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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Keeping the pounds off (after weight loss)

10/24/2010

 

Once a person loses excess weight, the next great battle is keeping those pounds off!

A recent study from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found that people who consistently logged in to an interactive Internet version of a personal coach were able to keep the weight off.  The key word is “consistently.”

For 6 months before the trial, men and women reduced their caloric intake and exercised in an effort to shed pounds. Those who lost at least 19 pounds were randomly assigned to 3 groups for weight maintenance. One group was self-directed, another contacted a health counselor once a month, and a third group relied on an interactive website.  All of the participants were obese or overweight, and were taking medications for hypertension or high cholesterol.

Those men and women assigned to a personal coach regained the least amount of weight overall, but the ongoing expense sometimes does not make this an option.

At the end of 30 months, the people assigned to a personal coach regained on average 10 pounds, while the web site group regained 12.5 pounds and the self-directed group regained 14 pounds.

The men and women assigned to the weight-management website who visited the site once a month maintained more of their weight loss than patients who checked in sporadically.  On the Web site, participants could record their weight, caloric intake, and minutes of exercise and compare that information with the goals they had set for themselves. A bulletin board allowed them to read other peoples’ success stories and share their own, as well as get advice from experts on exercise and behavior change.

A weight-management web site appears to be a good alternative to a personal coach for those who may not be able to afford personal coaching fees.  You should look for a site where you can enter data on weight, caloric consumption, and exercise, and receive reminders if you forget to supply this information.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in J Med Internet Res. online July 27, 2010. 

 


Workplace Weight Loss

04/12/2010

Office work has always been considered sedentary and therefore causes workers to put on the pounds.  What if you were able to lose weight at those “desk jobs?”

 Dr. James A. Levine and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic performed a small study with 18 Minneapolis office workers. The result was a total of 156 pounds lost in 6 months! Dr. Levine’s approach focused on “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT. This is the natural burning of energy that occurs with everyday movements like standing, moving, bending, turning, etc.  According to Levine, minor lifestyle changes can boost your daily NEAT by 20%.

 In the study, typical desks were exchanged for a desk attached to a treadmill and walking tracks were installed around the perimeter of the office space so meetings can be held while walking.  This activity is not considered exercise, but falls into the NEAT category due to the slower pace and amount of energy use. Other changes in the office included mobile headsets for phones, space for games like the Wii and nutritional counseling was provided.

The average weight loss was 9 pounds each with 90% of the weight lost being fat loss. The employee’s triglyceride levels also decreased by 37%.  Of the employees who wanted to lose weight, the average weight loss was 15.5 pounds.

In addition to the positive health effects for the individual employees, the company also benefitted.  Workplace productivity actually increased and after 3 months corporate revenue had increased by 10%.

The study was very small and is awaiting publication.  What it proves, though, is all extra activity counts! You do not need to go to a gym for hours to burn calories.  An extra 100-150 calories per hour can be burned by incorporating physical activity into your work routine. 

So, talk to your bosses, managers, and business owners about incorporating some of these small changes at your workplace.  Both you and your employer will benefit!

 If you are looking for more tips about Heart Healthy Lifestyles visit our website www.heart-strong.com and check out our books “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart”


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.


You Are What You Drink Blog Talk Radio Show

11/23/2009


You Are What You Drink

11/21/2009

So you are probably wondering…..do the beverages I drink really make that much of a difference? They are only liquids, right? Liquids “go right through me” so how much of an ill effect can they have?

You have probably heard the old saying “You are what you eat?”  Well, it is true, but “You are what you drink” also!

 Beverage Guidance Panel

 The Beverage Guidance Panel is a group of nutrition experts from the United States, which formed several years ago.  The purpose of this group was to review the existing research to determine which beverages are considered healthy.  They based their recommendations on the number of calories, energy and nutrients provided and health benefits of different beverages.  The winner hands down was water.  But that doesn’t mean this is the only beverage we should drink.  The Beverage Guidance Panel developed a six-level pitcher for beverages similar to the food pyramid.  (Published in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Available online at www.beverageguidancepanel.org)

 The average adult should aim to drink 8 glasses of fluids every day.  The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends:

 Water: at least 4 (8 ounce) servings a day for women and 6 (8 ounce) servings a day for men

Unsweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot): up to 8 servings of tea or 4 servings of coffee per day

Low-fat Milk: up to 2 (8 ounce) servings per day

100% fruit or vegetable juice, whole milk, or sports drinks: up to 1 (8 ounce) serving per day

Carbonated soft drinks: up to 1 serving per day

Diet beverages with sugar substitutes: up to 4 (8 ounce) servings per day

Alcoholic beverages: up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men

Liquid or Empty Calories

In the United States about 20% of our daily caloric intake comes from beverages.  The Institute of Medicine recommends men have 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid every day and women have 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid every day. 

 Most experts now believe that part of the obesity problem in this country comes from the increased consumption of calorically sweetened beverages.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2009 issue) suggests that cutting back on liquid calories may actually result in greater weight loss.  The study evaluated 800 adult men and women for fruit and beverage intake and weight changes.  The results were interesting:

Cutting 100 calories a day from liquid intake lead to about a 0.5 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Cutting 100 calories a day from solid food intake lead to about a 0.1 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Eliminating one 12 ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day lead to the greatest weight loss = 1 pound at 6 months and 1.5 pounds at 18 months

 If you are trying to lose weight you must remember to count your liquid calories!!

Should you drink wine?

Is it healthier to drink decaffeinated coffee or tea?

Does grapefruit juice really interfere with some medications?

Can diet soda really make you fat?

Is grape juice as good as red wine in preventing heart disease?

Can vegetable juice help promote weight loss?

Is organic milk really healthier?

These are just some of the questions we answer in our eBook….

 The above is the introduction to our new eBook called “You are What You Drink: A Healthy Beverage Guide” available on smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4830

This eBook contains information on the health benefits and adverse health effects of water, coffee, tea, milk, calorically Sweetened Beverages (soft drinks), non-calorically sweetened beverages (diet soda), fruit and vegetable juices, alcoholic beverages, sports and energy drinks, how to read a nutrition label on a beverage and lots more…

You can visit www.heart-strong.com for more info (Cheers)


Super Obese More Likely to Diet After Weight-Loss Surgery

10/25/2009

weight-loss-surgery

Just how safe is bariatric (weight-loss) surgery?

Obese people usually undergo weight-loss surgery to prevent health problems related to increased body fat.  A study published in the October 2009 issue of Archive of Surgery found that morbidly obese patients and those with chronic health problems were more likely to die after weight-loss surgery.  This study followed 856 men and women for one year after surgery.  A total of 54 people died, 1.3% within 30 days of surgery and 3.4% within a year.  Thirty of the 54 deaths occurred in people who were super obese (morbidly obese).  Super obesity was defined as a BMI of 40 or greater, normal BMI is < 25.  BMI is a weight measurement based on height and weight.  (To determine your BMI visit http://heart-strong.com/calculators.html)

 The researchers suggest that the higher death rate in morbidly obese patients may be due to the increased risk of wound complications, blood clotting and increased procedural complexity related to excess abdominal fat.  The benefits and risks or bariatric surgery must be closely evaluated, especially in people who are morbidly obese or who have congestive heart failure, COPD or complicated diabetes.

 For more heart healthy info visit http://www.heart-strong.com