April 23, 2009

Two little eggs can make a big difference

Eggs can help you manage your weight.

That's the findings in a recent study. I can verify that experiment. I lost 94 pounds eating egg whites and mushrooms every morning. It filled me up and kept my appetite lowered during the morning.

If you want to control your weight, try eggs in the morning.

From dnaindia.com:

Eating eggs for breakfast can help adults manage hunger and reduce calorie consumption throughout the day, according to a new research on breakfast choices.

On the other hand, teens who choose a protein-rich breakfast are less hungry and eat fewer calories at lunch.

In one study, Maria Luz Fernandez,Ph.D., professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, investigated the differences in post-meal hunger and daily caloric intake when eating a breakfast of either protein-rich eggs or carbohydrate-rich bagels.

It was found that men who consumed eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories following the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast.

Also, they consumed fewer total calories in the 24-hour period after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast.

In addition, they reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied three hours after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast.

The study supports previous research, which found that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped overweight dieters lose 65 percent more weight and feel more energetic than dieters who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume.

The study found no significant difference in blood levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides between the individuals who ate the egg breakfast and those who ate the bagel breakfast.

In another study, researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center assessed the impact of a protein-rich breakfast on appetite and overall calorie consumption among teens who traditionally skip breakfast.

They found that teens consumed fewer calories at lunch when they ate a protein-rich breakfast of solid foods compared with a protein-rich beverage breakfast.

Also, they discovered that post-meal hunger was significantly reduced when the teens ate a protein-rich breakfast of solid foods.

April 22, 2009

When fat we have a million excuses and studies

When it comes to fat and obesity no one wants to face the truth.

Eating outside the home, especially at unhealthy fast food restaurants -- but also at cafeterias, schools, hospitals, makes nearly all of us fat. There only one reason a person becomes fat: eating more calories than burning calories.

But of course, we keep looking for other reasons of why we are fat. It's because of our mother, our genetics, our tonsils; it's because we are depressed or unhappy or too poor or too rich.

Scripps News give a sampling of recent studies:
-- Blame what Mom ate. Rockefeller University researchers found when a mother eats a high-fat diet during pregnancy, her offspring stimulates the appetite -- and lead to overeating and obesity early in life.
-- Tonsils keep us thin. Dutch researchers reported last month that children who have their tonsils surgically removed, with or without their adenoids, are at increased risk for becoming overweight or obese by the time they're 8.
-- Ear infections make us fat. Scientists at the University of Florida found that middle-aged adults with a history of middle ear infections tend to be overweight more than similar adults with no history of infections.
-- Obesity numbs the tongue. Penn State researchers reported that obesity in lab rats gradually numbs their sensitivity to sweet foods and prompts them to consume larger and ever-sweeter meals to get the same feeling of reward.
-- Gut hormones make food look better. Canadian researchers reported brain imaging studies on humans that showed reward centers in their brains responded more strongly to pictures of food when the subjects have received an infusion of the appetite hormone ghrelin.
-- Junk food makes kids happy. Kids eating fast foods were less likely to feel unhappy, sad or depressed.

April 20, 2009

Channel 7 may fry in fast food hell!

It's no wonder that Americans are get fatter every day.

The media continues to pepper the public with publicity, and not facts.

Take for example, Channel 7 in Los Angeles. ABC's Food Coach Lori Corbin tells you "popular chains have menu items they can be proud of and you should be ordering." She then goes through the entire list of healthy food at McDonald's, Chipotle, Panera, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Au Bon Pain. The list goes on for nearly -- wait for it -- three or four items. And of course none of the items are healthy.

Corbin crows about the reduced-fat cream cheese at Einstein Bros., but the oversized bagel will still cost you 500 calories. She says if you hanker Mexican, then Chipotle has a lot of choices...a lot of choices of 1,000-calorie meals.

No one in America is going to get fit and healthy with our media telling us fast foods is where the healthy food is.

If you want to read the truth see The Nation.

The Nation reports the first lady, Michelle Obama, is telling America quite a different message. And it's what I have been saying all along. Fast food is not fresh, tasty or healthy.

What made Obama's message so subversive was something she left unsaid: the food most Americans eat nowadays is not fresh, tasty or healthy. The superiority of fresh ingredients may be obvious to Italians, but it is a truth most Americans long ago forgot, if they ever knew it in the first place. Over the past fifty years, the United States has been transformed into a fast food nation, in author Eric Schlosser's phrase. What the typical American eats is not so much food as it is highly processed food derivatives that have traveled thousands of miles since leaving the farm, losing along the way most of the flavor and nutritional value they once possessed. To disguise such losses, food manufacturers overload products with fats, salts and sweeteners, especially corn syrup--additives that, along with the massive portions typically served in the United States, help explain why nearly one in three Americans is obese. more...

April 19, 2009

Splitting will make a whole healthy

Every health professional is encouraging Americans to eat less when dining out. One strategy is to split an entrée. For one thing most restaurant entrées are too many calories for a healthy meal. Many other sites are encouraging splitting meals to save money, but my passion is not putting restaurants out of business.

However, I do believe healthy food, healthy portions at the right price, and local ingredients will be the foundation of economically healthy restaurants in the future. 

Freep.com reports a mixed bag in Detroit when it comes to splitting entrées. Some restaurants charge $10 and $5 to split. Others allow you to split at the table for free. In some places, they might try to embarass you into NOT splitting.

Last night we split the entrée at our favorite Italian restaurant. The waitstaff brought two extra plates, and of course, for its best customer, the restaurant did not charge any fee. (They have also waived any corkage charges in these economic times.)

I would encourage us all to speak up to the management if you think splitting entrées should be encouraged. And let's all eat the RightSize of food at our favorite restaurant.

I still remember the night my family and I were seated near a frail-looking elderly couple at an Italian restaurant in West Bloomfield, and the man told the waiter he and his wife would like one entrée to share.

In a disapproving voice loud enough to be heard several tables away, the waiter said something like, "Well, you'll have to pay a $5 split plate charge."

From his tone, I didn't think the waiter thought they were hard of hearing. I thought he was trying to embarrass them.

"What we are seeing, rather than more shared plates, are more people ordering petite entrées" -- regular menu items offered in a reduced size, said owner Jim Kokas of Opus One in Detroit.

But if diners still want to share an entrée, there's a $10 charge, which is clearly stated on the menu, as it should be.

The fee exists, he says, because his kitchen gives each person a half portion of meat or fish but a full measure of vegetables and starch, so it's serving more food. And there are other, less-obvious costs in serving two people rather than one: bread and butter for two, washing china and glasses for two, laundering napkins for two and so on.

Most restaurants, including Opus One, don't charge extra if a waiter splits a dish such as a salad or appetizer for the guests at their table. more...

April 18, 2009

Feed children only healthy foods in schools

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America today urged all Americans to make healthier choices and society to help remove the obstacles so many people face in making those choices, issuing 10 cross-cutting recommendations for improving the nation’s health. According to the Commission, how long and how well Americans live depend more on where we live, learn, work and play than on medical care, which accounts for only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of preventable early deaths. Building a healthier nation requires a broader view of health, the Commission said.
That's what this blog is all about. Proactively, building a healthier nation -- not by increasing medical care -- but by preventing a multitude of diseases caused by obesity.

I believe obesity is caused by eating too many calories and too many calories are in foods we eat outside the home.

It's clear the federal government should not promote obesity. But it does. It does it through food subsidies and it does it by forcing schools to sell unhealthy foods.
“Everyone must be involved in the effort to improve health because health is everyone’s business,” said Co-chair Alice M. Rivlin, former head of the White House Office of Management and Budget and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office. “People should make healthy choices by eating better, getting enough physical activity and not smoking. Communities and employers should support those choices by creating healthy environments. And the federal government should make and enforce healthy policies, like ensuring that all subsidized food is healthy and junk food is eliminated from schools.”

April 11, 2009

The best kind of tax

Some great ideas are not accepted right away. This healthy idea will take several years to catch on. And it will have to overcome one of the strongest lobbies in the U.S. But it's an idea that will take hold.

The idea is a tax on sodas and sports drinks containing sugar. And no other idea will stop sugary drinks in its tracks like this one.

From the New York Times:

A month after Gov. David A. Paterson dropped his proposal for a soda tax, New York City’s health commissioner has written an article advocating “hefty” taxes on sodas and sports drinks containing sugar. Such a tax, the article said, could be the biggest boon to public health since tobacco taxes.

The commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, and Kelly D. Brownell of Yale University, his co-author, argue in the New England Journal of Medicine that a tax of a penny per ounce could reduce consumption by more than 10 percent and raise $1.2 billion a year in New York State alone.

“It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task,” said the article, published in the journal’s April 30 issue and released online Wednesday. “Only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.”

April 9, 2009

Music to my ears: Fatburger bankrupt

Two Fatburger subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

Who said that Americans would only eat cheap hamburgers during this recession? In any case they are not eating those fatburgers in California and Nevada.

Americans are starting to make wise choices, and the day of the hamburger is almost over.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Fatburger Restaurants of Nevada Inc. and its sister company in California have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying the recession has slowed sales and reduced the availability of bank financing.

The filings Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Fernando Valley, Calif., say Fatburger has 13 restaurants in Nevada with 205 employees, as well as two parcels of developed real estate. The Nevada restaurants generated sales of $12 million in 2008, the company said. More...

April 8, 2009

When you see salad, do you order French fries?

Sometimes these studies just don't make sense. The NY Times reports a new study says when a restaurant has a salad on the menu, you order French fries more often.

That has never happened to me. See salad, order fries. I sometimes order the crispy chicken on the salad, when I know the grilled chicken is less calories. (But I also know that the grilled chicken has nearly zero flavor.)

Here's the report, but I just don't know if I believe it.

Fast-food chains have recently deflected criticism of their menu offerings by adding healthy items like salads. But a paper soon to be released in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the presence of healthy options on a menu can induce some diners to eat less healthily than they otherwise would. 

In one study, college students were given one of two menus. One menu featured French fries, chicken nuggets and a baked potato; the other included those same items as well as a salad. The French fries, widely perceived as the least healthful option, were three times as popular with students selecting from the menu that had the salad as they were with the other group. more...

April 7, 2009

Chain restaurant finally want menu labeling (to overrule state laws)

The National Restaurant Association finally sees the need for menu labeling of nutritional information. But don't be fooled. The want a stripped-down version passed in Congress to overrule all local and state laws governing menu labeling.

QSRweb reports:
The NRA has called for a national standard since municipalities first began instituting their own calorie count rules a few years ago. But it didn't support previous federal menu labeling legislation until the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act was first introduced last fall.
Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at public health group Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the LEAN Act has no chance of passing, however. The bill lacks the necessary support because the chairmen of the House and Senate committees handling the bills — Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Edward Kennedy— have been co-sponsors of the Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) Act.

CSPI and other public health groups have supported the MEAL Act, which has been introduced several times over the last five years but is not under current consideration. That bill has specified that restaurant chains with 20 or more units would have to post calories as well as saturated fat, trans fat and sodium content directly on menus or menu boards. Unlike the LEAN Act, the MEAL Act would not preempt menu labeling regulations in individual states.

April 6, 2009

18-year-olds are smarter than baby boomers

Who said youth is wasted on the young?

The NPD Group -- the leading market research company -- reported surprising, yet heartening, news. Shifting customer demographics are happening in the restaurant business as parents decide to leave the kids at home, and young adults, ages 18 to 24, cut back on restaurant visits. In 2008 that group went to restaurant 8 percent less. The group cites unhealthy food as the top reason.

However, there was bad news for baby boomers -- my generation. They increased their visits to fast food restaurants in 2008 vs. 2007. That's not good.

We need to follow the example of our children and grandchildren. Skip fast-food restaurants. They only serve high-calorie, low nutritional food. Find a local restaurant in your neighborhood using local ingredients, serving small healthy portions for a good value.

In the 3/31/2009 press release, the 18 to 24 age group was described as:

Health and food quality is top-of-mind with them. The study finds they feel restaurant food is often too high in calories, and there aren’t enough healthy/nutritious options. They also reference poor food quality, not freshly prepared, and no fresh ingredients when evaluating restaurant food.

Considering the cost of adding kids' meals to a restaurant check, it's not surprising that adults are deciding to keep the kids at home, and I believe we'll see more kids in restaurants once the economy improves," says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. "It's a different situation with the 18-24 year-olds, their restaurant preferences have been changing over the last few years, and it will be important for restaurant operators to understand these preferences in order to get them back in."

April 5, 2009

Fast-Food French Fries: Which Are Healthiest?

Who knew french fries could be so different?

WebMD took a look at 14 different fast-food chain french fries to find out which had the healthiest. Now "healthiest" is a relative word. By nature french fries are not a healthy food. But with that said, some french fries have more calories, more fat and more sodium than others.

What they found was Sonic Drive-In's regular fries -- (75 g), 220 calories -- are are lowest in calories, fat grams, percentage of calories from fat, and total amount of "bad fats." (As well as second lowest in sodium.)

The worst french fries, just so you can see, are printed below. The entire article is at WebMD.

Highest in Calories:
Carl's Jr. Natural Cut small fries (116 g): 540 calories
In & Out regular fries (125 g): 400 calories
Highest in Fat:
Carl's Jr. Natural Cut small fries (116 g) = 25 grams total fat
Arby's small curly fries (106 g) = 20 grams total fat
Highest Percentage of Calories From Fat:
Arby's Curly Fries, small (106 g): 53%
Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato fries (85 g): 51%
Highest in "Bad Fat" (saturated and trans fats)
Jack in the Box Natural Cut fries, small (124 g): 9 grams (4 grams saturated fat and 5 grams trans)
Long John Silvers basket combo portion (113 g): 7 grams (3.5 grams saturated fat and 3.5 grams trans)
Lowest in Fiber:
In & Out fries (125 g): 2 grams fiber (tied with No. 2)
Sonic Drive-In regular (75 g): 2 grams fiber
Highest in Sodium:
Carl's Jr. Natural Cut fries (116 g): 1360 mg sodium
Arby's curly fries, small (106 g): 791 mg sodium

April 4, 2009

Don't eat food at these restaurants

The word for politics today is "transparency". Every dollar the government gives out is to have full disclosure. 

Even in the grocery stores, you have the right to know what's in the foods you are buying, what the ingredients are and what the nutritional value of the food is.

But there's no transparency in a restaurant. And that's why Applebee’s, IHOP, Outback, and T.G.I. Friday’s are the "WORST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD" (apologies to Keith Olbermann).

Men's Health lists the most unhealthiest restaurant for 2009 and the list is no surprise to readers of this blog. What should you do? Don't eat there.

Applebee's, IHOP, Outback and T.G.I. Friday's receive an "F"
These titans of the restaurant industry are among the last national chains that don’t offer nutritional information on their dishes. Even after years of badgering their representatives, we still hear the same old excuses: it’s too pricey, it’s too time-consuming, it’s impossible to do accurately because their food is so fresh, or we have too much variety. Our response is simple: If nearly every other chain restaurant in the country can do it, then why can’t they? more...

April 1, 2009

A spring sighting of the future

Today I saw a glimpse of the future.

It's extremely limited. It's disguised by the economy, but clearly it's the aroma of better times ahead.

What is it? Chipotle -- which I reported as one of the worst restaurants in the world, for its large portions, high calorie foods -- has now seen the dawn of the new world. A world where Americans are demanding smaller portions at appropriate prices, aka RightSizing in America.

The Westwood Food Blog reports:

So here's what's happening. Local Chipotle outlets will, over the next week or so, be rolling out a newly re-structured menu. There will be pozole in a couple different varieties and a kid's menu (which was always available, but had to be asked for). The existing menu will be "reconfigured" (Arnold's word) in order to showcase the diversity of plates available through a careful reading of the board. And there will also be a new section offering smaller portions at low prices -- single tacos, for example, served a la carte.

"We're calling it our 'low-roller' menu," Arnold told me, laughing. "The days of the high-roller look like they're going to be over for awhile, so this was our answer."