Dieting Tricks or Myths?

You may have heard a lot about health-related myths recently. An article from the New England Journal of Medicine dispels myths about obesity that even health-care providers often state as fact. canstockphoto5701649

With February 4th being World Cancer Day, AICR published a piece to set the facts straight about cancer. One important truth is that excess body fat increases risk for 7 types of cancer. As a dietitian who works daily with individuals trying to lose weight, I’d like to clear up some common myths about weight loss that I hear regularly.

Myth 1: “I switched to extra virgin olive oil [instead of butter] to help me lose weight.”

Truth: Let’s first look at the rationale behind this claim. Olive oil is mostly made of unsaturated fat, the kind that is good for heart health (the same type of fat also found in nuts and avocados). Butter, on the other hand, is mostly made of saturated fat, which increases total cholesterol and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood. This can increase your risk for heart disease.

However, this is a weight loss myth because whether it is butter or extra virgin olive oil, the calories are the same. One gram of any type of fat equals about 9 calories. Continue reading

A Lasting Resolution: Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

It’s that time of year again: the time for fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions. Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to give up chips” or “I’ll cucanstockphoto11612702t out all sweets from my diet”? It’s common to go to extremes this time of year, pledging to make changes that are difficult to keep in the long run. Making smaller (and more realistic) changes that you can stick with will lead to long-term health improvement and reduction in cancer risk.

A good place to start is in the kitchen. You may have favorite meals or family recipes that you make time after time. Rather than making a resolution to cut back, make a resolution to add more nutrition to something you love. Pick a recipe to modify, and make it a project for you and a friend or family member.

One favorite of mine is coffee cake. My family has grown up eating blueberry coffee cake over the holidays. Sometimes we buy it from a bakery, other times we will make it ourselves. Traditional recipes are packed with sugar, butter, sour cream and white flour, making a breakfast that is high in calories and saturated fat. Continue reading

Saving 500 Fast Food Calories: 8 Tips for Healthier Options

Sometimes you may just need the convenience of a fast food restaurant. As a study highlighted in today’s Cancer Research Update points out, you’ll be faced with more choices than ever. One of the study’s findings was that consumers had over 50 percent more menu items in 2010 to choose from compared to 14 years earlier.

So if you’re watching your calories to maintain a healthy weight – which reduces your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases – here are eight tips to help you quickly navigate the abundance of options. In just one visit, it’s not hard to save 500 calories or more in one visit, while making your meal more nutritious.

1. Avoid entrees that top the list in calories and fat
Estimated Calories Saved: 350-500
McDonald’s: Order a cheeseburger (300 calories, 12 g fat) instead of the Cheddar Bacon Onion Third Pounder (790 calories, 41 grams of fat)

Taco Bell: Go for the Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme® (340 calories and 9 g of fat) instead of the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito Beef (880 calories, 42 grams of fat) Continue reading