Nutrition is Actually the Sweetest Thing
A recent report from the Environmental Working Group highlights the top sugar-laden cereals. Honey Smacks dominated the list with 15 grams of sugar per serving. While it’s fashionable these days to attack sugary cereals, sugar is hardly the most dangerous thing in your breakfast bowl. That dubious distinction goes to the milk.
For starters, milk itself is high in sugar. While the top five cereals on EWG’s list all had between 14 and 15 grams of sugar per serving, milk was nearly as high with 12 grams of sugar in a cup of skim milk. One cup of chocolate milk has almost 24 grams of sugar.
What is considerably more worrisome is the fact that milk is linked with cancer—particularly prostate cancer. In international comparisons and in several prospective studies, men consuming the most milk had a substantially higher risk of prostate cancer, apparently due to milk’s effects on male hormones.
You don’t need milk. Studies show that milk does not actually help build strong bones, and the protein in milk can easily be obtained from other sources. One cup of oatmeal has 5.5 grams of protein—as well as 4 grams of fiber. Quinoa also makes an excellent breakfast, and one cup of quinoa contains has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Making a few servings of quinoa or a pot of oatmeal, and then sticking them in the refrigerator, makes them as easy as cold cereal on a frenzied morning.
And you can sweeten them both with fruit and a little bit of agave if you’re so inclined. Ditch the milk, and we’ll all be better off in the long run.
KFC’s Double Down is a Nutritional Russian Roulette
While KFC in India is launching a “So Veg So Good” marketing campaign, KFC locations in the United States have resurrected one of its least healthful menu items to date—the Double Down.
This sandwich features bacon, cheese, and sauce crammed between two breaded chicken filets. The Physicians Committee has upped the ante by issuing KFC a SICK Award for gambling with customers’ health.
The Original Recipe Double Down contains 540 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 1,380 milligrams of sodium. As evidenced in a new report, the extreme amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium in the Double Down can lead to heart disease and hypertension.
During the sandwich’s initial 2010 launch, Physicians Committee dietitians wrote to David C. Novak, chairman of Yum! Brands, Inc., the company that owns KFC, requesting that the item receive a warning label regarding the high fat content.
When it comes to taking risks with your well-being, there is a 0.0007 percent chance of dying while skydiving. However, one in every four deaths is caused by heart disease, and more than 30 percent of Americans obese.
Those are some poor odds. Health-conscious customers can tweet their concerns @KFC on Twitter.
JLo Goes Vegan: An Inside Look Into the Surging Popularity of Plant-Based Diets
Guest Blog by Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.
Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to adopt a healthful vegan diet. We’re rooting for JLo and look forward to seeing her plant-powered performances on her next tour!
Vegan diets continue to surge in popularity and for good reason. Studies show people who adopt a plant-heavy diet are at reduced risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Other benefits include an increased lifespan and improvements in skin complexion, mood, and memory.
Hollywood’s A-list health champions are living proof: Anne Hathaway, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Ellen DeGeneres, and Carrie Underwood are some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars who continue to tout the health benefits of a colorful plant-based diet.
Need a case study?
Actress Michelle Pfeiffer lowered her cholesterol by 83 points, former president Bill Clinton lost 30 pounds and revamped his heart health, and actor Samuel L. Jackson lost 40 pounds after switching to a low-fat vegan diet.
Al Gore may be the next success story: The former vice president, who announced his vegan diet earlier this year, for environmental and health reasons, has lost 50 pounds.
These aren’t the only New Yorker residents who are seeing results: An elementary school in the Bronx recently adopted a plant-based menu, and within a year the students’ overall attendance improved, BMIs dropped, and test scores soared to an all-time high. The good news? The students enjoy the food: Some of the most popular menu items are spiced chickpeas, salad bars with broccoli trees, and fresh mango slices.
GEICO took a similar approach with employees in 2008 and offered plant-based options in workplace cafeterias, provided cooking demos for staff, and then made reference to a vegan diet in their famous “Happier than an Antelope” TV ad in 2012.
This growing phenomenon could explain why a recent Technomic survey finds kale-based options have increased 400 percent on restaurant menus over the past five years. Vegan options and quick grabs, which range from a simple black bean burrito bowl at Chipotle to a macrobiotic bowl with sea vegetables at Café Gratitude, dominate menus nationwide.
As our palates revert back to the healthy basics and as plant-based options continue to expand throughout K-12 schools, hospitals, workplace cafeterias, restaurants, grocery stores, U.S. airports, and on Hollywood screens, I hope to see the health of our next generation rapidly improve.
Want to test-drive a vegan diet or create your own success story? Visit 21DayKickstart.org.