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.

 

 


Going Gluten-Free

05/29/2010

from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

What’s up with gluten? You might not have even heard of gluten until recently when foods without this grain protein started being promoted on store shelves.

People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, suffer difficult gastrointestinal symptoms that are triggered by gluten. Those individuals must avoid eating or drinking any gluten, which isn’t easy.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. (Never heard of spelt either? It’s a grain from ancient times that’s highly nutritious.) Gluten occurs in a wide range of foods. Some of these you might expect, such as baked goods and pizza, and some you might not, like ice cream (gluten is commonly used as a thickening ingredient). Food labels now must state if a product contains gluten or was made in a facility that processes wheat.

In addition to those with celiac disease—which is being diagnosed more frequently as doctors become more aware of the condition—others don’t have celiac but do have a heightened sensitivity to digesting gluten. They, too, are helped by avoiding gluten foods.

Fortunately, there are many naturally gluten-free foods, such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, eggs and more. Grains and starches that can be eaten on a gluten-free diet include corn, amaranth, flax, buckwheat (not a wheat), rice, quinoa, potatoes, soy and teff (an Ethiopian grain used for flour).

When eating gluten-free, it’s helpful to consult a registered dietitian to achieve a good nutritional balance in your food selections. Your healthcare provider or a local hospital’s nutrition counseling department should be able to refer you.

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

References

Harvard Medical School . “Getting Out the Gluten.” Harvard Health Letter. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2009/June/Getting-out-the-gluten.

American Dietetic Association. “Do I Need to Follow a Gluten-Free Diet for Life?” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10594&terms=gluten. Accessed April 20, 2010.

American Dietetic Association. “Celiac Disease.” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=5542&terms=celiac. Accessed April 21, 2010.

American Dietetic Association. “If You Have Celiac Disease: Grains and Plant Foods to Include on Your Grocery List.” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967395. Accessed April 21, 2010.

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


May is National Salad Month

05/17/2010

 Well I have to admit this is the first time I ever heard of “salad month” – seems like everyone and everything has a month these days.  I am a fan of the salad so I figured why not write a short post to help celebrate National Salad Month.

Not all salads are created equal. Choose lettuces that are darker in color than ordinary iceberg lettuce. Romaine, Boston, baby spinach and other leafy greens can give a salad a nutrient boost as well as variety.

Be careful about salad dressings, though. Some dressings can pack a calorie and fat gram wallop. Choose lower fat and lower sodium dressings, or use a sprinkle of good olive oil and vinegar. Even simple lemon slices squeezed over a fresh salad can give it a special twist, as well as the extra nutritional boost that a quick shot of vitamin C can give you.

So why not join us and celebrate National Salad Month, here are a few healthy salad recipes to try…

White Bean Salad

Serves 7
Serving Size:  1/2 cup

1-15 oz can navy or cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp Scallions, sliced
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  For the best flavor, let salad sit in refrigerator for an hour.

Calories:  77
Fat:  0.3g

Grilled Asparagus & Sweet Pepper Salad

Servings – (4)

Ingredients
1 pound of fresh asparagus spears
1 medium orange bell pepper
1 small or medium red onion
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard

Method:

·         preheat grill to 375 degrees

·         prepare vegetables for grilling by trimming off rough ends of asparagus, cutting the pepper in half and removing the seeds, and slicing the onion.

·         grill asparagus for only 2 or three minutes. (you still want it crunchy).continue grilling the onion and the pepper until they are flavored but still crunchy. place in refrigerator to cool down.

·         zest the lemon, lime, and orange and set aside.

·         squeeze juice from the lemon, lime, and orange and set aside.

·         combine vinegar , dijon mustard, salt, pepper, citrus juices.

·         chop the onion and pepper then cut the asparagus into thirds.

·         combine dijon vinaigrette, citrus zest, and vegetables, then toss until evenly coated.

64.25 Calories
3.18 grams Protein
.78 grams Fat

Egg Salad

Ingredients

8 ounces Egg Beaters
2 ounces Fat Free Mayonnaise
1/8 tsp White Pepper
½ tsp Red Wine Vinegar

Method:

1.        Scramble egg beaters according to package directions

2.        Cool eggs for 30 minutes

3.        Combine egg beaters, FF Mayonnaise, white pepper, and red wine vinegar.

Yield: 5 – 2 ounce servings

Nutritional Information:

30 Kcalories
4 grams Protein
.06 grams Fat
2.75 grams Carbs:

Keeping your family happy and health is important, and at Wellspring, they make it easy to enjoy a delicious meal without the guilt!  This May for Salad month, try these healthy salads or visit the Wellspring website for more delicious recipes!

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


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.


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.


Healthy Holiday Tips

12/12/2009


Dangers of Fried Fish

11/26/2009

We’ve all heart that fish is heart healthy and high in omega 3 fatty acids.  The fish that has the highest concentration of omega 3 fatty acids includes salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and anchovies.  But does the cooking method affect the health benefits of fish?

The Multiethnic Cohort living in Hawaii and Los Angeles followed over 82,000 men and 103,000 women aged 45 to 75 years of age (over 11 years) with a history of heart disease to answer this question.  The amount of fish and soy consumed was tracked as well as the preparation method.  Men and women with higher omega 3 intake had an overall lower risk of death due to heart disease.  Salted and dried fish increased heart disease risk in women.  Fried fish did not provide heart health benefits in men or women.  Baking and boiling fish lead to the healthiest omega 3 levels.  The study also found that adding low sodium soy sauce or tofu to fish enhanced the benefits.  This study did not take into consideration the intake of fish-oil supplementation.

 So enjoy your fish but avoid frying.

(Presented at 2009 AHA Scientific Sessions)

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com or our other blog Healthy Living with Heartstrong http://www.heart-strong.com/blog2/