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Nutritional Concepts Mid-Week Brief
March 5, 2014
Dear Valued Subscriber,

Have a happy, healthy week. Bonnie and Steve Minsky

New Government Food Proposals: So-So

March is National Nutrition Month, which means the focus will be on our eating habits. The government has been very active as of late trying to update decades-old policies.


Nutrition Facts Update

The FDA's proposed modified Nutrition Facts Label (pictured here) drew rave reviews from the media. We do not share their enthusiasm.

  • Listing potassium and vitamin D would be required, replacing vitamin A and vitamin C (which would become optional). This is wonderful. However, there is a glaring omission: magnesium. Aside from being part of the bone health trio (along with calcium and vitamin D), you cannot absorb potassium without adequate magnesium. More Americans are deficient in magnesium than any micronutrient.
  • As we have said many times, the daily values (DV) set for vitamins and minerals is ultra conservative. Until the FDA truly understands the nutrient needs of the population, we will not support DVs.
  • Listing Added Sugars on its own line is the best proposed change. We are concerned that this will be scrapped because Big Food will fight this tooth and nail.

WIC Program

Some 9 million poor women and young children who receive federal food assistance will now have greater access to fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It's about time!

The USDA hailed the revamping of its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children as the first comprehensive revisions to WIC food voucher allowances since 1980.

The list of foods that recipients could pay for with WIC vouchers was long limited to such basics as milk, infant formula, cheese, eggs, cereals, bread and tuna fish. Now, fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are covered.

Here's the bad news. The allowance for each child's fruit and vegetable purchases will be "boosted" by $2 per month. A paltry sum considering the cost of produce.


School Lunch Program

Since the USDA changed the School Lunch Program in 2012, students are eating more fruits and vegetables.


Some 32 million students eat school meals every day. For many low-income students, up to half their daily energy intake comes from school meals. The new standards required the selection of a fruit or vegetable, and making those portion sizes bigger.

The researchers collected plate-waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following implementation of the standards, fruit selection increased by 23 percent and vegetables increased by 16.2 percent.

Importantly, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports from food service directors, teachers, parents, and students that the regulations were causing an increase in waste.


Healthy Diet, Healthy Aging.

NCI Well Connect subscribers can read about the latest study concerning dietary patterns and healthy aging in women.


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