Food News Today Transcripts for the week of February 6th, 2012

February 10, 2012

The impact of the size of our plate, what’s new in children’s environmental health, and teens need more whole grains, for February 8th, 2012, this is Food News Today.

Good morning, Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting, and unbiased food news.

Today is National Molasses Bar Day! And today is Feast of St. Meingold, patron of bakers.. wondering if the celebration includes whole grains? …anyway yea I told you they were useless!


>Portion sizes are something all of us constantly battle, and trying not to overeat is a difficult task for many, but a new study suggests that our dinnerware, both size and color, could be a key factor in changing how much we consume. 


The study from Georgia Tech, Plate Size and Color Suggestibility, found that color contrast between our food and the plate has a huge impact on actual consumption. If the food is a similar color to the plate, people will serve and eat about 22% more than if the colors of the food and plate contrast. Researchers have previously linked plate size to serving size as well. Bigger plates translate to bigger portions and we eat more -  smaller plates less.  

Another study from the journal, Appetite, found that eating from a red plate could help prevent overeating, and cut consumption by about 40%. Researchers say the color red may discourage overeating because it is commonly associated with the idea of danger and of course the stop sign.

Your take home tip? Use smaller plates for the main course, and big plates for salad but don’t forget to go light on the creamy salad dressing. And use contrasting plates and servings on smaller dishes.


>Next up we hear from  Rebecca Fisher.  Rebecca is an environmental economist and has earned degrees from Brandies and Duke Universities. She is the newest member of Food News Today and we look forward to her perspective on the environmental-food nexus. (Toss to her) Rebecca...


On Friday January 27th, the US EPA announced that it will be partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to introduce children’s environmental health information into the organization’s educational programs.The focus of these lessons is to educate children about environmental health and inspire them to take steps in their lives to improve the environment for their community and reduce their environmental risk. This initiative marks a significant step forward for the environmental health movement, which has striven to educate citizens about issues that occur at the health-environment nexus. Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator, emphasized the positive impacts of this partnership: “The Boys & Girls Clubs offer a great opportunity to work with our most vulnerable population, children, and to educate them on the health effects of their everyday environment. As the youngest stewards of the environment, children can make a huge environmental impact now and in the future." 


Thanks Rebecca. We applaud these organizations for creating a positive force for environmental health education across the nation.


>Now if we could just get our teens to eat more whole grains! According to a recent University of Minnesota at St. Paul, teens are not consuming nearly enough whole grain foods – and some are not eating any whole grains at all! The study, which looked at adolescents (ages 12 to 19) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2004), found that fewer than one third consumed more than 0.5 whole grain ounce equivalents per day.

 In the study, which is one of the first to look at whole grain consumption in kids, eating whole grains was favorably associated with higher fiber and folate intake. Also, higher whole grains intake was associated with lower fasting insulin levels, potentially reducing risk factors for type 2 diabetes. C-peptide levels were lower in girls eating more whole grains compared to those with no or low intake as well. Homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease, was lower in boys who had higher whole grain intakes compared to those who ate none or had a low intake.

Whole grains – and foods made from them – contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. This means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain. 

And it’s not just kids who need to eat more whole grains, according to the Whole Grains Council, the average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains, and some studies show that over 40% of Americans never eat whole grains at all! This is a simple step we all need to take.

That's it for this weeks report - remember to log on to Food News Today anytime to watch the replay and access our transcripts as well as our information links. Thanks for watching!