Thursday, December 31, 2009

A few thought about eating

Eating behaviors are never perfect and there seems to be no physiological value to being a purist. It is sometimes hard to enjoy life and food when we expect so much from ourselves. I encourage you to let go of that concept and relax a bit. Food can be complicated, but it is also a very basic need for survival. We really don’t even need that much to carry on. Did you know that it only takes 10 calories to raise the blood sugar in the brain? That fuzzy, crabby feeling we get when we are hungry requires so little to extinguish. Of course, eating healthy foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and such keep us well while sugary, fatty foods cause inflammation and make us ill. Food serves a basic but generous role in our lives.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Changing school lunch

Our National School Lunch Program is in trouble. Tight budgets and little oversight result in schools serving low-cost, often unhealthy foods to students. Historically school nutrition rules enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture requires schools to provide a certain number of foods from particular food groups but guidelines beyond these do not exist. The rules require schools serve at least two servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal, but catsup and high fructose corn syrup laden apple juice satisfy these requirements despite their lack of overall nutrients. Costs often dictate schools meet this requirement by using cheap, canned or processed foods. Some schools participating in the federal food program tailor their menus using commodity foods which are free or very low cost. Beef and bulk processed cheese are added to menus to keep costs under $1.00 a student. Since schools are place where children learn to eat, we can change what we serve to model good eating habits.

With the increased incidence of overweight and obese children and adults in America it is time we make these changes. Offering healthier foods, growing and eating foods from school gardens and experimenting with more health-conscious preparation methods requires effort and support from parents, school administrators and state and federal governments. Districts can participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which helps schools buy fresh produce and take advantage of the healthier commodities while purchasing more fresh fruit and vegetables. This may require a financial investment but it absolutely requires district commitment to children, health outcomes and the development of long term healthy habits.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

School lunch offers opportunity to learn

Eating habits are a learned behavior and we can learn to eat well or eat poorly. Our schools have the unique ability to model wellness and good eating habits while teaching science and enhancing the standard curriculum. Schools also have the opportunity to teach students to eat fast food, drink soda, and sports drink, eat cake like muffins and sugar cereal for breakfast and they do. Except for the current ban on sodas in schools; school breakfast and lunch expose children to high fat, high sugar foods teaching them to eat poorly, in a hurry and without alternatives. Change school lunch; change the American waist line measurement.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kesslers's campaign

Dr. David Kessler writes about our drive to overeat and the mechanisms that encourage the behavior in his new book entitled, "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite."
See the article in the Wall Street Journal.
We eat and continue to crave high fat, high sugar salty foods even when we are full. Kesseler asks why and investigates how to overcome these urges?
Kessler holds the food industry responsible but conceeds that The food industry gives consumers exactly what we want. Processed foods are designed as highly stimulating products, encouraging us as consumers to ask for more. High fat, highly salted and sugary foods stimulate the reward centers in our brains. To overcome the stimuli we must replace one desire for another. Fast food for exercise? It can be done but it is not easy which is another reason group support helps. We are not alone in this; our culture via the food industry drives an obsession with food that encourages overeating and weight gain. Reteaching is essential and we must start now with the children in the schools and adults in the health clubs. Kessler is calling for a public health campaign and as he led the way with tobacco he can lead the way with food to improve our health and well being.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Breakfast foods matter for cell health

Researchers evaluated breakfast foods to determine how different meals affected the functioning of the blood vessel lining otherwise known as the endothelium. What they found was that high glycemic index foods mattered. Subjects ate either cornflakes, which are high on the glycemic index, a low glycemic index high-fiber cereal, a glucose supplement, or just drank water. After the meal researchers measured the function of endothelial cells. Subjects who ate the cornflakes or glucose supplement had the most impaired cell function. This is a problem since impaired function may translate to damage and this can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Changing school lunch

We already teach children about food at school. We teach them by serving them fast food, that french fries and chicken nuggets are standard fare. We can change it by changing school meals and teaching children to cook, grow, and understand how to eat well. We eat what we see and know so if we clean up school lunch, we can teach our youth to eat well. This is how it works. Let's give them excellent, locally grown, nutritious food. Otherwise we fail.

Friday, July 3, 2009

obesity in America

As I have been saying...
The obesity rate in the US continues to rise. Beware- because if things continue as they are by 2030, 86% of Americans will be overweight. Read the latest research with grief.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nutrient rich breakfast ideas

Nutrient Rich Breakfast
1. Organic nonfat yogurt, berries of any sort, seeded berries are an excellent source of anti-oxidants, a bit of honey and chopped nuts.
2. Oatmeal with flaxseed, almonds, milk or soy milk and dried blueberries or raisins and a bit of cinnamon.
3. Omega 3 farm fresh eggs, spinich, garlic and onion. Make an omelette.
4. Whole grain toast and natural peanut butter, fruit spread or honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
5. Whole grain english muffin and hummas.
6. Cottage cheese with fruit and slivered almonds.
7. A poached egg, toast and tomatoes.
8. A whole grain high fiber cereal, milk and raisins.
9. One whole-grain English muffin, 1ounce melted low-fat cheese and tomato slices

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vitamin D and weight loss

There may be a link between Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet may encourage success.

Subjects in the study had vitamin D levels that many experts are considered insufficient. The authors of the study found that baseline, or pre-diet, vitamin D levels predicted weight loss in a linear relationship. For every increase of 1 ng/mL in level of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol - the precursor form of vitamin D and a commonly used indicator of vitamin D status - subjects ended up losing almost a half pound (0.196 kg) more on their calorie-restricted diet. For each 1-ng/mL increase in the active or "hormonal" form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), subjects lost nearly one-quarter pound (0.107 kg) more.

Additionally, higher baseline vitamin D levels (both the precursor and active forms) predicted a greater loss of belly fat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Choosing high nutrient dense foods

Choose High Nutrient Dense Food
 Pick high-fiber, whole-grain cereals.
 Instead of adding sugar (processed from natural cane or beets), top with fresh fruit, such as sliced bananas or strawberries.
 Choose old-fashioned rolled oats rather than instant, flavored oatmeal. Top with honey, walnuts, raisins, low-fat milk.
 Choose whole fruit or pure fruit juices rather than "stripped" juices that have added high-fructose corn syrup added.
Snacks, desserts
 Fruit
 Have a cup of plain yogurt with a half-ounce (2 tablespoons) of raw walnuts and a tablespoon of honey.
 Mix equal amounts of raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and filberts; eat one or two tablespoons a day as a snack (nuts are exceptionally nutrient-dense – they are tiny warehouses of important trace minerals, as well as protective fats, and natural vitamin E).
Midday and evening meals
 Sandwiches made with whole-grain breads, lean meats, tomato slices, lettuce and a little mayonnaise (mayonnaise is a good source of vitamin E)
 All kinds of fish, broiled or baked
 Fill half your plate with veggies.
- Two or three servings of vegetables, some raw (such as salads, carrot sticks), some cooked; choose some fresh vegetables as often as possible.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Starting a weight control program

Anytime we start a weight control program there seems to be so much enthusiasm. Then the difficulty sets in and it gets hard. But you can take one step at a time. I give people the tools to start and keep at it and encourage them to find the support they need because it can get rough. Eating well takes effort particularly in our fast food culture. But it can be done. The step by step weight control plan offers the steps to overcome the obstacles and make eating and food simple but delicious.
Here are the steps-Remember to take it one at a time.

Step by Step Weight Loss Plan
Take it one step at a time
Eat 5-6 small meals daily.
Have Breakfast
Snack (if desired)
Have contact with food only 4 times a day.

1. Eat lean protein at every meal.
2. Eat breakfast every morning
3. Eat vegetables or fruit at every meal. Fill ½ your dinner plate with vegetables.
4. Drink enough fluid. Choose water, sparkling water, and unsweetened iced green, black or herb teas. Add lemon, lime or a bit of berry juice for flavor. Enjoy a cup or two of coffee or tea with low-fat milk or lemon. Avoid sweet drinks of all kinds including juice and sports drinks.
5. Avoid processed foods made with white grains and white sugar. For a sweet tooth have a piece of dark chocolate and a few nuts. Choose chocolate with 70% or more cocoa butter.
6. Benefit from red wine or other alcohol by drinking it with meals.
Daily recommendation: One 5 oz glass for women and two 5 oz glasses for men.
7. Take your supplements everyday.
8. Journal-people who journal lose weight.
9. Exercise 5-6 days a week. Start slow…
10. Join a weight loss group or start one with friends.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Americans are not following health advice

Fewer Americans are following healthy lifestyle advice than in the past despite more evidence pointing to the fact that lifestyle directly impacts health outcomes. Researchers compared data from two large scale National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)studies from 1988-1994 and from 2001-2006.

They looked at adults aged 40 to 74 years, because this is the age group where a first diagnosis of cardiovascular risk factors and disease usually arises. For the first period (1988 to 1994) the number in this age group was 7,340 (representing nearly 80 million people). The number for the second period (2001-2006) was 7,811 (representing about 65.5 million people).

The results showed that for this age group, during the 18 years between the two survey periods:

* The proportion of people with a BMI higher than 30 went up from 28 to 36 per cent.

* People doing exercise 12 times a month or more went down from 53 to 43 per cent.

* Smoking rates have not changed much (26.9 down to 26.1 per cent).

* People eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day went down from 42 to 26 per cent.

* People drinking moderate amounts of alcohol went up from 40 to 51 per cent.

* Overall, people adhering to all 5 healthy habits has gone down from 15 to 8 per cent of this population group.

* People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or risk factors for these conditions, were no more likely to be following a healthy lifestyle than people without such factors.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

normal weight and cancer prevention

Maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention. Evidence shows that being overweight puts people at increased risk of cancer and it is is the strongest contributer after smoking.

Advisers for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)recommend that people stay as thin as possible without becoming underweight. Scientists believe that about a third of the most common cancers would be preventable if people ate healthily, were physically active and maintained a healthy weight.
In fact thousands of cases could be prevented each year if people maintained a BMI below 25. Body mall index is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared
Normal: 18.5 - 24.9
Overweight: 25 - 29.9
Obese: Above 30
This is of grave concern since the number of people who are overweight continues to rise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Asthma and Folic acid

Folate, a vitamin found in green leafy veggies, citrus fruits and fortified cereals, may decrease allergies and asthma.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),reviewed medical records of about 8,000 patients who participated in 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES.) Serum folate levels and total IgE levels were measured. IgE, or immunoglobulin E, are antibodies that rise during allergic reactions. Asthma and respiratory symptoms were also measured.

Researcher found that patients with higher levels of folate also had lower IgE levels, fewer allergies, less wheezing and less asthma. People with the lowest folate levels had a 40 percent increased risk of wheezing, 30 percent increased risk of having elevated IgE levels, 31 percent increased risk of allergic symptoms and a 16 percent higher risk of asthma compared to those with the highest levels of folate (above 18 nanograms per milliliter of blood).

However, additional research is needed to confirm these early findings and to determine exactly how folate may work. The researchers plan to compare the effects of folic acid to placebo in people with allergies and asthma.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Winning the prize for Vitamin D

Dr. Michael Holick, from Boston University Medical School, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics won the Linus Pauling Prize for Health Research for his work investigating how vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases, infectious and cardiovascular disease. This deficiency has become epidemic and more than 50 percent of the children and adults in the United States are vitamin D deficient. Through his work, Holick determined that anyone living north of 35 degrees latitude can't make enough vitamin D in the skin during winter exposure to sunlight. He has also influenced fortification of more foods and brought the deficiency to the forefront. Though using sunscreen is necessary it has contributed to the problem since Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunshine.

So most of us should take a supplement of vitamin D3. It is easy to take and very beneficial.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Risky behavior and energy drinks

According to researchers energy drinks, filled with caffeine, may offer a signal to parents that their children may be risk takers. It is not that the drink itself is so bad for kids but kids who drink them also are more prone to taking risks. Tara Parker-Pope reports on this in a NYT article, Taste for Quick Boost Tied to Taste for Risk. The study, published in the March Journal of American College Health, showed a link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior. Dr. Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher from the University of Buffalo, suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with “toxic jock” behavior, a group of risky and aggressive behaviors.

The data suggest that a regular intake of energy drinks may offer a red flag for parents that their children are more likely to take risks with their safety and health.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exercise and execise tips


Aerobic exercise burns fat: It is any activity using large muscles done for an extended time both burning calories and providing cardiovascular benefit. Examples include biking, jogging, swimming, dance classes and walking.
Anaerobic exercise builds muscle. It includes resistance or weight training.
Yoga and Pilates strengthen the core, stretch and sculpt muscles.

Quicker weight loss
Interval exercise involves mixing high intensity bursts of exercise with moderate intensity recovery periods. This boosts the metabolism and burns more calories.

Exercise Tips
Move daily for 30-90 minutes
Pick a partner or exercise buddy
Set goals
Be active in 10 minute spurts
Plan ahead and plan a regular exercise time
Track your exercise program and success
Think frequency, not duration
Start slow
Wear a pedometer and work up to 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Protect yourself-Avoid Vit C and E when exercising

When we exercise we metabolize glucose and when this happens reactive oxygen molecules escape and attack all other cells around them. These reactive oxygen compounds damage the bodies tissues. Oxidative damage increases as we age.

Yet our wonderous body has its own defense system and when it doesn't do enough antioxidant, which stop reactive oxygen compounds, may seem like an excellent solution.

Perhaps not according to researchers at the University of Jena in Germany. They tested this idea by giving half of a group young men,who were exercising, moderate doses of vitamins C and E. When they measured sensitivity to oxidative damage they found that the vitamin takers were in worse shape than the group who did not.
It appears the activation of the body’s natural defense mechanism against oxidative damage did not respond.

The reason they suggest is that the vitamins short-circuit the body’s natural response to exercise.

Researchers suggest, “If you exercise to promote health, you shouldn’t take large amounts of antioxidants,” and "that antioxidants in general cause certain effects that inhibit otherwise positive effects of exercise, dieting and other interventions.” The findings appear in this week’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The advice does not apply to fruits and vegetables, researchers say; even though they are high in antioxidants, the many other substances they contain presumably outweigh any negative effect.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nutrition in the News

Want great nutrition advice? Go to the Harvard nutrition web site and read current research in the news. Walter Willett heads the Harvard School of Public Health and offers a balanced, research based view. Check out the web site.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kidney stones in children?

Upon reviewing nutrition news reports this morning I was surprised to see this headline, "Kidney Stones In Children On The Rise, Expert Says"

Typically, kidney stones are found in adults between the ages of 35 and 60 but the risk of kidney stones in kids is rising. Why? Well, the reasons are the same as why so many children are gaining weight. Our lifestyle puts them at risk. Children today are drinking sugar-filled drinks and a fast-food diet that is high in sodium, a known risk factor in the formation of kidney stones.

Our sedentary lifestyle also puts children at risk because children are gaining weight. As overweight and obesity rate rise for adults the rates in children are also rising and obesity increases the risk of forming kidney stones.

So, I come back to my rant for a public health campaign. It is all of us folks. The majority of Americans are gaining weight and the results are health issues in various forms-kidney stones in kids one more for the record books.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beware diet drugs

Federal drug regulators warned consumers Friday to stop using the popular Hydroxycut line of weight-loss products. There has been a report of a death due to liver failure. There are also other instances of serious health problems. The FDA reported 23 reports of illess resulting from this supplement. Natasha Singer writes about it in an article in the NYT.

Ask the nutritionist

Q: How do you know how to choose whole grain products?

A: If you are confused about finding whole-grain bread and cereals, first read the food label. A true whole-grain product lists whole wheat, whole oats, or another whole grain product as the first main ingredient. If the label’s first ingredient says “wheat flour” it probably means it is refined. Even highly processed cake flour is made with wheat flour. All foods bearing the Whole Grain Stamp offer at least a half serving (8 grams) or more of whole grain.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ask the nutritionist

Q: I am confused about fats? Are they good for me?\

A: Choose healthy fats, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans fat. The total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low isn't linked with disease for all people. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The "good" fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will help lower disease risk. The key is to eat a healthy diet and to replace good fats for bad fats. Always avoid trans fats also called partially hydrogenated fat. These fats contribute to disease.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


In a word-broccoli denotes thoughts of healthy food with great medicinal benefits. In fact a new study from UCLA found that the compound sulforaphane found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help prevent respiratory inflammation and diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. How does this work? The compound seems to increase the production of enzymes in the airway that protect us from everyday pollution, smoke and other substance that cause tissue damage. Broccoli sprouts are the richest natural source of sulforaphane and in the study of 65 people who received varying doses, researchers found a two to three-fold increase in the anitoxidant enzymes that protect us.

The study was published in the March issue of Clinical Immunology.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weighing the risk

Excess weight, no matter how it is measured is associated with increased risk for heart disease. Reducing body fat is hard but necessary. Find the help you need, support helps. Keep a journal, eat more vegetables and fiber and stay hydrated. Work up to exercising 6 hours a week and find friends to work out with because good habits are as contagious as are bad.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friends and health

Researchers are paying attention to the importance of friendship and health. A 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends. Last year,a study from Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties may promote brain health as we age.
Yet, I am not happy with the kind of friend I am. Perhaps I am too picky and impatient to appreciate my friends. I have let too many friends go and I regret it now as I age and understand the difficulty in making friends. Friends keep us well and happy. We can have fun because friends are less judgmental and our relationships are not as complicated as family relationships. I am going to work on my friendships because I must be missing something and I want to find it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nutrition for the Athlete

True or False?

Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass. Contrary to claims of some protein supplement companies, consuming extra protein does nothing to bulk up muscle unless you are also doing significant weight training at the same time. Even then the increased requirement can easily come from food. A potential problem with supplements is the body has to work overtime to get rid of excess protein, and can become distressed as a result.

Eating immediately after a workout will improve recovery. Endurance athletes need to take in carbohydrates immediately after a workout to replace glycogen stores, and a small amount of protein with the drink enhances the effect. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk or a carbohydrate drink, like Gatorade, is better for the body, as they replace glycogen stores lost during exercise. Protein is not going to help build muscle, so strength athletes do not need to eat immediately following their workout.

Eating carbohydrates makes you fat. Cutting carbs from your diet may have short-term weight loss benefits due to water loss from a decrease in carbohydrate stores, but eating carbs in moderation does not directly lead to weight gain. The body uses carbs for energy, and going too long without them can cause lethargy.

Drink eight, 8-oz. glasses of water per day. You should replace water lost through breathing, excrement and sweating each day – but that doesn’t necessarily total 64 ounces of water. It’s hard to measure the exact amount of water you have consumed daily in food and drink, but if your urine is pale yellow, you’re doing a good job. If it’s a darker yellow, drink more H2O.

Are nutrition needs of an athlete different?
It may surprise you to learn that in many ways, your nutritional requirements aren't much different from a student who has chosen to be less active. You both have the same needs for a variety of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, about the same requirements for fat, and surprisingly, your need for protein is only slightly higher as an athlete than that of the non-athlete. One important nutritional difference you have as an athlete is that carbohydrate needs are generally much higher. "Carbs" are the body's most efficient energy source. Without adequate carbohydrate sources in the diet, an athlete will "hit the wall" very quickly. If your sport or physical activity patterns require a more calories, you can eat more from all the food groups, and may even have extra room for foods usually thought of as empty calorie like desserts, soda, higher sugar granola bars.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,
We need a public health campaign to encourage Americans to improve fitness and lose weight. The obesity epidemic is a primary public health threat now. According to a study published in the July 2008 online issue of Obesity, most adults in the U.S. will be overweight or obese by 2030, with related health care spending projections as high as $956.9 billion, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. the trend lines has never faltered. It keeps rising year after year.
National leadership is necessary to ensure the participation of health officials and researchers, educators and legislators, transportation experts and urban planners, and businesses and nonprofit groups in developing and carrying out a public health campaign with a chance of success.
This has been done successfully before with smoking cessation. The template is set, we now need leadership.
Will you help?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Health and friendship

The more friends we have the better our health and Tara Parker Pope writes about it well in her article in the nyt.
What Are Friends for? A Longer Life
It seems that the more friends we have the longer we live and the better our health outcomes. I am convinced. My friend Allison has cancer for the 4th time and yesterday our group of eight, met, cried, cooked and laughed. This appears to be the best medicine we could offer and ParkerPope points to research to support my claims.
Friends are better than family it seems and maybe because you can reinvent yourself ignoring childish flaws and foibles.
So friends, thanks you add time to my life.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How trytophan induces sleepiness

The foods I recommend for bedtime snacks contain a combination of protein and carbohydrates that make tryptophan more available to the brain. Tryptophan produces serotonin and melatonin, sleep inducing neurotransmitters.

Tryptophan, an amino acid in many plant and animal proteins is one of the ingredients needed to make serotonin.

* Tryptophan is an excellent natural sedative.

* Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of calm and sleepiness.

The trick is to combine foods with some tryptophan and ample carbs.
Since, all amino acids compete for transport to the brain adding carbohydrates increases the release of insulin, which transports other amino acids into muscles.
This leaves tryptophan alone, so it can make its way to the brain and cause sleepiness.Dairy foods are an excellent combination of protein and carbs and they also contain calcium which also aids tryptophan in its conversion. So having warm milk can do the trick if you can't sleep.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Metabolsim boosts

Metabolic Boosts

Don’t cut calories too low

Tip: Lose weight by cutting 250 calories a day and burning 250 calories per day through exercise. That will help retain - or even gain - muscle while you lose a greater percentage of body fat.

Do more interval training

Tip: Infuse your workout with bursts of speed. Gradually work your way up to two-minute intervals, three days a week.

Lift weights

Tip: Focus on exercises that use the largest muscles and use two-part movements. They help you build more lean mass. Favorites include squats, push-ups, and any exercise that combines upper- and lower-body.

Protein takes more calories to digest

Tip: Try to eat between 10 and 20 grams of protein at each of your meals. Eat an 8-ounce cup of low-fat cottage cheese with breakfast (about 16 grams), a 1/2-cup serving of hummus with lunch (about 10 grams), and a 3-ounce salmon fillet for dinner (about 17 grams).

Drink green tea

Tip: Try a cup of green or oolong tea in place of your morning coffee for a dose of caffeine to perk your metabolism too. Instead of milk or sweetener, add a squeeze of lemon, which may help your body absorb more catechins.

Stay hydrated

Tip: Dehydration causes us to burn up to 2 percent fewer calories since metabolic mechanisms rely on water. In the study at University of Utah those who drank either eight or twelve 8-ounce glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than those who had four.

Add chili powder

Tip: Capsaicin, the bioactive compound that makes chile peppers exude heat, can raise metabolism while decreasing hunger and enhancing satiety. Sprinkle red pepper flakes onto pasta dishes and into chilis and stews; fresh chile peppers work well in salsas and add a fiery flavor to many other dish

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Recommendations for Supplements

Nora's Supplement Guide

Multiple Vitamin
Vitamins are natural substances that your body needs to grow, develop, and function normally. Vitamins are available in food so a well-balanced diet usually provides all of the vitamins we need. However, there are times, such as during weight loss, pregnancy and childhood, or during certain illnesses when your body cannot get or cannot efficiently use all of the vitamins it needs.
Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis by slowing bone loss and reducing fracture.
Experts recommend a daily intake of 1,200 mg of calcium for women and in men older than age 50. Calcium is absorbed most efficiently by the body when it is taken in amounts of 500 milligrams (mg) or less. If you take 1,000 mg of calcium a day, split it in two or more doses over the course of the day.

Vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D is just as important as getting enough calcium for prevention of osteoporosis. Together they slow bone loss and reduce fracture. Vitamin D has also been found to act hormonally as a natural antibiotic and anti viral agent. We no longer absorb enough sun to produce enough Vitamin D. Many people are deficient. Recommendation: a daily intake of between 1000 and 2000 international units.

Fish Oil
Effective for cardiovascular disease prevention. Provides omega 3 fatty acids to help decrease inflammation and decrease arthritis, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, heart disease, alzheimer’s and cancer.

Flaxseed Oil
Provides omega 3 fatty acids from a plant source.
Helps decrease inflammation and reducie the risk of arthritis, health disease, alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Herbal Remedies
A 2006 study found that cinnamon has a moderate effect in reducing blood sugar in people with DMII. It also may help a blue mood.

Anti-inflammatory Herbs
Ginger (500 mg 2 x a day)
Tumeric (400-600 mg 3 x a day)
Red Pepper (Capsaicin)

St John’s Wort
St. John's Wort has been studied in Europe extensively. Studies suggest that it is more effective than placebo and equally effective as tricyclic antidepressants for mild-to-moderate depression. It may be as effective as SSRIs with fewer side effects.
Baby Aspirin
Aspirin interferes with the bloods clotting action. If a blood vessel is already narrowed from atherosclerosis , a blood clot can quickly form and block the artery. Aspirin therapy reduces the clumping action of platelets — possibly preventing heart attack and stroke.
Consider daily aspirin therapy only with your doctor's approval.

There are multiple studies of cranberry (juice or capsules) for the prevention of
urinary tract infections in healthy women and nursing home residents.
It seems to work by keeping bacteria from sticking to cells that line the bladder.
The dosage remains unclear.

SAMe is likely more effective than placebo for relief of symptoms of depression. Compared to treatment with conventional antidepressants, SAMe was not associated with a statistically significant difference in outcomes.
SAMe is more effective than a placebo for the relief of pain.
Compared to treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, treatment with SAMe was not associated with a statistically significant difference in outcomes.

Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ask the nutritionist.

Why does our increased intake of soda contribute so significantly to weight gain?
Since humans have not adapted to drinking sweet and sugary beverages, the current increase in consumption and added calories may be significantly contributing to the growing number of overweight and obese people in the United States. Both portion sizes and number of servings have increased.
Decreasing the consumption may be part of the solution. In fact presently there are two working theories as to why. They follow.
1. Humans evolved drinking breast milk and water therefore we do not have good physiological systems to metabolize other beverages. We are maladapted to digest calories from sweet juices and sodas.
2. Humans have an incomplete satiation sequence for sweetened beverages which prevents us from becoming satiated when we drink them. There is evidence that beverages send weak satiety signals. Studies of hunger, fullness, and further eating support the view that fluids are less satiating than solid foods.
One study found that when groups ate 450 calories of jelly beans or drank 450 calories of sweetened fruit drink, the group that drank the calories gained more weight. The mechanisms for this weaker compensatory response to fluids are not known.
So, drink water, a bit of coffee or tea and low fat milk.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sleep and lose weight

The minimum amount of sleep you need for weight loss is seven and a half hours a night, experts say. But the closer you can get to your ideal sleep time the better it will be.
Not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite and and weight gain.
Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite.
Leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full.

When sleep deprived, leptin level drop, which means we don't feel as satisfied after we eat.
Less sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means the appetite is stimulated, so we want more food.
The two combined set the stage for overeating, which in turn leads to weight gain.

How food affects sleepCombating insomnia through nutrition is about eating the right combination of foods in the evening, and knowing what foods to avoid.

Want to sleep more? Cut down on these.
Large meals close to bedtime
Stop liquids 90 minutes prior to bed

Eat more of these foods.
Setrotonin producing bedtime snacks
§ Among the best natural sedatives is tryptophan, an amino acid component of many plant and animal proteins. Tryptophan is one of the ingredients necessary for the body to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter best known for creating feelings of calm, and for making you sleepy. How sleepy? A 2005 study of people with chronic insomnia found that diet made a big difference. After three weeks, those who ate foods with high amounts of tryptophan with carbohydrates, or who took pharmaceutical grade tryptophan supplements had improvements on all measures of sleep … and food sources worked just as well as the supplements.
§ The trick is to combine foods that have some tryptophan with ample carbohydrate. This helps tryptophan make its way to the brain. Unfortunately, all amino acids compete for transport to the brain. Added carbohydratess cause the release of insulin, which takes the competing amino acids and incorporates them into muscle … but leaves tryptophan alone, so it can make its way to the brain and cause sleepiness.

Bedtime snack examples (each 100 to 200 calories)
Yogurt and fruit sprinkled with nuts
Cinnamon Oatmeal: 1/2 cup dry oatmeal prepared with 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup water and sprinkled with cinnamon (optional one teaspoon sugar or honey).
1 slice whole wheat toast topped with sliced tomato and one slice of turkey.
One cup skim milk with one cup grapes.
Low-fat berry sorbet
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla pudding or tapioca
Sliced apple with 1-2 teaspoons peanut butter

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Goals of Volumetric Eating

The Goal of Volumetrics
When you are trying to cut down on calories but fear hunger pangs eat this way to stay full but eat well and low calorie.
Focus on fiber-rich foods with a high moisture content. These foods include fruits (mostly fresh), vegetables (mostly those with high water content; e.g. tomatoes, broccoli, greens) whole grain pasta, rice, breads and cereals; soups, salads; low-fat poultry, seafood, meats and dairy.
Limit the amount of dry foods (crackers, popcorn, pretzels, etc.) due to their high caloric value and low satiety index.

The Four Energy Density Categories of Commonly eaten foods:
Category 1- Very Low Energy Density non starchy fruits/vegetables, nonfat milk, broth type soups
Category 2-Low Energy Density Starchy fruits/vegetables, grains, chili, spaghetti
Category 3-Medium Energy Density Meats, cheese, pizza, salad dressings, pretzels, ice cream
Category 4-High Energy Density Crackers, chips, chocolate, cookies, candy, butter and oils.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weight gain or weight loss?

Despite the endless diets and weight loss programs Americans try we continue to gain weight and trends suggest further growth. Results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), show that 67 percent of Americans were overweight or obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese in 2005-2006. By 2030, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health determined that as many as 86 percent of Americans will be obese or overweight. This leads us to the wonder; will everyone in American be obese or overweight at some point in the future?

Today with our abundant food supply and sedentary ways it is hard to stay slim. Food cues, food choices and endless variety overwhelm us daily. This may be good for the food industry but it is not good for our waistlines. Human beings are triggered to eat by seeing and smelling food. We believe our eyes not our stomachs, so if we see it, we eat it and most of us will “clean the plate.” TV commercials, food ads, fast food restaurants, buffets and super sized portions all encourage an unconscious and unmistakable increase in consumption. Our stomachs can’t count and unless we weigh, measure and record most of us naturally overeat.

But there is hope. Since we all underestimate what we eat maintaining a food record helps us keep track and stay accountable. Research shows when supported in a weight loss effort people lose more weight and keep it off longer.

So clear your kitchen of food cues, turn off the TV, find a group and keep exercising. Let’s reverse this trend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dangerous weight loss products

Tainted Weight Loss Products
Here is the FDA's full list of all 72 tainted weight loss products:
2 Day Diet
2 Day Diet Slim Advance
2x Powerful Slimming
3 Day Diet
3 Days Fit
3x Slimming Power
5x Imelda Perfect Slimming
7 Day Herbal Slim
7 Days Diet
7 Diet
7 Diet Day/Night Formula
8 Factor Diet
Eight Factor Diet
21 Double Slim
24 Hours Diet
999 Fitness Essence
Body Creator
Body Shaping
Body Slimming
Cosmo Slim
Extrim Plus
Extrim Plus 24 Hour Reburn
Fasting Diet
Fatloss Slimming
Herbal Xenicol
Imelda Fat Reducer
Imelda Perfect Slim
JM Fat Reducer
Lida DaiDaihua
Miaozi MeiMiaoQianZiJiaoNang
Miaozi Slim Capsules
Natural Model
Perfect Slim
Perfect Slim 5x
Perfect Slim Up
Phyto Shape
Powerful Slim
ProSlim Plus
Reduce Weihgt
Royal Slimming Formula
Sana Plus
Slim 3 in 1
Slim 3 in 1 Extra Slim Formula
Slim 3 in 1 Extra Slim Waist Formula
Slim 3 in 1 M18 Royal Diet
Slim 3 in 1 Slim Formula
Slim Burn
Slim Express 4 in 1
Slim Express 360
Slim Fast (This product isn't related to the Slim-Fast line of meal replacement and related products.)
Slim Tech
Slim Up
Slim Waist Formula
Slim Waistline
Slimming Formula
Super Fat Burner
Super Slimming
Trim 2 Plus
Triple Slim
Venom Hyperdrive 3.0
Waist Strength Formula
Zhen de Shou

Five more weight loss tips

1. Even if they eat the same amount of calories, people feel less guilty about over-eating “healthy” foods (like granola) than “unhealthy” foods (like chocolate).
2. Over seventy percent of what we eat is determined by the main cook in our families.
3. If you think about food you are more likely to eat it.
4. When variety increases, people eat more. For example when people were offered three different types of yogurt they ate as much as 300% more than when offered only one type.
5. A variety of foods available makes people think they will enjoy more foods.Relying on our mental resistance to change our habits is less effective than changing our environment.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Five of ten weight loss tips

To change habits, improve diet or lose weight consider the following.
1. Fifty-four percent of American adults aim to finish everything on their plates. This behavior can lead to weight gain.
2. Most of us underestimate how much we eat.
3. People eat more food off of large plates than they do off of small ones, but feel equally full.
4. The more beautiful that a food looks and the better it smells, the more delicious you think it is the more you are willing to pay for it.
5. Even if they eat the same amount of calories, people feel less guilty about over-eating “healthy” foods (like granola) than “unhealthy” foods (like chocolate).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Raising your metabolism

The resting metabolism or the amount of calories burned by the body which keeps our heart beating and lungs breathing can be trained to burn more calories. A good way to estimate the resting metabolism is to estimate 10 calories for every pound of body weight for women and 11 for men. A 120-pound woman has a resting metabolic rate of approximately 1,200 calories per day. Liz Applegate, Ph.D., FACSM, director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis, believes this can be raised with lifestyle changes, the right nutrition and exercise modifications She believes certain key factors affect the exact metabolic rate for individuals. and these factors if stimulated increase the calories burned and therefore more weight loss. The key is to replace fat cells with muscle. Strength training creates lean muscle mass. Age, hormones influence metabolism and you can change it. The hype about supplements that claim to increase thyroid activity are unproven to help. But you can focus efforts on other factors that impact metabolic rate. Although cutting an extreme amount of calories from your daily diet seems like a way to quickly lose weight it actually slows metabolism. We tell our bodies to conserve when we detoxify or fast. Women should not eat less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should eat no less than 1,800. Slow and small deficits lead to healthy, long-term weight loss. Yet, you can manipulate your metabolism by balancing your diet. Proteins take more calories to digest. Applegate recommends eating 18 to 20 percent of the day's total calories in lean proteins. She also recommends more fiber, which keep you feeling full and may slightly block caloric absorption. No single factor will make a big change in your resting metabolic rate, but practicing several can. "Doing just one of these things might only lead to 60 or so more calories burned per day," she said. "But when you start factoring in several of these modifications, they can really add up and make a difference."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More about red meat

A new and large federal study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that eating large amounts of red and processed meats increases the risk of death from heart disease and cancer. Researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71 years old, on their eating habits, then followed them for 10 years.

This study bolsters other evidence of increased health risks from diets high in red meat including hamburger and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less. High intakes were compared to low intakes of just 5 ounces per week.

The increased risks for eating large quantities of processed meats were slightly lower overall than for red meat.
People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Protein packaging

Animal protein and vegetable protein probably effect our health in the same way. But before each bite consider how it is packaged. A piece of salmon has 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat of which only 4 are saturated and about 1500 mg of omega 3's. A porterhouse steak has 36 grams of protein and 44 grams of fat and 16 grams are saturated. Cooked lentils have 18 grams of protein, less than one gram of fat, and alot of fiber.

How much protein do you need each day?
About 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight.

White meat, and fish are healtiest animal proteins. Red meat-not so much. Eat it in moderation, as a treat. Studies show people who eat the most red meat and processed meats have the highest risk of premature death from cancer and heart disease.

Beans and legumes and even nuts add excellent proteins and are complete proteins when eaten with grains.

So when you choose your proteins consider the packaging. Is it packaged with saturated fats or fibers, omega 3's or saturated fats?
Choose well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The healthiest proteins

The healthies protein rich foods are low in fat. Vegetable sources of protein include beans, nuts, and whole grains. All are excellent choices, because they supply fibers, vitamins and minerals along with the proteins. The best low fat animal proteins finclude fish and poultry. If you like red meat, choose lean cuts, smaller portions and eat it once in a while. Build your meals around veggies rather than meats. One never goes wrong eating more vegetables and fruits. Use color and variety, dark green, yellow, orange, and red, as a quide.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How much added sugar should we eat?

The recommendation for added sugar, not naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices is below 10% of calories. So if you eat 1600 calories a day, 160 calories from sugar equals about 40 grams a day.
We, in the United States lead the world in obesity and the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise only that sugar should be used in moderation. The Institute of Medicine, part of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, recommended in September that sugar could make up to 25% of calories.
But the newest study recommends 10%. The report was commissioned by two U.N. agencies, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, and compiled by a panel of 30 international experts. The food industry was quick to respond decrying the document, insisting more exercise is the key to ending obesity.
Yet sugar, despite its sweet taste offers no nutritional value except calories and Americans get plenty of these. Cutting sugar is an easy way to cut calories. So, try counting your sugar grams to determine how much you eat. It will be, if nothing else, very informative.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The good and bad about fats

Good fats, bad fats, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol-What's the deal? Let me try to explain.

First, fat is the most calorically dense macronutrient with 9 kcal per gram vs. 4 kcal per gram for protein and carbohydrates. The recommendation for intake is 30% of calories per day. If you eat 1600 calories then that is about 53 grams of fat. Fat provides satiety to meals and also a nice flavor so to lose weight you must limit calories in total. We thought a low fat diet would decrease the risk of heart disease but we now know it is not the amount of fat but the type of fat that encourages good health. There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Omega 3's are also very necessary for good health. Bad fats include saturated fats and trans fats.
Why are they good and bad? Since fat is not water soluble, fat and cholesterol travel through the bloodstream in protein packages called lipoproteins. Cells latch onto these lipoproteins to extract the nutrients when needed. When our blood supplies are too full of these lipoproteins, mostly because we eat more than we need, they form deposits on our cell walls. This can cause a blockage which stops the blood and nutrients from reaching the heart.
There are three types of lipoproteins, LDLs, HDLs and triglycerides. The LDL is the garbage and the HDL is the garbage truck which carries the LDL out of the system. Triglycerides increase immediately when we eat and carry most of our fats.
To increase the HDL and decrease the LDL we can change our diet to include fats that raise the HDL and lower the LDL. Monounsaturated fats, olive oil, canola oil and avocados, decrease the LDL and increase the HDL. Polyunsaturated Omega 3's do the same. Trans fats and saturated fats are the problem. Trans fats are man made fats. Oils fused with hydrogen to make them solid. These increase the LDL and decreased the HDL. Saturated fats do the same but are naturally found in red meats, butter, ice cream and other full fat dairy. So read your labels and decrease the trans and sats and increase the monos and polys. Eat fish and walnut oil, nuts and flax seeds. Decrease fried foods from fast food restaurants, butter and fatty meats. To decrease triglycerides cut down on high fructose corn syrup and total calories and take fish oils. Sound easy? Sometimes not, but we keep working at it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More reasons to take fish oils

Here is another reason to take fish oils supplements. According to a recent study published online in The FASEB Journal (, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids protect the liver from damage caused by obesity and the insulin resistance it provokes. This study shows that omega-3 fatty acids may successfully decrease liver complications, such as hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, in obese people. Researchers studied four groups of mice with altered genes making some obese and diabetic. One group was given an omega-3-enriched diet and the second group was put on a control diet. The third group took docosahexaenoic acid, and the fourth were given only the lipid resolvin. After five weeks, liver samples and blood serum were examined. The mice that were given the omega-3-rich diet showed less liver inflammation and improved insulin tolerance. This may be due to the formation of protectins and resolvins from omega-3 fatty acids.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Hidden and Wondrous Value of Keeping a Food Record

Keeping a Food Record

Want to lose weight? Write down what you eat.
Why does this tedious and slogging activity work?
A few simple reasons.
1. We all underestimate what we eat. It is human nature.
2. We are presented with so many food cues during each day that without control we overeat. It too is human nature.
3. We live up to our ideals. If we set a goal and track it we are many times more likely to meet the goal.
4. Food records provide accountability and allow us to assess personal issues.
5. Using food records helps us determine triggers and determine where we eat.
6. It is hard, but it also gets easier.
7. Remember, self monitoring encourages us to compare our actual behaviors to ideal behaviors and we are motivated to live up to our ideals. The act of recording cues us to manage our behavior.

Basic rules
1. Write down EVERYTHING! Keep your form with you all day long and write down everything you eat and drink. A piece of candy, a handful of pretzels, a bottle of soda or a small donut may not seem like much, but these calories can add up!
2. Do it now. Don’t depend on your memory at the end of the day. Record your eating as you go.
3. Be specific. Make sure you include ‘extras,’ such as gravy on your meat, cheese on your sandwich or vegetables, butter, and salad dressings.
4. Measure or estimate amounts. If you have a bowl of cereal, measure out or estimate the actual amount (rather than writing ‘bowl’ of cereal)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Foods to help you sleep

The National Sleep Foundation recently released its annual poll estimating that Americans get an average of about 6.7 hours of sleep each day. The poll shows that over the last decade the number of hours Americans sleep gradually decreased and the number of people who get eight or more hours is dwindling.
How can we sleep more and better? Can food help?

A light snack before bed may improve your chances for a restful sleep. The snack should be made of mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. This high-carbohydrate, low-protein combination may increase the availability of tryptophan . Tryptophan, an amino acid converted in our bodies to melatonin and serotonin, may help induce sleep. Avoid too much protein before bedtime though. Protein-rich foods contain another amino acid called tyrosine. This amino acid that stimulates brain activity.

Bedtime snacks that increase tryptophan
Dairy foods, oats, bananas, poultry and peanuts are good sources of tryptophan,
A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk
Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
Half bagel or crackers with peanut butter, 1 ounce of cheese or a slice of deli turkey on top
Sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheese

Chamomile tea with warm milk is one of my favorites bedtime treats and one I recommend to anyone needing to rest.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ask the nutritionist?

Ask the

Q: Remember the headline about obesity being contagious? What does that mean exactly?

A: Eating and activities are social. We do what our friends do and eat what our friends eat, so if we focus on doing it well-wellness and weight loss result.
The study, the first to ever look at obesity as "socially contagious,"was coauthoured byNicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of UC San Diego and published in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study showed that obesity spreads from person to person in a social network. If one person becomes obese, those close to them have a greater chance of becoming obese as well. Surprisingly, the greatest effect was among friends.
Accordingly, if your friend becomes obese, the researchers found, your own chances of becoming obese go up 57 percent. Among mutual friends, the effect is even stronger, with chances increasing 171 percent.
But of course, this can go the other way. As you lose weight and become more active so will your friends. Fitness and wellness are socially contagious too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Solving Obesity in America

Obesity costs about $117 billion in health care and related costs to families, health care centers and the government each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over thirty years, rates of obesity have doubled in adults and tripled in children, and about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.

And though Americans are in trouble, a large European study supports the claim that obesity is dangerous for everyone. The study, spanning decades recently published in this week's British Medical Journal, found that young men who were overweight at age 18 were as likely to die by 60 as light smokers, and obese teens, like heavy smokers, were at double the risk of dying early.

Clearly bold action to stem the obesity epidemic is necessary. In America, our overweight children may be the first generation to have shorter life spans than their parents. On January 9, 2009 the nation's most prominent health and medical leaders sent this message to then President-elect Barack Obama.

"The obesity epidemic is harming Americans' health just as global warming is harming the planet," these experts wrote in a letter to the next President. This requires a coordinated effort of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Transportation and other government officials.

This week President Obama has organized a health summit to discuss this and the other serious issues of our time. Will we have universal coverage? In a recent poll 49% of Americans said they would pay higher taxes for universal care. (I quess it had to get this bad before people would pay up.) In this weeks health summit Obama announced two appointments. Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius has been nominated as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a start and now we need to focus on services for all and prevention. The numerous possible approaches to reversing the obesity epidemic are well known. The executive director of CSPI, Michael F. Jacobson, explains, "What has been missing, particularly by officials in the Bush Administration, is the commitment to actually tackle the problem." Perhaps this is at hand.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A word about high-fructose corn syrup...

A sugar calorie is a calorie no matter the type and Americans consume about 300 additional calories a day from the sweet substance. Yet, are some sugar calories more harmful? There has been much controversy over the safety of high-fructose corn syrup and much of it has been supported by research. As the amount of fructose consumed in the American diet increases, some researchers see problems.
High fructose corn syrup is not radically different than regular sugar or sucrose which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. High fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. The fructose from corn is mixed with corn syrup which is essentially pure glucose. The difference though may be significant. In sucrose the two molecules are linked while in high fructose corn syrup the two molecules are severed. Debates persist as to whether this is significant.
Fructose is metabolized in the liver which is where fats are metabolized. Elizabeth Parks et al., from University of Minnesota found that as people consumed more high fructose corn syrup triglyceride levels rose significantly.
Another researcher, Dr Chi-tang Ho, a professor of Food Science at Rutgers, found very high levels of a substance called reactive carbonyls in sugary carbonated drinks. These carbonyls, which can cause tissue damage, are formed when the bonds between fructose and glucose sever.

The unresolved concerns warrant more research indeed, but in the meantime if you can't kick the soda habit try seltzer with a bit of juice, a squeeze of lemon and a lot of ice cubes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Want to fatten up? Eat sugar.

No one I know wants to fatten up and if someone needed too I would not recommend sugary foods as the solution. They provide "empty" calories. Neither ordinary sugar (sucrose) nor high-fructose corn syrup contains any nutrients other than calories. So we eat sweets and then look around for more of them or other foods to really satisfy our appetites.

Today's recommendation for sugar is about eight teaspoons of sugars a day. A 12-ounce can of regular soda or a 20-ounce bottle of VitaminWater will provide this. The food industry adds sugar to many foods preferring high-fructose corn syrup to sucrose because it is a more reliable and cheaper product than sugar. It is more stable in acids like sodas and fruit drinks and it prolongs the shelf life of processed foods. According to Michael Jacobson, director of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public, "If the food industry got rid of all the high-fructose corn syrup and replaced it with sugar, we'd have the same problems we have now with obesity, diabetes and heart disease." He says, "It's an urban myth that high-fructose corn syrup has a special toxicity."
What we need to do is cut down on both, since the average intake is around 20 teaspoons, quite a bit over the recommendation. The extra calories lead to extra pounds and this is definitely part of our problem. And as we all know, Americans do not need to fattened up. We have done that already.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Diet Study and Keeping It OFF

So, in the end, after studying the largest group of dieters ever from Boston to Baton Rouge, the diet itself is of no consequence. Cut calories, no matter what type protein, carbs, fat or alcohol, and lose weight. I thought so. And as we continue to research nutrition and weight loss we unravel things that make good sense, things perhaps our grandmothers knew or ideas presented in grammar school. I still vividly recall the tenets of the 4 food groups and the call in the 60's and 70's for a balanced diet and variety. I feel gratified to see the headline in the NYT's, statistics and all. See Parker-Popes piece in Health.
Remember the headline about obesity being contagious? In fact we do what our friends do and eat what our friends eat ,so if we focus on doing it well-wellness and weight loss result.
Checking in with someone who supports our weight loss effort helps too.
Weight counseling wins the prize for best support for sustainable weight loss. Imagine that?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is it true? Alcohol is not good us anymore.

According to a new study being published March 4 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute even one drink a day, a single beer, glass of wine or any other type of alcoholic drink increases the risk of a variety of cancers.
The study involving nearly 1.3 million middle-aged British women -- the largest study ever to examine alcohol and cancer in women -- found that unlike other studies that suggest alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease or dementia, one drink can do harm. Naomi E. Allen of the University of Oxford led the study and said, "If you are regularly drinking even one drink per day, that's increasing your risk for cancer."
Some counter that there were some flaws in the study, one being that it did not distinguish between heavy drinkers and light drinkers, but others claim the study was well done. At this point it will be incorporated into the body of research and as the federal guidelines are being revised this study will be markedly considered.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Calcium and Vitamin D

Start taking your Vitamin D particulary if you live north of San Francisco or any other place above that horizontal line. The research strongly supports its value as a supplement. Vitamin D helps calcium build bones, but it also acts hormonally and kicks into action when needed. Research shows that Vitamin D decreases the risk of cancer, infections and metabolic syndrome. It does this because it prompts the production of an antimicrobial substance that acts like a natural antibiotic or an antiviral to destroy harmful cells. As well no evidence shows a negative effect of taking as much as 2,000 IU s per day. Calcium is necessary to protect bones, teeth and blood pressure. Food sources of calcium and Vitamin D include fortified milk products, salmon and mackeral and fortified cereals. But take a supplement to ensure enough and enjoy the benefits of good health.Check out Sally Squire's article on Vitamin D in the Washington Post. It is excellent.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boosting serotonin through diet

Today I started a young client on a Serotonin boosting diet in order to help her lose weight, feel better and avoid binging on carbohydrates. The diet was developed by Judith Wurtman, PhD who studied this phenomenom at MIT in the 1980s. Wurtman works with Nina Frusztajer Marquis, MD and they run a clinic called Adara.
The diet is simple and low in overall calories. The morning meal contains protein, carbohydrates and fruit. The snack is high in carbohyrates eaten one hour before lunch. Lunch contains protein, and vegetables and the next snack eaten 3-4 hours after lunch should be high in carbohydrates. Dinner consists of carbohrates and vegetables and an evening snack is made up of carbohydrates.

So far my client has struggled a bit as she sorted through the options for snacks. She also reported being very hungry. Her dinner was bigger than usual because she prepared a heaping plate of pasta with veggies and a salad and then she was satisfied

We will follow this over time and see if it helps. The first phase as described above is a two week deal.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

one day at a time

Weight control and eating well are things many of us must do for the rest of our lives one day at a time.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keeping track of what you eat

How do we track what we eat? Our old brains calculate, but we miss things. We ignore anything we drink and we give extra credit to what we chew. We eat to survive and have gotten this far evolutionary because our ancestors had excellent appetites. The weak eaters did not survive. Yet in our wealthy, wonderful America food is plentiful and much of it is full of empty calories. These foods, white and sugary and salty and sweet, trigger our appetites but offer little in return and are best avoided. Generally processed and full of cheap fats, they line the inner aisle of any grocery store and they are easy to eat.
Yet even if we avoid processed foods we often still eat too much. How do we control ourselves? One very successful way is to set goals and track intake by recording in a food journal. Self monitoring allows us to compare actual behaviors to ideal behaviors. We are very motivated to live up to our ideal behaviors particulary if someone is checking on our progress. That is why I love small group work and support groups offer. So set your goals, track your progress and share your progress with someone else. It works.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Resting well

Rest well for good health.
Sleep as much as you need. Most adults need 7-8 hours a night, but you might need more or Well rested adults make hormones in the gut that decrease appetite.

Want to sleep better?
Try these tips
A hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender.
A few drops of jasmine in the bath to help relax. Used as a tea, it's a mild nerve sedative.
Limit caffeine, alcohol and screen time a few hours before bed.
Check your iron level. Iron deficient women tend to have more problems sleeping.
Try using Valerian and chamomile tea.

Bedtime snacks
Snacks high in complex carbs and a bit of protein are great before bed. Try these:
· A bowl of oatmeal or cereal & low-fat milk.
· Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top.
· WW toast or crackers with peanut butter, 1 ounce of cheese or a slice of deli turkey
· Chamomile tea with hot milk, or hot milk with a splash of vanilla or sprinkle of cinnamon.
Hot milk has a protein that may improve sleep quality and alertness the next day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chef MD

A friend called me tonight with this tip. Check out Chef MD, a site developed by a physician who loves food and nutrition.

John La Pluma MD integrates nutrition, medicine and food. A great recipe for berries and pancakes sites a study that showed that berries can help prevent esophageal cancer in people with Barrett's esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition. He writes in his newsletter, "In the study, women ate 1 ounce and men ate 1.5 ounces of freeze-dried black raspberries every day for 26 weeks. Over half of the patients had less oxidative stress and DNA damage, which can lead to cancer, than before they started. Some people also had more protective enzymes called GSTpi, which help detoxify carcinogens and oxidants."

Good info and a good recipe. I like the idea. Check it out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nutrients and Disease

What is the relationship between nutrients and disease? There are some correlations today but when we look at food as medicinal the potential for a relationship is greater than than ever. For example in today's NYT's a clear relationship between a deficiency of Vitamin D and asthma is clarified.

There are many other diet and health relationships with strong scientific support. A low glycemic index diet for epilepsy. There is much information about the effecacy of this and glycemic indexes are readily available online.

Fish oils and flaxseed oil supplements have strong support from the scientific community.

The evidence for the medicinal benefits of berries got Tara Parker-Pope's attention and made the NYT.

Parker-Pope also describes how eating the Mediterranean diet appears to lower risk for mental decline according to research published in Archives for Neurology.

Yet though we know so much, as well as that 30% of American adults are overweight or obese with only 1 of 50 states boasting a lower rate, still insurance companies pay very little for preventative care and health education. Roni Caryn Rabin, of the NYT, reports on a survey that found health scares reduce smoking but not weight. Rabin quotes Sherry Pagoto, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the paper. Pagoto believes physician counceling does not have much impact and “The evidence for behavioral weight loss treatment suggests an intensive program is necessary."

Oddly, there is little money for prevention but this might end as we change our priorities in America.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Outwitting Appetite

Are you really hungry? Outwit your appetite.

Eat protein for breakfast. It takes about 4 hours for protein to digest so it literally stays with you longer than carbohydrates. Researchers at St. Louis University gave overweight women two eggs and toast and they ended up eating 267 fewer calories during the day than the group given half as much protein.

Get enough sleep. When we are tired we produce a hormone called ghrelin in our gut that increases our appetites. When we are rested we produce leptin, a hormone that decreases our appetites.

Keep foods out of sight. Brian Wansink, PhD and food psychologist from Cornell believes if food is in front of us we eat it. It doesn’t matter if it is a warm batch of chocolate chip cookies or pieces of cabbage when we see it, we eat it, quite unconsciously. Keep foods off the counters, out of sight and out of your house or freeze it.

Do something else so you think about something else. Leave the kitchen, keep your fingers busy, chew gum, take a walk, call a friend… Use a smaller plate. The more food in front of us the more we eat. At a restaurant spilt the meal or pack up half. You can also cover the plate with your napkin so you don’t keep picking while you wait for the bill. Sit down when you snack. . If you use utensils and a plate instead of snacking from a bag you'll eat fewer calories at subsequent meals.Limit your choices. Wansink finds more variety encourages a greater intake of calories which is why so many of us overeat at buffets.
Take a drink of water. Sometimes the feeling of hunger masks true thirst.

Limit the number of food episodes. Remember the taste of cookie dough or the slices of cheese are calories that add up without notice.

Trust your taste buds and eat a varied and diverse diet that is high in nutrients and low in calories.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Are you ever really hungry?

Are You Really Hungry?

Have you ever really been hungry? Hopefully not, because hunger is a dangerous thing which is why we resist it so much despite our abundant lives. Today in America only 1 of 50 states can boast that less than 30 % of citizens are overweight. We clearly eat enough, yet we still worry about hunger and resist it.

What is hunger and how does it feel? There are many kinds of hunger. There is true physical hunger or starvation. There is emotional hunger, a growling stomach hunger, a low blood sugar hunger and hunger for the next meal. Hunger pangs are triggered by the sight and smell of cooking soups or baked bread. They are triggered by habit and time and place. Hunger is triggered by memory and thirst. Sorting it out is crucial to knowing what you need and how much. Determining bad habits, changing them and curbing behaviors is key. Knowing the difference between thirst, emotional hunger and stomach pains helps.

Here are a few facts to ponder. First, in America most of us are over nourished rather than undernourished. Second many times when we know we have eaten enough but still feel hungry we might be thirsty. As well, emotional hunger is a strong pull to overeat, but as we eat our bodies adjust making more stomach juices and readying the system for more to come. Each time we overeat we get better at overeating. Finally, when our blood sugar drops as they do for most of us once in a while, a simple snack of only 10 calories will decrease symptoms. If you are prediabetic or diabetic balancing this mechanism is far more complicated requiring insulin injections or medications to help sugars into the cells.

Hunger is okay once in a while. It is good for our appetites. Food tastes better when we are hungry. Eating is more pleasurable on an empty stomach. So, when you overeat and feel full remember this pain and think of hunger as the reward. There is plenty of food out there waiting to be eaten.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Modifying behavior and changing habits

What is the best way to change behavior and how long does it take? Does it take 21 days or 3 months? The amount of time it takes varies but the stages are well documented. The desire for change crosses your mind, then you make up your mind to do it. You act and then keep acting. Many people make up their minds to lose weight, eat better or increase exercise. But, so many gain it back, revert to old ways and stop going to the gym.

Why do so many lose motivation and revert to old ways?
We know that the longer you do something, and the more often you do it then the sooner it becomes a habit. In fact any setback makes it easier to have another setback. So staying on track is a daily event. That is why I encourage people to find a group with whom they can talk, walk and encourage one another.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The trick....

The trick to life is to like where you are, according to my meditation teacher

The trick is to like where you are.
The trick is to like where I am.
The trick is to like life.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ask the nutritionist?

What do you think about fish oil supplements?

Fish oils contain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; most important are the omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA which is believed to play a central role in the development of the infant brain and nervous system. Studies have consistently found that children with A.D.H.D. have low blood levels of DHA, and a small number of recent clinical trials have reported improvements in children’s learning and behavioral problems after fish oil therapy.

A study in Oxford-Durham Britain, published in the journal Pediatrics in 2005, reported remarkable improvements in reading and spelling among children treated with omega-3 fatty acids. The Mayo clinic reports that fish oil supplements also can help lower blood pressure and triglycerides.

Most health care providers suggest 1,000 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA daily for a child, and up to 2,000 milligrams for an adult, but they say they adjust the amounts depending on weight.

Some experts recommend higher doses to get the full therapeutic effect, but there are risks. Fish oil is a blood thinner and can interfere with clotting and cause excessive bleeding, which can be dangerous. Doctors say anyone with a family history of a bleeding disorder should avoid it, so ask your doctor first before taking any supplement.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I matter but I don't

The ego is a telling and powerful thing. The actions presented in honor of the ego are often strong, positive or self defacing depending on how one feels about oneself. The problems we see as incurable, life crippling or woeful are inconsequential to others expect maybe our mothers. Yet since they are so immediately involved in the making of us perhaps it is there egos that react so strongly. With this in mind I wonder at the workings of the world and the simplicity of the statement, "I matter, but I don't." Because frankly we all matter, but we don't. And I think with a small bit of insight most of us recognize it at this juncture on our evolutionary road.

Today as our economy stumbles and erratic weather patterns threaten stability we need all our senses clear and insights tight to save our world. Delayed by 8 years of silliness and money making we are hoisted from our sleep and dragged to the cliff. They say we have 11 years until , the worst happens. Will we starve, die of thirst or crumble? I am sure the 200 year supply of water below the Paragueyan land masses owned by George W and Reverand Moon will exceed their current worth. They made fortunes off our silliness and money spending and stand to make even more since they hold title to land underwhich lies the key to life.

Yet, I anyomously sit here seeing the trends and feeling powerless to really change the slope because I don't really matter. My new favorite lawyer/teacher Elizabeth Warren a professor of law from Harvard who heads the oversight board of the TARP, undertands. She understands the tiny, the inconsiquential. She advocates for the family unit. Barack Obama "gets it" too. Michelle is vouching for him.

But I am most intriqued by Adam Werbach, a lifelong enviornmentalist, who traumatized the green movement when he announced at a Commonwealth club meeting that, "environmentalism is dead." Instead he choose to work with the enemy and to teach Walmart's 1.3 million U.S. employees about sustainability. Wal-Mart became Werbach's lab to make teach this group to make sustainability personal. The program called the Personal Sustainability Project or PSP is simple. People pick one part of their lives that seem "unsustainable" and then develop a plan to fix it. Werbach's message is we all matter and by teaching Wal-Mart workers about sustainability while encouraging personal participation the results can be big changes; changes that matter to everyone.

I take much from his example that I apply to my own life. Limit my personal carbon footprint; encourage others by example and support the larger body through small changes. And I like looking at it this way because then I matter.

See these links for information about Werbach, Walmart and Blue

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Weight Debate

Research now supports a theory long debunked by doctors and dietitians. What we eat versus what we expend does not result in the same weight loss for every person. The idea that burning 3,500 calories equals one pound lost no longer rings true. Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity expert at Rockefeller University believes that balancing our weight is more difficult that we think.

Mathematically, shouldn't it work out that if I walk 20 minutes a day and burn 100 calories, I will lose a pound in 35 days? Science says no. It is very hard to calculate calorie input and output every day since most calorie guides and portion control techniques are estimates. But as we learn about the brain we see how much control it exerts over appetite and intake as well. There are also hormonal and other physiological mechanisms that keep us from losing weight. When we force out bodies to lose weight nature reacts in an attempt to protect us from it. This desire for stability enables us to skip a meal or fast for a while without losing weight. If we burn an extra 100 calories a day we end up making up for it by eating a little more the next day without even knowing it. We resist weight loss as a protective mechanism and Dr. Friedman believes this system, “operates with 99.6 percent precision.”

What do we do? Well, the first step is to understand that willpower alone can not help you lose weight and keep it off. Secondly since we commonly underestimate what we eat keeping a food journal keeps you honest. Finally, find support. You are not alone in this. The rise in overweight and obese adults in the United States rose to 66%. There is good news, however. Once you lose weight and if you continue to monitor it, your body will relax and stay there for a while.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Losing weight is harder than we think

Americans are getting fatter and the conventional wisdom may not be helping. Scientists are clear that the "so-called" facts about obesity are oversimplified. Of course, diet and exercise matter. What goes in and out does influence storage. Yet, scientists now know that body composition, genetic tendencies and hormones influence our waistlines. Willpower is only a piece of the puzzle.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as many as 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese today. Yet, the risks are growning. The American diet is not without blame but banning junk foods and disclosing caloric values on labels may not be the answer. In fact the rise in obesity may have more to do with our sedentary life styles than diets high in junk food.

But losing weight is harder than gaining so eating well during the process protects our bodies and brains. Below are the suggestions proven my research to help people lose weight.
Eat 5-6 small meals daily. Or eat no more than 4 times a day.
Eat breakfast every morning.

Eat lean protein at every meal.

Eat vegetables or fruit at every meal. Fill ½ your dinner plate with vegetables.

Drink enough fluid. Choose water, sparkling water, and unsweetened iced green, black or herb teas. Add lemon, lime or a bit of berry juice for flavor. Enjoy a cup or two of coffee or tea with low-fat milk. Avoid sweet drinks of all kinds, including juice and sports drinks.

Avoid processed foods made with white grains and white sugar. For a sweet tooth have a piece of dark chocolate and a few nuts. Choose chocolate with 70% or more cocoa butter.

Benefit from red wine or other alcohol by drinking it with meals. Daily recommendation: One 5 oz glass for women and two 5 oz glasses for men.

Take your supplements everyday.

Journal. People who journal lose weight.

Exercise 5-6 days a week. Start slow…

Join a weight loss group or start one with friends.