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 Oct. 26:
1. Study: Sugar is toxic
Move over fat and calories. There’s a new bad guy in diet town: sugar. According to new research, sugar is “toxic,” according to Dr. Robert Lustig, of the department of pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco. Here’s the high-level rundown of what Lustig and his team found. Often when people reduce their fat/caloric intake, they replace that with increased sugar intake. That has made it difficult to prove that the rise of chronic diseases—think diabetes, heart disease and obesity—are linked to high sugar consumption.
So Lustig did a study of 43 children, where the children ate the same amount of calories per day that they had been eating prior to the study, however, the amount of sugar consumed was dropped (for example instead of eating a pastry children ate a bagel). What Lustig found was that the children’s health improved. For example, some children went from being insulin resistant, a precursor to diabetes, to being insulin sensitive.
“I’m not suggesting in any way, shape or form that we gave them healthy food,” Lustig said in an interview with Time. “We gave them crappy food, shitty food, processed food—and they still got better. Imagine how much even better they would have gotten if we didn’t substitute and took the sugar out. Then they would have gotten even better yet. That’s the point.”
Read more: Sugar Is Definitely Toxic, a New Study Says
2. Food allergy reactions and those with no known allergies
Nearly one quarter of food allergic reactions at school in 2013 were from students who didn’t know they had a food allergy, according to a new study. Several other points of interest in the study included:
• More than one in 10 schools reported at least one student with a severe allergic reaction at school in the 2013-2014 school year
• The most common allergic reaction trigger was food at 62 percent
3. Students upset over silverware shortage
Students at Midwestern State University say there is a lack of silverware at certain dining locations. According to an article in the student paper, there are two reasons behind the shortage. The first is a save water initiative, in which dining services is using disposables instead of washing utensils. The other reason is student theft, according to the dining services director, who notes that he routinely sees students taking handfuls of silverware back to their dorms.
Read more: Lack of silverware upsets students
4. Parents question removal of special taco menu item
Pilot Light is a group in Chicago that focused on helping children make healthy food choices by integrating nutrition education into the school curriculum. Part of the group’s work was the creation of a special menu item—chicken tacos al pastor—which was supposed to be on the menu last Thursday. Some parents, however, say the tacos weren’t offered, according to an article on WBEZ. One parent sent his son to school without lunch that day specifically so he could try the new chef-developed item, only to find out that the item wasn’t served.
Read more: What happened to the tacos?
5. Tracking food poisoning through Yelp
Comment cards and their electronic cousins have long been used to give reviews of foodservice facilities—both the good and bad. But they may have a new function as well: tracking food poisoning outbreaks. According to an article in USA Today, studies have shown the effectiveness of matching known food poisoning outbreaks to reviews on Yelp that provided symptoms common to food poisoning.
Read more: Using Yelp to track food poisoning outbreaks