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Jeff Novick's Blog

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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Healthy Packaged Foods? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Wednesday, 21 May 2008 14:24

The healthiest foods are the foods that come straight out of the garden and are consumed in their natural form or as simply prepared as possible.   These foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, legumes, and intact whole grains and should be the focus of anyones healthy diet.

Packaged and processed foods are usually loaded with fats, salt, refined sugars/sweeteners and refined carbohydrates/grains, They are also almost always calorie dense.

However, there are some packaged and processed foods that can be included as part of a healthy diet.  And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.  

And, of course, everyone always wants to know what foods I personally eat and/or recommend.  So, I went around my house and looked around to see what packaged and processed foods I had in my house and would recommend to you, and why.

Here they are.   

(Today, we will cover the first 5)

Sugar Blues? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Saturday, 17 May 2008 14:12

In the recent flurry of diet books based on low carb diets, sugar, along with carbohydrates, became the villan. Americans turned away from carbohydrates and sugar persuaded they were to blame for their weight problems.  Many Americans who struggle to lose weight, avoid sugar at any cost.

While sugar is clearly not a health food, is sugar, in and of itself, to blame for weight gain.  

The following study is eye-opening in regard to this issue. And, it really challenges the whole concept of sugar and weight gain.

The study compared two diets both containing the same amount of calories (1100)), and the same percentages of fat (11%), protein (19%) and carb (71%). The only difference was where the carbs came from. In one group, 43% of the calories camefrom white sugar. In the other diet, only 4% came from white sugar. Thats 118 grams (around 30 tsps) vs 11 grams (around 3 tsps)

Both groups experienced

The Never Ending Protein Myth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 13 May 2008 15:29

Recently, a member asked if they needed to consume more protein as they were engaged in resistance training with weights.  They were told they would need to consume 1.5 gram of protein per kilogram body weight, as this is the "golden rule" in weight lifting circles.   

The answer is no. For several reasons.

While adequate protein intake is important, it is not the primary, or even secondary issue in muscle growth.

As you know, if you sit in front of the TV all day and eat steak, your muscles will not grow bigger.    

The biggest influence on someone's ability to develop big and bulky muscles is their muscle fiber type, which is determined by genetics. Training will have little influence on muscle fiber type.  The second biggest influence is resistance exercise.  Muscles grow bigger and stronger as a result of the demand put on them.  

And, excess protein is not necessary for this to occur.  This was shown in a recent study where subjects were put on a low protein diet (less than what you get on the whole foods plant based diet) and not only increased strength, but also built muscle. The difference wasnt in the protein consumed, but in the exercise engaged in.

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.

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