Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is Weight Loss all about Calories in vs. Calories Out?

Most people understand that diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. The number of calories taken in needs to balance with the number of calories being used. In the case of weight loss, more calories need to be used than taken in. So if most people understand this concept why is weight maintenance and loss so difficult? Research shows that most people overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise and underestimate the number of calories they put in their mouths, thus throwing the calorie balance off. In one study, participates were asked to walk on a treadmill. After they were done they were asked to go to a buffet and told to eat what they considered was a caloric equivalent to their workout. Results showed that most participants ate two to three times more calories than they burned during the workout. There is no doubt that exercise is necessary to help maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle just be careful not to overindulge. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mushroom Muck

Many consumers are concerned about the dirt that they find on their commercially purchased mushrooms. Is this safe to eat even if all of the dirt is not removed? A Cornell professor of Mycology says that all fruits and vegetables should be washed before consumed but that this dirt should not be harmful to eat. The mushrooms are typically heat treated and this kills most of the harmful organisms that would be on the vegetable. Like any produce, mushrooms can rot and these ones should not be consumed. Commercial mushrooms are much safer to consume than ones that are unidentified and gathered in the woods.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Butter or Margarine?

For over 100 years it has been debated which spread is better, butter or margarine? The process of hydrogenation to produce margarine has allowed the product to be cheaper. But, this process comes with trans fats which can harm our health. Butter and margarine have the same amount of calories, but the difference is the amount of saturated fat they contain. Butter contains about 50% saturated fat and margarine about 20%. Recent studies have found that the type of saturated fat found in butter raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, but also equally raises your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

The American Heart Association recommends butter over margarine. Just remember to use whichever spread you prefer but in moderation. Recommended serving of light margarine= 1 Tbs, and serving of butter-oil blend= 1 tsp. Also, try to substitute with oils such as olive or canola oil whenever possible. When selecting margarine, try to choose the one with the least amount of saturated fat and no trans fats. When selecting butter, consider purchasing whipped butter or a soft butter blended with olive or canola oil to reduce the saturated fat. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is Organic Always Better?

Organic products have seen an increase in recent years. For consumers, the difficulty is determining which products to buy organic and which ones to buy conventionally.
Milk is one product that people often choose to buy organic. Is it absolutely necessary to buy organic milk? It has been shown that organic milk has a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease. This higher level is not enough to make a difference. It has also been shown that neither organic nor conventional milk exposure to pesticides, contaminants or hormones do not create a risk to consumers. So either conventional or organic milk is a good choice!

Produce is another product that organic products are encouraged. In reality, the nutrients of the produce are the same in both organic and conventional produce. The benefit of organic produce is the reduction of pesticide residue. It is important to wash produce very well to reduce the risks of these pesticides.

Lastly, eggs are sometimes part of the organic discussion. It has been shown that there are no significance differences to health between organic and conventional eggs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One Daily Serving of Beans, Peas, Chickpeas or Lentils May Reduce Bad Cholesterol

Eating one serving of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils each day can reduce your LDL cholesterol (aka “bad” cholesterol), which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Currently, most Americans eat less than half a serving of these foods each day. These items have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly and do not readily raise blood sugar levels) and tend to reduce or displace animal protein as well as "bad" fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal. A serving of beans, chickpeas or lentils is ¾ cup. Try adding these items to salads, dips or other meals! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Study Finds that Your Brain Determines Water Intake

New research conducted by Australian scientists discovered the brain’s off switch for water intake. The researchers were curious how the bran knows when to stop water ingestion. Over consumption of water can result in medicine complications due to salt dilution in the blood which can lead to brain swelling. They used MRI scans to track brain activity in non-thirsty people and the subjects were told to drink water until they were unable to continue. The researchers found that the brain regions involved in emotional decision-making were activated when people drank water after becoming thirsty. The brain signaled the body to stop drinking, which is an important stop mechanism that may prevent complications from excess water drinking. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Are you HANGRY?

     Are you daydreaming about your latest or upcoming meal? Are you insanely jealous of other people you see eating food? Do the cries of frustrated babies parallel your current emotions perfectly? Look out: you might be hangry.
     The term “hangry” is a new slang term that describes a person’s emotional state when feeling super hungry. They are very touchy and irritable, claiming to need food immediately to keep their sanity.  The truth is, “hanger” is a very real thing. When a person has not eaten in a while, the amount of sugar in their blood begins to lower. The body has mechanisms to keep it from becoming too low for a while, but some people are more sensitive to this drop than others. Those sensitive to the blood sugar decrease can exhibit emotional symptoms such as irritability and anger. Mood swings are common and feeling out of control and desperate for food are not out of the ordinary.

     Do you get hangry? Understanding the root of your emotions is the first step in helping to control them.  You do not want to lose friends just because you missed lunch! The good news: “hanger” is preventable! The trick is to maintain blood sugar levels. To help do this, try eating more whole foods over processed foods and never eat carbohydrate foods alone. This allows your body to slowly absorb and utilize the sugar you take in, rather than having a sugar spike high and then drop low. Make sure you plan out your day, preparing snacks or meals to have on hand when the hanger strikes.