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Rachel Johnson, Ph.d., M.p.h., R.d.'s Blog

January 26, 2012 - 10:54am

Most of us eat too much sugar. On average, Americans consume 475 calories of added sugars EVERY DAY (that’s 30 teaspoons). Compare this with the American Heart Association’s recommendation that American women limit their added sugars to no more than 100 calories (or 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day and men consume no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) daily.

Don't Miss: 3 Ways to Break Your Sugar Habit

If you’re trying to cut back on added sugars in your diet, you’ve probably already tackled the obvious sources. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, energy and sports drinks along with fruit drinks account for almost half of Americans’ added-sugars consumption. Desserts like cakes,...

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October 12, 2011 - 11:31am

My sons are grown now, but I remember well the challenges of stocking my pantry with foods they liked that were good for them too. Because I’m a nutrition professor, my neighbors, friends and family often ask me whether or not a particular food is a nutritious choice for their kids.

Don’t Miss: 4 Foods that Boost Kids’ Brain Power

Here are a few foods that at first glance seem healthy, but deserve a closer look.

1. Granola Bars
Many granola bars are, unfortunately, candy bars in disguise. How do you pick one for your child that isn’t essentially candy? I look for three things.

  • Whole grains—find a bar where the first ingredient is a whole grain, such as whole-grain oats,...
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September 12, 2011 - 11:44am

In spite of decades of advice to lower our salt intake to prevent high blood pressure, recent headlines screamed that a low-salt diet is ineffective—spurred by the results of a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension. The New York Times ran with “Cutting Salt Has Little Effect on Heart Risk” and the UK’s Daily Mail used, “Cutting back on salt ‘does not make you healthier’ (despite nanny state warnings).” In the study, researchers from the UK and the U.S. looked at seven studies with a total of 6,489 participants and the impact of lowering salt intake. The conclusion was that eating less salt did not prevent heart attacks, strokes or early death.

After reading that, friends are cornering me—because I’m a nutrition...

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April 18, 2011 - 11:16am

Last week I was watching Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” the British chef’s reality TV show, which is filming in Los Angeles this season. On the show, which aired April 12, Oliver demonized the chocolate milk L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) serves their students, calling it “the equivalent of a candy bar.” Oliver filled a school bus with sand to represent the amount of sugar in flavored milk that he claimed is consumed by LAUSD students every week. 


PHOTO CREDIT: David Loftus

As a child nutrition expert, I am the first person to step up and applaud anyone trying to make a dent in our national childhood obesity crisis. After all, we may be looking at the first generation of American children who won’t live as long as their parents because of obesity-related...

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March 8, 2011 - 11:33am

Call me a geeky dietitian, I don’t care. I’m a diehard nutrition-label reader and love having that information readily available. So imagine my delight when I recently went into Starbucks in my hometown in Vermont and finally saw calorie counts prominently displayed on the coffee menu board and in the bakery case. I’d been waiting for restaurant calorie labeling to come to my state ever since I saw it in New York City a few years ago. Later this month, the FDA plans to issue the final proposed regulations for nationwide restaurant menu labeling.

What to Order:
Oatmeal smackdown: the healthiest fast-food oatmeals
...

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