The Nutritarian

Healthy Eating Insight

New York Times Article Confronting Obesity Problem

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 10•12

It seems that we need a better understanding of what is happening with food in society today.

From the 70′s to the 21st century Americans’ weight has increased by about 20 pounds and the national obesity rate has jumped to over 30 percent.  It is no surprise that more and more people are becoming concerned with this epidemic that is costing our nation over $190 billion.  Given this information, let’s ask ourselves, “How important is health and nutrition in our daily lives?”

According to this article, businesses lose billions because of higher healthcare rates, lowered productivity, increased absences, and elevated health insurance premiums.  Infrastructure remodling, to make structures larger, is also becoming costly.

This New York Times article addressing obesity shares  common themes found throughout this blog.

Four key points from the article:

  1. Conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less to lose a pound of weight is wrong.  The body changes as you lose.  Interestingly, Dr. Chow, (I did not make that up) an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight.
  2. Time is an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.
  3. Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.
  4. If you drop weight and return to your old eating habits, the time it takes to crawl back to your old weight is something like three years. To better understand an interactive model to plug in your information and learn how much you’ll need to reduce intake and increase activity to lose.  It will also give  a rough sense of how much time it will take to reach the goal.  Applied mathematics in action!

Ordinary people and especially the food industry may not want to hear some of this, but it is way too easy and common for someone to be consuming 6,000 calories a day, while one side is making money off of it and the other is getting ill and taxing society.  According to the article, ”There’s no magic bullet. You simply have to cut calories and be vigilant for the rest of your life.”

The Innumerable Benefits of Hydration

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 09•12

Keep hydrated for optimal functioning, and to avoid illness and false hunger signs.

  • start with 11 cups a day
  • drink when you’re thirsty and with all snacks and meals.
  • always carry a reusable water bottle
  • Consume more water if you are an athlete, or sweat often.

Water math recommendations from Common Sense Water Intake Guidelines From the Weekly Herald

One size does not fit all for daily water intake.  Follow your thirst and drink at meals will also aid digestion.  If  you are still finding yourself dehydrated here are some rough, yet specific guidelines:

START: 11 cups
IF YOU’RE A MAN: Add 4.5 cups
IF PREGNANT: Add 1.25 cup

Alcohol, illness, heat and other factors can increase the amount of fluids you need.  Moisture in food, especially fruits and veggies, can account for about 20 percent of total water intake.

Sources: Institute of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. 

Research and Recommendations Regarding Diets that Keep the Weight Off

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 09•12

After having successfully achieved weight loss, Dr Cara Ebbeling and colleagues at the Children’s Hospital Boston, assigned participants to one of three maintenance diet groups.

The diets included a conventional low-fat diet, a low Glycemic Index diet (GL), and a very low carb diet.  The resting energy expenditure (REE; basal metabolic rate, or how many calories you burn doing nothing) and also total energy expenditure (TEE; what you burn off doing nothing, plus any physical activity) was measured in the study.

The low GL diet resulted in a greater resting energy expenditure than the low-fat diet.   So the body doesn’t slow down it’s metabolism as much when you eat low GL, as it does when you eat low-fat.

The total calorie burn was also greater on the low GL diets.  The lowest GL diet burned 300 more daily calories than the low-fat diet.  That can equate to an hour of exercise.

More proof is coming forward about the capabilities of changing ones metabolic rate.  Weight loss is not just about the calories you eat.  This study confirms that there is a science behind the maintenance of metabolism.  Following a low GL diet is more likely to help you keep the weight off after dieting by helping you burn more calories at rest (increasing REE).  The following findings from the Journal of the American Medical Association explain the results from the study:

“The low-fat diet produced changes in energy expenditure and serum leptin4244 that would predict weight regain. In addition, this conventionally recommended diet had unfavorable effects on most of the metabolic syndrome components studied herein. In contrast, the very low-carbohydrate diet had the most beneficial effects on energy expenditure and several metabolic syndrome components, but this restrictive regimen may increase cortisol excretion and CRP. The low–glycemic index diet appears to have qualitatively similar, although smaller, metabolic benefits to the very low-carbohydrate diet, possibly without the deleterious effects on physiological stress and chronic inflammation. These findings suggest that a strategy to reduce glycemic load rather than dietary fat may be advantageous for weight-loss maintenance and cardiovascular disease prevention.”

Oxidation, or Old Fruit = Less Nutrients

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jul• 06•12

The longer a fruit is exposed to air and light, the less vitamins and nutrients it will have.  So as sweet as the old brown fruit may seem, it may not be worth it with the added sugar content and lost nutrients.

Other things that can deplete nutrients besides light and air include:  Cooking, deep frying and canned fruits and fruit juices that are heated during processing.

Frozen fruits retain their nutrient content much longer than fresh, according to Holford, author of The New Optimum Nutrition Bible.

Fresh fruit should be consumed within a few days of purchase for optimal nutritional value.  This is why it is so important that the produce you buy from the grocery is fresh.  It also gives reasoning to buying local (less time from the farm to mouth, plus less cost to the distributing companies and less negative impact to the environment).

Read more:

BYOB in Chicago

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jun• 29•12

It is always nice to have a few BYOB spots on hand.

Source: MetroMix BYOB recommendations

Other Chicago BYOB spots from BlackBook Mag

More ideas…

Tatsu (Little Italy) – Amazingly fresh sushi with very reasonable prices.  No corkage fee unless you bring champagne, and an outdoor seating area that is perfect for people watching.
Bonsoiree (Logan Sqr/Humboldt Prk) – Save a few bottles of your best for the 4-, 7-, or 13-course tasting menu, but go with something light and versatile, like a Rosé that can match the eclectic assortment of dishes crossing your palate. Bonsoiree sounds amazing.
HB Home Bistro (Boystown) – This tiny favorite expands with every bottle opened to pair up with their Amsterdam-style mussels and sautéed tilapia—you might even consider bringing a Belgian brew, like Duvel’s blonde ale.
Schwa (Bucktown/Wicker Park) – Yeah, you gotta call two months out to get a reservations, but at least you can swing by the corner wine shop on the way and grab a Riesling for the rabbit course.
Hema’s Kitchen (Lincoln Park) – Whether you’re heading to the locale in Lincoln Park or the one on Devon, pick up an amber lager sixer (there’s lots of chilled Kingfisher to be found in the markets on Devon) or a bottle of Chianti to complement your lamb curry.
Coast (Bucktown/Wicker Park) – Brownbag a your own sake or a bottle of Prosecco, and chopstick in some ceviche and volcano maki when you’re between sips.
May Street Café (Pilsen) – Cuisine is Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, and American, so you really can’t go wrong with Merlot or a Cab.
Terragusto (Roscoe Village) – An Italian joint with a rustic, seasonal menu—a Montepulciano should interact with all the local ingredients.

Healthy, Practical Cooking

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jun• 28•12

My friend Ryan is debuting, “my life’s work wrapped into a tiny 23 minute bundle of love;).”

His “Simply Centered” live streaming cooking show is debuting tomorrow 6/28/12 at 10:30am.  If cooking healthy without sacrificing flavor is your style, check it out on Centered Chef’s FB or Today TV Live.

Foods for Healthy Weight Loss

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jun• 20•12

This site offers a tiered food classification that can be used as a quick reference chart for healthy food choices.   It shows healthy options in tier 1 and 2 such as quinoa, apples with the skin, and kale.   Tiers 4 and 5 list foods to try and consume less often for weight-loss purposes. i.e. processed meat, pastas, and anything sugary or fried.   The idea is to switch out things from tier 3 and 4 and choose tier 1 and 2 items instead.

Sweet Home Organics and Garlic Scapes

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jun• 12•12

Sweet Home Organic Farm in St. Charles, my hometown, turned me on to Garlic Scapes.  Much milder than garlic since odors were not seeping from my pours and breath as with the vampire repellent.   Certainly my new favorite right now.  Sweet Home Organics Farm produced some of the best purple kale I’ve had as well.

I steamed and seasoned the pretty, perky scapes and ate up the tender tendrils.  Served with steamed portabella mushrooms and aldente spinach pasta, the whole endeavor took under ten minutes and no fat.  An unbelievably healthy, simple, and delightful recipe.

A Healthy Brunch Celebration

Written By: The Nutritarian - Jun• 04•12

I celebrated National Eggs Benedict Day yesterday at Whole Foods with a plant strong vegan brunch consisting of a sweet potato quinoa patty, avocado and cashew hollandaise atop a whole grain Ezekiel muffin, kale slaw and a raw almond, date, strawberry oat bars.  Strawberry smoothies and tea to drink.  I left totally stuffed.  Delectable and healthy = happy.

Chicago Craft Beer Week!

Written By: The Nutritarian - May• 18•12

Uncommon Ground on Clark, winner of the 2010 & 2011 Governor’s Sustainability Award, and many other venues, are celebrating Chicago craft beer week May 17th-27th, 2012!

Here is the exclusive draft list for Uncommon Ground, made up entirely of Chicagoland brews!

Only $4 to $6 a brew! 


Two Brother’s Ebel’s Weiss

Half Acre Daisycutter American Pale Ale

Metropolitan Krankshaft Kolsch

Revolution Coup d’état Saison

Goose Island Matilda

Tighthead Brewing Comfortably Blonde Ale

Wild Onion Hop Slayer Imperial IPA

3 Floyds Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale

Finch’s Brewing Threadless IPA

5 Rabbit Cervezeria 5 Vultures Oaxacan Dark Ale

Emmett’s Brewing Company McCarthy Red Ale

Virtue ‘Red Streak’ Cider