Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Skinny on Fad Diets!

Cutting Through The Fads!

According to the Centers for disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults, over 72 million people, were obese in 2005-2006. This includes 33.3 % of men and 35.3 % of women. Of the $666 billion in national healthcare costs, 30% is related to an inappropriate diet. The top 5 diseases have a scientific-based connection to the diet: heart disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, and anemia (Today’s Dietitian, Oct. 2003, p. 31). Since diet is so important to one’s health, how are people supposed to know what to follow? With over 6,000 diet books on sale, people are bound to be confused on what to believe. Bottom line – there is no across the board diet for everyone, each person needs an individualized plan based on their height, weight, body fat, age and lifestyle. Here are some facts on five popular fad diets: 1. New Diet Revolution (Robert C. Atkins, M.D.)Premise: Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (1997) book suggests drastically reducing the intake of carbohydrates to force the body into burning the stored fat reserve for energy. This results in losing pounds and inches while still eating protein and fat-laden foods. Meat, eggs, butter and most cheeses are top choice foods according to Dr. Atkins.Facts: This high-protein diet will most likely have you eating high saturated fat foods, which may affect blood cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk. In addition, the Atkins diet does not maintain adequate glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate in muscle and brain cells), which in turn contributes to impaired mental alertness/cognitive performance, dehydration and muscle fatigue, which is not conducive to an exercise regime. Furthermore, excessive protein consumption is taxing on your liver and kidneys and may increase risk for osteoporosis. There are no long-term studies to show that this diet works or is indeed safe.2. The Zone Diet (Barry Sears, Ph.D.)Premise: To enter “the zone” according to Barry Sears (1995), you need to eat the proper quantities of food, in the proper “macronutrient blocks” at prescribed times. Meals should contain 40 percent calories from carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. A sample meal may be 2 cups of pasta, a 3-ounce steak, and a small handful of nuts.Facts: Although not as restrictive as other high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, the typical zone diet contains less than 1,000 calories, which may result in muscle mass loss and vitamin and mineral deficiency. Also, the Zone diet has not been validated scientifically. There’s no scientific evidence for eating set combinations of foods at set times.3. Eat Right 4 Your Type (Dr. Peter D’Adamo)Premise: The author claims that each blood type has its own unique antigen marker that reacts in negative ways with certain foods, and individuals have varying levels of stomach acidity and digestive enzymes that seem to correlate with blood type. This diet provides a detailed list of foods to eat or avoid, depending on your blood type.Facts: Although it may be comforting to have a list of foods to eat or avoid, there’s no scientific evidence that diets should be based on blood type.4. Sugar Busters (H. Leighton Steward and associates)Premise: The Sugar Busters diet focuses on cutting refined and processed forms of sugar from the diet. This includes: potatoes, white rice, corn, white bread, beets, carrots, sugar, honey, corn syrup and foods containing them. The authors claim that sugar is toxic to the body, causing the body to release insulin and store excess sugar as body fat.Facts: Long-term effects of high-protein, high-fat intake may include kidney and liver damage, heart disease and cancer. Sugar Busters is supported by testimonials and anecdotal claims. Its validity is based on opinions, not proven facts.5. The South Beach Diet (Arthur Agatston, M.D.)Premise: A three phase diet: During Phase 1, the goal is to “begin reversing your body’s likely inability to process sugars and starches properly, the condition at the root of most weight problems”-thus no carbohydrates are eaten except for vegetables and salads for 2 weeks. Phase 2, reintroduces lower glycemic index carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruit, couscous, high fiber cereal, whole grain bread, and winter squash. Phase 3 is eating for maintenance once the goal weight is reached, there are no food lists to choose from, “if you want it, …go ahead and enjoy.” “If you overindulge…switch back to Phase 1 for a week or two,” then return to Phase 3 once the goal weight is achieved again.Facts: The South Beach Diet promotes yo-yo dieting, which has been linked to suppressed immunity and a slower metabolism. In addition, it relies heavily on the glycemic index (GI) premise, which is a numerical system of measuring how fast 50 grams of carbohydrate from specific foods triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar – the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. The glycemic index doesn’t take into account typical portion sizes of food, e.g., 50 grams of carbohydrate from carrots would equate to eating 7 medium carrots. Bottom Line: The existing long-term studies comparing high and low-GI diets do not show any significant differences in weight loss. Diet Research Summary Update: The Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII) 1994-1996 data were used to examine the relationship between popular diets and diet quality as measured by the healthy eating index (HEI), consumption patterns, and body mass index (BMI). The HEI is a 10 component index; the first 5 components are based on the 5 major food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid-grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and meat alternatives, and milk. Components 6 through 10 of HEI are based on aspects of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines-total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and variety. The diet quality as measured by the HEI was highest for the high carbohydrate groups and lowest for the low carbohydrate groups. The BMIs were significantly lower for men and women on the high carbohydrate diet; the highest BMIs were noted for those on a low carbohydrate diet (J Am Diet Assoc. 2001; 101:411-420). Review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of diet composition. Energy restriction is the key variable associated with weight reduction in the short term. Quick weight loss diets usually overemphasize one particular food or type of food. They violate the first principle of good nutrition: Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. If you are able to stay on a fad diet more than a few weeks, you may develop nutritional deficiencies, because no one type of food has all the nutrients you need for good health.How to be LEAN and HEALTHY: 1. Every meal and snack you eat, have a balance of macronutrients- protein, carbohydrate, and fat to provide sustainable energy. Aim for ~50% of calories from carbohydrate (choose whole grains, fruit, and green leafy vegetables most often); ~20% to 25% from protein; 25% to 30% from fat (<7% fat =" LOW-FAT." 3 =" 15," 180 =" LOW-FAT.">5 grams dietary fiber cereal with the shake for even more sustainable energy. Make this shake the night before, keep it in the blender and store it in the refrigerator. The next morning, just press whip, and you’ve got a quick and easy “on-the-go” energizer.Serving size: 1.5 cups, Total servings: ~4Nutrition Analysis per serving: 27 grams Carbohydrates, 10 grams Protein, 5 grams FatReferences: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2003 (vol.22 #1, 9-17), 2000 (vol.19 #5, 578-590).Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2001 (vol.101 #4), January 2000 (vol.100#1).Nutrition Review, July 2002 (vol.60, 189-200).Time Magazine, Oct. 20, 2003, p. 50.Today’s Dietitian, Oct. 2003, p. 31.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hot New Pain Cure

Capsaicin- the compound in red chile peppers that makes them so fiery-is an effective pain reliever, suggest results from two new studies. Researchers gave 41 Danish men with surgically repaired hernias either capsaicin powder or a placebo to apply topically to their wounds after surgery. During the first 3 days, men in the capsaicin group had significantly less pain. And in a Harvard study conducted on rats, pairing capsaicin with a common anesthetic blocked pain better than the anesthetic alone, without any side effects. Capsaicin neutralizes a pain neurotransmitter in nerve fibers, says Jason Theodosakis, MD, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the author of The Arthritis Cure.
Apply capsaicin cream three of four times daily for three or four weeks as a balm for arthritis pain. Avoid the similar sounding capsicum- it's another pepper compound but can irritate the skin and isn't as potent, says Theodosakis.
Capsaicin cream can be found in your local drug stores such as the Vitamin Shoppe or Vitamin Cottage. It can also be purchased online at various e-drug stores.

-Sara Altshul, February 2008 issue of Prevention Magazine

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Livitician says Beans are the Healthiest Food on Earth!

It has been said that a diet high in legumes and soy food may reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes mellitus (DM). So, Raquel Villegas and colleagues from Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute set out to find the truth.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for nearly five years, researchers observed over 64 thousand women, who were not pre-diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease. They found a contrary association between quintiles of total legume intake and three mutually exclusive legume groups (peanuts, soybeans and other legumes) and Type II Diabetes. As a result, researchers concluded that consumption of legumes, soybeans in particular, was inversely associated with the risk of getting Type II DM.
Researchers also found that those who consumed the highest amount of soybeans were 47 percent less likely to have Type II DM and those who ate the most legumes were 38 percent less likely to develop the disease as well.

On a practical note, to help prevent flatulence from eating beans, rinse your cooked beans and then season before eating them. When you rinse the beans, you are getting rid of the sugars that we can't digest. When we can't digest something, bacteria digests it, when bacteria digests something, carbon dioxide gas is produced, you prevent that whole process from happening by rinsing them, hence you don't need to sing the song, "beans, beans, the more you eat, the more you ____." For example, after opening a can of organic beans, rinse them well in a strainer until all the bubbles disappear, then season them to taste, with some e.g., chili powder, a little cayenne, garlic and onion powder, a little lemon pepper, and place them on a whole-wheat or corn tortilla, with a little shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Place that in a toaster oven or conventional oven at 350 degrees F, for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts. Add some salsa and a little guacamole. Fold the tortilla over and you have a tasty burrito, have it with a salad or some steamed veggies, you have a quick and easy balanced meal. BON APPETIT!

Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Nitrite's n' Nitrate's...Who knew!!

Researchers proposed that the benefit from enriched water might be the stimulation of nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide is produced in the cells lining the surface of the blood vessels. It aids blood flow and reduces blood pressure. When we consume less nitric oxide, our risk of stroke and heart disease increases.

*Only about 5% of the nitrate we eat comes from bacon, ham, and other cured meats. The rest comes from nitrate naturally present in drinking water.

Nitrate and Nitrite are non carcinogenic-in fruits and veggies. They act as antioxidants during digestion or cooking. Fruits and veggies are naturally rich in Vitamin C, this inhibits nitrosamine formation as well as enhances the generation of nitric oxide from nitrite.
Nitrite can combine with naturally occuring amines in foods, forming nitrosamines. (Nitrosamines have been shown to be carcinogenic when administered in animals).

FACT: Cured meats contribute only about 5% of the nitrate we eat. The vast majority, 70%-85% comes in produce; spinach, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, grapes, strawberries, and root veggies. Vegetarians are likely to consume 10 times more than omnivores.

As humans, we are designed to consume our nitrate in more natural ways; vitamin, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

Posted in L.A. Times by Susan Bowerman