Thursday, September 27, 2007


What is Thiamin? Why Do I NEED it?

Thiamin is in the vitamin B family and is also known as vitamin B-1. B vitamins are water soluble, therefore, they are least likely to reach toxic levels. Water soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the body and any excess will be excreted from the body.
This B vitamin is essential for normal growth and development and helps to maintain proper functioning of the heart and the nervous and digestive systems. A study last year discovered that 1/3 of all patients suffering from heart disease are thiamin deficient. When the body is lacking thiamin the heart muscles become lazy and fatigued, and the upper chambers of the heart lose their strength and gradually enlarge.
Thiamin plays an important role in helping the body metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy. Thus, persons who expend more energy and have a higher intake of calories need more thiamin than those who eat fewer calories.
Daily needs for thiamin are based on the amount of calories taken in each day. The recommended dietary intake for Vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg per day for adult males and 0.8 mg per day for adult females, although women that are pregnant require an additional 0.2 mg per day and those that are lactating require and additional 0.4 mg.
Clearly the body is not at high demand for thiamin, however, there are factors which effect thiamin absorption-especially alcohol. Vitamin B1 deficiency is common among alcoholics, simply because chronic alcohol consumption decreases the amount of Vitamin B1 absorbed by the body. Alcohol not only blocks thiamin assimilation but injures the small intestine, making nutrient absorption very difficult. Also at risk for deficiency are those who consume a lot of sweets, soft drinks, and highly processed foods.

Sources of Thiamin
  • The richest food sources of vitamin B1 are brown rice, egg yolks, fish, legumes, liver, nuts, peas, poultry, rice bran, kelp, spirulina, wheat germ and whole grains.


Some thiamin can be lost from foods during preparation and cooking because thiamin may be dissolved in the cooking liquid. Storage losses are small. To retain thiamin:

.Use enriched or whole-grain pasta or rice and do not wash before cooking or rinse after cooking.

.Cook vegetables in a minimal amount of water.

.Roast meat at a moderate temperature and cook only until it is done - overcooking at a high temperature destroys thiamin.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Garlic: A food, herb, and medicinal plant

Garlic contains phosphorus, potassium, calcium, protein and significant amounts of vitamins B & C which makes it an essential part of any diet. In addition, it contains allacin which is a sulphur compound that has antibiotic and antifungal properties that the body does not build a resistance to. In order to release allacin the garlic clove must be cut or mashed. Also, the allicin in garlic would be rendered useless if it were exposed to unnecessarily high degrees of heat so try to add the minced or mashed garlic right before cooking is done and the food is ready to be served. The allicin in garlic is able to kill germs, disease, bacteria, and harmful viruses. Thus, we can see the effects of garlic on the heart: (a) kill infection in and around that area, and (b) help prevent coronary thrombosis (bloodclot in an artery near the heart), cardiac arrest, and palpitation (rapid heart beating) from occurring.

Garlic can be obtained in many forms though none is as flavorful and as effective as the fresh form. It can be found in powders and salts used for cooking also in pill forms for supplementing. Only the fresh, however, can be certain to provide the various health benefits.

Add garlic to pizza, spaghetti, salads and marinades.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Restless Legs Syndrome - Nutrition/Health Recommendations


Habits worth focusing on to help alleviate restlessness:

1. Say see ya to the caffeine, have a xanthine-free diet, by eliminating chocolate (cocoa), coffee, tea, and soft drinks containing caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to increase subjects’ susceptibility to develop symptoms of RLS at lower blood glucose levels.
2. Reduce alcohol consumption –it may make RLS symptoms worse.
3. Bye-Bye tobacco.
4. Reduce stress- make time for relaxation and rejuvenation, try meditation and keeping a positive attitude.
5. Eat healthy foods – many patients with RLS, particularly if they also have spontaneous leg cramps, appear to have hyperinsulinism causing functional hypoglycemia during glucose tolerance testing. In an open trial, of a group of 350 patients (J. Med Assoc 60(5):29-31, 1973), had a prompt remission or at least, a striking reduction in symptoms after being placed on a sugar-free, high protein diet along with frequent nibbling and one night snack. At every eating time eat high fiber carbohydrates with low fat protein sources and eat every 3 to 4 hours.
6. Manage your medications- some medications may worsen symptoms of RLS, discuss with your physician any medication alternatives that will not exacerbate RLS.
7. Supplements –may need to supplement with folic acid (5 to 30 mg daily), RLS may be an early neurologic manifestation of folate deficiency. Vitamin E supplementation (~300 IU daily), reports some RLS relief, may take up to 3 months for the full benefits. Iron supplementation (10 mg capsule) if iron-deficient, since iron deficiency is known to cause akathisia (restlessness) by reducing dopaminergic and opiate neurotransmission. Magnesium deficiency known to increase neuromuscular excitability can also cause the syndrome – supplement with ~350 mg/day magnesium.
8. Exercise Regularly – use those muscles, move daily by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walk around the neighborhood, and walk/move during your breaks. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes per day of moving.

Organic Produce

Is it worth it to spend the extra money and buy organic produce? Can organic produce be that much healthier? Research says yes.
According to the New York Times, a recent study has shown that organic tomatoes contain a higher level of flavonoids. Due to their antioxidant activity, flavonoids have shown numerous health related benefits. Strong experimental evidence displays their inherent ability to modify the body's reaction to allergens, viruses, and carcinogens. They show anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory , anti-microbial and anti-cancer activity.
Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified, many of which occur in fruits, vegetables and beverages (tea, coffee, beer, wine and fruit drinks). The contribution of flavonoids to the antioxidant defense system may be substantial considering that the total daily intake of flavonoids can range from 50 to 800 mg. This intake is high compared to the average daily intake of other dietary antioxidants like vitamin C (70 mg), vitamin E (7-10 mg) or carotenoids (2-3 mg).
More on organic produce...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yes, it's not too late to increase your metabolism.

Patients frequently think they are stuck, their body is not burning anymore. Ever since they past 30 years old, their body is not the same. They think that this is the way it is, can't do anything about it. Thankfully, this is not the case, you can increase your metabolism even after living a sedentary lifestyle.

The two ways to make your body burn more calories:
1. Increase your muscle mass by doing some push-ups before you go to sleep, doing Therabands (resistive bands) which you can do at your office/at a hotel/at home, easily, or do some weight lifting. The key to increase muscle is to do 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions with 3 body parts for a minimum of 2 times per week. Always do your bigger body part first, e.g., back before chest before shoulder before biceps, then triceps. To know if you are lifting the appropriate weight, make sure you feel it after 10 reps, if you can do the exercise easily after 12 reps, it's definitely time to increase the weight.

Increasing your muscle, makes your body more of a calorie burner, even while you are sleeping you will burn more calories, the more muscle you have on you. One pound of muscle burns 17 times more calories than a pound of fat, that's my motivator to do some resistance training.

2. Eat every 4 hours, try to not go longer than 5 hours max. If you wait longer than 5 hours, your metabolism will slow down. Just the act of eating increases your metabolism. It's called the systemic dynamic action of eating, digesting, absorbing, and storing takes energy, thus, eating smaller quantities more often will help you burn more calories throughout the day. Keep in mind, in order to get a metabolic benefit from your eating time, it needs to be at least 150 calories, so those lite 80 calorie yogurts are not going to cut it. Have a balanced snack, e.g., an apple and 2 Tbsp. nuts (~12 nuts) or ~8 Ak-mak (whole-wheat) crackers with 1 ounce low fat cheese.

Also, key note, to help prevent the nighttime eating frenzy, eat the majority of your calories throughout the day, this will help you feel more satisfied. Our satiety hormones, that tell us whether we are full or not, do not work as effectively at night, so if we were so busy during the day that we skipped lunch or waited 6 hours until we finally ate, we are setting ourselves up for eating everything in site and having an insatiable hunger. The majority of my patients have the hardest time at night with controlling what they eat, due to this natural hormonal state and typical hectic work life. Now with the insight on what is physically going on, may you feel satisfied, energized and burn calories effectively throughout your day.

Your Livitician, Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD

Monday, September 3, 2007

Is there a short cut to weight loss?

I just saw one of my teen patients today at the gym. He was telling me that his mom, dad, and good friend are doing the "Cookie Diet" now, "they are doing awesome on it, they lost ~20 pounds." "They eat 6 cookies to start their day and then have a protein and vegetables for dinner." NOW- C'MON. These are intelligent people, they really think this is the answer. Everyone who diets, wants a gimmick. They think the only way for them to get results is to have a gimmick to follow, and the only goal in their mind is to have a lower number show up on the scale. It doesn't matter if the number is reflecting muscle, organ tissue, water and some fat loss and that they won't follow it for life. They often say, I'll just do this diet for awhile to get a jump start, then I'll eat healthier and more balanced. Yeah, that's really gonna work. Nope. THE DEFINITION OF A DIET WORKING, IS THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO IT FOR LIFE. I hear it all the time, on the radio, from the people I talk to, "oh that diet worked great for me, I lost 20, 30, 40 etc. pounds, I gained half of it back when I got off of it, so I just have to go back on it, then I'll be fine."

This diet perspective that people have is warped. This mindset is way off. The real truth in regards to our weight and health, is giving our body respect, treat it with kindness. Listen to it, is it hungry, or is it just wanting to move, or is it wanting to dance, pray, sing, or talk. It's time for Americans to shape up with their mindset or ship out to their demise. Look at the stats, the obesity rate in the US is increasing in all states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AP, "released a report last year that found a nationwide obesity rate of 32%." Obesity costs $117 billion a year in preventable health care expenditures and "is pushing the health care system to the breaking point, according to Jim Marks, a senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a health care philanthropy group that sponsored the Trust for America's Health Study released in 2007. Mississippi ranked number one three years in a row as the fattest state in the country and Colorado is the leanest. For childhood obesity, DC is No. 1, with 22.8% of its children are overweight (great job our nation's capital) and Utah ranked last with 8.5%. What is it that they are doing differently in Colorado and Utah to be the leanest in our country? The study doesn't show that, but as a Registered Dietitian for over 13 years, I can logically deduce that in Colorado they have a beautiful environment that is conducive to exercising, when I went to a conference there, I saw everyone running around, hiking, biking, walking to go eat. The air there breathes health. And in Utah, they pray, a great way to nourish the soul and distract from the eating focus. To end, I pray that our society can focus on self-care and respect so that we set a good example for our kids, so that they can live longer than us, right now if things continue as is, they may die before us, G-d forbid.

Your Livitician, Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD