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Factual Fridays – Friday, February 18, 2011

This will be the first in a weekly series including the ever evolving changes in promoting health and nutrition.  This week’s focus is on the successes, and contradictions, of healthy food options.

Walmart Community Nutrition

The largest food chain in the country (by far!) has partnered with Michelle Obama to begin a system of change:  building stores in current food deserts, reducing produce prices, and reducing sodium and sugar in some processed foods sold at Walmart.  Can this industry food giant change the landscape of grocery shopping and redeem itself?

Junk Food Banks

Times have been hard for a majority of Americans in recent years, and the need for assistance from local and regional food banks has also increased across the country.  While grocery stores are improving the nutritional quality of their foods, they are donating their not-so-healthy food items to local food banks.  Does this strike anyone else as counterproductive?

Goodbye To An Era

If the predictions are correct, the era of cheap food is coming to a close.  As the world’s population grows, so do food demands.  As subsidies turn grain crops into processed foods and alternative energy sources, prices increase.  How can we make changes to prevent this and who will implement them?

Mandate 100% Truthful Labels

What a concept! This is one of the central ideas of Mark Bittman’s Food Manifesto for the Future.  Imagine the products that companies would have to make in order to obtain the best in truthful labels.  Now remind yourself how little truth labels tell us now.  If we do take a giant step and regulate truthfulness in food labels, who will come up with the rules?

McDonald’s 2.0

What if the brains (and money!) behind the most famous fast food chain in the world decided to open a new restaurant, except that this time it would be “healthy.”  Trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup will be banned and all menu items contain less than 600 calories.  Using fast food profits for good?  Too good to be true?  This article from the Huffington Post describes the controversy that is Lyfe Kitchen.

When looking at all of these news stories together, is each initiative doing enough to facilitate measurable change in healthy food options? Or, akin to greenwashing and pinkwashing, are these deceptive ways to give the appearance that they are making a difference while still turning a profit?  Will we ever know until it’s over?  Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

NOTE:  If there is a health news story that you would like to share or know more about, please submit them to NutritionNerd@HealthyMenToday.com by Wednesday of each week (to be included in that Factual Friday round up).