Confusing Health Articles Take a Beating

21 04 2010

Loves!  Happy Humpday to you, my fabulous people.

I know I forced you to endure my opinion about menu transparency last night, but I have one more thing to talk about.  I’m sorry!  I just can’t hold it in.  I promise celebrity tabloid lovin’, MAC Makeup obsessed, high-heel touting KD will be back tomorrow.  You don’t mind anyway, do you? 

:smile:

I didn’t think so!

Every morning when I get to work, I briefly check CNN for nothing more than major headlines.  It’s a quick two seconds and helps me feel in touch with the world until I can read the articles at leisure on my own time.  Generally, the text of the article doesn’t tell me much more than the headline (Isn’t that funny?!?) except for when it comes to health-related articles.  Instead, health-related pieces tend to elaborate in ways that are not only confusing, but often seem contradictory to something else I just read. 

Frankly, I’m SICK OF IT.  And, here’s why.

Today’s example will focus on this article.  If you don’t want to read the entire thing, here’s the KD synopsis: Too much sugar in one’s diet is bad for overall health.  Try not to be blown away by this news.

I have so many issues with this article that I’m not quite sure where to begin. 

[Spinning around, closing eyes and picking random point Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey style].

How about here:  The study, to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, highlights a trend some nutritionists consider disturbing: In recent years, the typical American’s diet has increasingly incorporated added sugars. The authors defined them as ‘caloric sweeteners used by the food industry and consumers as ingredients in processed or prepared foods to increase the desirability of those foods’.”

What the heck does this even mean?  Better yet, how does it help people like you & I?  After reading that, I am now informed that I probably eat too much sugar and it’s not all my fault because the food industry is dumping sugar into foods I eat.  While that might help to identify the problem, it does not help to identify the culprit (never mind a solution)

This is America, people!  Asking our society to “just say no” to any and all processed foods is just ludicrous.  To solve our problems, we have to be realistic!  It’s not good enough to tell people that processed foods have added sugar.  (DUH!  Of course they do!)  Instead, we need an article that not only discusses processed foods having too much sugar, but also easy swaps at the grocery store to help curb the problem.

I’ve discussed my love of the NuVal concept before and this article only reinforces the need for these types of ratings in our day-to-day life.  It’s so crucial to elaborate on articles such as this one.  People need to SEE which manufactures are the biggest culprits.  Of course, I don’t know any by heart without doing the research, but I would almost guarantee that certain companies are bigger “sugar offenders” than others.  These “studies” should not only focus on the overall problem of processed foods, but also on calling out these corporations.  If these types of specifics were given, people may tend to stray from certain products.

And then there’s this: Data from the mid-1990s show that 15.8 percent of the typical American’s diet was composed of added sugar — 21.4 teaspoons or 359 calories per day. That’s up from 10.6 percent in 1977-1978. Added sugars have been linked to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

Mm hmm.  So, if I’m reading that correctly, these folks are relying on data from the MID-1990’S.  You want to know how old I was in 1995?  Twelve.  TWELVE!  I think it’s safe to say that A LOT has changed since 1995.  If the sugar problem was “up” at that time, one can only begin to fathom what it is now.

Let’s continue because this is my favorite part: 

“The researchers studied 6,113 adults enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Interviewers called them and asked what they had eaten the previous day, then estimated the total added sugar in each person’s diet.

Participants were then separated into groups: Those who got less than 5 percent of total calories from added sugar; 5 percent to less than 10 percent; 10 percent to less than 17.5 percent; 17.5 percent to less than 25 percent; and 25 percent or more.

 Those in the highest-consuming added sugar group eat about 46 teaspoons of added sugar per day, the study said. Those who consumed more added sugar tended to be younger, non-Latino blacks with low income, it said.”

 As previously mentioned, this information is WAY too vague to hold any weight!  It does not mention where these people are from or what the average age is.  In addition, it simply says participants were asked what they ate the day before.  It’s pretty clear that a large amount of them ate too much sugar on the questioned day.  But, are there any trends specified from their diets?  OF COURSE NOT! 

 How can we expect people to take a look at their own diets if suggestions are not offered?  Sure, anyone reading this can realize that they have to cut sugar from their diets.  But, other than cutting back the sugar poured in one’s coffee and laying off cookies, do you think the average person knows what to look for on a nutrition label to seek out the added sugar?  I’d say “no”.  Heck – I find this stuff so interesting and I still get completely confused and wonder if my pineapple Chobani is worth the extra sugar splurge.

 We need to EDUCATE our society, as opposed to telling people that certain things are “good” and “bad”.  We must begin by creating an emphasis on REAL food and then tackle processed foods one group at a time, highlighting the companies that work hard to provide convenient health food and pointing out the ones that offer little-to-no nutritional significance (NuVal, anyone?!?)

 If money were no object, I would travel the country and speak at schools nationwide.  I would invite parents to my talks (two birds with one stone) and focus on how the proper food can help one’s body run like a fine-tuned machine.  This is basically my dream job.  However, this would be quite difficult when the “experts” on health can’t seem to come to an agreement on sugar, cholesterol, etc ,etc.  I feel as though I could speak to students and confidently say, “Apples are healthy”.  And, that’s about it. 

Okay, a bit dramatic, but that’s how I feel.  Every day, there seems to be a new “trend” or “fad” associated with eating well.  It’s ridiculous!  It’s not difficult to see why eating well is confusing!

 The government does a fine job with My Pyramid, but it’s not advertised like the crazy articles I’m always reading!  First, egg yolks were bad for your cholesterol and now they’re okay again.  Even this sugar article reads, “The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 25 percent of total energy from added sugars; the World Health Organization recommends less than 10 percent; and the American Heart Association has recently advised no more than 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men, which works out to about 5 percent.”

 It appears as though no one can determine how much sugar is too much.  I searched My Pyramid’s site, as I believe they hold the most weight in matters such as this.  Honestly, I couldn’t find any recommendation other than to keep unhealthy fats and sugars at the “top” of your pyramid, i.e. use them sparingly.  To top this off, My Pyramid describes added sugars in this list.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t help me identify if my pineapple Chobani is loaded with sugars because it doesn’t take the time to identify what the average amount of natural sugar is in a yogurt.

 Granted, this is probably on the milk page, but how many people are going to take the time to look this up?  Even I’m too lazy!  I propose My Pyramid create a “cheat sheet” of sorts that they advertise via a press release.  I’m sick and tired of hearing from all of these other studies, which can never seem to get their facts straight.  I want to hear from my GOVERNMENT, as opposed to individual studies.

 Lastly, I’d like to touch on the fact that this article mentions low-income persons as being the worst “sugar offenders.”  Truthfully, I’m sick of hearing that people with low-incomes have a worse diet than those that don’t.  WHY do we keep discussing this as fact instead of a solution to fix the problem?  Rather than reiterating the fact that healthy food is costly and food stamps (assuming these folks use them) barely buy a day’s worth of food (it breaks my heart), we need to TAKE ACTION if we expect the problem to get better.

 I think the current White House is on the right track.  First Lady, Michelle Obama, is working hard to introduce better foods in our schools and get kids moving.  This keeps me hopeful that if kids aren’t getting the right stuff at home, they might be getting it at school in the future.  However, I don’t think this is enough.  I’d love to see “community gardens” similar to a CSA, but “of the people, by the people, for the people” (NAME THAT QUOTE!).  I would love to see community gardens that sell fresh produce at discounted prices to those in lower-income areas.  Perhaps they already exist, but I don’t know of any.  (American Community Garden Association does exist, but they appear to mostly plant flowers in urban areas, as opposed to food.  I did a quick search of my area and, apparently, an elementary school near Boston has a veggie garden, but the profile hasn’t been updated since 2007 so I’m not sure if that’s true.)

 If you’re still here and read all of that, I thank you.  I know I tend to go off on certain topics, but I’m a firm believer in discussing all issues, no matter how small.  Granted, this is kind of a one-way street, but I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section!  This exact freedom of speech is exactly what makes America such a fantastic place to live, as it gives us the forum to bounce ideas and frustrations back-and-forth.  This has become the foundation of every great idea in history.  If we allow a topic to go silent, then we are truly accepting it as part of reality and I refuse to let that be the case with our health!

 I’ll leave you with a much lighter topic: My food!  I didn’t eat anything out of the norm today, so I’ll simply leave you with pictures :smile:

Breakfast: Scrambled egg beaters with whole wheat english muffin (topped with ICBINBL and Polaner all-fruit strawberry spread)

Lunch: Southwestern Stuffed Pepper (even better reheated!), strawberries and grapes

Snack:

Dinner: Reheated some lasagna I had stashed in the freezer (Still SO good…Love freezing meals!) with roasted broccoli

I roasted my broccoli at 375 for 30 minutes.  This makes them SUPER crispy.  I envision that this is what kale chips are supposed to taste like minus the putrid stem.  I will try those again soon and will remove all stems!

One last thought before I go (other than GO BRUINS!):  If you ever write me a comment with a question in it, be sure to check it again because I do try to answer them all!

 Question of the day:  Would you volunteer at a community garden if you knew it was helping those who were less fortunate than you?





Kit Kats, Goals, Guests and Yoga

8 04 2010

Kit Kats!

I know I generally call you guys “loves”, but I thought it would be cute to call you something food chocolatesque.  Kit Kats sounded like it worked :smile:   I kind of like it and really LOVE Kit Kats.  I’m sure you’re shocked.  It’s been so long since you’ve heard me say I “loved” a food :lol:   I think I’ll try to go a whole week and call you something food related.  This could be fun because, well, I’m really cheesy like that.

Lots to say today so let’s get to it, yo!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this summer coming up and what I’d like to accomplish.  Last summer, Mr. KD and I were in the process of closing on/moving into our home.  It was a wonderful experience, but the summer was consumed with talks of interest rates, PMI, down payments, etc.  Eck.  In addition to this, it literally rained ALL summer.  If you’re from New England, you can back me up on this.  The number of nice days could be counted on two hands.  We had so many weekends full of cooler weather and rain.  And then – POOF – it was Fall all over again.
So, it’s quite easy to see why I’d like to make this a killer summer.  Therefore, I decided to make a list of things I’d like to do and accomplish.  I thought I’d share with you because I know you are SO interested in my goals.  And, even if you’re not, it might inspire some of you to make a plan of action for yourself!

Without further ado….

1.      I’d like to run outside more.  This is a tough one considering I work out so early.  It’s pitch black outside, which doesn’t make for great running conditions.  I know all you hard-core runners out there push through it in darkness, rain, snow and sleet, but that’s just not for me.  I’m 5’2” and little.  I’d be really easy to abduct.  I think I’d rather run in the sunshine when people are around.  Plus, I think my mom would be REALLY mad if she found out I were running by myself in the dark.  SO, look for me to run on Saturday mornings when I can find the time :smile:

2.      Sign up for my first race = CHECK!  I was thinking about this today and realized that I ACTUALLY signed up to run a 5K like I’m even a runner.  I’m excited, but the thought of it gives me total butterflies.  Moving on…

3.      Go on hikes.  I’m not really sure about the details on this one, but it’s something Mr. KD and I have talked about and it sounds like fun, so why the heck not?

4.      Cook more summer-inspired recipes.  What can I say?  I’m from Massachusetts!  We have beautiful summers, but the winters tend to drag on and on and my recipe collection certainly reflects my love of comfort food.  I want to start making diverse salads and light dishes!

5.      Attend the Healthy Living Summit.  I just noticed today on Caitlin’s blog that the Healthy Living Summit dates have been announced.  It will be held in Chicago on August 13 – 15th.  I so desperately want to go!  There are not many details out yet, but is anyone else tossing around the idea of going?  If so, email me and we can totally be hotel roommates to cut down on costs!

6.      I originally only had 5 goals, but an extra one is always important for good measure!  I want to go to the beach more!  I have SO many beaches at my disposal in the summer and sadly, the older I get, the less I seem to utilize them.  I’m hoping to put a stop to that this summer and simply stop to feel the sand beneath my toes :smile:

I hope to work toward these goals in the coming months.  If I don’t make them happen, I’m not going to stress over it, but I’m going to give them all my best effort.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to ask you all a favor!  Next weekend, I am heading up to New Hampshire for a girls’ weekend with my college roomies.  You’re jealous, aren’t you?   You should be :wink:   I really want to use this as a time to disconnect from the world and focus on my gf’s.  SO, I’m looking for guest bloggers!  Who’s up for it???  If you’ve always thought of starting your own blog, this could be the perfect time to test the waters.  If you already have a blog, share your favorite recipe or the reason you decided to start your blog in the first place.  Get creative, people!  You can truly write about anything, so long as you keep it clean :wink:   I talk to you guys all day long about fitness and food, but I have many other interests including fashion, sports, celebrity gossip, stopping childhood obesity, MAC makeup, high heels, beer, sweatpants, cozy fires, FEMALE EMPOWERMENT etc, etc.  As you can see, I’d enjoy reading a post on just about ANY topic, so long as it was charismatic! 

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger, please email me at lindsay@theketchupdiaries.com.  Please include your name and a blog – if you have one. I’d like to receive all posts by Wednesday, April 14th.  This will give me time to sort through them all and determine how many I’ll need to fill up the days I’m gone.  Don’t leave me hanging, folks!  I know you’ve got something to say to the blogosphere!  And, please, if you’re thinking of writing something and can’t get it to me until the 14th, at least let me know of the topic so I can do some pre-planning.  You didn’t think my Type A was going to let you wait ‘til the last minute, did you?!?

Let’s get on with our normal discussion, shall we? 

Mr. KD and I were up BRIGHT AND EARLY to tackle some yoga.  I’m still trying to sort my thoughts on it to be honest.  I have a hard time letting go of the old school mentality that you have to sweat like a beast to get in a good workout.  This is why I’m a cardio lovin’ fool.  The more I sweat, the better I feel.  Even though running always seems like a drag in the beginning, the “rush” I get at the end is SO worth it.  I’m not sure if it’s exactly runner’s high, but it’s SOMETHING.  I feel invigorated and ready to tackle the day, which is the reason I’ve refused to give up my cardio sessions while doing P90X.  As I told you yesterday, the yoga is 90 minutes long, so there is no way I can fit both in.  I know that great workouts come in all forms and that is the main reason I am trying out P90.  I would be the first to tell an inactive person to make fitness “fun” and then force myself to grind it out on some boring piece of equipment just to get the feeling after the fact.  I’m a hypocrite in this area, but at least I can admit it.  So, keep this in mind when I give my yoga review.

At first, we performed a bunch of combinations.  For all of you who have never tried yoga, combinations are a series of fluid movements that you continue doing for a certain amount of time.  They included the Warrior pose, downward dogs, planks, etc, etc.  Dang – this part went on and on and it was TOUGH.  I was sweating and found it really challenging.

The second half of the workout consisted of static poses.  This was also tough, but in a different way.  I didn’t sweat nearly as much, but my muscles were being challenged like crazy!  Have you ever tried to hold your extended leg in the air for 60 seconds?!?  So hard!  My muscles were shaking uncontrollably!

I enjoyed challenging my body in a different way.  However, I didn’t get that “accomplished” sensation after the fact.  I will say that I definitely felt calmer during the entire day.  I’m not sure if is because of the yoga itself or the fact that I wasn’t rushing to the gym to rush back home for the second part of my workout.  It was refreshing to simply wake up, head downstairs and begin. 

I also understand that a huge part of yoga is about being in the zone and freeing your mind.  This is nearly impossible next to Mr. KD, who is a wisecracker like no other.  He made me giggle on more than one occasion.  On top of this, I had a hard time zoning out when I couldn’t always contort my body properly.  I also found it hard to relax when it hurt.  I danced for many, many years and this brought me back to ballet work on the barre.  Forcing your body to look graceful and composed when every inch of it aches is very, very difficult!

I bet a lot of people feel this way the first time they try yoga.  Can anyone back this theory up?  I knew it was going to be a mental and physical challenge.  That’s exactly what it was.  I’m excited to continue practicing it and, hopefully, watch my flexibility improve.  I also think that Mr. KD and I got all of our laughs out-of-the-way today, so next time we can focus on being more in the moment.

And I’ll tell ya another thing.  I’m sore.  Already.  I’m feeling sore in the back of my shoulders, so I’m actually not sure if it was from yesterday’s shoulder workout or from holding my body weight this morning.  It could be a little of both, which is okay with me!

Tomorrow is Legs & Back.  Bring it!!

Now let’s talk about the food, which is always my favorite part :mrgreen:

I did so well with my food today.  I was completely satisfied all day.  I know it’s only my fourth day on P90, but I’ve already given up my morning protein shake.  I just wasn’t feeling the 5 meals a day thing.  I do fine on four.  I found that when I was having the shake, I was hungrier throughout the rest of the day.  I could be making this up in my head, but since I’m all about listening to my body, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!  I don’t think I need it.  I’m not hoping to look like a fitness model, so I think I’m just fine eating the way that I do.  I will, however, try to incorporate more protein into my diet and you’ll probably see the protein powder making appearances in my day-to-day menus.

For example, in today’s Green Monster!!

I mixed:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 handfuls of spinach

 Topped with some chia seeds for fun!

You guys – I am LOVING these chia seeds.  By the time I got to the end of the smoothie (which I ate with a spoon), they were slightly gel-like.  It was fun having them crunchy in the beginning and then as a fun gel-like substance at the end.  I’m a total fan.  And not for nuthin’, but I like the GM better with vanilla protein powder. 

For lunch, I packed up the remainder of the Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini from the other night.

For the record, I think I made a fail with the rosemary.  I didn’t chop up the “twigs” enough.  I bet if I had done that, the flavor would have been a little less strong.  Regardless of my feelings for rosemary, Kelly’s combination of olive oil and mustard is OFF THE HOOK on these veggies.  Seriously.  I can’t believe how simple and delicious this is at the same time.  You guys know I’m all about simplistic, unpretentious food!

Snack time was ah-mazing. 

Mr. KD picked up some oranges at the store the other day and they are just PERFECT.  I love citrus fruit in the nice weather.  I know that oranges are one of the only fruits that is actually tasty AND reasonably priced during the New England winter, but they just don’t excite me in January as they do in April!

And do I really have to talk more about this yogurt?  I HAVE to find the plain, 2% kind.  There will be some added fat and calories, but the sugar will still be low.  I want to give it a try!

Dinner was simply a repeater from the other night.  We had turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash.  Mr. KD announced that these were the best turkey meatballs I’ve ever made.  Score! 

Yes, that is a regurgitated photo, but it looked exactly the same.  Scout’s honor.

I hope you guys have an excellent Thursday evening!!  I’ll chat with you tomorrow, my little Kit Kats :mrgreen:

And, don’t forget to think about becoming a guest blogger!!

Question of the day:  Tell me 5 random facts about yourself.  C’mon, just play!

  1. I have a slight chip in one of my front teeth and the dentist insisted on fixing it one time for me.  I put up a fight and insisted that it made me ME.  It’s still chipped to this day, thankyouverymuch.
  2. I have a very loud and very contagious laugh.  It’d make you laugh too.  I just know it :smile:
  3. I have small feet.  Only wear a size 6!
  4. I love James Dean and get a new calendar of him for my cube every year from “Santa”.
  5. I think Good & Plenty is the worst candy ever made.  This is followed closely by NECCO wafers.  Something tells me only the New England folks will know what those disgusting things are!