News from Shape Up America!
November 2005
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:

  1. There is very little evidence that any dietary supplements actually produce weight loss and for some supplements, there are safety concerns.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Some supplements have been found to interact with prescription drugs and even with other over-the-counter supplements and certain foods.
  5. The active ingredients in some supplements may be “unknown or uncharacterized,” so how they will react when you take them is anyone’s guess.
  6. Most dietary supplements for weight loss are untested either alone or in combination, and some supplements have been documented to contain contaminants.
  7. It is wise to avoid all weight loss supplements during pregnancy, lactation and prior to surgery.
  8. 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)
    • Chitosan
    • Garcinia cambogia
    • Glucomannan
    • Guar gum
    • Beta-Hydroxymethylbutyrate
    • Pyruvate
    • Yerba mate
    • Yohimbe
    • Calcium

You are encouraged to visit the Website of the National Institutes of Health [NIH] Office of Dietary Supplements [] 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 []. The FDA Website [] 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 – – 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 nutrients.

These recipes feature vegetables that are in season this time of the year.
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


  1. In a large bowl, mix cabbage, onion and carrots.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Use a wooden mallet to chop up Ramen noodles. Place in a bowl.
  5. 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 calcium

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 peeled
  • 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


  1. In a soup pot, heat oil. Add onion and celery and sauté about 4 minutes.
  2. In another pot, cut up pumpkin into 1-inch cubes and steam until soft, about 10 minutes. Or use 16 oz. canned pumpkin.
  3. In soup pot, combine sautéed vegetables, pumpkin and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. In medium bowl, combine sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. Add to soup pot.
  5. Make a roux by blending flour and butter together. Add milk, roux and salt to soup pot and stir until soup is thick.
Optional: If using fresh pumpkin, puree soup until smooth and serve.

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

phone: 240-715-3900

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