A Food Label Facelift

LABEL_REVISIONS_FINAL4_no_captionsAfter 20 years, it is about time! Although the final format has not been determined, America is definitely getting a new food label. The goal is to make the label easier to read, include content more relevant to consumers of today, and base the content on more realistic portions, a serving size that a person is more likely to eat.

Highlights of the proposed changes:

  • The servings per container and calories per serving will be bolded for emphasis.
  • The percent Daily Values (DV) will be given on the left hand side versus right hand side. The DV will still be based on a 2000-calorie diet, so the percentages remain more of a guide for consumers.

Over 20% high source, Under 5%, 5%-20%

The four key nutrients will be modified to reflect current nutrient concerns that are affecting the health of our nation.

  • Vitamin D and potassium instead of Vitamin A and Vitamin C (latter two will be voluntary)
  • Iron and calcium will remain on the label
  • There will be a separate line for “added” sugars! The confusion over “added” versus “natural” sugars will finally be clarified. This change is my favorite.
  • The number of calories provided by fat will be omitted. The consumer focus will hopefully shift to the type of fat, not the calories provided by the fat. Limiting saturated fats and avoiding transfats is key to better health.

Do you think the new food label format will help you better understand the Nutrition Facts? Time will tell for me.

-Larissa T Brophy, MS, RDN, LD

Cool Your Embers

Many of us have heard of good stress versus bad stress (e.g. you’re on vacation versus you had an accident), but do you know your body, more specifically your immune system, can create good inflammation and bad inflammation?  Good inflammation is often referred to as “acute inflammation.”  The latter will occur when you experience physical trauma such as a laceration or broken bone.  It is our body’s way to facilitate immediate healing. 

Continue reading

Breakfast Basics

I am certain you have heard this message before and it will not be the last time either: “Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day!”

Why you ask?

Breakfast breaks your overnight fast, jump-starts your metabolism for the day (Yes, you will be hungrier initially but will eat less towards the end of the day), provides fuel to the brain so that you can think clearly, and makes the hunger pains go away (admit it, hunger pains can be distracting in that morning meeting). In 1975, the School Breakfast Program became a permanent entitlement program to support health and learning in low-income children. The federal government feels breakfast is that important that the funded program continues 38 years later. Breakfast helps children learn, score better on tests, control body weight, and improve nutritional adequacy, especially the intake of fruits and low-fat dairy.

So why would breakfast not be just important for you? It is!

What constitutes a breakfast? Well, not just coffee unless it is a 400-calorie drink from Starbucks and that is just a lot of empty calories. I say anything goes, but you do want to focus on nutrient dense choices and include a source of healthy protein (aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein). Here are some great ideas for you to try:

  • Greek Yogurt mixed with ground flax seed, chia seeds, granola or walnuts
  • Scrambled egg whites (or whole eggs; limit to 3 yolks per week) wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla (add vegetables and low-fat cheese for improved taste)
  • Hot oatmeal prepared with milk and berries; add some walnuts
  • Low-fat cottage cheese and fruit
  • High fiber cereal with low-fat milk (try to find a cereal with at least 5 grams of protein per serving)
  • Peanut butter and banana wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
  • Leftovers such as pizza or whatever sounds good
  • Fruit smoothie with low-fat dairy or soy base; add ground flax seed or chia seeds for beneficial omega-3s

Even though it is imperative that you eat breakfast, you still need to keep those portions realistic. Moderation, balance, and variety are keys to good nutrition. If you have any other great breakfast ideas, please feel free to share in the comment section. I would love to hear what you like to eat for breakfast.

-Larissa T. Brophy, MS, RDN, LD

Food and Lifestyle is Medicine!

Think about some of these statistics:

  • Medical treatment of obese adults in the US is estimated at $147 billion per year (the costs are attributed to increased morbidity and impaired quality of life).
  • One in three adults in the U.S. is obese.
  • Cancer claims more lives than heart disease among those less than 85 years of age.
  • Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death for over 100 years and currently accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in the U.S.
  • In 2008, the medical treatment and lost productivity associated with cardiovascular disease was $297.7 billion.
  • Cerebrovascular disease accounts for 1 in 18 deaths in the U.S.
  • Diabetes prevalence is projected to reach 33% by 2050.
  • Over 12% of adolescents have metabolic syndrome and 0.05% to 5% of youths have diabetes.
  • Approximately 40% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes did not know they had the condition (based on the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data).
  • It is estimated that 8% of women age 20 years and older have osteoporosis. Continue reading

Workout of the Week: Exercise Ball Workout

Equipment Needed: Exercise Ball , dumbbells, mat

Complete each circuit 3x
Ball Squats X 20
Db Row X 15
Triceps Kickback X 12
Windmills x 10 each side

Lunge with ball x 12 Each Leg
Bicep Curl with press x 12
Triceps Extension x 12
Ab Circles x 10 , Ab crunch 15, ab circle opposite direction x 10

Pullover x 15
Skull Crusher (triceps) x 12
Chest Fly x 12
Iron Cross x 12

Leg Bridges x 1 min
Hamstring Curls x 15
Ball twist with legs x 20
Ball Passoffs x 8

The Sunshine Vitamin

Yep, it is that time of year again. The time we synthesize our Vitamin D via UV rays. However, if you fall into a high-risk category, then you are most likely Vitamin D deficient or insufficient. What puts you at high risk? If you are elderly, never see the sunlight because you are always busy working inside, you are darker skinned (acts as a natural sunscreen), or if you ALWAYS use sunscreen, then you are at a higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. In Ohio, individuals can only synthesize Vitamin D during certain months when the UV rays are strong enough so Ohioans are already behind when it comes to that “sun” ball.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is potentially toxic at high doses. Yet, most people are deficient or insufficient and it is very difficult to reach toxicity levels.  Unfortunately, only a few foods are a good source of Vitamin D. These foods include fatty fish (salmon and tuna), dairy (choose low-fat), fortified foods (orange juice, cereals, alternative milks), and some mushrooms. If you do not get enough of these foods, then consider a Vitamin D3 supplement. A conservative recommendation is 1000IU per day, which falls well under the established Upper Limit of 4000IU per day.

Some health benefits of adequate Vitamin D include weight management, cancer prevention (certain cancer sites), lower blood pressure, and prevention of some autoimmune disorders. Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis are two specific diseases where adequate serum Vitamin D is most likely therapeutic for optimal management. A recent study indicates that Vitamin D levels may be positively correlated with self-reported physical functioning, especially in older individuals (>50 years).

So what is preventing you from getting enough Vitamin D? If concerned about your level, have your physician check your blood during your next visit. Otherwise, eat some Vitamin D rich foods, consider taking a Vitamin D3 supplement, or enjoy small doses (10 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure during non-peak hours) of sunshine to synthesize your Vitamin D quota.

-Larissa T Brophy, MS, RDN, LD

What is YOUR true potential?

I recently read a quote that said “Wouldn’t it be a shame to live your whole life without knowing your body’s true potential?” and was immediately struck by it. How many people go through their entire life thinking that their health and fitness goals are unattainable? Are you one of those people? Before I got in to the fitness field I used to think that being overweight and unable to work out more than thirty minutes was an inevitability of getting older. This could not be farther than the truth. Continue reading

Workout of the Week: Xtreme Xchange

This workout is focusing on working your entire body. You will want to move from circuit to circuit before repeating. Try to complete the whole workout 3 times. Try to break between 30 seconds and 1 minute between each circuit.

Circuit 1

12-Body weight Squats
12-One Leg Touch Down Squats
12-Push-ups
12-Planks Rows (Rowing ONLY)
30-Sec Mountain Climber
30-Football Run

Circuit 2

30-Forward Lunges
12-Front Raises
12-Lateral Raises
12-Bicep Curls
12-Tricep Extension

Cardio Circuit 3

30-Seconds Power Jack (Jumping Jacks)
30-Seconds High Knee with Twist
30-Seconds Frog Jumps
30-Seconds Toe Taps

30 Second Break then Repeat x 4

Ab Circuit Circuit 4

40-Flutter Kicks
40-Scissor Kicks
20-Crunch with twist Left
20-Crunch
20-Crunch twist Right
30-Seconds Plank

New Rating for Sucralose

Did you know that sucralose (trade name Splenda) is the only artificial sweetener made from sucrose?  Although this may sound like a perfectly safe alternative to sugar, the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently downgraded sucralose from a rating of “safe” to “caution.”  The downgrade was announced in response to findings from a recent study that showed sucralose caused leukemia in mice.  Continue reading