Reducing Your Sugars

A great article from the AHA website on reducing intake of sugar!

To figure out if a packaged food contains added sugars, and how much, you have to be a bit of a detective. On the Nutrition Facts panel, the line for sugars contains both the natural and added types as total grams of sugar. There are four calories in each gram, so if a product has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 60 calories just from the sugar alone, not counting the other ingredients.

Limit your consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories and zero nutrition.

To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many other names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates.

Tips for Reducing Sugar in Your Diet:
Take sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses off the table — out of sight, out of mind!

  • Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean down from there, or consider using an artificial sweetener.
  • Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages.
  • Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup.
  • Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit (try bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
  • When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often you won’t notice the difference.
  • Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange or lemon.
  • Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar; try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes (use equal amounts).
  • Try non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation. Non-nutritive sweeteners may be a way to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding more calories to your diet. The FDA has determined that non-nutritive sweeteners are safe.

 

Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp#.TtPIrFa9Z2I

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Keeping Calories Down During The Holiday Season

Exercise!

One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, aerobic activity. To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week.

Exercise is a great way to burn those extra calories you may be taking in this time of year.

Fruits & Veggies!

Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. The fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods. Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits. Grab a bag while on the go or at work. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats. You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.

Temptation

Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can.

Always plan ahead!!

Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a low-fat, whole grain granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving as much foods.

Be wise when choosing appetizers – a small portion of some appetizers may help you from overeating at dinner.

Avoid sauces made from cream, half-and-half or meat drippings. For salads, use oil and vinegar, vinaigrette or low-fat dressings. Broth -based or vegetable sauces are fine.

Watch the amount of drinks consumed!!!

 

These are all great tips I have found at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx

Weight Gain at College

A fantastic fact sheet found on eatright.org!

A recent study found one out of four college freshmen gains about 10 pounds during her first semester. The recipe for waistline expansion hinges on:

  • A decrease in regular physical activity or sports involvement
  • Dining halls with unlimited food choices (both healthy and not-so-healthy)
  • Increased snacking
  • Drinking more caloric beverages like high-fat, sugary coffee drinks, soda and alcohol.

The best solution for avoiding college weight gain is to be aware of your daily calorie intake. Since both food and activity play a role in weight management, writing down daily meals, snacks, beverages and physical activity can help keep weight in check. A food and activity log allows you to see the calories you take in and the calories you burn.

Calories In: Healthy Food Choices

  • Don’t Skip Breakfast. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. As the first meal of the day, breakfast keeps your metabolism humming and decreases overeating throughout the day.
  • Watch Portions. Pay attention to food choices and portion sizes in the dining hall.
  • Make Smart Choices. Select fewer processed foods and more high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps manage weight by increasing feelings of fullness with fewer calories and keeping blood sugar steady to relieve frequent hunger.
  • Pick Lean Protein. All meals and snacks should include lean protein sources such as lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, nut butters and reduced fat cheese.
  • Choose Fats Wisely. Avoid unhealthy fats from fried foods and sweets. Choose more healthful fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil and avocadoes.
  • Drink Low-Calorie Beverages. Skip the regular soda and opt for low-calorie choices like water, low-fat or fat-free milk, unsweetened teas and coffee. Limit alcohol to one drink a day; that’s 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Calories Out: Physical Activity

Increase the number of calories you burn. Get moving with at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. Moderate-intensity activities include walking, jogging, biking and stair climbing. Take an elective dance or sports class. Activities of daily living, like walking to and from class and parking your car further away from campus, burn calories, too.

Source:   http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=11183

What’s Important In a Woman’s Diet?

“A well-balanced diet is a cornerstone of health. Women, like men, should enjoy a variety of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lean protein. But women also have special nutrient needs and during each stage of a women’s life, these needs change.”

An important read from the ADA website, http://www.eatright.org…

Eating Right

Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease. A healthy daily diet includes:

  • At least three 1-ounce servings of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.
  • 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese.
  • 5 to 6 ounces of protein such as lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, beans, lentils or peas.
  • 2 cups of fruit such as apples, blueberries, melon, oranges, bananas and pears.
  • 2 ½ cups of vegetables such as leafy greens, pumpkin, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms and carrots.

Iron-Rich Foods

Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women. Low iron levels can be caused by a women’s menstrual cycle or a problem with iron absorption.

Iron-rich food sources include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals. Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So eat fortified cereal with strawberries on top, spinach salad with mandarin orange slices or add tomatoes to lentil soup.

Folic Acid During the Reproductive Years

When women reach childbearing age, you need to eat enough folic acid to decrease risk of birth defects. The requirement is at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Be sure to consume adequate amounts of folic acid daily from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, dry beans and peas naturally contain folate. In addition, there are many folic acid fortified foods like cereals, rice, breads and pizza crust.

Daily Calcium Requirements

For healthy bones and teeth, women need to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods every day. Calcium keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the bones become weak and break easily. Some high calcium foods include low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, tofu (if made with calcium sulfate) and calcium-fortified foods like juices and cereals.

Foods to Limit

To keep weight in check at any age, women should avoid a lot of excess calories from added sugars, fat and alcohol.

  • Limit regular soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods and fried foods.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day.
  • Opt for low-fat dairy and meat products instead of their full-fat counterparts.

Saturated fat — the kind found in meat, cheese and full-fat dairy products — is a culprit in heart disease. Watch how much saturated fat you eat, as heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women.

Balancing Calories with Activity

Since women typically have less muscle, more fat and are smaller than men, you need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level. Moderately active women need 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. Women who are more physically active may require more calories.

Exercise is an important part of a women’s health. Regular daily activity helps with weight control, muscle strength and stress management.

Source:http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6805

Finding Ways To Eat Out Healthfully!

 

Food choices away from home are important to your health and weight because many of us are eating more meals away from home. Fortunately, making healthful and delicious choices in restaurants is also easier today. Restaurants of all types are responding to customers’ desires with more options in portion sizes, preparation methods and menu items:

  • More appetizer-size portions of popular entrées
  • More baked and broiled choices in meat, fish and poultry
  • More fruit and vegetables side orders to substitute for fries.

Make physical activity part of dining out. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes:

  • Walk from Home or the Office. Pick a restaurant that’s a 10- or 15-minute walk away. You’ll get your meal and 30 minutes of physical activity and avoid the parking hassles.
  • Walk with Family or Friends. Get moving as a group before or after eating. A brisk walk before a meal gives you time to chat. A stroll afterward helps your digestion.
  • Walk Up Instead of Driving Thru. Park your car in the lot and walk inside to get your fast food order. And make fast food an occasional treat rather than a daily habit.

Becoming sensible about serving sizes is an important way to maintain a healthy weight and it’s good for your wallet too.

  • Instead of a large entrée, order an appetizer and a leafy green salad or choose two appetizers for a meal.
  • Start with a small serving like a cup of soup, a junior burger or a small order of fries. If you are still hungry, order something else.
  • Indulge your inner child: Order a kid’s meal at a fast-food restaurant. Many now offer a choice of low-fat milk and fruits or vegetables instead of fries.
  • Savor your steak twice as much. Eat half at the restaurant, then take the other half home to enjoy sliced onto a green salad or as a sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  • Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal is served. Put half your food into the container for a second meal. That’s two meals for the price of one.
  • Share from start to finish. Order one appetizer for the whole table and then order one dessert with multiple forks. Sometimes, just a bite or two is perfect.
  • Share an entrée. You can ask your server to split the meal in the kitchen or divide it up yourselves at the table.

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6850

What Exactly is Your BMI?

This is a fantastic BMI fact sheet found at eatright.org!

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is important to know what your BMI does and does not indicate about your weight, health and lifestyle choices. Your BMI is calculated from your height and weight. It is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat for most adults, with athletes and the elderly being two exceptions. BMI is an inexpensive alternative to direct measurements of body fat, such as underwater weighing, but it is only one of many factors that you and your health-care provider should use in evaluating your health status.

You can calculate your BMI with this formula: [weight (in pounds) / height (in inches) x height (in inches)] x 703

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses BMI to define terms like overweight and obese:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30.0 and above.

People with very low or very high BMIs tend to have the greatest health risks. Even so, BMI is only one factor in your overall health. For example, if your BMI falls into the normal weight category, you will still have a higher risk of health problems if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Do not participate in regular physical activity
  • Eat lots of nutrient-poor foods with added fat and sugar.

If your BMI is in the overweight category, you will have a lower overall health risk if you:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Have blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels that are within normal limits.

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6844

Looking to Shave Calories?

Little changes in eating and activity level have a more positive impact on health than drastic ones. This is because you are more likely to stick with smaller changes over time. Extreme diets and intensive exercise regimens may work well at first, but they rarely last over the long term.

Healthy weight is all about balancing food intake with physical activity. Most of us could improve our energy balance by shaving just 100 calories a day off our usual intake. It’s not difficult:

  • Lighten up your favorite coffee drink with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrup.
  • Trim all fat from beef, pork and chicken. Remove the skin from poultry.
  • Dish up slow-churned, reduced-calorie ice cream in place of regular.
  • Enjoy raw vegetables with salsa or fat-free ranch dip instead of chips.
  1. Downsize Your Dishes. Use smaller plates and bowls to help you eat less. We tend to fill up the dish we’re using and then eat it all. Our brains also think we are getting more when the same amount of food is placed in a smaller dish.
  2. Savor Your Meals. Eating slowly helps you consume only what your body needs to feel satisfied. Eating too quickly, in less than 20 to 30 minutes, leads to overeating and feeling uncomfortably full afterwards.
  3. Leave Some Food on Your Plate. This is especially important if you grew up in the “clean plate club.” By leaving even a few bites, you can focus more on your internal signals of satisfaction and less on eating food just because it is there.
  4. Don’t Eat Out of a Bag or Box. When you eat out of a package, you are likely to keep eating until it’s all gone – no matter how many servings the package actually contains. Pour one serving into a small bowl.
  5. Choose Your Glass Wisely. Here’s another place where our eyes play tricks on us. When glasses are short and wide, we tend to fill them with more fluid and to drink more. Use a slender glass for any beverage except water.
  6. Rethink Your Drinks. High-calorie beverages like soft drinks, juice drinks, energy drinks, specialty coffees and alcohol add calories just like solid foods. Whenever possible, replace these drinks with plenty of water.

Source: http://www.eatright.org

How Are Ingredients Listed on a Product Label?

Food manufacturers are required to list all ingredients in the food on the label. On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amounts first, followed by descending order by those in smaller amounts. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additives (example: FD&C Blue No. 1). But some ingredients can be listed collectively as “flavors, spices, artificial flavoring” or in the case of color additives exempt from certification known as “artificial colors” without naming each one.

The first few ingredients should never be sugar, high fructose, or fructose. Here is a short list of some common ingredients that should be avoided/used rarely:

  • Alum
  • Artificial colorings
  • Calcium propionate
  • Carrageenan
  • Casein
  • Caseinogen
  • Collagen
  • Diglycerides/Monoglycerides
  • EDTA
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Hydrolysates
  • Hydrolyzed oat flour
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Lactic acid
  • Lactose
  • Monodiglycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Rennin
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sulfites
  • Vegetable oils

Ingredients for all foods must be listed on the food label, including standardized foods. The label must also list the FDA-certified color additives by name. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Specific ingredient information, such as the source of the protein, also is included. This allows people to avoid substances to which they are allergic or sensitive, or for religious or cultural reasons.

As of January 2006, food manufacturers also must disclose in plain language whether products contain any of the top eight food allergens. While numerous foods have been identified as sources of allergic reactions, 90 percent of the allergic reactions associated with foods are caused by one of eight foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.

Manufacturers have two options for declaring the presence of these food substances in foods. One option is to provide a “contains” statement next to the ingredient list that identifies the types of allergenic ingredients contained in the product; for example, “contains milk and wheat.” The second option is to place the food source in parentheses next to ingredients derived from one of the eight potential offending foods classes, such as sodium caseinate (milk), albumin (egg).

Source: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodingredientspackaging/ucm094211.htm

A Quick Guide to Nutrition Labeling

Here are some quick nutrition labeling guidelines to choose healthy foods!!

  • Whole Grain Council Stamp

This features a stylized sheaf of grain on a golden-yellow background with a bold black border. There are two different varieties of Stamps, the Basic Stamp and the 100% stamp. The percentage of whole grains in the product determines whether the item is stamped with a 100% stamp or a basic stamp (At least 8 grams of whole grains)

  • Heart Check Symbol

This symbol is found on packaging that supports the American Heart Association’s science and recommendations. Foods endorsed with this check have been screened and verified to meet the American Heart Association’s certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over the age of two.


  • Smart Spot Symbol

Developed by PepsiCo, this symbol of smart choices made easy was designed as a quick way for consumers to be sure that their choices in the grocery store are contributing to a healthier lifestyle. Every smart spot meets nutrition criteria based on authoritative statements of the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Sensible Solutions Symbol

Developed by Kraft Foods, the Sensible Solutions Symbol flag was developed to assist consumers in choosing healthier choices among food and beverage products. To be labeled as a Sensible Solution, a food must meet criteria derived from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and authoritative statements from the FDA, National Academy of Sciences and other public health authorities. All Sensible Solution products contain limited amounts of calories, fat, sodium and sugar.

  • Eat Smart, Drink Smart

This logo is found on labeling of foods and drinks that meet healthy eating criteria based on US Dietary Guidelines. The Eat Smart, Drink Smart program was developed as part of the International Choices Foundation, a world-wide initiative with a goal of making the healthier choice the easy choice. This logo is placed on food products that have passed an evaluation against a set of qualifying criteria based on international dietary guidelines.

  • Smart Choices

The Smart Choices program was launched by a group of scientists, academicians, health and research organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and retailers to reduce the amount of independent, varying nutrition symbols currently seen on the packages of food. The goal was for Smart Choices to be the most widely used front-of-pack labeling program in the US and assist people in making positive dietary changes. Products that qualified for the Smart Choices Program symbol would also display information on the front of the package, clearly stating calories per serving and number of servings per container. The goal was to help people stay within their daily calorie needs and make it easier for calorie comparisons within and across product categories.

Source: http://www.eatright.org