Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Jan. 8:
1. Hospital cuts sugary food and drinks
For the past couple of years, hospitals have been eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages in an attempt to be more healthful dining experiences. But one hospital in the UK is taking it one, albeit giant, step further by eliminating sugary foods as well. Tameside Hospital in Manchester eliminated sugary beverages last summer and then, in an effort to help staff slim down, eliminated sugary snacks from the menu. A recent report found that one in four nurses in the NHS system was obese. Tameside is said to be expanding the sugar ban following the successful weight-loss program of its nurses. The hospital has removed added sugar from its meals, both patient and retail, with items like cheese and onion pies, apple crumble and high-sugar breakfast cereals getting the boot. In addition, high-carb dishes are being replaced with healthier options.
Read more: Hospital becomes first to ban all sugary food and drink
2. Facebook opens kosher dining op
In a move that’s been more frequent on college campuses, Facebook has opened a kosher dining operation at its Menlo Park campus. Instead of a brick-and-mortar location, the new kosher operation is mobile, a food truck called the Kosher Truck that makes stops between two sections on the sprawling campus.
3. District eliminated reduced-priced meals
Ogden School District in Utah has eliminated the reduced-price meal category and instead will offer those students a free meal. The district serves 12,000 students at 20 schools, but the change will only affect students at eight schools—the other 12 schools already serve all students free meals under CEP. It is unclear how many students this move will affect.
Read more: Ogden School District to provide more free lunches
4. Hospital offers free meals for needy
Utah Valley Hospital has started a food pantry program, through which patients can receive a free meal. The meals are available twice a week at the hospital’s clinic, with 35 meals having been served since October. The idea behind the meals is that if patients, particularly low-incomes ones, do not have healthy food available they will be more likely to have setbacks to their recoveries. The hospital says there is no criteria for someone to receive the meal. Dining services works with volunteer services to cook and package the meals, which contain 700 calories, 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. The meals include cooking instructions.
5. Could chocolate go extinct?
According to some scientists, yes. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have predicted that cacao plants, from which chocolate is derived, will likely go extinct due to climate change as early as 2050. The majority of the world’s chocolate supply comes from West Africa, but rising temperatures will force the cacao plants from their current thriving rainforest locations into the mountains, where cultivation is difficult. But fear not, chocolate lovers. Mars and the University of California have teamed up to develop a method to help save cacao crops. According to Food & Wine, the companies are using CRISPR technology to modify the plants to be able to survive in higher temperatures, eliminating the need for cacao plants to move to higher and cooler elevations.