Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nutrition Facts and Tips

I have spent the last few days watching the 2009 Nutrition Conference DVDs so that I could order the 2010 disks. There was so much information that my head is almost swimming, but in a good way. One of the things I love about these disks is that they are very detailed and science based. They may not be for everyone but I really enjoy this level of detail. I wanted to cover some of the more interesting and useful things I learned.

Overall information:

According to Dr. David Katz by making healthy diet and lifestyle changes you can:
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease by 80%
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes by 90%, and
  • Reduce your risk of cancer by 60%
If those statistics aren’t enough to spark a little fire I don’t know what is. 

Over 65% of American adults are overweight or obese. What has changed to spark such an increase in weight and disease? The size of our dinner plates has grown by 40% since World War II. That fact was shocking to me. Additionally, we have so many labor saving devices that we don’t as much exercise as our ancestors.

Dr. Katz has designed a nutrition scoring system to make it easier to grocery shop.  Check out the link above to learn more about it.

Spices and herbs:

Turmeric: is anti-inflammatory. The absorption is enhanced by 2000% when consumed with black pepper due to the piperine it contains. It is also recommended that you consume turmeric with fat. However I was happy to not hear that I needed to dissolve it in oil. That was a relief since I had been concerned about this.

Ginger: is best consumed in powdered form if you want the anti inflammatory properties, but fresh for colds or circulatory issues. This one surprised me. Our daily green tea with ginger will now be made with powdered ginger instead of fresh.

Sage: is good for sore throats. Make a tea from it with salt water can be used as a mouth rinse to gargle with when you have a sore throat.

Garlic: is basically useful for everything and anything. It helps with Candida, which I did not know. Additionally the aged form of garlic helps with the GI and mucosal side effects of methotrexate. It is also antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, lowers blood pressure and lipid levels.

Save your money on noni and mangosteen, they are over hyped and not worth the cost.

Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates:

According to Dr. Walter Willett sugar is the next tobacco. Sugar is empty calories that lead to weight gain and type II diabetes to mention a few things. The doctor feels that carbs like bread, potatoes and sweets are big problems currently facing Americans.

Interestingly if you are very active and have a BMI <23 eating a high GI diet results in ½ the risk of coronary heart disease as those eating the same diet with a BMI >23. For those that aren’t familiar with BMI, 90%+ of Americans have a BMI over 23. I think this difference is because those with more muscle mass use glucose more efficiently, but that is only a guess on my part.

Dr. Willet referred to brown rice as a “wimpy grain” and recommends that you get your whole grains in the form of barley and oats rather than relying solely on brown rice. He gives the rule of thumb that for each 6 grams of carbs there should be at least 1 gram of fiber. I will be looking up all the whole grains and creating a chart for us to use. Once I have that I will post it for everyone.

Interestingly the doctor says that fruit juice is just as bad as cola and should be avoided. Also the question of high fructose corn syrup came up during the Q&A and the doctor said that it and sugar are in essence indistinguishable and Americans consume too much of both.

Conclusion:

These are just a few of the things I picked up from the DVDs. I will be writing another post tomorrow with a few more things I learned from the DVDs. I highly recommend these DVDs to anyone that is interested in health and nutrition. They are jam packed with information. Some of it is highly technical and scientific but each lecture contains information you can use today. I have included a few of the items I found interesting and useful. These DVDs are a wonderful health resource and one I will be watching again,

I enjoyed the 2009 conference so much I ordered the 2010 disks today. I can’t wait for those to arrive so I can get started viewing them. For those of you that are wondering yes I really am this much of a nutrition geek, I do this for “fun”.

37 comments:

  1. Ali, thanks for the info.

    I find the herb-related info especially new and interesting. I love that you can pair herbs and spices to make them more powerful...like a natural apothecary...I think that much of this type of wisdom is found in the cooking of ancient cultures...and now being revived by modern science...very interesting. (Garlic is also a great pest-repellent for the garden!)

    I figured the thing about the carbs... when you are young and/or super active...a few more carbs are manageable...unlike sedentary people like me (...I'm currently in the process of getting back to my more active ways!)

    Thanks again for the info, very informative, as always.

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  2. Rose,

    You are very welcome. The DVDs are a wonderful resource. I loved the spice talk too.

    I had the same gut reaction you did about the carbs. I am still working on being more active myself. We can do it together, from across the country. ;-)

    Thanks for the tip on garlic and the garden. I will keep that in mind.

    talk to later,
    Ali

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  3. Very interesting, as always. Much of what you say is repeated in other things I've read from experts that promote plant-centered eating. Have you read the book "Anticancer, a new way of life" by David Servan-Schreiber, MD,PhD? His work is wonderful for those of us that also like to see the scientific evidence for making healthy changes. Many of the changes you've been making in your diet and lifestyle are in his book. You and your husband are great role models! Thanks for that, and the always interesting info.
    Colleen

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  4. I felt very intelligent reading your blog today. I already knew all of the info!!! Yay me! LOL
    I am such a nerd!!!
    I am glad we are like minded!!

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  5. Thanks for posting the useful info. It's all very interesting and definitely good to know. The bit about the powdered ginger was especially interesting.

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  6. Colleen,

    Thanks! I love the book "Anticancer". Have you read "Life Over Cancer"? It is similar only more technical. I think of it as an oncology course in hardback. It is about 500 or 600 pages but full of great info. I highly recommend it but only for those that like details as you mentioned.

    I am glad you think we are an inspiration, we try. My career background is hospital finance (I was a hospital controller), but I am trying to learn the "health" side of healthcare. I always say if I can learn it anyone can.

    If you have any other book recommendations please feel free to share. I am always trying to learn more.

    thanks again,
    Ali

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  8. Brandi,

    Show off, LOL. I hope you know I am just kidding. It was funny in my head I hope it comes out that way. ;-)

    You knew the thing about aged garlic and methotrexate? I am impressed.

    I am glad you like this stuff too.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  9. Tiffany,

    I am glad you liked it. I thought the fresh vs powdered ginger was interesting too. We have been using fresh ginger for a year because I thought it must be better than dried. Oh well, at least it was good for circulation. ;-)

    Alicia

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  10. Alicia,
    Thank you for the Cliff notes. I really appreciate you sharing the information.

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  11. Lisa,

    I am happy to share. Much of the info is extremely technical. However I greatly enjoyed the DVDs. They are a much better resource than most of the nutrition things I have read or seen.

    Alicia

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  12. I love garlic, and have recently started trying to use more ginger. I try to use turmeric, but not nearly enough. It's one of those spices that seems to only go with certain cuisines, but it doesn't have much flavor (to me) so I should try to use it more often. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Thanks for the post! I loved it.

    Due to my health issues I gave up on modern medicine. I started learning all I could about Naturopathic care, and diet. One of the most helpful books I have purchased,
    Prescription for NATURAL CURES by
    James F Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
    It has a section on herbs, and gives their uses for each. I love
    that it also mentions potential side effects too.

    In the book it says garlic is commonly used as ear drops for ear infections. It goes on to say other uses/qualities of garlic.
    It mentions digestive upset as a side effect.
    Sage is listed with the use for sore throats, reduces secretions, intestinal gas, hot flashes, gingivitis, and dries up breast milk. Side effects: with very high amounts may cause neurological symptoms. Best used short term (less than two weeks)
    I have had this book about 4 years.
    There is now an updated version.
    Most health food stores carry this book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in natural medicine. The book is easy to use.
    The table of contents lists conditions one might be suffering.
    Each condition has several pages of information on natural remedies. This book has brought me much needed relief/knowledge where my health issues are concerned.
    Cancer is a condition listed in the book too.

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  14. Heather,

    I have heard that some people add a little tumeric to soups and stews and the flavor blends in but you still get the benefits. I am going to try that. Other than that you are right about certain cuisines.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  15. Naina,

    Thanks for your tips! I will definitely look for the book you mentioned. I love things like that and need to read more about it.

    thanks again,
    Ali

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  16. Ali,

    I think the bit about the powdered ginger vs fresh ginger being more anti-inflammatory was interesting (and surprising!)... did they explain why that is? I thought like you that fresh ginger would have at least the same qualities as dried powder, and if anything be more potent!

    And that black pepper boosts the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric 2000%, that was news to me too!

    I disagree with Dr. Willett about potatoes being a problem. I don't understand why potatoes are so often lumped in with refined carbs, nor why they're vilified by so many. Complex carbs are chiefly what our bodies burn for fuel and I agree with Dr. McDougall about starches like potatoes (based also on our own experience eating a starch-based diet for nearly 3 years). When it comes to potatoes (as with many things), it's how we cook them and what we put on them that's key. There's a lot of difference between french fries cooked in lard, or baked potatoes slathered in bacon bits and sour cream, and the way you and I prepare and eat potatoes!

    I just have to stick up for my unjustly maligned potato friends. :-)

    And ain't garlic just a super-champ? :-)

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  17. La,

    The powdered versus fresh ginger thing threw me too. I really expected fresh to be more powerful. It appears we can't always go with our gut.

    I knew that piperine boosted the absorption of tumeric from "Anticancer" but it was nice to see it mentioned somewhere else. Since it is fat soluble it also needs to be consumed with fat, which I assume means nuts, seeds or coconut milk are all fine. Though previously I had read it needed to be dissolved in oil.

    Dr. Willett seems to be more concerned with the amount of total starch and the GI index. He even called out brown rice as wimpy. Most Americans have blood glucose that is too high. From that perspective his comment makes sense, if you know what I mean.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  18. Ali,

    It seems that a lot of our recipes that call for turmeric (and/or curry containing it) also use beans or lentils. Mostly garbanzo beans. Since those all contain fat, and it takes so little fat to enable fat-soluable vitamins to be absorbed, I'd bet that most likely whatever we're putting our turmeric in or on provides the amount of fat we need, without having to add extra. But I don't use much black pepper. Guess I'll have to add a little from now on (hopefully not too much, I'm not a big black pepper fan!)

    I hear what you're saying about Dr. Willett's approach, but I truly believe most people have blood glucose that's too high because they eat gunk. I'm completely with Dr. Willett on cutting out the processed, refined carbs that make up most of a typical SAD. But I still don't think potatoes should be lumped in with the nutritionally empty, over-processed, high-sugar junk. I always cringed during the Atkins Diet craze when everyone thought all carbs were created equal - equally bad - and made no distinction between complex and simple carbs, when the difference is huge. At Camp McDougall we ate mounds of potatoes, grains, rice, corn and beans every day (it was the bulk of our meals, followed by green leafies and other veggies, then by fruit), got less exercise there than I do at home, and by the end of a week I'd lost 2.5 pounds and my fasting blood glucose had fallen from 88 to 84. The culprit is not the potatoes, I'm just sayin'. :-) (And I don't work for the Potato Growers Association or anything! LOL)

    I am still really curious about the ginger, and why dried, ground, powdered has such different anti-inflammatory properties! I'm not unhappy about it... easier to shake it from a jar than to peel and slice it... but it IS curious!

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  19. La,

    His point was that you need to be aware of carb quality in terms of fiber grams compared to carb grams.

    I just did a little analysis of grains and added in potatoes to see the difference. The clear winner was bulgur (no surprise), followed by sweet spuds in the skin, barley, quinoa and then white spuds in the skin. I need to figure out how to create a table that blogger won't reformat so I can post it. There is a vast difference in terms of fiber content.

    Regarding the turmeric everything else I have read in the past indicated it need to be dissolved in oil and copious amounts of fresh groung black pepper added to be maximally absorbed. For whatever that is worth.

    Dried versus fresh ginger is something I will be investigating more thoroughly. This still mystifies me.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  20. Loving the comments on carbs.

    I can say that without some added carbs to my diet, I stay hungry. I will have to feed myself every hour or two. This gets old fast! I don't want to constantly be thinking of food.

    I was sad to hear brown rice is wimpy. I am gluten intolerant so rice helps give variety; as rye, wheat, barley, and spelt are out.

    Oats are ok, as long as they are purchased with the label gluten free. Commercial oats are contaminated as the oat fields and wheat fields are grown, and harvested side by side.

    I am looking forward to the grain comparison chart. If you have opportunity I would love to know about sorghum, teff, amaranth, and millet. I understand if these aren't readily available. They are all gluten free. I don't have any good recipes for these grains. Nor have I tried them in their whole state. They are available in flour form for gluten free baking, at many health food stores.

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  21. Naina,

    I did add millet and amaranth. I will update it to include teff and sorghum. My hubby loves millet and it did not do well in the comparison. He will be devastated.

    I agree with you when you eliminate the high calorie foods you have to eat quite a bit of beans and grains to stay full. The lecturer did not mention beans negatively so I am assuming he thinks those are a better choice. They are certainly higher in fiber. I will add those to the chart too. ;-)

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  22. I had to laugh at the dinner plate thing!

    I have a set of dishes from the 1950's (they were my grandmother's). The dinner plates ARE much smaller than newer ones (which I also have and have since packed away since I prefer hers).

    The set also has lunch plates which are larger than a salad plate but smaller than the dinner plates. (I eat off those.) Lunch plates - an idea who's time has gone, but needs to come again!

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  23. Neca,

    I tend to eat off of salad plates for my meals. The dishes they make now are so big. However the new plates are great for salad. ;-) I had a tough time finding small bowls a month or so ago. Everything looked like it was serving bowl size to me. That can't be a good sign.

    Great idea about using your grandmother's dishes. I have my gram's packed away. Now I have pull a few out and compare to my other dishes. The dishes I brought back from Deruta (Italy) are smaller. I don't use them much though since I don't want to risk breakage. It is a long trip to replace them. ;-)

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  24. I need to check out your recipes on millet. I have been afraid to try it. Since your hubby loves warm chocolate cake, I bet I will love millet too. Of course I will,
    since it's not measuring up! LOL

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  25. Ah! I commented on the millet mostly to say thank you for including the other grains!

    Thank you!

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  26. Naina,

    So far I can't find any nutritional numbers for cooked sorghum. Everything I keep finding is the uncooked grain. If you have any idea on where to find those I would love to hear.

    Millet is a very tiny mild grain. It makes a great base for a grain stuffing. I am sorry it didn't do better in the nutrition analysis.

    Ali

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  27. Your just full of fantastic information. If it appears that I am suddenly stalking you , it's because I am. For the last three days I have been digging into all your old posts. Today I made the Cinnamon Walnut butter. Although I had to add a lot more stevia to mine, I loved it and will be making this one a staple!

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  28. She Woke Up,

    LOL you are funny! I feel a little stalked... just kidding. ;-)

    It took us many months to reduce our sweet acuity. It will happen, but it tastes time. I am not surprised that you needed more stevia. We love walnut butter here. It is a staple food for my hubby. I love that it contains omega 3's and he just likes the taste.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  29. Thank you for all the useful info. It's great to have an explanation for some of the things which I just do because I know they're "healthy". I found the benefits of garlic particularly interesting- I add garlic to everything! What is aged garlic though?
    Bummer about brown rice...brown basmati is a fave of mine. I'm looking forward to the chart on whole grains, i've been eating a lot of barley, bulgur, quinoa recently and would like to see in which direction i should expand my horizons further...
    I was wondering if you could maybe talk about legumes/beans. They are healthy right? Could you perhaps explain? Thank you so much,
    Emma x

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  30. Hi Emma!

    Aged garlic is also called black garlic. I have been considering try to make my own. I will give that a go now since someone is interested besides me. All the information I know about it I will put in that post.

    I was a little bummed about the brown basmati too. That is my favorite. =(

    Beans are great! I eat them everyday sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. I can't think of any health reason to avoid beans. I will write a bean post though since you asked and will compare all the beans.

    I hope you are having a good day,
    Ali

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  31. Naina,

    I have only found nutritional stats on uncooked sorghum. Sorry about that. I am going to include it though since the cooked vs uncooked state shouldn't have a huge impact on the carb to fiber ratio. Thanks for the idea. :-)

    Ali

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  32. “wimpy grain”
    lol harsh! poor brown rice:(
    looking forward to that chart, thanks for doing that.

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  33. Michelle,

    I was sorry to hear that about brown rice. But given the numbers there is merit to the comment. Sorry I didn't get the chart up tonight. I got too busy here. It should be up tomorrow morning.

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  34. Lol, I have been looking for much larger bowls to put salad in. Salad bowls are much too small when you are eating a veggie salad as a meal! I often eat my salad out of a serving bowl:0 Plates on the other hand could be much smaller.

    I use a lot of herbs medicinally, but haven't tried sage for sore throats, thanks for the info.

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  35. Janet,

    I hear you on the dishes. I have gotten to the point that I like to use dinner plates for salad, and salad plates for dinner.

    Glad you liked the herb info. I thought you would. I find that sort of thing fascinating.

    Ali

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  36. Love love LOVE this post, Ali! I love it when you share such specific details about nutrition--there's always so much to learn, and your research is excellent. Thank you!

    xoxo,
    LJ

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  37. LJ,

    Glad you enjoyed this. I thought those were some of the more interesting tid bits from those three disks. I need to write a few more of these posts soon. My day has been hectic and a little out of control. I have on had one mug of tea and haven't exercised yet if that gives you some idea of my day.

    talk to you later hugs,
    Ali

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