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Understanding Food Labels: Calories

How many calories should you eat in a day?  One survey found only one out of every 8 adult Americans actually knows the answer to this question.  In addition, although most people are aware that to lose weight one must lower overall caloric intake, calculating the number of calories eaten in a day is confusing.  Enter the Nutrition Facts label – which actually can confuse the issue even more, unless you understand how to read between the lines.

The first order of business is to estimate the number of calories you need in a day for basic metabolism.  Remember, though, that this is just an estimate based on a clinical formula!  There are many factors that influence metabolism, but here is a good place to start.

You will first need an accurate weight and height – and you can’t lie about your age.

Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )

Just a note:  If you are significantly overweight, this equation may overestimate calorie needs because fat stores do not metabolize calories at the same rate that lean muscle tissue does.  We’ll deal with that in a minute.

Once you get BMR (which stands for basic metabolic rate), multiply the result by an activity factor.  This will increase total calorie needs based on how active you are:

  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

If you wish to lose weight, subtract 500 calories (which will potentially result in a 1 pound per week weight loss), and you have an estimation of how many calories you need in a day.

Now head for the Nutrition Facts label on that food you are about to eat.  The total number of calories in a food is derived by adding together fat, carbohydrate, and protein (the macronutrients).

Calories = (fat grams x 9) + (carbohydrate grams x 4) + (protein grams x 4)

Keep in mind that the calories derived from this equation may be slightly off because calories listed on the Nutrition Facts label are rounded up or down to the nearest 0 or 5 (usually down, so be aware you may be eating more calories than you think).

Keep a food diary of the calories you eat in a week.  At the end of the week, weigh yourself.  If you lost or maintained, the calorie calculation you did above may be right on point.  If you gained, first be sure you were truthful (a common problem!) then adjust your calorie estimation down by 100 calories.  Keep working in small increments like this to find your unique balance for calorie needs. ask questions Company formation . .

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Recalled Food List for the Week of July 9th

Miravalle Foods Recalls Chile California and Chile Nuevo Mexico Peppers

Miraville Foods of El Monte CA is recalling “Miravalle Chile California & Miravalle Chile Nuevo Mexico” Brand Peppers distributed between March 15th and May 6th 2010 to some customers in CA, CO, UT, NC, NE, ID, OR and NV because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled Peppers distributed to a small group of customers through direct delivery, distributors and retail stores are in 3oz. (UPC Code: 7 12810-00301 & 7 12810-00304), 6 oz. (UPC Code: 7 12810-60001 & 7 1280-60004), 8oz. (UPC Code: 7 12810-00802 & 7 12810-00803) and 16 oz. (UPC Code: 7 12810-16005 & 7 12810-16007) clear plastic packages under the “Miravalle Chile California & Miravalle Chile Nuevo Mexico” Brand and in bulk 25lb. boxes.

J. Hellman Frozen Foods Recalls Senor Mexicano Avocado Pulp

J. Hellman Frozen Foods of Los Angeles is recalling 992 cases of Senor Mexicano Avocado Pulp because of the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  These were distributed in California and Hawaii.  The 2 pound bags have UPC Code 7 503012 650001 with the following Lot number on a sticker affixed to the package: A 21 04 10 / A 21 04 12.

Consumers are asked to dispose of the product or return to the place of purchase for a refund.  Questions or comments can be directed to Greg Abadjian, Director of Food Safety at 213‐243‐9105 between the hours of 4 A.M. to 9:30 A.M.

Ready Pac Recalls Baby Spinach Bagged Salads

Ready Pac Foods of Irwindale CA recalled 702 cases of the Baby Spinach variety of Spinach Temptations 6 oz bagged salads with Use By dates of July 4 with Product codes  11707B, IR127121 and July 8 with Product Code 12007B, IR130373 because they could be contaminated by Escherichia coli 0157:H7 (Ecoli 0157.H7).

The product was sold in California, Washington and Arizona.  The Use By date and product code are located in the upper left hand corner of the package.  Consumers with the products should dispose of the product and contact Ready Pac at 800-800-7822 Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm Pacific Time to obtain a full refund.

Florida Company Recalls Sliced Apples

Marjon Specialty Foods Inc of Plant City FL has voluntarily recalled 119 cases of sliced apples due to possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes.  The apples are packaged in 2 ounce single serve packages and were labeled with the brand names “Simply Fresh Fruit” or “Miller’s Ale House”.  Use by dates are 7/20/10 and 7/21/10.  They were sold to three foodservice distributors in Florida and were successfully accounted for a destroyed by customers.

For additional details, please contact Marjon Specialty Foods, Inc. at 813-752-3482, M-F 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST

For more information about US Food and Drug Administration Recalls, or to receive your own RSS feed, visit www.fda.gov

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Strawberries and Blueberries Make Great Fourth of July Desserts

Although I live in the South, where July is notoriously HOT, I love Fourth of July barbecues with my family and friends.  Patriotic desserts are my favorite, because they provide an opportunity to use my favorite berries to create a red, white, and blue treat.  Of course, some desserts “counteract” the healthfulness of the fruit by adding way too much sugar and fat with ingredients such as whipped topping and whole milk puddings.

Here are three great recipes for Fourth of July desserts, with some ideas of tweaking them to be more healthful:

Sandra Lee’s Red, White, and Blue Trifle (Food Network)

This beautiful dessert calls for a box of red velvet cake mix, a 16-ounce tub of whipped topping, and fresh blueberries and strawberries.  According to the instructions for “Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cake Mix”, you add 3 Large eggs and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil to the mix to create the cake.  You can lower the fat in the recipe by using 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce instead of the oil.  For the eggs, try replacing one or two whole eggs with just egg whites to reduce fat.  For the whipped topping, try Cool Whip Lite, Cool Whip Free, or Cool Whip Sugar Free to reduce calories, fat and/or sugar.

Fourth of July Frozen Desserts

Another great way to end the meal is to set up a Red, White, and Blue frozen dessert “bar”.  Easily create a strawberry sorbet and a blueberry sorbet using your blender or food processor and buy a lower fat vanilla ice cream, such as Edy’s Slow Churned Light Vanilla.  Let your guests create their own patriotic sundae by including some heart-healthy nuts like walnuts or almonds or by adding some additional fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries.

Disney Family Fun 4th of July Recipes

This site just has too many great recipes to pick just one, but one of the most original I found was a “Fruit Flag” – a fun display of fresh fruit that children will especially love.  The recipe only uses fresh strawberries, blackberries and bananas displayed in a flag pattern.  It can be served with a favorite fruit dip, such this one by Kaboose, made with plain yogurt mixed with a small amount of brown sugar and vanilla extract.

Have a safe, fun Fourth of July weekend! server hosting ip

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Recalled Food List for the Week of July 2nd

Fairway Energy Mix and Setton Farms Total Energy Mix Recalled

Setton International Foods Inc of Commack NY is recalling limited quantities of its Fairway brand Energy Mix and its Setton Farms brand Total Energy Mix sold to select stores in NY and NJ because they may contain peanuts and chocolate flavored chips not listed on the label.

The recalled Fairway “Energy Mix” products were sold to Fairway stores in NY and NJ and the Setton Farms “Total Energy Mix” products were sold to the Associated 9th Ave. store in NY, the Keyfood Gerritsen Ave. store in NY, limited Foodtown stores in NJ, and select ShopRite stores in NY and NJ.

Specific lot codes can be found at the above link, or consumers with questions can contact the company at 800-227-4397 Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm Eastern Time.

Azteca Linda Recalls Queso Fresco and Queso Hebra for Possible Listeria

Azteca Linda of Brooklyn NY is recalling Queso Fresco (fresh white cheese) and queso hebra (fresh white string cheese) with an expiration date of July 7, 2010 because of the potential for contamination by Listeria monocytogenes.  These were distributed in New York State (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Newburgh) and Bayonne NJ through retail stores between June 7 and Jun 9 2010.

QUESO FRESCO is packed in a hard plastic container or wrapped in aluminum foil labeled with the brand name Queso El Azteca , UPC 0 23986 92692 8, and expiration date July 7, 2010. QUESO HEBRA is packaged in a vacuum sealed plastic bag, Net Weight 14 oz. and Net Weight 5 lbs., and labeled with the brand Queso El Azteca(Queso Oaxaca) with the expiration date of July 7, 2010.

Consumers can return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or call 718-418-7459 for more information.

Tri-Union Seafoods Recalls Chicken of the Sea Solid White Tuna

Tri-Union Seafoods LLC of San Diego is recalling a limited amount of Chicken of the Sea brand 12-ounce solid white tuna in water.  Due to a production error, the product does not meet the company’s standards for seal tightness which could result in product contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens that could lead to illness.  No illness has been reported.

The product was distributed in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Utah, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Colorado, Indiana, California, and Oregon in February and May.  UPC code 4800000262, “Best By Date 2/10/2014″ and product codes 7OA1E ASWAB, 7OA2E ASWAB, 7OA3E ASWAB, 7OA4E ASWAB, 7OA5E ASWAB, 7OAEE ASWAB or 7OAFE ASWAB are involved.

Consumers are asked to call 1-877-843-6376 for return information and a refund.

Domega NY International Recalls FUMA Custard Pie

Domega NY International is recalling FUMA Custard Pie because it may contain undeclared milk powder.  It is packaged in a 650 gram cardboard box containing 26 individual packages with a date code of 2010 02 04AA.  It is a product of China, but sold in New York State.

Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 646-388-3032.

I Dolce Inc Recalls Gelato Due to Undeclared Allergen

I Dolce Inc (dba Roba Dolce) of Warwick RI is recalling its 33.8 oz (1 liter) package of Roba Dolce Double Chocolate Chunk Gelato because it may contain undeclared peanuts.  Those with an allergy to peanuts run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.  The gelato was distributed through Kroger/Fry’s stores in Arizona and Ohio.

The product is packaged in a gold plastic container and has one of the following stamps on the bottom:  “Enjoy by 12/10/10, Mfg with pride pl #44-50, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sample” or “Enjoy by 12/10/10, Mfg with pride pl #44-50″.

Consumers are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or may contact the company at 1-877-743-5286 between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm est. for a refund.

Champion Nutrition Recalls Whey Protein Product

Champion Nutrition of Sunrise FL has recalled five lots of Champion Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Butter Pure Whey Protein in 5 pound packages due to an incomplete allergen statement for peanuts.  The product was distributed throughout the US and includes UPC code 0 27692 18550 1 and LOTS:  A0210A, C9288A, D0329A, G9201A, L9282A

Consumers who purchased the product can contact Champion Nutrition for instructions on a return and refund or replacement product at 1-800-225-4831 Monday thru Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm EST.

For more information about US Food and Drug Administration Recalls, or to receive your own RSS feed, visit www.fda.gov

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Understanding Food Labels: Where it all started

The “Nutrition Facts” label is the go-to place on a food package for most of the nutritional information you need to plan a healthful diet.  But just like cell phones and GPS and other items we use every day, it hasn’t always been there.  So who created the Nutrition Facts label, what information does it provide, and what information does it lack?

The Nutrition Facts label was mandated for most food products under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990.  The law gives the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to require nutrition labeling of foods regulated by the agency.  It also requires that nutrition claims, such as high fiber and low fat, meets FDA regulations.

Almost every food must bear the Nutrition Facts label and the information presented must be consistent.  However, there are some exceptions to the rules.

  • Foods that contribute very few nutrients, such as plain coffee, tea, and spices are not required to provide nutritional information.
  • Foods produced by small businesses or foods produced and sold in the same establishment do not carry the label.
  • Very small packages (less than 12 square inches in total surface area) may instead provide contact information on where to find the Nutrition Facts.

Every food label must prominently display and express the following information in ordinary words:

  • The common or usual name of the product
  • The name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  • The net contents in terms of weight, measure or count
  • The ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight
  • The serving size and number of servings per container
  • The quantities of these specific nutrients:  calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat (as of 2006), cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium and iron.

Labels must also give information about how certain nutrients fit into an overall dietary plan, such as less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol is recommended for someone consuming a 2,000 calorie diet.

For more on the requirements of the Nutrition Facts label, visit www.fda.gov for an exhaustive list of rules and regulations.

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Recalled Food List for the Week of June 25th

Pure Base Distribution Recalls Garlic Spread

Pure Base Distribution LLC of Ontario is recalling its 4-ounce bottles of “Pure Base Garlic Spread-Concentrate” and 7-ounce bottles of “Pure Base Garlic Spread – Ready to Spread” items because they may contain undeclared milk and wheat.  These were distributed nationwide in online and traditional retail stores.

Product lot numbers and “Best By” dates can be found at the FDA link above.  Consumers are urged to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or contact the company at 1-888-980-7474 ext 105 Monday through Friday 9AM to 4PM Pacific Standard Time.

INZ Recalls Magic Power Coffee Dietary Supplement

INZ Distributors of Brooklyn NY has recalled a dietary supplement product sold nationwide under the name Magic Power Coffee.  A lab analysis of one lot found that the product contains undeclared hydroxythiohomosildenafil, an FDA-approved drug used for the treatment of male Erectile Dysfunction (ED).

Magic Power Coffee is distributed nationwide on Internet sites and online auctions by multiple independent distributors.  It is sold in a 2-serving box with UPC 718122686872 and a 12-serving carton containing six 2-serving boxes with UPC 718122686773.   All production dates up until 05/08/2010 are being recalled.

More information can also be found here.

Kellogg Company Recalls Select Packages of Children’s Cereals

The Kellogg Company implemented a voluntary recall of certain breakfast cereals due to an uncharacteristic off-flavor and smell coming from the liner in the package.  Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops, and Honey Smacks cereals are affected only if they have the letters KN following the “Better If Used Before” Date on the package.  A full list of UPC codes for the cereals can be found at the link above.

Those with questions or who would like a replacement may contact the Kellogg Consumer Response Center at 888-801-4163 from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern time.  More information can also be found here.

Lancaster Foods Recalls Fresh Spinach

Lancaster Foods LLC of Jessup MD is voluntarily recalling fresh Spinach sold under the brand names krisp-Pak, Lancaster Fresh, Giant, and America’s Choice because they could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recall extends only t products with a “Best Enjoyed By” date of 19 JUN 10 through 27 JUN 10 and sold in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Consumers who may have potentially affected product are asked to empty the contents of the package into your garbage, save the package, and contact a Lancaster Foods, LLC consumer representative toll-free at (800) 247-8125 between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information about US Food and Drug Administration Recalls, or to receive your own RSS feed, visit www.fda.gov

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Bits and Bites for June 24, 2010

“Bits and Bites” features some of today’s food and nutrition related news and tips from around the world.

WebMD Healthy Recipe Newsletter

Instead of flipping through cookbooks or searching the web, do you want advice and guidance on healthy recipes to appear in your inbox?  Sign up for WebMD’s “Healthy Recipes” Newsletter.  While you are there, pick out more topics that you’d like information on, such as “Weight Loss Wisdom” or “Fitness”.

More on WebMD:  Obesity After Age 50 Raises Diabetes Risk

Not really new news, but emphasizes how important a healthy diet and exercise plan are to prevent chronic disease later in life, including both diabetes and cancer.   Try incorporating the principles of a Mediterranean Diet into your everyday meal plans.

NPR:  Hospital Food Goes Organic

When you visit a loved one in the hospital, have you ever noticed that the cafeteria is not exactly the best place for healthy food?  John Muir Medical Center in Concord CA (near San Francisco) is changing that by offering locally grown and organic foods.

Breast is Best:  Six Months of Breast Milk Gives Babies Immune Boost

The World Health Organization recommends that new mothers exclusively breast feed their children for the first six months of life.  But even if that isn’t in the cards for you, breastfeeding as long as possible brings many health benefits to both mom and baby. .

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Summer Reading: 5 Good Books About Healthy Eating

Do you have a vacation planned this summer?  Hopefully you will use the time to truly relax and spend time with your family and friends (Leave the BlackBerry home!!)  I like spending my down time on vacation with a good book – crime novels are my favorite.  However, you can also use the extra time to browse some great books that focus on healthy eating so that you will be ready to resume your diet plan after you return.

Hungry Girl Happy Hour:  75 Recipes for Amazingly Fantastic Guilt-Free Cocktails and Party Foods

In just about everything I write, I recommend “Hungry Girl” books.  I just love the way Lisa Lillen takes simple, easily available foods and turns them into healthy meals and snacks.  Her new book, while not one that you will sit on the beach and read from cover to cover, is a vacation must for creating lower calorie mixed drinks.  Alcoholic beverages contribute more calories than you think, especially some of the frozen drinks that are popular on hot days.  Use this guide to help create some cocktails that will not add on the pounds.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

I highly recommend this book for anyone contemplating a vegetarian lifestyle or if you have an interest in the real impact of factory farming.  At times very disturbing, it has changed the way I will eat forever.  Eating Animals is also a book that you can read in chunks, which makes it great for vacation reading time.

Skinny Bitch:  A No-Nonsense Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous

Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin have written a no-holds-barred “wakeup call” to women who want to start eating better for both health and looks.  They promote a vegan diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Most customers find this a very easy and motivating read.

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

Registered dietitians, such as myself, have long known of Geneen Roth’s work in the area of emotional eating.  Her latest edition, featured prominently on Oprah, focuses on one’s core beliefs about the food we eat in order to get to the center of the reason why we overeat.  After reading this, you may also be interested in Geneen’s other books, such as “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating” or “When Food is Love”.

Real Food Has Curves by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

What did you have for dinner last night?  Did it come from a box or a can?  Much research today is focusing on the American diet that is full of convenience foods that are loaded up with sodium and preservatives.  Real Food Has Curves is a guide for getting off processed foods by offering the reader seven simple steps to learn how to be a better shopper for healthy foods to cook for the entire family.

(Note:  The links to the books above are to Barnes & Noble, but I do not have any affiliation with that company.  Also, many of the books are available on B&N’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle, which both have lowered their prices for the summer so enjoy!)

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