Kate’s Health Corner: Building Blocks to a Healthy Diet

What are Society’s Rules to a Healthy Diet?

The American Diabetes Association says to eat regular meals so your blood sugar stays even. The National Research Council says to watch out for fats, sugars, and salt. The American Heart Association says to limit your consumption of fats, sugars, and cholesterol. The American Cancer society says to eat more fruits and veggies. All while the food police says if it tastes good, forget it!  The U.S Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have incorporated virtually all these rules into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and added some advice of their own. BUT IN THE END, creating and enjoying the food choices that make a body better is up to you!

What’s New as of 2010?

  • Cut back on sodium.
  • Lower the percentage of saturated fat in your diet.
  • Don’t eat so many foods with added sugar.
  • Get enough vitamin D, calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamin B12.
  • Eat 8 ounces of seafood a week.
  • Investigate a vegetarian diet.
  • Exercise enough to meet the standards set by the 2008 Physical activity Guidelines for Americans (at www.health.gov/paguidelines)
  • Keep food safe and clean.

Subtracting Sugar?

That’s right folks, you read that right! This means editing your diet to reduce foods to which sugar is added, such as cookies and cakes, but not from foods such as fruits with naturally occurring sugars. The guidelines specifically mention sugar-rich soft drinks, suggesting that you substitute water, fat-free milk, 100% fruit juice, or unsweetened tea and coffee. Did you catch what drink is missing from that calorie-free list? That’s right — DIET SODA! Why? Because some studies suggest that rather than helping you lose weight, these drinks actually lead to weight gain, perhaps by leading you to eating things you wouldn’t otherwise have chosen.


In 2005, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, released data from an 8-year, 1,550 person study showing that among people drinking soda sweetened with sugar, the risk of becoming overweight or even obese was

  • 26% of those drinking up to ½ can daily
  • 30.4% percent at ½ to 1 can daily
  • 32.8% at 1 to 2 cans daily
  • 47.2% at more than 2 cans daily

No surprise there. But look at the risk for people drinking diet soft drinks:

  • 36.5% for those drinking up to ½ can daily
  • 37.5 percent at ½ to 1 can daily
  • 54.5% percent at 1 to 2 cans daily.
  • 57.1% at more than 2 cans daily.

In other words, statistically speaking, the risk for gaining weight rose 41% for each can of diet drink a day. Water looks better and better, doesn’t it?


When you take in more calories from food than you use up running you body system and doing a day’s physical work, you end up storing the extra calories as fat. In other words, you gain weight. You don’t have to be a mathematician to reduce this principle to two simple equation in which  E stands for energy (in calories), > stands for greater than, < stands for less than, and W stands for the change in weight:

If E in > E out: E total= +W

If E in < E out: E total= – W

Guidelines and Where to Find Them

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 or the Executive Summary go to www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.

The USDA is launching interactive programs on its web site to make it easier to plan healthy meals, as well as games and apps to promote healthy eating and exercise at www.appsforhealthykids.com

New Exercise: Mountain Climbers

Target: Butt/Hips, legs, thighs

Equipment: None

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Oe1t1IZdNY

Step 1

Starting Position: Come to a hands and knees position on the floor with your toes pointed toward the floor. Your hands should be slightly ahead of your shoulders and your fingers pointing forward. Bring your left foot forward and place it on the floor under your chest. Your knee and hip are bent and your thigh is in toward your chest. Lift your right knee off the ground, making your right leg straight and strong. Your right toes are tucked under, heel up. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back.

Step 2

Keeping your hands firmly on the ground, your abdominals engaged, and shoulders strong, jump to switch leg positions. Both feet leave the ground as your drive your right knee forward and reach your left leg back. Now your left leg is fully extended behind you and your right knee and hip are bent with your right foot on the floor.

Step 3

Keep your weight evenly distributed on both legs. Do not shift all your weight forward into your front foot. Exercise Variation: If you have limited range of motion in the hips, place hands on a step or platform.


A frozen watermelon treat


½ cups sugar

¾ cup water

4 pounds seedless watermelon cut into chunks

2 tablespoons of lime juice

Recipe Directions:

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Place watermelon and lime juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Set a sieve over a large bowl and press the puree through to remove tiny seeds. Whisk in the sugar syrup.

Pour the watermelon mixture into a shallow metal pan and freeze until ice crystals form around the edges, about 30 minutes. Stir the ice crystals into the center of the pan and return to the freezer; repeat every 20 minutes until all the liquid is frozen.

Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in chilled dishes. Makes 12 servings.


“You just have to start putting one foot in from of the other, making an effort to get healthy everyday.” -Ali Vincent

Next Month: We will be learning about the Food Pyramids and Nutritional Labels.



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