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Spotlight Features

Feature Story

Americans Eating More Meat

It seems the U.S. just can’t get enough meat. Or does it?

According to data released this week by Rabobank, a research firm specializing in food and agriculture, per-capita meat consumption in the U.S. last year rose at a higher rate than any other year over the past four decades — to roughly 193 pounds of meat annually, 3.7 pounds a week.  

Farm-to-School Program

Chris and Jan Waggoner spent nearly 20 years working to meet strict food-safety requirements so they could make sure peaches and nectarines from Wag’s World Orchard in Eckert could be served to kids in the Montrose County School District.

The Waggoners created a detailed food-safety policy book that documents details from worker-hygiene practices to soil-treatment and water-testing records. They also invested in new materials such as special boxes for packaging.

“It takes a lot of money and lots of time to do this,” Jan Waggoner said.

Antibiotics and Food Allergies

Infection in the first year of life can be deadly for an infant, and antibiotic treatment is often the first port of call. But such treatment may have a downside; new research from the University of South Carolina finds early antibiotic exposure could raise a child's risk of food allergies.

While the study did not investigate the reasons behind this association, the researchers say it is likely down to changes in gut microbiota as a result of antibiotic treatment.

No Microbiome Obesity Link?

For people with weight problems, news headlines in recent years may have brought relief, as researchers studying the microscopic creatures inside our bodies reported possible links between obesity and an out-of-whack balance of microbes.

But a new study, done by pooling data from most of those studies, throws cold water on the idea that extra pounds may stem from an imbalance of the bacteria inside us.

Why We Waste Food

Your household will probably waste $1,500 of food this year, but there's a way to fix that

A recent report by some of my colleagues at Harvard Law School estimates that up to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten and that consumers waste approximately 160 billion pounds of food each year. Put differently, the federal government estimates that each year the average four-person household wastes more than two million calories, the equivalent of $1,500. Why exactly are we paying millions of dollars to throw away food?

Your Gut's Gone Viral

Everywhere you turn, it seems, there's news about the human microbiome. And, more specifically, about the bacteria that live in your gut and help keep you healthy.

Those bacteria, it turns out, are hiding a big secret: their own microbiome.

Drug & Vitamin Interactions

A growing number of older adults are combining multiple prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements in ways that could lead to serious side effects, according to a new study.

From 2006 to 2011, the number of older adults (ages 62 to 85) in the United States taking five or more medications or supplements rose from 53.4% to 67.1%.

School Lunches Improving

American kids are getting more healthy food choices in school lunches, a new study finds.

Elementary school cafeterias are offering more vegetables, fresh fruit, salad bars, whole grains and more healthy pizzas, while the availability of high-fat milks, fried potatoes and regular pizza has decreased, researchers report.

Misinformation from Celebrities

When celebrity and science collide, harmful side effects may occur.

The latest case happened last weekend when the Tribeca Film Festival pulled a documentary from its program by a discredited former doctor whose research into the connection between vaccines and autism has been debunked. After festival co-founder Robert De Niro initially defended the film’s inclusion, Tribeca — facing an uproar from doctors and experts — pulled it.

Vermont Passes GMO Labeling

You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn.

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