NPR, June 22, 2018
Sarah Kiley Watson


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[...] Uriyoán Colón-Ramos, a professor of public health at George Washington University, and a group of researchers went down to Puerto Rico to check it out. Colón-Ramos and her group analyzed 10 days' worth of food shipments found at a FEMA distribution center in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, six weeks after Hurricane Maria hit.

They found that 11 of the 107 different food items in the warehouse were candy and chips, including M&Ms and Twizzlers. And every item in the fruit category, which included sweetened fruit cups and applesauce, exceeded the Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recommendations for added sugars. Eighty-three percent of veggies, which were all canned, exceeded the recommended content of sodium.

Some of the items analyzed were low-sugar and low-sodium, like canned sardines and fruit pouches packed in water, but these were in the minority, Colón-Ramos says.

Even when she excluded candy and chips, Colón-Ramos found that meals made with the foods provided would exceed the upper limit recommended for daily sodium, added sugars or saturated fats.

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"As a public health nutritionist, I just don't know why we are providing these foods," she says. "How did these foods end up there, and who was monitoring them?" [...]

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