May 23 2016

FDA Changes Nutrition Facts Food Label!

  May 20, 2016 FDA News Release The FDA today finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. Highlights of the Final Nutrition Facts Label Features a Refreshed Design The “iconic” look of the label remains, but we are making important updates to ensure consumers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they eat. These changes include increasing the type size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” declaration, and bolding the number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration to highlight this information. Manufacturers must declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. They can voluntarily declare the gram amount for other vitamins and minerals. The footnote is changing to better explain what percent Daily Value means. It will read: “*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” Reflects Updated Information about Nutrition Science “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be included on the label. Scientific data shows that it is ...

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Jan 07 2016

New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 Released!!!!

The Dietary Guidelines provides a clear path to help Americans eat healthfully, informed by a critical, and transparent review of the scientific evidence on nutrition. A lifetime of healthy eating helps to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the onset of disease.… The Guidelines Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in ...

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Nov 29 2015

Remember The Obesity Epidemic? Still Here!

Overweight and obesity: the basics, just the facts..... Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. Obesity is preventable. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.   Overweight and obesity: definitions Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2). The WHO definition is: a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity. BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight ...

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Jan 05 2012

Top Ten Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit For 2012

Here are my top ten ways to stay fit and healthy for 2012: 10. Eat more fruits and veggies for every meal-yes, this is super important. Besides being a recommendation by the USDA and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fruits and veggies have lots of vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and fiber with very little fat and sugar. Remember to “make half of your plate fruits and veggies.” 9. Exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. Okay, I know you are saying to yourself, “unrealistic,” but this is really important, not only for kids but for adults too. Exercise provides many healthy benefits including weight control and it has been firmly established that those adults that exercise on a regular basis are a healthier group of adults and can maintain their good health as they age. For kids, they too need 60 minutes a day-including recess and other physical activity. For some adults, 90 minutes is needed. Walking is included and remember the 10,000 steps a day theory-that will equal approximately 5 miles-so get yourself a pedometer and get going! 8. Drink lots of water and forget the sugar and salt loaded, supplement loaded energy drinks. Many of the energy drinks that are available today are meant for use by athletes that are involved with vigorous training. If you fit into that category, then maybe you can benefit from a supplement loaded fluid replacement. ...

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Feb 05 2011

Best Diet in the Universe-Secret Diet Tips Revealed! Graehm Gray

Hello fans of mine, and welcome back to The Best Diet in the Universe. It’s what you all have been waiting for. It’s what you have been preparing for. It’s time to get started. It’s time to get fit and healthy. It’s time to get into shape! So all of you that have read the last two blog columns-you are ready! Let’s take a moment and review all the major points that got you this far: The junk food in your kitchen is gone-hasta la vista baby! It’s replaced by healthier items. Don’t worry-I will give you a list of the healthy items you should stock up on. You got on the scale and now you know! Had to be done! This is your starting weight. And we all need a starting point. You will weigh yourself every few days and watch the weight fall off. You made a realistic weight loss goal. This is so important. So many times we say-I am going to lose 20 pounds, or 30 pounds.” Never happens. This goal needs to be something you CAN actually reach. This doesn’t have to be the only goal. Once you reach this weight target, you reassess and look at the next goal. One of the major problems that we all face is once we achieved the first goal-we don’t sustain it and we gain back the weight. So a realistic weight ...

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Jul 26 2010

Graehm Gray: Eat Less, Exercise and Live Longer! Six Steps For A Healthy Lifestyle.

I was running on the treadmill last night and listening to a news story about a research study that showed the benefits from “light or moderate intensity physical activity.”* It made me think about all the times I have recommended to my friends and readers of this column, that all you need to start with is ten minutes of exercise a day (read “Take Ten”). The results are now proven scientifically: even a low level (low intensity) of exercise, over a small amount of time, can be helpful at improving your life* in quantity and quality. So then I started to think about whether we can correlate this to eating and did some preliminary research into the calorie restriction concept. From very early studies in mice and monkeys*, calorie restriction has led to longer life spans and has delayed the onset of many chronic diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease and stroke).  In the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent estimates, there are over 36 million people over the age of 65 and about 200,000 people over the age of 100. And according to the United Nations, by 2013, there will be over 3 million people in the world over the age of 100. So our population is growing and living ...

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Jul 19 2010

Graehm Gray: House Education and Labor Committee passes the Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Let’s congratulate our bipartisan representatives in the United States Congress for passing the legislation: Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act (H.R. 5504) on July 14th, 2010.  We are all aware that millions of kids come to school each and every morning hungry. According to Share Our Strength (Strength.org), over 12 million kids go to sleep each night with food insecurity. And we also know that the only chance at a healthy and nutritious meal (breakfast and or lunch) for these children is at school. There have been multiple studies published that demonstrate the importance and benefit of an adequate breakfast on the learning and skills of children. What will this legislation do? Here are the highlights: Improve Access to School Meal Programs Increase the number of eligible children enrolled in the school lunch programs by using Medicaid/SCHIP data to directly certify children who meet income requirements without requiring individual applications and requiring states to establish and execute a plan to increase rates of direct certification. Provide enhanced universal meal access for eligible children in high poverty communities by eliminating paper applications and using census data to determine school wide income eligibility. Increase children’s access to healthy school breakfasts by providing competitive grants to school districts to start up or improve their program. Improve Access to Out of School Meal Programs Ensure fewer children go hungry year round by providing meals ...

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Jul 18 2010

Graehm Gray: Apps for Healthy Kids – a Nutrition and Fitness Competition Sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign to End Childhood Obesity

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to tackle the issues of childhood obesity. She developed the Let’s Move campaign with the focus to encourage kids all over the United States (and the world) to get active and eat healthy: “Through the Let’s Move! campaign—a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that addresses all of the various factors that lead to childhood obesity—we are engaging every sector of society that impacts the health of children to provide schools, families and communities the simple tools they need to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.” As we all are aware, childhood (and adult) obesity is at epidemic proportions. According to the recent statistics, our nation is getting fatter and less fit. We are headed in the wrong direction. It is very difficult for individuals to lose the added weight once they have gained it. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (see Graehm Gray’s blog:  DGA Parts One and Two in The Nerdel News) coming out soon will explain in detail the latest accumulated research based information on what we should be eating. However, a plan must be formed to try and prevent ...

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Jun 09 2010

Graehm Gray: Your Child Needs 60 Minutes of Exercise Everyday!

Did you know that in the latest guidelines (Dietary Guidelines for Americans), all children (from preschool through age 18) should be physically active and get 60 (sixty) minutes of exercise/physical activity each and every day? Well it’s true. This exercise or activity does not have to be only from sports, but also can come from walking and playing (a.k.a. recess). And the exercise does not have to be done all at once. You can break it up into several periods throughout the day- for example: 6-ten minute episodes or 4- fifteen minute episodes. Parenting tip#1: according to many studies, kids (and adults too) that are physically active have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, elevated BMI, stroke, coronary artery disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis elevated blood fats, elevated blood pressure and elevated insulin levels. On the other end of the spectrum, kids that are not active and are sedentary (e.g. sit in front of the TV or computer) have a much higher risk of developing chronic  diseases like overweight, obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. Parenting tip #2: If you eat 100 more food calories a day than you burn, you'll gain about 1 pound in a month. That's about 12 pounds in a year.  Here is a chart that shows the calories (units of energy) ...

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May 17 2010

Graehm Gray: The White House Weighs In On Childhood Obesity

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity issued a report to the President on childhood obesity on May 13th, 2010 entitled: Solving The Problem Of Childhood Obesity Within A Generation. It is a summary of recommendations on how to approach the epidemic and focuses on four “priority” areas: 1. Empowering parents and caregivers; 2. Providing healthy foods in schools; 3. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods; and 4. Increasing physical activity. The goal for the Task Force is “returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5% by 2030.” Can this be achieved? I am not so certain. Of course additional indicators such as measuring the number of children eating a healthy diet, making sure that children eat less sugar in their diet, increasing fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity will be extremely important for the success of this plan.  The report indicates that: A. one in every three children (31.7%) ages 2-19 is overweight or obese,  B. that obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States, C. one third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes and D. even more starling that the current generation may be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Additional points from the report are the following: Each year obese adults incur an estimated $1429 more in medical expenses than ...

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