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Love lives of penguins at Lincoln Park Zoo captivate readers

Love lives of penguins at Lincoln Park Zoo captivate readers

September 11, 2017

Pilchard was devastated when Robben broke up with him and he would haunt their former home only to be shooed away by Robben’s new partner Preston. After wallowing in his loneliness, Pilchard found a f...

What lies ahead

What lies ahead

By Amelia Garza

December 12, 2016

The years have dwindled down to months, then weeks, and now I’m approaching my last days as a Columbia student. I transferred here two and a half years ago, packing up everything I owned, spending all my...

Fast food workers strike for $15 an hour

November 16, 2015

Fast food workers across America rallied together to protest for a $15 hourly minimum wage. Chicago’s protestors decided to strike at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Nov. 10.  During...

‘Chicago Black Artists Show’ diversifies Artists Month

‘Chicago Black Artists Show’ diversifies Artists Month

October 19, 2015

The Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center, 1957 S. Spaulding Ave., is hosting the “Chicago Black Artists Show,” an art exhibit featuring work created solely by black artists, through Nov. 28.“It is artist...

Menu labeling molds ‘architecture of choice’

By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

November 17, 2014

A recent study from the University of Glasgow in Scotland successfully linked calorie labeling on menus with reduced weight gain for the first time. Over the course of 36 weeks, a group of students given no calorie information gained eight pounds on average. The following year, a separate group was presented with prominently displayed labels on their dinner menus and at the serving point where they received their meals for another 36-week period. The latter group gained only four pounds on average—a decrease of Sc50 percent.The results were presented Nov. 5 during the Obesity Journal Symposium at The Obesity Society’s annual meeting in Boston.“We used prominent calorie labels—big and colorful—so they could not really be missed by the students,” said Charoula Nikolaou, lead author of the study and a Ph. D. student at the University of Glasgow’s School of Medicine. “All previous calorie labeling studies used quite small information—they’re supposed to be the same size as the price [of the meal].”About a dozen studies have looked at the relationship between calorie labeling and weight gain in U.S. chain restaurants and have seen little to no effect, according to Sara Bleich, associate professor of Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and spokeswoman for The Obesity Society.“I think the biggest challenge for people is they don’t make a lot of sense of calorie information,” Bleich said. “Most people don’t know how X number of calories in a particular item would fit into a recommendation of about 2,000 calories per day. Even given that calorie benchmark, expecting people to make those calculations at the point of purchase is unlikely.”Bleich said pre-packaged foods research shows that consumers do not have a good sense of nutrient compositions, vitamin content or even how to properly read a label. When it comes to ordering from a menu, consumers are expected to not only understand what the nutrition content of the meal is but also how the calories will fit into daily recommendations. According to Nikolaou, calorie content is generally related to fat content. By displaying the number of calories in a meal, students were automatically being nudged away from higher-fat meals. The researchers also analyzed micronutrient information and found that the lower-calorie meals were no worse in terms of vitamin and mineral content. “We had some anxiety they’d end up with unbalanced meals if they just focused on calories,” said Mike Lean, professor and chair of Human Nutrition at the University of Glasgow. “But because of the emphasis on meals, not pieces of a meal, that tended not to be true.”Although calorie labeling is not a  treatment for obesity, it is a form of primary prevention that has been severely lacking worldwide, according to Lean. Research shows the trajectory of weight gain is set in early adolescence, rising in the teenage years and early adulthood before leveling off later in life. “Education has shown itself not to be effective, which is why food companies are very happy to put out a lot of educational materials—it doesn’t change the way people choose,” Lean said. Nikolaou called it “changing the architecture around food choices,” or redefining the factors that influence how people determine what food to order. Lean said the labels are not big enough or prominent enough to impact customers in New York City, where calorie labeling is legally mandated in franchised restaurants. The ambiguous results of prior calorie labeling studies seem to suggest that a highly-visible, daily reminder is necessary for successful results, he said.During a portion of the second year of the study, the labels were removed from menus. Nikolaou said this removal of the constant reminder resulted in a slight increase in the calorie content of the meals students chose.“They were relying on these labels, and if you took them away, even only for five weeks, they started to drift back,” Lean said. “They clearly did not automatically focus on the [meals] which we knew—but they didn’t know—to be lower in calories. They needed that regular nudge.”Another important finding was that the caterers, who Lean said had been resistant to the labels at the onset of the study, ended up reducing their food costs by a third. “There’s a lot of nonsense out there, people saying that lower-calorie foods or healthier foods are going to be more expensive,” Lean said. “The answer is no. They can be, but they don’t have to be.”While the participants were less apt to choose lower-calorie meals when the labels were removed, the low cost and daily nudging effect that calorie labeling provides may be able to influence long-term changes in consumer food choices, according to the study.“We’re optimists,” Lean said. “Changing the environment on a daily basis results in people eating that little bit less and not gaining weight. I’m quite sure there is an entraining effect, but it’s probably minor. We need a permanent change in the environment of making food choices.”

Aldermen push for plastic bag ban

By Metro Editor

March 31, 2014

The choice between paper and plastic could be a distant memory for Chicago shoppers if a proposal to ban plastic bags continues to gain momentum among aldermen.The proposal, introduced March 5 by Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward), would ban plastic bags in retail stores to reduce waste in landfills and the Great Lakes, according to the ordinance. However, the legislation would require retailers to offer only paper or reusab...

Fast food gets gourmet twist

Fast food gets gourmet twist

March 17, 2014

Burger lovers searching for somewhere new to eat should look no further than Lakeview’s newest restaurant, Spritz Burger. Since its Feb. 14 opening, Spritz Burger, 3819 N. Broadway, has brought a br...

Fast food blues

By Emily Fasold

April 15, 2012

It is no secret that greasy fast foods like burgers, french fries and fried chicken are bad for human health, but new research has found that they are also linked to depression.The study, published March 15 in the Public Health Nutrition journal and conducted by researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, found that regular fast–food consumers were 51 percent more likely to develop depression than ...

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