Eating Disorders: I Had NO IDEA

February 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Holidays

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.13.05 PMNational Eating Disorders Awareness Week is here. This year’s theme is, “I Had No IDEA”.

Among the things you may have had “NO IDEA” are that:

  • Bullying can trigger an eating disorder
  • My quest for health was making me sick
  • My passion had become a problem
  • Eating disorders don’t discriminate
  • Eating disorders are often overlooked or misdiagnosed
  • Eating disorders aren’t just “a phase”
  • The perfect images I see every day are digital illusions

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders will impact 30 million people at some point in their life regardless of their sex, age, size, or ethnic background in the US alone. Even worse, is that many of these people will suffer silently.

With appearance standards being defined in the media, athletes emphasizing a certain physique, and bullying on the rise it is easy to understand that body image concerns and even diets can begin as early as age 9.

Confusion is rampant from the plethora of information available. Deeming some foods as “good” and others as “bad” is bewildering and leads to mixed message in regards to health. The diet industry who may unintentionally promote eating disorders have seen profits upwards of $60 billion due to the disarray.

Recognizing early signs of eating disorders can help stop progression of these devastating conditions. Warning signs and symptoms could be understated and include:

  • Excessive exercise
  • Feeling self-conscious when eating in public
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Over emphasis on weight related appearance

If you are concerned that someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, it is important to remain calm and keep the conversation open. You can check out suggested information on how to help a friend with eating disorders on this page, or these tips may help:

  • Have the conversation in a comfortable and safe place
  • Use “I” statements, including “I care about you” or “I’m worried about you.”
  • Remain unbiased, condescending, and judgmental

Recovery from an eating disorder is definitely possible. With early intervention the risks of a full-scale disorder developing are greatly minimized. With the right support from loved ones and a qualified eating disorder specialist team, many individuals can recover and end the silent pain.

For more information visit:

Special thanks to dietetic student Briana Rodriquez for her contributions to this post.

5 Sweet but Smart Treats for Valentine’s Day

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Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth this Valentine’s day but don’t want to blow your calorie budget? Check out these easy treats that are both delicious and (relatively) nutritious:

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds:

  • Grab a handful of dark chocolate almonds and leave the butter creams in their box!
  • Almonds contain vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium; they are also a significant source of protein and fiber
  • Look for dark chocolate covered almonds, which contain phytochemicals that may aid in the prevention of heart disease and may decrease the effects of sugar on your teeth
  • Enjoy these guys in moderation though as calories do add up!

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

  • Get yourself a bowl of fresh strawberries and melt up some dark chocolate for dipping!
  • Strawberries contain vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps your body use iron
  • Strawberries also contain phytonutrients, including quercetin, ellagic acid, anthocyanins and kaempferol that have been shown to have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases
  • All of this for only 36 calories in 10 strawberries…before you add the chocolate!

Red Wine:

  • Raise a glass to your health! Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart
  • Resveratrol in red wine also might be a key ingredient that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots
  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation; drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity and certain types of cancer
  • No more than one drink a day for women and two for men are the current recommendations for “moderate” alcohol intake

Berries and Whipped Cream:

  • Indulge your sweet tooth with fresh raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries topped with a dollop of whip cream for a delicious guilt free dessert
  • Berries are packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Anthocyanins give berries their vibrant color, reduce inflammation, and may help prevent and manage arthritis. Anthocyanins work together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory-loss. Quercetin may also decrease the inflammatory effects of chemicals in the synovial fluid of the joints for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
  • The fat in the cream can help absorb the valuable fat soluble vitamins found in many types of fruits and vegetables

Cinnamon Popcorn:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon over homemade popcorn for a sweet treat that won’t pack on the calories!
  • Cinnamon is a natural sweetener that is a great alternative for those with diabetes; it may help improve glucose and lipids levels in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • The spice has also been shown to slow stomach emptying, which curbs the sharp rise in blood sugar following meals, and improves the effectiveness, or sensitivity of insulin

For more ways to love your health, check out the CDC’s page on Valentine’s Day.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Jenny Legrand for her contributions to this post.

Do Menu Labels Impact Consumer Choice?

February 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, Obesity

McDonalds-menu-board_USA

Obesity in America has become epidemic and nearly half of American’s food budget is used on eating out. Restaurants and fast-food chains are notorious for having far more calories in meals then typical meals made at home.

New York City was the first city to start menu labeling initiatives in the late spring of 2008, which required all restaurant chains with at least 15 stores to list calories per serving next to each food item on the menu or menu board.

Similar initiatives have been passed in cities such as Philadelphia and states such as California, Oregon and Maine. As a part of the new health care reform law menu labeling in restaurants will become mandatory nationwide within the year.

The goal of menu labeling is to increase consumer awareness so that healthier choices can be made and inspire restaurant industry innovation.

But does the new menu labeling law actually impact consumer choice?

In January 2009 King Country in Washington State, which includes Seattle and some of its suburbs, started requiring menu labeling.

Researchers found that the proportion of customers who saw and used nutritional information tripled from 8.1% in 2008 to 24.8% in 2010. Those that were more likely to use the information were women, higher income groups and those eating at a fast-food versus a sit-down chain restaurant.

The number of customers using the calorie information isn’t great, however the significant increase in numbers of customers who saw and used the nutritional information is.

Also, a greater focus on informing low-income groups of menu labeling is needed. In time menu labeling may become more greatly used and make a differences in the obesity epidemic and the health of Americans.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Jenny Legrand for her contributions to this post.