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!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup


High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener and preservative. High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar. The end product is a combination of fructose and glucose. Because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods.

According to the AAP, high-fructose corn syrup, the principle nutrient in sweetened drinks, is not a problem food when consumed in smaller amounts. The problem is that most sweetened drinks contain large amounts of the substance so it is not easy to consume it in small amounts!

According to the Mayo Clinic's website:

So far, research has yielded conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. For example, various early studies showed an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages (many of which contained high-fructose corn syrup) and obesity. But recent research — some of which is supported by the beverage industry — suggests that high-fructose corn syrup isn't intrinsically less healthy than other sweeteners, nor is it the root cause of obesity.

While research continues, moderation remains important. Many beverages and other processed foods made with high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity — which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

If you're concerned about the amount of high-fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners in your diet, consider these tips:

  • Limit processed foods.
  • Avoid foods that contain added sugar.
  • Choose fresh fruit rather than fruit juice or fruit-flavored drinks. Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar.
  • Choose fruit canned in its own juices instead of heavy syrup.
  • Drink less soda.
  • Don't allow sweetened beverages to replace milk, especially for children.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Family Fun Sunday


The nice weather is finally here. I don't know how long it will last but I do know that I am taking advantage of every sunny second. The best part of Spring is the opportunity to (finally) get the kids out of the house. Every weekend, my family and I pick a different State Park, botanical garden, or college campus to explore. Today we brought the kids' bikes (a bike with training wheels for 6 year old Zachary and a tricycle for 3 year old Danielle). My mom even decided to join us, making the day that much more fun! Zachary and I have a tradition: we race at every opportunity. Of course, since he is on a bike and I am running, I don't stand a chance. His self-confidence SOARS every time he beats me- which is every time we race. And this year, for the first time, Danielle was able to participate. Last summer we strolled her in the stroller but this year we tried out the tricycle. We went on a three mile trail, thinking we would walk a little bit and then turn back. It didn't turn out that way! The kids were having so much fun that they wouldn't stop! Danielle tricycled the entire three mile trail. Desite a few falls along the way, she had a blast. We kept asking her if she wanted to walk a little but she was persistent. And God forbid we try to help her by giving her a little push. "Mommy, I can do it by myself!"

Of course, Zachary and I were faster since we were running/biking so we would go up a bit and then come back for the rest of the family. In all, we must have done 4 or 5 miles! And Zachary didn't want to stop either. I came to dread the phrase, "JET POWER" because I knew it meant that he was going to sprint forward and I had to use all my energy to try to catch him! It was a blast.

Even my husband was a total trooper! He woke up at 7:30 (which was like 6:30 due to daylight savings time) to play soccer with his buddies and he twisted his ankle in the game. He wouldn't let that stop him though! And my mom had already taken a sixty minute strenuous bike ride when we called to invite her to join us- but she was into it too.

The bottom line? We had a FABULOUS family day that included lots of 'exercise' that didn't feel like exercise. It felt like fun. And that is what Family Fun Sunday is all about.

Try it with your family. Go outside and explore some part of nature. You can walk, jog, run, bike, rollerblade, or even use a scooter (just be careful!) Just get outside and get moving!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The dangerous condition your pediatrician most likely is not screening for...


According to the CDC, there has been a 90% increase in new cases of diabetes over the past ten years.

Unbelievable. Even more disturbing is that most children and adults with 'prediabetes' don't even know it. I am constantly diagnosing patients with pre-diabetes and the first question they have is, "How come my pediatrician never mentioned it?" The answer is simple... I really don't know. I can often tell that a patient has pre-diabetes simply by looking at the back of their neck. Acanthosis nigricans, or a darkening of the skin behind the neck or in the armpits and other skin folds, is all you need to see to know that your child has pre-diabetes. Look at the examples below... These are fairly advanced stages of acanthosis nigricans. Your child's may be lighter than this so look carefully.

Acanthosis nigricans is usually seen with conditions that increase insulin levels, such as type 2 diabetes or being overweight. High insulin levels can trigger activity in skin cells, resulting in this dark, thick, velvety skin. Acanthosis nigricans can also be caused by medicines such as human growth hormone and oral contraceptives (aka "the pill"). There is no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans, although weight loss may decrease its appearance.

I always check fasting glucose and insulin levels to make sure that my patient has not yet developed diabetes. Acanthosis nigricans is a sign that a patient's weight is starting to affect his/her health. It should be a wake-up call that weight loss is needed immediately to prevent the development of diabetes. If your child is overweight, be sure to check their neck and make sure that they do not have this sign of "hyperinsulinemia" (higher than normal insulin levels). The absence of acanthosis nigricans, however, does not mean that your child does not have pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Any overweight child should have their fasting glucose and insulin levels checked as a precaution.

Now overweight children all over the country can follow Dr. Dolgoff's Weigh online at www.DrWeigh.com. We have a 96% weight loss success rate!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Obese Teens Risk of Dying Young Same as Heavy Smoker's!

Wow! A new study was reviewed in the NY Times that has some shocking results. They discuss a large European study published in this week's British Medical Journal that spanned decades. The study found that young men who were overweight at age 18 were as likely to die by age 60 as smokers who smoke up to10 cigarettes a day (aka 'light smokers'); these young adults were one-third more likely to die young! The study then went on to say that obese teens were as likely to die by age 60 as heavy smokers who smoke more than half a pack of cigarettes a day; their risk was DOUBLE the normal risk.

As with every study, there is some backlash that the risk is overstated. But either way, it does serve to remind us that being overweight or obese is not a cosmetic issue; it is a severe medical issue.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in our country. According to the CDC, obesity will soon overpass smoking to take this dubious honor.

Parents: take action now! Do not wait. The time to help your overweight child is NOW!

Our site is live! Now your child can lose weight following Dr. Dolgoff'sWeigh online. Go to www.DrWeigh.com for more information. Your child's road to wellness starts here...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lean Types of Protein


Not sure what to make for dinner? Many dinners revolve around the protein portion so I will review some lean proteins that are healthy and easy to incorporate into yummy meals.

Beef: Extra-lean beef can be surprising healthy. The leanest cuts are tenderloin and top sirloin. When opting for ground beef, choose extra-lean (not lean which can have up to 10 grams of fat per serving!) In terms of percentages, choose ground meats that are at least 93% fat-free.

Chicken: Chicken breasts are an extremely healthy source of protein. But the breast is not the only cut that you can eat. While dark meat does have more calories and fat than white meat, it is still okay to eat- as long as you remove ALL of the skin. Vary the type of chicken that you serve so your kids don't get bored.

Ground Turkey: It is a myth that ground turkey is healthier than ground meat. It all depends on the type of ground turkey and ground meat. Regular ground meat includes the light meat, the dark meat, and even the skin! It can have significantly more fat than 95% fat-free ground beef. And, in my opinion, ground turkey never tastes as good as ground beef. However, if you want to get really lean, opt for the 99% fat-free all white meat ground turkey. That is as lean as it gets!

Fish: It is not true that all kids hate fish. There are some types of fish that kids love (and no, I am not talking about the fried fish stick versions!) My daughter loves salmon and my son loves rare tuna. Other mild fish include cod and tilapia. Just remember, fresh fish should be used or frozen within two days. Once frozen, fish will stay good for about a month.

Tofu: Tofu is a source of protein that takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with! For stir-fries and main dishes, use firm or extra-firm tofu. For baking or smoothies, try silken or soft tofu. For increased flavor, buy pre-packaged tofu that has already been marinated.





Sunday, March 1, 2009

A trick to get your kids to exercise


Your dog can truly be your child's best friend. Give your child the chore of walking the dog and voila- instant movement! Dogs love to run around outside. Chances are your child will feed off of the dog's enthusiasm. Encourage your child to play outside with the dog as much as possible. Studies show that simply getting your kid outside of the house helps with weight loss. So don't even mention exercise! Just tell your kids that the dog is getting restless and suggest they take him for a walk, play chase, or even play fetch. Once they are in the routine of walking the dog, tell them that their beloved pet is getting too heavy and the vet wants the doggy to run around a bit. All vets encourage exercise so it is not really a lie ;) In any case, suggest that your child jog with the dog for one minute and then walk for five minutes. Each week, increase the jogging by thirty seconds and decrease the walking by thirty seconds. In time, your child and dog will be jogging straight through! Gradually increase the length of the walks.

Not only will your child benefit- but your dog will be in better shape as well!