Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.
Calorie Count members want to know more about the mysteries of gluten. Here are some of our readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+A’s,” all gluten-free.
How would I know if I’m unable to tolerate gluten?
The classic signs of gluten intolerance are digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. And although not as common, not being able to tolerate gluten can also cause skin rash, joint pain, headaches, and anemia. Sometimes, gluten intolerance can actually show no obvious symptoms at all. Since there is a lot of overlap between gluten intolerance and dozens of other diseases, you should visit a doctor for evaluation if you have any concerns. You also should also consult a doctor before starting a gluten-free diet as this change can impact the test results and confound the diagnosis.
Jorge Cruise’s popular diet, The Belly Fat Cure, just got a little easier to follow with the launch of a new iPhone and iPad app. The Belly Fat Cure Sugar and Carb Counter is the latest incarnation of the diet, which promises to banish belly fat and help you lose 9 pounds in just one week. As the title would suggest, the diet hinges on the idea of limiting sugars and carbs, and the companion app makes keeping track of these nutrients easy.
I took the app for a little test run this afternoon, and found it to be intuitive and easy to use. The diet is clearly explained in the app, although you will benefit from also reading the book. Like almost any food-journaling app, The Belly Fat Cure Sugar and Carb Counter allows you to track all the food you eat during a day by selecting items from a database. However, this app keeps a constant reminder of how many servings of carbs and grams of sugar you eat in a day.
Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.
Some days I feel really lucky to live in the day and age we do. Can you image trying to figure out how many calories are in your lunch or keep yourself entertained while running without modern technology?
I love the fact that I can check out nutritional information online before heading out for a meal or go to YouTube for a quick and easy demo of a new exercise. Technology certainly makes the journey to health and fitness a lot easier.
Of course the problem is deciding which technology to use. There are almost as many apps and online fitness tools as there are diets. You could spend hours exploring each and every one, trying to decide which one has the features you need. Or you could get so overwhelmed with choices that you don’t do anything at all.
There’s a new free iPhone app that can help you simplify grocery shopping choices. Fooducate, created by Hemi Weingarten, is a super simple app that lets you know if a food is healthy or not using a letter grade. Scan a bar code on any food item, and the app will return that food’s grade, the number of calories per serving, and how many users like the food. Fooducate will also give you a few notes explaining that food’s letter grade, and suggest healthier items.
You can also easily scan a second food and compare the two. The less healthy food will be grayed out. For example, I compared a frozen Cedar Lane burrito with an Amy’s frozen burrito. The Amy’s burrito got a lower grade than the Cedar Lane version. While the app does provide some additional info about each food, like vitamins, controversial food additives, artificial food coloring and added sugars, I had a hard time understanding why the Cedar Lane Burrito did better. It seemed that Amy’s suffered from having a higher calorie count, although it contains organic ingredients.
According to app’s website, Fooducate analyzes foods based on their calories and ingredients, weighting “nutrients to limit” (saturated fat, sodium, sugar) against “food to encourage” (fiber). So, it doesn’t look like organic ingredients play a role into the grade.
When I first heard of Shazam, the app that tells you what song is playing when you have it anywhere near the speaker, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. While it is definitely cool, my experience with the free version has been mixed, since there is a lot of stuff it won’t recognize.
There’s a similar app used in the diet world now called Meal Snap, but its problems are probably a little bigger. Here’s the premise: you take your smart phone, snap a picture of your food, send it off to Meal Snap, and you get back an estimate of the calories in the food.
The attraction to this sort of app is pretty obvious. If you want to track your calories, it is a bit of a hassle. Or is it? If you’re going to go through the trouble of taking a picture of your food and sending it off for someone to send you back the information, you can probably simply go to any number of websites that give you calorie information. (more…)