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‘Fat tax’ can boost healthy foods demand: Study

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New York: Small price differences in food products, which mimic a “fat tax”, can be highly effective in shifting consumer demand from high calorie to healthier low-calorie alternatives, say authors of a study that included Indians.

The paper ‘Will a Fat Tax Work?’ by professors Romana Khan at Northwestern University, Kanishka Misra at the University of Michigan, and Vishal Singh at the New York University Stern School of Business is based on a large-scale field study analysing six years of sales data from over 1,700 supermarkets across the US.

It found that low-income consumers, who disproportionately suffer the consequences of obesity, are particularly responsive to small price differences across products. Such differences are important because they mimic a “fat tax”.

The researchers focused on a peculiar pricing pattern of milk in the US, where relative prices for milk across fat content — whole, two percent, one percent and skim — vary depending on where you live and which store you happen to patronise.

At some stores, prices are equal across all fat content; at others, prices decrease with fat content, with whole milk the most expensive and skim the cheapest option.

“The question that comes to mind is whether these different price structures have an impact on people’s choices. To put it simply, do people switch to lower fat milk for a price difference as small as 15 cents per gallon?” said Romana Khan, the co-author on the study.

“The answer to this question is of interest because it relates to the hotly debated issue of whether a ‘fat’ or ‘sugar’ tax can be an effective mechanism to curb obesity.”

The study found that in markets where milk prices were equal across fat alternatives, people chose whole milk over lower calorie alternatives, particularly in low-income areas.

At equal prices across fat content, the market share of whole milk was 52 percent Ain lower income areas compared to 25 percent in higher income areas.

In markets where whole milk was priced at a premium, the average price difference for a gallon of milk of just 14 cents (five percent) caused a significant shift in market share away from whole milk to lower fat options.

This shift to the lower calorie options was significantly more pronounced in low-income neighbourhoods.

“This provides us with a quasi-experimental setup to analyse how small price differences impact people’s choices,” said Misra.

“Our results have significant implications for health experts and policy makers since interventions in the form of taxes on high calories foods are highly contentious,” said Singh of the New York University.

“The general perception is that these taxes need to be substantial, at least 20 percent and often as high as 50 percent, to have a meaningful impact. This would be highly regressive since low-income consumers spend a greater proportion of their disposable income on food,” he added.

The new study shows that large shifts in demand toward the lower-calorie option can be achieved with a price difference of just 5-10 percent.

“Here, we have compelling field-based evidence that such taxes don’t need to be high to be effective,” Singh said. (IANS), (image courtesy:i.guim.co.uk)

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6 Lettuce Advantages Which are Important for Your Health

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Lettuce
Lettuce. Pixabay.
  • “Lettuce” is also called Lactuca Savita & a perfect food for weight loss.
  • Some of the health benefits of Lettuce are: It improves metabolism & provide supply of antioxidants.
  • Lettuce reduces the risk of diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, controls cancer & anxiety.
  • Benefits of lettuce also includes weigh loss, it keeps your heart healthy & provide protein.

In this article “Benefits of Lettuce” , we will talk about it’s health benefits, Nutritional Facts & Types of Lettuce.

Lettuce, widely regarded as the “ideal food” to lose weight, is a large green leaved plant, often eaten in uncooked salads. It is a highly recommended healthy option in the searches provided by our search engine. And in today’s world, where everyone is health conscious, we are left with no choice but to consume healthy food. But, Lettuce is one healthy snack, which has way more benefits than just keeping you healthy. We will talk about some important health benefits of lettuce.

For many years, Lettuce was considered more than a vegetable, as it was thought to possess some medicinal properties. Some of the medicinal properties have also been proven true.

Below are some health benefits of lettuce that should be looked upon:

Lettuce
Salad containing lettuce. Pixabay.

 

1. Anti-Inflammatory properties:

Lettuce possesses anti-inflammatory properties which help to control inflammation. Scientific experiments have proven that Lettuce extracts have significant power to control the pain and redness.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

2. Lower Cholesterol Levels:

Once we reach our 40s, we look up to healthy food options- consulting dietitians, counting calories, overtly depending on allopathic pills. But over dependence on synthetic ways to improve our health is dangerous too. Scientific tests have proven that eating lettuce prevents cardiovascular diseases. Also, it has zero fat which keeps your heart healthy.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

3. Lettuce leaves/juice can treat your Insomnia

The extract of the lettuce or its leaves when eaten induces sleep and does not even have side-effects. The extract produces a sedative effect.

Also Read: Five Benefits of Honey and Lemon Drink that Can’t be Ignored.

4. Control Anxiety 

Unani has widely accepted lettuce as a solution to Neuro-related problems. It possesses anxiolytic properties, drugs which reduce anxiety. Lettuce was popularly exploited during the ancient times.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

5. Fights Cancer

The extract of this plant tends to control a certain kind of cancer. Research experiment on human cancer cells, especially, the leukemia cells proved that the disease’s effect was controlled to a major extent, after being treated with the plant’s extracts.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

6. Weight LOSS!

Lettuce has only 12 calories for one cup. Putting it in your salad with some salt and pepper seasonings added can be the perfect diet chart for your weight loss.

Types Of Lettuce:

  • Romaine Lettuce – This is your classic Greek salad. Sweet and crunchy.                          romaine lettuce is a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, calcium and pantothenic acid.
  • Iceberg lettuce:  Until the 1930’s was known as Crisphead lettuce.                      White on the inside. Crisp texture and mild taste. It contains curved, overlapping leaves which form crispy, firm round heads. Inside, creamy white leaves are tightly packed.
  • Butterhead Lettuce : Boston and Bibb. Large green leaves that are soft and sweet.Butterhead is a slightly smaller version of the variety and is the first of this cultivar to be grown in the U.S
  • Red and Green Leaf: Delicate taste and leaves.

Nutritional Facts of Lettuce:

Lettuce contains many a thing like:

  • moisture
  • energy
  • protein
  • fat
  • carbohydrates
  • dietary
  • fiber and sugars.

Lettuce has below Minerals & Vitamins:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.


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10 Myths about Healthy Food You Believe with Eyes Shut!

Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert broke famous food myths and told the truth of the ‘healthy’ food we buy.

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A protein diet. Wikimedia Commons

November 16, 2016: The ‘healthy’ food suggested by some of the health bloggers are the ones which any nutritionist would stay away from and definitely avoid putting these in their stomach.

Here is the list of some food which you should avoid if you wish to stay healthy:

  1. Agave Syrup

Picture of a jar of Agave syrup. Wikimedia Commons
Picture of a jar of Agave syrup. Wikimedia

It is a sweetener manufactured from several species of Agave. It is sweeter than honey and is less thick. The process involved in the manufacturing damages all the healthy properties of the plant.

The Syrup has very high fructose content, up to 90 %. It is considered one of the ingredients responsible for the obesity epidemic in the United States.

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2. Low fat Yogurt

A flavored yogurt. Wikimedia Commons
A flavored yogurt. Wikimedia

Low-fat yogurt is made from fermentation of skim milk.

Yogurt has a surprising amount of sugar. The low-fat and non-fat yogurt have high sugar contents, comparable to desserts. It is better to add flavor to the traditional Greek yogurt instead of eating the low-fat yogurt.

  1. Non-Organic Milk

A glass of milk. Wikimedia Commons
A glass of milk. Wikimedia

Organic milk contains high level of omega-3 fatty acids and higher amount of Vitamin E, iron and few carotenoids than the non-organic milk. But it is known that full fat milk is considered healthy because lactose sugar is released slowly in a high fat content

  1. Protein Bars

Picture of protein bars. Wikimedia Commons
Picture of protein bars. Wikimedia

It doesn’t matter if the wrapper reads “healthy, low-carb, low-sugar treat”, protein bars contain high amount of sucralose, an artificial sweetener which is made through a multi step chemical process.

Sucralose raises the blood sugar levels and when that level comes down; we feel hungry and eventually gain weight.

5. Instant Noodles

An Instant Noodles cup. Wikimedia Commons
An Instant Noodles cup. Wikimedia

Instant noodles are considered unhealthy. Consumption of these pre-cooked noodles increases the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome.

This, in turn, makes the person prone to heart diseases and diabetes. Bisphenol A, used in the packaging of noodles, interrupts the hormones signal messages of the body, especially estrogen.

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6. Cereals

A bowl of cereal. Wikimedia Coommons
A bowl of cereal. Wikimedia

The only healthy cereals are the oats based. The cereals which promise weight loss have added chemicals, lack protein, coupled with milk and uses refined carbohydrates.

Cereal is basically dessert in a bowl.

7. Tomato Ketchup

Tomota ketchup. Wikimedia Commons
Tomota ketchup. Wikimedia

The main ingredients of ketchup that are harmful are the salt and sugar. Each tablespoon of ketchup contains 190 mg of sodium and 4 grams of sugar. Ketchup also contains tomato concentrate, natural flavoring and high fructose corn syrup.

8. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice. Wikimedia Commons
Fruit juice. Wikimedia

Yes. Who would have expected this on the list? Many fruit juices are nothing more than fruit flavored sugar water. Though juice contains anti-oxidants and Vitamin C but these are accompanied with a large amount of liquid sugar.

The harms of drinking juice far outweigh the nutritional value.

9. Granola Bars

Picture of a granola bar. Wikimedia Commons
Picture of a granola bar. Wikimedia

These so called healthy snack bars have high content of sugar content. The dried fruit at the top of the bar releases fructose sugar in the body.

It doesn’t matter if its maple syrup or pure sucrose; you need to avoid these eat something with no extra sugar.

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  1. Breakfast Biscuits

Belvita breakfast biscuits. Wikimedia Commons
Belvita breakfast biscuits. Wikimedia

Breakfast biscuits are too good to be true. They have added sweeteners. A recent study pointed out that Belvita chocolate biscuits have 7 grams of sugar per biscuit.This count is higher than the other breakfast substitutes.

The article is based on an interview of Rhiannon Lambert, London Nutritionist,  with Female Food & Drink, who broke famous food myths and told the truth of the ‘healthy’ food we buy.

 by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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The Quicker, the Better? All you need to Know Before Consuming Frozen Food!

Fresh raw fruits and vegetables are usually harvested before reaching the highest nutritional value

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A Food Store, Pixabay

November 17, 2016: Buying a deep freeze and consuming frozen foods can come in handy if you don’t have time to prepare fresh food daily. Fresh fruits and vegetables and also meat and grains are healthy but that doesn’t imply that frozen foods are unhealthy. The phrase “the quicker the better” does not apply here.

Frozen foods were usually avoided because of the belief that fresh food is best. But frozen food has a long shelf life. Not all operators can run their kitchens without using frozen food. Also, properly frozen food can be as fresh as when it is harvested.

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If the food is frozen, it is definitely fresh. Freezing helps in slowing down the deteriorating of food and all the nutrients are locked in the food as the food is frozen immediately after harvesting. The fresh food we usually get is sitting around for days before they are cooked. By the time people receive fresh vegetables and meat, most of the nutrients are lost as products are sensitive to light.

Also, “fresh” raw fruits and vegetables are usually harvested before reaching the highest nutritional value and transported to long distance places. So, they already have less nutritional value during harvesting and they lose more during transportation.

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For freezing, fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value, ripeness, colour, and flavor are used. Freezing helps to retain these qualities. Apart from nutrition and flavor, frozen food gives the following advantages:

  1. Quality and consistency: Frozen products are harvested when they are at the peak of their nutritional value and frozen to maintain the nutrients and flavors. Frozen foods have high standards of quality and have unmatched uniformity and consistency.
  2. Convenience: Now, the process of preparing, storing have improved and advanced techniques are used to create gourmet quality meal. Ethnic meals, which require long preparation time, also require frozen food products. Also, the fresh ingredients of these meals are quite expensive than the frozen ones.
  1. Waste-free: Another advantage of using frozen food is that it allows the chef to use the exact amount of food needed in the dish. The rest can be stored in the refrigerator. Frozen foods allow consumers to prepare only what’s needed and to store the rest. It reduces food waste. It’s good for the environment too.

I. Availability: Frozen foods are available all seasons.

II. Safety: Freezing delays the fungal and other microbial activity in the food. If it’s frozen it’s safe.

If you freeze your own meals at home, you can be assured that you are serving nutritious meals to your family. It is a great time saver as even if you have made a large batch, that you cannot finish, you can always store it for later. Freezing does not harm foods or take away the nutrients; it is how you freeze your foods or what you buy that makes the difference.

Freezing your meals at home can help reduce wastage of food. If one is serving frozen food, he can be sure that it is safe and nutritious for his family. It saves a great deal of time as we can always prepare more in a batch, freeze the remaining and save something to serve later. If done properly, freezing does not harm the food damaging its quality.

 by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53