WBEZ | junk food http://www.wbez.org/tags/junk-food Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bad cravings http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-04/bad-cravings-98657 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dorito%20tacos_flickr_JSLander.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="There’s something about Doritos that just brings out my inner 13-year-old boy. And this? It’s like one huge Dorito as opposed to a million little ones. (Flickr/J.S. Lander)"></div><p dir="ltr" id="internal-source-marker_0.42594820678757384">Some friends have asked me whether I’ve developed any weird food cravings since I’ve become pregnant and the answer is, maybe? I’ve started entertaining the idea of indulging (once or twice, not all the time) in the type of junky garbage food that, not-pregnant, is completely invisible to me, the kind of stuff Michelle Obama is trying to take away along with the rest of our freedom. It’s hard to tell whether I actually want to eat this stuff or whether, in my current state, I just think “Now is the one time I can try this stuff and feel slightly less guilty about it.” These are the top three culprits so far:</p><p><strong>The <a href="http://www.tacobell.com/food/menuitem/Doritos-Locos-Tacos">Taco Bell® Doritos® Locos Tacos</a></strong><br>I’ve eaten at Taco Bell twice, maybe three times in my life? It’s just never been a part of my fast food routine. I will occasionally crave a bad-for-you burger or bad-for-you milkshake or bad-for-you fried chicken but never a bad-for-you cheap taco. However, I have a secret lust in my heart for Doritos. Doritos are junk heroin to me and I typically stay far, far away because I know if I got anywhere near a bag of them (regular or Cool Ranch), I’d come close to eating the whole bag. There’s something about Doritos that just brings out my inner 13-year-old boy and I want to eat them while lying on the couch when I should be doing something else, like homework. Maybe what I’m interested in in re: this taco is the portion control of the shell. It’s like one huge Dorito as opposed to a million little ones. I’ve even heard some friends who have tried it say it’s “not bad” and they “don’t regret” eating it.<br><br><strong>Cinnabon at Burger King</strong><br>I vaguely recall that the last time I ate Cinnabon, I thought to myself, “I never need to eat this again.” The smell is more enticing than the taste. But for some reason Burger King’s <a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-4CAths9NUOg/T56YBocMDoI/AAAAAAAAAlo/V5JmBjpTH3Y/s800/2012-04-14_11-38-45_925.jpg">billboards</a> advertising the 730 calorie bombs have got me thinking, “Now that’s a breakfast/snack/dessert I need to try!” My husband has suggested that maybe I’m not so much craving crap in my pregnancy but just extra-susceptible to advertising.<br><br><strong>Pizza Hut’s Dinner Box</strong><br>Oh Chicago pizza gods, forgive me but I want to sin. It’s been over ten years since I’ve eaten a nationwide chain’s pizza (Domino’s in college) but I really want to order Pizza Hut’s <a href="http://nrn.com/article/pizza-hut-targets-value-10-dinner-box">$10 Dinner Box</a>, which consists of bad pizza, and then bad pizza remainders in the form of breadsticks and cinnamon sticks which I think are actually <em>the same thing</em>. I know it must not be very good but sometimes bad food can kind of be secretly good. Perhaps you need to be in your 20’s or drunk or stoned in order to enjoy this but still, I kinda just want to hunker down over this box of cheap carbs. I want to eat it the day before I’m due so I can jump right into my post-baby health kick with a vengeance.<br><br>If anybody has tried any of these foods and can tell me definitively that it’s not worth it, or have any that I should add to my temporary shopping list, please let me know. Please also refrain from telling me that this food is not good for me, because I know. That’s its appeal.</p></p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 09:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-04/bad-cravings-98657 Junk food fight: Should ads stop targeting teens? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/junk-food-fight-should-ads-stop-targeting-teens-88170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/doritos.gif" alt="" /><p><p>The government says junk food marketers shouldn't advertise to kids. Not just on TV, but also online, in schools and in stores.</p><p>The guidelines being proposed are voluntary; food companies can opt out. Still, with four powerful agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, throwing their weight behind the proposal, the food industry is taking the measure seriously.</p><p>One of the most contentious issues is whether the marketing limits should be applied to older kids, aged 12 to 17 — like 13-year-old Reed Weisenberger.</p><p>"I always want pizza whenever I see a pizza commercial," he says during a recent visit to Washington, D.C.'s Union Station with his mom Cindy and a group of his friends.</p><p>Cindy Weisenberger dodges such requests regularly. Earlier, it was for giant caffeinated energy drinks.</p><p>"These guys on the way here wanted to buy Monster drinks," she says. "And I said, 'I'm not taking any kids that are drinking Monster drinks.'"</p><p>To those who want to limit kids' exposure to billions of dollars worth of food ads, the stakes are much higher than one parent's ongoing battle. About a third of U.S. adolescents are obese, and many blame successful marketing campaigns for contributing to the problem.</p><p>The agencies drafting the guidelines call themselves the Interagency Working Group. In addition to the FTC and FDA, the group includes the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control.</p><p><strong>'Horrifying' Tactics</strong></p><p>This group broke from the past by seeking to include 12- to 17-year-olds in its guidelines. Traditionally, limits on marketing focused on the very young. But the government sought to expand them to older children, in part because they are heavy consumers of social media, cell phone messages and online games — the new frontier for ads.</p><p>"What we're talking about are very complicated and very subtle forms of marketing that aren't always clear as such," says Kathryn Montgomery, a professor of communications at American University and an advocate for limiting food ads to teens.</p><p>As an example, she cites <a href="http://www.myawardshows.com/2010/OneShowEntertainment/asylum626/">an online ad</a> sponsored by Doritos that mimics a horror movie, and which draws in users' friends using Facebook or Twitter.</p><p>Montgomery says such ads work subliminally and use friends to influence other friends.</p><p>But efforts to restrict ads to teens draw lots of opposition from the food and advertising industries. The industries say the overlap between teen and adult audiences makes the proposed restrictions impractical.</p><p><strong>Is It Feasible?</strong></p><p>Elaine Kolish directs an industry-funded program called the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. For the past five years this initiative sponsored its own voluntary standards that focus only on the 12-and-under set.</p><p>"You know, we let kids drive and we let them hold jobs when they're 16. They can get married in some states, and they can join the military with permission, and they can be held criminally responsible for their actions in a number of situations," she says. "So I think that the notion that you'd have to have nutrition standards that say you can't let a kid see an ad for a french fry but you can let them join the military doesn't really make a lot of sense."</p><p>Advocates say whether the guidelines will include limits on teen marketing depends largely on how hard the government is willing to fight the industry.</p><p>Mary Engle, a director of advertising practices at the FTC, seems to suggest the government doesn't think it can win that fight.</p><p>"I think the application of the principles to teenagers was definitely a point of contention," she says. "And the working group has already signaled that by asking questions about limiting it to children under age 12, that we recognize that it may not be really feasible."</p><p>The deadline for public comments to the working group is July 14. The final guidelines are expected by the end of the year. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/junk-food-fight-should-ads-stop-targeting-teens-88170 Junk food near schools may be trivial factor for kids' weight http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-20/junk-food-near-schools-may-be-trivial-factor-kids-weight-88119 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-21/112561118.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>You may think that having lots of stores and restaurants selling unhealthful food right next to high schools would be one of the reasons children are getting fatter.</p><p>But you might be wrong. Researchers in Maine have found something contrary to that conventional wisdom: Junk food sold near high schools does not seem to affect students' body mass index, or BMI.</p><p>"Soda — and fast food as well — is so ubiquitous in these kids' lives that having one more or one less venue where they can be purchased near the schools doesn't seem to make any bit of difference," says lead author of the study <a href="http://usm.maine.edu/con/facultyprofiles/DavidHarris.htm">David E. Harris</a>, a researcher at the University of Southern Maine. "If there's soda in the fridge at home, whether you can buy it near the school doesn't seem to make a difference."</p><p></p><p>Students from 11 Maine high schools answered questionnaires about their height, weight and junk food consumption — 552 students in all.</p><p>Researchers found that half of the students drank soda at least once a week and more than 10 percent drank it each day. Also, about two-thirds had visited a fast food restaurant selling burgers in the previous month. In the study, 12.5 percent of those surveyed were obese. According to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_07_08/obesity_child_07_08.htm">16.9 percent</a> of children and adolescents are obese.</p><p>Researchers also collected data on food stores and restaurants that sold unhealthful food within a 2-kilometer radius of each school. But when they compared the data, the number and proximity of junk food stores didn't seem to impact the kids' BMI. The results of the <a href="http://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046%2810%2900457-4/abstract">study</a> appear in the <em>Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior</em>.</p><p>However, <a href="http://www.goranlab.com/">Michael Goran</a>, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center at University of Southern California, doesn't think the research has much significance. He notes that the study population was small, the environment is unique, and students were reporting their own weight and height, which could skew the results. "I don't put very much weight behind this study," Goren says.</p><p>The authors do acknowledge these limitations in their research.</p><p>But Goran agrees with the researchers on one point: Obesity can't be boiled down to just one factor. "It's all about individual choices," he says. "But, the more that we swim in an obesity-promoting environment, the harder it is to make those choices." </p> Mon, 20 Jun 2011 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-20/junk-food-near-schools-may-be-trivial-factor-kids-weight-88119 Salon Series brings junk food to Bluebird http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/salon-series-brings-junk-food-bluebird <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe height="281" frameborder="0" width="500" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/18860459?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215"></iframe></p> <p>Cézanne painted bowls of fruit. Pamela Johnson prefers Hostess cupcakes. &nbsp;The local artist was the featured speaker at <a href="http://www.bluebirdchicago.com/">Bluebird's</a> Salon Series of dinners last night. &nbsp;The series highlights local artists, who discuss their work over a five-course meal. &nbsp;I spoke with Johnson before the dinner, to talk about her work and her inspiration. &nbsp;She'll be featured again at the restaurant next Sunday, the 23rd. &nbsp;Call 773-486-2473 <a href="http://www.thesalonseries.com/reservations.php">for reservations</a>. While they did sneak in a few Reese's peanut butter cups along the way, they also served a hearty meal:</p><p style="text-align: center;">Flatbreads<br />arugula, brie, lemon<br />roasted red peppers, mozzarella, garlic, watercress</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pasta<br />wild mushrooms and bacon in garlic cream sauce</p><p style="text-align: center;">Steak Frites<br />garlic &amp; rosemary</p><p style="text-align: center;">Vegetarian Kebab<br />grilled seasonal vegetables</p><p style="text-align: center;">Belgian Waffles<br />chocolate &amp; whipped cream, banana &amp; caramel sauce<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/salon-series-brings-junk-food-bluebird