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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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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.

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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. 

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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
acids.
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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.

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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...

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