1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
2. a severe lack of food
3. a strong desire or craving
Those are the dictionary definitions of hunger. But what does hunger really mean? If you break hunger down to the most basic definition, what is it?
A medical definition states that hunger is “an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach.”
We’ve determined hunger is the contraction and churning of an empty stomach. Now when was the last time your stomach was truly empty? Claims vary on just how long a healthy, well-nourished person can survive without food; usually it’s somewhere in the area of three to ten weeks. However, the feeling of hunger usually happens after just a few hours of not eating.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, R.D., recommends using the Hunger-Fullness scale to determine how hungry you are. The scale goes from one to ten, with one being extremely hungry and ten being extremely full. “It’s best to train yourself to eat at 2.5-3.0 and stop at 7.5-8.0, and then get hungry again in 4-5 hours.”
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The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian
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Grain Brain is the catchy title of a new self-help diet book on the New York Times Advice and How-to Best Sellers lists. The author, neurologist David Perlmutter, makes the case for a slow death to brain cells caused by wheat, “carbs,” and sugar. Those foods, he says, are behind most of the common but incurable neurologic diseases including Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, anxiety, depression, and others. To prevent and treat those conditions, he recommends a diet of fish, seeds, nuts, and olive oil, sans the “carbs” from grains, milk, fruit, and sugary sweets. Grain Brain is in the same vein as Wheat Belly and other best-selling Paleo-type diet books.
David Perlmutter and his co-author, writer Kristin Loberg, followed the diet book formula: reel in the lay audience with indisputable scientific facts and then lead them to ungrounded conclusions because they all sound good. With technical expertise, Dr. Perlmutter explains the workings of the brain and central nervous system. He is up on the hot nutrition topics and buzzwords of the day: inflammation, free radicals, bacteria in the gut, and metabolic fuels.
Sure, we agree that neurological diseases are scary and seem to be everywhere, but are gluten and carbohydrates the cause? Not so fast. David Perlmutter is often called “cutting edge,” which means research verification is needed.
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In 2003, a handful of young software developers from tiny Estonia wrote the code for a voice-over IP program and called it Skype. Derived from the words “sky” and “peer,” Skype was a video chatting and instant messaging application that allowed grad students studying abroad to chat with their significant others back home. OK, that wasn’t the only thing it was used for, but more than 10 years and $8.5 billion later—thanks Microsoft!—the uses of Skype have outgrown simple peer-to-peer communication.
The live and instant nature of Skype holds the senders and receivers of information accountable, making the program perfect for dietitians and personal trainers. Citing affordability and optimum time management, both our resident nutrition expert Mary Hartley RD, and the wellness team at Retrofit, among many others in their shared industry use Skype to counsel patients on diet and fitness.
“I could base an entire practice around Skype,” said Mary, who meets with clients in real life and over video chat. Living in New York City, Skype saves her and her patients gas money, traffic time, and office expenses. “Their (patients) appointments are booked on their Gmail calendars, they pay via PayPal before their appointment, and then we’re on,” said Mary.
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When you hear Atkins, you probably immediately think “low-carb diet.” Most of us recall that name being synonymous with the fad of high-protein diets in the early 2000s. Now, the Atkins brand is resurfacing with a refreshed image and an attempt to break free of its previously held stereotypes.
A recent article in Advertising Age discussed the shifts in power at the diet food company and spoke with the current Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Parker. In addition to offering free online tools and selling Atkins brand foods in the grocery stores, Atkins is working to rework their image. Parker told Advertising Age that the company went off track several years ago and many lost sight of what the plan was really about.
“The diet fundamentally teaches you to eat a balanced menu, it never did tell you to eat nothing but bacon and eggs,” he said. “But that is what word-of-mouth became and people literally were doing their own makeshift diet and they didn’t have a very good experience because they didn’t do it correctly.”
They’ll be working hard to get their name out there, as the report stated Atkins Nutritionals, which did not return comment in time for publication, will be increasing their spending by 50 percent this year. This rebranding will take place as many similar diets have really hit the mainstream and one can assume Atkins wants to get a piece of that consumer pie.
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