Tag Archives: nutrition

The miraculous factory: You

As a hobby, Eric Holubow seeks out abandoned architectural spaces — like old factories, churches, theatres, and prisons. The spaces are usually in some state of decay, and Eric photographs them as an art project, but with a journalistic feel.

Here is one example, from the original article:

Designed in an inspiring Neo-classical style… the massive Richmond Power Station in northeastern Philadelphia was built in 1925…. The plant’s Turbine Hall, one of the biggest open rooms ever designed, once housed the world’s largest Westinghouse turbo-generators, which provided power to the city’s bustling industrial and residential sectors. Closed since 1985, the plant has been used as a set in a number of Hollywood feature films. Ironically, crews that use the structure have to provide their own power generators, as the dormant plant is… no longer connected to the region’s electrical grid.

factory/power plant - photo by eric holubow

I share his fascination for things crumbling, rusty, and history-laden — but that’s not what this post is about.

It’s about you.

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What percentage of daily calories should come from fat?

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Excerpt from a Q & A with Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health and Amy Myrdal Miller, M.S., R.D. of The Culinary Institute of America. 

Do I need to watch my percentage of calories from fat?

Willett: No. When you cook or read nutrition labels, don’t fixate on fat percentages. As long as you use healthy fats, and you keep your portion sizes modest, it doesn’t matter if your dish or meal has 30 percent, 40 percent, or more of its calories from fat. The same is true for your overall diet: Don’t worry about the percentage of calories from fat. Focus on choosing foods with healthy fats.

(Now, if experts could only agree on what is and isn’t a healthy fat! Most everyone agrees that olive oil is healthy, and all agree that trans fats are nothing but bad. However, butter, cream, lard, beef fat, coconut oil, and peanut oil are all hotly debated.)

photo credit: USDAgov via photopin cc

Two handy apps for comparing food nutrition info

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Have you ever wondered how two foods stack up against each other, nutrition-wise? Here are a couple handy online tools that will help you do just that.

Self Magazine’s Nutrition Data

This is an extensive database with great depth of nutrion info on a wide variety of foods. Looking at a single food you can find out how filling it is compared to how nutritios it is, as well as showing you a calorie breakdown for carbs, fats and protein:

Or how complete its nutrient (vitamins and minerals) or protein profile is (i.e, how many essential amino acids its contains). 
There are also detailed lists on where the calories come from, how the carbs break down, info on fats and fatty acids, and more.
You can access all this information for free and without registering. You can also choose to compare two or more foods, but for that, you will need to register. (You will be able to opt out from getting emails sent to you.)

Two Foods

While TwoFoods.com gives you limited control and limited data, it is super simple to operate. Simply type in two food names, and you can find out how they compare in calories, carbs, fat and protein. Say, Wheat Thins vs. Triscuits, for example…

And which is healthier for topping your cracker, low fat cheddar cheese, or low fat cream cheese?

Now you have no excuse for choosing the least healthy between two snack options. (Sorry!)

Cholesterol vs. Inflammation

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What you think you know about cholesterol could hurt you.

Twenty years ago, doctors told us to stay away from high-fat foods like eggs, bacon, and butter because they raised cholesterol and could lead to heart disease.

America responded and stopped eating fat. In its place, however, we ate more sugar and other carbohydrates.

How did that work out? Not great.

As a whole, Americans grew fatter and sicker than before. Scientists back then may have reached the wrong conclusion.

As more research uncovers the role diet plays in cardiovascular disease, it’s becoming obvious that fats aren’t the only villains in the picture. Increasingly, scientists are recognizing that you should also watch out for some carbohydrates—specifically, sugars and refined grains. “I believe that a diet containing moderate amounts of saturated fat is OK, and possibly better, than a low-saturated-fat diet that is rich in sugars and refined carbohydrates,” says Ronald Krauss, M.D., director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

Now a growing number of medical experts say weight gain, heart disease, and other illnesses are not caused by high cholesterol, but by something different: inflammation.

Dr. Beverly Teter, a lipid biochemist at the University of Maryland, said scientists wrongly blamed cholesterol for heart disease when they saw high levels of it at a damaged blood vessel. Teter believes the body put the cholesterol there to fix the problem, which was actually caused by inflammation.
“It’s the inflammation in the vessels that start the lesion,” she explained. “The body then sends the cholesterol like a scab to cover over it to protect the blood system and the vessel wall from further damage.”

Good things cholesterol does in your body:

– can protect against respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.
– helps create vitamin D.
– the brain contains more cholesterol than any other organ and needs it in order to send messages from one brain cell to another.

Foods that fight inflammation:

– that are high in Omega 3 fats
– olive oil
– avocados
– cold water fish
– coconut oil (fights colds and the flu and has even reversed the symptoms of Alzheimers, ALS and Parkinson’s Disease in some people.)
– walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans.
– pumpkin and sesame seeds
– natural saturated fats (maybe; science is still sorting this one out).

Foods which, in excess, cause inflammation:

– Omega 6 fats
– vegetable oils
– mayonnaise
– margarine
– anything containing high fructose corn syrup or other sugars
– white bread, white pasta, white rice

Foods which, in any amount, cause inflammation:

– trans fats (Which is a man-made fat, and for which the Harvard School of Public Health says there is no safe level to consume.)
– any packaged food containing the word “hydrogenated” on the label.

Condensed from an article by Lorie Johnson at CBN and an article by Rachel Johnson, Ph.D, M.P.H., R.D., at Eating Well.

I am not a health professional and this post is not intended to be professional medical advice.

photo credit: Nicola since 1972 via photopin cc

The best low carb salads at Panera

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I love Panera! Even though I rarely get bagels or sweets there any more, I love their salads and appreciate the fact that they provide some nutrition info right up front. The calories are listed right on the menu. Pretty bold!

However, I don’t believe that counting calories is all that useful. (Here’s why, at least partially.) So I went to Panera’s website and downloaded the nutrition info and did a little spreadsheet work. If you’re focusing on controlling diabetes and/or eating low carb (South Beach, etc.), a useful thing to consider is the protein to carb ratio. That is, are there more protein than carbs, and in what proportion?

Based on my personal study into food’s effect on insulin and blood sugar, my approach to healthy eating is to try to keep an approximate balance between carbs and protein. More protein than carbs is okay; more carbs than protein is not. So in my protein-to-carbs (P-to-C) approach, I’m looking for a ration that 1 or higher.

Here’s an example: If your “protein bar” has 10 grams of protein, but 30 grams of carbs, it has a  P-to-C  ratio of 0.33 — not good! However, a spoonful of sugar-free peanut butter has 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs; a ratio of 1.25 — much better!

I looked at all of Panera’s whole salads, including the dressing. Here are their four lowest-carb salads, with their respective ratios.

ALL of the other salads on their menu are below 1.0.

Of course, there’s more to healthy eating than carbs and protein, but as I said, if you’re looking to control your blood sugar (glucose) or trying to lose weight by watching carbs, these are some important numbers to know.

I am not employed by or affiliated with Panera Bread, and this is not a sponsored post. I am not a medical or nutrition expert; just someone who cares about my health enough to dig for the facts.