My segment on NBC’s Today show on Wednesday, May 15th, was: Foods That Tame Your Appetite. We didn’t get to the last question which was “How about tea, coffee, or caffeine? Do these ingredients help curb our appetite and aid with weight loss?”
The answer is NO! Don’t waste your money on bottled weight-loss drinks, supplements, teas, or other gimmicks. There is no credible, scientific evidence that any of their ingredients, from carnitine, chromium, and caffeine to citramax, B vitamins, and berry extracts, result in significant or permanent weight loss. Some of the props included bottled green teas, bottled beverages touted to aid with satiety, etc. Here is the clip. http://www.today.com/video/today/51889986#51889986
They’re not vitamins or minerals, but they prevent cancer, possibly boost the immune system, protect against aging and heart disease, and come in almost one million forms in a diverse array of natural foods – from fruits, vegetables, garlic, and soybeans to walnuts, wheat germ, red wine, and green tea. They are also called phytonutrients of neutraceuticals.
Phytochemicals have completely changed the way we view foods. It’s no longer appropriate to evaluate a food solely on its vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. For example, a phytochemical called gingerol in ginger is a potent antioxidant, the lignan in whole grains enhances fiber’s protective effects against colon cancer, lycopene in watermelon lowers heart disease and cancer risk, and phenolic compounds in green tea are major players in protecting against heart disease. These and other phytochemicals work as teams with nutrients and fiber as disease fighters. That’s why whole food – not pills, potions, or processed products – are the best source, since it will be decades before we understand optimal doses or how phytochemicals and nutrients interact.
How much? We don’t know what an optimal dose is when it comes to phytochemicals, but we do know that the more phytochemical-rich colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you eat, the more protection you get. Just one more reason to load every plate with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, choose 100% whole grains over refined grains, and include soy, nuts, red wine, cocoa powder, and other real foods in every meal.
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The more you know about nutrition, the better you eat. People well-versed in accurate nutrition information consume fewer calories, less fat, and more fruits and vegetables. The catch is that many of us know less than we think. According to a Gallup Poll conducted by Weight Watchers International and the American Dietetic Association, 90% of women surveyed said their diets were healthy; yet, only 1% of us really meet even minimum standards for a healthful diet.
Part of the problem is that we’re painfully confused about even basic nutrition facts,and access to the internet has only made things worse, since so many sites are heresay and gossip, not credible research. For example, according to a US Food and Drug Administration survey of people’s knowledge about fat, only one out of every five people knew that all fats – be it olive oil, butter, or lard – provide the same number of calories; seven out of ten had not heard of mono-unsaturated fats, and almost 40% were unsure or wrong about what foods supply saturated fats. We also down play the fat in foods, underestimate portion sizes, and down right lie about how much we eat. Consequently, we think we have cut back on fat or grains, but actually have increased our calories.
Knowledge also backfires. Tell us we’re eating low-fat, and we eat more. In one study, women ate more for lunch when they thought they were snacking on low-fat yogurt than they did when they were told the yogurt was full-fat, regardless of the actual fat and calorie contents. This mind-over-calories phenomenon might explain why obesity rates continue to rise despite increasing use of fake sugars.
In short, unless your friend is able to sift through the mix of good vs junk on the internet, it is likely her information is confused at best. Common sense tells you that eating real foods, not the latest fad berry or bottled beverage, gluten-free or food combination, is what works for healthy eating. load the plate with colorful fresh vegetables and accent it with a little lean protein, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and omega-3-rich fish and you’re on your way to better health! Photo credit: Mark Walley via Compfight
You’re referring to the first commandment in nutrition that states “Thou shalt meet all your nutritional needs from a balanced diet.” That means, all you have to do is consume daily 5 to 9 fresh fruits and vegetables, 6 to 11 whole grains, 3 glasses of low-fat milk, and 2 servings of extra-lean meat, chicken, fish, or legumes. Sounds reasonable, but there’s a catch – most people aren’t doing it. In fact, the just-published findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), show that only a measly one out of every 100 people meet even minimum standards for dietary adequacy. So, in answer to your question, yes, many people would benefit from a well-chosen supplement. Photo credit: Clean Wal-Mart via Compfight
You’re right. An avocado is anything but a low-fat food. In fact, 88% of its calories come from fat (but that’s primarily mono-unsaturated, which helps lower your risk for developing heart disease and shows no association with cancer). On the other hand, one avocado supplies one-fourth of your daily need for magnesium and more than half the folic acid, one-fourth the vitamin A, and lots of B vitamins, iron, and trace minerals. While you should limit fats in general, a few slices of avocado on a burrito, salad, or fruit salad adds a rich flavor, creamy texture, and an extra dose of nutrients. Photo credit: Andrea.Pacheco via Compfight