Category Archives: weight gain

high fructose corn syrup to be renamed corn sugar?

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High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption is at a 20-year low with more than half of Americans believing corn sugar poses health risks. Consumers have become label-savvy when it comes to picking out HFCS on an ingredient list and companies including Gatorade, Sara Lee, Hunt’s ketchup, and Thomas English muffins have publicly removed HFCS from their ingredients.

HFCS has been around for decades and is the cheapest and most shelf-stable form of sugar on the market. HFCS is made by changing the glucose in cornstarch to fructose (a sugar naturally found in fruits) and the result is a combination of glucose and fructose, just like sugar. HFCS comprises just over half of the added sugars in our food supply but American’s consumption of sugar is up 50% from the 1970’s. It’s clear what’s really the problem, no?

Sweet Surprise is a multi-million dollar campaign put out by the Corn Refiners Association who have aired new commercials refuting any difference between corn sugar and cane sugar. That video can be viewed on the right side of the page.

A few other commercials have been put out by Sweet Surprise, and it’s definitely worth taking a few seconds to view them.

The Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have the name high fructose corn syrup changed to corn sugar. This is a potentially brilliant endeavor. When low erucic acid rapeseed oil was renamed canola oil, sales went up. Nothing about the product changed other than its name, and consumers bought it. Pun intended 😉

The difference in fructose/glucose composition of HFCS compared to sugar is negligible and to date there is no resolute data supporting the dangers of HFCS over sugar on “weight hormones” such as leptin, ghrelin, and insulin. Some rat studies have shown that HFCS promotes obesity more so than other sugars, but other studies have negated the very same claims. Basically, there are no definitive answers in the science world…yet.

It seems as though consumers want an “all-natural” sugar that offers sound nutrition and is “healthy” in abundance. Bottom line: sugar is sugar and should be used in moderation. Unlike the Sweet Surprise videos portrait, moderation is NOT in the form of Kool-Aid and sugary breakfast cereals…there are much better alternative out there. And whether Starbucks baked goods are made with HFCS or cane sugar, they will contain the same number of calories and have identical nutrition stats. Americans simply need to get down to business and limit ALL sugars and processed foods.

I would urge consumers to not get caught up in the gimmicks surrounding such issues. Why not assess labels for the lowest sugar content (grams per serving) rather than purchasing a high sugar product just because it contains sugar and not HFCS?

Is HFCS safe? I think so.
Is it the most “natural” sugar available? Nope.
Is HFCS over-used? I think so.
Is HFCS to blame for America’s obesity epidemic? I don’t think so.

I think this debate is very interesting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Question: Do you think HFCS is worse than sugar? Do you avoid HFCS? Why or why not?

Credible, wonderful sources:
Journal of Nutrition, Misconceptions about high-fructose corn syrup… American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High-fructose corn syrup, energy intake, and appetite regulation

P.S. Thanks, Kerstin for such a wonderful topic request!! 😀

Down with too much sugar,

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Filed under blog topic request, obesity epidemic, sugar substitutes, Uncategorized, US health care, weight gain

Guest Post: Body Image after ED’s

Hi everyone! We are in Illinois! We got in REALLY late last night! We are sad to be no longer be Okies…but excited to begin a new chapter of life. I realized as our home was packed and moving to a new place, home is where the heart is. As much as I loved our home in Tulsa, it wasn’t the same with all of our valuables and special touches removed. 😦 Enough sappiness…off to enjoy family time!

Today, Dana of Happiness Is Within will be talking about body image. Dana’s blog is so honest and raw — she makes me “get” eating disorders which have always been difficult for me to understand, even as a nutrition professional. You will appreciate Dana’s candid writing and super sweetness! 🙂

Take it away, Dana! 😀

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Hi everyone, I’m the writer behind Happiness is Within. I started the blog on a whim as a way to get and give support during my recovery from my Eating Disorder. It has turned into a great treasury of recovery tools for me and I couldn’t be more thankful!

I talk about body image a lot on my blog. I struggle with accepting my body on a daily basis. Everyday is a new challenge on learning to love my body the way it is. It was suggested to me at some point that I start a movement. This is when the ‘Love Your Body’ posts began!

These post have helped me more then I can put into words. Each post is from a guest writer, they tell their story and how they have come to love their own body.

I’ve realized through hearing from so many different women of different shapes and sizes that its not really about our size. You can hate your body at a size 0 or you can hate it at a size 14. In the end it’s the same, you still hate your body.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with size. We think the smaller our size, the healthier we are. Somehow weight loss became partners with health. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. What should matter is that we are eating a balanced diet and our body is in good health.

At my smaller sizes I was nothing but unhealthy. I was exhausted, cold, and my body stopped working properly. I couldn’t think straight and I felt nothing but hatred towards my body. I originally started recovery for my eating disorder to gain weight and health. At some point though, I decided I had enough of hating my body.

Learning to love your body is something that happens within. It doesn’t happen when you can fit into a smaller pant size or when you finally tone up your stomach. It happens when you decide your worth it and your beautiful just the way you are.

Loving your body happens when your sick of everyone telling you how you should look and you realize that we are all different, that’s what makes us beautiful.

Do you know how many women in their 40’s have told me they wish they recognized how great of a body they had when they were younger? Numerous women have told me they spent 20+ years wishing their body was different only to look back half a decade later and realize how beautiful they truly were. They wished they could have seen it they and didn’t spend so much time criticizing it because now its gone for them.

I encourage you to not be one of those people. Don’t waste your life hating your body. Don’t be one of those people who look back years from now and wish they would have appreciated their body more. Decide to make the change now to love the way your look and love your body for everything it enables you to do.

Imagine how much happier your life could be.

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Question: What helps you keep positive body image? What is something you could work on to improve your body image?

Columbus-bound,

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Filed under Guest Post, health at every size, Uncategorized, weight gain, weight loss

Size “Healthy”

I’ve crossed a lot of to-do’s off my list this week, but I was left with shopping for a suit for an upcoming interview. (Yes, I have a new job, but I may want another!). On my last interview, my suit was tight and uncomfortable. I did not feel my best. My “PCOS weight” as I refer to it, was not comfortable or flattering stuffed into my now too-small suit. Ugh.

Yesterday while shopping, a very kind woman was helping me piece together a suit. When she asked what size, I told her my best guess for formal attire. I got into the dressing room and the clothes were nearly falling off of me. Hm. Was I playing a mental game with myself without knowing it? Maybe it was the subconscious fear I had of grabbing my usual size and feeling completely down on myself if it didn’t fit well.

The woman helped me get the correct size and everything fit beautifully. I left feeling really good, knowing that I’ll look good for my interview next week.

I am not one to dwell on sizes, promise. If you don’t believe me, check out my guest post on Bikini Birthday about body image. I am shaped like a line-backer, and petite is about the last word most people would use to describe me. Unless, of course, they were referring to my height. In which case, they would be correct.

I still don’t know what transpired yesterday in that little noggin’ of mine. I don’t know whether I should be ashamed for misjudging my size so badly, or happy that I felt great after trying on clothes at my not-so-ideal weight. But what I do know is that I’ve come a long way when it comes to sizes.

In the past when I’ve bounded up a few pounds, I’ve continued to grab the size I used to be. Slinking to the changing room knowing that my love handles would be lurching from the waist band and the rear could fatefully rip if I dared to sit down. Duh. And yet, I refused to buy a bigger size. Pride. I would go home, commit to losing 10 pounds, and not one month later, the same changing room ordeal would transpire.

Angela had a great “movement” among her readers to encourage “size healthy”. I LOVE THIS. Size healthy is not a number…it’s a feeling, a knowing, an acceptance of YOU!

I left with my suit yesterday. In a size “healthy”. 😀

Question: Have you ever played the numbers game with clothing sizes? Have you ever disliked shopping because you felt like nothing would look good?

Be good to you,

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Filed under health at every size, PCOS, weight gain, work

You’re going to eat that?

As I was working really hard on Friday, I read Gracie’s post about friends commenting on her eating pie despite being a “health food blogger”. And I loved her response, something along the lines of health having a definition outside of food that included things all that increase her quality of life – like pie! Amen, sister! I loved that response.

Unfortunately, I am not as big a person as Gracie. I really dislike when people make comments like that. Not only am I nutrition blogger and dietitian, but a PERSON! I mean, hello?! Am I the only one that finds is slightly…rude…to dictate the appropriateness of what another is eating? It’s like verbally judging someone for their actions. A lot of people would look at a drive-through line wrapped around a parking lot 4x and think to themselves, “Wow, what people won’t do for some fast food” or see a grocery cart filled with Koo-laid, hot dogs, and Doritos and think something like, “Geez”. Point being, you may think it…but not many people would (or should) say it. Yet, when it comes to those in the limelight (blogger, dietitian, dieter, or otherwise), it’s appropriate to comment and judge?

“Dieters” get this all the time, too. You make the mistake of telling people you’re trying to lose some weight, you enjoy a piece of cake to celebrate a co-worker’s promotion, and BAM! Co-workers will comment. “Oh, are you off Weight Watchers now?”…”Is that on your diet plan? I want to be on that diet!”…”Hm, cake. Does that mean lettuce and vinegar for dinner?” Okay, I might be exaggerating…but you know it happens!

Rant over 🙂

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This week I tried stuffed turkey burgers. After KT gushed over her stuffed turkey burger rendition after seeing these stuffed turkey burgers, I figured…why not? I followed something more along Kristin’s recipe and simply stuffed 2% shredded mozzarella into the burger after seasoning the ground turkey breast with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, garlic, pepper, and some salt. And then we just grilled’em up!

Brushetta Turkey Burgers

Add a second layer of pounded ground turkey…

Grill’em!

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with tomato and basil on a bun…

Result: They were disappointing and DRY 😦 Ground turkey breast is virtually fat-free and I think you need some fat in burgers to make them good. I think next time, I’ll add some extra-virgin olive oil to the meat in order to add healthy fats versus buying higher fat turkey meat.

Of course it was to my pleasant surprise that this month’s Cooking Light features burger recipes! Lily and I perused the issue this morning and dog-eared lots of pages!

Question: Do you catch heat for anything “unhealthy” you eat? Does it bother you like it does me? Or am I just a bit sensitive to the comments?

Some of my co-workers are throwing me an out-of-office going away party today. SO sweet of them! I work with some truly amazing people! And then this afternoon I have a hockey game! 😀 Busy day! What are you up to?

Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under Cooking Light, diet, dietitians, friends, garlic, grilling, health at every size, healthy cooking, hockey, meat consumption, MUFAs and PUFAs, recipe, self-control, stress, Uncategorized, weight gain, weight loss, work

Goitrogenic Foods

Hypothyroidism is one of those whispered-about diagnoses out there that people commonly misunderstand. If a person is struggling with their weight, you’ll commonly hear, “Maybe I have a thyroid problem”. Sure, maybe so. But trust me, hypothyroidism is much more complex than that.

A recent email from a reader, Liz (Hi Liz!) spurred this topic today. When she put in the blog topic request I had a “Doh!” moment. What a great topic to blog about…thank you, Liz!

Hypothyroidism is an very common endocrine disorder which results from underactive thyroid hormone. This thyroid hormone deficiency can be the result of several happenings. But I’m not a physician, so I won’t even go there 🙂 However, you can read all about the pathophysiology. While hypothyroidism is common, mortality rates are incredibly rare. The highest rates of hypothyroidism are found among Caucasian, elderly females.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigues, loss of energy, lethargy, weight gain, decreased appetite, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss, muscle and joint pain, depression, forgetfulness, menstrual irregularities, decreased perspiration, blurred vision, auditory loss, hoarseness, neck and throat pain, thyroid enlargement, fever, goiter, jaundice, bradycardia, and pitting edema. Other biometric symptoms of hypothyroidism include: anemia, dilutional hyponatremia, hyperlipidemia, and elevated creatinine. Phew.

The primary causes of hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency and in developed countries, autoimmune disorder.

As for the diet, there are several recommendations those with hypothyroidism should consider, including:

  • Limiting goitrogenic foods (i.e. brussel’s sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower). If you choose to consume these foods, do so in moderation and preferably after being cooked.
  • Taking a multivitamin supplement
  • Take vitamins, minerals (e.g. iron, calcium, and vitamin D) 4 hours before or after thyroid medication
  • Consider adopting a low-residue (low-fiber) diet if your medical provider feels your medication is not being properly absorbed
  • Find an endocrinologist you love. A good endocrinologist is worth their weight in gold. Endocrine disorders, such as hypothyroidism, should be treated by an endocrinologist.
  • Limit or avoid soy as it can act as a hormone mnemic.

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And one last recipe tribute to PAPRIKA, Blogger Secret Ingredient for the week!

Grilled Halibut Cod with Peach and Pepper Salsa adapted from Cooking Light June 2010

Salsa:
2 1/2  cups  coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 1/3  cups  chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2  cup  thinly sliced green onions
1/2  cup  chopped fresh arugula
1/3  cup  fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh oregano
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1  habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1  garlic clove, minced

Fish:
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  teaspoon smoked paprika
2  garlic cloves, minced
6  (6-ounce) skinless halibut cod fillets
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Directions:

To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

To prepare fish, combine 2 tablespoons juice, oil, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with salsa. Serves 6 (1 fish filet and 2/3 cup salsa per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 267 calories; 8.6 g. fat (1.2 g. saturated fat, 4.6 monounsaturated, 1.8 g. polyunsaturated); 35.5 g. protein; 11.8 g. carbohydrate; 2.3 g. fiber; 52 mg. cholesterol; 389 mg. sodium

Result: This was really good! The habanero gives a fun zing to the citrus of the salsa. Very light and again, featured not only paprika, but also the grill. I am LOVING the easy clean-up that accompanies cooking on the grill 😀

And a Lily (or should I say Lily’s tongue?) appearance, per Mari’s request 😉

Off to work 😦 I am typically off on Fridays but since Monday was a holiday…off I go…after stopping by Panera for bagels to appease my co-workers 😉

Question: Had you previously heard of goitrogenic foods? Any fun weekend plans? 😀

P.S. Don’t forget to submit BSI entries by Sunday at 5pm CT!

Brainstorming my happy hour selection,

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Filed under alcohol, blog topic request, breakfast, challenge, Cooking Light, diet, dietitians, dinner, doctors, dog, fruits and vegetables, garlic, grilling, guilt-free, healthy cooking, hormones, low-carb, minerals, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, recipe, US health care, vitamins, weight gain, work

Are we fans of “fat”?

LA Times posted a most interesting article yesterday on celebrities and the battle of the bulge. Rather than shamefully hiding weight struggles from the public eye, celebrities are using their weight struggles as a means to cash in…the big bucks.

Kristie Alley, anyone? Carnie Wilson, yeah?

Great points were made in this article:

1. Even the rich and famous are not immune to the obesity epidemic taking place in our nation — trainers, dietitians, personal chefs, and all.

2. Bariatric surgery does not produce miracles.

3. The traditional “eat less, move more” is…well, boring. Boring in the sense that it won’t earn prime time television airing, but it sure gets the job done.

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Reading this article was timely — my first bariatric patient was implanted with the Lap Band® yesterday. I’m anxious and excited to see the patient’s progress and wish them all the best!

And if you watch trashy TV like me, you may watch Kendra (but probably not, because it is really, really bad reality TV). And you may have found ex-Playboy Bunny’s post-baby body struggles easy to relate to. I really appreciate Kendra for her “no fuss…take me as I am” approach to…everything! Especially her weight.

Question: Do you tend to “respect” or “disrespect” (for lack of better terms) celebrities for making public their weight struggles? Do you find it easier to relate to those who struggle with their weight or leading a healthy lifestyle?

Thanks for all your anniversary love! 🙂

Happy day,


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Filed under diet, dietitians, entertaining, news, obesity epidemic, pregnancy, Uncategorized, US health care, weight gain, weight loss, work

A Day in the Life of an RD

I recieved a lovely email from a reader this week who wanted me to write up a little something on a “Day in the Life of an RD”…so, I did! I get a lot of emails about people pursuing a career in dietetics, or a career change to dietetics, and various questions about the educational and career paths for dietitians…and I am always happy to help! I am passionate about what I do and truly, whole-heartedly LOVE my work. It’s not work if you love what you do, right? 😉

As a little background, I work as a dietitian in an out-patient clinic in a rural community outside of Tulsa. For patient safety and to remain compliant with HIPPA laws, I cannot disclose identifiable information on patients or my place of work. We do have several physicians on staff as well as 8 nurses, 4 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, 2 dietitians, ultrasound technician, radiology technician, physiologists, ophthalmologists and optometrists, phlebotomists (and a laboratory), as well as per diem podiatrists, endocrinologists, pediatricians, etc. Basically, we are one-stop shop for health care and accept all major medical coverage and insurance.

I work Monday through Thursday, 7am to 5:30pm and for the most part schedule my own patients. If a referral is made for the dietitian, a receptionist books a patient in for a 1-hour appointment. I see primarily diabetic and bariatric patients, as well as those needing diet assistance to manage other conditions such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, anemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, gout, renal insufficiency, pre-natal nutrition, and digestive health (i.e. Crohn’s, Celiac disease, etc.). But it is fair to say 80% or more of my time is spent on diabetes and bariatrics. I work on 30-minute slots and bill for medical nutrition therapy in 15-minute increments.

Let me set the scene…

Currently, I am pursuing the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential. I currently have 445 hours and need 1,000 to sit for the exam. Logging my hours:

This is (part of) the form RD’s use to chart in my clinic. We are making the switch the Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the coming months.

Here is how insulin pens work:

Breakfast at my desk:

My work station:

Lunch at my desk:

Employee Taste Test Sign-Up!

Tuesday went something like this…

7-8am: Check my schedule (no 7:30am appointment – woo!), catch up on emails, eat breakfast at my desk, and finish any charting left from the previous day

8am: New onset type 2 diabetic wanting to control blood glucose through diet and exercise. Full diabetes diet and glucometer education completed. Discussed the role of oral agents to help control diabetes (45 minutes)

9am: Weight management follow-up – patient is trying to lose 40 lbs for her 50th birthday in 5 months – down 9 lbs in 3 months so far (60 minutes)

10:30am: Uncontrolled diabetic on insulin – discussed recommitting after “falling off the wagon” (45 minutes)

11:20am: Uncontrolled type 1 diabetic following up regarding carbohydrate to insulin ratio. Food journals and insulin regimens reviewed, glucometer downloaded to analyze. Recommended no changes in insulin dosing as fasting and post-prandial blood glucose goals were being met (45 minutes)

12:30pm: Surprise appointment! I went out to my car to get my water bottle and a patient asked me in the street to download his glucometer and give him more testing strips. The patient is a controlled type 2 diabetic who I have worked closely with over the course of 9 months to get his blood glucose levels within normal limits. He now journals all of his intake and checks his blood glucose up to 6x a day (45 minutes)

1:15pm: QUICK 5 minute lunch at my desk

1:20pm: Weight management follow-up. Patient lost 4.3 lbs in 2 weeks on a 1,800 calorie diet. Patient is considering bariatric surgery through our clinic (30 minutes)

2pm: Weight management follow-up. Patient lost 3.5 lbs in 2 weeks. Young, disruptive child present at session. Patient goals include meal planning and making food stamps last longer throughout the month (45 minutes)

2:45pm: Patient was rescheduled – he did not bring his glucometer or food journals/pattern management to meeting and therefore no insulin adjustments could be made.

3pm: Follow-up with uncontrolled type 2 diabetic on insulin and strict pattern management. Called patient’s physician and recommended a change in Levemir (long-acting insulin) – verbal order given over the phone (30 minutes)

3:45pm: Follow-up weight management and uncontrolled hypertension; 0.8 lb weight gain in 2 weeks. Patient was seeking advice on diet pills and how to manage “dieting” with unsupportive friends, co-workers, and husband (45 minutes)

4:30pm: Weight management follow-up – I have been seeing this patient for 9 months without significant weight loss, yet she attends all of our appointments and wants to continue coming to RD meetings (30 minutes)

5-5:30pm: Catch-up on charting, returns urgent emails and phone calls, and head home!

WHEW!

There were 14 appointments scheduled on this day – 2 called to cancel, 2 no-showed, and I had 1 walk-in patient.

Likes and Dislikes

I love the critical thinking and intense patient-provider interaction involved in diabetes care. Plus, I do have some of the best patients :). And most of you know I am passionate about diabetes, I love working in diabetes. I hate the early hours…mornings are rough…and the fact that most blogs are blocked at work 😦 And…I can always want more money, right? 😉

There you have it…a Day in the Life of an RD!

Question: What is your current profession? What do you love and hate most about YOUR current role?

Work hard 😉 ,

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Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, breakfast, chronic disease, diabetes, diet, dietitians, healthy cooking, hypertension, lunch, physicians, prescription drug, Uncategorized, US health care, weight gain, weight loss, weight maintentance, work