Serving Spoon Nutrition Articles
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Portion Size vs.
The Skinny on
Vitamin D &
of Fiber in Diet
New Report Questions the Benefits of Cutting Sodium
A new report published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) calls into question commonly held beliefs regarding salt and its effects on health, and scrutinizes the government’s recommendations on sodium. The report is based on a review of scientific literature and 40 years of government efforts focused on sodium restriction, as well as studies on alternative options for reducing high blood pressure. CEI’s main conclusion is that restricting sodium is not the best way to go about reducing hypertension in the United States and globally. Another key finding is that there is almost universal agreement within scientific research that weight loss, increasing potassium intake, and other dietary factors are more effective in reducing high blood pressure than simply reducing sodium intake. This report comes after the USDA, FDA and other government agencies had set goals for cutting sodium under the Obama Administration. The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a think-tank dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.
Vitamin D & Folate
Happy Fall! I hope everyone is having a great school year! It’s so hard to believe that the holiday season is almost here! There’s been lots of talk in recent months about Vitamin D and Folate, so I thought that information on these two nutrients might be helpful for you and for your families.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient that can be consumed in one’s diet or created in one’s skin when exposed to sunlight. Due to its importance and the limited number of naturally-occurring food sources of vitamin D, many foods are fortified with Vitamin D. Fortification means that Vitamin D is added to foods that aren’t naturally rich in this nutrient—such as some dairy products, orange juice, and cereals.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D allows us to absorb calcium, enabling normal formation and maintenance of bones. Without enough Vitamin D, bones can become brittle, weak, and deformed.
Sufficient Vitamin D helps promote strong bone growth in children, and helps to prevent osteoporosis in older adults.
Infants who are breastfeeding get vitamin D from their mother. Mothers need to consume adequate vitamin D to help their children grow strong bones. Sometimes supplementation is needed.
Bones support the body in all things that children do like playing sports and climbing trees!
What foods contain large amounts of vitamin D?
- Fish (swordfish, salmon, tuna, and sardines)
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified milk and yogurt
- Egg yolk
- Fortified breakfast cerea
Be sure to understand, vitamin D is not needed in enormous quantities-- too much is not a good thing. For reference, three glasses of milk per day or a small serving of fish and a glass of fortified orange juice would provide sufficient vitamin D for the day.
A diet sufficient in Vitamin D can help lower the risk of developing many adverse health conditions:
This is a disease where there is insufficient calcium to maintain the structure of bones. Calcium is leached from the bones in order to ensure proper amounts of calcium in the bloodstream, which is necessary for a healthy heart. Poor bone health leads to weakness and a high chance of bone fractures. Vitamin D is key in absorbing calcium from the diet and maintaining bone health.
Similar to osteoporosis, deficiency in Vitamin D reduces the amount of calcium absorbed, increasing the risk of bone deformities in young, growing children.
- Lengthening Life:
Older people have trouble getting enough vitamin D to maintain their bones. Their skin is less able to produce vitamin D and they might not get as much time in the sun. Getting enough vitamin D will help prevent hip fractures and other dangerous bone breaks that prevent physical activity and are difficult to recover from.
In summary, vitamin D is necessary for growth of infants and children, so they can become strong, healthy adults. Older adults need to consume more vitamin D because they cannot produce it in their skin as readily but need to maintain strong, healthy bones. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D for children and adults and 800 IU of vitamin D for people over the age of 70.
Source: Vitamin D. (2016, Feb). National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#en1
What is Folate?
Why is folate important?
Folate is necessary for the proper development of babies both before and after they are born. It prevents the malformation of the brain, skull, and spine, such as spina bifida and encephalopathy. It also allows the organs and limbs to develop properly.
Folate in breast milk is sufficient for the normal growth and development of an infant.
Folate prevents homocysteine (which is a toxic waste product from normal reactions in the body) from building up and causing problems, including the potential for developing cancer, hypertension, and heart disease.
What foods contain large amounts of folate?
- Dark leafy greens (especially boiled spinach and Brussels sprouts)
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified breads or pastas
- Fruits (especially oranges, papaya, grapes, bananas, and cantaloupe)
- Beef liver
A diet sufficient in folate can help lower the risk of developing many adverse health conditions:
- Cancer. Multiple studies have found a correlation between sufficient folate intake and reduced occurrences of colon, lung, pancreatic, esophageal, stomach, cervical, ovarian, breast, and other cancers.
- Stroke. Folate provides protection from stroke, by lowering the body’s homocysteine levels.
- Depression. Sufficient folate intake has not been associated with fewer occurrences of depression, but low folate intake has shown to reduce the efficacy of antidepressant medications.
- To summarize, folate plays a key role in proper development and growth during the early stages of life and throughout childhood, starting at conception. The Institute of Medicine recommends an increasing amount of folate as a child grows, eventually requiring 400 micrograms of folate each day as a teenager or adult, unless pregnant or lactating.
I hope you find this information helpful! Best wishes for a warm, happy and healthy holiday season.
Source: Folate. (2016, Feb). National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
Marla Caplon, RD, LD, Nutrition Chair
Food Industry Looks To Use Approps To Delay Nutrition Facts Update
Those waiting to see added sugars labeled on their jar of pasta sauce might have to wait quite a bit longer - the food industry is looking at using the appropriations process to delay FDA's implementation of its update of the Nutrition Facts panel.
Industry leaders proposed two different riders, according to a source who shared the language with POLITICO. One would block FDA from enforcing its rules until three years after the agency has issued final guidance on dietary fibers and added sugar. Another would block the agency from enforcing its rules until USDA implements its coming GMO disclosure rules; those are due to be published by July 2018 and expected to include a long implementation period.
New resources are now available to help school districts engage parents and school staff in Local School Wellness Policy efforts.
Nutrition education and promotion are part of a Local School Wellness Policy.
A Local School Wellness Policy is a written document that guides school district’s efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being and ability to learn. It’s important for parents and school staff to be a part of this process so the wellness policy is representative of both the community and student’s needs.
The Food and Nutrition Service’s Team Nutrition initiative has developed a free Local Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit that school districts and schools can customize to communicate information about their Local School Wellness Policy to parents and staff. The kit includes:
- A letter to the wellness coordinator;
- Sample letter to school principals;
- Informational flyers, in English and Spanish;
- Presentations for parents and school staff;
- Sample newsletter article; and
- Social media posts and graphics.
The free Local Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit is available for download at: http://TeamNutrition.usda.gov
Today, most schools have a Local School Wellness Policy, but parents and school staff are not always aware of the policy and how it is being put into action at their school. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act added new provisions for implementation, evaluation and public involvement and reporting on progress of Local School Wellness Policies. Team Nutrition’s new Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit helps support these requirements.
Nutrition Standards for School Meals
Through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by the First Lady and signed by President Obama, USDA made the first major changes in school meals in 15 years, which will help us raise a healthier generation of children.
The new standards align school meals with the latest nutrition science and the real world circumstances of America’s schools. These responsible reforms do what’s right for children’s health in a way that’s achievable in schools across the Nation.
Click here to read regulations and standards supported by the USDA.
new! List of Fiber Content in Common Foods - This list is a companion to an article that appears in the Spring 2013 Serving Spoon.
Whole Grain Guidance
Guidance on Requests for Exemption from Whole Grains in SY 2014-15 and 2015-16
On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a memo providing State Agencies with guidance on granting exemptions from the regulatory whole grain-rich requirement in meal programs for school years 2014-15 and 2015-16. State Agencies that choose to offer exemptions to their School Food Authorities must notify their FNS regional office and provide a copy of their exemption process prior to implementation. Read the full USDA memo for more details.
The attendees at the March 2010 LAC in Washington, D.C. heard Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EDD, R.D., FADA, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. Dr. Ayoob very directly addressed nutrition misconceptions frequently seen on the internet. He said science is the basis of nutrition and we should not be influenced by personal opinions or philosophy. Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation that highlights valid studies about allergies, food colors, hyperactivity, sugar, sodium, aspertame, etc. Mary Klatko, federal legislative chaiman, has requested the video from the conference which will be posted as soon as it is released. This is one you will not want to miss!