Arsenic in rice cereal
One of the first foods many parents feed their babies is about to get safer and healthier. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a cap on the amount of inorganic arsenic (a potentially toxic and carcinogenic substance in some pesticides and insecticides) in infant rice cereals to 100 parts per billion, similar to Europe’s recommended limit. Rice cereal is the chief source of arsenic exposure for babies, the FDA said, noting that its testing determined that many U.S. retail brands are in already compliance with the new recommended guidelines, according to the Associated Press. Although the FDA has not recommended that parents avoid feeding their babies rice cereal altogether, the agency advised not relying on it exclusively and offering infants other iron-fortified baby cereals — such as oatmeal, barley or multigrain ones — as well. “The proposed limit is a prudent and achievable step,” the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Susan Mayne told the AP.
Moderation is overrated
If your approach to a balanced, healthy diet is “everything in moderation,” you may want to think twice about leaving it at that. New research, conducted at the University of Georgia, indicates that people have a hard time judging what a moderate amount is, and so tend to eat more than they should — or use the idea of moderation to justify the amount they either have consumed or wish to consume. (Yup, they’re onto us.) “The researchers found that around two thirds of the participants believed a moderate amount of cookies was more than what they ‘should’ eat,” FoodNavigator.com reports. According to the study, because “moderation” is so open to individual interpretation, “moderation messages are unlikely to be effective messages for helping people maintain or lose weight.” Oh, well.
Scuttle the skim?
Science is building a case for drinking full-fat milk. A new large-scale study published in the journal Circulation found that people who consumed more full-fat dairy products had a 46 percent lower risk of developing diabetes during the course of the 15-year study than those who consumed less. Another study, published in the American Journal of Nutrition, found that women who consumed more high-fat dairy products had an 8 percent lower risk of being overweight or obese. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, of Tufts University, who led the diabetes study, told Time that the recent studies “call for a change in the policy of recommending only low-fat dairy products. There is no prospective human evidence that people who eat low-fat dairy do better than people who eat whole-fat dairy.” Mozaffarian added that nutrition experts “should be telling people to eat a variety of dairy and remove the recommendation about fat content.”
Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.
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