Tuesday, December 20, 2016

All Good Things in Moderation

The holidays are a special time to embrace traditions, celebrate with family and friends, and indulge in treats that make the season so special. Healthy eating embraces all foods as part of a balanced diet, and encourages eating everything in moderation.

Allow yourself a little of your favorite foods as a treat. It is typically not the food that is the problem, it is the quantity of the food that you choose to consume. Take for example one chocolate chip cookie. At 150 calories per cookie eating 3-4 can easily lead to weight gain. Pies average around 350-500 calories per slice and the calories in alcohol can add up quickly as well. Learning to decrease portions can help keep your weight in check. It also helps lower your intake of saturated fat which is very important if you have a history of high cholesterol.

Cravings are suggestions to eat, but not commands to overindulge. When you feel cravings for treats try waiting 20 minutes, concentrating on something else, and leaving the area where food is. Often this will make the craving go away.

If you do choose to eat something you are craving enjoy it, but in moderation. You do not have to overeat. Take the time to truly taste and enjoy every bite of your treats. Avoid eating quickly and with distractions such as the TV or cell phone. This strategy helps us enjoy food more while consuming less.

Other strategies to help keep treats in moderation is to eat three balanced meals each day. This keeps appetite in check and prevents overeating that comes from skipping meals.

Eat until you are comfortably satisfied but not full, knowing you can enjoy more food later when you are hungry again.

Know your social calendar; during some events you may feel comfortable sticking to healthy low calorie foods and beverages knowing you plan to indulge at a different party later on.

Finally learn to say “no, thank you” politely when you have had enough. There is no shame in turning down treats especially if your health is at stake. 

Schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians to plan your 2017 goals; with insurance sessions are no cost to patients. Our office wishes you and your family a Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Eating a High Protein Diet May Raise Women’s Heart Risk

Research presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in November found women over the age of 50 who ate a high-protein diet had a higher risk of heart failure.

The study analyzed the diets of 104,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years of age over a five year period. The likelihood of developing heart failure was statistically associated with the amount of protein they consumed even after controlling for age, race, and other health conditions. The women in the study with the highest protein intake had a 60% increased risk of heart failure compared to women who had little protein in their diet.

The greatest risk was from animal protein sources. Women who had a higher vegetable protein intake (from beans, nuts, lentils, and quinoa) appeared to be protected with a reduced risk of heart failure by 20%.

Researchers speculate similar results would be seen in men, but more studies are needed.

For healthy people the USDA recommends about 46g protein for women and 56g protein for men aged 19-51+ daily, although a registered dietitian can customize protein recommendations based on your unique needs. Most Americans over-consume protein without really trying, for example one chicken breast has 54g protein.

The American Heart Association does recommend fish and poultry in small amounts for a heart healthy diet. They also encourage a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat and non-fat dairy products, nuts, legumes, and non-tropical oils.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why Do I Gain Weight When I Exercise?

Eat less and exercise more might be the over-simplified advise to lose weight, but many people struggle with weight gain once they start an exercise program. In fact a 2013 study found sedentary people who started exercising lost far less weight than expected despite the number of calories they burned when working out.

Why does this occur? Many scientists believe the body tries to compensate for the new exercise by increasing appetite and reducing activity later in the day which limits weight loss.

Our body doesn’t understand we live in a modern society with vending machines and fast food restaurants everywhere around us. Our body, to some degree, thinks we still live in a cave and need to eat for survival. In a caveman world where food is scarce and only the strong survive weight loss would be detrimental. The drive to keep eating is embedded deep within our DNA.

Hunger aside, we also respond to rewards and might reach for a treat after a grueling workout. Briskly   walking for an hour might burn 200 calories but the fruit smoothie we drink afterwards might contain over 400.

Exercise might increase appetite, but is has a very   important role in protecting our health. In fact independent of weight loss, studies show improvements in blood sugar, liver enzymes, cholesterol, and blood pressure with regular exercise. Studies show people who live more active lives can live longer.

A 2016 systematic review of physical activity and   obesity studies found calorie restriction combined with exercise was more effective for weight loss than exercise alone or diet alone. What we eat, the amount we eat, and the amount of energy we expend in one day has a very big impact on weight management.

What amount is right for you? Our team can measure your calorie requirements and design a plan to help you reach your goals. It is never too late to start   working on healthy goals, even during a busy holiday season. Call our office and schedule your appointment today.