10/20/11

Consumer Reports on Health

I feel as if I am finally caught up on my reading..aka journals, newsletters and magazines. Thanks to 24 hours of flying and over 8 hours of hanging out in airports, I am finally up-to-date wit the latest and greatest in the nutrition world. As for exercise, I'm excited to announce that the American Dietetic Association (which is soon to be called by a new name:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) has created a nutrition care manual dedicated entirely to sports!
I use the care manual A LOT in the clinical world, especially when I receive a consult by a doctor or nurse to give a patient education on a certain topic. Most of our consults involve CHF (congestive heart failure) and diabetes (typically newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic) but we also get consults for renal diets (with or without dialysis), vegetarian/vegan diets (typically the doctor wants us to educate on more protein and calcium in the diet based on lab work) as well as weight loss.
What I love about the care manual is that it contains a lot of research, compiled into an Evidence Analysis Library filled with ADA position papers and info regarding the Nutrition Care Process. Because the manual contains so much research- and evidence-based nutrition care information (for more than 100 diseases, conditions, and topics), it is the go-to source when I have questions (or someone emails me a question) in regards to nutrition. I get a lot of my sports nutrition information from the International Society of Sports Nutrition as well as the
Sports Nutrition Insider.
So while it is super easy to google any topic or pass along information from a blurb on TV or in a magazine, it is important that your source of information is credible and to not always read too deep into research. Always keep an open mind.

In the November 2011, Volume 23, Number 11 issue of Consumer Reports On Health, there was a lot of great information in the HEALTH WIRE and SAY YES?, SAY NO? section.
Here's some great info that you may want to digest....

1) Calorie info on menus: According to a study in a July issue of the British Medical Journal, researchers surveyed 8,489 adults leaving fast-food restaurants in NYC in 2009 after a calorie-labeling law took effect at chain restaurants. Overall, 15% of the customers said they used the calorie counts to select their lunch. On average, they bought food that had 106 fewer calories than people who didn't use the information.
*this information is very interesting because in my October 2011 Volume 29, Number 8 issue of TUFTS University Health and Nutrition letter, there was a large article on "Can you trust restaurant Calorie Counts?" Tufts nutrition scientist Lorien E. Urban, PhD, lead author of the study, aid "we can't expect restaurants to be spot-on all the time with calories, but there needs to be guidelines to what a reasonable range of accuracy is." The researchers measured the actual caloric energy in 269 foods from 42 restaurants, including seven fast-food and seven sit-down eateries, in three states. Overall, results showed the 40% of the foods contained at least 10 more calories than claimed on restaurant menus, while 53% actually contained at least 10 fewer calories than stated. Sit-down restaurants' calorie counts were more likely to be off, which the researchers ascribed to poorer control of portion size.
According to Susan B Roberts "Typically, the foods that were stated as low-calorie on the menu contained more calories than they should, which is really bad for dieters". Percentage-wise, some dishes far exceeded their stated calorie counts. For example:
-Olive Garden's chicken and gnocchi soup had nearly double the listed 250 calories and the minestrone soup more than doubled its 100-calorie claim, totaling 265.
-Bob Evans' cranberry-pecan chicken salad with dressing listed at 672 calories had 315 and 551 EXTRA calories in two tests.
-P.F. Chang's healthy-sounding brown rice measured 477 calories, more than double the menu number of 190.
-Four tests of On the Border's chips and salsa found more than triple the claimed 430 calories, up to 1,511 actual calories.


So, as you attempt to eat more wholesome food in your balanced diet (what better than to feel motivated on FOOD DAY on Monday October 24th!), recognize that when YOU prepare food at home, you are responsible for what and how much you eat (not to mention - how it is prepared). I feel very strongly that we should be preparing more meals at home in order to recognize what it is our body wants and needs as well as listening to our body as to how much we should give it. If you think about it, we live in a society where fast-food and restaurants are giving us meals (that YOU choose from a board or menu) and in a way, telling people that 'this' amount (given to you) is how much you should eat. Despite people counting calories and exercising, people have no insight as to how to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. By focusing on a plant-based diet, not only will you learn to understand and respect the body but you will also learn to develop a healthy relationship with food because the emphasis of calories will be removed, and rather a focus on feeling fantastic about the food that you put into your body. Why should you feel restricted, guilty or overwhelmed when it comes to food? Not sure about you, but when I eat I want to feel GREAT and the only numbers I want to watch and count are my miles, speed, power and laps.

Whether it is post-race or an occasional indulgence one or twice a month, the key is to eat well most of the time so you don't have to worry (aka FEAR food or be concerned about your body image) the rest of the time.



(Karel and me eating at Splasher's Grill in Kona, across from the pier/swim start on Monday after the Ironman in Hawaii...enjoying burgers and fries- YUM!! No surprise, I couldn't finish this burger as my appetite was not even close to coming back post-Ironman. However, I did enjoy half of my burger at 12 (the other half a few hours later) which was a veggie burger, topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms and cheese. Karel had a "real" burger - his words describing what he ordered :)

Here's a GREAT ARTICLE I found for BOTH vegetarians AND non-vegetarians. Something to consider as you PLAN your daily meals and snacks.