Tag Archives: Healthful food choices

Easy Weight Loss or Maintenance

Mediterranean 5/2 Eating Plan

The Five/Two Diet
Vegetable heartAs a method of weight loss and weight control, this easy solution of five/two pertains to a 7 day eating plan. Once you have reached your ideal weight, you transition to healthy baseline calorie intake every day. If you gain a pound, then you can transition back to the 5/2 plan. This is how it works:

• For 5 days a week, you eat a healthy diet based primarily on fruits, vegetables, a few nuts, a little olive oil, limiting pasta or rice to twice a week. Add limited whole grains to the mix, with low-fat meat, including salmon or other similar fish. Mirror your food selections with the Mediterranean diet like people who live along the southern Italian coast and Greek islands. Eating primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, and little saturated fat, they tend to live longer, in better health and with lower heart disease.

• For two days a week, eat very few calories, only 500-600. The two days must not be consecutive. Instead separate them such as Monday and Thursday.

Why not do the low calorie days together? Harsh calorie restriction can trigger what researchers call the starvation response. With starvation, the body revs up to store calories by lowering the metabolic rate and packing on calories when food becomes available. It is a natural process to maintain life.

Even though the two low calorie days are not true fasting, if they are consecutive such as Monday and Tuesday, your metabolic rate may be affected. Separating the days, combined with daily exercise such as walking is known to increase metabolic rate andkabob veg calorie burn. — And, with exercise, you are unlikely to stimulate a starvation response. In fact, with a marked reduction in calorie intake and consistent exercise, you will lose weight.

British physician Michael Mosley, described the 5/2 diet in his book FastDiet in 2012. In a follow up study done at the Aston University in the UK, they found intermittent fasting (very low calorie days) more effective than daily calorie restriction and calorie counting.

Favorable findings included:
• Reduced weight
• Reduced inflammation
• Reduced blood glucose
• Reduced lipids (cholesterol)
• Reduced blood pressure

True fasting (consuming no nutrition) has been shown to lower weight, prolong life, lower blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels. However, fasting also lowers metabolic rate, something you do not want, because your body becomes very efficient at storing excess calories and weight returns.

Eating two low calorie days per week is usually safe for Type 2 diabetics. Those taking medications and insulin must consult their medical provider for advice and to help manage medication dosages when reducing calorie intake. In the end, with weight loss, some Type 2 diabetics can reduce or stop some of their medications. Or, for those with borderline glucose elevations, weight loss and the drug Metformin, may help ward off the development of full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Without interventions, most people with borderline elevation of blood glucose will evolve to Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

Pay special attention to your daily intake:
• Choose fruits over sweets for desserts.
• Exercise portion control. Avoid second helpings. Wait 30 minutes and see if you are really still hungry.
• Do your best to prepare low calorie meals such as turkey breast instead of hot wings or steak.
• Forget potatoes, pasta, gravy, cheese sauce and fattening salad dressing.
• If you are preparing meals, serve light calorie recipes and fruit for dessert.
• Take time to exercise

Note: If you are, pregnant, breast feeding or a Type 1 diabetic, following a Mediterranean-type cuisine is healthy but do not follow the very low calorie day recommendations. However, this is a heart-healthy approach for those with high blood pressure and heart disease, even those who have had bypass and stent procedures.
Betty Kuffel, MD & Bev Erickson

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Improve Your Health

Springtime Weight Loss & Health Goals

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe doldrums of winter have passed. With shorter nights and warmer days, the grass is greener, flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. It’s spring!

If you are an outdoor winter sports enthusiast, you may be fit and at your ideal weight. But, if icy weather kept you indoors and sedentary, you may have added a pound or two. If so, this is the time to get started on a healthy routine. Forget spring cleaning, instead, dust off your shoes and take a walk.

Before you begin, hop on the scale and record your weight. Use the baseline to track your progress to better health. According to the National Institutes of Health, excess weight can put you at risk for a multitude of health problems. Cardiovascular problems are at the top of the list, including heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure. Close behind are: Type 2 diabetes, unhealthy pregnancies, sleep apnea and even some types of cancer.

Now that you have your weight, you need see where you are based on accepted parameters using the Body Mass Index (BMI) categories of weight:
• Normal = 18.5-24.9Scale, Tennis Shoes, Calculator
• Overweight = 25-29.9
• Obesity = 30 or higher

So, how do we measure BMI? The easiest way is to go to: BMI Calculator
Input your numbers and the internet program will give you the value.

If you like math and you’d rather calculate your BMI, you need your weight, height, a metric conversion multiplier and a calculator to square your answer and divide. It’s Easy – follow the steps below:

1. Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.45. Ex: 125 pounds x .45 = 56.25 kg

2. Multiply your height in inches by 0.025. Ex: 63” x .025 = 1.575 m

3. Square the answer from step 2. Example: 1.575 x 1.575 = 2.4806

4. Divide Step 1 answer by Step 3 answer. Example:56.25 divided by 2.480625 = 22.7 BMI

• If your BMI is normal, exercise is still important.
• If the BMI is elevated, get started on the Mediterranean 5/2 eating plan combined with walking at least 30 minutes a day plan to drop the unwanted pounds.

Go to: Your Heart, our other blog, to find details regarding both Mediterranean food choices and guideline for the plan of eating two low calorie days per week – allowing easy weight reduction.
Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight may lower your chances of developing heart disease? If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing as little as 10 pounds could prolong your life. Weight loss benefits include:
• Improved energy, sleep, sex life and self-image
• Lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lowered risk of heart attack
• Reduced cancer risk
• Fewer aches and pains
• Reduced risk of dementia
Spring Forward. Put on your tennis shoes and start walking. Listen for the sweet sounds of returning birds. Watch for spring flowers and pussy willow buds. Take a dog for a walk. Ask a friend to join you.

Lift your spirits and improve your health.

Betty Kuffel MD and Bev EricksonTall Grass

Lipstick Logic

Your Heart Book Cover- Final FINALMore information about heart health and losing weight can be found in our book: YOUR HEART

Healthy Lifestyle – 2015

MAKING CHANGES IN THE NEW YEAR

Lifestyle means different things to different people. In the past, a healthy lifestyle for hardworking farmers meant getting up before dawn to first milk cows before spending a long day of heavy labor in the fields. A breakfast of fried pork chops and eggs accompanied by homemade bread slathered with butter commonly provided the first meal of the day. A hard working man needed those heavy calories for energy to perform his daily job.

Scan old photos and it’s unlikely you’ll find a fat farmer. They ate food laden with fat and calories but they worked it off. They earned their calories. My grandfather was a farmer. I saw what he ate. My family enjoyed amazing meals, especially during threshing when friends helped friends and families helped families. Eating well was their way of life. For most of us it’s the same today—except now, many people don’t earn their calories.

The body is an efficient metabolic machine. When you eat more calories than you burn your body stores the excess as fat. So lifestyle today is different from the lifestyle of the past, and practices of the past are unhealthy today.

Exercise is the single most important activity that correlates with a long and healthy life. A close second are: your food choices and the volume of food you eat. We need to eat to live, not live to eat.

A new twenty year-long study of 70,000 women confirmed a healthy lifestyle could prevent 75% of heart attacks in young women. Death rates from heart disease in the US have slowly dropped over the past four decades, but in women ages 35-44, this is not true. The study published in the American College of Cardiology reported health habits make the difference. Women with unhealthy lifestyle choices began showing increased heart risks by age 47.

Below are seven top ways to improve your lifestyle and reduce risks for heart disease:

• Don’t smoke
• Consume a maximum of one alcoholic drink/day
• Maintain a normal body mass index (BMI)
• Watch seven or fewer hours of TV per week
• Exercise at least 2.5 hours per week (35 minutes per day)
• Eat a quality diet based on Harvard’s School of Public Health healthy eating plate.
• Have an annual physical that includes a lipid panel

Smoking: Quit. Ask your doctor for assistance if you can’t do it on your own.
Alcohol: Wine: 5 ounces, Liquor: 1.5 ounces, Beer: 12 ounces
Plate and portions: Healthy Eating
BMI: At the link below you’ll find health information and a BMI calculator to check your current BMI. For the calculation you need to know your weight in pounds and height.
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Make 2015 a healthy year for you and your family. Monitor your blood pressure, address your weight, add exercise every day and encourage others to do the same.

Betty Kuffel, MD and Bev Erickson

Lipstick Logic (TM)

CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS INCREASE HEART RISK

 RETHINKING CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS

TAutumn Floral Hearthe British Medical Journal published an important research study online in February 2013. Involving over 60,000 Swedish women, following their mammograms and health over 19 years, researchers found 32% of deaths were from cardiovascular disease with half being from coronary artery disease and the rest from strokes. When diet and supplemental calcium were assessed, they found increased calcium, above 1,400 milligrams per day, was associated with almost a doubling of death from coronary artery disease.

 Calcium supplements combined with high calcium in the diet increased the risk.

 This is not the first report regarding calcium supplements and increased risk of heart attacks. A recent report in JAMA Intern Med 2012, in a 12 year follow-up of nearly 400,000 men and women, showed increased risk of heart disease death in men (but not women) who took 1000 mg of calcium supplements. In the June 1012 issue of Heart; (98:920-925), researchers found dietary intake with calcium supplements increased overall cardiovascular mortality. In 2010, another BMJ article showed calcium supplements without vitamin D supplements increased the risk of heart attack.

The US Preventive Services Task Force consists of a group of experts in preventive healthcare. Their recommendations published February 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated the following:

  • In men and women without osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency, it is unclear whether they should take vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent fractures.
  • It is unclear whether postmenopausal women should take daily supplements of more than 1000 mg of calcium.
  • They also report, daily supplements of 400 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium has no effect on the incidence of fractures in postmenopausal women

So, why are so many women taking vitamin D and calcium supplements if calcium supplements do not translate to betterXray pelvis health and fewer fractures? -And, when many studies are actually showing evidence of adverse cardiovascular effects associated with increased calcium intake? The debate on the topic of calcium supplements is ongoing, but at this time, calcium supplements are no longer broadly encouraged, unless based on unique health decisions between patient and physician.

The safest approach to this conundrum is to consult your physician, site these articles and, unless you have osteoporosis, discuss stopping calcium supplements and obtaining your calcium from foods in your diet. Dietary calcium is found in broccoli, green leafy vegetables, fortified soy milk, tofu and baked beans. Tofu, bean cake made from soy, is high in calcium. One-half cup of tofu made with calcium sulfate = 434 milligrams.

Elements of strong bones include: calcium, protein, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin D and potassium. For years we have consumed large amounts of milk, sometimes called “liquid meat.” Cow’s milk is nutritious containing proteins, vitamin D, phosphorous and calcium.  All are needed for strong bones.  Milk also contains undesirable saturated fat and calories. Drink less milk and eat more calcium rich foods to obtain your daily calcium dietary requirements.

Vitamin D and Heart Attack: New research from the University of Copenhagen shows increased risk of heart attack and death with low levels of vitamin D. And, Vitamin D deficiency may increase blood pressure. There is no proven cause between low D and heart risk, but this correlation requires more study. The study, published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology journal, evaluated 10,000 Danes in the Copenhagen City Heart Study..

Exercise and vitamins are very important for bone health. In fact, bone strength is primarily generated during the teenage years and maintained throughout life with weight bearing exercise such as walking and a healthy diet containing about 1000 mg of calcium. Eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to long-term bone and heart health.

Talk to your medical professional about the appropriate way to meet your calcium and vitamin D needs. Ask for a vitamin D level to see if you need to eat more D foods or take a supplement. Another way to get vitamin D is through limited sun exposure on your skin to allow your body to generate vitamin D. Those who live in northern climates are often vitamin D deficient because they lack sun exposure. Sunblock, important to protect against sun damage and melanoma, limits natural vitamin D conversion and contributes to vitamin D deficiency.

In the meantime, eat a diet containing the nutrients you need. Walk more to increase bone density. Exercise correlates with longer life and better health, too.

Just as recommendations related to hormone replacement after menopause changed in the past,  science-based recommendations in the area of calcium supplements are changing. What we thought was the solution to maintaining bone density may be adding serious health risks. Studies on bone health are ongoing, so watch the media for additional information. Because so many women have reduced bone density and are on calcium supplements, these studies are very important. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Calcium supplements are so commonly consumed, this may be a factor contributing to the high incidence of heart disease.

This is one of the many topics covered in our book, available later this month: Your Heart: Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease in Women, Men and Children.

Betty Kuffel, MD

LINKS TO LIVING LONGER

DON’T WAIT–DROP THE WEIGHT

Coronary artery disease (CAD) kills more men and women than any other disease including cancer. Being overweight increases your chance of heart attack. With 68% of adults in the US now being overweight or obese, weight loss is key in reducing heart disease and sudden death risks. Reduce your risk for dying from this silently progressive disease by taking control of your life. The most important step to reduce your risks for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease is to obtain a normal weight. Weight loss is difficult, possibly more difficult than quitting smoking, but if you do smoke, it is killing you. You need to stop. Smoking is the number one risk for heart disease. To reduce your weight, you can’t  just stop eating. Instead, you must make choices, change your eating habits and begin following a path to health.

This is the first LINK TO LIVING LONGER blog. Regular postings will follow. Many will be excerpts from our book Your Heart that will be available this month. Your Heart is a handbook for heart health and the road to longevity. All of the information is science-based. No gimmicks. All the facts are there, from normal heart function to what happens at the cellular level when cholesterol starts clogging your arteries.

We won’t try to turn you into doctors, but all the facts will be there to help you make informed decisions related to your health and the health of your family. You will be able to understand cholesterol, dietary fats, sugar, high fructose sugar and how obesity is killing us. The book is not a diet book but does provide factual information on food choices.

You may want to try the “5:2” diet popularized by Dr. Michael J. Mosley. See the link below. In the 5:2 diet, you eat normally for five days, then you eat only 500 calories for 2 days.  Many people are finding this “intermittent fasting” diet a way to jump-start their weight loss program. You might call it a gimmick, but it is a way for you to begin losing weight while  learning to change what you eat. If you are diabetic, you should do this only under the care of your physician. However, as a Type 2 diabetic, weight loss does reduce insulin resistance and may actually get you off your medications. Weight loss also lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke.

On the days your calorie intake is down, your body will thank you. Soon, you will be patting yourself on the back. Feeling better and lowering heart risks is your present to yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5:2_diet

Betty Kuffel, MD

CUTTING HOLIDAY CALORIES LOGICALLY

Calories in/Calories out Weight control scale and tape

Each pound of body weight equals 3500 kcal (calories). To gain a pound, you simply eat 3500 calories more than you burn. To lose a pound, it’s the opposite and much more difficult to accomplish—you must eat less or burn more, to equal a deficit of 3500 calories.

For example, if you eat one banana per day (100 calories) more than you have burned, in one week you will have stored 700 extra calories. That makes 2800 calories in a month and in one year, about ten pounds of excess weight. One hundred calories doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up. It is just: one tablespoon of butter, a slice of bread (with a teaspoon of butter), an apple. It’s in the numbers.

Gelato DessertIf you are in the habit of eating ice cream at bedtime, one scoop contains about 400 calories. That adds up even faster. If you eat a scoop of ice cream even three nights a week without earning it by exercising 400 calories, in a year, you will be fifteen pounds heavier. But do you only eat one scoop, or do you eat more and with chocolate syrup?

So, what do you have to do to earn a 400 calorie treat? A 120 pound person jumping rope burns about 9 calories per minute. That means you have to jump rope for 43 minutes. Not many of us will do that even for ice cream. Hiking for 1.5 hours, the same weight person would burn off 400 calories. Or just walk 4 miles per day and you have earned your 400 calorie snack and won’t gain weight.

Losing weight is more difficult than quitting smoking because you must make thoughtful food choices everyday, many times a day, for life. Quitting smoking is quitting, no more choices. You don’t need tobacco to live but you do need food.

Motivation to lose weight must come from within. It takes dedication and a change in eating patterns.  It is life-changing and you can do it!  To be successful, some people need to change friends. Friends who tempt you with high calorie meals and don’t assist you in your plan are not friends. They are like people who offer liquor to alcoholics who have quit drinking.

There are no excuses. Being overweight and unhealthy is not purely genetic. It is about fifty percent environmental. Yes, body type such as the “apple shape,” those with a round belly and skinny legs, are familial and at high risk for heart disease and diabetes. But weight control, food choices and exercise, are healthy choices that can change all that. Identical twin studies show the twin adopted into a family of healthy-eating exercisers attains a thin body shape. The twin adopted into a family of snackers who are couch potatoes ends up overweight like the adoptive family.

Unfortunately, there is no magic to weight loss. Effective weight control or weight loss plans all include exercise. Exercise increases metabolism, improves fitness, burns calories, decreases depression, prolongs life—and it goes on and on. Try to make exercise a part of your day and your healthy weight plan. If you walk for thirty minutes, climb stairs for fifteen minutes or do general housework for twenty-five minutes, you will burn one hundred calories.

Eliminating excess fat intake is the easiest way to cut calories. You would hardly miss a tablespoon of butter that contains one hundred calories. One tablespoon of oil is found in many creamy salad dressings, mayo and most gravy. Envision how much a tablespoon contains. It is a small amount, much less than the usual ladle commonly used to serve salad dressing. You can still use salad dressing; just don’t sabotage your plan. Or better yet, use low-calorie vinegar dressing instead.

Weight Watchers teaches people how to eat.  Healthy food choices become a part of every meal. They use a point system instead of calorie counting to make it simple and with this method you will learn how to eat. If you are not inclined to attend meetings you can join online or find a friend who has similar interests, learn to count calories, eat healthy and walk every day. If you have trouble walking, find an activity such as stationary bicycling or swimming that you and your physician believe is safe for you.

Set a goal. If you lose one pound a week, that is 52 pounds in a year. If you are significantly overweight and would like to lose that much, it is best to do it gradually with healthy choices and exercise. That way you are much more likely to keep it off and improve your health for life. The Mediterranean diet which consists primarily of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meat and fish, provides easy healthful food choices. You omit fried foods, caloric pastries and use mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil sparingly.Vegetables

Some holiday thoughts regarding food choices:

  • Serve healthy low-calorie food options to your family and guests.
  • Keep candy and sweets out of view. Lower temptations to snack.
  • Don’t buy unhealthy snacks. Consider chips poison due to calories, fat and excess salt content.
  • Keep apples in view. It is a low calorie healthful snack.
  • Forget pies and ice cream. A slice of pie is about 400 calories a slice.
  • Go very light on pasta, gravies, creamy salad dressings, mayo and nuts.

Overview of a few calorie counts on common food choices:

  • 1 cup of oil roasted peanuts~900 calories
  • 20 almonds~150 calories
  • 1 cup plain pasta or 1 cup white rice or 1 cup mashed potatoes~ 220 calories
  • 2 slices white meat turkey~45 calories
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, fat drained~100 calories
  • 1 boiled egg~ 80 calories
  • 1 egg white~ 15 calories
  • 1 slice bread~70 calories
  • 1 peanut butter/butter/2 slices of bread sandwich~400 calories
  • 1 cup cooked green beans~45 calories
  • 1 medium apple~ 90 calories

ApplesCheck out www.WebMD.com (Living Healthy) for some heart healthy recipes, and www.Realage.com (and take the RealAge Test).

Make 2013 a healthier year for you and your family. In this chaotic world, there are many things out of our control, but inside your world, examine what you can control. Small changes in the right direction can make a huge difference in your health.