Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘calories’

Heart Health – The Dangers of Soda

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 20, 2009

My weakness is caffeine-free Diet Coke. For me, soda and popcorn go hand-in-hand. Well, even though I am drinking diet I have to remember I am not sitting pretty. Soda affects tooth decay, tooth discoloration, and for those that do not choose diet, weight gain.

Tooth Decay
Any drink that is carbonated has a low pH level. What you ask? Let me explain. The process of carbonation adds carbon dioxide and results in the formation of carbonic acid. This acid lowers the pH of a beverage. A pH of 1 is acidic and 7 is neutral. Battery acid has a pH of 1; water has a pH of 7. The pH of Pepsi is 2.49, Coke is 2.63, and Mountain Dew is 3.22. The acid in soda can damage tooth enamel in just 20 minutes. Think about how you usually drink your soda. Do you drink a 12 oz. can in 5-10 minutes or are you sipping on it over a period of an hour or so? You can help combat the effects of carbonic acid by drinking your soda in less than 20 minutes and rinsing your mouth with water after the fact. Saliva also helps neutralize the acid. Don’t forget to protect your children’s teeth! Children are even more susceptible to tooth erosion because their tooth enamel is not fully developed. 
Tooth discoloration
Habitual soda drinkers are adding layers of sugar, which turn to layers of plaque on their teeth. This plaque then absorbs stains from food products. This is how dark colored sodas lead to tooth discoloration. Bye, bye pearly whites!
Weight Gain
A 12 oz. can of regular soda contains about 150 calories. If you drink one can everyday you consume 4200 soda calories each month and 50,400 calories each year. This is equal to an extra 14 ½ pounds of body weight. Most people do not limit themselves to just 12 oz. a day. . . .one 20 oz bottle of regular soda daily would be an additional 26 pounds each year.
So, as you kick back and enjoy that acidic, staining, waist expanding can of soda, maybe you should think about splurging on a fancy bottle so you can switch it up and enjoy some refreshing water once in awhile instead!
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Lose Weight – Eat Breakfast

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on December 30, 2008

I cannot stress the importance of breakfast enough. Yes, breakfast is an easy meal to skip. Serotonin levels are high, which means your appetite is low. However, if you think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, you’re wrong. Research shows that individuals who skip breakfast tend to consume more calories throughout the day versus those who eat a well-balanced breakfast. Also, don’t forget the corresponding low metabolism from not jump starting your day with a healthy breakfast. All of which add up to higher unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Keep it simple: Whole grain cereal topped with berries and low fat milk.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD

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Be Heart Healthy – Switch to diet soda.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on November 18, 2008

Do you drink a couple cans of regular soda each day? If so, make the switch to diet. Switching from 24 oz (two cans) of regular soda each day to diet soda will save you 280 calories/day and 78 grams of sugar! This change promotes weight loss (~1/2 pound/week) and triglyceride control.

I can “hear you” arguing with me that there’s no way you can tolerate the taste of diet soda. Well, there are now many products on the market comparable in taste to regular soda without the extra sugar and calories. Start experimenting until you find one you like. Or cut out soda all together and opt for water:)

Diet soda doesn’t eliminate the issue of carbonation and tooth decay or the possible link between caffeine and blood pressure. However, diet soda is the better choice in the long run for your heart health and weight loss goals.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD

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A Heart Friendly Starbucks?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on August 27, 2008

I may have some good news for Starbucks lovers. 


Normally, the high sugar, high fat, high calorie beverage and menu items offered by Starbucks were reasons to steer clear if you struggle to lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, or shed extra pounds.  Starbucks is typically not the best place to grab a quick breakfast with a Frappuccinno, while scanning the daily paper. 


Simply selecting a Grande Frappuccino and Cranberry Orange Muffin would start your day with a whopping 850 calories and 30 grams of fat!


In the past Starbucks has not embraced the idea of offering more nutritious items.  They did remove trans fats and started offering nonfat milk this past year, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.


The good news is Starbucks has decided to revamp their breakfast menu to offer six heart friendly breakfast options.  The goal was a menu with fewer calories, more protein, more fiber, and more fruit.


New menu selections include:


Apple bran muffin – 330 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams fiber

Baked berry stella – 280 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams fiber

Power Protein plate with peanut butter – 330 calories, 16 grams fat, 5 grams fiber

Chewy fruit and nut bar – 250 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams fiber

Perfect oatmeal – 140 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 4 grams fiber


These new options provide reduced calories and fat grams, while boosting dietary fiber content.  All good moves if you are looking to be heart friendly.


You still need to use your head when choosing a beverage.  Starbucks is not removing its’ high calorie, fat, and sugar beverage options.  One of the best choices is a simple Caffe Americano (15 calories, 0 grams fat). 


So, if you enjoy the Starbucks ambiance, you’ll now be able to enjoy a heart healthy breakfast, too.  Hopefully, the taste of the new menu items lives up to the flavor of their coffee!


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Recipe Analysis

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 19, 2008

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like me to analyze for you?  Sign up for The Heart of Health ezine and submit your recipe for analysis.  This bi-weekly ezine promotes lower cholesterol levels, high blood pressure control, and weight loss.

Recipe analysis discontinued May 2008.

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