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Archive for July, 2012

Interesting study shows that it is still calories in and calories out that determines our weight.

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Here is an interesting article reported by CNN that shows what we have all been saying: it is calories in and calories out, even if they are bad calories. While we certainly don’t advocate a diet such as this it is an interesting reminder that calorie balance determines weight. Ideally he should have been eating 1800 calories in good quality food not junk food. Enjoy the article!

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

By Madison Park , CNN November 8, 2010 8:40 a.m. EST

(CNN) — Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food. The premise held up: On his “convenience store diet,” he shed 27 pounds in two months.

For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub’s pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds. But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.

Haub’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

“That’s where the head scratching comes,” Haub said. “What does that mean? Does that mean I’m healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we’re missing something?”

Despite his temporary success, Haub does not recommend replicating his snack-centric diet.

“I’m not geared to say this is a good thing to do,” he said. “I’m stuck in the middle. I guess that’s the frustrating part. I can’t give a concrete answer. There’s not enough information to do that.”

Two-thirds of his total intake came from junk food. He also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily. And he ate vegetables, typically a can of green beans or three to four celery stalks.

Families who live in food deserts have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, so they often rely on the kind of food Haub was eating.

“These foods are consumed by lots of people,” he said. “It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic.”

Haub’s body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent. This posed the question: What matters more for weight loss, the quantity or quality of calories?

His success is probably a result of caloric reduction, said Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietitian in Chicago, Illinois.

“It’s a great reminder for weight loss that calories count,” she said. “Is that the bottom line to being healthy? That’s another story.”

Blatner, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said she’s not surprised to hear Haub’s health markers improved even when he loaded up on processed snack cakes.

Being overweight is the central problem that leads to complications like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, she said.

How well are you managing your diabetes?

“When you lose weight, regardless of how you’re doing it — even if it’s with packaged foods, generally you will see these markers improve when weight loss has improved,” she said.

Before jumping on the Ding Dong bandwagon, Blatner warned of health concerns.”There are things we can’t measure,” said Blatner, questioning how the lack of fruits andvegetables could affect long-term health. “How much does that affect the risk for cancer?

We can’t measure how diet changes affect our health.”

On August 25, Haub, 41, started his cake diet focusing on portion control.”I’m eating to the point of need and pushing the plate or wrapper away,” he said.He intended the trial to last a month as a teaching tool for his class. As he lostweight, Haub continued the diet until he reached a normal body mass index.

Before his Twinkie diet, he tried to eat a healthy diet that included whole grains, dietary fiber, berries and bananas, vegetables and occasional treats like pizza.

“There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy,” Haub said. “It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much.”

He maintained the same level of moderate physical activity as before going on the diet. (Haub does not have any ties to the snack cake companies.)

To avoid setting a bad example for his kids, Haub ate vegetables in front of his family. Away from the dinner table, he usually unwrapped his meals.

Haub monitored his body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, and updated his progress on his Facebook page, Professor Haub’s diet experiment.

To curb calories, he avoided meat, whole grains and fruits. Once he started adding meat into the diet four weeks ago, his cholesterol level increased.

Haub plans to add about 300 calories to his daily intake now that he’s done with the diet. But he’s not ditching snack cakes altogether. Despite his weight loss, Haub feels ambivalence.

“I wish I could say the outcomes are unhealthy. I wish I could say it’s healthy. I’m not confident enough in doing that. That frustrates a lot of people. One side says it’s irresponsible. It is unhealthy, but the data doesn’t say that.”

2012 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Prevention’s 13 Simple Rules for Dining Out

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This is an excellent article with tip on dining out. Tucson is a resort town and is known for it’s many fantastic restaurants. In my experience, whenever I make a special request for food preparation at virtually any Tucson restaurant I have visited, they have bent over backward trying to accommodate my request. Additionally, your PTI nutritionist has visited many local restaurants and has broken down their menus for you. Just ask for a copy of your favorite restaurant. If we have not done them yet she will be happy to add them to our lengthy list. Make sure you are using your Personal Training Institute nutritionist to maximize your training experience!!

Weight Loss Tips: Cut Calories at Restaurants
13 Simple Rules for Dining Out on a Diet
Follow these guidelines to enjoy a healthy, satisfying meal anywhere, even when you’re watching calories
By Dr. Mike Moreno
Dine Out—and Still Lose!
No one stays home anymore. Where are we? We’re sitting in restaurants. On average, Americans dine out four times a week, according to the National Restaurant Association. As we eat out more and more, the percentage of obese people increases, while their wallets decrease. We spend $1 billion a day dining out. The Census Bureau’s population clock has the U.S. at 310,751,194 people, so if we spend some $365 billion a year eating out, that averages out to $1,117 per person per year, a large portion of which could be savings if you ate at home instead.
How America Got So Fat (And So Sick)

Yikes! I guess you have to ask yourself if you want to be overweight or rich.

Unrestrained, this type of eating out is the perfect recipe for obesity and disease down the road. But we’ve trained ourselves to eat out. We’re just too busy to cook.

So what’s the answer? Eat only steamed veggies? Refuse to dine out? On the contrary. You can dine out successfully and enjoy your experience by learning how to navigate any menu. Here are some tips that will help you eat smart while dining out.

1. Know Before You Go
With most restaurants these days, you can go online and look at their menus. See what dishes look healthy—grilled items, salads, vegetable sides, and so forth. Decide before you go what you’ll order, and stick to your decision once you get there. Collect the menus in the restaurants you frequent so that you have them to refer to.
2. Sit in a Quiet Spot
Nobody knows this, but people who sit in the more distracting parts of restaurants (by a window or in front of a TV) eat considerably more. Commotion makes it easy to lose track of how much you’re putting in your mouth. If you’re making a reservation, request a quiet table. If you walk in and are offered a table in a busier spot, ask for one away from the action. It’s worth the wait.
3. Be the First to Order
You’ve decided to pick something light off the menu, but when your friend orders the decadent steak frites, you start to rethink your boring grilled salmon. To sidestep the temptation of your friend’s less healthy dish, place your order first. If you can’t order first, then make your decision, close the menu, and repeat your selection to yourself to help you stick to it. If you’re dining at a restaurant you visit often, just ask for your favorite healthy option without ever opening the menu.
4. Have It Your Way
Before ordering your selections, ask the server about the details of the meal. This will help you make more informed choices. Some questions to ask include:

How is this dish prepared? Can it be modified?

What ingredients are used?

Do you have any low-fat or low-calorie options?

What comes with this meal?

Can I make substitutions?

How large are the portions?

Don’t be afraid to make special requests. For example, ask that foods be served with minimal butter, margarine or oil. Ask if a particular dish can be broiled or baked rather than fried. Also, ask that no additional salt be added to your food.

You may also be able to make substitutions. If the ingredients are on the menu, the chef should be able to accommodate your needs. A common substitution is a baked potato for fries, or a double serving of vegetables instead of a starch. If your dish does not arrive at the table the way you ordered it, don’t be afraid to send it back.

If you don’t see something you like, ask for it. As a paying customer, you have the right to eat not only what tastes good, but what’s good for you. Be “weight assertive”!
5. Don’t Be Seduced by Menu Descriptions
Mouth-watering descriptions like “tender, juicy chicken breast” or “ripe heirloom tomatoes” are increasingly common on restaurant menus. Be extra aware of sensory terms like “velvety” mousse and nostalgic ones like “legendary” spaghetti and meatballs. Research shows that words that promote taste and texture or appeal to diners’ emotions can increase sales by 23 percent, and can even influence the way you think the food tastes. Words like these prep your taste buds to expect your chicken to taste juicy, so to some degree it probably will.

Make a game out of picking the colorful adjectives on the menu. See who can find the most in three minutes. If you win, everyone buys you dinner. That’s the rule of the game.
6. Stay Away from Snacking
The most damage often occurs before the actual meal begins: appetizer trays are loaded with fat. Besides that, they take away your appetite for the healthiest foods to come. Avoid them. Even the freebies like chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants or a basket of rolls and butter at other establishments can pile up fat and calories that you don’t need. If you can’t exercise control, have your server remove the temptation.

7. Make a Meal out of Appetizers
Certain appetizers can be excellent choices for an entree. The portion size of appetizers is often more appropriate than the extremely large portions provided in entrees. Consider healthful options such as steamed seafood (for example, shrimp cocktail), salads that aren’t loaded with high-fat ingredients (such as cheese and bacon), grilled vegetables and broth-based soups. You might also choose to combine the appetizer with a salad; the salad will bulk up the meal so that you feel more satisfied without adding a lot of calories. Be aware that some appetizers, particularly fried fare or items covered in cheeses, oils and cream sauces, may be overloaded with calories and fat. Some fried appetizers can provide a day’s worth of fat to four people!
8. Be Salad Savvy
A salad can be your meal’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on how you toss it. Pile on fresh greens, beans and veggies, but don’t drown it with high-fat dressings or toppings like cheese, eggs, bacon or croutons. Pick calorie-friendly dressings (vinaigrettes, low-cal dressings, even a generous squeeze of fresh lemon).

Remember, too, that you can gain control over the fat and calories in your salad by ordering the dressing on the side. Measure out a small amount of dressing with your spoon, or with thicker salad dressing, use the fork-dipping method. Dip the tines of your salad fork in the dressing, then spear the leaves of your salad. That way, you get a taste of the dressing with each bite of salad.

If you want to be really “good,” carry one of those salad spritzer products in your purse. Order your salad without dressing. Pull out your spritzer and spray your salad. Be aware, though, that this might scare the other patrons, who will think you are sanitizing your salad.

And watch out for potato salads, macaroni salads, coleslaw and even tuna and chicken salads, which usually are heavy in mayonnaise, sugar and calories.
9. Go Low on Sides
Substitute high-cal side dishes with low-fat options such as steamed vegetables, brown rice or fresh fruit. Forget the French fries, and have baked, boiled or roasted potatoes, but leave off the butter, cheese and creams. Flavor with salsa or pepper and chives instead.

10. Choose Low-Fat Preparation Methods
The way your entree is prepared influences its calorie and fat content. Choose grilled, broiled or baked meats and entrees. Pan-fried and deep-fried foods give you extra fat you don’t need. Broiling, baking, steaming, poaching and grilling seafood, skinless poultry, lean meat and veggies give you all the flavor without all the fat.

For example, grilled chicken is lower in fat and calories than fried chicken. (If you are served chicken with skin, you can remove the skin to save significant fat and calories.)

It’s not easy to get rid of all fat in restaurant meals, but give it a try. Ask the server if the butter or oil used to prepare your entree can be reduced or eliminated. Even a grilled item may have extra fat added. For example, some grilled beef dishes call for added oil.
11. Enjoy Alcohol in Moderation
Drinks can be diet-killers, too. Ice water is free, but fancy mixed drinks have lots of empty calories, and the alcohol can dull your reasoning. Since alcohol can contribute significant amounts of calories, limiting your intake to 150 calories’ worth is a good idea. The following portions of alcohol each contain 150 calories or less:

5 oz. of wine

1.5 oz. of liquor

12 oz. of light beer

Many people find it helpful to order wine by the glass rather than the bottle so that they can better control and monitor their intake. You can decide ahead of time at which point in the meal your beverage would be most satisfying. For example, you may want to save your glass of wine for your entree and sip water while you wait for your meal. Holding off on alcohol until a later course also helps to decrease alcohol’s effect on your inhibitions. If you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, it can relax you to the point that you lose sight of your game plan. Setting a personal limit and planning when to enjoy your beverage should help you stick with your goals.

12. Practice Portion Control
Restaurants serve mountains of food—about two to three times the quantity that we need in a meal. This is no big secret. Just don’t try to finish those mega-size portions. Consider sharing a meal or taking a doggie bag so that you can have a quick meal at a later time. Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed, and take the rest home. As you’re eating, listen to your internal hunger signals and stop when you have had enough. Eating slowly helps you recognize such cues.

Keep track of how much you eat, and stick to the number of servings you planned to eat. You probably won’t bring a scale with you to the restaurant so that you can measure out portions, but you can rely on visual references. For example:

A serving of cooked meat, chicken or fish is like the palm of your hand, or about the size of a deck of cards.

A serving of green salad is like an open-cupped hand.

A serving of fruit or vegetables is like your fist, or about the size of a tennis ball.

A serving of baked potato looks like a baseball.

An ounce of cheese is like your middle and index fingers together, or about the size of four stacked dice.

A serving of salad dressing is like your thumb.

A 3-ounce hamburger patty is the size of a quart-size mayonnaise jar lid.
13. Practice the Three-Bite Rule
Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, and that’s it. Wave off the dessert cart. That said, you can also practice my three-bite rule with desserts, if you want to watch your calories a little more strictly.

If you truly want chocolate turtle cheesecake, go ahead and have it, but limit yourself to a taste. Take three bites and then set it aside for a few minutes. You’re less likely to come back to it. You might even discover that those few bites of a great dessert can be very satisfying, and might be all you really wanted in the first place. You can’t possibly blow your diet big-time on three bites of anything. After your three bites, you can ask your server to take it away, unless your dinner mates want to scarf it down.
Published June 2012, Prevention | Updated June 2012