While we were experiencing a much ado about nothing “snow storm” in Washington, DC on March 6, 2013, hundreds of diabetes advocates were storming Capitol Hill for a cause we should be doing much about.
To kick off their advocacy day the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) released findings from a report they commissioned, Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012, at a press conference. Joining ADA leaders at the press event were Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, Judith Fradkin, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health’s division which encompasses diabetes (NIDDK) and several key members of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Jean Shaheen (D-NH) (who has a granddaughter with type 1 diabetes I learned at AADE's advocacy day in 2012).
The stats presented by ADA are downright scary! It is, without a doubt, time to sound the alert about our prediabetes and type 2 diabetes epidemics louder and louder.
Check out a few key stats.* Read through these slowly and repeatedly, it takes a few readings to absorb their impact!
A recent Washington Post op-ed, FDA Should Revamp Nutrition Labels, by Michael Jacobson, PhD, and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, got me thinking about what I would add or ax from the next generation Nutrition Facts label. Yes, rumor has it we may eventually see a next generation Nutrition Facts label. Jacobson’s op-ed indicated sometime in 2013 as did a well written HuffPost Food blog, but I’m not holding my breath!
It does looks like we will soon, (ah, a relative term when speaking about government regulations), see more Nutrition Facts for standard menu items in restaurants and retail food establishments, thanks due to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Any additional Nutrition Facts are welcomed!
Our current Nutrition Facts label came into being due to the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and began appearing on packaged foods around 1994.
You hear nutrition experts, or those who tout their nutrition bonafides, set forth a wide range of rules on THE WAY to succeed at weight loss. You’ll hear: eat no more than 40% of calories as carbohydrate, eat plenty of protein or get at least 50% of your calories as carbohydrate and limit fat to under 25% of calories, etc., or should I say ad nauseam.
Research and reality show there’s no ONE RIGHT formula for EVERYONE. Plus, in reality, the debate about the ideal mix of macronutrients (that’s carbohydrate, protein and fat) to eat comes down to a debate about where should 5 to 10% of your calories come from – carbohydrate, protein or fat?
As a dietitian and diabetes educator I know the critical importance of weight control as part of disease prevention and/or control and healthy living. I also know how challenging it is to keep pounds lost ….well, lost forever. It takes inner strength, fortitude, perseverance and much more. Compared to taking the pounds off, keeping the pounds off is THE hard work and it goes on endlessly. Good news is experts say it gets easier over time.
In this blog I’m dialoging with Bob Wilson, a dietetic technician in his day job. Bob was a morbidly obese teenager. He weighed 400 pounds in the 8th grade. He lost 250 pounds over 2 years when he hit 21. He has now kept his weight between 155 and 160 for 39 years. He’s been on a remarkable journey. Through his struggle to manage his weight Bob has amassed many learnings and skills and shares these at his website: balancedweightmanagement.com and in his book "Lighter and Free from the Inside Out". Bob wants millions of others to win “The Biggest Maintainer of Weight Lost” award. He graciously agreed to share.
HW Q: You discuss 12 Essential Skills for long term weight loss/control. Can you list the top 5 and briefly state why they’re most important to long term success?
BW: A: My overarching message: for lasting success discover skill power, not willpower!
We’re being urged via health messages and big marketing campaigns to eat more dietary fiber and simultaneously to chow down on more whole grains. Beyond the messages to achieve these goals ringing in our ears, a plethora of new foods greet us in the supermarket aisles. They tout, for example “5 grams of whole grains per serving,” “47% of dietary fiber per serving” or proudly focus your attention on the Whole Grains Stamp.
Yes, it’s that time of year again where we reflect on the past and move into the future with goals to better ourselves in the year ahead. In my bailiwick the focus is squarely on eating healthier and being more physically active.
I’ve posted my resolutions here, along with a handful of global wishes. It is said that if you state your goals, actually say them out loud, you’re more likely to see them through. I figure putting them out in the blogosphere for all to see is one step better. I’ll report back on these at the end of 2012.
I’ve got five, what I’ll call local resolutions. Actions I want to take close to home, my backyard and kitchen table to be precise.
Here’s my run-down:
1. Prepare and stock homemade salad dressings, ditch the bottles: For several years I’ve wanted to rid our fridge of bottled salad dressings. But I eat a lot of salads and they’re, well, just so easy to open and drizzle. However, because I eat at least one salad a day, they’re a good place to target to taper fat grams, calories and particularly sodium milligrams, to make a significant dent in our daily intake. Homemade dressings will also limit our intake of unneeded additives and preservatives. Got any recipes for healthy salad dressings I can blend up in volume and stash in the fridge?
This is one in a series of book reviews. You may find these books beneficial if you: manage prediabetes or diabetes, follow a diabetes meal plan and/or try to eat healthy to live well. These book reviews also appear on amazon.com. The books I’ve reviewed here can be found in my amazon a-store. Please check them out and consider a purchase.
Go unDiet – a catchy, succinct title. But what’s inside this book, which on the cover promises 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss? Cut to the chase, easy-to-digest, common-sense tips to get away from “dieting” and on to slowly changing your eating habits towards healthy – once and for all. The author, Gloria Tsang, RD is a well respected dietitian, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the popular online nutrition website HealthCastle.com.
Tsang and I agree on a lot, particularly unDiet’s basic premises, she says:
On June 2, 2011 the food pyramid was put to rest and the simple, straightforward plate was introduced as the new icon for healthy eating. While I'm pleased with this new colorful, simplified food icon, I by no means think it will put a halt to nutrition debates, including these two questions:
- What percent of calories from carbohydrate, protein and/or fat should we eat?
- Is it healthier or better for managing blood glucose or fat levels to eat more or less: carbohydrate, protein or fat?
These questions, in my humble opinion, have and continue to receive too many research dollars and too much media (and thus, consumer) attention.
Please hear me out...
We seem fixated on the quantity questions regarding our, so-called macronutrients – our main sources of calories (that’s carbohydrate, protein and fat). Yet the research to date as well as the recommendations from respected bodies, such as Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee Report, proves out a few stark realities. I’ll delve into these here and detail why our focus should be squarely on the quality of carbohydrate, protein and fat we eat, not the quantity.
We all know the Henny Youngman line: “I don’t get no respect.” This line rings true regarding research on the effectiveness of healthy lifestyle changes (eg: behavior changes for healthy eating and physical activity) to prevent or treat diseases – among diseases impacted: prediabetes and type 2. Yet the impressive role of lifestyle changes (along with a hefty among of expert-led support) in preventing or delaying type 2 or slowing the progression of type 2 has and continues to be reinforced by research studies over and over again. These results, however, don’t seem to have the media sizzle to attract headlines like the studies of costly drug therapies (to name one, the famed diabetes ACCORD Trial). So the public continues to have their tax dollars spent on these lifestyle-fcoused studies without quickly hearing about their findings.