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[check mark]Fitness Predictions for 2004


[check mark]Wearing Your Vitamins


[check mark]Yacon, Anyone?



Report on Nutrition Labeling and Fortification From National Academy

A new report on principles for nutrition labeling and fortification recommends that the current Dietary Reference Intakes should be used to update nutrition information on food and dietary supplement labels so that consumers can compare products more easily and make wise food choices. They would replace the current "percent Daily Value" figures in the Nutrition Facts Box on the food label, which are based on 1968 standards, with more up-to-date information. The report recommends that Nutrition Facts boxes list 13 nutrients and that they appear on nearly all food products in the United States and Canada. A good deal of attention in the report is devoted to principles that should govern "discretionary fortification," which is the voluntary addition of nutrients to food by manufacturers. It suggests that public health needs, especially dietary inadequacy, should be the primary reason for fortification. The report, titled "Dietary Reference Intakes: Guiding Principles for Nutrition Labeling and Fortification" was written by the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and will be published by the National Academy Press. The committee producing the report was chaired by Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, with other members of the committee, including Steven M. Abrams, MD, Agricultural Research Service's Children's' Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine; Gary Beecher, PhD, consultant and former member of the Agricultural Research Service US Department of Agriculture; Catherine Champagne, PhD, RD, Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University; Fergus M. Clydesdale, PhD, University of Massachusetts; Jeanne P. Goldberg, PhD, Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University; Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, Pennsylvania State University; Jerold R. Mande, MPH, Yale University; George McCabe, PhD, Perdue University; Frances H. Seligson, PhD, RD, Hershey, Pa; Valerie Tarasuk, PhD, University of Toronto; and Susan Whiting, PhD, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. The report can be viewed at


World Health Organization Wants Taxes to Help Alleviate Obesity

In its draft of a global strategy on diet, exercise, and health, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on member states to modify their tax policies to promote healthier lifestyles. In addition, the report recommended that schools require daily physical education classes for students and that policies promoting healthy diets and limiting availability of foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat should be encouraged.


(Financial Times, December 17, 2003)


Should Restaurant Chains Be Required to Post Nutrition Information?

Known as the Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) bill, legislation introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro would require fast-food chains with 20 or more outlets to list calorie counts on fast-food menu boards and table service chains to list calories, saturated plus trans fat, carbohydrate, and sodium on printed menus. Stay tuned for what happens to this bill in the second session of Congress.


Wear Your Vitamins

Makers of food additives and vitamin and mineral supplements have expanded their market by incorporating their products into clothing. Clothing sales in Japan is a competitive market, and any strategy that will provide an edge is used. The putative theory behind adding food components to clothing is that the additives will maintain the skin's pH balance or help to provide temperature control. For example, Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used to sweeten chewing gum, is being used in sportswear to absorb heat and perspiration. Concerning adding to people's nutritional status, one clothing company, Fuji Spinning, stated that it believes the nutrients can be absorbed through the skin, but it stopped short of saying that this is a way people can get their daily nutrition. Until we hear more, we suggest food for getting your vitamins! (Available at: Accessed September 9, 2003.)


Fitness Predictions for 2004

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) announced its top 10 fitness trend predictions for 2004.


1. Workouts and exercise programs will respond to Americans needs for short efficient workouts.


2. Mind and body programs will blend with traditional workout sessions. Elements of Pilates and Yoga will be integrated into aerobic exercise routines to combine traditional elements of fitness with proper posture, breathing, and body awareness.


3. Functional fitness becomes more important. Strength training will be incorporated into existing exercise programs to enhance coordination, strength, and endurance in everyday activities.


4. Lifestyle and performance coaching.


5. Healthcare providers and companies will provide, or at least subsidize, preventive lifestyle programs.


6. Fitness equipment manufacturers will make equipment that is "smarter," more efficient, and geared toward users' varied lifestyles.


7. More clubs will offer pay-as-you-go pricing to their members in lieu of the usual 3-year contracts.


8. Back to basics for weight loss and nutrition.


9. Exercise will continue to become preventive care for a growing senior population.


10. Increased emphasis on simple programs aimed at unseating the sedentary.



Yacon, Anyone? The Super Root From Peru

Have you heard of the yacon? It is a root vegetable grown in Peru that some scientists believe may be beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract, help protect against cancer, increase absorption of calcium and vitamins, and modulate blood sugar spikes. Seems like a super food from its press notices, but the evidence for these claims remains dubious. What is known with certainty is this: yacons look like a potato and have a crunchy texture and a sweet and juicy taste. Its sweetness increases if it is left in the sun, and it can be added to drinks, syrups, and cakes or eaten whole. The diet conscious or those with diabetes can eat much more of this food than the same quantity of other sweet foods because it is so low in calories. Its carbohydrate content comes from oligofructose, which the body cannot absorb. Oligofructose is metabolized by the bacteria in the colon, which some believe is beneficial. Currently, yacon is being exported to Japan and New Zealand in small amounts, but if it catches on, we may soon see it in American supermarkets.


(Reuters, December 3, 2003)


Teenage Dieters May Be Doing Themselves a Disservice

A prospective study reported in the journal Gastroenterology looked at the relationship between teenage dieting and weight gain. The study enrolled adolescents between 9 to 14 years of age and followed them from 1996 through 1999. Dieting to control weight, binge eating, and dietary intake were assessed annually and compared to Z scores of body mass index (BMI). For both boys and girls, dieting led to more weight gain than nondieters. The authors postulated that 3 mechanisms may be responsible for this effect: dieting may result in "an increase in metabolic efficiency leading to the necessity of fewer calories over time", an increase in metabolic efficiency would result in weight gain even if the dieters returned to their previous weight maintenance diet, and that dieting may induce a cycle of overeating between the periods of food restriction that more than compensates for the calories lost during restrictive periods.


(Gastroenterology, 2003;125:1572-1573.)



February 12-13, 2004. Insulin and Oligofructose: Feel Good Factors for Health and Well-being, Paris, France. For more information, visit


February 18-20, 2004. Investing in Health: The Dollars and Sense of Prevention. Washington, DC. For more information, visit


March 23-25, 2004. Public Policy Workshop. Washington, DC. For more information, contact the American Dietetic Association at


April 28-May 2, 2004. National Kidney Foundation Clinical Meetings. Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit


May 5-7, 2004. The Future of Health Promotion and Health Education: Transforming Vision into Reality, 22nd ASTDHPPEHE/CDC National Conference on Health Education and Health Promotion and SOPHE 2004 Midyear Conference, Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit


May 28-31 2004. XIV International Congress of Dietetics, Chicago, Ill. Cohosted by the American and Canadian Dietetic Associations. For more information, visit


June 9-12, 2004. Fifth International Conference on Nutrition and Fitness. Athens, Greece. For more information, visit


June 20-26, 2004. Under the Tuscan Sky, Florence, Sienna, Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy. For more information, call 617-421-5500 or visit


June 24-26, 2004. The National Nutrient Databank Conference, Iowa City, Iowa. For more information, visit


November 22-23, 2004. 4th European Conference on Paediatric Asthma & Allergy. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For more information, call 44-207-501-6747 or e-mail