Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
K-State Research and Extension Family Nutrition Program
February / March
Keeping Food Safe in Emergencies
Severe weather and power outages affect many people
each year. Rural residents are especially at risk. Refrigerated
and frozen foods can become unsafe in a few hours, and if
eaten, can make people very sick.
This issue of Dining on a Dime summarizes steps you can
take before and after a weather emergency.
Before A Storm
• Keep an appliance thermometer in the freezer and
refrigerator so you can determine the safety of food if a power outage occurs.
Freezers should be at or below 0° F and refrigerators at or below 40° F.
• Freeze refrigerated items that you won’t need immediately. If electricity is lost,
frozen foods will stay cold longer and be more likely to stay safe to eat.
• Freeze containers of water or gel packs. These can be transferred to your
refrigerator or a cooler to help keep food cold longer if electrical power is lost.
After A Storm
• A refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is not opened.
Discard refrigerated perishable food after 4 hours without electricity. If food is
kept at or below 40 degrees F., it is safe to eat.
• A full freezer will keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours. Fifty pounds of
dry ice will cool an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for two days. Food may be safely
refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at or below 40 degrees F.
• If flooding has occurred, discard all of the following if they were in contact
with flood waters: containers of foods and beverages, including canned foods;
plastic and wooden utensils, plates, containers and cutting boards; and all
baby bottle nipples and pacifiers. Using hot soapy water, thoroughly wash all
ceramic, glass and metal dishes, pans and utensils that came in contact with
flood water. Rinse. Then sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by
immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid chorine
bleach per gallon of water.
Source (Accessed 1/2/08): Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service,
Newsletter developed by Erin Henry, R.D., L.D., and Mary Meck Higgins, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., CDE, K-State Research
and Extension Human Nutrition Specialist and Associate Professor, Department of Human Nutrition.
A Bit of Chocolate and A Little Less Pressure
Every February, chocolate candies line grocery store aisles
and tempt our sweet tooth as we rightly fear for our
waistlines. This month, Dining on a Dime describes why you
can indulge in one teaspoon of dark chocolate each day with
no guilt. And it may do a body good!
Studies have shown that polyphenol-rich cocoa products,
such as dark chocolate, may lower blood pressure because of
protective substances called cocoa flavanols. But large doses
of chocolate were given in these studies. In some cases, servings contained
more than 500 calories! Eating that many calories just from chocolate each day
leads to weight gain, which tends to increase blood pressure.
A recent small study found that a tiny dose of dark chocolate — just one
piece of a 16-piece dark chocolate bar weighing 100 grams, or about 30 calories
daily — lowered blood pressure slightly but with clinical significance.
Forty-four men and women ages 56 to 73 years who had untreated mildly
high blood pressure were split into two groups. One group got daily doses of
about 6 grams, which is a little less than one teaspoon, of dark chocolate. The
other group got a similar daily dose of “white chocolate,” which doesn’t actually
contain any chocolate. Both groups were told not to change their
normal diet or fitness habits, except to abstain from other cocoa
products during the study.
After 18 weeks, blood pressure did not change in the group who
ate the white chocolate. The group who ate dark chocolate each day
had lower systolic blood pressure (the top number), by nearly three
points on average. Their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number)
decreased by almost two points.
Eating about one teaspoon of dark chocolate daily was a dietary change that
was easy for subjects in the study to adhere to. The hardest part for most
people who want to adopt this practice will probably be to just eat one very
small piece. Eating lots of chocolate typically leads to gaining excess weight.
Dark chocolate isn’t the only way to decrease blood pressure. A diet with
plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products, along with
regular physical activity and losing excess body weight, also lowers blood
pressure. For more information, visit the website www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health
Dining on a Dime’s Berry Chocolate Mousse is a recipe with baking cocoa,
fruit, calcium-rich soy and nuts. You can enjoy it guilt-free any time of the
year, as breakfast or a snack, with lunch or supper. See page 4 for directions.
Source (Accessed 1/23/08): Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide,
Taubert D et al., JAMA 2007;298(1):49-60, http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/298/1/49
Contents of this publication may be reproduced for educational purposes. All other rights reserved. In each case,
credit Erin Henry and Mary Meck Higgins, “Dining on a Dime,” Feb. 2008. For more information about healthy
eating, contact your local Extension office.
Dishing Up Detox Diets?
A practice that has gained publicity recently is
detoxifying the body, or neutralizing it from harmful toxins.
This issue of Dining on a Dime looks at the claims of detox
diet books and products.
With many detox diets, the user temporarily stops eating all foods. He or she is
to drink just water. Then the detox dieter adds some foods back into the diet, but
abstains for a time from foods that are said to contain “toxins,” often including
cooked foods, meat, sugar, certain grains, dairy, alcohol and/or caffeine.
In moderation, these dieting practices would not harm a healthy adult.
The Body Eliminates Toxins Naturally
Medical and health experts say that throughout each day, the body routinely
eliminates toxins quickly and completely, in urine and bowel movements. So it
doesn’t build up toxins or need to be periodically detoxified. Despite claims by detox
proponents, no scientific studies have proven that detox diets or products help to
draw out and remove toxins, provide more energy, increase resistance to disease, or
do anything beneficial.
Harmful Side Effects of Detox Diets Possible
Extreme detox diets can lead to unhealthy side effects. Denying the body the
nutrition it needs by following an extreme detox diet can weaken the body’s ability
to fight infections, rather than strengthening it. A side effect of a short fast can
include a headache and low blood sugar. Long-term fasts or severe calorie
restriction can upset blood levels of potassium and sodium, and can lead to
fainting, the break down of muscle, anemia, irritability, an irregular heartbeat and
a shortage of vital nutrients.
Some detox diets call for the use of herbal teas or formulas, laxatives, enemas
and other products that claim to cleanse, strengthen, heal, rest or rejuvenate the
intestine, liver or other organs. Unhealthy side effects can include excessive
diarrhea, an upset stomach and dehydration.
Detox dieters with a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or heart or
kidney disease, or who are pregnant or nursing, put themselves at special risk for
serious side effects.
The Bottom Line
Using detox products such as diets, teas, herbals, supplements
or kits can be very expensive and may put your health at risk. The
healthiest diet is one rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables,
low fat high-calcium foods and lean meats and beans.
It may not be very “glamorous,” but in terms of your
good health, it can’t be beat!
This material was funded by USDA’s Food Stamp Program through a program awarded
by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS).
The Food Assistance Program can help people of all ages with low
income buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact
your local SRS Service Center or call 1-800-221-5689.
Dining on a Dime’s Cooks’ Corner
“Not Just for Valentines” Berry Chocolate Mousse
(Makes 2 servings) This easy-to-make sweet treat will change color,
depending on what kind of cocoa and berries are used.
2 teaspoons dark or regular unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar, or an equivalent amount
of sugar substitute
Scant 1/4 cup skim milk
3 ounces firm tofu Cooperative Extension Service
1 teaspoon vanilla extract K-State Research and Extension
1/2 cup unsweetened frozen berries, any kind or a mixture
2 tablespoons dry-roasted, unsalted, chopped nuts or granola
1. Place all ingredients, except nuts or granola, in a blender or
food processor. Whip for one minute.
2. Pour mixture into two one-half cup clear bowls or glasses.
3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon nuts or granola on top of each serving.
4. Cover and refrigerate for one or more hours to chill. K-State, County Extension Councils,
Extension Districts, and the U.S.
5. Serve cold. Department of Agriculture cooperating.
6. Cover and refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours.
Nutrition Facts: Each serving (about 1/2 cup) provides K-State is an equal opportunity provider
130 calories, 6 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein,
0 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium and 3 g dietary fiber.
Daily Values: 10% Vitamin C, 8% iron, 6% calcium, 2% Vitamin A.