Monthly Archives: December 2008

Food Industry Secrets – Not Anymore!

The Men’s Health January/February 2009 issue has an excellent article, What The Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the magazine, but for those who can not, here’s the highlights.

1. Reduced fat crackers will claim “33% Less Fat Than Original”. What does it mean? Instead of 3 grams of fat per serving there are 2, that’s your 33%. But, the “reduced fat” version has an additional 3 grams of carbohydrates which in this case are refined flour and sugar making it more likely a less healthy option!

2. Green teas are promoted as health drinks due to the antioxidant catechin in the tea. But beware, the levels ranged from 9 milligrams to 215 milligrams!

3. Food can legally contain maggots, fly eggs, mites, insect fragments, and rodent hairs.

4. Cereals claiming to be “Diabetes Friendly” really aren’t. Be they made from corn or wheat, they are still refined and processed carbohydrates that raise blood glucose levels almost as fast as sugar.

5. Some “heart healthy” hot cereals (such as Oatmeal) have more sugar than a bowl of Fruit Loops! The box proudly displays the American Heart Association logo and states it meets the “food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol” – so does Fruit Loops, they just don’t use the logo. Why?

6. Companies pay the American Heart Association to get their food certified. With a cereal targeted for kids it doesn’t pay for the food company to use the logo, for one targeted at adults it does!

7. Supermarkets like long checkout lines. The longer you are in line the more tempted you are to buy the unhealthy candy and sodas near you in line.

8. Food additives may make kids misbehave. Artificial food colorings and preservatives are linked to hyperactivity in children. Ever notice all the fancy colors in kids food? As if the candy alone isn’t enough!

9. The leanest meats may have higher sodium levels. When the fat is removed, the meat is less juicy, and may appear dried out. To prevent this some manufacturers inject meat products with a solution that contains water, salt, and other nutrients to give flavor.

10. The claim “good source” only means it contains 10% of the recommended daily requirement for that nutrient. It doesn’t mean the food is healthy. For example Honey Teddy Grahams are labeled a “Good Source of Calcium.”

11. The 100 calorie packs are a rip off. Studies show people eat the same amount of snack food regardless of the packaging.

12. You may be eating more calories than the label says. Calorie counts may be wrong and err on the low side. If the manufacturer does not meet the package claim they will be fined by the FDA. Therefore, to avoid potential penalties, they often include more than the stated weight.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Effective Weight Loss Strategies

The Bell Off! Club is an online community sponsored by Men’s Health magazine. They have been sharing information and supporting each other in losing weight since 2002. In the January/February 2009 edition six common successful strategies were shared. For more information visit the web site at www.MensHealth.com/bellyoff.

1. 96% cut out refined grains and sugars. This gets rid of lots of junk calories from processed and refined foods. Want to lose even more weight? Cut back on whole grains as well.

2. 93% eat more protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich produce and whole grains. This is important as protein helps to build muscle (supporting numbers 4 and 5 below). Fat tastes good and helps keep you satisfied and along with the right kinds of fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream providing you with more even energy throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables also provide antioxidants to neutralize cell destroying free radicals.

3. 75% eat breakfast every day. I’ve talked about this at http://brwellness.blogspot.com/2008/11/start-your-day-with-healthy-breakfast.html.

4. 90% do weight training at least three days a week. This is a great way to burn calories and boost metabolism.

5. 80% do cardio workouts. Most of these are using interval and burst training techniques.

6. 100% are highly motivated. Wanting to get it done makes it happen!

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction

Have you ever wondered why there seem to be so many advertisements for erectile dysfunction (ED) medication – Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra – on television and in the magazines you are reading? I did, and began an investigation that would ultimately become my Doctoral dissertation. The reason is quite simple – there is a lot of erectile dysfunction (ED). Over 30 million men in the United States suffer from it. ED affects over 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 and the incidence of complete ED triples between those ages. Even more disconcerting, experts expect cases of ED to more than double over the next 25 years.

Erectile dysfunction imposes significant social costs. It impacts a man’s satisfaction with his life and his relationship with others. Studies show that sexual intimacy is desired by older adults. A study in 29 countries consisting of 27,000 men and women aged 40 to 80 found less than 20% of the respondents agreed with the statement “older people no longer want sex”. Due to the rising incidence of erectile dysfunction many couples will not be able to enjoy healthy sexual relations in their later years.

Why is erectile dysfunction on the rise? Many researchers, including this author, believe it is a direct result of poor dietary habits and lifestyle choices. For many years it was thought that ED was mostly psychological, but recent studies have shown that over 80% of ED is due to physical causes. For the erectile process to function correctly several systems of the body need to be healthy – blood needs to be flowing smoothly and unobstructed throughout the body, nerves need to be firing and sending messages between the brain and the relevant body parts, and libido needs to be present to encourage sexual interest. All of these systems require proper nutrition to correctly function.

To better understand the causes of ED we can look at the scientifically documented risk factors. Risk factors related to lifestyle choices include alcohol consumption, diet, hormone levels, inflammation, obesity, sedentary (lack of exercise) lifestyle, cholesterol levels, use of prescription drugs, tobacco smoking, stress, and (yes) motorcycling. There is also a strong association between ED and the medical diagnoses of depression, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Studies show that most men with ED suffer from these conditions which are often a direct result of the same lifestyle choice risk factors previously listed. In fact, the connection has been made that ED is often a warning sign for cardiovascular disease.

So, how is this all related to diet and nutrition? For the body to operate optimally it needs the right nutrients. Many studies have shown the connection between a poor diet and all the risk factors and conditions listed above. Diets that are high in sugars, refined grains, processed meat and dairy; while low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats produce these conditions. Once men are placed on healthier diets, their symptoms of ED are reduced and often completely eliminated. Through proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sometimes with the help of specific supplements proper erectile functioning can be restored.

Many people will ask, “What’s wrong with using medications”? My answer is while the medications will work in most cases, there are side effects, some of which can be quite dangerous. But even more important, the medication is not repairing the underlying condition. Erectile dysfunction is your body telling you that something is not quite right and needs your attention. It is your warning sign to take action before a more serious or life threatening event occurs.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Cold Cereal – Not A Healthy Start to Your Day

Previously I described how breakfast is the most important meal of the day and how unfortunately it is a meal that many people tend to skip or short change due to our busy lifestyles. Breakfast sets the stage for the day and studies show that “breakfast skippers” are often over weight and/or lack the energy to power them through the day. The article included some suggestions for healthy breakfasts.

I closed the article with a question, “What’s missing?” There was one specific answer I was looking for which several of you correctly identified. I’d like to share that information with you. The specific “food” I was looking for was…cold cereal. I’m sure that may come as a surprise to many of you. Want an even bigger surprise – the “whole grain” versions that are now being sold to us as “healthier” may actually be even worse for us! Let me explain.

I’ll start with the basics. Cereals are made from grains. Grains are a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are essentially sugar. We can call them other things, but at the end of the day, when our body finishes its processing, they are sugar. There is a clever way to know how much sugar you are eating. There is approximately one teaspoon of sugar per four grams of a carbohydrate. So, if you see on the food label that one serving (and are you eating just one serving?) contains 20 grams of carbohydrate, you are eating the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar.

Cereals are made from refined or processed grains. We’ve talked about this before. The most nutritious parts of a grain are the germ and the bran. These are removed during processing to allow for greater shelf life. The current trend in marketing is to promote “whole grain” cereal. Well, there’s a little spin on that as well. This does not mean all the grains in the cereal are whole, it only means that the main ingredient (that with the largest percentage) is a “whole grain.” Therefore, those that are labeled “whole grain” include a substantial amount of processed grains.

Let’s look at some examples. Here are the ingredients in Cheerios: Whole Grain Oats, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Oat Bran, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Oat Fiber, Tripotassium Phosphate, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Each serving has 20 grams of carbohydrate. If you break this down – there are three ingredients – sugar (the grains and the starches), salt, and preservatives. In each serving you get five teaspoons of sugar. What about Special K? You’ll see it is not so “special”. It has 22 grams of carbohydrate per serving from: Rice, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Defatted Wheat Germ, Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dried Whey, Malt Flavoring, and Calcium Caseinate. And Frosted Flakes? I’ll spare you the ingredients, but let you know it has 27 grams of carbohydrate per serving – almost seven teaspoons of sugar!

What about the “healthy” whole grain cereals. In order to get all the fancy sizes and shapes all cereals go through extensive processing based on high heat and high pressure. These processes destroy the nutrients. With whole grains it may be even worse. Whole grains still contain the proteins and polyunsaturated fats that are in the bran and germ. So, when we eat whole grain cereals, we are not only consuming the sugar from the carbohydrate, but damaged fats and proteins from the high heat and pressure processing. Damaged fats create free radicals which cause damage to our cells.

As a side note, one of the more popular brands of the “healthy” cereals is Kashi. One serving of Kashi Go-Lean Crunch contains 36 grams of carbohydrates – that’s nine teaspoons of sugar if anyone is counting! It also contains some other not so healthy stuff as well.

One reader pointed out another item I did not mention – orange juice. Here’s why – one eight ounce glass has 26 grams of carbohydrate – six and a half teaspoons of sugar.

A little more food for thought one serving of skim milk has 13 grams of carbohydrate – another three plus teaspoons of sugar.

Do the math – this “healthy” breakfast of cereal, skim milk, and orange juice can actually be at least fourteen teaspoons of sugar! Not a good way to start the day.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.