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Sodium Shake-down

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 29, 2010
sodium intake and nutritional values

“to shake or not to shake?”

Even if you never use a salt shaker at your meals, you may be ingesting far more sodium than your body needs, putting you at increased risk for high blood pressure (hypertension), strokes, cardiovascular disease and, it’s likely, ulcers and heartburn as well.

Yes, our bodies do need salt. It contains sodium which is an essential mineral. The recommended level for most Americans, which includes children, all African Americans, adults over age 40 and anyone with high blood pressure is 1500 milligrams (mg)/day. The recommended level for those who fall outside these categories is 2300 mg. Most Americans consume 3000-8000 mg/daily! Thus, most Americans are consuming two to five times the amount of sodium needed each day!

Weight Loss Tip: Use WeightLossNYC's Free Online Nutritional Calculator

Health experts have sounded a loud warning: Reducing intake to appropriate levels could save 150,000 lives per year, mostly by preempting high blood pressure.

Laudably, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced plans to reduce the amount of sodium in restaurant and processed foods gradually over the next ten years. Will this be enough and fast enough to reverse the effects of high sodium on Americans’ health? It’s certainly a step in the right direction but consumers must also educate themselves and make lower sodium choices.

Most Americans due to time and convenience factors will continue to use some processed foods. The key is to consider the sodium content (as well as fat and calories) on nutritional labels. — A typical example:

  • Tuna fish (half of a 5 oz. can) = 250 mg.
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread = 150 mg.
  • 1/2 can (7.5 ozs) of Trader Joe’s chicken noodle soup = 730 mg.
  • TOTAL = 1130 mg. which is 75% of most Americans’ daily sodium limit

You can easily imagine eating a bowl, instead of a cup of soup, which means 1460 mg. from soup alone with a total sodium count for this ostensibly healthy lunch (it does include heart healthy fish and low fat soup after all) of 1860 mg.! What if you add a few crackers with this lunch (81 mg. for 3 Ritz crackers) or a pickle (280 mg. for a medium one) with the sandwich? Do you feel your blood pressure rising?

Read More Weight Loss Tips from Dr. Aron, Bariatric Physician

Dining out can be an even greater sodium nightmare. Meals, particularly fast food meals, often contain 5000 mg. or more of sodium. Adding sodium can also be a mask for using less than the freshest produce and other ingredients in processed foods. Add preservatives, some of which include sodium and watch those blood pressure numbers rise.

Eat Fresh, Not Processed, Foods

The antidote: eat fresh, not processed. Fresh fish, meat, poultry and vegetables, prepared simply with a couple shakes of salt and desired herbs provides sound nutrition without excess sodium. Add freshly prepared pasta, beans, rice, quinoa or other whole grains for variety and even greater nutritional value.

Eat Fruit Liberally

Eat fresh fruit liberally. Now is the time the Farmers Markets and grocery stores are stocked with an abundance of fresh peaches, plums, melons, cherries. Low in sodium and high in taste, fruits are easy to snack on and don’t pack the sodium that pretzels and other processed snacks do. In the winter when fresh choices aren’t as plentiful, dried fruit in moderation (watch the calories) can replace some of the recommended 2-5 daily fruit servings.

Plan Your Grocery Shopping

As you plan your grocery shopping, think fresh, fresh, fresh! Planning ahead can also save time, a frequent excuse for not eating more healthily. Leftover chicken breasts from dinner can be tossed into a salad or put in a pita pocket with lettuce and hummus for a low sodium and nutritious lunch. Last night’s leftover fruit salad dessert combined with cottage cheese and unsalted nuts is another healthy option.

Read Nutritional Labels

Be creative and read nutritional labels. Look at cooking magazines and websites for healthy menu options. A little planning goes a long way. Also keep in mind that as your taste buds get used to the taste of fresh and not processed, food will taste better, while treating your body better. Eating fresh will also usually mean keeping your calories and cholesterol in check. And your waistline.

Learn more about WeightLossNYC's Diet Plans

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Live a Healthy, Happy Life

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 26, 2010

Lose Weight for a Lifetime of Life!

joyful health and fitness

Having a thinner body is possible. Just follow these steps below if you want to ditch those extra pounds. These ideas aren't short-term quick fixes — they're lifestyle changes that will leave you healthier and happier for years to come.

Eat healthy

This one's obvious, but be sure that you are eating whole, real foods — not processed junk. Get those whole grains, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fiber, vitamins and minerals in your diet to maintain a lean physique and avoid serious health problems.

Go ahead and snack

Believe it or not, frequent snacking throughout the day helps you stay thin by increasing your metabolism. Eat healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables and low-calorie or low-carb snacks between meals to curb your hunger — and prevent eating too many calories at meal time (or any other time).

Be active

You can't lose weight by cutting calories alone. You will also need to do vigorous exercise a few times a week and physical activity every day. Exercise keeps weight down, metabolism high and your heart happy.

Rest up!

Get enough sleep each night to stay healthy. For adults, this means 7-8 hours. Not getting enough rest on the other hand can impair your memory, raise blood pressure and even cause weight gain.

Relieve stress

Manage your stress by engaging in relaxing activities. Why? Lower stress levels can help regulate insulin and keep your immune system in top condition.

Read More Weight Loss Tips & Start Losing Weight Today

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Michelle Obama Campaigns Against Childhood Obesity

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 22, 2010
Weight Loss Diet Plan
pregnant woman

First Lady Michelle Obama will fight childhood obesity with the newly launched Let's Move! campaign. Her goal is to greatly reduce childhood obesity rates by 2030 — and doing so begins at home, in the school cafeterias and even in the womb.

A new report by the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity lists 70 different recommendations and tips for families to implement, including information on prenatal care, breastfeeding, quality school lunches, recreational/physical activities and more.

The following statistics come from the report:

  • one in three children in America are overweight or obese
  • one third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes
  • obesity rates are highest among non-Hispanic black girls and Hispanic boys
  • the current generation may even be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents
Source: LetsMove.gov

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Obesity and Pregnancy

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 19, 2010

Live a Healthier Life

The Health Department reported yesterday that half the 161 women who died because of a problem with their pregnancy between 2001 and 2005 were obese.
as published by NY post June 19, 2010

Start Losing Weight Today

Visit WeightLossNYC to learn more about obesity and how you can overcome its debilitating effects. The life you may save is your own.

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Healthy Weight Loss?

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 14, 2010

Supplement Your Weight Loss Wisely

People still sell snake oil. They just put pictures of leaves on the bottle now. — Cracked magazine
weight loss supplements

Don't Believe the Hype

Many foods that consumers gobble up, thinking they’re healthy, are actually sugar and fat packaged to look like they are nutritious.

Granola Bars

Prime example: granola bars which may have as much fat, ounce per ounce, as a Snickers® candy bar.

Protein shakes

Protein shakes meant for bodybuilders doing heavy lifting not for folks sitting in front of computers all day. In addition to the protein, they can contain LOTS of sugar and fat too.

Protein Bars

Protein bars also fall into this category. They should replace meals, not supplement them, for more sedentary people.

Vitamin Waters

Water is the best drink for you, right? Not when 32 grams of sugar are also crammed into the bottle. Even a full size Snickers® candy bar has less sugar — 30 grams of sugar! Stick with the plain stuff to hydrate your way through a healthy summer.

Your best defense: Read the nutritional labels

They’ll tell you calorie, fat, sugar and protein content. They’ll also indicate where there are enough vitamins to count towards your daily requirements. Knowledge is power!

Get Smart

Work with WeightLossNYC to build the best weight loss plan for you. Call today for your first appointment & Start Losing Weight — Today!

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Sugar, Not Caffeine Raises Blood Pressure

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 7, 2010

If you’ve experienced elevated blood pressure and have no clue what caused it, you may have to take a look at your daily soda intake.

New research now shows that the sugar in soda – and not caffeine – may be the cause of increased blood pressure. In a dietary and blood pressure study of 810 adults, it was found that reducing intake of sugar-spiked soda to one serving per day led to a significant blood pressure drop in 18 months. Overall, those in the study who drank less soda had lower blood pressure levels.

High blood pressure typically has few symptoms and is a risk factor for stroke, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and shortened life expectancy. Limiting sugary drinks to one per day is recommended until further research can effectively pinpoint the causal link of raised blood pressure.

—BeverageDaily

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