10/22/07 - 10/26/07

Chancellor's Challenge. Chancellor Bill Richardson has made the decision to change to a healthierlifestyle. Follow his daily accounts and remarks from nutritionists to help him stay on course.

October 26, 2007

What's The Magic Combination?

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The print and visual media are filled with nutrition plans regarding protein, carbohydrates and fat. You name it and someone has written a book about it. If you look at any a list of the best selling books you will almost always find a nutrition book among the nonfiction list. While a lot of this information deals with weight loss there are a myriad of “plans” offered to anyone who is willing to pay the money to buy the book and follow the guidelines. Weight loss is big business. I’m not going to try and sell you on a plan. For most people except those with some medical conditions, weight loss occurs when we burn more calories than we consume and weight gain occurs for just the opposite reason. And, as I’ve reported to you before, most any of these plans might work if you are committed to following the guidelines.

Based on my baseline data which we will review in updated one month from next week, my doctor suggested that I follow a plan lower in carbohydrates, higher in protein and less fat. Recall that my cholesterol was borderline high , (206) and my BMI (32.5) and Weight (244.8) and waist size (42.5) placed me in the obese range. In addition to following a healthy lifestyle I needed to lose some fat. He also suggested the 4-4-4 plan, four times a week, for forty minutes at level 4 (15 MPH) on the treadmill. The question that continues to generate volumes of book material is how much or what percentages of protein, carbohydrate and fat would be in your healthy lifestyle nutrition plan. I’ve tried to eliminate things that carry empty calories, sweets, alcohol and salty snacks. But the question remains what is a balanced nutrition plan?

My approach is to reduce carbohydrate, increase the protein and dramatically reduce fats. I found that our web site has tons of information regarding carbohydrates, fat and protein. Please review this information before you make a lot of major dietary changes. As we have discussed before, consult your doctor.

My approach is to add more fish, especially those high in Omega 3 like salmon, chicken and lean meats as my main entrees. I do not eat bread unless its whole grain and use very few processed foods. By taking the skin off the chicken and using very lean meats, I reduce many of the fats. By eliminating white bread and using brown rice and eliminating sweets, I reduce the carbs and stay within the 2200 calorie goal. The specialists have discussed the protein, carb and fat ratios below and provide you great insight into design your plan to meet your goals.

Make Smart Choices!

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Spurred by interest in the best and quickest way to lose weight, there's been a lot of news about how much protein, carbohydrate and fat we need.

There is a wide range of current recommended dietary intake ranges for carbohydrate, protein and fat:

  • Carbohydrate 45 to 65 percent of calories
  • Protein 10 to 35 percent of calories
  • Fat 20 to 35 percent of calories

For example, on 2,200 calories you could safely consume: 250-360 grams of carbohydrate, 55-87 grams of protein and 49-85 grams of fat.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein intake for adult males is 56 g/d and for adult females, 46 g/d. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the typical American diet usually supplies more than this amount and most Americans do not need to increase their intake. For example, the protein from some of the foods mentioned (in the blog), cereal with milk, a cup of cottage cheese, and 3 ounces of salmon, adds up to about 60 grams protein.

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds provide protein. In addition to meats and poultry, select fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring, more often (Why is it important to include fish, nuts, and seeds?). Choose dry beans or peas as a main dish or part of a meal often. For more information on dry beans and peas click here. Choose nuts as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes.

Protein is needed for building and repair. Protein serves as the major structural component of all cells, in the body and functions as enzymes, in membranes, as transport carriers, and as some hormones.

Not all proteins are equal. Proteins from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt provide the nine indispensable amino acids our bodies can't make and are called "complete" proteins. Proteins from plants, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables lack or are low in one or more of the indispensable amino acids and are called "incomplete" proteins. Diets can be made "complete" by combining incomplete proteins with other incomplete proteins or with complete proteins. Example: two incomplete proteins - beans and rice - or an incomplete and complete protein - beans and milk.

Research shows that although high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets may work more quickly than low-fat diets, after about a year weight loss is about equal. Higher protein diets may also help you feel full longer and help prevent hunger pangs.

If you're eating more protein, it's important to make healthy choices and stay in the recommended intake range. Some studies suggest that high protein diets may cause bone loss and kidney problems. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet.

Read more on "Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients."

Beth Reames


October 25, 2007

Milk It For All It's Worth

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When the nutritionists said to add more dairy to the meal plan, my thoughts immediately jumped to ICE CREAM. I really like the ice cream at the LSU AgCenter Dairy Store. The mango ice cream is the best I have ever had.

When the nutritionists saw my smile, they reminded me of the blog entry on portion size. I could add some ice cream, but in moderation.

It is easier said than done. Compare 1 cup of ice cream to 1 cup of green beans. To me, the cup of ice cream will always seems smaller.

A healthy lifestyle demands 2-4 servings of dairy products every day. Milk, yogurt, cheese and of course ice cream can be consumed to meet that requirement. I rely on milk. I pour it over my morning cereal and drink a glass sometime during the day. Cheese makes a good snack, if done in moderation. I also like low-fat cottage cheese. There are lots of options. Utilizing them all will provide support for the dairy industry in our state.

Now for a little secret. I have a dietician friend who also loves the mango ice cream from our dairy store. While discussing the finer points of our shared obsession, I told her about my struggles to keep it in moderation. She recommended trying one of the low-calorie ice cream sandwiches available at most supermarkets. The kind I like has 140 calories. If I stay on the nutrition plan for the day, I reward myself with a sandwich after dinner. That means I have to carve out 140 calories from the 2,200 calorie plan. But it is worth the effort.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Chancellor Richardson knows that milk is not just for kids.

  • People who have a diet rich in milk and milk products can reduce the risk of low bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.

  • Foods in the milk group provide nutrients vital for health. These nutrients include:

    • calcium.
    • potassium.
    • vitamin D.
    • protein.

  • According to many recent research studies, dairy foods may help promote a healthy weight.

Although ice cream is included in the milk group, low-fat or fat-free forms should account for most of the recommended amount (3 cups for most adults). Many cheeses and whole milk are high in saturated fat, which raises LDL (low density lipoprotein levels or "bad" cholesterol) and increases risk for coronary heart disease. Saturated fat should not account for more than 10 percent of daily calories. The amount of saturated fat recommended for a 2,200-calorie plan is 24 grams or less.

The ice cream bars that the chancellor mentioned sound delicious, but you might want to check the ingredients and nutrition facts. Some low-calorie products may not provide the same nutritional value. Skim or low-fat milk is an exception. Both provide the same amount of protein, calcium and vitamin D as whole milk.

For those with lactose intolerance, choose lactose-free alternatives within the milk group -- such as cheese, yogurt and lactose-free milk. Sufferers can also consume the enzyme lactase before eating milk products

Additional Information:

Beth Reames


October 24, 2007

Vouching For Veggies

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We often think of vegetables as those green things that we have to eat. How many of us have been told as children not to leave the table until finishing our veggies? How many of us have tried to feed those vegetables to our pets? Did you try to dump them in the flower planter? We all have our favorite story.

Eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day is not too much to ask. My philosophy on vegetables is that since I need them, I had better find some that taste good. I actually like green beans and those small green peas. I also love fresh tomatoes sliced with a little salt and pepper. By adding one of those seasoning mixes, you may actually begin to look forward to fresh vegetables.

You may not be aware of the strong vegetable industry in Louisiana,. We have many wonderful truck crop farmers producing fresh vegetable. I will take a fresh vegetable any day to something out of a can. As was noted yesterday, local farmers markets are an excellent source of fresh vegetable. Also, your local extension office can give you the name of farmers producing vegetables in your parish.

Do not discount growing your own vegetables. Maintianing a garden can be fun family project. While not scientifically proven, a tomato grown on your own vine seems to taste better than one you buy from someone else.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Chancellor Richardson realizes the importance of eating vegetables. However, National surveys show that most Americans do not eat the recommended amounts of vegetables per day (just 2 - 3 cups).

Most vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories and cholesterol. Vegetables are important sources for nutrients such as:

  • potassium.
  • dietary fiber.
  • folate (folic acid).
  • vitamin A.
  • vitamin E.
  • vitamin C.
  • Phytochemicals such as lutein, lycopene, and anthocyanins.

Eating vegetables has been linked to reduced risks of:

  • stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • type 2 diabetes.
  • cancer.
  • kidney stones
  • bone loss.
  • coronary heart disease.
  • obesity.

Vegetables are organized into five subgroups, based on their nutrient content:

  • dark green.
  • orange.
  • dry beans and peas.
  • starchy.
  • other.
Vary your veggies:
  • Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli and kale.

  • Eat more orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.

  • Eat more beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas and lentils.

To find out the amounts from each subgroup MyPyramid recommends, explore this link:


Adding vegetables to your daily eating plan is easy:
  • Slip more vegetables into casseroles, soup, pasta and rice dishes.

  • Add steamed broccoli to pasta and red sauce or rice and beans.

  • Boost vegetable soup by adding squash, cauliflower or turnips.

  • Enhance chicken and noodle casserole by adding carrots, green beans or sun-dried tomatoes.

  • Instead of lasagna noodles, try eggplant slices in lasagna.

  • Roll cabbage leaves around meat and rice patties or a barley and veggie patty.

  • Keep cut-up veggies in the refrigerator to eat with low fat dip for snack attacks.

  • Drink juices made from 100% vegetable juice.
To learn about other tips for increasing vegetables in your diet, click on:


Don't forget food safety:

  • Choose produce carefully. Reject any with decay, molds, insect holes, or surface cuts. Remove bruised or damaged spots that may harbor bacteria or mold.

  • Use separate cutting boards – one for cleaning produce, another for raw meat, poultry, and fish.

  • Remove outer leaves on lettuce, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables. “Rust” spots on lettuce aren’t harmful.

  • Wash produce with clean, running water just before cooking or eating.

  • Scrub firm produce with a vegetable brush or hands: melons, cucumbers, carrots, foods with edible peels.

  • If not cooking right away, dry produce using a clean disposable or cloth towel (bacteria may survive if produce remains moist) and store in clean containers or plastic storage bags in the refrigerator.

  • Keep your refrigerator produce drawer clean. Wash and sanitize it often.

  • Produce pre-washed and bagged can be used without further washing if kept refrigerated and used by the expiration date.

Additional Information:

Beth Reames


October 23, 2007

Pick Fruit

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After examining my food log, the LSU AgCenter nutritionists asked me to add two-to-three servings of fruit per day. To accomplish this, they suggested I eat a piece of fruit with breakfast and include a piece or two in my snack routine. I now have a banana with breakfast and eat fruit and almonds for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.

I cannot wait for the Louisiana strawberry season. Can you imagine what a cup of fresh berries will do to a cup of bland, cold breakfast cereal? My mouth waterswhen I think about it. I actually like strawberries better than donuts!

Strawberry production is a treasure in this state. You can bet that I will write more about his come berry season.

Louisiana also has robust blueberry industry. Blueberries taste great and help protect against disease, including certain cancers and heart disease.

Go to your local farmers market and buy some fresh fruit today. I believe in buying locally whenever possible.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetable each day. The Produce for Better Health Foundation recently increased its recommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption from five servings to five-to-nine servings, depending on the caloric level.

Eating more fruits and vegetables has been linked to decreased incidents of chronic diseases. The nationwide Dietary Approach to Studying Hypertension (DASH) studies showed a significant reduction in hypertension when subjects followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The Nurses Health Study, a large, longitudinal project directed by Harvard University, found that eating fruits and vegetables reduced the risk of many chronic diseases.

Fruits have phytochemicals, which have been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The disease-fighting chemicals in fruits are:

  • Carotenoids in kiwi, grapefruit, and watermelon.
  • Resveratrol in grapes.
  • Anthocyanins in blueberries and srawberries.
  • Quercetins in grapes, berries, apples and pears.
  • Hesperidin , Tangeritin, and Limonene in citrus fruits.
  • Ellagic Acid in berries such as strawberries and blueberries.

Fruit consumption can also help reduce incidences of macular degeneration.

It is important to eat a mix of phytochemicals. When thinking about how to work in more fruit in your diet, don't consider only whole fruits. Think about fruits in other forms, such as juices, butters and sauces. Also consider using fruits as ingredients in recipes.

Related Information:

Heli Roy 


October 22, 2007

Obesity Overseas

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I read an article in the Time Picayune entitled, Report Warns Britain of Rising Obesity. A government report found that the number of obese British citizens tripled over the last 25 years. The British health secretary blamed the increase on “a consequence of abundance, convenience and underlying biology.” The study concluded that current obese policies have not worked. Does this sound familiar?

The report made a series of proposals:

  • Take early action when young children start gaining too much weight.
  • Target people who are at risk
  • Control high-caloric food
  • Change designs of town to make them more physically demanding
  • Increase employer responsibility.

As I read this article, I thought about my previous blog entries that addressed commitment. As individuals, we have to make a commitment to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The LSU AgCenter also has to make a commitment to address obesity in our state. Like the Brits, we have to “rapidly and decisively” address our obesity issues. Obesity afflicts one in three Americans. Another two thirds are overweight.

I don’t want to be counted as obese or overweight, so I will address the issue personally. As CEO of the AgCenter, I promise to make obesity, especially teenage obesity, a major initiative. All of us need to convince our elected officials to deal with it as a state and national issue. This is one trend that is here to stay unless we deal with it “rapidly and decisively”.

Sorry for the obesity sermon. Hopefully you will see it as motivation to stay the course and convert to a healthy life style and get some exercise. It is really very simple.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

The Chancellor is correct. Childhood/teenage obesity should be a priority because Louisiana’s young people are heavier and less active than they were 20 years ago. This is a concern because health habits are likely to presist in adulthood. At the national and state level, government is taking action by passing legislation on school vending machines, physical activity and school wellness policies. Some examples of legislation:


Senate Bill 871 (Act 734) (2004)

  • Provides for 150 minutes each school week of quality moderate to vigorous physical activity per student K-6th grade.

Senate Bill 146 (2005)

  • Restricts sale of beverages and food during school day.
  • Food and beverages must meet certain criteria.

For a detailed list of state-level school health policies, visit http://www.nasbe.org/HealthySchools/States/states.asp?Name=Louisiana


Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Section 204)
  • Requires school systems to establish school wellness policies by July 1, 2006.
  • Wellness policy for schools should:
    1. include goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities
    2. include nutrition guidelines for all foods available on each school campus during the school day with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity
    3. provide an assurance that guidelines for reimbursable meals will at least reflect the minimum standards established by the USDA
    4. establish a plan for measuring implementation of the wellness policy; and (5) involve a variety of community members in the development of the policy.

 For more information visit: http://www.ncsl.org/statefed/humserv/SummaryS2507.htm 

Everyone should and can get involved with promoting a physically active lifestyle and consumption of nutrient-dense foods.

Heli Roy

2/10/2009 1:16:29 AM
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