Posts Tagged ‘diet’

My Granddaughter misses out on a healthy and delicious treat. She’s allergic to tree nuts. For those who aren’t, not only are nuts tasty and packed with nutrients, now research confirms they may help with weight loss.

Tree nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts) provide excellent sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals (carotenoids, flavonoids, phytosterols, proanthocyanidins). Although often shunned by weight-watchers because of their calorie content from fat, the type of fat in nuts contributes to a healthy diet and to cardiovascular fitness.

Nutrients in nuts may curb appetite and contribute toward a sense of fullness. The monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, in nuts may contain an appetite suppressing compound. Additionally, protein and dietary fiber increase satiety.

In one study of over 30,000 people, a significant number lost weight when nut consumption increased to more than five servings per week compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.

In another study of 645 subjects, those who consumed three ounces of almonds along with a moderate-fat diet with equal calories from protein and carbohydrate lost eighteen percent of body weight compared to eleven percent lost by those on a low-fat, complex carbohydrate diet. Other studies yielded similar results.

Portion control is important. What is a serving of nuts? A one-ounce serving or about one-fourth cup provides between 155 to 203 calories. Cashews have the lowest number of calories followed by pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, and macadamias at 203 calories. Equivalents for one serving include twenty-three almonds, eighteen cashews, nineteen pecan halves, and fourteen walnut halves.

Rather than go nuts trying to lose weight, grab a handful of those nuggets in place of high-carbohydrate foods and enjoy knowing they are a user-friendly way to help control weight.

Reference: Wien, M., Sabate, J., “Tree nut consumption and weight management: A scientific review of literature.”  Weight Management Matters. 9:1; Summer 2011.


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Losing extra pounds is only half the battle. How do you keep from regaining unwanted weight? People who lose weight often continue to follow the same lifestyle patterns that brought about success or they revert back to old ways. About twenty percent of those who lose weight maintain that loss for one year. Approximately one-third regain weight within one year, and typically the rest regain within three to five years.

A recent study found several differences in successful methods for losing weight and for keeping it off. Researchers identified fourteen practices that helped with either weight loss or weight-loss maintenance, but not both. The following practices were associated more with losing weight than with keeping it off.

  • Participate in weight loss program
  • Look for information about weight loss, nutrition, or exercise
  • Eat healthy snacks
  • Limit intake of sugar
  • Avoid skipping meals
  • Do different kinds of exercise
  • Do enjoyable exercises
  • Think about how much better you will feel when thinner
  • Plan meals ahead

Practices linked to successful weight-loss maintenance included:

  • Follow consistent exercise routine
  • Eat plenty of low-fat protein sources
  • Reward self for following diet or exercise plan
  • Remind self of why you need to control weight

The next time you wonder why you can’t avoid putting on pounds after losing them, see if you follow these four practices that can help you stay at a healthier weight.

 Am J Prev Med 2011;  www.ajpmonline.org


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In a healthy diet, all foods are acceptable within a moderate range. Today, however, Americans consume too much salt, fat—especially solid fat, added sugar, and refined grain. We readily acquire tastes for salty, fatty, and/or sweet foods. In moderation that’s not a problem, but excess may cause weight problems or compromise health.

Americans consume an estimated 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. Current Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 mg/day for healthy adolescents and adults. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, over the age of fifty-one, or of African-American decent should ingest no more than 1,500 mg daily. High sodium intake may cause high blood pressure and increase risks for cardiovascular disease.

Prepared foods are a primary source of sodium in the diet. Major contributors in order of amounts include yeast breads, chicken/chicken mixed dishes, pizza, pasta/pasta dishes, cold cuts, condiments, and tortillas/burritos/tacos. Other sources high in sodium are sausage/franks/bacon and regular cheese.

Fats, an important component in the diet, contain essential fatty acids and help in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Fats provide more than twice the number of calories per gram as do carbohydrates or proteins. The type of fatty acid consumed, saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated, has a greater impact on cardiovascular health than does total fat.

With the exception of palm and coconut oil, saturated fatty acids (SFA) are usually solid at room temperature and come primarily from animal sources. SFA increase levels of blood-cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) which may contribute to heart disease. All fatty acids contain the same amount of calories, but monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids may decrease health risks while SFA may increase them. Sources of monounsaturated fatty acids include olive, canola, and safflower oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are prevalent in soybean, cottonseed, and corn oils.

Sugars are natural components of many plant foods. Added sugars include high-fructose corn syrup, white and brown sugar, syrups, and others. Americans primarily consume added sugars in colas/energy/sports drinks, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts, and candy.

Excess quantities of fats and added sugars may result in weight gain and a less nutritious diet. Suggestions for limiting these two food components include:

  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods in all categories.
  • Reduce the amount of fats (trim meats, etc) and sugars when cooking at home.
  • Eat smaller food portions of foods high in fat and sugar.

In addition to excessive salt, solid fats, and added sugars, refined grains are less desirable in a healthy diet than whole grains. Refined grains, even though enriched with vitamins and minerals, fail to provide needed fiber. The Dietary Guidelines recommend consumers replace at least half of refined grains in the diet with whole grains.

There are no bad foods, but excessive sodium, solid fats, added sugars, or refined grains tend to limit intake of more nutrient-dense foods. Look at your diet and see is you make wise choices.                                    

 Source: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm, Chapter 3.

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Welcome to a new year. If you made resolutions, have you managed to keep them thus far? Many, once again, have resolved to lose weight. Numerous others want to live a healthier lifestyle. Problems with resolutions occur when we slip one time and decide we can’t stick to promises we made to ourselves. One mistake shouldn’t shatter our personal goals for the entire year.

Food Insight, the newsletter of the International Food Information Council Foundation, made holiday suggestions in their December 2010 issue that can help weight conscious people throughout the year. Highlights included the following:

  • Choose at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. These foods help give satiety and keep calorie intake lower. They also contain fiber plus major sources of vitamins and minerals.
  • For those who imbibe in alcohol, choose lower-calorie options.
  • Focus on portion size. Many exaggerate the amount of a portion. Consider the following  as one serving: meat the size of a deck of card; cooked fruits and vegetables, one-half cup; fresh fruits and vegetables, one cup; and bread the equivalent of one slice. A serving of milk equals one (eight-ounce) cup or one ounce of cheese. 
  • When eating from a buffet, view the entire selections before making choices. To sample a number of items, take no more than two tablespoons of each prepared food.
  • Choose sensible portions of desserts and savor each bite.
  • Keep moving. Whether or not you take part in a regular exercise program, increase daily activities by moving more and sitting less. Take advantage of using stairs instead of elevators or parking farther from your destination. Every calorie burned counts.

These small steps along with other simple calorie-saving measures will help keep you fit and healthy throughout the year. Enjoy your dining experiences without nagging thoughts of continuous calorie-counting.  

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