Articles

Eating morning protein keeps you fuller longer

We’re all creatures of habit, and most of us tend to fall into a rut a meal time. Particularly at the breakfast meal. When you’re tired and sleepy it’s easy to go with the patterns you’re familiar with, and if getting up in the morning, pouring a cup of coffee and reaching for the breakfast cereal is your general routine, you’re not alone. But maybe you should take more time to think about your meal choices, particularly if you’re trying to cut calories. Did you know that a recent British Journal of Nutrition study indicated that when subjects were on a lower calorie weight loss diet they tended to eat fewer calories at lunch when they consumed a higher protein breakfast? Or that subjects who drank skim milk in the morning rather than fruit juice ate 200 kcals less at lunch (Am J Clin Nutr 2009)? Or that overweight subjects lost 65% more weight when they habitually ate an egg-centric breakfast than peers who ate a high carbohydrate breakfast of equal calories (Int J Obesity 2008)?

If you know the literature in this area, none of this should be overly surprising in light of the fact that many studies suggest that protein is more satisfying than carbohydrate or fat. So it stands to reason that a higher protein meal in the morning might prompt you to eat less at subsequent meals. But high carb, sugar laden foods (think donuts and Pop Tarts) have been staples of the American diet for some time because they taste good, and they’re convenient. Good reasons to indulge, but poor choices if your waistline and your health are priorities. Something to think about next time you wake up in a fog and you head to the cupboard for the “old standbys.” Sometimes change is good, and changing your breakfast eating habits can yield positive results.

– Mitch

Program helps obese kids keep weight off long-term

Childhood obesity continues to be a major problem that afflicts many children in the US. According to the CDC, over 20% of the kids in America are considered obese, based on BMI. In spite of various high profile weight control programs recently developed to combat the epidemic, the sad fact is that overweight children tend to become overweight adults, and overweight adults are more prone to chronic disease conditions including CHD and Type 2 diabetes.

A recent study conducted at Yale University (MedlinePlus) offers some hope. In this long term project, overweight children participated in an intensive weight control program that included physical activity and frequent nutrition education. Initially, the children met twice per week to perform physical activity and attend classes on proper eating. After six months, they met twice per month. After two years, long after the activity and nutrition classes were curtailed, many of the kids who participated in the program maintained BMI. Control subjects who did not participate in the program continued to gain weight and increase their BMI. The moral of the story- -educational intervention in young, susceptible children may pay dividends. A cure for the epidemic? Hardly. But a step in the right direction. Certainly.

The recent Dietary Guidelines stressed nutrient density, among other things, as a way to eat healthier while consuming fewer calories. Relatively simple advise that by no means is a cure for the obesity epidemic. But it is sound advice. The Yale study is a good reminder that looking for foods and snacks that provide good nutrition without a lot of calories is the right thing to do for our kids. As parents, we’d do anything to protect our children’s health. Seeking nutrient dense food options is a form of health protection that is often overlooked.

Incredible Launch of Lower Cholesterol and Vitamin D News

Just returned from a great couple of days in New York City, where AEB/ENC hosted a luncheon event for editors of many of the major health magazines located in NY, as well as a promotional event at Grand Central Station in Manhattan. The primary reason for hosting these activities was to announce the new USDA results indicating that eggs have 14% less cholesterol than previously reported. But, as often happens at these sorts of gatherings, we discussed a number of other topical issues as well with the editors and with consumers at the Grand Central Station event.

The Editors Luncheon consisted of presentations by Dr. David Katz from Yale Griffin Hospital and me. Dr. Katz discussed issues pertaining to diet, cholesterol intake and cardiovascular health. His presentation helped to dispel many of the myths surrounding dietary cholesterol intake and CHD. My presentation focused more on protein needs, and some of the newer literature linking protein intake to satiety and food intake. I also discussed our emerging understanding of macronutrient intake in general, and how former recommendations for carbohydrate intake vs. protein and fat needs were being challenged a bit by newer data indicating a greater need for protein throughout the day, and particularly at the breakfast meal.

At the Grand Central Station event, commuters on their way to and from work stopped by to eat a free egg meal, to participate in a program in which egg farmers donated eggs to the needy, and to meet with egg farmers and nutrition specialists from The Egg Nutrition Center. A lot of insightful questions were posed by the attendees about chicken feed, humane treatment of animals, and dietary needs in relation to health conditions.

All-in-all, a rewarding and fun couple of days. A great way to share new news about diet and health.

– Mitch

New USDA Analysis: Egg are 14% Lower in Cholesterol

There are many who think our food supply is unhealthy and getting more so. But, according to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data, www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata many of our naturally produced foods are actually healthier than during our parent’s childhood. Beef and pork cuts are leaner, lower fat choices of milk and cheese are widely available and now the egg, already low in saturated fat, has been found to be lower in dietary cholesterol and qualifies as a good source of vitamin D. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded.   The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent.

This is wonderful news, since for a long time public health organizations have been continuing to advise people to restrict their dietary cholesterol based on old, less sophisticated research techniques than those used by scientists today. Unlike most countries around the globe who have looked at the science and decided that the evidence is lacking to continue to confuse people with guidance which restricts dietary cholesterol , the US continues to include a 300mg dietary cholesterol restriction in its dietary guidelines. The good news is that it is so much easier to include the many beneficial nutrients that an egg supplies in your diet daily without having to consider your dietary cholesterol intake. Unless of course, you often consume foods containing a great deal of solid fats and added sugar which unlike eggs and seafood that are naturally low in unhealthful fats and added sugars, can complicate your heart disease risk.  One look at the nutrition facts panel, and it’s easy to see why eating an egg daily is a healthy practice that our grandparents understood and valued.

-Marcia

2010 Dietary Guidelines: Focus on Nutrient Density

According to Monday’s announcement of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, proper balance is the key to a healthy diet.  The Guidelines point out that many Americans consume less than optimal intake of certain nutrients even though they have adequate resources for a healthy diet. The Guidelines also recommend that Americans focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

Though the concept of “nutrient density” is either new or misunderstood by many consumers, it’s basically a term that speaks to the amount of good, solid nutrition you can pack into a food for the fewest calories possible. And eating highly nutritious, lower calorie foods (i.e., nutrient dense foods) can have obvious implications for promoting weight control and good health.  A “poster child” for nutrient density is the egg. Try to think of a natural food product besides the egg that packs so much nutrition- -13 vitamins and minerals and 7 gms of high quality protein, into a 70 calorie package. I’ll bet you can’t do it.  So it’s no accident that the recent Guidelines call out eggs in a number of instances as an example of a good nutrient dense food. Coupled with the fact that an egg costs only about $0.15 per serving, it’s understandable to think why the egg should be considered one of our most “efficient” foods (efficient calorically/nutritionally; efficient economically!).

So how can you bring a little more nutrient density into you own diet?  An easy fix is to substitute an egg in the morning (70 kcals) for (the admittedly more convenient) Pop Tart (210 kcals; 8 gms fat; 13 gms sugar). Another would be to replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats (e.g.-certain cuts of meat) with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories   (e.g.-fish, chicken, eggs).

Obviously there is a bit of individuality in how we can bring a little more “nutrient density” into our lives. However you choose to do it, focus on foods that will give you the most “bang-for-your buck” nutritionally; foods low in calories that are highly nutritious. They do exist. You just may have to search a bit!

-Mitch