Jae Berman wrote for the Washington Post that fasting is an ancient practice sparking new interest in both pop and scientific culture. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and a variety of celebrities have extolled its virtues in helping them lose weight, while medical experts are intrigued by the possibility that it may enhance cognitive functioning and longevity and help treat and prevent some diseases.
As researchers study the different fasting mechanisms to try to determine the ideal protocol for a variety of outcomes in a variety of populations, however, the general public must proceed by trial and error. That leaves dietitians such as myself concerned that the hype around fasting could encourage people to follow harmful plans that severely restrict nutrients, cause stress or unsuccessfully treat serious conditions.
And there are many plans because there are many schools of thought about what’s considered fasting, what food or drink should be consumed during eating windows, and how long these windows should last. Here are a few of the most common methods: Intermittent fasting means eating normally four or five days a week and consuming minimal calories on two or three nonconsecutive days. Time-restricted eating requires setting a window for consuming food, such as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, and having nothing but noncaloric liquids the rest of the time. The “fasting mimicking diet” involves eating a small number of calories daily for a specific period of time — say five consecutive days every other month. These protocols all have benefits and drawbacks. One approach may work well for some while being entirely unsustainable for others. Read more
Alanna Elliott, RD, LDNDietitian an outpatient dietitian for Edwards-Elmhurst Health shared in their Healthy Driven Blog that there’s no more comforting food on a winter day than a big helping of creamy mashed potatoes or a plate piled with steaming hot pasta.
Comfort food is a go-to dinner on a cold night. I get that. The only problem is that most comfort food will leave you feeling uncomfortably stuffed full of high-calorie sugar or fat.
Don’t despair! You can still enjoy your favorite foods without as many calories or unhealthy fat. By replacing some of the ingredients with healthier options, you get the same meal with much better nutrition.
Take a look at some of these easy swaps:
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower is full of fiber and vitamin C is low in calories and carbs and tastes very similar to potatoes. It’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes, which are high in carbohydrates and can raise your blood sugars quickly. You could also use mashed cauliflower instead of cream in cream-based soups, sub it for rice, or mash it into a pizza crust! When you use mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and use low-fat milk instead of cream and butter, you save over 150 calories and about 35 grams of carbs per cup.
Ginny Grimsley shared in a Daily Herald article that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who will make a promise to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.
About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight and staying fit and healthy ranks No. 5.
“Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average,” says Dr. Virender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic. “There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”
Dr. Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take us there. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to your goals.
• Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 — 60 being your ideal body image — in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.
LINDSAY MOYER shared in The Nutrition Action Newsletter that if you want to protect your heart, eat more fruits and veggies, and cut unhealthy carbs, one of the healthiest diets—it’s endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other health authorities—is DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
That’s because a DASH-style diet is low in saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and rich in fruits and vegetables. It’s also rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber.
In 1997, a landmark study found that a DASH diet could lower blood pressure as well as some prescription drugs. That news was a bombshell because high blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
The OmniHeart study diets
Then, in 2005, came another news flash. The OmniHeart study reported that two variations of the DASH diet were even better for your heart than the original:
The higher-protein variation replaced some of DASH’s carbs with protein—half from plant sources (like beans, peas, and nuts) and a half from animal foods (like fish, lean poultry, and low-fat dairy). Read more
Aileen Waldschmidt, LDN, RD, a licensed, registered dietitian and Bariatric Program Coordinator with Edward-Elmhurst Health shared in their blog that most of us know that what we eat matters if we want to keep our hearts healthy. As a result, we try to make healthy choices, like passing up the salt shaker or ordering a fruit salad instead of those greasy fries.For many, the most difficult part of keeping a heart-healthy relationship with food is getting to a healthy weight and staying there. People may try one of the latest fad diets or one of the impossible-sounding crash diets that celebrities often promote.
The challenge is separating facts from the hype about what’s effective and safe for weight management and heart health. That’s when consulting a weight management professional can help.
The key to any good weight management program is tailoring the approach to the individual. Some people who consult a dietitian may just need to tweak their food choices and exercise habits, while others may need a lifestyle overhaul which includes smoking cessation and stress management.
CAITLIN DOW wrote that packing on pounds around your midsection is easy. Losing them takes a lot more work. Here’s the latest evidence on what (and what not) to do.
Sitting & belly fat
The time you spend in a chair, on the sofa, or in a car may affect the size of your belly.
Scientists did MRI scans of 124 people at risk for type 2 diabetes.1
Eachwore an accelerometer for a week.
Among those who were inactive (they averaged 13 minutes a day of at least moderate-intensity exercise), each hour of sedentary time per day was linked to an extra 1.9 quarts of abdominal fat. But sedentary time wasn’t linked to belly fat in people who were active (they averaged 40 minutes a day).
This type of study, on its own, can’t prove that sitting on the couch boosts belly fat, but it’s one more reason to get out of your seat.
How to trim bad belly fat
Israeli researchers randomly assigned 278 sedentary adults (mostly men) with oversized waists or high triglycerides and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol to one of two diets with equal calories—low-carb Mediterranean or low-fat—for 1½ years.2
For the last year, half were also assigned to an exercise program (45 minutes of aerobic plus 15 minutes of strength training) three days a week.
The low-carb Mediterranean group was told to eat more vegetables, beans, poultry, and fish instead of beef and lamb. And they were given an ounce of walnuts to eat each day. Their carb limit was 40 grams a day for two months, and up to 70 grams a day thereafter. Read more
Kim Hayes wrote in the AARP Healthy Living Blog that Beans and legumes, including all types of dried beans, split peas, and lentils, are considered good sources of protein.
Protein helps to keep our muscles strong, which is important for maintaining the balance and mobility needed to continue to live independently as we age. Yet, unlike with fruits and veggies, we may not focus on getting enough of this important nutrient. And recommendations on exactly how much protein older adults need vary.
The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight a day for adults over 18 or about 2.3 ounces for a 180-pound adult. But research is showing that higher levels may be needed for adults age 65-plus.
In our older years, we are at risk of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients for muscle health, but older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger people. A 2016 study from researchers at the departments of Food Science and Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas found that this lack of responsiveness can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption. The study says that protein levels in the range of 30 to 35 percent of total caloric intake may prove beneficial, although the researchers acknowledge that level could be difficult to reach for many people. Read more
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the availability of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for the fiscal year 2019. CACFP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by ISBE as part of a suite of programs to provide children and families access to healthy meals.
CACFP assists child care centers, Head Start programs, before- and after-school programs, emergency shelters, and day care home providers with funding to provide nutritious meals to children in their care. All participating child care centers and day care homes must provide meals to enrolled children at no additional charge.
“The Child and Adult Care Food Program ensures children in daycare and after-school programs who may not otherwise have regular access to healthy food are getting the proper nutrition they need to fuel their developing bodies and brains,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “More than one in 10 people in Illinois, a third of them children, are food insecure. Physical health and nutrition affect our ability to learn, focus, and grow. ISBE is proud to administer nutrition programs that help ensure all children have what they need to thrive.”
In 2016, more than 1.4 million people in Illinois were food insecure, including nearly half a million children, according to Feeding America.
Individuals in households who participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program (SNAP) are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits. The USDA Household Income eligibility guidelines determine eligibility to receive free meal benefits for families that do not receive TANF or SNAP benefits. If a household’s income falls within or below the listed guidelines, they should contact their child care center or day care home provider to learn about benefits of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. They may be required to complete an application and provide income, TANF, or SNAP information. Read more
Good Health Update shared that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to assist you in making better choices and understanding the consequences of the choices you make.
They have finally approved and adopted a mandate that will require restaurant chains to post calorie counts on menus for everyone to see. While some chains and even non-chains already feature this, it will be mandatory for any chain with more than 20 locations.
From Fox News:
“The Food and Drug Administration will now require that all restaurant chains, grocers and other prepared food stores with 20 or more locations in the U.S. post calorie counts on their menus, NPR reports.
The mandate, originally proposed in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, was supposed to be enacted by 2015 but faced a delay after receiving heavy backlash. While many large chains, like Starbucks, McDonalds and Panera, complied several years ago, smaller vendors argued it was too tedious and expensive to calculate calories in their rotating menu of items, according to Grub Street.” Read more