Tag Archives: choose
Jan. 3, 2013 — Is weight loss one of your New Year’s resolutions?
If so, you might get some valuable guidance from a new survey of more than 9,000 Consumer Reports readers who have been there, done that.
The readers ranked do-it-yourself plans and commercial plans.
MyFitnessPal, a free web site and smartphone app, got top satisfaction marks in the survey.
Weight Watchers got the highest satisfaction marks of the four commercial diet plans rated by dieters.
“What you are seeing here is the judgment of people who have been on the diets,” says Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor for Consumer Reports.
The ratings are not based on the safety of the diet nor on nutrition experts’ assessments.
The satisfaction scores took into account the cost of the plan, ease of use, and weight loss, Metcalf says.
There were enough responses to tally results for 13 diet plans and tools.
The full results are published in the February issue of Consumer Reports.
How the Plans Stack Up
Of a possible 100 points, here is how the four commercial diet plans rated by readers fared:
- Weight Watchers, 74. The plan assigns a “PointsPlus” value to each food based on the nutrient content. It encourages physical activity. Users get support at meetings or online.
- Medifast, 70. This is a low-calorie meal replacement plan.
- Jenny Craig, 66. The approach includes branded meal replacements and personal consultations with a staff member.
- Nutrisystem, 56. This approach includes branded meal replacements and online tools for weight control.
Nine do-it-yourself plans were rated. Here is how they fared on the same 100-point satisfaction scale.
- MyFitnessPal, 83. This free web site and smartphone app includes a food and exercise diary.
- Paleo Diet, 80. This ”eat-like-a-caveman” approach includes eating lean meats, fruit and fish, and non-starchy vegetables. Users avoid cereal grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods.
- Mediterranean Diet, 77. Users eat plant-based meals with olive oil and limit dairy, red meat, and refined carbohydrates such as sweets.
- SparkPeople, 76. This online app tracks food and exercise and offers menu plans.
- South Beach Diet, 72. Users focus on healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Glycemic Index Diet, 71. The approach focuses on eating foods that do not cause blood sugar to spike quickly.
- Low-Carb Diet, 71. This diet focuses on general restriction of carbohydrate-containing foods.
- Atkins Diet, 70. Followers restrict carbohydrate-containing foods initially. Then they gradually re-introduce some.
- Slim-Fast, 60. Users eat or drink Slim-Fast shakes, bars, and snacks. They also eat some ”regular” food.
Weight Loss, Satisfaction Not Linked
“Weight loss didn’t correlate well with satisfaction,” Metcalf says. Dieters balanced weight loss with other factors, she says, such as how easy the plan was to follow.
Overall, men lost more than women did, she found. Overall, the median loss (half more, half less) was 18 pounds for men and 15 for women. However, that loss was often enough to move from the obese category to overweight or the overweight to healthy weight category.
Those people on Medifast lost more than those on any other diet. Men lost 20 to 43 pounds; women, 14 to 40.
Study Touts Benefits of Salad Dressings Made With Monounsaturated Oils
June 22, 2012 — When it comes to packing a nutritional punch, a colorful salad can’t be beat. But the dressing you choose may be just as important as the vegetables for maximizing the body’s intake of important nutrients, a new study shows.
When researchers at Purdue University fed study participants vegetable salads topped with different types of oil, they found that dressings containing canola oil best promoted the absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids.
Carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin are widely believed to promote good health. Specifically, studies suggest that they lower the risk for certain cancers, heart disease, and the age-related eye condition macular degeneration.
In the study, published online in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, salads dressed with canola oil, which is a monounsaturated fat, required the least fat intake to get a substantial level of carotenoid absorption.
People who ate dressings made with polyunsaturated soybean oil and butter, which is a saturated fat, had to eat far more fat to get the same nutritional benefit.
All Oils Aren’t Created Equal
The study was small, with just 29 people.
But the findings suggest that when it comes to the absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids, all dietary oils are not created equal, says researcher Mario Ferruzzi, PhD, who is an associate professor of food science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
In earlier research, Ferruzzi and colleagues found that people who ate salads topped with fat-free dressing took in almost none of the available carotenoids, suggesting that dietary fat is necessary to absorb fat-soluble nutrients.
In the new study, the researchers examined whether the amount and type of fat plays a role in nutrient intake.
To do this, study participants ate salads dressed with either 3 grams, 8 grams, or 20 grams of canola oil, soybean oil, or butter.
The typical commercial full-fat salad dressing has 10 to 20 grams of fat per serving, while low-fat versions have about 3 grams.
Nutrient intake was measured in the study subjects through blood samples.
Surprisingly, salads made with polyunsaturated soybean oil were the most dose dependent. The more soybean oil the subjects consumed the more carotenoids they absorbed.
Saturated fat dressings were also dose dependent, but to a lesser extent.
Monounsaturated canola oil dressings, on the other hand, promoted the same level of carotenoid absorption with a 3 gram serving as a 20 gram serving.
Olive Oil Also Monounsaturated
Olive oil and oils labeled “Hi-oleic,” including some commercial soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils, are also good sources of monounsaturated fat.
The message is that monounsaturated oils may be the best choices for low-fat salad dressings if the goal is to maximize the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, Ferruzzi tells WebMD.
Nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, of New York University, says the study adds to the now overwhelming evidence that eating a balanced diet is best.
She is the author of several best-selling books on nutrition, including the book What to Eat, published in 2006.
“Carotenoids and other fat-soluble nutrients are poorly absorbed from fat-free diets,” she tells WebMD. “So this study provides confirming evidence that it’s best to eat a diet balanced in fats as well as proteins and carbohydrates.”
SATURDAY June 2, 2012 — Long-term medication side effects such as fatigue can be key for patients deciding which cancer drug to take, new research suggests.
In the study, people with advanced kidney cancer preferred pazopanib (Votrient) over sunitinib (Sutent), according to a randomized controlled trial funded by the makers of pazopanib.
Although doctors may not see a big difference between the two U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for the long-term treatment of kidney cancer that has metastasized (spread to other organs), researchers from France found that patients felt Votrient left them less fatigued and with a better quality of life, according to the study.
“While we expected patients would prefer one drug over the other, due to the known toxicity profiles, we didn’t expect this great a preference,” lead study author Dr. Bernard Escudier, a physician at the Institut Gustave Roussy, said in a news release. “This is an excellent method to report the way patients are feeling about the toxicity of drugs. It’s an important reminder that low-grade toxicities patients experience may not seem bad, but if you are experiencing the toxicity over a long time, it has an effect on your quality of life.”
Typically, reports of adverse events associated with drugs don’t include how patients feel overall when they take a drug over many months, he added.
In the study, researchers randomly assigned 168 patients with metastatic kidney cancer to receive either Votrient or Sutent for 10 weeks. After a two-week break, the prescriptions were reversed for another 10 weeks. Neither patients nor physicians knew who was getting which drug.
About 70 percent of patients preferred Votrient, while 22 percent of patients chose Sutent and 8 percent had no preference.
About 60 percent of physicians preferred Votrient, while 21 percent opted for Sutent and 21 percent had no preference. Researchers said that physicians may not be placing as much significance on quality of life differences between the two drugs.
GlaxoSmithKline, the company that makes Votrient, funded the study, which was expected to be presented Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, in Chicago.
Pfizer, the maker of Sutent, issued a statement on the findings on Friday.
“It is important to consider the limitations of this trial design,” the drug maker said. The study involved a “small randomized phase 2 trial [and] was based on patient perceived tolerability without complete evaluation of efficacy, a key consideration in the treatment of metastatic cancer patients. Therefore, one cannot establish a full understanding of the comparative risk/benefit profile of SutentR (sunitinib malate) from this study,” Pfizer said.
The company also noted that, “through experience in clinical practice and trials, physicians are continuously learning how to optimize the treatment of advanced [kidney cancer] to improve the management of this devastating disease and ensure patients continue to get maximum benefit from Sutent.”
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on kidney cancer.
Posted: June 2012
So, you’ve decided it’s time for a new kitchen faucet. Maybe it’s part of a massive kitchen renovation, maybe you’ve inherited a dilapidated, leaky faucet, or perhaps you’re just looking for an inexpensive way to update. Whatever the case, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices you face. If you last contemplated kitchen faucets in 1978 — or, for that matter, 1998 — you’ve probably realized that it’s a whole new world out there. Do you want a pull-down spray spout or a side-mounted one? What materials do you need to look for? We’ve compiled a handy guide to shopping for a new kitchen faucet — from spray hoses to built-in water filters.
First up: evaluating your faucet situation.
There are lots of good reasons to take a multivitamin. Even the best eating plans can fall short of meeting all of the 40-plus nutrients you need each day. Most Americans fail to meet dietary recommendations for many reasons, including strict dieting, poor appetite, changing nutritional needs, or less-than-healthy food choices. Taking a once-daily multivitamin is an easy way to fill in small nutritional gaps.
But strolling down the vitamin aisle to choose the best multivitamin can be confusing. With so many different brands and varieties to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin.
WebMD offers simple tips to take the guesswork out of the choosing the right multivitamin for you.
Why Take a Multivitamin?
In a nutshell, it’s wise to make sure your diet is complete with all the nutrients needed for health and wellness.
Healthy eating remains the best source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. A multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy food or a healthy lifestyle, but it can provide a nutritional back-up for a less-than-ideal diet. “If your diet eliminates whole food groups or you don’t eat enough variety of foods — you would benefit from a once-daily multivitamin,” says Karen Ansel, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and potassium as nutrients of concern for inadequate intake in adults and children. All of these nutrients, except fiber, come packaged in a multivitamin. Fiber can be obtained as a separate supplement, but it’s still best to try to get all your fiber from the foods you eat.
Although some evidence questions the benefit of a daily multivitamin and its ability to stave off disease, many people add them to their diet to maintain or boost health.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement, with 40% of men and women reporting they take a daily multivitamin.
The Harvard School of Public Health suggests a once daily multivitamin with extra vitamin D for most people as a nutritional back-up. The Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University suggests taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most vitamins and essential minerals to maintain health.
Experts may not agree about the effects of daily multivitamins. But, in bridging nutrient gaps, it’s reasonable to assume that multivitamins not only support general health, but may help head off chronic conditions or other health risks. For example, a woman could take a supplement containing folic acid to help avoid some birth defects, or a supplement with calcium and vitamin D to lower her risk of osteoporosis.
The risk of dietary deficiencies is greater than the risk of overdosing on a multivitamin. “Most American diets are missing nutrients and taking a once daily multivitamin will not cause harm, and has the potential to improve a nutrient-poor diet,” Ansel says.