Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Feel Free To Extend Your Life - The Story Gets a Little Fishy!

Higher concentrations of marine fish oils in people's blood have been shown to correlate with slower cellular aging.  The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that telomere shortening (a marker of cellular aging) was reduced in people whose blood had higher concentrations of marine omega-3 oils.  Besides the obvious potential benefit of slowing down aging, these findings may explain the interesting phenomenon of these omega-3 oils being protective against obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis and elevated cholesterol. 

Bottom Line: take 2-4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily if you are consuming less than 2 servings of cold water fish per week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pass (On) the Salt, Please...

There's a very curious story in today's newspapers - the biggest food manufacturers are gradually reducing the amount of salt in some of the most popular items sold in our supermarkets.  Through painful experience they found that cutting salt content too quickly produces dissatisfied customers, who find less-salty foods are too bland to enjoy.  We all really have to compliment them for doing the right thing and doing it so smartly.  Our brains don't like stark contrasts - going from something very warm to very cold, very sweet to unsweetened, etc.  By reducing the salt content over a period of time, our brain gradually learns to perceive the less-salty foods as equally enjoyable.

As I've always believed, there are very few intrinsically bad companies, just bad incentive systems.  And once the public opinion and market forces demanded the lower salt products, the industry has indeed figured out and the smartest way possible to deliver.  Once again, a little knowledge on the part of the public goes a long way to improve our health and the quality of life.

Bon apetite!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The answer to this question became quite obvious to me after taking my daughter to a very popular restaurant chain last weekend. 

Each entree contained at least 900 calories (with most salads exceeding 800 calories per portion).
Knowing that we burn about 15-20 calories per minute doing the most strenuous types of exercise, I asked myself how long would it take me to burn off those 1000 calories.  1000 divided by 20 comes to 50 minutes of running (!) for every lunch entree on the menu in front of me.  And that's just not to gain weight!  Imagine how much more exercise it would take to actually lose weight!  For some reason, i lost my appetite at that point and ordered 1/2 a serving (with 1/2 the calories).

So, the simple point is that our modern servings come in such huge sizes that it is unrealistic to hope to burn that energy off by exercising.  Please, don't misunderstand me here - exrecise is very important to for health, but obesity is primarily caused by excessive calorie intake (and treated by reducing that intake).

Bon appetite.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


What do I see when I go get my cup of tea in the break room?! Warm, freshly-baked danishes! The overpowering aroma instantly called out to me, drawing me closer, tempting with every calorie-packed bite.  BUT, I did not panic.  I knew I had only several minutes to come up with an alternative or my willpower was going to be crushed by the temptation in front of me.  Luckily, I always keep around a low-calorie protein-packed snack to rescue me in situations like this one.  I ran for my Trim360 oatmeal (130 cal), which instantly soothed my hunger and gave me great satisfaction at saving myself from an avalanche of danish calories (~ 380 cal).

Am I the only one fighting these battles on a daily basis?  Can you share your battle scars?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Portion control is unquestionably important, especially with high calorie-density foods.  You have more flexibility to consume larger portions of foods that have fewer calories per gram, than those that pack a lot in each little bite.

That's why a huge bowl of green salad with one scoop of canned tuna or chicken breast (all of ~360 calories with olive oil dressing) is much more filling than one sandwich or burrito, which may have 600-900 calories.

So, the answer is to use both portion control and content control to stimulate you  brain's satiety (or fullness) center.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


If you still measure your food in dollars instead of calories, I hope you have enough money to waste.  Here are 3 bite-sized thoughts to chew on:

1.  Do you REALLY think that the 950-calorie fast food lunch with 1000mg of sodium only cost you ~ $3.99?!  Did you add the $20 co-pay for that cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes medication?

2. What makes you sick - excessive calories or dollars?  Do you know the real value of your food?

3.  Would you throw away $2000?  That's exactly what people with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other weight-related problems do every year by not taking control of their weight.  Hmm... $2000 - could have been a nice vacation.