoking, they are no longer to taste things as well.  Scientists have found that the sense of smell is most accurate between the ages of 30 and 60 years. It begins to decline after age 60, and a large proportion of elderly persons lose their smelling ability.  Additionally, women are more accurate at identifying odors.

Kitchen-Talks-The-aroma-of-foodScent is extremely powerful because it is intertwined with our memories of places and events.  That’s why the smell of grandma’s cookies is so nostalgic.  Unsurprisingly marketers having been trying to incorporate scent into their advertisements and stores in order to boost sales.  Businesses goals are to make customers feel relaxed and comfortable, hoping that they will stay in the stores longer and purchase more.  Some businesses have even created their own signature scent that shoppers will associate with their stores.  Smells have been found to influence memory, impact perception, and even increase sales.

Scent marketing is one of the newer components of advertising.  This process replicates the practice of realtors baking cookies during a homes open house in order to make buyers feel at home.  In a commercial setting liquid scent is vaporized by and dispersed through a building’s ventilation system.  Because smell’s ability to trigger moods is based on memory, a scent’s power will differ from person to person.