Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Myth of Negative-Calorie Foods

For years, diets and weight-loss books have boasted that you can lose oodles of weight by eating foods that contains fewer calories than are expended by chewing them -- like celery and cabbage. According to Cathy Nonas, director of obesity and diabetes programs at North General Hospital in Harlem, while this might technically be true, the calorie difference is so miniscule that it would not add up to actual weight loss. Instead, these diets work their "magic" by substituting high-cal indulgences with low-cal foods. In other words, by substituting a 500-calorie cookie with a 10-calorie stalk of celery, the savings quickly adds up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Fat Beats Low-Fat

Mediterranean-style diets, rich in healthy fats from olive oil or nuts, may be better for the heart than low-fat regimens, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Spanish researchers found that the traditional Mediterranean diet bested a low-fat diet in helping older adults improve their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The findings add to the mounting evidence that diets rich in healthy fats offer better cardiovascular protection than diets that limit fat altogether.

Mediterranean-style eating typically includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, limited amounts of red meat and processed foods, and a relatively high amount of fat from olive oil and nuts. This latest finding is in line with several studies that have shown that people living in the Mediterranean region have lower rates of heart disease, despite their high fat intake.