Entries in Diet (172)


Four Steps to Significantly Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Early Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, doing just four things could help significantly reduce your risk of death.

The study looked at over 6,200 healthy people over a span of eight years and determined that those who met four qualifications reduced their risk of early death by 80 percent and their specific risk of heart disease by nearly 40 percent.

The four things that the researchers recommend are:

Exercise regularly
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet
Keep a normal weight
Do not smoke

According to researchers the most important of the four is opting not to smoke, as avoiding tobacco had the largest individual impact of any of the four risk factors. In fact, smokers who maintained two or more of the other healthy habits still had a higher rate of early death than non-smokers who were both sedentary and obese.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study: Kids Menu Items Not as Nutritious as Grown-Up Food

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EDINBURGH, Scotland) -- Children who eat the same food as mommy and daddy tend be be healthier than those that eat off the kids menu, according to a new study from the University of Edinburgh.

BBC News reports that the study examined the eating habits of more than 2,000 five-year-olds and their families.

One of the findings was that “child-friendly” meal alternatives are often less nutritious than the main menu.

"Offering separate 'children's food' for a main meal may often result in children missing out nutritionally,” said Valeria Skafida, the author of the paper.

The study also found several other factors that can keep kids healthy and impart them with good eating habits.

How and when families eat makes a big difference. The study found that those who skipped a meal, snacked often, ate their food in a living or bedroom rather than a dining room on a regular basis had worse diets.

Tone makes a difference too. Children were negatively affected when there was an “unpleasant atmosphere” during meals.

The study also found that firstborn children tend to have a healthier diet than siblings who come after them.

The report concluded that more needs to be done to help parents foster good eating habits in their children when they’re young.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study: Diet and Exercise Are Inseparable

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, the best way to improve one's health is to start on a healthier diet and an exercise plan simultaneously.

While many find it easier to begin their health quest with just one or the other, the study from Stanford University found that altering one's diet and exercising more often are most effective when done at once.

The study, published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, analyzed data from 200 sedentary middle-aged men and women who were divided into four groups. One group began diet and exercise programs simultaneously, one began a diet plan and then exercise starting four months later, one began an exercise plan followed by a diet change four months later, and one only embarked on a stress management program. All four groups also received telephone counseling and education.

After 12 months, the group that made both changes at the same time was the most improved in all areas the study looked at, including exercising for at least 150 minutes per week, eating five to nine servings of vegetables per day and taking in 10 percent or less saturated fat per day.

Each of the other three groups failed at least one of the above areas.

The study did not, however, compare weight loss among the four groups.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Childhood Obesity: Is 7 Too Young to Diet?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Dara-Lynn Weiss' daughter Bea went for her annual checkup at age 7, the pediatrician pronounced her obese.  In one year, Bea had gained 23 pounds and her blood pressure had bumped up significantly.

Weiss' solution was to put Bea on a calorie-restricted diet, an experience she chronicled first in a magazine article then in a bestselling book, The Heavy.

Weiss said her decision to slash portion sizes, place limits on even healthy foods like fruit, and occasionally replace high calorie fare with Diet Coke and low fat Cool Whip, drew immediate judgment from other parents.

"There were parents who felt there should be no curtailing of what a child eats, while others felt Bea's problems could be solved by removing all unhealthy foods in any amount," Weiss said.  "Then there were people who thought we should just wait for it to even out instead of intervening."

But despite the backlash Weiss endured, there is some support in the medical community for her actions.

"Those who criticized her may not have been thinking through the consequences of obesity and may believe they could do it differently but so many kids need help getting on the right track," said Dr. James Marks, a pediatrician who is s senior vice president at the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J.

Marks said that, while asking a young child to cut calories might seem a bit extreme and he doesn't give the idea blanket support, we live in a highly "obesogenic" world that sometimes call for parents to be more aggressive about ensuring their kids eat healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes.  Every place from school to restaurants to birthday parties, kids are faced with huge helpings of calorie-dense, low nutrition foods, he pointed out.

Sema Kumar, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agreed that it's sometimes appropriate to place a young child struggling with weight on a diet.

"Whether you recommend weight loss or weight maintenance is determined by the age of the child, severity of obesity and any obesity-related health conditions the child has," she said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ages 2-18 whose weight falls in the "overweight" category be put on a weight maintenance program to slow the progress of weight gain.  Children ages 6-11 classified as obese can be put on a diet for gradual weight loss of no more than a pound a month.  Children under 11 who are in the 99th percentile for weight and classified as severely obese, and older children who are obese or severely obese, should aim for a weight loss of up to two pounds a month.

Kumar also expressed concerns that placing children on overly restrictive diets could lead to health problems down the road such as stunted growth, delayed puberty and osteoporosis.  It might also promote negative body image and low self esteem.

On the other hand, remaining obese also has its risks.  Obese and overweight children are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  And one recent Pediatrics study found that by the third grade, obese kids were 65 percent more likely to be bullied than their peers of normal weight, leaving them at greater risk for depression and anxiety.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Parisian Diet': Key to Being Skinny Is Savoring Food, Author Says

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Despite their love affair with creamy cheese, full-bodied wine and soft pastries, French women, on average, are skinnier than American women.

Obesity rates in France are about three times lower than in the U.S., and a new book called The Parisian Diet reveals all the French secrets to staying slim.

Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen is the mastermind behind the French guide to skinny eating.  A well-regarded nutrition expert in France, he is also a famous television and radio French talk show host.  Cohen said the Parisian Diet is not so much a diet but a guide to developing a new attitude towards food.

His first tip is quality, not quantity.  Smaller portions means fewer calories.  Even pasta is allowed, but Cohen suggests eating it with a tiny amount of sauce and adding lots of flavor with fresh herbs and salty olives.

Cohen's second tip: Savor food and avoid mindless eating -- something he said are classic American mistakes.  He said we should enjoy the entire experience and linger over a meal.

"It's the sights, it's the smell and the flavor, you need to enjoy," he said.  "You need 10 minutes to realize if your hunger is cut or not."

Cohen's third tip might come as a surprise.  He suggests skipping the salad if it's not something you love.  Here's the logic: When people deprive themselves of foods they love while on a diet and think they are eating rabbit food, they will eventually give up.  So Cohen said it is better to have a smaller portion of something flavorful, rather than having a boring salad that gives you no pleasure at all.

There's nothing more American than fast food, and Cohen said nothing is ever totally forbidden.  Even a McDonald's Big Mac is allowed -- if that's all you order.

"The problem is, in reality, that you accompany this with French fries and a soda, but you have to take your time and you have to enjoy it," he said.  "I know perfectly the value of calories of a Big Mac.  It's about 500 calories per piece."

Remember to savor the burger, he said, and swap out that side of fries with a salad, but don't head for the fast food every day.

The bottom line is that everything should be loaded with flavor, even ho-hum yogurt and fruit could be zestier with some lemon zest.

The French tend to cook more at home as well, which contributes to healthier eating, whereas Americans tend to eat more fast food or processed food.  Americans also work 10 percent more during a given work week -- the French average 38 hours a week versus Americans who work, on average, 42 hours.

Watch the full story on ABC's Nightline Friday at 12:35 a.m. ET.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Is Fasting a New Diet Craze? 

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A new diet that started in England is rapidly gaining momentum. What does this new diet say you should eat to lose weight? On two days a week, nothing.

The Fast Diet allows for unrestricted, guilt-free eating five days a week, and limits dieters to no more than 500-600 calories on fasting days, only a quarter of a normal healthy adults intake.

The British fasting craze is the brain child of Dr. Michael Mosley of London, who said people can mistake hunger for other symptoms, like boredom. Mosley, 53, began his search for a new diet after an eye-opening visit to his doctor.

"I had a bit of a nasty shock because I discovered that my fasting glucose levels were those of a diabetic," said Mosley, who lost his father to diabetes. "And my cholesterol levels [were] about twice [what] they should be."

Mosley said he was inspired by research on fasting taking place in several American labs, where tests on rats are finding astonishing results from severe calorie restriction, including decreased cancer risk, increased life expectancy and even improved brain function.

Surprisingly, fasting did not result in binging on the other days. Instead of making up for all the lost calories, participants in the study ate just 10 percent more on feed days.

But there are nutrition experts who are concerned that it is too big a leap to go from "patient zero" to a runaway bestseller with derivative books also making waves. Keith Ayoob, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine's department of pediatrics and child development,

"[The Fast Diet] is anecdotal, based on [Mosley's] experience, that's an opinion," Ayoob said. "I like to make recommendations that are based on good solid science and I'm not there yet."

Still, its adherents swear by its results. For instance, Tara McLaughlin said she lost 36 pounds over seven months on the Fast Diet.

Mosley is aware of his critics, but says there is no evidence that fasting leads to eating disorders. He did, however, warn pregnant women, anyone under the age of 20, under-weight people and those who suffer from eating disorders to steer clear of the Fast Diet.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Berry' Good Diets Are Beneficial for Heart Health

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Doctors have long advised patients to add helpings of berries to their diets for the antioxidants. Now researchers say berries can be good for the heart.

A new study has found that women who eat at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent. The berries contain plenty of compounds called anthocyanins, which researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say may dilate arteries and cut plaque build-up.

The researchers looked at almost 94,000 American women ages 25 to 42. They found that 405 heart attacks had been reported by the participants, who answered questions about their diets every four years for 18 years.

The findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study Looks at Impact of High-Carb Diet on Colon Cancer Treatment

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- High-carb diets may lead to cancer recurrence or death for late-stage colon cancer patients, according to a new study. High glycemic diets, which include breads and baked goods, also can lead to the same outcomes.

Researchers, led by Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, looked at data submitted by 1,000 stage-three colon cancer patients. After evaluating the effects of carbohydrates, fructose and glycemic loads on colon cancer treatment, they found a link between the cancer and the carbs and glycemic load intake.

The study's authors, who reported their findings Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, say the research points to a greater need for attention to obesity and exercise.  Other studies have shown that obesity and inactivity also increase risk of cancer recurrence and death.

Some diet and nutrition experts say the study's findings are merely observational and are not indicative a cause-and-effect relationship.

"We cannot make dietary recommendations based on this study alone," Lona Sandon, a registered dietician and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told HealthDay.

"And it is insufficient to change recommendations [about diet] that already exist; that is, maintain a healthy weight, increase physical activity and choose a healthy diet with limited excess sugars," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


"Reader’s Digest" Diet: Lose the Weight in Three Weeks

Tom Morello/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to dieting, some people have tried virtually everything. There’s the grapefruit diet.  The all-green, leafy diet.  And who can forget the baby food fad diet? Now, Reader’s Digest magazine is introducing its own weight-loss plan, detailed in the book The Digest Diet.

Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of the magazine, said Reader’s Digest incorporated the best weight-loss research into one simple plan that is split into three one-week phases.

“Well, it’s not a fad, you’re not eliminating food groups and it’s the nexus of healthy weight loss and super-fast weight loss,” Vaccariello told ABC's Good Morning America correspondent Abbie Boudreau in an interview that aired on the show Monday.

Phase one targets hard-to-battle belly fat.  Dieters eat mostly soups and shakes, incorporating fat-releasing foods such as strawberries, yogurt and chocolate.

“So strawberries, here we’re talking about vitamin C,” Vaccariello said.  “This is one of the fat releasers.  You think of vitamin C as an immune booster but, in reality, people who have low levels of vitamin C in their body have a more difficult time losing weight.”

Red wine, too, is good for weight loss, and milk chocolate and dark chocolate improve mood and help keep skin looking good, she added.

Being able to have these foods is a great benefit.

“That’s the whole key,” Vaccariello said.  “The Digest Diet isn’t about depriving yourself because that’s not a plan that you’re going to live with.”

Phase two focuses on lean and green foods, which are packed with nutrients and proteins.

Phase three is all about maintenance.

“You learn how to incorporate fat-releasing foods into every meal.  You learn how to go to a restaurant or navigate a party.  And not fall off your diet,” Vaccariello added.

One critical component of the diet is laughter, she added.

“When we’re stressed, we have cortisol and that’s a hormone in our system that makes the body hold on to fat.  So when we laugh we release fat,” Vaccariello said.

Digest dieters lost between 5 and 8 pounds in the first phase, and had lost anywhere from 15 to 26 pounds at the end of the third week, she added.

The Digest Diet, available for sale now, is packed with recipes and easy tips, including quick exercises such as lunges and tricep dips.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Food Swap for Less Salt: How to Make Healthier Kids’ Lunches, Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re a label reader, here is a nutrition fact you don’t want to miss. It’s not just calories, fat and sugar you should be checking. Another culprit assaulting our diets is sodium -- and it can be found in just about everything.

A new study shows that children and teens in the United States on average are taking in as much sodium as adults. Since kids’ bodies are smaller, consuming that much sodium each day could mean major health problems when they grow up.

Registered dietician Cynthia Sass worked with Nightline to compare the sodium content in kids’ lunches and snacks. Here’s a breakdown and suggestions on what you can do to make healthier lunches and snacks for you and your family.

[TAKE THE QUIZ: Which Product Has More Sodium?]

LUNCH: Instead of deli-sliced turkey on white bread with American cheese and mayo:

  • 3 oz deli oven roasted turkey -- 420 mg sodium
  • 2 slices white Wonder bread -- 300 mg sodium
  • 1 slice Kraft American cheese -- 200 mg sodium
  • 1 Tbsp Hellman’s mayo -- 90 mg sodium

TOTAL: 1,010 mg sodium

Try grilled chicken breast with Swiss cheese on an English muffin with mustard:

  • 3 oz baked or grilled chicken breast -- 75 mg sodium
  • 1 honey wheat Thomas’ English muffin -- 180 mg sodium
  • 1 slice baby Swiss cheese -- 35 mg sodium
  • 1 tsp French’s yellow mustard -- 55 mg sodium

TOTAL: 345 mg sodium -- a difference of 665 mg sodium

Also consider trying this fresh food lunch recipe as an option:

Turkey Taco Boats

  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 large outer Romaine leaves
  • 3 oz cooked extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen, thawed organic sweet corn or kernels sliced from 1 medium ear of fresh roasted organic corn
  • 4 lime wedges
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ of a medium avocado, sliced

On stovetop over medium heat, sauté peppers and onions in broth until tender, set aside. Mix cilantro into ground turkey. Fill each Romaine leaf with turkey, then corn and squeeze with fresh lime. Top with salsa, sautéed vegetables and avocado and serve.

Sodium total: 386 mg

SNACKS: Instead of Cheetos and Oreo cookies:

  • 1 single serving snack bag of Cheetos -- 290 mg sodium
  • 1 Oreo cookie from a 12-pack single serve -- 240 mg sodium

TOTAL: 530 mg sodium

Try plain Lay’s potato chips and Hershey kisses:

  • 1 single serving bag of regular Lay’s potato chips -- 180 mg sodium
  • 9 Hershey kisses -- 35 mg sodium

TOTAL: 215 mg sodium -- a different of 315 mg sodium

Also consider trying this fresh food snack recipe as an option:

Vanilla Almond Frozen Banana

  • 6 oz fat free organic yogurt
  • Seeds from 1 small vanilla bean or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 small banana peeled, not sliced
  • ¼ cup rolled oats (raw or toasted on a cookie sheet)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced or chopped almonds

Stir vanilla into yogurt. Dip banana into yogurt or spoon yogurt over banana to coat thoroughly. Mix oats and almonds. Sprinkle banana with nut mixture, wrap in wax paper and freeze at least 20 minutes.    

Sodium total: 120 mg

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio