Paragon Press – February 2015

THE NEW YOU FOR 2015: Essential information you and your health

Save your money: Skip the vitamins

The commercials make you think you aren’t as healthy as you could be unless you take them. However, study after study has shown no ability of vitamins to increase your lifespan, or decrease your chances of fighting a chronic disease. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins and other institutions, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet gives you all the nutrition you need. They discovered even more: taking certain supplements can increase your risk of death. Additional beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin A are considered useless and potentially dangerous. Even though you might be in the habit of taking that vitamin with your orange juice every morning, in light of this news, you’d be better off spending your money on more fruits and vegetables.

Switching to diet soda isn’t a guarantee for weight loss

Regular soda contains many empty calories: about 140 calories per 12oz can. People automatically think switching to diet soda, with virtually no calories per ounce, will make them lose weight. Did you know that new research shows overweight adults who drink diet sodas are likely to compensate by eating more food, thus resulting in no weight loss? A study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed obese/overweight adults drinking diet sodas consumed more calories at mealtimes and when snacking compared to obese/overweight adults who consumed sugary beverages. If you switch to diet soda for weight loss, you need to also eat less. It would be smart to look at other areas in the diet where empty calories are consumed, such as candies and gum, and adjust eating habits as well.

How healthy are those freeze-dried snacks?

Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are a trendy way to sneak in vitamins and minerals these days, but are they really that good for you? Technically, companies have just taken the only the water out of the food, but unfortunately, they sometimes add sugars to make them taste better. These hidden calories can add up in a day. Also, snackers might find some abdominal discomfort because of their concentrated fiber. It’s easy to eat 20 dried apple slices, but think about how much that would be if it wasn’t dehydrated. Despite these downsides, the dehydrated snacks are much better for you than candies and sugary snack bars. Eat with moderation.

More sleep, a better you in 2015?

We’re a nation of sleep cheaters, trying to get more out of the day. If you’ve made a promise to get more rest this year, here are some tips to get quality zzz’s.

  • Exercise-Moderately, three to four times a week. Research has shown exercise improves sleep.
  • Limit caffeine-Don’t drink caffeinated drinks after 4pm. Research shows they disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Relax-Make it a habit to relax one hour before bed. That includes shutting off electronics, such as televisions and computers. The light from these can delay your sleep onset.
  • Control light-Keep your bedroom cool and dark, using a sleep mask, if needed.

The following articles were referenced for this newsletter:

Pierre, C.(Ed.). (2014). Diet Soda’s Downside. Johns Hopkins Health Review, 1(1).

Pierre, C. (Ed.. (2014). Skip Those Vitamins. Johns Hopkins Health Review, 1(1).

Pierre, C. (Ed.). (2014). Before You Pack Those Freeze Dried Snacks… Johns Hopkins Health Review, 1(1).

Richards, S. (2014). Cheating Sleep. Johns Hopkins Health Review, 1(1).

Paragon Press – November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Paragon Orthopedics!

Which Is Healthier?

The holidays are upon us and many of those celebrations revolve around food in one way or another. Are you hoping make healthier choices from the buffet table? Here is a short quiz to see if you can spot which choice is better for you.

Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk

Winner: Cow’s milk because it has more calcium and protein than soy milk. Also, sugar is added to soy milk to help it taste better. Unless you are lactose intolerant, 1% or skim milk is a better choice.

Jam vs. Jelly

Winner: Jam because it is made with actual fruit. Jelly is made with fruit juice and sugar. Jams also have added sugar, but at least there is a little vitamin C in it.

Steel-cut oats vs. rolled oats

Winner: It’s a tie. Both have nearly identical nutritional value. Don’t believe there is less nutrition to rolled oats because they are not raw, like steel-cut.

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

Winner: Greek yogurt because it is higher in protein, has about half of the carbohydrates as regular, and less sugar per ounce. Watch what you stir into that Greek yogurt! Regular yogurt is the winner for calcium content, so if your main concern is calcium, stick with regular.

Multigrain vs. Whole Grain products

Winner: Whole grain. A product that is multigrain has more than one type of grain, but not necessarily whole grains. You might see “Seven Grains” and this is an example of multigrain. You want whole grains because they contain all parts of the grain kernel, making them more nutritious. Whole grains are good sources of B vitamins and fiber.

Iceberg vs. Romaine Lettuce

Winner: Romaine. It has huge doses of vitamins A and K. Red Leaf lettuce comes in a close second, but Iceberg is 96% water and has the least nutrition out of all the choices of greens in a salad bar. Spinach also packs a nutritional punch with loads of vitamin A and K, as well.

Turkey burgers vs. hamburgers

It’s a tie. Turkey burgers are lower in calories, fat (especially saturated), and higher in calcium, but hamburgers have more protein and potassium. Surprisingly, hamburgers are lower in cholesterol when compared to 85% lean turkey burgers.

The following articles were referenced for this newsletter:

Paragon Press – May 2013


How companies are hooking you on foods and other sneaky things they do to sell them

“Words–so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Millions of dollars are spent on marketing research about how to sell products, using little to say more. Every word, every image is chosen very carefully to convey exactly what the company desires. Many people in advertising take courses in psychology. Business degree programs offer studies in consumer behavior. They want to know how to get inside your head, sometimes without you realizing it. They are appealing to basic psychological impulses.

Here are a few of the phrases most commonly used:

  • LIMITED TIME-creating a sense of urgency to purchase
  • BY INVITATION ONLY-making the product sound exclusive
  • FREE-creates the a positive feeling, but keep in mind, the seller still has to make money
  • NEW AND IMPROVED-something nobody else has done before now. Our nation loves innovation.
  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE-studies show people rarely return items, but this promise is reassuring.
  • DOCTOR RECOMMENDED-using an educated, trustworthy figure

Another claim to be wary of is “organic.” People tend to react to this word illogically, thinking it has fewer calories and better nutrition. “Organic” refers to the methods used to produce the foods, not the characteristics of the food.

Recently, General Mills wanted to introduce two new snack bars. They chose the same word to advertise both of them: protein. It’s the new buzz word for many kinds of foods. It’s selling drinks, supplements, bars, and cereals. Marketing has helped you believe protein will help you be healthier, your kid to perform better at sports, or your husband to lose weight.

DID YOU KNOW? – An average adult needs about 50 grams of protein in a day, and about 30 grams of fiber a day.

Do we need all this protein? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the average American actually eats more protein than needed, which can result in excessive caloric intake.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the average adult should get 10%-35% of daily calories from protein. Take a look at your diet to see if you actually need that protein bar. You might be spending more on a high protein snack or breakfast food that provides no additional nutritional benefits than what you would normally eat.

Much of the protein being added is from processed soybeans that have had the carbohydrates and fat removed. While this becomes an inexpensive way to add protein, the taste can be chalky. Companies have added other textures to avoid this issue, such as nuts and dried fruit, to produce a chewier texture.

GIVE ME PROTEIN AND FIBER! – When we eat food that promises to be a good source of things we need, such as whole grains or protein, we feel better about ourselves, like we’ve made a smart, intelligent choice that will benefit our bodies. According to the senior vice president of food marketing and innovation for Kellogg’s, over half of consumers are looking for more protein and fiber for breakfast, rather than “low-fat” or “no cholesterol” choices. A food must contain at least 5 grams of protein per serving to be considered a “good source.” For reference, one cup of milk has 8 grams of protein and a 3-oz piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein. A food that claims to be high in fiber must have at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. For reference, a slice of whole wheat bread typically has 1.9 grams of fiber, and 1 cup of cooked green peas has 8 grams of fiber.

What does PROTEIN mean to you? – Packaged food companies have these interpretations of its meanings. These assumptions help them sell their products. Be careful of how they might be targeting you and your family.

The following articles were referenced for this newsletter:
Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, “When the Box Says ‘Protein,’ Shoppers Say ‘I’ll Take It’