Beyonce Promotes Vegan Diet. Tricked by Her Trainer.

BeyonceNothing against Beyonce. Look at her. Talented, beautiful, rich, the new Black feminist, works the Power Couple, not excessively vulgar like Miley Cyrus. I just don’t like it when well-meaning celebs put the public in harms way.

Today, I wrote an article for Diets In Review, “Beyonce’s New Vegan Diet Can be Delivered to Your Door. But is it Worth It?” Beyonce is promoting veganism because her trainer has her ear. See the article to understand.

Vegans don’t eat any meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or milk products. (Beyonce tacked on gluten, soy, and GMO restrictions too.) Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian? (add eggs and dairy) You bet! Pescetarian? (add fish) Flexitarian? (add a little meat) Bring ’em on! (I was actually an Ovo-Lacto Vegetariam since before Beyonce was born. See What the Hippies Knew.) But vegans? That’s just dangerous. Please be careful.

Bottom Line: Just eat more vegetables, legumes and whole grains and cut the processed foods. And don’t take nutrition advice from celebrities and personal trainers.

Your thoughts? Have you considered going vegan? Did you do it?

Hunger Signals Are Linked to Brown Fat

“Is it hot in here?”

That would be me asking, the day after I overate. I could literally feel the extra calories leaving my body as heat. My brown fat must be up to snuff, probably because I exercise and I don’t “weight cycle” (loose weight and regain.)

Brown fat (also called BAT, brown or beige adipose tissue) is a new critical determinant of energy expenditure. BAT seems to be an endocrine organ that influences metabolism. Aaron Cypess, M.D., a metabolic researcher from the Joslin Diabetes Center, explains that 54% of the variation in metabolic rate correlates with an individual’s activated brown fat. Wow! Maybe it’s time to retire the Harris–Benedict Equation and other formulas that predict basal metabolic rate.*

Last week, I wrote an article about new brown fat research for DietsInReview.com. In my opinion, the research links a healthy supply of brown fat to “intuitive eating” – in mice.
See my article, and the TIME magazine report, that got me thinking.

Your thoughts: Do you love brown fat as much as I do?

* Basal Metabolic Rate:  The rate at which energy is used by an organism at complete rest, measured in humans by the heat given off per unit time. It is expressed as the calories released per square meter of body surface per hour. 

Number One Thing Needed to Ensure Diet Success

Oops! It’s a rogue blog. Hello.

I released this ditty to the public by mistake because I forgot how to use WordPress – and I switched to a Mac – during my absence. I stopped blogging last December when I sold my Brooklyn apartment (number one) – packed and moved my stuff into storage – subleased a cute little Brooklyn apartment (number two) from a professor on sabbatical – moved into a Brooklyn AirBNB (number three) that I’m leaving this week. It’s all too hard to explain. I like freedom and variety.

But through it all, I still have to write for DietsInReview.com, the best contracting agent ever! Here is the assignment for the week; “We have a new partnership with Shape magazine in which we write one article for them each week. For next week the topic is: What about the #1 thing you should do when you first start a diet to make you more likely to succeed?”

I turned to my best bud’s stuff. Diane Petrella writes about the power of the mind to change weight and get healthy. It’s free, it works, and it’s way underused. It’s the secret sauce.  It’s too bd that I scooped Shape by pushing the wrong button!
But now that I’m in the water, my promise to you, should you care, is that I will blog once a week to stay in practice. God knows, I am not a writer. But I am a bit of a different nutritionist with something to say.

 

The Number One Thing Needed to Ensure Diet Success

 

News flash: There is no one best way to lose weight. It is up to you to find a healthy eating approach and activity pattern that is unique to you. Don’t change anything until you document the “real you” by keeping a food journal. It will give you a clear picture of what to change. Most people need to dump the junk, reduce food portions, and rarely eat when not actually hungry.  Setting clear positive goals such as “I will eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts at least three times a week,” or “I will go to Zumba on Saturday morning and Tuesday evening,” enhances your chances of success.

But the greatest predictor of weight loss success is how you see yourself. Old images of the “heavy you” making unhealthy choices are replaced with new images of the “healthy you” choosing to act in healthier ways. When you “act as if” you are already there, you shift energy towards the positive, which makes way for intuition to move you easily towards your goal. Think of a time when you accomplished something by first creating a vision. Success is always created with a picture in the mind.

“Visualization” is a actual process of deliberately using your imagination to create a mental model. Since the mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, when you visualize, your subconscious encodes a new picture as if it happened for real.  Sports psychologists and peak performers always use the power of visualization to build confidence and imagine success.

A small study* recently showed the power of visualization to improve eating habits. Subjects were asked to eat more fruit for one week, One group was simply asked to set a goal to eat more fruit, while the other group was told to visualize buying fruit and eating it at particular times. While both groups ate more fruit, the groups that used visualization ate twice as much.

The power of visualization is truly an under-used free tool for weight loss success. As you lie in bed in the morning or before falling asleep at night, calm your mind, relax your body, and picture yourself at your goal weight. See yourself making choices as the new healthy you. Hold a picture of yourself calmly eating delicious healthy food and watch as your body moves with ease. Notice the feelings and sensations associated with the images because connecting with your feelings as your visualize strengthens the effects. Deep relaxation internalizes the new images. In only three to five minutes a day, you can visualize your way to weight loss success.

* McGill University. “Planning and visualization lead to better food habits.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110225122818.htm>.

A Bad Week for Fake Nutrition

Ask Me About Girl Scout CookiesThe food industry is on to “nutrition” as a buzz word, and it’s already out of control. “Functional Foods,” foods with a function to deliver nutrients they don’t normally contain, were on my radar twice this week: first, in the form of a new Girl Scout cookie, MANGO CRÈMES WITH NUTRIFUSION™, that DietsInReview.com asked me to see, and second, in VITAMIN WATER that is nutritious – or not –  as Stephen Colbert explains.

 MANGO CRÈMES WITH NUTRIFUSION™

The Girl Scout bakery invented a new cookie, sans the trans fat and preservatives, pumped up with (only) 15% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for vitamin B1 and 5% for vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6  – no mind to the hundreds and hundreds of other nutrients we need – and called it “a delicious new way to get your vitamins!”  Not so fast. Those cookies have as much sugar and saturated fat as other cookies, and as an aside, they are mango-less, but since they are made with the dehydrated juice of cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries, I can’t complain. Just don’t say cookies are health food. Say, “Hey, we’d like you to try a new cookie and support the Girl Scouts.” That will suffice.

VITAMIN WATER

The Coca-Cola company is defending its Vitamin Water product against deceptive claims. Colbert connects the fake nutrition dots. How bad can it get?

Your thoughts: Are you confused by fake nutrition claims?

Gut Bacteria, Obesity, and HAES

Link

I love reading about gut bacteria. I really do. We have ten times more bacteria living in us than we have human cells, yet we had been unaware. (What else don’t we know?) This month, I wrote about the research exploring the relationship between gut bacteria and obesity for Diets In Review for Vidazorb  in Altering Gut Bacteria to Manipulate Weight Could be the Next Big Thing in Obesity Management.

I’ll always remember my first time.
The first time I read about gut bacteria and obesity was in 2006. It was August at Wildwood on the Jersey Shore and I had time to leisurely read a New York Times Magazine article about the microbial theory of obesity. Fat Factors by Robin Marantz Henigmind will blow your mind. It was so far ahead of its time that it is still au courant.

HAES
This is a good time to bring up “Health At Every Size“, a movement to accept and respect the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes. HAES acknowledges that “good health can best be realized independently from considerations of size. It supports people—of all sizes—in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors.”

Every case of obesity is not so easily explained. In clinical practice, I’ve seen people who couldn’t lose weight despite their best intentions. (Believe me, I’m not easily duped by patients.) Individuals vary in the way they store and burn body fat and in how they adapt metabolically to weight change. The studies of microbes and obesity show how little we know. Meanwhile, everyone, regardless of size, should focus on health and not  only on weight.

A penny for your thoughts….

What You Should Know About Labeling Genetically Modified Food

My job at Diets In  Review keeps me, a slacker, on her toes. This week, I had to pay attention to petitions to label genetically modified foods.  For that, I turned to the eloquent public health nutrition scholar, Marion Nestle, who examined the issue in her blog, Food Politics.

The Condensed Version

The Committee for the Right to Know is a grassroots coalition of groups in California that is trying to get the issue of labeling of genetically modified foods on the California ballot. Last year, 14 states introduced bills to require GM foods to be labeled, but none passed because the bills were fought by multinational agribusinesses. Now, the campaign has now gone national. Marion says, and I agree, that consumers have a right to know.

Man has been manipulating the genetic material of plants ever since Mendel first hybridized pea plants in the 1850s. It’s just that today’s methods of bombarding seeds with radiation and chemicals seem so unnatural. Modern day GM techniques began in a big way in 1996, and now, close to 90 percent of corn, soybeans and sugar beets grown in the United States are GM varieties. At time point, GM crops have not produced any noticeable health problems, but there are no long-term epidemiological studies that might find subtle effects. The FDA thinks GM foods are safe, but the fact is that no one knows for sure.

My gripe has more to do with the business argument. I dislike giving Monsanto (the company that dominates the GM market) any more control over the American food supply. Monsanto’s strict intellectual property-regulations are unfair to farmers and they divert energy away from research on organic farming. This clip from the movie, Food, Inc., shows just how powerful Monsanto is in the food industry, which leaves the average person no other choice but to eat their genetically engineered soy beans. Watch Monsanto bully the poor farmers. It’s pathetic.

The Bottom Line

Marion writes, “Intelligent people can argue about whether GM crops are good, bad or indifferent for agriculture, the environment and market economies, or whether the products are safe. But one point is clear. The absence of labeling cannot be good in the long run for business or American democracy.”  Ultimately, it’s more important to eat wholesome foods in the correct amounts, than it is to worry about whether or not they are GM. Still, Monsanto needs a punch In the nose.

Your thoughts: Will you sign the petition to label genetically modified foods?

When ‘My Plate’ is a Bowl

Today is the first of March and the start of National Nutrition Month. That’s when my professional association, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), turns up the volume on eating healthy. This year, their theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape” in keeping with “Choose My Plate,” Michelle Obama’s USDA campaign.

And so, Diets in Review asked several of us nutrition and fitness professionals to share a picture and some words about our own plates. Read their article today, Mary Hartley’s Plate for National Nutrition Month. I kick off the month-long series.

Now, I’ve explained that I don’t take pictures of my food. Like tattoos, it’s a generational thing. And my only camera is the one in my iPhone, which is not the best. And then, wouldn’t you know it, Michelle Obama forgive me, but my typical plate is a bowl. In the article, I deconstruct the contents and reassemble them, so to speak, back onto a plate, and say more about the nutritional content. Read it and see.

The My Plate campaign is made to guide eaters of the “Standard American Diet” –  a supper of meat/chicken, with a starch and a vegetable on the side.  I almost never eat like that. When I was a young adult and learning how to cook, I was a vegetarian and those habits stuck. I love to say, in all my years, I have never cooked a steak. Not that I don’t eat steak because I do every few years, but an 8-ounce petite filet lasts me for three yummy meals. I’m just a happy Flexitarian. And my dietitian friends are mostly Flexitarian too, and they are mostly slim and healthy and free of pills.

Here are the recipes for Gypsy Soup and Cheesy Cornbread. The soup is very healthy (thank you Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood Cookbook) and the second is not quite as, but both taste out of this world.  Enjoy!

Your thoughts: What do you think of this year’s National Nutrition Month message?

Dr. Oz + Raspberry Ketones = TV Hype

Gee whiz, I just dissed Dr. Oz as TV hype in an article today, Dr. Oz’s Raspberry Ketones Dismissed by Dietitian as TV Hype. (I’m the dietitian.) It’s an opinion piece for Diets In Review about a product Dr. Oz endorsed, raspberry ketones, a ‘fat blaster you’ve never heard of.’  I called Dr. Oz more showman than doctor. Read my article and see if you agree. But, hey, he’s in the medical info-tainment field. ‘Nuf said.

Show Time

In 2009 when Dr. Oz was first on the air, I went to a show. In New York City, the studio was close to where I worked in the windowless office, and I just had to get away.  On that show, he talked about zinc deficiency, a problem that most Americans do not have. That’s when I saw that Dr. Oz (or rather, his staff) liked food-and-nutrition games. The segment was presented as a game in which three audience members each picked a box, small, medium or large, that contained a high-zinc food and, in one, a special gift. In the small box, the contestant found beef liver with 4.45 mg of zinc in a 3-ounce serving (adults need 8-11 mg of zinc/day), and in the medium box, was 1 cup of sauerkraut, with only 0.27 mg of zinc. (What’s up with that?)  But in the large box, there was a huge pile of king crab with 6.48 mg per 3-ounce serving – along with a cruise to Alaska. The first two contestants had doubly bad luck because Dr. Oz made them eat their selections. Incidentally, oysters have the most zinc with 76.3 mg per 3-ounce serving.

Three years later, Dr. Oz is still playing games. In the segment reviewed, Revolutionary Metabolism Boosters that Blast Fat, ‘fat’ contestants ‘blast’ through a paper curtain to introduce a new product that may or may not work. That’s how info-tainment happens here in New York City.  Perhaps if I’m outrageous enough, I can get on the show.

Your thoughts: What do you think of Dr.Oz and raspberry ketones? 

My New Gig with Diets in Review

Tada! I have a new cool gig with Diets in Review. I cannot reveal trade secrets just yet but suffice it to say I’ll be doing more videos. I had the pleasure of working with DIR while at Calorie Count. Here are my DIR articles and, to see my one DIR video (so far), scroll to the end of my Media page.

And – as I tell my best video critics at home – you have to gimme a break because it’s REALLY hard to speak fluidly and naturally on a scientific topic while reading from a teleprompter, not to mention trying to look pleasant (when I don’t come from a smiley family) and young (when I’m not) and to speak like a generic American instead of a Rhode Islander, and not to flub the words because Diets in Review has the studio and cameraman by the hour. OMG!  BUT practice makes perfect and I am confident about the nutrition information. I appreciate DIR’s faith in me.  Now, wind me up and forget about the teleprompter.

Fun Facts

And so now, at Diets In Review, my bio and ‘Fun Facts About Mary’ are up on the wall.

Here are two Fun Facts:
I Never Leave Home Without:  My NYC Metro Card
Shows I have to DVR:  Downtown Abbey

For more fun, please visit DIR’s site. And, please, overlook this shameless self-promotion. Thank you.

What are some Fun Facts About YOU?  Do tell!