Topic: Nutrition

Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Can a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of getting estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer?That is the question that a research team led by Seungyoun Jung, formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health, sought to answer by conducting a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is rarer than other forms of breast cancer and has a lower survival rate. The study detected a lower incidence of the disease among women who consumed high amounts of fruits and vegetables — especially vegetables. However, it failed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Perhaps women who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to lead healthier lifestyles overall, which would help to reduce their risks. Notwithstanding, following a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is clearly worthwhile.

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Nutrition Labeling

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has issued a fascinating press release entitled "Can Changes in Nutrition Labeling Help Consumers Make Better Food Choices?" The Academy’s statement, which will be of great interest to health-fitness professionals, follows:

The Nutrition Facts label was introduced 20 years ago and provides consumers with important information, including the serving size, the number of servings in the package, the number of calories per serving, and the amount of nutrients for each serving of a packaged food. However, research has shown that consumers often miscalculate the number of calories and the nutritional content of products that have two or more servings per container but are usually consumed in a single eating occasion.

Two nutrition labeling changes could have the potential to make nutritional content information easier to understand: 1) dual-column information that details single serving and total package nutrition information, and 2) declaring nutritional information for the entire container.

Amy M. Lando, MPP, and Serena C. Lo, PhD, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD, conducted an online study with more than 9,000 participants to measure consumers’ accuracy in using modified versions of the Nutrition Facts label and to assess their perceptions of how useful, trustworthy and helpful the label was.

Says Ms. Lando, "FDA commissioned this experimental study to look at whether different ways of presenting the serving size and nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts label might help consumers. In particular we were interested in studying products that have two servings per container but that are customarily consumed in a single eating occasion."

Study participants evaluated nine modified Nutrition Facts labels and the current label format for four fictitious products (two frozen meals and two grab-and-go bags of chips). The labels were classified into three groups. The first group of labels used a single-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; the second group used versions of a dual-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; and the third group used single-column formats that listed the contents of the product as a single, large serving.

The study team also tested whether changes in formatting, such as enlarging the font size for the declaration of "Calories," removing the information on the number of calories for fat, or changing the wording for the serving size declaration, would be helpful to consumers in determining the calories and other nutrient information for a single serving and for the entire package.

Study investigators determined that participants could more accurately assess the number of calories or amount of fat or other nutrients per serving and in the entire package when a single, large serving per container or a dual-column format was used.

"This research is just one step in understanding how some potential food label modifications might help consumers make better decisions. Ideally, we would like to see how these labels perform in a more realistic setting, such as in a grocery store, with actual packaged foods as opposed to large labels on a computer screen," concludes Dr. Lo. "The Nutrition Facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices, but it is a valuable tool so it’s important to continue exploring ways to support effective use of the label for these purposes."

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Must-Have Foods

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges people of all ages to follow a balanced, complete and nutrient-dense diet plan. However, it has also identified certain nutrients that seniors should take special care not to skip. They include dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins B-12 and D, calcium and the right kinds of fats. Fiber can be obtained from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B-12, which can also be found in lean meats, seafood and fish. Calcium and vitamin D come in fish, leafy greens, non-fat or low-fat diary foods and fortified products. Saturated fats and trans fats should be replaced with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These hints may be particularly helpful to older adults with special nutritional needs.

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More About Diet

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Here’s an important news alert for Americans and Canadians, especially persons with high blood pressure. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) revealed that international fast-food chains consistently put more salt in food items sold in the United States and Canada, compared to the same items when sold in other developed nations.

Researchers determined the salt content of major fast-fare restaurant items in the U.S., Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The chains that were looked at in the study included Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. The types of foods that were studied included burgers, sandwiches, french fries, pizza, savory breakfast items, chicken items and salads.

Overall, the researchers learned that the sodium content of comparable food items varied greatly from country to country, but that fast-food in the U.S. and Canada contained a lot more sodium than that in France and the U.K. An example provided by a CMAJ news release illustrates the findings: In Canada, a 3-1/2 ounce serving of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets had 2-1/2 times more sodium than the same size serving in the U.K. That’s 600 milligrams of sodium, compared to 240 milligrams — or 1.5 grams of salt compared to 0.6 grams. In summary, fast-food giants are selling the same products on the American continent and overseas, but with significantly lower sodium content abroad.

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American Diabetes Association “Superfoods”

Friday, July 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The ADA recommends that persons with diabetes focus on nutrient-dense foods that have a low glycemic index. As recently reported by HealthDay, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health, these ADA "superfoods" include:

  • Various types of beans (for example, pinto beans and kidney beans);
  • High-fiber citrus fruits (for example, lemons, oranges and grapefruit);
  • Berries;
  • Sweet potatoes;
  • Tomatoes;
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables (for example, spinach, kale and collard greens);
  • Nuts;
  • Whole grains;
  • Non-fat yogurt and milk;
  • Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon).
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    Lean Forward

    Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends looking for certain words on meat labels in order to purchase leaner cuts. Good-bet words include:

    • Round,
    • Loin, and
    • 95 percent lean.

    The academy also advises trimming off visible pieces of fat prior to cooking and then using cooking methods that minimize fat. These include:

    • Braising,
    • Stewing,
    • Stir-frying, and
    • Grilling.
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    Hold the Salt

    Thursday, May 17th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these great ideas for tasty alternatives to salt when preparing recipes:

    • Flavorful vinegars such as balsamic vinegar;
    • Citrus fruit juices;
    • Chopped raw onions;
    • Chopped fresh garlic; and
    • Salt-free herbs and spices.
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    Certain Foods May Cut Men’s Risk for Parkinson’s

    Friday, April 20th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Frequent consumption of foods and drinks that are abundant in flavonoids may reduce men’s risk for Parkinson’s disease by 40 percent, according to research headed by Xiang Gao of Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    Flavonoids are protective substances present in plant foods that help to ward off oxidative damage to the body’s cells. Dietary fare that is rich in flavonoids includes:

  • Tea
  • Orange juice
  • Red wine
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Recently published online in the journal Neurology, the study looked at health and nutritional data from roughly 50,000 men and 80,000 women. Over a follow-up period of 20 to 22 years, 438 of the men and 367 of the women developed Parkinson’s. The results were somewhat puzzling: Whereas men with high overall flavonoid intakes saw a 40 percent reduction in risk, women’s overall intake was not statistically significant. Even so, women who ate at least two servings of berries per week did see a reduction in risk (about 25 percent). These findings do not apply to persons who already have Parkinson’s disease.

    Quoted in HealthDay, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Gao said, "For total flavonoids, the beneficial result was only in men. But berries are protective in both men and women. Berries could be a neuroprotective agent. People can include berries in their regular diet. There are no harmful effects from berry consumption, and they lower the risk of hypertension too."

    Berries such as strawberries and blueberries may be especially protective because they are rich in a certain type flavonoid called anthocyanins.

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    Yum

    Monday, March 19th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Try this tasty dip for carrot and celery sticks, as well as for pear and apple slices. Simply mix one-half cup peanut butter with one-fourth cup honey. Enjoy!

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    Just Say No

    Monday, March 19th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Imposing self-control weakens one’s mental energy, making one’s next temptation seem more desirable and irresistible, according to a study discussed by ScienceNews’ Bruce Bower on February 25, 2012:

    In this study, subjects who’d already resisted one or more urges saw their rate of yielding to new temptations increase from 15 percent early in the day to 37 percent later in the day. Fatigue, in and of itself, did not seem to explain this reduction of willpower.

    The most successful people at resisting sugary treats, partying with friends before completing their work, and/or sundry other enticements were observed to avoid such temptations altogether. Therefore, they rarely had to rely completely on self-discipline.

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