Entries in Snacks (10)


Not Just How Many Calories Kids Eat, It's Also What They Eat

(NEW YORK) -- With childhood obesity becoming a greater problem in the U.S., a new study finds that weight control is more than just a matter of counting calories.    

About 32 percent of U.S. children are overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Experts say junk food is partly to blame for their growing waistlines.  Kids today eat nearly three snacks a day, compared to just one for children 30 years ago.
For a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Mitsuru Shimizu, Ph.D., and Adam Brumberg looked at the effects of snacks on 201 children in grades three through six.
Some were given high-nutrient snacks of cheese and vegetables while others got low-nutrient snacks of potato chips.
Allowed to eat as much as they wanted, those children who ate the cheese-and-vegetable combination consumed 72 percent fewer calories than the potato-chip group. In other words, they needed far fewer calories to feel full.  
The study authors conclude that a high-nutrient combination snack of cheese and vegetables can be effective in reducing kids' calorie consumption during snacking.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Americans Pick Their Favorite Salty Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The heck with hypertension, Americans love their salty snacks and the number one treat, according to a brand recognition survey by YouGov BrandIndex, is Ritz Crackers.

It's the second year in a row that the Nabisco product, a favorite since the 1930’s, has topped the list with an overall favorability rating of 55.2, just a smidgen higher than in 2011.

Trailing Ritz in second place is Lay’s Potato Chips while Doritos Tortilla Chips and Fritos Corn Chips, each made by Frito-Lay’s, finished third and fourth. Here’s the top ten:

1. Ritz
2. Lay's
3. Doritos
4. Fritos
5. Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
6. Wheat Thins
7. Tostitos
8. Cheetos
9. Pringles
10. Triscuit

YouGov conducted its survey of 1.5 million adults ages 18 and above by asking the question, “Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?” and using scores of 100 through minus 100 with negative feedback subtracted from positive responses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Welch’s Threatened Over Heart Health Claims

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Welch's promotes its grape juice and other products as healthy, but one group says those health benefits are actually outweighed by an overabundance of sugar and calories.

“Welch's shouldn't be slapping a heart-health icon on its grape juice and other products,” the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest said Tuesday.

“[N]ot only does Welch's juice not improve heart health,” the group alleges, “it may, on balance, do harm by contributing to insulin resistance and obesity.” The CSPI says it notified the company “that it will face a lawsuit unless it stops making heart-health claims on its juices, spreads, fruit juice cocktails, and fruit snacks.”

The group says an 8-ounce serving of Welch's juice contains 36 grams of sugar and 140 calories, more than the same amount of Coca-Cola.

"Most Americans concerned about their weight and risk of diabetes would actually do well to drink less juice," CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said. "It's deceptive and misleading for Welch's to claim that grape juice has any special benefit to heart health."

Welch's maintains that its Concord grapes promote heart health and, in a statement provided to ABC News, calls the accusations against their messaging "misguided."

“When it comes to heart health, the substantial body of research conducted over a 15-year period supports the cardiovascular benefits of 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes, including many placebo controlled, human studies,” the company said. “In addition, a recent comprehensive review of the science published in Nutrition Today concluded that consuming grapes and grape juice can support cardiovascular health without adversely affecting weight in healthy adults.

“Contrary to CSPI’s view on the role of 100% fruit juice, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone – adults and children – get more fruit each day,” the statement continued. “The guidelines also say that 100% juice is one way to add more fruit to the diet as a complement to whole fruit intake.

“Furthermore, equating the nutritional value of 100% grape juice to soft drinks is not only misleading but potentially harmful to the public.  Calorie for calorie, 100% grape juice packs more nutrition than soft drinks and delivers essential vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant nutrients – to help promote health,” the company said.

“CSPI has raised a number of other specific accusations and since those specifics are subjects of potential litigation, we are unable to provide further comment.  Welch’s has always taken our responsibility to consumers seriously and will continue to take great care in our messages.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


School Snack Laws Effective in Curbing Weight Gain, Study Finds

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- State laws that curb the sale of junk food in schools may be helping combat childhood obesity, according to the findings of a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In the first national study to measure the effectiveness of state laws that curb the sale of sugary snacks and drinks, researchers found that kids in grades five through eight who lived in states with stronger laws actually gained less weight than kids in states without them.

“[I]t really shows that there can be an effect -- a positive effect -- by curbing the sale of junk food and sweetened drinks,” said Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Ayoob was not involved in the study.

These findings, though not considered hard proof because the differences were slight, are increasing optimism among public health experts. Ayoob says states that do not have laws limiting the consumption of junk food and low nutrient drinks in schools might want to consider adopting legislation that would do so.

And while curbing junk food in school is a good start, it’s critical that healthy habits extend beyond the classroom, Ayoob says. “That's where maybe parents can have a bigger impact.”

The study was conducted over three years and involved more than 6,000 kids in 40 states.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Colored Potato Chips Slow Snacking

Robyn Wishna/Cornell Food and Brand Lab(NEW YORK) -- Once you pop open a stack of potato chips, it can sometimes be hard to stop until you suddenly realize you are scraping the bottom of the can.  Now, new research suggests that inserting colored potato chips might actually help curb your appetite -- and the findings could have implications for other snacks, too.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University gave students one of two types of Lays' Stackable potato chips.  The first group was given a stack of chips with red dyed, edible potato chips that were interspersed at several different intervals, suggesting serving sizes anywhere from five to 14 chips.  The other group was given the traditional stack of potato chips with no edible dividers.

What the researchers found was that inserting colored potato chips at regular intervals in the stacks caused people to eat fewer chips overall.  In fact, the group with the edible serving size dividers reduced their potato chip consumption by 50 percent.  The results appear in the May issue of the Journal of Health Psychology.

"The colored chip did all the work," says Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the study.  "This study showed that segmenting foods gets people to eat less."

"People tend to eat what you put in front of them.  If you put less in front of them and give them a signal, they will take it," he says.

Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State and author of the Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, had similar observations.  In a separate study, she and her colleagues found that giving men and women bigger bags of potato chips caused them to eat more.  This increase in snack consumption, interestingly, did not translate into the participants eating less at dinner time.

So, is portion control the answer to why over one-third of Americans are obese today?

The answer may just be that simple.  Rozin compared the American and French diet with some interesting findings.  The French, he found, tend to eat smaller portions.

"Even the portions at McDonald's and the pizza parlors are smaller in France compared to America," Rozin says.  "The idea in France is not eating as much as you can but eating as much good food as you can."

Rozin and his colleagues also found that the French tend to eat more slowly than Americans and savor each bite.  In the United States, food is more on the run, and people do not realize how much they are actually consuming.

Interestingly, the French eat higher fat diets than Americans but they have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and higher life expectancy.  Rozin explains that this is called the "French paradox."  The French do not go to the gym as much as Americans but they are overall more active and control their portion sizes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Snacking Is the Real American Pastime

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans love their snacks so much so that about half of them enjoy them outside their regular meals at least twice a day.

That’s according to a survey conducted by market research firms Technomic, Packaged Facts and SymphonyIRI.

As for where Americans like to have their snacks, 70 percent of consumers prefer munching goodies at home, but there are signs that more people are sneaking snacks at work.

Mid-afternoon snacking seems to be most popular with 75 percent of Americans, while four in 10 admit they also like their favorite treats during the morning, evening and late night.

The highest-grossing snacks last year might surprise you: trail mix and hummus, with sales up 11.1 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively.

Snacks apparently don’t necessarily have to be food, according to the survey: three in 10 snacks consumed in 2011 were beverages.

Fifty percent of consumers say they eat snacks to provide them with an energy boost, while two-thirds of women are also careful not to eat portions that they consider too large.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Top 5 Heart-Healthy Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Of all the nutritious snack options available, new research suggests that raisins and soy may pack some of the biggest wallop when it comes to being heart healthy.

At the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting this past weekend, researchers presented results of separate studies that evaluated the effects of raisins and soy on blood pressure. The studies found that both foods lowered blood pressure when consumed regularly.

Experts weighed in on these and a few other snacks that offer heart-healthy benefits. ABC News compiled a list of the top five.

1. Raisins: It's long been believed that raisins have a positive effect on blood pressure, and a study by doctors at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center (L-MARC) now offers some proof to support that claim.

In their study, Dr. Harold Bays and his colleagues randomly assigned 46 men and women who had borderline high blood pressure to consume either about 60 raisins or a pre-packaged snack three times a day.

"We monitored blood pressure, and when we did that and looked at the final result, we found that compared to the snack group, the raisin group showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure," said Bays, who is medical director and president of L-MARC.

Bays believes the potassium in the raisins brought about the decrease in blood pressure.

"Prior studies had already supported that if you give people potassium, blood pressure would go down," he said.

What is also significant about his study, Bays added, is that it is one of the only studies to evaluate the relationship between raisins and blood pressure.

2. Soy Products: Soy products are protein-rich dietary staples found to have positive cardiovascular effects, including lowering blood pressure.

Researchers led by Safiya Richardson, a fourth-year medical student at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, studied the relationship between isoflavones, compounds found in soy, and blood pressure among subjects participating in the nationwide Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

They found that consuming only 2.5 milligrams of isoflavones a day (by comparison, an 8-ounce glass of soy milk has 22 milligrams) lowered blood pressure by about five points. The effect was especially strong among African-Americans.

3. Walnuts: While experts generally consider nuts to be heart smart because they contain healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, walnuts are a particularly healthy choice.

"Nuts are among the foods that have the types of fats that reduce the levels of LDL -- the 'bad' cholesterol -- and increase the levels of the good HDL cholesterol in our blood," said Dr. Philip Ragno, director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital.

"With walnuts, you are getting alpha-linoleic acid, which converts to an omega-3 fatty acid, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease," said Allison Stowell, dietitian at Guiding Stars, a food rating system based in grocery stores around the country.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also abundant in fish, and according to the American Heart Association, they can lower the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms and can also decrease the levels of triglycerides in the blood.

A recent study found that walnuts also have about twice the amount of antioxidants as other nuts. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

4. Avocados: "Avocados are a super-fruit that has lots of monounsaturated fat," said Stowell.

Avocados also have a lot of vitamins, fiber and potassium. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avocados have 60 percent more potassium than bananas.

5. High-Fiber Foods: One of the healthiest nutrients in avocados and other heart-friendly foods is fiber.

"Fiber helps cleanse the digestive tract of potentially dangerous fats," said Ragno. "Snacks that are high in fiber include oats, grains, beans, fruits and vegetables."

Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, which can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dietary guidelines say women should consume 25 grams of fiber per day and men should consume 38 grams, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'People Pleasers' Feel Pressured to Snack

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- People who eat to please others are likely to regret it later -- a dietary dilemma that could affect many Americans this Super Bowl Sunday.

"People pleasers" feel pressured to eat to comfort others around them who are indulging themselves, but a new study suggests the social snacking may not be worth it.

"If you sense that another person wants you to eat, you'll be more likely to eat more," said Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study published Wednesday in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. "If we look back later and feel like we've given into social pressure, we often regret those choices."

People tend to eat more in groups, Exline said.  But some people eat even more to avoid "rocking the boat."

"It's not a big deal if grandma cooks you a big dinner once a year.  But if you live with grandma, it could be a problem," Exline said.

Previous studies suggest people seem less sociable when they forego food, Exline said.

"Sometimes it makes sense to go along with the groove -- you don't want to hurt grandma's feelings," she said. "The trick is to be thoughtful about choices rather than going on autopilot."

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said the social pressure to eat is contributing to the obesity epidemic.

"There's no question the way we eat is influenced by others," he said. "It's compounded around holidays and big events, but it plays out in lesser ways every day as we interact with our families and people in our workplaces. It's not just Super Bowl Sunday."

Katz said people should feel empowered to skip snacks and put their own health first.

"It would be perfectly OK to turn peer pressure the other way around and say, 'Don't try to tempt me.  I'll keep an eye on you if you keep an eye on me,'" said Katz. "Peer pressure could become a very powerful force for good."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Family Super Bowl Snacks: Nachos, Guacamole

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The first family will likely spend Super Bowl Sunday at the White House, watching the big game over a plate of nachos and a side of guacamole, Michelle Obama said in an interview with celebrity chef Rachael Ray set to air Wednesday.

“We’ll probably watch it at home. It’ll probably be a quiet Super Bowl this year,” Obama told Ray of the family’s plans.

As for the favorite Obama snacks that would be part of a game-day spread, Obama said nachos are “always good,” particularly if “it’s fresh tomato sauce and you get it on sort of a good-quality tortilla.”

President Obama prefers avocados as his “favorite snack food,” she added. “A chip dipped in some guac.”

The first lady also discussed her family’s commitment to physical fitness, which is the focus of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity.

“We’re a huge sports family,” she said. “I work out as often as I can, usually every day and when we can, we exercise with the kids. I usually exercise after the girls go to school, but they play basketball, my older daughter plays tennis, we play with her. Barack helps to coach Sasha’s basketball team, so we do make sports a part of our lifestyle and that’s the other leg of ‘Let’s Move!’

“It’s nutrition, but it’s also movement,” she added.

As for those cheesy-typically high-caloric nachos, Obama agreed with Ray that they can be made in a healthy way.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Snacking Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

Brian Leatart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It can be easy to lose count of calories when you’re sipping on eggnog and snacking on other treats during the holidays.  Harley Pasternak, of the new ABC show The Revolution, has healthier versions of your favorite high-calorie treats.  Indulge in these holiday favorites guilt-free:

Tostitos Creamy Spinach Dip: 
One container of the dip has 700 calories and 56 grams of fat, equal to 100 cups of spinach! Try Pasternak’s healthier version instead, which only has 181 calories per serving.  Use cut up vegetables, like baby carrots or red peppers as dippers instead of fried chips.

Starbucks’ Eggnog Latte:  A venti-sized latte has 620 calories and 29 grams of fat. Instead, try Paternak’s healthy eggnog recipe, which has 186 calories and is made with Splenda.  Top with fat-free whipped cream for an additional 10 calories.

Coldstone Creme de Menthe Shake: 
A small “like it” size has 1080 calories and 66 grams of fat, equal to 90 mini candy canes!  To save on calories, make your own minty shake with fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt and four crumbled mini candy canes.  Blend them together for only 140 calories and no fat.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese:  One box of mac and cheese yields 1000 calories and 39 grams of fat.  Skip the unhealthy version and make Pasternak’s mac and cheese recipe made with whole grain noodles, skim milk, and Laughing Cow cheese for only 379 calories for the entire dish.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake:  A nice slice of pumpkin pie cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory has 680 calories and 45 grams of fat.  Instead, try Pasternak’s healthy pumpkin pie for only 180 calories.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio