Dieting Digest

Food Labeling

With increasing consumer awareness of nutrition, and the influence of nutrients on dietary related diseases, the need for accurate and standardization of nutrition labeling is apparent.

The eating habits of Americans have changed extensively since the turn of the century. Changes have occurred in the composition of foods because of improved production methods, new varieties, and advances in food processing.

The primary changes in the past 70 years have been an increase in the percentage contributed by fats, oils, sugars, and sweeteners and a decrease in the percentage contributed by grain products. Although no change has occurred in the amount of protein consumed, a greater proportion now comes from animal sources. Dietary fiber is considerably below the recommended level. In general, intakes of vitamins and minerals are adequate in the United States today.

From a general marketing standpoint, it is readily apparent that nutrition “sells” to today’s consumer, making nutrition an integral part of product development and promotion. Consumer feedback is a powerful mechanism for manufacturers in developing new products that provide the health and nutrition characteristics sought by the public. Food marketers guard a product’s front panel with fervour for the purpose of promotion and competition, they oppose any labeling proposals that threaten their control of this part of food packages.

Americans are increasingly aware of health risks associated with sodium, fat, and cholesterol and report eating less salt, red meat, butter, whole milk, and eggs.

Studies on the use of food labels reveal that consumers want comprehensive nutrition information. About half of consumers report that labels fail to provide all the information they desire and that more information should be provided on caloric, fat, and sodium content.

Laboratory analysis provides quantitative nutrient information for nutrition labeling of food products. Considerable improvement is needed to validate and standardize analytical methods for use in nutrition labeling. Particular problems exist in the measurement of dietary fiber and many vitamins, and in databases used for foods for which direct laboratory analysis is impractical.

If consumers are to make the dietary adjustments recommended by health experts, they must be able to make informed choices in food selection, preparation, and consumption. Although about half of packaged foods currently carry nutrition labeling, the lack of relevant and consistent information on all food products is a major deterrent to consumers who wish to make informed choices.

The Committee on the Nutrition Components of Food Labeling, National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., recommends that nutrition labeling be made mandatory on most packaged foods. There is no longer a plausible excuse for packaged foods not to provide nutrient information.

Current dietary recommendations advise consumers to modify their intake of certain food constituents. In considering those dietary recommendations, the committee believed that more categories of food should be required to carry nutrition labeling. That nutrition labeling be provided at the point of purchase for produce, seafood, meats, and poultry. In addition restaurants should make information on the nutrient content of menu items available to consumers on request.

Growing public interest in nutrition has led manufacturers to characterize their products as nutritionally beneficial through widespread use of principal display descriptors; this practice has drawn considerable attention from regulatory bodies and groups concerned with health.

Despite the high popularity of terms such as “low-calorie”, “fat free”, “no cholesterol”, “fiber rich”, and “lite”, the potential for confusion, exaggeration, and deception has prompted proposals that these descriptors be prohibited. Although it may be truthful to label a food “no cholesterol”, that descriptor would mislead someone if the food also contains substantial amounts of total fat and saturated fatty acids.

Nutrition information on food labels is a mechanism to provide information and facilitate behavior modification. The government should allow the information to appear and regulate content, format, and placement. Although information campaigns to promote health are generally aimed at enhancing knowledge, changing attitudes, and improving skills, changes in consumer knowledge and attitudes do not directly result in adoption of health-promoting practices. Consumers need information to make long-term dietary changes, yet more than just information is necessary to achieve this goal.

Dietitians are the health professionals most involved in educating consumers about the use of food labels in selecting foods to meet dietary goals. Most diet-related health problems develop gradually, without immediate or dramatic symptoms. Risk factor reduction and disease prevention through dietary change require individuals to make long-term and often arduous changes in food habits.

For the food industry, health professionals, and consumer groups, it will be of interest in terms of their own objectives in promoting nutrition labeling changes that are in line with current dietary recommendations and in product development. [Earl, R., Porter, D.V., Wellman, N.S., Nutrition labeling: Issues and directions for the '90s. Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences. September 1990.]

The rules of labeling are set out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The following are excerpts from comments presented to the Advisory Committee on the FDA’s Subcommittee on Food and Veterinary Medicine, on September 6, 1990, by Nancy S. Wellman, PhD, RD, President of The American Dietetic Association.

FDA needs independence from politics, particularly in regard to rulemaking. FDA autonomy is essential to its mission. It has been dismaying for dietitians to see rulemaking proposals stalled and/or overturned as has happened in the past for health claims, cholesterol, and various food safety issues such as food colors. Food labeling is an example where FDA suffers from the lack of overarching government-wide policy. FDA must be allowed to make decisions independent of current Administration bias.

Dietitians believe Americans want a stronger, yet reasonable FDA – an FDA in tune with the times, an FDA with the autonomy to fulfill its mandate. The FDA must take a more contemporary, broader role in not only safeguarding, but improving the nutritional status of Americans.

Read more www.diet-and-health.net

Vegetarian Diets

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein

This site covers the nutritional and dietary guidelines presented by the mainstream to the general population. So when vegetarian diets have a direct effect on a persons state of health, it has been noted. For example in the Vitamins chapter there is mention of the fact that a strict vegetarian may need to supplement B12.

Although it is becoming more popular, either for moral or health reasons, a vegetarian diet still seems to have a strange stigma attached to it.

Hundreds of millions of people are vegetarian (eg. Hindus for religious reasons); more health professionals are discouraging the consumption of animal fats and red meats, that have been shown to increase the chance of obesity, cancer and other diseases; and the environmentalists who know that much of the limited resources, on Planet Earth, are wasted by converting them to meat.

It takes 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of feedlot beef.
70% of US grain production is fed to live stock.
5 million acres of rain forest are felled every year in South and Central America alone to create cattle pasture.
Roughly 20% of all currently threatened and endangered species in the US are harmed by livestock grazing
Animal agriculture is a chief contributor to water pollution. America’s farm animals produce 10 times the waste produced by the human population.
There are sound reasons for health, ethically, and ecologically to be vegetarian. There is nothing strange about being vegetarian.
Definition
Vegetarian, the belief in and practice of eating exclusively vegetable foods and abstaining from any form of animal food.

To what extent this definition applies, in reality varies, what it refers to is a strict vegetarian or a vegan. Lacto-vegetarians include milk and other dairy products in their diet. Lacto-ovovegetarians eat milk, dairy products and eggs. Those who eat fish are not vegetarian.

A vegan, excludes animal flesh (meat, poultry, fish and seafood), animal products (eggs, dairy and honey), and the wearing and use of animal products (eg. leather, silk, wool, lanolin, gelatin). The vegan diet consists totally of vegetables, vegetable oils, and seeds.

vegan ‘ve-gen also ‘ve-jen or -,jan\ n [by contr. fr. vegetarian] (1944) : a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather) _ veganism ‘ve-ge-,ni-zem, ‘va-ge-, ‘ve-je-\ n .

Partial vegetarians exclude some groups of animal foods but not others. A diet that excludes red meat but includes fish is often adopted for health not moral reasons.

Zen macrobiotic diets. This is a Japanese way of eating based on the ‘Yin Yang’ theory. It aims to keep the balance between Yin and Yang (positive and negative) aspects of life for optimal spiritual, mental and physical welfare. Foods are divided into Yin and Yang, and a spiritual goal is aimed for by working through ten levels of diet. These gradually eliminate all animal produce, fruit and vegetables towards the final goal which is only cereal (brown rice). Fluids are also severely restricted. Many nutritional deficiencies may develop and death can result. Infants and children subject to these restrictions are particularly at risk [Thomas et al., 1988]

This is extreme, not all macrobiotic diets are so extreme and are often equivalent to a balanced vegan diet. It is important to eat as much variety of food as possible and not limit it to one group of foods.

If you are vegetarian or want to become one, start off by giving up one kind of animal food, the one that offends you most. Once you are used to supplementing this food with another of vegetable origin, tackle the next. Progressively reaching the level of vegetarianisim you desire, slowly over a period of time. This progressive vegetarian is one who changes their eating habits / lifestyle at a positive rate, by doing so you allow your body to adjust to the eating of new types of foods or foods that may have given you troubles before (beans). It also gives you time to learn more about nutrition and increase your pool of knowledge on the subject. Thus it is not a fad diet that you will give up the next day but a progressive change towards a healthy lifestyle.

Read more www.diet-and-health.net

Welcome !

Welcome in My Blog Free Diet Plans.

Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast

What’s for breakfast – coffee? Most mornings, we barely glance at the kitchen. Fixing breakfast takes up precious time that’s in short supply. But there’s ample evidence that the simple act of eating breakfast — every day — is a big part of losing weight, lots of weight.

“People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved,” says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. “Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.”

The Benefits of Breakfast

Eating breakfast is a daily habit for the “successful losers” who belong to The National Weight Control Registry. These people have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year, and some as long as six years.

“Most — 78% — reported eating breakfast every day, and almost 90% reported eating breakfast at least five days a week – which suggests that starting the day with breakfast is an important strategy to lose weight and keep it off,” says James O. Hill, PhD, the Registry’s co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Earlier this year, two studies in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association backed up this finding. Though they were funded by cereal companies, dietitians say they underscore the message – breakfast is important to weight loss.

A group of researchers analyzed data from a government-funded study that followed more than 2,000 young girls from ages 9 to 19. They found that regular cereal eaters had fewer weight problems than infrequent cereal eaters. Those who ate cereal occasionally had a 13% higher risk of being overweight compared to the regular cereal eaters.

Another research group analyzed government data on 4,200 adults. They found that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to exercise regularly. And women who ate breakfast regularly tended to eat fewer calories overall during the day. Those men and women who ate breakfast cereal had lower overall fat intake — compared to those who ate other breakfast foods.

It makes sense: Eating early in the day keeps us from “starvation eating” later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School. “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.”

Among the people she counsels, breakfast eaters are usually those who have lost a significant amount of weight. They also exercise. “They say that before having breakfast regularly, they would eat most of their calories after 5 p.m.,” Politi tells WebMD. “Now, they try to distribute calories throughout the day. It makes sense that the body wants to be fueled.”

Reade more – www.webmd.com

An Introduction to Diet and Health

The importance of diet to health, especially in the prevention and cure of illness, is slowly becoming apparent. I endeavour to provide you with more than the basic, and usually inaccurate information on diet and nutrition. So whether you are a registered dietitian and want to brush up on the immense amount of information, or whether you just want to find out, for the first time what you should be eating, then this site is for you.

First I would like to talk about a very contentious word – diet. Many people don’t like using this word, when referring to their eating habits, because they feel that it is humiliating to be on a diet. I am the opposite, as I am always on diet. Whether underweight, overweight, sick or fit, diet, by its Greek definition means the food eaten by an animal to maintain its state of health. So, when I talk about a diet I don’t mean that you must necessarily lose weight, what I am referring to is the food that you should generally be eating, be it to build muscles, put on weight, lose weight or get rid of a cold.

This topic is as arguable as religion, politics and sex. There are always many different opinions relating to diet and nutrition. I am only going to present facts on the subject of nutrition as affirmed by the mainstream diet and nutrition world. The fallacies of the fringe will not be proposed, although they have been investigated by myself, so I know what the quacks are telling “Joe Public”.

It has become apparent that the overconsumption of certain dietary components is now a major concern to people in the Western World. Foremost among them is the disproportionate consumption of fats, sodium, and sugars, at the expense of foods that may be more conducive to good health, such as foods high in complex carbohydrates and fiber (vegetables, fruit, and whole grain products).

The usual approach of the orthodox medical circles, when dealing with a disease, is to treat the symptoms with a remedy rather than removing the cause. Yet, by following the dietary guidelines of the nutrition and health authorities, that have been proven with epidemiologic studies to be scientifically correct, it is possible to achieve and maintain good health.

Dietary factors play a prominent role in five out of the ten leading causes of death for Americans. Thus, it is important to emphasize the relationship of diet to the occurrence of chronic disease and to understand how wholesome food is necessary for good health.

Foods contain nutrients essential for normal metabolic function. An imbalance in nutrient intake or the consumption of harmful substances is the underlying factor in many chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.

To acquire these nutrients we have to eat foods that contain them and make choices about what foods shouldn’t be eaten in excess. This is difficult and requires a comprehensive research base and much effort before it is possible to maintain good health.

Eating is a source of considerable pleasure and an important part of our lives. It is not necessary to lessen this pleasure by following a healthy diet plan. By knowing what nutrients are, how they relate to different diseases, and how to make choices in selecting and preparing foods, it is quite possible to feel good and enjoy life equally or more.

Read more diet-and-health.net

Anatomy of a Sweet Potato

Think sweet potatoes belong only on the Thanksgiving table? Reach for this nutritional powerhouse year-round.

One medium-sized, baked, 141-calorie sweet potato is loaded with dietary fiber, vitamin C, 42% of the RDA of calcium, twice the RDA of vitamin A, thiamin, and the antioxidant beta carotene. It is also a great source of manganese, a trace mineral that helps keep bones strong and blood glucose levels normal. All this and zero cholesterol, too.

No wonder sweet potatoes have been a staple since pre-historic times in their native Central America. Christopher Columbus even brought a few back from his 1492 voyage to the New World.

Now widely grown, this orange-hued vegetable is a true treat: It tastes good and it’s good for you.

Try this healthy, easy stew recipe, starring sweet potatoes.

Oven Beef Stew With Sweet Potatoes
Makes 8 servings (8 oz each)

  • 2 lbs lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized cubes (trimmed of visible fat)
  • 3 carrots, sliced (or 3 cups baby carrots)
  • 2 onions, quartered and separated
  • 3 medium-to-large sweet potatoes, cut into stew-sized wedges
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried oregano flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth (add more as necessary)
  • 11 oz can condensed tomato bisque soup

    1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In an oven-proof Dutch oven or large casserole pan (with lid), combine all the ingredients except the broth and soup, mixing well.

    2. In a separate bowl, blend the broth with the condensed soup and pour over the meat mixture. Cover and bake for 2 to 3 hours.

    3. Check after 2 hours to see if the meat is tender and cooked throughout. If too much liquid has evaporated, add a cup or two more of the beef broth. Stir the mixture and bake an additional 15 minutes.

    Per serving: 331 calories, 31 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 3.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 77 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g fiber, 413 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 23%.

    Source: Comfort Food Makeovers by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

    Free Three-Day Diet Plan

    This is “A diet plan used by the Birmingham Alabama Hospital in their Cardiac Unit for patients who need to lose weight fast before having heart surgery. Up to 40 lbs a month could be lost using this plan!” This quote, published in a popular magazine, has been passed on with the diet for your informational purposes only — Please ask your doctor if it is safe based on your special needs before trying it.

    “Do not vary or substitute any of the foods. Salt and pepper may be used but no other seasonings – use this diet 3 days at a time. In 3 days you will lose 10 lbs. After 3 days, you can eat your usual foods but don’t over eat! After 4 days of normal eating, repeat the 3-day plan.”

    Day 1
    Breakfast:
    Black coffee or tea,
    ½ grapefruit or 4 oz of grapefruit juice
    1 slice toast
    1 Tbsp peanut butter

    Lunch:
    ½ cup tuna or 1 slice cheese
    1 slice toast
    black coffee or tea

    Dinner:
    2 slices any type meat (3 oz)
    1 cup string beans
    1 small apple
    1 cup vanilla Ice Cream

    Day 2
    Breakfast:
    Black coffee or tea
    1 Egg
    1 slice toast
    ½ banana

    Lunch:
    1 cup cottage cheese or ½ cup tuna
    5 saltine crackers
    black coffee or tea

    Dinner:
    1 or 2 hot dogs (no bun)
    1 cup broccoli or cabbage
    ½ cup carrots or turnips
    ½ banana
    1 cup vanilla ice cream

    Day 3
    Breakfast:
    Black coffee or tea
    5 saltine crackers
    1 slice cheddar cheese
    1 small apple

    Lunch:
    1 boiled egg
    1 slice toast
    black coffee or tea

    Dinner:
    1 cup tuna
    1 cup beets or carrots
    1 cup cauliflower or greens
    1 cup cantaloupe
    ½ cup vanilla ice cream

    Testimonial: I lost an initial 10 pounds using this diet, then, by just moderating portions within a reasonably balanced diet over the following 15 weeks, continued to lose a pound a week for a total loss of 25lbs.

    This above diet may be a little hard to follow for some people. I have included a link to another diet plan by a former body builder that works well for people looking to lose weigh more gradually and helps keep the weight off.

    The guide is called “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” and you can get more information by Clicking Here.

    Diet Plan from – http://www.moreforyourhealth.com/free-diet-plan.html

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