Happy Heart Month (and Day) Part 2

You need to love yourself, in order to take care of yourself. On this Valentine’s Day, learn to how to keep your heart healthy. Get you cholesterol and coconut questions answered!

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE

Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services

www.MomDishesItOut.com

Q)   Does eating cholesterol really impact cholesterol level?

We have know for years that saturated fat is the true culprit to raising LDL production by our body. One should decrease their saturated fat intake to decrease their LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein- aka bad cholesterol). Many people have misunderstood this for years. The focus should not be on a cholesterol free product such as palm oil but rather a lower saturated fat and higher monounsaturated fat like almonds. Decreasing dietary cholesterol intake lowers your LDL about 3-5% where as decreasing your saturated fat intake decreases your LDL by 8-10% as reported by the National Cholesterol Education Program.

Q)   Will this depend on other nutrients that the food contains? If it’s not, what does impact cholesterol levels then?

Yes, levels of saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, exercise, stress and genetics all effect our cholesterol levels. A favorable fat profile of a food should look like this >Monounsaturated fats> Polyunsaturated Fats> Saturated Fats (need more research as to which saturated fats may be more beneficial).

 Q)   What about coconut oil and is it true it may help you to lose weight?  

The American Dietetic Association does not recommend consuming tropical oils such as Coconut oil. According to the Natural Medicines Database, ”there is insufficient evidence to rate the effectiveness of coconut oil for weight loss, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and thyroid conditions.”

 Q)   From the types of saturated fats such as stearic acid, lauric acid, etc, are there any with health benefits?

Per the research I have found, there are not saturated fats with absolute health benefits. To be prudent, one should continue to limit their saturated fat intake at this time and replace them with unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For additional reference there is a chart that clearly identify the roles of saturated fat on medscape: Role of Different Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids for Cardiometabolic Risk, By David Iggman; Ulf Risérus Posted: 04/28/2011; Clin Lipidology. 2011;6(2):209-223. © 2011 Future Medicine Ltd.

 

 

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Happy Heart Health Month – Part One

OMGoodness there are so many mixed messages about heart health. Read on tho make sense of sugar and saturated fat as it pertains to our heart health. Lets prevent Cardiovascular Disease (aka CVD).

Q) There are experts who are now saying that the evidence between saturated fat and CVD may have been biased because research didn’t take into account the sugar content of the diet.  Is sugar the real culprit?

Added sugar is associated with increased TG levels and increased LDL cholesterol (hyperlipidemia being a risk factor for CVD). However, there is an inverse relationship with increased intake of healthier carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, meaning the more you eat these foods, the less likely you are to increase your risk for CVD.  Saturated fat remains a part of the picture. Now the question is which type of SFA may be more closely associated with the increased cholesterol-raising effect of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. More research is needed to clarify. Most importantly focus on including fruits, veggies and whole grains and limit added sugars.

 

Q) What is the role of saturated fat in CVD risk?

Saturated fat is associated with CVD. Studies show an increase in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol after eating a meal high in saturated fat. However, recent studies are examining the different roles of the specific types of saturated fats: Short chain, medium chain and long chain SFA.  This means continue to minimize your intake of saturated fat like the visual lard on a steak until more research is available. A simple guide: choose products with < 2 grams/ saturated fat per serving. Rather focus on including monounsaturated fats like olives and avocado. 

 

Q)  There are studies that show total blood cholesterol is not a reliable indicator of CVD. If it’s not, what are the indicators then?

Total Cholesterol is not a biomarker of CVD rather one’s ratio of Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio.  HDL also known as high density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol (h for helper) and LDL, low density lipoprotein (l for want less of) the bad cholesterol. The greater your HDL and the lower your LDL, the more favorable your cholesterol profile will be and the decreased chance of cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate a Low HDL, High LDL and High TG are associated with risk for CVD. You must ask the doctor for your cholesterol breakdown and the ratio with a goal < 5.  Always ask for a copy of your blood work.

 

Q)  If a higher sugar intake may be dangerous, why aren’t  triglycerides (blood levels) more important when assessing the risk of CVD, since this marker has a good correlation with simple carbohydrates intake?

TG’s are a good indicator of risk for CVD and it should be included in the lipid profile to assess for CVD risk. However, the ATP III report issued by the NIH, encourages using TG’s as a marker for other lipid and nonlipid risk factors that ultimately raise the risk for CVD. Ask Your medical doctor for your TG level and aim for < 150 mg/dl. 

 

Check back for Happy Heart Health Month Part 2 or like Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services on Facebook to get weekly nutrition updates.

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Michelle Obama says Let's Move!

Laura’s Take on the Let’s Move! Campaign. Listen to Laura talk with Rita Cosby on wor710.com on 2/1/2012 or via podcast.

As a leader Michelle Obama is in a unique and powerful position to empower Americans to live healthier lives. She can influence food companies to provide less processed, higher quality foods to schools and to our supermarket shelves. She can raise the energy and spirit of health by advocating for health awareness and encouraging physical activity. Her celebrity status can help bring the USDA’s “MyPlate” to more families’ tables.  She can help spread the message to fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy. Thankfully, Michelle Obama also stresses moderation and admits to eating her burgers and fries.

Let’s Move! is taking information that is already out there and bringing a greater awareness on how to access such health education. Many of the materials and guidelines are those developed by the USDA.

Michelle Obama has companies like Goya and California Fresh Work Funds trying to help initiative change.

Is this the right campaign?

At the end of the day, bringing awareness to health promotion and disease prevention needs to be the ultimate goal of someone like Michelle Obama. However, rather than fight obesity, the campaign may want to rephrase their negative spin and create a new positive tone to Let’s Move!

How about let’s move more, let’s move towards eating real wholesome foods and let’s move towards eating less processed food. Let’s move to building self esteem!!!

Can one person create change?

Yes, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and The Biggest Loser are just two examples of how change happens. Even, the presidential chef is making change. In the Washington Post today, the presidential chef Cristeta Comerford reports losing 15 pounds and eating healthier with her own home garden. She was influenced by her boss, Michelle Obama!! That’s right, the White House has their own garden and serves seasonal garden veggies to their guests. Comerford now has her own garden too.

 

What can you do to make a difference? Can you change your language about health or perhaps just add a half cup of veggies to your dinner plate?

 

 

Are Super Foods So Super?

 

Are super foods so super?

By: Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE

www.eatingandlivingmoderately.com

Tropical berries such as gogi berries, acai berries, and more have been bombarding the food industry and the media. These products claim almost magical health benefits including a more youthful feeling, lowered cholesterol, and weight loss. But are these products really all their manufacturers claim?

For centuries, the Asian population has included Gogi Berries as part of their diets in hopes of longer lives and to reduce aliments. This is due in large part to their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants may slow the aging process by minimizing damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of disease and possibly aging. A research article from The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, found that subjects who drank gogi juice daily for a 15 day period reported significantly higher energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness compared to the control group.

More popular than the gogi berry are the acai berries. These berries are also packed with antioxidants and are also good sources of fiber and monounsaturated fats (the good fats!). A pilot study published in a 2011 edition of The Nutrition Journal, found that in patients suffering for metabolic syndrome, supplementation of acai berry led to improved cholesterol as well as better fasting glucose and insulin levels. Other students have found that use of acai berries can reduce inflammation.

So, are you all set to run out and buy a bottle of juice or a box of supplements?

Not so fast.

While it is true that added these foods into your diet may have some health benefits, there is little research to indicate that these benefits are above and beyond those one would find from “non-exotic” products.

All berries are wonderful sources of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. There is little evidence to show that gogi and other berries are better sources—only that they are significantly more expensive. There is no reason to spend $40 when you could simply add local blueberries or raspberries to your diet. Also, eating whole foods rather than swallowing supplements is the recommended way to get your macro and micronutrients.

So, these “super berries”  are just as super as your raspberries and blueberries. To have a lifestyle of health and longevity, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables daily. They don’t have to be from an exotic location, rather it is preferred if they were from your backyard or a local farm!!

 

 

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References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18447631

http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0150

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/45

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-23/health/acai.berries.scam_1_advanced-wellness-research-acai-weight-loss-claims?_s=PM:HEALTH

 

Is Vitamin Water the New Soda?

Is Vitamin Water the New Soda?

By Katherine Kaczor, Nutrition Assistant

We all know that sodas and other sugar beverages are not ideal for our health and should be consumed in moderation. As an alternative to these drinks, many Americans are now turning to vitamin-fortified waters as their beverage of choice.

These beverages, at first glance, appear to be wonder drinks. Water is key for survival and we need vitamins to help our bodies run efficiently; coming the two seems to be an ingenious way to get both needs at once.

But are these beverages really as good as they appear?

Most vitamin-fortified beverages such as Vitamin Water, Propel, and LifeWater as well as the new vitamin gums and lip balm are largely fortified with water-soluble vitamins. These include the B-complex vitamins and Vitamin C. While these vitamins are vital for several metabolic processes needed for growth, development, and immunity, most Americans are not deficient in these vitamins. Water soluble vitamins taken in excess are typically excreted through the urine. The human body is not capable of storing any excess amounts of these vitamins so supplementing the diet with one of these fortified beverages is not beneficial for most healthy individuals.

Fat soluble vitamins, Vitamins A, D, E, and K, on the other hand, can be stored for longer periods of time in the body. However, most Americans are not deficient in these vitamins either. Recent research has shown that only Vitamin E has been of concern in the average American. Very few vitamin-fortified waters supplement with Vitamin E, however. Additionally, fat soluble vitamins, as their name suggests, need a fat source to be absorbed and utilized in the body. This means that merely drinking them in a fat-free beverage such as a vitamin-fortified water, will be of little use in the body because the fat needed to use the vitamins is missing. One could potentially drink their vitamin-fortified beverage with a meal and the fat soluble vitamins could then be absorbed, but it would be likely that the meal would have a better supply of the nutrients than the vitamin beverage.

Additionally, the vitamin content of vitamin-fortified beverages, gums, and lip balm is typically not high enough to be a replacement for a standard vitamin supplement such as Centrum or One a Day. For the majority of these products, the vitamin content is around 10% of the RDA. If you have been placed on a vitamin-regimen by your physician, switching to vitamin-fortified water will not be an adequate replacement.

You also need to look at the other ingredients and nutritional content of these products. Many supply over 150 calories per bottle and are packed with sugar. You could easily just have a well-balanced snack for similar calories and have a better absorbance of nutrients and feel more satisfied. Lower-calorie or calorie-free products are now available as well they are filled with artificial ingredients and the vitamins in the product are not used well without an energy source.

That being said, most people would not benefit from using these products. Most Americans do not experience significant vitamin deficiencies if they are consuming a well-rounded diet. If some deficiencies exist many of the vitamins from these fortified products are not well-absorbed nor are they a good substitute for a traditional vitamin supplement. If you really enjoy the taste of vitamin-fortified beverages, there is little harm in having them on occasion (except for their outrageous price!) and they are a better alternative to sodas and will help hydrate you, but don’t expect to reap any health benefits from starting a vitamin-water regimen.

So, get your vitamins from food. Consume a balanced intake of whole grains, lean meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables and drink your water plain. If you dislike the taste of water, try adding a lemon or lime to bring out a new flavor.

References:

http://scienceline.org/2007/12/ask-intagliata-vitaminwater/

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126087&page=1

If you make resolutions, vow to choose these:

Vow to:

Take One Step at a Time.

Are you thinking about your 2012 resolutions? Consider this: Rather than making brash diet resolutions, make small changes in your intake instead to prevent the feeling of deprivation or a potential binge. For example, if you are feeling guilty from over-consuming during the holidays, identify one thing you can change. Make it a small change and start today rather than waiting until January 1st. Perhaps you decide to decrease your dinner portion by 25%. Do this for 1 week and then add another modification on week 2, such as enjoying one cookie after lunch rather than 4 after dinner. Remember that moderation is key when it comes to your nutritional intake and setting health goals—and achieving them with ease.

 

Eat Like You Have Diabetes.

There are 70 million American children and adults at risk for diabetes. Don’t let it be you. Eating consistent meals and snacks that incorporate a blend of wholesome carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats (MUFA’s and Omega 3 FA’s) will leave you feeling full longer, prevent a hormone rollercoaster and eventually aid in consuming less and depositing less body fat. Vow to eat mixed meals with an average of 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal.

Feed Yourself.

Don’t starve yourself with endless fad cleanses and one-meal-a-day dinner diets. Rather than skipping meals and slowing your resting metabolic rate, eat every 3 to 4 hours. If your stomach is grumbling at the start of a meal, you are more likely to overeat or even binge once your plate arrives. Worse yet, overeating and/or binging at the end of the day results in the consumption of more calories than had you eaten from breakfast until dinner. Vow to feed yourself regular meals and snacks to ultimately be a healthier you.

 

Center Before Meals.

Take a deep yoga breath and practice a simple mindful meditation before each meal. This will help you to relax and to separate your eating experience from your hectic day. You will be able to better recognize your fullness cues and, more importantly, to provide your brain with the opportunity to be psychologically satisfied with the food you have eaten and experienced. Vow to practice this form of “centering” daily to prevent over-consuming, decrease emotional snacking and develop a healthier relationship with food and eating.

 

Other Recommended Resolutions:

Vow to become a mindful eater.

Vow to put yourself & your health first.

Vow to love your body.

Follow my additional recommended resolutions 12/31/2011 on twitter @MomDishesItOut.

 

Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes

Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes is a Family Affair

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE – Dietitian, Diabetes Educator, and Mom

www.EatingandLivingModerately.com & www.MomDishesItOut.com

 

 

Make peace with carbs: Just because you or your loved one has Diabetes, it doesn’t mean carbohydrates are the enemy.

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  1. Plan ahead by counting carbohydrates and spreading them out throughout the day.
  2. Make carbohydrates like pasta and rice, a side dish rather than the entrée.

Designate Dessert: If you love sweets, include them in your intake.

  1. Rather than feel deprived and end up binging, plan your piece of cake. Eat protein and veggies for your entrée and use your carbs for dessert.
  2. The family chef can make mini desserts or just make less dessert, avoiding temptation.

Walk Your Sugar Down: Moving after a meal is helpful to reduce blood glucose.

  1. After the holiday meal, get your entire family up and out to see holiday decorations or have a snowball fight.
  2. Walking and or light exercise helps to lower your blood glucose and consequently your insulin.

It’s a Family Affair: If you or your loved one has Diabetes, have the entire family engaged and have everyone eat as if they had Diabetes.

  1. It’s sabotage to offer the rest of the guests food that someone else can’t have. If the family eats the same foods, pasta as the side rather than the entrée, no one will feel left out and no one will be tempted to overload on carbohydrates.
  2. Family member are genetically at risk for Diabetes. If the whole family eats in a balanced manner, you will be helping to prevent their chances of Diabetes later in life.

Mix Your Meals: Eat carbohydrates, proteins and fat together.

  1. Protein and fat take longer to digest. If you eat your carbohydrates with these foods, the carbs will be digested slowly and your blood sugar less likely to spike.
  2. Mixing meals and snacks help to regulate blood sugar and hormones and consequently help to keep you feeling satiated longer.
    1. Shrimp Cocktail with cocktail sauce
    2. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
    3. Hummus with veggies and warm whole wheat pita
    4. Mini turkey meatballs with marinara
    5. Veggie and low fat cheese napoleons

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

This is a big week for holiday parties and holiday planning. Read my 7 tips to get your through the next weeks leading up to the New Year!!

Staying Healthy During the Holidays
By: Laura Cipullo RD CDE

  1. Be the Tupperware Lady– bring Tupperware to family events to pack leftovers or “seconds” and  bring home to eat another time.
    • Rather than overeat on delicious food, plan to use hunger fullness cues. Pack the remainders up for a mini holiday dinner part II.
  2. Healthy Cook Book Exchange(rather than cookie exchange)
    • Holidays typically revolve around gifts and food, so why not give a gift about being healthy and moderate? Healthy cookbook ideas are the Mayo Clinic Williams – Sonoma Cookbook and Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook
  3. Favor family over food– make festivities about seeing family and not about eating food.
    • Serve a simple meal and focus on entertainment like music and or trivial pursuit.
  4. Stretch your dollar, save your waist – Use Intuitive Eating to portion your restaurant meal.
    • Be economical and bring leftovers home to eat at the next day’s snack or meal.
  5. Eat your favorite food– skip the appetizers and save room for dinner.
    • If dessert is your favorite, don’t fill up on apps and entrees. Make sure you are still hungry for your chocolate cake!!
  6. Secure a snack– before leaving make sure you are not starving, eat a snack to prevent overeating at the party.
    • Restriction cause binging, don’t restrict the day of a special event. You are likely to overeat or even binge later that night.
  7. Wine, beer and liquor on a full belly. If you drink on an empty stomach you are more likely to make poor decisions and overeat.
    • Take your sip of wine with your entrée. If you drink on an empty stomach you will not be mindful of your internal or external cues.
    • Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.

Laura contributes to eHow.com – Olive oil is 26% cheaper

A cornucopia of ideas for a thriftier Thanksgiving and ways to give back are shared in www.eHow.com’sBountiful Thanksgiving Budget article. See your RD’s suggestions like “meals on wheels”, volunteering the week after the holiday for your soup kitchen and saving you heart & wallet with olive oil at eHow.