Tag Archives: Food Standards Agency

What’s in a Healthy Lunchbox?

Ninety-nine out of every 100 packed lunches being eaten by primary school children are reported to be unhealthy and failing to meet nutritional standards.

click & see the pictures

So what should a healthy lunch contain and what foods should be left out?

According to advice from the Food Standards Agency,a healthy packed lunch should include:

• Meat, fish or a dairy source of protein

• Starchy carbohydrate, such as a wholegrain sandwich, to provide energy

• At least one portion each of a fruit and vegetable or salad

• Water or milk to drink, but diluted fruit juice and yoghurt drinks or smoothies are acceptable

 

The key foods to avoid are:-

• Sweets and chocolate

• Snacks, like crisps, with added salt/sugar/fat

Sugary and fizzy drinks

Deep-fried foods and processed meats

• White bread – if children won’t eat brown, try whole white sliced bread

Nutritional standards for school meals were introduced in 2006 and standards for vending machines, breakfast clubs and tuck shops came into force a year later.

In 2008, strict nutrition content guidelines for primary schools were introduced and extended to secondary schools in September 2009.

They include maximum/minimum levels of energy or calories and 13 different nutrients, including fat, salt and sugars.

SUGAR, FAT AND SALT (As per  Food Standards Agency)
Sugar: 15g sugar per 100g is high in sugar, 5g or less is low
Fat: 20g fat per 100g is high in fat, 3g or less is low

Salt: 1.5g salt per 100g is high in salt, 0.3g or less is low


The Schools Food Trust – an independent body set up to advise schools on healthy eating – says there are no plans to issue statutory guidance on packed lunches, but it has produced some sample lunchbox menus

You may click to see:

SAMPLE MENU  in a packed standard lunch (526.29 K

Children’s lunchboxes ‘unhealthy’
Pupils are to face lunchbox exams
Charity seeks end to lunchbox ham
Food Standards Agency
School Food Trust

Source: BBC News:12Th. January. 2010

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Folic Acid for Women Between 16 to 45

Women between 16 and 45 should take folic acid even if they don’t plan to become pregnant, say experts..

A pregnant woman takes folic acid. Now a spina bifida charity says ALL women of child bearing age should take the supplement just in case

All women of child-bearing age are being advised to take extra folic acid after a rise in spina bifida cases, a national charity said today.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) issued the warning after it was revealed the number of new babies suffering from the disease born this year had doubled.

Research already suggests that folic acid supplements help prevent the condition. Women planning a pregnancy are recommended to take folic acid for three months prior to conception and during the first few months of pregnancy.

However the charity is warning that  unplanned pregnancies can mean the vitamin is taken too late.
‘Any sexually active woman of child bearing age should start taking folic acid now,’ a spokesman said.

Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford told the BBC: ‘This year we’ve had as many contacts from families in the first half of the year – a total of 15 – as we’d expect to see for the full year.

‘We don’t know if this is down to folic acid but we do know that most women don’t take enough folic acid at the right time.

‘Ladies do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida but they wait until they’ve missed a period before they start taking it.

‘The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy so by that stage it’s too late – if the baby’s going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it.’

It is not known whether there has been a similar rise in spina bifida cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Standards Agency currently recommends pregnant women take a daily 400 micrograms folic acid supplement until the 12th week of pregnancy.

This is as well as eating foods containing the natural form of folic acid such as green vegetables, brown rice, and breakfast cereals.

Currently, it is not mandatory in the UK to add the vitamin to food, although experts are assessing the evidence to make a decision.

Food that contain folate in high doses include leafy green vegetables, oranges, orange juice, dried beans and legumes. If  a food contains the sign ‘enriched’, it is likely it contains folic acid. In the US, grains such as flour, rice, pasta, cereals and bread are enriched with folic acid.

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You may click to learn more :->Women Needs 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day

Learn More About Folic Acid

Scottish Spina Bifida Association

Source: Mail Online. Sept.2 ,2009

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‘Bee Sting Honey’ for Arthritis

LOXAHATCHEE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: A honey bee sit...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

A New Zealand company is seeking EU approval to market honeybee venom to help people with arthritis ease their pain.

The honey may offer the gain without the pain

Nelson Honey & Marketing says two teaspoons a day of its honey with added venom milked from honeybees has anti-inflammatory power to soothe joints.

The venom concept is not new – some clinics even offer up bee stings.

The UK‘s Food Standards Agency said it would be considering the application in the coming months.

“It’s difficult to postulate the action of honeybee venom or how it purports to work, because any available evidence is entirely anecdotal ” Says Professor Alan Silman of the Arthritis Research Campaign

The Manuka honey with added bee venom has been available in New Zealand for 13 years and its makers say although it does contain a venom, it has proved extremely safe.

It contains a blend of honey derived from the native New Zealand Manuka tree and dried venom harvested from the Apis mellifera honeybee using electrical milking machines that send impulses to stimulate worker bees to sting through a latex film onto a glass collector plate.

Anecdotal benefit
The Nectar Ease label advises consumers to start with a quarter of a teaspoon a day and increase this to one or two as required.

It also warns that people with allergies to honey or bee venom should seek medical advice prior to use, and that it should not be given to infants under 12 months of age.

Honey has long been hailed for its healing properties, but the Arthritis Research Campaign said it was sceptical about the beneficial properties of honeybee venom in the treatment of arthritis.

The charity’s medical director Professor Alan Silman said: “We recently compiled a report on the effectiveness of complementary medicines in treating the common types of arthritis based on available scientific evidence and honeybee venom didn’t feature, as no research has been done into this product.

“As a result, it’s difficult to postulate the action of honeybee venom or how it purports to work, because any available evidence is entirely anecdotal.”

Source: BBC News:3 July.’09

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Pain ‘Linked With Low Vitamin D’

Low levels of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, may contribute to chronic pain among women, scientists believe.

The link does not apply to men, suggesting hormones may be involved, according to a study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases said.

<-Severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia

The team from the Institute of Child Health in London said studies were now needed to see if vitamin D supplements can guard against chronic pain.

About one in 10 people are affected by chronic pain at any one time in the UK.

The causes are not well understood and much of the focus to date has been on emotional factors.

Dr Elina Hyppönen and colleagues believe, at least in women, vitamin D levels could play a role in some cases of chronic pain.

Sunshine vitamin :
The nutrient, essential for healthy bones, is produced in the body when exposed to sunlight and is also found in oily fish, egg yolks and margarine.

Among the 7,000 men and women aged 45 from across England, Scotland and Wales that they studied, those who were smokers, non-drinkers, the overweight and the underweight all reported higher rates of chronic pain.

Among the women, vitamin D levels also appeared to be important.

This finding was not explained by gender differences in lifestyle or social factors, such as levels of physical activity and time spent outdoors, say the authors.

Women with vitamin D levels between 75 and 99 mmol/litre – a level deemed necessary for bone health – had the lowest rates of this type of pain, at just over 8%.

Women with levels of less than 25 mmol/litre had the highest rates, at 14.4%.

Severe lack of vitamin D in adults can lead to the painful bone disease osteomalacia.

But the researchers said osteomalacia did not account for their findings.

Dr Hyppönen said work was needed to evaluate whether vitamin D supplements could help prevent chronic pain.

In the meantime, she advised: “If I had chronic pain I would certainly check I was getting enough vitamin D.”

Kate MacIver of the Pain Research Institute at Liverpool University cautioned: “Taking too high a dose of Vitamin D supplements as a means of preventing or treating chronic pain could result in Vitamin D toxicity and high blood calcium levels.”

Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from their diet and by getting a little sun.

However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should take 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) of vitamin D each day, the Food Standards Agency recommends.

Older people should also consider taking 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) of vitamin D each day.

Sources:BBC NEWS:August 11,’08

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Raw Milk is Catching On in the UK

In the UK, demand for raw, unpasteurized milk is growing as increasing numbers of people spread the word about its health benefits and rich, refreshing flavor.

CLICK & SEE

The Food Standards Agency maintains that raw milk can contain illness-causing pathogens, but that hasn’t stopped its fans from traveling miles to purchase a liter. In England and Wales, raw milk sales are restricted to farmer’s markets and farm shops, and must contain a label warning of the risk.

Much of the increase in popularity has stemmed from anecdotal reports about raw milk’s healthy properties, which may:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Improve digestion
  • Combat arthritis and arterial stiffening

Further, because raw milk is not pasteurized, it is loaded with beneficial gut bacteria and digestive enzymes. Pastuerizing milk, on the other hand, destroys much of the nutrition in milk, according to raw milk proponents. Other beneficial properties of raw milk include:

  • It contains 10 percent more B vitamins and 25 percent more vitamin C than regular milk.
  • It’s rich in CLA, a superfat that promotes weight loss and may fight cancer.
  • It contains the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. Because of this, people who are lactose-intolerant can enjoy raw milk.
  • It contains more omega-3 fats, and they’re not corrupted by heat treatment.

Although opponents say the risk of drinking raw milk is great, farmers point out that raw milk is made to a strict standard, and that their cows are healthier than those on commercial farms.

Think about it: healthier cows mean healthier milk,  says Celia Haynes, a farmer who specializes in unpasteurized milk and cream.

Sources: Belfast Telegraph November 6, 2007