Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Diet Fact or Fiction?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

fast weight loss

Fact or Fiction?


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Most of the nutrients of a fruit or vegetable are in the skin, so you shouldn’t peel it.

If you peel fruits and vegetables, recognize what you’d be giving up- the nutrients and fiber that the peel contains. Any pesticide residues in foods you buy are present at minimal levels. It’s safe to say that they probably won’t pose any health risk. You can add more to your safety net by the way you handle your food in your kitchen. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with water to remove residues on the surface and in the crevices. For foods such as carrots, squash, apples, and pears, use a vegetable brush to clean them even more. Rinse well. Avoid soap, (unless it’s a produce wash formulated to remove wax, pesticides, and soil) because it leaves its own residue. Bottom line: Leave edible skins on vegetables and fruits and trim away as little as possible. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin, and area just below the skin- not in the center. Peels also are natural barriers that help protect nutrient loss. 
Eating after 9pm makes it easier to gain weight.

The truth is simple- a calorie is a calorie no matter what time you eat it. The number on your bathroom scale will start to climb when you consistently eat more calories that you burn off with physical activity. However, mindless munching in front of the television at night can push calorie intake over the edge. The reason why people may feel sluggish after late-night eating has more to do with overindulging in a grease-, beer- and salt-fest, which can cause bloating and stomach upset. Eat at regular intervals to help avoid extreme hunger and plan balanced meals that include a variety of healthy foods. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.

Bottom line: No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. Be aware of social situations that trigger eating-such as parties, entertaining friends, dating, talking around the coffee pot at work, and happy-hour business meetings. Create your ways to avoid overeating. Food journaling on your i-phone, blackberry, or notepad can help eliminate mindless eating; it’s like a personal diet GPS, helping you stay on course, and navigate around eating trigger. Make a list of fun “non-food-related” activities: enjoy your garden, choose an active hobby as a stress-buster, surf the internet, treat yourself to a massage, or buy something new to wear or read. 



Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

Tags: quick weight loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, personalized weight loss, diet myths, diet fact or fiction

Busting 5 Diet Myths

Posted by Sari Greaves on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 @ 03:26 PM

Are you a victim of one of these diet myths?When it comes to diet and health, don’t believe everything you hear.  Widely publicized information could be incomplete, preliminary, or flawed and create massive misunderstanding. Nutrition expert, Sari Greaves, RDN will help you clear the confusion.

Diet Myth # 1: Weight gain is a common sign of gluten sensitivity.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are different. Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten (a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and oats) that damages the intestinal lining and includes symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, anemia, fatigue, headache, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, and joint pain. Some people with celiac disease experience weight loss and absorb less calories.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are NOT one and the same.Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a little-studied diagnosis describing individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms such as bloating and fatigue but lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. The problem is that little is known about NCGS, from how much gluten is needed to trigger symptoms to whether gluten is even the culprit.

Bottom line advice: If you think you are sensitive to gluten, find out if you have celiac disease. That means a blood test for three antibodies and, if you have them, a biopsy. Why test first? Going off gluten can make the antibodies temporarily disappear, which makes celiac harder to detect. A gluten- free diet is the treatment for celiac disease. If everything’s negative but you feel better without gluten, chances are you may be eating healthier and less junk food. Talk to a dietitian to make sure you are getting adequate B-vitamins and fiber in your diet.

Diet Myth # 2: Protein drinks curb appetite

Does a protein shake really fill you up?“Satisfies hunger longer,” promise Special K Protein Shakes, which are largely blends of water, nonfat milk, whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and sugar. “With every tasty shake, you’ll get the nutritional benefits of 10g protein and 5g fiber that can help satisfy your hunger so you can lose weight.” Really? Some studies report that higher-protein foods make people feel more full than lower-protein foods, but other studies find no difference.

Bottom line advice: If you want to feel full, have some food, not a drink. A drink- with or without protein- may be less satiating than a solid food. A little more protein may satisfy hunger but the jury is still out on whether that translates to weight loss. Still, if you’re cutting calories, it makes sense to cut carbs and fat rather than protein. A 10 oz. Special K Protein shake has 10 grams of protein at the expense of 190 calories and the fiber comes largely from maltodextrin and polydextrose, processed fibers that may have little or no effect on appetite. Want some protein and fiber? Try 5 oz of fat-free plain greek yogurt (90 calories, 15 g protein) with a light sprinkle of nuts.

Diet Myth # 3: Low-fat foods promote weight loss.

If your veggie pizza recipe has as many calories as a meat-lover's recipe, then you might not be doing yourself any favors by switching one for the other.Decreasing the fat content of the diet does not guarantee that you’re decreasing calories. Whether you’re eating full-fat or low-fat ice cream, what shows up on the bathroom scale is largely determined by portion control. The food industry has been dishing out larger buns, burritos, bagels, cakes, cookies, scones, muffins, pizza, soft pretzels, pancakes, paninis, wraps, soft drinks, pasta, lo mein, and rice, making it easier to eat more of everything, including both fat and sugar from white flour carbs.

Bottom line advice: Slash dietary fat where it matters most by targeting foods that can improve heart health and actually shave off calories. If you’re going from full-fat to skim milk, you’re almost halving the calories. If you’re going from fatty cuts of meat to very lean cuts of meat, you’re decreasing the calories significantly. But if you’re going to eat fat-free brownies, cookies, waffles, and pancakes, it’s highly unlikely you’re saving any calories at all.

Diet Myth # 4: Dairy foods keep you lean

Is it better to go skim or whole? The jury's still out on this one.Study links drinking fattier milk to lower weight. Really? The notion that high-fat dairy foods keep you lean isn’t really grounded in much solid evidence. High-fat dairy may make you feel more satiated, but the research is skimpy. 

Bottom line advice: Right now, there is no real link between full-fat dairy foods and less weight gain, so it’s best to continue sipping on skim milk.

Diet Myth # 5: A healthy Mediterranean diet is eating Greek or Italian food.

When doing a Mediterranean diet, stick to fish and veggies, not to pasta and cheeses.A Mediterranean diet has been linked to lowered risk of heart disease for young populations. But what constitutes a Mediterranean diet can be misinterpreted. If you go to an Italian or Greek restaurant, you’re getting cheese on almost everything, white bread gyros, and there is definitely meat on the menu. A healthy Mediterranean diet is rich in beans, low-fat dairy, nuts, fish, vegetables, and fruits; its moderate in lean meats and poultry.

Bottom line advice: To make a diet more Mediterranean, you can add unsaturated fat (largely from olive oil) and subtract carbs. But many people forget to subtract. If you are going to drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on your salad, (120 calories per tablespoon, you are better off misting!) make sure to subtract the croutons which are high in salt and usually made with white bread.  Cut back on the portions of pasta or rice and choose whole grains as opposed to refined grains.

Do You Need a Personalized Weight Loss Program? 

References: Nutrition Action Healthletter, June 2014,

Tags: Weight Loss, health, diet myths

Step Ahead's Starbucks Coffee Chat

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 @ 02:44 PM


Step Ahead's Starbucks Coffee Chat- Today's Topics: Diet myths, Busted!

Check blog/Facebok page for more information.

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Tags: diet myths, starbucks coffee chat, Step Ahead Wellness Center