Monday, October 3, 2016

AARP The Magazine is last place seniors should go for nutrition advice

AARP The Magazine urges seniors to choose an Arby's roast turkey and bacon sandwich, right, over a roast beef and cheddar cheese sandwich, left, arguing the latter has fewer calories and less fat. Who in their right mind would eat either of them -- stuffed as they are with harmful antibiotics, preservatives and cholesterol?

Editor's note: AARP The Magazine and Consumer Reports cover food and nutrition in completely different ways. AARP's articles appear to be filled with marketing tie-ins and plugs for advertisers, while CR exposes restaurants supplied by factory farms that give massive amounts of harmful antibiotics to healthy animals.


Do the senior citizens you know stick to a steady diet of fast-food and chain restaurants?

AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, thinks they do, judging from a major article in its magazine, "Eat This, Not That!"

"Forget fad diets and deprivation," the editors declare. "Instead, lose weight and get healthy with these simple food swaps."

Like ordering the Rib Eye and Baked Potato with Butter and Sour Cream at Ruby Tuesday over the Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin, Biscuit and Broccoli to avoid the latter's higher dose of sodium.

Or picking the Sugar Raised Doughnut and Iced Latte at Dunkin' Donuts over the Sesame Seed Bagel with Plain Cream Cheese to avoid 200 extra calories.

But all of those so-called healthier meals deliver big doses of unwanted sugar, cholesterol or saturated fat.

The editors at AARP The Magazine think the majority of Americans over 50 can't stick to a diet.

Instead, they urge readers to pick "slightly healthier versions" of pizza, ice cream, chocolate" and "other foods that you enjoy."

That's a formula for disaster.

CR gives 'F' to chains

Consumer Reports asks:

"Did you know that large factory farms that serve restaurants like KFC, Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts regularly give massive amounts of antibiotics to healthy farm animals?

"Instead of being reserved for treating sick people, antibiotics are used to fatten up cows and chickens and help them survive in factory farm conditions."

Restaurants that received an "F" rating on CR's report card include Domino's Pizza, Sonic, Starbuck's, Jack In The Box, Little Caesars, Chili's, Denny's, Arby's, Olive Garden, Applebee's, Buffalo Wild Wings and IHOP.

Doing slightly better ("D") are Pizza Hut and Papa John's. McDonald's, Wendy's and Taco Bell were graded "C"; Subway and Chick-fil-A got a "B."

The only "A" ratings went to Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

"The problem with factory farms overusing antibiotics is that they are creating resistant bacteria that spreads through our food, water and the environment.

"Scientists have been telling us for years that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are multiplying at an alarming rate, and we know that medicines to treat deadly infections aren't working like they used to.

Common-sense advice

A second part of the AARP article is far more useful.

For example the editors recommend salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies and other fish for their beneficial omega-3s -- which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes -- compared to the very few omega 3s in tilapia and catfish.

Other recommendations include olive oil over soybean oil, and reduced-sodium soy sauce over regular soy sauce.

In the April/May 2016 issue of AARP The Magazine, only fast food and chain restaurants -- which are supplied by factory farms -- are listed, including Chick-fil-A, Outback Steakhouse and P.F. Chang's.

The editors' picks are called "slightly healthier versions."

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