Food News Today for Saturday October 25th, 2014

Halloween Sweet Treats! Is Your Morning Coffee Fix Genetic?

October 25, 2014

With Halloween just days away, the season for sweet treats is officially upon us and this year consumers are expected to spend a pretty penny on candy.   Of the total $7.4 billion that the National Retail Federation expects U.S. consumers to spend on Halloween celebrations, about one-third of that amount will be spent on candy. The National Confectioners Association expects Americans to spend $2.5 billion on candy this year! The most popular candy treat: chocolate, the favorite of 72% of Americans with Candy Corn trailing a distant second with 12%. But for you folk trying to make the holiday a little healthier without completely taking the fun out of it, here are a few tips.

First, to get ready for trick or treaters, why not try packaged treats such as pretzels, graham crackers, Gold Fish crackers or even 100 percent natural juice boxes. These sealed packs usually provide a reasonably healthy portion size. If you're locked into candy though, make sure your offering up the ones which are a little "less unhealthy" like three musketeers minis. 

For  your kids at home think about ways to adjust your usual holiday treats. For example, the beloved candy apple. Instead of dunking the apple in syrup or caramel, simply drizzle it. The same sweet taste but a lot less sugar!  And when your child comes home with a pile of candy, help them divide up their collection into 100 calorie portions. Not only does it teach them portion sizes but it will help make sure they don't guzzle it all in one sitting!

Is Your Morning Coffee Fix Genetic? 

Is that morning coffee you can’t live without all thanks to your genes?According to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health and published in Molecular Psychiatry, genetics might be responsible for the coffee habits of a percentage of the population. 

In this new research, scientists looked at more than 120,000 coffee drinkers and found six markers linked to responsiveness to caffeine—some of which had been previously identified as being related to other types of potentially addictive behaviors such as smoking, but had never before been linked to coffee consumption. Marilyn Cornelis, the study’s lead author explains; “These are genes that we previously would not have implicated with coffee, and they show there is some genetic basis for our coffee consumption behavior. Out of 2.5 million variants in the genome, we found a handful that were strongly linked to coffee consumption.”

So why is this research useful?  As Cornelis says, the results might help add nuance to coffee research and also help pinpoint people who’d most benefit from coffee consumption, and who should stick to decaf. “We assume that any health effects from one cup of coffee will be the same for everyone, but this data suggests that’s not true,” Cornelis says.


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