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Jeffrey S. Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN

Jeff’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in nutrition with minors in Exercise Science.

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Restaurants: Our Modern False Prophets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 08:56
 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are raving wolves." Matthew  7:15

While the restaurant industry claims they offer plenty of healthy choices and people just need to order them, doing so, and knowing which ones are the healthiest seems impossible to do.  I meet people every day who tell me they order the "healthy" items in restaurants, yet, are not experiencing the health they are seeking.

The main reason is that on restaurant menus (and food packages), all the unhealthy foods are now being marketed as heallthy.   They have become the "raving wolves in sheep's clothing."

The California Center For Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) recently conducted a poll of 523 people, to see if they could pick the healthiest food on a restaurant menu. Four menu items from popular restaurants were presented and the respondents had to pick the ones which were lowest in fat, calories and salt.

None, let me repeat... NONE!...  

 ...of the respondents answered all four questions correctly and 68% failed all of the questions.

Less than 1% answered three of the four questions correctly and education and income level of the respondents had no impact.  Even the executive director of the CCPHA, Dr Harold Goldstein, who has a doctorate in public health, failed the quiz.


The 30% Compromise PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 02 May 2008 07:35

Since 1980, most major dietary guidelines have recommend that we consume around 30% of our calories from fat.  And, since then, this has become the gospel, even in many of the the vegetarian and vegan communities.  Recently, some organizations, like the American Heart Association, have begun to recommend even higher levels of fat, in certain conditions.

But does anyone really know how and why they came to these recommendations?  Is there conclusive evidence that this level of fat is optimal?

What many people do not realize, is that there was no good evidence for this recommendation and the 30% was a compromise and based on some data that was "unrealistic" in reference and relevance to the USA.

The following quotes are from William P James, who is from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the head of the International Obesity Task Force, which is part of the International Association for the Study of Obesity.

Herbal Fraud PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 13:39

Many people in the "natural food" and "healthy living" world are aware of the corruption and  problems in the food and pharmeceutical industries.  What they are not often aware or, or willing to beleive, is the amount of corruption that also exists in the world of natural food and healthy living.

There is corruption on all sides.


Gregory Probert, the president and chief operating officer of Herbalife Ltd., was caught embellishing his academic credentials by a fraud investigator who has bet against the company's stock.


Herbalife, a Los Angeles marketer of weight-loss products, has said Mr.Probert received a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Los Angeles. It mentioned the degree in at least 19 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


But Mr. Probert never finished Cal State's M.B.A. program, where he took classes in the early 1980s, the university said. The disclosure came after a critic of the company, Barry Minkow, hired a private investigator to verify Herbalife executives' biographies.

Food Additives PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 13:35

If you have heard my label reading talk, you know that I do not address the issue of food additives.  My main focus is on the three ingredients which are the most over consumed in the American food supply and causing the most harm.  These are the  "bad" fats (saturated, hydrogenated, trans) , refined sugars/sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates/grains.


However, the Center For Science In The Public Interest (CSPI) has just updated their analysis of food additives in the latest edition of Nutrition Action Newsletter and it is available online.


So, for those who are interested, I consider CSPI's work on this over the years, fairly reliable though I do not agree 100% with their ratings. Nor am I recommending that you place the concern over avoiding these additives above and

Shaking The Salt Habit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 25 April 2008 09:17

Following up on my earlier blog about Sodium, Calcium and you, here is a simple method to limit the amount of sodium in food. 

One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and almost 1 billion people worldwide. Hypertension in turn is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. And while being overweight and inactive raises blood pressure, too much salt is a big culprit as well.

 The American Medical Association says cutting in half the sodium in processed and restaurant foods within 10 years could wind up saving 150,000 lives annually.  The World Health Organization this year called for worldwide sodium reductionin processed foods, plus consumer education on cutting the salt.

If you are trying to cut back on salt, you have to know where most of the salt is coming from.   In an effort to cut back on salt, many people quit adding salt themselves from the salt shaker, and also in any cooking they do at home.   However, while these efforts are to be applauded, they will only have a small impact on the amount of salt in their diet. 


The Effects Of Cooking & Microwaves PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 22 April 2008 09:25

Does cooking kill the nutrients in food? Specifically broccoli? If so, how much cooking and at what temperature? And, isn't microwaving the worst way to cook it? Doesn’t microwaving kill all the nutrients? And what about storing broccoli in the refrigerator?

These are all questions I get all the time from clients and patients. And, when I tell them the answer found in most studies, it is as if they don’t want to hear the answer and just want to go on believing in myths.
So, what is the answer?

Researchers at both the Warwick Medical School and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick investigated these very questions and published their results this week in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The researchers bought broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green cabbage from a local grocery stores and took them to the lab within 30 minutes of purchasing them. They then investigated the effects of cooking by several methods; boiling, steaming, microwaving and stir-frying, to test the effects on the loss of glucosinolates, which are cancer protective substances.

Sodium, Calcium... and You PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 17 April 2008 13:03

Many of you are aware of the relationship between animal protein and calcium and that higher levels of animal protein intake can increase calcium loss from the bones.

What many of you are not aware is the important relationship between excess sodium intake and calcium loss.

Help Support Menu Labeling In Restaurants PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 15 April 2008 09:28
On April 10th, the American Dietitic Association issued a report on their stance on restaurant labeling.

The report says..

"To date, ADA has not supported any legislative proposals requiring restaurant calorie labeling. ADA generally praises state and local officials for their attention to this matter, but we urge caution in endorsing restaurant legislation or initiatives in the absence of scientific support to indicate that the action will be effective ."

The "absence of scientific support?"

Are they kidding me?

Whose side are they really on?

Improving consumer health or protecting industry interests?

This is an organization who says they are ...

Turn Off The "Obesity Tube" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 10 April 2008 10:30

Once again, we see the reality of the message that TV adds are sending to our children. And, it is not good.

In 2005, a review by the Institute of Medicine concluded that food marketing influence children's food choices, preferences, consumption and health. The Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Health and Human Services have said that food markets can play an important role in improving children's diets and helping solve the obesity problem.

A study in the journal Pediatrics found that only 2% of children (ages 2 to 19) eat a diet that meets the conservative USDA guidelines. Most children already consume more fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars and less fruits, vegetables and whole grains than recommended.

While many food companies state publicly that they are concerned with the obesity epidemic and working hard to find solutions, a study released this week paints a different picture. Several earlier studies between 1988 and 1999, found that about half of the 5,500 food advertisements children see per year are for fast food and/or junk foods

Two More FREE Public Lectures Next Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 18:00

I will be participating in two upcoming free public health events.  Both events are part of the BEANS (Bringing Education About Nutrition To Students) symposium sponsored by the Palm Beach Community College (PBCC) Wellness Center

The first event, is next Wednesday, April 16th from 12:30 pm - 2 PM.  This presentation is a roundtable discussion and the topic is,  "Healthy Plant Based (Vegan) Diets." I will be the opening presenter and moderator for the event.  Other panel members include several other faculty and staff from PBCC.  The event is free and open to the public.

The second is next Thursday, April 17th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  I will be presenting the talk, "Health Food vs Healthy Food: How Can You Tell The Difference."  This event is free and open to the public.

If you need more information, you can visit the PBCC Wellness Center website at...

The Elephant In The Room, Literally! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 08 April 2008 14:14

There is an elephant in the room and it seems like some of us are denying it. As our nations becomes more obese, being overweight appears to becoming the norm. A recent survey found that many Americans whose children are obese do not see them that way.  It seems that a startling number of parents are in denial about their youngsters' weight.

This is very worrisome as obese children run the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and other ailments more commonly found in adults. In addition, overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults.

In a survey of 2,060 adults, conducted over the summer by Internet research firm Knowledge Networks, researchers collected height and weight measurements on the children from their parents, then used that to calculate body mass index. When a child's BMI was higher than the 95th percentile for children who are the same age and gender, the child was considered obese.

A Solution To Obesity? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 09:47

This is not an April Fool's Joke!  :) 

Everyone is looking for the solution to obesity.  While there are many opinions on how best to address this epidemic, perhaps we can find the answer by looking at other health issues that have been and are being successfully addressed.

Nicotine and Alcohol.

Recently, USA Today conducted its own analysis of taxation and smoking figures and concluded that the decline in smoing is directly related to the size of the tax increase.  This may be extra good news because Congress is considering a huge federal cigarette tax hike.  

According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, smoking fell 2.5-5.0% for every 10% increase in cigarette price. Some specific examples were cited.   Cigarette sales fell 18% in North Carolinaafter state tax was raised from .05 to .35.   In Connecticut, cigarette sales fell 37% when state taxes were increased from .50 to $1.51.  Same results happened earlier in California.  In 1988, Califormia Proposition 99 increased the state tax by 25 cents per cigarette pack and allocated a minimum of 20% of revenue to fund anti-tobacco education. From 1988 to 1993, the state saw tobacco use decline by 27%, three times better than the U.S. average.

It has also worked for alcohol.  Five studies published between 1981 and 1998 found that drinking declined as the price of alcohol increased.  Maybe Congress should also consider a huge tax hike for unhealthy foods that are high in calories, unhealthy fats, refined/concentrated sugars and sodium.  

Don't Flip Out Over Flipside Crackers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 28 March 2008 11:20

The food industry has done it again. It has spent its valuable time, energy and money in the development and introduction of two new and much-needed products to help Americans combat the obesity, diabetes and other major health problems that plague us.

Keebler, which is owned by Kellog's, just introduced its latest food product, Keebler™ Town House® Flipsides™ Original Crackers. As its website states, New Town House Flipsides combine the versatility of a cracker with the taste of a pretzel.

And thank god for that! I can't tell you how many times I was looking for a snack and couldn't decide whether I wanted a cracker or a pretzel, and had to choose between one or the other. Now, thanks to the efforts of Keebler, I can have both at once!

But, let’s take a closer look.

Fried Or Grilled: Unhealthy IS Still Unhealthy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 10:20

Kentucky Fried Chicken is in the new this week because they are going to begin offering grilled chicken instead of fried chicken.  

The fast food group said its grilled chicken has between 60 and 180 calories and three to nine grams of fat compared with fried chicken which typically contains between 130 and 360 calories and eight to 24 grams of fat.  The grilled chicken will be priced at a similar level to fried chicken, KFC said.

"This great tasting product will help KFC continue to evolve and increase our relevance among consumers looking for nonfried menu options," said KFC President Gregg Dedrick.

Notice how theycleverly said "nonfried" option and did not say "healthy" options.

While the grilled chicken will not be fried and have less fat and less saturated fat, the amounts of fat and saturated fat will still be way to high as will the amounts of sodium in the grilled chicken.  Remember, something is not healthy just because it has less fat or less aturated fat.  Something is healthy because as a total food package, it is healthy and meets all the recommended guidelines.   The grilled chicken will still not be healthy item.

Now, many of us know that chicken (grilled or fried) is not healthy, but these same marketing principles of promoting unehalthy food as healthy food does still effect us. 

Lessons Learned: Trans Fats & Our Society PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 20 March 2008 15:36
The following Dutch paper, authored by Martijn B Katan, looks at the development and history of trans fatty acids in the food supply. I found his three conclusions very important.

Katan MB. [Elimination of all trans fatty acids]
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2008 Feb 9;152(6):302-7. Dutch.
PMID: 18326409

At the start of the 20th century, the production of trans fatty acids was
originally largely driven by the increasing demand for margarine. The two
Dutch margarine firms Van den Bergh and Jurgens played an important role in this early development. In the early 1990s it was shown that trans fatty acids increase the risk of heart disease. Unilever, the successor to Van den Bergh and Jurgens, then took the lead in eliminating trans fatty acidsfrom retail foods worldwide. As a result, intake in The Netherlands fell from 15 g per day in 1980 to 3 g per day in 2003. Dairy products and meat are now the major source of trans fatty acids. The effects on health of these ruminant trans fatty acids are unclear.

There are three lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of trans fatty
U.S Health System Is Poor & Getting Worse PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 17 March 2008 09:46

A study has come out showing how poor the United States does in addressing the issue of preventable deaths.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

To establish their rankings, deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures were considered.  They believe such deaths are an effective way to gauge the performance of a country's health care system.

Of the 19 leading industrialized nations evaluated, France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst   After the top three, Spain was fourth best, followed in order by Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and Portugal, with the United States last.

The "Complete" Protein Story, SImplified PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 14 March 2008 08:29

Our culture seems entrenched in the notion that we are all at risk for protein deficiency and the best source of protein, and all the amino acids, are animal foods.  It seems that the notion that one must eat animal foods for protein, will never go away. 

At one point, we were all told that plant foods were incomplete proteins.  And by this, they meant that plant foods do not contain all of the essential amino acids.  Some were missing, and to get in enough protein and amino acids, you have to carefully combine certain plant foods.  This was the incomplete protein theory

 Then, years later, the story changed.  What we were now told was the plants do have all the essential amino acids in them, but some of these amino acids are in very small amounts.  These amounts may be too small to ensure adequate protein synthesis in the body.  So, they were still considered "incomplete' but in a different way.  This became known as the limiting amino acid theory.

These theories not only abound in the general public, but also amongst health professionals.   Many doctors, dietitians, nurses and other healthcare professionals still beleive one of the two incorrect theories above.

One of the most common questions I get is how to you combat this misinformation.   Often times, people get into long drawn out debates over the issues.   I like to keep things simple and could sum it up as follow...

Two FREE Public Lectures This Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 10 March 2008 11:20

I will be presenting the "Health Food vs Healthy Food: How Can You Tell The Difference" talk at two upcoming free public events.

The first, is next Tuesday, March 11 from 7 - 9 PM at the Whole Foods in Boca Ration, Florida .  This presentation is being hosted by the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network .  The event is free and open to the public. 

The second is on Saturday, March 15th from 2-4 PM at the CocoaBeach Library in Cocoa Beach, Florida.   This presentation is being hosted by the Healthy Planet of Brevard group. This event is free and open to the public.

If you need more information, you can click on any of the above links and you will be directed to the contact pages and information for these groups.

About the presentation:

Health Food vs Healthy Food: How Can You Tell The Difference?

In the last 30 years we have seem more "health foods" and "products" come out promoting their health benefits than ever before. And huge health food stores selling these products everywhere.  Yet during the
same period, Americans have become the fattest nation on earth.  Are health foods really healthy?  In this eye-opening and entertaining talk, you will learn how this happened and find out the truth behind the
marketing of "health" foods.  And you will learn some very simple and easy guidelines to help you quickly tell the difference between and find the real health foods that you should be eating.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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