MONEY Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett’s Secret to Staying Young: 5 Cokes a Day

Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images Warren Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, drinks a Cherry Coca-Cola.

The world’s most successful investor stays youthful by eating "like a 6-year-old." Turns out, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s bizarre diet is highly strategic.

How does the world’s top investor, at 84 years old, wake up every day and face the world with boundless energy?

“I’m one quarter Coca-Cola,” Warren Buffett says.

When he told me this in a phone call yesterday (we were talking about the death of his friend, former Coca-Cola president Don Keough), I assumed he was talking about his stock portfolio.

No, Buffett explained, “If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it everyday.”

Perhaps only a man who owns $16 billion in Coca-Cola KO 0.71% stock—9% of Coke, through his company, Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A -0.23% —would maintain such an odd daily diet. One 12-ounce can of Coke contains 140 calories. Typically, Buffett says, “I have three Cokes during the day and two at night.”

When he’s at his desk at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, he drinks regular Coke; at home, he treats himself to Cherry Coke.

“I’ll have one at breakfast,” he explains, noting that he loves to drink Coke with potato sticks. What brand of potato sticks? “I have a can right here,” he says. “U-T-Z” Utz is a Hanover, Pennsylvania-based snack maker. Buffett says that he’s talked to Utz management about potentially buying the company.

Investors in Berkshire Hathaway may feel relieved that the CEO isn’t addicted to Utz Potato Stix at every breakfast. “This morning, I had a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream,” Buffett says.

Asked to explain the high-sugar, high-salt diet that has somehow enabled him to remain seemingly healthy, Buffett replies: “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” The octogenarian adds, “It’s the safest course I can take.”

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

How the Nation’s Nutrition Panel Thinks You Should Be Eating

Ease up on sugar and saturated fats — but don't worry so much about cholesterol

New recommendations for U.S. dietary guidelines released on Thursday included the surprise suggestion that cholesterol should not be a nutrient of special concern—but added that sugar and saturated fat are still worth worrying about.

In a move that happens only every five years, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, an independent group of 14 experts advising Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), released a proposed update for what Americans should be eating. The proposal is over 500 pages long, but summed up the guidelines as follows:

“The U.S. population should be encouraged and guided to consume dietary patterns that are rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual’s biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.”

One nutrient was obviously missing: cholesterol. The committee confirmed that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern, which is great news for egg lovers. As TIME reported last week, evidence shows the amount of cholesterol coming from food isn’t really that worrisome.

MORE Ending the War on Fat

The recommendations do come down pretty hard on saturated fat—recommending less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat per day—but they don’t recommend against cutting down on total fat as they have in the past. Guidelines launched in 1980 helped boost the low-fat craze of the 2000s.

“To decrease saturated fat, one needs to reduce the intake of foods high in saturated fat,” says vice chair of the committee Alice Lichtenstein of Tufts University in an email to TIME. “Hence, the recommendation is to primarily choose low and non-fat dairy products and lean meat. Otherwise, there is no recommendation to reduce total fat intake or use fat free foods.”

That didn’t sit well with some, since some research suggests saturated fat doesn’t deserve our level of fixation. “They don’t move at all on the issue of what kinds of fats to eat. They continue to recommend limiting saturated fat and supporting polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats,” Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, said. “I would have liked the guidelines to be a little more neutral on saturated fat.” The form of fats that remain a source of concern are trans fats. (Nissen was also not on the committee).

MORE Know Right Now: Why Low-Fat Diets Might Not Solve Your Health Problems

But overall, nutrition experts were satisfied with the guidelines. “Wow. I love it. Really I am impressed,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “The emphasis seems to be ‘here is what your diet should look like overall and if it looks like this, you can’t go very wrong.’ The question is how we rally around it and how effectively it survives the political process.” (Katz was not on the advisory committee).

The new guidelines touch on sustainability, and the fact that the average American diet has a high environmental impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and land, energy and water use. They note that a diet that’s better for the environment is high in plant-based foods and lower in calories and animal-based foods. Some examples of these diets are the Mediterranean diet, a healthy vegetarian diet and a healthy U.S.-style diet.

The committee also reviewed highly caffeinated beverages like energy drinks and concluded that there is still not enough evidence on their safety, but that limited data suggest health problems like caffeine toxicity and cardiovascular events are possible. The committee says they should not be consumed by kids. The group also reviewed the sugar supplement aspartame, and said that while it appears safe, there may be some risks that deserve further research.

The new recommendations, which were decided on by an independent group of 14 experts, still have to undergo a review before getting the green light from Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The public is also urged to provide comments at

Read next: 6 Facts About Saturated Fat That Will Astound You

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Tofu?

4/5 experts say yes.

It’s chewier than chicken! Better than beef! It’s…a big block of bean curd!

And 80% of our experts are wild about tofu.

Made from the curd of crushed-up soybeans, tofu is a meatless master of disguise. A serving packs 9 grams of protein and even more iron, gram for gram, than a lean cut of steak—plus far more calcium, zero cholesterol and a fraction of the fat.

It’s been a staple in Asian populations for thousands of years. “The traditional Okinawan diet provided among the world’s largest intake of tofu, and Okinawans not only have lived the longest—with the least disability—but have had among the lowest heart disease, breast, prostate and colon cancer and dementia rates in the world,” says Dr. Bradley Willcox, a principal investigator with the Okinawa Centenarian Study and director of research in the department of geriatric medicine at the University of Hawaii.

Soy has a controversial reputation, since it contains phytoestrogen plant compounds that may or may not like the hormone estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer. Research on its health benefits is far from conclusive. But Maarten Bosland, a cancer researcher and professor of pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine who’s researched soy, says he knows of no evidence showing it’s harmful—and plenty that points in the opposite direction. In fact, several studies have suggest that soy is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer, a better survival rate among people with lung cancer, lower levels of inflammation and a smaller risk of hip fractures in women, says Cameron Wells, RD, acting director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Not everyone thinks consuming tofu is a good idea, including Elena Giordano, a biologist and nutritionist in Italy who researches the effects of soy in mice. 93% of soy is genetically modified, she points out. That’s because genetically modified soy is bred to be more resistant to herbicides. (There’s no solid evidence that GMOs cause any real harm, but if you’re worried, you can buy organic soy, which isn’t genetically altered.)

It’s also important how you eat your tofu. Soy products often hide in highly processed foods, from salad dressings to energy bars. And the world’s longest-lived populations aren’t noshing vegan processed soy cheese and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. “The key is consuming your soy in whole food sources,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic.

Think miso, tempeh, edamame—and those blocks of tofu, of course.

Illustration by Lon Tweeten for TIME

Read next: Should I Drink Almond Milk?

TIME Diet/Nutrition

How to Eat All the Fish You Want, Minus the Mercury Danger

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Mix up your fish food

Fish: It’s one of the most confusing topics among health-conscious eaters. On one hand, it’s a great source of protein and healthy fat, and eating it has been linked to lower rates of several illnesses, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Then again, some types are full of mercury or other pollutants. It seems like one day we’re told to eat less fish, and the next, to eat more.

And in the last few weeks, the news gave us two more reasons to think twice about eating it at all: first, a study hinted at a link between mercury and autoimmune disorders in women. And before that, another report found that mercury contamination of yellowfin tuna (also known as ahi) is growing far faster than previously thought. So, what are we supposed to do?

Read more: 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health

Keep it on the menu, but do it strategically. In general: “The rule of thumb for seafood is to mix it up. Eat it 2 to 3 times per week, but don’t eat the same type more than 2 to 3 times per month,” explains Timothy Harlan, MD, an internist and editor of Dr. Gourmet.

“With the wide variety of choices you could eat a different type of seafood—shrimp, crab, salmon, scallops, cod, trout, mussels, catfish, tuna, halibut—and not have to repeat the same seafood choice twice in a month.”

This is a helpful strategy because different types of ocean fare contain varying amounts of mercury. So while halibut falls under the “moderate” mercury level category, according to the National Resources Defense Council, eating it in the same week with a low-mercury type (like wild salmon) can help you keep your exposure the the heavy metal under control.

Spacing out intake of higher-mercury fish gives your body a chance to eliminate it before it builds up to dangerous levels. It’s a good idea to save or print the NRDC list of mercury-containing fish, so you always have it on hand.

The trickiest thing about mercury is that the amount of danger depends on so many factors: not only the type of seafood and where it came from, but also what other types of seafood you’re eating and when, plus your body weight. That’s why, if you eat a lot of seafood, it’s not a bad idea to use the NRDC’s mercury calculator to plan your meals.

Read more: 14 Types of Food That Can Make You Sick

Another option is to download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app (free from iTunes or Google Play), which provides up-to-date guidance right from your smartphone. You can search for different types of seafood while you’re in the store or trying to decide what to order at a restaurant. The app will tell you what’s a “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative” or if you should “Avoid,” and it includes a special guide for sushi that decodes the Japanese names for different types of fish.

Finally, if you find all of this way too confusing, you can limit your options by eating only from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List, recommended by Health‘s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD. The five choices on this list—Atlantic mackerel, certain types of salmon (freshwater coho farmed, and wild-caught from Alaska) and Pacific sardines—are guaranteed to deliver 250 milligrams of heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s without worrisome levels of mercury.

Read more: 10 Fish You Should Avoid (And Why)

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

How Your Taste Buds Can Help You Lose Weight

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Research shows that our flavor preferences may affect our weight and health in surprising ways

It’s no big secret that people have different taste preferences. Some of us gleefully devour arugula salads for lunch, while others won’t touch greens unless they’re baked and smothered in cheese (and sometimes not even then). Some people gulp down pumpkin spice lattes; others go into sugar shock after just one sip.

“When it comes to taste, each one of us is hardwired differently,” says Valerie Duffy, RD, professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut. And emerging research is showing that our flavor preferences may affect our waistlines and health in surprising ways. Check out the fascinating scoop on exactly what’s going on inside your mouth and how to tap your taste buds to dump unwanted pounds.

Read more: Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Did you know that there are three types of tasters: supertasters, nontasters and people who fall somewhere in between? Finicky types, with their hypersensitive taste buds, tend to belong to the first group. If you’re a supertaster, you find the flavors in foods really intense. Desserts taste too sweet, bitter foods are too bitter and spicy foods—well, you get the picture. That’s why you’re less likely to inhale a plate of brownies, and you probably don’t make the best drinking buddy (the ethanol in alcohol—yech).

Yet vegetables may pose a challenge for supertasters, who can be particularly sensitive to the bitter compounds in dark, leafy greens. One study co-authored by Duffy showed that they ate almost one fewer serving a day than their peers. As Duffy notes, “Supertasters will probably need to minimize the bitterness in Brussels sprouts, say, to develop a taste for them.” The one thing these picky eaters typically can’t get enough of: salty foods, which may trigger overeating.

Read more: 13 Foods That Are Saltier Than You Realize

Research finds that roughly 25 percent of Americans are supertasters. About 25 percent are nontasters, and the rest of us fall in the middle. Why are you turned off by curry takeout while your dinner companion can’t get enough of it? Unclear, but it may be in your genes (for example, a specific variant of the gene TAS2R38 can make bitter compounds overwhelming to supertasters), says Linda Bartoshuk, PhD, Bushnell Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. What many supertasters seem to have in common is a high number of taste papillae, the tiny bumps on the tongue where taste buds live.

Nontasters, on the other hand, simply perceive flavors and textures less intensely. On the plus side, they find leafy greens sweet rather than bitter, so they’re more apt to polish them off. But they tend to be relatively insensitive to fat and creamy textures, which may make them overindulge. Not surprisingly, some research suggests that nontasters are at greater risk of excessive weight gain and cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population. Since they have duller taste sensations, they may need to eat more food to feel satisfied.

Read more: 10 Heart-Healthy Rules to Live By

How extra weight messes with food satisfaction

While taste clearly affects your waistline, the opposite also seems to be true: Extra weight may dim sensitivity to flavors. One possible reason is that those additional pounds influence hormone levels throughout the body, which changes the way taste receptors relay information to the brain. A Stanford University study found that a group of obese preoperative bariatric surgery patients had less taste sensitivity than a control group of normal-weight individuals.

Although shedding weight can help restore some lost taste sensation, it might not bring it back completely. “Taste is like any other system and may become dulled with overuse,” explains John Morton, MD, lead author of the Stanford study. “What we really need is to appreciate our food more.”

Trick your appetite!

As anyone who has ever stuffed herself at dinner but still had room for dessert knows, the stomach works in mysterious ways. This tendency to feel too full for one thing on your plate but not another impacts all kinds of tasters, says Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. “It’s called sensory-specific satiety,” she explains, “and it happens when you eat one type of food to the point where you don’t want any more, yet you can still be hungry for foods with other flavors, textures and smells.”

Sensory-specific satiety can actually be a valuable weight-management tool. In fact, it’s the basis behind one-note eating plans (like the grapefruit diet), which take the idea to the extreme. “People who limit their diets while trying to lose weight are more successful,” says Kristen Kizer, RD, a dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “Our human tendency is to sample as much as possible, so if you have a whole buffet of options, you’re more likely to overeat.”

Read more: Filling Foods to Help Lose Weight

Of course, restricting yourself to a single food is unhealthy, not to mention boring. So try these ways to rejigger your taste buds.

Cut back on processed foods. They often contain hidden additives, like salt in breakfast cereal or sugar in some tomato sauces and salad dressings, says David Katz, MD, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. You may not consciously notice these flavors, but your individual taste receptors do—and they keep you craving more and more, Dr. Katz explains. Read labels on prepared foods, and cook from scratch when you can.

Have one cheat food. Instead of keeping five types of treats in your house, choose one you really enjoy and stock up on just that. You’ll be less tempted to go overboard.

Read more: Cheat-Proof Your Diet

Eat the same shade. At least when it comes to splurge foods. Research shows that people may chow down more when offered candies in a combo of colors instead of ones that are all one hue. (At last—a reason to munch only on green M&M’s.)

Cook with a dominant flavor. Rather than making a dinner that has a variety of notes, Dr. Katz advises, stick to a one-pot meal with one herb, spice or prevailing taste (like a Greek lamb shank and polenta dish accented with oregano). “You’ll want to stop eating earlier than if you were jumping back and forth among three or four side dishes that taste very different.” Bottom line: When you eat too much of one flavor profile, you grow tired of it.

Be present. “It’s more difficult to feel full when you’re not focused on your food,” Rolls says. Tap your senses to savor your meals. That could mean lingering in the kitchen while dinner simmers on the stove or giving your lemon rosemary chicken a big whiff before you dig in. And during mealtime, Rolls adds, “eliminate television and email so that you can concentrate on smelling, tasting and chewing. Enjoy the experience!” Take pleasure in your food and you’ll just know when to stop.

This article originally appeared on

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The One Food That Can Spike Weight Loss

Emilio Ereza—Getty Images/age fotostock RM

Healthy diets seem complicated and restrictive, but adding one kind of food may be all you need to get healthier

Improving your diet often suggests a daunting revamp of every food you eat, but changing just one thing will help you lose weight and get significantly healthier, finds a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

A group of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School zeroed in on fiber, since previous studies have shown it can help people feel more full, eat less and improve some metabolic markers like blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar.

They recruited 240 people who showed signs of prediabetes and randomly assigned them to the American Heart Association (AHA) diet, which is currently recommended for those at risk of developing diabetes, or to eating more fiber. The AHA group focused on decreasing their daily calorie intake in order to lose weight, and they were provided with goals to limit saturated fat. The fiber group was simply asked to eat more foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to reach a quota of at least 30 grams of fiber per day. Neither group was told to change their exercise habits.

MORE Fiber Isn’t Just Good for the Colon Anymore

After a year, both groups lost about the same amount of weight. Even more surprisingly, the people in the study also showed similar drops in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar and inflammation. “By changing one thing, people in the fiber group were able to improve their diet and lose weight and improve their overall markers for metabolic syndrome,” says study author Dr. Yunsheng Ma.

While he’s not yet ready to say that people at risk of developing diabetes should ditch the AHA diet and focus just on eating more fiber, Ma’s study does suggest an alternative way of getting healthier. “I think we have to change the paradigm about recommendations,” he says. “Telling people to reduce this or reduce that is just too hard to do.”

MORE This is How Nutritionists Snack at Work

Ma notes that while dietary guidelines to lower the risk of various diseases have been around for decades, obesity, heart problems and diabetes remain the most common conditions affecting Americans. “Very few people reach the goals that are recommended,” he says. Asking them to focus on eating more of a certain food—rather than telling them what not to eat—may help people to think more positively about changes in their diet, and make the goals more achievable. From there, it might be easier to make the other changes, such as those included in the AHA diet. “[Adding fiber] might be one new idea for how to get people to adhere to a diet,” he says. That’s the first step, and perhaps most important, to eating healthier.

Read next: 7 Surprising Ways To Eat Healthy at a Restaurant

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

7 Surprising Ways To Eat Healthy at a Restaurant

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These simple, unexpected tricks help us make better menu choices

Here’s some food for thought: A typical restaurant meal contains more than 1,100 calories. If you’re like the average American, you eat out five times a week—which could wreak havoc on your diet. But before you vow to brown-bag it forever, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Food economists and consumer behavior experts have been studying the habits of restaurant-goers to identify why some leave happily sated and others fall into a food coma. They’ve learned that menu choices may have as much to do with where you’re sitting as what you’re craving. A host of factors—from the room’s lighting to the height of your table—can encourage you to make more nutritious decisions. Here’s how to set yourself up to enjoy a waist-friendly meal to the fullest.

Read more: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat

Grab a health-minded pal

Research shows that when we eat in groups, we tend to order similar types of food: Everyone opts for a salad, say, or most of the table indulges in burgers. Food economists from Oklahoma State University found that diners who caved to this subtle peer pressure also tended to be happier with their choice. Looking for dinner dates? Round out your guest list with friends more likely to get a side of farro than fries.

Go somewhere romantic

Setting the mood seems to matter as much in a restaurant as in the bedroom. When researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign replaced a fast-food restaurant’s fluorescent lights and rock-and-roll soundtrack with softer incandescent bulbs and mellow jazz, study participants ate 18 percent less food. They also ate more slowly and rated the food as more enjoyable.

Read more: Healthy Foods That Can Kill You

Request a table near the window

“If you want to stack the deck in your favor, think twice about where you sit,” says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design. When his team compared receipts and table locations at 27 restaurants, they found that patrons at high-top tables tended to order more fish and fewer desserts, and diners near the window were 80 percent more likely to have salads. “Maybe a high table makes you feel more in control, and sitting near a window feels more public,” he says. “The why isn’t clear. But as we say in the lab: If you want to be skinny, do what skinny people do.”

Sit far from the bar

When you’re in view of the television, it’s tempting to watch between bites. But eating while distracted causes people to consume more—not only at that meal but later in the day as well, according to a British study. And TV isn’t the only temptation you’ll fight near the bar. The Cornell research team found that groups of four perched within two tables of the booze drank an average of three more drinks than patrons just one table farther away.

Read more: 10 Signs Your House Is Making You Fat

Ask for a tall glass

We tend to underestimate how much liquid is in short tumblers—which is why bartenders typically pour 27 percent more alcohol into short glasses than tall ones, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The flip side of this optical illusion: By sipping your caipirinha from a tall glass, you’ll have fewer calories without feeling deprived.

At a buffet, make a beeline for the fruit

“The first food a person selects triggers what they take next,” wrote researchers in a 2013 Plos One study on buffet patrons. For their experiment, they split 124 breakfast diners into two groups: One navigated a bar that started with cheesy eggs and ended with fruit; the other group faced a buffet table in the reverse order. Of the people who encountered cheesy eggs first, 76 percent served themselves the (deliciously gooey) calorie bomb—compared with 29 percent of people in the fruit-first group. And those who took cheesy eggs at the start were more likely to pile on bacon and potatoes. At dinner? Head to the salad station first.

Read more: 14 Fad Diets You Shouldn’t Try

Think miles, not calories

Calorie counts on a menu are a good start. But a 2014 study found that diners are even more motivated to order healthy when those numbers are translated into miles of physical activity. Every 100 calories is roughly equivalent to jogging one mile. The next time you’re waffling between a 600-calorie sandwich and an 800-calorie pizza slice, try thinking about the two extra miles it would take to run off the slice. (If you’re still craving the mozzarella and doughy goodness, it’s worth the calorie splurge.)

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Pizza?

Here's why it depends on the pie

4/5 experts say yes.

But don’t dial for delivery just yet. These experts’ thumbs, though mostly up, advocate for fresh, homemade pizza—not the grease-soaked stuff from a box.

Bad news #1: A single slice of sausage pie has 14 grams of fat. Bad news #2: Pizza is the single biggest source of solid fat intake in kids: 20% of all that pizza comes from school cafeterias, and it’s pretty much equal in fat to the fast-food kind.

“Stay away from eating numerous slices at a time, and pizza laden with salty and fatty toppings,” says study author Lisa Powell, PhD, professor in the school of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her 2015 study found that on days when kids eat pizza—especially the fast-food kind—they take in more calories, saturated fat and sodium than usual. When you want to indulge, offset it with a big salad, she suggests.

All the salad in the world may not undo the damage of delivery, but rethinking the pizza can.

“Pizza is a typical Mediterranean dish, like it or not,” says Adam Drewnowski, PhD, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington. Treat it as an open-faced sandwich, he says—a vehicle for whole grains, cheese, tomatoes, vegetables and even fruit, if you’re one of those people who likes pineapple on your pie.

Pizza has a lot going for it in ingredients alone. You already know how our experts feel about cheese, and tomato sauce has a lot of nutritional potential. Because it goes through thermal processing, it packs even more antioxidants than raw tomatoes, found one 2015 study. Heating up tomatoes helps break down their cell walls and releases tomato carotenoids like lycopene, “thus increasing their absorbance,” says study author Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventos, antioxidant researcher and associate professor at the University of Barcelona. Sometimes processed food does a body good.

One group in Scotland took a stab at formulating a nutritionally perfect pizza that people would still actually like to eat. Dr. Emilie Combet, lecturer in nutrition at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine, helped create a pie that cut back on salt and saturated fat while enhancing fiber. About 77% of adults—and a surprising 81% of children—said that the revised pie tasted as good or better than what they usually ate. “With the right ingredients, and the right proportions, pizza can be part of a nutritionally balanced meal,” Combet says.

That’s the right way to treat the pizza question, agrees Jennifer M. Poti, research assistant professor in nutritional epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of many pizza studies. Ditch delivery, she says, but “I would say yes to pizza with whole-grain crust, fresh vegetable toppings, and prepared with lower sodium and served in reasonable portion sizes.”

There you have it, pizza fiends. Let your love of pizza be your excuse to cook more.


Read next: Should I Drink Seltzer?

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Cholesterol Is Not a ‘Nutrient of Concern,’ Report Says

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New dietary recommendations are due later this year from the U.S. government, and big changes could be coming for cholesterol.

A preliminary document from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, released in December and reported this week by the Washington Post, states that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” That one sentence could drastically change the way Americans think about cholesterol-containing foods, like eggs, shrimp, butter and cheese. If the stance is adopted in forthcoming recommendations from the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which jointly set national nutrition guidelines, it may mean a vast departure from guidelines set just five years ago. The 2010 dietary guidelines put cholesterol under the “foods and food components to reduce” category, and the guidelines advise that people eat less than 300 mg per day. (Eggs, a source of dietary cholesterol, contain about 164 mg each.)

Experts say this would mean that recommendations are finally catching up with the evidence, which suggests that dietary cholesterol bears little impact on a person’s risk of heart disease.

“There have been multiple analyses and meta-analyses now looking at intake of dietary cholesterol and the risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “In the general population, there’s really not any strong evidence for a link.” However, a few studies have shown that there may be increased risk in people with type-2 diabetes, he says.

Dietary cholesterol isn’t solidly linked to cholesterol levels in the blood, says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “There’s virtually no association,” Katz says; much more profound are the impacts of saturated and trans fats. Several of his own lab’s studies have shown that eggs don’t adversely affect blood cholesterol.

Read more: Should I Eat Eggs?

The final report isn’t yet available. In a statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says this: “The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is currently finalizing its report to the federal government detailing its scientific recommendations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) joint development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. We expect the Committee’s advisory report to be released to the public in the coming weeks.”

If cholesterol gets its nutritional exoneration, that doesn’t give you license to swap your steel-cut oatmeal for five-egg, bacon-wrapped omelets. “We do not have evidence that people who eat more eggs have less heart disease,” says Katz. “But we do have evidence that people who eat more whole grains have less heart disease.” Eggs are safe to add to a heart-healthy diet, but don’t count on eggs to be the cornerstone.

“From my perspective, our dietary guidelines should be based on where we have strong evidence for good and where we have strong evidence for harm, and everything else should be kind of left out until we get strong evidence,” says Mozaffarian. “Dietary cholesterol is not in a place, I think, where there’s strong evidence for harm.”

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Gluten

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While gluten free now has a standardized meaning, it doesn’t mean 100% gluten free

There’s been a bit of gluten-free backlash lately, but this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A recent poll found that nearly 30% of U.S. adults say they’re trying to go gluten free, and Googling the term generates more than 95 million results. If you’re on the gluten-free bandwagon, either because you must avoid gluten due to celiac disease, or because you think you may be gluten intolerant, here are five new bits of info you should know.

Gluten may not be the only culprit in celiac disease

A recent study from researchers at Columbia University concluded that wheat proteins besides gluten may also trigger problematic symptoms in people with celiac disease. While gluten is the primary type of protein in wheat, a substantial number of study subjects with celiac disease had an immune reaction to five groups of non-gluten proteins. In other words, there is likely more to understanding celiac disease than scientists currently know, so stay tuned.

Read more: 15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong

Gluten-free labels are now standardized

Until recently, the term “gluten free” hadn’t been regulated or even defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But based on an FDA ruling last August, manufacturers can only use the term on products containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten, the established cutoff also used in Canada and Europe. In other words, while gluten free now has a standardized meaning, it doesn’t mean 100% gluten free. This is partly because the most sensitive test available can only test down to 3 parts per million, and clinical studies have determined that achieving 0 parts per million is not necessary to prevent symptoms in people with celiac disease. That said, I have heard of people reacting to eating foods labeled gluten free, which may be a matter of how much they’re eating, as well as the severity of their sensitivity. If you’re concerned, stick with unpackaged, whole food sources of starch that are naturally gluten free, like fruit, potatoes, squash, and root vegetables.

Read more: Best and Worst Foods to Avoid Bloating

Gluten-free fast food may not be safe for people with celiac

Chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s have started offering gluten-free crust, but because the pizzas are prepared in the same kitchens as those with gluten, they aren’t considered to be safe for everyone with celiac disease. The same cross-contamination risk may be true for the many other fast food chains that now have gluten-free or gluten-sensitive menus, including Arby’s, Chik-fil-A, and Wendy’s. In fact, Burger King even states that the options aren’t intended for people with celiac disease.

Gluten-free junk foods are everywhere

While gluten free has become somewhat synonymous with healthy, clearly there are dozens of unhealthy gluten-free foods. During a recent grocery trip with a client, I spotted many products marked gluten free, including cookies, brownies, pizza, mac and cheese, ice cream sandwiches, chips, and beer. There’s even been talk of a gluten-free Twinkie. While some of these foods are a godsend for people with celiac disease (who can finally eat some of the treats they previously had to avoid), they certainly aren’t the foundation of a nutrient-rich, healthful diet. And as you may have already discovered, these foods are one of the reasons why simply giving up gluten isn’t a magic bullet for weight loss.

Read more: 12 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods Nutritionists Eat

Food sensors are in the works

While celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are not the same as food allergies, a new technology designed to test foods for allergens will also include gluten detection. TechCrunch reports that the $150 portable sensor device in development from 6SensorLabs will require disposable units that will be inserted into a food to test for risky ingredients, and users will be able to share their results via an app. If it’s accurate it could be a game changer, although it’s not clear if the device works on every single food.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

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