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Archive for the ‘Weight Management’ Category

Recently there has been a lot of discussion on the health benefits of nuts in the media due to an article that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. I wanted to investigate the study and see if nuts were all they were cracked up to be.

nuts

This article took data from two long term studies, The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study with a total population of 118,962 participants. Both of these studies gathered data over the past 30 years and have information on diet, exercise, lifestyle and medical history. This article analyzed the information in a new way to determine the relationship between nut consumption and “death from any cause”.

What they found was that participants who on average consumed a one ounce serving of nuts per day, suffered less death from all causes including cancer, respiratory disease, infection and kidney disease. They used hazard ratios to describe the change, which in layman’s terms are the ratio of an event (here, death) compared to the sample size. Those who never consumed nuts had a score of 0.93 while those who ate them regularly had a score of 0.80, a 0.13 difference favoring the nuts!

The relationship was consistent in all subgroups including those with extremely low BMIs, diabetes, smokers and those on the Mediterranean diet. The connection was even more pronounced in overweight and obese subjects. Additionally, the high nut groups were found to weigh less and have smaller waists.

Due to the way these studies were conducted, there is a correlation between these events, but a causal relationship cannot be established. There are many other studies that show positive health outcomes related to increased nut consumption

Now what does this mean for you?

Regular consumption of nuts can be a key component in an overall healthy lifestyle. They contain:

  • unsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, and fiber
  • vitamins like folate, niacin, and vitamin E
  • minerals including potassium, calcium, and magnesium
  • phytochemicals with antioxidant properties

With all of this evidence, if you like nuts, try including them in recipes or bring them along as a non-perishable snack. It may lower your risk dying from a chronic disease and help prevent weight gain while satisfying your nutritional needs and taste buds.

To read the full article through the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.

 

Wendy Baier is a Connecticut based Registered Dietitian. She runs her own health and nutrition blog at www.thebaiernecessities.com. Follow her @WendyBaier and visit her portfolio at www.wendybaier.com to see her work history.

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What is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured milk product that is similar in taste and texture to drinkable yogurt. This creamy, tangy drink is made by adding kefir grains to milk, which leads to fermentation. Kefir grains are protein-based clusters containing probiotic cultures, proteins, fermenting agents, and lactic acid. Kefir contains Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species, as well as some beneficial yeasts that aren’t found in yogurt. Fermentation, bacteria and yeasts might sound unappealing, but this is what makes Kefir good for you! We have both good and bad bacteria in our gut. Probiotics are friendly organisms that restore balance of the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system. Research suggests probiotics can help with diarrhea caused by antibiotics, as well as excezma and immunity. Some brands of kefir also contain prebiotics, like inulin, which feeds the probiotics and enhances their population in the gut.

 How is kefir used?

Kefir comes in plain, non-fat, low-fat and a variety of flavors like strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate and vanilla. All varieties will offer up probiotics, which makes the product popular with individuals suffering from gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Even those who are lactose intolerant can usually tolerate kefir because the live cultures “predigest” the lactose. It has been suggested that probiotics may even aid in cancer risk reduction, and weight control- but evidence is less conclusive at this time. You may see probiotics sold in the form of supplement pills, but consuming them in the form of kefir will come along with a number of other nutrients too. The protein content (8-11g per 8oz) can help with satiety, and you’ll also get a good source of Vitamin A (10% DV), Vitamin D (25% DV), and Calcium (30% DV) – based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. Just be careful not to over do it on the flavors with added sugars. Kefir can be drank alone, blended with fruit in a smoothie, poured over cereal, or used instead of buttermilk in recipes, like soups and baked goods. Some companies even produce frozen kefir as a dessert. The frozen probiotics defrost in the warmth of your internal body temperature, causing them to become live again once in the gut.

 Recipe: Try the recipe below for a healthy start to your morning!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Plain 1% Kefir
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen fruit of choice, No sugar Added
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal

 Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add a splash of milk of choice if a thinner texture is preferred.

 

Article written by Jamie Lee McIntyre RD, CD-N, Supermarket Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant

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Wet ingredients:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (8oz) container of plain yogurt
2 egg whites or 1/2c egg substitute
¼ cup milk (fat free dairy or substitute)
2 tsp of vanilla extract
½ cup applesauce or “Lite Bake”

Dry ingredients:
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TB Ground flaxseed
1 TB baking cocoa

Mix-ins:
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup diced fresh (cranberries, apples) or dried fruit (raisins, craisins,berries, cheeries, etc)
½ cup semi-sweet/dark chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl mix all “wet” ingredients together, best with an electric mixer. In medium bowl, combine all “dry” ingredients, mix well then combine with wet ingredients, mix well. Stir in “mix-ins”, will be very thick. Spread dough into a greased or non-stick 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake 28 to 32 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack, cut into bars. Store in air tight container or freeze.

Recipe by: Teresa Martin Dotson, RD, CD-N

Registered Dietitian and Owner of Nutrition Solutions for Life, LLC

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With all the focus on weight in our society, it isn’t surprising that millions of people fall prey to fad diets and bogus weight-loss products. Conflicting claims, testimonials and hype by so-called “experts” can confuse even the most informed consumers.

fad-diets

The bottom line is simple: If a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are no foods or pills that magically burn fat. No super foods will alter your genetic code. No products will miraculously melt fat while you watch TV or sleep. Some ingredients in supplements and herbal products can be dangerous and even deadly for some people.

Steer clear of any diet plans, pills and products that make the following claims:

Rapid Weight Loss

Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than ½ pound to 1 pound per week. If you lose weight quickly, you’ll lose muscle, bone and water. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly afterwards.

Quantities and Limitations

Ditch diets that allow unlimited quantities of any food, such as grapefruit and cabbage soup. It’s boring to eat the same thing over and over and hard to stick with monotonous plans. Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates. Even if you take a multivitamin, you’ll still miss some critical nutrients.

Specific Food Combinations

There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the “wrong” combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

Rigid Menus

Life is already complicated enough. Limiting food choices or following rigid meal plans can be an overwhelming, distasteful task. With any new diet, always ask yourself: “Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the plan is not for you.

No Need to Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for good health and healthy weight management. The key to success is to find physical activities that you enjoy and then to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and lose fat, the best path is a lifelong combination of eating smarter and moving more. For a personalized plan, tailored to your lifestyle and food preferences, consult a registered dietitian with expertise in weight management. A registered dietitian can help you find a realistic, flexible eating style that helps you feel and be your best.

To find a registered dietitian in CT

You can either elect to see an outpatient dietitian at a community hospital or go to the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website:  www.eatrightct.org and click “find a dietitian” to find a private practice dietitian in your area.

Disclosure: For more helpful tips, please read this article on WebMD, which inspired this post: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/keep-those-new-years-eat-better-resolutions

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The holiday season is upon us and that means holiday parties, special goodies at work and many types of cookies and candies at home. While this is a wonderful time of year, it can take a toll on your normal eating pattern. CAND has developed 10 simple tips to help you maintain your weight during the holiday season:

  1. Eat at home before the party
  2. Use smaller party plates
  3. Don’t sit or stand near the snacks
  4. Drink a glass of water with every drink you consume
  5. Limit or skip alcohol
  6. Log calories during the day
  7. Exercise before the party
  8. Drink hot tea or coffee during the party
  9. Eat small portions of your holiday favorites
  10. Don’t stress

Please let us know what tips work for you!

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

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With New Year’s quickly approaching, and resolutions being made, NOW is the best time to take action on your 2013 health and wellness goals.
You may be surprised to know that your insurance will cover you to see a RD! Seeing an RD can improve the health of individuals and families- adults and children alike!  RD visits can focus on wellness nutrition and weight management- in addition to helping you understand specialized diets physicians prescribe for your medical conditions (if needed).  RDs give an individualized approach to nutrition-designed especially for you!

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If you want to see a RD and are unsure if your insurance covers the fee, please follow the below steps:
  • Call the BENEFITS member hotline on the back of your insurance card to verify your individual policy benefit for nutrition visits with a Registered Dietitian.
  • You can either elect to see an outpatient dietitian at a community hospital or go to the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website:  www.eatrightct.org and click “find a dietitian” to find a private practice dietitian in your area.

Cheers to getting a jump start on your 2013 health and wellness resolutions! 

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Thanksgiving is not only a day to be thankful.  It’s also a day to enjoy the bountiful meal prepared by you, a close friend or family member.  But it’s not the time to throw all your healthful food habits out the window.  Here are some tips to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and stay on track:

  • Have a light snack a few hours before your Thanksgiving feast so you’re not famished when it’s time to eat.
  • Scan the buffet table or dining table to see what’s on the menu and focus on your favorites.  Take small portions of your favorites, but don’t overdo it.
  • Watch your portion sizes.  A 3-ounce serving of turkey is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.  A serving size of veggies is ½ cup. 
  • Eat your Thanksgiving meal on a luncheon plate versus a dinner plate and your likely to fill your plate with less food.
  • Eat slowly and drink sips of water between bites.  Stop eating when you’ve eaten about half the foods on your plate.  Then ask yourself if you’re still hungry. If you’re still hungry, eat a bit more and then stop again. It takes at least 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re full. 
  • Load up on veggies and go easy on higher fat items like stuffing, casseroles, gravy and butter/margarine.
  • Avoid taking seconds. Save your extra calories for dessert.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.  Alcohol is metabolized more like fat in your body and provides “empty calories” which means it provides mainly calories with little nutritional value.  A 5-oz. glass of red or white table wine contains about 120 calories, 12 ounces of beer contains on average 150 calories, 12 ounces of light beer contains 100 calories. 
  • Sample small portions of your favorite desserts.  Take some home in a doggy bag if you’re full.

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