Over 50 and fat

May 21, 2008

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on a nationwide survey conducted from 2001 to 2004, approximately 71 percent of Americans over 50 years old are either overweight or obese, as compared with 64 percent from the 1988-1994 survey.

Overweight refers to a person who has an excess of body weight and obesity means having a very high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. Health professionals use a measurement called body mass index (BMI) to classify an adult’s weight as healthy, overweight, or obese. BMI is based on height and weight.

The BMI ranges shown in the graph (Figure 1) are for adults. Even within the healthy BMI range, weight gains can carry health risks for adults.

Directions: Find your weight on the bottom of the graph. Go straight up from that point until you reach the line that matches your height. Then look to find your weight group.

Healthy Weight: BMI from 18.5 up to 25 refers to healthy weight.
Overweight: BMI from 25 up to 30 refers to overweight.
Obese: BMI 30 or higher refers to obesity. Read the rest of this entry »

A USDA study released in March 2008, underscores the poor nutritional habits of most Americans.

The USDA examined major trends in the amount and types of food consumed in the United States between 1970 and 2005, and also estimated whether Americans are meeting Federal dietary recommendations for each of the major food groups. Findings did not bode well for the health of our nation as it showed that although food availability has increased since 1970 for all major food groups, Americans were not meeting current recommendation for a health-promoting diet in any food group: Read the rest of this entry »

The FDA’s recommendation for adults “safe” daily sodium intake is 2,300 mg. In reality most Americans consume anywhere from 3,000-4,000 mg daily. What exactly does that look like?

Well thanks to Carl, a valued reader and expert numbers cruncher, it looks like this:

2300 milligrams = 0.005070632 lbs
.005070632 x 365 days a year = 839500 milligrams per year
839500 milligrams = 1.850780689 or about 2 pounds

2 pounds of sodium is supposed to be safe? 2 pounds is a lot of pinches here and there.

But it gets worse. Here’s what most Americans are really consuming:

4,000mg = 0.008818490487395103 pounds per day
0.008818490487395103  x 365 = 3.21 pounds of sodium per year.

That way too much sodium! Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists from Purdue University now believe that a sweet taste followed by no calories may make the body crave extra food.

Their research, published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, found that saccharin-fed mice ate more calories, put on more fat, and gained more weight than their sugar-fed counterparts.

They did not make any attempt to cut back on their food later to regulate their weight.

The researchers wrote in the journal: “The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with higher calorie sugar.

“One theory, they said, was that, in normal conditions, the arrival of a sweet taste in the mouth helped prime the metabolism for the arrival of a calorie-heavy, sweet meal into the digestive system. When the meal does not arrive, they said, the body may get confused and have more trouble regulating its appetite when other food is around. Read the rest of this entry »

The last 80 to 100 years have ushered in a drastically different style of eating in comparison to the diets of our grandparents, and their grandparents before them. No longer are our food sources home and community-based. We have become global eaters, consumers of mass-marketed, highly refined and processed “foods.”

An examination of the diets of our ancestors offers a myriad of clues and possibilities to help us find our way back to healthy eating. It is noteworthy that traditional diets that have evolved independently in different parts of the world have a common nutritionally-sound basis. Biologically, humans are omnivores, “eaters of everything.” Compared to the modern Western diet, the diets of our ancestors included far more fiber, less saturated beef fat and no hydrogenated fat such as margarine or shortening. Instead, they consumed more natural fat, particularly the omega-3 essential fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Traditional dietary practices were closely linked to other social, cultural and spiritual traditions. Respect, awe and a spirit of reverent gratitude pervaded the rituals of obtaining, preparing, eating and sharing food. Indigenous cultures from around the world developed their early eating habits based upon the regional and seasonal availability of foods within their own regions. Read the rest of this entry »