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Can too many choices make you fat?

>> Sunday, April 26, 2009

A recent study is proof in the bowl: When we have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of foods, we tend to overindulge, and at least one reason for this is that more variety causes us to think there is less food on our plates!

Joseph Redden, Assistant Professor of Marketing at University of Minnesota, asked study participants to pour candy into a bowl until they thought it contained the same amount as a sample bowl of M&Ms (hmm...we seem to spend a lot of time talking about M&Ms here!).

The size of the sample bowl was about a quarter cup. He found that people poured 12% more M&Ms into their bowl when the candy was multi-colored, as compared to when they were asked to pour only a single-colored serving of M&Ms. This confirms that having variety leads people to pour more candy, presumably because variety makes it seem like there is a smaller portion or quantity. Twelve percent doesn't sound like such a big deal, but if we overestimated everything we ate by 12%, we would stand to gain around 20 lb per year

So... should we eat in monocolor, monotaste, and monotony? No. Eating is a part of life and a part of culture, and part of the enjoyment is the marriage of different smells in the air and looks on your plate, into an unforgettable gustatory experience in your mouth! The point is to be aware of the human tendency to portion more when more food variety is available. Keep a check on your own behaviors when you are presented with several different food choices. Just because many choices are offered, does not mean that you have to taste them all - consider limiting yourself to just tasting a few. Keep a close eye on the total portion on your plate, and even after you are convinced that you have not over portioned yourself, consider removing 10-20% of it after that! Eat slowly - it takes 10-15 minutes after you start eating for the hormones from your intestines to tell your brain that you are full. Give them a chance to speak! Finally, don't get up for seconds, and if you do, go for the FreeVeg!
Dr. Sue


The best things in life are free!

>> Sunday, April 19, 2009

One of the foremost questions on the mind of someone striving to slim down is: How do I deal with hunger? One of the best solutions to combatting hunger is... to eat your heart out!! (Music to our ears?) But when you are looking to satisfy that rumbling inside, do it with FreeVeg. Repeat after me: FreeVeg, FreeVeg, FreeVeg!! I want you to get to know and love this term....

FreeVeg refers to vegetables that are so low in calories, that you can eat them to your heart's content without consuming a significant amount of calories. They are unfortunately not free to purchase (though it is totally possible to eat FreeVeg on a budget!), but they are almost free on the tab when it comes to your Calorie Rx. As an added bonus, FreeVeg will provide your body with all sorts of wonderful vitamins and minerals!
For example:
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts: 10 cal
- 1 cup celery (raw): 19 cal
- 1 cup spinach (raw): 25 cal
- 1 cup broccoli (raw): 30 cal
The very best FreeVeg are the green, leafy type, just like the examples above. Red peppers are 46 cal per cup, so you can eat 4 times as many sprouts (volume-wise), or twice as much celery, for the same caloric intake\Most vegetables are pretty low in calories, with the big exceptions being the starchy ones: peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, yams. These big hitters are mostly carbohydrates and should be portion controlled, such as you would limit your intake of rice, pasta, or bread. (And having done research in the area of portion control, I promise you much, much more about portion control as we go on together!).FreeVeg can be consumed raw, steamed, or boiled, with as much herb & spice as you like. Remember that if you cook them using oil or sauces, or if you drizzle something on top of them, they are no longer FreeVeg, and should be portion controlled instead.So... feel free to belly up, and go for the FreeVeg! You have everything to benefit, and nothing to gain!

Dr. Sue


M&Ms vs Chicken Breast - What's the Diff?

>> Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One of my overweight patients recently asked me if it mattered whether she used up the last 250 calories of her day by eating 250 calories’ worth of M&Ms versus chicken breast.

The short answer to this question is that in basic terms, it doesn’t matter a whole lot where the calories come from. A calorie is simply a unit of energy (defined: the amount of energy required to raise 1L of water by 1 degree C). Whether she eats 250 cal of M&Ms or chicken breast, the key to successful weight loss is about having that 500 cal deficit per day, which will result in 1lb of weight loss per week.

The long answer is: No... BUT:

1. You are more likely to feel full from eating 250 cal of chicken (= about 1 medium chicken breast), compared to 250 cal of M&Ms (=55 plain Ms). If you feel full, then you are less likely to go over your limit and consume MORE calories later in the day, or the next day. This is because protein (chicken) is more satiating than carbs (M's are composed of carbs (sugar) and some fat).

2. There is slightly more energy burned in the digestion of protein than in the digestion of the simple sugars in the M’s, but this effect is probably not as important as #1 above.

In the big picture, I always advocate for making healthy food choices and eating a balanced diet... but it is sometimes better in the long run to allow yourself the treat, so you can remain dedicated and stay true to your Calorie Prescription!

Dr. Sue



I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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