Does Menu Labeling Lead to Healthier Food Choices?

By Lea Borgi, MD
May 16, 2018

Americans consume about a third of their calories outside the home,1 but estimating the calorie count of a restaurant’s meal can be extremely difficult. In a cross-sectional study of 1,877 adults and 330 school age children, two thirds of participants underestimated the calories of fast food meals.2 The larger the ingested meal, the larger the discrepancy between the estimated and the actual calorie content of that meal. In another study, participants consistently underestimated both the fat and calorie content of a range of menu items, where the actual content was up to 2 times greater than expected by consumers.3 Continue reading “Does Menu Labeling Lead to Healthier Food Choices?”

Unraveling the Science Behind Personalized Diets and Low-Fat vs Low-Carb Genotypes

By Lea Borgi, MD
May 1, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control reports that almost 71% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese, making obesity one of the most pressing concerns in public health.1 While dietary guidelines set recommended intakes of the various food groups,2 some data suggests that patients may lose weight more effectively when recommendations are tailored to certain genetic traits.3,4 Continue reading “Unraveling the Science Behind Personalized Diets and Low-Fat vs Low-Carb Genotypes”

Food and Chemicals: An Unwanted Phthalate Partnership

By Lea Borgi, MD
April 24, 2018

Restaurant meals have more calories, salt, and fat than meals consumed at home.1 Additionally, eating out has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and hypertension.2

The Study

A recently published study found that there is even more reason for concern when it comes to food prepared away from home.3 Indeed, in an analysis of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES), dining out was associated with a higher exposure to phthalate, an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC).3 Phthalates, also called plasticizers, are found in several products, including food packaging and personal care products.4 By measuring urinary phthalate metabolites, authors were able to estimate individuals’ cumulative phthalate exposure. Continue reading “Food and Chemicals: An Unwanted Phthalate Partnership”

Sodium Restriction in Patients with Reduced GFR: Blood Pressure Benefits

By Martina McGrath, MD
October 18, 2017

The typical US diet is comprised of 3.4g of sodium per day on average, whereas current recommendations suggest that sodium intake should be limited to <2g/day for the general population1 and possibly lower for those with hypertension or cardiovascular disease.2 Continue reading “Sodium Restriction in Patients with Reduced GFR: Blood Pressure Benefits”

Vitamin D Supplementation and Reduced Risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

By Martina M. McGrath, MD
August 30, 2017

As the cooler weather descends and the school year starts, we are again entering the season of viruses, colds, flu, and miscellaneous sniffles. Aside from vaccination and good hand hygiene, what else can we recommend to our patients to reduce their risk of upper respiratory tract infection?

A large meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation and respiratory tract infections was published in the BMJ earlier this year.1 The researchers accessed patient-level data on 10,933 trial participants treated with supplemental vitamin D versus placebo. The trials included all age ranges, from birth to adults in their 70s , and had varied dosing regimens for vitamin D supplementation. Continue reading “Vitamin D Supplementation and Reduced Risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections”

Daily Calorie Restriction vs Alternate Day Fasting for Weight Loss

By Martina M. McGrath, MD
July 7, 2017

Alternate day fasting (ADF) is a popular weight loss method, promoted via weight loss books and media. In the most widely promoted form, participants are advised to eat ~25% of their daily caloric needs on fasting days, alternating with unrestricted intake on nonfasting days. It has been suggested that it produces more significant weight loss and greater compliance than standard caloric restriction, as daily compliance is not necessary. Continue reading “Daily Calorie Restriction vs Alternate Day Fasting for Weight Loss”