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Moderation Maven

Dishing up the best ingredients for a healthy lifestyle
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Nutrition Facts label to change, but will it change our eating habits?

Posted by Leia Flure - Hot Topics

As you may have heard, the Nutrition Facts panel is about to undergo renovations. Seems like the same old story. Just when you've gotten used to something, it up and changes. But change isn't always bad, and we need it in order to move forward. To get a better idea of whether this one is good or bad, let's first recount the history of the Nutrition Facts label. Nutrition labe...

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Time to Rethink the Obesity Blame Game

As Americans, we pride ourselves on having freedom of choice. We can choose whom we vote for, what to wear, where to travel and so on. Importantly, we can also choose what to eat. Or can we? According to a new study from University of Illinois researcher Brenna Ellison, most of us do think the choice is ultimately ours. In a survey of nearly 800 Americans, a whopping 94 perc...

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Going Gluten-Free for the Holidays

What would the holidays be without dinner rolls, stuffing, Christmas cookies, or pie? Besides being traditional holiday dishes, they all have one common denominator – gluten. Over the past few years, going gluten-free has become a bona fide craze. But what is the scoop on the gluten-free fad? Is a gluten poison your body would do better without? Will cutting out gluten magically m...

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Indulge Your Hunger... but Read Your Body's Signals

As the holidays round the bend on the calendar, we're sure to see plenty of articles, blogs, and posts about how to prevent holiday weight gain. Normally, I'm one who would be sharing such information with you. This year, I'm taking a different approach. I'm not saying that the issue of holiday health isn't important, because it certainly is. But for dieters, diabetics, and weight watchers alik...

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Diabetes Diagnosis Just Got Slightly More Complicated

Although the symptoms of diabetes have been documented for thousands of years, medical professionals didn't start to look for a cause and treatment for the disease until 1910. Almost thirty years later, the classifications we know now as types 1 and 2 were made. But now we've encountered a new problem. Type 1 diabetes was previously known as juvenile diabetes, while type 2 has tradition...

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Vanity Sizing: Do We Need a Reality Check?

If a stranger took a peek in your closet, would they be able to tell how big or small you are from the labels sewn into your favorite shirts and pants? Due to the phenomenon of vanity sizing, probably not. You're likely familiar with the concept from personal experience, but according to National Public Radio (, vanity sizing is when marketers "(re-label) large-size clothes as smal...

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Protein-Packed Foods: Do You Really Need Them?

Taking a look at grocery store shelves, you'd think Americans were starving for protein. Perhaps we are, but our hunger is not literal. Just a few years ago calcium was all the rage and more recently, fiber and antioxidants. Protein is now the nutrient du jour, and food companies have jumped on this trend by rolling out protein-fortified granola bars and cereal to smoothies and even water. But...

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Pull of Junk Food not "All in Your Head"

How does fried eggs and bacon between a split, glazed donut sound? Dunkin' Donuts' latest addition to the breakfast menu may seem a bit crazy, but this concoction is anything but random. The Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich joins the ranks of Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers and bacon sundaes as yet another novelty food item designed to appeal to the American palate. Food companies figured out...

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Always Consider the Source for Health Information

Think fast – where do you get information on health and nutrition? Magazines at the checkout stand? Your friends, family, or doctor? How about TV or social media like Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter? With any of these, you probably have some degree of trust. But have you ever thought about whether the source is a commercial venture? What about their credentials? We often assume others hav...

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Should You Go Paleo? Pros and Cons of the

The "Caveman Diet" is one of the hottest diets being touted by celebrities and average Joes alike. Also called the "Paleolithic Diet" or "Paleo" for short, the idea is that we should be sticking to the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for optimal health. With a catchy name and a scientific-sounding premise, it has the winning formula for a fad diet. Most weight loss craz...

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Veggies: a Not-So-Secret Ingredient for Heart Health

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, you might expect me to extol the virtues of red wine and chocolate. And while these can certainly be heart-healthy in moderation, there are other foods that are far more effective at preventing cardiovascular disease. Vegetables – yes, vegetables – aren't exactly easy to get excited about, but get this. Only 23% of adults in Illinois are...

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Top Diet Picks

  "Which diets are the best?" If I made a list of the questions I'm most commonly asked by consumers, that one would be at the top. Well, the folks at U.S. News and World Report have recently attempted to answer the age old question (check out To rank popular and less well known diets, the publication enlisted the help of...

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Top Tips for Healthy Restaurant Dining

One of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy – whether you're new to the game or you're a veteran like me – is going out to eat. Enjoying a nice meal used to be one of life's little pleasures, but is now as much a part of our routine as filling up on gas. In moderation, an occasional heavy meal won't make a huge dent in your diet, but multiple restaurant stops throughout the week...

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Write it Down to Take Off the Pounds

Have you made your News Year's resolutions yet? I'll be honest, I'm putting myself on the hook to lose the 10 pounds I've accumulated over the past two years (yes, even dietitians gain weight sometimes!). So if you're like me and millions of other Americans, you may be making a resolution to improve your health this year. You might also be wondering how to make it stick, having been down this r...

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Take a Pass on Sea Salt - To Lower Sodium Intake, Watch the Processed Foods

We're constantly hearing about our nation's obesity epidemic, and I'm not going to lie – it is a major problem. But what about salt, that other contributor to cardiovascular woes? We need sodium (the chemical name for salt) for fluid balance, but only in very small amounts. At maximum, healthy adults can have up to 2,300 mg per day without adverse effects like high blood pressure....

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The ABCs of GMOs

When you hear genetically modified organism (GMO), what is the first thing that pops into your head? For many people, scary, intimidating, and other negative terms come to mind. The topic of GMOs can be confusing and controversial, and the science is often misinterpreted. Let's sort through some of the facts. A GMO –usually a crop plant–has had its DNA (genes) altered in a l...

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When It Comes to Energy Drinks, Buyer Beware

You may want to think twice before downing energy shots like they're water. Energy drinks may seem innocuous enough, but a 14 year old girl from Maryland died from a heart attack earlier this year after consuming two Monster energy drinks within a 24 hour period. In response, Illinois state senator Dick Durbin has asked the Federal Drug Administration to begin regulating energy drinks. Since en...

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Are Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Cancer?

Chances are, you've heard that your sweet tooth could lead to major health problems. Artificial sweeteners have a lot of critics; in the past, they have been linked to cancer in animals and are now being shunned by many due to their manmade origins. However, various studies have shown that artificial sweeteners currently on the market exhibit no significant correlation to cancer or other health...

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Fad Diets May Have Merit, But Not in the Way You Might Think

It's getting a bit too warm to cover up in jeans and long sleeves now that that sunny weather is here to stay. But wait – are you ready to break out the shorts and bare those arms? Maybe not. So you start browsing the internet, talking to friends, and tuning in to late-night infomercials in search of the latest weight loss miracle. Will you try the Sacred Heart Diet? The Master Cleanse? A...

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Fad Diet or Fraud Diet? Get Wise Before You Get Scammed

Inject yourself with the pregnancy hormone hCG and you'll lose 30 pounds in 30 days! Go gluten-free to cure all your health woes! These are just a few of the myriad claims you might encounter when watching infomercials, paging through magazines or browsing the Internet. But what's true and what's not? Who can you trust when it comes to your health? It can be extremely frustrating t...

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