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Trends in Healthy Eating

Posted Jan 16 2013 10:07pm
Posted on Jan. 14, 2013, 6 a.m. in Diet Lifestyle
Trends in Healthy Eating

Previous US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) research has reported that more Americans are consuming “foods prepared away from home,” with as many as one-third of calories are consumed as foods prepared by fast food retailers, restaurants, and schools.  In that foods prepared away from home generally tend to be lower in nutritional quality than food prepared at home, Biing-Hwan Lin and Joanne Guthrie used national food consumption survey data from the 1977-78 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS), conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as data from the 2005-06 and 2007-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted jointly by USDA and the US Department of Health and Human Services, to examine how the nutritional quality of foods prepared at home as well as foods prepared away from home has changed.  As the share of food expenditures spent on foods prepared away from home has risen over the past 30 years, so has the share of calories and nutrients consumed from such food.  The researchers found that mean daily consumption of total fat declined significantly over the period studied in both absolute terms (grams) and as a share of calories. On average, Americans consumed 85.6 grams of total fat per day in 1977-78, compared with 75.2 grams in 2005-08. The percent of calories from total fat also declined substantially from 39.7% to 33.4%  between 1977 and 2008. Food prepared away from home were found to be higher in saturated fat than foods prepared at home.  The higher percent of calories from saturated fat in fast-foods was especially noteworthy at 13.5%, compared with 11.9% in restaurant foods, 12.3% in school foods, and 10.7% in foods prepared at home.

Biing-Hwan Lin and Joanne Guthrie. “Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008” [Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-105)].  US Dept of Agriculture. December 2012.

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#107 - Foil the Common Sleep Robbers
If you experience trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, consider the following:

• An irregular or inconsistent schedule of being awake/asleep sets the biological stage for poor sleep. Set a regular schedule, particularly for the time at which you get up everyday.

• Avoid caffeine (commonly found in soda, soft drinks, coffee, and tea), which is a stimulant, for six hours before bedtime, longer if you know these substances give you trouble sleeping. Also avoid hidden sources of caffeine, such as chocolate and some over-the-counter pain and cold remedies.

• Avoid nicotine (from cigarettes or a skin patch), also a stimulant, for at least six hours prior to bedtime.

• Avoid alcohol after dinnertime. While a drink may help you fall asleep, it will probably cause you to awaken in the middle of the night.

• If you are on any prescription or over-the-counter medications, ask your doctor if any of them could be keeping you awake or causing you not to get a refreshing sleep.
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