Saturday, April 4, 2009



Hope to see you there!

Joanna Dolgoff, M.D.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why you must not allow your child to skip breakfast!

What is the worst diet mistake that many parents make for their kids? Skipping breakfast!

Eating breakfast refuels your body and replenishes your blood sugar levels. If you want your car to go, you have to put gas in it. Breakfast is the gas that gives children the energy they need to last all day long. Breakfasts that combine protein, calcium, and fiber rev the metabolism, which, for most kids, has been dormant for ten hours or more after a night of slumber. Kids who eat breakfast daily not only do better in school, but maintain—or even reduce—body weight and reap the benefits of overall good health.

According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination. They may also be more alert and creative, and less likely to miss days of school. Breakfast eaters also have better muscle strength during the morning. Kids who eat breakfast tend to have lower weights than kids who skip breakfast. These kids also tend to be less hungry throughout the day!

Many dieters skip breakfast in order to 'save' the calories. This thinking is flawed because studies show that those who skip breakfast wind up taking in MORE calories throughout the day than those dieters who start the day with a substantial meal. Skipping breakfast sets your body up to feel hungry throughout the day. And as we all know, hungry dieters often make poor choices!

Skipping breakfast also puts your child's body in a mini-starvation mode. When the body thinks it is starving, it will do anything it can to hold on to calories. First, the resting metabolic rate is lowered. This means that your child burns fewer calories all day long. Second, the body starts to break down muscle mass for energy. When your child does finally eat something, the food is immediately turned into fat to help last through the next 'famine'! This pattern sets your child up for weight gain and obesity.

On days when the family sleeps late, have to-go breakfasts planned. Busy schedules run on the energy and nutrients found in a healthy breakfast. Fiber One bars, cheese sticks, or yogurt can be packed in a backpack and eaten on the bus or before class.

Planning is the key to breakfast. When you know your morning will be hectic, plan breakfast the night before. Don't wait until the last minute.

Give your child the edge he/she needs to have the most productive and happy day possible. Start each day with a healthy breakfast!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is 'added fiber' as beneficial as the fiber naturally found in foods?

Is 'added fiber' as beneficial as the fiber naturally found in foods? Marketing campaigns certainly seem to indicate so. Ever since fiber became the new nutritional savior, companies are adding it to just about everything, even water! Consumers are unaware that this added fiber does not have all the benefits of natural fiber.

The fiber that is added to foods is called 'functional fiber'. Functional fiber does not have the same properties as the fiber found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Companies have invested lots of money into producing these new fibers and many of them have not been well-studied.

Natural dietary fiber is divided into two categories: soluble and insoluble. The soluble dietary fibers becomes viscous in water and lowers cholesterol by escorting it out of the body. Lower cholesterol levels help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Insoluble fibers add stool bulk and promote regularity. Insoluble fiber is not digested in the stomach or small intestine. They get transported to the large intestine where they have their main effects. Bacteria ferment the fiber causing an increase in the acidity of the large intestine. This increased acidity leads to many health benefits, including a decrease in inflammation, an increase in immune function and increased calcium and mineral uptake. Further, many illness-causing pathogens don't tolerate the acidic environment and die before causing disease. Fiber in the large intestine also helps to add bulk to stool, helping to decrease constipation.

Functional fiber is a nondigestible carbohydrate that has been shown to have some benefits yet studies are not clear. By definition, functional fiber is fiber that is extracted or isolated chemically or some other way. Like soluble fiber, functional fibers are often soluble in water but they are not always 'sticky' and therefore can't lower cholesterol levels the way that soluble fiber can. Functional fiber does seem to increase stool bulk and help prevent constipation. Functional fibers have names such as inulin (from chicory root), polydextrose, resistant maltodextrin, oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides and methylcellulose.

According the the American Dietetic Association, consumers should get fiber from a variety of sources. The ADA maintains that fiber found in natural foods is superior to 'added' or 'functional' fiber. More studies must be done to fully determine the difference.

Marketing campaigns are extremely misleading. They imply that these added fibers are equal to natural fiber. Even the nutrition label is no help; functional and natural fibers are lumped together under the dietary fiber category.

The basic idea is that while it is okay to get some of your fiber from these added sources, it is not okay to get all of your fiber from added sources. The key is variety. Try to get your fiber from a bunch of different sources.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beware of Hidden Sugar!

Dr. Dolgoff's Weigh: Learn how your child can lose weight... today!

Children in America eat way too much sugar each day! Much of the sugar is obvious. Cookies, candies and cakes clearly contain sugar. Sugar cereals and soda are other large sources of obvious sugar. But there is lots of sugar hiding in non-obvious food sources.

Even sugar-free pudding has sugar in it! The sugar is in the form of lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products. So how can they advertise the product as sugar-free? Sugar-free simply means that there is no added sugar. It doesn't mean that the food item is entirely free of sugar.

Why do we care about foods containing extra sugar? Eating too much sugar leads to being overweight, obesity, metabolic disorder, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Read on for some foods that contain hidden sugar; you will be surprised what you learn!

Foods That May Contain Hidden Sugar

Pasta sauce
Barbeque sauce
Peanut butter
Bread (White and Wheat)
Canned beans
Energy bars
Salad dressings
Vanilla soy milk
Canned sweet peas
Deli meats
Frozen pizza

When picking your food, be sure to look at the nutrition label. The grams of sugar on the label include both natural (healthy) sugars and the added (less-healthy) sugars. Obviously it is preferable to choose foods that contain natural sugars because they are usually found in foods that also contain vitamins and nutrients.

How do you know which type of sugar is in the food? Read the ingredient list. The trick is to look out for these sugar traps. If you see the following words on a nutrition label, the product contains sugar.

* Brown sugar
* Corn sweetener
* Corn syrup
* Dextrose
* Fructose
* Fruit juice concentrate
* Glucose
* High-fructose corn syrup
* Honey
* Invert sugar
* Lactose
* Maltose
* Malt syrup
* Molasses
* Raw sugar
* Sucrose
* Syrup
* Table sugar

How much sugar should a child eat each day? A good rule of thumb is to limit added sugar to less than 10 percent of total calories. Note that we said 'added sugar'; this does not include naturally occurring sugars found in dairy products (lactose) and fruits (fructose).

Maximum Sugar Intake

Daily Calorie Intake





















Monday, March 16, 2009

Probiotics for kids

Dr. Dolgoff's Weigh: Learn how your child can lose weight... today!

Probiotics are getting more and more attention these days but it is hard to separate fact from fiction. Are probiotics necessary for healthy children? Will probiotics help to prevent illness? Is it safe for a child to take probiotics? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the answers are sometimes, possibly, and yes. Read on to learn more...

More and more studies are supporting the use of probiotics to treat and prevent GI (i.e. stomach) problems in kids.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are harmless microbes that live in our body. These microbes are helpful because they take up space that could otherwise be used by harmful microbes. When we have plenty of 'good' microbes in our body, there is no room for the 'bad' microbes that could cause illness and disease.

How can we increase the number of probiotics in our bodies?

Probiotics are found in dietary supplements or in some of the foods we eat. Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods, such as buttermilk, yogurt and sauerkraut. However, it is hard to get high enough doses just from eating these foods. Dietary supplements provide higher doses of probiotics and are usually more effective in treating/preventing illness.

Which are the best probiotics to take?

Lactobacillus GG, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces sp.

What diseases/illnesses can probiotics help treat/prevent?

Studies show that probiotics may help to prevent and treat many different GI disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, acute gastroenteritis, and antibiotic-related diarrhea. They may also help with constipation, eczema and pancreatitis.

What are some common side effects of probiotics?

So far, studies have not revealed major adverse effects of probiotics in healthy individuals, and long-term consumption also appears to be safe and well tolerated. However, there are case reports of severe side effects in severely debilitated, immuno-compromised children and in neonates.

Is it safe for my child to take probiotics?

Studies show that L acidophilus, Lactobacillus GG and Saccharomyces sp are safe for use in children if administered in appropriate doses. Studies have been done on children as young as one month of age (although I would wait until your child is older than that before starting him/her on probiotic supplements!)

How much should I give my child?

Studies have looked at doses from 1 million to 300 billion CFU units per day. Unfortunately, there is significant discrepancy in the literature as to the appropriate doses for children and doses vary between the different probiotics. Further, variations within the same product are broad because production usually is not standardized.

When should I give my child a probiotic?

Some doctors recommend giving a child a probiotic supplement daily. Other doctors suggest starting a probiotic when a child begins taking an antibiotic.

Why should I consider giving my child a probiotic when my child begins an antibiotic?

Antibiotics are useful because they kill the bacteria that cause infections and make us sick. Unfortunately, they also kill the 'good' bacteria (probiotics) that live in our bodies. Without these 'good' bacteria, our body is susceptible to infection from yeast and other harmful microbes. Giving a probiotic supplement when starting an antibiotic helps to replenish the supply of 'good' microbes that are being killed off by the antibiotic. Probiotic treatment should be continued for one to four weeks after resolution of symptoms from the initial infection.

How should I store my probiotic?

Be careful because some probiotics must be refrigerated and others should not be. Read the label carefully.

Should I give the probiotic with food?

Again, this varies based on the type of probiotic and the brand. Some can be sprinkled on food or dissolved in drinks but others must be given on an empty stomach.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Crumbs Cupcakes


I am experiencing eater's remorse. I had a lovely meal last night at an Argentinian tapas restaurant and everything I ordered was extremely low-calorie and delicious. And then our friends suggested we head next door to Crumbs for a cupcake. There are few things I like more than Crumbs cupcakes. They are just heavenly. So I decided to indulge. The four of us shared four cupcakes. Yum.

This morning, I decided to investigated Crumbs cupcakes. I knew that they were high-calorie. In fact, I had estimated about 500 calories per cupcake. Well, I was wrong.

Each Crumbs cupcake has about 780 calories and 36 grams of fat!

That is about half the calories I eat in a day! I am shocked and horrified. Wow! Next time I indulge, it will be with HALF a Crumbs cupcake.

Eater beware!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why some people are 'naturally thinner' than others...

Did you know that not all fat in the body is the same? And that some fat helps to burn more calories than other types? It is true.

Brown fat burns more calories than white fat. Babies are born with brown fat- in fact, brown fat is what helps babies regulate their body temperature during those early days. Unfortunately, as we age, our brown fat begins to disappear.

Scientists now believe that people who are 'naturally thin' retain more brown fat than those who are more prone to weight gain. The thought is that brown fat helps people stay thin because it burns more calories than white fat.

Another possible reason some lucky ducks stay thin despite their calorie intake? It has to do with how efficiently our bodies uses energy. In this case, it is better to be wasteful than to conserve! Bodies that waste a lot of energy need to burn more calories to perform the same tasks than bodies that are super-efficient. Studies show that energy efficiency can vary from person to person by two or more percentage points which can lead to a big difference in body weight! In fact, an efficient body can 'save' enough calories to store up to 6 additional pounds each year!

I will keep you updated as new studies are reported!