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You May Not Be Getting the Nutrients You Think You Are




Smart dieters often look at a product’s nutrition facts panel to understand how much nutritional value it contains. A label may tell you that a certain brand of cheese has eight grams of protein or, if you rely on tech, your MyFitnessPal may tell you that a cup of strawberries has 220mg of potassium.

By doing this, you’re probably under the assumption you are being a responsible dieter — and in many ways, you are. However, is what you’re seeing on the label what you actually consume when it comes to nutrients? Do they have the expected effect? Some researchers would say no, and have published their findings in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to a May 23, 2017, article published by the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, “The nutritional value of a food should be evaluated on the basis of the foodstuff as a whole, and not as an effect of the individual nutrients.” The conclusion, based on the opinion of an international expert panel of epidemiologists, physicians, food and nutrition scientists, “reshapes our understanding of the importance of nutrients and their interaction.”

“When we eat, we do not consume individual nutrients. We eat the whole food. Either alone or together with other foods in a meal. It therefore seems obvious that we should assess food products in context,” says Tanja Kongerslev Thorning, PhD. What does this mean? Well, although the nutrients on the label are valuable, it may more important to understand how they combine with other food we eat as well as how our bodies digest them to really decide how beneficial or detrimental certain foods are to us.

Researchers used cheese as an example. At face value, cheese has a relatively high content of saturated fat. However, researchers believe that cheese has a lesser effect on blood cholesterol than what you would expect with a food containing that much saturated fat. Another example researchers used were almonds. Almonds contain a high amount of fat, but release less fat than expected while digesting.

Studies and research like this shed light on the possibility that the foods we are eating could be healthier — or worse, less healthy than we originally thought — which could potentially shake up how we look at nutrition as a whole. What’s more, studies like this could lead to more personalized dietary recommendations from health care providers for overweight patients.

“More studies are needed, but ultimately it seems that some areas of nutrition science need to be rethought,” says Professor of Food Chain Nutrition Ian Givens at the University of Reading. “We cannot focus on a nutrient without looking at how it is consumed and what else is eaten at the same time.”


Source: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports


Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Is Food Your Friend or Enemy?




Frequently, patients tell me they want to “change their relationship with food.”  This lofty-sounding desire is often expressed after significant weight loss following a diet, after a life-changing event or during recovery from disordered eating. Some refer to it as making “peace” with food, as if they have been at war with it all their lives. And perhaps they have.

How we change that (food) relationship — or not — greatly depends upon how we view food. Merriam-Webster.com (medically) defines food as: “Material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair and vital processes and to furnish energy.” Food is, first and foremost, the important fuel that keeps the body alive. So, it makes sense that quality “fuel” put into the body would produce a healthier-running organism.

But beyond being a source of macro and micro-nutrients, food also provides pleasure. Nature could have permanently provided us earthly inhabitants with some bland-tasting, gray-colored sustenance to meet our nutritional requirements for survival. Instead, nutrition is packaged in a plethora of delightful colors, smells, tastes and textures. Along with man-made food preparation methods, we now have a phenomenal multiplicity of choices. “Extreme variety” —with food available almost as soon as we can imagine it — is both a blessing and a curse. And one could argue that the availability of today’s super palatable convenience foods doesn’t help. So, we need to know how to reasonably combine nutrition and pleasure, calories and nutrient density. We need balance.

Next, if we want to truly improve our food relationship, we have to slow down, learn to savor and listen to our bodies. When we dismiss our bodies’ hunger signals (usually pretty discernable) and satiety signals (sometimes more like a whisper), our food behavior can move us quickly from starved to stuffed — neither of which is a positive or pleasurable experience. And while we also need to learn that mild hunger is not something to be feared (most of us are blessed enough not to experience food insecurity) our concern with seeking food and thoughts about food also should not interfere with daily life.

Lastly, food really needs to be food. It can’t substitute for or squelch our emotional expression on a regular basis. If our “default” is to eat when an emotion arises, we are no longer nourishing ourselves as intended. Food is not a persona — not our “friend” or our “enemy.” To put food back in its place, people often initially need some structure. Planning meals and snacks at regular intervals, eating a wide variety of plant foods, lean proteins, whole grains, healthful fats, drinking enough water and tracking intake are some sensible ways to start. And because food attitudes, just like emotions, can be contagious, having a good “food mentor” is not a bad idea.

So improving one’s food relationship — just like a relationship between people — involves the desire/willingness to change, which takes times and effort. There is no room for self-blame or blaming others for our personal food history because, as adults, we are each responsible for the food we put in our mouths. There is only room for learning and growing, one day at a time — one meal at a time. Sometimes we can do this on our own and sometimes, as with relationships, we need outside help. And it takes patience. But the rewards of improving one’s food relationship are very rich, and go beyond weight management to include health, a sense of gratitude, confidence, and a growing appreciation for nature. It’s never too late to start the process.


Blog written by By Rosemary Mueller, MPH, RDN, LDN, Advocate Medical Group — Advocate Weight Management



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3 Facts About Food Addiction




As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, more and more physicians are considering treatment. Obesity is recognized as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association, and even binge eating, which can lead to obesity, has been officially classified as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

As doctors work to find more effective ways to treat obesity, the underlying causes of weight gain are also being considered. While societal factors and lack of education on exercise and dieting certainly play a role, physicians should also consider even deeper causes of excessive weight in the individual, including food addiction.

Recent studies have begun to show that the pattern of weight loss and regain, combined with the inability to control eating habits, clinically presents like an addiction. The clinical presentation and symptom profile between substance abuse and food addiction is
well documented.

To learn a little more about food addiction, take a look at this infographic and download our free white paper on food addiction by clicking here.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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