Thursday, September 30, 2010

Would You Eat 20 Potatoes a Day?

What happens if all you eat is potatoes? That's what Chris Voigt wants to know. And he's going to find out very soon.

Hot on he heels of the all-pizza and all-junk food diet initiatives that other 'activists' in various fields have embarked upon, Mr. Voigt, head of the Washington state potato commission is going to go all-spud to prove that potatoes are not only healthy but very nutritious as well. Mr. Voigt plans to eat 20 plain potatoes a day, with no fixins (except for some oil or herbs for cooking), for 60 days straight. That's a lot of potatoes!

Voigt wants to prove that you could essentially live off of a diet of potatoes alone if you had to. Potatoes are loaded with potassium, vitamin C, the B vitamins thiamin, folate and B6, fibre, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and a host of other micronutrients. On top of that, potatoes provide tons of slow-burning energy to keep your mind and muscles sharp throughout the day, as well as some protein and no fat. In fact, one large potato provides 7g of protein - roughly the same amount of protein as one egg or 1/2 a cup of chickpeas. All that heart-healthy potassium and fibre might actually lower this guy's cholesterol and those B vitamins should keep his metabolism humming so smoothly that he Might even lose weight over the course of this process.

While we don't advocate eating just one food item for this long (variety is the key to getting all the nutrients you need and covering all your bases), this is the soundest 'crazy' diet we've heard of in a while. Good luck Mr. Voigt!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Should Your Doc Make Exercise an Rx?

Diet and exercise are two of the most major modifiable risk factors we have control over in order to help prevent chronic disease and generally stay happy and healthy into our old age. So why do some people so often ignore one or the other? Well, if health advocates had their way, Doctors would be prescribing a lot more exercise to their patients, according to a poll.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get an Rx for a gym membership, either free or discounted, instead of pills? In our pill-popping society, it seems that most people wait until it's too late, until they are sick with something and just resort to drugs instead of preventing the illness in the first place. Think of the time and money and hassle you'd save if got sick less often!

It turns out that gym-going isn't the most popular activity for a lot of people (are you surprised?). In fact, in France, going to the gym is a 'niche' activity that is just catching on and isn't very popular. The truth is, they don't really need to go to the gym! This is because Europeans walk or ride their bikes way more often than North Americans do, so they remain fit, trim and active for the most part without having to shell out fees for gym memberships. So if 'going to the gym' isn't for you, you, too can follow suit with the Europeans and use those legs of yours more often!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Study: 3 Meals a Day Might Be Enough for Some

For weight loss, we are constantly advised that 5-6 smaller meals a day are better than just three larger ones. The science behind this is that smaller, more frequent meals keep our metabolisms humming more smoothly and our hormones more balanced, which helps eliminate cravings while allowing us to lose more weight. But what is really happening when we eat 3 large meals versus 5-6 smaller ones?

If you think of your metabolism as a giant fire, adding 5-6 smaller 'logs' throughout the day will keep the fire burning steadily, and the 'logs' will burn up more quickly since they are smaller. If you were to throw on 3 giant logs into a fire throughout the day, only as the fire started to die down, it takes a lot more work to burn up those big pieces of wood and the fire ends up changing in intensity throughout the day. So which option is better for you? Well, that depends on a number of factors, but some studies still suggest the old 3-meals-a-day might be better than a bunch of smaller ones!

One new study of obese men has found that eating 3 larger meals a day kept the men feeling less hungry throughout the day, and less prone to snacking late at night as compared to eating 6 "mini meals". This decreased hunger may have something to do with the fact that their metabolisms weren't working quite as quickly as when they were having smaller meals, so they felt more satisfied and needed less food throughout the day. Our suggestion? 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. Having a solid breakfast, lunch and dinner with smaller snacks in between can not only keep your metabolism revved up and ready to burn those calories, but will keep you satisfied from meal to meal! Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 27, 2010

New 'Diet' Hoax On the Radar: The Hormone Diet

It always interests me to find out about the crazy sorts of scams people will come up with to make a buck, irrespective of people's health or well-being. This always seems to be the case with crazy new diets and the 'Hormone Diet' is no different.

This diet isn't based on your body chemistry or your hormones at all. No, in this case you're taking hormones - and pregnancy hormones at that! On top of that, you're only eating 500 calories a day. This just screams crazy!

The hormone in question is called HCG, which is produced during pregnancy, and signals stored fat to be mobilized in order to provide nutrients for the growing baby. In this case, the claim is that it will break down your fat stores so that you can use the fat as energy. That sounds like an interesting theory, only there is no evidence of this stuff working in clinical trials, and it's not approved by the FDA, meaning there's no information about it's safety or effectiveness. Basically, people are just losing weight because they're not eating.

Consuming only 500 calories a day, every day, is such a dangerously low number that it can cause significant damage to your health. Can you say malnutrition? You could end up with metabolic acidosis, arrhythmias and other cardiovascular problems not to mention how screwed up your metabolism will get! Stick to what you know - eat small meals more frequently and follow Canada's food guide for examples of what healthy meals and portion sizes look like! There's some sound science behind that, which is more than the creators of the 'hormone diet' could ever say!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beat Cold and Flu Season the Natural Way

Once again, some nasty bugs are floating around as people all around are sneezing and coughing. Yup, as that chill in the air becomes more pronounced, more and more people are coming down with colds and flus. So what can we do to protect ourselves the natural way, and what can those who are already fighting those bugs do to recover more quickly?

First off, there are a few vitamins you need to be sure you're getting enough of in order to keep your immune system strong. One of those vitamins is B12 - B12 is needed in order to form proteins in the body and make healthy blood cells, among other important functions. Since antibodies and immunoglobulins are made of proteins, having enough B12 in your system is key. You can find B12 in organ meats like liver and also in dairy products and eggs and also fortified foods like breakfast cereals.

Next on the list we have Vitamin C - despite the fact that there is no concrete evidence that 'megadoses' of Vitamin C will help ward off colds and flus, this vitamin is a staple when it comes to staying healthy and has been used for centuries as a cold and flu remedy as vitamin C is an important antioxidant that protects our cells from being damaged. Load up on papayas, strawberries, kiwis (one kiwi gives you 100% of the Vitamin C you need in a day), red peppers, broccoli and citrus fruits.

And, not surprisingly, Vitamin D comes into play when talking about colds and flus (What doesn't vitamin D do?). In fact, it is believed that vitamin D can have a profound effect on preventing viruses. You can find vitamin D in organ meats, dairy products, salmon and fortified margarines and other products, but you're unlikely to get up to 1000IU from your diet alone. It's best to take a supplement of 1000IU anyways, just to be sure you're covered.

And finally, be sure to stay well hydrated - warm liquids are great (soups, non-caffeinated teas or plain water!), especially with honey, get plenty of rest and wash your hands frequently! In fact, if you have to wonder if you should wash your hands...you should wash your hands. Stay Healthy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Caffeine Intoxication? What the...

Here's another one for the loony files. For those of you who haven't heard, earlier this week news broke about a Kentucky man who murdered his wife by strangling her, and he defended himself by saying he was high on caffeine. Yeah, it wasn't his fault cus he had too many red bulls. Right...

At first, diet pills and energy drinks were to blame, but then the story changed to "caffeine intoxication" rendering the man "temporarily insane". As crazy as it all sounds, someone actually got off on a similar claim in 2009, as they were deemed to have developed a rare form of bipolar disorder from all the caffeine they consumed.

I'm not sure how this all checks out in terms of a medical diagnosis, but caffeine certainly is considered a drug, and there are limitations for safe amounts to consume. Just like any substance in excess, toxicity can result, and maybe we just haven't seen too many instances of people who have seriously overdosed on caffeine to such an extent. For us regular folks, 2-3 cups of coffee or tea, or 1 energy drink a day should suffice! At least now you have a good reason not to have too many cups of Joe from now on!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motivation and Encouragement: The Missing Links to Weight Loss

It might be easy to say that you want to lose weight, that you will exercise and 'eat right' (whatever that means to you), but all things considered, weight loss and leading a healthy lifestyle really can be a bit of a pickle. Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do to help things along, starting with talking to yourself.

It might sound a little wacky, but if your best friend, husband, or sibling was on a mission to turn their life around, wouldn't you be right by their side cheering them on? You would tell them they're doing great and that they look amazing - not to doubt themselves and not to be discouraged. So when it comes to yourself, why are things any different? Why do you tell yourself you failed or you look fat or that eating healthy isn't working? You would never dream of saying those things to your loved ones!

You can start by finding out what the true, underlying reason is for your changing lifestyle goal is. Is it health, appearance, confidence, or maybe to set a better example for your family? Find out what really motivates you - don't expect to see a change if your motivators are weak and flimsy! And be sure to talk to yourself, encourage yourself, cheer yourself on! Heck, even write yourself a list of affirmations and read it out loud each day - some people swear by it and others think it's a little odd, but if it gets you praising your efforts and motivating yourself, I say go for it! All in all, you need to be your own biggest fan if you want to reach your best potential. Go on, You can do it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spotted: A Nutrient that Can Lower Cholesterol and Prevent Cancer and Heart Disease

There are so many nutrients that our bodies need, but then there are those that go beyond the call of duty and have extra health-boosting benefits that just come along in the package. One such nutrient is fibre. If you ever visit a Nutritionist or Dietitian - they will ask about your fibre intake and insist you get enough. So if fibre is not your friend - get to know it. It will change your life, and might even save it.

There are actually two kinds of fibre and their actions are rather different. Soluble fibre - the kind found in oatmeal or inside apples or other fruits - likes to absorb water and turn into a sticky, gummy kind of paste. In doing this, it's transit time through your system is slowed down and it actually captures and traps bad cholesterol, stopping it from going into your bloodstream. This contributes to it's cholesterol-lowering and heart-protecting effect. Then there is insoluble fibre - this is the kind lovingly referred to as "roughage", and for good reason. Insoluble fibre wants nothing to do with water - it just wants to get away and get out! In doing so, it sweeps your colon, turning over cells and stimulating new cell growth, which not only keeps you regular, but also helps prevent colon cancer by removing toxins and preventing cell buildup.

You can find your good friend fibre in fruits and veggies, whole grains, cereals (Fibre 1 Crunchy original has 14g fibre per 1/2 cup - half of your daily requirement - with only 100 calories and no sugar!), beans, nuts, seeds and lots of fortified foods, where fibre is added in. The great thing about getting it naturally, though, is that you also get lots of antioxidants and other important health-boosting nutrients along for the ride! Just be sure to drink plenty of water when eating lots of fibre. But I will give a word of caution: If your diet is low in fibre, it's not the best idea to load up on your 25-30g daily requirement right away - introduce a little more each day and you will reap the benefits, and quite possibly slim down a bit too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Name for Coca Cola Gets More Guys Drinking Diet

Have you noticed the sense of a huge divide between drinkers and non-drinkers when it comes to pop? I mean, those who drink it will have it any time, and those who don't...well, they usually swear it off and stay away like the plague. I mean you have two options - sugar-loaded or sweetener-filled. Sometimes it's hard to tell which one is better for you! But if you're a guy who likes soda, aged 16-24, statistics show that diet sodas don't even show up on your radar. I mean, it's just not 'manly', right? That is, until recently.

The folks over at Coke looked at the sales stats on their diet offerings and realized that it's mostly women who were drinking the diet sodas. In an effort to boost sales and market their no-cal, sugar-free products to guys, they came out with a new concept - Coke Zero. The can is jet-black, the drink tastes exactly like regular Coke, the ads are totally man-centric and best of all- the word 'diet' does not show up anywhere on the can! Perfect. Coke Zero has done fantastically well since it's inception - better than expected - and now macho men can cut out that extra sugar, enjoy a calorie-free drink and start improving their diets without looking, you know, wimpy.

In any event, I say kudos to Coke for offering more ways for people to cut back on regular soda - one of the big contributors to sugar consumption and large waistlines in North America - both of which are major contributors to chronic diseases. Say what you will about diet sodas, but the fact remains that if you 'have' to have a soda, a little sweetener is more favourable to your health than 10 teaspoons of sugar per can. Diet sodas are the lesser of two evils. But if you're not comfortable with sweeteners, just skip the soda all together.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Health Benefits of Fasting

For starters, I'd like to wish all those celebrating Yom Kippur all the best. For those not in the know, Yom Kippur is a Jewish High Holiday marked by a full day of fasting and atonement - no driving, no shopping, no bathing, no drinking and definitely no eating. But before all this begins, those celebrating the High Holiday feast on all kinds of goodies like honey cake, among other delicious foods to load up their energy stores for the next 26 hours. And when it's all over, it's time for water, tea and snacks (like cake or bagels - something to dip in the tea) again!

Despite the fact that this particular fast is for religious purposes, it got me thinking about fasting in general - lots of people do it now and again and there are definitely some good reasons to try it once in a while. There's even a lot of scientific evidence out there pointing to the fact that sporadic fasting can actually help manage one's weight (not too surprising) but also help you live longer.

Some other benefits of fasting now and again include improved immune function and healing, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels. One downside is that metabolic functioning slows down, so it's a good idea to drink lots of water and possibly coffee or tea (plain, no sugar or milk) to keep your metabolism humming along.

So for those starting to fast this weekend, whatever your reason may be - here's to your good health!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Calcium and Vitamin D Can Help You Slim Down!

We often hear that consuming low-fat dairy products can help us slim down and manage our weight, but what about those of us who don't (or can't) drink milk? Are we losing out? Not necessarily - it's easy to obtain the same nutrients that are available in milk from other sources, without all the controversy that milk stirs up!

Dairy products are loaded with calcium, as well as other nutrients that help keep our bones strong, in addition to being fortified with Vitamin D - a nutrient we all should be getting every single day. But if you're avoiding dairy products for whatever reason, it's easy to get calcium through other food sources, like broccoli and almonds, while also getting the added bonus of nutritional and dietary variety!

Vitamin D is most available in fatty fish like salmon, but it's tough to really get enough through our diets, even if drinking milk. It's most recommended now by medical professionals that we take at least 1000IU of the sunshine vitamin each day for optimal health. In fact, in most studies where milk is shown to help manage weight, it's actually vitamin D that is contributing the most! It's a really good idea to take calcium with vitamin D, as vitamin D is necessary for calcium to be absorbed most effectively.

So, don't worry if you're not into milk (not everyone is) - you can rest assured that you're doing just as well for yourself in taking care of your health as those who with milk mustaches!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kansas Professor Loses Weight, Lowers Cholesterol on Junk Food

Going back to the very basics of energy balance - or weight gain and weight loss - we know that it all boils down to calories. Essentially, in order to tip the balance in either direction you either have to eat more or less calories. And in order to "prove" this point in real life, a bold Kansas University Professor has gone where, well, many people have gone before, and is existing solely on junk.

Professor Mark Haub of Kansas State University, a nutrition expert, wants to show the world that the 'conventional' way to lose weight - that is, eating whole grains, fruits and veggies, isn't the only way to lose weight. He is right, but he's missing a lot and I mean a lot of important points - and nutrients.

Realizing this, Prof. Haub takes multivitamin supplements daily, but he eats basically no fibre and far too much sugar, fat and salt. Maybe it works for him, but my guess is that it would seriously mess up your average Joe. In reality, if you eat the healthiest foods, your health is optimized across the board - you get all the nutrients you need and exclude all the junk you don't - like trans fats and refined sugars.

While he is right in arguing that a 'healthy' diet is not always readily accessible, neither are multivitamins - healthy stuff is expensive no matter how you cut it. And so is junk food! So in my humble opinion, his 'experiment' to show that junk food is all you need is inherently flawed and is ultimately no more than just a demonstration of the concept of energy balance - no to show that you can be healthy by eating junk!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Forget Halloween: It's Christmas in September in UK Stores!

Source: Independent.ie (Summary by NIM)

Shops have a scary way of prematurely reminding us what 'season' it is, don't they? Suddently, as soon as one holiday is over, the shops are cleared out and replaced with the next slew of festive supplies. Take our fine city, for example. First it was back to school, and suddenly, right on the coattails of that event, shops are already stocking up on Halloween candy - from Costco to Sears to Loblaws - and we've barely cracked September! Well, as sudden as this all seems, it pales in comparison to what's happening in the UK - shops are already stocking up for Santa's return.

As if to remind people to start packing on the pounds for winter hibernation, shops like Sainsbury's and Tesco in the UK are stocking their shelves with mincemeat pies and Christmas chocolates - with 115 days remaining until Christmas! What the...? And within weeks, the decorations will be up. I shudder - I'm still wearing my sandals! Don't remind me of winter just yet!

Clearly, all that food isn't' going to stick around until the big guy in red shows up, but by that time, there will be a lot of good look-alikes if all those desserts get eaten. Same goes with us here in Canada - my guess is that many of those boxes of mini Halloween chocolates aren't going to the kiddies. And Halloween is in a month and a half! Well, on the bright side, at least we don't have to look at fake snow and Christmas trees just yet. No, those will show up on November 1st. Hold on to your hats.

Read more at Independent.ie (Sept. 13, 2010) in the article called "Early Christmas for supermarkets".

Monday, September 13, 2010

Almost 75% of Adult Ontarians are Overweight or Obese

Source: The Globe and Mail (Summary by NIM)

Being Canadian is a great thing, especially Ontarian! Normally, we have so much to be proud of, but sadly, not only are Canadians not getting enough fruits and veggies each day, but new statistics show that an alarming 75% of Ontarians are outside of the healthy weight range and are either overweight or obese. To cap things, this also raises the prevalence of high blood pressure.

According to new research out of Ottawa, an alarming 25% of Ontario adults are obese, half are overweight, and of all of them, nearly 1 out of every 3 have high blood pressure. Not pretty! And all this research was hot on the heels of the Canadian Diabetes Association telling us that the incidence of the chronic disease has risen in our fine country.

The lead author of the study warns that all of these figures are likely to rise, since obesity has become the norm in our country. What people don't realize, is how much overweight and obese people are at risk for chronic diseases, and what kind of a burden on our health care system this will have in the future - and that means more taxes for all! It's really about time we start paying attention to our diets and physical activity and start making a change for the better, for ourselves, our families, and our fellow Ontarians!

Read more at the Globe and Mail (Sept. 9, 2010) in the article called "Nearly three-quarters of Ontario adults are obese or overweight".

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fitness Can Protect Your Heart When Working Overtime

Source: Businessweek (Summary by NIM)

Stress is a killer. It's one of the leading causes of heart disease in men, and it's usually a result of working too hard or working overtime. It has been suggested for a long time that engaging in regular exercise can help people de-stress and help reduce their risk of a slew of oftentimes preventable chronic diseases. Fortunately for men who have to put in long, stressful hours, it has now been discovered that those who are physically fit have a lower risk of developing heart disease.

According to a new study published in the journal Heart, men who work 41-45 hours a week are nearly 60% more likely to develop heart disease than those who work fewer hours. However, those men working overtime who were physically fit were 45% less likely to die of heart disease than those who were not physically fit. In other words, according to Andreas Holtermann, the lead researcher on the study, “Long hours are not a problem if you are physically fit,”.

The problem, on the other hand, lies in men who work overtime and make no allowance for physical activity. This study makes it clear that being unfit and working long hours makes men far more likely to die. In fact, it makes them nearly 2 times more likely to die than men who work under 40 hours a week. The good news: even moderate physical activity had a protective effect.

So, men - the message is loud and clear - make time for your health. Take care of yourself. Even short walks several times a day can add up - you don't have to join a gym - but please, don't ignore the facts.

Read more at Businessweek (Sept. 6, 2010) in the article called "Fitness Staves Off Heart Risk Linked to Long Hours, Study Finds".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Study: High-Fat Diets Linked to Leukemia

Source: The Times of India (Summary by NIM)

Fast-food lovers beware! We all know that too much fat is bad for us: it is associated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a slew of other ailments, but whether we choose to heed those warnings is entirely up to us. But now, there may be even more incentive to avoid the greasy stuff at all costs since it has been associated with the blood-borne cancer, Leukemia, according to a new study.

The new research, which will be published in the periodical Cancer Prevention Research, has found that obesity which has been fueled by a high-fat diet is associated with an increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood cells.

This type of 'exposure-linked cancer' is similar to other types of cancer such as lung cancer, which tend to occur from consistent and regular exposure to the cancer-causing agent. The study was performed using mice, but the researchers believe that a similar situation occurs in humans, especially since other types of cancers have been related to obesity and diet.

Read more at the Times of India (Sept 8, 2010) in the article called "Diet-induced obesity speeds up leukaemia".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cookware that Kills? Not Exactly...

Source: AFP (Summary by NIM)

For years there has been speculation that non-stick cookware may not be so good for our health. Sure, on one hand it allows us to use less fat or grease when cooking foods that would normally stick to the pot or pan, but on the flip side, they're coated with freaky chemicals. Now, research is suggesting that these chemicals may actually raise blood cholesterol levels - even in children!

The new study, published in the periodical journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine examined the blood lipid levels of children up to the age of 18 who were exposed to the chemicals called PFOA and PFOS through a contaminated drinking water supply. These chemicals are in the same family as the coating on non-stick cookware as well as in microwaveable popcorn. It turns out that kids with higher levels of these compounds also had increased levels of cholesterol in their blood, which increases their risk of heart disease and stroke.

While the results of the study are indeed eye opening, it's not entirely clear what the effect of limited exposure to these chemicals through cookware of microwave popcorn might be. For people looking to lower their cholesterol levels and improve their heart health, it's probably still safer to cut back on the butter and grease and just use that non-stick pan anyways!

Read more at the AFP (Sept 6, 2010) in the article called "Non-stick cookware may boost cholesterol: study".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back To School: Pizza Pizza Introduces Healthier Lunch Options

Source: The Toronto Sun (Summary by NIM)

Ah, it's that time of year again. Can you hear the birds singing? Yes, the kiddies have gone back to school (kicking and screaming, most likely) but that also means it's time to think about school lunches once again. And thankfully, Pizza Pizza has been thinking about school lunches, too.

A year ahead of a new policy that will be enforced regarding food sold in schools, the folks at Pizza Pizza have gone ahead and followed the new guidelines, so that their products can still be offered on pizza days - and we all know how much kids love pizza day! Pizza Pizza have not only modified their recipes to comply with these policies, but they have also decreased their portion sizes.

The new lunch guidelines, which will take effect in 2011, were the brainchild of the McGuinty government and state that at least 80% of food sold in schools must be healthy. All food sold in schools must have lower levels of fat, salt and sugar and must be more nutritious for kids, even the ones that don't fall into the 'healthiest' column. That means no more deep fried gunk (and especially no deep fried butter...yech). So, while there may not be any more panzerotti fried up in the caf, at least the kiddies can still enjoy their pizza!

Find out more from the Sun (Sept. 7, 2010) by reading the article called "Pizza Pizza alters recipe to meet school policy"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Study: Sugar Addiction Starts in Infants

Source: The Press Association (Summary by NIM)

It tends to be something of a mystery as to why people are so addicted to sugar sometimes, but it's really no more than just basic science. Sugar gives us a rush that physiologically leaves us wanting and seeking more, just like a drug - but when does this addiction begin? According to researchers, it starts within the first 6 months of life.

A new Australian study has found that many mothers are sneaking in sugar, cakes and fruit juices into their new babies' diets, instead of sticking to breast milk. Shockingly, 25% of new moms were guilty of this act. Some babies were introduced to the 'deadly trifecta' of sugar, fat and salt as young as 4 weeks old - something that can lead to seriously poor health as a child and adult.

Today, medical professionals are aware that the foods that babies and children are exposed to early on can shape their predispositions later in life, and can also increase their risk of obesity and diseases. Accordingly, babies in the study who were fed solid foods earlier on tended to prefer more sugary, fatty and salty foods by their first birthdays. With everything we know these days about food, nutrition and health, we most definitely know that breast milk truly is the holy grail for babies - its all they need to grow up healthy, strong and smart. So come on new moms - stick to the good stuff!

Read more at the Press Association (Sept. 6, 2010) in the article called "Babies 'weaned on sugary diet'".

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eat Rice, Pasta and Potatoes to Whittle Your Waistline

Source: Herald-Dispatch.com (Summary by NIM)

Many people think that carbs and diets simply don't go together. The word 'potatoes' gives them the heebie jeebies. You either eat your rice, pasta and potatoes or you steer clear of them and lose weight -- or so it was thought. Now, thanks to the latest diet craze, you can have the best of both worlds - carbs and weight loss!

The premise of this new diet craze is actually based on sound science, which is a relief - we don't see that too often! The theory goes that many foods high in carbohydrates contain a form of fibre that our bodies can't digest, called Resistant Starch, and if we don't digest it, we don't get any calories from it. And the best part is that RS is already in our food, we don't have to sprinkle it on or mix it in - we just enjoy our favourite foods in moderation and reap the benefits!

You can find RS in many super-healthy wonder foods like beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. In other words, a Mediterranean-style diet will tick all those boxes. And don't forget about cold pasta, rice and potatoes. That's right...cold. It turns out that when those foods are eaten cold, the RS crystallizes, but if you heat them up, you don't get the same health benefits. So go ahead - dig in to that sushi from time to time and don't feel bad about it! There's a reason why Japanese people live the longest, after all!

Read more at Herald-Dispatch.com (Sept. 3, 2010) in the article called "Rice, pasta and potato salad: Diet dishes?"