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Is Chronic Inflammation the New Cholesterol?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 9:10 AM

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Clinicians are starting to look beyond the traditional risk factors for heart disease like blood cholesterol to markers of chronic inflammation — now believed to be a sign of the atherogenic process. Researchers are investigating these markers in an attempt to establish links to foods or specific nutrients that either increase or decrease the chronic inflammatory state.

This may be a lot to digest, so here’s a breakdown of what is emerging. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding the Value of Breakfast and the Science Behind It

Posted by Nicole Litwin @ 7:06 AM

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  • “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Most have heard this common belief at some point or another — perhaps you even share it. But why do people think eating breakfast is so important?

According to an internal Dairy Management Inc. survey, Fit for Life, adults perceived the following as some of the top benefits of eating a healthy breakfast:

  • No. 1 It provides sustained energy
  • No. 3 It is filling/keeps you full longer
  • No. 4 It helps you lose weight

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But are these perceived benefits supported by sound science? As health and wellness professionals, we decided to take a look at some of the scientific evidence:

Does breakfast help provide energy?

One study suggests that eating breakfast is a key component to help keep the body properly fueled throughout the day. A recent clinical trial, the Bath Breakfast Project, found that lean adults who ate breakfast had more energy available for physical activity in the morning and more stable blood sugar in the afternoon and evening compared to those who skipped breakfast.

Can breakfast help keep people fuller longer?

Yes – and protein is a big part of the reason. Diets higher in protein — including dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt which are a high-quality source of protein — can help a person feel fuller longer. However, most people eat less protein at breakfast than lunch or dinner. Recent research suggests that evenly spreading the amount of protein consumed throughout the day as part of a higher protein diet can help maximize muscle protein synthesis to maintain muscle health, control appetite and promote satiety, as well as help in weight management and overall health.

Can breakfast help people manage weight?

Here’s what we do know: Eating breakfast has been associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) in a number of observational studies in both children and adults. However, two recent randomized controlled trials showed that regularly eating breakfast when compared to skipping breakfast had no influence on body weight in lean or overweight or obese individuals. Therefore, larger and longer clinical feeding trials are needed to determine whether a link exists between how often we eat breakfast, what we eat at breakfast, and how that might help maintain a healthy body weight. So stay tuned!

All in all, science supports some of the top beliefs people have about breakfast. Here are some ways you can help your clients consume a nutrient-rich breakfast:

  • Cook morning oatmeal with low-fat or fat-free milk instead of water to help fill nutrient gaps – and try topping it with a spoonful of dried apricots or raisins for even more added nutrients like fiber.
  • Spoon whole grain cereal and fruit on top of low-fat yogurt.
  • Or get creative and try these Mega-Cheese Muffins – a nutrient-rich and delicious way to start your day!

So looking ahead, no matter where the research behind breakfast takes us, the nutritional quality of breakfast will remain important to health and wellness, just like it is for every meal.

 

 

Physical Activity: It May be Better for Kids Than You Think

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:23 AM

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Child health is critically important to the future wellbeing of our nation. Supporting a healthy environment for children requires the concerted effort of parents, teachers, health and wellness professionals, and health-related organizations. While physical activity can help keep kids healthy, many are not getting enough exercise – and according to new research, it may be more beneficial than you think. Now you have even more reason to advocate for physical education as part of overall child health.

The proportion of kids in the United States who get 60 or more minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous activity at least five days each week, as recommended by the American Heart Association, received the dismal grade of D minus from the 2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. According to the report card, 42 percent of children 6-11 years, and only 8 percent of adolescents 12-15 years achieved the recommended amount. As a health and wellness professional, you likely view this as a problem – as I do – since the American Heart Association (AHA) reminds us, “Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults.”

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Let’s Celebrate New Beginnings with Milk!

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:07 AM

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Did you know that January is named after Janus, the god of new beginnings? As we start a new year, many of us are already working on resolutions to plan better, spend money more wisely, lose weight, exercise more – or just have a healthier lifestyle. In honor of National Milk Day, Jan. 11, I thought I would share some thoughts about how milk – and the foods made from it – can help people meet their health and wellness goals for the new year.

Milk contains high-quality protein, which as part of a higher protein diet can help support bone and muscle health throughout life – whether one is a sports enthusiast, a routine exerciser, someone wanting to manage weight, or an older adult who wants to maintain an active lifestyle.

Glass of Milk from side, close-upIt is important to emphasize the value of high-quality protein as part of a healthy eating plan for your clients. According to The NPD Group’s ongoing Dieting Monitor® (2014), more than half of adults say they are trying to get more protein in their meals. More Americans are exercising than 10 years ago, and a majority of sports-minded and non-athletic adults believe that protein helps build and maintain lean muscle. But at the same time, there is a lack of awareness of dairy’s protein content.

Help raise awareness that dairy foods, including milk, cheese and yogurt, are good sources of high-quality protein. See below for information you can share with your clients.  Read the rest of this entry »

Supporting the Great American Milk Drive: If Students Can Do It, Health and Wellness Professionals Can Too!

Posted by Anisha - FUTP 60 National Ambassador @ 7:35 AM

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Over the summer at the Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit, Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, President of National Dairy Council, gave a presentation on the Great American Milk Drive. When I learned that milk is the number one nutritious item requested by local food banks, but it’s rarely donated, I felt the need to do something to help prevent this from occurring in my community. Read the rest of this entry »

Plan the Perfect Lactose Intolerance Friendly Menu

Posted by Lana Frantzen, PHD @ 8:03 AM

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As a child with a birthday near Thanksgiving, I distinctly remember one year when my Mom bought me the most colorful birthday cake in the shape of a turkey for my birthday party. It had the tail feathers fanned out like a peacock in a colorful array of fall colors all done in buttercream icing. Special events, like birthdays and the holidays are typically filled with food memories; thanks Mom for that special one!

Each year as we look toward special occasions, the challenge comes for those cooking to serve up a memorable meal that leaves everyone satisfied especially those with food sensitivities. I’m going to share an experience I had that’s filled with fabulous recipes and facts that will help make all your lactose intolerant family and friends happy. Some extra good news is that most milk and dairy products do not contain gluten, of course, if using a recipe with dairy you will need to pay attention to the other ingredients for those who are gluten sensitive.

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Let’s jump into some recipes. I recently had the pleasure of partnering with my friend, Celebrity Chef and LACTAID® Brand Spokesperson, Melissa d’Arabian, to share how-to make a lactose intolerance friendly meal. Melissa made cooking a meal fun, entertaining and bottom-line delicious!
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Can People Eat Some Full-Fat Dairy Foods and Manage Weight?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:05 AM

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Helping people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight is important since, as we health and wellness professionals know, obesity increases the risk for chronic health concerns including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. If you are familiar with the DASH diet, it may come as no surprise that including recommended servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese as part of a balanced eating plan may be part of the solution when it comes to reducing cardiovascular disease risk. As noted in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and as science continues to support, consumption of dairy products is linked to reduced risk of certain chronic diseases and does not play a role in weight management.      Read the rest of this entry »

Care for Yourself and Others with Mindful Eating Over the Holidays

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:00 AM

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While on a flight home recently, I listened as the flight crew told passengers that “in the event of an emergency the oxygen masks will drop down. Put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others.” I thought how important that instruction is in many other situations as well. If we, as health and wellness professionals, don’t take care of ourselves, we are in no position to be of any help to others. The same is true for our clients.

Though the holidays are not considered an emergency, at times all the extra activities and responsibilities can leave people exhausted. After all, expectations are high — our own and those of others. With so much to do, getting enough sleep, physical activity and eating right, often get pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s my tendency, anyway.

So, it’s up to us to remind those we work with (and ourselves) that the body’s need for sleep, exercise, and good nutrition does not take a holiday. In fact, during busy times we need nutrient-rich meals and snacks —coupled with physical activity— more than ever to give us energy and stamina to help us be at our best.

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Here are a few strategies I plan to use that might also help you and your clients use a mindful approach to balance enjoyment with health and wellness throughout the busy holiday season.  Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy Holiday Hacks: Tips to Help People Eat Confidently and Live Fully

Posted by Chef Marvin Woods @ 7:06 AM

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As a chef, I’m passionate about making healthy eating a possibility for everyone at any time, including the holidays when it seems that schedules are tight and indulgences are everywhere! From time-strapped woes to cooking pros I am here to arm you with the right hacks, so you can help your clients enjoy their favorite foods and flavors without sacrificing their health this holiday season: Read the rest of this entry »

Hosting a Moo-velous Holiday Party

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 11:01 AM

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The holidays are upon us and with that so are holiday parties. As health and wellness professionals we can help people navigate the plethora of food choices to find a balance between enjoying holiday fare and being mindful of wellness goals.

At some point, you have likely been charged with hosting festivities just as your patients and clients are, too. This may be an exciting opportunity — a time to showcase traditional favorites as well as new recipes. Or it could be a point of anxiety… leading to worries that sitting space is limited, your culinary skills are not Martha Stewart-like or a friend has a food sensitivity.

My husband (Steve) and I tend to fall into the latter party host category more often than not. Our place is small, and we stress over menu options. Being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I want to offer good for you options, but Steve wants more traditional party foods. We tend to concede and offer a variety of foods on the nutrition spectrum.

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Here are some helpful tips that work for me that you or your clients may like:  Read the rest of this entry »