Is Michelle Obama really more like the Hamburgler in disguise? Or is she simply an American woman who, according to a Washington Post reporter, had a craving for, and subsequently ordered some of her favorite comfort foods—a burger and fries, a chocolate shake, and a diet coke®—at a Shake Shack location in Washington, D.C. this past Monday? Should we even care?

Many seem to care because Mrs. Obama is no simple American woman; she’s the face of Let’s Move!, a comprehensive anti-obesity initiative launched in February, 2010. This national effort aims to create a healthy start for children, empower parents and caregivers, provide healthy food in schools, improve access to healthy, affordable foods, and increase physical activity.

Just after this ‘news story’ went to print, several nutrition experts weighed in with their opinions on ABC news. Many defended (or at the very least, were not outright mortified by) Mrs. Obama’s lunch selection, saying we’re not sure how much she actually ate and that fast food can be an occasional indulgence—not something to have often as many Americans unfortunately tend to do.

Personally, I can understand why some feel that Mrs. Obama’s reported behavior at Shake Shake was shaky–and flies in the face of what she stands for (and what she wants America to stand for) as we wage war against obesity and overweight. After all, doesn’t heavily advertised, highly palatable, high calorie, high fat fast food contribute to overeating and subsequent debilitating health problems like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes? We Americans know that we eat too much nutrient-poor food and not enough of the healthful foods recommended by MyPlate (which reflects current Dietary Guidelines for Americans). But does judging Mrs. Obama’s food choices and expecting her to eat and live perfectly really help the rest of us get healthy and fit? Wouldn’t that set the healthy eating bar too high for most Americans to achieve?

Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, a New York City-based registered dietitian in private practice, says “Having a burger, fries, a shake, and a soda all at once is not the best example to set when you’re encouraging Americans to be more healthy.” One expert takes a different view. “It’s like we live in the land of scooped out bagels and no fat allowed,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, D.C.-based dietitian and the founder of “The Me Movement.” And while we don’t know if Mrs. Obama ate all that she ordered (or if she even ordered it all for herself), Scritchfield points out that “Let’s Move! is about wellness—it’s not about ‘perfect’ food rules.” She adds “All or nothing doesn’t work, and health should not be equated with perfection.”

If you want my two cents, I think we should leave it up to Mrs. Obama herself to decide what and how to eat. Only she knows her usual eating habits and overall health status, and how occasional—or even daily—indulgences fit into her life. Only she can decide the messages (such as moderation and balance) she wants her daughters to learn about making food decisions and living a healthy lifestyle. And if that means fast food on occasion—or even more often (in small portions of course)—so be it.

And what about all of us healthy eating advocates and experts—including myself—should we, too, be subjected to scrutiny about what, how much, when and where we eat? At the moment (knock on wood), I’m in very good health, maintain a very active lifestyle, and have lost and kept off more than 30 pounds for years. Although some foodie friends and health experts may not condone my usuals—a hot dog with catsup and mustard at each Yankee game, bread and butter (or sometimes olive oil) at meals eaten out, or my daily chocolate indulgence (usually peanut M & Ms)—I have no problem being honest about my eating habits. I’m not a food cop and don’t expect others to eat exactly as I do, nor do I claim to be a perfect eater. And just like with Mrs. Obama, I don’t feel that I should be judged for having some of the less-than-healthful foods I have enjoyed since I was a child. (Perhaps those who feel this admission means I should have my registered dietitian license revoked should take it up with my mother.)

I take my own kids to fast food once in a while, much like my parents took me, and both of my boys are (knock on wood, again) healthy, active, and have a pretty healthful diet rich in fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, beans, and whole grains.

I truly hope Mrs. Obama will continue to promote healthy eating, do the best she can to eat healthfully and encourage that in her children, and at the same time not be shamed into eating indulgences only in secret. And as my colleague and friend, registered dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs, often says, life—and food choices—are about progress, not perfection. And to that I’ll take another bite of my own burger!

Your thoughts?

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The following review is written by the wonderful Erika Breitfeller who interned for me in late June, 2011.

The Slender Trap: A Food and Body Workbook is an interactive manual that addresses both eating disorders and body-image issues. Written by author Lauren Lazar Stern, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, a board-certified art therapist and a licensed professional counselor, the book is interactive and extremely well written. The format of the book and its layout are easy to follow and convey a strong sense of support for readers throughout each section.

The book is broken down into an introduction followed by chapters on different topics with titles such as “Why I think I’m Fat,” and “The Diet and Exercise Traps.” The introduction is informative and factual and gives the reader an idea of the purpose of the workbook, and the workings and defining elements of expressive arts used to help readers who suffer from an eating disorder. I appreciate the sequence of chapters and how they’re broken down; they start with some basics and slowly upgrade to more difficult topics readers can reflect on. Each chapter includes clever exercises that appropriately pertain to the topic being discussed. The author also includes a section after each exercise titled ‘Process with Me,’ which enables readers to reflect on how she feels while doing the exercise. The only criticism I have about this processing section was categorizing feelings using a thermometer analogy.  The author utilized a temperature scale to process readers’ moods after doing the exercise that to me could be misleading or confusing to some. I really enjoyed the personal testimonials from real women who were willing to share their experiences with eating disorders and body image issues. These testimonials make it that much more apparent that readers are not alone.

The author suggests The Slender Trap to those who are overwhelmed by what to eat or not to eat, or by how they look. I whole-heartedly agree with Ms. Stern that this book is a great read for any woman at any age who suffers from an eating disorder or some form of disordered eating or who has a distorted self-image. Reading this workbook can surely be an eye-opening experience, especially for those who may not have seen their eating habits and obsessions as a concern. The book reassures readers that many women feel the same way they do, and guides them towards confronting issues appropriately. At the very least, reading The Slender Trap can open doors for women and hopefully help them begin to tackle their issues and start the healing process.

Are you stuck in the slender trap? Or what has helped you get out of one?

About the author: Erika Breitfeller earned a Bachelors in Health Science –Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware. She’s also a recent  graduate of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Dietetic Internship Program. Her email is erikab@udel.edu.

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Here are two delicious recipes from The Baby and Toddler Cookbook that provide high quality protein and other key nutrients like healthful omega 3 fatty acids (in the fish), and olive oil and avocado (both rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat). They’re likely to appeal not only to the little ones, but to the entire family!

Citrus Marinated Fish*

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for greasing

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for greasing

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 6.5 ounce skinless fish fillet such as wild salmon or halibut

soft corn tortillas, warmed for serving

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange and lime juices, garlic, chili powder and salt. Add the fish and turn to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a small baking dish. Transfer the fish from the marinade to the prepared dish and discard the marinade. Bake until opaque throughout about 15 minutes. Let cool.
3. Depending on your toddler’s age and chewing ability, shred, chop, or dice the fish into a size your toddler can handle. Be sure to discard any pinbones left in the fish. Serve wrapped in the tortillas. For younger toddlers, cut the tortillas into bite-sized pieces to serve along side the fish.

Mini Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 cup minced onion

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 small, thin slices Monterey jack cheese

6 mini hamburger buns, split

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed

1. Preheat broiler. In a bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, onion, milk, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix just until the ingredients are combined. Be careful not to overwork. Form the mixture into 6 patties, each about 2-1/2 inches thick.
2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Arrange the patties in the pan without crowding and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 9-12 minutes total. During the last minute or two of cooking, place 1 cheese slice on top of each burger and cover the pan to help melt the cheese. Transfer burgers to a plate.
3. While the burgers are cooking, arrange the buns, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Broil until lightly toasted.
4. To assemble the burgers, place a patty on the toasted side of each bun bottom. Spread the mashed avocado thickly on top of the cheese, replace the tops, toasted side down, and serve.

*The American Colege of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) recommend not introducing fish and seafood to infants that have a family history of allergies of any kind until age 3 (36 months) and older.

Source: The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start (Weldon Owen: 2010) by Karen Ansel, MS, RD, and Charity Ferreira.

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I had the pleasure of asking Dr. Barry Sears, best selling author of The Zone Diet, a few questions about current food trends. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

Q:  Why do people seem to constantly seek out new foods/food products?

A: As our obesity epidemic worsens, and as the general health of Americans continues to decline, it’s no surprise that people are always searching for new foods (many that make bold promises) to make themselves thinner, happier and smarter.

Q:  In your opinion, what do you see as next big food trend?

A: The leading contenders for the next big food trend are so-called functional foods. Frankly, these are simply processed foods with added dietary supplements; people are more likely to purchase these foods over other similar foods on the same shelf because of their perceived (but not always proven) health benefits.

Q: What are some popular functional foods?

A: Only two functional foods have been truly successful over the years.  The first is Gatorade®.  Originally developed to reduce minerals lost during exercise, the original Gatorade® tasted terrible.  So they simply added some sugar to make it taste better and called it a sports drink.  Gatorade® is basically a Coke® or a Pepsi® with minerals, but many people feel better about themselves when you guzzle down a Gatorade®.

The other commercial success was Tropicana® Orange Juice with Calcium. The makers of Tropicana® didn’t ask you to pay a premium for this functional food since it was exactly the same price as Tropicana® Orange Juice without calcium.  That’s why the sales of this functional food dramatically increased. Who doesn’t want something extra (that may even be healthy) for free?

Q: Any new up and coming functional foods?

A: It’s been a long time since any new functional foods tried to break into the market. The two most recent have been POM® and Activia® yogurt.  POM® contains polyphenols from the pomegranate seed. That’s good because polyphenols are excellent anti-oxidants and potentially good anti-inflammatory chemicals.  But like the minerals in Gatorade®, they taste terrible. So when you purchase a bottle of POM®, what you’re getting is a mass of added sugar. I guarantee you that the intake of these polyphenols in POM® is not worth the extra sugar.

Q: What other foods contain polyphenols?

A: Another “new” source of polyphenols we hear about comes from chocolate, which is now being promoted as the new super-fruit (1).  Like all polyphenols, the polyphenols found in chocolate are intensely bitter.  That’s why no one likes to eat unsweetened baker’s chocolate even though it is polyphenol-rich. But if you add a lot of sugar to it, then it tastes great. In fact, it’s a candy bar.  Again, like most functional foods, these polyphenol-rich functional foods represent one step forward in that you are consuming more polyphenols, but two steps backwards for consuming too much sugar.

Q: How do these functional foods taste?

A: Tasting bad is something that has really prevented yogurt sales from taking off in America.  The solution was simple: add more sweetness, usually in the form of fruit and extra sugar.  Finally, natural yogurt became acceptable. But to turn it into a functional food, Dannon® decided to add more probiotics to its already sugar-sweetened yogurt and call it Activia®, promoting it as a way to soothe an angry digestive system.

Q: Did this move help its sales?

A: In December 2010, the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and hit Dannon® with a $21-million fine for false advertising (2).  Not only were the levels of probiotics in Activia® too low to be of any health benefit, but Dannon® was also making drug-claims on a food to boot. Not surprisingly, the FTC is also after POM® for similar misleading claims (3). Darned those regulators. They take all the fun out of marketing functional foods. The list goes on and on.  Whether it is vitamin waters, or micro-encapsulated fish oil, vitamin D, etc., trying to put ill-tasting nutritional supplements that have some proven benefits into foods and charge the consumer a higher price is never going to work.

Q: Can the taste of functional foods be improved?

A: To prevent the poor taste, you have to microencapsulate the supplement to make it sound high-tech, (they call it nanotechnology) and this costs a lot of money. Adding the bad-tasting nutritional supplement without the microencapsulation to a food makes it taste worse (unless you add a lot of sugar at the same time, of course eroding all the potential health benefits of the supplement). Finally, the consumer will only buy this new functional food if it’s the same price as what they usually purchase.

Q: Do you think functional foods will continue to be popular, or will they become a fad that eventually fades away?

A: In my opinion, I hope people will cook more for themselves cooking in their own kitchens using ingredients bought in the periphery of the supermarket, take only the nutritional supplements that have proven to be effective at the therapeutic level to produce real health benefits (for example, fish oil and polyphenols). Now you have real functional foods that finally work at a lower cost than you would pay for in the supermarket. And that’s a radical new food trend that just might work.

References

1.     Crozier SJ, Preston AG, Hurst JW, Payne MJ, Mann J, Hainly L, and Miller DL. “Cacao seeds are a ‘super fruit’: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products.” Chem Central J 5:5  (2011)

2.     Horovitz B. “Dannon’s Activia, DanActive health claims draw $21M fine.”  USA Today.  December 15, 2010

3.     Wyatt E. “Regulators Call Health Claims in Pom Juice Ads Deceptive.” New York Times.  September 27, 2010

Thank you to Kayla Reinstein, a dietetic intern for North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital-for her assistance in this post.

What’s your favorite functional food?

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I recently interviewed registered dietitian Valerie Berkowitz, author of The Stubborn Fat Fix. At first glance, her book looked like a reincarnation of the low carbohydrate, high protein diet espoused by the late Dr. Robert Atkins. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or are familiar with my work or follow me on twitter or facebook, you know I very much support the evidence-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans that promote a diet that’s rich in carbohydrates and moderate in fat and protein. You can read more about my take on the new Dietary Guidelines, issued last January, on msnbc.com. But as science continues to evolve, I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that not all experts support the government’s recommendations, and that perhaps other diets–even those that may appear on the surface to be alternative–may be helpful to some. But my message to consumers will continue to be that no matter what diet you ultimately choose, it should be something you can maintain for life, and that gives you all the nutrients you need for optimal health. It should also be part of a comprehensive lifestyle program that includes regular physical activity and stress management. I also encourage slow and steady weight loss (as opposed to fast and furious weight loss as glamorized by tv shows such as The Biggest Loser) to maximize health and psychological outcomes and minimize risks.

Here are some highlights of my interview* with Ms. Berkowitz:

What inspired you to write The Stubborn Fat Fix?

The inspiration for writing my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix, is not a “what” but rather “who”. My clients at The Center for Balanced Health, www.centerforbalancedhealth.com inspired me. The weight loss, the extra energy and the improved clinical outcomes they experience motivates me to share my nutritional approach with as many people who as possible.

What’s the basic premise of the book?

The premise of the book is to help people increase their awareness of their health, their eating habits, and the obstacles that interfere with achieving their weight and health goals. The book encourages people to eat real, unadulterated foods, balance poor eating with nourishing foods, balance rest with activity, balance stress with relaxation techniques, and take the necessary emotional and motivational steps that can help them achieve better health, have more energy, achieve their goal weight, and enhance their feelings of satisfaction.

What are some of the basic principles of The Stubborn Fat Fix:

The Stubborn Fat Fix encourages the use of healthy low carbohydrate diets to promote better eating habits, lower health risk factors and achieve weight loss. The book helps readers identify common medical and environmental barriers that interfere with their ability to lose weight. The diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise and relaxation techniques are encouraged to help repair readers’ underlying medical condition(s) and lose their “stubborn fat.”

Many experts and consumers may think your book sounds like a reincarnation of sorts of the high protein, low carb approach of the late, famous (and infamous) Robert Atkins Atkins-type book; how is your book different from what Atkins advocated?

I should only be so lucky to have as many people read The Stubborn Fat Fix as have read Dr. Atkins’ book. The Stubborn Fat Fix is similar to the Atkins diet in that it taps into the body’s natural ability to burn fat, burning fat from both food and body fat, as a prime source of energy. The difference is that my book:

*isn’t just a diet; it’s educational (for example, it teaches people how to read labels) and empowers people to make better food and lifestyle choices;

*it involves the reader in identifying “metabolic overdrive” and the medical conditions that make it difficult to lose weight but respond to a low carbohydrate nutritional approach; and

*it provides more carbohydrates for added flexibility, variety, fiber and antioxidants.

Can you briefly explain the two levels of carbohydrates your plan provides?

  • On Level 1, up to 50 grams of healthy carbohydrates come from 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables (in line with the National Fruit & Vegetable Program and the new guidelines recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans–2 to 6 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day or the equivalent of 4 to 13 servings). Nutrient distribution as a percentage of calories is 10% carbs, 30% protein and 60% fat.
  • On Level 2, carbohydrates range from 51-150 grams (nutrients are distributed as a percentage of calories: 20% carbs, 30% protein and 50% fat). The carbohydrate level is determined and based on readers’ medical condition(s), age, gender and activity level.
  • On Level 1, ALL food groups can be included and estimated fiber intake ranges between 15-20 grams or 30-40% of total carbohydrate intake. On level 2, fiber intake ranges between 20 and 30 grams. Level one:

*teaches people how to transition from eating fewer carbohydrates to eating more (as carbohydrate servings are added, fat servings are lowered);

*allows for a built-in “indulgence” so people can “cheat” and still stay on plan; and

*details key lifestyle factors including exercise, stress reduction techniques and environmental factors to help support weight loss success.

The diet you advocate does contain many healthful foods, but it’s obviously not in line with current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. What would you say to those who support the science-based dietary guidelines for Americans and think your plan lacks in certain foods/food groups?

I’m not sure why there would be a presumption that my book “lacks certain food groups”. So first I’d ask if they actually took the time to read The Stubborn Fat Fix. If so, they would know that all food groups are included and the diet plan is supported by science (see below “science supporting low carb diets”).

Why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans does not include the existing science that supports low carb diets in its guidelines is a question you’d have to ask the committee. Nonetheless, it’s extremely concerning and very unfortunate for those who would benefit from this dietary approach and look to the governmental agency for guidance on a healthy eating plan. The Metabolism Society has written a peer-reviewed article appearing in the journal Nutrition, “calling the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to task for failing to consider recent scientific evidence in support of low carbohydrate diets,”  http://www.nmsociety.org/Default.aspx.

I believe The Stubborn Fat Fix is healthier than the dietary guidelines put forth by The 2010 Advisory Committee because low fat foods are not necessarily healthy. For example some low fat foods are eliminated on my plan because they are processed and commercially prepared items that add trans fats, corn syrup and other non-essential ingredients to make fat- free high-carbohydrate foods (cold cereals, fat free yogurt, pretzels, etc…) shelf stable and taste better. Yet, vegetables that are low in fat are, in fact, included on my plan because they are nutrient dense.

What would you like to tell the naysayers about your book–why should consumers read and follow your book, and why should experts support the ideas you promote in the book?

Consumers should read and follow the nutrition plan because:

*the book was written to be your “buddy” and to help support emotional and social barriers that get in the way of sticking to a diet plan;

*the recommended foods are real whole foods that taste delicious;

*it’s flexible, provides quick reference tips and is easy to incorporate as part of a healthy lifestyle;

*the food options are rich in vitamins and minerals, provide nourishing carbs that contain fiber and antioxidants, adequate protein and healthy fat to stave off hunger and provide health benefits;

*it explains why you may be having difficulty losing weight and provides insight into how to help get the results you seek

*after reading the book, readers will become educated “food” consumers.

Experts should read and follow the nutrition plan because:

*low carb diets have been given a bad “wrap”. While some may disagree with some low carbohydrate diets, experts should use their expertise to determine which of these nutrition plans you might consider for clients that may prefer this type of eating plan or may have improved clinical outcomes that occur when carbohydrates are lowered (ie triglycerides and  blood sugar) instead of ruling out all low carb diets. This open-minded approach will broaden your ability to help clients who may not be doing well on other diets;

*the percentage of carbs on The Stubborn Fat Fix is low because when higher carbohydrate food choices (15 g) are replaced with non-starchy vegetables (5g), the carbs are automatically reduced by 1/3. The Stubborn Fat Fix is based on whole foods, so 100 calorie snack packs are not recommended because of the ingredients. But something like celery with peanut butter is an option and would be similar in calories, lower in carbohydrates, contain heart healthy fat, provide more fiber and likely be more filling. Replacing conventionally-made toast (that contains too many preservatives like corn syrup) with either a side of spinach or a “recommended” bread will also lower carbs and certainly NOT make the daily plan on my diet less nutritious or less healthy than a low fat diet;

*the book goes beyond diet and attempts to guide readers on personal, social and other lifestyle issues that interfere with eating well. It outlines the importance of prioritizing dietary changes and making behavior changes. The book educates readers on how to stay motivated despite falling off plan, “how to” read labels and discusses many topics that any nutrition expert would believe imperative to attaining nutrition goals;

*according to The Position on Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association (J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:330-346), carbohydrate restriction “may help with diet adherence by reducing physiological hunger.” The position recognizes that initial concerns regarding cardiovascular risk factors with low-carbohydrate diets have not been found;

*nutritional genomics (5-7) and the metabolic impact of how macronutrients (fat and carbohydrates) are handled differently in the body with various levels of macronutrient consumption, personal food preferences and lifestyles and a greater capacity  to contribute to the successful treatment of obesity (8), type 2 diabetes (9) heart disease (10) and metabolic syndrome (11) are plausible reasons for registered dietitians and other health experts to consider evolving low carbohydrate diets like The Stubborn Fat Fix as an option in providing medical nutrition therapy;

*using the body’s natural lipolytic pathway (fat metabolism) is much safer than popping pills or undergoing surgery and is certainly better than not providing any alternative for conventional diets that are not working.

There is NO argument that lowering fat is the prudent thing to do when carbohydrate consumption is high. It is no secret that a calorie laden, high carbohydrate, high fat diet is at the core of obesity and many chronic diseases. However, when carbohydrates are lowered to the extent that the body is using a lipolytic pathway (fat metabolism) instead of carbohydrate metabolism, fat from ingested food and from the body’s adipose tissue is burned and used for energy much like in an endurance athlete. When it takes 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for someone to start burning a higher percentage of fat while following a high carbohydrate diet, fat is immediately burned upon initiating exercise when following a low carbohydrate diet.

What would you say is a reasonable weekly weight loss people should expect following the diet and do you consider this a safe rate of weight loss?

In my experience with The Stubborn Fat Fix, a reasonable or “safe” weight loss would depend on the person. I find that young obese males and females can lose up to 14 pounds in 2 weeks or on average 1 pound/day. They’re not dehydrated (we monitor for symptoms of dehydration), they don’t complain of muscle cramps (or have any complaints), they’re happy and are full of energy. So, for them, I believe their bodies are happy to not be schlepping around extra pounds. Others who have less weight to lose or women who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations or those who are taking certain medications may not lose more than 1/4 pound per week, and this is reasonable for them. So, as long as a client stays hydrated, follows the plan, and makes behavior changes, they themselves dictate the definition of a reasonable weekly weight loss.

1. Dansinger ML, Gleason JA, Griffith JL et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial., JAMA. 2005 Jan 5;293(1):43-53.

2. Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, et al. A randomized trial of a low carbohydrate diet for obesity. N Engl J Med 2003, 348(21):2082-2090.

3. Krauss RM, Dreon DM. Low-density-lipoprotein subclasses and response to a low-fat diet in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Aug;62(2):478S-487S.

4. Bruce KD, Hanson MA. The developmental origins, mechanisms, and implications of metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):648-52.

5. Krauss RM. Dietary and genetic effects on low-density lipoprotein heterogeneity. Annu Rev Nutr. 2001;21:283-95

6. Williams PT, Blanche PJ, et al. Concordant lipoprotein and weight responses to dietary fat change in identical twins with divergent exercise levels 1  Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):181-7.

7. Krauss RM: Atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype and diet-gene interactions. J Nutr 2001, 131(2):340S-343S.

8. Layman DK, Evans EM, Erickson D, et al. A moderate-protein diet produces sustained weight loss and long-term changes in body composition and blood lipids in obese adults J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):514-21.

9. Gannon MC, Nuttall FQ. Control of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes without weight loss by modification of diet composition. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006 Mar 23;3:16.

10. Shai I, Spence JD, Schwarzfuchs D, et al., Dietary intervention to reverse carotid atherosclerosis. Circulation. 2010 Mar 16;121(10):1200-8.

11. Volek JS, Phinney SD, Forsythe CE et al., Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet Lipids. 2009 Apr;44(4):297-309.

12. Accurso A, Bernstein RK, Dahlqvist A, et al., “Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: time for a critical appraisal” Nutrition and Metabolism 2008, 5:9. 

13. Gardner CD . Low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and the combination of orlistat with a low-fat diet lead to comparable improvements in weight and blood lipids, but LCKD more beneficial for blood pressure. Evid Based Med. 2010 Jun;15 (3):91-2

14. Brehm BJ, Spang SE, Lattin BL et al., The role of energy expenditure in the differential weight loss in obese women on low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1475-82.

15. Mavropoulos JC, Yancy WS, Hepburn J, et al. The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005 Dec 16; 2:35.

16. Ilic S, Jovanovic L, Pettitt DJ. Comparison of the effect of saturated and monounsaturated fat on postprandial plasma glucose and insulin concentration in women with gestational diabetes mellitus.Am J Perinatol. 1999;16:489-495.

*Since our interview, Ms. Berkowitz review article called “Low-Carbohydrate Diet Review : Shifting the Paradigm” was published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice (Jun, 2011;26(3):300-8).

Would love to hear your thoughts…

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You may be reaching for a chilled or bubbly beverage while you read this! But before you take that first sip, check out this terrific exerpt from the timely new book, Go UnDiet by Gloria Tsang, RD to help you make the most healthful (not to mention waist friendly) beverage selections:

 

What Happened to Water?

Our beverage consumption patterns have shifted markedly during the 20th century, and they continue to evolve. In his study,[i] Dr. Barry Popkin found an increase in the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. Findings from the American Heart Association back this up as well. The AHA found that over the past 30 years, our total calorie intake has increased about 150–300 calories per day – and half of that increase comes from liquid calories, primarily in the form of sweetened drinks[ii]. In fact, across all age groups, from toddlers to senior citizens, we now drink more calorie-containing drinks than we drink water. In particular, adults aged 19–39 drink an average of 533 calories every day![iii] That’s equal to a whole extra meal, and sugar-sweetened drinks are the main contributor to that stack of extra calories.

So, what exactly is considered a sugar-sweetened drink? I’m sure you know that soda is sweetened, but we drink a lot of sweetened beverages that fall outside the soda category.

Sugar-sweetened Drink (per 8 oz.) Calories
Slurpee, 7-11, Coca-Cola Classic 65
Iced Tea, Arizona – Lemon 90
Sunny D Tangy Original 90
Coca-Cola – Regular 93
SoBe Energize Mango Melon 120
Arizona Kiwi Strawberry 120
Rockstar Energy Drink 140
White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino Blended Beverage, Starbucks 240
Strawberry Milkshake, McDonald’s 280
Milkshake, Cold Stone’s PB&C 670

Table 12. Calories in sugar-sweetened drinks

The worst part is, not only are these sweetened drinks high in calories, but those calories don’t give you a feeling of being full. That means that although you consume extra calories through your drinks, you don’t end up eating any less food – so your total calorie intake just keeps creeping up each time you drink a sweetened beverage.

So, think about why you’re consuming that beverage – is it really because you’re thirsty? If so, stick to drinks that actually re-hydrate your body without filling you up with sugar. Calorie-free tap water is a good choice, but tonic water with 125 calories may not be as good. A cup of green tea is a good choice, but a bottle of iced green tea with 200 calories may not be as good.

 

Go UnDiet Action #26: Un-drink your calories.

Drinks are meant to replenish your body’s fluids – so good drink choices are those that do just that, without a ton of calories.

References:

[i] Popkin BM. Patterns of beverage use across the lifecycle. Physiol Behav. 2010;100(1):4-9.

[ii] Johnson RK et al. for the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009; 120:1011-20.

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.

 

Source: Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss, Copyright @2010, Gloria Tsang, RD, http://www.HealthCastle.com

What’s your favorite summer drink? And how do you keep your liquid calories in check?

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This recipe from Feed Your Family Right! How to Make Smart Food and Fitness Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle, is a tasty twist on traditional fajitas, and a great way to incorporate healthful omega-3 fats into your diet.

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 hour

Makes 4 servings (4 fajitas)

Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories 300

Fat 17g

Saturated fat 2.5g

Cholesterol 80mg

Sodium 690mg

Carbohydrate 8g

Fiber 2g

Sugars 3g

Protein 29g

Ingredients:

1-1/4 pounds salmon filets cut into 1-1/2” wide slices

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoons chipotle tabasco sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

nonstick cooking spray

1 cup sliced onion

1 red bell pepper cut into 1” strips

lime wedges

4 whole wheat tortillas

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine salmon with lime juice, chipotle Tabasco sauce, extra virgin olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic, and cilantro. Toss together well, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. When hot, add onions and peppers and cook until softened about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove onions and peppers and add seasoned salmon, skin side down.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp, flip and continue cooking for additional 3 to 4 minutes until firm inside. Serve over peppers and onions. Garnish with lime wedges and serve wrapped in heated whole-wheat tortillas.

Cook’s Tip: This dish can also be served more traditionally alongside wild rice or pasta and a colorful vegetable medley.

Source: Feed Your Family Right! by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, with Ruth Winter, MS. Wiley, 2007.

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win a VIP coupon for a free Gorton’s frozen fish item and a T shirt featuring the classic Gorton’s “man at the wheel,” you can do one of the following:

1. Follow me on Twitter. After your follow, please send me an email at elisa@elisazied.com with “Fish Giveaway” in the subject line.

2. Submit a Friend request to me on Facebook.

3. Provide a quote below about how you love to prepare fish, and/or how you plan to spend Father’s Day this year.

4. When you see me mention Fish Giveaway on Facebook, post a comment. If you see it on Twitter, RT it.

5. You may enter the contest more than once, and can possibly win more than one coupon/T-shirt. 5 of each will be given away.

6. Winners will be selected at random on June 10th, and all prizes will be mailed to arrive in time for Father’s Day. Good luck!

Go to Gorton’s web site for recipes and more information about how to work in at least 2 weekly fish meals per week as recommended in current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And what better time to start than on Father’s Day!

Full disclosure: Gorton’s was kind enough to send me some product samples and donate these prizes without compensation or expectation.


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This is a guest post by North Shore University dietetic intern Gary Kwo. Welcome Gary!

I can recall back in my early childhood years frantically rushing to get out of the house, often skipping breakfast, just to find myself out of energy and unable to focus by recess time. As it turns out, I’m not alone. Today, over 18 million students go to school hungry despite the proven benefits and health aspects associated with breakfast intake. The Breakfast in the Classroom program is a relatively new intervention that provides breakfast to students where they need it most–in the hub of learning and socialization, the classroom. In this day and age, when obesity among children is a major concern, how can the implementation of Breakfast in the Classroom help improve overall health and education?

Principals of various school districts, along with teachers of schools that have implemented this program, have reported that students are usually better behaved, are more motivated to attend school, and are more focused. Of course they are! When children rush to school, they often miss out on the most important meal of the day, and often feel like they’re always playing “catch up” with their peers. Simply providing students with as little as 10 minutes to socialize and eat during morning activities may very well improve their performance, contribute to better test scores, increase attendance, and decrease disciplinary problems.

Breakfast in the Classroom often complements academics in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that children who skip breakfast are at an academic disadvantage;  they have slower memory recall, make more errors, and are more likely to repeat a grade.  Children who eat breakfast often have more energy and are better able to concentrate; this can improve participation and academic scores. This often leads to improvement in standardized test scores which is also associated with increased school funding.

Providing Breakfast in the Classroom also grants a myriad of health effects. Skipping breakfast may contribute to obesity in youth. Children enrolled in breakfast programs have been shown to have significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than children who skipped breakfast. These healthy breakfast meals are nutritious and provide 25 percent of the daily RDA for many nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D that children may not otherwise attain. In addition to providing essential nutrients at breakfast, Breakfast in the Classroom helps kids get into a healthy routine.

These days, children are increasingly out of shape, and consuming a less than healthful diet is a contributor. If we are to help kids make better choices—starting with choosing to have breakfast, especially a healthful one—they’ll be well on their way towards reaping the many educational and physical benefits of a well-balanced and healthful diet.

Learn more about Breakfast in the Classroom at BreakfastEveryDay.org.

Also, watch this NY1 TV clip about this innovative program.

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This was one of the great questions asked by someone in my son Eli’s 3rd grade class during during March’s National Nutrition Month. Here are my responses to this question and several others. Hope any of you parents out there will these will find this helpful when talking to your kids about nutrition.

How much nutrition do you need each day? EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT NUTRITIONAL NEEDS BASED ON THEIR AGE, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, AND GENES (GENES ARE IN YOUR BODY AND THEY MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE; THEY’RE THINGS YOU’RE BORN WITH THAT COME FROM YOUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS). MOST 5 TO 12 YEAR OLD KIDS NEED ABOUT 1,200 TO 1,800 CALORIES A DAY TO GET MOST IF NOT ALL THE NUTRIENTS THEY NEED.

How do you know which foods have good nutrition and which ones don’t? THE FOODS THAT HAVE THE MOST NUTRITION ARE THE LOWEST FAT, LOWEST SUGAR OPTIONS IN THESE CATEGORIES: FRUIT, VEGETABLES, GRAINS, LOW FAT DAIRY FOODS, PROTEIN FOODS, AND OILS. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE FRUIT CATEGORY, AN APPLE IS A BETTER CHOICE THAN SWEETENED APPLE SAUCE, APPLE JUICE, OR DRIED FRUIT LIKE RAISINS. ALL OF THESE ARE HEALTHFUL-BUT YOU WANT TO CHOOSE APPLE SAUCE AND DRIED FRUIT THAT HAS NO ADDED SUGAR. ALSO, AN APPLE HAS LOTS OF FIBER AND APPLE JUICE DOESN’T—AND THAT’S THE REASON WHY APPLE JUICE ISN’T AS FILLING AS AN APPLE.

What are healthy foods other than fruits and vegetables? OTHER HEALTHFUL FOODS INCLUDE LEAN PROTEIN FOODS (EGGS, LEAN MEATS AND SKINLESS, WHITE MEAT POULTRY, BEANS AND PEAS, LOW FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS, NUTS AND SEEDS AND NUT BUTTERS, AND OILS LIKE CANOLA AND OLIVE OIL.

How many meals should you have in a day? ALL KIDS SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 3 MEALS AND 1 OR 2 HEALTHFUL SNACKS EACH DAY. SKIPPING MEALS IS A NO NO BECAUSE YOU WON’T HAVE ENERGY AND YOU’LL END UP EATING TOO MUCH THE NEXT TIME YOU EAT.

How many calories should a kid have per day? 5 TO 12 YEAR OLDS SHOULD HAVE ABOUT 1,200 TO 1,800 CALORIES PER DAY. MORE ACTIVE AND BIGGER KIDS CAN AFFORD TO HAVE MORE CALORIES THAN LESS ACTIVE, SMALLER KIDS. EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT. IF YOU’RE GROWING CONSISTENTLY ON GROWTH CHARTS (WHEN YOU GO TO YOUR YEARLY CHECK UP, YOU CAN ASK YOUR PEDIATRICIAN IF YOU ARE), THEN YOU’RE PROBABLY GETTING ENOUGH CALORIES TO HELP YOU GROW WELL AND TO STAY AT A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT.

How many calories are in popcorn? How often should you have it? 1 CUP OF POPCORN—AIR POPPED—HAS ABOUT 30 CALORIES; OIL-POPPED OR MOVIE THEATER AND EVEN SOME MICROWAVE POPCORN CAN HAVE ABOUT 60 CALORIES PER CUP. YOU CAN HAVE UNSALTED AIR-POPPED POPCORN OR POPCORN MADE WITH A LITTLE CANOLA OR VEGETABLE OIL AS A SNACK OFTEN (3 CUPS OF POPCORN = ONE PORTION OF WHOLE GRAINS).

What should you have more of, fruits or vegetables? FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE BOTH IMPORTANT TO EAT, BUT I USUALLY RECOMMEND THAT KIDS EAT MORE VEGETABLES THAN FRUIT. I RECOMMEND YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF VEGETABLES AT LUNCH AND AT DINNER, AND TRY TO HAVE SOME AS PART OF YOUR SNACKS AFTER SCHOOL (FOR EXAMPLE, RAW CARROTS, PEPPERS, AND CELERY STICKS/STRIPS OR OTHER RAW VEGGIES LIKE BROCCOLI OR CAULOFLOWER.) YOU CAN ALSO HAVE SOME LOW SODIUM VEGETABLE JUICE IF YOU LIKE THAT, THOUGH STICK TO NO MORE THAN ½ TO 1 CUP. YOU CAN ALSO HAVE SOME HUMMUS OR OTHER BEAN DIP AS PART OF A SNACK (YOU CAN HAVE IT ON A WHOLE WHEAT PITA, TOASTED, ON WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS OR A RICE CAKE). HUMMUS AND BEAN DIP COUNT AS VEGETABLES (AND ALSO COUNT AS PROTEIN FOODS).

Should you have unlimited fruits? EVEN THOUGH FRUITS ARE WONDERFUL—THEY HAVE FIBER AND TONS OF NUTRIENTS, THEY STILL HAVE CALORIES. SO IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE ABOUT 1 TO 1.5 CUPS OF FRUIT A DAY (THAT’S LIKE 1 BANANA AND ½ CUP BERRIES). IF YOU HAVE UNLIMITED FRUITS—EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE HEALTHFUL—YOU WON’T LEAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL THE OTHER HEALTHY FOODS IN YOUR DIET. AND YOU MIGHT GET MORE CALORIES THAN YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY AND STRONG.

How much vegetables do you need each day? MOST KIDS AGED 5 TO 12 SHOULD AIM FOR ABOUT 1.5 TO 2 CUPS A DAY OF VEGETABLES.

Is an Avocado a fruit or vegetable? AN AVOCADO COUNTS AS A FRUIT AND AS OIL. A FRUIT IS THE OVARY OF A FLOWER. ALL FRUITS—LIKE AVOCADO AND TOMATOES—CONTAIN SEEDS OF FLOWERING PLANTS. BUT UNLIKE MOST OTHER FRUITS, AVOCADO ALSO CONTAINS  HEALTHY MONOUNSATURATED FATS.

What vegetable is the healthiest? THERE’S NO REAL “HEALTHIEST VEGETABLE”—ALL OF THEM PACK IN LOTS OF KEY NUTRIENTS YOUR BODY NEEDS. BUT I BELIEVE BEANS ARE AMAZING VEGETABLES BECAUSE THEY’RE THE ONLY FOODS THAT CONTAIN BOTH COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES (THEY KEY FUEL FOR OUR BRAINS AND CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM) AS WELL AS PROTEIN (OUR BODIES NEED PROTEIN TO GROW AND FIX MUSCLES AND HAVE SO MANY OTHER IMPORTANT JOBS IN OUR BODIES (OUR BODIES ARE MADE UP OF A LOT OF PROTEINS!)

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? JUST LIKE AVOCADO, IT’S A FRUIT!

Which food group is Gatorade in? IT’S NOT REALLY IN A FOOD GROUP! IT’S MADE OF WATER AND SUGAR. THE CALORIES COUNT AS “EXTRA CALORIES,” AND KIDS CAN HAVE ABOUT 120 TO 160 EXTRA CALORIES A DAY FROM ADDED SUGARS (SUCH AS SODA, CANDY, GATORADE, FRUIT PUNCH, COOKIES, CAKE, CHOCOLATE AND OTHER SIMILAR FOODS) AND SOLID FATS (BUTTER, SOUR CREAM, CREAM SAUCES AND THINGS LIKE THAT.)

How much sugar do gummy bears have? 11 GUMMY BEARS HAVE ABOUT 100 CALORIES AND 15 GRAMS OF SUGAR. THAT’S ABOUT HALF THE ADDED SUGAR KIDS SHOULD HAVE IN AN ENTIRE DAY!

What food group is chocolate in? CHOCOLATE IS NOT IN ANY FOOD GROUP! IT COUNTS AS “EXTRA CALORIES” (BEYOND THE CALORIES YOU’LL FIND IN FOODS FROM THE HEALTHY FOOD GROUPS) AND HAS FEW NUTRIENTS. KIDS CAN AFFORD ABOUT 120 TO 160 “EXTRA CALORIES” FROM SWEETS AND TREATS EACH DAY. ONE REGULAR SIZED CHOCOLATE BAR (LIKE A HERSHEY BAR) HAS ABOUT 210 CALORIES.

How many times a day or week should you have sweets? I ENCOURAGE MY SONS TO HAVE UP TO ONE A DAY (AND I TRY TO DO THE SAME). WE TRY TO KEEP OUR PORTIONS TO NO MORE THAN ABOUT 100-150 CALORIES A DAY. SOME FAMILIES LIKE TO SAVE TREATS FOR ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK OR FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS. I THINK THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP TREATS SMALL (2 OR 3 SMALL COOKIES, ONE SMALL DONUT, ½ BAG OF CANDY, ONE SODA, ONE SMALL CHOCOLATE BAR) AND TO MAKE SURE YOU EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FRUITS, VEGETABLES, AND OTHER FOODS YOUR BODY NEEDS TO GROW WELL EACH AND EVERY DAY.

How much oil should I have per day –a lot or a little? THINGS LIKE OLIVE OIL AND CANOLA OIL, MAYONNAISE, AND OILY SALAD DRESSINGS COUNT AS “OILS.” A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS 3.5 TO 5 TEASPOONS A DAY. 1 TEASPOON OF OIL EQUALS: 1 TEASPOON OF OLIVE OIL OR CANOLA OIL OR OTHER VEGETABLE OIL OR MAYONNAISE; 1 TABLESPOON OF LIGHT OR LOW FAT MAYONNAISE; 2 TABLESPOONS LOW FAT SALAD DRESSING. AVOCADO, NUTS AND SEEDS, NUT BUTTERS AND OLIVES ALSO COUNT AS SOME OILS. 

What category is ice cream in? ICE CREAM COUNTS A LITTLE BIT AS DAIRY/MILK BECAUSE HAS SOME CALCIUM FROM THE MILK, BUT IT MOSTLY COUNTS AS “EXTRA CALORIES” –IT HAS LOTS OF FAT AND ADDED SUGAR.

Are eggs for breakfast good for you? EGGS ARE TERRIFIC! THEY CONTAIN PROTEIN TO FILL YOU UP, AND THEY HAVE A LITTLE VITAMIN D (THAT HELPS YOUR BODY ABSORB CALCIUM). EGGS DO CONTAIN CHOLESTEROL, FAT, AND SATURATED FAT, SO YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE MORE THAN 1 EGG A DAY OR ABOUT 7 EGGS A WEEK. THAT INCLUDES EGGS USED TO MAKE FOODS (LIKE CAKE, MUFFINS ETC) AND EGGS THAT YOU’LL EAT FOR BREAKFAST.

Is homemade French toast good for you? IT DOES CONTAIN EGG, AND IF YOU USE WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, IT CAN ALSO GIVE YOU HEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS. BUT JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO PUT TOO MUCH BUTTER AND SYRUP ON IT!

If you eat a sandwich for lunch should you have any more grain for the rest of the day? IF YOU HAVE WHOLE GRAIN BREAD (LIKE WHOLE WHEAT BREAD), THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE MORE WHOLE GRAIN (3 CUPS POPCORN, 5 SMALL WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS LIKE TRISCUITS®, ½ CUP BROWN OR WILD RICE OR WHOLE WHEAT PASTA. MOST KIDS CAN HAVE UP TO 4 OR 5 GRAINS A DAY.

Which is better for you sardines or tuna? THEY’RE BOTH GREAT FOR YOU, BUT SARDINES HAVE MORE HEALTHY OMEGA 3 FATS AND LESS MERCURY THAN TUNA. MY BEST ADVICE IS TO MIX UP THE TYPES OF FISH YOU EAT SO THAT YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS WHILE LIMITING THINGS LIKE MERCURY (WHICH WE WANT TO LIMIT IN OUR DIETS). MOST KIDS WHO EAT TUNA SHOULD AIM FOR NO MORE THAN 6 OUNCES A WEEK.

How much meat should you have in one day? MEAT IS PART OF THE “PROTEIN” GROUP. KIDS SHOULD AIM FOR 3 TO 5 OUNCES A DAY OF FOODS IN THE PROTEIN GROUP. 1 OUNCE EQUALS 1 OUNCE BEEF/POULTRY/FISH, 1 EGG, ½ OUNCE NUTS OR SEEDS, 1 TABLESPOON PEANUT BUTTER, ¼ CUP BEANS (BEANS ALSO COUNT AS VEGETABLES).

Can eating badly make you die earlier? EATING WELL AND HAVING JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOOD–NOT TOO MUCH AND NOT TOO LITTLE CAN HELP YOU BE HEALTHIER, FEEL BETTER, AND HELP PREVENT DISEASES AND HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT PREVENT YOU FROM DOING THINGS YOU WANT TO DO IN LIFE. YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF AND FUELED PROPERLY JUST LIKE THE ENGINE OF A CAR– YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE HIGHEST QUALITY FUEL TO GET THE BEST PERFORMANCE. IF YOU EAT WELL AND STAY ACTIVE, YOU’LL HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF LIVING A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE.

Is there a question your kids have asked you about nutrition that you could not answer? Leave your question below–you may see it answered in an upcoming blog or article.

For more information about how to eat healthfully, or to sign up for my free e-newsletter, THE ZIED GUIDE, please sign up on the right side of my home page at www.elisazied.com.

 

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Are you looking to curb mindless eating and slash your overall calorie intake painlessly? And I mean with zero pain?

The tip below (not to mention so many others) from the new book, The Skinny Rules: The 101 Secrets Every Skinny Girl Knows, by registered dietitian Molly Morgan, may help you do just that. Of course being ‘skinny’ is not something I feel people should aspire to (though admittedly, during the course of my life, I too have succumbed to wanting to be more slim—especially when I was an overweight teenager and young adult.) I also believe that no matter how hard someone works to lose weight and get in shape, he or she won’t necessarily become thin, skinny, or slim from their efforts—genes and so many other variables factor in to what our ultimate body shape and weight are and will be. That being said, Morgan’s tips throughout her book are common-sense with a twist, and can help all of us–especially those who have trouble keeping their weight down–eat and live more healthfully and reap the many benefits of doing so.

Here’s an excerpt of my favorite tip from The Skinny Rules…..

Skinny Rule #15: Watch Your BLTs

No, not bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches… bits, licks and tastes! This helpful tip comes from a Skinny cousin of mine, Kristie Kinderman: Every bit, lick and taste adds up quickly when you’re watching your calories. So think twice (and even three times) before you have that extra bite, lick or taste!

If you want to challenge yourself, try this fun little exercise. Keep a scrap of paper in your pocket for an entire day and every time you take and extra bite, lick or taste of something, jot it down. At the end of the day try to estimate how many extra calories piled up thanks to those little BLTS. To estimate how many calories are in a small amount of food, go to www.nutritiondata.com. It is an amazing online database of nutrition facts that lets you see how many calories are in different serving sizes of various foods. To start, go to the web site and in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, type in a food name and then click Search. You will quickly be able to see how many calories are approximately in a bit, lick or taste. Choose the one-ounce serving size from the drop-down menu for the food you’ve selected and it will give you a rough idea of how many calories were in that taste. Of course, depending on how many bites, licks and tastes of the food you had, the amount of calories will differ. And while I’m not calling you a big mouth, the calories may also vary depending on the size of your mouth!

This Skinny rules is especially important because people don’t take the calories from those BLTs into account, but they do add up! Maybe it’s a few extra bites while you’re preparing dinner, followed by the lick of a spoon when you’re cleaning up or a small taste off your friend’s plate at a restaurant. Each of these seemingly innocent and perhaps even mindless acts adds calories. Controlling calorie intake is a delicate balance and nixing the extra bites, licks and taste can and will make a difference in your weight.

Check out some approximate calories that come from just a small 1-ounce bite, lick or taste:

Lick of peanut butter: 165 calories

Lick of frosting:  116 calories

Bite of Cake with frosting: 103

Few Bites of French Fries: 93

Taste of Chicken Wing: 60

Excerpted with permission from The Skinny Rules, by Molly Morgan, RD, CDN.

If you’d like to enter to win a free copy of The Skinny Rules (generously donated by Molly herself), share your thoughts about this post below; or share a tip that has helped you keep weight off/prevent weight gain. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 11th. (When you leave a comment, please email me your email address (with “book giveaway” as the subject line) at elisa@elisazied.com (p.s. your email address will only be used to contact you if you’re the winner and for no other purpose.)

Full disclosure: I requested and was provided with a free copy of The Skinny Rules by the author, Molly Morgan.

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