My Diet is Better than Yours: worth a look

ABC this week premiered a new show, My Diet is Better than Yours, that sounds  a bit hokey but was fascinating viewing for me. It’s a variation of Biggest Loser on NBC.

On the ABC show, contestants get to pick a diet plan and diet plan advocate to follow and train with. The five diets all have some wacky elements to them but they’re basically about eating less processed foods and exercising more, which is really the secret to any successful weight loss.

Shaun T, host of My Diet is better than Yours

What I found most interesting was the low self-esteem all the contestants expressed. It was really sad to hear about all these  unhappy people hiding behind food. I’ve done it myself and still do it, so I understand, but it’s still sad to see it on the air. Continue reading “My Diet is Better than Yours: worth a look”

New nutritional guidelines not tough enough on salt, target sugar instead

Anticipated U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines came out Thursday and, as I wrote last February, they let up a bit on salt concerns to focus on sugar as the worst of the evil three of salt, fat and sugar that we all eat too much of in the typical American diet.

“The average person eats 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, and the guidelines say everyone should lower that to 2,300, or about a teaspoon,” notes the New York Times report on the guidelines, which are issued every five years.

Salt gets off easy in the new dietary guidelines, too easy, I think.,
Salt gets off easy in the new dietary guidelines, too easy, I think.,

“Lowering sodium intake was the major push of the 2010 guidelines, and that document recommended that those most at risk of heart disease, or about half the population, lower their intake to 1,500 mg. The new guidelines delete that lower amount as part of the top recommendations. Later on, though, the report says those with high blood pressure and prehypertension could benefit from a steeper reduction,” the Times reports. Continue reading “New nutritional guidelines not tough enough on salt, target sugar instead”

A noble experiment to help shoppers find low-sodium options

Finding low-sodium products in supermarkets is a constant battle I’ve been fighting and writing about for more than three years now. Items labeled healthy or even low-sodium may still have too much salt depending on how much you’d normally eat in a meal (serving sizes on packages bare little resemblance to what actual servings are for most people).

So I was interested to see a Connecticut supermarket is teaming up with a local hospital in Norwich to help shoppers there find low-sodium options.

A ShopRite store is working with a local hospital to give consumers information on low-sodium offerings.
A ShopRite store is working with a local hospital to give consumers information on low-sodium offerings.

I also was encouraged to see that low-sodium is being defined there as less than 140 mgs or sodium per serving. That means double the serving size would mean 280 mgs of sodium, acceptable to someone like me who is trying to eat less than 1,500 mgs of sodium a day. Continue reading “A noble experiment to help shoppers find low-sodium options”

2015 — a setback year in my battle against fat and sugar

My 2012 angioplasty set me on a path to change my eating habits to lessen the chance of future heart problems. I went on to drop nearly 30 pounds over the first two years after the surgery.

But 2015 proved a setback year for me, so much so that last week I went out to buy some 40-inch-waist pants again, after having thrown out the ones I had back in 2012.

Nathan's hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff.
Nathan’s hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff that led to my gaining six pounds in four days of New York City eating

Studies have pointed to increased risk fo heart problems for men with waists larger than 38 or 39 inches.

I’ve hovered between 38 and 40 most of my adult life, getting as high as a 44 at one point. I find my equilibrium waist, the size I feel most comfortable with, is normally around 39, which puts me in dubious territory heart-wise.

So what happened last year? I got tired of always being hungry, for one thing. Also, a variety of external stress factors as the year wore on simply wore down my resolve to eat well.

I gained 14 pounds over the course of the year, but six pounds of that came in December thanks to a trip to the place of my birth, New York City, where I ate all the foods I grew up loving — all high in fat, sugar, salt and calories.

My eating binge continued into the Christmas-New Year’s holidays as I once again ate chocolate and candies I have largely given up.

With a new year here now, it’s time for me to jump back on the low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar bandwagon, which will mean  a return to hunger pangs but, also hopefully, a return to a smaller waist size as I drop enough pounds to go back to my 38-inch-waist pants.



Sugar or salt, which is harder to kick?

I’ve often characterized sugar, salt and fat as the evil triangle of foods — a triangle I have struggled mightily to avoid since my 2012 angioplasty. Of sugar or salt, which is harder to drop from your diet?

For me, its long been sugar. I’ve cut massive amounts of salt from what I eat by eating out less and eating less processed foods as well as by checking for low-salt varieties of such everyday kitchen staples as ketchup, tomato sauce and even olives.

Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.
Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.

So I was happy, if that’s the right term for  sad situation, to see this video report from Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert about a new research that shows it is indeed harder to drop sugar from your diet than salt. Continue reading “Sugar or salt, which is harder to kick?”

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