Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obesity Maps!

This is one of my faaaaaavorite things to look at ever. It's amazing to see colors
disappear and new colors appear. See where your state stands :)
While BMI can often be inaccurate, it is it quite telling when looking at such a large population.
We all know that obesity is becoming a huge problem in our nation, and across the world. What are we going to do
about it? Here are a few tips that...well they won't make you drop a ton of weight, but they can be helpful when
you're trying for a healthier lifestyle :)

*Wake up with a fruit before/with breakfast, eat fruit as a snack, and have some fruit in the car. Chances are,
when you come to eat your meal, you won't be as hungry because of the fiber in a lot of these fruits.
*Make the switch from soda to water. A lot of people don't notice themselves drinking a meal's worth
of calories! You might consider getting the water flavoring packets. Another option is to stick a
few slices of apple, lemon, or oranges into your water to make it a little tastier.
*Buy a pedometer. This is one thing that will keep you motivated day after day. Try going for 10,000 steps a day,
which (for most people) is around five miles. Even if you're not at the gym ever night, you will be getting some
exercise in your day.
*Be wary of labels that say "sugar-free" or "carb-free." This does NOT mean calorie-free. While other factors like
fat and sugar are VERY important, calories are ultimately what need to be reduced for weight loss.
*When eating out, mentally divide your plate in half before you begin eating. Make sure you are eating appropriate
portion sizes. For meat, it's about the size of the palm of your hand. For cheese, it's about the size of your thumb, which
is about 1 oz. Aim for half of your plate to be vegetables, grilled, sauteed, or fresh.
*Use a smaller plate. People are more likely to fill up their plate and finish what's on it, even after they are full. Using
a smaller plate will make you think twice before going for a second helping!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Light, Green Light.

Sorry for not posting in forever. Here we go :)

First post in a new series. Red means...yes. Stop. Always.

Yellow means approach with caution...

Green means GO! But not too fast. Because then you'll get a speeding ticket/fat.

Today's red light: Little Debbies. Let's focus on Devil Squares. These are AI's favorite (my fiance). He happily agreed to ban these from our future home.

Why: Delicious twin-wrapped cakes. Also, almost 300 calories, almost all from sugar and fat (much of it saturated). See below:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Palm and Palm Kernel Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil with TBHQ to Preserve Flavor (Contributes a Trivial Amount of Trans Fat), Cocoa, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Egg Whites, Invert Sugar, Emulsifiers (Mono- and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids), Colors (Caramel Color, Red 40), Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Salt, Corn Starch, Eggs, Whey (Milk), Modified Corn Starch, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid.

A better choice: A Rice Krispies Treat has almost half the calories, and is wayyy lower in fat, and saturated fat.

An even more better choice: A piece of angel food cake topped with fruit or frozen yogurt. Amaaazing :)



Friday, June 5, 2009

General Mills Response

General Mills released this statement after the FDA's warning letter:

Cheerios' soluble fiber heart health claim has been FDA-approved for 12 years, and Cheerios' "lower your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks" message has been featured on the box for more than 2 years. The science is not in question. The scientific body of evidence supporting the heart health claim was the basis for FDA's approval of the heart health claim, and the clinical study supporting Cheerios' cholesterol-lowering benefit is very strong. The FDA is interested in how the Cheerios cholesterol-lowering information is presented on the Cheerios package and website. We look forward to discussing this with FDA and to reaching a resolution.


On Arabic TV, I always see cereal commercials for something like Cocoa Puffs that are pouring into a bowl, but they're coming out of the box as stalks of wheat and corn. While commercials like that haven't aired in the US for a long time, food companies are finding ways to trick their consumers into thinking they're eating something healthier than it really is...see below...

One company that has been using health claims right and left is General Mills cereals. According to General Mills, "Cheerios is the only ready-to-eat cereal clinically proven to lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol." The box shouts "Lower your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks!" The reason Cheerios makes this claim is because it contains whole grain oats, a soluble fiber. One way this lowers choleserol is by binding with bile acids in the GI tract. Instead of the bile being recycled in the body, the bound bile acids are excreted in the feces. The body must then make more bile acids using cholesterol, and therefore lowering the total amount of cholesterol in one's body.

Of course, GM conducted a clinical study to prove this. According to their site, "...eating two 1 1/2 cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol." Thank you GM. I was really planning on replacing two of my meals with a bowl of Cheerios every day...

According to this letter from the FDA to GM, the claims on the Cheerios box and website indicate that Cheerios is a cholesterol lowering drug, and "is intended for use in lowering cholesterol, and therefore in preventing, mitigating, and treating the disease hypercholesterolemia." The FDA warned Cheerios that the product is a "drug within the meaning of section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321 (g)P)(B)]. The product is...not generally recognized as safe and effective for use in preventing or treating hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease. Therefore,under section 505(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 355(a)], it may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application."

Therefore, unless Cheerios is claiming to be a statin, I look forward to seeing some changes on the Cheerios and other cereal boxes. Finally, FDA.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quiz Answers :)

Okay kids, here you go.

1. At Denny’s, which breakfast item has the least number of calories?
      The answer is b.

a. Ham & Cheddar Omelet 
      (595 calories)
b. Country fried steak & eggs 
      (464 calories)

c. An order of French toast with syrup & margarine (3 slices)
      (1,000 calories)
d. An order of pancakes (3) with syrup & margarine
      (650 calories)

2. Which sandwich from the restaurant Cosi has more than 700 calories?
      The answer is d.

a. Turkey Rustica
      (619 calories)
b. Tuscan Pesto Chicken
      (571 calories)
c. Tandoori Chicken
      (633 calories)
d. Grilled Chicken T.B.M.
      (791 calories)

e. Sesame Ginger Chicken
      (508 calories)

3. Which item at Dunkin’ Donuts has the fewest number of calories?
      The answer is b.

a. Sesame bagel with cream cheese
      (570 calories) 
b. 2 jelly filled donuts
      (420 calories) 

c. Banana walnut muffin
      (540 calories) 
d. A medium (24 oz.) strawberry banana smoothie
      (550 calories)

4. Which grande (16 oz.) Starbucks drink has the fewest calories?
      The answer is e.

a. Frappuccino Blended Coffee with whipped cream 
      (420 to 550 calories) 
b. Frappuccino Blended Crème
      (490 to 580 calories) 
c. Chai Tea Latte
      (290 calories) 
d. Caramel Macchiato
      (310 calories) 
e. Cappuccino even, if made with whole milk 
      (150 calories)

5. Which item at McDonald’s has the most calories?
      The answer is c.

a. Big Mac
      (560 calories) 
b. 2 Sausage McGriddles
      (840 calories) 
c. Large chocolate shake
      (1,160 calories)
d. 4 hamburgers
      (1,040 calories)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Honest Food Guide

I came upon this interesting food pyramid today and thought I'd share. What do you guys think?