• Get Gout to Go Away

    Gout is a painful arthritic condition that can be made worse by eating certain foods.

  • Over a Century of Weight Loss Fads

    The battle of the bulge is nothing new. Fad diets and scams such as “obesity soap” have been around for well over 100 years.

  • Nature’s Weapon In The Fight Against Fat

    Like most people, you probably gained a few extra pounds over the holidays – and with the arrival of the New Year, chances are good that you’ve been looking high and low for anything that could help you take off the fat without obsessive calorie-counting, starvation or endless hours at the gym. If so, you’ll […]

  • Honoring the First Fitness Guru Jack Lalanne

    According to Jack, “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

  • Nourish and Warm Yourself With Soup

    In honor of National Soup Month serve up some homemade soup to nourish and warm yourself on a cold winter’s night.

Get Gout to Go Away

Posted Jan 22, 2011

You rarely see charity benefit concerts or 10K runs dedicated to eradicating gout. But here at The Quiz, we want to help foil this painful arthritic condition by pointing out its association with various foods and supplements. Take our swell quiz.

1. Researchers have analyzed data on nearly 80,000 women over 22 years from the Nurses’ Health Study and found an association between what beverage and gout?

a) Coffee

b) Soft drinks

c) Vodka

2. Orange juice with a high fructose level also may pose a risk. According to the Tufts University Health Letter, women with the highest fructose intake had what higher risk of gout than those with the lowest fructose intake?

a) 23 percent

b) 40 percent

c) 62 percent

3. The women in the study who drank an average of two or more sodas daily saw what level of increased gout risk?

a) 62 percent

b) 79 percent

c) 240 percent

4. According to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, men who consumed what amount of vitamin C supplements had a 34 percent lower gout risk than those not taking extra vitamin C?

a) 500 milligrams

b) 1,500 milligrams

c) 5,000 milligrams

5. Gout has a historical reputation of being a disease of the rich and famous, whose big toes puffed up when they overindulged. Which of the three U.S. presidents below did not suffer from the affliction?

a) Grover Cleveland

b) Bill Clinton

c) William Howard Taft

ANSWERS: 1: b; 2: c; 3: c; 4: b; 5: b

Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Update; Archives of Internal Medicine;

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Over a Century of Weight Loss Fads

Posted April 11, 2011

WASHINGTON – Before there was Dr. Atkins, there was William Banting. He invented the low-carb diet of 1863. Even then Americans were trying out advice that urged fish, mutton or “any meat except pork” for breakfast, lunch and dinner – hold the potatoes, please.

It turns out our obsession with weight and how to lose it dates back at least 150 years. And while now we say “overweight” instead of “corpulent” – and obesity has become epidemic – a look back at dieting history shows what hasn’t changed is the quest for an easy fix.

“We grossly, grossly underestimate” the difficulty of changing behaviors that fuel obesity, says Clemson University sociologist Ellen Granberg, after examining archives at the Library of Congress. She believes it’s important to show “we’re not dealing with some brand new, scary phenomenon we’ve never dealt with before.”

Indeed, the browning documents are eerily familiar.

Consider Englishman William Banting’s account of losing almost 50 pounds in a year. He did it by shunning “bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer and potatoes, which had been the main (and I thought innocent) elements of my existence” in favor of loads of meat.

His pamphlet, “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public,” quickly crossed the Atlantic and become so popular here that “banting” became slang for dieting, Granberg says.

While obesity has rapidly surged in the last few decades, we first changed from a nation where being plump was desirable into a nation of on-again, off-again dieters around the end of the 19th century, Granberg says.

Before then, people figured a little extra weight might help withstand infectious diseases that vaccines and antibiotics later would tame. It also was a sign of prosperity. But just as doctors today bemoan a high-tech, immobile society, the emergence of trolleys, cars and other machinery in the late 19th century scaled back the sheer number of calories people once burned, Granberg explains. Increasing prosperity meant easier access to food.

“An excess of flesh is to be looked upon as one of the most objectionable forms of disease,” the Philadelphia Cookbook stated in 1900. Low-cal cookbooks hadn’t arrived yet; the calorie wasn’t quite in vogue.

By 1903, La Parle obesity soap that “never fails to reduce flesh” was selling at a pricey $1 a bar. The Louisenbad Reduction Salt pledged to “wash away your fat.” Soon came an exercise machine, the Graybar Stimulator to jiggle the pounds. Bile Beans promoted a laxative approach.

As the government prepares to update U.S. dietary guidelines next week, the Library of Congress culled its archives and, with Weight Watchers International, gathered experts recently to discuss this country’s history of weight loss.

Granberg recounted how real nutrition science was born.

The government’s first advice to balance proteins, carbohydrates and fat came in 1894. A few years later, life insurance companies reported that being overweight raised the risk of death. In 1916, the Department of Agriculture came up with the five food groups. Around World War II, charts showing ideal weight-for-height emerged, surprisingly close to what today is considered a healthy body mass index.

Diet foods quickly followed, as did weight loss support groups like Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers – putting today’s diet infrastructure in place by 1970, Granberg says.

Yet fast-forward and two-thirds of Americans today are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. Weight-loss surgery is skyrocketing. Diet pills have been pulled from the market for deadly side effects, with only a few possible new ones in the pipeline.

More and more, specialists question how our society and culture fuel overeating.

“Should it be socially desirable to walk down the street with a 30-ounce Big Gulp?” asks Patrick O’Neill, president-elect of The Obesity Society and weight-management director at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Negotiating a weight-loss menu for a family with different food preferences is a minefield that affects how people feel about themselves and their relationships with loved ones, adds Clemson’s Granberg, who began studying the sociology of obesity after losing 120 pounds herself.

“If what you need is a nutritionally sound, healthful weight-loss plan, you can get 100 of them,” she says. “That, we have figured out in the last 100 years. It’s how to do all this other stuff that I think is the real challenge.”

EDITOR’S NOTE – Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.

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Nature’s Weapon In The Fight Against Fat

Like most people, you probably gained a few extra pounds over the holidays – and with the arrival of the New Year, chances are good that you’ve been looking high and low for anything that could help you take off the fat without obsessive calorie-counting, starvation or endless hours at the gym.

If so, you’ll be happy to know that your search is over – because, while you may not realize it, your body already has the secret to a slimmer waistline, in the form of a weight-regulating hormone called leptin.

Leptin is generated in proportion to the amount of fat on your body: As the size of your fat cells increases, they produce more leptin. In the presence of higher fat stores, leptin sends a signal to your hypothalamus to reduce your hunger, and tells your body to start burning fat instead of storing it.1-4

In short, a balanced, steady supply of leptin is nature’s most effective way of keeping your body slim, trim and healthy – no fad diets or crazy workouts required. Unfortunately, there’s a catch.

As it turns out, people who just can’t keep weight off don’t struggle with low leptin levels – on the contrary, their levels of leptin are typically too high. That’s because one too many leptin surges – whether from overeating or high carbohydrate loads – can eventually make your body unresponsive to this hormone’s critical messages. The result is leptin resistance – and it can have a profound effect not only on your weight, but also on your inflammatory responses, your blood sugar levels, your heart health, your bone density and your immune health.5-17

An out-of-control appetite and stubborn weight gain are two of the most common signs that your body’s just not "listening" to the leptin signals like it used to – so, if you’ve been losing your fight against excess fat, boosting your body’s leptin sensitivity may give you the edge you need to finally succeed.

Like leptin, adiponectin has also emerged as a key fat-regulating hormone, with studies linking proper levels of this adipocytokine to normal insulin sensitivity and weight control.18 Lower levels of adiponectin, on the other hand, are associated with metabolic, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar imbalances.19-21 That’s why getting your adiponectin levels back in balance and in sync with leptin is just as important as addressing leptin resistance – and lucky for your waistline, targeted supplementation can help you with both.

An 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 22 women on identical diet and exercise regimens showed that supplementation with a combination of modified cellulose and cetylated fatty acids delivered significant improvements in both body weight and body fat percentages, as well as improvements in insulin, leptin and adiponectin levels when compared to placebo.22 These results support the findings of animal studies, suggesting that this all-natural combination – which is available now as LeptinX from Vitamin Research Products – could become the most powerful secret weapon in your weight management arsenal!

1. Halaas JL, Gajiwala KS, Maffei M, Cohen SL, Chait BT, Rabinowitz D, Lallone RL., Burley SK, Friedman JM. Weight-reducing effects of the plasma protein encoded by the obese gene. Science. 1995 July 28;269(5223):543-546.
2. Stehling O, DÃ ring H, Ertl J, Preibisch G, Schmidt I. Am. J. Leptin reduces juvenile fat stores by altering the circadian cycle of energy expenditure. Physiol. 1996 December;271(6 Pt 2):R1770-R1774.
3. Levin N, Nelson C, Gurney A, Vandlen R, de Sauvage, F. Decreased food intake does not completely account for adiposity reduction after ob protein infusion. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1996 February 20;93(4):1726-1730.
4. Kalra SP, Kalra PS. Neuropeptide Y: a physiological orexigen modulated by the feedback action of ghrelin and leptin. Endocrine. 2003;22(1):49-56.
5. Barouch, L. A. Disruption of leptin signaling contributes to cardiac hypertrophy independently of body weight in mice. 2003;108(6):754-59.
6. Galletti F, D’Elia L, Barba G, Siani A, Cappuccio FP, Farinaro E, Iacone R, Russo O, De Palma D, Ippolito R, Strazzullo P. High circulating leptin levels are associated with greater risk of hypertension in men independently of body mass index and insulin resistance: results of an 8-year follow-up study. J Clin Endocrin Metabol. 2008;93:3922-3926.
7. Parhami F. Leptin enhances the calcification of vascular cells: artery wall as a targetof leptin. Circulation Research. 2001;88(9):954-60.
8. Wallace AM. Plasma leptin and the risk of cardiovascular disease in the west of Scotland coronary prevention study (WOSCOPS). Circulation. 2001;104:3052-56.
9. Harris, Ruth B. S. Leptin – much more than a satiety signal. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2000, Vol. 20, 45-75
10. Sweeney G. High leptin levels acutely inhibit insulin-stimulated glucose uptake without affecting glucose transporter 4 translocation in 16 rat skeletal muscle cells. Endocrinology. 2001;142(11):4806-12.
11. Lin C-Y, Higginbotham DA, Judd RL & White BD. Central leptin increases insulin sensitivity in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2002;282:E1084-E1091.
12. Hedbacker K, et al. Antidiabetic effects of IGFBP2, a leptin-regulated gene. Cell Metab. 2010;DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2009.11.007.
13. Ducy P. The osteoblast: A sophisticated fibroblast under central surveillance. Science. 2000;289:1502-04.
14. Karsenty, G. The Central Regulation of Bone Remodeling. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2000;11(10):437-439.
15. Sanna V. Leptin surge precedes onset of autoimmune encephalomyelitis and correlates with development of pathogenic T cell responses. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2003;111:241-50.
16. Matarese G. Leptin accelerates autoimmune diabetes in female NOD mice. Diabetes. 2002;51(5):1356-61.
17. La Cava A, Alviggi C, Matarese G. Unraveling the multiple roles of leptin in inflammation and autoimmunity. J. Mol. Med. 2004;82:4-11.
18. Vasseur F. Adiponectin and its receptors: partners contributing to the "vicious circle" leading to the metabolic syndrome? Pharmacol Res. 2006 Jun;3(6):478-81.
19. Ukkola O, Santaniemi M. Adiponectin: a link between excess adiposity and associated comorbidities? J Mol Med. 2002 Nov;80(11):696-702.
20. DÃ ez JJ, Iglesias P. The role of the novel adipocyte-derived hormone adiponectin in human disease. Eur J Endocrinol. 2003 Mar;148(3):293-300.
21. Renaldi O, Pramono B, Sinorita H, Purnomo LB, Asdie RH, Asdie AH. Hypoadiponectinemia: a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Acta Med Indones. 2009 Jan;41(1):20-4.
22. Fragala MS, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Maresh CM, Puglisi MJ, Vingren JL, JY Ho,. Hatfield DL, Spiering BA, Forsythe CE, et. al. Influences of a dietary supplement in combination with an exercise and diet regimen on adipocytokines and adiposity in women who are overweight. Eur J Appl Physiol (2009) 105:665-672.

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Honoring the First Fitness Guru Jack Lalanne

Posted Jan 25, 2011

Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru who inspired television viewers to trim down, eat well and pump iron for decades before diet and exercise became a national obsession, died Sunday. He was 96.

LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay on California’s central coast, his longtime agent Rick Hersh said.

Lalanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end, Hersh said.

“I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for,” Elaine LaLanne, Lalanne’s wife of 51 years and a frequent partner in his television appearances, said in a written statement.

Just before he had heart valve surgery in 2009 at age 95, Jack Lalanne told his family that dying would wreck his image, his publicist Ariel Hankin said at the time.

LaLanne (pronounced lah-LAYN’) credited a sudden interest in fitness with transforming his life as a teen, and he worked tirelessly over the next eight decades to transform others’ lives, too.

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

His workout show was a television staple from the 1950s to the ’70s. LaLanne and his dog Happy encouraged kids to wake their mothers and drag them in front of the television set. He developed exercises that used no special equipment, just a chair and a towel.

He also founded a chain of fitness studios that bore his name and in recent years touted the value of raw fruit and vegetables as he helped market a machine called Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.

When he turned 43 in 1957, he performed more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the “You Asked For It” television show. At 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco – handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. Ten years later, he performed a similar feat in Long Beach harbor.

He maintained a youthful physique and joked in 2006 that “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

“I never think of my age, never,” LaLanne said in 1990. “I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me. Look at Bob Hope, George Burns. They’re more productive than they’ve ever been in their whole lives right now.”

Fellow bodybuilder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger credited LaLanne with taking exercise out of the gymnasium and into living rooms.

“He laid the groundwork for others to have exercise programs, and now it has bloomed from that black and white program into a very colorful enterprise,” Schwarzenegger said in 1990.

In 1936 in his native Oakland, LaLanne opened a health studio that included weight-training for women and athletes. Those were revolutionary notions at the time, because of the theory that weight training made an athlete slow and “muscle bound” and made a woman look masculine.

“You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights,” he once said. “It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out.

“It was the same with women. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights. I guess I was a pioneer,” LaLanne said.

The son of poor French immigrants, he was born in 1914 and grew up to become a sugar addict, he said.

The turning point occurred one night when he heard a lecture by pioneering nutritionist Paul Bragg, who advocated the benefits of brown rice, whole wheat and a vegetarian diet.

“He got me so enthused,” LaLanne said. “After the lecture I went to his dressing room and spent an hour and a half with him. He said, ‘Jack, you’re a walking garbage can.'”

Soon after, LaLanne constructed a makeshift gym in his back yard. “I had all these firemen and police working out there and I kind of used them as guinea pigs,” he said.

He said his own daily routine usually consisted of two hours of weightlifting and an hour in the swimming pool.

“It’s a lifestyle, it’s something you do the rest of your life,” LaLanne said. “How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne.

Associated Press writer Polly Anderson contributed to this report.


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Nourish and Warm Yourself With Soup

Posted Jan 25, 2010

Americans eat approximately 10 billion bowls of soup each year. But that’s not the reason we celebrate National Soup Month in January.

Soup is the perfect comfort food for this cold, wintry month. A steaming bowl or mug of delicious, homemade soup can take the chill off. The added bonus is, it satisfies your hunger and makes you feel full longer.

Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, author of “The

SuperFoodsRx Diet,” recommends choosing soups packed with flavorful “super foods” like beans, lean chicken or turkey, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes — and especially spices and herbs.

“Using spices and herbs does more than add flavor to your favorite soups without added calories or sodium. They also contain concentrated levels of natural antioxidants comparable to fruits and vegetables, including many of the super foods,” said Bazilian.

Visit or for additional recipes and tips for spicing up soups.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary leaves, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons butter, divided

1 package (8 ounces) mushrooms, sliced

1 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup flour

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions

1 cup frozen peas

8 thin bread slices

1 teaspoon oil

Mix rosemary, thyme and garlic powder in small bowl. Reserve 1/2 teaspoon. Heat 1 teaspoon butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add mushrooms, carrots and remaining seasoning mixture; cook and stir 3 minutes. Remove from saucepan. Set aside.

Melt remaining 3 teaspoons butter in saucepan on medium heat, stirring to release browned bits from bottom of skillet. Sprinkle with flour; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until flour is lightly browned. Gradually stir in broth until well blended. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable mixture, chicken, pearl onions and peas; simmer 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut bread into rounds with 3-inch cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet. Brush bread with oil and sprinkle with reserved seasoning mixture. Bake in preheated 350 F oven 10 minutes or until toasted. To serve soup, ladle into soup bowls and top each with 1 crouton.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings. Note: This soup cannot be frozen.

Nutrition information per serving: 211 calories, fat 7g, protein 16g, carbohydrates 21g, cholesterol 42mg, sodium 469mg, fiber 2g

Corn and Potato Chowder

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces Canadian bacon, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup diced celery

3 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons oregano leaves

1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, crushed

2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

2 bay leaves

2 cups milk

3 cups frozen corn kernels

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add bacon; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add onions and celery; cook and stir 6 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with flour, garlic powder, oregano and rosemary. Cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir broth into saucepan until well mixed. Add potatoes and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in milk and corn. Bring to simmer — do not boil. Simmer 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Discard bay leaves. Ladle into soup bowls to serve. Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 192 calories, fat 4g, protein 9g, carbohydrates 30g, cholesterol 12mg, sodium 388mg, fiber 3g

Sausage and Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup diced celery

4 ounces turkey kielbasa, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no salt added diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup red or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 package (5 ounces) baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add kielbasa; cook and stir 3 minutes longer or until kielbasa is lightly browned and vegetables are softened. Stir in thyme, garlic powder, paprika and red pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes or until fragrant.

Stir in broth, tomatoes and lentils. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in spinach. Simmer until wilted. Ladle into soup bowls to serve. Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 172 calories, fat 4g, protein 11g, carbohydrates 23g, cholesterol 9mg, sodium 468mg, fiber 6g

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