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Archive for February, 2013

Americans eating less fast food!

Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post.

You can also read it here.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported some good news for nutrition activists and others hoping to help Americans eat healthier. A new study found that American adults are consuming fewer calories from fast food than they were several years ago.

In 2006, American consumed approximately 13 percent of calories from fast food. Data from 2010 found that adults consumed about 11 percent of their daily calories from fast food. This data included foods such as hamburgers and French fries, known for their high fat content. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Especially since two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese.

Here are some additional findings from the study:

  • Heavier people ate more calories from fast food than people who are normal weight.
  • Blacks consumed more fast food calories than both whites and Hispanics.
  • Black adults ages 20 to 39 had the highest rates of fast food consumption.
  • Americans 60 and over ate less fast food than younger adults ages 20 to 39.

During this time, caloric intake among adults did not change during these years.

A separate study reported that caloric intake among kids has decreased, revealing some more good news. This is the first decline in calorie intake among kids in more than 40 years.

Efforts such as first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign may be paying off.
As I told the Christian Science Monitor, “The take-home message is that public education messages to eat less [fast food] are working … We are shifting toward healthier options.”

Here are some thoughts that I share with USA Today, “Fast-food places continue to sell high-calorie items — many meals contain half a day’s worth of calories — but they are offering some lower-calorie items as well. Get the smallest size possible of everything from burgers to fries to soda so that you take in the fewest calories.”

Additional tips that I share with clients are:

  • Drink water instead of the soda.
  • Skip the double and triple burgers.
  • Order a salad with dressing on the side.
  • Share.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Enjoy your company.

You’d be surprised, but these small changes do add up.

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10 Foods to Eat for Heart Health

Below is my latest blog post on heart healthy foods for Huffington Post. You can also read it here.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S. February is American Heart Month, and a time to raise awareness about heart disease and to educate the public on ways we can live heart-healthier lives. Here are several foods to include in your diet this month in honor of American Heart Month.

1 Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber and contains beta-glucans, which help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. One half-cup serving provides about 4.5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

2. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a reduction in heart disease risk. Salmon is also a natural source of healthy protein and vitamin D. One three-ounce serving — the size of a deck of cards — contains 17 grams of protein. The American Heart Association recommends including at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty fish).

3. Broccoli is chock-full of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. It is a cruciferous vegetable, and part of the Brassica family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and collards. Members of the Brassica family are rich in phytochemicals, known to have antioxidant properties.

4. Peanuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Regular consumption of peanuts has been associated with lower risk for coronary heart disease in people who eat them instead of other high-fat foods. Peanut consumption has been shown to improve lipid profiles in those with high cholesterol.

5. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.

6. Pistachios contain healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They are also rich in plant stanols; research found that substituting these jade gems for fatty meats can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

7. Cantaloupe, a member of the melon family is rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, a plant-based vitamin A precursor. It is also rich in the mineral potassium, which may help lower blood pressure and the risk for stroke. A one-cup serving contains a mere 50 calories which can certainly help with weight control.

8. Red wine, in moderation, is associated with heart health and contains a high levels of antioxidants. Polyphenols, including resveratrol, are associated with an increase in good cholesterol, a reduction in bad cholesterol, and a decrease in inflammation.

9. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated, heart-healthy fat. Diets rich in olive oil, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been associated with heart health. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, like polyphenols, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which can help protect blood vessels and other components of the heart.

10. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant associated with cardiovascular health. There are many different varieties of tomatoes, and they all contain important antioxidants, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Tomatoes are also low in calories with one1 medium tomato has about 20 calories.

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February is heart month: a nutrition cheat sheet

In honor of heart health month, which is held the month of February, below are nutrition guidelines and tips on eating for a healthy heart.

* CHOOSE A DIET RICH IN  FRUITS, VEGETABLES, AND WHOLE GRAINS.

* CHOOSE A DIET LOW IN SATURATED FAT AND TRANS FATS: LIMIT FRIED FOODS, FATTY MEAT, BUTTER, AND MARGARINE.

* INCLUDE FOODS RICH IN OMEGA 3 FATS:  SALMON, SARDINES, WALNUTS, AND FLAXSEEDS

* CHOOSE HEART HEALTHY FATS: NUTS, OLIVE OIL, CANOLA OIL, AVOCADO.

* LIMIT INTAKE OF SODIUM: DO NOT USE SALT SHAKER; USE HERBS AND SPICES INSTEAD; AVOID PROCESSED FOODS.

Below are BEST BETS: foods to include for heart health.

GRAINS/STARCHES

Choose foods high in SOLUBLE FIBER to reduce cholesterol levels

grains: oat bran, oatmeal, barley

starchy vegetables: sweet potato, winter squash (butternut, acorn)

Choose whole grains instead of white bread products

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Choose FRESH fruits and vegetables—they are rich in ANTIOXIDANTS, OTHER VITAMINS/MINERALS, FIBER and low in calories

FRUITS: citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, banana, apples, pears

fruit juices such as orange and grapefruit (watch portions of juice)

VEGETABLES: broccoli, carrots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes,

spinach, cauliflower

MEATS AND ALTERNATIVES

Choose LEAN poultry: chicken breast without skin, fresh turkey breast

Choose fresh fish: baked, broiled or grilled

cod, flounder, red snapper, filet of sole (low in fat)

salmon, tuna, sardines  (rich in heart healthy omega 3’s)

Include beans, peas (split peas, chick peas), lentils: they are high in fiber and low in fat.

Include soy products–tofu, soy milk (good source calcium)

Limit red meat as it is high in saturated fat.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

Choose lowfat milk and dairy products

Skim milk, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, low fat ricotta

Limit high fat cheese products as they are high in saturated fat.

FATS

Choose moderate amounts of olive oil and canola oil–as they are  high in monounsaturated fat (“Good fat”).

CAUTION:  USE IN MODERATION–ALL FATS HAVE ALOT OF  CALORIES.

Include nuts and seeds in moderation.

Limit butter, coconut oil, palm oil (high in saturated fat).

Limit margarine and other partially hydrogenated products (high in trans fats).

MISC

Avoid foods high in salt and sodium: pickles, soy sauce, processed foods, salt shakers

Limit high fat cakes and pastries.  Save for a treat.

Watch portion sizes!

Exercise!!!

© 2013 Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, CDN

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