Fitness Buzz: No-Supplement Diet, Trader Joe's, and More

Also, a sports drink face-off and treats with simpler ingredient lists


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

Healthful Diet, No Pills?

Nutritionists usually advise people to get their vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet, not supplements, whenever possible. The Eat, Drink and Be Healthy columnist at the Washington Post gave it a try, chronicling her attempt to "meet all the daily nutrition standards in the federal government's guidelines without taking a multivitamin or other dietary supplement." She and her dietitian found it was pretty hard. Among their suggestions: Resign yourself to eating some processed foods, and use mineral-rich herbs and spices. Earlier this year, I wrote about the latest research on vitamins and other supplements.

No More Fluffy Gym Towels!

Tight wallets mean people are looking to cheaper alternatives for tight abs, the Wall Street Journal reports. The "low-budget fitness movement" the article describes includes home workouts, sharing personal training sessions with a group, and taking inexpensive classes at local colleges. Here are 5 ways your workout can weather the recession and, if you're going the cheap home-workout route, 8 ideas for building a $100 home gym.

In This Corner, Wearing the "Fierce Berry" Trunks ....

It's a fight! Pepsi, which makes Gatorade, is mad at (and suing) Coke, which makes Powerade, for ads it claims diss its product. The Daily Bread notes that the dispute, over whether two additional electrolytes make Powerade a superior alternative to Gatorade, as Coke claims, is silly and sort of beside the point. That's because very few exercisers, let alone nonexercisers, actually need to replace electrolytes. And those sports drinks are full of sugar, which is why there was a recent proposal to tax them, along with sugar-containing sodas. Coke is also being sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest over the health claims on its VitaminWater brand drinks—which are yet another array of products that essentially amount to sugar water.

Do Milk + Sugar + Cream + Eggs + Ginger = a "Better" Ice Cream?

The Daily Spark looks at how Frito-Lay and Haagen-Dazs are rolling out new product lines with only 3 to 5 ingredients. Marketing gimmick or a way to find a more healthful alternative? It certainly seems more appealing to buy foods with simpler ingredient lists, but they still have plenty of fat, salt, and calories. (I suspect the "simple" label is what NYU nutritionist Marion Nestle calls a "calorie distracter," something that may make you think a product has fewer calories than it does.) Here are 8 fixes nutritionists want to see made to food labels.

Everybody Hearts TJ's

The cult of Trader Joe's, the grocery-store chain that now has more than 300 stores in 25 states, continues! I've heard more than one totally sane person describe the addition of Trader Joe's to her neighborhood as "life changing" because of its selection of inexpensive, yummy, store-brand foods. The Vitamin G blog at lists some of its favorite TJ products, and commenters added more. (My personal fave: the Candy Cane Joe-Joe's cookies, available only around the holidays.) One warning: Trader Joe's products are not necessarily lower in calories or fat than their national-brand competition, so you'll still have to read labels.