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Healthy Resources

Events That Led to The Obesity Crisis

The obesity crisis was not caused by a single factor. Unfortunately, like the perfect storm, many events come together in sequence to result in this  health emergency tidal wave;  Such is the #ObesityCrisis.

To date, the obesity crisis and our lack of understanding has destroyed the quality of life of millions of Americans.  The lack of:

  • Nutrition education – What the body needs and gets from different foods – energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients
  • Biological functions – How the body works to achieve homeostasis – energy balance.

This lack of knowledge makes it difficult to achieve a healthy weight for the long term.  Don’t take my word for it, review the scientific evidence of @KevinHall, PhD. Kevin is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK).  What is significant about Kevin is he is the Section Chief of Integrative Physiology Section, Laboratory of Biological Modeling.   @BonnieLiebman, MS is an author, and Director of Nutrition at the #CenterForScienceInThePublicInterest (CSPI).  Bonnie interviewed Kevin and published in the #NutritionActionHealthLetter (a publication of CSPI) – How Did We Get Here? July/August 2018 Volume 45 No. 6; pg. 3 – 5 print.

The Basic Science of Human Weight Management

Normally, 2 key hormones work against each other to control our weight:

  • Leptin (the starvation hormone) – Main function is long-term regulation of the body’s energy supply. Leptin signals the brain to stimulate or suppress appetite and alter the burn rate of stored energy. When we lose body, fat leptin stimulates appetite and reduces stored energy burn rate. Weight gain triggers the opposite series of events (eat less burn more).
  • Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) – signals the brain when to start and when to stop eating. It is released by the stomach, and other glands.  #LeptinVsGhrelin

The Calm Before the Storm (Before 1970):

  • Leptin and ghrelin went about their business of cooperating to control our body weight
  • Families ate at home more than at restaurants and at other eateries; additionally high food prices and family size prevented excessive eating
  • Families were more physically active (work & play – virtually no access to computers)

The Storm is Energized by Key Players (1970):

  • President Nixon became aware of complaints about the rising cost of food. Consequently, he directed the USDA to fix the problem.
  • The USDA initiated policy to subsidize farming to stimulate yield of basic foods like corn and soybeans.
  • The farmers subsequently increased the production of corn, soybean, and other crops. This caused a drop in the price of basic foods that became major ingredients in the processed food supply.
  • The manufacturers of processed foods employed food scientists, and engineers to develop ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup to enhance “Ultra-Processed” food products that were:
    • Great tasting – Food scientists are better cooks than mom and granny; they mastered the ideal combination of salt, sugar, fat, and flavor additives to increase flavor, (and unfortunately calories). This development triggered a super-normal appetite.  #BlissPoint
    • More Stable – The addition of extra salt, high-fructose corn syrup and other technologies helped foods last longer in unrefrigerated settings like store shelves and homes.
    • Cheaper – Consumers enjoyed more food at lower prices, and consequently began to eat more meals away from home.
    • More Convenient – Less cooking required. Heat and serve made busy lives more manageable.

 

  • Powerful Food Advertising That Target Children – Drove consumption of unhealthy foods high in carbs/sugar, salt, and fats resulting in consumers:
    • Eating the foods that are most profitable”. #WeightOfTheNation
    • Eating more at restaurants, and dining halls
    • Buying more heat and serve food products.
    • Snacking more on delicious high calorie food products
  • Physical activity continues to be inadequate in burn off the significant increase of calories consumed.

The Abyss of Overweight and Obesity

Overweight, and obesity  significantly increases the risk for preventable  illness, disability, and premature death:

  • 34 million people of all ages (9.4%) had diabetes in 2015
  • 1 million people (33.9%) were estimated to have prediabetes
  • 2 million suffered from cardiovascular disease – coronary heart disease, Stroke, heart attack, etc. in 2015. (CDC)
  • 40% of all cancers diagnosed are associated with overweight and obesity. (CDC)

What About Dieting, Exercising, and Wishing?

The casual observer may interpret Kevin Hall’s weight loss research as leptin and ghrelin appearing to have gone rogue. But, in actuality, these two hormones have not deviated from their mission:  To prevent our bodies from quickly losing weight. However, the super tasty and fragrant food products have given rise to our super-appetites.  To counter the weight gain brought on by our super-appetites, we continue trying a variety of weight loss programs.  Unfortunately, as we work to lose extra fat pounds, leptin and ghrelin work against our goals.  So, as our fat level drops, leptin level drops and ghrelin level rises. Also, leptin helps to decrease the rate at which we lose weight (burn fat;, pausing at the dreaded ‘plateau’Spoiler alert: Hunger is a tough sensation to ignore.

Kevin Hall’s experimentation and modeling revealed that, “when people were losing body fat weight, their appetites increased by about 45 calories per day (above baseline) for every pound of weight that they lost”. To make weight loss more difficult, leptin reduces the rate at which a person burns fat weight.

Again, Kevin cites that, “the number of calories that they were burning went down by between 10 and 15 calories per day for every pound of weight they lost”.  This means if you lost 10 pounds, the average person would burn 100 to 150 less calories per day. Keep in mind that burning 3500 calories equals 1 pound lost. It is going to take time to lose weight. Prepare your mind for this reality.

Climbing Out From the Abyss

Currently, there are no miracles for achieving persistent weight loss. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult for most mortals.  There are many suggestions, products, and practices on the internet that promise to help us easily lose weight.  Sadly, many of these plans are not based on scientific evidence. Consequently, most are doomed to failure, and may harm the individual. Search the WEB for ‘fen-Phen’ heart valve crisis.

Some uncontrollable factors that drive weight gain and obesity.

  • Genetics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Prescribed medications

But, for those of us who are lucky enough to carry excess fat weight that we can shed; must work at it (plan-do-measure-repeat). We must learn to eat differently for a lifetime.  We must sacrifice a little or a lot due to our eating traditions, habits, and the uncontrollable factors. Some of us must suffer to some degree, depending on our level of obesity.

Sustained self-managed weight loss requires persistent commitment that ranges from eating differently to experiencing gastric by-pass surgery and its potential complications. And, even then post-surgery patients must eat differently before and after the surgery or suffer consequences. We must understand that healthy eating requires that we provide our bodies all the macro and micronutrients it needs to function properly. #PortionControl #PrecisePortions.com

Failure to persist in losing excess weight [based on body mass index (BMI)] and keeping it off increases the risk of developing debilitating diseases like:

  • Type 2 diabetes (leading to cardiovascular disease)
  • High blood pressure (leading to stroke)
  • Types of cancers

To fight obesity, all of us who are committed to community health have a crucial role to play in empowering consumers to follow effective and sustainable weight loss strategies.  At the same time, consumers need to hold themselves responsible to attempt only evidence-based strategies to achieve self-managed weight control.

Let us all continue the conversation to help:

  • Alert public awareness to the forces driving #overeating and #obesity
  • Reduce the increasing rate of obesity in the USA, and the world

5 Foods to Avoid in the 3rd Month of Your Pregnancy.

Good news and congratulations for walking the great journey of pregnancy into the third month. However, escaping from the hands of being unable to eat due to nausea, vomiting and other discomforts of morning sickness, you may need to know how important a healthy eating habit is to you and your baby, especially at this stage of the pregnancy. Your practical class of healthy eating habits just began. The food a woman consumes during pregnancy is her baby’s main source of nourishment and diabetic pregnant women need to start with the diabetic portion plates, this may help put them in check in what they eat.  During the 3rd month of your pregnancy, a lot of development is happening to that little treasure inside of you. It is during this time the baby begins to experience any developmental changes and growth; it period marks the beginning of the baby:

  • Gaining more definite shape
  • Joints are beginning to form
  • Eyelids are getting formed
  • The four chambers of the heart are formed
  • Vital organs
  • Fingers no longer webbed
  • You may start to hear his heartbeat as the baby also is becoming more active.

Nevertheless, a lot have been said about the type of healthy foods that a to-be-mother should take during pregnancy; foods which may include: lean protein (fish, meat, eggs, beans, tofu, and cheese), whole grains (breads, whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice), fruits and vegetables, dairy foods, and many more. However, only little information is available on the type of foods that needed to be avoided during the period or perhaps a diet plates portion control for pregnant women in their third month; foods which are capable of mocking your healthy eating habits or program. And that’s exactly what will be revealed in this article.

Nevertheless, a lot have been said about the type of healthy foods that a to-be-mother should take during pregnancy; foods which may include: lean protein (fish, meat, eggs, beans, tofu, and cheese), whole grains (breads, whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice), fruits and vegetables, dairy foods, and many more. However, only little information is available on the type of foods that needed to be avoided during the period or perhaps a diet plates portion control for pregnant women in their third month; foods which are capable of mocking your healthy eating habits or program. And that’s exactly what will be revealed in this article.

Foods you should avoid in your 1st trimester Raw Sea foods
Many sea foods such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish contain high level of methyl mercury; a toxic compound which has been found capable of crossing the placenta to cause brain function impairment in the developing baby. So stay off them.

Unpasteurized dairy foods
During this crucial stage of your pregnancy, it’s advisable you steer clear of unpasteurized dairy foods such as milk, blue-veined cheese and camembert. This will prevent you from possible food poisoning that may result from the bacteria; Listeria monocytogene found mostly in these unpasteurized foods. This bacterial infection could cause miscarriage, still birth, preterm labor, and illness in newborns.

Fruits
Yes. Not all fruits are good for your consumption during pregnancy. If you are concern about having a healthy eating habit during pregnancy, this implies that you need to avoid such fruits as they are obviously not meant for you. Some of these fruits may include:

  • Papaya or Paw-paw: except very ripe, taking semi-ripe paw-paw may cause uterine contractions and thus leads to premature labor due to the high proportion of latex in them.
  • Grapes: may lead to body heat, especially during the last trimester. So avoid them.
  • Pineapples: may also cause premature labor due to Bromolain found in them.

Therefore, it’s clear that it goes beyond only ‘what to eat’ when it comes to talking about healthy eating habits in pregnant women. It also extends to what ‘not to eat’ or an appropriate diet plate portion control plan. A diabetic pregnant woman may consider the diabetic portion plate. As a matter of fact, these foods that are meant to be avoided, when continuously taken due to lack of knowledge, can go as far as sabotaging the effort put into healthy eating habit during the first trimester of a pregnancy.

Diabetic Portion Control Plate

A diabetes portion control plate is an important tool in the management of diabetes – whose complications are among the leading causes of death and morbidity. While these plates are important in the management of type 2 diabetes, they also have a role in the management of the type 1 (that depends on insulin therapy). In addition to these; people in the pre-diabetes phase and the obese can all reap health benefits from using the precise portion plates.

Many people with type 2 diabetes are also obese. Therefore reducing weight by the use of  a diabetic portion plate not only promotes better sugar control in the body , but also helps to keep it at bay for those at an increased risk due to obesity.

The benefit of using diabetic portion control plate
Smaller, healthy portions support good insulin metabolism and prevents insulin resistance – a significant factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.

How to plan your diabetic portion control plate
There are two ways.

  1. Use an ordinary plate

Draw 2 imaginary lines on your plate. One line divides the plate into two halves. The other divides one half into two to make 3 sections.

  1. Section 1 – half of the plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots.
  2. Section 2 – a quarter of the plate should contain lean proteins like tuna and turkey
  3. Section 3 – the last portion to contain starchy foods such as whole grain products or tubers such as potatoes.

    2. Use of a precise diabetic portion control plate

This removes the guesswork from the portions you eat. Many types are available including kids-friendly products. You can find more information about these here. For a variety of diabetes portion control plates and related products see these.

 

Diet Plates for Portion Control

What are diet plates for portion control?

These are plates with information printed on it about various servings for dinner. Other types of dishes are designed for cereals. These have printed differently sized guiding lines that correspond with the size of particular amounts of dry cereals.

Diet plates for portion control are perhaps the best tools to ascertain that you manage your weight effectively. People looking to reduce or maintain a healthy weight soon find out that it is not easy to maintain controlled food portions without an accurate reminder of how much of each type of food they are supposed to take. Sticking to the use of a diet portion plate consistently and accurately determines more than just what goes into your mouth.

What a diet portion control plate achieves

These include:

    1. The amount of food you eat. Here referred to as portions
    2. Helps you to regulate the foods you eat
    3. For people with blood sugar control problems, they enjoy better control and more energy throughout the day.
    4. Helps you to know the amount of calories you are taking in.
    5. Guides you in eating a balanced diet
    6. It removes the hassle of measuring food quantities by weight

Is there an ideal food portion plate?

The market offers a wide range of dieting portion plates. Choose one that you find easy to understand. Look for the type that gives you as much information as possible without confusing you. A plate with a wide range of food names printed in each section is better that one with a few or general groups of foods. The former helps people with different education backgrounds do better in their healthy eating efforts.

Does it work?

In a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity of 2006, it was found that smaller food portions topped the 5 best weight loss measures usually taken by different people. So diet plates for portion control are important tools in weight management efforts. See how it works and the various types here.

Healthy Eating Habits

“Let food be thy medicine and thy food medicine.”

This widely known quote is attributed to Hippocrates – the father of modern day medicine. While it sounds paradoxical, some critics have even dismissed it; it has important content to think about. The essence of it is that the foods you eat can have both immediate and long-term effects on your health.

For example; eating high sugar foods (high glycemic) raises your blood sugar fast. This in turn leads to a sudden spike of insulin. If this process is repeated over many times for long enough the body tissues will respond to insulin poorly and may increase the riskof developing type 2 diabetes. Other foods also increase risk of obesity and its associated disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis among many other health issues.

Healthy eating habits defined
Healthy eating habits that promote good health include:

  • Right amounts of foods from all the classes of food groups
  • It is a lifestyle that is followed throughout and not just for a while
  • It involves different types of foods under the main classes of foods because no one type of food is exactly the same as another even in the same group
  • People with specific types of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or high cholesterol needs modified eating habits as guided by a qualified health dietary professional.

How to improve your eating habits
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC offers 3 easy to follow steps in the healthy eating habits journey. These are:

  1. Assess how you are currently eating. This includes what you consider to be good or bad eating habits.
  2. Remove any bad eating habits from your current eating plan.
  3. Continue with your good old or adapted new eating habits.

An important part of healthy fresh food eating habits is to consume the right quantities of the right foods at the right time. To help you with this, the resource here will help you to overcome the constant struggle many people go through in their efforts to start and maintain healthy eating habits.

Lemon Salad Dressing

balanced diet for children

Lemon Salad Dressing
A simple lemon based sugar free salad dressing that will always taste great! No Kosher salt in the cupboard? Use regular salt to taste. The great thing about these dressings is that they can also be used on steamed vegetables, not just salads.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper powder to taste

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir just before serving.

Nutritional Information:

 Amount Per Serving – 2 Tablespoons  Calories: 176
 Total Fat 18.7g
Saturated Fat 0g
 Cholesterol 0g
 Sodium 160mg
 Total Carbohydrates  2.4g
 Dietary Fiber  0.2g
 Protein  0.2g

 

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

daily healthy diet

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing
Ginger is one of those good for just about everything kind of spices. How can you go wrong with minced ginger as a big part of this salad? Okay, maybe try the Lite Soy Sauce instead to reduce the sodium levels. Beyond that, we’ve got garlic, ginger, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice…what’s not to like in this one? You’ve got to try it!

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Powdered black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, mustard, honey and pepper. Once these are thoroughly combined, add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. When all of the oil is incorporated into the dressing, pour into a glass jar and chill until serving.

Nutritional Information:

 Amount Per Serving – 2 Tablespoons  Calories: 170
 Total Fat 18.1g
Saturated Fat 0g
 Cholesterol 0g
 Sodium 316mg
 Total Carbohydrates  2.9g
 Dietary Fiber  0.5g
 Protein  0.5g

 

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing

portion control products

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing
Avocado is a bit like potato chips, “you can’t just eat one” serving. If you love avocados and are now focused on learning more about portion control, this is test number 1 – can you actually use only 1/4 cup in a recipe? We’re betting that you can! Remember, it is one of sources of mono-unsaturated fats (45 calories per 1oz or 2 Tbsp). Hey, but if you love avocados and ranch dressing, this Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing is for you!

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (try mayonnaise light – 45 calories per tablespoon)
  • ¼ cup sour cream (try light sour cream – 40 calories per tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 pinch dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch garlic powder

Directions:

Mash avocado in a bowl, then stir in mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, parsley, dill, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir until well blended, chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving – 1 Tablespoon Calories: 125
Total Fat 12.9g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 9mg
Sodium 131mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.8g
Protein 0.9g

 

Sweet Dijon Salad Dressing

diabetes plate method

Sweet Dijon Salad Dressing
Here is a very  simple, straightforward Dijon mustard based sugar free salad dressing as another alternative for your vegetables or your salad. This one can be made without any sweetener, but a pinch of salt and pepper instead. That’s if you like a little spicy tartness to your salad dressing. Can be made in no time at all. Make sure to make ahead of time so that it can be served chilled.

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 (1 gram) packets granular sweetener (Splenda)

Directions:

Place the cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil and sugar substitute into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Close the jar, and shake vigorously to blend. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Nutritional Information:

 Amount Per Serving – 1 Tablespoon  Calories: 46
 Total Fat 4.5g
Saturated Fat 0g
 Cholesterol omg
 Sodium 125mg
 Total Carbohydrates 1.2g
 Dietary Fiber 0g
 Protein og

 

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

portion plate for adults

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Makes 1¼ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of minced garlic

Directions

Puree cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Nutritional Information:

 Amount Per Serving – 1 Tablespoon  Calories: 53
 Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 0g
 Cholesterol 0mg
 Sodium 59mg
 Total Carbohydrates  1g
 Dietary Fiber  0g
 Protein  0g