Posts Tagged ‘nutrition for diabetes’

America’s Sugar Epidemic – Part I

September 11, 2009

Recently the American Heart Association published  alarming statistics on American’s average daily consumption of sugar — a whopping 22 teaspoons per day  — as well as guidelines for what we should be consuming (6 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men).  Finally!  It’s about time a health organization finally called the obesity epidemic for what it truly is:  a sugar epidemic. 

Did you know that the number one source of calories in America is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda? A typical can of soda contains 40g per can — almost double the total daily amount recommended by the AHA for all sugars consumed. The consumption of HFCS increased a whopping 10, 673 % between 1970 and 2005. In addition to sodas and juices, HFCS is used to sweeten virtually all processed, packaged foods these days because it’s cheaper than sugar. It’s even a prominent ingredient in foods that aren’t inherently sweet, such as Campbell’s tomato soup (12g of sugar from HFCS) and commercial spaghetti sauce (11g in a half-cup serving), not to mention barbecue sauce and salad dressing.   

By the way, HFCS isn’t the only sugar you need to look out for in processed foods. Sugar comes in many different disguises. Check labels for sugars under many other names, including: fructose, glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin, rice syrup, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, galactose and molasses. More on America’s sugar epidemic and how to decrease your sugar intake in my next post.

Be Well, 


Take Smaller Bites and You May Eat Less

August 28, 2009

A new study recently explored whether eating smaller bites might influence the amount of food people eat. Subjects were given the same meal twice and instructed to eat as much as they wanted, but one time they were instructed to cut their food into teaspoon-size bites, the other into tablespoon-size bites. Not surprisingly, subjects ate significantly more food when the bites were bigger. But interestingly, they reported feeling as satisfied with less food when they ate smaller bites and in fact were unaware they’d actually eaten less. 

On a personal note, I recently had oral surgery and was forced to cut my food into very small bites for the first few days after my procedure. Not only did eating much smaller bite sizes make me feel like I was eating more rather than less food, I was forced to eat more slowly.  Taking longer to eat my meals, may also account for my feeling that I was eating more when in truth was not. Furthermore I felt satiated sooner with the smaller bites. I also had to chew more slowly and thoroughly the food I was eating. While I wasn’t trying to lose weight, quite the contrary, I can see where this simple strategy might be an effective tool in weight loss.

Be Well,


How to Love Your Veggies: Part I

July 1, 2009

Vegetables are to nutrition the way that stretching is to exercise:  most people know they’re good for them, but they don’t really like ‘em so it’s easier to skip ’em. But skip them you shouldn’t since vegetables have the highest nutrient density of all foods. In other words, per calorie they offer the most nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, prevent cancer, heart disease and boost your immune system in general

OK, now that you know why you should be loving your vegetables, here are some delicious ways to get more into your diet:

1. Frozen vegetables are one of your best, most convenient nutrition bargains. They are as nutritious if not more nutritious than fresh vegetables because they are flash-frozen when they’re harvested and they’re usually the pick of the crop. Trader Joe’s and Safeway each have a wonderful variety of frozen veggies, many of which are organic. Frozen vegetables also offer a convenient way in obtaining a variety of different colored vegetables in one meal. Variety is important as each color provides different phytonutrients. Economically, frozen veggies are a year-round bargain. Whereas fresh vegetable prices fluctuate depending on availability, frozen vegetables are affordable and available year-round.

2. If you don’t have much time to prepare meals, buy a combo microwave steamer/rice cooker and buy pre-washed, pre-cut fresh vegetables and steam them – no prep necessary.

3. Broil or grill skewered, sliced vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant – even tomatoes) serve warm with lemon juice and olive oil. Or, combine with lean meat, fish or chicken for kebabs.

4. Add sea vegetables ( a great source of natural iodine and other trace minerals) to your salads or steamed veggies. They’re great for a sluggish metabolism as the iodine they contains helps keep the thyroid healthy.  Dried kelp, dulse and wakame – dry flakes can be sprinkled on veggies or warmed in soups. Try Gomasio, a Japanese seasoning combining sesame seeds and dried sea vegetables. It’s delicious sprinkled on salads or steamed vegetables. 

5Make a big batch of salad at one time to keep in your fridge so you can take single servings all week long. Add in slices of avocado and some sprigs of parsley or some sprouts when you serve it up. But the point is you already have the basic salad pre-made. Speaking of parsley, when you’re eating out, don’t toss the parsley garnish that may be one of the most nutritious foods on your plate. It’s loaded with vitamin K – an essential nutrient for bone health as well as vitamins C and A, folate and iron. It also aids in digestion – which is probably the original reason it was used as a garnish.

6. If you’re someone who likes a lot of flavor in your food, mix up some of your favorite herbs and spices to season your veggies such as basil, tarragon and oregano; sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese, drizzle them with olive oil, or cook them in garlic and onions (both of which are extremely healthful in themselves). Turmeric makes a great vegetable topping and it’s also a very healthful spice. Curcumin, the component in Turmeric that gives it its yellow color has been shown to kill cancer cells in lab tests. It’s also a great anti-inflammatory  – in fact studies have compared it favorably with NSAIDs such as Advil. Sprinkle it on steamed veggies or in your salads or soups.

I will offer more delicious ways of incorporating vegetables into your diet in a future post.

Be Well,