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Belly fat is linked to health problems

Belly fat is linked to health problems

Weight can be an indicator of overall health, especially were you’re carrying it. A disproportionate amount of belly fat is a stronger indicator than just obesity of your risk for having type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. This is because fat cells can increase hormones and inflammatory substances. Measuring belly fat is done by measuring at the level of the belly button, making sure the measuring tape is straight. If it is over than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women consider trying to come up with a weight loss plan with your doctor.


What is a carb?

What is a carb?


What is a Carb?

Know what Foods Contain Carbohydrates

  • Starches
    • Bread, cereal
    • Pasta, rice, grains
    • Beans and lentils
    • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, corn and peas
    • Crackers, pretzels and chips
    • Fruits and fruit juices
    • Milk and yogurt
    • Sugary desserts
    • Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, carrots, asparagus and salad greens


How to Measure Carbohydrates

1 carb choice = 15 grams of carbohydrate

  • 1/3 cup cooked rice or 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small piece of fruit or ½ cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup (8 oz) milk or 2/3 cup (6oz) low-fat yogurt

Creating your Meal Plan

The amount of carbohydrates you eat should depend on your nutrition goals.  This booklet is a general guideline; consult with your dietician for the plan that is specific for you and your goals.  The registered Dietician (RD) is the health care professional trained to teach you how to improve your health and health choices.


  For Weight Loss For Weight Maintenance Snacks (If Desired)
Women 2 to 3 carb choices 3 to 4 carb choices 1 carb choice
Men 3 to 4 carb choices 4 to 5 carb choices 1 carb choice


Carbohydrate Choice Lists

Starch Choices

1 Carbohydrate choice = 15 grams carbohydrate


Food Serving   Size
Bagel 1/4 large (4 oz)
Biscuit, 2.5 inches across 1
Bread, reduced calorie 2 slices
Bread, white or whole grain 1 slice
Cornbread, 1.75 inch cube 1
English muffin ½
Hot dog or hamburger bun ½
Naan (8 x2) ¼
Waffle or pancake (4 x.25) 1
Tortilla, corn or flour (6 in) 1


Cereals and Grains:

Food Serving   Size
Barley, couscous, millet, pasta, rice,   quinoa, or polenta cooked 1/3 cup
Bran cereal, shredded wheat, or   sugar-coated cereal ½ cup
Bulgar. Grits. Palin oatmeal. Or wild   rice. Cooked ½ cup
Cereal, unsweetened, ready to eat ¾ cup


Starchy Vegetables:

Food Serving   Size
Acorn or butternut squash or pumpkin,   unsweetened 1 cup
Cassava or plantain 1/3 cup
Corn, green peas, or parsnips ½ cup
Potato, baked with skin 1 small or ¼ large
Potato, mashed with milk and fat ½ cup
Sweet potato or yam ½ cup

Crackers and snacks:

Food Serving   Size
Chips, baked 15-20 pieces
Chips, potato or tortilla 9-13 pieces
Crackers, animal 8
Crackers, graham 3
Crackers, saltine or round butter-type 6
Popcorn 3 cups, popped
Pretzels ¾ oz
Rice cakes 2

Beans and Lentils:

Food Serving   Size
Baked beans 1/3 cup
Beans (black, pinto, navy, or kidney)   lentils, or split peas, cooked ½ cup



Food Serving   Size
Banana 1 extra-small
Blueberries or blackberries ¾ cup
Fruit, dried or raisins 2 Tbsp
Fruit, fresh or canned unsweetened ½ cup
Fruit, whole 1 small
Fruit juice, unsweetened ½ cup
Grapes small 17
Melon or raspberries 1 cup

Milk Choices

1 carbohydrate choice = 12 grams carbohydrate

Food Serving   Size
Buttermilk 1 cup
Milk(nonfat, 1%, 2%, whole) 1 cup
Rice drink, fat-free 1 cup
Soy milk, light or regular, plain 1 cup
Yogurt, plain or flavored with an   artificial sweetener, fat-free or low-fat 2/3 cup

Sweets and Dessert Choices

1 carbohydrate= 15 grams carbohydrate

Food Serving   Size
Brownie 1 1/4 –inch square
Cake, unfrosted 2-inch square
Candy, hard 3 pieces
Cookie, sandwich 2 small
Ice cream, regular ½ cup
Pudding, sugar free 1.2 cup

2 carbohydrate choices= 30 grams carbohydrate

2 carbohydrate choices= 30 grams carbohydrate

Candy bar, chocolate, plain 1 ¼ oz
Cupcake, frosted 1 small
Donut, glazed 1

3 carbohydrates= 45 grams carbohydrates

Food Serving   Size
Flan 1 cup
Fruit pie with 2 crusts 1/6 of 8 in pie
Rice pudding ½ cup

Non starchy Vegetables

1 serving = 5 grams carbohydrates

Food Serving   Size
Vegetables, cooked ½ cup
Vegetables, raw 1 cup
Vegetable juice ½ cup

Combination Food

Food Serving   Size
Soup 1 cup
Stew, meat and vegetables 1 cup

2 carbohydrate choices = 30 grams carbohydrate

Food Serving   Size
Lasagna or noodle casserole 1 cup
Pizza ¼    of 12 in thin curst
Potato or macaroni salad ½ cup

3 carbohydrate choices=45 grams carbohydrates

Food Serving   Size
Burrito (beef and bean) 1 (5 oz)
Dinner-type frozen meal 1 (14-17 oz)


Fast-Food Choices

Food Serving   Size
Chicken breast 5 oz
Chicken nuggets 6 pieces
Chicken stir-fried with vegetables 1 cup
Egg roll 1
Taco 1 small

2 carbohydrate choices= 30 grams carbohydrate

Food Serving   Size
Breakfast sandwich, biscuit or English   muffin variety 1
Hamburger, regular 1

3 carbohydrate choices = 45 grams carbohydrate

Food Serving   Size
French Fries 1 small
Sandwich grilled chicken 1
Sandwich, submarine 1 (6 in)





It’s National Blueberry Month!

It’s National Blueberry Month!

BlueberrySummer is a great time to enjoy fresh fruit. Throughout the summer different fruits are readily available at the grocery store, farmer’s market or in our own backyards.

July is National Blueberry month and a great time to enjoy this colorful, flavorful fruit. Blueberries have been a staple in the American diet for many years. They are colorful, taste good, healthy and convenient. Blueberries are low in fat, sodium free and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. One cup of fresh blueberries at 80 calories provides 5 grams of fiber and 15% of the vitamin C you need for the day. Blueberries are easy to prepare and serve. There is no peeling, pitting, coring or cutting. Just rinse in clean, cool water, eat and enjoy.

  • Selection and Storage

When purchasing fresh blueberries look for ones that are firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned and relatively free of leaves and and stems. Berries should be deep-purple blue to blue-black in color. Reddish berries are not ripe. Fresh berries should be refrigerated, but not washed until ready to use. Refrigerated they will maintain their quality for 10 to 14 days. Blueberries can easily be frozen for later use. The easiest way to freeze is to pack unwashed berries dry into freezer containers or bags leaving ½-inch of headspace. Washing blueberries before freezing will result in a tougher skin. They can also be frozen on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen. Be sure to wash before using.

Using Blueberries

There are lots of recipes for using blueberries, but some of the best ways to use them are simple and easy:

  • Wash and eat
  • Add to pancakes, muffins or quick bread
  • Serve on top of ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Top dry or cooked cereal with them
  • Add them to fruit salad or tossed salad.

Enjoy this colorful, healthy fruit of summer!


Summer Food Safety Tips

Summer Food Safety Tips

food-safety-2Studies show that older adults do a better job of handling food safety than any other group. Even so, when it comes to your health and safety, you can never be too careful. Warm summer days make it even more important to be careful about food safety.

Even though we have one of the safest food supplies in the world we still have many cases of food borne illness each year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million Americans get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from illnesses caused by contaminated foods or beverages. Older adults are at greater risk of getting sick from harmful bacteria in food. Our immune systems weaken as we age, making it easier to get sick in our later years. Also, illnesses associated with advanced age, such as diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease, increase our risk for foodborne illness.

Food Safety Rules

Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following some basic rules. The four basic rules of food safety are

Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill


Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen on cutting boards, countertops, utensils and sponges.

Wash Up:

  • Wash your hands, utensils and all surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food. Remember to wash your hands after using the bathroom or playing with your pets.
  • Cutting boards – wash cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Discard boards that have lots of cuts or scratches on the surface.
  • Keep towels clean. Use paper towels or cloth towels to clean kitchen surfaces. Be sure to wash cloth towels often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Handle Fruits and Vegetables Safely:

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables well, before peeling or slicing, under running water. Don’t use soap or other detergents.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas; bacteria can grow in these places.
  • Store cut, peeled and broken apart fruits and vegetables, such as melon balls, cleaned cut carrots and broccoli at or below 40 F in the refrigerator.


  • Wash hands, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water after they touch any raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and use a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food back on the same plate that previously held raw food.
  • Separate and keep sealed all raw meats from other foods in your grocery cart and refrigerator.
  • To prevent juices from raw meat, poultry or seafood from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator, place these raw foods in sealed containers or plastic bags.


Food safety experts agree that foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time – and at a high enough temperature – to kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. These temperatures and times vary depending on the type of food. A food thermometer is the best way to know for sure that the food has cooked to the recommended temperature. The instant-read thermometer is an easy to use safe thermometer. It is not designed to stay in the food during cooking, but is used when you think the food is done. Just insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food for 15 to 20 seconds and the dial will show the internal temperature. These thermometers are inexpensive and are available at stores that carry kitchen supplies.

Cooking Temperatures

We are most concerned that animal products are cooked to the correct temperature to prevent foodborne illness. Here are a few foods and the recommended temperature:

  • Cook roasts and steaks to at least 160 F
  • Cook chicken and turkey to 165 F
  • Cook ground beef to at least 160 F
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Don’t use recipes in which the eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
  • Fish should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.
  • Once the foods are cooked, serve immediately to prevent bacteria from growing as the food cools. When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If you reheat food, leftovers should be heated to 165 F.
  • Bring all sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil to make sure all harmful bacteria are killed.


Chilling foods properly is just as important as cooking them safely. Germs grow fast between 40 F and 140 F – referred to as the Danger Zone

  • You can slow or prevent germs from growing on the food by refrigerating quickly.
  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator, it should be at 40 F or below.


  • Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within 2 hours. If the temperature is 90 F or above they should be refrigerated within one hour.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave if it will be cooked immediately.
  • Separate large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

Traveling with Food:

Remember when you bring food home from the grocery store or leftovers home from a restaurant it must be refrigerated within 2 hours of purchase or serving. Any perishable food left at room temperature for longer that 2 hours should be thrown away.

Be sure to follow these four rules – Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill to have a safe and healthy summer.


Courtesy of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences



Shop the local farmer’s markets

Shop the local farmer’s markets

fmarket7Farmer’s markets can be found in many of our communities. Buying produce from local growers is a good way for you to support the local economy and to eat healthier. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C and potassium and can add color to your dishes. They taste sweet and add some crunch to your foods. A dish of plain strawberries is good. Another way to serve strawberries is to put a serving in a bowl and top them with low-fat, sugar-free vanilla yogurt. That way you will also get some of the calcium you need, too. Buy strawberries that are firm and shiny with a healthy color. Strawberries that are dark or dull are usually overripe. Strawberries bruise very easily. One bad strawberry can affect the whole container! Wash the strawberries before before removing the hull and just before you will be using them. Rinse them under cold water – do not soak strawberries!

Spinach is usually found at most local markets. Spinach is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. It is a good source of Vitamin C and iron. Fresh spinach makes a delicious fresh salad. Most of the spinach in our supermarkets is prewashed. This is due to the fact that spinach grows best in sandy soil that clings to the plant. Thoroughly wash spinach just before using it. Wash it by immersing the leaves in a large bowl of water and shaking the leaves gently. Do not soak spinach. Make a main-dish salad with lots of mixed vegetables with the fresh spinach and try some of the newer low-fat dressings. Add cooked chicken, ham, or other protein source for a complete meal.

As the summer progresses, more fruits and vegetables will be available. One key to make sure to get the most nutrients from your fresh fruits and vegetables is to limit the amount of time you keep them in storage. First-quality fruits and vegetables can deteriorate in the refrigerator, losing vitamins and nutrients. Plan to buy only what you will use in a few days. That goes for all produce. Research shows that the longer a food is stored, the greater the nutrient loss. Fragile produce like berries, tomatoes, peppers, etc. should be stored for only two or three days. Bagged greens deteriorate quickly after opening – use them up in a day or two.


Olive oil and leafy salads – could this combination lead to lower blood pressure?

Olive oil and leafy salads – could this combination lead to lower blood pressure?

leafy-green-sardine-saladThe combination of olive oil and leafy salad or vegetables is what gives the Mediterranean diet its healthy edge, say scientists. When these two food groups come together they form nitro fatty acids which lower blood pressure, they told PNAS journal. The unsaturated fat in olive oil joins forces …


Fish Oil Update

Fish Oil Update

A study that was just completed in March, and reported in JAMA showed that fish oil had no benefits in patients who either had heart disease or who were at risk for getting heart disease. Whether or not eating fatty fish twice a week is helpful or not remains to be seen. Yes, high doses of fish oil can lower triglyceride levels but this, too, will not reduce your risk of getting heart disease. However, it is well known that triglyceride levels greater than 500 will increase the risk of acute pancreatitis, which is an extremely painful disease.

As always, please feel free to discuss any and all supplements that you are either using or thinking about using with us. Do not trust your healthcare to the internet, family or friends.


The White Kidney Bean Diet

The White Kidney Bean Diet

Have you ever heard of this one? The white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is supposed to help you lose weight by blocking the absorption of starches. Unfortunately, its effectiveness is questionable. Some studies have shown a 3-4 pound weight loss but this was not considered to be statistically significant when compared to placebo. Although thought to be safe, the most common side effect is gassiness. Long term safety is unknown.

Please be aware that there is no such thing as “A FAT BLOCKER”. The only way to lose weight is to change your lifestyle with diet and exercise. Sometimes it may be necessary to use FDA approved drugs to help, but beware of the next great diet fad.

Do Walnuts Improve Brain Function?

Do Walnuts Improve Brain Function?

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, cognitive disorders and loss of motor functions are increasing probably due to the increase in the number of elderly people. This article looked at the effects of eating walnuts on brain chemistry. The polyphenolic compounds that are found in English walnuts are thought to decrease inflammation and reduce oxidation of brain cells thereby improving brain functioning and behavior.

The author concluded that, although many factors are associated with brain decline, the addition of poor diet and lack of exercise made things worse. They also stated, which I agree, that medical treatments are limited when it comes to improving brain functioning.

So, yes. Walnuts can be beneficial-along with a healthy diet and exercise.

The Journal of Nutrition, 02/07/2014


Will the new food labels help you?

Will the new food labels help you?


The nutrition labels have always been very difficult to understand (even for health professionals). I can remember several years ago while attending an air show at MacDill AFB with my daughter; it was so hot that I decided to buy frozen lemonade. It was only 4 ounces but really helped quench my thirst on this unbearable hot day in the sun. Then, we decided to read the label: 39 grams of sugar/serving. And then we see that the 4 ounces was considered 2 servings! For someone who preaches the dangers of sugar, I couldn’t believe I actually ate 78 grams of sugar in one sitting.

The new proposed nutrition labels, while still a bit ambiguous, are an improvement over what we now have. At least not serving size estimates are more honest.

Women are usually mush better at limiting serving portions, but most men will finish the whole bag of chips or cookies in one sitting: that is, their serving size will remain the WHOLE bag.

As a general rule of thumb, please limit your quantities of sugar to less than 9 grams per serving.

For more information, contact our office or set up an appointment with our registered dietitian.


FDA Proposes Changes To Nutrition Label Including More “Realistic” Serving…. – Forbes shared via