I love movies and documentaries. Over break I watched a movie called “Fat Head”. It’s streaming on Netflix right now. It’s a movie that shook things up with me. Basically the movie was a scientific study to disprove the assertions made in the film “Supersize Me”. In “Supersize Me” the host eats nothing but fast food for 30 days, he gains around 30 pounds, his cholesterol shoots up, and his liver enzymes go off the chart. In “Fat Head” the host eats nothing but fast food for 28 days and he loses 12 pounds, his cholesterol goes down 10 points, and his energy level shoots up. How is this possible? Of course there is more going on behind the scenes, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
I’m like most people: when I hear a convincing argument regarding a subject I tend to believe it, especially when it is backed by studies and experts. This sounds reasonable, right? Well, what do you do when conflicting sides of an argument are backed by the same studies? Polar opposites with equal scientific proof? What I am getting at is diet, more specifically vegetarian, vegan, low-protein diets versus a low carbohydrate, carnivorous diet. In the book “The China Study”, the author uses the “Framingham” study to make his point that an omnivorous, high protein diet, leads to heart disease and high mortality. In the film “Fat Head”, they use the same study to prove that there is no difference in mortality. The difference is that in the “China Study” which was published in 2006 they quoted research from 1961. And in “Fat Head” they quoted research from 1997. Which is accurate? The FDA says one thing and some expert says another. And then we’re off on conspiracy tangents — big business is forcing the FDA to recommend their foods in greater proportion than others, or the pharmacies recommending diets that ultimately create a need for their prescription medicines.
Of course I wouldn’t recommend a diet in this forum, but I would suggest watching “Fat Head.” For me, I’ve always carried extra weight. About 10 years ago I lost 80 pounds on the “Atkin’s” diet, eating hardly any carbs, of course I gained it back. Last year I lost 74 pounds going all vegan, with a high carb diet. And yes, I’ve gained it back. What’s next, exercise?!?!?!
March 02, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian
DHA, an Omega 3 fat, may lower the risk of periodontitis (inflammation of gums that can lead to bone & tooth loss)
- DHA is highest in fatty fish like salmon
- Aim for 2 servings a week, and also lower your risk of heart disease!
Recently I was teaching my college nutrition students how to read a food label. Given that it is a science-based nutrition course, we were getting more technical than the average label reader usually does. I was afraid that food label reading was going to be too basic for them, so imagine my surprise when they revealed to me how little they know about translating a food label into making smart choices. Granted, the food label does contain a lot of information that can be confusing to the average consumer & requires more “sifting” than one may prefer to do when making food choices. The government is in the process of revising the label, but one never knows how long that process may take. So it was very timely that I came across this article that listed the top 5 items to look at when reading a label. Helpful information – happy reading!
1 and 2. Serving Size & Servings Per Package: Without looking at what a “serving” is supposed to be in the package, everything else on the label is irrelevant. This is the one thing that most consumers completely overlook until they realize that they just ate two, 450-calorie servings of pizza. Oops.
Many packages that appear like they would serve one, may actually have two or more portions. (This is one of the pet peeves of the FDA and IOM have about current packages that they want to change.) Having “servings per package” and “calories per package” boldly present on the front panel would help solve this issue.
3.Calories: That’s obvious. Many of us are overweight and virtually everyone has to be aware of calories, so be sure to look at it before buying. As a general rule, consider that meals should be 450-650 calories and snacks less than 200 calories.
4. Saturated Fat: Try to choose foods that provide low numbers for saturated fat. Most women need no more than 15-17 grams sat fat per day. Full-fat cheese is the number one source in the US diet, followed by pizza so keep that in mind.
5.Sodium: You’ll quickly find out that the less processed a food, the lower the sodium will be. Watching sodium will automatically improve your diet as you’ll be eating more foods that are less processed or naturally fresh and sodium-free.