Kids choosing candy

"Cartoons using overweight characters may encourage children to eat more," according to a Nutrition Action Review summary of a recent study. When children were shown a cartoon character before they got candy, children who saw an overweight character took more Hershey Kisses or cookies than children who were shown a normal-weight character. But if asked to think about things "that make you healthy" and to choose healthier pictures (say, milk over soda), the "characters had no impact on the number of cookies the kids ate."

The message? "Beware of subtle influences that make you--or your children--overeat." *From the J. Consumer Pschy 2015: doi:10.1016, summarized in Nutrition Action Review Oct 2015

High Fructose Corn Syrup raises LDL

One reason to avoid daily sodas:

From the June 2015 Nutrition Action Review: "In just two weeks, even modest doses of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) raise LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease and gout." A study on 85 adults found that the more HFCS they drank, the "higher their LDL cholesterol, after-meal tri-glycerides, and average uric acid levels." The article also reminds readers that while this study used HFCS, table sugar has roughly the same amounts of fructose and glucose.

The article in Nutrition Action Review summarizes a study found in Am. J. CLin. Nutr. 2015. doi:10:3945/ajcn.114.100461.

What exactly is "Honey Sauce?"

You'd think that a package of honey to spread on a biscuit would be just that, honey. But, presumably to cut even more costs in a competitive fast-food market, KFC doesn't actually serve real honey. Instead, it's "Honey Sauce," made from the ingredients many parents try to avoid: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and sugar.

Here's the full ingredient list:
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • corn syrup
  • sugar
  • honey
  • fructose
    less than 2% of
  • Caramel color
  • molasses
  • water
  • citric acid
  • natural and artificial flavors
  • malic acid

This makes me really reluctant to try their other biscuit topping, "Buttery Spread." The ingredients aren't listed in this one--who knows what it contains? Probably not butter.

Just another example of "Finding Hidden Candy" everywhere we look!

Polyphenols in Chocolate bars

"Chocolate bars with higher "% cocoa solids" generally have more polyphenols (flavenols) than ones with lower content." When researchers analyzed 46 different bars, the dark chocolate bars had more polyphenols than milk chocolate, and polyphenol content was higher in bars with increased percentage of cocoa solids. "Even small amounts of dark chocolate (6 to 10 grams--or 0.2 to 0.35 ounces--a day) have been linked to cardiovascular benefits."

Summarized in The University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Oct 2015: Volume 32, Issue 1. Original study appeared in the Journal of Functional Foods.