Frozen Yogurt or Frozen No-gurt

Frozen Yogurt: Is your yogurt really yogurt?

Cold, sweet and creamy — If you’re like me, nothing screams “summer” more than ice cream! But under the heat of the sun, choosing a healthy, frozen treat isn’t always easy. In recent years, frozen yogurt chains have been making their way across the nation. Due to both food trends and as a health conscious society, many swap traditional ice cream for frozen yogurt as a lighter, healthier option than most traditional ice creams. Some people think that because it’s “yogurt,” it must be healthier. Well, fro-yo fans, read on to learn if this seemingly low-fat and cold snack is really healthier? Does it provide the same benefits as eating yogurt? And most of all, does your frozen yogurt actually contain well, yogurt?

Frozen Yogurt or Frozen No-gurt

Under the FDA, there is a standard of identity that defines yogurt: cultured dairy ingredients with a bacterial culture containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. These beneficial bacteria then convert pasteurized milk, to yogurt. For frozen yogurt products however, there is no standard of identity that exists. In other words, any cold and creamy, sweet and swirly dessert can call itself “yogurt,” without actually containing any “real” yogurt! Don’t panic just yet-some frozen yogurts actually do contain yogurt.

So if frozen yogurt products aren’t required to actually contain these live and active cultures, how do we know if our favorite frozen ice cream alternative contains yogurt or no-gurt? Well thanks to the National Yogurt Association, they have developed an Active Cultures Seal, which can help customers identify what frozen yogurt products actually contain yogurt. The NYA’s Live & Active Cultures seal on frozen yogurt product signifies that it “contains at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.” For those individuals who think they are reaping the health benefits of yogurt the Live and Active Cultures seal can help you differentiate which frozen yogurt actually contains these good-for-you active cultures.

Does your favorite brand of frozen yogurt contain yogurt? When in doubt, ask the company for the seal of approval, or check out our quick guide to see if your favorite fro-yo brand made the cut: 

 

Frozen Yogurt Brand

 

 

Contains Yogurt or No-gurt?

 

Live & Active Cultures Seal?

16 Handles

No-gurt

No

Pinkberry

Yes

Yes

Red Mango

Yes

Yes

Tasty D-Lite

No-gurt

No

TLC

No-gurt

No

 

 A “Sometimes” Food

The trending idea that frozen yogurt is “more healthy,” does have some truth to it. Ounce for ounce, frozen yogurt typically contains fewer calories, and less saturated fat than ice cream.  Plus frozen yogurt has an extra bonus; it contains the beneficial bacteria that your belly needs and loves.

Portion with Caution

Fro-yo fans should be careful with portion size, choice of toppings (ie. fruits or cookies) and amount of toppings. Be most mindful in shops where customers like you, can self-serve. Calories easily add up to the equivalent or more than traditional ice cream. The machines distort a customer’s portion control. Because it can be difficult to eyeball exactly what “1/2 cup” or “3/4 cup” looks like, we often end up buying and eating more than we think. This is mindless eating and weight gain. For those who only want a few spoonfuls of a frozen snack, opt for a kiddie cup or use my 5 second rule with the self-serve machine. (Hold machine handle down for five seconds and then lift).

Tips to Navigate the Freezer

If you are aiming for health:

  • Look for the Active Cultures Seal or do your research online.
  • Choose fresh fruit for the toppings
  • Eat real yogurt such as Greek yogurt or Better Than Whey Yogurt

If you are being mindful of your waistline:

  • Opt for places with kiddie portions or use the 5 Second Rule.
  • Opt for no toppings
  • Buy prepackaged frozen pops that are pre-portioned

If you want ice cream:

  • Eat the real thing to satisfy your cravings
  • Eat a small portion of the real thing without toppings
  • Just eat it and enjoy, but not everyday

*Whether you’re a fro-yo fan or want to try it for the first time, this week Mom Dishes It Out is giving a month’s supply of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars to 5 lucky followers! To enter, visit Mom Dishes It Out!

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: The Scoop You Didn’t Know

Over the past few years, omega-3 fatty acids have received a lot of attention and promotion. Yet when you pick up your supplements at the local pharmacy or health food store, the label includes omega-3’s, omega-6’s omega-9’s and oh my mega confusion! What is the difference between these essential fatty acids and what is this talk about keeping a ratio? This blog will help demystify the omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6 fatty acids confusion. Find out if you need to add omegas to your nutritional intake and which omega.

The Difference Between Omega-3 and Omega-6

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are termed ‘essential fatty acids’ (EFA), since our bodies cannot readily produce these, we must obtain them through foods or supplements.

While there are many types, the three most common omega-3 fatty acids are Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are mainly found in cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines, while ALA is found in plant sources like canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and soybeans. Unlike DHA or EPA, which can be readily absorbed by our bodies, ALA from plant sources like seeds, nuts or vegetable oils are only partially converted (about ten percent) by our bodies into the beneficial forms EPA and then DHA. Studies have shown that the health benefits of EPA and DHA are greater than ALA. Therefore, the goal is to try to get Omega 3 FA’s in the form of DHA and EPA.

Unlike omega-3‘s, omega-6‘s consists of only one type of fatty acid, Linoleic Acid (LA), which is later converted into Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). As opposed to omega-3‘s, getting omega-6‘s from the foods we eat daily, is rather simple. LA is commonly found in seed oils like corn, canola, sunflower and soy — ingredients found in many of the processed foods Americans typically consume in abundance. The better sources of omega-6’s include raw nuts, like pistachios and seeds like chia. Since Americans typically consume much more of the fatty acid omega-6, it is more important for one to focus on including omega-3 fatty acids in their diet or through their supplement. However, for an individual following a low processed food lifestyle such as a paleo, vegan or vegetarian diet, omega-6’s must be included. A great source of an omega-6 fatty acid is the seed known as chia.

Helpful Hint: Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition.

Both Are Beneficial

Omega-3’s have been found to lower the risk factors for heart disease and cancer, as well as have anti-inflammatory properties (whereas some omega-6 can contribute to inflammation). This fatty acid is necessary for brain function, healthy development of nerves and eyesight. Omega-3’s have been linked to the prevention and treatment of several other conditions like arthritis, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis to name a few.

Omega-6’s provide a defense against and can aid in reducing symptoms in diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, allergies and high blood pressure. Studies also show that consuming 5-10 percent of energy from omega-6’s may help decrease the risk of CHD and cardiovascular disease.

Together, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids produce many of the health benefits described above. The catch? Eating them in the right amounts.

As In Most Things, Balance Is Key

In today’s society, the convenience of fast-food and heavily processed snacks makes for a not-so convenient way for us to maintain a balanced consumption of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Most processed foods contain a high amount of omega-6 and data shows that a Western diet may contain too much omega-6 fatty acids. If we recall, some omega-6’s may promote inflammatory properties but too much can result in inflammation. Recent research suggests that this imbalance may contribute to health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and more. One such study shows that while the dietary intake of omega-3:omega-6 ratio should range from 1:1-4 for optimal health, the evolutionary changes in the Western diet has led to an increase in consumption range of 1:10-20. To reach a healthier balance between the two, experts suggest that a lower ratio of omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids is more desirable for reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.

However, just as important as it is to consume a healthy ratio of the two, it is equally important especially for vegetarians and vegans, to consume enough essential fatty acids as to prevent deficiencies. Remember, as remarkable as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids exhibit in aiding our brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation, sources should be consumed in healthy moderation!

Take Home Message:
Aim for a dietary intake with a ratio of 1 omega-3 FA : 1-4 omega-6 FA.

The Ban On Soda In Containers:16 oz – Do you know you just guzzled 1.5 bagels??

In response to Laura’s appearance on Fox and Friends, Sunday morning hosted by Dave Briggs. Laura debated Mr. Wilson from Consumer Freedom. Some people are asking if Laura is in favor of  a nanny state. She is not in favor of this and shares her views here:

Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers need to reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemics. In general, people need to eat less and less of highly processed foods, including soda and chips.  America needs to become physically active again. I am not in favor of a nanny state, but the poor health of Americans, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on medical care and the rise in both diabetes type I and II, scream for change.

Individuals must recognize, regardless of the source, added sugar in large doses is similar to drugs, and alcohol. These sugars affect the brain immediately. When someone has high blood sugar they cannot see or think clearly. Our nerves are damaged to the point of losing feeling in our limbs. In addition, our bodies respond to added sugar and sugar by releasing hormones such as insulin that lead to weight gain in the stomach and eventually diabetes.

The American environment is toxic to our health.
Yes, genetics are partly responsible for America’s health crisis, but the environment plays a huge role. Supersized portions, no gym for children in schools and encouraging eating while watching movies sets people up to fail at self care.
Perhaps a better proposal than the ban on soda is to have movie theaters change concessions stands to restaurants. Encouraging mindful eating before or after a movie rather than guzzling a soda during a film could aid in eating less.
Research shows mindless eating while watching movies and tv causes obesity. Do people realize that their 24 oz of soda is equal to a small meal? This small meal is equal to 1.5 bagels.

We are in an obesity and diabetes epidemic.
Again, I do not want a nanny state but the government is partly responsible for these epidemics since they subsidize food such as corn, issue food stamps to buy drinks with added sugars and other processed foods. Did you know Diabetes cost America 218 billion dollars in 2007? Imagine what the cost is now. The soda ban is not a costly proposal for America. Rather, it makes people aware that it is not normal, nor healthy to drink non-nutritional beverages in quantities greater than 16oz. We are in a crisis; Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers to get America eating well and moving more.

Bottom-Line
America must focus on eating foods for fuel – not mindless eating for boredom or stress. The goals should be to eat food that is high in nutrition like beans and berries– not empty calories. Focus on fresh, local food, not processed boxed food for at least 75 percent of your intake if not more. Finally, drink water or Perrier for hydration not soda. And please do not drink sport drinks or sell sport drinks in schools especially if the school doesn’t even offer gym class. Parents need to set boundaries with children, but so does the Food and Drug Administration and the food companies.

The Epidemic of Diabetes

Hydrate with water, not soda

Regardless of weight and age, America is heading towards a Diabetes epidemic. Americans must change their lifestyles by moving more, and eating less.

Diabetes does not discriminate based on overall weight. America needs to focus on decreasing belly fat, specifically, eating less processed food and moving more.

 

Based on the study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes is increasing in our teen population. There was a 14% increase in prediabetes and diabetes in a ten year period. In 1999 – 2000, there was a 9% incidence of prediabetes and diabetes in teenagers between ages 12- 19. In 2007- 2008, there was a 23 % incidence of prediabetes and diabetes. This is more than two fold. However, the study also revealed this was regardless of weight. Across the weight spectrum, all teens had an increase in the incidence of Diabetes. In my mind, this is a Diabetes Epidemic not an obesity epidemic.

Obesity did not increase in our youth during this ten year period from 1999 – to 2008. One study from the NHANES reports an actual decrease in teen obesity, despite an increase in prediabetes and diabetes. Also, half of the participants in the study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which means everyone needs intervention.

So what is the intervention? It depends on who you ask but the many agree America must move more, eat less processed food, and practice stress relief. America is eating too much and not moving enough. We are a culture of convenience. People need to eat because they are hungry rather than bored. We need to eliminate highly processed food such as chips and soda. We need to feel full with fiber and drink for hydration. Simple solutions are to replace chips with fiber rich berries and soda with bubbly water like Perrier. Ideally, we need to decrease insulin resistance and belly bulge (aka abdominal obesity).

The study admits to flaws. One of the flaws is the tool BMI – Body Mass Index. This measurement tool uses overall weight and height, not accounting for muscle mass and frame. Football players are considered obese when using BMI. A better tool to assess for obesity, belly fat, insulin resistance and or risk for diabetes would be the waist to height ratio. This tool would not qualify the typical football player as obese.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with the HLN audience. Click here to see the clip.

 

May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999−2008. Pediatrics. 2012;peds.2011-1082.

The Truth Behind Coffee

The Truth Behind Coffee

For many, there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to start the day. As one of the most widely consumed
beverages in the world, it has long been debated that consuming coffee can lead to health problems.
These misconceptions can often lead to confusion about whether one can enjoy coffee as part of
a healthy diet. As an avid coffee drinker myself, with all the misconceptions about coffee, it is
necessary to dispel the misconceptions, and discover the truth behind coffee.

What are 3 of the most common misconceptions about coffee and health?

There is a misconception that coffee causes heart disease, should be omitted during pregnancy
and may influence the development of breast cancer. However, recent research reveals that
despite coffee consumption being associated with increased blood pressure and plasma
homocysteine levels, it is not directly related to heart disease. As for omitting coffee during
pregnancy, although women are often advised to follow this by their obstetrician or gynecologist,
studies show that coffee intake equal to 3 cups or 300 mg coffee daily does not increase risk for
impaired fetal growth. Moreover, according to the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and
Health Study, there is no correlation between coffee intake and increased breast cancer risk. In
fact, coffee may even help to prevent breast cancer. While there may be minimal associations and
even benefits to drinking coffee, it is not recommended to start drinking coffee, if you don’t
already.

Can drinking too much coffee cause heart problems?

Recent research reports coffee drinkers are not at a greater risk for heart disease. While a mild
stimulant in coffee, caffeine, has been shown to increase heart rate, blood pressure, homocysteine
levels, and cholesterol levels, most people do not experience heart problems from drinking coffee—
even if they consume up to 6 cups daily. If you have heart disease or heart problems, it is best to
consult your doctor about drinking coffee.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to what is being added to the coffee; whether it is
whole milk, sugar or even whip cream. Remember, in this day and age specialty coffee drinks are
extremely popular and research studies black coffee, not Frappuccino’s.

What are the top 5 benefits of drinking coffee?

An increase in coffee consumption is typically associated with a lowered risk of Diabetes Type II,
but does not prevent Diabetes Type II. Research also suggests coffee consumption may help prevent
Parkinson’s disease, liver disease (cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma), reduce the risk of
Alzheimer’s disease, and improve endurance performance in physical activities such as cycling and
running.

Is there such a thing as drinking too much coffee?

Typically, I educate my clients to keep their intake at 2 or less cups a day. More than 2 cups of coffee
can be counter-productive during a fitness workout. Recent studies indicate that there have been
no harmful effects with intakes at 4 cups equivalent. For adults consuming moderate amounts
of coffee (3-4 cups/d providing 300-400 mg/d of caffeine), there is little evidence of health risks
and some evidence of health benefits. In addition, currently available evidence suggests that it
may be prudent for pregnant women to limit coffee to 3 cups/day ( prevent any increased probability of spontaneous abortion or impaired fetal growth. People with
hypertension, children, adolescents, and the elderly, may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects
of caffeine.

Do the benefits differ between decaf and regular coffee?

In terms of Diabetes, other than the difference of 2-4 mg caffeine between regular and decaf,
there are no beneficial differences between the two. Surprisingly however, decaf coffee has been
associated with acid reflux and gastric ulcers.

Thank You and Healthy Holiday Wishes

December 23, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for all of your respect, referrals and support over the past 12 years. As many of you know, I have taken on a number of new adventures in 2011, including:

My gratitude specifically extends to my husband, my children and my parents. With their help I have been able to expand Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services and have had the opportunity to witness my clients’ successful adaptation of moderate nutrition lifestyles.

I look forward to sharing the nutrition message of healthy moderation in parenting, feeding and eating with all of you in 2012. Thank you for your love and support, and continuing to help me spread the message by “liking” my pages on Facebook, sharing my blogs and of course, by living healthily and moderately.

 

Happy and Healthy Wishes for 2012,

Laura Cipullo

 

 

Move over TV dinners and say hi to this microwave meal.

It’s the end of August and we are all scrambling to get everything ready for the new school year. Sometimes meals become second priority. If you are lacking time and want something tasty, try Kashi’s Pesto Pasta Primavera. Add one half cup of beans (rec. no added salt) to this microwave meal and you have a balanced vegetarian lunch option with 18 grams of vegetarian protein and 14 grams of fiber.