New Portion Size Guide Tells You How Much You Should Actually be Eating

James Rogers wrote . . . . . . . . .

Nutritionists have launched a brand-new portion size guide to tackle overeating.

The British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) guide spells out how much of each sort of food.

The guide includes starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables and oils and spreads.

The aim of the guide is to revolutionise our eating and tackle the obesity crisis.

It takes into account the foods we should be eating – and in which portions – to have a healthy diet.

Women should be eating 2,000 calories a day – and men 2,500.

According to the guide, the correct portion size for pasta is two hands cupped together.

A finger and thumb, meanwhile, is the right thickness of spaghetti.

The right amount of cheese, more worryingly for cheese lovers, is a mere two thumbs.

The suggested single portion of a grilled chicken breast, a cooked salmon fillet or a cooked steak is “about half the size of your hand”.

A baked potato should be the “about the size of your fist”.

The BNF survey suggested that when it comes to eating pasta, on average we eat around 230g worth when cooked.

And that’s without any sauces or sides.

Researchers found that 10% of the people questioned eat 350g.

That’s around 500 calories alone, but their recommendation is 180g.

A portion of fruit or vegetables – of which we should eat at least five a day – could be two plums, two satsumas, seven strawberries, three heaped serving spoons of peas or carrots, one medium tomato or three sticks of celery.

But it’s not all bad news.

If you do fancy a snack, you’re still allowed them – but you are told to keep them small.

They should be around 100 to 150 calories, and not too frequent.

Examples included a small chocolate biscuit bar, a small multipack bag of crisps, four small squares of chocolate (20g) or a mini muffin.

Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at the BNF, said: “More often than not, portion size is not something people give much thought to.

“The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal.

“Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts.

“This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.”

Louis Levy, head of nutrition sciences at Public Health England, said: “The Eatwell Guide, the nation’s healthy eating model, shows the proportion of foods that should be consumed from each food group for a healthy balanced diet.

“With the exception of fruit and vegetables, fish and red and processed meat, the government does not provide guidance on specific food portion sizes as there is no evidence to make recommendations at a population level.”

Source: Birmingham Live


Read also at British Nutrition Foundation:

Find your balance, get portion wise! . . . . .

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Is Coconut Oil All It’s Cracked Up To Be? Get The Facts On This Faddish Fat

April Fulton wrote . . . . . . . . .

In the past few years, coconut oil has been called a superfood that can help you blast belly fat and raise your good cholesterol. The sweet and nutty trendsetter has been featured in many cookbooks as a substitute for olive or canola oil — and it can cost a bundle at the store.

A recent survey found that 72 percent of Americans say coconut oil is a “healthy food,” but many nutrition experts aren’t convinced.

The problem is that coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fat — the kind that is a big risk factor for heart disease, which kills more than 17 million people a year worldwide.

First, let’s talk about fat. “In terms of calories, all fats are the same: butter, coconut oil, olive oil. They all have the same number of calories, but they are different in terms of your health,” says Mary Donkersloot, a Beverly Hills nutritionist and host of a weekly Web video series called The Smart Eating Show.

Fat is not the enemy of our diets, despite what we were led to believe in the 1990s, when low-fat cookies and ice cream started popping up on the market. (Remember the SnackWell’s craze?) Fat helps us feel full longer and stay satisfied. Eating some fat can actually help us snack less and potentially lose weight. But what kind of fat we eat matters — and how much.

In fact, one tablespoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat — a big chunk of what is recommended for the whole day, says Donkersloot.

The U.S. government recommends keeping saturated fat below 10 percent of your total daily calories. For some people, that can be as low as 22 grams a day, although the American Heart Association recommends going even lower — more like 13 grams. So just one tablespoon of coconut oil gets you much of the way there. Forget dessert!

The concern about too much saturated fat in our diets is upheld by 50 years of research showing that a diet high in saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, says Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School at Tufts University who also runs the university’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory.

Lichtenstein and her colleagues looked at several studies examining what happens when people replaced saturated fats found in foods like tropical oils and meat with unsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil and flaxseed oil. As they reported in a recent American Heart Association advisory, those studies showed that making the swap was linked with a 30 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s similar to what people can expect when they take statins, she says. The advisory was published in the journal Circulation.

So why does the idea that coconut oil is somehow good for us persist? No one is really sure.

“Why things like coconut oil somehow slipped under the radar is a little bit unclear, but it’s not consistent with any of the recommendations that have occurred over the past 30, 40, 50 years,” says Lichtenstein.

While some research has linked the main type of saturated fatty acid in coconut oil — lauric acid — to increased levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, it still raises LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, she notes in the advisory, citing multiple studies.

And while enthusiasts point out that coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, there is little evidence that once the oil is refined, which is how most of us buy it in the store, those properties are retained.

Some research suggesting that saturated fat might be more neutral than previously thought has caused a few to question the American Heart Association and the government’s recommendations on saturated fat.

But Lichtenstein and many others are not convinced. She says those studies did not take into account the kinds of foods replacing saturated fats in the diet, and that the saturated fat factor trumps the potential benefits of coconut oil.

So, if you like to cook with coconut oil, that’s fine — “once in a while. If you’re making Thai, go for it,” says Donkersloot.

But don’t think of coconut oil as a health elixir. And remember that when it comes to good nutrition, including fats, it’s all about balance, Lichtenstein says. And there’s more solid evidence behind the healthfulness of other plant-based oils such as extra virgin olive oil.

With the rise in popularity of low-carb diets embracing more fat in recent years, it’s no wonder consumers are confused about which fats are best. And most oils contain more than one variety of fat. Iowa State University has a handy chart to help you compare the percentages of fats found in common oils.

Source: npr

The Secret Behind Chicken Soup’s Medical Magic

Many people rely on chicken noodle soup to soothe a cold, but few know exactly why the warm broth brings relief.

But one dietitian can explain its magic.

“Studies have shown that a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup may help clear nasal congestion and ease cold symptoms,” said Sandy Allonen, a clinical dietitian at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “It’s all about the ingredients.”

When you have a cold, it’s also important to stay hydrated, she added.

“A clear broth is warm and soothing, making it a great source of hydration while you’re sick, especially if you have a sore throat,” Allonen said in a hospital news release.

“You may think added salt and other seasonings aren’t great for you, but in moderation, these spices can help combat the feeling of dull taste buds,” she noted. “A loss of taste is common in a cold, but as with any flavor enhancer, salt is great for getting you to eat more.”

The chicken in your soup offers a number of benefits. It’s high in protein that helps the immune system, and is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, which boost immunity and help with digestion.

“Chicken is also high in tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin that can enhance your mood and give you the feeling of ‘comfort’ that helps make chicken noodle soup a true comfort food,” Allonen said.

The noodles provide carbohydrates that help you feel full and satisfied. “Carbs are the preferred source of energy for your body, so getting in a good dose through soup can help you feel less sluggish,” Allonen said.

Vegetables such as carrots, celery, and onion have vitamins C and K, and other antioxidants and minerals. “Not only does this help build a healthy immune system to fight off viruses, it also helps your body recover from illness more quickly,” Allonen said.

Even the steam from your chicken soup is beneficial.

“Steam can open up airways, making it easier to breathe. It also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help relax your muscles and soothe the discomforts of cold symptoms,” Allonen said.

Source: HealthDay

Annual Survey Reveals Food Trends Among Consumers and Registered Dietitians

We’ve heard of the ketogenic (“keto”) diet, fermented foods, nondairy milks, and plant proteins, but what do they all have in common? They are some of the hottest food and nutrition trends to look for in 2019, according to dietitians surveyed in the 7th annual Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey. With 1,342 Registered Dietitians (RDs) responding, the survey divulges what leading RDs predict consumers are thinking and eating. While fermented foods hold steady as the No. 1 superfood for 2018 and 2019, some surprising newcomers have made the list, including beets, blueberries, and nondairy milks. And in a shocking switch, RDs predict that a “healthy” label will begin to surpass cost and taste when it comes to consumer purchase drivers. A not-so-surprising trend dietitians report is the rise of keto as the most popular consumer diet, ousting clean eating from last year’s top spot, with intermittent fasting making its debut as No. 2. It’s clear from these predictions that consumers are on the hunt for a flat belly and will take extreme diet measures in their pursuit.

“It’s not that ‘clean eating’ has declined in popularity,” says Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RDN, senior vice president of Pollock Communications. “We are still seeing the consumer push for cleaner labels, and the industry continues their work to deliver it. But what’s different here is that millennial consumers are going beyond eliminating a food group, like cutting gluten, to making more drastic changes that require real lifestyle adjustments.” Dr. Bell explains that this movement reflects a greater recognition of the importance of what we eat. She says, “it’s beyond food is medicine; now food is the core of wellness.”

Top 10 Superfoods for 2019

RDs predict fermented foods—such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, and miso—will continue to be highly sought after by consumers in 2019, likely for their powerful benefits from boosting gut health to blunting inflammation. Kale has fallen off the top 10 list, with nondairy milks nabbing the No. 10 spot. This underscores the rise in popularity of plant proteins and finding plant-based swaps. Other superfood list newcomers, beets and blueberries join this list of dietitian superfood predictions for 2019:

1. Fermented foods, like yogurt
2. Avocado
3. Seeds
4. Ancient Grains
5. Exotic fruit, like acai, golden berries
6. Blueberries
7. Beets
8. Nuts
9. Coconut products
10. Nondairy milks

“Plant-based eating has been a major focus in the dietetic community,” Bell says. “Now, consumers are hearing this message and it’s what they want.” This is apparent in the growth of seeds, nuts, and nondairy alternatives. The supermarket milk case has gone from cow to soy, rice, almond, coconut, walnut, and oats. Consumers are fulfilling their health and protein needs with a diverse number of dairy and nondairy products.

To Eat or Not to Eat — That Is the Trend

Consumers realize that what they eat affects how they feel, and based on the trends reported, RDs think that consumers are looking for diets that primarily drive weight loss. As RDs predicted, keto was a diet trend to watch in 2018, and it has soared in popularity. RDs agree the keto craze will continue in 2019, with consumers significantly reducing carbohydrates, grains, and sugar in favor of vegetables, animal fat, and meat. According to the survey, RDs believe the next big diet—or lack thereof—will be intermittent fasting, with clean eating coming in as third most popular.

“We have witnessed a progression in consumer demand for ‘health’ and ‘clean’ throughout the seven years of our survey and as millennials have been moving into their 30s,” says Louise Pollock, president of Pollock Communications. “We have seen the food industry respond by changing their strategy from a taste, cost-driven approach to one that appeals to these powerful health and wellness-seeking consumers.”

Choose Wisely — ‘Healthy’ Holds the Halo

One of the most interesting findings for 2019 is RDs predict that consumers will be more concerned about the healthfulness of food products than the cost and taste when making purchasing decisions. Healthfulness has hovered near the top three purchase drivers in recent years, but it’s notable that for the first time it has moved up to the No. 2 spot, reinforcing the demand for better-for-you food choices. Convenience remains a steady stronghold at No. 1, with cost and taste at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, followed by natural, organic, and gluten-free.

Advice From the Experts — RDs Know Best

According to RDs, Facebook is still the No. 1 source of where consumers receive nutrition misinformation, followed by blogs and Instagram. And celebrities and friends/family remain the top sources of who consumers get nutrition misinformation from. But when in doubt, RDs feel that it’s always best to ask the experts—RDs—who agree that consumers should eat more servings of vegetables per day and increase fiber intake, which helps promote a healthy gut and improve overall well-being.

“RDs are experts at predicting trends because they consistently know what to expect from consumers,” says Mara Honicker, publisher of Today’s Dietitian. “Their trustworthy nutrition knowledge educates and improves consumer wellness, and their insights drive the future of food in industry and public policy.”

Source: Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian