Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DASH Diet Takes Center Stage

The diet that has been traditionally prescribed by clinical nutritionists for decades to control hypertension, has just been deemed the "best" diet for weight loss by the medical community. It's actually a diet that would benefit most Americans as part of a lifelong wellness program.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a reduced sodium, low-fat plan high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains that has proven to reduce blood pressure. In many cases, a sodium restriction alone is not the end-all solution, since not all hypertension is sodium sensitive. That's not to say that most Americans get way more salt than they need, and we could all benefit from consuming less of it.
The diet rankings were based on reviews of 32 diets by a panel of experts in diet, nutrition, diabetes, weight loss, and heart health. The experts like its overall nutrition, safety, and ability to control or prevent diabetes and help heart health.The experts rated the diets for short-term and long-term weight loss, how easy they are to follow, and safety and nutrition. The report wins approval from Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis.
For a more comprehensive DASH diet plan, visit the Department of Health and Human Services link; DASH
~ U.S. News & World Report.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Exercise Truth

We know exercise is good for us, but there are too many rumors and misconceptions about how much, what kind, and so on. Here are some facts based on the latest evidence.
A study from Duke University School of Medicine shows that you can lose just as much weight by walking as you would running. What matters is the amount of calories you burn, not how much you sweat. Use a fitness tracker to monitor the miles and calories, instead of guessing.
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for us. Fewer muscle contractions means less insulin is produced, so fats and sugars take longer to get cleared from the blood. Stand up and move every 30 minutes.Taking a break from sitting can be as simple as walking to the water cooler for a drink, not going out and running. Do your exercise, and also think of your activity throughout the day. If you exercise, it's not okay to sit for the rest of the day.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours a day of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week.
Moderate intensity means you are working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.
    Example:  Walking fast (3 mph)
                    Riding a bike on level ground or terrain with few hills.
                    Playing doubles tennis
                    Pushing a lawn mower
                    Ballroom dancing
Vigorous intensity means you are breathing hard and fast, and your heart is beating rapidly. You are unable to carry on a conversation.
    Example:  Jogging or running
                    Riding a bike fast or on hills
                    Swimming laps
                    Playing singles tennis
                    Playing basketball
Is more exercise better? The CDC claims that 5 hours of moderate exercise or 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise every week have an even lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast & colon cancers, and are less likely to gain weight. Adding strength training to your routine 2-3 days per week is also beneficial.
* For free videos on how to strengthen your muscles, go to
~Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 2013
~CDC, 2014