Avoiding the Freshmen 15

freshman15For new college students, “back to school” can mean a new school and a new living space as well, for those leaving home.  That usually means getting accustomed to all sorts of changes: dorm room, a roommate, and all that dorm cafeteria food.

Dorm food has come a long way, and there are now tons of options, whether you’re a vegetarian, a vegan, or a carnivore, plus there’s more attention to locally-produced food.  But dorm dining is, by nature, an “all-you-can-eat” arrangement, and that can translate to “eat-all-you-can” if students aren’t careful.  Some guidance here is useful and Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania does just that, with their 3-day “Introduction to the Dining Hall”.  Read more about the program and my comments in an article on NBCNews.com.  To help you understand more about how to make the college dining hall work for you WITHOUT gaining the “Freshman 15” read my post in The Doctor’s Tablet 

Custodial Grandparents: Where Nutrition Meets Family Dynamics

grandparentsI’m not a grandparent but I work with so many of them.  Many are de-facto parents, either because they have full custody of their grandchildren, but others are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren because of working parents.  They’re often the ones who not only prepare meals for their grandchildren, but who eat with them and spend lots of awake hours with them.   

They may be spending more time with their grandkids than the actual parents do, so they can have a real influence on a child’s attitude about food and their whole food experience growing up.  And that’s why I want to meet with them.  

Grandparenting is serious business and read about my approach to counseling these “key influencers” in children’s lives about nutrition and the family dynamics around food and eating in The Doctor’s Tablet.    

Could Fasting Be Good for Healthy Adults — and Kids?

fastingEvery so often fasting – the conscious abstaining from all food or specific foods, sometimes for religious observance but sometimes for other reasons – like weight loss or “detoxing” has come back into vogue again.  There’s actually some recent research that suggests it might have some limited benefits – in rats but in a recent human study, too.   

Fasting, even if it can be useful, for how long?  How severe? Would I recommend it?  What about kids?  Read my take on this new research and my recommendations in my post in The Doctor’s Tablet.

Digging Into the Truth About Holiday Weight Gain

pumpkinpieLots of people love the holidays and for many the holidays are filled with joy, happiness – and lots of good food that doesn’t come around at any other time of year.  That last part is part of a lot of circumstances around the holidays that can produce that weight gain.  Indeed, many people consider acquiring holiday pounds to be inevitable.  

It’s not inevitable, and some new research about how much weight people really gain may surprise you – and in a good way.  

Read about who is most at risk for holiday weight gain and how to manage holiday eating in my Huffington Post article here.

Spice Can Be Nice for Kids – and Improve Nutrition

spic-e-bazaar-iostanbulThe Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics always declares March as National Nutrition Month.  This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”.  I love this theme because people forget that eating a healthy diet isn’t just about nutrition.  We need to get there in a flavorful way.  

And flavor is for kids, too, and having fun with flavor is one way I’ve found to motivate my patients to make great dietary changes that last.

Read more about kids’ tastes and how to use flavor – and that can mean spices – to both improve  their diets and make them happier about the foods they eat, in my Huffington Post article.

 

Photo, courtesy of Creative Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kruiden_in_Egyptische_bazaar_Emin%C3%B6n%C3%BC_Istanbul.JPG

Regulate Sugar? Consumers Need to Be Empowered, Not Made Into Victims

 sugar-browncubesonwhitesugarSugar seems to be the new trans fat – it has really bad press.  I’ll grant you, sugar isn’t angel food, but it isn’t devil’s food either.

There are those who would prefer to regulate sugar as though it were tobacco or a drug.  That gets great headlines but as a clinician, I’m a little more practical.  

Sugar isn’t a new food and we consumed it long before there was an obesity crisis.  Indeed, we’re actually eating LESS of it than we did 15 years ago.  

I want my patients to understand food, not fear it.  Read more of my take on the sugar shakedown in my guest editorial in US News.

A “Silver Lining” for Those Who Re-gain Lost Weight

regainShows like “The Biggest Loser” where all the contestants lose weight and the big challenge is to lose the most weight, get people all ginned up to see who will win the top spot.  These shows can even get people motivated to make some real dietary and lifestyle changes when they see how contestant’s bodies and mindsets change over the weeks of the TV season.

A recent New York Times article suggests that once the show is over and the smoke clears, some contestants find it a real challenge to keep that weight off.  You might be tempted to think that being overweight is truly a “never ending battle of the bulge”.  A  Not so!  There are plenty of successes!  And people get there a lot more easily, if perhaps more slowly, than the TV contestants.  

Here’s the silver lining: align your eating habits and lifestyle with those who have lost it and kept it off for years.  I talk about a registry of thousands of successes and how you can make gradual, positive changes to your diet, lifestyle, and attitude about food and bring the battle of the bulge to a timely and successful end.  Read more in my blog in  the Huffington Post here.

Searching for Consensus on “Healthy” Foods

healthy-food3Whenever I read an article that starts out, “Nutritionists say…” or “Nutritionists believe…” I have to wince a bit.  Get a bunch of us in a room and the only sure thing is that we’ll be talking about food and nutrition.  A new survey conducted by the New York Times however, suggests that nutritionists we don’t all agree about what’s “healthy”.

This came as no surprise to me, but the survey also looked at how the opinions of nutritionists differed from those of consumers.  Read my take on the survey itself and what to do about it all in my Huffington Post blog here.