FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Diabetes Awareness Month

The global statistics speak for themselves.  “This year 10 million more people are living with diabetes than in 2015, meaning that 1 in 11 adults now has diabetes, for a total of 425 million people.” Many people don’t know they even have a condition called pre-diabetes. Prevention is often effective and there are many prevention programs in the U.S; however, they do not seem to be utilized as well as they should be.

In my opinion, people can lose 10% of their body weight on any diet in time if they stick to the program.  The problem: Keeping the weight off. An effective prevention program for obesity/diabetes should contain weight maintenance training in terms of realizing what is necessary to prevent weight regain. Our bodies have developed many mechanisms for putting weight back on, not taking it off. A Forbes article found HERE discusses some pitfalls on weight reduction.

CLICK HERE.

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The “Magic” of Weight Loss?

It has become more and more obvious that the simple advice for weight loss, i.e. “eat less” just does not work for many people. The body fights to maintain the weight it wants, and often that is not the weight we want. For most dieters, this results in losing a few pounds and gaining them back over and over again. Weight loss claims by many weight loss plans are “magical” and not realistic. How many times have you seen them display their results in terms of how their diet resulted in long-term weight loss? There is always the disclaimer that accompanies their before and after photos that says in fine print something like “results are not typical for every one.”

This was so obvious when the study on the “Biggest Loser” participants came to light that all but one in one of the seasons had gained a large percentage of their weight back. That is not to say their weight loss was futile since even a loss of 5-10% of body weight can have health benefits.

It has been reported that many people are just giving up on dieting – no wonder. Weight loss is difficult and weight maintenance is even more difficult based on past research and should not be portrayed as anything other than that.

My favorite quotes on the subject reflect how many dieters feel:

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet”Erma Bombeck

“I am more  than my measurements. The cycle of body shaming needs to end. I’m over it…My body is MY body. I’ll call the shots.” Ashley Graham

“I’m not going to miss 95% of life to weigh 5% less.” Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

“I finally figured out the big, elusive secret to weight loss. Don’t eat! Who knew?” Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

“Healthy living is a learnable skill.” Claude Viens, The most powerful weight loss device ever made; The human brain

The obesity epidemic is becoming a global phenomenon. The obesity industry also continues to grow. With our current food environment, who knows when it may end

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Why Dieting Can Make Us Fat

Since we are a nation obsessed by weight loss, it is so important to realize that chronic dieting itself can make some people overweight or obese as a result. There are many reasons why our bodies resist weight loss and more than likely it is due to a fear of starvation. This involves the neuro-endocrine system and we have many mechanisms to prevent this threat to our existence.

This is more than likely involving our set -points defined as “a level at which body fat or body weight seems to resist change despite changes in energy intake or output.” The set point for each of us is largely determined by genes. Signals related to food intake affect hunger and satiety (feeling of fullness) over short time periods while signals from the adipose tissue trigger the brain to adjust to both food intake and energy expenditure for long-term regulation. The  two primary hormones involved are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone produced  by the stomach that stimulates food intake and leptin is a peptide hormone produced by fat cells that signals information about the amount of body fat. The interactions are complex and better left to more academic discussions than in this blog post.

If you diet frequently, you should understand some of the implications of these interactions. The following article is a long read but it is important to know the facts – the best action is to prevent weight gain if possible so that we do not have to deal with its effects later on.

Weight management is possible by putting into practice the following simple suggestions.

Balance your intake and output, for example, weight yourself once a week; if the number goes up, cut down your calories.

Cut down on calories, e.g. bring your own lunch rather than eating out.

Don’t get too hungry – fill up on high fiber foods.

Increase activity – Take a walk during lunch break or after dinner.

Avoid fad diets – they only lead to the problem.

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The Teaching Kitchen

A new approach to promote nutrition and help curb the obesity/diabetes epidemic. Patients listen to their doctors – we need more involvement of increased nutrition education in medical schools and in the doctor/patient relationship. This also serves as a great opportunity for the  registered dietitian/nutritionist to work with the physician.

Interestingly, the first diet book was written by a female physician, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters called “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories.”

CLICK HERE.


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Kids Eat Right Month

August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ Month

From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

With childhood obesity on the rise, making sure kids eat right and get plenty of exercise is vital.

Parents and caregivers can play a big role in children’s nutrition and health, teaching kids about healthy foods, being a good role model and making sure physical activity is incorporated into each day.

August, which is Kids Eat Right Month, is a great time for families to focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:

Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.

Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.

Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.

Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help.

“Talk to your children. Learn the foods they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Find ways together to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” says Angela Lemond, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.

It may help to consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area to ensure your family is getting the nutrients it needs with a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle and busy schedule.

For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and to learn more about Kids Eat Right Month, visit www.KidsEatRight.org.

This August, reevaluate your family’s eating and exercise habits, and take steps to make positive, healthful changes.


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MyPlate: A Makeover?

A few years ago the USDA brought out MyPlate that supposedly helped consumers use the Dietary Guidelines; however, critics felt it was influenced by politics and the food industry. Harvard has improved on this concept with The Healthy Eating Plate.

This makeover gives us so much better evidence-based diet advice at a glance. Give it a try.