Search Term: " Supersized "
Nutritional Calculator - hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest...
June 12, 2005 05:45 PM
Nutritional Calculator by Thomas Barclay Energy Times, December 5, 2003
For years, some folks have dreamed of having a hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest pocket. Then, at every meal, you could whip out your little machine, hit a few buttons, do some nutritional calculatin' and eat only the best-and leave the rest. Fortunately, we have the next best thing: Internet nutritional calculators as well as books and nutrition nudges that can prod and educate you into consuming a healthier diet. (And if you have a PDA, that vest-pocket calculator is actually within reach.)
When you apply nutritional calculation, you reap instant benefits, giving your body top-notch foods to stay healthy and avoid disease.
For instance, when you log onto a nutritional calculation website like www.daysworth.com (more about these nutritional calculators in a moment), one of the first things you should let it calculate is your saturated fat intake: figuring ways to bring it down could possibly save your life.
All that saturated fat that you may be eating in ice cream, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc., leads to a cascade of physiological events that raise the risk of cancer. Consume a cheeseburger, with its 562.83 calories, 15.04 grams of saturated fat and 87.6 grams of cholesterol, and you lead your body to produce too much lithocholic acid, a substance that plays a key role in colon cancer.
"Lithocholic acid is highly toxic, and it builds up in a high-fat diet," notes David Mangelsdorf, PhD, professor of pharmacology at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern. "We don't know how it causes cancer; but it is known to cause cancer in mice, and people with colon cancer have high concentrations of it." The problem with cheeseburgers and their fatty contents is that when the liver breaks down that Supersized clump of cholesterol, the process ends with an oversupply of lithocholic acid, a bile acid that ends up in the intestines. There it can stimulate the process that leads to cancer cell formation (Science 5/16/02).
"The rate of colorectal cancer is much higher in the United States... than in Japan, where people don't eat a lot of fat and colorectal cancer is almost nonexistent," notes Dr. Mangelsdorf.
"Our bodies can handle slight changes in lithocholic acid that come from a normal diet, but not a high-fat diet," he says. "The current American diet can provide more fat on a daily basis than a human being was ever meant to handle."
Teasing out where your dietary saturated fat is coming from is easy on a website like www.daysworth.com. By simply entering the foods you eat during the day into the calculator on this site, you can analyze your daily intake of calories, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and protein.
For instance, suppose on Monday you eat:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and sausage with hash browns, toast and butter, orange juice, coffee and non-dairy creamer.
Lunch: cheeseburger, regular fries, chocolate milkshake.
Snack: Milky Way candy bar, can of cola.
Dinner: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with butter, iceberg lettuce, string beans, glass of root beer and chocolate pudding for dessert.
Snack: potato chips and water.
Enter all of those foods into daysworth.com and you find that your daily calories are about 4,000, your salt (4,700 mg) is too high, your vitamin E (8 units) intake is low and you're missing out on potassium-rich foods and fiber. Other potential nutritional difficulties in those meals include a heavy dose of saturated fat (56 grams) and cholesterol (topping 650 mg).
The calculator will lead you to better sources of vitamin E (like almonds), potassium (almost any fruit) and fiber (whole-wheat breakfast cereals with fruits and nuts).
The latest technological twist: If you have a PDA, you can download the USDA nutritional database. Visit www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.
Figuring It Out
A host of other sites can help your calorie and nutritional calculation.
For calculating the amount of calories you need during the day you can consult www.wvda.org/calcs, a website run by the West Virginia Dietetic Association.
Nutritional Analysis Tools and System (NATS), which resides at nat.crgq.com/mainnat.html, can help you find foods that will aid your nutrition program. And over at gnutrition.sourceforge.net, you can download nutrition analysis software called Gnutrition. It contains data on 81 nutrients for over 5,000 foods.
Aside from websites, books like The Nutrition Desk Reference (Keats) by Robert Garrison, Jr., MA, RPH and Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, or Food-Your Miracle Medicine (HarperPerennial) can also help you calculate a more healthful diet.
A pleasant surprise as you navigate your way through these calculators: Healthy food tastes good, too! You don't have to sacrifice food to get the nutrients you need. Just calculate, calculate, calculate!
Supersized Kids - today's children are not just mildly overweight.
June 12, 2005 02:04 PM
Supersized Kids by Carl Lowe Energy Times, August 1, 2003
If your kids are like most American children, they are in serious danger. Because of a lifestyle that packs in too many calories and not enough exercise, today's children are not just mildly overweight; they are fat enough at younger and younger ages to threaten their well-being.
All of the extra body fat kids carry around is not just a cosmetic problem. Unless something is done quickly, this overweight generation may be doomed to a lifetime of chronic illness stemming from their excessive weight.
If you have kids, they are at risk. The time to take action to save them is today. When researchers look at the weight problems of today's youth, they are shocked and dismayed. The juvenile weight problem has resulted in some kids becoming obese-grossly overweight-by their third birthdays. Scientists are also finding that, in many cases, obese 10-year-olds now have livers that are already malfunctioning because of too much body fat. At the same time, their bodies, in an effort to cope with increases in fat, are secreting high levels of insulin, making them prone to type 2 diabetes, a disease usually found in older adults.
When pediatric endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo analyzed the heights and weights of young children who were referred to them, they found frightening levels of obesity (Pediatric Academic Societies meeting 5/3/00).
"Childhood obesity not only affects a child's self-esteem, it also is associated with multiple medical consequences," says Teresa Quattrin, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the study. "High insulin levels are believed to be related to type 2 diabetes, formerly known as 'adult-onset diabetes.' In fact, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children has risen significantly in recent years, along with a high prevalence of obesity." "Children at risk of obesity must be identified very early, even at the preschool level," she adds. "Obese children often have obese parents, so an effective family-based multi-factor intervention program should begin as soon as obesity is diagnosed." Experts estimate that up to one in three US children and adolescents is already obese, and the numbers are rising. Children who are overweight are much more likely to grow up to become overweight adults and to suffer all of the health problems associated with adult obesity.
Experts believe that the best way to get children's weight under control is to get family eating under control. And the eating changes do not have to be drastic to produce effective results.
"Obesity is a family illness," says Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. "Children...learn to become obese in an environment that encourages it. If parents are eating poorly, that's what they're providing their children."
To help children eat a moderate diet, according to Dr. Haire-Joshu, parents have to eat healthier first. In her research (Preventive Medicine, 6/03), the Saint Louis University School of Public Health joined with Parents As Teachers (PAT), a national, free educational program for parents of children from birth to age 3, to show parents simple ways to eat healthier that they could share with their children.
The researchers found that when they instructed the entire family on eating fewer calories, fewer fried foods and more fruits and vegetables, everyone, including the young children, benefited.
"What we showed in the study is parents who institute very simple changes can significantly impact their health. When parents have kids, they want the best for their kids. We get them at a very teachable moment," Dr. Haire-Joshu says. But society and the media produce an environment that encourages kids to eat gooey, calorie-dense food and stay glued to the television.
"Our society receives consistent messages to eat more and move less. This is a way to balance some of those messages to very young families," warns Dr. Haire-Joshu.
Dr. Haire-Joshu says that her study shows parents are more likely to start on healthier diets when the dietary changes are relatively small. For example, instead of completely revamping meals, families that ate fried foods at five dinners during the week tried cutting back to four fried dinners. Or mothers who consistently ate at fast food restaurants were encouraged to add lettuce and tomato to a smaller burger than the supersize they usually ordered.
Don't wait. Make those kinds of changes today to help your kids control their weight. Their health is at stake.