More frequent meals linked to healthier eating | Reuters

Reuters Health – Adults who had multiple small meals every day tended to eat better, and weight less, than those who had fewer but larger meals, in a recent study.

People eating fewer meals tended to eat the most at night, and to drink alcohol with meals, both of which might contribute to their higher body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height, the researchers said.

“The major hypothesis that can be taken away from this study is interesting but not so mind-blowing – eating more frequently throughout the day leads to a greater intake of healthier, lower calorically-dense foods, which in turn leads to a lower overall caloric intake and BMI,” said Elena Tovar, a clinical dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York who wasn’t involved in the study.

“This just makes sense – eating more often staves off hunger so that we don’t end up eating whatever we can get our hands on later on, thereby making it more likely that the foods we eat are healthier,” Tovar told Reuters Health in an email.

via More frequent meals linked to healthier eating | Reuters.

Snacking Your Way to Better Health — NYTimes

Nuts to you! No, that’s not an insult. It’s a recommendation to add nuts to your diet for the sake of your health and longevity.

Consistent evidence for the health benefits of nuts has been accumulating since the early 1990s. Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including heart and blood vessel disorders and Type 2 diabetes.

The newest and most convincing findings, reported last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, come from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together have followed nearly 119,000 women and men for decades. Both studies repeatedly recorded what the participants ate (among many other characteristics) and analyzed their diets in relation to the causes of death among the 27,429 people who died since the studies began.

The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed. (The nuts in question were pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts.)

Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die from 1980 to 2010; even among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.

I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t nuts fattening? Yes, an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories, nearly 80 percent from fat.

But in study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be.

For example, in a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese.

How is that possible? First, nuts may be taking the place of other high-calorie snacks, like chips, cookies and candy. And nut eaters may be less likely to snack, period; the fat, fiber and protein in nuts suppresses hunger between meals.

Second, the body may treat calories from nuts differently from those in other high-carbohydrate foods. Third, nut eaters may pursue a healthier lifestyle and burn more calories through exercise.

Whatever the reasons, every study has indicated that nuts make an independent contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account.

And not just tree nuts. The new study found that peanuts were also linked to a reduced death rate and lower risk of chronic disease. Peanuts are legumes that grow underground, but they share constituents with tree nuts that are believed to protect against a wide range of diseases.

Botanically speaking, nuts are fruits, but most of the nuts we consume are the fruits’ seeds — able to produce a new plant when raw. Like the yolk of an egg, seeds must contain nutrients that support healthy tissues.

Thus, all nuts are powerhouses of biologically active substances, most of which are known to protect and promote health. Penny M. Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State who has studied the effects of nuts on heart disease, describes them as “complex plant foods that are not only rich sources of unsaturated fat but also contain several nonfat constituents,” including protein, fiber, plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, and micronutrients like copper and magnesium.

Every one of these substances has been shown to ward off one disease or another. The fat content of nuts alone could account for their ability to support heart health. Nuts have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than olive oil. On average, 62 percent of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated, the kind that supports healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and does not raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.

Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides and blood pressure, slow the buildup of arterial plaque and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Walnuts are especially rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which is converted to heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids.

Most nuts, and especially almonds, are good sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant. Joan Sabaté, a nutritionist at Loma Linda University who hasstudied the health effects of nuts among Seventh-day Adventists, lists folic acid, selenium, magnesium and several phytochemicals among the compounds in nuts that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or anticancer properties.

The nurses’ study has linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A Taiwanese study of about 24,000 people found a 58 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women who ate peanuts, although a similar effect was not found among men.

In both the nurses’ and health professionals’ studies, eating nuts more than five times a week was associated with a 25 percent to 30 percent lower riskof needing gallbladder surgery.

Nuts also contain dietary fiber, about a quarter of which is the type that reduces cholesterol and improves blood sugar and weight control. The nurses’ study and a study of about 64,000 women in Shanghai found strong evidence that frequent consumption of tree nuts, peanuts and peanut butter reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Peanuts and especially pistachios are rich in resveratrol, which is being investigated for possible anti-aging effects. Pistachios are also rich in arginine, which gives rise to nitric oxide, a substance that improves blood flow and can help counter erectile dysfunction.

Including a serving or two of nuts in your daily diet is not challenging. Dr. Kris-Etherton suggests using peanut butter as the protein source in a sandwich, and replacing a cookie snack with a one-ounce serving of mixed nuts. Nuts can also be added to hot or cold cereals, salads, stir fries and desserts.

One Small Change: Eat Better and Eat More at the Same Time | Healthy Eats

One Small Change: Eat Better and Eat More at the Same Time

by jmachowsky in Healthy TipsComments (3)

Ever wonder how some people can just eat  all day and never gain weight? While some are just born with a naturally high metabolism (thank your parents), the vast majority of us frequent eaters must choose foods that give us the nutrients and energy we need to function throughout the day for less calories.

Notice it’s not about less food, but less calories. “Nutrient density” represents a food’s nutrient bang for its calorie buck. Understanding nutrient density and learning how to choose nutrient dense foods is the key to eating better . . . and more.

An example: Let’s say you want a snack. Consider one of these three options:

A candy bar

A low-fat yogurt, medium peach and a few almonds

15 baby carrots, a whole 10 oz. package of cherry tomatoes, a full bunch of celery and a couple tablespoons of hummus or low-fat dressing

You could eat the first option very easily and possibly still be hungry (or crash) an hour later. You’d probably be satisfied with the second.  How about the third option, sound like a bit much? Sound like it’s impossible to eat at one sitting? That’s the point.

All three of these snacks have one thing in common: the calories; each has about 250-275.  But the second two options provide you with a lot more food to eat than the first. Which means you can eat a bunch more throughout the day and have the same or fewer calories. And when you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.

Furthermore, nutrient dense foods provide you with tons of nutrients (i.e. water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.) that help keep you full and prevent you from “crashing” during the day. And you get to eat more of them every few hours to boot. You can truly never go hungry again, as long as you choose the right foods.

So what are the most nutrient dense foods?  That’s right, fruits and veggies (maybe the example gave it away?).  For some of my clients, our initial goal is to eat more fruits and veggies, rather than eliminating any foods. By eating more produce, you will likely eat better anyways since they:

Displace other, higher-calorie foods from your diet.

Leave more food over at meals because you got full sooner.

Are less affected by temptations and cravings since the fruits and veggies help stabilize your blood sugars and reduce hunger pangs.

Even if you don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables all the time, ask yourself at every meal: “What can I get more nutrients in for fewer calories?” Sometimes it’s as simple as ordering a leaner cut of meat or getting a baked potato without as much butter, sour cream or bacon.

My challenge to you: For the next month, have at least one fruit- or vegetable-based snack every day. Some example would be celery and hummus, an apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter, carrots and low-fat dressing or low-fat yogurt with some berries.

Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, author of Savor Fitness & Nutrition wellness blog and avid proponent of MyBodyTutor, a health coaching website dedicated to helping people stay consistent with their healthy eating and exercise goals.

via One Small Change: Eat Better and Eat More at the Same Time | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog.

31 Healthy and Portable High Protein snacks

Natures Complete Blog

31 Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks

From the Fitness Gypsy

1. Cottage-Style Fruit: Top ½ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup of your favorite fruit. Why not try some superfoods? Bananas, mixedberries, and melon are some Greatist favorites!

2. Beef or Turkey Jerky: Be careful to avoid sodium- and sugar-filled brands, but low-sodium, natural, or lightly-flavored options are a great source of protein. And this chewy snack is super-portable and keeps fresh for months when packed properly. A one-ounce serving (the size of most single-serve packs) contains about 9 grams of protein!

3. Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix: This is a favorite in the Greatist office. Mixed nuts are an easy way to get a delicious dose of protein in a convenient, shelf-stable package. Try a mixed bunch for variety and a combo with dried fruit for some added sweetness. The best bang for your protein buck? Almonds and Pistachios are…

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