Entries in Nurtrition (3)


FDA Suggests Serving Sizes on Food Labels Should Change

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite nutritional labels on food and drinks, most of us have no clue how much we're actually consuming, according to a new study from the Food and Drug Administration.

The agency says most people don't accurately calculate what makes up a serving size.

For instance, take a bag of chips.  If one serving of the snack has 90 calories, and there are 10 servings in a bag, how many chips is that exactly?  Guessing the serving size may be confusing for many and could lead to people consuming more calories than they think.

To remedy that, the FDA is suggesting that labels should be modified to reflect the values for a full container.  So instead of that bag of chips showing 90 calories per serving on its label, it would show 900 calories per bag.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Paltrow’s ‘Goop’ Has a Colon Cleanse

Ian Gavan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog has its own colon cleanse for “Goop” groupies.

The Goop Cleanse, co-designed by Goop and Clean Program creator Dr. Alejandro Junger, contains protein, fiber, digestive enzyme and probiotic supplements that “help give your digestive system a break and also improve energy levels by bringing in high-quality vitamins and nutrients,” according to Junger. “Best of all, because you’ll be eating during this program, you won’t be left feeling hungry or tired which is typical of most cleanses.”

For 21 days, Goop cleansers will start the morning with a shake, eat lunch from an elimination diet menu boasting roasted squash over millet and “salmon salade nicoise,” and have another shake for dinner. Dairy, eggs, wheat and coffee are among 77 forbidden foods. The goal is to still consume at least 1,200 calories a day, which is low compared to the 1,600-to-2,000 recommended for women. To get the calorie count up, the Goop Cleanse manual recommends adding avocado or coconut oil to daily shakes.

“I’ve used Clean in the past with great results, losing a few pounds and kickstarting a healthier and more energetic New Year,” Paltrow wrote on Goop. The cleanse is designed for use every eight-to-12 months and costs $425.

Colon cleansing has been around for centuries. It can be accomplished in a number of ways, from supplements to colon hydrotherapy -- an enema-like procedure that uses water to flush out the large intestine. Proponents claim it purifies the body by removing toxins that build up in the digestive tract, but some experts say the practice can do more harm than good.

“Despite colon cleansing’s long history and current popularity, the literature does not support its purported benefits,” Dr. Ranit Mishori of Georgetown University School of Medicine wrote in an August 2011 report published in the Journal of Family Practice. In fact, colon cleansing can cause painful side effects ranging from cramping to kidney failure, according to the report.

“The body is designed to detoxify itself,” Mishori told ABC News in August, adding there are safer ways to help it along, including diet and exercise.

But thanks to celebrity devotees like Paltrow, Beyonce and the Kardashians, more people are asking their doctors about colon cleansing.

Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and author of What the Yuck?! The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body told ABC News supplement-based cleanses are generally safer than procedures like colon hydrotherapy, but added there’s no upside to either and potential downsides to both.

“You’re not necessarily getting all the nutrients you need,” she said of supplement-based cleanses that exclude several foods, like the Goop Cleanse. “There are definitely natural things people can do if they’re feeling a bit backed up, like upping fiber intake with fruits and vegetables and drinking a lot of water.”

Dhru Purohit, founding partner and CEO of the Clean Program agreed most cleanses are “garbage” akin to crash diets. But the Goop Cleanse, he insists, is different. The goal of the Goop Cleanse, he says, is to inspire healthy, long term lifestyle changes.

But, he adds, the cleanse isn’t for everyone.

“We’re big on education: Talk to your doctor. And if a cleanse isn’t right for you right now, you’ll for sure benefit from an elimination diet.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Reduce LDL Levels More than Low-Fat Diets

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Millions of Americans pop statins to keep their cholesterol levels down. But new research suggests that cholesterol-friendly foods such as soy products and tree nuts may also contribute to lowering LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who ate a healthy diet filled with cholesterol-lowering foods experienced a 13-percent decrease in their LDL cholesterol levels. Those who followed a diet low in saturated fats experienced a three-percent decrease.

"The main takeaway here is that people can lower their cholesterol with diet if they put their minds to it," said Dr. David Jenkins, a professor of nutrition and metabolism at University of Toronto and lead author of the study. "These can be small changes. We're not asking people to live behind bars."

Jenkins created the "portfolio diet," which combines foods that allow maximum benefit in lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease. The regimen includes regular consumption of tree nuts and high amounts of fiber from oats, barley and vegetables. The diet says to replace butter with plant sterol-enriched margarine and substitute soy-based products for meat.

"The study highlighted the power of food to lower risk for cardiovascular disease: What you do eat and what you don't eat are both important," said Dr. Jane Klauer, a New York internist specializing in metabolism and nutrition.

While Jenkins said most study participants followed a moderately healthy diet to begin with, it's possible for people to see positive changes in their cholesterol levels even after making small changes to eating regimens.

"Replacing sources of saturated fat, such as red meat and dairy products, with sources of healthy fats, such as nuts and soy products will definitely have greater benefits than replacing red meat and dairy products with carbohydrates," said Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Before suggesting medication, doctors generally encourage high-cholesterol patients to change their diet and lifestyle. If noninvasive measures do not sufficiently lower the levels, they will often prescribe statin drugs, which reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver.

"Diet should be used with drugs to reach LDL and non-HDL cholesterol goals," Dr. Robert Eckel, director of the General Clinic Research Center at Colorado Health Science University, wrote in an email to "The bulk of evidence indicates the importance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains (fiber), lean poultry and fish to reduce cardiovascular disease risk."

"If goals are not reached with lifestyle changes (including appropriate amounts of physical activity), statins are the drug of choice to reduce cardiovascular disease risk," continued Eckel.

The study had only a six-month follow-up, and many experts suggested a longer follow-up period was necessary to understand the long-term effects of the portfolio diet.

Many experts also noted that an herbivorous, or plant-based, diet would be difficult for meat eaters to maintain.

"The diet was vegetarian and, not surprisingly, had dropouts, even with the counseling," said Dr. Merle Myerson, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals. "I don't think that really long-term adherence would be good."

"The authors state that this is 'long-term.' I don't feel that six months is long-term."

"Convincing people to change dietary patterns is difficult, much less convincing them to become vegetarians," said Klauer. "Change is difficult for people. But as they are rewarded with looking and feeling more vital, they are motivated to persevere."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio