This month’s issue provides a number of new takes on some familiar foods and nutrients. The lead article, by Julie Hess and Dr. Joanne Slavin points out the virtues of milk and milk products on the protein front, and asks why it is that if MyPlate includes a protein group, dairy foods aren’t considered. Food for thought!
Turning to some lesser known foods, we have an excellent article on pistachios that provides not only the facts about the nuts but the role they have played in history, and some recent findings about their nutritional properties.
We wind up the food offerings with a bit of spice. Our resident cultural anthropologist and historian on the Editorial Board has put together a series of articles, the first of which starts this month on herbs, spices and flavoring agents. The focus is on where these condiments came from and how they have been used through the years. It is a fascinating story, which nicely complements Dr. Keith Singletary’s excellent series on the botany, chemistry, and potential health benefits of the major herbs and spices used in this country. And subscribers should note that there is plenty of digital content providing extra information for those who want more detail on the basic science and animal experiments with coriander. With this offering, we say thanks and farewell to Keith, who has taken us on a fascinating journey of the herbs and spices we use every day.
Getting around to nutrients, there is a nice piece on that often forgotten nutrient, magnesium. While many Americans consume less magnesium than recommended levels, it hasn’t been singled out as a nutrient of concern in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans since to date it has been unclear that negative health consequences resulted. However, some nutrition scientists are now reexamining the data and looking for more sensitive indicators of magnesium status that seem to be associated with certain conditions. It is still early days, but this article by Drs Hruby and McKeown, will get you up to speed on findings to date. And there is a CE test for those who need to catch up on credentials.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines have been out for several months now, and while few disagree about the general thrust of the messages, which makes a lot of sense, there is a good deal of active discussion on the margins, especially on levels of sodium, added sugar, kinds of fat, etc. All of the bickering presents some major communications challenges to those of us who are trying to give consumers sensible recommendations. Sylvia Rowe and Nick Alexander dissect the issue and offer some very appropriate suggestions for moving forward.
Have a good summer.
Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc,RD Editor