The Health Halo Effect

After making a healthy choice, say choosing vegetables instead of french fries or salmon instead of steak, we typically feel pretty good about ourselves. Rightfully so, since choosing these healthier choices can lead to decreased risk for many different diseases. However, what if choosing these healthier foods led to an increase in calorie consumption, also known as the “health halo” effect.

According to Brian Wansink, PhD, who heads up the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, choosing foods that are labeled as healthy can get people to eat more food than intended. Studies have shown that when eating a low fat snack compared to a regular, most people ended up eating more calories from the low fat version simply because they thought it was better for them. This is not to say that low fat varieties are unhealthy, especially when it comes to dairy. Choosing low fat foods is typically going to be a healthier choice as long as you don’t overeat the low fat version just because it’s low fat. A comparable thing happens when “organic” is added to a label. During a study, individuals thought the organic cookies had few calories than the regular, however, calories were the exact same in both.

The bottom line, keep making those healthier choices, but remind yourself that just because it is “healthier” doesn’t mean you need more of it. EVERYTHING in moderation is always key to a healthier lifestyle.

Nutrition Bars: The Good, The Bad, And The Crunchy

There are several different nutrition bars on the market today and they go by many names such as “energy bar”, “protein bar”, or “meal replacement bar.”

Nutrition bars are larger in weight than snack bars (such as granola) or candy bars (such as chocolate) and typically have more protein. However, some “fiber bars” contain very little protein because that is not their focus.

Depending on what you are looking for and what your dietary needs are, find the bar that is right for you.

If you need a quick 100 calories to hold you over before dinner that’s in an hour, a snack bar would be your best choice. It has fewer calories and very little protein so you know you will still be hungry for dinner. Watch out for the added sugar!

If you are working all day and realize you won’t have time for lunch, grab a meal replacement bar that is more balanced to get you through the day.

If you have been working all day and on you’re way to the gym, grab an energy bar to get you through your workout.

If you need a balanced snack between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, a protein bar might be a good choice for that situation, but watch out for added sugar!

Here is a list of good nutrition bars to choose from:

·      Energy bars– Balance Bar (Cookie Dough), Clif Bar Energy (White Choc. Macadamia Nut), Power Bar Performance Energy (Choc. Peanut Butter)

·      Fiber bars– Fiber One Chewy Bars (Oats & Choc.), Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber (Cinnamon Raisin)

·      Protein bars– Garden of Life fucoProtein (Peanut Butter Crunch), GNC Pro Performance Pro-Crunch (Cookies & Cream), GNC Pro Performance Pro-Crunch Lite (Choc. Peanut Butter), Marked Protein Bar (Choc. Peanut Butter), Quest Bar Protein Bar (Banana Nut Muffin), Nature Valley Protein (Peanut Butter Dark Choc.)

·      Meal Replacement bars– Glucerna Meal Bar (Choc. Peanut), GNC Total Lean Breakfast Squares (Oatmeal Choc. Chip), Larabar (Apple Pie), Probar Meal (Superfood Slam)

Beyond the Buzz

 

SPECIAL FEATURE

Eating wheat packs on the pounds?

“Lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health,” proclaims cardiologist William Davis in his best-selling book, Wheat Belly.

Wheat consumption and obesity rates have increased in the United States since the mid- 1980s, as Davis notes. We’re also eating more calories now, although wheat—along with sugars, fats, and oils—accounts for much of the increase.

And cutting bread, bagels, pasta, tortillas, piz- za crust, muffins, pancakes, crackers, croissants, cereal, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, pies, pita chips, pretzels, and dozens of other wheat foods out of your diet would certainly make a dent in your weight…assuming you didn’t replace their calories with calories from other foods.

However, no good studies have tested whether wheatless diets are any better for losing weight—or keeping weight off—than other popular weight-loss diets.

The truth is that you can lose weight on just about any diet that cuts calories. Unfortunately, after six months or a year, most people begin to regain the weight they lost, no matter which foods they cut to lose the weight.1

“What we’re really interested in is a scenario that helps you lose weight and keep it off in the long term,” says Julie Jones, professor of foods and nutrition at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. And there’s no good evidence that slashing carbs helps you do that.

“Avoiding wheat isn’t the answer,” says Jones, who recently reviewed the evidence for many of Wheat Belly’s claims.2

Some people—those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance—need to avoid wheat. “But don’t do it to lose weight,” says Jones. “This, like the rest of all fad diets, will run its course.”

Bottom Line: Unless you cut calories, eliminating wheat won’t help you lose weight or keep
it off.

1 N. Engl. J. Med. 360: 859. 2009.
2 Cereal Foods World 57: 177, 2012.

Dairy foods cause ovarian cancer?

“Milk linked to ovarian cancer,” reported CBS News in 2004.

Dairy foods—especially low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese—supply calcium and vitamin D for bones and may protect against colorectal cancer and high blood pressure.1 So how did dairy get a bad rap when it comes to the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide?

In 1989, a study reported that women with ovarian cancer were more likely to say that they ate foods that were higher in lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk.2

But having a disease can color what people remember eating. To avoid that possible bias, researchers pooled the data from 12 studies that asked more than half a million healthy women what they ate and then fol- lowed them for the next 7 to 20 years.

Women who consumed the most milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream were no more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than those who ate the least. However, the researchers found a “weak” (their word) 19 per- cent increased risk in women who consumed at least 30 grams of lactose per day.3

To get 30 grams, you’d need to consume roughly 21?2 cups of milk, 2 cups of yogurt, 3 cups of ice cream, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese, or 27 pounds of cheddar.

How might lactose raise the risk of ovarian cancer if dairy doesn’t?
It’s not clear. Could dairy foods have some other nutrients that lower risk and counteract the lactose? Could genes play a role? Or could the “weak” link simply be due to chance?

“If there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer, it’s only at very high intakes of lactose,” says Shelley Tworoger, an ovarian cancer re- searcher at Harvard University. “Even then, it was still a relatively modest association.”

In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research declared that there

Only “weak” evidence links large amounts of lac- tose to ovarian cancer.

wasn’t enough evidence to reach a conclusion about dairy’s effect on the risk of ovarian cancer.

So what does increase risk? A family history of ovarian cancer, having used hormone therapy, or never having been pregnant. So may excess weight. (Oral contraceptive use can lower risk, notes Tworoger.)

One of the reasons the survival rate for ovarian cancer is so low: the disease often causes no noticeable symptoms until it has spread to a dis- tant site, when the five-year survival rate drops to only about 27 percent.

But new advances to detect the cancer early may be coming.

In January, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that PAP smears, which are routine screening tests for cervical cancer, could detect telltale DNA from endometrial and ovarian cancers as well.4

“There’s a lot of potential, but more work needs to be done to understand if we can use this to identify tumors in healthy women that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to identify,” says Tworoger.

Bottom Line: There’s only weak evidence that large amounts of lactose (equal to what you’d get in 2 1/2 glasses of milk) increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

1 Br. J. Nutr. 96 Suppl. 1: S94, 2006.
2 Lancet 2: 66, 1989.
3 Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 15: 364, 2006. 4 Sci. Transl. Med. 5: 167, 2013.

NUTRITION ACTION HEALTHLETTER n JUNE 2013 11

Beans, Beans, Beans!

Once known as a “poor man’s food”, beans are becoming more popular due to their many health benefits and should be considered the “healthy man’s food”.

Beans are full of protein, fiber, low in fat, and they deliver plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other healthful nutrients. There is an increased amount of research that links a diet rich in beans with a reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control.

Not only are beans great for you, but they are also cheap and super easy to use in millions of delicious recipes. Substituting beans for meat is a great way to get more beans in your diet. There is such a wide variety of beans to choose from, such as black, pinto, lima, soy, garbanzo, kidney, lentils, mung, navy, and black-eyed peas.

One reason individuals stay away from beans is due to their gaseous effects.

Here are some good tips to cut down on the gas so you can keep eating those healthy beans!

·      Soak the beans and rinse before cooking

·      Start slowly with adding in beans and let your body get used to the fiber increase

·      Chew thoroughly to help break down the beans

·      Grab a Beano or other gas relieving product before you eat

Check out our recipes section for some great bean recipes! If you would like to read more, go to http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/recipe-for-health-cheap-nutritious-beans-201211305612

 

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Dash of sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

1. Place couscous, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in boiling water; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Combine oil, juice, garlic, and sugar.

3. Add oil mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mint, and next 4 ingredients (through tomato). Sprinkle with cheese.

Chipotle Bean Burritos

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons refrigerated fresh salsa
  • 6 (10-inch) reduced-fat flour tortillas (such as Mission) or whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 3)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 6 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 6 tablespoons light sour cream

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in chile powder and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup water and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salsa. Partially mash bean mixture with a fork.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture into center of each tortilla. Top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon onions, and 1 tablespoon sour cream; roll up.

Two-Bean Soup with Kale

Photo: Kana Okada; Styling: Sara Quessenberry

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 7 cups stemmed, chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.

2. Place half of cannellini beans and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and rosemary.

The many layers of Yogurt… How do I choose?

Yogurt can be a good source of protein and calcium and can be used as a breakfast, snack or even dessert. Some yogurts contain added Vitamin D, such as Dannon, Silk, So Delicious, Stonyfield, YoCrunch, and Yoplait.

Yogurt is made from two strains of bacteria that are added to milk. The question is, can yogurt’s “live” or “active cultures” restore beneficial bacteria to your gut? There has not been good evidence to prove this is true. The only clear benefit so far, is yogurt’s ability to change lactose into lactic acid, which may help those with lactose intolerance.

With all the different yogurts out here, how do you choose the best one for you? Here are some good tips to keep in mind when strolling down the yogurt aisle.

·      Watch out for mix-ins! When you are given extras to put in your yogurt, such as chocolate covered balls of crispy rice cereal, think added sugar and calories!

·      Full fat yogurts- Watch out for code words, such as “authentic”, “traditional”, indulgently silky” and “hand-crafted”. These yogurts are typically made from whole milk, which means high calorie, high saturated fat.

·      Sugary Bliss- Next time you are at the grocery store, compare Chobani’s Greek yogurt plain to their flavored variety. The plain has about 7 grams of sugar, while the flavored contains roughly 19 grams of sugar! Unfortunately, most flavored yogurts, especially those with added fruit contain a large amount of sugar. Yogurt companies don’t have to tell you what’s natural and what’s added, so you have to assume most is added.

Your best bet, when it comes to choosing yogurt is going for the non-fat, plain and adding your own fruit at home. You save on calories, saturated fat, and sugar. If you are needing more protein in your diet, grab the Greek, non-fat plain, which can have twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Antioxidant Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp.honey
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

 

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl stir together the yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and honey. Set aside.

Bring 3/4 of an inch of water to a simmer in a large saucepan with a steamer basket. Add the broccoli, cover, and cook until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the broccoli to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat the cooled broccoli dry with a paper towel.

Place the broccoli in a medium bowl. Add the grapes, carrot, celery, avocado, green onion, and walnuts. Pour the dressing over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Time You’re Most Likely to Binge

With Labor Day weekend in sight, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be invited a cookout or two. While barbecues make for great outdoor parties, they can seriously sabotage your waistline: People are more likely to binge at barbecues than other meals, according to a new survey by Forza Supplements.

For the survey, 8,000 people across the U.K. answered an online questionnaire about what they ate at barbecues. The results showed that the average person consumes nearly 3,000 calories when they attend one—that’s 1,000 calories more than the recommended amount per day. The problem? Many people treat cookouts like all-you-can-eat buffets—51 percent said they usually double back for a second helping, and some people said they go back to the buffet even more than that.

When you’re going back for seconds or thirds, it’s easy to lose track of calories. Not completely sure how much food makes up a reasonable portion size? Check out this chart before your next barbecue as a reminder:

Check out the article at http://blog.womenshealthmag.com/scoop/the-time-youre-most-likely-to-binge-2/