Food and Health Survey Results Indicate a Change

’77’ seems to be a key number in weight management, according to the 2010 Food and Health Survey.  77% of Americans are currently attempting to lose or maintain their post weight loss bodies.  However, another 77% report not meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guideline.

The Food and Health Survey’s goal is to assess the current population’s vision on eating and physical activity habits.  The organization responsible for producing the survey is the Nutrition and Food Safety at the International Food Information Council Foundation. The foundation’s senior vice president ,Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, states that Americans continue to hear about the importance of overall health, but from a large variety of sources.  She states that there are organizations all over, from the White House’s Let’s Move campaign to similar smaller programs, which are all concentrating on reducing the obesity epidemic. But in order to do that, you have to take baby steps.

Edge is referring to proper calculations of ‘calories in’ versus ‘calories out’.  The same survey indicated that 58% of the population does not concern themselves with the balance of calories, therefore eliminating a key weight loss or weight management tool.  Another issue is the public’s estimation of those calories.  Unless you are relying on a very up to date program, it’s possible to get incorrect numbers.  In addition, portion size, and keeping track of snacks throughout the day need to be taken into account. Everything adds up.

Here are some more survey stats:

  • 53% of the population is more concerned with sodium intake in their diets
  • 72% are consuming more fiber
  • 73% are consuming more grains
  • 64% were concerned about money issues with foods while in 2010 it increased to 73%.
  • When purchasing 86% of individuals buy because of taste, with price in second, health factor at 58% and convenience at 55%.
  • Overall, 73% of Americans are pleased with the types of foods they have offered at their local supermarkets.

For more information about the foundation or the survey, visit

Adult “Picky Eaters” May Have Unusual Eating Disorder

By: Alison Brewer, Intern

As a child, I had the traditional outlook of “macaroni and cheese is good, broccoli is bad.”  When you’re young, it’s almost like you are supposed to be picky.  As I grew, I became more open to new foods so that I now have a very short list of ‘I Don’t Like You’ foods.  However, the title of picky eater doesn’t outgrow everyone and has recently been identified as a potential eating disorder.

Uncommon Disorder

Eating disorders are more common than people think. One out of 100 kids will struggle with one. We’ve heard of bulimia and anorexia, but these are not the only eating disorders in existence. Doctors have changed the term of the condition ‘picky eating’ to ‘selective eating’ when it seems we do not outgrown it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, will now contain ‘selective eating’ in the 2013 edition.

Researchers from Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh have started a registry of picky eaters, allowing individuals to input habits and characteristics of eating patterns online.  They hope through this connection, identification, support, a potential treatment will be produced.

Habits of Selective Eaters

It seems the major habit for those with selective eating is not based on calories or health issues, but more on a mental block for allowing certain foods to contact their tongue.  Some doctors hint there may be a  connection to obsessive-compulsive tendencies while others indicate it may be more connected to attention deficit disorder.  The true reason is unknown, but is probably more accurately decided  on an individual basis.  Yet, because of the general habit, doctors can agree that nutritional issues will arise or continue to persist without proper balanced diets.

One participant of the research registry stated that she had a list of ten foods she had consumed since the age of three.  She stated that putting certain foods in her mouth caused her to gag and her body would not physically allow her to swallow.  The same participant avoids any social eating situations, which cause anxiety, and fears that her habits have been passed to her 5 year old who is already exhibiting similar behaviors.  The client also shared that during family Thanksgiving dinner, she hides in the playroom with the kids or washes dishes during the entire feeding process to avoid more awkward situations.

If you have a food aversion and worry about the severity, talk to someone about it. You can get therapy and work though it.

For more information on the research registry, visit

iPod App Review: Nike+

If you are a fan of Nike running shoes, and crunching the numbers from your run, this app is for you!  Just head to your local sporting goods store and purchase the Nike+ indicated shoes, then download the app!  Note that you’ll still need to buy  the Nike+ package sold separately which contains the pedometer piece to insert into your shoe, but from there just sync up and hit the trails!


  • Multiple options for workout goal
    • Open-ended time, timed goal, distance goal, calorie goal
    • Allows customized setting if your goal is not indicated
  • Allows the option for song choices during run
    • Shuffle all songs or pick a playlist
    • Include a Power Song, which you can press at any time to keep pushing through
  • Can create custom workouts to include one or more the goal options
  • Holds your history of runs
    • Includes goal chosen, date, distance, time, pace per mile and calories burned
  • Shoe piece and ipod synched to create accurate pacing and distance
  • With each resume of page, Nike+ Lady indicates distance traveled and time ran so far
  • Updates during run when distance markers have been hit
  • Very simple, just turn on and run!


  • Requires special Nike+ shoe to work, as well as package or ipod app
  • If you have traveled past indicated time or distance, you only have a set amount of time to continue exercise before the program ends
  • Indicates ‘best mile time’ at top of history page, but doesn’t update for all goals
  • Only when you are on ‘basic goal’ does Nike+ Lady indicate pace of each mile as you’ve run, which would be nice in other training programs, like distance
  • Music option not as fun to maneuver, starts each playlist from the beginning so very often I run to the same songs everyday.

Overall, if you’re a running, walker or just like a good pair of Nike shoes, this app is great.  There are constantly new updates for programs and if you’re an iphone user, the newest version also can track your running path!  I’ve never had a better running partner!  Happy trails!

iPod App Review: LoseIt!

The LoseIt! App. is a handy dandy pocket dietitian! Well, not exactly.  Obviously you get much better and personalized information with a real RD, but this app would be a great thing to try out for a week or so before your visit. This way, you’ll have a clearer picture of where you are at right now when you go for your session.

The app allows you to input specific foods eaten during the day, exercise done and calculates your calories, all based on you weight loss or gain goals.  It is excellent to have on hand for those on the go but still concerned about their weight.  Simply create an account with your weight, height and current goals and the app will do the rest!


  • Breaks each day down with a daily calorie budget, including food consume and exercise burned, to tell how many more calories today you can eat
    • Can get weekly averages, as well a nutrient analysis for each day and each weekly average
  • Food log allows for food input, with specific, brand name and restaurant food options
    • Also have the option to input and customize specific food if you can’t find a comparable
  • Exercise log very detailed, to include walking up stairs or carrying in groceries
    • Also allows for an input for customized workouts
  • Calculates your goals and presents them in an easy to read and  understandable fashion
  • Ability to add pass-code lock if your iPod is often viewed by others
  • Saves a log of My Foods for those you often eat to search through instead of entire database, as well as Previous Meals function if you often eat similar meals
  • Has a motivator function and a connect with friends function to keep your spirits and interest level up
  • Can input recipes you include in daily food log


  • Requires input of each food, including details of individual condiments and components of the meal
  • Cannot transfer to metric units
  • Takes time
  • Can be a bad thing for those obsessed with tracking daily calories
  • You can’t “track” at this level the rest of your life

So check it out, but don’t play too long. You don’t want to associate “tracking” positive behaviors (eating healthy and exercise) with negative ones (like the “need” to watch/input every single step you take and food you eat the rest of your life.) My advice is always use the technology as a tool in the short term to get some information, then focus on yourself and behavior changes that will help you live healthier. An RD can really help you with that — oh and if you have a condition from diabetes to high cholesterol to food allergies, the app just can’t do that (nor should it!)

Find an RD at

The Skinny on Alcohol and Healthy Weight Management

If you’re trying maintain a healthy balance in your life, it may seem that every time out for drinks with your friends could be a calorie disaster! Sugar-laden mixes push most standard cocktails well over 300 calories. Did you know that an 8-ounce pina colada can pack in 640 calories? Thats 100 calories more than a Quarter Pounder with cheese! Meanwhile, 8 oz of a Long Island iced tea tips the scale at 780 calories. But you don’t have to become a recluse to avoid these sugar bombs. Follow these tips and you’ll be in tip-top shape.


Ask Yourself-do you really need that drink?

Try to limit yourself to only a couple drinks per week. There is no nutritional benefit to liquor, so each gram of alcohol provides 7 ’empty’ calories. Not only will the drink up your caloric intake for the day, but it can also decrease your inhibitions when it comes to food. You may find yourself mindlessly overeating after drinking, be it a slice of pizza, cake, or whatever is closest to you before you stumble into bed.

Drinking alcohol can also make you feel hungrier because alcohol can lower blood sugar. Besides the fact that alcohol is highly addictive, drinking too much increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, and certain types of cancer. Leslie Schilling, RD, and low-calorie cocktail expert, said “There are many negative effects when alcohol is over consumed. Besides the obvious impaired judgment and operation of anything mechanical, decreased inhibitions and poor hydration status come to mind. Decreased inhibitions can lead to overeating and poor decisions of all sorts, while poor hydration status can leave you cramping on your morning jog and overly fatigued the next day.” If you feel pressured to be carrying a drink while out with friends-ask for soda water and lime.

Can I have your number?

According the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the allotted amount of alcohol per day is one drink for a woman and two drinks for a man.

A drink means:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5-ounce glass of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of an 80-proof liquor like vodka or rum

Each of these portions contain around the same amount of calories — 100-150 calories.

Watch the glass!

Serve wine in smaller, thinner glasses, so that you will not mindlessly pour more than the intended serving.

What are you drinking?

Remember: Despite all the press about red wine’s heart healthy benefits, the Mayo Clinic states, “There’s still no clear evidence yet that red wine is superior to other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-health benefits.” It’s not suggested by the American Heart Institute (or others) that you start drinking red wine solely for these health benefits! However, per oz, wine does have few calories than distilled spirits.

Reach for a light beer (around 100 calories per 12 ounce bottle) rather than regular bear (150 cal). Remember to stick to suggested portions (12 ounces for women and 24 ounces for men per day.)

Cocktail mixes are packed with sugar and when combined with alcohol, the calories for one drink can be 500 or more. Remember, you can also ask the bartender to make your order diet or light. Schilling’s favorite cocktail is a Vodka Grayhound-vodka and preferably fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.( See below for Schilling’s great Margarita recipe, and check out these lower Calorie Recipes of classic cocktails: Skinny Margaritas Low-cal Mojitos, Moscow Mules, and Caprhina’s . )

Start your night off with a no-cal glass of H2O and continue to have one between every drink you order. Water will keep you hydrated so you’re not chugging cocktails to quench your thirst, and  it prevents you from having a hangover the next day, so we say cheers to that.

Leslie Schilling, RD, shared with me a low calorie cocktail recipe that’s in high demand at all of her dinner parties:

The Million-Dollar Margarita

Copyright © 2010 Leslie Schilling. All Rights Reserved.

Make 2 quarts (you might as well mix the pitcher)

  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1 12 fluid ounce light beer (yes, a beer)
  • 1 long squeeze lime (optional), ~ 1 Tbsp
  • 1 container sugar-free lemonade** (makes 2 quarts
  • Water

Mix the first four ingredients in a 2 quart pitcher. If you like, add the juice of one fresh lime (or natural lime juice). Add the sugar-free lemonade and mix with a whisk (clumps aren’t very popular or tasty). Fill the pitcher to the 2 quart mark with water. Stir and chill.

These are great served on ice right away or chilled for about an hour. They’re still very drinkable for about two days. **If you’d prefer a stevia-based sweetener, use one pack of no sugar added Lemonade, like Kool-Aid, and add 1 packet stevia sweetener to each glass.

Makes ~10, 6½ oz servings. Approximate calories per serving:  120-more than half the calories of an average margarita!

Take these tips into account and you’ll never gain the dreaded beer gut! See more of Leslie’s great recipes on her new blog Sippin Smart or follow it on twitter!

Do you have any tips to share? What’s your go-to drink at the bar?