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Saturday March 24, 2018

Retailers are rolling out initiatives to drive back-to-school sales, including efforts to recruit parents to feed their kids healthier lunches. But how much of the advice is food fitness, and how much is food fashion? Here are some surprising answers.

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The reality, according to medical research, is that even though managing a child's diet is central to controlling diet-related health issues like type 1 diabetes, what we know about managing blood sugar through diet is still surprisingly contradictory. But one area where science is pretty certain: High-fiber, low-sugar carbs. In practical terms, that means whole grains. And contrary to conventional wisdom, shoppers don't have to pay more to eat healthy grains.

Full-fat milk?

For decades school lunch programs followed government health advisors' recommendations to cut whole milk from their offerings in favor of skim, often flavored with added sugars to increase palatability and lure kids back to drinking it. Several recent studies now call that advice into question, showing that drinking whole milk could actually lower the risk of diabetes and improve attempts to manage weight.


Gluten-free is not only unnecessary to an estimated 99 percent of the population, nutritionists are now beginning to caution that the craze stands to actually hurt more than it helps. Why? Gluten-free and whole-grain are contradictory. Gluten-free products typically require refined grains, which are relatively lower in fiber and nutrients.


In the face of years of consensus science on the danger of salt, several new reports are questioning the necessity of banishing salt from kids' diets. It appears the balance between the minerals sodium and phosphorus may be more important than the absolute amount of each, and it's important to remember that the least nutritious meal of all is the one a kid throws away because it tastes bad. Some are therefore calling for a cautious return to some salt.

Deli meats?

For years, "we've known" that processed meats--ham, bacon, hotdogs--are the real villains of the meat counter, responsible for higher risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But work reported in 2015 that re-analyzed the data from nine large dietary studies questions how strong the conclusions are. Eating processed meat has shown an association with those diseases, the researchers granted, but so many possible causes still confound the research that it's impossible to say whether processed meats really cause an increase in any of those diseases. Balanced, judicious inclusion of them in the diet is still OK.

Wild-caught fish?

We know fish is a great source of not only protein, but also the beneficial highly unsaturated fatty acids. But must they be caught from the wild to be fit? In short: No. Wild stocks of fish around the world are flat-lining, and the only alternative to maintain affordably fish supplies is fish farming. Research shows no important nutritional differences in fish quality between wild and farmed. Objections over aquaculture appear to be related to the same differences in vision about concentration and industrialization of livestock farming.


The highly publicized danger that using antibiotics in food production causes human drugs to fail is purely theoretical. One team of independent scholars, for instance, spent more than two years reviewing over 250 scientific papers on the subject, publishing their results in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. They concluded that if you review only the facts — absent the passion of politics — little to no risk exists.


Consumer studies have shown again and again that parents buy organic products first and foremost because they believe they’re getting safer, more nutritious food for their kids. And many retailers, looking for that sales advantage, have done nothing to dissuade them of that notion—some have even openly advocated the message. The problem is no science meaningfully supports that claim, a fact of life USDA recognizes when it cautions that organic is merely a name for a process of growing plants and animals—it says nothing about the quality or safety of the food.


Supported by the Nebraska Corn Board

The Nebraska Corn Board, on behalf of 23,000 corn farmers in Nebraska, invests in market development, research, promotion and education of corn and value-added products. The board aims to work closely with the farmer-to-consumer food chain, to educate everyone about the role corn has in our everyday healthy lives. The Nebraska Corn Board is proud to sponsor the Farmer Goes to Market program to help bring its mission of expanding demand and value of Nebraska corn to the consumer, through the strongest touch point in that chain: the Nebraska retail grocer.

In patnership with the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

The Nebraska Grocery Industry Association was formed in 1903 by a group of Omaha grocery store owners, wholesalers and vendors to allow them to promote independent food merchants and members of the food industry, and to promote education and cooperation among its membership. NGIA continues to represent grocery store owners and operators, along with wholesalers and vendors located throughout Nebraska, by promoting their success through proactive government relations, innovative solutions and quality services. NGIA offers efficient and economical programs. NGIA also lobbies on both a state and national level, ensuring that the voice of the food industry in Nebraska is heard by our representatives.

Supported by the Nebraska Farm Bureau

The farm and ranch families represented by Nebraska Farm Bureau are proud sponsors of the Farmer Goes to Market program. We take great pride in supporting Nebraska's agricultural foundation. A key part of that effort is to make sure we produce safe and affordable food. This newsletter is an important part of our effort to connect the two most important parts of the food chain -- the farmer and the grocer -- with the goal of increasing consumer awareness and information about how their food is raised in Nebraska.

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