Shape Up America! Newsletter
Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Weight gain during the holidays is common, but the
average gain is only 1 or 2 pounds and it can be
avoided. Since the goal is to enjoy the holidays, the
best defense against holiday weight gain is to add
about 10 minutes to your daily exercise routine.
Starting today, tack on an extra 10 minutes to your
daily walk or to your workout at the gym. Don’t go
to holiday parties hungry. Eat a nutritious snack
such as a glass of skim milk and an apple, a hard
boiled egg, or a glass of tomato juice and a piece of
whole grain toast to take the edge off your hunger.
At the party, if you drink alcohol-containing
beverages, take care to moderate your intake and
don’t drink on an empty stomach. Dancing at the
party is a great way to have holiday fun and burn
calories at the same time. Above all, if you do drink
alcohol, don’t drink and drive.
Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss
Advertisements for weight loss supplements are
everywhere. You see them on TV, hear them on the
radio and read them in magazines almost every day.
These are weight loss pills and potions that are sold
without a prescription in nutrition stores,
supermarkets and drugstores all over the United
States. Dr. Johanna Dwyer has reviewed the
evidence on how safe and effective dietary
supplements for weight loss really are, and she and
her colleagues have published their findings in a
recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic
Association. Here are some highlights of their review:
- There is very little evidence that any dietary
supplements actually produce weight loss and for
some supplements, there are safety concerns.
- Under current laws, the Food and Drug
Administration [FDA] can not require companies to
conduct tests to prove that weight loss pills that are
sold as dietary supplements are safe and effective.
So it is up to you, the consumer, to be careful.
- For some weight loss supplements, the FDA has
issued warnings regarding their safety and some
supplements have been banned in other countries for
safety reasons, but they may be available for sale in
stores in the U.S. or over the Internet.
- Some supplements have been found to interact
with prescription drugs and even with other
over-the-counter supplements and certain foods.
- The active ingredients in some supplements may
be “unknown or uncharacterized,” so how they will
react when you take them is anyone’s guess.
- Most dietary supplements for weight loss are
untested either alone or in combination, and some
supplements have been documented to contain
- It is wise to avoid all weight loss supplements
during pregnancy, lactation and prior to surgery.
- Below is a list of supplements or supplement
ingredients that have safety concerns or have little
or no evidence of weight loss benefit:
- Ephedra (Ma huang). The sale of supplements
containing ephedra has been prohibited in the U.S.
since April 2004.
- Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium)
- Chromium Picolinate
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- Garcinia cambogia
- Guar gum
- Yerba mate
You are encouraged to visit the Website of the
National Institutes of Health [NIH] Office of Dietary
Supplements [http://ods.od.nih.gov/] for more
information about dietary supplements in general, and
supplements marketed for weight loss in particular.
To report an adverse effect that you believe was
caused by taking a dietary supplement, call the FDA
at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit the Medwatch Website to
file a report at [
http://www.fda.gov/medwatch]. The FDA
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov] reports dietary
supplement updates and
warnings as they become available.
Protect Your Bones While Losing Weight
One of the few benefits of overweight is that, on
average, bone density is greater in overweight
persons. That is because your skeleton has to
support the increased weight as you move and the
greater workload stimulates bone mineralization –
which promotes increased bone density. However,
when you voluntarily lose weight by reducing your
food intake, bone density can be adversely affected,
especially if you remove dairy products from your diet
as part of your weight loss strategy. That is why
Shape Up America! urges a balanced food plan when
you diet – one that includes all food groups, including
dairy products. [Visit the Website of the Partnership
for Essential Nutrition –
www.essentialnutrition.org – for more
information about a
balanced dietary approach to weight loss.]
In females and males, bone mass increases as your
skeleton grows throughout childhood and
adolescence. If your nutritional intake is adequate,
bone density continues to increase, but more slowly,
during early adulthood. When you’re in your 30’s,
bone mass reaches a peak and then starts to
decline. In women, the decline accelerates at
menopause and can result in osteoporosis later in
life. Dieting without regard to sound nutrition can
exacerbate this decline in bone density, especially if
dairy products are avoided.
The November 9, 2005 issue of the Journal of the
American Medical Association reports a study by Dr.
Laufey Steingrimsdottir and her colleagues that
emphasizes the critical importance of adequate
vitamin D intake to protect bone health. The study
demonstrates that an adequate vitamin D status had
a beneficial effect on a key hormone that plays a
fundamental role in maintaining a healthy bone
metabolism and bone density. The key benefit of
consuming sufficient vitamin D is a calcium sparing
effect which is likely to protect bone health over the
long term in healthy persons. The study showed
that even if calcium intake is high, vitamin D status
was a determining factor for maintaining a hormonal
milieu conducive to bone health.
Two nutrients that play a critical role in promoting
bone density and the preservation of bone health are
calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is made by the
human body when your skin is exposed to sunlight,
but this natural source of vitamin D may not be
available during the long winter months in many parts
of the United States.
All dairy products contain calcium, but not all dairy
products are fortified with vitamin D. Both nutrients
are found in vitamin D fortified milk and in yogurt
products fortified with vitamin D. Not all dairy foods
contain vitamin D, so check the food label to see if
your favorite dairy product is fortified with vitamin D.
The bottom line is whether you are dieting or not,
you should be consuming two to three servings of
dairy each day to help insure adequate intake of
both calcium and vitamin D. If you are dieting, you
should take special care to protect bone density by
making sure that your intake of vitamin D fortified
milk or yogurt is adequate, especially if your exposure
to sunlight is limited. These types of dairy foods
provide the safest and most efficient way to get
sufficient intake of both calcium and vitamin D, along
with high quality protein and other important
nutrients found in dairy products. If you believe your
intake of either calcium or vitamin D is not adequate,
consider taking a dietary supplement with these
These recipes feature vegetables that are in season this time of the year.
CRUNCHY CABBAGE SALAD
Makes 12 servings
- 3 cups green cabbage, very thinly sliced
- 3 cups red cabbage, very thinly sliced
- 1 sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, grated
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 Tbsp sliced almonds
- 2 packages Ramen noodles
- ½ cup vegetable oil (safflower or corn oil)
- 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix cabbage, onion and
- Toast sesame seeds in toaster oven at 350
degrees for about 3 minutes. Toast almonds in
toaster oven for 4-5 minutes, until slightly browned.
Add to cabbage mixture.
- Remove sauce and spice packets from packages
of Ramen noodles. To make the dressing, in a small
bowl dissolve spice packets in vegetable oil. Add rice
vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and
pepper, and mix.
- Use a wooden mallet to chop up Ramen noodles.
Place in a bowl.
- Toss noodles and dressing with cabbage mixture
just before serving, to retain crunchiness of noodles.
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
168 calories, 9 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g
trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 20 g
carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g protein, 31 mg
Makes 8 servings, 7 oz. per serving
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 pound fresh pumpkin, cleaned out and
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- ½ tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups 1% milk
- ¼ tsp. salt
Optional: If using fresh pumpkin, puree soup until
smooth and serve.
- In a soup pot, heat oil. Add onion and celery and
sauté about 4 minutes.
- In another pot, cut up pumpkin into 1-inch cubes
and steam until soft, about 10 minutes. Or use 16 oz.
- In soup pot, combine sautéed vegetables,
pumpkin and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- In medium bowl, combine sugar, ginger, nutmeg,
cinnamon and black pepper. Add to soup pot.
- Make a roux by blending flour and butter
together. Add milk, roux and salt to soup pot and stir
until soup is thick.
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
107 calories, 5.5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g
trans fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 353 mg sodium, 12 g
carbohydrate, less than 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g protein,
93 mg calcium