Starting in 1980, two government agencies – the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) – have periodically released new recommendations based on their latest findings, which over the years has lead to well-known icons like the Food Pyramid (1992), MyPyramid (2005), and MyPlate (2011). 2015 is the next due date. But despite all these efforts, obesity rates and related health problems have soared in this country and elsewhere, and don’t seem to abate any time soon.
An advisory panel to the USDA is scheduled to submit new recommendations that not only address healthier diet choices but also concerns about costs to the environment. According to press reports, an early draft of the recommendations suggested that reducing animal-based food intake in favor of greater plant-based food consumption would not only be healthier for consumers but also the environment and would be more sustainable than currently prevailing diet patterns.
Protein has been getting a lot of attention lately. In fact, nothing short of a “high-protein craze” is taking place according to press reports, and food manufacturers of breakfast cereals to ice cream are cashing in on sudden concerns about protein deficiencies in people’s diets. The truth is that the so-called “Western Diet” provides enough protein, and more likely too much.
The idea that providing more information about food served in restaurants, such as calorie and fat content, would reduce the risk of weight problems has widely been greeted with skepticism and outright rejection. Now a new study presented at the Second Annual Obesity Journal Symposium in Boston showed that calorie labeling on menus can indeed influence the choices people make once they become aware of the differences.
Shedding pounds too rapidly has long been considered by experts as a recipe for short-lived success, almost inevitably leading to reoccurring weight gain. A better approach was thought to be losing one to two pounds a week, enough time to let the body adjust and make the changes permanent. But the idea that slimming down at a reduced rate produces better outcomes long-term may be delusional, according to a new study that found no differences for participants in so-called crash diets by comparison to their counterparts who took a slower pace.
Nearly half of American adults are regularly sleep-deprived, according to a Gallup poll that has been tracking people’s sleep habits for decades. Less than seven hours a night has become the rule rather than the exception, down by more than an hour since the 1940s. Especially those who are starting careers and young parents don’t get the amount of sleep they need, and it has long-term consequences for their health.