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    Archive for the ‘Who Said It?’ Category

    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark“Just drinking three liters of water a day… burns 75–100 calories. If you add a little lemon juice to it, which is ascorbic acid, that can speed up your metabolism by 33 percent.”

    Come back on Friday for the identity of this “expert” — and the truth behind this claim.

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    fat-flush“Cranberry juice works on cellulite because … the flavonoids in the fruit improve the strength and integrity of connective tissue and help keep your lymphatic system working smoothly.”

    This apparent miracle cure comes courtesy of Ann Louise Gittleman, author of The Fat Flush Plan.

    Touting cranberry juice as a cure for cellulite falls into two categories — 1) promoting unrealistic expectations, and 2) misunderstanding the physiology behind the development of cellulite.

    Continue Reading »

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    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark-300x2991“Cranberry juice works on cellulite because … the flavonoids in the fruit improve the strength and integrity of connective tissue and help keep your lymphatic system working smoothly.”

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Friday for the answer — and my particular issues with this statement!

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    dr-oz-0304-lg-85334211Interviewer: Is all seafood good for you?

    Our subject’s answer: “Nope. Some of the crustaceans have cholesterol — shrimp, crab, lobster.”

    This is what Dr. Oz told Esquire magazine last year.  Granted, the rest of his nutrition-related answers (except for one other, which I discuss below) are accurate.  However, I am extremely surprised that someone who considers himself a nutrition expert is not up to date on dietary cholesterol research.

    When it comes to issues of heart disease, dietary cholesterol is waaay down on the list of troublemakers.  Trans fats, excessive omega-6 intake, insufficient omega-3 intake, high intakes of sugar, and certain saturated fats (mainly those in the meat and milk of corn and grain-fed cattle) are of much more concern.

    Shrimp, crab, and lobster are not “unhealthy” because they contain cholesterol.  Besides, wild salmon contains cholesterol, so why is Dr. Oz singling out crustaceans?

    In an attempt to avoid cholesterol in crustaceans, many people instead opt for red meat which offers lower levels of cholesterol but significantly higher levels of problematic saturated fatty acids (and not a single milligram of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids).

    Another one of Dr. Oz’s misguided tips — he recommends eating “wheat crust” pizza.  This is one of the most aggravating tips, because… well, it isn’t a tip at all!  White flour is made from wheat; ergo, it is wheat crust.  “Wheat” does not mean whole grain.  The real tip is to aim for “100% whole wheat” crust.

    The whole “wheat bread is healthier than white bread” idea needs to be squashed immediately.  Too many times, breads simply labeled as “wheat” are made from white flour with caramel color or molasses thrown in to give it a healthy-looking brown tint.

    It is statements like these (along with others I have pointed out on the blog) that truly make me wonder why Dr. Oz is viewed as a “nutrition” guru.  The two tips mentioned in this post are basic Nutrition 101 information.

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    Who Said it?

    QuestionMark-300x2991Interviewer: Is all seafood good for you?

    Our subject’s answer: “Nope. Some of the crustaceans have cholesterol — shrimp, crab, lobster.”

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Sunday for the reveal — and to find out why I take issue with the above answer.

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    perricone_oprah_5-300x230“Coffee has organic acids that raise your blood sugar, raise insulin. Insulin puts a lock on body fat. When you switch over to green tea, you get your caffeine, you’re all set, but you will drop your insulin levels and body fat will fall very rapidly. [You will lose] 10 pounds in six weeks [if you replace coffee with green tea], I will guarantee it.”

    This quote comes from Dr. Nicholas Perricone, specifically from a 2004 appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show.

    As with other doctors who are a staple on the media mogul’s program, Dr. Perricone is a source of nutrition soundbites that are TV-friendly, albeit not entirely accurate.  Never mind, of course, that Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist who for many years was invited to sit on Oprah’s couch to dispense nutrition advice.

    Let’s examine Dr. Perricone’s statements piece by piece.

    “Coffee has organic acids that raise your blood sugar.”

    True, coffee raises blood sugar levels ever so slightly.  The same can be said about plenty of healthful foods – nuts, seeds, beans, fresh fruit, whole grains, and root vegetables.  This concept of “raising blood sugar”, by the way, is nothing more than the glycemic index.

    Additionally, if Dr. Perricone is so concerned about coffee’s glycemic index, why is he such a fan of wild blueberries, which raise blood sugar levels more?

    “When you switch over to green tea, you get your caffeine, you’re all set, but you will drop your insulin levels and body fat will fall very rapidly.”

    This, of course, assumes you are drinking coffee and green tea on their own, without any milk — dairy or otherwise — or sweetener.  Add dairy, almond, soy, oat, or any other milk to your tea and your blood sugar will rise to some degree.

    If you like your tea plain but accompany it with food (whether it’s oatmeal or a chocolate chip cookie), this talk of “dropping insulin levels” also becomes a moot point.

    The above statement also makes the erroneous assumption that weight loss is simply about dropping insulin levels, rather than lowering caloric intake.

    It is absolutely possible to lose weight while eating foods with high glycemic indeces, provided that calories are also being lowered.

    Allow me to clarify.  It is true that plenty of fiberless and overly processed foods — white flour, white sugar, refined grains — raise blood sugar levels significantly.

    However, fruits are far from low-glycemic.  In fact, ice cream has a lower glycemic index than watermelon.  If weight loss was your goal, would you consider a cup of watermelon or a cup of Ben & Jerry’s to be the wiser choice?  Not to mention — have you ever heard of anyone gaining weight as a result of drinking unsweetened black coffee?

    Remember, too, that a food’s glycemic index can be altered by a variety of factors.  A potato’s glycemic index, for instance, is different if you eat it with its skin and top it with olive oil than if you peel and mash it.

    “[You will lose] 10 pounds in six weeks [if you replace coffee with green tea], I will guarantee it.”

    If this were a money-back guarantee, Dr. Perricone would have to file for bankruptcy.

    The notion that all it takes to lose 10 pounds — in six weeks, no less! — is a switch from coffee to green tea is not only science fiction, it is also infuriatingly misleading.  Talk about setting people up for failure.

    Of course, this “promise” wasn’t met with an ounce of skepticism.  Oprah vouched that she would give this a try, and the audience responded with applause.  Because, as we all know, if “a doctor on TV” says something, then it MUST be true (even though sixty percent of doctors in the US don’t have a single nutrition course built into their medical school curriculum, and thirty-five percent can take one course as an elective).

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    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark-300x2991Coffee has organic acids that raise your blood sugar, raise insulin. Insulin puts a lock on body fat. When you switch over to green tea, you get your caffeine, you’re all set, but you will drop your insulin levels and body fat will fall very rapidly. [You will lose] 10 pounds in six weeks [if you replace coffee with green tea], I will guarantee it.

    I will reveal the answer — and explain why this statement raises my blood pressure — on Wednesday.

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    Who Said It?

    iced-teaIce-cold green tea is a negative calorie drink.

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Friday for the answer.

    And now, please excuse me while I bang my head on my desk.  Repeatedly.  Because I am so tired of this negative-calorie nonsense.

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    oprah-dr-oz-slide“When you eat spicy foods for breakfast, it reduces your appetite at lunch.”

    This quote belongs to Dr. Oz, who shared it as a weight-loss tip in a recent interview with AOLHealth.com.  He then recommends implementing this tip to your diet by adding hot peppers (no quantities are specified) to a breakfast omelette.

    As you may imagine, that is not a quote I am too fond of.

    Yes, a few small (think less than 30 subjects) human studies have theorized that there may be a link between capsaicin (the compounds that makes jalapeño peppers spicy) and appetite reduction.

    Alas, there are a few catches.  For example, the study that achieved this most successfully (published last year in Clinical Nutrition) provided subjects with meals containing 510 milligrams of capsaicin.  That’s quite a bit of capsaicin to down in one meal, so much so that the researchers suggest in the study’s conclusion that “a lower dosage of capsaicin should be combined with other bioactive ingredients [like green tea]” to mimic the effects of the study.

    Another thing worth keeping in mind: hot and spicy foods rev up metabolism slightly (though not enough to result in significant calorie losses) for roughly twenty to thirty minutes after they are consumed, not hours.

    Additionally, a recent study in the European Journal of Nutrition concluded that “a lunch containing capsaicin had no [acute] effect on satiety [or] energy expenditure.”  As for capsaicin’s role in decreasing appetite?  The numbers looked promising, but after statistical analysis, those figures were deemed statistically insignificant.

    This is simply one of those tips that just doesn’t seem practical to me.  It’s one thing to recommend eating a high-fiber food at breakfast (be it beans, oatmeal, quinoa, or adding psyllium husks to a smoothie), or to be sure to have a good source of protein at every meal for optimal satiety.  Those recommendations are realistic, doable, and can be easily implemented.

    Do we really expect someone to thrown in piles of jalapeños into an omelette every morning?  Furthermore, I have yet to hear anyone who lives on Taco Bell and Chipotle mention any unexpected weight loss!

    As far as I’m concerned, this should be filed along with the “OMG!!  Green tea helps you lose weight!!!” studies.

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    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark-300x2991“When you eat spicy foods for breakfast, it reduces your appetite at lunch.”

    Find out who made that statement — and why I take issue with it — on Thursday.

    In the meantime, feel free to leave a guess in the “comments” section.

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    QuestionMark-300x2991Spinach is full of pleasant surprises [and a top-ten "power food"].  It’s a natural source of iron… and a rich non-dairy source of calcium.

    Those sentences appear in The Sonoma Diet, penned by Registered Dietitian Connie Guttersen.

    I find it incomprehensible that a Registered Dietitian can make such an elementary mistake.

    Although spinach offers plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, it is not a rich source of iron or calcium.

    Unlike other leafy greens (i.e.: bok choy, broccoli, mustard greens, and kale) which are very good sources of both those minerals, spinach is loaded with compouds known as oxalates.

    Oxalates bind to iron and calcium, significantly decreasing absorption of those minerals in our digestive systems.

    Consider the following:

    • A half cup of cooked Chinese cabbage delivers as much calcium as a cup of milk
    • One and a quarter cups of cooked bok choy deliver as much calcium as a cup of milk
    • Eight cups of cooked spinach deliver as much calcium as a cup of milk

    What makes this tricky is that the figures presented for spinach in terms of iron and calcium content do not take into account decreased absorption.  Therefore, you will see that a half cup of cooked spinach “provides” 115 milligrams of calcium (11% of the Daily Value).  Sadly, we only absorb 10 to 15% of that amount.

    Please share this tidbit with as many people as you can.  I am continually amazed by the amount of health professionals (dietitians, doctors, and educators) who keep this myth alive.

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    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark-300x299Spinach is full of pleasant surprises [and a top-ten "power food"].  It’s a natural source of iron… and a rich non-dairy source of calcium.

    Yikes!  Come back on Wednesday to find out who apparently didn’t pay much attention during the vitamins and minerals lesson in nutrition class…

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    1594862389“Powdered whey protein creates the most powerful fat-burning meal possible.”

    This statement appears on page 45 of The Abs Diet: Eat Right Every Time Guide by Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko.

    David Zinczenko came up with “The Abs Diet” several years ago and has milked it for all it’s worth.  Although he doesn’t have a background in nutrition, human physiology, or medicine, that doesn’t stop Mr. Zinczenko from considering himself an authority on all things nutrition and health.

    In his articles and books, Mr. Zinczenko often makes reference to the fact that he has combed through the latest research, but I have to wonder how he is able to critically analyze and dissect studies if he ultimately isn’t familiar with the subject at hand.

    In any case, I take issue with his rave review for whey protein.

    Let me begin with a disclaimer.  There’s nothing inherently “bad” about whey protein.  It can certainly be a fine addition to a breakfast fruit smoothie to increase satiety.  It is also an appropriate form of protein to consume after performing weight-bearing physical activity, as it has a very high biological value and is utilized very efficiently by our bodies.

    However, the notion that whey protein powder is “fat-burning” is untrue, inaccurate, and misleading.

    There are no fat-burning foods.  Yes, protein has a slightly higher thermogenic effect than carbohydrates and protein (meaning the body requires more calories to digest it), but that does not mean copious amounts of protein burn fat.  Like any other nutrient, excess calories from protein are stored as fat.

    Relying on a nutrient’s thermogenic effect to burn fat is ridiculous.  Adding a scoop of whey protein to a 700-calorie sugar-laden smoothie does not transform that beverage into a “fat-burning” one.

    Keep in mind that the average adult in the United States consumes 250 to 300 percent of their daily protein requirement.  If protein had these magical fat-burning properties, then two-thirds of the United States population would not be overweight or obese.

    Additionally, the statement that whey protein creates “the most powerful fat-burning meal possible” is pure fabrication.  Who studied this?  When?  Where?  How many foods were studied for their respective “fat-burning” effects in order to establish a comparison?

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    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark“Powdered whey protein creates the most powerful fat-burning meal possible.”

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section, and come back on Thursday to find out who said this statement, and why I take issue with it.

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    The_Fat_Flush_Plan_Ann_Louise_Gittleman_abridged_cassettes“Vegetables and fruit should not be consumed together, nor milk and meat.”

    That statement can be found on page 76 of the The Fat Flush Plan by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman (which, red flag alert, promises to “melt fat… in two weeks”).

    The “reasoning” behind that piece of advice is that the combination of fruits and vegetables (or milk and meat) in the same meal slow down, or inhibit, the “fat flushing” process.

    This is a perfect example of inaccurate and impractical advice.

    The notion that adding tomatoes (a fruit), avocado (a fruit), sliced pear, or Granny Smith apple slices to a salad is detrimental to health is absolutely preposterous.

    If anything, adding a fruit rich in vitamin C to a salad is a wonderful way to increase iron absorption form dark leafy greens like kale and chard.

    I don’t understand why some nutrition and weight-loss authors (mostly those with very little knowledge of how the human body works) think our digestive systems are unequipped to digest different foods at once.

    These rules simply promote neurotic fanaticism at mealtime, and make mountains out of caves (forget molehills!).

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