All Posts In Healthy Tips

8 Surprising Sources of Sugar

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, February 29, 2012
sugar
Is there sugar hiding in your groceries?

Move over salt, there’s a new bad guy in town: sugar. We know that sweet treats and heavily processed food tends to be laden with sugar, but you’ll be shocked to find out that these 8 common foods that contain more sugar than you think.

The Guidelines

The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons (or 100 calories) while men shouldn’t consume more than 9 teaspoons (or 150 calories) each day. Americans blow these recommendations out of the water, consuming an average of 475 calories of added sugar each day! So take a good look at your pantry to see if you’re eating any of these hidden sources of sugar.

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Good Calories, Bad Calories?

by in Healthy Tips, February 27, 2012
milk
Are the calories in milk the same as the calories in soda?

What’s more important, what you eat or how much you eat? Dietitians are often asked this question: Are all calories created equal?

Good?
Yes, calories are calories whether they come from carrots or cookies but that’s not the end of the story. Foods are diverse and offer more than just calories so to truly evaluate the quality of calories, consider their nutrient density.

“Good” calories are nutrient-dense, which means you get the most bang for your calorie buck. For example, compare 100 calories of soda to 100 calories of milk. Calories from soda provide sugar and that’s just about all. That same number of calories from milk provide protein, calcium and vitamins A and D – therefore, the milk is a more nutrient-dense food.

But even the most nutrient-dense foods can get us into trouble. Peanut butter, olive oil and avocados are high in heart-healthy fats but the calories can stack up quickly – here’s where portion control is key.

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One Small Change: What Makes Superfoods So Super?

by in Healthy Tips, February 26, 2012
blueberries
Blueberries are touted as a superfood, but what makes them so super?

Acai, pomegranate and goji, oh my! In honor of the recent Superbowl and an article recently published on learnvest.com entitled, “A Doctor Dishes: Which ‘Superfoods’ Are Worth the Cost?”, I started thinking: where did the term “superfood” come from and what makes them so darn super? Here’s what my research dug up:

According to Oxford dictionaries, a superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” So superfoods must be healthy for us, right?

There is speculation as to whether the research backing up some of these superfoods has been overstated. In other words, can pomegranates alone really prevent cancer just because they have high antioxidant levels? Since then it seems like every health food marketer is claiming their latest exotic “superfood” will make all the difference in our health and well-being, it’s important to get to the bottom of these claims before spending our hard-earned money.

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Easy Healthy Recipe Swaps

by in Healthy Tips, February 18, 2012
breadcrumbs
Looking for a healthier alternative to breadcrumbs? Try ground nuts.

I am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into my meals, and that does not have to mean creating boring, uninspired dishes. I decided to challenge myself to take some good-old staple ingredients I use in several recipes and swap them out for more exciting and often more nutritious picks. The result was fun, tasty and oh-so-good spins on traditional dishes. Here are my top 5 swaps:

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Three Red Foods You Should Be Eating

by in Healthy Tips, February 15, 2012

cherries
February is the month to think red — and not just because of Valentine’s Day. The shortest month of the year is also American Heart Month and National Cherry Month. Celebrate by adding more red foods like tart cherries, tomatoes and red cabbage to your diet. We spoke with Dr. Wendy Bazilian, MPH, RD to find out why these red foods are so important.

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Should You Drink Bottled Water or Tap Water?

by in Food Safety, Healthy Tips, February 14, 2012
bottled water
Should you spring for bottled, or is tap just fine?

It’s the battle over water! Should you be dropping cash on bottled versions or is tap the way to go? We’re diving into this controversy and sprinkling you with all the facts.

Bottled
Pros:
There are different varieties of bottled water, depending on their source. Here is a rundown:

  • Mineral water comes from an underground source and contains a certain amount of minerals and trace element like copper, zinc, and arsenic.
  • Spring water is collected from a spring that flows naturally through the surface.
  • Municipal water comes from a public source that is usually treated before it’s bottled. You may see it labeled as “purified water.”

Having bottled water available when you’re on the go is convenient and less messy (many reusable bottles leak), but recent studies conducted will make any bottle-loving person a skeptic.

Cons:
According to a 2008 investigation conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a variety of contaminants were found in every tested brand of bottled water. Although tap water is typically tested annually, bottled water doesn’t have to meet the same testing standards and they don’t have to disclose results of any contaminant testing conducted. After conducting this research, the EWG concluded that the “purity of bottled water cannot be trusted…[and] consumer confidence in the purity of bottled water is simply not justified.”

Also, bottled water has a larger carbon footprint than tap water and doesn’t contain any of the added nutrients found in tap water (like fluoride)—though you can find bottled water that has been fortified with fluoride. the problem is, over-consumption of fluoridated water can lead to fluorosis which causes a brownish discoloration on the teeth. It also costs thousands of times more than tap water.

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Talking to the Experts: The Biggest Loser Dietitian Cheryl Forberg

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, February 14, 2012
cheryl forberg
Dietitian Cheryl Forberg

The NBC hit show The Biggest Loser has helped contestants lose hundreds of pounds and motivate a country in dire need of weight loss. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, including many hours of nutrition and food counseling provided by registered dietitian Cheryl Forberg.

Q: What was your role as the dietitian on The Biggest Loser?

As a member of the medical expert team, I participated in a week of screening physicals each season to help select the cast. I met with each prospective cast member to discuss their eating patterns, food preferences, weight loss/weight gain history to help me create personally tailored eating plans for each of them.

Q: I understand that you have both a culinary and nutrition background. Could you tell us about that?

Yes, I am a chef first, nutritionist second. I attended a sixteen month program in San Francisco to attain my chef diploma (formerly California Culinary Academy currently a Cordon Bleu school). I won an apprenticeship in France upon graduation and studied in restaurants in Champagne, Alsace and the Loire Valley. I returned to San Francisco to open Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio restaurant and moonlighted as a private chef to clientele, most of whom had some sort of dietary restriction — low fat, low sugar, low calorie. At the time there were few chefs with nutritional education and few dietitians with culinary training. I taught myself to adapt my classic French training to meet the needs of my clients. After several years as a private chef, I decided to legitimize what I was doing and returned to school at UC Berkeley to attain my BS in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics and become a registered dietitian.

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29 Days of Romantic Foods

by in 30 Days, Valentine's Day, February 6, 2012
chocolate strawberry
29 ways to treat your sweetheart.

Keep the month of February sweet, hot and spicy with these romantic foods.

1.    Start the month of right with 28 days of chocolate.

2.    Read up on Katie Cavuto Boyle’s sensual Valentine’s dishes.

3.    Check out Valentine’s recipes for kids and grown ups.

4.    Keep red foods on your mind.

5.    Make Ina Garten’s caviar dip.

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Cancer Prevention: Cruciferous Veggies

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, February 4, 2012
broccoli
Broccoli is loaded with cancer-fighting plant chemicals.

In honor of World Cancer Day, we’re focusing on cruciferous veggies—those from the cabbage family. Studies show that these vegetables have a special plant chemical that protects against cancer. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your everyday eating plan.

The Power
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These superstar veggies are packed with so many nutrients it’s tough to keep count. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, B6, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fats. What’s more, they also have plant chemicals known as glucosinolates that have been shown to help reduce the risk of various types of cancer.

A 2011 study in the International Journal of Urology found that the more veggies that were eaten from the cabbage family, the lower the risk was from prostate cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, studies also link the various components in cruciferous veggies to helping reduce the risk of colorectal, esophageal, stomach, mouth and pancreatic cancer.

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Sleep and Weight Loss

by in Healthy Tips, January 30, 2012
sleep
Is sleep tied to a healthy weight?

After giving birth to three kids in less than 5 years, I never had much time to sleep. Like most folks, I savor those nights when I can get 6 or 7 hours of shuteye. Now numerous studies tell us that getting our zzz’s also helps with our weight loss efforts.

The Studies
A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that folks trying to shed at least 10 pounds were more likely to achieve their goal if they slept between 6 to 8 hours a night and had lower stress levels.

A 2004 study by the Stanford School of Medicine found that the less you sleep, the more weight you’ll gain. They found that not getting enough sleep leads to higher levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and lower levels of the hormones that tell us when we’re full. Furthermore, lack of sleep was associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).

There are also numerous theories that find sleepless nights can lead to weight gain. One theory says that when you’re tired, you become less physically active during the day which can lead to weight gain. A second theory says that when you’re sleep deprived you don’t care as much to make conscious food choices—which can lead you off your healthy eating plan.

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