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Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

WebMD – How to Avoid Gaining Weight When You Quit Smoking

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

By Peter Jaret
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Many smokers worry that they’ll gain weight if they try to quit. Some even use that concern as a reason not to quit.

“That’s a bad idea for many reasons,” says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York and director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center. “Not every smoker who quits gains weight.” Even those who do, he points out, gain on average just 4 to 10 pounds.

Indeed, for many ex-smokers, putting on a few pounds is healthy. Research shows that smoking actually makes some people unhealthily thin.

Still, if you’re worried, remember this: a few simple strategies can help limit weight gain while you kick the habit. Once you have successfully broken the addiction to tobacco, you can work on losing any weight you’ve gained.

Smoking and Metabolism

Research shows that nicotine from tobacco boosts the body’s metabolic rate, increasing the number of calories it burns. Immediately after you smoke a cigarette, your heart rate increases by 10 to 20 beats a minute. The unnatural stimulant effect of nicotine is one reason smoking causes heart disease.

When smokers quit, metabolic rate quickly returns to normal. That’s a healthy change. But if ex-smokers keep getting the same number of calories as before, they put on pounds.

Be Smart About What You Put in Your Mouth

When smokers quit, nicotine isn’t all they crave. They also discover that they miss the habit of lighting a cigarette and putting it to their mouths. Many smokers turn to food to satisfy this so-called need for “oral gratification.”

That’s fine if it helps you to quit. But by choosing low-calorie or zero-calorie foods, you can avoid putting on weight. Some smart alternatives include:

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Sugar-free hard candies
  • Celery or carrot sticks
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Slices of jicama

Experiment to find which alternatives work best for you. Research shows that some smokers who quit experience a sharpened “sweet tooth.” They’re better off finding foods sweetened with artificial sugar. Some smokers really miss the oral gratification of smoking. They do best finding alternatives that require unwrapping something and chewing or sucking on it, such as sugar-free gum and hard candy.

Another trick is to brush your teeth frequently throughout the day. This can satisfy a passing craving for oral gratification. When your mouth is fresh and clean, you may have less of an urge to smoke.

Avoid Crash Diets

Choose healthy foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories whenever you can. But experts advise against radical changes in how you eat. “Quitting is tough enough without adding the stress of extreme dieting,” says Steven Schroeder, MD, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of San Francisco.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Many smokers do gain some weight. It’s fine to resolve to do everything you can to keep your weight down. But don’t make weight a make-or-break issue. “It’s important to tell yourself right at the beginning that it’s OK to put on some weight,” says McIntosh. “Don’t be too tough on yourself.”

Stay Busy

To distract yourself from the urge to smoke, fill your day with things to do that don’t involve eating. Physical activities — walking, gardening, doing chores — are a great choice. They burn calories, of course. And research shows that they also have a positive effect on mood. But any kind of distraction from the urge to smoke will help. Examples include:

  • Watching a movie
  • Attending a concert
  • Going to the library to read
  • Visiting a local museum
  • Calling a friend
  • Volunteering

“Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find smoke-free places to go these days,” says Schroeder. “That trend has helped to make it easier for smokers to quit.”

Talk With Your Doctor

A variety of products and medications are available that have been found to help smokers quit. Several also appear to help quitters keep weight off. In a 2009 review, researchers found that the antismoking drug buproprion and the antidepressant fluoxetine, as well as nicotine replacement therapies and cognitive behavioral therapy, helped limit the amount of weight that smokers gained while quitting.

Keep Your Health in Perspective

If you do gain extra pounds while you kick the habit, don’t let that derail your efforts. “By quitting smoking, you can add years to your life — and years of being in good health rather than sick and disabled,” says McIntosh. “Those extra pounds are a small price to pay.” Once you’re tobacco-free, you’ll have plenty of time to get into shape and achieve a healthy weight.

Reviewed on January 24, 2011
© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD – Expert Q&A: Fighting Midlife Weight Gain

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

An interview with Pamela Peeke, MD
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

First, you notice shopping for clothes isn’t as fun or simple as it used to be. Next comes the “muffin top” spilling over the jeans. Then the scale delivers dire news: You’re 10, 15, maybe 20 pounds beyond your “normal” weight.

Midlife weight gain is common. Many Americans gain a pound or so every year as they make their way through young adulthood, ending up fat and flabby at age 40 and beyond.

But it is not inevitable, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, the author of the best-seller Fight FatAfter Forty. Peeke also serves as the chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV and often appears as a medical commentator on television news and talk shows.

Why do so many people gain weight in midlife?

Blame it on hormones in convergence with poor lifestyle choices, overeating, not exercising enough, and stress.

But hormones only account for about 2 to 5 pounds. The rest is the result of overeating, poor lifestyle choices — such as not exercising enough — and stress.

How can I not be one of those people who gains?

The keys are three: mind, mouth, muscle.

Use your mind to control stress. If you walk around and everything is stressful, you have a problem. You may respond to stress by making poorer lifestyle choices, such as not eating healthfully and not exercising enough.

Look at your nutrition — in terms of quality, quantity, and frequency of eating. You should eat often.

Quality is all about eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein.

Processed foods are bad. Anything that comes in a family-size bag, turn in the opposite direction and run.

Quantity is where a lot of people fall. The majority are baffled by what a serving size should look like. When eating out, and in doubt, eat half of it or less.

Be accountable for calories. You need a general idea of how many calories you need. An average woman, not an athlete, in her 40s or 50s, needs about 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day, on average, if she is exercising. A middle-aged man, average height and not an athlete but exercising, needs about 1,800 to 2,000.

Muscle, of course, refers to the need to exercise and, of course, to weight train.

Should my goal weight increase when I hit midlife?

A better goal than focusing on scale weight is to keep track of body fat. The goals should be to decrease body fat and optimize bone strength.

For a man, a body fat percentage of 18% to 25% is not bad for 40-plus. For women 40-plus, 22% to 27% is not bad.

To get that body fat percentage, you need to have excellent fitness to maintain a good muscle base.

Also, a man should have a waist circumference below 40 inches and a woman below 35 inches.

I’m 40-plus, eating right, and exercising but not losing weight. Why do I have midlife weight gain?

If you have tailored your portion sizes to ones that are appropriate, look at the frequency of your eating. Eat every three or four hours. But not too late at night. The later you eat, the lighter you eat is a good rule.

Eat a balance of lean protein, fats, and carbs. Make the fat good fat, not palm oil or hydrogenated oil, but high-quality good fats [such as those in nuts]. The protein should be lean — a turkey burger or a veggie burger.

Most people have been doing the same exercise routine for years, and your body acclimates. Fat cells at 40 are reticent to give it up. Mix up the exercise routine. Exercise at least five times a week, and I mean cardio.

Add intensity. Add some level of weight training, and challenge yourself with the weights. [Getting professional instruction is advised if you’re a novice.] Weight train two or three times a week.

Building muscle gives you that metabolic edge, since muscle mass burns more calories than fat.

Does HRT cause midlife weight gain, is that the culprit?

You can’t blame the low doses of HRT in use today for midlife weight gain, at least not for any more than a few pounds. You do get a little more bloated on it, but it does not cause body fat accumulation. Overeating, not exercising, and stress do.

What’s up with this belly? I never ever had one before.

I call it the menopot. On a man, it’s the manopot.

Excess body fat occurring in the lower abdomen is associated with aging, after 40. This excess body fat in the normal range is usually only 2 to 5 pounds. And you do get a little pooch.

How can I lose this belly?

You minimize it by following the mind-mouth-muscle concepts.

But it’s probably unrealistic to expect a stomach as flat as your 20-something stomach.

Can I boost my metabolism?

Absolutely. You can optimize your metabolism throughout life relative to your age by maintaining the highest level of training you can, within the limits and constraints of your life.

If you lose muscle mass [by not exercising], obviously your metabolism is going to drop.

Of course strength or weight training is crucial.

What workout or workouts are best for midlife people?

Creative cardio. Burn 400 to 500 calories a day in cardio. On the elliptical, for instance, you can burn about 400 calories in about 35 minutes. Cross train as much as you can. Burn the 400 to 500 calories all at once or accrue it.

And don’t forget the weight training.

What’s your weakness? What’s the hardest part, for you, of staying on track and fighting flab after 40?

Because of long days and all my commitments, getting enough sleep. I remind myself: the poorer your sleep, the wider your girth.

Eating dinner not too late. Sometimes I am on a plane or a train, I don’t have the control I want over how late I eat. In general, do not eat dinner past 8:30. I like to eat right about 7.

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WebMD – Raising Healthy Kids – Ways to Keep Kids at a Healthy Weight

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed By David Ludwig, MD, PhD

If your child is at a healthy weight now, you may wonder what you can do to help him maintain it.

If your child is currently overweight, you may wonder how you can help her stick to a serious diet and exercise plan.

Well, according to experts, rigorous diets and exercise plans are not the healthy habits to be striving for. Singling out an overweight kid will just make him feel persecuted and unhappy. It also won’t work.

Instead, you can help your overweight kid move toward a healthy weight in much the same way you can help a healthy weight kid maintain that healthy weight. How? By making it easy for everyone in your family to make healthy choices and encouraging them to make those choices so consistently that they become your family’s healthy habits.

Making healthy choices can help an overweight kid who is still growing hold his weight steady so he can grow into his weight as he gets taller. Small healthy choices also give healthy weight kids the habits and foundation to maintain their weight.

Healthy Habit 1: Choose to eat dinner as a family.

You can encourage family health by having the whole family sit down to dinner together as often as possible.

It might seem like an indirect way to help with your child’s weight, but experts say it can help. Studies have found that family meals are associated with a healthier diet and lower rates of obesity.

Why? Experts say that social eating is good for us. Family dinners are a healthy habit that help us stay emotionally connected.

Plus, when kids eat on their own — especially plopped down in front of the TV — they might not pay attention to their hunger and absentmindedly overeat.

Finally, when you cook at home, you control the menu, so it’s easier for everyone to eat healthy.

Healthy Habit 2: Don’t let your child set the menu.

It’s potentially a disservice to your family’s health to let a child’s limited tastes dictate the family’s diet. If you do, you might wind up eating hot dogs and mac and cheese every night.

When you’re cooking healthy meals — filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy — your child might not like the vegetables that show up on her plate. But keep offering them anyway. Studies show that the more kids are exposed to a food, the more likely they are to try it.

When you’re making a healthy entrée that your child might not like, experts recommend that you include a healthy food that she does like — fruit, for instance — as a side dish. That way, there’s something familiar for her.

If she protests, experts suggest that you be firm: Make it clear that her choices are limited to what you’ve served. Resist the temptation to cave in and make her a separate meal. In time, she’ll come to accept the limits that you’re setting — and will start trying some healthier foods.

Healthy Habit 3: Choose to reduce TV time.

Because many studies have found a clear association between television-watching and obesity, experts say that reducing your kids’ TV time makes sense. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of TV watching a day for kids aged 2 and older. It’s best if children younger than 2 not watch TV at all.

Of course, the most effective way to curb your child’s TV watching is for you to also limit your time in front of it. The easiest way to successfully have a healthy family is for you to lead by example.

Afraid such healthy goals will challenge your poise and patience? If you’re swooping in every 15 minutes, scowling, and clicking off the TV, you might face a revolt — or your kids will just scurry off to a different screen — a computer, video game, or TV in another room.

To keep your cool and remember your goal to have a healthy family, don’t focus on what your kids can’t do, but what they can do. For instance, don’t even mention after-school TV. Instead, create a list of activities — rain or shine — that can be done after school instead of TV watching, like dancing to favorite songs or biking in the neighborhood. Then, help your child pick 1 to try.

Healthy Habit 4: Buy a pedometer for everyone in the family.

It’s not enough for you to demand that your child exercise. Instead, inspire your whole family to move more.

Outfitting each family member with a pedometer encourages healthy habits. Once a kid starts to track how many steps he’s taking, it’s pretty natural to want to take more. At the end of the day, everyone can compare the number of steps they took and chart their progress. It can become a fun competition that leads to better family health. Studies have found that pedometers can be effective in kids as young as 6.

How many steps should your child be taking? While many adults aim for 10,000 steps per day, researchers say that a child’s target should actually be higher. One study found that for kids aged 6 to 12, a healthy goal for girls was 12,000 steps a day and 15,000 steps a day for boys.

That might seem like a lot, but kids are naturally more active than adults. Of course, a child’s stride is much shorter, so they won’t walk as far as you will.

Start slowly. Begin by aiming for an additional 2,000 steps to what each person takes on an average day now. Even that modest increase will help with family health.

Healthy Habit 5: Choose not to micromanage your child’s eating.

As a parent, you don’t want to be watching every bite of food that goes into your kid’s mouth. You don’t want to be swatting her hand away from the cookie jar all the time. That sort of micromanaging will just make everyone miserable.

Instead, the easiest path to raising a healthy family is to remove the source of conflict. Replace the cookie jar with a fruit bowl. After all, kids do most of their eating at home — that’s true even for many teens. Because parents are the ones who shop, you have control over the food that’s in the house.

When you’re at the grocery store, swap the chips and cookies you normally put in your cart with healthier options. Don’t buy sugary drinks like soda and juice-like drinks, and limit the amount of 100% fruit juice you buy.

Buy only foods that you want your child to eat. It will boost your family’s health, and you won’t worry so much about which food she’s choosing for a snack.

Healthy Habit 6: Choose healthy ways to manage stress.

Some studies have shown that kids with stressed-out moms are more likely to be overweight. The cause of the stress can be anything from health problems in the family, money issues, or problems with their mate.

So, here’s another reason to enlist help to find solutions to your stressors — to help your kid’s weight stay in a healthy range. Try these healthy stress relievers:

  • Talk it out with a friend, counselor, or religious advisor.
  • Use exercise as a way to burn off stress.
  • Tell your kids about your stress, using words they can understand.
  • Look for support to help you with the things causing you distress from family, government programs, hospital classes, and so forth.

By handling stress in healthy ways you set a great example for your kids, too.

Healthy Habit 7: Choose to make sleep more important.

Studies have found that a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When kids are overtired, changes to hormones and metabolism seem to increase the risk of obesity.

To raise healthy kids, enforce a routine bedtime. You can make the transition easier by trying to make the time before bed relaxing. A helpful way to do this is to remove distractions from your child’s bedroom — including TVs, cell phones, and computers.

Sticking with the same routine even on the weekends can help eliminate fluctuations in mood from fatigue and avoid that Monday-morning angst from trying to get back on schedule.

Bedtime may get harder with teens. As kids hit adolescence, their body clocks reset, and they become biologically wired to stay up late. Because high school starts so early, many teens are chronically overtired and at higher risk of obesity as a result.

As a parent, the best you can do is to work with your teen to encourage healthy sleep habits before bed. Help them see just how much better they feel when they do get enough sleep and how much easier it is to concentrate in school.

A healthy amount of sleep helps reduce the risk of obesity in adults too. So prioritize sleep accordingly to set a healthy example for your family.

Healthy Habit 8: Choose to be consistent about family health.

Consult with an expert — like a dietitian or childhood weight loss expert — to adopt basic, sensible changes to your family’s diet and exercise routine and stick with them.

If after a few months you don’t think these healthy habits are helping — if, for instance, your child has been gaining weight — check in again with an expert and tweak your family’s plan.

The most important thing to help your family adopt healthy habits is to stick to your plan. Stay consistent: about the foods you have in the house, about family exercise routines, and about bedtime.

If you do, your kids are more likely to accept your rules in the long run. If they sense any hesitation on your part, they’re more likely to argue and push back. With persistence, you will be able to help your kids adopt healthy habits, and they will benefit for the rest of their lives.

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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WebMD – Chefs’ Diet Secrets

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

How top chefs manage their weight.
By Lisa Zamosky
WebMD Feature

If you think managing your weight is tough, imagine if your job was to spend all day cooking, thinking about, and tasting food. That’s the challenge professional chefs face each day when they go off to work. In spite of being around tantalizing food all the time, however, many professional cooks manage to keep themselves in great shape. How do they do it?

WebMD talked with three working chefs to learn about their weight management strategies, and with one nutritionist to determine if these methods make sense for those of us cooking at home.

Managing Hunger

How is it possible to eat all the time and still be hungry? Most chefs say they taste small amounts of food all day long but rarely sit down to a full meal.

Chef Dale Talde, director of Asian concepts for the Starr Restaurant Group, which is based in New York and owns many restaurants on the East Coast, says it’s a requirement of his job to taste every dish that leaves the kitchen to make sure it’s up to standards. Talde, who has been featured on the Bravo’s Channel’s Top Chefs and Top Chef All-Stars, figures that amounts to eating thousands of calories each day.

“But you never eat a full meal,” he says. “You’re not hungry but you’re not totally satisfied either.”

Talde works nights and says he’s lucky to get home before midnight. By then he’s ready to eat. “It’s that sense of a hard day’s work finished off by a meal,” he says.

Over the past two years, Talde has packed on about 30 pounds. His blood pressure has risen, too. This has caused him to get creative in finding ways to reduce his caloric and salt intake, but still perform his duties as a chef.

One of his biggest tricks is making sure he doesn’t let himself get too hungry.

“I don’t [usually] like to eat before noon, but now I wake up earlier to get something healthy in – some cottage cheese with salsa and arugula, for example – that way I have something in my stomach before I go to work. It’s easier to maintain what you’re eating when you’re not starving,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Talde’s approach is smart, says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, assistant director of UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition.

“The night is over and it’s not even a question that they’re famished at 11 p.m. or midnight,” Bowerman says of chefs working the dinner rush. “It’s how they unwind at the end of the day.”

For chefs and home cooks alike, scheduling time for a good breakfast — with some protein (such as a protein shake or some protein-rich cottage cheese) and healthy carbohydrates such as fruit — helps keep hunger at bay, making us less likely to overeat. The key is to fuel up adequately and make sure you’re getting nutrients earlier in the day.

Limiting Alcohol

Drinking fine wines and liquors often goes with the territory of being a chef. “It’s often 2:00 in the morning when we get out of work, so there’s not much else to do but go to the bars,” Talde says.

For many chefs, fine wine – and plenty of it – is the natural accompaniment to a good meal. But alcohol adds a lot of calories to your day. Half a bottle of wine, for example, is approximately 250 calories, Bowerman says. Drinking also loosens one’s resolve to eat well.

Talde says he recently began alternating a glass of wine with a glass of sparkling water at dinner to cut back on the calories. He also found that drinking water from a wine glass made the experience feel more special. “Then I really don’t notice and it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “Alternating an alcoholic beverage with a calorie-free beverage is a tip I always make for people,” Bowerman says. And putting the nonalcoholic drink in a wine glass is a great psychological trick that for some can make sparkling water just as satisfying as drinking wine. “The wine glass idea makes sense,” Bowerman says. “It may be something just about feeling the stem of the glass that elevates the meal to something more special.”

If drinking only half the alcohol you normally would with each meal seems unsatisfying, take a different approach. Bowerman suggests adding up the total number of drinks you have in a week and then cutting it by a third. “Can you cut out one night, rather than cutting back every single day?” she asks. For some people, that approach is more successful.

Keep It in the Bowl

Chef Nikki Cascone was a contestant on the Bravo Channel’s fourth season of Top Cheftestant and owns Octavia’s Porch, a restaurant in New York. She’s among the lucky few with a naturally fast metabolism that has kept her slim for most of her life. But after having a baby four months ago, managing her weight has become a new challenge.

Like Talde, Cascone finds that the chef’s lifestyle makes it difficult to eat well. “You’re never really off when you get to a certain level, especially when you own a restaurant. There are late-night hours and it’s a very tense environment. You’re dealing with the public, high stress, and high temperatures. I’ve had to train myself to eat healthy,” she says.

One trick that’s worked well for Cascone is keeping all her meals confined to one bowl, and consciously filling the bowl with lean protein, such as chicken, legumes, seeds, and vegetables. Packing it full of healthy foods helps her to feel satisfied. Limiting the meal to one bowl helps her to not overeat.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “She’s practicing portion control,” Bowerman says of Cascone. The size of the container we eat from can determine how much we eat, according to Bowerman, and for the average dieter at home, that’s a great tip.

But if you don’t care for the idea of eating every meal from a bowl, control your portions instead by using a smaller plate. “It’s about the visual impact of looking at a full plate of food,” Bowerman says.

Swap Ingredients

Diane Henderiks, RD, is a personal chef and culinary nutritionist who frequently appears on Good Morning America. Her goal is to raise the culinary bar for healthy cooking. “I switch up ingredients to maintain the integrity of the dish without fat and sodium,” she says.

Henderiks’ motto is that any dish can be made healthier. She cooks with fresh and dried herbs, citrus juices, and nectars to make dressings that are lower in fat and sugar. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef, applesauce or yogurt are used in place of butter, broth or wine instead of oil, and she uses marinades and rubs to add flavor to meat without adding calories.

Similarly, Cascone uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (balsamic vinegar cooked on the stove top until it’s reduced to a syrup) for a very low-calorie salad dressing, and has replaced all table sugar with agave syrup as a way of eliminating refined sugars from her diet.

The Nutritionist’s Take: For the home chef, these are great techniques and they all add up, Bowerman says. “Cutting fat and calories becomes habit.”

Just be careful when replacing sugar with natural sweeteners like agave syrup, because “you’re not saving any calories,” Bowerman says. Still, she concedes it could be a small change that works for some people because the taste of agave syrup is more complex than table sugar, and it often blends better in things like ice tea. “Sometimes these replacements, although not saving calories, are more satisfying, and so people use less of it.”

Focus on Grains

Cascone says when she’s building her bowl of food she grants more space to grains than to protein. “I’m big on grains like quinoa. That’s a priority over fish or meat,” Cascone says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) are a very important part of our diet, Bowerman says, and few of us get enough of things like barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, popcorn, or wild rice.

Still, she says, protein is the most satisfying type of food when it comes to keeping hunger in check. Whole grains are high in fiber and filling but can be high in calories too, so it’s important to watch portion size carefully. “When I have people look at a plate of food, one-third should be filled with lean protein. The rest of the plate should be vegetables and salads,” Bowerman says.

 

©2005-2011 WebMD, LLC.

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Diabetes Self-Management – Lower-Carb Diet Reduces Dangerous Fat in Some

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

June 24, 2011

A slight reduction in carbohydrate intake may help decrease a person’s level of dangerous visceral fat, or deep abdominal fat, even if he has not lost any weight, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visceral fat, which surrounds abdominal organs, increases the risk of developing insulin resistance (a component of Type 2 diabetes), heart disease, and various other conditions.

Researchers recruited 69 overweight but healthy men and women. The participants were given food for two consecutive eight-week periods; the first period consisted of a weight-maintenance meal plan, and the second period consisted of a weight-loss meal plan that cut each person’s calories by 1,000 each day. The participants received either a standard lower-fat diet, comprised of 55% of calories from carbohydrate and 27% of calories from fat, or a slightly higher-fat diet that had a modest reduction in the carbohydrate content. This diet, which contained foods that were relatively low on the glycemic index (a ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods based on how quickly they raise blood glucose levels), was comprised of 43% of calories from carbohydrate and 39% of calories from fat. In both diets, the final 18% of calories came from protein. At the beginning and end of each phase of the study, the participants had their visceral fat and total body fat measured using different types of medical scans.

When they analyzed the results, the researchers found that during the weight-loss phase of the study, participants on both of the diets lost weight, but those on the lower-carbohydrate diet averaged a 4% greater loss of total body fat. Moreover, during the weight-maintenance phase, people on the lower-carbohydrate diet were found to have 11% less visceral fat than people on the standard diet. After analyzing these results by race, the researchers determined that this result was exclusive to whites, who generally have more deep abdominal fat than blacks (even when matched for body weight or percent body fat).

According to lead study author Barbara Gower, PhD, decreasing the amount of visceral fat “could help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease. For individuals willing to go on a weight-loss diet, a modest reduction in carbohydrate-containing foods may help them preferentially lose fat, rather than lean tissue. The moderately reduced carbohydrate diet allows a variety of foods to meet personal preferences.”

For more information, see the press release “Cut Down On ‘Carbs’ to Reduce Body Fat, Study Authors Say” from The Endocrine Society.

 

Blog entry re-post from Diane Fennell

Copyright © 2011 R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc.

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Reuters – Heart risks lower in men who get enough vitamin D

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

Amy Norton Reuters3:22 p.m. EDT, June 24, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Men who consume the recommended amount of vitamin D are somewhat less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who get little of the vitamin in their diets, a large U.S. study suggests.

Following nearly 119,000 adults for two decades, researchers found that men who got at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day — the current recommended amount — were 16 percent less likely to develop heart problems or a stroke, versus men who got less than 100 IU per day.

There was no such pattern among women, however, the researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The authors say the findings do not prove that vitamin D, itself, deserves the credit for the lower risks seen in men. So they should not start downing supplements for the sake of their hearts.

“The evidence is not strong enough yet to make solid recommendations,” said lead researcher Dr. Qi Sun, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

On the other hand, the apparent benefits were linked to vitamin D intakes near what’s already recommended: Last year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. government, bumped up the recommended dose to 600 IU for most people. Adults older than 70 were told to get 800 IU.

So these latest findings may encourage more people to meet those guidelines, Sun said.

But as far as whether vitamin D cuts heart disease and stroke risk, the jury is still out.

Sun said that more answers should come from an ongoing clinical trial that is looking at whether a high dose of vitamin D (2,000 IU per day) can cut the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.

Clinical trials, wherein people are randomly assigned to a treatment or a placebo, are considered the “gold standard” of medical evidence.

So far, there have been few such randomized clinical trials testing vitamin D’s health effects.

A flurry of studies in recent years has linked higher vitamin D intake to lower risks of everything from diabetes, to severe asthma, heart disease, certain cancers and depression.

The problem with those studies is that were “observational” — researchers looked at people’s vitamin D intake, or their blood levels of the vitamin, and whether they developed a given health condition. Those kinds of studies cannot prove cause-and-effect.

The current study was also observational, based on data from two long-term projects that have followed two large groups of U.S. health professionals since the 1980s.

Out of 45,000 men, there were about 5,000 new cases of cardiovascular disease over the study period. These were defined by an incident of heart attack, stroke, or death attributed to cardiovascular disease.

After accounting for a range of factors — like age, weight, exercise levels and other diet habits, such as fat intake – Sun’s team found that men who got at least 600 IU of vitamin D from food and supplements had a 16 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to men who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day.

For women, though, there was no correlation between vitamin D intake and cardiovascular health.

It’s not clear why that is, Sun said. One possibility is that women may have less active vitamin D circulating in the blood; vitamin D is stored in fat, and women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men do.

But more research is needed, Sun said, to know whether real biological differences underlie the current findings.

In theory, vitamin D could help ward off heart disease and stroke; lab research suggests that it may help maintain healthy blood vessel function and blood pressure levels, reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, and aid blood sugar control.

But until clinical trials help show whether vitamin D works, Sun advised people to stick with the tried-and-true ways of protecting their hearts: maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and not smoking.

“There are many established ways to lower your cardiovascular disease risk,” Sun said. “People can focus on those measures.”

As for vitamin D, the sun is the major natural source, since sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis in the body. Food sources are relatively few and include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and fortified dairy products and cereals.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/irO9Xe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 8, 2011.

Copyright © 2011, Reuters

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Los Angeles Times – To change your diet, change your palate, says ‘Biggest Loser’ nutritionist Cheryl Forberg

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

ForbergCheryl Forberg, nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser,” says people can learn to live good, healthful food (Linda Russell photography)

 

By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog2:42 p.m. EDT, June 24, 2011

“The Biggest Loser” contestants don’t just learn about exercise–upending their diets is an essential part of the program as well. Join a live Web chat Monday, June 27 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. ET) with Cheryl Forberg, nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser,” who is also a registered dietitian.

Forberg wrote the eating plan for the show and counsels contestants on nutrition. Forberg is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and the author of “Flavor First: Cut Calories and Boost Flavor with 75 Delicious, All-Natural Recipes.” We asked her how people can change their palates and learn to appreciate the true taste of good food.

“I think when contestants come to ‘The Biggest Loser’ ranch they’re so accustomed to these over-salted, over-sweet, over-processed foods, that learning to eat clean foods is definitely like detoxing for a couple of weeks,” she said. “But once they’ve had a chance to kind of wean themselves away from the old foods that were their everyday fare, their taste buds wake up and they learn to appreciate the sweetness of a piece of fruit or the tanginess of a nice balsamic vinegar on their salad.”

Foods labeled “healthy” are still often perceived as bland and boring, Forberg added, but that doesn’t have to be the case. “I’m a classically trained chef who became a registered dietitian,” she said, “and I’ve spent my career figuring out how to make flavors really over the top.”

Case in point: On a recent trip to the ranch Forger demonstrated some easy way to cook vegetables, such as roasting a red pepper. “They went crazy eating it,” she said. “I posted a photo of it and some people asked what it was. That was a wake-up call that we really need to stick to basics.”

Do you have a question for Cheryl Forberg? Email jeannine.stein@latimes.com and join the chat to see the answer.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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Web MD – The Best Life Diet

Posted by 4love2love on June 16, 2011

To read more articles provided by WebMD, please visit their site.

What Is The Best Life Diet?

 

Exercise physiologist Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet is an easy-to-follow, no-gimmicks approach to a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s a dietician’s dream diet — and one that apparently changed talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s life. Winfrey describes in the foreword how, after years of struggling with diets, she found success with The Best Life Diet.

There is nothing groundbreaking about The Best Life Diet. Greene’s “diet” is synonymous with the phrase “lifestyle change.” There’s no going on and off this diet, because it’s not a “diet.” It’s a lifestyle of healthy eating, with an emphasis on regular physical activity.

The Best Life Diet is a safe, effective way to lose weight and improve fitness. But it is not quick or temporary. You’re encouraged to make gradual changes, one step at a time. The aim is to transform your old eating and exercise habits into healthier new ones that will last a lifetime.

 

Depending on your gender and activity level, The Best Life Diet guidelines suggests calorie levels ranging from 1,500-2,500 and a recommended number of servings from the various food groups. The basic premise is that the more active you are, the more calories you can eat.

Greene’s fitness insights and easygoing style makes weight loss easy to understand. Lots of great tipsrecipes, menus, and useful tools are included to help dieters get and stay motivated. The Best Life Diet is easily tailored to a wide array of personal lifestyles, activity levels, and food preferences. The program can be followed online for a fee, or by the book.

What You Can Eat on The Best Life Diet

 

There is no calorie-counting on the Best Life Diet, only a mindful approach to making wise food choices and monitoring portion sizes. Splurges are worked into the program during the third phase with an allotment of “anything goes” calories.

It appears very simple. You can enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods while slowly ridding your diet of unhealthier choices such as fried foods, foods containing trans fats, white bread, sugary soft drinks, regular pasta, and high-fat dairy. These foods are phased out and replaced with healthier foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and more. Weekly eating plans provide suggested meals.

Greene has placed his Best Life Diet seal of approval logo on a variety of food products he recommends as healthy. Dieters are asked to make their healthier choices from a recommended list of foods from companies involved in corporate sponsorship.

How The Best Life Diet Works

 

Greene’s Best Life premise is to promote a non-dieting mind-set so you can focus on improving your life and gaining control over your struggles with eating and weight. While strict diet plans usually set you up for disappointment and ultimate failure, Greene sets dieters up for success, one small step at a time.

Some programs start with a very strict first phase with a long list of prohibited foods. Greene takes a different approach by starting with a more liberal first phase:

    • Phase One, a maximum of four weeks, focuses on slowly increasing activity levels and changing old eating habits. Recommendations include no eating two hours before bed, eating three meals and one snack daily, eliminating alcohol (temporarily), staying hydrated, and taking a daily multivitamin/mineral, omega-3 fatty acid, and calcium (if needed). The meal and snack suggestions make healthy eating sound delicious.
    • Phase Two, a minimum of four weeks, promotes a more aggressive approach to losing weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity. This phase builds upon the changes made in Phase One, with an emphasis on controlling physical and emotional hunger, removing six problem foods from your diet, weekly weigh-ins, and portion control.
  • Phase Three is maintenance, or the phase for the rest of your life. It focuses on eliminating more unhealthy foods and adding more wholesome foods, and introduces “anything goes” calories. Greene’s “anything goes” calories are similar to the “discretionary calories” found in the U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, which allow you to enjoy your favorite treats in small portions. Greene gives the green light for more “anything goes” calories when you are most active.

Greene also tackles issues that lead to overeating, such as hunger and emotional eating. Using his hunger tool helps dieters stop overeating by learning how to gauge real hunger. He tackles emotional eating head-on by asking dieters to answer some tough questions before beginning the program:

    • Why are you overweight?
    • Why do you want to lose weight?
  • Why have you been unable to lose weight in the past?

Answering these questions honestly can help dieters identify the things that need to be changed so they can start to address problem issues.

What the Experts Say About The Best Life Diet

 

The Best Life Diet is based on science — it supports the U.S. government’s 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines with very doable and easy suggestions. And most registered dietitians and fitness trainers agree that true weight loss success comes from making lifestyle changes.

Greene’s flexible approach helps dieters stick with the plan. But obesity expert Cathy Nonas, RD, wonders if his realistic, gradual approach will appeal to overweight people who want the quick fix.

“Once a person decides to lose weight, they want it gone immediately,” says Nonas, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “And unfortunately, they choose fad diets [and] lose weight quickly only to regain it back instead of choosing a program like Best Life Diet that tackles changing eating behaviors.”

Nonas says she likes the slow and gradual first phase followed by the more intense second and third phases.

“Anyone who gets through the first phase, regardless [of] if they lose weight, will improve their dietary picture,” says Nonas. If you’re not successful at losing weight during the first or second phase, “stick with the phase longer before moving onto maintenance,” suggests Nonas.

Counting calories is too difficult and inaccurate. But if you cut out the sodas, fried foods, and giant white bagels, the calorie savings will add up.

“For people like me who already avoid the six perilous foods, it won’t make much of a difference,” says Nonas. “But for anyone who eats or drinks the high-calorie foods, it should help them lose weight.”

Nonas also points out that some “forbidden” foods can be enjoyed in moderate portions.

“There is nothing wrong with high-fat dairy if you make modifications elsewhere in your diet, and likewise if you enjoy white pasta or white bread as long as you get enough fiber in your diet,” she says

The bottom line, Nonas says, is that Greene’s recommendations are sound for the most part. She suggests that dieters buy the book but ignore the branded merchandising.

“What is really important is not the brand of yogurt, but reading labels to choose a low-fat yogurt,” she says.

The Best Life Diet: Food for Thought

 

If you’re tired of gimmicks and strict food lists and are looking for a program that can help you change your life once and for all, this book is for you.

The plan’s goals are attainable, and, more important, sustainable. Tools, tips, recipes and a wealth of helpful resources, including the online Best Life Diet message board, provide great support.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Greene, B. The Best Life Diet, Simon & Schuster, Dec. 26, 2006.

Cathy Nonas, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association.

Reviewed by Jonathan L Gelfand, MD, on February 6, 2009

© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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