Weight Management

The Pros and Cons of Frozen Foods

In the dead of winter, grocery shoppers often turn to the freezer aisle for out-of-season produce as well as easy-to-prepare entres. But with sales of frozen foods in decline-down an estimated 5% since 2009-the industry is launching a campaign, Frozen: How Fresh Stays Fresh, to boost awareness and promote frozen foods nutritional benefits. How do frozen foods really stack up?

Americans Belly Fat Booming

The obesity epidemic may be leveling off, but more Americans are carrying fat around the middle-the most dangerous kind of obesity. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, published in JAMA, says the rate of adult abdominal obesity has shot up from 46% in 1999-2000 to 54%. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist size of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches or more for men. During the 12-year span of the study, womens average waist size expanded two inches to 38 inches and men added an inch, to 40 inches.

Can You Train Your Brain to Crave Healthier Food?

A small pilot study at Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) raises the intriguing possibility that following a new behavioral weight-loss program for six months can in turn reprogram your brains food cravings. The first-of-its-kind study used MRI scans of the brains addiction center to see changes in the response to healthy and unhealthy food. The scans showed that it is possible to train the brain to reverse cravings and temptation for unhealthy food, replacing former cravings with temptation for healthy food.

Dieting Going DIY

Despite recent CDC reports that nearly half of US states have obesity rates exceeding 30%, Americans are losing interest in diet plans and weight-loss products. A new survey by the Packaged Facts market-research firm says 28% of American adults are trying to lose weight and another 14% are trying to avoid extra pounds. But weight-conscious consumers are looking to foods like Greek yogurt and oatmeal to feel full, instead of buying diet foods. The report cites the increasing tendency of consumers to turn away from formal diet plans imposed by outside authority and to conflate dieting with healthy eating.… DIY dieters increasingly embrace their own private healthy eating and exercise regimens as the path to weight-loss success.Women continue to outnumber men among dieters, according to Packaged Facts, with the core of weight-loss dieters being non-Hispanic white women ages 55-plus. With the exception of significantly overweight people, however, weight-watchers are now more likely to be satisfied with not gaining pounds, rather than actually losing weight.

Do You Need to Drink Extra Nutrition?

Nutrition shakes, originally developed for hospital patients at risk of malnourishment because of difficulty eating conventional food, are now being marketed to healthy people of all ages as a convenient form of nutritional insurance-sort of like a multivitamin in a bottle. But the American Geriatrics Society recently advised against using the popular liquid supplements even for most older adults suffering unintentional weight loss. There is no evidence that they affect other important clinical outcomes, such as quality of life, mood, functional status or survival, according to the societys latest Choosing Wisely guidance for physicians and patients.

Its No Longer a Small World

More than 2 billion people around the world are now overweight or obese, according to a new University of Washington study in The Lancet. Since 1980, the global proportion of women who are overweight or obese has gone from 30% to 38%; men have gone from 29% to 40%, overtaking women in percentage overweight or obese.

Rethinking BMI for Older Adults

If youre over 65 or approaching that age and still watching your weight, new findings suggest you may be worrying about the wrong thing. Its true that the obesity epidemic has exacted a serious toll on Americas health. But for older adults, maintaining muscle mass to ward off frailty-a condition called sarcopenia-is more important both to the length and quality of life than counting pounds. The popular Body Mass Index (BMI-see box), a calculation that combines weight and height, turns out not to be a very good predictor of health for older adults-for whom the rules about overweight may simply be different than for younger people.

Discover the Goodness of Cooked Greens

If you listen to advocates of the raw food movement, everything is better for you when its not cooked. But theres a whole group of leafy-green vegetables traditionally served cooked-mustard, collard and turnip greens-that, except in the South, most Americans simply skip as they concentrate on fresh salad greens. Cooking helps tame the flavors of some greens, like mustard, that might deter some diners. Cooking can also make chard more palatable, when its leaves and stems are too mature for salads. And of course cooking opens up a whole different menu for spinach and kale.

Food Companies Exceed Calorie-Cutting Goal

Since 2007, 16 of the nations leading food and beverage companies have cut 6.4 trillion calories out of the American diet-equivalent to 78 daily calories per person. Thats the conclusion of a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which worked with the companies to help combat childhood obesity.

Obesity Rates Plateau in 49 States

While US obesity rates remain at historic highs, only Arkansas has seen an increase in the percentage of adults who are obese, while the other 49 states hit pause in a three-decade trend of ever-fatter populations.