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Lactose intolerance: A common suffering

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know that if you don’t feel well after drinking milk or eating milk products, you may have lactose intolerance?

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance means your body has trouble digesting, or breaking down, lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and milk products. The small intestine—an organ in the digestive tract—needs lactase enzyme to break down lactose. With lactose intolerance, your body doesn’t make enough lactase enzyme to properly digest lactose.

How will I feel if I have lactose intolerance?

If you have lactose intolerance, you may not feel well after you have milk or milk products. You may also have stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or nausea.

Other illnesses can cause these same symptoms. Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and perform tests to see if your problems are caused by lactose intolerance.

Who gets lactose intolerance?

Many people have lactose intolerance. Some people become lactose intolerant as children. In others, the problem starts when they are teenagers or adults. Asian Americans, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, and people with southern European heritage are more likely to be lactose intolerant than people of northern European descent.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

You can change your diet to manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance. People differ as to how much milk and milk products they can eat or drink without having symptoms. Most people with lactose intolerance do not have to give up milk or milk products. You may be able to eat or drink small amounts—4 ounces or less—of milk or milk products without symptoms. Yogurt and hard cheeses, like cheddar and Swiss, are easier for some people with lactose intolerance to digest.

Over-the-counter products, such as tablets or liquid drops that contain lactase enzyme, can help you digest milk and milk products. You can also buy lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products.

Milk and milk products are the most common sources of calcium. Calcium is a mineral the body needs for strong bones and teeth. To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. It’s hard to get enough calcium and vitamin D even if you eat and drink milk and milk products. Talk with your health care provider about how to get calcium and vitamin D in your diet and ask if you should also take calcium or vitamin D supplements.

How will I know if a food has lactose?

Learn to read food labels carefully. Look for milk and lactose in the list of ingredients. Also look for words such as whey, curds, milk by-products, dried milk, milk solids, and powdered milk. If any of these words are listed on a label, the product contains lactose.

Lactose is found in milk and milk products, such as

  • ice cream
  • cream
  • butter
  • cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt

Rarely, people with lactose intolerance are bothered by even small amounts of lactose. Lactose may be added to boxed, canned, frozen, packaged, and prepared foods such as

  • breads and other baked goods
  • cereals
  • breakfast and lunch meats
  • salad dressings
  • mixes for cakes, cookies, pancakes, and biscuits
  • frozen dinners and breakfast foods
  • instant potatoes and soups
  • snacks such as potato chips and corn chips
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50 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 14, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Learn how you can prevent or delay diabetes by losing a small amount of weight by being physically active for 30 minutes, 5 days a week and following a low-fat, reduced calorie meal plan. To get started, use this guide for ideas on moving more, making healthy food choices and tracking your progress.

Small Steps for Big Rewards!

Reduce Portion Sizes

  1. Less on Your Plate, Nate.photo of shrimp dish
  2. Keep meat, poultry and fish portions to about 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards).
  3. Try not to snack while cooking or cleaning the kitchen.
  4. Try to eat meals and snacks at regular times every day.
  5. Make sure you eat breakfast everyday.
  6. Use broth and cured meats (smoked turkey and turkey bacon) in small amounts. They are high in sodium. Low sodium broths are available in cans and in powdered form.
  7. Share a single dessert.
  8. When eating out, have a big vegetable salad, then split an entrée with a friend or have the other half wrapped to go.
  9. Stir fry, broil, or bake with non-stick spray or low-sodium broth and cook with less oil and butter.
  10. Drink a glass of water 10 minutes before your meal to take the edge off your hunger.
  11. Make healthy choices at fast food restaurants. Try grilled chicken (remove skin) instead of a cheeseburger. Skip the french fries and choose a salad.
  12. Listen to music while you eat instead of watching TV (people tend to eat more while watching TV).
  13. Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you’re full.
  14. Eat a small meal, Lucille.
  15. Teaspoons, salad forks, or child-size utensils may help you take smaller bites and eat less.
  16. You don’t have to cut out the foods you love to eat. Just cut down on your portion size and eat it less often.
  17. Make less food look like more by serving your meal on a salad or breakfast plate.

Move More Each Day

  1. Dance It Away, Faye.woman walking on treadmill
  2. Show your kids the dances you used to do when you were their age.
  3. Turn up the music and jam while doing household chores.
  4. Deliver a message in person to a co-worker instead of e-mailing.
  5. Take the stairs to your office. Or take the stairs as far as you can, and then take the elevator the rest of the way.
  6. Make fewer phone calls. Catch up with friends on a regular basis during a planned walk.
  7. Photo of bowling ball and pinMarch in place while you watch TV.
  8. Park as far away as possible from your favorite store at the mall.
  9. Select a physical activity video from the store or library.
  10. Get off of the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way home or to work several times a week.

Make Healthy Food Choices

  1. man fixing a saladSnack on a Veggie, Reggie
  2. Try getting one new fruit or vegetable every time you grocery shop.
  3. Low-fat macaroni and cheese can be a main dish. Serve it with your favorite vegetable and a salad.
  4. Try eating foods from other countries. Many dishes contain more vegetables, whole grains and beans and less meat.
  5. Cook with a mix of spices instead of salt.
  6. Find a water bottle you really like (from a church or club event, favorite sports team, etc.) and drink water from it wherever and whenever you can.
  7. Always keep a healthy snack with you, such as fresh fruit, handful of nuts, whole grain crackers.
  8. Choose veggie toppings like spinach, broccoli, and peppers for your pizza.
  9. Try different recipes for baking or broiling meat, chicken and fish.
  10. Try to choose foods with little or no added sugar.
  11. Gradually work your way down from whole milk to 2% milk until you’re drinking and cooking with fat-free (skim) or low-fat milk and milk products.
  12. Eat foods made from whole-grains—such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and whole-grain corn—every day. Use whole-grain bread for toast and sandwiches; substitute brown rice for white rice for home-cooked meals and when dining out.
  13. Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach. Make a list before you go to the store.
  14. Read food labels. Choose foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  15. Photo of fruits bowlFruits are colorful and make a welcome centerpiece for any table. Enjoy the company of family and friends while sharing a bowl of fruit.
  16. Slow down at snack time. Eating a bag of low-fat popcorn takes longer than eating a slice of cake. Peel and eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.
  17. Try keeping a written record of what you eat for a week. It can help you see when you tend to overeat or eat foods high in fat or calories.

Nurture Your Mind, Body and Soul

  1. Photo of scented candles and oilsYou Can Exhale, Gail.
  2. Don’t try to change your entire way of eating and increasing your physical activity all at once. Try one new activity or food a week.
  3. Find mellow ways to relax—try deep breathing, take an easy paced walk, or enjoy your favorite easy listening music.
  4. Give yourself daily “pampering time.” Honor this time, whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, or meditating.
  5. Try not to eat out of boredom or frustration. If you are not hungry, do something else, such as taking a long walk.

Be Creative

  1. Honor your health as your most precious gift.

There are many more ways to prevent or delay diabetes by making healthy food choices and moving

Photo of opened book

more. Discover your own and share them with your family, friends, and neighbors.

 

Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: Day 13

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on July 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole-milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milk and some yogurt are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium.

Tip: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends consuming 3 cups per day of fat-free/low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. For more information on these guidelines, visit http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
If you cannot digest lactose (the sugar found in dairy products), choose low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products, or other foods and beverages that offer calcium and vitamin D (listed below).
Calcium: soy-based beverage or tofu made with calcium sulfate; canned salmon; dark leafy greens like collards or kale
Vitamin D: soy-based beverage or cereal (getting some sunlight on your skin also gives you a small amount of vitamin D)

 

Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: Day 3

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on July 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Myth: Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight.

Fact: Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.

Tip: A healthy eating plan is one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  •  Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  •  Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

 

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on July 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let’s begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs
Eat Healthfully and Enjoy It!

A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If “healthy eating” makes you think about the foods you can’t have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat.

  • Fresh fruits ― don’t think just apples or bananas. These are great choices, but try some “exotic” fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
  • Fresh vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven’t tried like rosemary. You can sauté vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish — just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
  • Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says “eat more dairy products.” But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurt without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
  • A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!
  • The DASH eating plan was originally developed as an eating plan to reduce hypertension. (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) However, the plan also represents a healthy approach to eating for those who do not have a problem with hypertension.
Do I have to give up my favorite comfort food?

No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balance them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips for comfort foods:

  • Consume them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You’ll be cutting your calories because you’re not having the food as often.
  • Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher calorie food is an afternoon chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar. Be careful! This technique works well for some people, but others may find it is too tempting to have their favorite food available, even in smaller amounts.
  • Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare it differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size.
photo of 2 variations of macaroni and cheese, one with 540 calories and one with 315 calories

The point is, you can figure out how to include almost any food in your healthy eating plan in a way that still helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Being consistently healthy in your eating choices is the key. Making the same healthy eating choices over time can lead to better eating habits. By thinking more positively and focusing on what you can have, you’ll help yourself establish healthy eating habits.

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