Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

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Do Baked Beans Count as a Veggie? Sorta, Says R.D.

It seems like Jay Bush and Duke the Dog are always on TV hocking cans of Bush’s Best Beans. We love beans as much as the next person—especially with some barbecue!—but a recent commercial gave us pause. At the end of it one mother, who’s watching her kids eat baked beans, says something along the lines of, “Isn’t it great to see them eating vegetables?”

baked beans

Now, there’s no denying that beans are plants–after all, the navy beans used for most varieties come from a plant that looks a lot like a green bean. But, when you add bacon, salt, and sugar to beans, do they still really qualify as a vegetable?

Here’s what Mary Hartley, RD, our in-house nutrition expert had to say:

“As a plant food, beans are technically in the vegetable group. Like all vegetables, they are loaded with fiber, potassium and folate. Dried beans can also fill in for meat because they have more protein, iron, and zinc than other vegetables. 
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The Plot to Make Big Food Pay for the Rising Cost of Obesity

In an attempted takedown like that of the tobacco industry in the 90s, lawyers are asking state attorneys general to sue the food industry to make them pay for obesity-related health care costs.

lawsuit

Lawyer Paul McDonald, partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, is heading up the movement asking 16 states to take on Big Food.

“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” he told POLITICO.

Mary Hartley, R.D. shared some of her concerns about litigation of this kind with us. “Lawyers who took on the tobacco companies are fishing for new money,” she said. “They want to take on the food companies, and they see the best route as through the attorneys general. Independent lawyers would do the legal work for the attorneys general in exchange for a cut of the settlement.”


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Finally! The Feds Create BS-Free Nutrition Label, Give Americans Reality Check

The White House and the Food and Drug Administration have announced their plan today to update the nutrition facts label on food packages, a move that is being heralded and praised by nutrition experts and enthusiasts alike.

new nutrition label

Proposed changes include:

  • Calories displayed more prominently. Congress and the FDA are pushing for a larger, bolded font for calories and all parts of the label that affect obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Serving Size. Have you ever noticed a bottle of soda actually contains 2.5 servings, while the average American drinks the whole thing in one sitting? Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, thinks this means we are all in for a big reality check. The new label will change the serving size from what we should eat to what people actually consume.
  • Detailed sugar labeling. The improved labels will have a new line for “added sugars,” or sugars not occurring naturally and have been including only after chemical processing (think naturally-occurring lactose in yogurt vs. added aspartame in a Yoplait). What does Hartley have to say about that? “Finally.”
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“I Feel Absolutely Great.” Biggest Loser’s Rachel Frederickson Speaks About Her Win and Shocking Weight Loss

Last night’s Biggest Loser finale wasn’t exactly the celebration we were all hoping for. Rachel Frederickson, a favorite to win, and one of our favorite contestants to watch, was named the Biggest Loser over Bobby Saleem and David Brown. Her victory should have been wonderful, but instead had a sour taste to it.

Rachel Biggest Loser Finale

What stuck out was how thin she appeared to be. At just 105 pounds, Rachel lost 60 percent of her body weight during her Biggest Loser journey, setting a new record for highest percentage of body weight lost during the show. NBC has offered “No comment” about Rachel’s weight loss.

Mary Hartley, R.D., spoke out against the speed at which Rachel lost weight.

“Fast weight loss is often associated with muscle loss and protein-calorie malnutrition since protein from the muscles and organs is converted to glucose to feed your brain. Muscle glucose makes up for the lack of glucose coming in. Rapid weight loss, and any starvation, leads to psychological changes that promote binge eating as the body attempts to replace lost mass.”

From a starting weight of 260 pounds, Rachel lost 155 pounds in 7 months. What concerns us about her weight loss is Rachel admits to being 5’5″ tall which puts her current BMI at 17.5. That’s solidly in the underweight range, and she is the only contestant in Biggest Loser history (worldwide) to end their season underweight.


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Did Cavemen Follow the Paleo Diet? Probably Not

Eating like our ancestors, eating like a caveman, eating like hunter-gatherers – no matter how you phrase it, it all comes down to the same thing: the paleo diet.

The premise of the diet is to mimic the ancient humans. This is done by removing products of modern agriculture (wheat, legumes, and dairy). Instead, paleo dieters eat meals full of meat, nuts, and vegetables.

paleo

According to author Michael Pollan, however, that diet isn’t what our ancient ancestors would have eaten. On an episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast, he said, “I don’t think we really understand…well the proportions in the ancient diet. Most people who tell you with great confidence that this is what our ancestors ate-I think they’re kind of blowing smoke.”

We asked Mary Hartley, R.D. what her take on the paleo diet was, and she agrees with Pollan. “Over the last several years, researchers have learned more about early hominid diets. Early hominids from forested areas ate the fruit and tree nuts, but ancients for the savanna ate the grasses and sedges that grew there. (Millions of years later, those grasses would become domesticated cereal crops).”


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