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MyNetDiary provides exceptionally easy and fast food logging - on the Web, the iPhone, iPad, Android, Samsung bada and BlackBerry. Check out MyNetDiary at http://www.mynetdiary.com.

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6 March 13

The MyNetDiary Blog Has Moved!

We have migrated the MyNetDiary Blog to http://www.mynetdiary.com/blog.html There you will find all our past articles, as well as our new ones. We will no longer blog on this Tumblr site. Thank you!

5 February 13
“Facts” about Obesity There is so much information (and misinformation) about nutrition that it makes my head spin.  Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a review article, “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity.”  I was curious to read how this article was summarized by so many health journalists – an almost exclusive focus on Table 1 – “Seven Myths about Obesity.”  After reading the entire article, I feel that Table 3, “Facts about Obesity” is just as important to share with those who struggle with their weight.  Although I cannot copy and paste the authors’ entire table directly into this post, I will summarize four key concepts that apply to adults seeking to control their weight with their own resources.  Quotations are statements made by the authors.Genetic Factors Genes are important, but they are not your destiny in terms of weight.  “If we can identify environmental factors and successfully influence them, we can achieve clinically significant reductions in obesity.” Diets People lose weight with a lower calories intake.  People do not necessarily lose weight by “going on a diet” – the key is to consume fewer calories.  “…energy reduction is the ultimate dietary intervention required and approaches such as eating more vegetables or eating breakfast daily are likely to help only if they are accompanied by an overall reduction in energy intake.” Physical Activity Regular exercise aids in long-term weight maintenance but the “dose” needs to be adequate.  Note:  The authors did not define “sufficient dose” but other studies have reported an association between weight maintenance and 60-90 minutes of moderate intensity most days of the week (not controlling for calories tracking).  For those of you who track calories, you will have an edge in this regard since you can tweak to balance calories intake with calories expended.  “Exercise offers a way to mitigate the health-damaging effects of obesity, even without weight loss.”  So, even if exercise is not helping you lose weight, it is still important to do it.Keep On Keeping On “Conditions” (e.g. behaviors, food choices, etc.) that supported your weight loss will need to be continued in order to maintain that weight loss.   Think of obesity as a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.  This will ring true for those of you who have successfully lost and then maintained your weight over the long-term (e.g. years). Ultimately, you need to discover what works for you, the individual, in terms of weight loss and maintenance.  Tracking is a valuable tool for those of you willing to do it consistently and accurately.  Even if you dispute the 3500 calories rule, you will still lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn over time.  The cool thing is that you can run your own experiment using your own data.  Tracking will open your eyes to the incredibly high caloric content of so many foods as well as provide a more realistic picture of how many calories you burn from exercise.  Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiaryDisclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

“Facts” about Obesity

There is so much information (and misinformation) about nutrition that it makes my head spin.  Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a review article, “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity.”  I was curious to read how this article was summarized by so many health journalists – an almost exclusive focus on Table 1 – “Seven Myths about Obesity.”  After reading the entire article, I feel that Table 3, “Facts about Obesity” is just as important to share with those who struggle with their weight.  Although I cannot copy and paste the authors’ entire table directly into this post, I will summarize four key concepts that apply to adults seeking to control their weight with their own resources.  Quotations are statements made by the authors.

Genetic Factors

Genes are important, but they are not your destiny in terms of weight.  “If we can identify environmental factors and successfully influence them, we can achieve clinically significant reductions in obesity.”

Diets

People lose weight with a lower calories intake.  People do not necessarily lose weight by “going on a diet” – the key is to consume fewer calories.  “…energy reduction is the ultimate dietary intervention required and approaches such as eating more vegetables or eating breakfast daily are likely to help only if they are accompanied by an overall reduction in energy intake.”

Physical Activity

Regular exercise aids in long-term weight maintenance but the “dose” needs to be adequate.

Note:  The authors did not define “sufficient dose” but other studies have reported an association between weight maintenance and 60-90 minutes of moderate intensity most days of the week (not controlling for calories tracking).  For those of you who track calories, you will have an edge in this regard since you can tweak to balance calories intake with calories expended.

“Exercise offers a way to mitigate the health-damaging effects of obesity, even without weight loss.”  So, even if exercise is not helping you lose weight, it is still important to do it.

Keep On Keeping On

“Conditions” (e.g. behaviors, food choices, etc.) that supported your weight loss will need to be continued in order to maintain that weight loss.   Think of obesity as a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.  This will ring true for those of you who have successfully lost and then maintained your weight over the long-term (e.g. years).

Ultimately, you need to discover what works for you, the individual, in terms of weight loss and maintenance.  Tracking is a valuable tool for those of you willing to do it consistently and accurately.  Even if you dispute the 3500 calories rule, you will still lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn over time.  The cool thing is that you can run your own experiment using your own data.  Tracking will open your eyes to the incredibly high caloric content of so many foods as well as provide a more realistic picture of how many calories you burn from exercise.

Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary

Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

31 January 13
Super Bowl Snack Facts
This Sunday is the “Big Game” between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, and it is estimated that at least half of the entire U.S. population will watch at least part of the game – that’s over 155 million people! And what do most people do while watching the Super Bowl – they eat! Instead of posting a list of healthy snack swaps or recipes for low-fat dips, here is some “snack facts” to put it all in perspective. With MyNetDiary, you really do have the freedom to eat what you want; just in moderation and with accountability.
The Super Bowl is the second largest “food day” during the year, with the top spot going to Thanksgiving. Most Americans double their daily calories on Super Bowl Sunday compared to any other day.
According to the Snack Food Association, Americans will eat 33 million pounds of food in one day.
31 percent of game-watchers will order delivery or take-out.
The average game-time eater will consume 1,200 calories in four quarters plus halftime.
One out of 12 Super Bowl watchers is there only to watch the commercials, and it’s estimated they consume more calories than others out of sheer boredom. (Perhaps it’s best to pick a team and start cheering!)
Chicken wings are the top eaten food during game time. In fact, enough chicken wings will be eaten that if they were laid end-to-end they would stretch between San Francisco and Baltimore 27 times! Plus, 57 percent of chicken-wing eaters prefer to dip their wings in ranch dressing.
Top pizza chains sell twice as many pizzas as any other day of the year. 
11 million pounds of potato chips will be eaten on game day, and 14 billion hamburgers!
Nearly 70 million pounds of avocados will be consumed on Sunday (see, it’s not all unhealthy!).
Beer is the most consumed drink of the Super Bowl. It is estimated that 49.2 million cases of beer will be sold for the big game alone.
So what’s surprising here, if anything? Share with us on the MyNetDiary Facebook page. Go team!

Super Bowl Snack Facts

This Sunday is the “Big Game” between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, and it is estimated that at least half of the entire U.S. population will watch at least part of the game – that’s over 155 million people! And what do most people do while watching the Super Bowl – they eat! Instead of posting a list of healthy snack swaps or recipes for low-fat dips, here is some “snack facts” to put it all in perspective. With MyNetDiary, you really do have the freedom to eat what you want; just in moderation and with accountability.

  • The Super Bowl is the second largest “food day” during the year, with the top spot going to Thanksgiving. Most Americans double their daily calories on Super Bowl Sunday compared to any other day.
  • According to the Snack Food Association, Americans will eat 33 million pounds of food in one day.
  • 31 percent of game-watchers will order delivery or take-out.
  • The average game-time eater will consume 1,200 calories in four quarters plus halftime.
  • One out of 12 Super Bowl watchers is there only to watch the commercials, and it’s estimated they consume more calories than others out of sheer boredom. (Perhaps it’s best to pick a team and start cheering!)
  • Chicken wings are the top eaten food during game time. In fact, enough chicken wings will be eaten that if they were laid end-to-end they would stretch between San Francisco and Baltimore 27 times! Plus, 57 percent of chicken-wing eaters prefer to dip their wings in ranch dressing.
  • Top pizza chains sell twice as many pizzas as any other day of the year. 
  • 11 million pounds of potato chips will be eaten on game day, and 14 billion hamburgers!
  • Nearly 70 million pounds of avocados will be consumed on Sunday (see, it’s not all unhealthy!).
  • Beer is the most consumed drink of the Super Bowl. It is estimated that 49.2 million cases of beer will be sold for the big game alone.

So what’s surprising here, if anything? Share with us on the MyNetDiary Facebook page. Go team!

29 January 13
Happy National Vitamin Day!
Today is National Vitamin Day, and whether you are a diligent vitamin taker or are thinking about starting a vitamin regiment, here are a few good reminders about what vitamins can and can’t do for us. 
Vitamins don’t beat out bad habits. No one vitamin can protect us from all disease-causing elements in the world. It’s important that we don’t rely on vitamins so much that we skip the nutrition we get from a well-balanced diet. 
You can’t “double up” on vitamins for an extra boost. Our bodies can only process so many nutrients at once. And once they’ve been met, our bodies cannot take in anymore. In fact, doubling up can even be harmful. Too much calcium, for example, can cause kidney stones and may even increase the risk for heart attacks. 
Food is the best source for nutrients. Vitamins should be exactly what they are - a supplement. What we put on our plates should be our main intake of the nutrients we need; only then should we supplement with other vitamin nutrients if we need them. What vitamins can be useful for is the intake of specific nutrients. Whereas fruits and vegetables contain lots of nutrients together, we can increase our consumption of a specific nutrient through vitamins. 
You really already have what you need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a study that found more than 90 percent of Americans already consume the recommended levels of several essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and D and folate. So don’t think you’re automatically deprived of certain nutrients. 
However, you still likely need to supplement certain vitamins and minerals. The CDC also found that women ages 20 to 39 have the lowest intake of iodine, and African- and Mexican-Americans likely fall short on vitamin D. 
So what should you do? Use MyNetDiary to track over 40 micro- and macro-nutrients to see where your diet might fall short. We make it easy! 

Happy National Vitamin Day!

Today is National Vitamin Day, and whether you are a diligent vitamin taker or are thinking about starting a vitamin regiment, here are a few good reminders about what vitamins can and can’t do for us. 

Vitamins don’t beat out bad habits. No one vitamin can protect us from all disease-causing elements in the world. It’s important that we don’t rely on vitamins so much that we skip the nutrition we get from a well-balanced diet. 

You can’t “double up” on vitamins for an extra boost. Our bodies can only process so many nutrients at once. And once they’ve been met, our bodies cannot take in anymore. In fact, doubling up can even be harmful. Too much calcium, for example, can cause kidney stones and may even increase the risk for heart attacks. 

Food is the best source for nutrients. Vitamins should be exactly what they are - a supplement. What we put on our plates should be our main intake of the nutrients we need; only then should we supplement with other vitamin nutrients if we need them. What vitamins can be useful for is the intake of specific nutrients. Whereas fruits and vegetables contain lots of nutrients together, we can increase our consumption of a specific nutrient through vitamins. 

You really already have what you need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a study that found more than 90 percent of Americans already consume the recommended levels of several essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and D and folate. So don’t think you’re automatically deprived of certain nutrients. 

However, you still likely need to supplement certain vitamins and minerals. The CDC also found that women ages 20 to 39 have the lowest intake of iodine, and African- and Mexican-Americans likely fall short on vitamin D. 

So what should you do? Use MyNetDiary to track over 40 micro- and macro-nutrients to see where your diet might fall short. We make it easy! 

22 January 13
The Egg & I I love eggs!  They are inexpensive and nutritious.  One large cooked egg (50 grams) contains about 80 calories and 6 grams of protein.  It is also an excellent source of other nutrients that we need in our diet - vitamin B12, choline, riboflavin, and selenium.
In addition to being very nutritious, eggs (or more specifically, egg yolks) are very high in dietary cholesterol.  Only liver and giblets beat out egg yolks for cholesterol content.  Each yolk contains 186 – 212 mg cholesterol – or, about 62% - 71% of the daily 300 mg limit recommended by the American Heart Association for reducing heart disease risk in healthy people.  If you have heart disease or are at high risk for it (e.g. you have diabetes), then the recommendation is to limit cholesterol to 200 mg daily.  In that case, one egg yolk provides  93% - 106% of your daily limit.   Although studies show a strong relationship between high intake of saturated and trans fats and increased LDL blood levels (and therefore, increased risk for coronary heart disease), the relationship between dietary cholesterol intake and LDL levels is not so strong.  Because eggs are so nutritious and affordable, I am loathe to recommend limiting eggs unless the evidence clearly points to a direct link between egg consumption and higher risk.    “Up to one egg a day” – read the fine print! Of course, I was delighted to read the meta-analysis study on egg intake and coronary heart disease risk just published online in the British Medical Journal. In their large review of multiple studies, the authors did not find a statistical link between egg consumption and risk.  The authors conclude that “consumption of up to one egg per day was not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.”  This conclusion is consistent with the American Heart Association’s recommendation for healthy people to limit their daily intake of cholesterol to 300 mg or less.Paleo & Low Carb Fans:  take note - this study does not support the daily intake of multiple eggs!  I know a number of you who consume 3-6 eggs daily with the belief that any amount of egg intake is safe.  I would not make that assumption! Eggs & Diabetes If you have diabetes, then your risk for coronary heart disease is higher.  And apparently, the study found a higher risk of heart disease with the highest egg consumption.  But how many eggs per day was this - up to one egg per day or was it more?  The authors did mention that the subgroup was small and that more work needs to be done with this population. For those of you with diabetes or a history of coronary heart disease, use caution and follow the more stringent cholesterol intake guideline of < 200 mg daily.  Better yet, ask your doctor for a specific recommendation! Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiaryDisclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.More Resources: American Heart Association.  The Simple 7 Heart Health Factors.   Dehghan, M et al.  Relationship Between Healthy Diet and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Patients on Drug Therapies for Secondary Prevention:  A Prospective Cohort Study of 31,546 High-Risk Individuals From 40 Countries.   Circulation. 2012;126:2705-2712.  Accessed online at:  http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/126/23/2705.full.pdf

The Egg & I

I love eggs!  They are inexpensive and nutritious.  One large cooked egg (50 grams) contains about 80 calories and 6 grams of protein.  It is also an excellent source of other nutrients that we need in our diet - vitamin B12, choline, riboflavin, and selenium.

In addition to being very nutritious, eggs (or more specifically, egg yolks) are very high in dietary cholesterol.  Only liver and giblets beat out egg yolks for cholesterol content.  Each yolk contains 186 – 212 mg cholesterol – or, about 62% - 71% of the daily 300 mg limit recommended by the American Heart Association for reducing heart disease risk in healthy people.  If you have heart disease or are at high risk for it (e.g. you have diabetes), then the recommendation is to limit cholesterol to 200 mg daily.  In that case, one egg yolk provides
93% - 106% of your daily limit.  

Although studies show a strong relationship between high intake of saturated and trans fats and increased LDL blood levels (and therefore, increased risk for coronary heart disease), the relationship between dietary cholesterol intake and LDL levels is not so strong.  Because eggs are so nutritious and affordable, I am loathe to recommend limiting eggs unless the evidence clearly points to a direct link between egg consumption and higher risk.    

“Up to one egg a day” – read the fine print!

Of course, I was delighted to read the meta-analysis study on egg intake and coronary heart disease risk just published online in the British Medical Journal. In their large review of multiple studies, the authors did not find a statistical link between egg consumption and risk.  The authors conclude that “consumption of up to one egg per day was not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.”  This conclusion is consistent with the American Heart Association’s recommendation for healthy people to limit their daily intake of cholesterol to 300 mg or less.

Paleo & Low Carb Fans:  take note - this study does not support the daily intake of multiple eggs!  I know a number of you who consume 3-6 eggs daily with the belief that any amount of egg intake is safe.  I would not make that assumption!

Eggs & Diabetes

If you have diabetes, then your risk for coronary heart disease is higher.  And apparently, the study found a higher risk of heart disease with the highest egg consumption.  But how many eggs per day was this - up to one egg per day or was it more?  The authors did mention that the subgroup was small and that more work needs to be done with this population.

For those of you with diabetes or a history of coronary heart disease, use caution and follow the more stringent cholesterol intake guideline of < 200 mg daily.  Better yet, ask your doctor for a specific recommendation!

Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary

Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

More Resources:

American Heart Association.  The Simple 7 Heart Health Factors.  

Dehghan, M et al.  Relationship Between Healthy Diet and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Patients on Drug Therapies for Secondary Prevention:  A Prospective Cohort Study of 31,546 High-Risk Individuals From 40 Countries.   Circulation. 2012;126:2705-2712.  Accessed online at:  http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/126/23/2705.full.pdf

17 January 13

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes shorter is sweeter. We pulled together this collection of inspirational images from Pinterest. You can join us there at http://pinterest.com/mynetdiary/!

15 January 13
New to Calories Tracking?  Tips from the Field This is the time of year when many folks decide to make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.  If you have decided to track intake and activity, then good for you – it is an effective tool for weight control.  This post will help you track more effectively and accurately, especially if you are using MyNetDiary mobile apps or web program.Rate of Weekly Weight Change? Be wise and realistic about how much weight you can lose or gain per week.  If you are mostly inactive and barely fit in a 30 minute walk a day, then losing 2 lbs/week is going to be difficult since it will require achieving a 1000 calories deficit, mostly from reducing calories intake.  This might not be a big deal for a few weeks, but it is hard to do for the long haul.  Instead, opt for a more gradual weight loss such as ¼ - ½ lb per week – that requires only a 125 – 250 calories deficit a day.  That is much more realistic to achieve if you do not get much exercise.  For more information on setting a healthy target weight, please see my post from 12/14/10.  Reducing Error People typically overestimate their calories burned and underestimate their calories consumed.  This is a problem since it can prevent people from achieving their weight goal – whether it is weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain.  So, let’s take a look at how you can minimize error. Calories Burned Folks often overestimate their true calories burned and it tends to happen in several places: 1.      Choosing an overall activity level that is too high.  Most folks should use “sedentary”, especially if they log exercise.  If you read just one article, please make it “Calories &amp; Weight Goals:  How It Works with MyNetDiary.” 2.      Logging an exercise item that is too high in intensity.  There are many activities in the database – look for one that best matches the intensity level of your exercise.  Check the kcal/min for items to find higher or lower intensity choices.  3.      Logging too much time for high intensity activities.  Only log actual minutes engaged in high intensity activity.  This is more of a problem for stop &amp; go activities such as skiing, weight lifting, team sports, etc.  When in doubt, estimate fewer minutes in these activities to avoid overestimating calories burned.Food &amp; Drink Intake Accuracy Here are some common sources of error that can thwart one from getting an accurate calories count: 1.  Not knowing how to search for food items or picking the wrong food item.  a.      MyNetDiary has a unique and powerful manual search mechanism – enter the first 3 characters of each word in your food item’s name.  This will help you quickly reduce the search results to the most likely list of possibilities.  For instance, if my food item is “Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola,” I can simply enter “Nat Pat Pum Fla Gran” and find the item pretty quickly. If I just searched “granola,” I would have to wade through a lot of food items before I found the one I was looking for. b.      Type of processing or cooking.  Pick the correct type of processing for the food – raw, cooked, boiled, fried, etc.  c.      Generic vs. brand.  There will be more complete nutrition information from generic foods than from brand foods.  Brand foods are required to list about 12 nutrients on their food labels - other nutrients are voluntary.  If you want to learn how generic items are named, then view the USDA’s nutrient database.http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list All of the foods contained in that database are also in MyNetDiary’s database.  For instance, generic skinless roasted chicken breasts can be found by using “Chicken Broilers or Fryers Breast Meat Only Roasted” (or, if you use MyNetDiary just enter “Chi Bro Fry Bre Mea Onl Roa”).  d.      Use the barcode scanner to find items if you use a smartphone.2.  Using food items with incorrect data.     a.      Most people are not good at data entry and a minor typo can cause big errors in calories and nutrient totals.  Check your entries before saving.  Also, check your daily and weekly reports – do you see odd portion weights, calories, or nutrient totals?  That is a clue that one or more of your food items used in a record has an error. b.      “User-contributed” foods are more likely to have errors.  Consider hiding “user-contributed” food items from view so that you only choose from Support-entered items and your own customized items.  To do this, go into your Settings and turn off “Find Contributed.”  Just note that any user-contributed items that you have used in previous records will still remain in your list of food options. c.      Barcode scan to find the item, but then check the food label to make sure the information is accurate.  If you have access to PhotoFood Service (iPhone app users, Pro HD iPad app, and Pro and Max Android users with Samsung phones) then use it to correct food label information as well as to request new food items.  3.   Winging It with Estimating Portions.   I know it is a hassle, but learn how to be a good judge of portion size by measuring and/or weighing your intake at home.  The more accurate you are in assessing how much of a food or beverage you consumed, the more accurate your calories log will be.  Be especially accurate with items that have a high calories density (e.g. fats, oils, nuts, seeds, mayo, cream, butter, avocado, alcohol, sugars, syrups, etc.).  Please be sure to read my article on measuring tips on the main website. Know your tool – what it can and cannot do for you.  The more upfront time you put into learning about your app or web program, the less time it will take to log in the future.  Enjoy!  Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiaryDisclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.More ResourcesMyNetDiary Blog.  We post on Tuesdays &amp; Thursdays on a variety of topics related to weight control.  If you want tips on creating recipes in MyNetDiary, then be sure to read my post from 4/24/12. MyNetDiary Articles.  Contains a library of nutrition, diet, diabetes, and exercise articles – read all of them if you can! MyNetDiary FAQs.  MyNetDiary on Facebook.  MyNetDiary on Pinterest.  

New to Calories Tracking?  Tips from the Field

This is the time of year when many folks decide to make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.  If you have decided to track intake and activity, then good for you – it is an effective tool for weight control.  This post will help you track more effectively and accurately, especially if you are using MyNetDiary mobile apps or web program.

Rate of Weekly Weight Change?

Be wise and realistic about how much weight you can lose or gain per week.  If you are mostly inactive and barely fit in a 30 minute walk a day, then losing 2 lbs/week is going to be difficult since it will require achieving a 1000 calories deficit, mostly from reducing calories intake.  This might not be a big deal for a few weeks, but it is hard to do for the long haul.  Instead, opt for a more gradual weight loss such as ¼ - ½ lb per week – that requires only a 125 – 250 calories deficit a day.  That is much more realistic to achieve if you do not get much exercise.  For more information on setting a healthy target weight, please see my post from 12/14/10.  

Reducing Error

People typically overestimate their calories burned and underestimate their calories consumed.  This is a problem since it can prevent people from achieving their weight goal – whether it is weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain.  So, let’s take a look at how you can minimize error.

Calories Burned

Folks often overestimate their true calories burned and it tends to happen in several places:

1.      Choosing an overall activity level that is too high.  Most folks should use “sedentary”, especially if they log exercise.  If you read just one article, please make it “Calories & Weight Goals:  How It Works with MyNetDiary.”

2.      Logging an exercise item that is too high in intensity.  There are many activities in the database – look for one that best matches the intensity level of your exercise.  Check the kcal/min for items to find higher or lower intensity choices.

3.      Logging too much time for high intensity activities.  Only log actual minutes engaged in high intensity activity.  This is more of a problem for stop & go activities such as skiing, weight lifting, team sports, etc.  When in doubt, estimate fewer minutes in these activities to avoid overestimating calories burned.

Food & Drink Intake Accuracy

Here are some common sources of error that can thwart one from getting an accurate calories count:

1.  Not knowing how to search for food items or picking the wrong food item.

a.      MyNetDiary has a unique and powerful manual search mechanism – enter the first 3 characters of each word in your food item’s name.  This will help you quickly reduce the search results to the most likely list of possibilities.  For instance, if my food item is “Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola,” I can simply enter “Nat Pat Pum Fla Gran” and find the item pretty quickly. If I just searched “granola,” I would have to wade through a lot of food items before I found the one I was looking for.

b.      Type of processing or cooking.  Pick the correct type of processing for the food – raw, cooked, boiled, fried, etc.

c.      Generic vs. brand.  There will be more complete nutrition information from generic foods than from brand foods.  Brand foods are required to list about 12 nutrients on their food labels - other nutrients are voluntary.  If you want to learn how generic items are named, then view the USDA’s nutrient database.http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list All of the foods contained in that database are also in MyNetDiary’s database.  For instance, generic skinless roasted chicken breasts can be found by using “Chicken Broilers or Fryers Breast Meat Only Roasted” (or, if you use MyNetDiary just enter “Chi Bro Fry Bre Mea Onl Roa”).

d.      Use the barcode scanner to find items if you use a smartphone.

2.  Using food items with incorrect data.    

a.      Most people are not good at data entry and a minor typo can cause big errors in calories and nutrient totals.  Check your entries before saving.  Also, check your daily and weekly reports – do you see odd portion weights, calories, or nutrient totals?  That is a clue that one or more of your food items used in a record has an error.

b.      “User-contributed” foods are more likely to have errors.  Consider hiding “user-contributed” food items from view so that you only choose from Support-entered items and your own customized items.  To do this, go into your Settings and turn off “Find Contributed.”  Just note that any user-contributed items that you have used in previous records will still remain in your list of food options.

c.      Barcode scan to find the item, but then check the food label to make sure the information is accurate.  If you have access to PhotoFood Service (iPhone app users, Pro HD iPad app, and Pro and Max Android users with Samsung phones) then use it to correct food label information as well as to request new food items.

3.   Winging It with Estimating Portions.  
I know it is a hassle, but learn how to be a good judge of portion size by measuring and/or weighing your intake at home.  The more accurate you are in assessing how much of a food or beverage you consumed, the more accurate your calories log will be.  Be especially accurate with items that have a high calories density (e.g. fats, oils, nuts, seeds, mayo, cream, butter, avocado, alcohol, sugars, syrups, etc.).  Please be sure to read my article on measuring tips on the main website.

Know your tool – what it can and cannot do for you.  The more upfront time you put into learning about your app or web program, the less time it will take to log in the future.  Enjoy!

Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary

Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

More Resources

MyNetDiary Blog.  We post on Tuesdays & Thursdays on a variety of topics related to weight control.  If you want tips on creating recipes in MyNetDiary, then be sure to read my post from 4/24/12.

MyNetDiary Articles.  Contains a library of nutrition, diet, diabetes, and exercise articles – read all of them if you can!

MyNetDiary FAQs.  

MyNetDiary on Facebook.  

MyNetDiary on Pinterest.  

10 January 13
Creative Fitness Trends for 2013
Ready to put your resolutions to the test? Here is a rundown of some of the more creative fitness trends you will probably come across in 2013. Many of these are now available at the local gym or making their way around the country. How many of them have you tried? 
Barre Workouts - Though not technically &#8220;new&#8221;, barre and barre-style classes are still popular choices for 2013. Aimed at improving balance, strength, stamina, and flexibility, these high energy classes happen to fun to boot! 
Small Group Personal Training - People to save money when they can, and by joining together in small groups to hire one personal trainer, the cost per session is very affordable. It&#8217;s also fun to workout with a group of friends. If you&#8217;re at all competitive, this can be a fun way to spend an hour as opposed to one-on-one sessions. 
MMA Exercising - High-intensity MMA workouts are popular because they increase strength, agility, endurance and power that address total body fitness. MMA is still becoming a popular sport, so it&#8217;s no surprise that more people want to train like their favorite fighters. 
Metabolic Conditioning - Ever hear of P90X or CrossFit? Probably you have, and these workouts will continue to be popular in 2013 because they excel in burning calories and increasing lean muscle mass. 
Community Workouts - Local running clubs, outdoor cycling groups and playground fitness groups are great ways to meet neighbors, keep each other accountable and have fun. 
Core Training - The core is truly the &#8220;core&#8221; of your strength. Paying due attention to your core can help you prevent injuries and make you strong. Don&#8217;t ignore this important muscle group in 2013.
Obstacle Course Races - You may have come across ads for the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Dirty Dash this last year. As a 5K or 10K, these races make a regular road race seem boring. With elements of mud and bootcamp-style obstacles, these races are becoming very popular around the country. 
So, are you ready to get exercising? Which ones will you put on your 2013 &#8220;to-do&#8221; list? Share with us on the MyNetDiary Facebook page or in our Community Forum. 

Creative Fitness Trends for 2013

Ready to put your resolutions to the test? Here is a rundown of some of the more creative fitness trends you will probably come across in 2013. Many of these are now available at the local gym or making their way around the country. How many of them have you tried? 

Barre Workouts - Though not technically “new”, barre and barre-style classes are still popular choices for 2013. Aimed at improving balance, strength, stamina, and flexibility, these high energy classes happen to fun to boot! 

Small Group Personal Training - People to save money when they can, and by joining together in small groups to hire one personal trainer, the cost per session is very affordable. It’s also fun to workout with a group of friends. If you’re at all competitive, this can be a fun way to spend an hour as opposed to one-on-one sessions. 

MMA Exercising - High-intensity MMA workouts are popular because they increase strength, agility, endurance and power that address total body fitness. MMA is still becoming a popular sport, so it’s no surprise that more people want to train like their favorite fighters. 

Metabolic Conditioning - Ever hear of P90X or CrossFit? Probably you have, and these workouts will continue to be popular in 2013 because they excel in burning calories and increasing lean muscle mass. 

Community Workouts - Local running clubs, outdoor cycling groups and playground fitness groups are great ways to meet neighbors, keep each other accountable and have fun. 

Core Training - The core is truly the “core” of your strength. Paying due attention to your core can help you prevent injuries and make you strong. Don’t ignore this important muscle group in 2013.

Obstacle Course Races - You may have come across ads for the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Dirty Dash this last year. As a 5K or 10K, these races make a regular road race seem boring. With elements of mud and bootcamp-style obstacles, these races are becoming very popular around the country. 

So, are you ready to get exercising? Which ones will you put on your 2013 “to-do” list? Share with us on the MyNetDiary Facebook page or in our Community Forum

8 January 13
Can a High Protein Meal Plan Help You Lose Weight?  Yes!  Many of you trying to lose weight might have already noticed that when you consume high protein meals, you have an easier time sticking to your target calories for weight loss.  Of interest, a research team from the Netherlands (Martens, Lemmens, and Westererp-Plantenga) just published a nifty study that showed people consume fewer calories when their protein intake rises.  Their study is published in the current edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2013).  The study had a clever design to prevent participants from knowing the macronutrient (fat, carb, protein) content of their meals.  Study meals contained the same type of foods and had the same concentration of fat in the foods, but the protein and carb content was altered.  Meals were designed to be identical in appearance so that macronutrient content was not revealed.  Participants were allowed to eat for 30 minutes at each meal at the research center and could eat as much as they liked.  Snacks were also provided to eat if desired outside of the center and containers were brought back so that snack calories could be counted.  Snack choices were always the same after each meal under all diet conditions and were low in protein.  Study participants followed each diet type for 12 days, followed by a 6-week wash-out period between diet conditions. Low Protein Meals:  5% calories from protein, 60% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat
Typical Protein Meals:  15% calories from protein, 50% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat
High Protein Meals:  30% calories from protein, 35% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat When folks ate high protein meals, they ate significantly fewer total daily calories (7.21&#160;MJ or 1722 kcal) than if they ate either the typical protein meals (9.62&#160;MJ or 2298 kcal) or the low protein meals (9.33&#160;MJ or 2228 kcal).  That is, when they ate high protein meals, they ate about 500 fewer calories a day compared to the other protein levels. Despite eating fewer calories with high protein meals, participants rated their hunger and satisfaction similarly to the other diet conditions.  Also, it didn’t seem to matter if the higher protein content was coming from whey (milk) or soy – either source of protein resulted in a lower calories intake. The take home message is that a higher protein intake can help you in your quest to control calories intake, and thereby, help you lose weight.  In this study, the high protein diet provided an average of 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight whereas the typical protein diet provided an average of 0.9 grams/kg body weight (which is just above the U.S. RDA).  If you use MyNetDiary, you can customize your macronutrient percentages.  If you find that you are struggling to lose weight despite calories tracking – then try experimenting with a higher protein intake to see if that can help you lose weight, especially if you find you have stalled out. Of course, be smart and choose heart healthier protein choices.  Be sure to read my article on protein located on MyNetDiary’s website.  Also, check your Food Report (Details tab on web or in Meals screen in app) to make sure your saturated fat doesn’t climb sky high in your effort to increase protein.  Some protein foods can also be very high in saturated fat and calories, so take advantage of nutrient tracking reports to help you tweak your food choices.  For more information on fats, read my article at MyNetDiary. And finally, if your doctor has recommended that you limit protein intake for a medical condition, (e.g. for certain kidney or liver conditions), then please follow that recommendation and do not experiment with a higher protein diet. Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiaryDisclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.More Resources Katherine Isacks.  MyNetDiary Blog. What you eat for breakfast can help you lose weight.  Katherine Isacks.  MyNetDiary Blog. Protein Supplements.  

Can a High Protein Meal Plan Help You Lose Weight?

Yes!  Many of you trying to lose weight might have already noticed that when you consume high protein meals, you have an easier time sticking to your target calories for weight loss.  Of interest, a research team from the Netherlands (Martens, Lemmens, and Westererp-Plantenga) just published a nifty study that showed people consume fewer calories when their protein intake rises.  Their study is published in the current edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2013).

The study had a clever design to prevent participants from knowing the macronutrient (fat, carb, protein) content of their meals.  Study meals contained the same type of foods and had the same concentration of fat in the foods, but the protein and carb content was altered.  Meals were designed to be identical in appearance so that macronutrient content was not revealed.  Participants were allowed to eat for 30 minutes at each meal at the research center and could eat as much as they liked.  Snacks were also provided to eat if desired outside of the center and containers were brought back so that snack calories could be counted.  Snack choices were always the same after each meal under all diet conditions and were low in protein.  Study participants followed each diet type for 12 days, followed by a 6-week wash-out period between diet conditions.

Low Protein Meals:  5% calories from protein, 60% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat

Typical Protein Meals:  15% calories from protein, 50% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat

High Protein Meals:  30% calories from protein, 35% calories from carbs, 35% calories from fat

When folks ate high protein meals, they ate significantly fewer total daily calories (7.21 MJ or 1722 kcal) than if they ate either the typical protein meals (9.62 MJ or 2298 kcal) or the low protein meals (9.33 MJ or 2228 kcal).  That is, when they ate high protein meals, they ate about 500 fewer calories a day compared to the other protein levels.

Despite eating fewer calories with high protein meals, participants rated their hunger and satisfaction similarly to the other diet conditions.  Also, it didn’t seem to matter if the higher protein content was coming from whey (milk) or soy – either source of protein resulted in a lower calories intake.

The take home message is that a higher protein intake can help you in your quest to control calories intake, and thereby, help you lose weight.  In this study, the high protein diet provided an average of 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight whereas the typical protein diet provided an average of 0.9 grams/kg body weight (which is just above the U.S. RDA).  If you use MyNetDiary, you can customize your macronutrient percentages.  If you find that you are struggling to lose weight despite calories tracking – then try experimenting with a higher protein intake to see if that can help you lose weight, especially if you find you have stalled out.

Of course, be smart and choose heart healthier protein choices.  Be sure to read my article on protein located on MyNetDiary’s website.  Also, check your Food Report (Details tab on web or in Meals screen in app) to make sure your saturated fat doesn’t climb sky high in your effort to increase protein.  Some protein foods can also be very high in saturated fat and calories, so take advantage of nutrient tracking reports to help you tweak your food choices.  For more information on fats, read my article at MyNetDiary.

And finally, if your doctor has recommended that you limit protein intake for a medical condition, (e.g. for certain kidney or liver conditions), then please follow that recommendation and do not experiment with a higher protein diet.

Have questions or comments about this post?  Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary’s Forum or Facebook page - I would love to hear from you.  And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary

Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

More Resources

Katherine Isacks.  MyNetDiary Blog. What you eat for breakfast can help you lose weight.

Katherine Isacks.  MyNetDiary Blog. Protein Supplements.  

4 January 13
What to Look for in a Personal Trainer
Perhaps you&#8217;ve decided to hire a personal trainer for 2013, but what does a good personal trainer look like? Lean, mean, and carries a bullhorn? Not always. Here&#8217;s a list of qualifications you should look for in a personal trainer.
Takes it Personal - A good trainer should be asking you what your motivations, goals, past weight loss history are and use that information to help you succeed at the gym. 
Flexible - No, not flexible in the yoga sense, but flexible with your schedule. You are about to commit long-term to a workout routine and that might change over time. Your trainer should be able to alter meeting times and days as the weeks and months progress. They should adjust to you, not vice versa.
Certified - This should go without saying, but find out if your trainer certified and in which organization they are certified, as there are many. Ask your trainer why they are affiliated with the organization they chose and see if that style of training is a good fit for you.
Experience - Your trainer should have ample experience with clients that have or had the same goals as you. You wouldn&#8217;t hire a college football coach to help your son play better tee-ball, would you? The same goes for you. 
Variety - To make your workouts more fun and exciting, you should be able to have your sessions in different places, either in the gym or around town. You might get bored working out on the same bench twice a week. Your trainer should have lots of ideas to mix up your routines. 
If you&#8217;ve been thinking about hiring a trainer but are worried about the cost, consider going in on group sessions (either with your friends or with strangers). They are cheaper and can be lots of fun! 
Have you had success with a personal trainer? If so, share your story on our Facebook page or in our Community Forum. 

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Perhaps you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer for 2013, but what does a good personal trainer look like? Lean, mean, and carries a bullhorn? Not always. Here’s a list of qualifications you should look for in a personal trainer.

Takes it Personal - A good trainer should be asking you what your motivations, goals, past weight loss history are and use that information to help you succeed at the gym. 

Flexible - No, not flexible in the yoga sense, but flexible with your schedule. You are about to commit long-term to a workout routine and that might change over time. Your trainer should be able to alter meeting times and days as the weeks and months progress. They should adjust to you, not vice versa.

Certified - This should go without saying, but find out if your trainer certified and in which organization they are certified, as there are many. Ask your trainer why they are affiliated with the organization they chose and see if that style of training is a good fit for you.

Experience - Your trainer should have ample experience with clients that have or had the same goals as you. You wouldn’t hire a college football coach to help your son play better tee-ball, would you? The same goes for you. 

Variety - To make your workouts more fun and exciting, you should be able to have your sessions in different places, either in the gym or around town. You might get bored working out on the same bench twice a week. Your trainer should have lots of ideas to mix up your routines. 

If you’ve been thinking about hiring a trainer but are worried about the cost, consider going in on group sessions (either with your friends or with strangers). They are cheaper and can be lots of fun! 

Have you had success with a personal trainer? If so, share your story on our Facebook page or in our Community Forum

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