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Jan 03, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

It’s that time again! Weight loss resolutions made the first week of January only to be abandoned by the month’s end if not sooner. If we have so much more knowledge, why does this keep happening year after year? According to Mindy Haar, MS, RD, CDN, Director of Clinical Nutrition at New York Institute of Technology, the growing focus on how we eat and not just what we eat is a welcome one.  Nutritionists are joining forces with behavior experts such as psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink whose mission is to turn mindless eating into mindful eating.  Some strategies to make 2011 different from 2010, 2009,……..

1.       Select small goals that focus on behavioral changes rather than number of pounds to be lost. Instead of “I resolve to lose 30 pounds”, decide for the first week to skip the soda and drink water and then for week two, substitute a fruit for that mid-afternoon donut and sugared coffee.

2.       Always eat sitting down and avoid eating straight from the box. Food eaten while we’re standing and/or directly from the container to mouth, tends “not to count” only in our minds but not in our waistlines!

3.       Eat slower.  Put down utensils after each bite and don’t pick them up until you swallow – many of us routinely have two or even three forkfuls of food in our mouths at once allowing us to gobble up a whole plate in no time! And then take seconds or even thirds….

4.       Use smaller plates. Plate and bowl size has increased in the last few decades while studies show that we usually finish almost everything served.  This may be one painless way to reduce intake without even feeling it.

5.       Fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruit, leaving the other half for protein and starch. This increases fiber, vitamin and mineral intake and ups the satiety level  - a true win/win situation.

6.       Most of all, incorporate what works for you not just in the short term but long term lifestyle change. Despite the 20+ pound weight losses seen on shows like Biggest Loser, most people who lose weight for good lose 1-2 lbs per week.

For more helpful tips, visit Dr. Wansink's Web site  as well as the mypyramid website where a personalized program can be created.

Author: mindy_haar

Sep 21, 2010

Portion Sizes and Food Labels

Many of us get on the scale and are surprised by the number staring back at us, We think back to what we've eaten over the last few days and things don't seem to add up. Aside from the types of food you may be eating, the amounts are critical as well. An important feature of food labels is serving size. Yes, your snack may say 100 calories per serving and if there's one serving per container, then that's all you eat. But if each container has two and half serving and you finished the whole thing, your calorie intake is really 250. For summary of key featured included in a food label, check out this brief summary from the Miami Herald.


Author: mindy_haar

May 18, 2010

The Biggest Loser - An Inspiration?

According to many, the reality show, The Biggest Loser, inspires viewers to take similar life-changing action and thus embark on the road to wellness. We all know that losing even ten pounds can be a challenge and making regular exercise habitual is not easy. One must admire contestants whose goals are so much more lofty. and face a critical eye from both acquaintances and strangers across the country. As a nutritional professional, however, I can't help but cringe at some of the messages being sent. Full disclosure: I only watched the show once but it was an episode when a man lost 23 pounds in one week but was sent home since this was the smallest percentage of body fat compared to the others.  The recommended safe weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds a week since this allows for adequate nutrient intake and the  adjustment of metabolic processes. True, those who are very overweight will lose at a more rapid rate, especially at the outset, but the extreme weight loss accomplished with drastic measures is more likely to be regained. We are all looking for a quick fix and instant results but this strategy when it comes to weight loss is usually a set up for future failure. Yes, having Jillian yelling at your for hours a day and a chef to make all you meals is helpful, but slower less extreme measures of watching portion control, more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and an increase in exercise will reap slower but longer lasting permanent results.

Author: mindy_haar

May 05, 2010

Sleep Duration and Diabetes - A Connection?

Can not getting enough sleep be a factor in the incidence of diabetes? In the last two decades sleep duration has been decreasing while Type 2 Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels. According to an article in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published online this month, Dutch researchers propose that this is not a coincidence.

Cells need glucose, a byproduct of carbohydrate digestion. Insulin is needed to facilitate glucose entry into cells but in type 2 diabetes, The cells are resistant to its action. Poor food choices, obesity and lack of exercise along with genetic predisposition have all been linked to the development of this disease.  While previous studies have linked several nights of poor sleep with impaired use of insulin, this study found that just a single bad night’s sleep can reduce the effectivess of insulin by 19-25%. This study included just nine healthy people so it’s too soon to jump to firm conclusions.

As we move into finals week with nights of last minute studying on the horizon, try to aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. Yes, this may sound unrealistic but with advanced planning and better time management, the health benefits may be even more than you ever realized.

Author: mindy_haar

Apr 02, 2010

Reliable Nutrition Information??

There is wonderful nutrition information available from so many places but it's often difficult to discern what's reliable and what is scientifically unsound. One of my favorite sources is the Nutrition Action Health Letter that is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for more than 30 years. Although this organization has been called the "Food Police" for bringing to the public's attention shocking nutrition facts about foods in your supermarket and restaurant, every other month they feature the nutrition story that is the most talked about in the nutrition world. The articles, many of which are archived on the website, are written in a very reader friendly way and geared for both the general public and for professionals. Definitely worth checking out!

Author: mindy_haar

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Carl Andres Carl Andres
Adjunct Faculty
Department: Communication Arts
Campus: Manhattan
James Chemp (M.S. ’94) James Chemp
Class of 1994
Profession: Director of engineering and energy management for 7-Eleven Corp
John Hyde John Hyde
Dean of Career Services
Office: Career Services
Campus: Old Westbury