A study by Barry Popkin, Ph.D., published in November 2003's issue of Obesity Research, overlooks the importance of balancing fitness and nutrition to combat obesity. The Corn Refiners Association Inc., which represents American companies that produce high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a widely-used corn-based sweetener, issued the following statement in response to Popkin's study: “America's obesity problem is a complex issue that can be traced to numerous factors, the most important of which are a major lack of physical activity concurrent with a large increase in daily consumption of calories. Experts agree that the best way to combat obesity is by achieving a balance between fitness and nutrition.”

According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (1998;98:580), “Excess body fat (obesity) arises from the energy imbalance caused by taking in too much energy and using too little ... Obesity is a complex problem, and its cause cannot be simply attributed to any one component of the food supply.”

“While choosing to engage in the 'good food/bad food debate,' Popkin overlooks some very important statistics that have accompanied the rise in overweight and obesity in this country:

“Between 1977 and 1995, individual caloric intake increased from 1,876Kcal to 2043Kcal. Theoretically, consuming an extra 100Kcal a day for a year can lead to a gain of 10lbs.

“According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, nearly half (4 in 10) of all American adults engage in no daily physical activity. Only about one-half of U.S. young people (ages 12-21 years) regularly participate in vigorous physical activity, and one-fourth reported no vigorous physical activity at all.”

Corn Refiners Association Inc., Curt Mercadante, 202-331-1634, curt@corn.org, www.hfcsfacts.com

Free is Good!

Now, Kikkoman International is offering a free set of recipe cards for panko—the Japanese bread crumb that adds versatility and consistent crunch appeal to kitchens across America. This new set of recipe cards provides innovative applications from panko-covered Fried Green Tomatoes to Panko Prawns. Kikkoman Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumbs are a multi-purpose coating with outstanding texture and holding power. For the recipes, write Kikkoman International Inc., P.O. Box 2041, Brownsdale, MN 55918-2041, or call 1-800-944-0600, www.kikkoman-usa.com

The Blueberry—a Versatile Fruit

Blueberries are popular in barbecue sauces as well as salsas, chutneys, marinades and dressings. Blueberries add fruit identity, texture, color and flavor excitement to barbecue sauces and bring out the best in charbroiled meats, grilled veggies, chicken fingers, and texturized vegetable protein nuggets. Blueberries combine beautifully with savory, salty, hot and sweet ingredients. Trendy new blueberry barbecue sauces include the outstanding grilling sauce from MBG Marketing and the Blueberry Store in South Haven, Mich., known as “the best rib baste on the planet!” U. S. Highbush Blueberry Council, c/o Thomas J. Payne Market Development, 800-824-6395, info@ushbc.org, www.ushbc.org