Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Foods News Bites

Trans fats also cause weight gain
Recent research has discovered more of the ugly truth about trans fats. It turns out that people who restrict their calories may still end up with abdominal fat if they include trans fats in their diet. At Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., monkeys that ate low-calorie diets for six years with 8 percent of calories from trans fats developed a spare tire. "We believed they couldn't get obese because we did not give them enough calories to get fat," said Lawrence L. Rudel, a researcher on the project. Monkeys eating the trans fat diet had an average 7.2 percent increase in body weight, while monkeys eating monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, gained only 1.8 percent. In addition, the trans fat monkeys had 30 percent more abdominal fat than the control group.

Don't turn green over spoiled meat
When consumers found out some retailers inject their meat with carbon monoxide to maintain a fresh, pink appearance, a cry went up for a dependable method of ensuring food safety. Now shoppers will be able to tell with one look at the label whether meat and poultry are spoiled. A new stick-on label, freshQ, being introduced in supermarkets this summer, turns colors to indicate freshness. A tangerine Q on the label means the product is fresh. When the bacteria count reaches a critical threshold, the orange turns to grey to indicate spoilage. The label, applied to the outside of fresh wrapped meat or poultry, is made of food-grade materials and can be applied by the meat packer, distributor or retailer.

Hooked on phonics ... and organics
In Los Angeles, natural foods retailers are introducing children to fresh, organic food and helping to combat obesity. In one private school, lunches of mystery meat and fried chicken nuggets are gone, now that Whole Foods has begun wheeling over organic veggies and prepared meals. The school's owners absorbed the 20 percent cost increase without raising tuition. And in Santa Monica, Calif., the school district purchases fresh veggies from farmers' markets for their salad bars. Mmm, profitability and social responsibility taste great together.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 8/p. 28

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