- 5 summer mocktails with a health benefit | WTOP
- It’s easy to become obese in America. These 7 charts explain why
- 1) We eat out — a lot
- 2) Portion sizes have gone up, up, up
- 3) We guzzle sugary beverages on an unrivaled scale
- 4) Healthier foods can cost more
- 5) Our vegetables consist mainly of potatoes and tomatoes
- 6) Too many of our meals are dessert
- 7) We’re bombarded with ads for unhealthy food
- How the food environment could support healthful eating instead
- Alyssa Moran – Faculty Directory – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- No-Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe • The Prairie Homestead
- Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
- Kitchen Notes:
- Interesting in more perserving recipes? We’ve gotcha covered!
5 summer mocktails with a health benefit | WTOP
This content is sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medicine
Looking for refreshing beverages with an added health benefit? Try avoiding beverages packed with added sugars.
Regular sodas can have over 50 grams of added sugar and 150 calories in one 12-oz can and some coffee-based beverages can pack a sugary wallop of 145 grams in one serving—almost four times the amount of sugar recommended for an entire day.
The American Heart Association recommends to limit added sugar to 36 grams for men (9 teaspoons, 150 calories) and 25 grams for women (6 teaspoons, 100 calories).
Cutting down on added sugar is key to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding unintended weight gain and tooth decay. Water and tea can be the basis of a refreshing accompaniment to any meal and for those who a bit of sparkle, a spritzer made with seltzer and fruit can offer a more nutritious option (and fewer calories) than conventional soda.
Ingredients1 kiwi fruit1/2 cup strawberriesAbout 3/4 cup plain seltzer (club soda without sodium)
Peel the kiwi and mash it in a strainer over a glass or small bowl. You should get about 2 tablespoons of tart juice. Wash and stem the strawberries and mash the juice through the strainer. Pour juice mixture over ice in a fancy glass. Top with seltzer and enjoy.
The serving contains about 30 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, and 1 mg sodium.
Cherry Vanilla Frappe
Ingredients1 cup frozen, pitted sweet cherries1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt (try Greek for added protein)
Freeze fruit before blending lets you skip ice cubes. If using fresh, pitted cherries, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of ice. Put ingredients in blender. Puree until almost smooth. Pour into 2 glasses.
Each serving contains about 133 calories, 6 g protein, 0 g fat, 25 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, and 95 mg sodium.
Pitcher-Perfect Iced Tea
Ingredients4 tea bags: regular, decaffeinated, or herbal
4 cups water
Bring water to a rolling boil. Pour water over tea bags in a teapot, pitcher, or other one-quart container. Let steep 5 to 7 minutes. Remove tea bags. Chill. Serve in glasses over ice.
Instead of adding sugar or artificial sweetener, try adding fruit juice for a new flavor. Mixing 1 cup of tea with 1/2 cup orange juice adds about 56 calories, 1 g protein, less than 1 g fat, 13 g carbohydrates, less than 1 g fiber, and 1 mg sodium.
To make this recipe gluten-free, use only tea that is gluten-free. Read food labels carefully and contact the company if you have any questions.
Peach Melba Smoothie for Two
Ingredients1 cup sliced peaches, fresh, frozen, or canned (drained and rinsed)1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt1 cup crushed ice1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries; reserve 6 berries for garnish
Mint leaves (optional), for garnish
Put peaches, yogurt, ice, and all but 6 raspberries into blender and puree. Serve in tall glasses. Garnish with reserved berries. The smoothie will be thick enough to float them on top. Add fresh mint leaves if you have them.
Each serving contains about 150 calories, 7 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, and 80 mg sodium.
Ingredients1 fresh, large lemon1/2 cup very ripe strawberries plus 1 for garnish1 packet sweetener1 cup cold water
Cut the lemon in half and remove seeds. Use a lemon reamer to juice. Strain pulp if desired into a large glass. You should get about 1/4 cup lemon juice. Crush strawberries and add juice to lemon juice. Add sweetener and stir. Add water and ice cubes. Garnish with a whole strawberry.
The serving contains about 40 calories, 1.5 g protein, 0 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, and 2 mg sodium.
Theo McCloskey, RD, LDN, CNSC, is the clinical nutrition manager for Sibley Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
It’s easy to become obese in America. These 7 charts explain why
It’s no secret that Americans have gotten much, much bigger over the past few decades. The signs are all around us, from XXXL clothing sizes to supersize movie seats and even larger coffins.
According to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American man now stands at 5-feet-9 1/4 inches tall and weighs 196 pounds — up 15 pounds from 20 years ago. For women, the change has been even more striking: The average female today stands 5-feet-3 3/4 inches and weighs 169 pounds. In 1994, her scale read 152 pounds
The latest CDC estimates now show that, as of 2016, 40 percent of US adults and 19 percent of youth were obese.
This data on the state of our weight comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), a combination of interviews and physical examinations that's considered the gold standard measurement. Since the 1980s, the NHANES has been charting obesity rates — and extreme obesity rates — as they've soared.
Alongside the rise in obesity, we’ve also seen growing rates of associated chronic disease — diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Clearly it’s gotten easier and easier to gain weight, and harder and harder to avoid it.
We looked at the influence of marketing, food environments, and genes to explain why so many diets fail for Explained, our weekly show on Netflix.
Watch now on Netflix.
So what’s going on here? There’s an obvious answer — we eat more than we burn off. But increasingly public health experts agree that we are not consciously choosing to overeat.
“The food environment is a strong predictor of how we eat,” says Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness and a faculty member at both Johns Hopkins and George Washington University. “And in America, the unhealthiest foods are the tastiest foods, the cheapest foods, the largest-portion foods, the most available foods, the most fun foods.”
But why talk about how our food environment enables overeating with words when we can show it with charts? Let’s do it.
1) We eat out — a lot
Americans are cooking less and less and eating away from home more and more. And that’s leading us to chow down more than we would if we were home.
More than half of our food dollars are now being spent on restaurants and convenient on-the-go meals. In 2015, for the first time, Americans spent more money eating away from home than they did on groceries.
Sure, it’s possible to have a small, healthy meal at a restaurant. But researchers have found that people typically eat 20 to 40 percent more calories in restaurants compared with what they’d eat at home.
To understand why that happens, consider data from this recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The authors examined the nutrition content of more than 360 dinner entrees at 123 non-chain restaurants in San Francisco, Boston, and Little Rock between 2011 and 2014.
The restaurant dishes contained 1,200 calories, on average — about half of the 2,000 or 2,500 calories recommended for moderately active women and men in an entire day.
2) Portion sizes have gone up, up, up
When we eat out, we’re not being served modest plates. The average restaurant meal today is more than four times the size of typical 1950s fare, according to the CDC.
These supersize portions are reflected in our daily calorie intake. The average American’s total caloric intake grew from 2,109 calories in 1970 to 2,568 calories in 2010. As Pew Research put it, that’s “the equivalent of an extra steak sandwich every day.”
3) We guzzle sugary beverages on an unrivaled scale
People who drink soda have more obesity, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and other health problems compared with people who don't — the research on this is clear. And Americans are drinking way, way too much of the sweet stuff. According to Euromonitor’s most recent data, Americans remain the world leaders when it comes to per capita sales of soft drinks.
That said, one of the biggest public health wins of recent decades has been a slow shift away from soda in the United States.
With more awareness about the strong correlation between drinking sweet, fizzy drinks and obesity and tooth decay, sales of beverages Coca-Cola and Pepsi have slumped.
But we may still be getting hoodwinked by other, equally sugary beverages. According to Euromonitor’s analysis of US retail beverage sales over the past five years, while the soda category is shrinking, juice sales have held steady, and sales of energy and sports drinks have been growing.
4) Healthier foods can cost more
The federal government recommends 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. According to the CDC, Americans in every state barely hit these minimum targets.
Fewer than 10 percent of American adults ate enough vegetables in 2013. Fewer than 15 percent consumed the recommended amount of fruit.
The Americans who aren’t eating broccoli don’t have a vendetta against it. Instead, there is a range of economic and social factors that make eating enough fruits and vegetables really hard.
Let’s start with cost: As you can see in the chart, when it comes to how many calories you get per dollar, sugar, vegetable oils, and refined grains deliver a higher bang for the buck than fruits and vegetables.
In the long run, nutrients in food ( fiber, vitamins, and minerals) matter more for health than calories alone. But if your household income is low, you’re probably going for the cheapest, highest-calorie options.
5) Our vegetables consist mainly of potatoes and tomatoes
To make things more complicated, there’s a supply problem.
We’re told to eat nutrient-dense foods broccoli and Brussels sprouts instead of energy-dense foods soda and french fries, yet there aren’t enough nutrient-dense foods to go around.
Researchers have pointed out that if Americans actually followed the US dietary guidelines and started to eat the volume and variety of produce health officials recommend, we wouldn’t have nearly enough to meet consumer demand.
As of 2013, potatoes and tomatoes made up half of the legumes and vegetables available in this country, according to the US Department of Agriculture. And when we do eat tomatoes and potatoes, they’re often accompanied by so much sugar, fat, and salt that we’re propelled to overeat.
6) Too many of our meals are dessert
American breakfast is often nothing more than disguised dessert. And we keep eating sugar throughout the day — in cupcakes, soda, even salad dressing.
So many of the additional calories in our diet that weren’t there a few decades ago are coming in the form of sugar. Back in 1977, the average adult got 228 calories per day from sugar in food and drinks. By 2010, it was up to 300 calories a day. Added sugar consumption increased almost as much — 20 percent — among kids.
Between 2003 and 2012, sugar consumption in adults and kids has come down a bit. But it’s still way too high.
“Added sugars increase excess energy and reduce nutrient density in our diets, often contributing to weight gain and obesity,” said Elyse Powell, one of the researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who crunched these numbers.
7) We’re bombarded with ads for unhealthy food
Sugary, oily foods are engineered to be consumed often and in big portions. But we’re not just influenced by their irresistible taste. The food industry is also terrific at marketing its products to us — and turning us into loyal consumers.
A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine helped establish how the rise in obesity among kids corresponds to increasing marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to them. Since then, public health researchers have tracked food advertising — and have discovered how in some ways, this problem just keeps getting worse.
The UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that in 2014, food companies spent $1.28 billion to advertise snack foods on television, in magazines, in coupons, and, increasingly, on the internet and mobile devices.
Almost 60 percent of that advertising spending promoted sweet and savory snacks, while just 11 percent promoted fruit and nut snacks.
And advertising of sweet snacks increased 15 percent, even from 2010 to 2014, according to Rudd’s analysis.
According to Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the Rudd Center and lead author of the Rudd report, the public health community has pressured food companies to change how they advertise their products to kids.
And there’s been some progress — 10 years ago, she says, companies argued that all of their products were healthy and there was no reason kids shouldn’t be eating them. “Now there’s recognition that the marketing does affect kids’ diets in harmful ways.
Now the discussion is around what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy. Now we’re in the details.”
But instead of promoting healthier foods, Harris says that companies have mostly reformulated their existing products to make them only slightly less unhealthy.
“The sugar in kids' cereals has gone from an average of 12 to 13 grams to 9 to 10 grams,” says Harris. “But the cereal industry has products that do qualify as healthy, and yet they don’t advertise them to kids. The healthy cereals are advertised to parents, not kids.”
How the food environment could support healthful eating instead
With the expansion of our waistlines over the past 30 years, the factors in our environment that promote obesity — some of them outlined here — have come into focus. To reverse the trend, health officials have begun experimenting with a number of different policies.
First and foremost is taxation. Taxes helped wean people off cigarettes, and public health researchers think they may reduce consumption of fatty, sugary junk food.
US cities (Berkeley and Seattle) and several countries (including the UK, France, Hungary, Chile, and Mexico) are experimenting with taxes on junk foods soda.
So far, the (very preliminary) research suggests the taxes may be helping to get low-income families off the sugary stuff — a win since those are the families most at risk of diet-related diseases.
Another tactic researchers argue should be widely tested is putting a warning labels and symbols on junk foods.
There’s ample evidence that many people can’t make sense of the traditional food labels on the back of food packages: they too often require math, and some knowledge of nutrition.
What’s more, they don’t always contain information about “nutrients of concern,” added sugar. So countries Chile have been experimenting with easier-to-understand warning labels on foods.
A variety of healthier foods — especially fruits and vegetables — also need to be made more affordable and readily available to Americans.
To this end, nonprofits Wholesome Wave have been working with government to offer fruit and vegetable subsidies for the poor, and even experiment with produce prescriptions (which are essentially vouchers handed out by doctors to patients with problems with food access).
Big food companies need to clean up their offerings, working with health experts to create alternatives that aren’t chockablock with fat, salt, and sugar. Kahan noted that many obesity researchers him are working more closely with the industry. “A lot of big players have made real specific declarations of making healthier products, smaller portions,” he said.
The status of fruits and vegetables also needs to be lifted up, so that we see these options in our foodscape instead of only billboards for greasy hamburgers and candy. Here, too, there’s movement.
A number of celebrities and even Olympic athletes have been working with nonprofit organizations and grocery stores to appear in colorful advertisements peddling everything from apples to tomatoes.
So progress is happening slowly, but it’ll take time to understand what, if any, impact this has on our health. As Kahan said, “Transforming the food industry is one of the real uphill battles that will have to be fought over the next few decades.”
“,”author”:”Eliza Barclay”,”date_published”:”2016-08-31T10:30:03.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/kAiPhnYQP128Rm99TWmcZzQAMVA=/0x119:1800×1061/fit-in/1200×630/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7017225/obesity_charts-02.0.jpg”,”dek”:”âIn America, the unhealthiest foods are the tastiest foods, the cheapest foods, the largest-portion foods.â
Alyssa Moran – Faculty Directory – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Home > Faculty > Alyssa Moran – Faculty Directory – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Health Policy and Management (Primary)
- Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP)
624 N. Broadway Hampton House 363 Baltimore, Maryland 21205
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ScD, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2018 MPH, New York University, 2011 BA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2008
My research centers on the identification and adoption of effective public health policies to promote healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems.
Whenever possible, I partner with government agencies, healthcare providers, and food retailers to answer meaningful questions that fill research gaps and improve prevention programs and policies.
I use qualitative and epidemiologic methods, natural experiments, and randomized controlled trials to investigate the effects of food policies on the food environment and public health.
I have done work on food and beverage marketing, food labeling, institutional food procurement policies, nutrition incentives, and reformulation of packaged and restaurant foods.
I am also interested in the combined effects of social policies, such as housing assistance and income support, on diet quality and preventative health behaviors. From 2012-2014 I was a Senior Nutrition Technical Advisor in the Nutrition Strategy Program at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. I also served one year as a technical advisor for the New York Academy of Medicine’s Advancing Prevention Project, and routinely advise on projects for New York City’s Food Policy Initiatives.
Best Research Article, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (2019)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Nutrition Training Grant (2016-2018)
Harvard College Certificate of Distinction in Teaching (2017)
The Obesity Society Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award Finalist (2017)
Barry R. & Irene Tilenius Bloom Fellowship (2017)
Berkowitz Fellowship in Public Health Nutrition (2015-2016)
Donald & Sue Pritzker Fellowship in Public Health Nutrition (2014-2017)
Simon J. & Arpi A. Simonian Research Excellence in Nutrition Prize (2014)
Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Student Scholarship (2010)
Ellen Gstalder Award for Community Service in Public Health Nutrition (2010)
Americorps Scholarship (2008)
Madagascar Community Development Fellowship (2008)
Bridging Foundation Fellowship in Japanese Studies (2007)
Freeman Foundation Visiting East Asian Professionals Award (2006)
- Moran A, Thorndike A, Franckle R, Boulos R, Dorah H, Fulay A, et al. Financial incentives increase purchases of fruit and vegetables among lower-income households with children. Health Aff (Millwood). 2019 Sep;38(9):1557-1566.
- Moran AJ, Roberto CA. Health warning labels correct parents' misperceptions about sugary drink options. Am J Prev Med. 2018 Aug;55(2):e19-e27.
- Moran AJ, Musicus A, Gorski Findling MT, Brissette IF, Lowenfels AA, Subramanian SV, Roberto CA. Increases in sugary drink marketing during Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit issuance in New York. Am J Prev Med. 2018 Jul;55(1):55-62.
- Moran A, Krepp EM, Johnson Curtis C, Lederer A. An intervention to increase availability of healthy foods and beverages in New York City hospitals: The Healthy Hospital Food Initiative, 2010-2014. Prev Chronic Dis. 2016 Jun 9;13:E77.
- Moran A, Lederer A, Johnson Curtis C. Use of nutrition standards to improve nutritional quality of hospital patient meals: findings from New York City's Healthy Hospital Food Initiative. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Nov;115(11):1847-54.
See all publications by Alyssa Moran
- Evaluating a Healthy Restaurant Kids Meal Policy
- Impacts of SNAP and Housing on Child Nutrition and Health
- National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative
- New York City Food Standards
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No-Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe • The Prairie Homestead
Especially when you’ve made it yourself!
As much as I love to preserve and can, I always have a small moral crisis when deciding how to preserve fresh fruit.
Most jam recipes are super easy and great for a beginner, but they also require you to cook the fruit to oblivion (therefore eliminating a lot of the good stuff in it) and then add cup after cup of white sugar…
Not to say that I haven’t done it, but last weekend I sat there staring at 8 pounds of in-season strawberries and I couldn’t bring myself to cook ’em and sugar ’em to death.
So instead, I whipped up two batches of raw freezer jam sweetened with raw honey that jelled so nicely you could almost hold the jar upside down without it falling out.
I know, I know– I can hear the murmuring in the crowd right now. Ya’ll don’t think that’s possible, right?
We’ve all been told that you HAVE to use lots of white sugar in order for jam or jelly to set. And then you have to cook it to finish the process.
Well, when you have a box of this stuff– the rules change a little.
You can make cooked or un-cooked jam with it and use either honey or a minimal amount of sugar to do the sweetening. It comes with a little packet of calcium powder in addition to the pectin that enables you to have thick, set-up preserves, without a boatload of sugar.
Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
(Taken from the Pomona’s box insert)
- 4 cups of mashed strawberries– preferably homegrown or organic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (This is optional- I believe it just helps the berries to maintain their color)
- 1/2-1 cup of raw honey (You don’t have to use raw, but if you have it, this is an ideal place to use it, since it will be able to keep all of it’s raw goodness. I love this raw honey.)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin (affiliate link)
- 4 teaspoons calcium water (this comes with the Pomona’s pectin when you buy it)
First off, mix the packet of calcium powder with 1/2 cup water. Store it in the fridge- it will last for several months and be good for more than one batch.
Place your mashed berries in a large bowl and add lemon juice and honey. Stir well. It takes a bit of stirring to get the thick, raw honey to blend in with the berries, but it’ll happen eventually.
Bring the 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Add the pectin to the hot water and blend it until completely dissolved. (You’ll want to use something a blender for this. I used my immersion blender, and it worked a charm.)
Add the pectin/water mixture to the fruit, stir well. Then, add the calcium water and incorporate thoroughly. At this point, my jam was already very thick and wanted to jell up. If yours isn’t doing that yet, keep adding one teaspoon of calcium water at a time until it starts to set. Keep in mind that it will continue to set as it cools, too.
Place in freezer safe containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Stick in the freezer right away, or keep it in the fridge for a week or so.
1. You can usually find Pomona’s Universal Pectin at your local health food store, or buy it online HERE.
2. Feel free to substitute other berries in this recipe, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries.
3. My jam was not overwhelmingly sweet. If you yours a little sweeter, then add more honey to taste.
4. If you have zero honey, or have an aversion to the stuff, you can use plain, ol’ white sugar in this recipe, too. Start with a 1/2 cup or so, and slowly increase to taste.
5. One batch yielded approximately 3 pints, but it’s easy to double.
6. I sometimes freeze things in glass jars. I know, I’m a rebel. Just leave a generous amount of headspace (more than a 1/2″)
7. One box of Pomona’s pectin will make 2-4 recipes.
- 4 cups mashed strawberries
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (to help berries maintain color)
- 1/2–1 cup raw honey (I LOVE this raw honey)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin ( this)
- 4 teaspoons calcium water (this comes with the Pomona’s pectin when you buy it)
- Mix packet of calcium powder with 1/2 cup water, and store in the fridge- it’ll last several months and is good for more than one batch
- Place mashed berries in large bowl and add lemon juice and honey
- Stir well until raw honey is well blended with berries
- Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil
- Add pectin to hot water and dissolve completely
- Add pectin/water mixture to fruit and stir well
- Add calcium water, one teaspoon at a time mixing thoroughly until it’s thick and ready to set, keeping in mind it will continue to set as it cools
- Place in freezer safe containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace
- Freeze right away or keep in fridge a week or so
So there you have it, a wholesome raw jam with all the benefits of fresh strawberries and raw honey. It doesn’t get much better than that! I’m thinking I just might have to smear some on one of my homemade tortillas for a little afternoon snack…
Interesting in more perserving recipes? We’ve gotcha covered!
Listen to the Old Fashioned On Purpose podcast episode #2 on the topic How To Can Jam Without Using Tons Of Sugar HERE.
This post contains affiliate links.