Soda for Breakfast… This Isn’t A Joke

Soda powerhouse, Coca-Cola, is targeting to boost soft drink consumption in the United Kingdom in an unexpected way. The soft drink corporation wants consumers to swap their morning coffee or tea for soda!

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. released a report, just last week, which recognizes numerous ways they can increase sales over the next 5 years in the European region. One of these categories, which is entitled “Complete the Meal” states that breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day. About a quarter of all drinks that are consumed in the U.K. are done so before 10am.

The report clearly states that its attempts are to simulate soft drinks like smoothies, juices, and other on-the-go products. This report was released at the same time that soda consumption has been on the decline in the U.S. – among concerns that soda fuels weight gain. So, to address those concerns Coca-Cola began airing advertisements and commercials that explains their fight against obesity.

The Coca-Cola report, “See The Opportunity”, also states that there is no soda in the U.K. designed as “relaxation” drinks, as there are in Japan and the U.S. Drinks containing melatonin are expected to exceed 300 million liters on consumption in the U.S. by 2014.

Other ways that that Coca-Cola intends on increasing sales is making their products available at pick-me-up at work places, as well as “right” places for teens at places like the movie theaters. In contrast, the “Daytime At Home” category in the report is mainly unused for the soda industry, with water and hot drinks being the most commonly consumed beverages at home.

CBS News

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How to Fight Heartburn and Reflux

How to Fight Heartburn and Reflux

heartburn

A substantial amount of Americans suffer from “acid indigestion” or “heartburn.” Others may be diagnosed with GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. These conditions may be triggered by the “typical” American diet and lifestyle habits. The occurrence of these symptoms has increased with the growing epidemic of obesity.  

Well, let’s break the issues down… What are these conditions? How can we address their symptoms?

In heartburn and reflux, acid from the stomach flows upward into the lower end of the esophagus. This can be caused by pressure pushing upward, or relaxation of the otherwise tight muscle that normally keeps acid in the stomach. Pressure can be caused by overeating at a meal, pregnancy, some types of exercise, or being overweight. In the case of the muscle, it can be affected by actual changes in the muscle or substances that relax the muscle. The symptoms, in turn, can be a burning sensation and/or pain.

Foods, beverages, and even certain medications can cause the muscle to relax. Stress, lack of sleep and smoking can also contribute to indigestion. Eating, especially large amounts before bedtime is another element.

Despite the name, heartburn is not a condition of the heart, but the symptoms can mimic heart conditions. Regrettably, some people dismiss symptoms of heart complications, by blaming them on indigestion. Random indigestion or heartburn is not a problem. When it occurs on a regular basis, as in GERD, it can cause ulceration in the esophagus, bleeding ulcers, and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

GERD is diagnosed when the reflux becomes more chronic and problematic. This occurs more than twice a week, becomes worse even with increasing doses of OTC antacids, causes problems with sleep, interferes with normal activities, causes hoarseness or worsening of asthma, invokes a chronic cough, causes chest pain, causes trouble swallowing, or causes a loss of appetite due to symptoms.

As the article stated before, there are some foods that contribute to the cause of reflux, while other foods are more likely to irritate already inflamed tissues. Examples of trigger foods that can cause relaxation of the muscle would be fatty foods, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, tomato, onion, garlic, mint, caffeine and carbonated beverages.

Foods that cause physical irritation might be abrasive grain foods (like some crackers or dry cereals), nuts, or some raw vegetables. Others might be acidic foods (citrus fruit/juices, tomato products) or spicy foods (pepper, chili powder, curry). Try using softer foods and beverages to provide nutrient needs when the esophagus is irritated.

When it comes to fiber, try including more soluble fiber foods found in oats, cooked vegetables and skinned fruit. Cooking raw vegetables like steaming or roasting can reduce the abrasion. It can be helpful to keep a food and beverage record, as well as a symptom record to identify any triggers.

Other habits that can be helpful might be eating smaller, frequent meals (rather than a few large meals), eating slowly, and chewing food thoroughly. You should also try stopping eating about two to three hours before bedtime and sleeping with your upper body elevated. Keep up with fluid intake, which is at least 64oz. spread throughout the entire day.

If being overweight is contributing to the reflux, weight loss would be an option. Healthy weight loss should be achieved by eating smaller portions of healthy foods spread over at a minimum of 3 meals. This pattern can help reduce total calorie intake while sustaining energy levels and putting you in better control over food choices. The smaller portions and more consistent food intake can directly improve the reflux as well. You should also make sure that your diet is nutritionally adequate, since some foods may be limited owing to reduced food intake and because you are avoiding reflux triggers.

GERD

Heartburn/Reflux article

Chain Restaurants Impact on Kids’ Meals and their Health

Kids Meals Get an “F” in Nutrition at Chain Restaurants

Nearly all of the meal possibilities offered to kids at America’s top chain restaurants are of poor nutritional quality. A report released today found that fried chicken fingers, burgers, French fries, and sugar drinks continue to dominate kids’ meal setting, with 97% of the nearly 3,500 meal possibilities not meeting CSPI‘s nutrition criteria for 4- to 8-year-olds.

And if you don’t believe CSPI, ask the National Restaurant Association (NRA): 91% of kids’ meals at America’s major chains do not even meet the nutritional standards of the industry lobbying group’s Kids LiveWell program.

One out of every three American children is overweight or obese, but it’s as if the chain restaurant industries didn’t get the message. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention” and addressed these health concerns for further research and studies to use in the fight against childhood obesity.

Two-thirds of adults and almost one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese, representing young and old, urban and rural, and majority and minority populations. This epidemic of excess weight is associated with major causes of chronic disease, disability, and death. Obesity-related illness is estimated to carry an annual cost of $190.2 billion.

Most chains seem stuck in this time warp, serving the same dated meals based on chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, fries, and soda. I know that they can come up with healthier, cost-effective, nutritionally beneficial meals that are more current than these.

One chain that has gotten the message is Subway. All eight of Subway restaurants’ Fresh Fit for Kids meal combinations met CSPI’s nutrition criteria. Subway is the only restaurant chain that does not offer sugar drinks as an option with its kids’ meals, instead including low-fat milk or bottled water along with apple slices with all of its kid-sized subs.

“Our goal has always been to provide the most nutritious, balanced kids meals in the industry and we are proud to be recognized by CSPI for achieving that goal,” said Lanette Kovachi, corporate dietitian for the Subway brand.

To meet the CSPI’s nutrition criteria, kids’ meals must be at or below 430 calories, no more than 35% of calories from fat, or no more than 10% of calories from saturated plus trans-fat. Meals that meet CSPI’s criteria cannot have more than 35% added sugars by weight or more than 770mg. of sodium. The criteria require meals to make a proactive nutritional impact either by providing at least half a serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51% or more whole grain, or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber. CSPI’s criteria exclude sugar drinks in favor of water, juice, or low-fat milk. The NRA’s standards are quite similar, though they allow more calories.

Here are some of the least healthy kids’ meals available at chain restaurants:

–        Applebee’s Grilled Cheese on Sourdough with Fries and 2% Chocolate Milk has 1,210 calories with 62g of total fat (46% of kcal), 21g of saturated fat (16%), and 2,340mg. of sodium. That meal has nearly three times as many calories, and three times as much sodium, as CSPI’s criteria for four-to eight-year-olds allow.

–        Chili’s Pepperoni Pizza with Homestyle Fries and Soda has 1,010 calories, 45g of total fat (40% of kcal), 18g of saturated fat (16% of kcal, and about as much saturated fat as an adult should consume in an entire day), and 2,020mg. of sodium.

–        Denny’s Jr. Cheeseburger and French Fries has 980 calories, 55g of total fat (50% of kcal), 20g of saturated fat (18%) and 1,110mg. of sodium. Denny’s does not include beverages with kids’ meals.

–        Ruby Tuesday’s Mac ‘n Cheese, White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, and Fruit Punch has 860 calories, 46g of total fat (48% of kcal) and 1,730mg. of sodium. Ruby Tuesday’s does not disclose saturated or trans-fat content on its menus or website.

–        Dairy Queen’s Chicken Strips, Kids’ Fries, Sauce, Arctic Rush (a Slushee-type frozen drink) and Dilly Bar has 1,030 calories, 45g of total fat (39% of kcal), 15g of saturated fat (13% of calories), and 1,730mg of sodium.

At 19 chain restaurants reported on, not a single possible combination of the items offered for children met the CSPI’s nutrition standards. Out of these restaurants, 9 (that included McDonald’s Popeye’s, Chipotle, and Hardee’s) not a single kids’ meal met the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell standards. At Wendy’s, only 5% of 40 possible kids’ meals met the CSPI’s standards. Most of these items were either too high in sodium or saturated fat. At Burger King, just 20% of the 15 possible kids’ meals met CSPI’s criteria.

The last time the CSPI reviewed the nutritional quality of kids’ meals at chain restaurants, in 2008, it is reported that these restaurants have made little progress. In 2008, just 1% of kids’ meals met the CSPI nutrition standards, compared to only 3% in 2012. Only one-third of the chains had at least 1 meal that met the nutritional standards in 2008. This number scaled to 44% in 2012- good, but not great improvement.

While the CSPI report recommends that companies consider several changes, it also encourages the chains to participate in the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program. For these restaurants to do so, they would need to restructure their kids’ meals to meet these standards. The bottom line is that these restaurants should offer more fruits and veggies, and to offer these fresh options as an alternative side to French fries. Whole grains should be offered more, as well as removing soda or other sugar sweetened beverages from the kids’ menus. And just because Subway was the only chain restaurant to meet CSPI’s criteria for all kids’ meals, it should increase the whole grain content of its breads and continue to lower sodium.

The long-term problem I see in this article is that the chain restaurant industry is conditioning children to accept a really narrow range of food options. More chains are adding fruits and veggies at this point, but realistically- a lot more could offer these options. And given the childhood obesity epidemic that America is currently attempting at combating- you would think that more restaurants would want to take action in the health of their future consumers.

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This is a standard Subway Kids’ Meal option

Happy RD Day!

Happy Registered Dietitian (RD) Day!!

March 13th celebrates Registered Dietitian Day! This celebration occurs every year during National Nutrition Month, which is March. RDs are the public’s go-to healthcare professionals when they need reliable nutrition information, in this field. RDs pull from their experience to create a personalized nutrition plan for people of every age. These are the professionals that are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you, the consumer/client/patient, can use!

Dietitians can improve the health of Americans and save money through healthcare costs. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by RDs is critical in preventing the top 3 chronic illnesses. It is well documented that MNT is associated with a decrease in utilization of hospital services of 9.5% for patients with diabetes and 8.6% for patients with cardiovascular disease. Also noteworthy is that participation in community-based programs that focused on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity had a 58% decrease in incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.

Registered Dietitians assist to promote a net decrease in healthcare utilization and costs for most people. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that in Idaho, for every $1 spent in wellness programs, companies could save $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs. Some interventions have been shown to help improve nutrition and activity habits in just 1 year and had a return of $1.17 for every $1 spent. Reducing the average BMI in the state of Idaho by 5% could lead to health care savings of more than $1 billion in 10 years and $3 billion in 20 years.

Well, unfortunately Wild and Wonderful West Virginia isn’t as lucky as ole Idaho. West Virginia still leads the nation in obesity, and was recently named the state with the highest number of overweight residents in the union. According to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index released last week, 33.5% of West Virginia’s population is considered obese.

Mississippi is the closest with an obesity rate of 32.2%. Arkansas has a rate of 31.4%, Louisiana is 30.9% and Alabama is listed at 30.4%, to round out the top five.

Residents of the Mountain State believe that a reason for the high obesity rate is the change in physical jobs and increase in availability of fast food. The combination of lack of physical activity and the ready access of fast food and junk food in homes has really contributed to the epidemic. On the flip side of our state, nutrition-related efforts seem to be working as West Virginia is no longer in the top five for childhood obesity!

With the help from schools and communities, West Virginia is increasing physical activity and need for healthier foods. As a unit we are advocating and promoting activity and nutrition. I think it seems to be helping! All thanks to those RDs out there!!!

Job outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutrition and Dietetics careers are expected to increase much faster (by 20%) than other jobs by 2020 and faster than many other industries within health care. In 2010, the median annual salary for RDs was $53,250, at $23.60 an hour. And the number of jobs available in the nutrition and dietetics field was 64,400.

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RD Day 2013

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Why Do We Overeat?

Why Do We Overeat?

A lot of factors go into why, we as people, overeat. Having some idea of our behaviors is helpful in order to solve our problem and try to do better with it. Researchers recently did a study that looked at the effect of 3 common overeating triggers… Alcohol- Lack of Sleep- and TV.

The study found that alcohol had the strongest effect on food consumption, followed by sleep deprivation. Watching television had the least strongest effect of the 3 triggers. The effect of alcohol was double; yes I said double, that of sleep deprivation, which was double the effect of watching television.  

Well, it turns out that all 3 behaviors lead to an increase in circulating ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates your appetite. So, there is a biological foundation behind our weakened resolution when these lifestyle factors are in play. The scenario could be characterized by biologically unnecessary appetite stimulation paired with a heightened response to environmental food cues, which causes us to overeat!

The authors of this study discussed that with all 3 of these triggers combined- this promotes an increase in acute caloric consumption. These lifestyle patterns are not merely correlated with obesity but likely contribute to it by encouraging excessive eating.

Obviously not everyone eats in front of the TV and many people indulge in alcohol only occasionally. These folks don’t have a problem to solve though. It’s when these types of habits become a lifestyle that they become important factors in adding and maintaining those extra pounds.

If you think you have either of these lifestyle habits going on, then 1) limiting TV time and 2) limiting the number of episodes per week you indulge alcohol, should be obvious goals. Avoiding being sleep-deprived is more complicated, but trying to arrange your schedule to get a full 7- to 8 hours of sleep per night, is a good place to start (or adding a regular nap to make up some of the difference).

Mindless Eating comes into player here. Mindless eating is taking that extra time to actually enjoy your food that you’re eating- without all those multitasking duties that everyone does. So, instead of watching TV or reading the newspaper during a meal, actually sit and chew your food thoroughly and enjoy your meal. This way, you become more aware of how much you’re eating and become full faster.

Why Do You Overeat?

overeating

Chew Your Soda

Eating Your Words… Literally!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the world has now seen it all! Edible advertising has entered the already corrupt world of beverage marketing. The Coca-Cola soda brand, Fanta, has recently released a new print advertisement tactic geared towards your taste buds, literally. The soda company has launched, what it claims to be as the first edible print advertisement. The advertisement begins its print with whimsical fonts spelling out alluring and persuading phrases. Then the advertisement invites consumers to physically tear out the page and EAT it. Yes, I said EAT THE PAGE. They do this is consumers can “taste” the flavors for themselves. This type of advertising is really taking amplified reality to a whole different level.

I personally, cannot believe that I have lived to see the day that this is actually happening. I mean, it’s bad enough that there is an epidemic of childhood obesity. So, as a multimillion dollar soda company, I see that Coca-Cola/Fanta is really taking the initiative at combating this problem… By creating an even more open avenue for children at becoming exposed to increased sugar sweetened beverages. Yes why of course- that WOULD make sense (insert sarcasm here).

“Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems”, according to the CDC. More than one-third of American children and adolescents are currently obese. And these numbers are directly related to the over consumption of sugary beverages… like soda! So, instead of creating more avenues of sugar sweetened beverage exposure, especially to child populations, big beverage companies like these should be advocating the opposite. I’ll admit, the marketing tool, itself, is a good idea. But NOT when there are national government agencies attempting to tackle a problem like this. It’s like a slap in the face to America and its youth’s future.

CDC: Kids consume too much sugar

Fanta commercial

The world’s first edible print advertisement

Fanta

C-section Babies and Obesity

C-section Babies and Obesity

Children born via cesarean section are slightly more likely than babies delivered vaginally to become heavy or obese, according to a new review of studies.

The results don’t prove that C-sections cause children to put on weight, but Dr. Jianmeng Liu, one of the authors of the study and a professor at Peking University Health Science Center, said the link between the delivery and obesity is important to keep in mind.

“The potential health burden of obesity and other diseases associated with C-section births should not be neglected, even if its impact is modest, particularly given” how often births happen that way, Liu told Reuters Health in an email.

Liu said that the relationship between the type of delivery and obesity among kids hasn’t been as clear.

The research team collected the results from nine studies that included more than 200,000 people.

People were 33% more likely to be overweight or obese if they were born by C-section, researchers report in the International Journal of Obesity.

Nearly 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. A 33 percent increase from that number would mean that 93 percent would be heavy.

The risk for childhood obesity in particular was somewhat higher – about a 40% rise over kids born vaginally.

Nearly one in five kids aged six to 11 is obese in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liu said the increase in risk was modest, but that it persists into adulthood. When the researchers looked just at the studies on adults, they found that those who were born surgically were 50 percent more likely to be obese than those who were born vaginally.

But, why the link??

It’s not clear why C-section births are tied to a better chance of being overweight.

One possibility relates to the bacteria babies are exposed to when they are delivered vaginally, which might affect the way they process and store food, said Liu.

Additionally, Liu added, researchers have suggested that C-sections are linked with a lower concentration in the umbilical cord of a hormone important in regulating weight and with a reduced rate of breastfeeding, “both of which are reported to be associated with an increased risk of later obesity.”

Babies who are larger than normal are also more likely to be born via cesarean, but most of the studies Liu’s team analyzed took into account birth weight.

Cesareans have become increasingly common, and in the U.S. now 1 in 4 babies are born through a C-section.

Liu said there’s been concern that some of these are unnecessary, and given the potential negative impacts on children the unneeded ones should be restrained.

“In clinical practice, (the) potential adverse impact of C-section should be considered by medical staff, and non-medically indicated elective C-section should be somewhat avoided, where possible,” Liu said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/us-csection-babies-overweight-idUSBRE8BB1JY20121212

fat baby legs

The Middle East Loves Fast Food?

The Middle East Loves Fast Food?

Kuwait has transformed from a humble pearl-farming backwater into one of the world’s richest countries per capita, in the past decades. But, because of this huge success, over 2 million Kuwaitis are discovering that success could come with a price. In the most recent years, Kuwaitis waistlines have enlarged to make them among the most obese people on the planet. Almost 70% of Kuwait males over the age of 15 are overweight or obese, according to the WHO. Women, the numbers are even worse, with a little over 80%.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently ranked Kuwait 2nd to the United States on a league table ranking countries by the amount of food they consumed per capita to sustain being overweight. The country’s weight gain has led to an unprecedented rise in obesity-related health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. Believe it or not, other neighboring countries of Kuwait’s also appeared in the top 10, with Qatar coming in 4th, the UAE at 6th, and Bahrain in at 10th on the table. Many people attribute the weight problem to rapid changes in lifestyle propelled by oil revenues that have transformed Kuwait into prosperous modern consumer society.

Most importantly, among these changes has been the introduction of fast food. American fast food outlets arrived with the U.S. troops during the first Gulf War, becoming a permanent fixture on the country’s culinary landscape. Some have adapted their menus to cater to bigger appetites in the region, such as a best-selling Pizza Hut dish that features a cheese pizza with a cheeseburger crust.

McDonald’s restaurant, which opened its first outlet in Kuwait in 1994, now has 65 restaurants across the country.

But there are other factors contributing to Kuwait’s weight problem. The country’s harsh climate — in which daytime temperatures can reach over 122 F — makes it tough to start physical activity during the day, encouraging a sedentary lifestyle and car culture.

Kuwaiti culture also placed strong emphasis on eating at communal gatherings — with little value placed on moderation. “If you eat less, it means you didn’t like it and whoever invited you is not a good host.”

But while some are embracing a new fitness culture of marathons and gym membership, others are turning to more drastic measures. Stomach stapling procedures are becoming increasingly popular in Kuwait, with enough demand to prompt the country’s first conference for medical professionals involved in weight loss surgery last year.

According to a report in Businessweek, the number of bariatric surgeons in Kuwait has increased 10x over the past decade, with at least 5,000 patients receiving the procedure in Kuwait last year — compared with 3,000 in Canada, which has more than 30 times the population. The report added that the legal barriers to surgery in Kuwait are lower than in the United States.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/08/world/meast/kuwait-obesity-fast-food/index.html?hpt=he_c2

Mcdonalds Middle East

Mcdonals in Mid East

Arabic McDonalds