Friday, November 11, 2011

Read New Blogs by Dr. Dorene

Hi Friends,

I just added several new blogs that I think you would find of interest. To learn more about these blogs, go to

Each blog will have its own focus, which should be useful in keeping things in focus. Do check out the blogs from time to time as they will be updated regularly.

In addition, send me your questions and comments. I would love to hear from you and provide feedback in response to your questions. Ultimately, my goal is to use the website, as a forum where you can share information and get feedback from the moderator as well as from site visitors.

I know that many people find forums extremely useful in helping them to feel empowered, inspired, motivated and able to take action. Ultimately, it is the action that you take that will make the difference in whether you reach your goal or not.

Find out what's happening at the newest blogs by visiting Then click on the blogs you want to read. And there's much more to come.

Power Up for Success!!!

Your RD, Dr. Dorene

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

National Diabetes Month November 2011

In announcing November 2011 as National Diabetes Month, President Barack Obama urges all Americans to learn more about the disease and how we can manage, treat, and prevent it.

Diabetes can have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of those who are affected, and remains a major public health threat.

What is especially alarming is the increase in Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes among America's children. According to the Presidential Proclamation, the increase in Type 2 diabetes among our Nation’s children is linked to the rise in childhood obesity.

First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative is designed to help children and families develop healthy habits for a healthier tomorrow.

Let us come together to increase awareness and reverse the growing incidence of diabetes in America.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

What is a Low-Calorie Diet?

A low-calorie diet allows you to eat fewer calories by eliminating foods that are high in calories. Low calorie diets are usually used for weight loss.

Eating foods that are high in nutritional value is important when you are on a low-calorie diet. This will help you to get the nutrients you need for good health while using your excess body fat for energy.

A low-calorie diet usually consists of foods that are high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and peas. At the same time, foods that are high in sugar and foods made from white flour, trans fats or saturated fats must be reduced significantly or avoided as much as possible.

You can expect to lose about one or two pounds a week on a sensible low-calorie diet. That would mean consuming about 500 calories less than you burn. For example, if you are maintaining your weight with 2000 calories, a diet that provides 1500 calories should allow you to lose one pound a week. This estimate is based on the theory that you have to burn an excess of 3500 calories in order to lose one pound.

Increasing your level of physical activity will enhance the effectiveness of your low-calorie diet by boosting your metabolism.  As a result, you may be able to lose weight at a reasonable rate without starving yourself.

Keep in mind that very low-calorie diets can put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies. As a nutritionist, I don’t recommend this extreme approach. However, if you are determined to go this route, talk to your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian to get a clear idea of the risks involved. Comprehensive medical supervision is essential for anyone determined to go on this type of diet. 

You would most likely need to take nutritional supplements to make up for the low nutrient intake that usually results from a very low-calorie diet. That's about 600 to 800 calories per day. Clearly, at this level, you would not be able to get all of the vitamins, minerals and other compounds that your body needs to function properly.

A safe goal to aim for on a low-calorie diet is between 1400 and 1800 calories per day. If you are very active, you might even be able to eat a little more and still lose weight.

Please note that information provided on this site is for education and informational purposes only. Always talk to your personal healthcare professional before making making any major changes to your diet or before  taking large amounts of supplements.

How to Help Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits

There are many ways that you can help your child to develop healthy eating habits. Even if your child is a picky eater, you can help him to develop healthy eating habits.

Here are 5 simple suggestions:

  • Set a good example. If you want your child to eat broccoli, let him see you eat them.
  • Offer vegetables often. They should be offered with lunch and dinner, and whenever possible at breakfast or as a snack. Don't think about French fries as vegetables in this case. 
  • Use colorful vegetables to brighten meals and raise your child's curiosity.
  • Introduce vegetables early. Between 4 and 6 months is a good time to start. This will give the child a chance to get familiar with the taste of vegetables before he becomes too familiar with foods that have a more sweet taste.
  • Don't withhold other food or punish your child if he refuses to eat his vegetables. Wait a few days or even weeks before introducing the same vegetable, then try again. Continue to do this until you find a variety of vegetables that the child will eat.
  • Prepare vegetables in a variety of ways - soups, salads, steamed, grilled, juiced or whatever until you find ways that he is most likely to eat them.
Encourage children who are old enough to take part in the planning, shopping, preparing and serving of vegetables. Then, chances are your child won't look at vegetables as some kind of weird food. Instead, he will see it as a normal part of his daily diet.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

4 Reasons Why You Should Eat a Good Breakfast

You might be skipping breakfast because you are in a hurry or you think that it is a way to lose weight. . But skipping breakfast is not the solution. In fact, there are some pretty good reasons why you should eat a good breakfast everyday. 

Here are 4 good reasons:
  1. The first reason is that after a long night of fasting, during sleep, your body would have used up the fuel and a good bit of the nutrients that you consumed during the day. A good breakfast will replenish the nutrient levels in your cells to give you the energy and mental clarity you need for optimum performance.
  2. Breakfast can provide one-fifth to one-third of your daily nutritional needs. Going without a good breakfast increases the chance that you might consume a lot of empty calories during the day without a matching allowance of vitamins, minerals and other important dietary substances.
  3. Breakfast is an opportunity to get milk or other dairy products, including cheese and yogurt, which can help to meet your calcium needs. Keep in mind that calcium is needed to build strong bones. Skipping breakfast may make it harder to get the calcium you need during the rest of the day and put you are risk for osteoporosis.
  4. Breakfast will keep you from getting ravenously hungry in the middle of the morning and stuffing yourself with high-calorie junk food.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Avoid Unhealthy Weight Gain This Holiday Season

It is important to set a limit on how calories if you are trying to lose weight. That means cutting back or cutting out foods that are high in fats and sugar.

You don’t have to count calories, although it is a good idea to do so. This will allow you to learn where most of the calories in your diet are coming from. Having this knowledge will allow you to make better choices at home and when dining out.

If you don’t know how many calories are in the foods you eat, you are likely to overeat and become frustrated when you don’t lose weight. On the other hand, if you know that you have consumed excess calories, you can avoid gaining too much weight by taking immediate steps to burn the excess calories. That means getting up and getting exercising more. Better yet, just don't overeat.

As you know, the holidays can be rather stressful and stress itself can lead to weight gain. Two common causes of weight gain during stress are increased production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and depression, which could lead to overeating.

With the holidays upon us, you need to have a plan to counteract the challenges that the holidays bring. Stress, depression, office parties, and an abundance of food, drink and sweets at this time can really make it difficult to control your weight. But if you have a plan, you can beat the odds.

 A good place to start is by creating a plan. You can find lots of useful articles on this blog as well as at, and at The U.S. Department of Agriculture website and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provide practical information for diet planning and weight loss. In addition, a registered dietitian can help you devise a diet and weight loss or weight management program that is just right for you. 

Don't wait until you've started packing on the pounds this holiday season. Get started on a healthy weight management program now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

5 Smart Ideas for Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called the “silent killer” because you can have no symptoms while the pressure builds up to dangerous levels in your blood vessels. The first time you might realize that you have a serious problem is when you have a stroke.

While a stroke is a common outcome of high blood pressure, it is not the only consequence. It can also lead to a heart attack, vision loss and kidney disease. But these outcomes are not inevitable. You have the power to make changes in your diet and lifestyle that can reduce your blood pressure and minimize the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other serious outcome.

Needless to say, ‘Prevention is better than cure.” So, here are a few things that you can do to lower your health risks:

Know your family history. If a parent or sibling suffers from high blood pressure, you may be at increased risk. So, monitor your blood pressure regularly and take steps to reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure.

Watch your weight. Being obese is a risk factor for high blood pressure. You can lower that risk by losing weight. If you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your body weight could help to reduce your risk.

Modify your diet. Studies show that what you eat can affect your blood pressure. In particular, if you are salt-sensitive, eating foods that are high in salt or sodium can cause a potentially serious increase in your blood pressure. Keep your sodium intake low to prevent a potentially fatal outcome.

Try the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This diet emphasizes foods that are high in fiber, magnesium and potassium and limits foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, trans fats and saturated fats. Fruits and vegetables are at the core of the DASH diet.

Be active. Physical activity can help to control your blood pressure several ways. One way is by promoting weight loss if you are overweight. Exercise also helps to open the blood vessels to allow oxygen-rich blood to flow to the vital organs to boost performance.

Note: The information provided on this blog is for education and information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your personal healthcare provider before making any major changes to your treatment protocol. And consult a registered dietitian for guidance regarding changes to your diet.

Can Pumpkin Help You Control Your Diabetes?

Have you carved your Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween? If you did, surely, it must have been fun, particularly if children were involved. But pumpkins aren't just for making Jack-O-Lanterns. They make an amazing contribution to the diet. Whether you eat pumpkin in soup, as a side dish, in a cake or as pumpkin pie, you're bound to enjoy it and reap a great deal of nutritional benefits as well.

But that's not all.

Pumpkin has been used by indigenous cultures as a treatment for diabetes for centuries. Now, research is confirming what indigenous people have known all along - that pumpkin can help to lower blood glucose levels. 

For example, in one laboratory study, researchers fed a pumpkin extract to diabetic animals and found that the animals fed the extract had higher insulin and lower blood glucose levels than animals that did not receive the extract. 

That's right. The same pumpkin that you are carving to make Jack-O-Lanterns just might turn out to be the medicine you need to control your diabetes.

Once again, these studies remind us that, indeed, "Food is medicine." 

Happy Halloween.

Notice: Please note that nothing in this blog is to be construed as medical advice. The information provided is for education and information purposes only. If you have diabetes, discuss your options regarding with your healthcare provider. Your doctor and registered dietitian can provide appropriate guidance.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD affects millions of Americans. In fact, proton pump inhibitors or PPI are the second-largest selling prescription drugs on the market. Proton pump inhibitors prevent acid reflux by reducing acid production in the stomach. Stomach acid is considered to be the primary cause of acid reflux.

Acid reflux is a condition in which food from the stomach leaks back to the esophagus, causing heartburn. This backup may result when a ring of muscles above the stomach, called a sphincter, does not close properly and allows the food to move back up towards the throat.

Common symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn or a burning pain in the chest, nausea after eating, bringing food back up after eating, difficulty swallowing and sore throat. Symptoms may be more pronounced at night.

Some factors that may contribute to the development of acid reflux include obesity, pregnancy and smoking. Certain medications can also lead to heartburn. These include drugs used for seasickness,  high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, Parkinson's disease, contraception, anxiety, sleep disorders or depression. If you are taking medications for any of these conditions and experiencing heartburn, tell your doctor.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent acid reflux is to avoid foods that cause the problem for you. Acetaminophen may be used to relieve pain. However, you should avoid certain drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Over-the-counter antacids may be used after meals and at bedtime. But be aware that they may cause diarrhea or  constipation in some individuals. Prescription drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs and H2 blockers may also be used. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.

Certain meds used for acid reflux may increase the risk of bone fractures.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fracture with Certain Antacid Drugs

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When to Seek the Help of a Registered Dietitian

According to the American Dietetic Association, there are nearly 70,000 registered dietitians in the United States. But chances are, even if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires attention to your diet, your doctor may not have referred you to a dietitian.

Unfortunately, many doctors either don't understand the critical role that diet plays in preventing and treating disease or simply choose to ignore this critical need. Consequently, you have to take things into your own hands and ask for a nutrition referral. This is particularly true if the doctor says, "Diet."

When it comes to your health, what you eat as well as what you don't eat is critical. So, get that referral. And ask your insurance company about paying for the consult. After all, with proper diet and lifestyle changes, you could improve your health and save the insurance company bundles of money.

Here are a few conditions for which you will need a referral to a registered dietitian, the food and nutrition expert:
  • Diabetes. If you have diabetes, a registered dietitian can help you adjust your food intake to prevent dangerous spikes and lows in your blood sugar. Obesity is often a problem for people with diabetes, so you would certainly want to lose some weight if you are overweight. And with the help of your dietitian, you can succeed.
  • Heart disease. Heart disease may worsen if you are overweight, have dangerously high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or if you have high blood pressure. A registered dietitian will walk you through the steps you can take to correct the underlying problems so that you can get back to living an active and fulfilled life.
  • High cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for a number of important living processes. But high levels have been associated with heart disease and stroke. By consulting with a registered dietitian, you will be able to choose foods wisely so as to keep your cholesterol down.
  • High triglycerides. Like cholesterol, high triglycerides can cause plaque to build up in your arteries and damage your heart and blood vessels. A registered dietitian can help you find ways to manipulate your diet to prevent the damage caused by high triglycerides.
  • High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Making changes to your diet, consuming more fiber, choosing healthy fats, reducing your salt intake if you are salt-sensitive, and losing weight if you are obese can help to lower your blood pressure. Stress can also cause your blood pressure to increase. Working with a registered dietitian, you will be able to identify strategies for controlling your blood pressure. 
These are just a few reasons why you should ask your doctor for a referral. To find a registered dietitian, visit the American Dietetic Association website, and click on "Find a Dietitian."

Healthy Halloween Treats

You have to wonder if the tradition of filling baskets with candy for kids is the best way to celebrate Halloween. Perhaps you shouldn't be so eager to hand out candy to eager kids when they knock on your door. Maybe you could be just as generous without burdening them with all those excess calories, which not only pose a threat to their weight, but also to their dental health. And for children with diabetes, the risks may be even greater.

So, what's the alternative?

Here are 5 fun that make smart alternatives to sugary treats:

Apples. Apples are wholesome and nutritious. They won't get squashed along the way and they won't ruin the teeth. Besides, they are fun to eat.

Raisins. Raisins are packed with health-promoting nutrients, which kids may not really care about, but parents do. For kids, they are a real treat.

Dark chocolate. Kids will get a thrill when they receive dark chocolate on Halloween. Unlike sugary, milk chocolate, dark chocolate is loaded is actually a healthy treat.

Popcorn. Individually packaged popcorn can be given to kids. They will have a blast popping their own popcorn after an afternoon of trick or treating. Of course, as a parent, you would want to oversee the popping to avoid burns from the hot popcorn.

Nuts. Nuts are another favorite of kids. They can actually have fun combining nuts, raisins and pieces of dark chocolate to make their own homemade trail mix. Walnuts, almonds and pistachios are good choices.

Warning: Avoid giving small kids nuts or anything that may be a choking hazard. Also, it might be wise to avoid giving peanuts, since peanut allergy is a common food allergy.

These are just a few ideas for offering healthier treats on Halloween. I am sure that you can come up with some other ideas to make it a fun day without all the candy that have been associated with Halloween.


Keep Kids Safe Trick-or-Treating on Halloween

Trick-or-treating can be a lot of fun for kids on Halloween. But it is not without potential danger. So, what can you do to ensure the safety of your kids on this “scary” night?

Here are a few helpful tips:

1. Let kids travel in groups. Of course, you should know who your kids are traveling with and where they are going. If kids are little, make sure that you or another responsible adult accompanies them.

2. Advise kids of potential dangers that might lurk behind closed doors and in those treats that they collect.

3. kids not to eat any of the treats that they collect before bringing them home. At home, you can inspect the treats and make sure that they are safe to eat. Treats should always be in original packages or wraps, and there should be no sign of tampering.

4. Toss out anything that looks like it may have been tampered with.

5. Inspect apples and wash thoroughly to remove germs that could cause illness.

Happy Halloween!


Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Constipation: The Fiber Factor


If you are one of millions who reach for over-the-counter laxatives for constipation, you should know that that there is a better way. Eating the right foods could put an end to constipation and start you off on the right foot to having regular bowel movements.

Recommended Fiber Intake

Reducing constipation may be as easy as adding more fiber-rich foods to your daily diet. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should consume 14 g of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. For a woman, that would be about 28 g of fiber if you consume 2,000 calories per day. If you are a man and you consume 2,500 calories per day, you will need 35 g of fiber to satisfy the recommendation.


Fiber helps to prevent constipation by forming a gel, which binds waste, keeps the stool soft, increases bulk and stimulates action to speed the waste through your gut and out of your body.


If your diet is low in fiber, you are likely to have few and irregular bowel movements that are hard to pass, causing a great deal of strain. This situation can cause an unhealthy dependence on laxatives.


To reduce your dependence on laxatives, eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with nuts, seeds, beans and peas. Start today by treating yourself to a fiber-rich breakfast of oatmeal with raisins and milk. Then have an apple and an ounce of walnuts for snack. Add beans or peas to your lunch menu, and treat yourself to a large salad at dinner. Be sure to drink plenty of water when increasing the fiber in your diet. This will help to ensure that your stool stays soft and easy to move.


In some cases, constipation may be a sign of more serious health problems, or impaction that needs direct medical intervention. See your doctor if you think your condition is more than the run of the mill constipation. For help with planning your high-fiber diet, talk to a registered dietitian.

More About Fiber and Constipation


For answers to questions about food, nutrition, diet, weight loss and health-related conditions, talk to a registered dietitian. Go to to find a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced to help you with your food and nutrition questions.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trim Your Waistline

You may be looking at your waistline as the target of your weight loss program because it is so prominent. It is what you notice the most as you watch your reflection in the glass windows as you walk through the mall. And it makes fastening your jeans a real challenge. But appearance isn’t everything. There are some real health dangers associated with having a large waistline.

Those dangers include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, arthritis and back pain, to name a few. More than anything else, it is these dangers that should motivate you to trim your waistline.

You may be familiar with all kinds of online offers for losing belly fat. As with all the other quick weight loss schemes, be careful. If you want to lose the belly fat you have to lose the weight. That means committing to a program that requires improvements in the way you eat and making time for exercise.

How can you jumpstart the process?

First, make healthier food choices. Second, eliminate the sodas, chips, cookies, candy, cake and other sugary and high-fat foods. Third, skip the fast food and nightly pizza. And finally, get moving.

Consult a Registered Dietitian. If you need help with creating a healthy weight loss program, talk to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced in the art and science of nutrition for healthy weight loss. You can locate a registered dietitian by going to the American Dietetic Association website at and searching to find a registered dietitian.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bizarre eating addictions, courtesy of

Bizarre eating addictions, courtesy of

What is the Difference Between Sodium and Salt?

Did anyone else notice the blunder in the New York Times City Room Blog of March 17, 2011, in which the author stated "City health officials say that people over 50, blacks and people with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease should limit their salt consumption to 1,500 milligrams a day, and the other 40 percent of adult New Yorkers should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day."

Actually, the recommendations are for 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day for people at high risk and 2,300 mg of sodium per day for others. It is very important to understand the difference between sodium and salt because the amount consumed would vary depending on which substance you are referring to. Sodium is a mineral that is part of table salt. Salt, or in this case table salt, is a mixture of two minerals, sodium and chloride or sodium chloride.

Perhaps the following statement taken from the National Institutes of Health website might clarify the point.

"The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets of 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure lowering benefits."

We all make mistakes; I certainly do. Hope this brief commentary helps anyone who might have been confused by the NY Times article.

If you have high blood pressure and need help deciding what to eat, consult a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most qualified by training and experience to help you make the right choices. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at and searching to find a registered dietitian. 

Preventing Obesity

Preventing obesity in today's fast food and junk food environment is tough. But by being aware of what's in the foods you buy and making smart choices, you can manage to avoid joining the ranks of the obese. If you are already overweight or obese, you can use your knowledge and awareness to make better choices and lose the weight.

Eating foods as close to their natural state is an important part of any weight management strategy. Colorful foods, foods that are high in fiber and foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats must become a part of your daily diet.

On the other hand, you must reduce your intake of foods that are high in sugar, salt, saturated fats and trans fats. This will be hard to do if these are the foods you are accustomed to. The good news is, you have a choice. You can continue to eat the junk that leads to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and daily aches and pains, or you can decide to give your body what it needs for lasting health.
March is National Nutrition Month and the American Dietetic Association wants you to celebrate this month by adding more colorful foods to your meals.
If you would like help planning healthy meals and snacks, talk to a registered dietitians. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting, the American Dietetic Association website and searching to find a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to assist in meal planning, weight management and other diet-related issues.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

If You Are Overweight or Obese, It's Time for a Change

Obesity increases the risk of a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is also linked to sleep apnea, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.

If you are obese and suffering from any of those conditions, you might have already decided that it is time for a change. Obviously, if you continue to do the things that you have been doing, you will continue to get the results you have been getting. So, what changes can and should you make in order to reverse or control your chronic disease state?

Clearly, losing weight is an important first step. It is also difficult to achieve. But with the right information, attitude and perseverance, you can succeed.

Unfortunately, too many people fail to lose weight or lose it only to put it back on as soon as they "go off the diet." The secret to keeping the weight off is to have a plan that you can live with for the rest of your life. Commercial diets and popular diet books may help you lose weight in the short run, but when it comes to lasting weight loss, the results are dismal.

You can do better. Don't set yourself up for failure.

First of all, it is important to understand that in order to lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. You can achieve this by eating less, exercising more, or doing both. Revamp your diet so that you will be consuming fewer calories and get more exercise.

You will have to devote time to planning and implementing your weight loss program. But if you put your mind to it, the time and effort will be well worth it.

If you are overweight or obese and feel that it is time for a change, don't hesitate. Take the first step today. A registered dietitian can help. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you design a weight loss plan to combat obesity and put you on track to a healthy future. To locate a registered dietitian, visit the American Dietetic Association website at and search to find a dietitian in your area.

Lose Weight to Control Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases

If you are obese, you may be at increased risk for a number of chronic diseases. But you stand a good chance of reducing your risk if you understand the relationship between obesity and chronic disease.

People who are obese are at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body does not process sugar properly. The cells become insensitive to insulin, which makes it hard for sugar to move into the cells after you have eaten. As a result, the sugar stays in your blood and builds up to unhealthy levels.

In many cases, losing weight can help to improve blood sugar levels. Successful weight loss for diabetes requires making improvements to your diet and getting regular exercise.

High Blood Pressure
If you are obese, you may be at risk for elevated blood pressure. This increase in blood pressure is in part related to the extra weight that you must carry around and the demand for extra blood to meet growing demands.

The high-calorie, high-fat and high carbohydrate diets that are often associated with excessive weight gain can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and may also be a factor in developing high blood pressure.

Reducing your intake of those foods and losing the excess body fat can help to lower your blood pressure.

Heart Disease
Obesity puts you at serious risk for a heart attack due to the increased work that your heart must perform in order to get blood to your vital organs. Chances are, you will also have a great deal of plaque in your arteries as a result of consuming large amounts of trans fats and saturated fats.

Eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates could also lead to increased plaque due to high levels of triglycerides in your blood.

Losing the excess weight and substituting foods that are high in unsaturated fats for trans fats and saturated fats can help to reduce your heart disease risk.

If you are obese and need to lose weight or need guidance on choosing the right foods for your condition, talk to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to provide nutrition counseling and consultation in matters related to diet and weight loss. To find a registered dietitian, visit the American Dietetic Association website at and click on the link to 'Find a Dietitian."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

10 Tips for Keeping the Weight Off

If you lost weight and want to keep it off, you will need to continue to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. It might be tough, but you have to stay focused. One of the biggest mistakes people make after losing weight is going “off the diet” and back to old ways of eating. Those old ways are what caused the initial weight gain in the first place, so you should not be surprised if the weight comes back after you go “off the diet.” Consider the follow steps that you can take to avoid regaining the weight:
  1. Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms, the biggest of which might be cravings. Acknowledge what is happening and try to find ways to overcome the cravings. Perhaps drink a tall glass of water. Sip on an ice cube. Eat a large salad or grab a handful of nuts. Of course, you could also go for a long walk, away from the temptation. By the time you return, the wave of cravings should have passed.
  2. Drink a glass of water every couple of hours. This will help to keep you feeling full so that you don’t have to deal with hunger pangs. Add a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice if you wish to flavor the water. But avoid sweetened drinks.
  3. Plan ahead when you will be eating out. You should have a fairly good idea of what you plan to eat before you sit down at the restaurant, or before you get to the party if it is a party that you will be attending. You might find that having a light snack or even eating a light meal before you go could take the edge off of deciding what to eat later.
  4. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, especially before you eat. Drinking on an empty stomach could get your digestive juices flowing and cause you to overeat. It could also weaken your resolve and remove any degree of self-restraint that you might have intended to use.
  5. If you must drink, make sure it is highly diluted. Then drink slowly to make the drink last. This will cut calories and help to limit the total amount of liquor consumed over the course of the evening. Avoid sitting or standing near the bar if at all possible.
  6. Keep things fresh. Choose fresh or minimally processed foods instead of highly processed foods that may contain large amounts of fat, sugar and salt.
  7. Read food labels and avoid foods that have a lot of ingredients listed. Be especially careful to limit foods made from refined, white flour and those that contain trans fat and saturated fats.
  8. Resist the urge to have pizza, fast food burgers and all the other foods that you know were the source of your problem to begin with. In other words, stick with what worked to shed the weight. Now that you can be a little more liberal doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down.
  9. Pay attention to how much you eat. You can eat a lot more vegetables without consuming excess calories, as compared to bread, butter, salad dressing, fried foods and rich desserts. You will have to make some tough choices. Be sure to make the right ones.
  10. Stay active. Regular exercise will continue to be an important element of your daily activities. It is what will allow you to eat a reasonable amount of food without regaining the weight. If you see that you are beginning to regain the weight, don’t let it happen. Do something to stop it before it becomes a major problem – again.

If you are struggling to lose weight or need professional support in controlling your weight or eating to prevent or treat diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health problem, talk to a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced in the art and science of nutrition and most qualified to help you make smart food and lifestyle choices.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun and Healthy Snacks Your Child Will Love to Eat

Children love snacks. But, unfortunately the snacks that they eat most are the ones they should be eating least, if at all. That’s because America’s kids are filling up on foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt, not to mention loaded with calories. And with childhood obesity at an all-time high and climbing, those are the foods they need least of all.

So, are there any foods that your child can enjoy without gaining too much weight?

Of course there are. You only have to pay more attention to what you are stocking in the house and what you buy when you take the kids out. You will also need to have the “chat” with your kids to help them learn the importance of eating more nutritious foods and less high-calorie junk food. 

Keep in mind that if you set a good example, it will be easier for your kids to follow.

Here are a few healthy snacks for starters:
  1. Turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato
  2. Peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread
  3. Fresh fruit and vegetable kebab
  4. Broccoli, cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks with Ranch dressing
  5. Cheese sticks
  6. Yogurt smoothie with fresh strawberries
  7. Yogurt parfait
  8. Homemade trail mix of nuts, raisins and dried pineapple chunks
  9. Nutty oatmeal cookies
  10. Fresh fruit cup of blueberries, strawberries and kiwi
  11. Watermelon chunks
  12. Frozen juice cup with 100% juice

Fibromyalgia: Personal Viewpoints

Fibromyalgia is most often described as a a painful condition involving the muscles and certain points on your body, such as your neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty sleeping and tingling of the hands and feet, among other things. and causing a great deal of fatigue.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but there are a number of theories about the causes, including physical injury, infections, and psychological stress. Some sufferers, as you will see in the referenced article below, associate their disease with certain minerals, vitamins and other compounds in food or water.

Fluoride, aluminum, vitamin D and gluten are often mentioned by fibromyalgia sufferers and point to the need to assess your diet and lifestyle and note any changes that either trigger or reduce the symptoms.

According to an article on fibromyalgia by staff at the MayoClinic, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, symptoms may be controlled by medication, exercise and relaxation. Eliminating stress factors might also help.

If you have fibromyalgia, know someone who suffers from this condition, or if you just want to gain insight in to this disease for which a cause seems so elusive, the website below might be of interest to you. It provides a number of interesting perspectives from fibromyalgia sufferers or others who have been looking into the disease. I came across it by chance, and thought it illuminating enough to share on here.

Here is the forum link:


Fibromyalgia; Mayo Clinic Staff; January 2011

Fibromyalgia; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; July 2009

Fibromyalgia: A Likely Cause and Some Possible Actions

If you have a medical condition requiring attention to diet, talk to a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lose Weight Now

If you are overweight or obese and suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or other chronic health condition, then you know how important it is to lose weight. But finding a program that works for you could be difficult. In fact, the best way to succeed at losing weight and keeping it off is to design a weight loss plan that is uniquely yours.

At any rate, if you put your heart and mind to it, you can succeed. But you need to have the motivation and be willing to make the commitment to change what needs changing. Unfortunately, no bestselling book on the market can do that for you. On the other hand, if you can find a reason, deep enough and powerful enough to make you want to lose the weight and keep it off, nothing can stop you.

So, why not give it a chance? Here are 3 basic tips that you can use to get on the right path. They are nothing new, just some basic reminders of what you need to do to start losing the weight for good.
  1. Dig deep. Make sure you have an airtight reason for wanting to lose the weight. Doing it for cosmetic reasons alone is not sufficient. Try to figure what your real motivation is.
  2. Create your own diet. If you have followed a popular diet before, chances are you lost some weight and put it all back on. This time, make it your own and lose the weight for good.  
  3. Get moving. It might be difficult to exercise at first. But if you are motivated, you will find a way to get moving. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day. But remember, you don't have to do it all at once. If you can take 3 ten-minute stints a day, it will add up. So, don't make any excuses.
If you have questions about losing weight or need help in creating a personal weight loss plan, talk to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced to assist you with making smart food and lifestyle choices to control your weight and prevent or treat diet related health problems.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eat Less Sugar to Cut Calories

To lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you take in. One source of excess calories is sugar. So, reducing your intake of sugary foods is clearly one way to cut calories.

Here are few ideas for reducing the sugar in your diet:
  1. Reduce your intake of foods with added sugar. That means cookies, cake, candy, sodas, juice drinks, pies and sugary desserts. Breakfast cereals and other ready-to-eat foods often contain a large amount of added sugar, so read food labels carefully.
  2. Add less sugar to food and drink that you prepare at home. Preparing foods at home give you the advantage of controlling just how much sugar you use.
  3.  Eat smaller portions of foods that are high in sugar.
  4. Retrain your appetite. Make a special effort to eat less sugar for 21 to 28 days. It usually takes about 28 days to get used to eating foods without sugar or with significantly less sugar. Give yourself time.
  5. Choose naturally sweet foods, especially fresh fruits, to satisfy your sweet tooth. These foods will not only eliminate the sugar calories, they will add important vitamins, minerals, fiber and other health-promoting phytonutrients to keep you healthy as you lose weight.
  6. Keep a bottle of water handy and drink at regular intervals to keep your cravings at bay.
  7. Do not substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. These sweeteners could potentially hurt your efforts rather than help you to lose weight.

Monitor your sugar intake regularly to determine how well you are doing. Be prepared to make additional adjustments as needed.
If you need help planning your diet to lose weight, consult a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at or doing a generic search online.
Read Dr. Carter's Daily Diet Guide for today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

10 Heart-Healthy Foods for Valentine's Day

This Valentine’s Day, be good to your sweetheart, but don’t forget to take care of your own heart. Start by eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in polyphenols, which are plant compounds that have been shown to promote heart health.

Indeed, polyphenols may provide a wide range of health benefits. According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, studies show tat polyphenols may help to prevent cardiovascular disease and may reduce your risk of developing certain cancers. Polyphenols have also been linked to a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and other diseases of aging.

If you are not consuming 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, you may not be getting the health benefits that these foods offer. This Valentine's Day do something good for your heart. Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables to boost your polyphenol intake and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Here are 10 foods to help you get started:
  1. Apples
  2. Red grapes
  3. Cranberries
  4. Pomegranate
  5. Eggplant
  6. Broccoli
  7. Onion
  8. Cocoa/Dark chocolate
  9. Tea
  10. Red wine
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
If you have questions about diet and nutrition, consult a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at or by searching online.
Read today's Daily Diet Guide

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

It’s Valentine’s Day and more chocolate will probably be eaten today than any other day of the year. That could mean a lot of sugar for people who are trying to cut back on calories.

But the news is not all bad. Chocolate that contains a high percentage of cocoa might actually be good for you. Natural cocoa from cocoa beans are high in antioxidants, which can protect your cells from oxidative damage. Milk chocolate less cocoa and, therefore, does not provide the same level of protection.

Studies show that polyphenols, the active compounds in dark chocolate, may help to lower blood pressure, improve heart health and prevent stroke. These compounds might also protect brain cells, thus helping to slow dementia.

Keep in mind that all chocolates are not equal. Milk chocolate does not contain the same high levels of polyphenols that are found in dark chocolate. That means you would not be getting the same health benefits.  So, the next time you reach for chocolate, make sure it is dark chocolate.

Read the label before you buy.

If you need help planning healthy meals and snacks for heart health or to control your blood pressure, talk to a registered dietitian. Find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at or do an online search. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and experienced in the art and science of nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and other aspects of food and nutrition. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rules of Good Nutrition

The rules of good nutrition are pretty simple: 
  • Choose nutritious foods.
  • Eat only as much as you need to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid eating too much junk food.
  • Stay active.

Here’s why you should follow these rules.
  • If you don’t you are likely to fall back into your old ways of eating.
  • If you eat too much, you will gain too much weight and become obese.
  • Junk food is the main cause of obesity in America.
  • Lack of exercise contributes to unhealthy weight gain. 
Concerned about your weight? Talk to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians/RDs are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you make the right food choices for your condition. You can find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at or searching online for a registered dietitian.
Did you read the Daily Diet Guide for today?
Have a diet or nutrition question? Ask us on 

Western Diet Reduces Kidney Function

If you are consuming the standard Western/American diet, you might already know that it is associated with an increased risk of obesity. This dietary pattern has also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dietary Patterns
The Western diet is generally high in red meat, highly processed meats, saturated fats and sweets. The Western diet is also high in sodium. On the other hand, the DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Kidney function
In a study by Daniel I. Feig, et al., reported in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, May 2006, the researchers observed a decline in kidney function associated with the Western dietary pattern. In contrast, the authors reported that a DASH-style diet may be protective against kidney disease.

The decline in kidney function could lead to kidney failure and ultimately result in the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant. You may be able to prevent this outcome by avoiding foods that can damage your kidneys and choosing foods that are protective against kidney damage. Protective foods include those associated with the DASH diet, particularly fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

If you need help in planning your renal diet, talk to a registered dietitian. Search online or go to the American Dietetic Association website and click on the link to find a dietitian. 
Did you read the Daily Diet Guide for today?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bad News for Diet Soda Drinkers

If you drink diet soda on a regular basis, you could be at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

These conclusions were reached after researchers found that people who drank diet soda everyday had a 61 percent high risk of having a stroke than those who reported drinking no soda.

The study was done at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.

Intake of diet soda has also been linked to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of abnormal tests results for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol that are often found in people who are overweight or obese.

Use this information to your advantage.


Medscape Medical News

If you have a medical condition requiring attention to your diet, ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you identify and make the right food and nutrition choices for your health.

Did you read the Daily Diet Guide today?

Omega-3 Fats From Walnuts Versus Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, have been shown to reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Therefore, eating fish is one way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Interestingly enough, in a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers compared the effects of walnuts and fatty fish on blood lipids and found that walnuts reduced total and LDL or bad cholesterol while fatty fish reduced triglyceride levels.

Both high LDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels can lead to cardiovascular disease. Based on the study results, the researchers suggest eating a diet that contains both walnuts and fatty fish as a means of reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

Eating 1 to 1.5 grams of walnuts and 5 grams of omega-3 fats from fish or fish oil should be adequate.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

If you have heart disease, high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease risk, talk to a registered dietitian about the best course of action when it comes to diet and nutrition. You can find a registered dietitian/RD by visiting, the American Dietetic Association website. Nearly 70,000 registered dietitians are ready to serve.
Did you read today's Daily Diet Guide?


Walnuts are simply fabulous.

They're nutritious.

They're tasty.

They're versatile.

And they pack a punch when it comes to lowering your bad cholesterol.

Researchers have found that eating as little as 1 to 1.5 ounces of walnuts can lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. Lowering your LDL cholesterol reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Worried about calories due to the oil in walnuts?

Don't be. Eating walnuts as part of a well-balanced diet will not cause you to gain too much weight. Just make sure that your diet is well-balanced and within your calorie needs.

One smart way to control your calories would be to eliminate  or drastically reduce foods that contain trans fats or saturated fats and replace them with antioxidant-rich walnuts or walnut oil.


American Journal Clinical Nutrition

Get help planning your heart-healthy diet. Talk to a registered dietitian.
Read the Daily Diet Guide

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Help Your Child to Eat Right

Help Your Child Eat Right

America’s children are eating all the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones. These food habits are causing an explosive increase in the rate of childhood obesity.

The Wrong Foods

I think it is obvious to just about everyone what the wrong foods are. They are cheap, full sugar, fat and salt, and calories. They are packaged for convenience. And they “taste good.”  So, it is not surprising that parents and children would reach for these types of foods. They are not called junk food for nothing.

Junk Food

You won’t find any warning on food packages telling you that the junk foods you are feeding your child could cause him to gain an excessive amount of weight, that one day he could develop diabetes, heart disease or other serious health problem as a result of eating those foods. You won’t find any advice to limit the amount of junk food you feed your child. And you won’t find any advice on any of the packages suggesting that you buy some fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious foods for your child instead of the junk food. So, you don’t think twice about the damage that those foods may be causing.

A Better Way

On the other hand, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer some pretty good advice that you might want to pay attention to:
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Watch those portions.
  • Cut the fat.
  • Cut the sugar.
  • Cut the salt.
  • Move more.

Keep these basics in mind the next time you go shopping. To be sure that you are not filling up your shopping cart with junk food, read the label of packaged foods. Better yet, buy fresh. This will help to ensure that your children are getting the nutrients they need for good health without the fattening calories.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Can One Million Visitors to Nujoblog Do for America's Children?

In 2001, Surgeon General Richard Carmona, in his call to action, warned America that childhood obesity was a serious public health problem. Do something now or pay the penalty later, he said. Well, later is now and we are paying dearly. More and more children are becoming overweight and facing a future of costly and debilitating diseases.

Here is what scientists and public health experts are telling us:
  • One-third of America's children are overweight or obese. In some cities that number could be as high as fifty percent.
  • One in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes at some point during their lifetime.
  • Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions, including cancer and premature death.
  • More and more children are being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of abnormal health conditions that set the stage for cardiovascular disease.
  • Overweight or obese children are often sad, depressed, socially isolated and bullied. They are also less likely to perform at their highest potential in school. Many do not want to go to school because of the social problems they encounter.
70,000 registered dietitians are unrecognized and underutilized; these nutrition experts, along with trained public health nutritionists must be mobilized to fight this battle that the nation is losing day after day.

You can do your part by making smart food choices for yourself and your children. If you have a child who is overweight or obese, insist that your insurance company, medicaid or other health insurance provider authorize coverage for professional nutrition services by a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian in your area by visiting, the American Dietetic Association website or searching online.

Send this blog post to as many people as you like and ask them to share it; and visit for daily nutrition updates. Each visit will bring us closer to providing children and families with the nutrition education, counseling and related services they need to stop this potentially deadly epidemic that is euphemistically called childhood obesity. In fact, it is more than just about fatness. It is about potentially fatal diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputations and more. These are the real risks that our children face.

"Let's move" towards better food, more physical activity and a nation of healthy children. Surely that is not asking too much of the greatest nation on earth, is it?

Let's organize for the health of our children - sharing and visiting nujoblog for daily updates. And send me your questions and feedback at If you are a childcare center or school, you might also be interested in services offered by CHANA Project, the Child Health and Nutrition Access Project.

"An investment in America's children is an investment in America."

Cholesterol and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, your chances of having high cholesterol levels may be increased. Heart disease is a common problem in people with diabetes. Therefore, you should take measures to control your cholesterol.

Having diabetes also puts you at higher risk for having elevated triglyceride levels. High levels of triglyceride may make you more prone to heart disease. So, take steps to reduce your triglyceride levels, as well. Triglycerides are small particles of fat that are in your fat cells. They also circulate throughout your body.

If your doctor finds that you are at high risk for heart disease due to high cholesterol or triglycerides, take note. He will most likely advise you on making diet and lifestyle changes to lower your risk. He may also prescribe drugs to lower your cholesterol levels. Controlling your triglyceride levels depends to a great extent on your ability to make appropriate changes to your diet and getting more exercise. Controlling your blood sugar levels is also a major factor.

Of note: Walnuts have been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol while fish oil lowers triglyceride levels. So, add 1 to 1.5 ounces of walnuts to your daily diet and eat at least two servings of fish weekly to control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eating to Prevent Colon Cancer


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. While a diagnosis of cancer can be devastating, there are some things that you can do to lower your risk of developing colon cancer.

Obesity, Waist Size and Colon Cancer

A number of studies show that being overweight and/or having a large waist size is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Therefore, if you are overweight or obese, one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk is to lose weight.

What to Eat

Making healthy food choices on a daily basis is critical. Your digestive tract needs fiber along with vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds to function properly. However, if you are like most Americans, you may not be getting the fiber you need. You could be coming up short on a wide range of other nutrients, as well. 

Without these dietary essentials, your risk of developing colon cancer may be increased. So pay attention to what’s on your plant and make sure that you are eating foods that can protect against cancer rather than increase your risk.

Dietary Fiber

Eat foods that are high in fiber. That means fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables not only provide a large amount of fiber; they are also loaded with antioxidant vitamins and minerals, plus other phytonutrients that may help to prevent cancer.

Whole Grains

Whole grain breads and cereals can help to boost your fiber intake, which is necessary for a healthy digestive tract and colon health.

Dietary Fat

A diet high in fat, particularly animal fat, has been linked to increased risk for colon cancer. Health experts recommend limiting these types of fats in your diet. Choose healthy omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats from fish, nuts and seeds instead.


For a personalized nutrition consultation, talk to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most qualified by training and experience to assist you in making the right food choices for your condition. Find a registered dietitian by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at

3 Good Reasons to Lose Weight

If you have been thinking about losing weight but need a little motivation, here is food for thought. Obesity is associated with a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. It can lead to painful and debilitating symptoms. And it robs you of the chance to live a full active life, which is something all of us would like to do.

No doubt, you can think of many other good reasons to lose weight. Have your pick. Whatever your reason, use it to motivate you and keep you inspired. You already know you need to do to lose the weight. Just do it.

In case you need a few reminders, read on.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly. As a result, sugar from the carbohydrates you eat does not get shuttled to the cells where it can be used for energy. Instead, it remains in your blood, leading to high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. This could cause inflammation throughout your body and potentially damage your heart, blood vessels and other vital organs. 

Losing weight, in conjunction with eating a nutrient-dense, high-fiber diet, may reduce your chances of developing diabetes. If you already have diabetes, making healthful changes can help to control your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of diabetes complications. If you need help with planning meals and snacks, talk to a registered dietitian.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure develops when the integrity of your blood vessels is compromised. Obesity puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels as these organs work to get blood to all parts of your body. Losing weight reduces the strain and might allow the blood vessels to be a little more relaxed. 

If you are obese, chances are you may not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients needed to keep your heart and blood vessels functioning optimally. 

As part of your weight loss program, you will need to focus on eating foods that are high in these polyunsaturated fats and other heart-healthy nutrients. Add fish and fish oil, and walnuts to your diet for a healthy dose of omega-3 fats. 

These fats can help to reduce your triglyceride and cholesterol levels, thus reducing your chances of developing heart disease. Make lots of room on your plate for high-fiber foods like nuts, seeds, dried beans and whole grain cereals, as well.

Heart Disease
Obesity increases your risk of developing heart disease by making your heart work harder to pump blood to the different organs in your body. If you are obese, it might also mean that you are not eating enough fruits and vegetables or other high-fiber foods. As a result, you may be lacking in essential fatty acids. These fatty acids, specifically omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in promoting heart health. 

Protect your heart by losing weight and shifting to a heart-healthy diet that includes fish or fish oil and walnuts or other plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
For real solutions to your diet and nutrition questions, or to get personalized guidance, talk to a registered dietitian. Go to, the American Dietetic Association website to find a dietitian near you. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you solve problems related to weight control and other diet and nutrition issues.
Read today's Daily Diet Guide.  

Spring Into Shape

Spring is a time for the outdoors, walks in the park, picnics with family and friends and fun on the beach. It is time to smell the fresh air, feel the tingling as raindrops caress your face and watch the tulips grow. 

Nothing says outdoors more than springtime. Spring brings us an abundance of fresh fruits and flowers; freedom and frolic. Oh, yes, there is so much to enjoy when springtime rolls around. Will you be ready to take it all in?

Being physically fit is an important prerequisite for the ultimate springtime experience. Start the journey today. Here are a few tips to help you get in shape:
  1. Lose the weight. If you are overweight, lose the weight. Make the process as seamless as possible by making small but smart changes in your diet. A good resource to use is with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
  2. Avoid junk food. Most likely, you know which foods are bad for you – those packed with sugar, unhealthy fats and salt. Make the commitment to limit those foods. 
  3. Control food portions. If you need to lose weight, portion control is crucial. Take time to learn what an appropriate portion is and try to stay within those limits. If you eat two or more portions, just be aware that you are increasing the amount of calories with each extra bite you take. The food guide pyramid is a good reference tool to help you learn more about portion sizes.
  4. Shop wisely. Obviously, what you buy is what you will eat. So, read food labels and buy only those foods that will take you closer to your weight and health goals. Avoid packaged foods as much as possible, as these foods are likely to have added sugar and/or be high in fat and salt (sodium). 
  5. Pack your own. Packing your own meals and snacks will allow you to eat balanced meals and snacks without too many calories. If you must eat out, plan ahead and try to avoid fried foods or anything that would undermine your efforts.
  6. Take a walk. Walking is the easiest ways to burn extra calories, improve your circulation and strengthen your bones and muscles. If you have been doing nothing but sitting on the couch during your free time, make the switch to an active lifestyle.
  7. Mix it up. Do both cardio/aerobics and strength training exercises. It may take a while for you to get your comfort level up, but be persistent. Come spring, you will be glad that you did.
  8. Hydrate. Hydration is one of nature’s best-kept secrets. Your cells need the right amount of fluids and the proper mineral balance to function properly. If you become dehydrated, you cells could actually shrivel up and cause serious health problems. So, keep lots of water handy and drink up to stay properly hydrated.
  9. Weigh yourself regularly. You can choose to weigh in each morning, once a week or once a month. What is important is that you are consistent. Checking your weight frequently will help you to keep tabs on your progress and to tweak your diet or exercise program if you are not making they kind of progress you expect.
  10. Talk to a Registered Dietitian (RD). You can find lots of helpful information on the internet. But if you are having difficulty making sense of all the information or just want personalized guidance, contact a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are highly trained and experienced experts in diet and nutrition. You can find a registered dietitian by searching online at You can also use a search engine to find dietitian websites, forums and answers to frequently asked questions.

Have you seen a registered dietitian yet? Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you understand and interpret nutrition concepts, and to show you how you can make them work for you. Go to to find a registered dietitian today.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Eat Better

If you are like most people, I think it is safe to say that eating has become more about the pleasure you get from certain foods and is less about protecting your health. Unfortunately, those foods that you enjoy so much tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt, which may increase your risk of gaining too much weight and developing diabetes and other health problems.

There is nothing inherently wrong with eating for pleasure. But it becomes a problem when you eat so much high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and not enough fruits, vegetables and other health-promoting foods.

When deciding what to eat, your goal is to choose foods that will provide the right amount of energy, keep you alert, prevent disease and increase your chances of living a long, healthy life. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from eating better:
  • Increased immunity
  • Reduced risk of having heart disease
  • Less chance of becoming overweight or obese
  • Lower risk of developing diabetes or diabetes-related complications
  • Better bowel health; less constipation
  • Healthier skin
  • More energy

        Friday, February 4, 2011

        6 Steps to a Healthy Heart

        February is American Heart Month. Here is what we know, according to the National Institutes of Health:

        Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

        According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control,  25 percent of deaths in 2007 were due to heart disease.

        You may be at increased risk for heart disease if:
        • You have a family history of heart disease
        • Your cholesterol levels are high, specifically total and LDL cholesterol
        • You have diabetes
        • You smoke
        • Your diet is lacking in fiber and key nutrients
        • You don't get enough exercise
        You may not be able to change your genes, at least not at this point, but there are a few things that you can do to reduce your heart disease risks. Here are a few tips:
        • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Choose both plant and animal sources to cover all bases.
        • Control your blood sugar by eating the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Pay attention to the ratio of insulin to carbohydrate to avoid extreme highs and lows.
        • Do not smoke. If you smoke, stop.
        • Eat foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and other functional plant compounds.
        • Avoid trans fats, saturated fats and foods with large amounts of added sugar or salt.
        • Stay physically active. Start by climbing stairs and pick up the pace of your steps when walking if you haven't been active for a while.

        Choose Unsaturated fats for A Healthy Heart

        You’ve been warned about eating too much fat. That is because fats are high in calories, which could cause you to gain unwanted weight. Compared to carbohydrates and protein, which provide 4 calories per gram, fat contains 9 calories per gram. That’s more than twice as many calories as carbohydrtes or protein.

        The other problem with fat is that most commonly eaten foods that are high in fat are either fried foods or baked goods that are made with white flower. These foods are usually low in fiber and other essential nutrients. So, you get a lot of calories but little nutritional value.

        Clearly, controlling your fat intake is essential to controlling your weight. That does not mean that you have to avoid fats. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should get 25 to 35 percent of your calories from fats.

        But not all fats are created equal. There are trans fats, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

        Trans fats are the worse fats because they can damage your heart and blood vessels. Saturated fats are also bad, though not as bad as trans fats.

        On the other hand, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you. They help to keep your total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels down. Keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels down is important because high levels can lead to cardiovascular disease, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

        Choose your fats wisely. It will do your heart good.
        Have you read the Daily Diet Guide?

        Thursday, February 3, 2011

        Dietary Guidelines 2010 Target Obesity and Chronic Diseases

        Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and arthritis are among the most common and costly health problems in the United States. These diseases are highly preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means you might be able to reduce your risk and cut health care costs by adapting healthy eating habits. Exercise and other lifestyle habits can also make a difference. 

        The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a series of Dietary Guidelines to help you make smart choices to improve your health and prevent, delay or control chronic diseases. Here are a few ideas:
        • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume.
        • Eat more whole grains.
        • Choose low-fat or non-fat milk.
        • Eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like nuts, seeds and fish.
        • Avoid trans fats and limit your intake of saturated fats.
        • Eat fewer foods that are made with added sugars. Give up the sodas, whether sugar-sweetened or filled with artificial sweeteners.
        • Eat less salt/sodium.
        • Control portions to reduce calorie load.
        • Balance intake and exercise to prevent unhealthy weight gain.
        Other things that you can do to reduce your health risks include drinking plenty of water, getting a little sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels and getting at least 20 minutes of planned physical activity everyday.


        Tags: diet, dietary, dietary guidelines, obesity, CDC, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, disease prevention, preventing disease, exercise, physical activity, portion sizes,
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