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Weight Watchers Diet

Published May 3, 2017 by teacher dahl

Weight watchers main frame

Overview
The aim: Losing weight while living healthier.
The claim: You’ll drop up to 2 pounds weekly.

The theory: There’s more to weight loss than counting calories – if you make healthier choices and behavior changes, you’ll feel better while losing weight. The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program, launched in late 2015, is designed to help people eat better, move more and shift their mindset. The program assigns every food and beverage a Smart Points value, based on its nutrition (higher amounts of saturated fat and sugar increase the point value; higher amounts of protein bring the point value down).

Choices that fill you up the longest “cost” the least, and nutritionally dense foods cost less than empty calories. So if you’re wavering between a cup of lobster bisque soup or a chicken salad sandwich – both 380 calories – the sandwich is the smarter choice. A backbone of the plan is multi-model access (via in-person meetings, online chat or phone) to support from people who lost weight using Weight Watchers, kept it off and have been trained in behavioral weight management techniques.

With Beyond the Scale, Weight Watchers members lost 15 percent more weight in their first two months following the new program, the company says, compared with those who followed the previous program.

How does Weight Watchers Diet work?

weight watcher 1
DOS & DON’TS
Do: Load up on fruits and veggies.
In late 2015, Weight Watchers introduced its new Beyond the Scale program, which emphasizes three components: eating healthier; fitness that fits your life; and learning skills and techniques that help you shift your mindset.

The new Smart Points food plan guides members toward an overall eating pattern that is lower in calories, saturated fat and sugar, and higher in protein. However, you can eat whatever you want – provided you stick to your daily Smart Points target, a number based on your gender, weight, height and age. You can find the points values of more than 290,000 foods on the mobile app or desktop food database.

Weght watcher's recipe

Don’ts

Processed choices like bologna usually have higher point values due to calories and saturated fat. Fresh fruits and most vegetables carry zero points, so you can eat as many as you need to feel full. That’s because they tend to be low-calorie and nutrient-dense, so they’re more filling than, say, a candy bar. (Fruit juice, dried fruit and starchy vegetables don’t count as freebies, since they’re more calorie-dense for the same serving size.)

The company offers thousands of recipes, each with a SmartPoints value, to show how it fits into your eating plan. If you’re preparing a dish that’s not listed in the database, you can calculate the points value ingredient by ingredient, using your mobile app or through the company’s website. Vegetarians, gluten-free eaters and people with other dietary preferences can also easily find items and recipes tagged for them.
Fit Points, a new metric to help you track activity, was introduced in late 2015. Every member has a personalized Fit Points goal based on an initial assessment, and FitPoints can be earned anytime, anywhere – from cleaning the house to walking the dog. Whether you want to get active and don’t know where to start or are ready to take it to the next level and run a 5K, the program helps members uncover fun and easy ways to move more. Plus, Weight Watchers syncs with popular activity apps and monitors, including FitBit, Apple Health, Jawbone, Withings and Misfit.

The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program also aims to help those attempting to lose weight while living healthier get in the right frame of mind. The program offers skills and techniques in areas such as mindfulness and self-compassion to help individuals gain greater self-awareness to make different choices and stay motivated to achieve their goals.

Weight Watchers isn’t only about what you eat and making lifestyle changes; support is also a big component. Though you can choose to follow the plan online only, company-funded research found that those who attended Weight Watchers meetings and used the mobile app/online tools lost nearly eight times more than those who tried to lose weight on their own.

What happens during those 30-minute get-togethers?  In a group format facilitated by a Weight Watchers leader who has lost weight on the program and kept it off, members discuss both their scale and non scale victories and problem-solve with others in similar situations. If in-person meetings don’t appeal to you, you can do the program totally online. All who follow Weight Watchers have access to an online feature that allows them to chat with an expert familiar with the program at any time, 24/7. Customized support and action plans are also available through a phone-based personal coaching program.

Vegan Diet

Published April 17, 2017 by teacher dahl

vegan 1

 

Overview

The aim: Depends, but may include weight loss, heart health and diabetes prevention or control.
The claim: Going vegan could help shed pounds and fend off chronic diseases.
The theory: You can cook up a perfectly healthy, meat- and dairy-free menu that supports weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

How does Vegan Diet work?
While vegetarians eliminate meat, fish and poultry, vegans take it a step further,excluding all animal products – even dairy and eggs. (Vegans are often animal rights activists who don’t believe in using animal products for any purpose.)

So say goodbye to refried beans with lard, margarine made with whey and anything with gelatin, which comes from animal bones and hooves, too. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes will be your staples.
Say Goodbye to Animal Products too.

animal products

Exactly how you shape your diet each day is up to you, but you’ll typically aim for six servings of grains, likely from bread and calcium-fortified cereal; five servings of legumes, nuts and other types of protein, such as peanut butter, chickpeas, tofu, potatoes and soy milk; and four daily servings of veggies, two servings of fruit and two servings of healthy fats, such as sesame oil, avocado and coconut, according to an American Dietetic Association guide. There’s also no need to give up dessert: Vegans can eat baked goods (cupcakes and cobbler, for example) made without butter, eggs or albumin.

How much does it cost?
It’s moderately pricey. Fruits, vegetables and soy products – which should be filling your cart if you’re doing it right – are generally more expensive than heavily processed foods like white bread, sugary cereals and sweets. But bypassing the butcher will help keep the tab reasonable.

Will you lose weight?
Likely. Research shows vegans tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less and have a lower body mass index (a measure of body fat) than their meat-eating counterparts. If you’re doing it right – i.e., eating lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains – you’ll likely feel full on fewer calories than you’re allowed each day. With that “calorie deficit” and a little physical activity, you’re bound to shed pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.

Here’s what several key studies have to say about veganism:

  • In one study, 99 participants with Type 2 diabetes followed either a vegan diet or a diet based on American Diabetes Association guidelines. After 22 weeks, the vegans lost an average of 13 pounds versus 9 in the ADA group, according to findings published in 2006 in Diabetes Care. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can help stave off some diseases.
    In another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999, researchers tracked 45 people: 20 meat-eaters and 25 vegans who’d been following the approach for an average of 12 years. Body mass index was appreciably lower among the vegans, nine of whom had a BMI of below 19, the researchers found; a BMI below 18.5 suggests a person is underweight.
    More than 60 overweight, postmenopausal women were split into two groups: Half followed a vegan diet, and the other half followed a National Cholesterol Education Program diet (low in fat and dietary cholesterol). After a year, vegan dieters lost more weight than did the NCEP group: 10.8 pounds compared with 3.9 pounds. The pattern held up after two years, when the vegans still weighed 6.8 pounds less than they did when the study began, compared with 1.8 pounds for the NCEP group, according to findings published in 2007 in Obesity.

    In a study published in 2014 in Nutrition, researchers followed a group of 50 overweight or obese adults for six months. They found that those on a vegan diet lost significantly more weight than those on other plans, including vegetarian, semivegetarian and omnivorous – by about 4.3 percent or an average of 16.5 pounds. The study authors suspect that’s because the vegan dieters were focusing on high-fiber foods, which help you feel full for longer, and their diets were low in fat and likely had fewer calories.

    Vegan
    How easy is it to follow?
    How difficult is the idea of a turkey-free Thanksgiving and morning cereal without the milk? Be mindful that healthy veganism requires planning, especially if you’re a newbie.

  • Convenience: When you want to cook, there’s a recipe somewhere that’ll suit your taste buds. Still, veganism takes some work and creativity. It’s up to you to plan meals around plant protein rather than animal protein.
  • Recipes: Limitless. Vegan magazines, books and websites abound, offering suggestions for every meal and cuisine.
  • Eating out: Doable, but options may be limited. Garden vegetable soup and steamed veggies make good appetizers. Entree salads are your best bet, but don’t forget to hold the bacon bits, croutons and cheese. For dessert, go with fresh fruit.
  • Alcohol: Only certain types of alcohol are vegan-friendly. Some wines, for example, are filtered through gelatin, egg whites and isinglass, made from fish bladders. Check which brands are OK on Barnivore, a guide to alcoholic beverages for vegans.

 

  • Fullness: Nutrition experts emphasize the importance of satiety, the satisfied feeling that you’ve had enough. If you’ve built a healthful vegan diet around fiber-packed veggies, fruits and whole grains, you shouldn’t feel hungry between meals.
  • Taste: You’re preparing the food – if it doesn’t taste good, you know who to blame. Try reinventing your favorites: Go for black-bean instead of steak burritos, or if chicken stir-fry is your thing, use tofu instead of poultry. And consider replacing turkey meatballs or the meat in spaghetti sauce with white beans. There are lots of dessert options, too, including raspberry lavender cupcakes, gingerbread pumpkin seed brittle, cherry-berry peanut butter cobbler and poppy seed scones. (Often, treats are made using nondairy milk, soy or coconut creamer, flaxseeds, chickpea flour, vegan cream cheese, and even vegan sprinkles.)

    variety

Health & Nutrition
Veganism can conform to a healthful eating plan, but it takes work, and the risk of insufficient amounts of key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, zinc and iron is real. That worried experts a bit, but they still gave the diet a respectable score.

What is the role of exercise?
Veganism only has rules on what you can and cannot eat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. No matter the diet, the more you move, the quicker you’ll see the pounds come off – and you’ll reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart problems and other chronic diseases. Adults are generally encouraged to get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity activity (like brisk walking) each week, along with a couple days of muscle-strengthening activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips to get you started.

pretty eater

Vegan Diet Recipes
Sample Menu
Here’s a day of meals for a vegan on a 1,500-calorie diet, adapted from a sample menu published in the Vegetarian Journal.
Breakfast
Orange-vanilla smoothie
1 slice whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons almond butter
Lunch
2 whole wheat tortillas with 1 cup kidney beans, 1/4 cup avocado and salsa, chopped tomatoes and lettuce as desired
Steamed kale with 1 teaspoon flax oil
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
Dinner
Tofu and snow pea stir-fry
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup watermelon cubes
Snack
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
3/4 cup unsweetened breakfast cereal

plate of veggies

Are there health risks?
If you create a sensible plan, you should be safe. But if you have a health condition, check with your doctor before going vegan.

Vegans often don’t get enough calcium, which can cause weak bones that break easily, according to a study published in Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in 2010. And in a 2009 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on the health effects of a vegan diet, researchers warned that vegans often don’t get enough vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and zinc. They’re also often low in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for brain, eye and cardiovascular health. Supplements might be necessary.

A 2016 study by a Mayo Clinic review team found that some poorly planned vegan diets could lead to a deficiency of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A lack of some of these nutrients can have implications for bone strength, anemia, neurological disorders and other health problems. The clinic review team recommends that physicians observe their patients who eat vegan diets to makes sure they have adequate blood levels of calcium, ferritin, iron, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.

Does it have cardiovascular benefits?
It could. An eating pattern heavy on fruits and veggies, but light on saturated fat and salt, is considered the best way to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay.
• A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Florence in Italy found people who ate vegan and vegetarian diets showed a significant decrease in risk of heart disease and total cancer. The study found that people who ate vegan and vegetarian diets reduced their risk of ischemic heart disease by 25 percent, and people who consumed a vegan diet decreased their risk of total cancer by 15 percent.

• In a 12-year study that compared 6,000 vegetarians with 5,000 meat-eaters, researchers found that vegans had a 57-percent lower risk of ischemic heart disease than the meat-eaters.

• In the 2006 Diabetes Care study mentioned in the weight loss section, researchers concluded that vegan diets have a lipid- and cholesterol-lowering effect, likely because they eliminate dietary cholesterol (plant products are cholesterol-free) and are low in saturated fat.

• On your way to becoming vegan but can’t give up animal products cold turkey? Research finds those who simply eat a higher proportion of plant-based foods than animal-based foods have a 20-percent lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke. But there’s evidence that taking it a step further and going all-in vegan may provide additional protection against high blood pressure and death related to cardiovascular disease.

Can it prevent or control diabetes?
It appears to be a good option for both.

Prevention: Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. If going meat-and-dairy-free helps you lose weight and keep it off, you’ll stand a better chance of staving off the disease. Some research has linked veganism with a lower diabetes risk.

Control: Vegan diets are healthful for people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. And because there are no rigid meal plans or prepackaged meals, you can ensure that what you’re eating doesn’t go against your doctor’s advice.

• In the 2006 Diabetes Care study mentioned above, which involved 99 people with Type 2 diabetes, both a vegan diet and an ADA-dietary guidelines diet improved control of blood sugar levels. However, the benefit was more profound in the vegan group. Researchers also found that vegan diets may have a beneficial effect on hemoglobin A1C levels, a measure of blood sugar over time. After 22 weeks, the vegans decreased their hemoglobin A1C levels by 0.96 percentage points, compared with 0.56 among the ADA dieters. And 43 percent of vegan dieters reduced the number of diabetes medications they were taking, while just 26 percent of the ADA group did.

Vegan Diet Do’s & Don’ts

Do: Have about six servings of grains a day. Whole-wheat bread, quinoa and calcium-fortified cereal are good sources.
Do: Have dessert.
But it needs to be made without butter, eggs or albumin. Tofu cheesecake is a popular choice
Don’t: Eat any animal products.
That even includes dairy, gelatin and eggs.

Reference: Mayo Clinic

Adding Folic Acid to Bread Flour May Prevent Birth Defects

Published January 9, 2017 by teacher dahl

corn-flour
If you’re a Filipina who’s expecting a baby, your diet may be missing a key ingredient believed to help prevent certain kinds of birth defects.
That ingredient? Folic acid, which has long been used to fortify, or strengthen, certain enriched grains.

However, as Jonca Bull, M.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Minority Health notes, “Many Hispanic women don’t benefit from the folic acid in cereal grain products because those products are not a mainstay of their regular diets—which often are bread flour-based.”

This could be a reason why Filipinas represent the highest percentage of U.S. women giving birth to children with neural tube defects (NTDs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NTDs are birth defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord, such as anen¬cephaly and spina bifida.

The FDA has moved to help protect these women and their children by approving the addition of folic acid to corn masa flour, an ingredient in foods including tortillas, tacos, tortilla chips and tamales. Foods made from this flour are staple foods of Mexican and some Central and South American diets.

When consumed by pregnant women before and during pregnancy, folic acid—a B vitamin—may help to prevent neural tube defects.

folic

An Important Preventive Step
In 1998, in response to a recommendation by CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service, FDA made it easier for many expectant mothers to consume folic acid. The agency required the addition of folic acid to standardized enriched cereal grains, such as enriched rice and flour, and standardized enriched cereal grain products, such as enriched bread and macaroni.

Refined grains are enriched when certain B vitamins are added back after processing. Standardized foods contain ingredients required by FDA and are produced in a specified way.

“The reasoning was that enough people—including expectant mothers—eat enriched grains as a matter of course. And that could make a difference in the number of neural tube defects,” says Dennis M. Keefe, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety. In fact, the number of NTDs in the U.S. for all populations has since declined.
However, the incidence of neural tube defects in some Hispanic American populations has not declined to the same extent as in the general population.

So, FDA reviewed and approved a food additive petition from five organizations—the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Spina Bifida Association, the National Council of La Raza, and Gruma Corporation—requesting that folic acid be added to corn masa flour. Manufacturers may now voluntarily add the amount of folic acid (up to 0.7 milligrams) per pound of corn masa flour that is consistent with the levels in the enriched cereal grains mandated in 1998.

“With this approval, FDA is taking a powerful, preventive public health action,” Bull says. “By adding folic acid to corn masa flour, we have the opportunity to impact a large segment of the U.S. population and protect parents and their children from the devastating birth defects that are linked to insufficient folic acid consumed by the mother before and during pregnancy.”

If You’re Pregnant or Thinking of Becoming Pregnant
CDC recommends that for folic acid to help prevent some major birth defects, a woman should start consuming 400 mcg a day at least one month before she becomes pregnant and the entire time while she is pregnant. For masa, cereals and grain products, read the ingredient statement to see if the food has been enriched with folic acid.

folate

Some easy ways to make sure to get enough folic acid are to:
• Eat a bowl of an enriched breakfast cereal that has 100% of the Daily Value of folic acid.
• Eat other enriched cereal grain products mandated to contain folic acid.
• Take a vitamin or multivitamin supplement that contains folic acid each day.
Talk to your health care provider about what’s best for you.

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