Todays Newsbites

Unhealthy Eating Makes Bad Mood Worse

If youre already worried about your weight and diet

Sorghum Confirmed Gluten-Free

People with celiac disease look-ing for gluten-free options

All-Natural Label OK for Bottled Tea with HFCS

The term natural on food labels, already meaningless

Menu Symbols Help Cut Calories

Combining calorie counts with traffic-light

Extra Sugar Adds 475 Calories a Day

Nutrition experts have been warn- ing us to watch added sugars for at least a decade, but Americans are still struggling to follow that advice. Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, of the Univer- sity of Vermont, incoming chair of the American Heart Associations nutrition committee, told a recent conference that Americans average 475 daily calories from added sugars. Thats far more than the AHAs recommended maximum of 100 daily calories from added sugars for women and 150 for men-and equivalent to a whopping 30 teaspoons a day. So we have a long way to go, Johnson told attendees at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Added sugars and solid fats total about 35% of the calories in the average diet, she added; the recommended maximum is 5%- 15%. To start scaling back on added sugars, Johnson advised simply avoiding sugary soft drinks, the source of about 36% of added sugars in the US diet. But dont worry about naturally occurring sugars, such as in milk or plain versions of cereal or yogurt, she said. Check the label to see if sugar in any form is listed among the ingredients.

Snorers Risk Metabolic Syndrome

Snoring may be more serious than just keeping your partner awake: A new study says that loud snorers are at nearly double the risk of develop- ing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms associated with diabetes and heart disease. University of Pittsburgh scientists studied 812 patients, ages 45-74, in an ongoing community heart- health study. Over three years, 14% developed meta- bolic syndrome. Those reporting loud snoring, diff- culty falling asleep and unsatisfying sleep were at much greater risk of met- abolic syndrome. Among a subset of 294 patients evalutaed for sleep apnea, however, only loud snoring remained signif- cantly associated with metabolic syndrome once the data were adjusted using the apnea- hypopnea index (AHI). Research- ers concluded that healthcare profes- sionals should consider common sleep problems as possible risk factors when assessing patients. It could also be that this is a case of reverse causation, since obesity- part of metabolic syndrome-can cause snoring and other sleep problems

Whole-Grain Products Soar

The US food packagers are getting the whole-grains religion. The market-research organization Mintel predicts that 2010 will wind up being the biggest year ever for whole-grain product launches. Through the third quarter, new products with whole- grain label claims already totaled 651. The Mintel report credited the Whole Grains Councils stamp labeling program as a driving force in con- sumer awareness of whole-grain health benefts: Since the introduction of the Whole Grain Stamp in 2005, more than 3,700 new whole-grain food products have been introduced. The percentage of new products carrying a whole-grain label claim has jumped from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.6% in 2010. The trend is even stronger among foods boasting that theyre all- natural, with nearly one in fve also touting whole grains. (See our complete guide to cooking and using whole grains in this issues Special Supplement.)

Green Tea Boosts Fullness

S ipping a cup of green tea with a meal may help you feel more full and less likely to go back for seconds. Thats the conclusion of Swedish researchers, who compared the post-meal effects of green tea with plain water. Their study failed, however, to confrm hopes that the antioxidant-rich tea would also moder- ate insulin sensitivity or glucose levels, helping to curb diabetes risk. Research- ers observed study participants for two hours after a meal, quizzing them on satiety and how full they felt. Not only did participants report feeling more full when accompanying the meal with a cup of green tea, they were also less interested in eating another mouthful of the same food. When washing down the meal with plain water, participants were later more of a mind to go for a second helping.

Consumers Mixed on High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Despite assur- ances from the Corn Refners Association-which recently peti- tioned the FDA to allow high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to be labeled corn sugar-the public remains wary about the common sweetener, accord- ing to another Mintel report. In a new survey, 35% of consumers said they avoid products containing HFCS and 84% think government should require companies to disclose the quantity of HFCS in products. Todays consum- ers are demanding transparency across the board, commented Krista Faron, lead innovation analyst at Mintel. And when it comes to an ingredi- ent as controversial as high-fructose corn syrup, the majority of Americans clearly want complete information that will help them make informed purchase decisions. By a 45%-35% margin, however, those surveyed op- posed government limits on HFCS use. And 64% of consumers still think the sweetener is OK in modera- tion-an opinion that most experts, pending further research, would prob- ably agree with.

Government Releases Five-Year Update of Dietary Guidelines

More than seven months after the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) on the latest scientific evidence about eating right, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 were finally released-in 2011. Federally mandated to be updated every five years, the 112-page seventh edition of the guidelines, from the USDA and Department of Health & Human Services, will be followed by a revised food pyramid to help put the recommendations into action