Tuesday, October 20 2015
You know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you, but it can be daunting to think about cutting out meat and making the switch to a more plant-based diet. The good news: You don’t have to give up meat altogether to eat healthier. If you’re considering transitioning to eating more vegetables and less meat, this four-step guide can help make the process much more manageable.
It seems more people than ever are moving away from a meat-heavy diet and making the switch to a plant-based eating style. Not only is this trend popular with celebrities like Carrie Underwood and Gwyneth Paltrow, it is, arguably, a healthier way of eating and better for the environment, as well.
As registered dietitians, we’ve witnessed a growing body of research confirming that diets centered on minimally processed plant foods that come straight from the earth not only fight a myriad of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, they also help to keep you svelte. However, many people feel overwhelmed when they try to dramatically change their diets, especially If they think mistakenly believe they should cut out all animal products.
Fortunately, this is not the case at all. If you’re considering transitioning to a more plant-based diet, this four-step guide will help make the process much more manageable. When you feel as though you’ve mastered one step, move on to the next. And feel free to start with any of the steps and progress to another step in any order that feels most comfortable for you.
One thing to keep in mind: A “plant-based” diet emphasizes minimally processed foods from plants, with modest amounts of fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy—red meat is eaten at only sparingly. In other words, you don’t have to become a vegan. After all, one of the best ways to embrace a plant-based diet is to enjoy a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet, which includes fish, seafood, and some occasional poultry and meat.
Wednesday, September 30 2015
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been linked to several health issues, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. Here are the facts on HFCS and how it compares to other sweeteners in terms of its effects on overall health.
What Is HFCS?
Chemically speaking, sucrose or plain table sugar is one part glucose—the simplest sugar that is a component in many carbohydrates—and one part fructose or fruit sugar. Therefore, sucrose is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. This is very similar to the chemical composition of honey (48 percent glucose/52 percent fructose). Corn syrup, a liquid sweetener made from cornstarch, can vary in composition depending on the brand. HFCS, a modified version of standard corn syrup, is similar in chemical composition to table sugar and honey with two forms: HFCS-42 (58 percent glucose/42 percent fructose) and HFCS-55 (45 percent glucose/55 percent fructose).
The media has implicated HFCS as a potential contributor to the U.S. obesity epidemic (White, 2008; Zeratsky, 2005). These inferences have been drawn from studies that show Americans have more than doubled their intake of HFCS over the past 50 years, as this sweetening agent has slowly replaced traditional sucrose in a number of processed foods (White, 2008). In the same time period, the total number of calories consumed from just sugar has also doubled to approximately 400 calories per day. Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest that this level is too high, and that daily sugar intake should be no more than 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men (Fitch and Keim, 2012; Zeratsky, 2005).
Thursday, September 17 2015
While some believe that losing weight is simply a matter of moving more and eating less, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The human body is much more complex than we realize and there are many variables that come into play when trying to lose body fat. Here are some important things to consider when trying to lose weight.
Source: ACE Fit | Fit Life | How Eating Too Little Will Eat Up Your Fat-loss Goals
You’ve decided to lose weight, so it’s time to start moving more and eating less, right? Well, sort of.
That may sound like the right move, but sometimes it can end up doing more harm than good. The human body is much more complex than we realize, and there are many variables that come into play when trying to shed body fat.
Here are some things to consider when your primary goal is weight loss:
Thursday, September 17 2015
If you’ve eaten out at a restaurant lately, you know that portions sizes are huge, especially compared to those served just a few decades ago. For many of us, this has skewed our perception of what a normal portion size should look like. Here are some easy tips and strategies for controlling both your portions and your food intake.
Sunday, August 09 2015
This graphic was put together by former U.K. pharmacist Niraj Naik, also known as the Renegade Pharmacist
These are the words of the Renegade Pharmacist:
Something that I noticed when working as a pharmacist was why people would still gain weight even though they were following a strict low fat diet recommended to them by their doctor.
This made me question whether it is really the ‘fat’ that causes us to gain unhealthy weight.
After seeing so many people suffering from obesity related diseases like heart disease, diabetes and the side effects of the medication they were taking, I was strongly motivated to research what actually causes people to become obese, it clearly was not just the fat they were eating!
I actually discovered that a trigger factor for many widespread diseases of the west such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes could be closely linked to the consumption of one particular substance found in many processed foods and drinks – fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Fructose is the form of high fructose corn syrup found in pretty much all processed foods such as ready meals, fast foods, sweets and fizzy drinks and most people are totally unaware of its danger.
It is also often found in ‘low fat’ supposedly healthy alternatives and even many popular weight loss products because food with the fat taken out simply tastes horrible. High fructose corn syrup in combination with many other additives are usually added to enhance the flavor.
Glucose is the type of sugar our body loves. It gets metabolized by every cell in our body and is very easy to burn with very few toxic by-products. It also tells the brain to stop eating when you are full.
Fructose on the other hand is another type of sugar and is found in sucrose which breaks down to glucose and fructose.
Fructose is actually only metabolized by the liver and it’s very similar to ethanol (the alcohol in drinks).
When you consume it, it’s actually like ethanol but without the high. It confuses the liver and ends up making lots of bad fats in the process. It also doesn’t signal your brain that you are full.
This is why people can drink massive cups of fizzy drinks which are high in fructose and still eat huge meals containing refined foods that are also full of fructose.
Many fruits also contain fructose, but nature has provided the antidote, as these fruits are also packed with fibre which prevents your body from absorbing too much of it.
When I advised people to reduce their consumption of high fructose corn syrup by eating lower carb/higher protein diets, free from processed foods, even if the labels say they are healthy options, they started to lose weight and feel much better as a result.
In many cases I asked people to just stop their consumption of fizzy drinks like Coca Cola and instead swap it with either plain water, or add some freshly squeezed lemon for flavor.
Green tea is also a great alternative, and it is one of my personal favorites because it contains alpha wave stimulating theanine that also double serves as an antidote to the harmful effects of caffeine.
Those who loved to drink tea and coffee sweetened with lots of sugar, I advised to swap with natural sweeteners like stevia instead. This alone had some remarkable results.
There are 1.6 billion servings of Coke sold each day worldwide!! A very significant percentage of that is through supermarket chains like WALMART.
So you can imagine how unpopular I became in WALMART’s head office in the UK with my information strongly advising people to stop drinking fizzy drinks like Coke!
I recently came across a great article by Wade Meredith that explains what happens when you drink just 1 can of Coca Cola and this applies to pretty much most caffeinated soft drinks, not just Coke!
I have added citations to research I have found that gives some evidence to the claims in the original article.
When somebody drinks a can of Coke or any similar sugary caffeine drink, watch what happens…
Friday, July 10 2015
People look at food labels for different reasons. But whatever the reason, most people would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily. The following label-building skills are intended to make it easier for you to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet.
1 – Start with the serving information at the top of the label.
Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods.
The size of the serving on the food package influences the number of calories and the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the food package. Then ask yourself, “How many servings am I consuming”?
2 – Next, check total calories per serving.
Pay attention to the calories per serving and how many servings you’re really consuming if you eat the whole package. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients.
The next section of information on a nutrition label is about the amounts of specific nutrients in the product.
3 – Limit these nutrients.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting these nutrients. Based on a 2,000- calorie diet, no more than 11-13 grams of saturated fat, as little trans fat as possible, and no more than 1,500 mg of sodium.
4 – Get enough of these nutrients.
Make sure you get enough of beneficial nutrients such as: dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamins and other nutrients you need every day.
5 – Quick guide to % Daily Value.
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the, daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less. If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV — 20 percent or more.
Here are more tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:
Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.
When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat.
Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices.
Tuesday, July 07 2015
We are what we eat. We’ve all heard that phrase before. It’s quite true. What we put into our bodies will make or break us, so to speak. In America, unlike some underdeveloped countries, we have food abundant. So why aren’t we making nutritiously sound choices?
Let’s take a closer look at what nutrition means. Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs. Good nutrition starts with the basics, a well-rounded diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein. It’s that simple! Why complicate things by reading more into it than that?
The cornerstone of good health is a well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity. It’s been well documented that poor nutrition leads to so many ailments from a reduced immunity system, to increased susceptibility to disease, to impaired physical and mental development, as well as to reduced productivity, and the list goes on and on. Why would anyone choose other than sound nutritious choices especially when it’s readily available to them?
It’s been proven that good nutrition cannot only make you healthier, feel better but also add years to your life. Currently, the typical American diet is low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and high in saturated fat, salt, and sugar. As a result, more Americans than ever are overweight, obese, and at increased risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers.
The time is now to make the changes for a healthier, happier you. Here are some down-to-earth suggestions.
Live on! Live Healthy!!
Monday, July 06 2015
In my recent blog, I referenced, a book called the “The China Study” one of the best selling books on nutrition by T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas Colin Campbell II. The study examined the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, degenerative brain disease, and macular degeneration.
“The China Study” is a China Cornell Oxford Project, a 20-year study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, and the University of Oxford. The study examines the mortality rates, diets, and lifestyles of 6,500 people in 65 rural counties in China, and concluded that people with a high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to suffer chronic disease, while those who ate a plant-based diet were the least likely.
The study was conducted in China because it has a genetically similar population that tends to live in the same way in the same place and eat the same foods for their entire lives.
In short, the authors conclude that people who eat a plant based /vegan diet, which avoids animal products such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, will minimize or reverse the development of chronic diseases. They also recommend adequate amounts of sunshine to maintain sufficient levels of Vitamin D, and Dietary supplements of Vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products and to minimize the usage of vegetable oils. They criticize Low Carb diets, such as the Atkins Diet, which include restrictions on the percentage of Calories derived from complex Carbohydrates.
Again, the overwhelming evidence suggests that the most healthful diets set aside animal products and also reduce fats in general, while including large amounts of vegetables and fruits. Eliminating meat and dairy products from your diet is a powerful step in disease prevention!
Friday, July 03 2015
We have all heard this saying, “we are what we eat.” But the truth of matter is we are what we eat and so are our children. Our young impressionable children follow in our footsteps. They eat what we feed them. Our diet is the same diet of our parents to a greater or lesser extent. It’s the culture we grew up in. The point here is what we feed our children can be beneficial or detrimental to them and their children.
According to research, understanding children’s eating attitudes and behavior is important in terms of children’s health. Evidence indicates that dietary habits acquired in childhood persist through to adulthood. (Kelder, 1994; Nicklas, 1995) It’s not just one parent who’s responsible but both parents set the pattern for the family’s lifestyle. If mom and dad are oatmeal-and-hit-the-gym types, their kids likely are, too. Likewise, if parents are more the chips-and-TV type, the kids will do the same. Parents expect their kids to do things, like exercise that they themselves don’t do. You can’t lie on the couch watching TV, snacking on potato chips, yet tell your child to go outside and get some exercise. It just doesn’t work that way.
Any parent can be a good role model for children’s nutrition. Even if you’re overweight and having trouble losing it, it’s still possible to role model a healthy lifestyle for your child. Try these tips at home:
Additionally, much research also shows that many children’s diets in the Western world are unsatisfactory. For example, the Bogalsua Heart Study in the US showed that the majority of 10 year olds exceeded the American Heart Association dietary recommendations for total fat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.
With the evidence presented, what can be said about modeling good healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle? That modeling was found to have a clear influence on how children both think and behave around food, with consistent associations found
between parent’s and children’s eating behaviors, as well as, attitudes. In sum, it goes to say, “We are what we eat and so are our children”.
Sunday, June 28 2015
If you really want to see that number on the scale drop, then you have to think twice about what you put in your mouth. People who simply cut calories to slim down lose about 2 pounds a week. At the same time, people who exercise but don’t restrict calories drop less than half a pound in the same period.
Why doesn’t physical activity produce the same pound-dropping results as calorie restriction? One thought is that though exercise burns calories, it doesn’t rev your metabolism. It also doesn’t prevent your metabolism from slowing as you lose pounds. As you slim down, via any method, your metabolism slows incrementally with your weight loss, and despite what many believe exercising doesn’t keep that from happening. As you lose weight, you burn fewer calories through exercise alone. For example, a 150-pound person who works the elliptical for 30 minutes burns about 306 calories. After losing 10 pounds, that person will burn about 286 calories doing the same workout. So to burn 306 calories, you’d need to extend your workout.
Think diet and exercise combined equals more weight lost? Not so, research shows people who diet and exercise for weight loss drop the same amount of weight as people who only diet. Yet, research reveals that people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest. Likewise, those who diet and exercise are more likely to keep the weight off than their counterparts who simply eat less.
Bottom line: slimming down for the long term, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, and by increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity.
Saturday, June 27 2015
I‘m often asked, “As a vegetarian, where do you get your protein.” And, “Do you get enough protein?” Why do people think that the only source of protein is animal-based? And why is so much emphasis given to protein?
Let’s me address the first question.
There are many sources of plant-based protein. Ample amounts of protein are thriving in whole, natural plant-based foods. For example, spinach is 51 percent protein; mushrooms, 35 percent; beans, 26 percent; oatmeal, 16 percent; whole wheat pasta, 15 percent; corn, 12 percent; and potatoes, 11 percent.
Do I get enough protein? Of course I do! What’s more, our body needs less protein than you may think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average 150-pound male requires only 22.5 grams of protein daily based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, which means about 4.5 percent of calories should come from protein. (WHO recommends pregnant women get 6 percent of calories from protein.) Other nutritional organizations recommend as little as 2.5 percent of daily calories come from protein while the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board’s recommended daily allowance is 6 percent after a built-in safety margin; most Americans, however, are taking in 20 percent or more.
Moreover, plant-based protein is better for you. More plant sources of protein will also offer more health benefits including more fiber and nutrients. There are lots of nutrient dense foods with high protein content.
There are also health concerns of animal-based protein, for the average American consumes well over 100 grams daily—a dangerous amount. But if you eat a plant-strong diet, you’ll be getting neither too much nor too little of protein, but an amount that’s just right.
Why is protein so potentially harmful? Your body can store carbohydrates and fats, but not protein. So if the protein content of your diet exceeds the amount you need, not only will your liver and kidneys become overburdened, but you will start leaching calcium from your bones to neutralize the excess animal protein that becomes acidic in the human body.
Tell me – when was the last time, you knew of someone who was hospitalized for a protein deficiency? Likewise, look around in nature, where you will notice that the largest and strongest animals, such as elephants, gorillas, hippos, and bison, are all plant eaters.
IT’S A FACT: A Plant-based diet is a diet rich in everything you need for optimal health!!
Saturday, June 27 2015
Clients often ask me what is a healthy snack other than the “perfect snack “of fresh fruit and vegetables. My answer to them, it all depends. Are we asking about easy snacks of convenience or just healthy, nutritional snacks in general.
If we’re at home, we certainly have more snack options, for obvious reasons you have your refrigerator and pantry.
On the other hand, at work and in travel, they’re fewer options. To keep this brief, let’s look at one easy snack option, a nutrition bar. Still not all nutrition bars are created equal. Let’s look at what makes for a healthy snack bar.
I set the “bar” high. A healthy snack bar should have more than 3 grams of protein; more than 3 grams of fiber; most of the fats should be heart-healthy fats (unsaturated fats); and carbohydrates should be mostly whole grains with 10-20 grams of sugar. I’m not going to name specific brands, for that’s your job to read nutrition information.
However, I will point out the things you should avoid. You should avoid, like the plaque, such things as trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
In understanding trans-fats, it’s pertinent to know that these fats are artificially produced and cause far more damage to your body than any other fat and they are often disguised as hydrogenated oils. Read the nutrition facts and the list of ingredients carefully. Read more: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032
Another ingredient in all products not just snack bars that you should look for is the words “sucrose”, “fructose” and “high fructose” corn syrup. What exactly are these? They’re sweeteners. Sucrose, commonly called table sugar, is an organic compound composed of fructose and glucose. Sucrose is made from cane or beet sugar and can be powdered or granulated. Sucrose is considered empty calories providing only energy without nutritional value. Sucrose is metabolized in the liver and has a variety of beneficial and detrimental health effects.
Fructose, often called the fruit sugar, is a type of naturally occurring sugar found in many fruits, vegetables, and honey. Fructose is nearly twice as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) and can give a similar rise in blood sugar as sucrose. Fructose is commonly used in processed foods partly because it is less expensive to produce than sucrose and it takes less of it to produce the same level of sweetness. Fructose is often consumed in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is fructose that has been combined with corn syrup and chemically treated to increase the concentration and sweetness of the fructose. High fructose corn syrup, a sweetener in its worst form, is found in many of our food and beverage products. Researchers have found evidence that indicates the consumption of fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup contributes significantly to weight gain and possible insulin resistance.
So if you’re looking for healthy snack bars beware of the artificial “weight gaining” ingredients!! I will discuss in my next blog other healthy snack options as well as other detrimental ingredients to be aware of. Healthy snacking to you!
Friday, June 26 2015
Most people want to start exercising and eating healthy but are completely overwhelmed at where to even start. So hopefully these tips will help to point you in the right direction.
First and foremost, you need to write down the biggest reason you want to get healthy. What’s your motivation? If you find this task overwhelming, perhaps, it’s time to seek a professional who can help you with the process. In an earlier blog, I spoke about what to look for in a qualified personal trainer (August 2011). Now let’s take it a step further and look at what a personal trainer should do for you! A qualified personal trainer (Qualifications of a Personal Trainer August 2012) other than exercising you, he or she should be doing the following:
So those are my tips to get started. You need to be realistic with your time and make an effort to plan. Believe me, even the most fit and healthy people you know today at some point where were you are right now. If it were easy, we’d all be looking good! So if you want this badly enough, you will do what it takes to meet your goals. Just be consistent; stick with it; and realize that yes, things will come up that will throw you off track; however, the most important thing you can do is to get back on track! That’s what your trainer and your support network are there for. The best to YOU!!
Sunday, June 21 2015
Most Americans eat an animal based diet often times with little or no plant based foods. Most “meat-eaters” actually get too much protein, which can lead to a vast amount of health problems.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) on food packages lists protein requirements at 10 percent. Americans, however, average around 15-16 percent of calories from protein. According to respected nutrition researcher Professor T. Colin Campbell, “Only 5-6 percent of dietary protein is required to replace the protein regularly excreted by the body (as amino acids).
Most people do not realize that every whole food contains protein, carrots contain protein, celery contains protein. The protein consumed from a balanced plant-based diet appears to be plenty. Animal products are not the only source of protein. As a matter of a fact, the research shows that an animal-protein diet contributes to diseases of nearly every type; and a plant-based diet is not only good for our health, but it’s also curative of the very serious diseases we face.
Abundant evidence suggests that the most healthful diets set aside animal products and also reduce fats in general, while including large amounts of vegetables and fruits. Eliminating meat and dairy products from your diet is a powerful step in disease prevention and premature death!
Wednesday, June 17 2015
Here is some helpful information, visuals, regarding serving sizes:
Tuesday, June 09 2015
Tuesday, June 09 2015
We hear it all the time, for good health you must eat healthily and exercise. But what exactly is healthy eating? Healthy eating essentially means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups to lead a healthy life. Diet is often referred to as some dietary regimen for losing weight. Diet simply means the food we eat.
A nutritionally sound diet promotes good health. A healthy diet must include several food, groups. The crucial part of healthy eating is a balanced diet. A balanced diet, a healthy diet, means consuming from all the different food groups in the right quantities, so you can have the right amount and mix of the nutrients and minerals your body needs. Nutritionists say there are five main food groups – whole grains, fruit, vegetables, protein, and dairy. I differ in opinion as a vegetarian regarding the food groups, which I have addressed in an earlier blog, but that’s not my emphasis here. My emphasis is a balanced, healthy diet. However, too many in our country do not embrace the guiding principles for good health.
Our country is facing a chronic problem with the increasing rate of obesity in the overall population, which includes adults as well as our children. An abstract from the Journal of American Medicine reads, “ More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.” The states of Mississippi and Alabama alone have obesity rates above 30% while 22 other states have obesity rates all over 25%. Moreover, the percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 now considered overweight or obese.
The World Health Organization (WHO) makes the following recommendations.
Isn’t it time, you embrace good health, and a good life?