November 2012 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 4, Issue 11]

Deaths From Energy Drinks Possible

I know a lot of adults use caffeine to perk up in the morning – usually with a cup of coffee or two (or maybe three). Some people don’t want to go through all the effort of sipping a full cup so they purchase little energy drink shots. You’ve probably seen them displayed at a gas station or convenience store. They look harmless enough. Can they really be deadly?

Caffeinated Drink Cited in Reports of 13 Deaths

Here’s a story from the New York Times that tells about a potential link between those little energy shots and thirteen deaths. Caffeine, although natural, is a drug that improves your state of alertness. Take a little too much and you get jittery and cranky. Take way too much and some people can get very sick. And those little shots are regulated as “dietary supplements,” which means they can have quite a bit more caffeine than a cup of coffee, and since they’re small, a person could down quite a few at one time.

Things to think about:

These energy shots aren’t supposed to be marketed to children, but they’re available and kids might not understand the potential problems with excessive caffeine consumption. Even the larger energy drinks (marketed to teens and young adults) have been connected with possible deaths and health problems.

Some energy drinks are sold as actual beverages, so they’re similar to soft drinks – that means they have to reign in the amount of caffeine. Energy drinks sold as dietary supplements do not.
EDNOS- A Lesser Known (and More Common) Eating Disorder

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are the best-known eating disorders, and they have specific characteristics that lead to an official diagnosis of each. But not all people with eating disorders match either anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

EDNOS: Deadliest Eating Disorder Is Quietly the Most Common

This article and accompanying video from ABC Nightlight discusses EDNOS, which stands for “eating disorder not otherwise specified.” The diagnosis includes eating disorders that don’t fit the distinct patterns of anorexia nervosa or bulimia. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious – it is. In fact it has a higher death rate.

Help kids with eating disorders. Warning signs include:
  • Preoccupation with food, calories or cooking
  • Deny being hungry
  • Can’t stop eating
  • Obsession with exercise or frequent weighing
  • Hair loss and feeling cold at normal temperatures
  • Menstrual problems
  • Guilt
Need more information? Here are some resources:
Organic Farming Vs. Regular Farming– Which Saves Energy

Organic foods are beloved by many consumers because they’re grown without chemical pesticides or processed without artificial ingredients. Buying organic foods is also a way to support smaller farms and local growers.  But how does it stack up when it comes to saving energy?

Organic Vs. Conventional Farming: Which Uses Less Energy?

This article by The Washington Post looks at energy use in organic farming. Organic farming generally requires more land to grow the same amount of any similar crop, but a few studies indicate it may use less energy to produce crops. Why? Probably because conventional agriculture focuses on crops like corn that’s energy-intensive to grow.
High-Fiber Soda - Yeah That's Weird

Fiber is the part of plant-based foods you can’t digest, so it passes through your digestive system, which is a good thing. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract and has other health benefits. That’s great, but...

High-Fiber Pepsi: The Choice of a New, Weird Generation

This article from The Atlantic describes soft drinks with added fiber.  They’re made and marketed in Japan and according to the article they’re being touted as a weight loss aid. Kind of an odd combination – sugary soda and fiber sold as a weight loss supplement. No word if fat-blocking sodas are headed our way any time soon.

I’ve seen more and more articles and recipes featuring quinoa. It’s a seed that’s related to spinach, but you cook it and eat it like a grain or rice. It has a nice flavor and can be used as a breakfast cereal, a pilaf or a salad. It’s been around for a long time in South American, and now it’s gaining popularity in the United States.

Quinoa: Hard To Understand, Easy To Love

This article from introduces quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Keep your students healthy and trendy by introducing this grain in the hot lunch line or in cooking classes.

Cooking with quinoa:
  • Assign students the task of finding recipes featuring quinoa.
  • Or have them create their own by converting recipes featuring cooked rice.
  • Ask students to write papers on lesser known grains or foods from other countries. Quinoa, chia and spelt are potential topics.
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Andean Lupine

The Andean lupine, also known as chocho, pearl lupine, or tarwi, is a legume cultivated and harvested in Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. The scientific name is Lupinus mutabilis Sweet. There's evidence pointing to the seeds being a major part of the ancient Andean diet (along with corn, potatoes, and quinoa), possibly as far back as 500 BCE.

The seeds of the Andean lupine are high in protein, healthy fats and minerals. Andean lupine protein is similar to soy protein. It also has about the same amount of fats as soy, but Andean lupine oil has monounsaturated fats (like nuts, olive oil, and avocado) and less of the omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils. It's also a source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Andean lupine has large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and iron, plus it's high in fiber, but unlike other Andean grains, such as quinoa and colored corn, there doesn't appear to be any beneficial phytochemicals (plant-chemicals). It does contain some phytochemicals, but they're not good for you. They're called alkaloids, and they give the seeds a bitter taste and are potentially toxic, so they must be removed before the seeds are eaten. The traditional method was to simply cook the seeds and rinse them with water.
Sometimes farmers would use the alkaloid-rich rinse water as a pesticide.

Once the seeds are processed, Andean lupine is often used as an ingredient in soups, ceviche, stews, and desserts, or it is ground into a protein-rich flour. If you can find it, Andean lupine is a great way to add plant protein, healthy fats, fiber, and minerals to your diet. Maybe it will even emerge as a superfood one of these days.

More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

Exercise May Actually Suppress Your Appetite, Two New Studies Suggest

Child Care Providers Can Be Part of Solution for Childhood Obesity

8 Tips for Eating Right When the Budget’s Tight

Health Advocacy Group Offers Children’s Nutrition Tips

About Shereen Jegtvig
Shereen Jegtvig is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.   Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website (, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies ( and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies ( She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students and fundamentals of nutrition to undergrads at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.