Sound Bites: Avocados, Xtreme Eating and More Health News

Our weekly column on the latest nutrition and healthy eating news

Avocado toast high in magnesium

May 16, 2018

By Megan O. Steintrager

Bring on the Avocado Toast!

Good news for lovers of fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados: A recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that consuming a higher amount of unsaturated fats was associated with lower mortality, especially if those unsaturated fats replaced trans fats and saturated fats in the diet. While nutritionists have long been touting the benefits of unsaturated fats, this study’s length and size make it notable. Boost your longevity today by making Clean Plates’ quick and easy Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa recipe. Read more about the study, entitled “Higher Consumption of Unsaturated Fats Is Linked With Lower Mortality.”

What’s Up, Doc?

We know how critical healthy eating is to overall health, yet few traditional doctors address the issue of healthy eating with their patients. But the Washington Post reports that a growing trend of nutrition education in medical school could be pushing things in the right direction. Read “Coming Soon to a Doctor’s Office Near You: Prescriptions for Vegetables” to learn more, including about Tulane University’s unique dedicated teaching kitchen.

Nutritionist's desk

Busting a Gut

The Center for Science in the Public Interest just announced the 2016 Xtreme Eating Awards, its annual takedown of the food industry’s worst offenders when it comes to excess saturated fat, sodium, sugar and calories. Among the “honorees” this year are a Sonic slushie with more than 900 calories and Cheesecake Factory’s Fried Chicken and Waffles Benedict, which CSPI says “comes to more than a day’s calories (2,580), a four-day supply of saturated fat (86 grams, compliments of the hollandaise and butter syrup), two days’ worth of sodium (3,390 mg), and 15 teaspoons of (mostly added) sugar.” You can read the full article in CSPI’s July/August issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter or online here.

Are We Delusional?

In a recent NPR poll, about 75 percent of respondents classified their diets good, very good or excellent, which, NPR points out, doesn’t quite square with U.S. obesity rates (currently 36 percent of all adults) and the fact that “80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.” Read more about NPR’s healthy-eating poll on The Salt blog.

Happier Meals

Last week, fast food giant McDonald’s announced a number of health-focused changes to its menu, including removing artificial preservatives from its Chicken McNuggets, high fructose corn syrup from its buns, and swapping out margarine for real butter in the Egg McMuffin. Even if you’re not a McDonald’s customer, you’ll be happy to learn that the company is a year ahead in its goal to stop making food with antibiotic-filled chickens, a big win for anyone who’s concerned about the dangers of antibiotics in the food chain. Read the full press release: McDonald’s USA Announces Big Changes to Its Food.

McDonalds' chicken mcnuggets


BIO: Megan O. Steintrager holds a master’s in journalism from New York University and has been an editor and writer for Epicurious,, TODAY, Food Network Magazine, and Zagat, among other outlets.