Cutting Fat Reduces Body Fat Better Than Cutting Carbs

Reducing fat in your diet is better for weight loss than restricting carbohydrates, according to a new study published by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers monitored the diets of 19 obese men and women at the Metabolic Clinical Research Unit at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Md. Participants stayed at NIH for two two-week periods. They ate a diet that restricted calories by reducing total fat on one visit and total carbohydrates on the other visit. Reducing dietary fat resulted in a 68 percent higher rate of body fat loss and caused more total body fat loss in participants compared to the carbohydrate-restricted diet. Since participants lost more fat by reducing their intake of dietary fat, this study challenges the idea that insulin levels need to change in order to burn more body fat.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Tip of the Day

What are you waiting for? Get up and move! Regular physical activity can produce long term health benefits. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities can benefit from being physically active. The more physical activity you do, the greater the health benefits.

Daily Inspiration



Lifestyle Changes Help Prevent Pregnancy-Related Diabetes

Diet, exercise and weight control counseling in early pregnancy can lower the risk of developing diabetes before giving birth, according to a new study from Finland. “Gestational diabetes and maternal obesity are both independently associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes,” and many women who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, said lead author Dr. Saila B. Koivusalo of Helsinki University Hospital and Katiloopisto Maternity Hospital. Between 2 and 18 percent of pregnancies involve gestational diabetes, Koivusalo told Reuters Health by email. Women who do not have diabetes before getting pregnant may develop it during pregnancy, especially if they have risk factors like being overweight, or they had gestational diabetes in a past pregnancy. The condition can be managed during pregnancy and often goes away afterward, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To see if it can be avoided entirely, even by women with heightened risk, the researchers recruited 293 women who were less than five months into their pregnancies and either had a history of gestational diabetes or were obese, but did not have type 1 or 2 diabetes. The women were randomly divided into two groups, with half the women receiving only standard prenatal care. In the intervention group, however, the women received one-on-one counseling on diet, physical activity and weight control with trained nurses as well as one group meeting with a dietitian. Obese women were advised to avoid any weight gain during the first two trimesters. Dietary counseling focused on optimizing the amount of vegetables, fruits and berries, whole grains, low-fat dairy, unsaturated fatty acids, fish and lean meats in the diet, and reducing sugar intake.

For physical activity, the women aimed to get a minimum of 150 min of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. They also had free access to public swimming pools and guided exercise groups once a week. Close to 14 percent of the women in the counseling group developed gestational diabetes, compared to almost 22 percent of the standard-care group, after the researchers accounted for age and prepregnancy weight, according to the report in Diabetes Care. That represents a 39 percent risk reduction in this group of high-risk women, the authors note. Women in the counseling group tended to gain less weight during pregnancy, about 1.3 pounds less than those in the comparison group. They also increased their physical activity and improved their diet quality compared to the other group.

“This is a very nice trial that demonstrates that small changes in eating habits and physical activity patterns may have an important impact in women at risk for gestational diabetes,” said Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta of McGill University in Montreal. “What is remarkable is that the occurrence of (gestational diabetes) was reduced by a relatively simple intervention with only three in-person sessions,” Dasgupta, who was not part of the study, told Reuters Health by email. “There may also be a ‘healthier culture’ in Scandinavian countries that makes people more responsive to health behavior change interventions.” Since this is the first randomized controlled trial to test lifestyle interventions for preventing gestational diabetes, it’s still unclear when is the best time in pregnancy to start making changes to reduce risk, Koivusalo said. “Taken together, prevention of overweight and obesity already before the first pregnancy is an important factor when aiming at optimal maternal and neonatal outcomes,” she said. “And weight control should also continue after pregnancy when the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle among children also needs to be stressed.”

Most women can make healthier lifestyle choices on their own, she said. “But it may be important to have a support person during the process of lifestyle changes, as we know that they are not necessarily easy to carry out,” she said. In the Finnish study, the study nurses were midwives with strong expertise in counseling pregnant women, she noted.

Tip of the Day

Challenge yourself. Already active? Try challenging yourself and take it to the next level. You can do this by turning a brisk walk into a jog, swimming or biking faster, playing soccer, or joining an aerobics class.

Daily Inspiration 


Apple Harvest Salad

Serves: 4



2 Golden Delicious apples, chopped (do not peel)

1/2 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)

1/2 cup celery, chopped

20 red grapes, cut in half

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup Greek vanilla nonfat yogurt

Dash of cinnamon

Dash on nutmeg


Mix apples, Craisins, celery, grapes, pecans, and yogurt in a medium bowl. (Greek yogurt works best but another yogurt can be substituted.) Add a dash of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to taste. This salad can be served as is or on a bed of salad greens. The yogurt will prevent the apples from turning brown. The salad can be made a few hours before serving but it is best if consumed the same day.

Nutrition Facts per Servings:

Calories 180, Fat 7g, Saturated Fat .5g, Carbohydrates 31g, Fiber 4g, Protein 2g, Sodium 30 mg

Tip of the Day

Growing your family? When you are pregnant, you have a higher need for some vitamins and minerals. Follow your Daily Food Plan for Moms to meet most of these increased needs.

Daily Inspiration


Vegan Chocolate Pudding









Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 large ripe avocados, halved, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Cut avocado into pieces and put in food processor or blender.
  • Add the cocoa powder, sweeteners, milk and vanilla
  • Blend until the pudding reaches the desired consistency (approximately 1.5-2 minutes).
  • Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Happy Food, Healthy Life

Tip of the Day

Enjoy fish tonight! Eating fatty fish twice a week helps keep your heart healthy. You may have heard that fatty fish is good for your heart. It’s true. Here’s why: research shows that omega-3 fatty acids from fish may help prevent heart disease, lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation. The best way to get omega-3’s is through eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, Arctic char and trout. Fatty fish contains EPA and DHA, two types of omega-3’s that deliver the most heart health benefits. Get the health benefits of omega-3 by eating at least two servings of fatty fish each week.


Daily Inspiration X 2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

Expert Care in Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes

In wake of new data showing more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million adults have prediabetes, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is reinforcing the importance of a lifelong healthful eating plan, developed with a registered dietitian nutritionist, in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. “The figures released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a good reminder of the importance of eating healthfully and getting plenty of physical activity to help prevent and manage serious diseases like diabetes,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Sonja Connor. Also highlighted in the report is the economic impact of the diabetes epidemic. In 2012, diabetes and its related complications cost $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages. “The CDC’s data underscore the importance of registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered in preventing disease and improving the health of people with diabetes. It also reinforces the Academy’s advocacy work to improve care for people with diabetes and prediabetes by supporting initiatives and legislation like the proposed National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act,” Connor said.

This legislation, now before Congress, creates a commission comprised of diabetes experts, including registered dietitian nutritionists and other specialists who treat the complications of diabetes. The goal of the commission is to streamline federal investments to improve the coordination and clinical care outcomes for people with diabetes and pre diabetes. The Academy is determined to move the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act forward to improve care for people with diabetes and prediabetes. Today, the Academy is asking its 75,000 members to send letters to their members of Congress urging them to cosponsor this bill. “Academy members understand the importance of prevention, which is why we also support the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act to help stop cases of diabetes in the Medicare population,” Connor said. “By increasing patients’ access to medical nutrition therapy provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist, individuals with prediabetes or those at risk for diabetes can finally receive the treatment they need.” “We look forward to working with our nation’s political leaders to ensure patients have access to effective, coordinated care for better health,” Connor said.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 

Tip of the day

One day at a time! Increase physical activity by picking activities you like and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up, and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active. The point is to get out there and move!

Choose My Plate 

Daily Inspiration 

At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

~ Isaiah 26:9

Kids Less Fit Than Their Parents Were

Today’s kids can’t keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don’t run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young. On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17. The American Heart Association says it’s the first to show that children’s fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.

“It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before,” said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association. Health experts recommend that children 6 and older get 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity accumulated over a day. Only one-third of American kids do now. “Kids aren’t getting enough opportunities to build up that activity over the course of the day,” Daniels said. “Many schools, for economic reasons, don’t have any physical education at all. Some rely on recess” to provide exercise.

Sam Kass, a White House chef and head of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program, stressed the role of schools. “We are currently facing the most sedentary generation of children in our history,” Kass said. The new study was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia. Researchers analyzed 50 studies on running fitness, a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance, involving 25 million children ages 9 to 17 in 28 countries from 1964 to 2010. The studies measured how far children could run in 5 to 15 minutes and how quickly they ran a certain distance, ranging from half a mile to two miles. Today’s kids are about 15 percent less fit than their parents were, researchers concluded.

“The changes are very similar for boys and girls and also for various ages,” but differed by geographic region, Tomkinson said. The decline in fitness seems to be leveling off in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps in the last few years in North America. However, it continues to fall in China, and Japan never had much falloff, fitness has remained fairly consistent there. About 20 million of the 25 million children in the studies were from Asia. Tomkinson and Daniels said obesity likely plays a role, since it makes it harder to run or do any aerobic exercise. Too much time watching television and playing video games and unsafe neighborhoods with not enough options for outdoor play also may play a role, they said.

Other research discussed global declines in activity. Fitness is “pretty poor in adults and even worse in young people,” especially in the United States and eastern Europe, said Dr. Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway. World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.

USA Today 

Tip of the Day

You should look for “high” or “very high” in fiber on your cereal label! Eating a high fiber cereal for breakfast is a great start to getting enough fiber in your day. High fiber cereals have at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. A very high fiber cereal will have 6 grams of fiber or more. Some higher fiber choices are cereals that contain wheat bran. Insoluble fiber found in foods such as wheat bran, corn bran, flax seeds, and some vegetables and fruit, passes through your digestive system mostly unchanged. This type of fiber helps promote bowel regularity. Sprinkle bran or a very high fiber cereal to your favorite cereal every morning.


Daily Inspiration 

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

~ Psalm 31:24

Seven Foods to Supercharge Your Gut Bacteria

Did you know we are only 10 percent human? Ninety percent of our cells are nonhuman, microbial cells. Since our diet influences our microbes, it’s true: We really are what we eat. The good news is that you can cultivate a new microbiota, formerly known as gut flora, in just 24 hours by changing what you eat. Bacteria that live in our intestinal tract, also known as gut bugs, flourish off of colorful, plant-based foods.

The latest studies on microbiota continue to show us how the process works, which explains why the mere mention of gut bacteria sparks conversations in both research labs and newsrooms. Healthy gut bugs act like quarterbacks in our intestinal tracts: They call the shots and control the tempo by helping our bodies digest and absorb nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins, and rally against intruders, such as influenza and toxic cancer-forming carcinogens. In addition to boosting our immune system, microbiota sends messages to our brain and helps regulate metabolism. Over time, microbiota forms colonies to combat obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and even certain forms of cancer.

The bottom line: The more diversity you have in your gut bacteria, the better off you’ll fare in the long run. Here are seven foods to help you get started:

  • Jerusalem artichokes

Benefits: High in inulin, strong prebiotic potential

Background: Inulin, an insoluble fiber, travels through our bodies from the small to large intestine, our colon. Once this insoluble fiber finds its way to the colon, it ferments into healthy micro flora. Other good sources of inulin include asparagus, leeks, onions, and bananas. Note: It’s good to ease into eating Jerusalem artichokes, as they may cause distress to people with sensitive digestive tracts.

  • Bananas

Benefits: Restores health of the bacterial community, may reduce inflammation

Background: Like a peacemaker, bananas work to maintain harmony among microbes in the bacterial community, known as phyla. This is one reason bananas are a standard prescription for an upset stomach. Bananas may also reduce inflammation, due to high levels of potassium and magnesium.

  • Polenta

Benefits: This high-fiber, corn-based grain has a fermentable component

Background: Corn, the base of polenta, earns credit for fostering a healthy gut. Polenta’s insoluble fiber travels directly to the colon, where it ferments into multiple strands of gut flora. It’s good to note that polenta, like kombucha, varies in fermentable components.

  • Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, and cauliflower)

Benefits: Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur-containing metabolites, known as glucosinolates, which are broken down by microbes to release substances that reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancer.

Background: Like a game of Pac-Man, glucosinolates latch onto carcinogenic intruders in our colon and kindly show these pathogens the way out. Over the long run, this pays big dividends: Studies show people who eat the most cruciferous vegetables reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. One more reason to load up on leafy greens!

  • Blueberries

Benefits: Can modify the microbiota to enhance immune function

Background: Our eyes are naturally drawn to anthocyanins, the pigment that gives blueberries a bold color, for good reason. So what gives blueberries clout as a superfood? Is it the antioxidants, vitamin K compounds, or fiber? The answer? TBD but studies continue to show that blueberries may help strengthen our memory, improve our immune system, and diversify our gut bacteria.

  • Beans

Benefits: Any legume will help release short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that strengthen your intestine cells, improve absorption of micronutrients, and help with weight loss.

Background: Beans feed good gut bugs, which in turn revs up your immune system. Calorie for calorie, beans offer the most nutrition bang for your buck. They are packed with fiber, protein, folate, and B vitamins, which play a role in regulating a healthy gut and a healthy brain.

Bonus: Researchers from Toronto just published a study in the journal Obesity that finds beans improve weight loss by enhancing satiety.

  • Fermented plant-based foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and soy sauce

Benefits: Fermented foods, such as beet radish kimchi or pickled ginger sauerkraut, are trending for a reason. They directly inoculate your gut with healthy live micro-organisms that will crowd out the unhealthy bacteria, improve the absorption of minerals, and improve overall health.

Background: Fermented plant-based foods are probiotic that have been found to improve the health of the intestinal cells, improve immune function, decrease allergies, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and treat diarrhea. You can make fermented foods at home and just as easily pick them up from a local grocery or health food store.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

Tip of the Day

Entertaining? Roast beef makes a delicious, nutritious meal that takes a little effort. Canadian beef naturally contains 14 essential nutrients that help keep your body healthy and strong. For the best nutrition, choose small portions of lean or extra lean cuts such as sirloin tip, strip loin or inside round. Trim any visible fat when possible and use healthy cooking methods such as grilling, braising or roasting. Cooking a roast is perfect for entertaining on the weekend. Oven roasting requires little time and effort. Just season, sear to seal in the flavor, and then roast until it is cooked the way you like it.


Daily Inspiration 

“Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible to you.”

~ Holy Bible, Matthew 17:20