Welcome To The Smart for Life Diet
Memphis, TN – Eating cookies to lose weight? Dr. Sasson Moulavi says the Smart for Life weight management program will help you do just that. Hear the whole story on this video with Dr. Sass from Fox 13 Memphis.
Many people who are overweight and obese either don’t realize it or are in denial — and too few doctors are setting them straight, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data on roughly 5,500 people who took part in government health surveys between 2005 and 2008. One-third of the obese participants and 55% of overweight participants had never been told by a doctor that they were overweight, the study found. This is like going to see your doctor with an obvious cancer and that doctor is too shy or busy to tell you the truth.
If a doctor did comment on a patient’s weight, it seemed to make an impression. Nearly 20% of obese people whose doctors hadn’t brought up their weight described themselves as “not overweight,” compared with just 3% of those whose doctors had addressed their weight. Obese and overweight patients who discussed the issue with doctors were also more than twice as likely to have tried to lose weight in the previous year. This is what I tell my patients straight out “Your diet is a direct result of the definition of obesity”.
“If people are told by their doctor that they are overweight, it corrects their perception,” says the lead author of the study, Robert Post, M.D., research director of the Virtua Family Medicine Residency in Voorhees, New Jersey
Overweight is defined as having a body mass index between 25 and 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 and up. (BMI is a rough estimate of body fat based on the ratio of a person’s height and weight.)
Doctors may be reluctant to broach the subject of weight for a number of reasons. For instance, busy physicians might not want to fall behind schedule by adding another topic to their list of things to discuss during an appointment and many doctors have negative attitudes toward their heavier patients, whom they see as unlikely to stick to a diet and exercise program, he adds.
Even though almost two-thirds of U.S. adults are now overweight or obese, Dr. Moulavi believes that as Americans have grown heavier, most of the population has a skewed perception that this is “norm” of what constitutes an ordinary weight now.
In fact, most of the overweight study participants accurately estimated their BMI. But many didn’t see their weight as unhealthy or recognize the need to shed some pounds.
In addition, studies have shown that smokers whose doctors remind them of how unhealthy smoking is are encouraged to quit and are more likely to do so successfully than those whose doctors stay mum. Simple reminders and encouragement to lose weight could have a similar effect on overweight and obese patients, Dr. Moulavi says.
Know your BMI and act on it if it’s above 25. Get started today with SmartforLife® healthy nutrition products to help you achieve your goals.
You might think that tangerines are just a great treat but new research shows that they also have potent health effects for your heart. Researchers from The University of Western Ontario have discovered that a substance in tangerines not only helps to prevent obesity, but also protects against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes. According to the research published in the journal Diabetes, the secret ingredient is a flavonoid known as nobiletin.
To study the effects of nobiletin on metabolic syndrome in humans, researchers fed mice a “western” diet high in fats and simple sugars. One group of the mice became obese and showed all the signs associated with metabolic syndrome: elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood levels of insulin and glucose, and a fatty liver. These metabolic abnormalities greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The second group of mice was fed the exact same diet but researchers added nobiletin. Those mice experienced no elevation in their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or glucose, and gained weight normally. In addition, the mice became much more sensitive to the effects of insulin.
According to the researchers, nobiletin was shown to prevent the buildup of fat in the liver by stimulating the expression of genes involved in burning excess fat, and inhibiting the genes responsible for manufacturing fat.
“The nobiletin-treated mice were basically protected from obesity,” Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and the Director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts. “And in longer-term studies, nobiletin also protected these animals from atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. This study really paves the way for future studies to see if this is a suitable treatment for metabolic syndrome and related conditions in people.”
Tangerines, also known as mandarin oranges, have unique health properties which distinguish them from other oranges or citrus fruit. One compound, tangeretin, is known for inhibiting the growth of leukemia. Both tangeretin and nobiletin have been found to fight breast cancer. Want to increase the nobiletin in your diet? Eat the tangerine but don’t forget the skin. The healthiest compounds in citrus fruit are in the rind and zest. Toss the minced rind or zest into marinades, salads and desserts.
I believe that eating a diet rich in flavonoids is key to good health. Eat your flavonoids and get started today with SmartforLife! -Dr. Sass
Foods keeping you from weight loss? As reported recently, potato chips and french fries, and generally any potato products, contribute to the biggest weight gain over time, according to a new Harvard study, which researchers say is the first to look at long-term weight gain pegged to specific foods.
Dr. Sass has known these facts to be true for some time and the study, conducted over 20 years and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that among more than 100,000 men and women whose weight was evaluated at four-year intervals, the average weight gain over each period was 3.35 pounds. This corresponded with an average weight gain just shy of 17 pounds over 20 years.
The researchers also tracked how much weight specific foods led people to gain over each four-year period. Potato chips were the worst culprit, associated with a weight gain of 1.69 pounds, followed by potatoes in general at 1.28 pounds. (French fries were worse than boiled or mashed potatoes.) This, explained Dr. Dariush Mozzafarian, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, could be because starches and refined carbohydrates produce bursts in blood glucose and insulin, increasing hunger and thus upping the total amount of food people eat at their next meal.
There were plenty of non-potato culprits, too: Sugary beverages accounted for a one pound weight gain, while alcohol was linked with an average gain of 0.41 pounds over four years. Unprocessed meats accounted for a 0.95-pound uptick in weight, while processed meats were right behind at 0.93 pounds.
“Our findings indicate that small dietary and other lifestyle changes can together make a big difference, for bad or good,” Mozzafarian wrote in an email, adding, “For diet … eat fewer starches and refined foods like potatoes, white bread, low-fiber breakfast cereals, processed meats, sweets and soda.”
Instead, the study suggests, opt for healthier options if you want to lose weight.
“Common sense is very uncommon” Dr. Sass says and adds that “The age old adage of you are what you eat rings so true time and time again”. People who added a daily serving of vegetables lost an average of 0.22 pounds over four years, the researchers found. People who added whole grains lost 0.37 pounds, and those who ate fruits shed almost half a pound. Nuts and yogurt also resulted in weight loss — all under one pound, but those losses can add up over time.
The authors point out that while these foods contain calories and fat as well, eating them usually causes people to avoid unhealthier, more calorie-dense options — “displacing” them, in a way — which ultimately leads to weight loss.
Also, because they have higher fiber content, they may be more satisfying. “Satiety is a big thing,” said Jeannie Moloo, R.D., a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “Consuming these foods [i.e. chips, sweet beverages and meat] could be less satiating and less filling, triggering hunger signals.” Moloo praised the study, saying it was important to have finally documented the advice that dietitians and medical practitioners have been giving for years.
Another example of this advice? The fact that being sedentary isn’t good for the waistline. The study showed that changes in physical activity were related to long-term changes in weight, singling out TV watching as an example. Watching an hour of TV per day led to a 0.31 pound weight gain over each four year period — a finding the authors chocked up to people’s tendency to snack while they watch.
Sleep also plays a role: Participants who slept between six and eight hours a night were less likely to gain weight than those who got fewer than six hours or more than eight.
“Be active,” Mozzafarian said, “turn off the TV, and get enough sleep.”
Dr. Sass couldn’t agree more with this article and lists the foods associated with the most pounds gained and the least pounds gained over a four-year period.
Start eating healthy today and lose your unwanted weight with SmartforLife®!
Phoenix- Good Morning Arizona – Three women share their stories of weight loss on three different diet plans. One woman used Medifast, another used Smart for Life and a third woman used an ice cube diet. All three lost 100 pounds or more.
DietsInReview- In the May 16 edition of The New Yorker, John Seabrook delves into the ways that PepsiCo is working to reposition itself in light of the global obesity crisis. “Snacks for a Fat Planet” is bookended with the author’s interactions with Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s C.E.O. Nooyi argues that it’s not enough for the company to make snacks that taste good, but also be “the good company.”
Nooyi is clearly a leader who understands the huge potential for corporate good, both for the bottom line and for society. She also sees that the health crisis created by obesity does not bode well for the future of PepsiCo’s profits, no doubt a factor in the company’s efforts to make healthier products. Earlier this year, the company began making a number of Frito-Lay products with natural ingredients. They also have plans to reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in their products by 25 percent by the year 2015, under guidelines created by Derek Yach, the former World Health Organization cabinet director.
PepsiCo’s removal of artificial coloring and their reduction of sodium seems encouraging, considering the company’s vast market share. But Seabrook’s article shows that PepsiCo’s plans to make “better for you” snacks and beverages revolve around new technology, huge research facilities and the development of new additives. Although the company is moving towards using “all natural” products, these products will still be highly processed. It’s also worth noting that because the term “all natural” is in no way regulated, it is one of the most common and abused packaging gimmicks.
Reading through the article, it seemed to me that many of the changes are token gestures, not meaningful improvements in the nutritional quality of PepsiCo’s products. “When you make something that is full of sugar and chemicals, it doesn’t take much to make it a little better,” Ann Rosenstein, the author of Diet Myths Busted: Food Facts Not Nutrition Fictionwrote me. “But healthier isn’t necessarily healthy! Going from an 80% junk food product to a 60% junk food product still makes food junk.”
Perhaps my conclusion is too easy, a knee-jerk reaction from someone who spends her days thinking and writing about healthy food. There are certainly plenty of nutrition experts who argue that we shouldn’t eat pre-packaged, processed foods at all, from those espousing the Paleo diet to those who favor the raw diet. However, this does not reflect the way the vast majority of Americans eat.
“Unfortunately we are a snack machine society, so until that changes I think it’s great that companies are attempting to make things healthier,” said Jessica Forbes, MS CCN. “Even if I don’t necessarily agree on how they are doing it.” Forbes said she’s wary of foods containing lab-engineered chemicals. “I believe if it doesn’t exist in nature in some form, then we shouldn’t be eating it!”
Stacy Goldberg, R.N. and Chief Nutritionist of Daily Gourmet, agrees that we should eat foods that come as directly from nature as possible. “The challenge is that’s not always reality.” Goldberg explains that while eating natural, whole foods will have more benefits in the long run, eating better snack foods can have immediate benefits for individuals who are not going to make such a radical change. “If someone’s consuming a large amount of sodium and they’re getting it from their snack foods, they may in fact be better off choosing a product that’s lower in sodium because their blood pressure is so high.”
Seabrook reports that one of the new substances that PepsiCo will soon be using in its U.S. products is a “15 micron salt,” a new kind of salt that contains 25 to 40 percent less sodium than the current formulation. I can’t help but wonder, what exactly does it mean to create a new salt? How will the body break it down? Many of the experts I spoke with also seemed skeptical of the new molecule. “We don’t know the long-term effects,” said Goldberg. She has similar concerns about Splenda, which is used in a large number of PepsiCo products, including Pepsi One, all Propel beverages, Diet Mountain Dew and Amp Energy. “We don’t have any clinical research studies behind them with long-term data to show what are the effects of these new particles or these new creations that they’re coming up with.”
Dr. Sasson E. Moulavi, M.D. and Medical Director of Smart For Life, is similarly cautious. “We don’t know what they’re going to do” in the body he said. “What [PepsiCo] really should be doing is cutting the salt down without adding anything else instead of it.”
Dr. Moulavi is a particularly interesting person to talk about the nutrition of processed foods with, because his company has created a weight-loss program that’s centered around prepackaged, portion-controlled cookies, bars and shakes. “If you can see the ingredients in it, then generally it’s minimally processed and it’s generally good for you.” He argues that there a number of natural additives that companies like PepsiCo could use to improve the nutritional quality of their snack foods, instead of simply replacing sugar and salt with substitutes that are not used by the body. He cites ingredients such as flax seed, fish oil, blue green algae and pomegranate extract, which can all help the body perform essential functions.
Forbes also suggested a number of ways that snack foods could be made with ingredients that would better serve the body. “If I could design my own snack machine contents, it would contain food bars made from raw nuts or nut butter with dried fruit and honey or whole stevia, root vegetable chips fried in coconut oil or olive oil (to me the unhealthy fat is just as much an issue as sodium), and high protein items like salmon jerky that contains enough natural spices to not require a ton of salt.” That’s a long way from Nooyi’s concept of “drinkified snacks” and “snackified drinks,” supposedly healthy products that would be so heavily processed that the original food would undergo a material change of state.
Dr. Moulavi also argued that companies need to be more honest about portion sizes. “They’ll say a portion is a handful of chips, or seven chips, or they’ll give a very small number of grams. Companies have to become truthful and make their portions realistic.”
Everyone I spoke with agreed that consumers need to read the ingredients list on packaged foods before purchasing them, despite any claims made on the front of the package. “I think it’s always important to know what you’re putting into your body, and into your children’s bodies,” said Goldberg, who also advocated for more transparency on the part of food manufactures. “Use the company as a resource. Go to Pepsi, go to Nestlé, go to whatever company, ask them, ‘What is this food?’ and ‘How is it created?’ As a consumer, I think you’re entitled to that information.”
Our own Dr. Sass was just featured on the biggest mom blog “Rich Mama Secrets”, and they asked him if it was okay to put a tween on a diet. Share with your friends and share your comments with us about it.
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And here are his answers:
Q. Is it ever ok to put your kids on a diet – especially with girls – what has to do with the body naturally maturing vs. really gaining too much weight?
A. If the kids are overweight, and all parents should find out the child’s BMI, then yes, it’s okay to put them on a diet. The diet must be rich in nutrients and protein in order not to stunt growth. But the risks of staying overweight are much greater than going on a weight loss program.
Q.How do you know when to be concerned about their weight and/or eating habits? Who or what guidelines should you trust?
A. You must use the BMI scale adjusted for kids. Visit your family doctor or pediatrician. The USDA has a great BMI tool for kids or visit www.smartforlife.com/ChildrensProgram.
Q. What are some tips that any tween girl and her family can use for healthy weight management?
The key is for them to have a high protein, low sugar breakfast. Excellent examples are egg white omelets and Smart for Life cookies, cereals and granola squares. Cut out all sugary drinks and junk food. Increase the amount of green leafy vegetables. Eat small, multiple meals throughout the day. Never eat anything fried. Do one hour of exercise per day – anything counts (walking, dancing, skating, exercise).
Q. Overall, tweens get conflicting messages – on the one hand, the media shows us too skinny, but on the other hand, many Americans are overweight – how can parents reconcile this conflicting information and help girls have healthy body images?
A. Tweens often get conflicting messages. We want them to be a healthy weight. Once a tween knows what a healthy weight is for her height and age, it is very easy to get to that range. Many tweens will unfortunately think of themselves as too fat even when they are at a healthy weight. Parents, doctors, teachers should get involved in explaining to these young girls what a healthy weight is and that a certain amount of fat is necessary for a healthy body and a long life.
Q. What else should parents be concerned about?
A. Obesity is a big problem in America and children are not excluded. The main causes of childhood obesity are the following:
• Huge increase in portion sizes in restaurants, schools, fast food and at home
• An increase in sedentary kids sitting in front of the computer, television, electronic hand-held games, etc.
• Very powerful advertising from the food industry showing high-calorie, sugary foods that are supposedly “good for you”
• High fructose corn syrup being added to sodas, juices and many other foods that provide lots of calories, no nutrition, and actually make kids hungrier than they truly are, so they eat more
• Finally, overweight kids are now almost the norm. It is not unusual to see a group of kids where 50% of them are overweight. When such a big number of kids are overweight, there is very little incentive to lose weight because kids and their parents feel fine because “everyone else is like that.”
Parents are the key to prevent obesity in their children. Parents must vote with their wallets and not buy poor quality, sugary food. Parents must lobby the food industry and government agencies for better quality food, labeling and healthier choices. Parents must educate their children on nutrition and its link to health just like they educate about “Stranger Danger”, Smoking, Drug and Alcohol abuse, even car seat safety. Parents need to set an example and share how some foods are bad for children. Schools should offer healthier food choices including white milk without sugar added! The medical community and insurance companies have to get serious about this issue as well and work with families, schools, and children’s organization to educate, inform and monitor children.
So what can you do to help an overweight/obese child? Consider Smart for Life’s THIN ADVENTURE or another healthy, balanced diet alone and incorporate exercise with it. If your child does not lose weight, seek the help of a medical professional. Overweight children get adult diseases much earlier including diabetes, heart disease and elevated cholesterol. These children should be screened to identify any of these symptoms and work with a medical professional to control the disease now rather than later. Keep in mind that overweight children also suffer from self-esteem issues and may need help with that as well. An overweight child becomes an obese adult.
The worst misconception about overweight/obese children is that a lot of parents think that their child is not suffering from being overweight. Many children tell their parents that they are okay with their weight and it does not bother them. Absolutely not true. Studies show that overweight kids do suffer socially and psychologically from their weight. Think about the rise in bullying in the schools; kids can be cruel and this will most certainly impact a child’s development, physically and emotionally. It is imperative that parents do not accept this type of answer from their kids, but instead learn how to talk to their kids about their weight in a gentle and supportive manner. Acting as a role model, providing encouragement and motivation, and becoming an advocate for better nutrition will ultimately be one of the best contributions a parent can make towards their overweight child’s fight to lose the weight.
Dr. Sasson E. Moulavi (Dr. Sass), M.D. is the Medical Director of Smart for Life™ Weight Management Centers (www.smartforlife.com) headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida and is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He completed post graduate training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Moulavi holds Board Certification in Bariatric Medicine and is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. He has completed the Annual Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity at Harvard University and is a member of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine as well as the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. For more than 13 years he has specialized in the study and treatment of Bariatric Medicine. Dr. Moulavi has directed the operation of multiple Weight Loss Centers in both the United States and Canada. Prior to 1995, he practiced as a family doctor in Canada. His passion is also to protect our planet by keeping our food supply clean of toxins and providing healthy choices for generations to come.