Eat More, Weigh Less

11/21/2011

from the Diet and Fitness Health Center

Do you always feel as if you should lose a few pounds? Many of us think of ourselves as being overweight—even fat—when we’re not close to that mark. Yet we watch the numbers on the scale and worry if our weight registers a pound or two (or kilogram) above what we’ve decided the right number ought to be.

That’s because depriving ourselves of food seems an inevitable part of losing weight. When we look at our dinner plate while dieting, we often see more plate than dinner.

No wonder losing weight feels like a battle against ourselves. We’re fighting our natural biological and psychological needs to have our appetites satisfied. Yet it’s possible to eat ample meals, feel full, control hunger, have a nutritious diet and still lose weight or maintain weight loss.

Less is more

Scientists who study the body’s feeling of fullness, called satiety, have shown that foods with high concentrations of calories in each portion increase our body weight and the overall amount of food we eat. The high energy density of foods such as fried onion rings or homemade chocolate chip cookies makes them taste appealing, but they don’t create feelings of fullness until you’ve overeaten.

By contrast, foods with low energy density (vegetables and fruits, nonfat milk, cooked grains, soups, stews, lean protein), have fewer calories, but make us feel more full. They also promote weight loss.

Since most of us eat about the same weight of food every day, it makes a difference whether that food has a high or low energy density. If you combine big portions with high energy density—such as happens in many fast-food selections—you’re cramming your daily food intake with too many calories.

Why water works

The key to keeping energy density low is water—not the stuff you drink from those cute little bottles, but the water content of foods. According to researcher Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan (Harper Collins, 2005) and The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan (Quill, 2000, HarperTorch, 2003) foods with low energy density are loaded with water. When you eat them, you can increase the volume of food you consume for the same, or fewer, calories.

To understand the influence of water on food volume—and its ability to dilute calories—consider that for a 100-calorie snack, you could eat either two cups of water-rich grapes or one-quarter cup of raisins (dried grapes). The volume of grapes you can eat for 100 calories is a more satisfying portion.

The most energy dense component of food is fat, at nine calories per gram. Water has zero calories per gram. So if you cut fat a bit and add more water (with vegetables, fruit or broth) in your cooking, you reduce energy density significantly.

Eating more fiber is also important for lowering energy density. High-fiber foods, such as whole-grain cereals and breads, help you feel full longer.

Calculating energy density

Understanding the energy density of foods and using it to guide eating choices, Rolls says, “can help people eat the way the research suggests they should be eating—not only for weight management, but for optimal health.”

Here’s a simple method she offers for determining the energy density (calories per gram) of foods you buy in the supermarket:

  • Look at the Nutrition Facts label on the food package.
  • Find the serving-size weight in grams and the calories per serving.
  • If the calories are a smaller number than the grams, the food has low energy density. Feel free to enjoy satisfying amounts of that food.
  • If the calories are equal to, or twice as much, as the grams, eat moderately and watch your portion size.
  • If the calories are more than twice the grams, limit your portions.

You’ll discover that dry foods, like crackers, have high energy density (calories more than twice the grams). Surprisingly, fat-free pretzels have the same energy density as cheese. Munching on these without controlling your portions can quickly add weight.

“Do a little pre-planning,” says Jo-Anne Rizzotto, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E., a registered and licensed dietitian at Joslin Diabetes Center, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, Boston. “Fill snack baggies with cut-up vegetables or cut-up melon, strawberries or any fruit and line them up in the refrigerator so you can just grab them to go for lunch or snacking on the run.”

To add fiber and lower energy density, Rizzotto recommends looking for breads with at least three grams of fiber per serving and cereals or starches with at least five grams of fiber per serving. In recipes, she suggests using smaller amount of potatoes and using more vegetables like green beans, spinach, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.

Add another course

It may seem hard to believe, but when you add an additional course to your meal—increasing food volume—you can reduce the overall number of calories you consume.

Rolls and her colleagues conducted a study in which women were given a first course of a large portion (three cups) of low-energy-dense salad. The salad was made with greens, vegetables, nonfat Italian dressing and reduced-fat cheese. Following that, the participants ate a main course of pasta.

Eating the salad boosted the women’s feelings of fullness and reduced their total meal calorie intake. In other studies, having a first-course soup instead of the salad produced similar results.

Why does this work? “You get an awful lot of food without many calories,” Rolls explains, “which then helps to displace the calories in the next course of higher energy dense foods.” Simply drinking more water doesn’t have the same effect.

Tips for low-energy-density eating

  • Want to add a starter salad to your lunch or dinner? Remember to keep the energy density low. That means you can fill your bowl to the brim with greens, veggies, and low-fat dressing, but use only a very small amount—if any—of full-fat cheese or dressings, croutons or bacon bits.
  • When choosing soup as a first course or snack, make it broth-based, such as chicken with rice or vegetable soup. Creamed soups, chowders and hearty bean soups have more calories and higher energy density. They’re better as main dishes.
  • Double the vegetables in your favorite recipes, from chili and beef stew to pasta or chicken salad.
  • Watch what you drink. Each regular soda adds 150 unneeded calories to your daily total. Instead, choose water, tea, coffee (not the fat-laden specialty drinks!), diet soda, or add a splash of fruit juice to seltzer. Alcohol has a high energy density, so limit your daily consumption to one glass or less.

Full-plate menus

In The Volumetrics Eating Plan, Rolls provides satisfying, 1,400-calorie-a-day menus (and recipes), with choices based on the principles of energy density—foods that are rich in water, high in fiber, low fat, or lean protein, with low-calorie beverages and portion control for high-energy-dense selections.

Here are her suggested menus for two days:

MENU #1:  
   
Breakfast: 1 cup wheat bran flakes
1/2 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 cup 1% milk
   
Lunch: Roasted portobello mushroom sandwich on a Kaiser roll
1/2 cup tabbouleh
1 pear
   
Dinner: Sautéed skinless chicken breast with vegetables and Canadian
bacon
2/3 cup brown rice
1-3/4 cups mixed greens and fennel salad
1 cup strawberries tossed with a bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar
   
MENU #2:  
   
Breakfast: 1 packet instant oatmeal
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup 1% milk
   
Lunch: One wedge of vegetable pizza, made with nonfat mozzarella
1-2/3 cups chilled gazpacho
1 snack cup, nonfat chocolate pudding
   
Dinner: Baked fish fillets with sautéed vegetables
2/3 cup oven-roasted potatoes
3/4 cup roasted asparagus
fresh fruit dipped in chocolate fondue

 

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit

the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

 

 

Healthy Living: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

 

Diet and Fitness Health Center: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/diet-and-fitness
 

Nutrition: www.healthywomen.org/condition/nutrition

 

Weight Management: www.healthywomen.org/condition/weight-management

 

 

© 2011 HealthyWomen.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.

 

 

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Water Wisdom

08/14/2011

from the Healthy Living area

You’ve heard all the advice: Drink eight glasses of water a day. Stay properly hydrated while exercising. Sports drinks aren’t just for professional athletes.

Yet you’re still unsure whether you’re drinking the right amount for good health.
How much fluid should you really be taking in daily? Do you need to add extra when you’re physically active? And is too much water dangerous?

Everyone’s body needs water. We lose it by sweating, excretion, or simply not taking in enough through foods—like fruits and vegetables—and drinks. Mild dehydration (losing less than two percent of your body weight due to inadequate fluids) can cause health problems, including dizziness and headache.

To keep your body supplied with the fluid it needs, especially when exercising, follow these tips:

  • Get the basics. Most women need eight to nine cups of total fluids a day, including all beverages and the water in foods.
  • Increase according to the weather. High temperatures or humidity outside, heated indoor air and high altitudes all cause you to need more fluids.
  • Add when exercising. Drink one cup of fluids every 15 minutes during physical activity, advises Werner W.K. Hoeger, Ed.D., FACSM, professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Boise State University. He recommends sports drinks over water when exercising because they contain electrolytes—important to provide the minerals necessary for proper cellular metabolism—which is disrupted during physical exertion. Electrolyte replacement also helps maintain proper muscle contraction and cardiac function.
  • Add more for big events. If you’re going to be in a race or charity walk, make sure you drink enough to be well-hydrated the day before, Hoeger adds. Also, drink a glass of fluids an hour before the event.
  • Drinking for two? Pregnant and nursing women need additional fluids. Talk with your health care professional about what’s best for you.
  • Still thirsty? If drinking fluids doesn’t relieve your thirst, you may have a health condition such as diabetes. See your health care professional right away.
  • Too much of a good thing. In very rare cases—chiefly among marathon runners—drinking too much fluid leads to a life-threatening illness, hyponatremia. This occurs when sodium levels in the blood fall too low. It happens chiefly to athletes who have run for more than four hours and gained a lot of weight during the race from drinking.

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit

the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

Fitness: www.healthywomen.org/condition/fitness

Healthy Living: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

Diet and FitnessHealthCenter: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/diet-and-fitness

© 2011 HealthyWomen. All rights reserved. Reprinted withpermission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll free). On the Web at:http://www.HealthyWomen.org.


“Good morning, it’s your healthy wake-up call!”

06/06/2010

Why not join us for a cup of java or cup of tea (both are healthy drinks which we will discuss) and listen to a free health seminar.

“Good morning, it’s your healthy wake-up call!”

Board Certified Nurse Practioners and authors Margie Latrella and Carolyn Strimike will discuss simple steps you can take to improve your general health and lower your risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes.  One person dies every minute of every day from heart disease!!  Don’t be the next one!

About 80% of heart attacks and strokes are PREVENTABLE by making simple lifestyle changes.  Come and learn what they are!

The discussion will be held at the Fine Grind at 101 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, Little Falls on June 23, 2010 at 9:30am

Our two books will also be on sale at the event.  Hope to see you there!


Healthy Habits for College Students: Your Guide to Better Nutrition, Without Giving Up the Midnight Munchies

05/11/2010

Despite the national initiative to eat better and cleaner, the stereotype of the pizza-gnawing, beer-guzzling college student still exists. And it’s not just because all college students are irresponsible or don’t care about their health or their weight. There are lots of factors working against you, students, when it comes to proper nutrition. Most young kids spend all week waiting for pizza night, and when you get to college, you’re allowed to eat it every night if you want. Also, college kids are on tight budgets and opt for fast food and frozen meals when they spend their own money off campus. Finally, students have little control over what they eat in the dining hall: if their school hasn’t stepped up and offered them a healthy, well-balanced meal plan, they still have to eat whatever is served in front of them.

But just because you face nutrition obstacles every day as a college student doesn’t mean you have to accept weight gain, health problems, bad skin, and low energy as a necessary part of your college experience. Below are several simple tips for winning back some of the control over the fight for your wellbeing.

 Get enough sleep: Weird sleep schedules can contribute to even weirder cravings and weight gain. Think about it: the longer you stay up at night, the more you’re likely to eat. Doctors also believe that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain.

Keep a food journal: You don’t have to share it with anyone, so be as honest as you can by writing down every single snack, meal and beverage you eat or drink for one week. Writing it all down will help you discover which food groups you’re ignoring and which times of day you’re more likely to overindulge.

Pay attention to your emotions when you eat: Are you eating because you’re tired, stressed or sad? What kinds of foods to you eat when you feel happy vs. anxious? Identifying your food habits will also help you make proactive, healthier choices.

Only keep healthy snacks in your dorm room: If it’s inconvenient to find ice cream, you’ll be more likely to eat the whole-grain cereal or banana that’s already in your room. Empty out your refrigerator of the junk and keep good food stocked.

Stay nourished all day: You’re more likely to give into cravings if you go too long without food. Keep healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt and nuts in your book bag so that you can keep your mind and body nourished between meals. Always make time for breakfast, too.

Still confused about what to eat? Keep reading for healthy snack ideas when you get the midnight munchies, as well as smarter dining hall choices you can make.

  • Skim-milk string cheese: Great for mindless snacking, since you can pull apart the cheese as you study.
  • Go for grilled: Instead of fried chicken or fish, opt for the grilled version.
  • Get a side salad or side of veggies with lunch and dinner: Eat the veggies first, and limit dressing to a couple of tablespoons of light dressing or vinaigrette dressing.
  • Peanut butter: It’s great comfort food and contains good fats and protein. Just make sure you spread it on fruit, crackers or whole wheat bread and don’t eat it out of the jar.
  • Fruits and veggies: Grapes, baby carrots, watermelon and cherry tomatoes are great study snacks that are low in calories and good for your energy and overall health.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Tim Handorf, who writes on the topics of online college rankings.  He welcomes your comments at his email Id: tim.handorf.20@googlemail.com.


5 Sneaky Eating Tips to Help You Lose Weight

03/20/2010

from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

Dieting is out; smart eating for weight loss is in. That doesn’t mean deprivation. The best ways to cut excess weight include making changes you can live with forever.

Some of those changes are downright sneaky—you can slip them into your daily eating plan without any stress and they’ll help you lose pounds as well as keep the weight off.

1. Take out a ruler and measure your plate. The size of American dinner plates has grown in recent years. Many are now 12 or even 14 inches wide, great for loading up but not so good for encouraging healthy eating. Big plates result in big portions and weight gain, since most of us are conditioned to eat what’s on our plates. Instead, get out those old 9- or 10-inch “luncheon” plates you may have received as hand-me-downs or buy some inexpensive new ones. You’ll serve yourself less food with smaller plates, but still feel satisfied.

2. Make your second helping all veggies. You may have heard the advice to mentally divide your dinner plate in fourths and fill two of those sections with vegetables and/or salad, one with a starch and one with a meat or other protein. That works well as a guideline for smart eating, but if you’re still hungry and want more, commit to making your second helping all veggies. For seconds, start with one-fourth of the plate or less. Eating more cooked or salad vegetables increases your feeling of fullness without adding a lot of calories—so long as you don’t butter the vegetables and use only nonfat or low-fat salad dressings.

3. Serve from the stove, not at the table. Although the image of filled serving bowls on the family dinner table is associated with well-being, serving food directly from pots on a stove or counter is better for healthy weight, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. The reason this sneaky tip works for weight control is simple: When you sit and look at food, you take more and eat more. For a modified approach, reduce traffic jams at the stove and promote better food choices by keeping only the cooked vegetables and salad on the dining table.

4. Eat breakfast every day. More reason to wake up and smell the coffee: Eating breakfast improves weight loss efforts and helps keep weight off long-term. When you skip that starter meal of the day, hunger hits stronger, often well before lunchtime. To quiet hunger pangs quickly, you might reach for something calorie-loaded without much nutritional benefit, such as a doughnut (or two!), muffin or bagel. Whole-grain cereals, like oatmeal, will carry you through the morning. Other options: have nonfat yogurt, eggs or peanut butter for protein, with whole-grain toast.

5. Have a tall, thin one. Time to hide the wide glasses! Dr. Wansink and his research colleagues have shown that you’ll pour less and drink less (thus cutting calories)–yet still be satisfied—when you use tall, skinny glasses for serving beverages. You can still use your wide glasses for water and other calorie-free drinks.

For more on diet and nutrition, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

References

Wansink B, van Ittersum K. “Portion Size Me: Downsizing Our Consumption Norms.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2007;107(7):1103-1106.

Ello-Martin, JA, Roe LS, Ledikwe JH, et al. “Dietary Energy Density in the Treatment of Obesity: A Year-Long Trial Comparing Two Weight-Loss Diets.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(6):1465-1477.

Raynor, HA, Jeffery RW, Ruggiero AM, et al. “Weight Loss Strategies Associated with BMI in Overweight Adults with Type 2 Diabetes at Entry Into the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) Trial.” Diabetes Care. 2008;31(7):1299-1304.

Wansink B, van Ittersum K. “Shape of Glass and Amount of Alcohol Poured: Comparative Study of Effect of Practice and Concentration.” British Medical Journal. 2005;331(7531):1512-1514.

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.


National Nutrition Month: Should we eat Fresh, Canned or Frozen Fruits/Vegetables?

03/14/2010

 

When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, many factors play a role in which types consumers choose, including nutritional value. Are there significant differences among fresh, frozen, canned or dried? The American Dietetic Association says no matter what form they take, fruits and vegetables are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time. “While fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended, this does not mean they are the only healthy option,” says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Ximena Jimenez. “Research shows frozen and canned foods can be as nutritious as fresh. In fact, since some nutrients in canned produce are more easily absorbed in the body, these can sometimes be better nutrition choices than fresh.”

 March is National Nutrition Month®, when ADA and its members reinforce the importance of a healthy eating plan, which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. The theme for 2010 is “Nutrition from the Ground Up.”

“This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is a great reminder for eating fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans to create a healthy diet and understanding the role of nutrition in getting and staying healthy,” Jimenez says.

Fresh, canned or frozen, Jimenez offers ideas for getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, no matter what form your produce takes:

For canned fruits and vegetables:

  • Get the juice. “For canned fruit, look for descriptions on the label like ‘packed in its own juices,’ ‘packed in fruit juice,’ ‘unsweetened’ or ‘in syrup.’ Fruits packed in juices contain less added sugar and fewer calories than fruits packed in syrup,” Jimenez says.
  • Pinch the salt. If you are cutting back on sodium, look for descriptions such as “no salt added” and “reduced sodium” on the labels of canned vegetables.
  • Savor the flavor. Use canned fruits and vegetables immediately after opening for maximum flavor and nutritional value. “Handle leftovers as you would any perishable food,” Jimenez says. “Remove them from the can, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer to retain taste and nutritional quality.”

For frozen varieties:

  • Forgo the fat. When buying frozen vegetables, control fat and calories by choosing plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces.
  • Check the label. “Frozen fruits come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties, so make sure to check the label and choose unsweetened if you are limiting your sugar intake. Frozen fruit bars also make a nutritious snack, but read the label to learn if they’re made with real fruit juice,” Jimenez says.

Dried fruits:

  • Pick the plain. “Dried fruit contains lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate, but also more calories per serving than fresh fruit because of natural and sometimes added sugar,” Jimenez says. “Also, some dried fruits are preserved with sulfite, which can trigger allergic reactions. So read the package label to make sure your choice is in line with your healthful and safe eating plan.”
  • Have a handful. “Dried fruit is a great portable snack. It can also jazz up salads, pancakes, bread recipes or a bowl of cereal,” Jimenez says.

“There are thousands of varieties of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on grocery store shelves, which makes it easy to find foods that suit your tastes and fit into a healthy eating plan,” Jimenez says. “And it’s always fun to try a new food or find a new way to cook your old favorites.”

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org for more info.


The Power of the Tomato

12/22/2009

We wanted to tell you about a new website Tomato Products Wellness Council at www.tomatowellness.com. You can download recipes (the Chili Colorado sounds very good – I plan to try this very soon), nutritional information, scientific studies and the latest research findings about processed tomato products.

More than 200 scientific studies have demonstrated the power of tomato products in promoting good health and preventing cardiovascular disease, various forms of cancer, osteoporosis, sun damage while reducing inflammation levels and more.  Processed tomatoes are the number one source for the powerful antioxidant lycopene in the American diet.  Tomato products are healthy, affordable and popular in a variety of cuisines making consuming tomato products one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to improve your health.  Add more red to your meals with soup, juice, salsa, sauce, paste, ketchup, diced and whole canned tomatoes.

The Tomato Products Wellness Council is a voluntary council of growers, processors and well-known brands that leads the tomato industry effort on scientific research. The Council has identified nearly 500 scientific studies that demonstrate the health benefits of a diet rich in tomato products.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com