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.