Archive for January, 2011

The REAL New Dietary Guidelines

2010 dietary guidelinesThe 2010 Dietary Guidelines are out … the announcement for the updates was made this morning, like it is every 5 years.  And the biggest change in my mind after all the anticipation? 

Eat less salt. 

What else did they suggest?

Focus more on plant based foods, eat less solid fats and sugar, drink less sugary drinks (like soda), and up the whole grains.

Considering someone just left my office with a "7 cans of coke addiction" … we certainly have a long way to go to come anywhere close to meeting these.

Let’s dive in a bit further.

Here are some of the specific summary points from the Guidelines themselves.  I’ll offer my take on the recommendations below.

  • Fat intake: 20% to 35% of total calories
  • Saturated fat: less than 10% of total calories (mono- and polyunsaturated fats may be substituted)
  • Trans-fats: less than 1% of calories
  • Cholesterol: less than 300 mg
  • Fiber: 14 g per 1,000 calories
  • Potassium: 4,700 mg
  • Sodium: less than 1,500 mg for all African Americans and those with hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease (including children), as well as persons older than 51; everyone else is advised to consume under 2,300 mg of sodium a day
  • Fruits and vegetables: at least 2.5 cups
  • Refined grains: less than 3 oz

So the biggest "change" in the Guidelines is to hold the salt … more specifically, if you’re African American, over 51, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic kidney disease hold it to no more than 1500 mg/day.  Or, in English, 1/2 tsp total salt per day (the American Heart Association thinks it should be at this level across the board).  I agree.

According to the 2010 Guidelines, everyone else should stick to the less than 2,300 mg recommendation per day (even though the current average intake is about 3,400 mg).

Nothing tremendously shocking.  We eat and drink too much sugar and solid fat.  Most don’t eat enough veggies, fruit, and fiber.  They did also offer a few more practical Guidelines — my favorite?  Enjoy your food, but eat less. 

Where do I think the Guidelines went wrong?

I think they could get even more specific, though, and speak in "real" terms.  Unless you’re "in the game" and living and breathing nutrition each day, this is all jibberish.  Same with the Pyramid that will be updated and revealed later this year.  People eat off plates, not Pyramids.  Let’s create a "Food Plate" that visually makes sense to people.

People also don’t think about eating calories.  They certainly don’t think about eating nutrients.  People eat foods.

I eat an orange.  I don’t savor vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  I drink milk.  I’m not enjoying a tall glass of calcium.  And I certainly don’t drink sugary beverages.  I have a can of coke (well, I don’t, but you get the point).

So let’s talk in that same language that Americans "get."  Here are the Top 12 Mohr Results Dietary Guidelines — they’re a lot more specific than the Dietary Guidelines and in a language that American’s speak — even though many of them are saying the same thing.

  1. Don’t drink soda.  It’s like pouring toxic sludge down your throat.
  2. Every single meal and snack should contain a vegetable and/or fruit.
  3. Make the majority of your fat intake from liquid sources, like olive and
    canola oil. 
  4. Don’t swear off the fats found naturally in real butter and steak, though. Those are fine in moderation
    (read: as part of a reasonably-sized meal). The real issue isn’t saturated fat itself; it’s the saturated fats you find in processed foods–the stuff you already know is "junk" (like baked goods and candy bars).
  5. Eat fish at least 2 times per week. 
  6. Trans fat will kill you — you get it from eating French fries, many baked goods, pastries, and a lot of other packaged items.  Avoid these.
  7. Throw the salt shaker away.  Seasonings, herbs, and even citrus zest offer a better alternative.
  8. Use divided picnic plates to help with portions — the large section should be filled with veggies and/or fruit, the smaller sections should be reserved for a lean protein and the other for a high fiber whole grain
  9. All carbohydrates you eat should have 3 or more grams of fiber/serving. 
  10. Don’t eat out more times each week that you eat "in" — eating at home is always a better option.  And when you do eat out, ask for a "doggie bag" BEFORE your meal is served at restaurants — it will help cut the portions in half.
  11. If a food turns your fingers or milk another color OR has a cartoon on the package, toss it out if it’s in your house and leave it on the shelf the next time you’re at the grocery store (this "Guideline" excludes colorful fruits and veggies, like berries or pomegranates).
  12. MOVE more and move often.  Never go more than 60 minutes without standing up for your desk and at the very least walking around the office.  In addition, set aside time for structured exercise.

The Unhealthiest “Health” Food on the Planet

You might be surprised to learn what this food is.

It’s a food we’re guilty of recommending far too often — or, more precisely, not being specific enough with the type we’re recommending.

And, interestingly, it’s loaded with nutrients…

…but look to the aisle of any grocery store and you’ll quickly get dupped.

There’s dozens of varieties of this food. 

Are they all "bad?" 
Are some worse than others? 
Should it be avoided like the plague??

Any ideas of what it is?

It’s good ‘ol yogurt.  Yup, the snack food that’s loaded with calcium may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Why is it so "bad?"  Take a look at the label to the right.

When do you a little math, you can quickly see that 72% of the calories
come from sugar
in a standard "Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt."

It’s more like SUGAR on the Bottom Yogurt!

But what about the OTHER nutrients that yogurt offers, like protein and

They’re great, so here’s Your Fat Loss Solution — switch to plain Greek Yogurt and add your OWN actual fruit (not what they call "fruit" on the bottom).

Plain Greek yogurt has nearly SIX times less sugar and THREE times the protein than traditional yogurt. 

So while some yogurt may be the "unhealthiest" health food, there’s others that are "winners" in our book:
Here’s the key with this — by starting with a plain Yogurt, YOU are in control of what you put into that food rather than letting the food company add whatever sugars, sweeteners, and other ingredients they feel like that destroy your body and health over time.

Mohr Results Bottom Line: When you are in control of your food, you can make the best choices.  Choose plain Greek yogurt over the other varieties that add a lot of unnecessary sugar to a high quality product.

What Would the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Look Like if YOU Wrote Them?

It’s that time again …

…time for the updated Dietary Guidelines.  Every 5 years the Guidelines are updated after a select group of prominent nutrition experts, researchers, and scientists, scour the literature to present what they believe to be the best information available.

And the 2010 Guidelines Report is being announced on Monday, January 31st.

Let’s imagine YOU are on the Committee who decides what the Guidelines should look like.

What would they include?

What would they eliminate?

We’ll provide an assessment of the report after the announcement, but until then, YOU’RE in the drivers seat.

Share your thoughts on what these Guidelines should look like, in your opinion.

The more comments, the better!  Type in your comments below.

A Tribute to a Fitness Icon — Jack LaLanne

jack lalanne fitness icon"If you want to continue to make progress and look as good as me, you need to change up your exercises every 4 weeks.  If you don’t change, change can’t happen."

That’s an exact quote from when I was fortunate enough to meet Fitness Icon and Pioneer, Jack LaLanne, 6 years ago.  I also remember him saying "let me take a picture of you naked and put it on your Christmas card.  Why are you cringing?  Not happy with how you look?  THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" 

He surely had a way with words.

I was in Pittsburgh working on my PhD and I happened to catch a glimpse of something on the TV about a local health fair where Jack LaLanne was speaking.

I remember how excited I was … I’ve seen Jack on TV, read about him, and was always impressed at his forward thinking — suggesting exercise over 70 years ago!

I went to see him speak and I distinctly remember his wife, Elaine LaLanne introducing him.  Then all of a sudden Jack comes running out from behind the curtain, high tails it up the center aisle, runs up the stairs on stage, and Elaine jumped in his arms. 

He was 91 at the time. 

Most 30 year olds can’t do that.  Heck, most 20 year olds can’t either. 

While some of his messages were a bit extreme, when you search to find all the positive it’s truly amazing what an impact one person has had on our entire fitness and nutrition industry.

He had one of, if not THE first exercise TV show.  Sure, some of his ideas were a bit "extreme" — but like he told me after his talk, when I had a chance to meet him, "If you don’t change, change can’t happen."

  • Exercise daily like he suggests — both weight training and some type of cardiovascular exercise (he swam)
  • Don’t eat sugar and other refined carbohydrate junk.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat fish.
  • Don’t drink slurpees and other sugary beverages.

Not rocket science.  And the message hasn’t changed.  Go back to nutrition and exercise basics.  Don’t overthink either.  And then and only then, like he says "Anything in life is possible."

Thank you, Mr. LaLanne!

Can THIS Power Nutrient BOOST Weight Loss?

banana boost fat lossHave you ever heard that when you’re trying to lose weight, you should skip foods like potatoes and bananas? 

It’s usually said that because these two carbohydrates are high in the glycemic index, they should be avoided like the plague.

But is that REALLY true?  Not according to some very cool data…

Now, of course some forms of potatoes (i.e., French fries!) are junk and SHOULD be avoided like the plague.  But a good ‘ol baked potato?  Sure, just leave that skin on!

And how about bananas?  Is it really true they shoot your blood sugar through the roof when you eat them.

Ummmm, nope.

And here’s why I’m picking on these two foods in particular.  They’re actually high in this very cool, unique kind of fiber called Resistant Starch.  Other foods are too — like beans, barley, and brown rice — but bananas and potatoes get an unnecessary bad wrap, so I’m helping boost their fat loss "street cred."


There’s a good amount of data on resistant starch and it’s impressed me enough to talk about it here. 

Check out these 3 Interesting Fat Burning Breakthroughs to help you burn fat faster.

Fat Burning Breakthrough #1: Unlike most carbs, you don’t digest or absorb it.  That means it bypasses your blood stream and therefore can’t get stored as fat when not used (which is common since most people aren’t that active).  it instead gets 

Fat Burning Breakthrough #2: Animal studies show resistant starch pumps out more satiety (e.g., get full fast) hormones.

Fat Burning Breakthrough #3: One study showed replacing just a small portion (~5%) of your total carb intake with resistant starch increased fat burning by about 20-30%! 

So how do you start adding more?  Don’t shun the banana and potato.  Add beans to a salad.  Try barley instead of another less healthy carb.

Here are two insanely easy, yet very taste recipes:

I’m actually sipping on this one as I type…

Chocolate Milk Shake

1 Dole banana (frozen makes it even better)
1 cup frozen Wyman wild blueberries
3-4 cups raw spinach
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (we use
1 heaping TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 handful raw nuts
1 tsp local honey (optional if you want more sweetness)

Blend until all ingredients are smooth and you have super healthy "milkshake"
NOTE: yes, it does say 3-4 CUPS of raw spinach … try it before you turn your nose up.  The chocolate masks it.

Potato Fries

3-4 Idaho potatoes cut into 8 wedges each
Drizzle with about 2 tsp olive oil
Sprinkle with pepper, cayenne pepper and salt to taste
Bake at 450 for about 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally until tender and crisp.

There you have it — give those two recipes a try and add more resistant starch to your diet as a simple way to boost calorie burn and lose more weight faster!

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