Tag Archives: diet food

How Does Your Money Management Compare with Your Weight Management?

Are you overweight, but manage your money well? Gee, if you could only handle your diet as well as you handle your money. What has one got to do with the other? Perhaps more than you think. Wouldn’t it be nice to transfer your financial skills to your eating habits?

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Do you have financial discipline? You want the new iPad, but it costs at least $499. It would be great fun to play with and explore all the fun stuff that you have seen demonstrated on TV. But, if you buy it, you will fall short of the rent money this month. And it would be dangerous to push your plastic at this time. So, no can do. That’s good fiscal discipline.

How about indulging in some delicious chocolate tonight while watching the tube? Nothing helps mellow you out so much as some nice chocolate. Somehow romantic movies are even moreso when you are enjoying some nice chocolate. Why not?

Are you a person who passes on the iPad, but eats the chocolate? Sure, it tastes great. But, the principle is the same. You need to be able to ‘afford’ the chocolate just as you need the $499 to buy the iPad. Good physical discipline works just like good fiscal discipline.

Keeping track of your calories is the first step. You keep track of your income vs your expenses. It’s the same principle. Don’t eat what you can’t pay for either in abstinence elsewhere or burning off in the gym or the health club.

In each instance, it is your call. Use that same clear mental focus that you do in money matters to assist you in your eating.

Last, but not least, make sure you get your body moving. too. Eating intelligently is half the battle of weight control. You need to exercise regularly to keep your body healthy. Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.

Tony

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Calorie Restricting – How Far Can It go?

A recent issue of Science magazine says that all organisms benefit from cutting calories, suggesting that less complex organisms can double or even triple lifespan. More complex organisms, like humans, don’t have quite the same upside, but “those who practice the strict diet hope to survive past 100 years old,” the article continues.
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According to the issue of Science, experts report that “calorie restriction influences the same handful of molecular pathways related to aging in all animals that have been studied.”

Wikipedia reports, “Two main lifespan studies have been performed involving nonhuman primates (rhesus monkeys). One, begun in 1987 by the National Institute on Aging, published interim results in August 2012 indicating that CR confers health benefits in these animals, but did not demonstrate increased median lifespan; maximum lifespan data are not yet available, as the study is still ongoing. A second study by the University of Wisconsin beginning in 1989 issued preliminary lifespan results in 2009, and final results in 2014. It found that CR primates were only 36.4% as likely to die from age-related causes when compared with control animals, and had only 56.2% the rate of death from any cause.

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Keen on Quinoa (Keen-wa)

Got a pleasant surprise in Costco the other day. Saw a giant display of four pound bags of Quinoa. Normally, quinoa is only sold at health food stores. You don’t find it in regular grocery stores often. Also, it usually sells in single pound boxes. This was the usual great Costco bargain, 4 lbs for $10.00, about half the price you would pay at a health food store.
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If you are one of the many who aren’t familiar with this “mother of all grains” according to the Incas, read on. First of all, it isn’t really a grain although it looks like one. It is a small seed. Smaller than rice, about the size of couscous.

Quinoa.net says that quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. An average of 16.2% vs 7.5% for rice, 9.9% for millet and 14% for wheat. Quinoa contains complete protein, all the essential amino acids, unlike corn, wheat and rice which are incomplete proteins.

Wikipedia says that It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free and easily digestible. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights.

Dani Spies, culinary nutritionist and fitness trainer who has her own website at danispies.com did an excellent presentation on You Tube.


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Why You Should Not Cut Fats From Your Diet

A little knowledge is dangerous. Cutting out fats from our diets because they are ‘bad’ is a perfect example of that.

Not all fats are bad, according to the American Heart Association.

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Proper dietary guidelines say that fully 30% of our daily food calories intake should be in the form of fats. Also, 30% should be protein and 40% carbohydrates. So, fat is equally as important to us as protein.

Granted there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats serve important functions in our bodies. Life Clinic says, “Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food you eat and drink can’t be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet.”
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Certain Foods Can Damage Your Ability To Think Flexibly

“We’ve known for a while that too much fat and sugar are not good for you.

This work suggests that fat and sugar are altering your healthy bacterial systems, and that’s one of the reasons those foods aren’t good for you.

It’s not just the food that could be influencing your brain, but an interaction between the food and microbial changes.”

The ‘Western diet’ that many consume daily is high in sugar, fat and simple carbohydrates.

I am fascinated by the workings of the brain, and in this case, how we can mess up a perfectly good system with bad diet. I think this post makes clear that we need to eat well and exercise in order to stay healthy. We don’t just adopt a few changes to drop a couple of pounds and then revert to our bad eating.

Tony

Our Better Health

A high-fat, high-sugar diet causes significant damage to cognitive flexibility, a new study finds.

Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adjust and adapt to changing situations.

The high-sugar diet was most damaging, the research on mice found.

This caused impairments in both long- and short-term memory.

This is just the latest in a line of studies showing the potentially dramatic effects of diet on mental performance.

Professor Kathy Magnusson, who co-led the study, said:

“The impairment of cognitive flexibility in this study was pretty strong.

Think about driving home on a route that’s very familiar to you, something you’re used to doing.

Then one day that road is closed and you suddenly have to find a new way home.”

With lower cognitive flexibility, adapting to these kinds of changes would be more difficult.

Professor Magnusson said it wasn’t yet clear how these damaging effects were caused:

“It’s increasingly clear that…

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A Pair of Healthy Eating Infographics

Consider these each as an amuse-bouche. (I just learned the term.)

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To read more on the dangers of diet sodas, check out:

Is Diet Soda Bad For You?
Does Diet Coke Make You Fat?
A Guest Post: Why I’m Kicking the Diet Soda Habit

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Tony

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Super Bowl Sunday Snacking

What are you going to be snacking on during the big game?

According to The Supermarket Guru, “It’s estimated that on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will consume more than double their average daily snack amount; and the average “armchair quarterback” will consume nearly 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks alone- not counting meals. To burn that off, you’d have to run for about an hour and 45 minutes!”

Pigs in a blanket – One of the top five fan snack choices

Bing.com says the top five game day snacks are Buffalo wings, pizza, nachos, chili, and pigs in a blanket. I hope for your sake that you are not going this high calorie count empty nutritional value route.

I have written about snacking here before. There was Targeted Snacking in June and Smart Snacking in March. Click on the links for some positive ideas on snacks for the big game.

WeightWatchers suggests, “You can still enjoy some football fare: a chicken wing or two, some chips and dip, a slice of pizza and a cold one. Just don’t overindulge — eat and drink reasonably, keep track of what you chow down on ….

“Consider parking a few blocks from the party or heading outside for a walk instead of watching for the next wardrobe malfunction at halftime (that’s what DVRs are for anyway).”

Tony

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Filed under calories, Exercise, healthy eating, men and healthy eating, Snacking, Weight

Does An Avocado A Day Lower Bad Cholesterol?

Kate Patton, a preventive-cardiology dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said the added components of the avocado might have given people in the avocado group an edge over the others, who were also on healthy diets.

As regular readers know, I advocate avodados: Are Avocados Good For You?

What About Krispy Kreme vs. an Avocado?

New Research: Avocadoes May Improve Satiety and Reduce Snacking,

14 Foods That Fuel Your Brain – Infographic,

What are the Best Foods for my Brain? – Infographic.

Gony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados may lower so-called bad cholesterol among otherwise healthy overweight and obese people, according to a new study.

The findings don’t mean people should simply add avocados to their daily diets. Instead, the study’s senior researcher said, the results show that avocados incorporated into healthy diets reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

“They shouldn’t just add an avocado to their diet, but it would be good if they incorporated an avocado into a healthy diet,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, who chairs the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and is a nutrition expert at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

People should be eating a heart-healthy diet to lower the risk of heart disease, write Kris-Etherton and her colleagues in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Only 5 to 6 percent of calories should come from saturated fatty acids, which are found in foods like butter…

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Foods with No Calories – Infographic

It can almost seem like something for nothing to eat foods that have no calories. Remember, reducing your calorie intake by just 100 each day can cut your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, reduce your risk of heart disease and ease joint pain.

These zero calorie foods actually burn more calories than they contain.

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Tony

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Why You Need to Cut Back on Sugar Consumption

The average American consumes 15 percent of his daily calorie allowance in added sugars. This amounts to 22 teaspoons a day, or 88 grams of sugar, according to Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. That doesn’t include the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and whole foods.

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The World Health Organization has recommended since 2002 that sugars should make up less than 10 percent of total energy intake per day. The new draft guideline also proposes that sugars should be less than 10 percent of total energy intake per day. It further suggests that a reduction to below 5 percent of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits. Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

Much of the sugars consumed today are “hidden” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams (around 1 teaspoon) of sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar.

“The calories that added sugars contribute to your diet can pack on pounds without your even realizing it, leading to overweight and obesity, which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. In addition, excess sugar consumption has links to high triglycerides, which can put you in danger of developing heart disease. Given these health implications, the American Heart Association (AHA) has issued guidelines for added sugar consumption. The association suggests that women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons. For men, the association recommends limiting consumption to 150 calories daily, or 9 teaspoons”, according to Paula Martinac writing in SFGate.

On a daily calorie budget of 2000 calories, the AHA recommendation amounts to 7.5 percent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers no separate recommendation for sugar.

Professor Hu said that if you consume 10 percent of your calories in added sugar, you have a 40 percent increased chance of dying from heart disease. A person who consumes 25 percent of his calories in sugar has a 2.5 fold increased chance of dying from heart disease.

Here is a You Tube video of a sugar discussion moderated at Harvard.

No one questions whether sugar contributes to obesity. Check out How Does Obesity Affect You.

Tony

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Rules for Healthy Living

a9b5fd52e4655cfccb31125705ac6d43 I ran across these on Pinterest and thought you might enjoy them. The only one I would like to add is: Less Driving, More Biking.

 

Tony

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March 14, 2014 · 7:17 am

Is There a Risk to High Protein Diets?

When this blog started it was very much a weight loss commentary. That was six years ago. I hope by now the concept has expanded to the point where – healthy eating is healthy aging. In other words we are able to maintain our weight be eating intelligently and working out regularly. There are no fad diets here. No low carb, high carb, low protein, no fat, etc. Eat balanced meals and exercise and you will be fine.

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For those reasons, I was struck by a piece inthe Wall Street Journal in the Personal Journal section entitled The Risk of High-Protein Diets.

By my reckoning the risk of any of diets like this is that they work over the short run, but don’t provide lasting health gains, they often result in damages to the body of the person depriving himself of sufficient amounts of a vital nutrient and lastly, the person just quits doing the diet and gains back the pounds.

As a senior citizen interested in living longer, I want to know about subjects like “Optimal protein intake for older adults” which was the name a panel cited in the Journal piece.

“In the human study, those consuming high levels of plant-based protein had a threefold increase in cancer mortality but no higher rate of overall mortality. Consumers of animal protein had big increases in both. That suggests, as other research has shown, that there may be benefits from minimizing consumption of animal-based protein. “These results indicate that respondents ages 50 to 65 consuming moderate to high levels of animal protein display a major increase in the risks for overall and cancer mortality,” the researchers concluded.

“For subjects 66 and older, the opposite proved true: Higher protein consumption was associated with greater survival. Gerontologists say this makes sense, because the ability to absorb protein appears to diminish in the aging body, requiring perhaps greater consumption.

“Even then, though, the takeaway is somewhat complicated. Americans tend to consume the bulk of their protein at dinner, and the body isn’t always able to process an entire day’s worth in one sitting, said Dr. Volpi, who wasn’t involved in either study. “It appears you can better use the protein you need if you distribute it across three meals, especially if you are a senior,” she said.”

My takeaway from this as a senior is that I want to consume more plant protein than animal and spread my consumption over three meals rather than rely on a big dinner. I understand that because I am over 65, I have to consume slightly more protein because my aging body doesn’t digest it as well.

Tony

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Daily Sugar Guidelines Lowered – WHO

Here’s some news that doesn’t need sugar coating. The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) wants people to restrict their sugar intake to no more than five percent of their daily calorie intake from the current recommended 10 percent. Put into familiar usage, five percent of our calories comes to around six teaspoons of sugar a day, or 24 grams. That’s less than the amount of sugar in a can of soda.

Sugar

These guidelines are not directed at the sugar intrinsic in whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

They are directed at glucose and fructose, like table sugar, honey, syrup and fruit juices.

The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of sugar a day for women and 38 grams for men. I posted What does the American Heart Association say about Sugar for a good rundown on calories from sugar.

Just a reminder McDonald’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade has 67 grams of sugar in the 16 ounce size. That is 15+ teaspoons full.

Check out Why McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is a sugar monster.

This recommendation from the WHO is not a welcome one in some quarters. In 2004 when the WHO tried to include the ten percent sugar limit recommendation in its Global Strategy for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the U.S. Congress — under pressure from the sugar industry lobby — threatened to withdraw U.S. funding for the agency. The direct reference to the ten percent figure was removed from the final report.

Sugar contributes to obesity, tooth decay and diabetes to name a few. Check out the tags at the right to read more on these important topics.

I hope you can decide for yourself that you don’t need to consume as much sugar as is offered by fast food and processed food purveyors whether the WHO recommendation is adopted or not.

Tony

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Harvard Offers 7 Ways to Snack Smarter

“I love to snack. I bet you do, too. Yet, some 60 percent of us are overweight including 30 percent who are actually obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition. I fear that snacking is the reason for a good deal of those statistics.” Such is the opening paragraph from my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Check it out for lots more on this important topic.

Now comes the Harvard HEALTHbeat with their list of 7 Ways to Snack Smarter. Their item says, “It’s a great idea to choose snacks wisely. But many foods that seem to be a great nutrition value aren’t. Bran muffins and cereal bars can be packed with unhealthy fats and added sugar. Fat-free foods often contain lots of added salt and sugar.”
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I put it in the blog because it has some excellent suggestions. Regular readers know I am a big fan of nuts, seeds and grains as they are super nutritious.

Here are Harvard’s 7 tips for smarter snacking:

1. Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks — such as whole-grain low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power.

2. Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole-grain toast topped with low-sugar jam? Low-sugar granola also makes a quick snack. I think this has great possibilities.

3. Try a “hi-low” combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks.

4. Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small. Because nuts and seeds leave you full, they actually can result in your eating less.

5. The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied. I think that  ‘satisfied feeling’ goes a long way toward weight control.

6. Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.

7. You can take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

Harvard offered these tips in a marketing flyer on their 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating.

Tony

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How Healthy is Tea Drinking?

A lot of Americans consider tea to be the weak step sister of coffee. But, in the rest of the world that is not the case.

Tea U.S.A. Inc. says, “Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80 percent of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.

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“In 2012, Americans consumed well over 79 billion servings of tea, or over 3.60 billion gallons. About 84 percent of all tea consumed was Black Tea, 15 percent was Green Tea, and a small remaining amount was Oolong and White Tea.

“On any given day, over one half of the American population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.”

So, we drink a lot of tea. It tastes good, but how healthy is the habit?

According to some recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tea drinking is very good, indeed.

Citing these studies, Dr. Marc Siegel of the NYU Langone Medical Center said that tea drinking is very good for bone health, it improves concentration and decreases the chances of some cancers, it helps the G.I. tract and has a positive impact on prostate cancer.

To reap these benefits a person needs to drink about three cups of tea a day. The only caveat is that the person not have high blood pressure or other health issue that could be adversely affected by tea.

Dr. David Samadi of Lenox Hill Hospital also noted that tea drinking reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increases HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). A healthy one-two punch.

Tea drinking benefits both the brain and the body, he said. There are cognitive benefits that actually create new brain cells. On the other hand, tea drinking also reduces food cravings so it is a great help in weight loss and weight control.

What is it that makes tea, any kind of tea, so beneficial to our bodies? Tea has some of the best antioxidants and flavinoids. Catechins which are very plentiful in green tea help in weight loss.

These antioxidants are also found in fruits and vegetables. So, if you aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, you can catch up somewhat by drinking tea.

Dr. Samadi specified the EGCG as among the best antioxidants and they are found in tea. They actually slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s, he said. EGCG is short for epigallocatechin-3-gallate.

I am a fan of tea, in general, but mostly drink green tea. I have posted on it several times: Dr. Oz on Chia seeds and green tea, Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day and every day, Green tea helps to fight flu.

Slainte.

Tony

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Do I Have to go on Statin Drugs for the Rest of my Life to Fight High Cholesterol?

“Millions more Americans could end up taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs under new recommendations released Tuesday that advocate a dramatic shift in the way doctors assess and treat cardiovascular risk,” according to the Washington Post.

“Roughly a quarter of Americans age 45 and older already take statins, which include familiar brands such as Lipitor and Zocor, to treat high cholesterol. But that number could grow sharply under far-reaching guidelines detailed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.”

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The leading cause of death for Americans is heart disease. About one in every four deaths in the United States, or about 600,000 annually, are attributed to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cholesterol helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from food. Too much cholesterol in your body increases your risk of getting heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic says, “Statins work by slowing your body’s production of cholesterol. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs by digesting food and producing new cells on its own. When this natural production is slowed, your body begins to draw the cholesterol it needs from the food you eat, lowering your total cholesterol.

“Statins may affect not only your liver’s production of cholesterol but also several enzymes in muscle cells that are responsible for muscle growth. The effects of statins on these cells may be the cause of muscle aches.”

While much media attention has been paid to the doctors’ recommendations that more Americans need to take statin drugs, not much has been written about lifestyle changes like simply improving our diet and personal health in the first place so we don’t need the drugs to save us from our reckless habits.

Some good clear-headed recommendations did come from the press conference, however. “Our recommendation is that doctors prescribe a diet to achieve reduced caloric intake as part of a comprehensive lifestyle intervention,” guideline co-author Dr. Donna Ryan, a professor emeritus at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, said during the press conference. The diet should be tailored to patient preferences and any drugs they take, she said. Continue reading

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