Brown-Bagging It

Man preparing foodEating out is increasing. Over 70 billion meals and snacks are served to Americans away from home each year, with more than 70 percent from fast food establishments. Studies show that when we eat out we consume more calories, fat and sodium. The average person eating just one meal per week away from home will gain an average of 2 pounds per year. And lots of people eat more than one meal away from home each week. READ MORE

Get In Touch With Your Hunger

Hungry CrockHungry as a crock? Maybe, maybe not. As infants we knew when we were hungry. (So did our moms and dads, because we sure let them know it!) Over the years, however, many of us have lost touch with our hunger signals. Eating occasions have become motivated by other circumstances. We eat because we’re bored, stressed, depressed, to celebrate, to socialize or because an advertiser has lured us by way of a food advertisement. And our environment and way-of-life are no help when it comes to reviving our long-lost hunger cues. We eat when we get a chance (e.g. lunchtime at work, in-between appointments, before taking the kids to soccer or dance class). Also, food is ubiquitous, with “weapons of mass expansion” everywhere – fast food establishments/restaurants, vending machines, snack bars, etc. READ MORE

Know Your Sizes

measuring cupsServing sizes that is. One of the biggest reasons people have gained weight over the years has been the ever-growing portion sizes. During the past 30 years, commercial food companies have produced larger products (think 6-ounce soda bottle vs. current 20-ounce variety or 110-calorie bagel vs. the now 310-calorie behemoth), restaurants have provided bigger and bigger entrees and, having gotten used to these new portions as normal, we eat larger portions at home as well. Notice I refer to “portions” that we eat, as opposed to standard serving sizes. Servings being the recommended amounts and portions being whatever we or the food producers decide to put on our plates. READ MORE

One for the Road? Maybe None for the Road!

Bottle of wine on kitchen tableAlcohol is often touted as possibly lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke. But credible health organizations reporting this will always add the caveat that if you currently don’t drink, do not begin to do so for this purpose. And if you do drink alcohol, don’t have more than one drink per day for women and two for men. (Sorry ladies, blame it on nature for giving men more alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.) There is a good reason for this caveat. Alcohol can lead to many types of digestive cancers (mouth, esophagus), liver cancer and breast cancer. And the one- or two-drink-a-day moderation mantra does not apply, as even small amounts raise your risk. READ MORE

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomaato…

Tomato lifting dumbells with waist tapeNo matter how you say it, tomato juice may help you avoid osteoporosis, a condition resulting from loss of bone mass that occurs as we age. The star of the show is lycopene, a carotenoid (same family as alpha- and beta-carotene) that gives tomatoes and some other fruits their red color. The mechanism of action is believed to be the antioxidant properties of lycopene that neutralize free radicals that can cause bone loss. The most recent study was done with post-menopausal women 50-60 years of age. Drinking just two glasses of tomato juice or taking two 15-milligram lycopene supplements daily provided the benefits within a four-month period. (And men, there’s evidence that lycopene may help prevent prostate cancer as well!) READ MORE