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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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The REAL SuperFoods! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 07 March 2008 08:06

It seems like almost every day a new list of the 10 (or 5, or 14) best foods to eat comes out.   These are often referred to as "superfoods."    The next thing you know, people are basing their diets around these 5 (or 10 or so) foods.    Is this a good thing?

I do not think so.

First, when I look at most of these lists, I see many foods that I would never recommend anyone eat or eat myself.  Often they contain fish (usually salmon), dairy products (usually yogurt), alcohol (usually wine), oil (usually olive oil), meat (usually chicken or grass-fed wild game), and cocoa (usually in the form of chocolate),  All are foods I would not consume myself, or recommend to those trying to follow an optimal lifestyle.

Second, I do not like lists that focus on specific foods, as that takes the focus off of food groups and variety. Variety within foods and food groups is an important issue not only for pleasure, but also for nutrient adquacy

The Longevity Revolution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 06 March 2008 09:20

TODAY! 11:00 am (US eastern time) Dr. Robert Butler: "The Longevity Revolution" (Public Affairs) Guest host: Katty Kay 88.5 FM An expert on aging examines the remarkable transformation of human life expectancy. He explains the benefits and challenges an older population presents.

This should be an interesting program. It will probably focus more on the social, economic and policy issues around our aging population and their impact and needs, then on diet.

I have met Dr Butler on many occasions and co-presented with him. He is a fan, advocate and follower of a low fat, plant based diet (though no vegan). He lead a weekly walking group in NYC every Saturday so if you are in NY, you can join in for the walk.

In 1975, Dr. Butler became the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, of the National Institutes of Health, where he remained until 1982. In 1982 he founded the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, the first department of geriatrics in a U.S. medical school, where he served as chairman and Brookdale Professor until 1995. In 1995 he became president and CEO of the International Longevity Center–USA, a policy research and education center, while continuing as professor of geriatrics at Mount Sinai.

What We Really Eat PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 03 March 2008 13:26

At the National Healh Associations international conference last summer, Dr Frank Sabbatino mentioned a report done by Information Resources, that appeared in The Wall Street Journal Almanac.   The report listed the 50 top largest product categories in food stores by sales dollars.    So, in other words, which products do we spend the most money on.

While I wasn't able to write down the results Dr Sabbatino mentioned at the time, I did want to eventually find the original report.    I thought this would be important information to have as I already report on studies that show food consumption based on what people say they eat, food consumption based on restaurant sales, and food availability data.    This new information would be one more way to see what American really eat and spend their money on.  

Well, I found the original article and the results were very sad but not shocking.   

How To Live To Be 101 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 19:28

They say, "Success Leaves Clues".  If you want to be succesful at something, then find people who are already successful at it, study them, and see what they do and find the things that they all have in common.  These common denominators will be key factors to your same success. 

We oftn hear stories of long lived populations around the world and even read about them in best selling diet books.  But upon closer examination, many of them tend to be nothing more than folklore and exaggerated stories.  However, there are documented long lived populations that have been well studied. 

The highest life expectancies on the planet are found on the remote Japanese island of Okinawa, in the Californian town of Loma Linda and in the mountains of Sardinia, Italy.  A group of scientists have dedicated their lives to finding out what it is these places have in common for several decades.

Watch this 4 video to learn more. 

How To Live To Be 101

The Weapons of Mass Destruction PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 07:47

In September of 2001, shortly after the attacks of 9/11, I spoke to an Earthsave group on Long Island, New York.   At the time, I said that while what happened in NYC to the Twin Towers was a travesty and atrocity, there was a bigger travesty going on within American that is killing more people and more dangerous to the future of Americans than any terrorist attack ever would. I talked about the epidemic of obesity and the problem with misleading lables.  Soon after, during an interview on Orlando TV and later at the North American Vegetarian Summer Conference, I called food labels and packaged processed foods, "The Weapons of Mass Destruction."   Now, a global conference on obesity agrees yet this issue has barely received any attention in the current Presidential campaigns and debates.  

An estimated 388 million people will die from chronic disease worldwide over the next 10 years, according to World Health Organisation figures quoted by the alliance.  Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world's deaths.  And, it is these preventable chronic diseases that will break the bank of the health care systems and economies of many countries.  

Keeping It Whole, Grains That Is! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 21 February 2008 09:23

Trying to lose weight?    New research shows that including whole grains in your diet as part of your strategy to lose weight may be particularly heart healthy.

In a study of obese adults at risk of heart disease, those who cut their calories and increased their whole-grain intake lost more belly fat and lowered their blood levels of CRP than those who included more refined grains in their diet.   Fat that accumulates around the belly is the most damaging to health.    CRP,  or C-reactive protein, is a marker inflammation in blood vessels, and both excess belly fat and CRP are linked to heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, the senior researcher of the study, and her colleagues at Pennsylvania State University published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Dr Kris-Etherton said, 

Getting More Health Protection, Naturally! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 19 February 2008 08:21

We hear a lot about the protective and beneficial components of foods and how important they are for us.  These components include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, fiber and isoflavones, to name a few.
We also know there are certain dietary components that are harmful. These include, but not limited to, saturated fats and cholesterol.

Many people ingest supplements thinking this is the easiest way to increase their intake of these nutrients and ensure nutritional adequacy.  Yet, plant foods are one of the richest sources of these protective components and increasing the amount of plant foods, increases the amount of these nutrients.  Plant foods are also very low in saturated fats and cholesterol so by consuming more natural occuring plant foods, we can limit our intake of these harmful components 

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietitic Association looked at the what happens to these protective and harmful component when the subjects were put on a very-low-fat (10%) vegan diet.  

Where Is The "HEALTHY" Food? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 14 February 2008 18:00

 A few months ago I discussed how a supermarket chain, Hannaford Brothers, self rated the products in their stores with a 3 star rating system.   The rating system awarded products 1, 2, or 3 stars based on the amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium.    Of the over 28,000 products analyzed,  24% got either 1, 2 or 3 stars.   In other words, 76% of the products they carried, could not qualify for even 1 star!!  

Considering that in the produce section, 94% of the products passed, that means the average for the rest of the store was even lower than the 24%.    And, if you consider that the 24% included products that got either 1, 2 or 3 stars, how many actually were the healthiest and would have qulified to be awarded all 3 stars? 

Denying Food To The Obese? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 10:21

While you may not beleive this.....

If you live in the great state of Mississippi and you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, you may be denied service at restaurants soon.

There is a bill working its way through the Mississippi House of Representatives now that would require restaurants to refuse to serve patrons who are obese. The bill would require eateries to keep track of customers BMI's and have scales at the doors. The states Department of Health would be responsible for enforcing compliance, and would revoke business permits for those dining establishments that violated the legislation.

Buyer Beware: Palm Fruit Oil! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 08 February 2008 13:20

I was forwarded an email today featuring the "words best peanut butter" that has been "100 years in the making".   

These peanut butters are made without any hydrogenated oils or trans fats which are frequently found in many traditional store bought brands.   However, these new peanut butters are now made with "palm fruit oil".   I have to admit, that sounds pretty healthy.   However, don't be fooled.  Palm fruit oil is another name for palm oil, a highly saturated tropical oil.

I first saw palm fruit oil listed as an ingredient a year or so ago in some products made by Newmans Organics.  

Help Stop The Marketing Of Junk Food to Children PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 05 February 2008 16:19

Concerns about childhood obesity and the marketing of junk foods to children are growing. The vast majority of foods marketed to children by Nickeledeon, and its parent company Viacom, are high in fat, saturated and trans fats, salt, or sugars, and few are fruits, vegetables, or whole grains.

As the number-one provider of entertainment for children, Nickelodeon’s marketing undermines parental efforts to feed their children a healthful diet. There are wide discrepancies between what foods parents tell their children are healthful and what Nickelodeon markets as desirable. In their attempts to feed their children healthfully, many parents find it difficult to compete with Nickelodeon’s state-of-the-art market research, music, animation, and attractive characters such as Sponge-Bob SquarePants. Viacom should establish strong nutrition standards and apply them to its full range of marketing to children.

Viacom needs to hear a loud and clear message from parents and others concerned about child health: stop using SpongeBob SquarePants and other popular Viacom characters and media to market junk food to kids.

Please take a moment to urge Viacom to establish strong nutrition standards for which foods and beverages it will (and won’t) market to children, including advertising on Nickelodeon channels, in Nickelodeon magazines, on Nickelodeon Internet sites, and through product placement in movies, and the licensing of Nick and other Viacom characters that appeal to children on food packages. Also, please pass this alert along to friends and family. 

Fill out the survey here! 

Thank you for your help!

Another "Clue" To The French Paradox PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 01 February 2008 17:55
ImageWe often hear about the "French Paradox and how the French eat lots of foods like butter and cheese and their diets are high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol yet they have lower rates of heart disease than Americans. There was even a best selling book called "French Women Don't Get Fat"

However, a study published in the British Medical Journal back in 1999, looked at this phenomenon and gave several reasons for this apparent paradox. I reviewed the article at the time and wrote a newsletter on it. If you haven't read my newsletter on this topic yet, you can read it here .

Now, a new study by Brian Wansinck, PhD discovers another missing piece to this apparent paradox.

What Mediterranean Diet? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 22:09

Greece has among the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe, at more than 30 percent, while the level for adults is also near the top of Europe's list — a problem considered to have emerged since the early 1990s.

A University of Athens study of 312 fifth-graders in Greece's northern Ioannina region found 29.4 and 11.8 percent of boys were overweight and obese, while the figure for girls was 39.0 and 7.5 percent.

In their study published this month, the researchers reported that "Furthermore, body mass index and blood pressure were positively related to frequency of fast food meals ... but negatively to leisure time physical activity."

"Things have changed in Greece," said Maria Hassapidou, secretary general of the Hellenic Medical
Association for Obesity. "People have gone toward a Westernized diet."

Atherosclerosis In Children? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 13 November 2006 07:20

According to a report presented at the annual American Heart Association meeting in Chicago on Sunday.  Children with risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and diabetes, are showing signs of narrowing and hardening of the arteries, conditions normally associated with adults.  Researchers found that children at risk already show signs of heart disease, including arterial wall thickness and decreased flexibility of blood vessels.

The study pulled data from studies that included 3,630 children, comparing the healthy versus those with cardiovascular risk factors. In 12 of 15 studies examined, children with risk factors were more likely to have increased thickness in the arterial walls, which could lead to heart attacks in adulthood, the report said. 

The percentage of overweight young people in the United States has roughly tripled since 1980 to about 18 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report's lead author, Sanaz Piran, a resident at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada said that testing for children should include regular blood lipid and glucose level testing

However, to me, the most shocking statement, was that they recommended that earlier treatment could include more aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

What ever happened to eating right and exercising which could prevent up to 90% of the heart disease, Type II diabetes and obesity.


If You Are Eating Out... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 02 November 2006 20:59

Many of you enjoy the pleasure of dining out in restaurants. Regardless of whether it is part of travel, business, or to just relax or socialize.... it something many of you enjoy.   You can eat out successfully, if you are aware of the problems and issues you face in a restaurant.    One of the problems is that it is easy to over eat.   A new study has found that eating out may encourage binge eating.

The study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research was done on women which included both binge-eaters and dieters, found that both groups of women ate out frequently -- and downed between 200 and 300 extra calories a day in the process. One-third of their bingeing "episodes" over the two-week study occurred in a restaurant, according to findings.  And, this was inspite of the fact, that these women ate only about 1/4 of their meals in fast-food places and usually skipped desserts, both of which are usually blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic.   Not only did they eat more calories, they also ate about 10 to 16 extra grams of fat, on the days when they dined out. 

While binge-eating  is often thought of as a solitary habit, the environment of a restaurant with all the food cues (armoa, sight, presentation, etc) at restaurants can trigger a binge-eating episode.   So, if you are eating out, order healthy, and be aware of the triggers that may cause you to overindulge.  

SOURCE: Western Journal of Nursing Research, November 2006.

What's All The "Whining" About Wine? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 02 November 2006 13:46

Well, you have all heard it by now...   PROOF that drinking wine is good for you.   It's all over the news, and the media.  Obese mice who were giving resveratrol did not suffer the consequensces of obesity they should be  the obese mice who didnt get the resveratrol did.

Really?  Well, don't rush out and start buying up red wine or resveratrol yet.    The mice were fed a large dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-lb person would need to drink 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose.   Well, if that didnt extend their life, they would be so drunk, they wouldn't really care. :)

Many supplements have about 20 mgs. The amount used in the study was the equivalent of giving a 150 lb man 1636 mgs which would be about 80 pills a day.

MY advice... relax... don't run out and buy some red wine or some resveratrol pills yet.  The jury is still out... way out.. as there are no longterm studies on humans yet and so we dont know about the side effects or other implications.

Amazing...  people won't use Splenda (not that I am recommending it) as they say there are no longterm studies in humans but will run out and start drinking wine and taking resveratrol after some small studies in mice.

Me?   I am going to keep eating my favorite foods... fresh fruits and veggies..  and plenty of red grapes, the natural and healthy source of resveratrol... and also have an abundance of all the other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are good for me.

Jeff :)


Forever Young? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 07:46

Neil Young sang a song called Forever Young.   And, wouldn't we all want to stay that way.   But, the way things are going, today's kids wont even have a chance.  The obesity epidemic is already taking its toll on them.    A recent study from Germany found that today s obese 14 year olds, already have hardening of the arteries on the outside, and thickening of the arteries on the inside.  The kids ranged in age from 11 to 16, with an average age of 14. None got even a half hour of exercise per week.

However, there is hope.  When the kids were put on an intensive 6 month program of exercise, they were able to undo the damage. They lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, improved their blood lipids and reduced their blood pressure.

The study's lead researcher, Andreas Aleander Meyer, MD said "We think that 90 minutes of exercise, three times per week, is the minimum children need to reduce their [heart disease] risk."  The study's findings appear in the Nov. 7 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

SOURCES: Meyer, A. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Nov. 7, 2006; vol 9: pp 1865-1870. News release, American College of Cardiology.

Is Trans Fat Free Fried Food Healthy? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 06:34

I am glad to see all the recent news about the danger of Trans Fats in foods.  And, the attention it is getting from many food companies and restaurants in their attempts to address the problem.  Lately, NYC has been in the news as they are proposing a ban of Trans Fat.   However, have you seen the ads and stories?   Most all of them are about foods like fried chicken, french fries, and fried potatoes.   They are now going to be made with trans fat free fats (can you say that 3x fast).     But, WHOOPIE DO!!    Removing the Trans Fat from food is a good thing.  But, foods like fried chicken, french fries and fried potatoes have a lot more wrong with them then just trans fat.  Fried foods are not health foods.  Nor does frying them in a "better" (sic) oil, make them "healthier".    The ads make it seem like we can all now go out and enjoy our fried foods and not worry as they will be trans fat free.     It reminds me when potato chips were advertised as being "cholesterol free".   As if  a cholesterol free potato chip was healthy.   Fried foods are not healthy, with or without the trans fat in them. Sure, removing trans fat is a good thing, but a trans fat free fried food is not a health food.  Don't be fooled.  Avoid them at all costs.   

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