Fitness Buzz: Antioxidants on Labels, Aerobics, and More

An NYU professor questions food labels, U.S. soft drink habits are revealed, and aerobics turns 40.


Too busy to catch all the week's fitness, diet, and workout news as it happened? Here's a quick wrap-up of what was getting buzz.

"Antioxidant" as Marketing Tool

Slap the word "antioxidant" on a food label and people are more likely to buy it, Marion Nestle, a New York University professor, writes on her Food Politics blog. Food manufacturers introduced 300 new antioxidant-labeled products to the U.S. market last year, despite studies showing that supplemental antioxidants (as opposed to the ones that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables) don't do much to improve health outcomes and in fact may do some harm. I wrote about VitaminWater's labels, including the brand's antioxidant claims, earlier this year. Fruits and Veggies: Superheroes!

We are supposed to eat five servings of those nutrient- and fiber-rich fruits and veggies every day, but what does that mean? Diet Blog defines what a portion actually means (for example, one apple or seven strawberries or one medium tomato). And Fit Sugar includes some inexpensive veggies in its list of "superfoods" that you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. Soft Drink Trends

Fooducate dives into news on our soft drink consumption: A survey finds that fewer Americans are drinking sugary sodas these days, but more are drinking energy drinks (which also are largely sugar). That's not great, since research suggests caloric beverages don't fill us up like food does. Fooducate finds it to be bad news that more Americans are drinking diet sodas, too, but I'm not so sure; switching from soda to diet soda saves calories, and there is no solid evidence that the artificial sweeteners they contain make us eat more, as some have suggested. You Don't Look a Day Over 35

Male Pattern Fitness congratulates "aerobics," as defined by Kenneth Cooper's influential book on the topic, on its 40th birthday. But the blog is ambivalent about the slice-and-dice approach to fitness that the concept seems to have help wrought. Rather than thinking of exercise as neatly compartmentalized into aerobics, strength training, flexibility, et al., shouldn't we just encourage movement in general, with constant change to keep us motivated and on track to better fitness? Sounds good!