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Start the Day Off Right with a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast helps control cholesterol, prevent weight gain, inrease energy levels, and provides many other health benefits. You can't afford to skip breakfast. Here are some easy-to-make healthy breakfast recipes to help you start your day off right:

Baked French Toast Fritters

Oatmeal Pecan Waffles

Potato and Egg Scramble

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Fruits and Vegetables Lower Heart Disease Risk

Take a look at the Healthy Eating Plate by Harvard University, and you'll see that fruits and vegetables should fill half your plate at every meal. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs to be healthy. And they help lower your risk for heart disease.

In a Harvard University study, researchers looked at heart health and consumption of fruits and vegetables. For 22 years, they followed a group of over 113,000 men and women and tracked their intake of fruits and vegetables. They found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease during the study. Those who ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily had an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who only ate one to two servings daily. Those with the lowest risk of coronary heart disease consumed eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

While all fruits and vegetables were protective, those with the strongest link to lower heart disease risk included:

Citrus fruits - oranges, lemons, grapefruit

Orange-colored fruits and vegetables - carrots, winter squash, papaya, apricots

Green leafy vegetables - dark green salad greens, kale, spinach, broccoli

Red-colored fruits and vegetables - berries, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes

Researchers found that consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables wasn't as important as consuming the right quantity to prevent heart disease. They also found that every extra serving of a fruit or vegetable reduced the risk of heart disease by three to four percent.

The average person in the United States eats only about three servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This is only about half the amount needed for good heart health. In this study, legumes, soy, and potatoes were not counted as vegetables, even though legumes and soy are also protective against heart disease.

Fruits and vegetables are cholesterol free, high in fiber, low in calories, low in saturated fat, high in potassium and magnesium, and high in vitamin C. They're also the best source of antioxidants that help keep cholesterol in the blood from being oxidized. All of these factors are linked to heart health.

Other studies have found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables (at least five-plus servings per day) helps prevent inflammation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and helps lower blood cholesterol levels. All of these factors are strongly related to heart disease as well.

The message is clear. For a simple way to lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease, eat more fruits and vegetables daily. Aim for at least 8 servings daily for best health.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.



Physical Activity Helps Prevent Weight Gain

How important is physical activity for long-term weight loss? That was the focus of a study including 201 women in a weight-loss program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

All women were encouraged to eat lower calorie meals (1,200-1,500 calories per day). Then women were randomly assigned to either no additional physical activity or increased levels of physical activity. Some exercised at 1,000-1,500 exercise calories a week (about 30-45 minutes of walking daily). Others followed a more active exercise plan that burned 2,000 or more exercise calories each week (equivalent to walking an hour per day).

After six months in the program, all groups lost a similar amount of weight: the high exercisers lost about 12 percent of their body weight; the moderate exercisers lost 10 percent of their body weight; and the non-exercisers about 9 percent of their body weight.

Over the next two years, however, those who continued their physical activity were able to maintain most of their weight loss (7-11 percent of their body weight) while the non-exercising group regained most of their weight loss.

Those who were most successful in maintaining a weight loss of at least 10 percent of their initial body weight were those who expended about 2,000 exercise calories per week. This is equivalent to about an hour of moderate physical activity daily, such as walking. In this study, they found no difference in weight loss in those who exercised vigorously or moderately, as long as they burned at least 2,000 calories weekly.

While both groups lost similar amounts in the first six months, the difference after two years was remarkably different. This study points out the importance of not only changing eating habits, but becoming more physically active for long-term weight management success.

Sources:
Archives of Internal Medicine.
University of Pittsburgh.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Blood Pressure – The First Order of Business

When patients visit a hospital or clinic, a first order of business almost always involves checking blood pressure. Why is this so important for patients and healthcare professionals?

It is important because high blood pressure (or hypertension) can have a bad effect on every organ in the body. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. While there are many medications to help treat high blood pressure, helping people focus on healthy lifestyle behaviors is essential for both prevention and optimizing blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Guidelines
Despite greater awareness of this condition over the last 20 years, millions of people have high blood pressure today. In fact, in the United States, about one in three people (or nearly 70 million people) have high blood pressure. And only about half of these have their blood pressure under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blood pressure is defined by the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in the following way:
Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mm Hg.

Pre-hypertension is the range from 120-139/80-89 mm Hg. Pre-hypertension means a person is at greater risk for developing high blood pressure, but is not considered to have hypertension.

Hypertension is 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
While these guidelines are important, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration when determining optimal blood pressure level for a patient. An ideal blood pressure level depends not only on the guidelines mentioned above, but also on age, health status, and whether or not the person has a serious medical condition such as diabetes or coronary artery disease (one type of heart disease). If a patient has a serious condition such as heart disease, you should help them lower their blood pressure as much as possible to lower the risk for further complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of people who have a first heart attack, 77 percent of people who have a first stroke, and 74 percent of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for two leading causes of death – heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is also a major risk factor for kidney disease. Left unchecked, it can lead to vision problems, and damage arteries and other organs in the body.

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
There are several risk factors that increase the risk for high blood pressure. These include:

Family history. If a patient has an immediate family member with high blood pressure, their risk increases.

Age. Blood pressure tends to rise with age.

Ethnicity. African-Americans are at greater risk for high blood pressure compared with other ethnic groups.

Other Risk Factors. Being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary life and not exercising, smoking, and drinking alcohol above current recommended guidelines are other factors that increase the risk for hypertension.

In addition to these primary risk factors, there are secondary risk factors such as certain types of medical conditions that can lead to high blood pressure including tumors, metabolic conditions, and arterial disease. Certain medications, herbs and supplements may also lead to high blood pressure.

Treatment Options to Control Blood Pressure
Treatment generally consists of lifestyle behavior changes, and if needed, medications. Lifestyle behavior change may be enough for some people and includes dietary changes, weight loss if overweight, salt reduction, and keeping up with an exercise routine. For some, medications are necessary to help lower blood pressure. For these people, lifestyle behavior changes are still equally as important in the effort to bring levels to a healthy range.

Preventing Hypertension
Before high blood pressure becomes a problem, it's always better to encourage people to take preventive measures to avoid it. If you measure blood pressure for patients, take a minute to educate them about how to keep their blood pressure under control:
Maintain a healthy weight or get help to lose weight.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole foods. Limit salt and alcohol consumption.

If a patient has a family history of high blood pressure, talk about this and recommend ways to reduce their risks.

Exercise regularly. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.

If stress is a problem, find ways to relax such as through complementary therapies like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or other mindfulness practices.

Don't smoke.

Talk about any medications, herbs, and supplements the patient is taking and potential risks for high blood pressure. Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, over-the-counter cold medicines, headache medications, and weight-loss pills, can cause high blood pressure. Herbs and supplements like ephedra, ginkgo bilboa, ginseng, and guarana, can also affect your blood pressure.

Schedule an annual check-up/physical exam to review blood pressure and overall health.
Checking blood pressure should be a standard practice at all healthcare clinics and hospitals. It only takes a minute, but it can provide valuable information to help people optimize their health and lead a healthy, balanced life. The bottom line is that checking blood pressure as a first order of business should remain a standard practice in every healthcare clinic or hospital.

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Institutes of Health.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Eat Right to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

About 24 million people in the United State have type 2 diabetes. Left unchecked, this disease can lead to blindness, kidney failure, limb amputation, and other serious health problems. One in 10 adults has diabetes now. As many as one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue. But eating a healthy diet can greatly reduce the risk for developing this disease.

That was the focus of a study conducted by Harvard University. They selected 4,413 women who all had a personal history of gestational diabetes. Women who had this type of diabetes had a seven-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Harvard researchers closely studied what these women ate to see who would develop diabetes. Over the 16 years of follow-up, 493 women developed diabetes.

Next, they analyzed what the women had eaten. They compared their food intake to the DASH Diet. This is a low-cholesterol, high-fiber, healthy diet that can help prevent high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Women who ate foods similar to those in the DASH Diet cut their risk of developing diabetes by 46 percent. That's a remarkable difference and shows the power of healthy eating in preventing diabetes.

Let's look at the key principles of the Dash Diet to know how to eat to prevent diabetes. The DASH Diet promotes eating:

A high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (8-10 servings daily). A serving would be on orange, small banana, or a cup of melon, berries, or grapes. It is also a ½ cup of cooked vegetables or a 6-ounce serving of fruit, tomato, or other vegetable juice. These foods are low in calories, high in fiber and antioxidants, and have a low glycemic index. All of these are protect against diabetes.

Legumes (peas, beans, garbanzos, lentils, peanuts). These foods are good alternate sources of protein for red meats (which raise the risk of diabetes). Legumes are very high in fiber. They are also very low glycemic foods (very slow in raising blood sugar levels). Legumes are also cholesterol-free, and low is saturated fat – all good qualities for preventing diabetes.

Soy (edamame, green soybeans, ,dry soy beans, tofu, soy milk). Soy is another excellent alternate protein source for red meats. It, is cholesterol-free, and an excellent source of both omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, which are linked to a lower risk of diabetes.

Nuts (walnuts, filberts, almonds, etc.) are helpful in preventing diabetes. Nuts can also help prevent heart disease, which usually accompanies diabetes. Aim to eat nuts daily for best health.

Less red and processed meats. Both of these raise the risk of developing both diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Whole grains (whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, etc.). The fiber in whole grains is especially helpful in lowering cholesterol, slowing the absorption of glucose, and lowering blood sugar levels. All of these protect against diabetes. On the other hand, eating refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, is linked to a high risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Low-fat dairy. Limit your intake of butter, cheese, and whole-fat dairy. Instead, use low or nonfat milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. The saturated fat in whole-fat dairy products raises the risk of diabetes. Skim milk and nonfat yogurt, however, are very low glycemic foods that help lower blood sugar and the risk of diabetes. If you prefer soymilk, that would be a healthy alternative to nonfat milk. Just be sure to choose the low or no-sugar soy milks with at least 8-9 grams of protein per serving.

Less sodium or salt in the diet. Limit your intake to no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily.

Fewer soft drinks and other drinks with added sugar. Sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to a high risk of developing diabetes.

By following these dietary principles as promoted in the DASH Diet, you will be significantly cutting your risk of diabetes, even if you have an inherited risk of developing the disease or a personal history of gestational diabetes. Add to your good diet regular aerobic exercise, and weight management and you greatly improve your odds for a life free of diabetes. 

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Exercise is Preventive Medicine

Open any magazine, or spend a few minutes watching TV, and you're likely to learn about a new drug created to treat one of dozens of chronic diseases. It's true that prescription medications are an important part of health management. But research suggests that another form of treatment is highly effective at preventing chronic disease…Exercise.

In a recent study, researchers examined 20 of the most deadly chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. They found that physical inactivity was linked to each of these, and identified the health benefits of exercise to prevent these chronic diseases. The researchers recognized the importance of proper medical care and prescription drugs. But they also presented a convincing case for exercise as preventive medicine. Here are a few examples:

Heart Disease
Exercise improves artery function, blood flow, and strengthens the heart muscle. That's what researchers found after reviewing dozens of studies and publishing their findings in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 600,000 lives every year. Many studies already show that inactivity increases the risk for heart disease. That's why 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week is recommended.

Obesity
Regular exercise helps individuals maintain a healthy weight and lose excess pounds. Losing weight will lower body mass index, and improve muscle strength and the cardiovascular system. In this study, researchers offer clinical evidence that a lack of exercise leads to obesity. An estimated 63 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese. And the effects of carrying excess weight include high blood pressure, diabetes, joint pain, heart disease, and other problems. Even without losing any weight, obese individuals can reduce their risk for chronic disease by exercising.

Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing abdominal fat. Exercise also helps by keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Exercise helps improve the body's ability to get rid of excess glucose or sugar in the blood.

Nearly 26 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes. Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, along with poor nutritional habits.
A total of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day is ideal to help people manage their weight, strengthen their heart, and reduce their risk for chronic disease.

Source: Journal of Applied Physiology. 2002. 93:3-30.  This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Quit Smoking and Benefits Begin Within 20 Minutes

For a smoker, deciding to quit is an important step in the right direction. But even with a nicotine patch, chewing gum, medication, and the best intentions, it's still a difficult process for many people. Recent research might offer some encouraging discoveries about what happens right after a person stops smoking.

After just a few weeks of calling it quits, most people trying to give up smoking experience fewer respiratory problems. In a recent study of 327 young adult smokers, researchers found that those who gave up cigarettes for two weeks reported five fewer respiratory symptom days per week.

At a time when tobacco use kills an estimated 443,000 Americans every year, and millions more suffer from smoking-related diseases, this finding could be an important tool for motivating smokers to quit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Surgeon General's Office compiled a list of the benefits of quitting, starting with what happens 20 minutes after a person smokes that last cigarette.

Kick the Habit: Benefits will Follow

20 Minutes After Quitting
Your heart rate drops.

12 hours After Quitting
Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting
Your heart attack risk begins to drop.
Your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 Months After Quitting
Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 Year After Quitting
Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

5 to 15 Years After Quitting
Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker's.

10 Years After Quitting
Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker's.
Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.

15 Years After Quitting
Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker's.

An estimated 69 percent of all smokers want to quit, according to the CDC. And approximately 52 percent of all smokers try to quit each year. Some succeed, but for many it takes more than one try. Offering encouragement and pointing to the health benefits that follow may be one more way to help people kick the habit for good.

Sources:
Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. 2011. 24(4):215.
Centers for Disease and Prevention. 2011.  This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Physical Activity Helps Reduce Symptoms of Depression

In a study of 9,580 people, researchers found that regular physical activity reduced depression symptoms in the group by over 50 percent, when active people were compared to sedentary people.

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems that interferes with both social and work-related activities. The World Health Organization states that more people miss work from depression and other mental health problems than from physical health problems. Thus, anything that would decrease depression, would result in a significant improvement in mental health and economic costs.

Researchers evaluated all participants using a measurement tool called a "depression inventory." They found that 727 of the 9,580 people in the study had test scores indicating depression. Next they assessed how physically active the people were on a regular basis. People were divided into 4 groups:

1. Sedentary (little or no regular activity)

2. Low activity (equivalent to walking about 1-1.5 hours per week)

3. Medium activity (equivalent to about 3 hours of brisk walking per week)

4. High activity (the equivalent of getting 4 or more hours of brisk walking per week).

The researchers found that even those who got light levels of physical activity had a 24- percent decreased risk of having symptoms of depression. Those who got medium to high levels of physical activity daily (equivalent to 3-4 hours or more of brisk walking per week) cut their risk of being depressed by 51 percent. These reductions remained even after adjusting for age, BMI, alcohol intake, smoking, etc. Researchers also found that a medium level of physical activity (equivalent to about 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 or more days per week) produced the same benefits as higher levels of physical activities.

The protective effect of physical activity was present for people of different age groups and BMIs levels. Obese people showed the most benefit from activity. Participants doing vigorous activity also showed the best results with a 64-percent decreased risk of depression. In addition, people who played active sports such as tennis, racquetball, skating, and bike riding had up to a 64-percent decreased risk of depression.

The researchers suggested two ways that physical activity may help reduce the risk of developing depression. First, regular exercise increases the brain's level of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are two important neurochemicals needed by the brain for proper brain function. Second, there is good evidence that regular exercise induces neurogenesis-stimulating growth of brain neurons. This also improves the function of the brain.

The bottom line: Do you want your brain to work at its best and prevent depressive symptoms? Plan to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise daily, or at least 20-30 minutes of more vigorous activities on most days. Examples include brisk walking, playing tennis or racquetball, going skating, or riding your bicycle. Regular exercise will not only give you a stronger heart and more energy, but your brain will be healthier, and you will be less likely to develop depression.

Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012. 44(2):260-265.  This article printed with permission from Wellsource.



Added Sugar Lowers HDL Cholesterol Levels
Eating too much sugar has long been discouraged, mostly because it represents an "empty" calorie. In England sugar is referred to as a "naked" calorie" – a food that provides calories but no nutrients. New data gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHAINES) shows a negative correlation with sugar intake and HDL cholesterol levels.

This study assessed the intake of added sugar in the diet and compared this with blood tests for 6,113 adults randomly selected from the U.S. population. Researchers found that as the added sugar intake went up, HDL cholesterol levels fell in a step-wise regression. HDL cholesterol is critical to good cardiovascular health.

For every 5% increase in added sugar, HDL cholesterol levels fell about 3%. Keep in mind that for every 1% decrease in HDL cholesterol levels, the risk of coronary heart disease increases about 3%. This increased risk is substantial when you realize that the average adult's intake of added sugar is 16% of calories eaten. In 1978 the average intake of added sugar was only 10.6%.

When you compare the likelihood of having low HDL cholesterol (a primary risk factor for heart disease), those people with a high intake of added sugar (25% of calories) were 3.1 times more likely to have low HDL cholesterol when compared to persons with a low intake (less than 5% of calories from added sugar).

These findings substantiate the new recommendations by the American Heart Association to limit added sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calories. That is about 100 calories per day for women (6 teaspoons of sugar) or 150 calories per day for men (9 teaspoons of sugar). Any intake over this amount shows a significant drop in HDL cholesterol. A high-sugar intake has been linked in scientific studies to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes risk, and now low HDL cholesterol levels.

It's important to realize that there is no increased health risk when eating whole foods which have natural sugars in them, such as fresh fruit. In fact, eating more of these foods lowers the risk of heart disease.

Reference: Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010;303(15):1490-1497.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


Healthy Eating – How Are We Doing?
Eating habits of 300 women from the Framingham Offspring-Spouse study were analyzed for their nutritional and health status over a 12-year follow-up. They were all free of disease and metabolic syndrome at the start of the study, so they were healthier than average. The researchers divided them into 3 groups based on nutritional goals established by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). The women who ate the best cut their risk of developing obesity and metabolic syndrome over the 12 years by a factor of 2-3 times. That is a significant benefit of eating more healthfully.

It's interesting to look at their nutritional statistics. Even though they were rated as the best third in their eating habits, here is how they fared compared to current NCEP guidelines

NCEP Guideline
 Percent meeting this goal
 
Saturated fat intake less than 7% of calories
 2%
 
Total fat intake 25-35% of calories
 58%
 
Carbohydrate intake 50-60%
 40%
 
Fiber intake 20-30 grams/day
 19%
 
Protein intake (15%)
 38%
 
Cholesterol less than 200 mg/day
 48%
 

As you can see, even though this group of women was healthier than average women their age, and even though they were rated as the third of women eating the best, they were, as a group, still a long ways from what is recommended. It simply illustrates how poorly we are eating in America and how much more could be accomplished in improving health and preventing disease if we did follow the guidelines recommended.

How are you doing? It's good to check your own eating habits periodically to see how you might improve. Take the quick Healthy Eating Self-Test as one way to evaluate your current eating habits. Recommendations are listed on the second page to help you develop healthy eating habits.

Reference: Millen BE, Pencina MJ, et al. Nutritional Risk and the Metabolic Syndrome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2006;84:434-41. August 2006.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.


You Can Quit Smoking Now!
Visit this free online guide to quitting today!  http://smokefree.gov


 
Protect Your Vision
Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the United States. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating healthfully, may reduce your risk of vision loss by 2 or 3 times.

One study found that overweight people are 2.35 times more likely to develop advanced AMD and vision loss than those who maintain a healthy weight. Those who exercise regularly are also at lower risk. In the study, people who participated in vigorous activity at least 3 times a week reduced the risk of AMD by 25 percent.

A recent study also found that dark green and yellow vegetables appeared to protect against intermediate AMD in healthy women younger than age 75. Yet another study found that spinach and other greens protect eyes from damage caused by the sun and reduce the risk of cataracts. A 7-year study showed that a high-dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc significantly reduces the risk of developing advanced stages of AMD by about 25 percent.

For eye health:

Maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise on most days of the week — and vigorously at least 3 days weekly.

Eat lots of foods high in the antioxidants leutein and zeaxanthin, such as kale, collard greens, spinach, squash, corn, cabbage, broccoli, green beans, green peas, and orange peppers.

Make foods rich in beta-carotene such as sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and spinach part of your regular diet.

Include dietary sources of vitamin E in your diet: corn, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, and vegetable oils.

All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, but some of the highest C foods include green and red peppers, citrus fruits, berries (straw, blue, rasp, and cran), tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, winter squash, and pineapple.

Protein foods contain zinc. Pumpkin seeds provide one of the most concentrated vegetarian food sources of zinc. Other good sources of zinc are peanuts, peanut butter, and legumes.

References:
Moeller SM et al. Associations Between Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS): Ancillary Study of the Women's Health Initiative. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2006;124:1151-1162. August 2006.  Seddon JM et al. Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2003;121:785-792. June 2003.
 
This article printed with permission from Wellsource.

 
 
 
Portion Size and Calorie Intake
The bigger the portion sizes served the more the average person eats. With obesity out of control and restaurants serving ever-larger portions, it’s critical that we develop a self-defense.

Penn State University recently studied portion sizes and calorie intake. The first day of the study, women were served large portions (typical restaurant size). They could eat as much as they want. They ate only 2/3 of the food served but still had more calories than needed to maintain a healthy weight.

The few days later they were served similar foods but portion sizes were reduced by 25%. The women still left a little on their plate but ate 250 fewer calories than when the portion sizes were bigger, and they still felt satisfied.

A few days later they served foods that had low calorie density (fewer calories per portion size). Women were again allowed to eat until they were satisfied. This time they ate 575 fewer calories for the day. Both portion size and caloric density of foods are important ways you can help decrease calorie intake naturally.

Here are suggestions the authors made to help control calorie intake naturally:

·         When serving food at home, try to keep portion sizes smaller.

·         Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses.

·         Keep the food on the stove or counter to help avoid readily available seconds.

·         Don't eat in front of the TV. Foods disappear without even realizing it and we continue to eat.

·         If you are still hungry and want more food, fill up on low calorie foods (fresh fruit, vegetables, salads, soups).

·         Begin meals with healthy starters such as salads (easy on the dressing), soups, or a fruit appetizer.

·         When eating out, share an entrée or ask for a box and divide your entrée to take home before you start to eat.

·         Don’t let the fast food people sell you more than you want. Just say “No” when asked, “Do you want fries with that veggie burger?”  A large serving of fries has 1/3 of all the calories you need for a whole day.  Never supersize!

Most people have a hard time recognizing a healthy portion or a recommended serving size.  A 20 oz. soft drink is actually 2.5 servings.  A typical bagel is 2-3 servings of grains.  A typical muffin may be 3-4 times a recommended serving of grains (plus lots of fat and sugar).  To help people recognize a healthy serving size, NIH has a “Portion” website at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion.

This article printed with permission from Wellsource.
 
 

Looking for Easy Ways to Add More Whole Grains to Your Diet?
A national wellness goal in MyPyramid, the new food pyramid, is to eat more whole grains. Consumers can easily add whole grains to their meals, often using favorite recipes they've always enjoyed. Try some of the following:
Substitute half the white flour with whole-wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads, and pancakes. Or be bold and add up to 20% of another whole grain flour such as sorghum.

Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffing.

Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum, or barley to your favorite canned or homemade soup.

Use whole corn meal for corn cakes, corn breads, and corn muffins.

Make risottos, pilafs, and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa, or sorghum. · Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh.

Try whole grain breads. Kids especially like whole grain pita bread.

Buy whole grain pasta, or one of the blends that's part whole-grain, part white.

Look for cereals made with grains like kamut, kasha (buckwheat), or grano.

Reference:
Whole Grains Council. 2005.
 
This article printed with permission from Wellsource.
  


 











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