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Filed under: Nutrition

First Lady visit to Fort Jackson will highlight the impact of obesity and decreased physical activity on military recruitment

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First lady Michelle Obama will visit South Carolina this week to highlight the impact of childhood obesity and decreased physical activity on military recruitment.

First Lady Michelle Obama will visit South Carolina on January 27 for the first time since moving into the White House when she comes to Fort Jackson to highlight the impact of childhood obesity and decreased physical activity on military recruitment. Ms. Obama will spend a good chunk of the day at Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest training base, where she will discuss the “Let’s Move” campaign she launched two years ago with the aim of eliminating childhood obesity in a generation.

Click below to access the article.

Michelle Obama to visit Fort Jackson

Bad eating habits: Advice to help service members eat healthier

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Bad eating habits affect both civilians and military members.

Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System ( has an article on the obesity epidemic - which is a major problem in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article reports that bad eating habits affect both civilians and military members and provides information on how service members can improve their eating habits.

Click below to access the article.

Bad eating habits: Advice to help service members eat healthier

Do you know which dairy products to choose?

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Filed under: Nutrition, Diet

Milk and milk products provide calcium which is important for bone health. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt to reduce your intake of fat and calories. Switching from whole milk to 1% milk will save 50 calories and over 5 grams of fat per serving. Try using low or fat-free yogurts and milk in dips, salad dressings, and cream soups.

How strong are your bones?

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Strength-training for your bones.

We don’t give much thought to our skeletal systems until we do something that results in a broken bone. But bones play a vital role in a person’s general health and fitness. Our bones support us, allow us to move, and protect our vital organs from injury. They also store minerals—such as calcium and phosphorus—that are released into the bloodstream when our systems need them, for example, for muscle contractions.

Bone loss usually occurs gradually over a long period of time. By taking steps now to maintain healthy bones, you could ward off medical conditions such as osteoporosis.

One way to maintain optimal bone health is to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D, the body cannot absorb enough calcium from the foods we eat. This causes calcium to be taken our bones, which prevents the growth of new bone and results in weaker bones.

Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, and fortified products such as orange juice that have added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver, and milk with vitamin D. We also make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun, although not everyone is able to get enough vitamin D this way.

Another way to keep your bones strong is to engage in physical activity. The best exercises are the strength-building and weight-bearing kinds such as walking, climbing, lifting weights, and dancing.

Other ways to maintain bone health include preventing falls by reducing the risk factors that you can control. Improve your balance and strength through exercise, maintain good vision, and make sure that your home is free of “falling dangers” such as poor lighting and loose rugs. Risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, medications, and body weight are also controllable. Smoking cigarettes, like vitamin D deficiency, can keep your body from using the calcium in your diet. Alcohol and certain medications (glucocorticoids, for example) also can cause your bones to become weak or lose mass. Moreover, being too thin increases one’s risk of developing weak bones that are more likely to break. If necessary, boost your diet with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Also consider talking to your physician about your bone health.

You may have heard again and again how important calcium and vitamin D are. Maybe you’ve even taken some or all of the steps above. But if you haven’t, start now and take action! Eat the right foods and exercise for strong bones.

Choose juice drinks wisely

Filed under: Nutrition, Diet

With so many fruit juices on grocery shelves, do you find yourself asking, “Which one do I choose?"

With so many fruit juices on grocery shelves, do you find yourself asking “Which one do I choose?"  Look for fruit juices that are labeled “100 percent fruit juice” and read the ingredients. Juices that contain high fructose corn syrup or other sugars are an be labeled as a fruit drink, fruit punch, or fruit cocktail. These drinks add calories and contribute to obesity. Choose 100 percent fruit juice to optimize nutrition with natural ingredients, vitamins, minerals, and no artificial flavorings or sweeteners.

Not all carbohydrate foods are equally effective

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Certain foods raise blood sugar better than others. It's important to what to eat after a moderate to high intensity mission or exercise.

As stated in the Warfighter Nutrition Guide (chapter 5) , certain foods raise blood sugar, or glucose, levels better than others. Ultimately, blood glucose from foods you eat are stored in the muscles and liver, in the form of glycogen, to supply energy for future physical activity.

The term glycemic index (GI) is used to describe how high a particular food will raise blood glucose. A high GI food is more effective for replenishing muscle and liver stores of glycogen than one with a low GI. Immediately after a moderate/high intensity mission or exercise, eat foods and beverages that have a moderate to high GI to replenish the glucose used up.

Click here for more information on the Glycemic Index.

Understand cholesterol-related food claims

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Filed under: Nutrition, Diet
Be an educated consumer and learn what common cholesterol-related nutrient content claims mean.

Do you find the nutrient claims listed on many foods confusing?  You are not alone!

Such claims are strictly defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here are common cholesterol-related nutrient content claims with a detailed description of what each means. If a food claims to be cholesterol free, it means that one serving of the product contains less than two milligrams of cholesterol and two grams or less of saturated fat. Low cholesterol means that one serving contains 20 or fewer milligrams of cholesterol and two grams or less of saturated fat. Finally, reduced cholesterol means at least 25 percent less cholesterol than the regular product and 2 grams or less of saturated fat. Arm yourself with this information and be an educated consumer next time you shop.

Eat a PBJ post-workout

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Want a great post-workout meal?

It’s important to eat something after a strenuous workout to replenish muscle stores of carbohydrate and have plenty of protein available to repair the body. Try a peanut butter and jelly (PBJ) sandwich for a great post workout meal! It’s cheap and packed with nutrition if you use natural peanut butter without added sugar and fats, and whole-grain bread.

For other post-exercise snacks please visit the Warfighter Nutrition Guide.

What’s a health claim?

A recent FTC complaint against POM Wonderful products had us wondering what exactly a health claim is.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently filed a complaint against POM Wonderful products due to deceptive advertising. POM Wonderful has claimed that its products will reduce (or treat) heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction. The FTC says that these claims are not supported by scientific research.

So, what’s a health claim and what’s considered acceptable advertising as such?

A health claim statement has to have a food substance, food, or dietary ingredient, and a health condition or disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain health claims that, based on scientific evidence, show a link between a food or supplement and a health condition or disease. Health claims cannot state that a food product or supplement can treat or cure a disease. It may claim to minimize a disease risk; for example, a product advertised as low sodium can state the approved claim that “diets low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a disease associated with many factors.”

Health claims shouldn’t be confused with structure/function claims. These claims do not have to be approved and reviewed by the FDA, yet they must be truthful in stating that a substance maintains structures and/or functions of the body.  We see these claims on many fiber-rich products, like “fiber maintains bowel regularity,” or a dairy product stating that “calcium builds strong bones.” Unlike health claims, structure/function claims cannot be linked to a health-related condition or disease.  Also, an important point to keep in mind: if a dietary supplement label makes a structure/function claim, it must also state this disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

There are also nutrient content claims.  These describe the amount of a nutrient in a product.  Descriptions such as free, low, high, and rich in are used, or other terms that describe the nutrient content to that of the content in another product, such as reduced, lite, less, or more.

Manufacturing companies want consumers to buy their products.  We, as consumers, must be savvy as we try to choose products that are healthy for our families and us. False health claims are used on food products as well as dietary supplements. They claim to help us lose weight, cure diseases, and prevent memory loss. The FDA has not approved claims that focus on the treatment of diseases. They have, however, set forth regulations to authorize health claims after the scientific evidence has been presented and reviewed.

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Rethinking protein powder supplements

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Protein powder supplements are a popular source for packing on muscle.

Protein powder in a cup

Protein powder supplements are a popular source for packing on muscle. The September 27, 2010 edition Health section of the L.A. Times contains an article that poses the question of how much supplements, if any, should one use in building muscle mass?

Read the full article here.

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