Global glut of palm oil adds to India’s health woes

Rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases have soared in India and other developing countries in recent years, coinciding with a flood of cheap palm oil that is used in everything from processed snacks and fast food to traditional foods like samosas and poori, according to the latest story from FERN, published with The Nation. No paywall

The ‘Commod Bod’ and USDA’s box-o-food program

There are federal predecessors to the Trump administration's "Harvest Box" proposal, to provide half of food-stamp benefits in the form of a box of processed and packaged foods, says the NPR blog The Salt. "Among those horrified at the thought: American Indians who recognized this as the same type of federal food assistance that tribes have received for decades, with devastating implications for health."

Physical activity, more than diet, keeps the pounds from coming back

A study of 14 participants in the "Biggest Loser" TV show indicates that plenty of physical activity — "much more of it than public health guidelines suggest — is the key to preventing weight gain after significant weight loss, says the New York Times. "On average, those who managed to maintain a significant weight loss had 80 minutes a day of moderate activity, like walking, or 35 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, like running."

Does gum acacia count as fiber? The FDA will soon decide.

The FDA is assessing whether 26 ingredients count as fiber on nutrition facts labels. “If you're a nutrition-label reader, the list includes some familiar-ish sounding ingredients — such as inulin, which is often sourced from chicory root,” says NPR. “Other ingredients on the 'do-these-count-as-fiber?' list include gum acacia, bamboo fiber, retrograded corn starch, and — get ready for the tongue-twister — xylooligosaccharides. Some of these fibers are extracted from plant sources, while others are synthetic.”

Child obesity soared worldwide in two generations

Some 124 million boys and girls around the world are obese, putting the children at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, said a team of researchers in the journal The Lancet. Obesity rates among youths ages 5-19 years are eight times higher today than they were in 1975 and exceed 20 percent in nations including the United States.

Jacobson to step down after 44 years at CSPI

After 44 years as president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson is stepping down. During his long tenure, Jacobson not only helped develop nutrition labels, he “has also had a hand in halting the marketing of many sugar-filled foods to children, reducing salt levels in packaged foods, and banning transfats,” says NPR.

Who eats fast food? Everybody, but middle-income earners especially.

Fast food regularly is blamed for contributing to rising obesity rates because it is typically high in fat and salt, says CNN’s The Conversation. And because it’s relatively inexpensive, poor people get the rap of eating too much fast food, though research shows all income groups enjoy a …

Once again, judges say Philadelphia’s soda tax is legal

With judges split 5-2, the Pennsylvania Comonwealth Court upheld Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, the second win in court by the city, said Philadelphia Magazine. "Still, the ruling doesn’t conclude the soda tax war," said the magazine, because the American Beverage Association and local businesses could appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Ten percent of world population now obese, says study

Ten percent of the world’s population is now obese, and obesity levels are rising even in countries previously known for food scarcity, says a study designed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.