Archive for October, 2006

the skinny on soft drinks

October 10, 2006

Soft drinks! Could they harm you?
Do you have an irresistible desire for a soft drink? Do you need to drink at least one soft drink a day? Then you need to be warned they are no harmless sugared drinks.
A soft drink is something that one reaches out for during a tiring journey or an exhaustive shopping ordeal. Children’s parties these days cannot begin without them. Soft drinks have taken a definitive place in our lives. Over the past two decades there has been a great increase in the consumption of these beverages .The market has been flooded with a number of brands targeted at various age groups. In addition to this soft drinks are easily available at most stores and at highly affordable rates. In many places these soft drinks have taken the place of water, to quench thirst. The sizes of the bottles have also grown thus again increasing their intake.

Soft drinks have been there for a long time but no studies were carried out on their effects on the human body. Now there is a growing concern in the medical and scientific communities about the harmful effects associated with carbonated soft drinks. Each 12-ounce serving of a carbonated, sweetened soda has 150 calories and the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This could contribute a lot to the increasing problem of obesity observed in children. Obesity, which is one of the main health problems facing today’s youth, is just one issue associated with sugared drinks. These soft drinks also cut down on the milk consumed by children thus reducing intake of one of the principal sources of calcium.

Scientific studies have shown how as few as one or two soft drinks a day can increase one’s risk for numerous health problems. Some of these health problems are obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, and many neurological disorders. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars.

They have literally no nutritional benefits hence called as empty calories. Excessive consumption however could lead to a host of problems like: –

Liver cirrhosis: It usually occurs in alcoholics. The only cure to this disease is liver transplantation.

Increased acidity: Another common problem found is increased acid levels throughout the body. Soft drinks have a high acidic pH. When large quantities are consumed they disturb the delicate acid alkaline balance of the stomach. Prolonged increased acid levels will cause erosion of the gastric lining, which is very painful and disrupts proper digestion

Effect Of Phosphorus: The phosphorous that is found in the fizz and bubbles emitted from soft drinks fights with hydrochloric acid in the stomach and causes the stomach to be ineffective. When the stomach can’t digest food, the person will have indigestion, gassiness, or bloating

Soft drinks deplete the amount of oxygen in the human body thus increasing the risk for cancer.

The increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis: The large amounts of sugar, bubbles caused by carbon dioxide, and phosphoric acid that are found in soft drinks remove nutritious minerals from bones allowing the bones to become weak and increasing the risk for them to break.

Caffeine related disorders: Caffeine is present in soft drinks which when consumed in large amounts can cause diseases and disorders such as insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and deviations from the normal heart rate Caramel coloring may be a carcinogen

Dental cavities: Often associated with carbonated beverage. This association is important because the amount of sugars that are consumed is important in forming caries, which is when a cavity effects only the enamel, the outer protective layer of a tooth.

Though carbonated drinks are very popular it is necessary that as consumers we be aware of the ill effects of indiscriminate use of such deleterious beverages .We also need to be careful as the caffeine in these drinks are addictive and can hook us for life. Many children and also a number of adults experience a strong craving for a drink but are unaware that they are being addicted to a dangerous habit. Smoking and alcohol are the most popular addictive and potentially harmful habits but this silent poison called soft drinks catches many of us unaware. Excessive consumption of these highly popular carbonated beverages should be avoided because they are not as harmless as we blindly perceive them to be. Next time you reach out for your choicest drink think twice.
By Bindu Menon


weight loss ads are they real or not

October 10, 2006

Deceptive advertising for weight-loss products and programs is increasing dramatically, costing consumers billions of dollars and causing untold frustration, government regulators say.

Many of the ads are “grossly exaggerated or clearly unsubstantiated,” as marketers attempt to cash in on consumers’ search for an easy way to shed their excess pounds, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

Despite promises of easy solutions for people seeking to lose weight, “the only thing lighter is the consumer’s wallet,” Timothy Muris, the FTC chairman, said.

The cost is “billions, many billions” of dollars annually, Muris said. “Consumers are being ripped off.”

Consumers spend more than $30 billion a year on weight-loss products and services, ranging from books and videos to drugs and diet shakes, but many of “these quick-fixes do nothing to address the nation’s or the individual’s weight problem,” the FTC said.

That’s no surprise to consumers like Helen Browne of Fort Lee, who says most of the claims are “a lot of bull.”

“I’ve tried all of them,” Browne said. “I’m always looking for something to take if off quicker.”

Television infomercials claim that losing weight is easy, or can be done by taking a pill, but it takes diet and exercise, and that means hard work and frustration, said Julie Barudin of Ridgewood.

“When I watch the infomercials, I dream how nice it would be if they were true,” Barudin said. “But there is no easy cure.”

But easy cures are what much of the ads show, and the problem is getting progressively worse at a time when obesity is growing in this country, the FTC said.

More than 60 percent of American adults are overweight, and that leads to an estimated 300,000 deaths and $100 billion a year in direct and indirect costs, the surgeon general reports.

At the same time, more than two-thirds of all Americans are trying to lose weight, and “the marketplace has responded with a proliferating array of products and services, many promising miraculous, quick-fix remedies,” the FTC said in its report.

“Once the province of supermarket tabloids and the back sections of certain magazines, over-the-top weight loss advertisements promising quick, easy weight loss are now pervasive in almost all media forms,” the FTC said.

Many of the claims “are so contrary to existing scientific evidence, or so clearly unsupported by the available evidence, that there is little doubt that they are false or deceptive,” the FTC said. Among the too-good-to-be-true claims were:

*-A user can lose a pound a day or more over long periods of time.

*-Substantial weight loss without surgery can be achieved without diet or exercise.

*-Users can lose weight regardless of how much they eat.

*-A diet pill can cause weight loss in some body parts or block absorption of all fat in the diet.

“There are no fast and easy fixes,” Surgeon General Richard Carmona wrote in a preface to the study. “The public must adopt a healthy skepticism about advertising that promises miracles and scientific breakthroughs.”

Some of the advertising is potentially dangerous. The value of many supplements is unproven, and others have been linked to serious health risks, said Dr. George Blackburn, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard Medical School.

“By promoting unrealistic expectations and false hopes, they doom current weight-loss efforts to failure and make future attempts less likely to succeed,” Blackburn said.

Obese consumers would be better off if they cut back their intake 500 to 1,000 calories a day, which would result in a loss of about 1 pound a week and an overall weight loss of 5 percent to 15 percent, Blackburn wrote in the report.

The problem is the public often perceives such losses “as small and insufficient even though they suffice to prevent and improve many of the medical problems associated with weight gain, overeating, and a sedentary lifestyle,” Blackburn said.

Publishers must do a better job screening “these unscrupulous advertisements,” Blackburn said. One of the most disturbing parts of the study is that the problem is growing, with twice as many deceptive ads appearing in popular magazines than 10 years earlier, and the ads have more deceptive claims, Muris said.

The FTC study, conducted with the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management, a coalition that includes scientists, government agencies, and weight-loss companies, comes at a time obesity has reached epidemic levels in the United States.

The study reviewed 300 ads last year in a range of media, including broadcast and cable television, infomercials, radio, magazines, newspapers, supermarket tabloids, direct mail, commercial e-mail (or spam), and Internet Web sites.

Of those, 40 percent “made at least one representation that almost certainly is false,” and 55 percent had a claim that is “very likely to be false or, at the very least, lacks adequate substantiation,” the FTC said.


Losing proposition? Or Deceptive ads?

*-Consumer testimonials, before/after photos. They rarely portray realistic weight loss.

*-Rapid weight-loss claims. Slow and steady is the preferred way for long-term success.

*-No diet or exercise required. Claims go against well-accepted prescriptions for successful weight management.

what it takes to be a model

October 10, 2006

What does it take to be a fashion model?

Female fashion models should be somewhere between 15 and 22 years old, although probably closer to fifteen. Models don’t have careers that last as long as for instance, doctors, so agencies tend to invest their time in someone young.

You should be tall, long-legged, and lean. The minimum height is usually about 5’8″, and average weight for a model is 108-125 lbs. These characteristics are partly aesthetic and partly practical: this type of frame looks good on the runway and in front of the camera; and a somewhat scrawny build drapes clothing nicely and ensures a good fit in the standard wardrobe. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course – Kate Moss is 5’7″ and Gabrielle Reece is a giant 6’3″ – but, in general, the closer you are to the industry norm, the better your chances.

Fashion models still tend to be very skinny. Commercial modeling doesn’t require that you be “skinny”. The key is to take care of yourself. Don’t overeat, but do eat well balanced meals and avoid the snacks. Exercise and keep yourself in good shape.

Male fashion models are normally 6′ to 6′ 2″ tall and wear a size 40 regular jacket. Commercial models do not have any height, weight or size restrictions.

obesity and the nation

October 10, 2006

We live in an age where obesity is an epidemic that is now infecting our health on all fronts. This disease is taking hold of our population. No one disputes the fact that we are living in a world of obesity. Depending upon which statistics you choose to rely upon, anywhere from 63% to 68% of the American population is overweight. Even our children are in danger with 1 in 15 kids being reported as obese. This is not an illness that can be passed biologically, but rather it travels in the form of lies and half truths. What’s worse is that so many people are turning to celebrities for the answer trying dangerous diets and pills that promise quick and miraculous returns only to leave the consumer upset, unmotivated and disenfranchised.

As fitness and nutrition professionals we realize the answer is daily exercise, increased physical activity and good nutritional habits. How do we provide this information in an impacting,and informative way? No single person can take on this epidemic. This fight takes fitness and nutrition professionals to help educate and inspire the public. So get started today with a healthier lifestyle. To learn more on how to do that, visit us click here

diet and depression

October 10, 2006

By Amy Paturel Good news! Not only is working out good for your physical health, but it is beneficial to your emotional and mental health as well. Whether you’re dealing with personal issues, family problems, break-ups or work related stress, the last thing you may feel like doing may just be one of the best things for you. Research shows that any aerobic activity – even just a single bout or an easy stroll – can help put the mind at ease. Exercise produces a surge in mood-elevating hormones called endorphins, explains Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the American Council on Exercise. These natural “drugs” produce the same feelings elicited from addictive drugs like morphine, caffeine and alcohol. And yet, most of us are more apt to start our day with a jolt of java than jump on the treadmill each morning. How much moving and grooving do you need to do before you experience a mood lift? Research indicates that 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise can result in reductions in anxiety and mood benefits that last for hours. But if you want to experience a true high from exercise, you may need to hit the streets – hard. A study reported in Runner’s World found that 80 percent of runners had a higher level of endorphins in their blood after a hard session compared to only 45 percent after an easy jog. And according to Bryant, levels of a mood-boosting brain chemical called norepinephrine, increase in direct proportion to the intensity and duration of exercise. What’s more, getting a certain number of miles under your sneakers can create an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. As with other highs, runner’s high is psychologically addictive. “It has an opiate-like effect,” says Bryant. Add to that the repetitive and rhythmic pounding associated with running and it’s no wonder that hard-core runners escape their thoughts and reach a state of euphoric bliss. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for achieving “runner’s high.” Scientists can’t pinpoint precisely what creates these effects. “It’s different for everyone,” says Bryant, “and quite honestly, I think scientists are learning that the more they learn about runner’s high, the more questions they have. Amy Paturel is a freelance writer for several publications, including Cooking Light and Health, and holds

what is the glycemic index

October 10, 2006

For more on this subject

It’s no secret that white rice, white potatoes and white sugar are fast becoming the diet “bad” guys. And dieters who commit to ‘The G.I. Diet’ (Workman, 2003) learn right away to avoid these and many other foods. The book is based on a system called the glycemic index (G.I.), a scientific ranking that classifies foods based on how quickly they raise blood sugar. Author and businessman Rick Gallop, past president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, developed the diet to help friends struggling to lose weight. His secret to shedding pounds: Avoid foods that cause blood sugar levels to fly sky high. Such foods, Gallop says, trigger a release of insulin, promoting fat storage and causing a quick return of hunger. His new book, ‘Living the G.I. Diet’ (Workman, 2004), contains 135 recipes, plus suggestions on applying the program to everyday life.

Think red light, green light. Foods are color-coded into a traffic-light system based on their glycemic rating. For example, bagels and watermelon are labeled ‘red’ or high G.I., since they cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. Whole grains, broccoli, and lean beef get the ‘green light’ since they have a low G.I. Apricots, bananas, and low-fat yogurt have the cautionary ‘yellow light.’

In the first of the two phases, dieters eat only “green-light,” or low G.I. foods, to lose weight. Since foods on this list are naturally high in fiber, low in calorie, and filling, they automatically help with weight loss. In phase two, dieters maintain weight loss with green- and yellow-light foods; exercise is also essential in this stage. The diet breaks down to 55 percent carbohydrate, 25 percent protein, and 20 percent fat.

Eating Out: OK. There’s no G.I. chart to carry with you, but once you’re familiar with green-light foods, it’s fairly easy to find something to order from a menu.
Alcohol: Steer clear. During phase one, you avoid cocktails, wine and beer. After that, a glass of red wine with meals is allowed (and even encouraged).
Caffeine: Avoid it if you can. Author Gallop cautions that caffeine has a negative impact on insulin levels and can trigger hunger.
Vegetarian: Sure. Vegetable proteins like beans and nuts replace meat.
Expense: Not bad. With small portions of meat and fish and plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, this isn’t going to hurt the average supermarket budget.
Professional Counselors: None. Dieters can submit comments or questions online, but answers may be slow in coming. You can also check the Web site’s frequently asked questions page.
Interaction With Other Dieters: None.
Length of Diet: Plan on three to six months for phase 1. Phase two, as the book says, is “the way you will eat for the rest of your life.”
Activity Recommendations: Yes. Exercise isn’t critical in phase one, but 30 minutes of exercise five to seven days a week is an essential part of phase two.
Teaches Behavior Skills: Skimpy. The plan encourages dieters to set exercise goals and to gain support of family and friends, but it doesn’t teach extensive behavior skills.

Low-G.I. foods. That means lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean meats. One plus about the diet: You don’t have to painstakingly measure portions. Instead, the trick is to visually divide your plate into three sections, covering about half of it with fruits and veggies, one quarter with lean meat or fish, and the remaining quarter with whole-grain starches like brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.

fast food nation trailer

October 10, 2006

sweet tooth, find out why

October 10, 2006

For more related articles

Not so sweet on your current shape? Still sweating over the prospect of baring skin at the beach or pool? Don’t throw in the towel. Try one of our 22 great diet plans and get in the best shape of your life.

Sugar is the only taste humans are born craving.

Mr. Bad Food knows a lot of dieters are sour on sugar. I too thought of sugar as the mortal enemy to any dieter worth his or her salt.

But as I sit here sipping my second Diet Pepsi of the night while nibbling on low-carb chocolates sweetened with sugar alcohols, I can’t help but wonder if Mother Nature is laughing at our reliance on man-made sweeteners

The skinny: natural sugar isn’t all that bad… not when it is used in moderation! We’ve all seen he scary stats about how much sugar we gobble — 200 pounds a year! 40 teaspoons a day!. But the Sugar Association insists the average American consumes around 29 pounds per year or 9 teaspoons per day.

A teaspoon of sugar packs just 16 calorie and 4 grams of carbs. That’s not a lot of bad stuff in the scheme of things. The problem is we tend to load up on the stuff to the point where it weighs us down and fills us out.

Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.

Those who make or sell sugar are quick to point out that most of the “sugared” beverages you drink contain no sugar at all. They are actually sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and that’s a subject for a later column.

When it comes to sugar alternatives, veteran dieters like Mr. Bad Food know the players: Splenda… Equal… Sweet ‘N Low… Heck, there are oodles of sugar substitutes now available. Most are no-carb, no-cal sugar — a dieter’s best friend. Or are they? Chief nutritionist Susan Burke is here to sweet talk you about sugar and its many variations.

If you surf the web much, you’ve probably read about the aspartame and its alleged link to brain tumors and other serious problems. But the FDA stands behind its original approval of aspartame, found in brands like NutraSweet and Equal. They claim subsequent evaluations continue to show the sweetener is safe.

Mr. Bad Food says if you have any doubts, opt for a just-as-sweet product like Splenda. That’s not to say Splenda hasn’t had its share of bad press. One organization went so far as to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. No, not because the product has been found to be a health hazard. The reason for the suit: Splenda’s claim that it tastes like sugar because it comes from sugar. — more »

Are fats important for your diet

October 9, 2006

The Quality of Fat in Your Diet May Be More Important for Your Heart Than the Quantity
by Krisha McCoy, MS

Fats are an essential part of your diet. Your body uses fats for energy, vitamin absorption, insulation, and a number of other necessary functions. But not all fats are created equal, and eating too much of the wrong type of fat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend keeping your intake of fat between 20% and 35% of your total daily caloric intake, limiting foods that are high in saturated and trans fatty acids and consuming mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.

So what is more important: reducing your fat intake or substituting the “bad” fats with the “good” fats? Surprisingly, there are few randomized, prospective studies (the gold standard in research) on this topic. There is some experimental evidence suggesting that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may reduce inflammation and clotting in blood vessels, theoretically leading to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

A new study in the January 24, 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the diets of more than 1,500 middle-aged men and found that those who consumed the most polyunsaturated fatty acids were significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who consumed the least. Total fat intake, on the other hand, did not affect the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

About the Study
Researchers used data from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study, a prospective study of 2,682 Finnish men ages 42–60 when the study began in 1984–1989. The present study looked at the 1,551 participants who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer when the study began, and who had complete records of their dietary intake.

The researchers determined the men’s fat intake using four-day food diaries. Fat intake was broken down into cholesterol, saturated fatty acids (SAFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The researchers also measured intakes of two specific types of PUFA: linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are “essential” PUFA, which means your body cannot produce them on its own—you must get them in your diet.

The researchers also looked at the presence of fatty acids in the participants’ blood. They followed the men for an average of 15 years, keeping track of deaths from cardiovascular disease and all other causes.

The Findings
During the 15-year follow-up period, 78 men died of cardiovascular disease and 225 died of other causes.

Intake of total fat, MUFA, and cholesterol did not affect the men’s risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The men with PUFA intake in the upper third and, more specifically, those with linoleic acid intake in the upper third, were about 60% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than men with intakes in the lower third. In addition, the men whose linoleic acid intake was in the upper third were 33% less likely to die from non-cardiovascular causes than the men with linoleic acid intakes in the lower third.

The men with the highest PUFA/SAFA ratio were 54% and 29% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and all other causes, respectively.

The levels of fatty acids detected in the participants’ blood samples generally mirrored those calculated from the food diaries.

How Does This Affect You?
These findings suggest that, for middle-aged men, the quality of dietary fat may have more of an impact on cardiovascular risk than the quantity. Compared with previous research on the topic, this study was especially compelling, since it included a large number of participants over a long period of time, and dietary fat assessment was conducted with both food diaries and blood sample analyses.

This study does not mean people should begin consuming large quantities of “good” fats and stop worrying about how much total fat they consume. Compared to carbohydrates and protein, fat has more than double the amount of calories per gram, which means a diet high in fat is likely to be high in calories. High-calorie diets can lead to obesity, which is a major health problem that increases the risks of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and a number of other conditions.

These findings do, however, suggest that substituting most of the saturated fat (e.g., whole milk, butter, cheese) in your diet with PUFA may help reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. These “good” fats are found in safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame, soybean, and other vegetable oils that stay liquid at room temperature.


Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005
Department of Health and Human Services

10 diet don’ts

October 9, 2006

Amy Paturel, M.S., M.P.H.

Most women claim they eat healthy. But according to Elizabeth Somer’s new book, ’10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet,’ most women are actually delusional. Dieting is an American obsession. Yet according to recent obesity statistics we’re as heavy as ever. Why?

“Women are unintentionally eating more calories than they think,” says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., of the American Dietetic Association. But if you can kick a few bad habits — 10 to be exact — you’re bound to drop the pounds. Here’s a quick look at Somer’s terrible 10.

Mindless Eating: You grab a handful of M&M’s from your colleague’s desk, test the spaghetti sauce while you’re cooking and dig into a few bites of your hubby’s dessert. Never mind the kids’ leftover PB&J crusts or the hidden oil in your cafe lunch. Unfortunately, these little indulgences add up to weighty matters on the scale.

Putting Others’ Needs Before Your Own: You love veggies. Your hubby digs meat and potatoes. What gives? Your man wins, hands down. Throw kids into the mix and hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries win out every time — unless you put on the brakes.

Not Being Honest: “Most people drastically underestimate the number of calories they eat,” says Gidus. We downplay our Krispy Kreme intake and play up our cardio workout. And with restaurant portion sizes on the rise, many of us have no concept of a “standard” USDA serving size.

Skip the Broccoli, Eat the Fries: According to Somer’s book, if you do nothing more than double your current intake of fruits and vegetables, you’d be on your way to eating a good diet. ‘Nuff said.

Setting Off Without a Plan: It’s easy to overeat if you don’t have a road map specifying your diet and exercise goals. Gidus advocates keeping a food diary, setting measurable, attainable goals and sticking to them.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: Whether it’s a sluggish metabolism, lack of time or our poor diets, we’re masters of coming up with excuses. Change your outlook, believe you can lose weight (make the time, decompress, whatever) and set priorities accordingly.

I’m Moody — Let’s Eat: “People turn to food for comfort,” says Gidus. “They think they deserve a treat.” And while overindulging may make you feel good in the moment, it sets you up for diet disaster over the long haul.

Give Me the Quick Fix, Now! We’ve all fallen prey to the latest fad diet, downing gallons of cabbage soup, eating nothing but grapefruit or loading up on eggs and bacon grease. The end result is always the same: We gain the weight back and then some.

Drinking Away Our Waistlines: People who drink soda consume more calories. Alcohol isn’t much better. “It’s very common to eat more or make poor food choices when you’ve had a drink or two,” says Gidus.

The All-or-Nothing Approach to Dieting: If you ate a plate of fries, you might feel like you’ve blown it. But don’t let one setback completely derail you. Instead, focus on baby steps and reward yourself along the way.