New Food Labels May Help You Slim Down

On November 25, 2014, a new menu-labeling rule from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went into effect. The new rule, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, is aimed at making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. It stipulates that vending machines and menus at fast-food restaurants must publish calorie counts for all foods. Having access to this extra information could impact how many calories people consume each day.

“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., in a press release.

The menu-labeling guidelines apply to food establishments with 20 or more locations that standardize their food preparation. The rule applies to McDonald’s, for example, because all Big Macs are made from the same recipe but not to your local bistro, where each dish is made to order.

Restaurants are required to publish the calorie information clearly next to the name of a menu item or next to the item’s price. Although large studies on how much the new menu labels will affect human behavior show mixed results, they can help you make better food choices. If you know, for example, that you should consume 2,000 or fewer calories a day to stay at a healthy weight, you can select menu items that fit within your calorie budget.

Positive Emotions Enhance Memory in Babies

(Photo: Yvonne Chamberlain/GettyImages

(Photo: Yvonne Chamberlain/GettyImages

Cooing lovingly to infants or talking to them in an affectionate, playful manner may enhance their ability to remember shapes and retain other information, reports a new study published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development. The study measured the ability of 5-month-olds to retain information after a few minutes, then after a day. The conclusion: Babies retained information delivered with a positive voice, not a negative voice.

Stay Fit to Avoid Cancer

A new population study published in The Lancet shows a correlation between obesity and developing several types of cancer, including uterine and colon, especially in women. Researchers analyzed more than 450,000 cancer cases worldwide, including those in African and European countries. The results provide more evidence that controlling your weight could add healthy years to your life.