Prenatal & Pediatric, Daily Health, Emotional Fitness, Personal Care, Sports Nutrition, Weight Management, Specialty, Healthy Aging, SalesPortal, Corporate

Win the Fight against Fat: Nix Refined Flour, Fast Food and Sugar

By Kathy Jordan, MS, RD, LDN, CPT, CTA

I am not a big fan of diets with lists of forbidden foods. They usually instill a lot of guilt and don’t work in the long run. Instead, I promote adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy food choices that maximize your nutritional intake, strength training, aerobic exercise, adequate sleep and stress/time management. HOWEVER, the research is piling up that certain types of foods contribute to obesity, type-2 diabetes, non-alcohol related fatty liver and a number of other debilitating lifestyle-related conditions.

Consuming foods that are fast, convenient, and calorically dense while low in nutrients on a regular basis is not in your best interest if you want to avoid obesity, lose weight and have a long healthy life. The biggest culprits are refined flours, FAST FOOD and sugars.

The Stats and Studies:
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans describe a healthy diet as one that is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars1. This is consistent with the 2002 position paper on weight management by the American Dietetic Association that blames a sedentary life coupled with access to an abundance of energy-dense foods for the epidemic of obesity, chronic disease, and escalating national health care costs2. A 2006 study conducted by the National Weight Control Registry found that weight re-gain was associated with several factors including high calorie and high fat intake, and fast food consumption. Factors associated with long-term weight loss included limiting fast food consumption3.

Why pick on fast food? A typical fast food meal is high in calories from fat, refined starches, salt and sugar. It is energy dense, supplying an average of 150% more calories than a traditional meal. It increases the risk of obesity and related health issues by encouraging inadvertent over consumption of calories. And supersizing compounds the issue. A supersized fast food meal often exceeds 1,600 calories, more than many people should eat in an entire day. These meals are woefully low in fiber, but pack in plenty of unhealthy fat, sugar and sodium. And it’s not just the fare at fast food restaurants we should be concerned about; ready-to-eat and other convenient meal solutions offered at supermarkets and convenience stores may have similar nutrient profiles.

Not all carbs are created equal. Sugar and refined flour or other refined starches (grains such as: cereals, breads, pasta, white rice and crackers, made from grains that have been processed to remove the husk also removing most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals along with it) are more rapidly digested into glucose – causing blood sugar levels to rise. This stimulates insulin production, which signals the body to convert more of the excess energy into: body fat, fatty lipids that circulate in the blood and deposits of fat in the liver4.

In 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) called for a drastic reduction in sugar consumption, citing that poor diet contributes to 60% of the 56 million annual reported deaths worldwide. Americans consume over 100 pounds of sugar per year. High sugar foods and beverages are usually high in calories and low in or completely void of nutrients. Soda and other sweetened soft drinks, such as sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened ice tea and lemonade are the leading sources of sugar in the American diet. Researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health report that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption increases the incidence of obesity5.

As our consumption of sugars, refined starches and fast food has risen, so has the incidence of overweight and obesity. The average male and female American adult weighs approximately 25 pounds more today than we did 45 years ago, and the incidence of overweight and obesity among our youth has tripled since the 1960’s and 70’s. To win the fight against fat, we will have to choose foods that contribute to health over those that contribute to health decline.

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, 6th ed.
2 American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: weight management. J Am Diet Assoc 2002;102(8):1145-55.
3 Phelan S, et al. Are the eating and exercise habits of successful weight losers changing? Obesity 2006;14(4):710-16.
4 Ludwig DS. Dietary glycemic index and obesity. J Nutr 2000;130(2S Suppl):280S-283S.
5 Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001;357(9255)505-8.

Metabolife® Helps People Nationwide Start Off the New Year Right As the Presenting Sponsor of the 2009 Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular

--Tune-In to NBC New Year’s Day at 4pm EST for the Telecast--

Bridgeport, CT (December 31, 2009) — Metabolife, a leading brand in the weight management industry, and supporting sponsor of the 2009 Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular introduces, “My Resolution” a part of Metabolife’s online community dedicated to helping people take that first step to becoming a better healthier person for the New Year.

“We know how important it is to start the New Year off right, so we created a place for individuals to share their resolutions with others and gain inspiration from our online community,” says Niki Simoneaux, Director of Brand Management. “Professional athletes know how important it is to have goals so we asked the skaters what their 2010 resolutions are and what they are doing to make them stick.”

“I think the way that I stay motivated is the things that I set out to do are things I truly love,” says Olympic gold-medalist Brian Boitano when discussing sticking to New Year’s resolutions. “Anything I am passionate about, I am going to be able to focus on completely.” National Champion Michael Weiss added, “I think if you can set a goal and go after that goal with a friend or a family member, you can push each other, which helps in times when you don’t want to follow through with exercise and eating right.”

Olympic gold-medalist Brian Boitano and musical guest Chicago star in Musselman's Applesauce presents Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular, a new theatrical figure skating event. Special guest stars will include three-time National Champion and two-time World Bronze Medalist Michael Weiss, World Champion Yuka Sato, as well as World Champion Kimmie Meissner, U.S National Champion Alissa Czisny, eight-time British Champion Steven Cousins, two-time World Professional Champions Elena Leonova & Andrei Khvalko, and World Silver Medalists Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon.
Tune-In to NBC New Year’s Day at 4pm EST for the Telecast…

About the event:

•What: Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular Presented by Metabolife
•When: New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1, 2010
•Where: NBC (Check your local listing for channel information)
•Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm EST

To learn more about how Metabolife can help you reach your weight loss goals, go to www.metabolife.com. There's no reason to wait until January 1st to get started. Join in now by uploading a picture and typing in your 2010 resolution and motivation.

About Metabolife:

Metabolife (www.metabolife.com) is a dietary supplement brand with six products that include Metabolife Ultra®, Metabolife® Green Tea, Metabolife® Caffeine Free, Metabolife® Break Through, Metabolife® Extreme Energy and Metabolife® Aqua Slim™. All the Metabolife products are supported by MLifeSupport on www.metabolife.com, a free online community of inspiration, motivation and real help from experts and peers. Metabolife is made by ISI Brands Inc., a leading global manufacturer of high quality dietary supplement products. For information about other great products from ISI Brands visit www.isibrands.com.

Aging Skin

During our early adolescent and teenage years, most of us rarely think about our skin and the aging process that will one day affect the condition and appearance of our skin. However, after our early 20s, aging changes will begin to show up in the skin; changes which will progress as we age into our 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

It’s never too late to begin taking care of your skin and protecting it from future damage. Although your skin will continue to age as you get older, you can take certain precautions and use certain products to help keep your skin looking healthy, refreshed, and youthful.

How Does Skin Change With Age?

As we approach our 30s, our body’s production of collagen and elastin (two substances that give the skin firmness and elasticity) begins to slow down. The collagen and elastin also begin to loosen and unravel which results in skin that sags and has poor elasticity. A young person, with plenty of both collagen and elastin, has firm, smooth, unwrinkled skin. As that person ages, the loss of collagen and elastin causes the skin to become looser and less supple.

At the same time, fat cells beneath the skin may begin to disappear. With the loss of this supportive fat, collagen, and elastin, plus the pull of gravity, the skin begins to sag and form wrinkles. The skin also loses the ability to moisturize itself and retain moisture with age, leading to skin that is drier, possibly with itchy, irritated patches.

With age also comes the appearance of those familiar lines and wrinkles that we associate with older skin; frown lines (those between the eyebrows) and crow's feet (lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes) begin to appear as a result of permanent small muscle contractions.

Your Habits, Your Skin

In addition to the natural processes that occur in our bodies and skin as we age, other long-term habits can cause damage to our skin.

Sun exposure is the most damaging external factor that affects the condition and health of our skin and is the primary cause of prematurely aging skin (called photoaging). In fact, many of the features we associate with aged skin are actually caused by sun exposure, and not by the natural aging process. Photoaging can cause a number of skin conditions, including:

•Fine wrinkles
•Liver spots (a.k.a. age spots)
•Dilated blood vessels
•Roughened skin

Smoking cigarettes is also harmful to the skin. Smoking causes the blood vessels in the top layers of the skin to narrow (constrict), which reduces the blood supply, reduces the amount of oxygen available to the skin, and reduces the removal of waste products and dead cells. This process contributes to the reduction in collagen and elastin and prevents Vitamin A from bonding with skin cells to repair skin damage, leading skin to have a grayish or bluish cast and a leathery texture. Smoking also restricts circulation, taking away the rosy blush of young skin. The facial expressions smokers make when smoking may also cause wrinkles, with wrinkles appearing around lips pursed around a cigarette and around eyes that squint to keep out smoke.

Common Signs of Aging Skin

When skin ages and accumulates damage from sun and other habits, a number of skin conditions may result including:

Lentigines - Also known as "age" or "liver" spots, lentigines are flat, brown spots that usually show up on the face, hands, back and feet. These spots are not dangerous (and are not a sign of liver disease). If, however, you notice a dark, flat area with irregular (not rounded) borders, see a dermatologist to ensure that it is not a melanoma.
Bruises - Older skin bruises more often than younger skin and takes a much longer time to heal. Bruises that don't heal after a week or so should be seen by a dermatologist.
Wrinkles - As skin becomes less elastic, it begins to sag, particularly around the eyes, mouth, forehead, and cheeks.
Telangiectasias - Often called "broken capillaries," telangiectasias are visible, dilated blood vessels in the face, usually caused by sun damage.
Actinic keratoses – These are rough, warty, reddish or brownish growths, caused by sun damage and are often a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer).
Cherry angiomas- These are red, protruding growths on the body caused by dilated blood vessels. They are harmless and occur in about 85% of those over middle-age.
Seborrheic keratoses – These are brown or black raised spots, or warty growths on the skin’s surface.

Keep Your Skin Looking Younger

It's best to start protecting your skin during childhood, however, anyone at any age can begin to take the necessary precautions to help protect the skin, keep it looking young and healthy, and hopefully slow down the affects of aging. Following are some tips on how to achieve younger looking skin.

Minimize Sun Exposure – Minimizing sun exposure is the most important thing you can do to protect your skin and keep it looking young. Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when outdoors, and protect the face with a brimmed hat. Try to avoid sun exposure from approximately 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, which is the most hazardous time for UV exposure.
Protect Skin From Dryness - Aging skin can be dry, flaking and itchy. Use a moisturizer containing petrolatum or lanolin immediately after bathing. Also, use milder soaps and consider bathing less often and using less drying warm water to bathe rather than hot water.
Drink Plenty of Water- Drinking water throughout the day ensures proper hydration of the body and helps to reduce skin dryness. Doctors and nutritionists recommend drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day.
Eat a Healthy Diet- Eating a healthy, balanced diet will benefit your body as well as your skin. Fruits and vegetables are particularly important for preventing premature skin aging since they contain many antioxidants.
Exercise- Exercise promotes capillary functioning which can decrease premature aging. It also increases oxygen to the tissues which keeps skin looking young and healthy
Stop Smoking - Quitting smoking at any age reduces further damage to skin.

Product Helpers

Following are some common active ingredients in over-the-counter products that can help keep your skin looking young and healthy:

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) - These acids produce a mild sloughing (peeling) action, taking off the top layer of skin and exposing the fresher skin underneath. AHAs are usually derived from fruit or from dairy products, and many moisturizers now contain them. They are safe to use on the face. These are sometimes called "lactic acid" if they’re derived from dairy products.
Retinol - Related to Vitamin A, retinol is contained in many skin creams, and may temporarily cause tissues of the face to swell very slightly, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Antioxidants - Topical antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamins C and E can help support against the sun's ultraviolet rays and smoking. This can help skin appear smoother and more glowing.
Ammonium lactate - The combination of lactic acid mixed with ammonium hydroxide, ammonium lactate is used to clear up dry, scaly patches on the skin.
Ceramide - This substance is beginning to play a large part in creams intended to make skin look younger. Ceramide helps the skin hang on to its natural moisturizing lipids.

6 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids

Take the control back into your hands when it comes to your children’s health and nutrition. Your home plays an important role in your children’s nutrition since adolescents consume about 60% of their daily energy from foods at home.

Help build a proper nutritional foundation for your children with these 6 tips.

1) Have Regular Family Meals
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, eating together as a family can become a heart-warming and health-giving ritual for all involved. Not only can you catch up with the school and social life of your children, but your children will likely be better for it. Kids who frequently dine with their parents eat more fruits and vegetables, tend to do better in school, watch less TV, are less likely to smoke or drink, and have a more positive attitude.

2) Cook Meals at Home
Keep your wallets and children’s bellies full with at-home prepared foods. According to a recent survey, Americans are willing to pay two to three times higher prices for convenience in food. But you don’t have to sacrifice time for nutrition. Add vegetables and fruits to ready-made entrées, purchase pre-washed salads, use frozen, already washed and chopped vegetables as easy additions to any meal, and whole ready-to-eat fruit for simple desserts.

Studies show that at-home preparations are positively related to nutrient intake. Healthy at-home meals, combined with nutritious school meals, can provide your child with proper dietary intake of protein, vitamins and minerals.

3) Let them choose
Since you are in control of what foods are available for mealtimes and snacks, encourage your kids to decide if and when they are hungry, what they will eat from the foods served, and when they are full. Food should be thought of as nutritious and fuel for energy, so don’t force kids to clean their plates if they are full, or reward with food.

4) Get Kids Involved
Whether shopping for school lunches or ingredients for dinner, teach kids to read food labels so they can begin to know what to look for.

In the kitchen, select age-appropriate tasks so kids can play but still feel involved. It can become an educational and fun experience – like a science experiment! And don’t forget: give kudos to the cook!

5) Healthy Snacks
Snacking can contribute to a healthy diet and doesn’t have to be all about chips and dip. Keep a variety of easily accessible fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen and try to avoid purchasing processed snack food. Healthy snacks can provide dietary fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and help your kids avoid excessive fat, sugar or salt.

6) Be the example!
It is as good for you as it is for your children and no lectures involved! Your comfort level in the kitchen and knowledge of healthful ingredients provide a positive food environment for your children and family members. Children learn by example, so show them how to prepare a healthy meal, control portion size, and snack sensibly. Do your best and your kids will thank you for it, even if it is 20 years later.

Getting in Shape for Sports that You and Your Family Enjoy

Do the minutes creep by when you’re exercising, because you’d rather be on the golf course? Do you long for your snowboard or skis when you’re jogging in the dead of summer? Instead of sticking to a run-of-the-(tread)mill workout, why not try getting in shape to improve your game, whatever it may be? Engaging in a workout with a purpose can give you the motivation to stay fit and avoid burnout.

On the other hand, maybe you’d just really like to be able to keep up with your kids and not get quite so out of breath when you shoot hoops. Perhaps your swing isn’t what it could be and you’d like to be able to really take a good whack at that ball. If you find yourself vowing to improve your game, the secret to success goes beyond basic practice – you’ve got to get in shape to be good at your game. And if you find a good sports conditioning workout, you’ll not only find yourself hitting a home run, you’ll most likely save yourself from a few sports-related injuries.

It’s All About You: Personalizing Your Workout

Once you’ve identified the sport you’re working out for, you’ll find a wealth of workouts waiting for you. If you’re into ball sports like basketball, soccer, baseball or volleyball, it’s a good idea to build up your core muscles via weight and strength training or even through the practice of more whole-body forms of fitness training, such as Pilates or yoga. You’ll also need to work on your cardiovascular fitness so you can run around the court or up and down the field.

There are many fitness programs available that target training for a specific sport. Most gyms have some form of core muscle strengthening program and the personal trainers should be able to help you find the particular focus areas you need to work on for your sport. If joining a gym is not in your plans, you still have lots of choices. Conditioning workouts for specific sports are available almost anywhere. Check out the workout videos at your local video store, online at stores like Amazon.com, or even at your local library. You can also simply search for specific conditioning workouts online via Google or any other search engine. Web sites like BallyFitness.com and Sport-Fitness-Advisor.com offer workout suggestions and even detailed programs for a variety of sports. Check out your local library and bookstores for books on sports conditioning and training for specific sports. Last but not least, if you’re in school, ask your physical education instructor for tips and check in with your friends who enjoy the same sports.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: 10 Ways to Stay Focused

•Remind yourself that your workout has a purpose. You are improving your game (serve, balance, etc.) and reducing your risk of injury.
•Work out with a friend or family member. Find someone who likes to play the same game and get fit together so you can form a killer team.
•Find some images or photos that inspire you. Stick them on the fridge or your bedroom walls or make them your new screen saver on your computer.
•Set specific, realistic goals for yourself. If your sport requires cardiovascular fitness like basketball or soccer, set a goal of running a certain distance in a specific amount of time.
•Instead of one huge goal, set many smaller goals.
•Reward yourself when you reach a goal. Give yourself a pat on the back and share your successes with others. They’ll be proud of you, too. And if you reach a real milestone, instead of treating yourself to a sweet, treat yourself to a new soccer ball or other piece of equipment that you’ve been wishing for.
•Be patient. Your body won’t change overnight.
•Track your progress in a fitness journal. Write down your goals, how you plan to achieve them, and create a fitness chart to track your workouts (how often you exercise, what you do for each workout, how you felt).
•Make it convenient. If you have to drive an hour every time you want to workout, you’re defeating the purpose.
•Make sure you’re eating a balanced, healthy diet. You’ll feel better and you’ll have more energy for your workout if you stay away from sugar and saturated fats. Whole grains, veggies and lean meats and fish will help your body build muscle and shed fat.

Choosing a Vitamin for Your Child

By Alan Greene, MD, FAAP

You already back up your computer’s hard drive. Why not back up your child’s food drive too?

Kids are designed to thrive on a balanced diet of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and lean sources of protein and calcium. But in reality, most children today don’t get nearly all of the vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients they need from what they eat. A daily multivitamin or mineral supplement can help to greatly improve children’s overall health.*

A daily dietary supplement can help fill in the small nutritional holes, gaps and cracks that are so common in children’s diets. Since kids’ bodies and brains grow especially quickly in their first three years, begin supplements after your child’s first birthday.

Not all vitamins are created equal. When choosing a vitamin, avoid:

• Hydrogenated vegetable oil
• Artificial dyes (Blue No. 2, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 6)
• High fructose corn syrup
• Artificial flavors
• Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
• Preservatives such as butylated hydroxytoluene

When deciding on a vitamin, look for natural options, as well as ones with low sugar and no allergens.

How much does your child need? It depends on her diet, but in general, be sure your child is getting enough of the most important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (see The Greene 13, below, to find out which ones are my top priority). Most children don’t need large amounts of vitamins or minerals.

Whatever you choose, the simple habit of taking a daily supplement will back up your child’s food drive and help set her up for a long, healthy life.*

The Greene 13

Kids commonly don’t get enough:

1. Calcium

2. Fiber

3. Folic acid

4. Iron

5. Magnesium

6. Omega 3 fatty acids (especially DHA)

7. Phosphorous

8. Potassium

9. Vitamin A

10. Vitamin C

11. Vitamin D

12. Vitamin E

13. Zinc

Making the Case for Vitamin Supplements

By Alan Greene, MD, FAAP

No matter how well intentioned people are about making sure they get the right balance of vitamins and minerals, they face tough obstacles. With breastfed newborns, the scale is tipped in the right direction (except for vitamin D). After infancy we are biologically designed to thrive on a balanced variety of whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean sources of protein and calcium. But natural instincts to eat the right amount of healthful, balanced foods can be tricked by sugar- and fat-laden empty calories that make up a good portion of the American diet.

Even if people learn to choose fresh, sweet corn over processed corn chips, they face another challenge: today’s natural foods do not contain the same level of micronutrients they used to. The typical American consumes too many calories, but the extra calories do not translate to adequate nutrition. We often get suboptimal levels of many key nutrients and phytonutrients that scientists are just beginning to understand.

Missing the mark on vitamins and minerals is especially worrisome for our kids and expectant mothers. As a pediatrician, I worry most about “the Greene 13”: calcium, fiber, folic acid, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA), phosphorus (except for kids who drink carbonated beverages and get too much phosphorus), potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc. These micronutrients can affect children’s growth, behavior, and/or immune systems – and typical American children do not get enough.

Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate vitamins and the role they play in our health, especially the healthy development of our children. I’ve seen firsthand how a mother’s vitamin intake can help a growing infant, even before she conceives. I’ve monitored the decrease in the value of the nutrients that our children digest, even when we think we’re feeding our families all the fruits and vegetables they need to stay healthy.

Take vitamin D, for example – one of the critical Greene 13. A recent study found that children with low levels of vitamin D have a higher chance of respiratory concerns, and related research looked at how vitamin D might help respiratory health. Earlier studies suggest that adequate vitamin D might support many other systems in the body.

Earlier this year the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the amount of vitamin D they recommended for our kids. But parents are going to have to work a little harder to meet these new levels, as it has become more difficult to get enough vitamin D in recent years. Kids are consuming less vitamin D-rich foods such as tuna and vitamin D-fortified milk (in favor of sweetened drinks with less nutrition). They spend less time outdoors during the middle of the day, and when they do, they need to wear sunscreen. A study released this year showed that forty percent of healthy babies and toddlers were not getting enough vitamin D – and an earlier report said the same about American teens.

Another Greene 13 nutrient that’s tough to get naturally is the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, an important nutrient that studies have shown helps support healthy joint function, cardiovascular health, and helps to enhance mood and support a healthy state of mind.

Although everyone can benefit from taking a balanced multivitamin, women of childbearing age and children have special needs. One of the most critical times for good nutrition may be the trimester before the pregnancy test turns positive. Thus, I recommend a prenatal vitamin for women who may become pregnant. Babies or toddlers can start on liquid vitamin drops when they slow down on breastfeeding or formula. Breastfed babies should get at least 400 IU of vitamin D starting soon after birth. When kids can start chewing pills, I look for palatable supplements that do not mimic candy or contain sweeteners or artificial coloring.

Of course, in the developing world, adding supplements to a diet isn’t as easy as going to the vitamin aisle in a drugstore. More than 30 percent of the world’s population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies. One non-profit organization has dedicated itself to decreasing the problems caused by malnutrition by providing supplements to children and expecting mothers in developing countries and communities in need. Vitamin Angels (www.vitaminangels.org) is focusing on distributing vitamin A to at-risk children. The program is privately funded with donations from vitamin manufacturers, companies and individual donations. I give to Vitamin Angels each year because this charity does so much with every dollar that I give. I've travelled with Vitamin Angels to the Dominican Republic to see the program at work. I've never seen such a big improvement in people's lives achieved so inexpensively and so quickly.

Why Is It So Important To Lose Weight Slowly? Part 1

Chewable Vitamins

DHA Cheryl