April 07, 2009

June 16, 2008

Diabetic Living's Eating Out Guide

Eating Out Guide
From Diabetic Living magazine
Print Article Print E-mail Article Email
When at a restaurant, read the descriptions on the menu carefully and learn to read between the lines. Cooking techniques and ingredients can make all the difference. Try to pinpoint healthful cooking methods, such as foods that are baked, grilled, broiled, or roasted. And look for vegetables in the recipe title or description — tomato sauce versus cream sauce, for example. With our ordering tips and practical tactics in your back pocket, you'll be making smart choices in no time. Mangia!

Just for Starters
Starting with a healthful small soup or salad can help you eat less overall. This strategy also gives you something to nibble if your meal mates are feasting on garlic bread or fried mozzarella sticks. For soup, may we suggest the vegetable-rich variety? And for salad, select the house or another small green salad, with the dressing on the side. If you choose oil and vinegar, go heavier on the vinegar and lighter on the oil.

Use Your Noodle
Pasta has suffered some hard knocks during the recent low-carb mania. But there's no need to erase pasta from your list of healthful foods. Mary M. Austin, M.A., R.D., CDE, immediate past president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), and a full-blooded Italian, suggests: "If you order pasta, be prepared to share it. Most restaurant portions are at least two cups, which may be more carbohydrate than your eating plan recommends." Pasta is made mainly from enriched flour and water, so the calories come from carbohydrate and a little protein, not from fat. However, when you choose stuffed pasta, especially one that's filled with cheese, the fat content can soar. It might help you to know that 1 cup of cooked pasta contains about 30 grams of carbohydrate or two carb choices. The bottom line? When you order pasta, select an unstuffed shape, opt for an appetizer portion, or share an order, then top it with a low-fat sauce.

Sauce Smartly
Topping pasta with a healthful sauce can have dramatic results. According to the book Restaurant Confidential, an average serving of spaghetti with red or white clam sauce can have about 900 calories and 26 grams of fat, compared to an average serving of fettuccine Alfredo at 1,500 calories and 97 grams of fat. And, even though it's lower in calories and fat, you should still split the spaghetti.

Pizza by the Slice
Pizza can be a healthful restaurant meal or takeout food, as long as you take steps to trim the fat and serving size. Control portions by ordering the right number of slices — about two per person. Just so you're not tempted, don't let slices linger in front of you. Box up the extras when the pizza first arrives. For toppers, the more vegetables the merrier — go wild with onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, or spinach. Skip such high-fat toppers as extra cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or meatballs. For the crust, thin is in. Choose thin-crust pizza (whole wheat if available) and avoid deep-dish or stuffed pizza. And to make sure you have something else to nibble besides pizza, order a side salad.
Last Updated: 03/26/2007
Diabetic Living magazine helps readers manage their health while providing them with a wealth of diabetic-friendly recipes, nutrition tips, exercise hints, health information, and the lastest recommendations for diabetes care. Subscribe to the magazine now and get two full years for the price of one — and as a bonus you'll receive the current issue e-mailed to you right now. Or sign up for the online Diabetic Living Diet, with hundreds of delicious recipes and an interactive meal planner customized just for you, and get a year of Diabetic Living magazine FREE.

June 15, 2008

Healthy Snacks

Keeping snacks around the house is a necessary evil for my husband TB and me in case our sugar gets low. When that happens, we need a quick carb pick-me-up and the healthier the better.

The best choices begin at the bottom of the food pyramid and contain 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving. Good options include air-popped popcorn, baked tortilla chips and salsa, graham crackers, pretzels, bagels, and cereal.

Fresh fruits and vegetables also make excellent snacks, and they're portable. To make a snack more substantial, add a source of low-fat protein, such as a glass of low-fat milk. Add reduced-fat peanut butter to a slice of bread or a bagel, low-fat cheese on crackers, or a slice of turkey breast on whole-wheat bread.

These are snacks that won't put on the pounds as quickly as the junk will.

Now I have to figure out a snack that I can carry along with me. I have emergency sugar tablets in my purse at the moment and in a real pinch, they'll do.

June 03, 2008

Fat Cells Established in Childhood?

Oh noes....

Number of fat cells remains constant in all body types

A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Bruce Buchholz – along with colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden; Humboldt University Berlin, Foundation of Research and Technology in Greece; Karolinska University Hospital; and Stockholm University – applied carbon dating to DNA to discover that the number of fat cells stays constant in adulthood in lean and obese individuals, even after marked weight loss, indicating that the number of fat cells is set during childhood and adolescence.


In a study of 687 adults, the researchers found that number of fat cells increases in childhood and adolescence, but levels off and remains constant in adulthood. The group looked at whether the number of fat cells changes under extreme conditions such as drastic weight loss by radical reduction in caloric intake, such as through bariatric surgery.

The treatment resulted in a significant decrease in BMI and fat cell volume; however, it did not reduce the number of fat cells two years after the surgery. Similarly, significant weight gain (15-25 percent) over several months in non-obese adult men resulted in significant increase in body fat volume but no change in number. Subsequent weight loss back to baseline resulted in a decrease in fat cell volume but no change in the number of fat cells.

“If you are overweight and you lose weight, you still have the capacity to store lipids because you still have the same number of fat cells. That may be why it’s so hard to keep the weight off,” Buchholz said.

What's further inspiring to note is that one conclusion is to focus on children and preventing them from becoming fat when they are young. It all sounds very discouraging but I refuse to believe that it's already too late for TB, my kids and me to slim down and be healthy!

May 28, 2008

Let's All Eat Like Cave Men!

This article comes from the Vital Choices newsletter I get in my email. I thought it was fascinating.

The case for eating like a caveman is based on evidence from modern hunter-gatherers, whose diets resemble those of prehistoric ancestors, and from chemical and physical examination of the remains of prehistoric people and their habitats.

From these studies, it is clear that prehistoric hominids and humans ate diets high in wild game (meat and/or fish) and green plants, with no grains and relatively few seeds or starches (largely from tubers).

Scientists call stone-age eating patterns Paleolithic or hunter-gatherer diets, using the terms almost interchangeably due to the diets’ similarity. ...

Pilot clinical trial affirms healthful impacts of “caveman diet”

Last year, scientists at Sweden’s famed Karolinska Institute placed 20 healthy volunteers on a caveman-like diet for three weeks (Osterdahl M et al. 2007).

Before and after the study period, they measured the participants’ weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol profiles.

The volunteers were then given a list of “caveman” foods they could eat, including fresh or frozen fruit, berries or vegetables, lean meat, unsalted fish, canned tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, spices and coffee or tea without milk or sugar.

Banned foods included any dairy, cultivated or processed foods, such as beans, grains, salt, peanuts, milk, cheese, bread, pasta or rice, sausages, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juice. ...

So far it doesn't seem too bad except if I did this I'd have to give up cottage cheese, which I love, and garbanzo beans. No more sandwiches! No bread, no processed cold cuts...hm, maybe not so easy. But the results are cool!

At the end of the study, all of the 14 volunteers who completed the diet successfully lost weight, reduced their blood pressure, and slashed blood levels of a clot-causing agent.

These were the average changes (Osterdahl M et al. 2007):

* Lost five pounds.
* Calorie intake dropped by 36 percent.
* Body mass index (BMI) dropped by 0.8 (Healthy BMIs range between 18.5 and 25).
* Systolic blood pressure fell by 3 mmHg.
* Levels of the clotting agent plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 dropped by 72 percent.

Supposedly we are not different from our Neanderthal ancestors in terms of what we should eat and that's why we are having such problems with obesity. I think I'll read the book mentioned in the full article. Fascinating stuff!

May 20, 2008

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

When I see a title like that, I'm thinking BRAT (bread rice applesauce toast) diet or something similar that you eat when you are sick. When I read the article, though, I realized that it's the same common sense food plan promoted for people to lose weight and stay healthy. I'm not sure why it would be called an anti-inflammatory diet unless the alternative (what most Americans eat) is an inflammatory diet.

This is what Dr. Weil suggests:

Step One: Look at your carbs. The majority of carbohydrates in your diet should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load. You can do this by replacing your snack foods made with wheat flour and sugar with whole grains, beans, winter squashes, and sweet potatoes.

Step Two: Replace your cooking oil. Instead of safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, mixed vegetable oils, butter and margarine, use extra-virgin olive oil as your main cooking oil (for a neutral tasting oil, use expeller-pressed, organic canola oil).

Step Three: Decrease your consumption of animal protein. Except for fish (such as omega-3 rich salmon) and reduced-fat dairy products, animal derived protein should be limited. You can easily replace meat with vegetable protein such as beans, legumes and whole soy foods.

Step Four: Eat more fiber. Try to eat 40 grams of fiber a day, simple to do if you increase your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables and whole grains.

I really like Dr. Weil's website. I've learned so much from it. He offers so much useful information and tips. Want to learn more? Click here.

May 19, 2008

There are more and more stories out there about obesity increasing among kids and it's scary. Kids are now at risk for the same complications we adults have with obesity: heart disease, diabetes, and so on. I got an article in my email newsletter about ways parents and grandparents can help kids by setting a good example...even if we ourselves are heavy:

1. Incorporate a vegetable into every meal, especially in casseroles. Peas, broccoli, asparagus, red, yellow or green bell peppers, spinach - you name it, vegetables provide nutrients and fiber.
2. Use more beans and legumes, and less meat. Chickpeas, lentils and beans of all varieties are good sources of fiber and protein.
3. Serve up whole grains. Brown rice and bulghur wheat provide a delicious, grainy taste and texture - and have more fiber and protein than their white counterparts. Choose true, relatively intact whole grains like these over grains that have been ground into flour.
4. Switch sweets. Instead of soda, stock the pantry with sparkling waters. Pour fruit juice into a pitcher and dilute it to lessen the sugar content. Stock your kitchen with fresh, whole fruits, and leave the cookies in the store.

If we start healthy eating habits when kids are little, they're not going to know the difference and they won't miss the sweet or salty junky things. The whole article is here.