During the first season of Everyday Health , hosts Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca visited Katie Stagliano, founder of Katie’s Krops in Summerville, S.C. The 13-year-old began a community garden after her 40-pound cabbage won top honors in her elementary school class’s contest. After three years, Stagliano now has 11 satellite gardens, which also donate food to local shelters and families in need. (Catch the Everyday Health episode featuring Katie’s Krops on Dec. 17 or 18 on your local ABC station.)
After hearing that Zohn’s cancer had returned, Stagliano became inspired to do even more. Here, she checks in to tell us what else she’s got growing.
The holidays are a time when a lot of people are donating to soup kitchens and giving toys to those in need. I think that it is amazing how much support these people get during the holiday season: Food baskets on Thanksgiving, coat and jacket drives for the cold winter months, and toys for Christmas. This means a lot to families, especially those with young kids, who have trouble providing for themselves.
But what a lot of people
A new report claims that the makers of sugar-laden drinks such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks take direct aim at children, particularly black and Hispanic kids, in their marketing campaigns.
Despite promises to improve their marketing practices, these companies still use tactics such as rewards for buying sugary drinks, community events, cause-related marketing, promotions and product placement in social media, according to researchers at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. The findings were slated to be presented Monday at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“We found that children’s exposure to TV ads for full-calorie soda doubled from 2008 to 2010,” Jennifer Harris, report author and director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center, said during a morning news conference. “We also found that energy drinks are heavily marketed to children and teens.”
Companies are reaching children not only by direct advertising, but through product placement on prime-time TV, the Internet and Facebook, Harris said.
Not only do beverage makers target children, but they also make health claims even though their products
Every September, Jews all over the world celebrate the Jewish New Year with a slew of traditional foods, including apples and honey and honey cake to symbolize a sweet year ahead. This tradition dates back hundreds (if not thousands) of years, but there’s more to it than good wishes — honey can also be used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.
Ring in the Jewish year 5,773, (and the tail end of National Honey Month!) by taking advantage of the amazing health benefits of honey — and try some great seasonal honey recipes that Jews and non-Jews alike will enjoy this fall.
- Immune booster: Honey’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help your immune system defend you against illness, including the common cold.
- Weight-loss aid: Honey may help dieters lose weight when used in moderation as a replacement for other sweeteners. Keep in mind that one tablespoon of honey has about 63 calories, so use it sparingly.
- Digestion aid: Honey is a popular home remedy (though the science behind this isn’t conclusive) for all kinds of digestive problems, including constipation and ulcers. For a
People who feel powerless may choose larger food portions in an attempt to boost their social status, a new study suggests.
Northwestern University researchers found that people equate larger food portions with higher social standing. For example, study participants believed that people who opted for a large coffee had more social status than those who chose a medium or small coffee, even when the price was the same.
The study also found that people who feel powerless (such as those in lower socioeconomic groups) selected larger pieces of bagels than others, and chose larger smoothies when they were at a social event than when they were alone.
The findings were released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.
“An ongoing trend in food consumption is consumers’ tendency to eat more and more. Even more worrisome, the increase in food consumption is particularly prevalent among vulnerable populations such as lower socioeconomic status consumers,” study author David Dubois, of HEC Paris, and colleagues at Northwestern University wrote in a journal news release.
The team noted that it’s common for people to equate the size of a consumer product — such as a house, TV or vehicle —
Jenny Craig may have taken top prize when Consumer Reports ranked the best diets of 2011 in May, but the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet earned best diets overall honors in U.S. News & World Report’s first-ever diet rankings, released today.
In an effort to help Americans weed through a seemingly endless array of weight-loss plan options, U.S. News recruited a panel of 22 health experts (nutritionists and specialists in weight loss, diabetes, heart health, and human behavior) to rank 20 of today’s most popular diets. “The goal of the Best Diets rankings is to help consumers find authoritative guidance on healthful diets that will work for them over the long haul,” according to U.S. News Health News editor Lindsay Lyon in a press release.
The results include the the best weight-loss diets, the best diets overall, the best heart-healthy diets, the best diets for diabetes, and the best commercial diets.
Each diet was rated from one to five in the following categories: short-term weight loss (within 12 months), long-term weight loss (two years or more), ease of compliance (satiety, taste appeal, special requirements), nutritional completeness (based on the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines), health risks (malnutrition, rapid weight loss, contraindications
The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:
- Diet and lifestyle changes
- Prescription medicines
- Weight-loss surgery
For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:
- Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
- Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
- Once you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.
Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications
Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:
- Stress or anxiety
- Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
- Eating too fast
- Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you’re eating
- Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
- Trying to follow a too-strict diet
- Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry
Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
- Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before, during, and after you eat
- Following a healthy diet that provides enough
When you think of hospital food, what comes to mind — mystery meat, watery bouillon, limp peas and carrots, wobbly green Jell-O? It’s no secret that the meals served to patients haven’t been a hit in terms of taste. There’s even a photo blog that invites people to submit snapshots of hospital meals from all over the world, and while some look pretty tasty, most are sad, unidentifiable variations on stereotypical hospital fare.
And while you’d think that meals designed for people who are sick should follow the latest nutritional guidelines, that’s often been far from the case. When the advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and ADinfinitum Inc. surveyed 40 hospitals or hospital systems across the United States in 2005, they found that fewer than a third had either a daily salad bar or a low-fat vegetarian entrée, and many so-called healthy items offered were actually very high in fat. Studies have also found that hospital food may have lower levels of nutrients like vitamin C, perhaps because the food is heated to a high temperature in order to retain warmth when delivered to patient rooms some time later.
But lately, the image of bland, unhealthy hospital meals has
Weight loss veterans know that losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment, yet even savvy dieters can occasionally be tempted by the quick weight loss promised by fad diets. As each new “lose weight fast” gimmick comes along, some people forget about the negatives associated with most fad diets — from a lack of nutritional value to food restrictions that are hard to live with — while others might not know if the weight-loss plan they’re considering is a fad or a program that could be helpful over the long haul. Here’s how to tell a flash-in-the-pan plan from an effective one
Beware Magical Claims and Passing Promises
“It seems to be human nature to be attracted to fad diets, which promise quick and easy results,” says Allen Knehans, PhD, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma University Health Sciences University in Oklahoma City. Weeding out fad diets takes a bit of effort because, Knehans acknowledges, “there is no standard definition of a fad diet.” Here are some of the red flags that indicate a weight-loss plan is an ineffective fad diet:
- The diet promises that you will lose weight fast or at an unrealistic pace. The claims
More and more grocery stores are making room for organic produce to keep up with increasing demand. Why are people going organic? Reasons include a growing national concern about the safety of our produce and a general movement toward an organic diet.
The Organic Diet: What Does Organic Really Mean?
Organic foods are thought to be better for your health and the environment because they’re grown in a natural, chemical-free way. Organic produce is grown using natural pest control methods, instead of pesticides, and organic meats don’t rely on chemicals to prevent diseases in animals. Instead of chemicals, organic farmers:
- Rotate crops frequently to stave off insects
- Fertilize crops with manure or compost
- Use chemical-free soils
- Allow animals to spend more time roaming instead of in confined spaces where diseases can spread
- Use organic feed to feed livestock
- Do not use certain medications (including hormones and antibiotics) on livestock
Find out what the 13 best superfoods are.
The Organic Diet: What Are the Benefits of Going Organic?
The decision to choose organic produce and other foods is a personal one, based on your own needs and concerns. Some people just don’t want to eat any food that could contain pesticides and other chemicals, says Anne Wolf, RD, a registered dietitian
For maximum heart health, you need to eat a well-balanced diet. But what does that really mean? “Try a diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber,” recommends Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, adjunct professor in the department of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. Here’s how to put such a diet in place.
Diet for Heart Health: Get Plenty of Fiber
Fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of diabetes (a risk factor for heart disease) and certain types of cancer. “We recommend about 25 grams of fiber a day, for men a bit more. It’s based on your weight,” Young says. “Most Americans eat much, much less than that. If you follow a good diet, you’ll get enough, but so many of us don’t.”
The best way to include fiber in your diet is to eat a variety of whole grains and a mixture of fruits and veggies that have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps clear out cholesterol from your bloodstream. Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley, dried beans, and peas; insoluble fiber is found in vegetables like beets and brussels sprouts, as well as whole-grain bread.
Eye disease is one of the most common causes of permanent disability in the United States. More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, and 10 million Americans age 60 and over have age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These eye diseases occur as we grow older, and proper nutrition may have some affect on both of them.
Cataracts develop on the lens of the eye when the proteins in the lens are damaged. These proteins are responsible for keeping the lens clear. When they become damaged, the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, and your vision may become blurry. You may also have poor night vision or double vision with cataracts. Cataract surgery is often necessary to remove and replace the damaged lens with an artificial lens.
AMD occurs when cells in the macula of the eye die. The macula is located in the center of the retina in the back of the eye, and is responsible for your sharp, central vision, which you need for reading and other tasks that require good eyesight. Once the macula is damaged, your vision is no longer clear, and you cannot make out fine details of objects. There is no cure for AMD,
If you’re like most Americans, you read the ingredients list on food packages. But what exactly is alpha-tocopherol? Ascorbic acid? Sodium nitrite? And how do these and 3,000 other approved food additives affect you and your health?
Food Additives: What Are They?
A “food additive” is any substance added during the production, processing, or storage of food. A manufactured product or a product derived from nature, it can be salt used to preserve or sugar used to sweeten. Additives can be vitamins or minerals used to enrich, a fat replacement used to enhance texture, or a color or dye to enhance appearance.
Regardless of whether an additive contributes nutritionally or just cosmetically, it cannot be used in a food product until it has been deemed safe for the general public by the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and sometimes other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Food Additives: FDA Regulations
While new additives must pass rigorous testing before approved, the 1958 Food Additives Amendment that set the stage for FDA approval of food additives stipulates that:
- Certain food additives in use before 1958 and “believed to be safe” will not undergo further review. These include sodium nitrite and potassium nitrite,
“It wasn’t that much. It was like a few tomato plants, a pepper plant, and a lettuce,” Katie says of her “salad garden.”
Of course it may not seem like much now to this ambitious seventh grader, who turned her passion for planting and picking into a thriving non-profit organization that manages nearly 20 gardens to help to feed the homeless and hungry through local shelters and soup kitchens. The group, Katie’s Krops is featured on the next episode of Everyday Health airing October 1 or 2 on your local ABC station.
And it all got started with a not-so-small cabbage.
Planting the Seed of Change — Literally
When Katie, now 13, was in third grade, her school participated in the Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program, which provides students with cabbage plants to grow to win a $1,000 scholarship (and bragging rights, natch).
“We planted it and treated it like every other plant in the garden,” Katie recalls. “But it ended up growing to be so much bigger than every other plant.”
In fact, the cabbage (an O.S. Cross variety, known for producing giant heads) ultimately weighed in at a staggering 40 pounds — and won Katie the contest.
But after the initial cheers and
Ever wish there was a quick-reference guide to remind you of the basics of good nutrition and healthy eating? If it’s tough for you to track how many grains, meats, fruits, veggies, and dairy products you need each day, just think back to the food groups or food pyramid that we learned about as kids. Today’s food pyramid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is new and improved, with even more great information to help everyone eat their way to good health.
The Food Pyramid for Nutrition Guidance: The Changes
Figuring out the food groups has actually become a little easier in recent years. “The look of the food pyramid has changed,” notes Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, a nutritionist, online nutritional coach, and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Ky. Vertical stripes replace the old blocks.
The changes were made, she says, to make the food pyramid easier to use. “People can take a quick look and understand without going into too much detail,” says Meyerowitz. “The stripes on the pyramid are of varying widths, and that’s to represent that you need more of some foods and less of others.” For instance, the food pyramid stripes are thicker for grains, fruits, and vegetables
Drinking is associated with a poor diet, a new study says.
Spanish researchers surveyed more than 12,000 adults aged 18 to 64 about their drinking and eating habits. They found that heavy drinking, binge drinking, a preference for hard liquor and even drinking at mealtimes were associated with poor adherence to major nutrition guidelines.
Although drinking during mealtimes is traditionally associated with good health, the researchers found that this was not true if the drinkers ate carelessly.
“Our results are of relevance because they show that drinking at mealtimes is associated with insufficient intake of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and with excessive intake of animal protein,” said study corresponding author Jose Lorenzo Valencia-Martin, a doctor at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, said in a journal news release.
“In Spain, alcohol is frequently drunk during meals, particularly lunch and dinner. Because of this, and the lower prevalence of abstainers, our findings apply to most adults in Spain and in other Mediterranean countries in Europe,” he added.
Valencia-Martin pointed out that heavy drinkers were likely to develop liver disease, and that many tended to favor high-energy fast foods high in trans fat. Unfortunately, a diet high in trans fats might also contribute to
The gluten-free craze is no new trend. For nearly a decade people have been removing the protein from their menu – many with the hope of dropping a few extra pounds.
And the restrictive diet trend is still going strong. Case in point: Pizza Hut has finally hopped on the gluten-free bandwagon, announcing that it will offer gluten-free pies at almost half of their United States chains by the end of the month.
While promising news for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance who want to enjoy an occasional slice, there’s no doubt that those looking for a healthier option may be tempted by the new menu addition.
Despite years of debate, it’s still a common misconception that removing gluten from your diet is a quick-fix weight loss trick. But unless you have a gluten intolerance, choosing only gluten-free foods is not necessarily going to benefit you and could certainly make meal planning more difficult.
“A gluten-free diet is a diet that does not include gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley,” says Tricia Thompson, RD, a dietitian based in Manchester, Mass., who focuses on developing gluten-free eating programs for people with celiac disease. “It is a medically prescribed
Cavities, weight gain … and violence? Soda may have a shocking new side effect for kids, according to a new study published online today in the journal Injury Prevention.
When researchers surveyed the habits of 1,878 Boston-area high school students, they found that those who drank five or more fizzy non-diet soft drinks a week were more likely to be violent toward family and friends, to carry a gun or knife, and to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes than teens who drank soda less often.
Although most people would agree that soda isn’t exactly healthy — for kids or adults, for that matter — this news may be alarming to parents concerned about this surprising effect on kids’ emotional health. Just how worried should you be? Here, five things you should know about soda and your child’s health:
- The sugary soda-aggression link needs more research. The new study is food for thought, so to speak, but it’s still not clear that the soft drinks themselves actually cause violent behavior in teenagers. Could there be underlying social factors in a child’s life, such as a low-income household or lack of parental supervision, that encourages him or her to drink a lot of sugary
Many people who are watching their weight — or trying to lose some pounds — turn to their bathroom scale. But that old familiar standby is not the only way to measure one’s size. Another possibility to consider is your body fat percentage.
Body Fat: What Are the Dangers?
When most of us hear the words “body fat” they have immediate negative connotations. However, in the right proportion, fat is actually critical to our diet and health. In the not-so-distant past, the ability to store extra body fat allowed our ancestors to survive in times of famine, when food was hard to come by. Even today it’s essential to keep the body functioning, to preserve body heat, and to protect organs from trauma.
Problems arise when our bodies store too much fat. This can lead to a variety of health issues, including high cholesterol, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance. Especially dangerous is fat stored at the waist, creating what is often called an “apple-shaped” body, as opposed to fat on the hips and thighs, a “pear-shaped” body.
“Normal body fat for men is around 8 to 15 percent of their total body weight and for women approximately 20 to 30 percent,” says
If we are what we eat, then many of us must be tripping all over the place due to a lack of balance. That’s because the average American eats about three servings of fruits and vegetables per day — a stark contrast to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new guidelines stating that we should be eating 5 to 13 servings of nature’s best, depending on the number of calories you need.
So if we want to grow to be strong like Popeye, why can’t we just down some supplements instead of devouring a pile of spinach?
Nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables work together. Kristine Wallerius Cuthrell, MPH, RD, a research nutritionist and senior project coordinator for Hawaii Foods at the Center on the Family at University of Hawaii at Manoa, says that in the past five to 10 years, many large research studies have found that vitamin supplements don’t provide the benefits that foods do. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, created jointly between HHS and USDA and reviewed every five years, say that foods are the best sources of nutrients because they contain naturally occurring ingredients, like carotenoids and flavonoids.
Sodas are sweet, sparkling and tasty — but don’t confuse them with a healthy drink. Doctors have discovered a ton of health risks connected with drinking soda pop. Worse, you’re robbing yourself of a healthy drink alternative brimming with needed vitamins and minerals every time you chug down a soft drink.
“If you’re choosing a soda, chances are you aren’t choosing a healthy beverage,” says Keri M. Gans, a nutrition consultant in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. There are a number of healthy drink choices you can make instead.
Why Say No to Soda?
- Soda is truly worthless to your body. “In my opinion, there’s really one major reason to not drink soda,” Gans says. “It has absolutely no nutritional value. Soda is filled with sugar and calories and nothing else.” Even diet sodas — low to no calories and sugar — don’t have any redeeming virtues, nutritionally. Healthy drinks, on the other hand, have vitamins and minerals the body can use. Even plain water can rehydrate your body without adding extra calories to your diet.
- Sugary sodas contribute to obesity and diabetes. Soda is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to obesity.