Starbucks Refreshers I really can't tell how I feel about these new drinks. They are relatively low in calories (compared to soda, not water) having between 50 and 70 calories for 16 ounces. They contain green tea "extract" as a caffeine infusion - i.e. they are energy drinks - fancy and expensive. They are also sold in cans, but I did not have access to that nutrition information and cannot speak to them. I think there is a concentrated version, too. They are definitely trying to get in on the fad.
Agriculture Policy The other day I noted the disconnect between US farm policy and recommendations for a healthy diet. I did not want to leave anyone thinking that I was suggesting that we stop helping farmers. I believe that we can modify the policy so that we use research and development dollars to improve conditions for fruit and vegetable (not bananas and potatoes) production [like how to protect against weather and pest damage]. We can also support the farmers with risk insurance to cover the weather and insect problems.
Point of Purchase Studies Lets see I have read several this week. What is neat is that I am reading ones from the 1970s. Some of them involve early studies of food product labels and the others are actual menu labeling studies, but from 30 to40 years ago. In one case, the researchers used a cafeteria in Mississippi but the owners would not let them list actual calories on the sign boards. Instead, they were able to say that in the vegetable group, the salad group and the entree group, which item was the low calorie choice. They found that people did often choose the lower calorie vegetable or salad, when the labels were posted, but not the entrees. The researchers noted that in some cases, the low calorie choice was a mere 10 calories different from the one above it and they were all high. In another study, the authors, including Barbara Rolls, used an experimental setting to test the effect of energy density and caloric information use. The main point from that study, when the food served was more energy dense (more calories per gram) the people did eat less WEIGHT of food. When the meals were lower in calories per gram (i.e. volumetrics) the people ate more. However, even when they ate less food in the high energy dense meals, they ate more calories overall! Another study was testing the idea that obese people were more likely to give into an environmental cue to eat fatty foods or to eat more food than normal weight people. The idea was NOT confirmed and this study showed that everybody is susceptible to the "toxic" "obesogenic" environment.
Exercise and Food Do you know what the difference is between lean cyclists and overweight ones? How about lean runners and overweight ones? It is the amount of calories they consume. The amount they eat. There is a near mythical belief that once a certain activity level is reached, one can eat whatever and as much as they want. It has never been true that runners or anyone can eat whatever they want. In fact, science tells us that exercise is not the best tool for weight loss or even maintenance. Exercise is the key to health, not an excuse to eat more. Of course, the food industry wants you to believe in the myth. They love telling people to exercise more.. heck, even the national weight control program is called Let's Move... because no one wants to hear Eat Less (darn-nit)
McCafe Chocolate Chip Frappe Well, that is good lead in to this story. The new drink from McDonald's has over 500 calories for a small and over 600 for a medium. That is a meals worth of calories... too many for a snack. The drink is mostly sugar. The small has...... are you ready......66 grams of sugar (which cannot be blamed on fruit) and 15 grams of saturated (solid) fat. Yikes. BTW, on a two mile stretch off highway this afternoon I passed 3 McDonald's billboards. One was for french fries, reminding us that we could get them anytime, 24 hours a day. One was for the Frappe which I had seen a TV ad for, and the other was for the smoothie drinks I talked about in a previous post. I did not pass any billboards that advertised fruits, vegetables or whole grains.
Vacation Exercise I have been in Florida 10 days and I have my most recent exercise chart. It is a little different than usual, but it is safe to say I did not get sedentary while away from home.