Thursday, December 20, 2012

Farewell to 2012, Fun Fad Diets Courtesy of ABC News

Every year has a new diet or (20) to follow.  Does anyone remember the sad part of the last decade when no one ate bread?  Oh, wait, we're all gluten-free again.

Here is 2012's round up:

hCG diet: inject yourself with this pregnancy hormone and eat 500 Calories a day (roughly the equivalent of a Big and Tasty from McDonalds).

Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet: Why eat food when you can just have a feeding tube?  Clinical dietitians take note!

Sensa: Shake a little on your Krispy Kreme and the pounds just fall off...

Baby Food Diet: Eat about 10-14 jars of baby food...

Gluten-Free:  Celebrities, 'nutritionists', and a few famous doctors touted cutting out bread, pasta, and their contemporaries...

Raspberry Ketones: These little beauties promoted by Dr. Oz for their fat burning properties, they also pushed a healthy diet and exercise.  What really worked?

What are some of your favorite fad diets?  Thoughts on what might be big in 2013?

Don't forget your kale juice!

From ABC news:

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at, resolve to increase your online exposure).  

She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shake It Up: The Pepper Post

A typical 1980s supermarket might have had maybe 15 different kinds of spices.  Fast forward to the spice aisle of today where you might find anything from wasabi to harissa.  Pepper just sounds...boring.
A recent article in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry shows that pepper blocks the formation of NEW fat cells.  A compound called pipeline disrupts fat building genes.
No amounts have been verified at this time as to effective levels, but it's just another great reason to put the salt shaker down. 

Read more here:

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at, resolve to increase your online exposure).  

She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fatty Liver Sufferers May Find Relief With Soy Protein

Hong Chen, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois has been able to demonstrate how soy protein potentially has the ability to decrease fat accumulation and triglycerides in the livers of patients with obesity.  Soy protein is able to partially restore the function of a key pathway in the liver.

The team presented their findings this past April at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Chen reported, "Almost a third of American adults have fatty liver disease, many of them without symptoms… obesity is a key risk factor for this condition, which can lead to liver failure."

One of the liver’s functions is to metabolize fat.  In those with obesity, the liver ends up with excess fat.  The liver function can be compromised. 

Sources of soy protein are tofu, edamame, yogurt, and soy milk are able to assuage some stress on fatty livers.

For additional information on this story, see the link to Science Daily here.

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN: 

Want to blog for SCAN, increase your blog or website's traffic?  E-mail Gina at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Is Weight Loss Surgery A Good Option In The Diabetes Fight?

Weight loss in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes is encouraged by the medical profession when the patient is overweight or obese, less fat means less insulin to worry about, right?  In a recent New York Times article investigated previous studies and emerging research on this topic.  In March, a previous article in the paper discussed weight loss surgery as an effective treatment option.  These studies followed subjects for less than two years and were quite small.   

According to the journal Obesity Surgery, 1,000 diabetics were tracked for ten years.  While diabetes in these patients "went away" for a period of time, the disease still came back (even in the patients that didn't regain any weight post surgery).

"The researchers found that three factors were particularly good predictors of who was likely to have a relapse of diabetes."

Those most likely to have a relapse of the condition had poor blood sugar control, had diabetes for a period of time (years were not specified), and were taking insulin.  

“But almost universally, patients lose weight after weight loss surgery, and that in and of itself may have so many health benefits.”


O'Connor, Anahad. "Weight Loss Surgery May Not Combat Diabetes Long-Term." Well. The New York Times, 11 2012. Web. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <>.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dietitians Weigh In On Thanksgiving

 May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!


Somewhere in history, Thanksgiving was initially a holiday based on appreciation and a harvest.  Then at some point in time we 'Americanized it' and 'super-sized it', maybe turducken-ed it a little.  Once you throw in family you might want to see once a year (and that might be too often for some of us) and you may begin to wish there was a National Treadmill Day instead of Black Friday.

The following is a brief compilation of dietitians from blogs and other media 'weighing in' on this holiday and the upcoming season.  

“Frugal” Feasting — Help Clients Celebrate Thanksgiving’s Cornucopia of Foods in Modest and Healthful Ways
By Christen C. Cooper, MS, RD
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 12 No. 10 P. 66
·         “For many people, Thanksgiving brings to mind fond childhood memories. Some recall eating a favorite dish, one whose preparation was so time consuming that it was enjoyed only once per year. Others remember helping loved ones serve a Thanksgiving meal or learning how to make a family recipe. Still others recall the moments of relaxation and celebration after the dishes were washed, the political arguments ended, and attention shifted to parades and football games.”

Keeping Thanksgiving Traditions
Today, families will gather around dining room tables to give thanks, spend time together and eat. Since Thanksgiving involves food — and often lots of it — inviting many cooks into your kitchen can be a fun way to pass down family traditions. Here are few ways to keep everyone involved:
  • Invite children to partake in the preparations. Whether it's helping out with a specific dish or making decorations for the table.
  • If you are cooking a dish that has significance to your family history, tell its story.
  • Go around the table and share favorite Thanksgiving memories.
And while you are celebrating older traditions, start new ones, too. Go for a walk after dinner, watch family movies or try a new healthy recipe.
Produced by ADA's Strategic Communications Team

From The Nutrition Blog Network:

As the holidays approach, be aware of your fast food splurges
From: Eat to Compete | November 17, 2012
·         Summer brings competitions for many athletes; a well-stocked pantry/refrigerator is critical. It is hard to follow my advice of building your "plate" at meals if the right food is not available to do so. Use this list to help you get started at the grocery store. This is not all-inclusive, but is a...

Dream Thanksgiving Menu & the Right Turkey to Serve
From: Food Trainers | November 2011
·         Set ups are so risky. "There’s someone you should meet" makes me want to bolt instantly whether it’s personal or work-related. So when a good friend made an e-introduction telling me about New York Mouth, a site for "indie food" I was skeptical to say the least. My skepticism lasted about 30...

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fat Fighting Cola?

Fiber has been showing up everywhere.  Dextrin, a dietary fiber commonly found in fiber supplements, has made its way into Pepsi Special which is currently in Japan.

CNN reports:  "...the drink acts by 'suppressing the absorption of fat' and can inhibit the rise in triglycerides after a meal, making it, potentially, the first 'healthy' soda."

A 2006 study in Tokyo showed Dextrin blocked fat absorption in rats...but not in humans.

In addition, "Studies of humans ingesting dextrin suggest short-term risks including stomach pain, gas, and bloating," says Lilian Cheung, editorial director of Nutrition Source, the Harvard School of Public Health's nutrition website. 

The beverage hasn't hit the U.S. supermarkets yet and would face many challenges with the USDA.

To read the full article, click here

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fit Bit: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

This article illustrates ACE (American Council on Exercise)’s point of view on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  It really summarizes both sides of healthy school lunches, the fact that it takes time to develop a taste for healthy food—a learned behavior, and that parents need to step it up on the home front.  It’s author, Dr. Natalie Digate MD, MPH, RD makes an excellent case.

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pesky Pesticide Online Databases

Pesticides and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are hot button topics in the news, documentaries, and books on where our food is coming from and what it might be doing to us.  Below are some links to different sources:

  • The Pesticide Data Program (PDP): "...a national pesticide residue database program. Through cooperation with State agriculture departments and other Federal agencies, PDP manages the collection, analysis, data entry, and reporting of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply, with an emphasis on those commodities highly consumed by infants and children."
  • The Pesticide Action Network Pesticide Database:  " location for toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides. To find out more about insecticides, herbicides and other pesticides select one of the choices below."
    • Their sister site, "What's On My Food?" has a scroll down box on the left hand side to select commercially gown food and pesticides used on it. 
  • The California Department of Pesticide Regulation's website has links to uses for different pesticides, reducing the need for pesticides in English and Spanish. 

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Artificial Sweeteners

The below post is a brief table of artificial sweeteners (including Stevia) with pros/cons and uses. 

Sweet’N Low--Saccharin
Information: Claimed to be 300 times sweeter than sugar and was banned in 1977 when animal testing showed rats developed bladder cancer.  The warning label was dropped in 2000.  Saccharin’s molecules come from petroleum.
Pros: Can be baked with and has 0 calories.
Cons: Has been listed since the 1980’s as an “anticipated human carcinogen”.  Smoking men who use this sweetener may be at risk if they consume large yet unspecified amounts.  No extensive research has been done in pediatrics and pregnant women/children should use sparingly.
Information: Neotame is a newer artificial sweetener that is chemically similar to aspartame.
It was approved by the FDA in 2002.
Pros: It has zero calories.  You can bake with it.  It's approved for pregnant women.
Cons: Neotame is potentially as toxic as aspartame, these sweeteners break down to form methanol.
Information: This sweetener contains maltodextrin which is made from corn starch, rice starch, or potato starch (it’s gluten free), it’s been approved by the FDA in 1999 and is 600x sweeter than sugar.
Pros: No calories, can be baked with.  The FDA concluded after 110 studies it does not pose any threats to reproduction, no toxic or carcinogenic effects or neurological risks to the population
Cons: Maltodextrin does add about 12 calories per Tablespoon, this is not listed on the nutrition facts. You may notice an artificial sweetener taste if you bake with it.

Sorbitol, Mannitol
Information: Naturally occurring sugar alcohols that come from fruit.  They are made for use as artificial sweeteners.
Pros: FDA made the GRAS—Generally Regarded As Safe.  They digest slowly. 
Cons: Consuming large quantities (particularly found in ice cream and other frozen desserts) can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea.  This can happen around 49 g of sorbitol or 19 g or more of manitol. 

Information: Comes from a South American plant and has been used in South America for the last 30 years.
Pros: It naturally has 0 calories but skeptics argue that because of the refining process to extract stevia, it should still be considered an artificial sweetener. 
Cons: This is sold as a dietary supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. 

Acesulfame-K—Sweet One or Sunette
Information: 200 times sweeter than sugar and the body is unable to digest it so to comes out as waste unchanged.
Pros: 0 calories and does not increase the risk of cancer or change blood sugar levels, it can be used in baked goods and it safe for consumption by pregnant women.  
Cons: It does present with a bitter taste on its own, The Center For Science In The Public Interest feels that the studies on this sweetener were not satisfactorily done and did not test extensively its cancer causing risks. 

Aspartame—Equal and NutraSweet
Information: About 180-200 times sweeter than sugar.  Roughly 70% is used in carbonated beverages.  The FDA has set the appropriate daily intake as 4-12 oz cans of diet drink per day and it was approved in 1996. 
Pros: One gram = 4 calories.  It has been approved for pregnant women under the aforementioned guidelines. 
Cons:  It can be baked with some people claim a food allergy or insensitivity to aspartame and may have headaches, mood changes, skin reactions, or dizziness.

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Bite Of Food Science: Food Pairings

Have you ever wondered why we pair certain foods together?  Pickles with deli sandwiches but not with pasta?  Peanut butter and chocolate?  A recent article from NPR's blog The Salt delves into a study completed recently by Rutgers and the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.  Paul Breslin is an experimental psychologist with Rutgers and reported to NPR that "lots of things come together to make flavor, whether it's hot, cold, lubricating, how it smells, what we taste. Flavor is an incredibly multisensory sensation."  The study was published in Current Biology.  The study shows that fatty foods and astringent foods pair well as fatty foods create a viscous sensation while the 'astringent' food could be tea, beer, wine, acids: citrus.  Overall, our mouths strive for balance. 

University of Cambridge scientists were able to create a "global flavor map" to further look into food pairings  and why North American recipes differ from Asian cuisine.  Part of food pairings come from a cultural and scientific blend.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back To School Refresher: Hormones And Exercise

What really goes on when you get off the spin bike or out of the Cross-Fit's Workout of the Day?  Too lazy to crack open those exercise physiology textbooks back from undergrad?  Here's a quick guide/refresher:

  • Dopamine:  To some extent we're all chasing this pleasure chemical, you can get it from eating or from exercise.
  • Growth Hormones (Human Growth Hormone):  These guys help regulate and make muscle.  The growth factors such as hepatocyte, insulin, and fibroblast go to muscles/repair following a workout.
  • Estrogen:  Levels of this hormone correlate whether you burn fat (higher levels typically in women) or carbs (usually in men).  
  • Endorphins: These come from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.  Endorphins block pain and make one feel happy.  Note 'the runner's high'.  
If you're looking for additional detailed information, here is a great PowerPoint presentation from the University of South Carolina Aiken.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Latest On The Glycemic Index

David Ludwig of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center and colleagues recently published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The study compared low-fat, low-carb, and low-glycemic diets.  While the low-carb diets prevailed and the low-fat diet ended up with the bronze, the low-glycemic was the easiest to follow for participants.  
The glycemic index is a tool used to measure how fast a food is digested.  It's been useful for dieters because it increases satiety.  The higher end of the glycemic index is packed with processed foods while lower glycemic foods are based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes...basically the perimeter of the grocery store this taking meat and dairy products into the equation.  On the downside, the glycemic index can be hard to follow or understand between dieters worrying about calories, fat, protein throwing in meal combinations and digestion might be a little too much for some people.  
The last piece of the study included participants after the study, those that kept the weight off had included 60-90 minutes of exercise per day.  
Read the whole article from NPR here.

Bacteria And Weight Loss: Beyond Your Morning Yogurt

New evidence suggest that bacteria can play a role in weight gain.  Certain bacteria may activate enzymes that increase fat storage and decrease hormones that control appetite explains a French study lead by Frank Duca of the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Jouy-en-Josas.  Obese people have different gut bacteria than thinner people do.  The researchers hope to one day be able to shift a person's mix of gastrointestinal bacteria with pre/probiotics and diet changes to help with weight loss.

Additional reading:

Gina is a SCAN dietitian and can be found blogging at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dads And Nutrition

We get a lot of things from our parents.  Up until recently, scientists and health experts put a lot of stress on expectant mothers, take folic acid during child bearing years, watch your calcium, keep your weight in a healthy range, don't smoke.  It seemed like the male counterpart could partake in whatever desires they wished.  New research in epigenetics from an article in The New York Times discusses the quality of a man's sperm in reproduction.

"Doctors have been telling men for years that smoking, drinking and recreational drugs can lower the quality of their sperm. What doctors should probably add is that the health of unborn children can be affected by what and how much men eat; the toxins they absorb; the traumas they endure; their poverty or powerlessness; and their age at the time of conception. In other words, what a man needs to know is that his life experience leaves biological traces on his children. Even more astonishingly, those children may pass those traces along to their children."

Christina Hultman of the Karolinska Institute of Sweden published a meta-analysis of a population study of a million people in 2011.  It concluded that men who had children over the age of 50 were 2.2 times more susceptible to have children with autism than men who were 29, this had also factored out mothers' ages and known risk factors for the condition.  By the age of 55, the risk of autism increases to 4.4 times.

"Aging, though, is only one of the vicissitudes of life that assault a man’s reproductive vitality. Think of epigenetics as having ushered in a new age of sexual equality, in which both sexes have to worry about threats to which women once felt uniquely exposed."

Read the full article from The New York Times here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hydration & Sports Drinks: The Science Vs. Selling It

In the July issue of the British Medical Journal provided a very insightful look into the science of sports drinks, marketing, and our new fascination with dehydration, which the journal coins the term "the disease of exercise".  You may read the full article here.

During the road running and marathon boom of the 1970s, drinking fluids during exercise was cautioned against as it was thought to slow the athlete down.

Over the years, scientists have been sponsored by companies to develop an area of science entirely for hydration.  This has funneled down entirely to every day fluid consumption.

In the 1960s, Robert Cade, a renal physician, developed a drink with sugar, water, salt, and monosodium phosphate which was mixed with some lemon juice to become Gatorade.

On the marketing side, CocaCola (who acquired Gatorade in the early 2000s) and GlaxoSmithKline (who have their own line of sports drinks) have kept the buzz around sports drinks as a staple.

"The key behind the meteoric rise in consumption of sports drinks lies in the coupling of science with creative marketing. What started life as a mixture of simple kitchen food stuffs has become an “essential piece of sporting equipment."

Outside of hydration, studies have been shown that consumption of glucose with electrolytes can impact longer duration exercises exceeding an hour with also intensity being taking into account.  The marathon 
runner during a 12 mile tempo run has different needs than the group aerobics class participant.

Athletes and avid exercisers alike are blitzed with conflicting advice about hydration (drink x number of 8 oz glasses of water...weigh yourself after activity and drink a pint of water for every pound loss, make sure your urine is a pale yellow).

Another concern is hyponatremia which is a drop in sodium levels and has taken the lives of 16 marathoners and has sent 1600 to the hospital during events.  Hyponatremia is caused from drinking too much (usually water) or having a positive fluid balance.  

The industry has also been reaching out into the school system, where carbonated beverages are now bad, sports drinks have snuck into the lunch rooms, soccer fields, and other practice fields.

This young targeted audience has health care professionals concerned about weight gain and ties to obesity.  Most people overestimate their calorie burn as is while repleting with a 150-200 Calorie beverage when the probably only expended 200-300 Calories, great to maintain weight yet not for weight loss.    

The article is very detailed and covers several more areas about 'scaremongering over the effects of dehydration' (this is the British Journal) and whether the real target audience is the everyday consumer that might causally jog or do a few workout tapes.  

Food for thought: has dehydration been an issue in your practice?  What recommendations have you used in your career?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Caffeine & Your Client

Cycling's issues with doping and recent target of Lance Armstrong, a lot of us, whether we are weekend warriors, casual 5k runners, or gym rats want to get the most out of either our workout or event.  So outside of our clientele (or some of us) dropping hard earned money on "pre-workout" drinks/chews; "refueling" beverages during workouts, and "post-workout" noshes, what is cheap easy and has been studied intensely. PubMed has over 300 studies.

The easiest choice of the matter is caffeine.  A cup of joe before a workout increases workout performance in endurance sports like cycling and running.  It's used by rowers and triathletes alike.  Upwards of 2/3 of Olympic athletes have caffeine in their urine.  No wonder those gymnasts bounce around.

Research indicates that caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream.  This spares glycogen and increases fat metabolism and well, if you're running a marathon, the last few miles can be taxing, the body typically 'hits the wall' after all the liver's stored carbohydrate (glycogen) is used up.  Theoretically, by consuming caffeine the runner's sources of fuel would cycle between fat and glycogen, with fat as the primary fuel stores.

What about gym rats hitting the weights?  Coventry University in England published a study using weight lifters who consumed sugar free caffeine beverage or one without.  After the workouts...the caffeinated guys lasted longer than those sans caffeine.  Also, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, soccer players who consumed caffeine were more accurate in dribbling, passing, and heading the ball.

The applications for practice?  While some studies were done with athletes who have consumed the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee prior to a workout, no current research indicates how much caffeine is beneficial.  One bit of information to note is that caffeine affects each person differently, while the college student during finals may have no affects on 8 cups of coffee, one cup may keep another person up half the night.

One grain of salt from these studies is that there isn't enough research done on people who drink soda pop, coffee, and tea all day long.  Those who are not accustomed to caffeine may have greater benefits.

Gina is a SCAN dietitian who can be found blogging over at Dietitians Eat Chocolate Too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Alcohol & The Athlete: Blood Pressure Considerations

Back to school means back to campus.  While most fall athletes have already been working out getting ready for the fall season, Nancy Clark reports in a recent article in Active "College athletes are more likely to drink than non-athletes."  Among the obvious issues with alcohol consumption: impaired performance, hangovers/electrolyte imbalance, decrease in academic performance, some athletes are pre-hypertensive due to weight, lifestyle, or genetic factors.

The Mayo Clinic reports that 2-3 drinks will temporarily rise blood pressure but binge drinking commonly associated with the collegiate population can lead to long-term increases.  

Moderate drinking is generally considered to be:

  • Two drinks a day for men younger than age 65
  • One drink a day for men age 65 and older
  • One drink a day for women of any age
A drink is 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Alcohol: Does it Affect Blood Pressure?
Alcohol, Athletes, and Pressure to Drink by Nancy Clark MS, RD, CSSD for

Monday, August 6, 2012

We Need Volunteers: SCAN RDs With Something To Say

Do you have a 'cool job', loads of experience, or something to say?

Have you been reading this blog periodically and might have caught the blogging bug?  E-mail me at with your submissions and a brief blurb about yourself any any social media you would like included.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Produce Sticker Post

Many of us fondly (or not so fondly) recall learning to read labels on just about anything.  But have you gone grocery shopping recently only to wonder what the stickers on your apples meant?

Genetically Modified
Trying to avoid GMOs?  If the sticker has 5 numbers and starts with an 8?  It was genetically modified.

Grown Conventionally
Regular produce will have a sticker with 4 numbers on it.

These will have 5 numbers like the genetically modified but will start with a 9.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's In Season?

Summer brings a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables.  But what about the rest of the growing season?  Here's a link with printable PDF file to keep on your fridge to eat local and cut your grocery bill down.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chew On This: FDA Approves First Weight Loss Drug In 13 Years

Arena Pharmaceuticals was given the A-OK to start manufacturing the weight loss drug, Belviq or generically known as Lorcaserin that is taken two times per day.  The drug works by influencing serotonin levels (for additional information on serotonin and appetite, please see the Science Daily article here).  Serotonin has been a hot research topic when it comes to combating obesity. 

According to a recent article in NPR, Janet Woodcock, FDA's drug center director was quoted: "Obesity threatens the overall well-being of patients and is a major public health concern...the approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition."

This drug will be available for Americans who meet the following criteria: BMI of 27 with a weight related comorbid condition (Diabetes, Hypertension, etc.) or a BMI of 30.

Studies have shown a decrease in body weight over the past year of 5%.  To further illustrate this, a 160 lb. woman who is 5 feet tall would be considered obese.  With a 5% weight reduction she would lose around 8 lbs and weigh 152 lbs.  

The drug was previously rejected in 2010 as Lorcaserin has a similar affect as Phen-Phen did in the 90's.

It's not on the shelves of your local pharmacy just yet.  Arena still has 6 more studies to evaluate the drug's safety.  

As dietitians and consumers we have to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug, complications, and those just looking for a quick fix.  Obesity is caused by many factors, what do you think about this new drug and other weight loss drugs in the past?  

Gina Lesako RD, LDN, registered dietitian, writer/blogger.  Follow Gina on Twitter @glesako;
blog: Dietitians Eat Chocolate Tooor on the web:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Parents' Stress Impacts Healthy Eating

Fewer jobs in this tight economy have caused many families to work harder and sacrifice more to stay employed and make ends meet.  A recent study by Temple University looks at the family unit—dads included. 

Katherine Bauer was the lead author in the study and she is currently an assistant professor of public health and researcher at Temple's Center for Obesity Research and Education.  This study is one of the first to assess work/family conflict for both parents.  It primarily focuses on families of adolescents.

Mothers who are employed full-time had fewer family meals, increases in fast food, and encouraged healthy eating less.  Mothers were also spending more time on meal preparation than fathers.  This also contributes to the family unit having fewer meals together when both parents are facing stress from work. 

Science Daily reported “Bauer noted that over time these differences can add up to have a big impact on parents' and children's health. She's careful to note, however, that the burden of this problem not fall solely on mothers, and instead be approached holistically by the whole family, the community and society.”

The study encouraged spouses/partners and teenagers to help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and planning healthy meals.
"We need to teach kids how to cook," said Bauer. "We know if kids have cooking skills and good eating habits, not only will they be healthier, but as adults they'll put those skills to use to feed their own children more healthfully."

Please read the full-article here

Temple University (2012, June 22). Parents' work-life stress hinders healthy eating.ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from­/releases/2012/06/120622162818.htm

Gina Lesako RD, LDN, registered dietitian, writer/blogger.  Follow Gina on Twitter @glesako; 
blog: Dietitians Eat Chocolate Tooor on the web:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chew On This: Help For Binge-Eating Disorders

There are upwards of 15 million Americans who suffer from binge eating disorders that researches have claimed mimics substance dependence.

Boston University School of Medicine researchers have found experimental models that block a cellular protein, the Sigma-1 receptor, reduced binge eating and encouraged those with binge eating disorders to eat more slowly.

Please read the full article here.

Gina R. Lesako RD, LDN
SCAN Volunteer blogger
Gina can also be found on the web at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ya Gotta Tabata (And Other Workouts)

Try a one-minute hard, one-minute easy #training workout. //
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT or known as High Intensity Training--HIT) is a popular component of several workout regimens.  It can been seen in programs such as Shaun T's Insanity, Fartlek or "speed play" in runners, The Tabata Method, and CrossFit.  As a disclaimer, these are programs and systems for clients that have already built a substantial fitness base and not necessarily the weekend warrior this article is to improve your knowledge of these programs out there and are not meant as a recommendation for clients.  

The benefits of HIIT training are improvements in physique, athletic ability, and aerobic conditioning (increased fat burning and utilization).  For persons with Diabetes and those without the condition, there are improvements in glucose metabolism.  

For active persons with Diabetes, they may want to monitor their carbohydrate consumption and blood glucose levels to avoid a hypoglycemic episode.

Crossfit is a combination of sprints, weight lifting, gymnastics, and calisthenics.   Please note that they do have a segment on nutrition and advocate a Paleolithic Diet (40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and fat) that you may want to be aware of if you are counseling clients in CrossFit. 

The Tabata Method has roots in HIIT.  The program came from Izumi Tabata and uses short bursts of all out intensity of 20 seconds (roughly 170% of VO2max) then 10 seconds of rest.  This is repeated for a total of 4 minutes or 8 cycles.  This shorter/higher intensity program done four times per week gave a group of athletes the same benefit as another group that trained five times per week at a steady state of 70% VO2max).  The Tabata group also had gained anaerobic capacity benefits.

Fartleks are not something that can send a classroom of 10 year-olds giggling but is a training method that continuously blends continuous training with intervals and intensity.  The exercise places stress on the aerobic and anaerobic systems.  Most sessions are typically 45 minutes and can work with cycling and other sports.