Living Lite

Anti-Sugar Extremists Take the Joy - And Health - Out of Life

January 20, 2019

(Photo by: Edvard Munch ( "The Scream"

I think most of us agree that extremism is, well, extreme! For most of you, extremism in politics or religion may first come to mind. But zealotry takes many forms and can hurt you in even worse, and more personal, ways when it comes to your health.

In the nutrition and food world, fanatics are far and wide, pronouncing this or that food as the death of us all, and others as saviors. Today, sugar is the demon. People exhaust themselves looking obsessively for grams of sugar on labels or on the internet.

I see too often, a look of shame when someone sheepishly "confesses" to eating a piece of chocolate or candy, a slice of birthday cake, ketchup, "too much" fruit, an ice cream cone when out with their kids, a latté, orange juice at breakfast, fruited yogurt, and more.

Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top (Photo by: Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top

I mean, really, could bananas or fruited yogurt be the cause of the world's obesity epidemic? Or, more importantly, the cause of your weight problem?

Obviously, I jest. But many people are so misguided that they avoid essential sugar-containing foods. My heart goes out to them!

Fruits and Fruit Juices (Photo by: Fruits and Fruit Juices

When health officials warn against too much sugar in the American diet, they're not referring to fruit, 4 or 6 ounces of fruit juice daily, or yogurt - even if there is a tablespoon of jam on the bottom. They're not referring to the occasional treat.

There is no scientific evidence that sugar in moderation, when included in an overall healthful diet, is harmful, except maybe if you don't brush your teeth!


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Should You 'Detox'?

January 13, 2019

Should you "detox?" Did you gain weight last year? After your vacation or a business trip? Have you made a New Year's Resolution to lose weight? Or have you given up on those resolutions? No need to give up! There are so many ways to lose weight quickly, most are unhealthy or backfire. 

I have found a way to lose weight fast that is satisfying, increases your energy and confidence, allows you to eat your favorite foods, is sustainable, good for you...and, most importantly, works like a charm! I call it my "Diet Simple Detox." In fact, I'm doing my detox program now after some holiday weight gain.

I always give my clients the option and we decide the best way to go about it together. One of the most successful ways is to "semi-fast" in the evening (no need to be restrictive earlier in the day). The way I recommend doing it is to eat about 2/3 or 3/4 of your calorie needs before the evening and then skip dinner, or stick with something very low calorie such as a veggies, yogurt and/or fruit, a salad or soup. The two nights of semi-fasting allow you to eat more enjoyably overall, it can undo damage done during the week, and ... surprise ... it's even healthy and enhances your energy.**

There have been numerous studies establishing that eating more during the day and less at night is more likely to aid weight loss. This confirms my observations and recommendations of the last 30 years (Ha Ha! I know, I'm a genius).

The key to quick weight loss and a successful semi-fast is to find two nights when semi-fasting would be easier for you. One of my clients semi-fasts on nights her husband is traveling, when she isn't faced with eating a full meal with him; she has a satisfying veggie-centric soup. Another client simply doesn't eat Monday and Tuesday nights (I couldn't do it!). She lost 50 pounds before her wedding and has kept it off. A client who is a professor has two days when he teaches for ten hours. He gets home exhausted and has found he doesn't need dinner those nights.

I personally have used this strategy most of my adult life, before knowing about the studies. My motto since the 1980s has been "Light at Night," and it works. I generally eat light at night for weight maintenance and I'm doing my "Diet Simple Detox" now - after gaining some holiday pounds.

You could lose two to three pounds a week with my "Diet Simple Detox"!

** A growing body of evidence shows calorie restricting may reduce disease and extend life. There are many theories to explain this and one is that a lower metabolism causes less oxidation, cell proliferation (cancer), and decreases harmful chemicals and hormones in your body.

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New USDA Proposed Farm Bill Rule Threatens Food Security

December 25, 2018

Urgent message from Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.N. The new farm bill, signed into law December 20 by President Trump, will serve the public by investing in a strong food safety net, nutrition education programs that promote healthy people, and a robust food system and strengthened economy, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


However, a proposed rule announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture hours before the signing could decrease states' flexibility to waive work requirements for people who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


"The farm bill, as signed into law, reinforces the inherent link between agriculture and nutrition by fostering access to nutrient-dense foods that promote health and providing consumer education that increases nutrition literacy and life management skills," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Mary Russell.


"The bipartisan farm bill ensures the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while making targeted improvements for seniors and people with disabilities and modernizing systems and technology," Russell said.


USDA's proposed rule, however, would affect people's eligibility for SNAP, which the Academy believes is highly effective in preventing food insecurity and alleviating poverty, and is linked with improved health and lower health care costs.


"SNAP helps one in eight Americans put food on the table and keeps more than 8 million people out of poverty. The Academy supports efforts to ensure states have the flexibility needed to improve people's food security," Russell said.


The farm bill will improve coordination of SNAP-Ed with other nutrition education programs and take steps to increase accountability and reporting of outcomes, as well as sharing of information between states through an information clearinghouse. The coordination of programs would not be affected by USDA's proposed rule.


"Access to food is a key component of reducing food insecurity. Nutrition education through the SNAP-Ed program affords participants the opportunity to budget for and prepare healthy foods and maximize their purchasing ability," Russell said.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. 

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