My Take on the Twinkie

Were you one of the panicked buyers who recently paid $20 or $30 for a box of Twinkies? If not, did you still lament the potential, although not likely, extinction of this spongy yellow cream filled cake? I don’t know about you, but my feelings are decidedly mixed about the fate of the Twinkie. When I was growing up, Hostess products were pretty much a staple in our house. While I did indulge in the Twinkie every now and then, I must admit that my favorite was the cupcake, with all of the chocolate and cream-filled goodness it provided. So, the Twinkie was not my “go to.” Admittedly, this may be one of the reasons that I wasn’t one of those who, upon hearing that Hostess wanted to liquidate, ran out to the store to stock up on its popular golden cake. But there are more important reasons for my inaction. When I was a kid, eating for health wasn’t as top of mind as it is today. My eating habits (and those of my friends and family) were not as good as they should have been. I ate a lot of foods high in calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol and carbohydrate.  Many of us did.  We didn’t make the best choices a lot of the time, and our thoughts just didn’t revolve around food. I came from a time when we did a lot of things that we wouldn’t do today. Besides a lot of less healthy food choices and eating habits, there were other risks in our path. Want a few examples? Here we go. Trampolines didn’t have...

The Failure of the Fad Diet

Who’s been on a fad diet? If you have, clap your hands. Do you hear that thundering sound of applause from around the U.S.? We can also hear people joining in from all over the world. That’s how many people have tried say a cleanse, the cabbage soup, the grapefruit,the Sugar Busters!, the blood-type, the Zone and/or the Atkins diets, and on and on we can go. Let me ask you this: how did these diets work out for you? I’m sure many of you will say that you initially lost weight. That’s very common. Here’s the $64,000 question. Did you keep the weight off long-term? I hear everyone’s collective sigh and the resounding “no” escaping your lips. I’m sure that many of you gained most, if not all, of the weight you lost and then some. Fad diets are viewed by dietitians like me as short-term. They’re typically not as successful as we would like them to be. They can be a quick fix, but not a permanent solution. They can also cost us a lot of money and be potentially damaging to our health. They’re not good for us. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go for the plan that will work for life. It would be wonderful if we could just go to sleep and wake up at our goal weight. It’s alluring to go on some incredibly restrictive diet in order to get into that too tight party dress in three days’ time. I get it. We all get it. But we shouldn’t do it. Dieting is big business in America. According to...

A Potato Isn’t Good When It’s You On The Couch!

Are you physically active? Are you one of those early morning walkers/joggers/swimmers/cyclers/and others impressively starting the day with AM exercise? Or are you a mid-morning, lunchtime or afternoon physical activity lover? Is evening best for you? It doesn’t matter when, it just matters that you do it. Kudos for everyone who is physically active! You’re not the potato hanging out on the couch. Don’t despair if you haven’t opted in for regular exercise. It’s never too late. But it’s definitely important. The benefits of regular physical activity are numerous. Take a look at the list: Weight Loss Improved Flexibility Increased Energy Increased Muscle Mass Increased Bone Density Stress Reduction Improved Mood Blood Sugar Management/Reduction Improved Sleep Increased HDL (good cholesterol) and decreased LDL (bad cholesterol) What a list! Who doesn’t want all that? I know that I do, and I bet you do too. Guidelines for physical activity for adults are 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week to help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and more. If you want to lose weight, it’s recommended that you increase your exercise to one hour most days of the week. In addition, muscle strengthening exercises should be engaged in twice per week. Guidelines for children and adolescents are 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Is it easy for many of us to enter into and maintain an exercise program? For some, yes, others, no. I tell my patients to just do something. Start somewhere. Even beginning with 15 minutes one day a week is better than no physical activity. Build on it week...

Happy Holidays! Want Some Extra Body Weight?

Pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, honey baked ham and overflowing bowls and platters of a variety of other tasty foods…  You got it, the holidays are upon us. I love this time of year, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, it’s a time of celebration and gathering with our families and friends. It’s also a time when many of us gain weight. Depending on the study or survey consulted, this weight gain can range from about 1 pound to 7 to 10 pounds. And regardless of the number, studies have shown that those who do gain weight during the holiday season don’t tend to lose it. Gaining unwanted pounds is not good for us. Being overweight or obese is unhealthy and can lead to a host of disease states and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, certain cancers and more. Should we already have some of these disease states or conditions, carrying too much weight on our frames can adversely affect them. I hear your sighs. We want to enjoy the holidays. I get it. So do I. And it can be done while still enjoying some of the treats that we like. Keep in mind that a lot of our holiday parties and meals are in our or someone else’s home, not at a restaurant, although we enjoy our festivities in this establishments as well. We eat at a variety of places and can make unhealthy choices everywhere we eat. To help navigate your holiday eating throughout the season, here are some tips: –          Focus on socializing and having fun, not eating. –          Don’t...