Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tips For Healthy Fats

How well do you know your fats? Do you know which fats are unsaturated and which are saturated? Do you know whether butter is better than margarine? If you hesitated on some of these questions you are like many consumers who find all the “fat” talk confusing.

Fats are essential to health, they provide energy, they help your body transport and absorb certain vitamins, they are a important to some hormones and they provide cushioning to your organs. The problem with fats is many people eat too many and many people are confused with “good” and “bad” fats.

When it comes to overall health, and improving heart disease risk, the fats you want to choose are the following.
· Vegetable oils and margarines with liquid oil as the first ingredient and No More than 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.
· Nuts, seeds and nut butters – peanut, walnut, almond, sunflower, etc
· Fatty fish - salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout

Even though fats are needed for health it is important to remember that ALL fats contain 9 calories/gram so portion control is important. Current guidelines recommend that fat intake be between 25% - 35% of your daily calories and saturated fats – those that increase heart disease risk – be kept small. (For specific guidelines go to

Saturated fats are found mainly in animal foods like beef, pork, poultry, lard, butter, cream, other full fat and reduced fat dairy products but are also in palm, palm kernel and coconut oils. Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels so they, along with trans fats are often referred to as “bad” fats. Keep saturated fat low and Trans fats even lower to reduce your risk.

By the way, butter and margarine have the same number of calories but butter has more saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats than most liquid or soft spread margarines so look for them as your "healthier" choice.

For tips on reading menus, cooking with fats and dining out visit the American Heart Association’s Fats 101 at –

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Healthy Weight Week

For many women weight is a constant topic of discussion and sometimes worry. This week is Women’s Healthy Weight Week and the goal of this national event is to provide proper education about healthy weight, to help women feel more comfortable with their bodies and to debunk some of the misconceptions about achieving a healthy weight.

One of the big challenges for women, and men, attempting to achieve a healthy weight is the plethora of fad diets. It seems there is a new diet on a daily basis with all promising to be the easy route to a lower weight. Few of these fad diets proclaim that they are an answer to healthy weight since many of them rely on quick fixes such as elimination of food groups, extremely low calorie intakes or claims for “proprietary supplements”

Take time this week to think about your healthy weight and take time to achieve that weight by remembering the following.
Diets that –
· Skip food groups
· Guarantee results
· Fail to encourage activity or
· Require some type of added formula or food

are generally plans that won’t provide long term, healthy eating behaviors.

Read more popular diet reviews by visiting

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nutrition Supplements

Are you one of the millions of Americans who take some type of dietary supplement? If so you might be wondering about the usefulness of some supplements.

A recent report out of the National Institutes of Health reported that gingko biloba was not effective in improving memory. While this study was on one supplement it is just another of a line of studies questioning the value of supplements.

A recent position paper from the American Dietetic Association states that many Americans lack awareness of safety, proper usage of them or even if they need supplements. The position goes on to state - “the best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods. Additional nutrients from supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs as specified by science-based nutrition standards such as the Dietary Reference Intakes.”

If you’re confused by all the supplement options; want to know if you need to take any and if so how much, your best advice is to do two things. First, visit your physician for a health check-up and second contact a Registered Dietitian for a review of your eating habits. Locate a dietitian in your area by visiting and click on Find a Registered Dietitian.

Position Paper of the American Dietetic Association accessed at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

It maybe hard to believe that we are at the start of another year, and now another decade, but in fact the month of January is six days old. As you look forward to the New Year do so with resolutions that are realistic, achievable and enjoyable – yes resolutions can be enjoyable.

Resolutions start with an assessment of what you’d like to change and then a determination of how to make those changes. If you’d like to improve your eating habits this year start first with a good understanding of healthy eating. provides a good outline of what we need for health, how much we need for our own health needs and how to make changes to achieve these goals.

As you make changes remember to take small steps; a new goal per week is reasonable and goals can be as simple as boosting dairy intake by one cup per day.

When it comes to enjoyable, start by adding foods you like – if you need more vegetables consider boosting portions of those you already eat or maybe mix some new choices in with current favorites. If you need to add cheese or margarine to make vegetables palatable do that but try to keep the amount in balance to the vegetables – In other words this is about more vegetables.

Finally, if a resolution is harder than you expected give it more time. Remember the goal for healthy eating is a pattern for life, not another diet.