TIME Fast Food

Now You Can Get Table Service at McDonald’s

But only at some locations

McDonald’s is experimenting with offering table service at some U.S. locations in a effort to revamp its fast-food image and boost lagging sales.

Table service is already taking off Australia, Germany and France and seems to be popular with guests, so McDonald’s is rolling it out in 50 U.S. locations, CNNMoney reports. Visitors order their meals at electronic kiosks, then go to a table to wait for their meal to be brought to them.

McDonald’s reported a 10% drop in quarterly sales and earnings in July, as competitors like Shake Shack and Chipotle gain momentum. New CEO Steve Easterbrook has said he wants to experiment with the menu and change the customer experience, even hinting that kale might soon be coming to the McDonald’s menu.

[CNN]

TIME North Korea

North Korea Is Creating Its Very Own Time Zone Today

It's all to spite Japan

North Korea, a country of roughly 25 million people, is in the midst of a severe drought, which is contributing to food shortages that are leaving more than 10 million people without enough food. Even those lucky enough to have enough to eat have to suffer the indignity of living under a hereditary despotism of men with ridiculous haircuts.

But it’s not all bad news for the folks living in this nation-sized penitentiary. After all, on August 15th, North Koreans will get to sleep in a half an hour later.

That’s right, according to a report in the BBC, the North Korean government announced on Friday that it would be setting up its own time zone, which will be 30 minutes earlier than that which it currently uses. According to the report, the government made the decision to return to the time used in the Korean peninsula before Japan colonized it in 1910.

Before that time, all of Korea was 8.5 hours ahead of GMT, instead of the nine hours used in Korea and Japan today.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Here’s Who Drinks the Most Sugary Beverages In the World

Plastic cup of sugar cubes
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images How much sugar is in your fizzy drink?

Your choice may indicate your class, nationality, and sometimes even gender

It’s more likely than not that today, at some time, you’ll consume at least one beverage with sugars in it, be it fruit juice, a sweetened drink of some sort, or milk. And you wouldn’t be alone. Most everybody—as in, everybody in the entire world—likes a sip of a sweet liquid, finds a study released Wednesday in PLOS One that looks at global consumption patterns. The results are a glimpse into preferences by geography, demographic, income and even gender.

Gitanjali Singh, assistant professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and lead author on the paper, said the researchers broadly separated beverages into three categories: sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs, for short), fruit juice, and milk. SSBs are drinks containing at least 50 calories of sugar in an 8 ounce serving (soda, energy drinks, iced teas, your morning frappe). This category also contained fruity drinks that weren’t 100% juice; that distinction was classified as “fruit juice” in this study. And milk was, well, milk.

Collecting data was a gigantic undertaking, says Singh, and took several years. But it reveals some interesting trends. Take fruit juice consumption, for example: the higher the country’s national income level, the higher the country’s fruit juice consumption. New Zealand topped the list for juice consumption, and Eritrea pulled up the rear with the least.

The same goes for milk: the richer your country, the heavier your consumption of milk. Swedes and Icelandic people clock in about 1.6 servings of milk per day, with Finns trailing not too far behind at 1.3 servings a day. Compare that to Americans, who have just 0.69 servings a day, putting it 64th out of 187 countries. South Koreans drink the least amount of milk.

East Asians tend to drink the fewest SSBs—China came dead-last—while those in the Caribbean—Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados topped the list—drink the most, especially young men, who drink 3.4 servings per day. There’s a notable age difference in SSB consumption, too: young adults prefer fizzy drinks when it comes to their sugary beverage of choice, but older adults were more into milk. And regardless of where she was from, women over the age of 65 consumed the least number of sugary beverages. At the other end of the scale were young people between 20 and 39; men in that age bracket heavily preferred sugar sweetened beverages, while women overwhelmingly went for fruit juice. (Singh warns against oversimplifying the patterns: “It’s just an average,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean women prefer fruit juice and men only like milk.”)

“SSB consumption was higher in middle-income countries, but lower in low- and high-income countries,” Singh says. In other words, at the extremes of wealth, consumption of SSBs were quite low; but in countries making what Singh described as “the nutritional transition from traditional foods to more processed foods,” the number of servings of SSBs consumed daily shot up.

Why the focus on sugary drinks? Singh and her colleagues recently published another study in the journal Circulation that shows that 184,000 deaths per year around the world are linked to consumption of preventable, SSB-related diseases including type-2 diabetes.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Easy Steps That Will Transform How You Grill

grilling-vegetable-chicken
Getty Images

Make your grilling veggie-heavy

Firing up the grill can be one of the simplest strategies for delicious, healthy summer eating – if you use the right ingredients and techniques. Here’s my five-step strategy for creating a perfectly balanced meal (entirely on the grill if you’d like) that will leave you simultaneously satisfied, energizedand without the bloated feeling that comes from overdoing it on cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Get ready to ditch the fatty traditional fare and grill up some clean, healthy cuisine.

Step 1: Load up on veggies

Veggies should take up the largest chunk of the grill and your plate. Aim for about two cups pre-cooked, about the size of two tennis balls, and keep it simple while mixing up the variety. The possibilities are endless: Skewer baby Brussels sprouts, or make kabobs out of cut veggies, like bell peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Slice zucchini and summer squash lengthwise, and place face down directly on the grill. Other options that are robust enough to grill directly include asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, and eggplant. You can even grill hearty greens, like Romaine lettuce and kale. And for a real treat wrap up some cauliflower florets in foil and cook until they’re melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Any veggie you grill can be cooked plain, and jazzed up afterwards (see step 3), or marinated in a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and Italian herb seasoning (for a little extra kick add Dijon mustard and fresh squeezed lemon juice). Or simply mist or lightly brush veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper and sea salt, or a specialty salt (like fluer de sel, smoked sea salt, or pink Himalayan). You can also place grilled veggies over a bed of raw greens. I love the temperature and texture contrast, and when I do this with well-done cauliflower it falls apart and creates a creamy “dressing” that’s out of this world good, especially with a little drizzled balsamic on top.

Step 2: Pick a lean protein

To keep your protein clean and lean stick with skinless chicken breast or seafood, like shrimp skewers, scallops, or salmon. Or, if you’re really craving a burger, make your own healthy patties. Try a combo of 3 ounces of extra lean ground turkey or flaked salmon, along with 1 lightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup veggies (such as minced red onion, finely chopped spinach, or shredded zucchini) and season to taste, with garlic, and fresh basil, parsley, or dill. For a plant-based burger that really hits the spot, combine 1/2 cup of mashed chickpeas, black beans, or lentils with veggies and herbs, or wrap up beans in foil and cook them whole on the grill. Another idea for mixing things up: take it a step further with your seasonings. For a southwest style burger use minced garlic and black or cayenne pepper with jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro. For a Moroccan-inspired burger use garlic along with spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Step 3: Select a plant-based fat

One of my favorite ways to mix up the flavor (and add a health boost) for any meal is to include a delectable plant-based fat, and there are plenty that pair perfectly when grilling. Top a grilled burger or chicken breast with a dollop of olive tapenade, guacamole, or slices or avocado. Drizzle a nut or seed butter over grilled veggies or shrimp, like spiced up tahini, or some thinned almond butter. For the latter, stir a little warmed up low sodium organic veggie broth with plain almond butter in a small bowl until smooth, and add minced garlic, fresh grated ginger, turmeric, and crushed red pepper. Brush or dip veggies with pesto, like sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, or basil pesto. Or for an avocado-based sauce puree ripe Hass avocado with a few fresh basil leaves, along with a little apple cider vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper. For an option that satisfies a “crunch” tooth garnish grilled dishes with nuts or seeds, like sliced or slivered almonds, chopped pecans, walnuts or pistachios, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Step 4: Choose your carbs wisely

With traditional cookouts carbohydrates are probably the easiest thing to overdo, and a surplus will end up stored in your fat cells unless you bump up your activity level to burn them off. My rule for keeping them in check: choose one nutrient-rich option as an accompaniment to your meal, and make room for it. For example, wrap burgers in crisp lettuce or grilled Portobellos instead of a bun, and get your carb fix by grilling up organic corn on the cob. You can also grill in foil fingerling or cubed red potatoes, sweet potato, chickpeas, or beans. To satisfy a sweet craving, cook up some in-season fruit. Slice peaches, plums, or nectarines in half, remove the pits, and grill face down. Skewer cantaloupe cubes, or even pitted cherries, or place slices of pineapple or watermelon directly on the grill.

Step 5: Lighten up your liquids

Sugary beverages, including soda, lemonade, fruit punch, and sweet tea, and diet drinks alike, can wreak havoc on your waistline. If plain H2O just doesn’t cut it, jazz up flat water, club soda, or seltzer with a bit of mashed berries, and infusions of fresh mint, or basil and fresh grated ginger, or sliced cucumber with lemon or lime. If you’ll be enjoying a cocktail keep it light. Make white wine into a spritzer with sparkling water, reach for a light beer, or make fancy frozen drinks without sugary mixers.

To make what I call a “piña-slim-lada,” blend rum with a small handful of frozen pineapple cubes, banana slices, unsweetened coconut milk and a dash of ground cinnamon. And there you have it: your summer cookout, transformed!

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME

These May Be the Weirdest McDonald’s Burgers Ever Devised

McDonalds Earnings Rise On Value Menu
Scott Olson—Getty Images

And here's why you can't get one

Have you ever wished that McDonald’s had a burger with pineapple, tortilla chips, a fried egg, sliced beetroot, and jalapeños all wrapped in lettuce? Well, you can now make that happen if you live down under. And by that I mean Australia, not down under the dumpster outside your local Mickey D’s.

McDonald’s is currently hosting a “Create Your Taste” contest in Australia. It offers customers the opportunity to customize their own burger using a list of 30 ingredients. They can enter their creation online for a chance to win one of 100,000 possible prizes. Winners may get a free meal at the chain, a trip to Thailand, or one of the 99,998 options in between.

McDonald’s displays some of the creations on their website along with the artist’s name. Here are a few interesting concoctions:

Matt made a sandwich with two angus patties with red onion, cheddar, caramelized onions, rasher bacon, grilled pineapple, a fried egg, tomato chili jam and aioli wrapped in lettuce. Sounds messy.

Isabella’s creation includes an angus patty with jalapeños, red onion, cheddar, Swiss, rasher bacon, guacamole, tomato chili jam, dijonnaise and herb aioli on a brioche bun. Four condiments. These people are bold.

Alex whipped up something for all you vegetarians out there: Jalapeños, red onion, pickle, tomato, sliced beetroot, herb aioli, and three slices of lettuce wrapped in lettuce. This guy really likes lettuce.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

These Are the Worst Pizzas in America

And 8 healthier indulgences to eat instead

Melted cheese recently melted the Internet, when Pizza Hut introduced their latest artery-clogging frankenfood, the 15″ Hot Dog Bites pie—a large, one-topping pizza with pigs-in-a-blanket backed into the crust. “I tried it and survived,” wrote one taste-tester online. This, about a food our Italian ancestors imagined would be a low-cal appetizer.

Unfortunately, Pizza Hut isn’t alone in offering pies that better resemble manhole covers than Neapolitan delicacies. At most popular restaurants and in frozen food aisles, thin, healthy crusts have gotten thicker, more bloated with cheap carb calories. Toppings have gotten gimmicky, so healthy mozzarella and tomato sauces are sometimes replaced with things like burger meat, ziti or chicken fingers. And serving sizes—especially for “individual” pizzas—have taken these pies to a new level of caloric callousness.

How bad is it? The editors of Eat This, Not That! magazine researched every pie in America and determined the absolute worst for your health and waistline. Indulge once in a while with our relatively healthier choices.

  • 1. Worst Pizza Slice

    Sbarro Stuffed Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)
    810 calories, 40 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 2,180 mg sodium, 73 g carbohydrate, 36 g protein
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 10 slices of pan-fried bacon!

    The architecture of this thing makes it less like a slice of pizza and more like a pizza inspired Chipotle Burrito. It relies on an oversize shell of oily bread to hold together a gooey wad of cheese, sausage and pepperoni. The net result is a pizza pocket with two-thirds of your day’s fat and more than a day’s worth of sodium. And the traditional pizza slices aren’t much better; few fall below 600 calories. If you want to do well at Sbarro, think thin crust with nothing but produce on top.

    Eat This Instead!
    Sbarro New York Style Fresh Tomato Pizza (1 slice)
    410 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein

  • 2. Worst New Pizza

    Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza
    Estimated per slice: 460 calories, 30 g fat, 9.9 g saturated fat, 32.7 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 7.5 Taco Bell Soft Fresco Steak Tacos!

    We’ve seen Pizza Hut do some kooky things in the past to try to woo new fans—remember the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, with 16 crust pockets of five totally different cheeses? Their latest monster mashup is Hot Dog Bites Pizza—a cheesy, pepperoni pizza surrounded by pigs in a blanket instead of the standard crust. Combining two fattening, calorie-dense, all-American foods is a lose-lose situation (though you won’t lose weight)—there’s a whopping 3,680 calories in a typical, 8-slice pie, to be exact. Oh, and it’s served with French’s mustard—for dipping all those hot dogs, of course. Yum?

    Eat This Instead!
    Pizza Hut Skinny Beach Pizza, 1 slice, 14” large skinny slice
    400 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 880 mg sodium, 56 g carbohydrates.

  • 3. Worst Frozen Pizza

    Red Baron Thin & Crispy Pepperoni Pizza (½ pie)
    400 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated), 1,020 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Saturated Fat Equivalent of: 16 Burger King Chicken Tenders!

    “Thin & crispy” sounds healthy, but the Baron’s pie gives Burger King Chicken Tenders a run for their money in saturated fat content. If you’re in the frozen aisle, choose Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Uncured Pepperoni, Kashi Stone-Fired Thin Crust Pizza Mushroom Trio & Spinach instead, or—if you absolutely must-have a nostalgic guilty pleasure: Bagel Bites. They’re not the perfect snack, but still decent for a non-diet pizza product.

    Eat This Instead!
    Bagel Bites (4 pieces)
    200 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 saturated), 340 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrates

  • 4. Worst Pizza Wannabe

    Romano’s Macaroni Grill Smashed Meatball Fatbread
    1,420 calories, 59 g fat, 28 g saturated fat, 2,970 sodium, 149 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Calorie Equivalent of: Almost 17 Eggo Confetti Waffles!

    That is not a typo: Romano’s loudly advertises their “fatbread”—baked dough smothered with cheese and toppings—as being “fat on crust, fat on toppings and fat on flavor” but they should have added “fat on you.” Consuming more than half of your daily calories in one sitting is just asking for a 3 P.M. desktop snooze and a fatter tummy. Skip them and choose a simpler pasta instead. (But beware: Ravioli alla Vodka and the Penne Arrabbiata are 2 of only 4 lunchtime pastas with fewer than 1,000 calories.)

    Eat This Instead!
    Ravioli alla Vodka
    660 calories, 37 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 1,440 sodium, 50 g carbohydrates.

  • 5. Worst Pizza for Kids

    CiCi’s Pizza Buffet Mac & Cheese (two 12” Buffet Pizza Slices)
    380 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 880 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Carb Equivalent of: Shotgunning more than 4 slices of Wonder bread!

    Macaroni and cheese pizza? While it might seem like the best idea ever to kids the world over, this cute concept is potentially disastrous for your health—and your children’s. Why top an already carbohydrate-heavy dish with more carbs, not to mention fat? While the calorie count doesn’t register as high as most problematic pies on this list, that’s only because the slices are tiny; believe us, in CiCi’s all-you-can-eat environment, the damage can add up quickly. But if you bring one of their pizzas home, celebrate their smaller slices as built-in portion control—and go with flatbread. The kids will love the crunch.

    Eat This Instead!
    Cheese Flatbread (2 slices)
    200 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates

  • 6. Worst Seafood Pizza

    Red Lobster Lobster Pizza
    680 calories, 31 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,740 mg sodium, 66 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Fat Equivalent of: 442 large shrimp!

    Fare from the sea is typically a healthy way to go, but sprinkle it over a bed of starchy dough and fatty cheese and you have a different story altogether. Billed as a starter, this Lobster Pizza is the only pizza on Red Lobster’s menu—luckily it shares space with one of the world’s greatest appetizers: shrimp cocktail.

    Eat This Instead!
    Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
    120 calories, 1 g fat, 590 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates

  • 7. Worst Mashup Pizza

    Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza (2 slices)
    720 calories, 30 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,400 mg sodium
    That’s the Sodium Equivalent of: Dumping 5 salt packets into your mouth!

    Papa John’s seasonal concoction of pizza, beef chili and yes, Fritos is an insult to almost every cuisine known to man. By our estimates, a whole pie would come salted up with nearly 6,000 mg of sodium! A better defense is a good offense, so start your meal off here with a few pieces of belly-filling protein in the form of wings or chicken strips. Consider it insurance against scarfing too many slices later on.

    Eat This Instead!
    The Works Original Crust Pizza (1 slice, large pie) and Chickenstrips (3) with Cheese Dipping Sauce
    400 calories, 26 g fat (8.5 saturated fat), 1,060 sodium

  • 8. Worst Pizza in America

    Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza
    2,300 calories, 164 g fat (53 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 4,910 mg sodium, 119 g carbohydrates
    That’s the Sodium Equivalent of: 27 small bags of Lays Potato Chips!

    The problem with deep dish pizza (which Uno’s knows a thing or two about since they invented it back in 1943) is not just the extra empty calories and carbs from the crust, it’s that the thick doughy base provides the structural integrity to house extra heaps of cheese, sauce, and greasy toppings. The result is an individual pizza with more calories than you should eat in a day. Oh, did we mention it has nearly 3 days’ worth of saturated fat, too? The key to (relative) success at Uno’s lies in their flatbread pies—and share them!

    Eat This Instead!
    Cheese and Tomato Flatbread Pizza (1⁄2 pizza)
    490 calories, 23.5 g fat (11 g saturated), 1,290 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

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TIME Courts

Customer Says He Found Meth in a Milkshake From In-N-Out Burger

The customer says he found two capsules at the bottom of his cup

A customer has sued In-N-Out Burger because he says he got sick from meth he found in his milkshake.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the customer, Fred Maldonado, states that he bought a burger and a milkshake from In-N-Out in Downey, Calif. in March of 2014. He brought the food back to his motel room and ate it. The next morning, the suit states, he woke up and found a napkin and two capsules in the bottom of his milkshake cup. When he went back to the restaurant to complain, the manager apologized and gave him a free burger.

According to the suit, later testing revealed that the capsules contained methamphetamine. Maldano claims to have felt nausea and mental distress as a result of consuming the beverage.

“At In-N-Out Burger, we have always served the freshest, highest quality burgers, fries, and drinks and customer safety is one of our highest priorities,” In-N-Out Burger executive vice president Arnie Wensinger told City News Service.“We will vigorously defend these baseless claims.”

TIME Diet/Nutrition

6 Brands Removing Artificial Chemicals From Their Products

Artificial colorings have been linked to everything from attention problems to obesity

Petroleum byproducts. Bug parts. Wood shavings. Duck feathers. If you can imagine it, you’re probably eating it every day as one of more than 3,000 natural and artificial chemicals that appear in our food supply. But after a decade of reporting on abominable additives, preposterous preservatives and crazy calorie counts, the editors at Eat This, Not That! are excited to report on a healthy new food trend: Major food manufacturers are finally stripping unnecessary chemicals from their products. And that may help you and your family strip off the pounds.

General Mills announced this week that it would eliminate artificial colors and flavors from its entire line of cereals, swapping out chemicals like red dyes (some of which have already been banned in most countries) for natural colorings from healthy sources like vegetables, joining Kraft, Nestle and other large companies in a race to clean up their acts.

Why is this such a great trend? Artificial colorings have been linked to everything from attention problems to obesity; in fact, studies show that people who eat highly processed foods tend to weigh more than those who don’t, even when calorie counts remain the same. Yet we really know very little about these chemicals: The Food and Drug Administration’s database of “Everything Added to Food in the United States” is really an America’s Most Unwanted list of additives, preservatives and flavor enhancers that food manufacturers (not the FDA itself, mind you) have decided are “generally recognized as safe.”

If you’ve been trying to cut artificial foods out of your life, take a second look at some of these products.

 

  • General Mills

    What they Promise: GM says that 60 percent of their cereals now don’t use artificial colors—like Cheerio’s and Chex—and that by the end of 2016, 90 percent will be completely free of artificial colors and flavors.

    Products: Eventually, this will include all cereals, including Trix, Lucky Charms and Reese’s Puffs.

    Why this is Great: A few years ago, researchers discovered that the artificial colors Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 may promote Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children. In fact, Norway and Sweden have already banned the use of these artificial colors, and in the rest of the EU, foods containing these additives must be labeled with the phrase: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

    When it takes effect: The research is currently underway, and GM estimates that the entire line will be done by 2017, with cereals that include marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, the last to roll out.

  • Kraft

    Brand: Kraft

    What they Promise: The company announced this past spring that they would strip all artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from their iconic blue boxes of macaroni. They will replace the chemicals with those derived from natural sources like turmeric, paprika and annatto, a tree with vibrant orange-red seeds.

    Products: Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

    Why this is Great: Yellow 6, one of the colors currently being used in the pasta dish, contains benzidine and 4-amino-biphenyl, two known human carcinogens.

    When it takes effect: January 2016

  • Nestle

    What they Promise: The company announced earlier in the month that it would remove artificial flavors and “certified colors” in addition to reducing salt by 10 percent in its frozen pizza and snack products

    Products: Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Digiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack’s, Hot Pocket and Lean Pockets brands

    Why this is Great: We’re thrilled about the reduction of artificial colors—for the reasons mentioned above—but cheers to also reducing the sodium count. Sodium causes your body to retain water, which leads to pressure on your heart—and a rounder belly.

    When it Takes Effect: By the end of 2015.

  • Subway

    What they Promise: The sandwich chain announced earlier this month that they plan to remove preservatives and artificial colors and flavors from their core products

    Products: Sandwiches, salads, cookies and soups

    Why this is Great: Caramel coloring—which is currently being used in a number of their breads and meats—has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen for humans, too.

    When it Takes Effect: Over the next 18 months

  • Pizza Hut

    What they Promise: The popular pizza chain—once home to P’Zones, a calzone they described as “Over 1 pound of pizza goodness”—has been playing it both ways lately. Their just-announced Hot Dog Bites pizza plays to those looking for gross, mash-up pizzas, while in May, they also announced plans to remove artificial flavors from its pizzas. (Previously, they had removed MSG and partially hydrogenated oils.)

    Products: They promise to remove artificial flavors from the entire menu.

    Why this is Great: As the Pizza Hut CEO said: “Today’s consumer more than ever before wants to understand the ingredients that make up the foods that they enjoy.” But we’re also excited that they plan to reduce sodium in their pizzas, which will take effect next year.

    When it Takes Effect: The artificial flavors should be removed by the end of next month. Until then, learn which pies to avoid with this definitive list of The Worst Pizzas of 2015!

  • Panera

    What They Promise: The fast-casual restaurant chain promised to remove a long list of ingredients ranging from artificial preservatives and sweeteners to artificial colors and flavors, outlined in their published No-No List, from all of their products.

    Products: All.

    Why This Is Great: Titanium dioxide, only one of the ingredients getting the axe, is a whitening agent added to yogurts, marshmallows, even sunscreen, and Panera has historically used it in products like their mozzarella cheese. It’s a liquid metal, and worse: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it a possible carcinogen in humans. It has also been linked to asthma, emphysema, DNA breakdown, and neurological disorders.

    When It Takes Effect: By the end of 2016

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

    More from Eat This, Not That!

    Read next: This Is Why You’re a Total Sucker for Sweets

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year

Here's what should be on your grocery list this month

Want to know what’s growing now? Let’s take it one month at a time, with TIME‘s Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year.

August is one of the best months for produce, according to Chris Romano, an associate produce coordinator at Whole Foods. “In summer there are a lot of good choices out there,” he says. Based on where you live in the U.S., your produce offerings can vary, but in August there are several fruits and veggies that are in-season and tasty nationwide.

Pluots: Summer is the season for stone fruit like plums, peaches cherries and pluots—which look like deep red or nearly forest green plums—are especially flavorful this month. “August is by far their peak,” says Romano. “They really sharpen in flavor and are very dramatic in color.”

Tomatoes: These need long, hot days to really develop in flavor, Romano says. “Heirlooms have gotten so popular in the last few years,” he says. To find the perfect tomato, our friends at Cooking Light recommend looking for one with bright, shiny, firm skin that has a little give when gently squeezed.

Grapes: Grapes need a many hours of sun and heat to develop their flavors, and they concentrate all their sugars in August, says Romano. “We will see all sorts of varieties from champagne to cotton-candy grapes.” A good way to select grapes is to pay attention to the color of the stem. If the stems are brittle it means they likely won’t last very long once you bring them home. Grapes with a flexible green stem are a good bet.

Melons: Though you can get a decent melon in the fall or even winter, summer is really their peak. “Whether it’s a melon with a white, deep orange, or a salmon flesh, there’s nothing better,” says Romano. To pick a good melon, look for symmetry, a heavy weight, and no bruising.

Okra: August is a good month to keep an eye out for okra. Look for small green pods and steer clear of bruising. In the United States, okra has become a Southern cuisine staple, but people living in other U.S. regions can enjoy it too. When okra is overcooked it can have a slimy texture, so be sure to look up a couple recipes before diving in.

Read next: How This Woman Gave Up Processed Food for a Year—On a $16,780 Salary

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Science of Why You Crave Comfort Food

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It's not just because these foods are tasty. It's because they make us feel less alone

In mid-July, I was visiting my hometown in Minnesota when I happened upon the unmistakable scent of something deep-fried. I was at a concert, and no matter how off-brand a dietary choice of corn dogs and cheese curds may be for a health writer, I went for it. How could I not? I spent two thoroughly enjoyable summers during college working at the Minnesota State Fair, and that experience continues to make corn-and-grease-dipped hot dogs not only appetizing but somehow irresistible, too.

Summer is the season for nostalgic eating: Hot days in the park call for a trip to the ice cream truck, concerts call for corn dogs, baseball games call for hotdogs and beer, ice-cold movie theaters call for popcorn. And it’s not just me. Researchers suggest that when we associate foods with happy memories, the effects are profound, impacting how good we think foods taste as well as how good those foods make us feel.

It makes intuitive sense that positive experiences with a given food could influence our craving for it later on, but recent research also suggests something else is at play, too: comfort foods remind us of our social ties, which means they may help us feel less lonesome when we feel isolated. In a recent July 2015 study, Jordan Troisi, an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee, The University of The South, and his colleagues found that people with strong relationships preferred the taste of comfort food when they experienced feelings of social isolation.

“Comfort food seems to be something people associate very significantly with close relationships,” says Troisi. “This probably comes about by individuals coming to associate a particular food item with members of their family, social gatherings, and people taking care of them, which is why we see a lot of comfort foods [that are] traditional meals or things had at a party.”

Of course, what counts as comfort food is different person to person. When Troisi has asked people write about an experience they’ve had with a comfort food, essays have ranged from soup to kimchi. “It’s not just that ice cream, for instance, is really tasty. It’s that someone has developed a really significant meaning behind the idea of ice cream due to their relationships with others, and that’s what is triggering this effect,” he says.

Even the smell of a meaningful dish can elicit feelings of belonging, some research suggests. In a February 2015 study, Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Chelsea Reid and her colleagues had 160 people smell 12 different scents, including apple pie, cotton candy and baby powder and rate the extent to which the scent was familiar, arousing, autobiographically relevant, and the extent to which it elicited nostalgia. “Nostalgia can be evoked in different ways, but scents may be particularly likely to evoke nostalgia due to the strong link between scents and memory. The smell of pumpkin pie might bring all those holidays with family flooding back, or the smell of a familiar perfume might arouse memories with your partner,” says Reid.

Biologically speaking, scent and memory are closely tied. “Psychological research has demonstrated that smells are powerfully linked to memory, and to autobiographical memory in particular,” says Reid. “The olfactory bulb, which is involved in the sense of smell, is linked to areas in the brain associated with memory and emotional experiences.”

Humans have a fundamental need to belong, says Reid, and because nostalgia often centers around personal events involving people they care about, she sees the evocation of nostalgia as one way people can obtain a sense of belonging even when the people they are close to are not close by.

So while corn dogs in the summer may not be fine dining by any standard, for me, they trigger happy memories of summers long ago—and that’s a good thing. In moderation, of course.

Read next: 5 Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year

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