Weight Loss Starts at Breakfast

There’s no doubt that breakfast is the clear winner when it comes to ranking the importance of meals.  Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast” of the night, as it’s the first meal you will eat after a night’s sleep. Breakfast also sets the stage for the rest of the day and is a key factor in helping you stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Just to mention a few reasons, the right morning meal can help with weight loss by revving the metabolism, can jump-start the brain, and stabilize blood sugar to control cravings. Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast. So whether you’re too busy or just not hungry in the morning, here are 5 top breakfast ideas that are nutrient rich and quick to prepare to help ensure your day kicks off right:

images-131.  Green Protein Smoothie

If you’re not a breakfast person, ease yourself into it by sipping on a smoothie throughout the morning to start your day with vitamins and nutrients. Adding a protein powder (for example whey, hemp, or spirulina) will keep you satiated longer and ward off cravings. The greens can be in the form of a green superfood powder (my favorite is Amazing Grass), or a handful of fresh spinach or kale. The greens are detoxifying and help stabilize blood sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach or baby kale or green powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (1 scoop) protein powder
  • 1 cup ice (optional)

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Greek Yogurt Parfaitimages-14

Greek yogurt is all the rage right now and right fully so. Creamy and decadent, it’s an indulgence without the guilt. Packed with 30% protein and 20% bone-building calcium, making it an ideal food for breakfast or snack. Layer Greek yogurt with a high fiber cereal or granola and berries for a satisfying morning meal.

 3.  Eggs and Avocado

Eggs are a great weight loss food. The secret lies in their ability to keep you full much longer than fat or carbohydrates. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins, good fats. Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body. While the whites are mostly protein, the nutrients are all found in the yolks. A whole egg is a perfect superfood. For breakfast try two eggs any style with avocado on sprouted grain toast.

4.  Oatmeal

Oatmeal can help you lose weight in two ways: first, it is high in fiber, which means it will keep you fuller longer. Second, since oatmeal is a complex or slow-release carbohydrate it will keep your blood sugar stable. According to recent research, a breakfast of oatmeal eaten 3 hours before exercise can help you burn more fat due to lower blood sugar levels.

images-155.  Breakfast Burrito

Try a breakfast burrito full of heart-friendly monounsaturated fats. Fill an Ezekiel wrap with sliced avocado, scrambled eggs, brown rice, beans, and a splash of salsa. Use your imagination and get creative with the ingredients! This balanced meal will keep you satisfied and help you consume less calories for the entire day.

The Wonders of Lemon Water for Fat Loss

Lemons can help aid weight loss
When life gives you lemons – make lemon water!

It appears, lemons are not just for lemonade!  Lemons have a barrage of uses and benefits from beauty regimes, cleaning products, cooking, to fighting infections.  Lemons are also a very powerful agent in fat loss.  It’s the citric acid in lemons (containing the highest amount of any other fruit) that make them such a powerhouse among fruits. One of the reasons we hold on to extra body fat is related to a poor functioning digestive system.

Poor digestion is a very common problem with most people and is often caused by an inconsistent diet, meaning, a diet lacking in certain nutrients.  Those that follow different types of diet trends can aggravate digestive problems by restricting certain essential nutrients that the body needs to burn fat.  Without the proper nutrients, digestion slows down which, in turn, slows down your metabolism and makes fat loss impossible.  When the body is not receiving proper nutrients, it triggers a craving for these nutrients making you feel hungry when in actuality, you are not.

How can lemons help this? It’s amazing what this little fruit can actually do!  Most people eat foods that create an acidic environment in the body, which leads to all sorts of digestive and health problems.  Ironically, lemons (even though they are high in citric acid) have an alkalizing or neutralizing effect in the body.  The benefits stem from this alkalizing effect.

Why You Need Lemons

  • Lemons help purify the liver by removing toxins. When there’s a build up of toxins in your body, it can result in feeling sluggish, bloated, and depressed.  Toxins in the body also hold on to fat, so in order to lose the fat, you need to flush out the toxins.  The added benefit of clearing toxic waste is a clear and glowing complexion!  Add a wedge of lemon to your glass of water.
  • A great weight loss aid! The peel of the lemon contains pectin which is a great source of fiber.  Pectin helps slow down sugar absorption in the stomach which helps keep hunger cravings at bay, for up to 4 hours!  A great way to get pectin in your diet:  grate some lemon zest on your salad or in your pasta sauce.
  • Can relieve digestive problems. According to The Lemon Juice Diet, drinking warm water with lemon juice first thing in the morning will stimulate the digestive system and have revitalizing effect on the liver.  It can relieve digestive problems such as nausea, heartburn, constipation and parasites.
  • Helps heighten immunity. Lemons contain Vitamin C which helps to prevent and treat different types of infections, allergies, and symptoms of asthma.

Love your Lemons

Are you Having Dessert for Breakfast?

breakfast-cereal-sugary-truth_0

Why your healthy “whole grain” choice might be equivalent to dessert in a bowl.

Cereal is often the number one go-to breakfast choice for parents, considering it takes a mere 30 seconds to throw together and serve, and it is widely accepted by kids. After all, it’s crunchy, fun to eat, and often sweet. In fact, cereal is a lot sweeter than most people realize, especially those cereals that are marketed to kids. What may seem like a healthy “whole grain” choice, may actually be the equivalent to serving your kids dessert for breakfast.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently conducted an analysis on over 1500 breakfast cerealsincluding 181 cereals specifically marketed to childrenand figured out that a child who eats a bowl of cereal a day for a year would end up consuming about 10 pounds of sugar from that source alone. In the document, it states that the most popular children’s cereals average about two teaspoons of sugar per serving, which is similar to three “Chips Ahoy” cookies. Over one third of the calories in a serving of children’s cereal came from sugar alone, and most of these cereals contained over a third of the recommended daily amount of sugar.

Out of the 181 cereals that were specifically marketed to kids, very few were low in sugar and there wasn’t a single one that did not contain added sugar, which clearly indicates that the manufacturers are capitalizing on children’s biologically-driven affinity for sweet foods. Not surprisingly, the EWG found that the health claims plastered all over cereal boxes (“Good source of fibre” or “Excellent source of Vitamin D”) often distracts consumers from what actually matters—the ingredients

As mentioned in the MacLeans Magazine cover story, “Death By Sugar,”  that unveils the truths about the damaging health effects of sugar, Canadians eat, on average, about 88 lbs of sugar per year. What’s more shocking is that the average 9-year-old boy eats 126 lbs of sugar per year, and the average male teen, 138 lbs. As a Dietitian, this sadly doesn’t surprise me too muchI’ve seen some fairly shocking food journals in my counseling practice, many that absolutely ooze SUGAR. Sugar appears in everything from cereal to salad dressing, and from condiments to crackers. If it comes in a package or boxeven if it claims to be healthy in some wayit likely contains added sugar.

This is why my family and I decided to cut back significantly on processed, packaged foods. We didn’t make the now-popular resolution to go “sugar-free” (because I knew that was unrealistic for us), but rather to focus on whole foods that come in their natural formfruits, veggies, intact whole grains, eggs, hormone/antibiotic-free meats, beans and lentils, etc. In doing that, we naturally cut back on our sugar consumption by A LOT. 

What draws many families to boxed cereal (among other processed, packaged foods) is the convenience factor. As a Mom to a three-year-old and 10-month-old, I get it. But I also know that what we feed our kids now will affect them long-term. As parents, we set the stage for what our kids will view as “normal” when it comes to food. If we’re constantly feeding them food from a package, they will grow accustomed to the over-powering sugary, salty tastes and perhaps not appreciate the true flavors of real food. They will grow to think that eating means opening a package or box. Cooking from scratch not only benefits our kids (and ourselves) from a nutrition stand-point, but also opens up the opportunity for kids to learn how to cook and prepare food something that will benefit them for life.

It may seem impossible to trade your favorite breakfast cereal in for something healthier, but it’s not. There are plenty of healthy-but-still-easy options out there. 

Focus on the ingredients:

If you absolutely can’t kick your cereal habit, make sure that you’re reading the ingredients list first and foremost. If sugar (or any form of sweetener, such as brown rice syrup, agave syrup, glucose, honey etc.) is one of the first 3 ingredients, put it back. If there are more than 6 or 7 ingredients total (unless they are all natural ingredients that you recognize), put it back. When looking at the nutrition facts table, aim for at least 4 grams of fibre and less than 8 grams of sugar per 30 gram serving size. Read more here about why you should always read the ingredients list on food products  and the top five ingredients to avoid.

Expand your breakfast palate:

Cold cereal isn’t the only convenient option. Hot cereal is our favorite go-to breakfast, because it’s much more filling and satisfying and the kids love it. Our favorite is slow-cooker steel-cut oats . It’s great because I can prepare it the night before, but if I forget, I’ll throw 1/3 cup rolled oats into a bowl with 2/3 cup milk and a pinch of salt, microwave on high for 2 minutes, and then add berries and a bit of maple syrup or vanilla yogurt.

A fruit smoothie is another easy but healthy option. Use milk, yogurt, nut butters, and seeds to boost the protein content for a more filling smoothie, skip the fruit juice and go easy on added sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. Protein-packed eggs are also an excellent breakfast option, perhaps paired with fruit and a homemade high-fibre muffin . A breakfast that includes protein has shown to help prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day.

Be realistic, but don’t be fooled:

Having cereal once in a while is not a huge deal, much the same as enjoying any treat or “fun” food. Making cereal your morning staple, however, is not healthy. Most cereals are not “health foods” as they claim, but more so sugar-ladened processed grains in a box that I consider to be “non-foods”.

Cereal is often the number one go-to breakfast choice for parents, considering it takes a mere 30 seconds to throw together and serve, and it is widely accepted by kids. After all, it’s crunchy, fun to eat, and often sweet. In fact, cereal is a lot sweeter than most people realize, especially those cereals that are marketed to kids. What may seem like a healthy “whole grain” choice, may actually be the equivalent to serving your kids dessert for breakfast.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently conducted an analysis on over 1500 breakfast cerealsincluding 181 cereals specifically marketed to childrenand figured out that a child who eats a bowl of cereal a day for a year would end up consuming about 10 pounds of sugar from that source alone. In the document, it states that the most popular children’s cereals average about two teaspoons of sugar per serving, which is similar to three “Chips Ahoy” cookies. Over one third of the calories in a serving of children’s cereal came from sugar alone, and most of these cereals contained over a third of the recommended daily amount of sugar.

Out of the 181 cereals that were specifically marketed to kids, very few were low in sugar and there wasn’t a single one that did not contain added sugar, which clearly indicates that the manufacturers are capitalizing on children’s biologically-driven affinity for sweet foods. Not surprisingly, the EWG found that the health claims plastered all over cereal boxes (“Good source of fibre” or “Excellent source of Vitamin D”) often distracts consumers from what actually matters—the ingredients

As mentioned in theMacLeans Magazine cover story, “Death By Sugar,” that unveils the truths about the damaging health effects of sugar, Canadians eat, on average, about 88 lbs of sugar per year. What’s more shocking is that the average 9-year-old boy eats 126 lbs of sugar per year, and the average male teen, 138 lbs. As a Dietitian, this sadly doesn’t surprise me too muchI’ve seen some fairly shocking food journals in my counseling practice, many that absolutely ooze SUGAR. Sugar appears in everything from cereal to salad dressing, and from condiments to crackers. If it comes in a package or boxeven if it claims to be healthy in some wayit likely contains added sugar.

This is why my family and I decided to cut back significantly on processed, packaged foods last Fall. We didn’t make the now-popular resolution to go “sugar-free” (because I knew that was unrealistic for us), but rather to focus on whole foods that come in their natural formfruits, veggies, intact whole grains, eggs, hormone/antibiotic-free meats, beans and lentils, etc. In doing that, we naturally cut back on our sugar consumption by A LOT. 

What draws many families to boxed cereal (among other processed, packaged foods) is the convenience factor. As a Mom to a three-year-old and 10-month-old, I get it. But I also know that what we feed our kids now will affect them long-term. As parents, we set the stage for what our kids will view as “normal” when it comes to food. If we’re constantly feeding them food from a package, they will grow accustomed to the over-powering sugary, salty tastes and perhaps not appreciate the true flavours of real food. They will grow to think that eating means opening a package or box. Cooking from scratch not only benefits our kids (and ourselves) from a nutrition stand-point, but also opens up the opportunity for kids to learn how to cook and prepare foodsomething that will benefit them for life.

It may seem impossible to trade your favourite breakfast cereal in for something healthier, but it’s not. There are plenty of healthy-but-still-easy options out there. 

Focus on the ingredients:

If you absolutely can’t kick your cereal habit, make sure that you’re reading the ingredients list first and foremost. If sugar (or any form of sweetener, such as brown rice syrup, agave syrup, glucose, honey etc.) is one of the first 3 ingredients, put it back. If there are more than 6 or 7 ingredients total (unless they are all natural ingredients that you recognize), put it back. When looking at the nutrition facts table, aim for at least 4 grams of fibre and less than 8 grams of sugar per 30 gram serving size. Read more here about why you should always read the ingredients list on food products and the top five ingredients to avoid. 

Expand your breakfast palate:

Cold cereal isn’t the only convenient option. Hot cereal is our favourite go-to breakfast, because it’s much more filling and satisfying and the kids love it. Our favourite is slow-cooker steel-cut oats. It’s great because I can prepare it the night before, but if I forget, I’ll throw 1/3 cup rolled oats into a bowl with 2/3 cup milk and a pinch of salt, microwave on high for 2 minutes, and then add berries and a bit of maple syrup or vanilla yogurt. I also made this delicious breakfast quinoa recipe the other day and it was a huge hit.

A fruit smoothie is another easy but healthy option. Use milk, yogurt, nut butters, and seeds to boost the protein content for a more filling smoothie, skip the fruit juice and go easy on added sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. Protein-packed eggs are also an excellent breakfast option, perhaps paired with fruit and a homemade high-fibre muffin. A breakfast that includes protein has shown to help prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day. Here are a few more easy, healthy, kid-friendly breakfast options if you’re interested.

Be realistic, but don’t be fooled:

Having cereal once in a while is not a huge deal, much the same as enjoying any treat or “fun” food. Making cereal your morning staple, however, is not healthy. Most cereals are not “health foods” as they claim, but more so sugar-ladened processed grains in a box.

– See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/sarah-remmer-the-non-diet-dietitian/20140518/breakfast-cereal-exposed?s=Newsletter_May_24_2014&utm_source=YummyMummyClub.ca+List&utm_campaign=99956c558d-YMC_Food_May_24_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fd9e34c143-99956c558d-11307205#sthash.GfLQYuZI.d

Sitting to Death

According to a study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology stated that sitting more than 6 hours raises your death risk. The study said even if they exercised, women who sat 6 or more hours a day were 37% more likely to die over a 13-year period than people who sat less than three hours a day. Men who sat more than 6 hours a day had an 18% higher risk of death over a 13-year period than men who sat 3 or fewer hours a day.

The death risk was even higher for people who don’t work out and the least active women in the study who also reported the highest amount of sitting were 94 percent more likely to die than those who said they sat the least and exercised the most. For men, it was 48%, the study said.

Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin,” American Cancer Society researcher Alpa Patel, Ph.D., said in a statement. By including an office workout as a vital aspect to your work day will add to a healthy lifestyle.

death-by-sitting

Omega-3 Fats Offer Oh Mega Benefits!

MJuyT8kQiolYGJ7YNJRTuSeMAxNSNOyLxUXDNppDbppTJqFOlTYoxowCgwbb620vyDnjGvSUy8EiGtyTNiyUnp8gSoRhmM8DJOoe3QjyyRSMbnDi_uFdRkODcczrfqBSLm8i283pQG_jwkPL=s0-d-e1-ftAre you getting enough?

Omega-3 fats are healthy fats. They have a number of health benefits:

  • In adults, they act as a natural blood thinner, reducing risk of blood clots and heart disease and potentially have beneficial effects related to cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • In infants, they help with brain, nerve and eye development

Since our bodies can’t make omega-3 fats, we need to get them from food.

There are 3 types of omega-3 fats:

  • ALA: found in flaxseeds, walnuts, soy products, omega-3 eggs, some vegetable oils like flaxseed, soybean and canola
  • DHA & EPA: found in fatty fish like salmon, mackarel, anchovies, sardines, herring, arctic char and trout

Research shows that our bodies are better able to absorb DHA and EPA than ALA, so aim for 2 servings of fish per week to meet your needs. One serving is equal to 1/2 cup or the size of a deck of cards.

If you’re vegetarian, vegan or simply don’t like the taste of fish, first try and increase your consumption of plant sources of omega-3’s (see “Featured Product” section). You may also benefit from an omega-3 supplement. Speak with your health care professional before starting an omega-3 supplement.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Visit Wealth of Health to view this recipe

Embrace Spring with these Vietnamese spring rolls! They’re not only super tasty, but also healthy and packed with layers of flavoursome crunch. They’re great as a cool summertime appetizer, or even as a main dish, especially dipped in this zesty homemade peanut sauce.

FEATURED PRODUCT
Typically, flaxseed oil has a low smoke point, meaning that it’s not appropriate for cooking at high temperatures, because it will start to degrade. This particular flaxseed oil has been cold-pressed (no chemicals involved) to give it a high smoke point, so it’s great for cooking! It’s also perfect for salad dressings, or used in place of any other oils you might use. The high amount of omega-3 fats in Alligga flaxseed oil, make it a great alternative for people who don’t like to eat fish.
  • Omega-3 rich
  • High smoke point
  • 100% natural
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • No added chemicals, artificial ingredients or preservatives
  • Grown, harvested and manufactured in Canada

DID YOU KNOW…?
Did you know that vitamin C increases the absorption of iron in the body? Many of us (mainly females) are deficient in iron to some degree. It’s best to get our iron from food sources, as iron supplements can cause side effects like nausea and constipation. Iron is found in both animal and plant foods. Animal sources of iron (red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, etc.) are better absorbed by the body than plant sources (beans, lentils, dark leafy green vegetables, etc). So if you’re trying to increase your iron through foods, be sure to eat a vitamin C-rich food along with it (especially if you’re vegetarian). For example, drizzle lemon juice onto your salad greens; add blueberries to your oatmeal; toss your favourite lentil dish with fresh red bell pepper.

Why are Coffee & Tea Amazing For You?

Why Coffee & Tea Are Amazing for You

There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee or tea to start the day. Some may go as far as to say they can’t function without their daily dose of caffeine! While some studies celebrate these beverages, others claim they’re bad for us. So should you toss your favorite drink or ignore the naysayers? Let’s find out.

Coffee vs. Tea

There are 80-185 milligrams of caffeine per cup of coffee versus 15-70 mg of caffeine per cup in tea. Coffee comes from the berries of an evergreen plant and tea comes from a variety of plant leaves. But how much do we actually drink? 52 percent (or 100 million) American adults drink coffee daily. The average coffee drinker has 3.1 cups per day, or 70 gallons a year, enough to fill a bathtub. 30 percent of coffee drinkers enjoy specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. 274 million pounds of tea were imported in 2010, the same as a large cruise ship. The average American drinks 155 cups of tea annually, or 10 gallons a year. 78 percent of tea consumed globally is black, which is preferred by North Americans. 20 percent is green and 2 percent is oolong.

Health Benefits of Tea

There are so many different types of tea that you’ve probably heard some are good for you and some aren’t. Studies on rat fat cells shot that brewed tea of any kind increases insulin activity by up to 15 times. Green tea is full of antioxidants that may help prevent many forms of cancer, including breast, lunch, and stomach. Green tea may also help prevent arterial clogging and reduce the risk of stroke. Green tea might also reduce neurological damage due to oxidation, which in turn prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It can burn fat and improve cholesterol levels. Ninety percent of tea consumed in the U.S. is black. It is made from fermented leaves and is the highest in caffeine. Due to the fermentation process, black tea is lowest in monomeric catechins, which have been linked to cancer prevention. This tea may protect you from have a stroke or developing heart disease by helping blood vessels dilate correctly. It has also been linked to preventing lung damage from smoking. White tea is unfermented and made from young buds and leaves. It offers the most powerful antioxidants of all the teas. Oolong tea has many different forms, which is fermented and may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss. It may also help to prevent tooth decay.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Chances are, you’ve heard ideas like coffee will stunt your growth or give you heart disease or stomach cancer, but fortunately, none of these are true. In fact, it can actually be good for you. Coffee has been linked to improved memory recall. It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease, gout, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s. The caffeine in coffee can help ease asthma attacks. Coffee drinkers are 50 percent less likely to get liver cancer than those who avoid the beverage, though the exact reason has not been pinpointed. It may also lower the risk of breast, rectal, and colon cancers. Caffeine can increase energy expenditure (calorie burning). One study showed that those drinking caffeinated liquids burned 67 calories more than those who drank water, the equivalent of a medium-sized apple.

Too Much Caffeine?

While a little caffeine can be good for you and help keep you awake, too much isn’t a good idea. It may cause restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. Experts recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to 400 mg for men and 300 mg for women. That’s roughly 4 cups of coffee/6 cups of tea for men and 3 cups of coffee/4 cups of tea for women. Caffeine provides many healthy benefits, too. It helps increase endurance during workouts and may blunt pain and tiredness, letting you work out longer. It may enhance muscular contractions during exercise. As with any health advice, people should drink coffee and tea in moderation, as too much of a good thing can be…well, dangerous. While researchers have dispelled many common myths surrounding these beverages, it’s still a good idea to drink tea and coffee in small doses.

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

“Clean Eating” – What Does It Really Mean?

Clean Eating GuideIt’s become the latest buzz word amongst fitness and nutrition enthusiasts and professionals.  But what the heck does “Clean Eating” really mean?!  Most people seem to be in agreement that it means whole, unprocessed foods. That is great, but there is a ton of grey area there.  Everyone seems to have there own take on it:

  • Milk isn’t processed, if it’s raw and unpasturized, but most people claim this isn’t a part of “clean eating”.
  • What about wheat and gluten? I see people label recipes “clean eating” just because their 3-tier cake is gluten free.
  • How about beans, corn, or rice? Paleo people seem to think that is a really bad idea, but all other people deem these “clean” foods.
  • That bowl of oats? Yes or No?
  • What if your meat is loaded with hormones and antibiotics? Is that still “clean”?
  • If your eggs come from a chicken that has been trapped in a cage, never seen sunlight, and doesn’t even have the strength to stand up on it’s own – is that still considered “clean”?
  • Pastured organic bacon is “clean”, right? What about eating one pound of bacon in a day. Still “clean”?
  • Almonds are good for us! What about half jar of almond butter in one sitting? Is that “clean” eating?
  • That salmon – is it wild caught?

Ahhhh! Nobody can agree, yet everybody is obsessed with “clean eating”.

Let’s not obsess about it and get all worked up, it’s food after all!  It’s meant to be enjoyed!  Do your best to clean up your eating habits one step at a time, and stick to it.  Small changes can bring big results.

Here’s a short read to help us get started with the basics of clean eating:

http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/what-clean-eating-5-dos-and-don%E2%80%99ts-your-best-body-ever#031114

 

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sugar

ImageWe all know that excess sugar in our diet can cause weight gain and lead to diabetes.  But the latest research now reveals more serious effects of added sugar.  Here’s the latest article by IDEA Health & Fitness Magazine

Now there’s another reason to encourage clients to limit their sugar intake: Eating added sugar is associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published February 3 online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study focuses on sugar added in the processing or preparing of foods, not naturally occurring sugars in fruits and fruit juices.

Recommendations for added sugar consumption vary, and there is no universally accepted threshold for unhealthy levels. For example, the Institute of Medicine recommends that added sugar make up less than 25% of total calories, the World Health Organization recommends less than 10% (but in March 2014 proposed a further reduction to below 5% for additional benefits), and the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories daily for women and 150 calories daily for men, according to the study background.

Quanhe Yang, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, and colleagues used national health survey data to examine added sugar consumption as a percentage of daily calories and to estimate association between consumption and CVD.

How Much Sugar Are We Eating?

Study results indicate that the average percentage of daily calories from added sugar increased from 15.7% in 1988–1994 to 16.8% in 1999–2004, but decreased to 14.9% in 2005–2010.

In 2005–2010, most adults (71.4%) consumed 10% or more of their calories from added sugar, but for about 10% of adults it made up 25% or more of their calories.

The Risks of Too Much Sweetness

The risk of heart-related death increases 18% for people consuming an average American diet with about 15% of daily calories from added sugar, compared with those whose diets contain little to no added sugar, the study authors found.

The risk is 38% higher for people who receive 17%–21% of their calories from added sugar, and more than double for people who get more than 21% of their daily diet from added sugar, Yang said.

Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, who wrote commentary on the published research, says, “Yang . . . shows that the risk of CVD mortality becomes elevated once sugar intake surpasses 15% of daily calories—equivalent to drinking one 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda in a 2,000 calorie diet. From there, the risk rises exponentially as a function of increased sugar intake, peaking with a [400% higher] risk of CVD death for individuals who consume one-third or more calories in added sugar.”

Another key point: The study found that the added sugar that Americans consume as part of their daily diet can—on its own, regardless of other health problems—more than double the risk of death from heart disease.

“[This] new paradigm [that Yang’s research falls within] hypothesizes that sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as ’empty calories’ promoting obesity,” notes Schmidt. “Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”

Guideline for Better Health

So what is a good general guideline for sugar consumption? “Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it is safest to consume less than 15% of total calories as added sugar,” says Schmidt.

IDEA Fit Tips, Volume 12, Number 3
March 2014

Low-Fat Pumpkin Spice Granola

Pumpkin Granola PicI absolutely love homemade granola.  It is incredibly easy to make and so nutritious!  The best part is that you are in control of the ingredients, it is completely customizable.   Add any combination of nuts and dried fruit, whatever you prefer.  You can even switch up the sweeteners, use honey or agave instead of maple syrup.  This recipe uses maple syrup to keep it vegan.  The possibilities are endless.  I love the fact that this recipe uses no butter or oils to hold the mixture together – the pumpkin does it all, making it low-fat with a lot less calories.  Added bonus, it makes the house smell heavenly!

It’s a great recipe to welcome in the fall season!

LOW-FAT PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA

Makes about 6 cups.

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt. Stir in brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

Add the oats, cranberries, raisins, pecans, coconut, and pumpkin seeds to the bowl. Stir to evenly coat with the pumpkin mixture.

Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring well at the 20 minute mark.  Note:  If you prefer your granola clumpy like I do, then spread the mixture in a thinner layer and do not stir during baking.  Do not stir until it has cooled completely on the baking sheet, then break apart into chunks.

It will not be crisp when you remove it from the oven, but it will crisp up as it cools.  Allow granola to cool for several hours before storing – so that it doesn’t get soggy!.

Source: Adapted from Pastry Affair

Key Ingredients to Staying Young and Healthy

fountain-of-youth1

Healthy eating and physical fitness go together, but there are no magic foods that cause you to be 100% healthy by just eating the one food.  No, you need a variety of foods from each of these food groups each day.  It’s also important to watch the portion size so as not to overeat. Make your mealtimes pleasant and relaxed occasions and your healthy foods will work effectively with your healthy emotions to give you a healthy, youthful body.

Berries

You may like all types of berries or just one or two favorites, but you can never go wrong by adding a few fresh berries as a quick energy snack or frozen berries made into a luscious smoothie in place of calorie laden desserts. Berries are high in vitamin C across the board, but some are high in other nutrients as well. Choose ripe blueberries for vitamin C and heaps of anti-oxidants for the health of your circulatory system. Gogi berries are less well-known but are wonderfully rich in many of the nutrients your body needs to be nutritionally and physically fit.

Citrus

The foods of the citrus family are widely recognized as a valuable source of vitamin C. Choose fully ripe citrus fruits for the best nutritional value and choose citrus as near to the tree as possible. Tree ripened fruits picked at the peak of perfection and consumed with hours of picking give you the top nutritional rating. Try grapefruit for breakfast. Add a dash of fresh squeezed lime to your salad as a dressing and enjoy slices of orange with coconut in a light honey dressing for dessert.

Vegetables

The variety of vegetables is amazing. For people who are vegetarian or vegan, choosing vegetables to be part of a nutritionally sound diet is a way of life. Your vegetable group provides many of the minerals required in a good diet. For example, you may realize that potassium is necessary for healthy nutrition. Many people claim the benefits of potassium found in a single banana. But did you know, you can also get adequate potassium in your diet by eating a stalk of broccoli? Try a salad of fresh young spinach topped with pine nuts and stirred with lightly cooked penne’. Feta cheese and a light vinaigrette dressing to create the perfect light luncheon meal.

Whole Grains

Like many other of the best foods, choosing only one type of whole grain for your meals doesn’t provide all the variety you need to be nutritionally sound. Often, mixing two or more whole grains together will give you complete proteins. For example, brown rice and wheat kernels with a spicy seasoning are a popular dish in many countries.

Salmon

Salmon is lean fish and nutritionally one of the best seafood choices.  It is rich in the essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 oils that are noted as helping improve the functioning of the brain.  Salmon baked whole with just lemon or lime as a seasoning, makes a fantastic main dish or a hearty luncheon featured menu item.  Salmon is also commonly found in chilled seafood dishes.

Legumes

A legume is the name for a variety of fruits with a single dry seed. Legumes are sometimes called pods. Examples of edible legumes are soybeans, peas, dried beans and peanuts, among others. Legumes are rich in iron and high in fiber, making them excellent nutritional choices. Peanuts are a type of legume that have been used to make hundreds of different products some edible and others with various types of helpful uses.

Nuts and seeds

Nature has packed a lot of goodness into small packages. Most everyone has heard of walnuts and pecans which are very good nutritional products, but did you realize that flax seeds are brain food–containing critical non-meat sources of the Omega-3 oil.

Lean proteins

The keyword here is lean. Americans eat far too much protein compared to the rest of the world. Cut down of portion sizes–three ounces will provide all the needed protein needed for your day.  Also, trim all visible fat from your protein source. Alternatively, use non meat substitutes such as the complete proteins found in vegetable dishes like beans and brown rice.

Tea

Depending on the type of tea you prefer, you can get an energy boost from a cup of green tea, or the calming effect of chamomile tea.  Start your day with Earl Grey Breakfast Tea.  Mint tea is great any time of the day for a refreshing boost and when taken after meals, can help with digestion.  Herbal teas are soothing, tasty and full of natural goodness.  Non herbal teas when used in moderation, can help you energize and stay alert.
Healthy Fats

Olive oil is probably the healthiest substance you can use to keep fat in your diet.  You can use it on your salad, mix it with a little vinegar to create a homemade vinaigrette.  Olive is delicate and it good for moderate temperature cooking, however, high heat causes olive oil to break down and oxidize.  For high heat cooking, coconut oil is a great option as it’s oxidization point is much higher allowing it to retain much of its healthful nutrients.