Archive for the ‘Health-ify That Boy’

Bugles: One Snack That’s Bad Enough to Blacklist

picture-1Okay, there are very few foods that I will put on my will-not-eat list. Blacklisting foods isn’t necessary, realistic, or very fun at all, as you can pretty much enjoy your fave not-so-healthy foods if you have a serving or so and workout and eat well the rest of the time. But I have found a food that isn’t worth the energy it takes to chew: Bugles.

Why you ask? Let me tell you. When my brother—who is currently relocating to Philly for a new job and is staying at my place until he finds his own—plopped down on my couch with a bag of Bugles two nights ago, I was curious. Okay, okay, I was secretly happy. I hadn’t seen Bugles since back in the days of, I don’t know, elementary school, and totally was too happy to snag one from him. But once I popped it in my mouth, it wasn’t the happy flashback to childhood snacking I thought it would be. It was so greasy and fat-filled that I had to flip the bag over and check out the nutritional stats ASAP.

There are EIGHT GRAMS OF SATURATED FAT in a single serving of Bugles. Eight grams! Of saturated fat! That’s 40 percent of the daily allowance for a 2,000-calorie diet and one more gram of saturated fat than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder! And this is the kind of fat that clogs up arteries and can lead to a host of horrible things, including heart disease.

Of course, upon telling my grows-muscles-in-his-sleep brother, his response was the reason why he’ll make some lucky girl the perfect BFB: “Yeah,” he said, smiling, tossing a few more Bugles back for good measure. “It’s like eating fried corn filled with air.” Ha. Isn’t that lovely?

Well, even if he won’t blacklist them, it’s one less of his snacks that are now laying around the apartment that will be tempting me! I’d rather go have a burger!

WEIGH IN: What’s the worst nutritional sticker shock you’ve had lately?? I want to know!


Share a Glass of Wine a Day, Not a Bottle, to Live Longer

090429205609-largeSharing a glass of wine instead of bottle at dinner may help keep your honey healthy. A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that men who drank up to a half a glass of wine each day boosted their life expectancy by five years. Though wine drinkers had less risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, a disorder where the blood vessels of the brain stop working correctly due to high blood pressure, wine drinkers weren’t the only ones reaping benefits. The researchers also found that light, long-term alcohol consumption — up to 20 grams a day — of all types extended life by about two years compared to those who drank no alcohol at all.

But don’t think that’s a signal to polish off a six pack. Twenty grams is only about .7 ounces. So, about 1/8 of an 8-ounce wine glass. Which isn’t a lot. But even if you know you’ll never subsist on a few sips, take heart: those who drank more than 20 grams a day still lived longer than non-drinkers. (That said, too much alcohol is obviously dangerous to your health and your waistline, so be smart!)

And if the next time you’re out your guy is deciding between a glass of pinto and a mixed drink, tell him this:

” … men who drank only wine, and less than half a glass of it a day, lived around 2.5 years longer than those who drank beer and spirits, and almost five years longer than those who drank no alcohol at all.”

Headed to the bar? Chug this chaser to slim down!

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Big Guys In Their 20s at Risk for Abnormal Heart Rhythm Later In Life

heart-beatYour boy’s beer belly might not seem like a big deal now, but it could be setting him up for problems down the road. A recent study found that a big body size at age 20 increased men’s risk for developing atrial fibrillation (aka: an abnormal heart rhythm) later in life, making them more susceptible to heart attack or stroke. The bigger the men were in their 20s, and the more weight they gained as they aged, the greater the risk.

“Atrial fibrillation proved to be significantly more common both among those men who were big during their youth, as well as among those who gained a considerable amount of weight later on in life,” Dr. Annika Rosengren, from Sahlgrenska Academy, Goteberg, Sweden, noted in a statement.

But even big guys without bellies need to keep tabs on their ticker. The study also found that tall, well-built men had a higher risk of AF later on.

“Since both weight and height are increasing among young people, it’s quite likely that atrial fibrillation will become more common when today’s young men reach their 60s and 70s,” predicted Rosengren, particularly if the tendency to put on weight later on in life continues.

But even if your guy is carrying extra pounds, don’t worry. There are so many little things you can do (without nagging!) to help him be his healthiest—even if he hates veggies!

Water Fountains for Weight Loss: The Cheapest Way to Drop Pounds

If tax day has you searching the couch cushions for coins, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to drop big bucks to drop pounds. A study published in this month’s Pediatrics found that encouraging second- and third-graders to drink water during the school day reduced their risk for obesity. In some schools, water fountains were added while others dolled out water bottles and allowed kids to fill them each morning.

At the beginning of the study, there were no statistical differences in the prevalence of overweight kids in the different groups. By the end of the school year, however, children in the schools where water drinking was encouraged were 30 percent less likely to be overweight.

Though the study was unable to pinpoint the exact reason for success in the agua-drinking kids, water does everything from help you feel full to replace calorie-heavy beverages like juice. So cut down on the three-dollar lattes and the sugary and artificially sweetened sodas, and embrace the water cooler at work, the water fountain at the gym, and those water bottles that you have tucked away with all those lidless, plastic containers that you so need to get rid of but only seem to amass more of, and lose weight while saving your wallet.

Five Reasons to Eat Your Easter Eggs

Though they’re easy to miss amid all that green grass and sugary sweetness, the best bites from the bunny are the color-dipped eggs. Whether you crack them open and dust them with a bit of salt and pepper or dice them up and sprinkle them over a salad, just make sure you eat them!

Here, the five reasons why you shouldn’t let your Easter eggs go to waste.

1. They help you train better. A 2009 study published in Nutrition Today found an essential amino acid in eggs helps muscles recover after a workout. The same amino-acid mix also helps you build muscle mass and sustain the muscle you’ve already got.

2. They’re a recession-friendly protein source. One egg has 5.5 grams of protein, only 68 calories—and costs about 15 cents a pop.

3. They boost brain power. Eggs are a good source of the brain-boosting nutrient choline, which helps nerves send and recieve messages and has been shown to lower inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, research shows that close to 90 percent of Americans are choline deficient.

4. They speed weight loss. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that eating eggs for breakfast can help you drop pounds. Out of 160 overweight men and women, those that ate two eggs for breakfast for eight weeks lost more weight than those who scarfed down a bagel worth the same calories.

5. They protect your peepers. Egg yolks are a good source of lutein, a cartenoid that helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as you age. Even better? The lutein in eggs is better absorbed by the body than when you eat green veggies like spinach, which are thought to be top sources.

Calorie Sticker Shock May Save Your Sweetheart (And Your Relationship)

Dunkin’ Donuts’ “6 Donuts for $3” deal can make any penny-conscious consumer pause, especially in these recession-riddle times. But stop for a coffee in New York and the same donut deal looks a lot less appetizing; It’s now paired with a calorie count that’s shocking enough to make even the most wallet-worried spender rethink bringing a box home to those they love. The Big Apple banner? ”6 Donuts for $3 (1,140 – 3,060).” Suddenly, the parenthesized calories make it seem less like a tasty treat and more like an attack on personal health.

Though I can only imagine the heart-attack-inducing moment most fast-food CEOs had when they learned they would have to start posting the caloric tally of everything from Big Macs to banana splits last April, it doesn’t seem to be keeping BFBs from walking up to the counter. It does, however, seem to be affecting what they order. Even the most unconcerned-with-calories of New York-residing guys have slowly found themselves ordering differently, switching from Subway’s 560-calorie meatball marinara to the less-heavy 280-calorie turkey sub or leaving the 120-calorie whipped cream off their frozen latte.

“It’s hard not to be affected by it when it’s staring you in the face,” says one guy, chomping down on his new lighter breakfast: an egg-and-cheese on an English muffin—a major switch from the bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel he used to order. A recent survey by Chicago-based foodservice consultants Technomic, Inc., agrees, finding:

… 86 per cent of New York City restaurant-goers were surprised by the calorie count information now listed on menus or menu boards, with 90 per cent of them claiming that the calorie count was higher than expected. As a consequence, 82 per cent suggested that calorie disclosure is affecting what they order, with 60 per cent indicating it is affecting where they visit.

No, it’s still not “health food,” but the fact that a fast-food run in New York gives on-the-spot lessons of how many calories go-to-grub contains means two great things for New York-residing ladies: 1) They no longer have to cringe when their boy tosses out a comment like the 2,000-calorie burrito he just downed “was a snack” and 2) Guys that never before thought about calories are starting to flip over packages to read nutrition labels elsewhere, like the grocery store—which means healthier foods in the house for both of you.

So, guys, girls: If you live in New York, have the calorie counts changed what you or your date decides to eat? And if you don’t live in the Big Apple, do you think that if your state started posting calorie counts it would change what you and your honey pick off the menu??

Tell Your Superheros: Carrots May Cause X-Ray Vision

Researchers at Cornell University found that when kindergartners were told they were eating “X-ray vision carrots” they ate 50 percent more than when they were told they were eating plain old veggies. The name of the game? Stealth Health, a new approach aimed at getting kids to eat healthy at school, not by banning junk, but by making good-for-them-foods more appealing.

The general principle is finding changes that push people in the right direction without limiting their choices,” says David Just, a behavioral economist at Cornell University who has worked with the USDA. In the cafeteria, that means using environmental cues to make the most nutritious decision the most desirable one. … “Removing food choices is a good solution until they graduate or until they go to 7-Eleven on Saturday,” he says.

Of course, the average boy is not gonna buy that carrots will allow him to see through walls—as much as he might secretly wish that they did—and of course, they can walk or drive themselves to the nearest candy-stocked convenience store or grease-filled fast-food joint. But there’s so many amazing things that foods do naturally, like help prevent ugly things like cancer, diabetes and a whole host of other nasty diseases, that you can still up their appetizing ante without flat out fibbing. (Want an example? Zucchini may help prevent colon cancer, garlic has been shown to help lower blood pressure, and sweet potatoes are packed with free-radical-killing antioxidants!)

Of course, a teeny, tiny nutritional lie isn’t the worst thing if it’s going to start him down the path to healthier eating, right? What’s the most ridiculous thing you ever said or did to get your honey to try something??

Fat Chat: Does Diet Matter or Is Who You Hang With More Important?

I’m sure you’ve seen the recent headlines declaring that if you want to lose weight it doesn’t matter which diet you follow, you just need to eat less—basically, it’s all about calories, not content. The recent flutter of news is thanks to a new study published in the February 26th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study compared four different diet plans and found that after two years, participants had lost about the same amount of weight—six to seven pounds. However, I found this article by Serena Gordon for HealthDay News very interesting. She writes:

This might not be the end of the debate, however. In an accompanying editorial, Martijn Katan, a nutrition professor at VU University in Amsterdam, pointed out that although the researchers had anticipated that the contents of the diets would vary greatly, the actual differences in content between the plans averaged just 1 percent or 2 percent. Continue Reading →

BFB Test Kitchen: Chocolate “Magic” Cake

The next time you decide to bake for your boy, whip up this super-simple, way-better-for-you chocolate cake. My editor, Sarah, was so excited about it that she emailed me the recipe today. Here’s what she had to say!

I’ve been baking chocolate cakes with just a can of pumpkin. Nothing else. All you have to do is mix one can of pumpkin (15 oz.) with a chocolate cake mix and bake. No eggs, no oil, nothing. You can’t even taste the pumpkin and it’s super-healthy for you since pumpkin is so good for you. I throw some lowfat Cool Whip on it when it comes out of the oven warm and it tastes fantastic. (You may have to bake it a bit longer than normal since the pumpkin is so moist.) I nicknamed the cake “magic cake.” LOL

Sarah’s right. Pumpkin is incredibly good for you. It’s packed with potassium (which has been shown to help lower blood pressure), beta-carotene (which may help reduce the risk of colon cancer and do a host of other helpful things, like fight inflammation in the body) and folate (which helps prevent birth defects if taken before and during pregnancy).

Not only am I dying to try this, but I’m wondering if it will work in vanilla cake mix or in coffee cake, too! Thanks, Sarah!

Do you have a great way to sneak nutrition into your BFB or cut calories from your favorite dessert?? Let me know! Email me at

Heated Car Seats Could Put a Freeze On Your Man’s Mojo

Your cutie’s car seat could be doing more than keeping your bum warm. German researchers found that 90 minutes on a heated car seat raised scrotal temps high enough to harm your sweetheart’s swimmers. Optimal conditions for the boys is about 95 degrees F—which is why they hang out outside of the body. Toastier temps put stress on the testicles, which has been shown to impair sperm. Too long on the warmers can raise temps to core body heat, about 98 degrees F. Over time, this may cause fertility troubles. So if you’re thinking of making your twosome a threesome anytime soon, consider turning those seats off once the hot air starts blowing through the vents, especially on longer trips, and stay warm the pre-luxury-car way.