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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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What Should We Eat? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 16:52

So, what should we eat?  

Does this sound familiar?

"Households should select predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses or legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods."

Sounds like the advice from some natural health, alternative health guru or organization, doesn't it?  Maybe even sounds like some extremely radical and controversial recommendation from a vegetarian, vegan or alternative health group?

Would it surprise you to find out that this recommendation comes from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations?

Well, surprise, surprise....

... it did!

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Can You Over Eat On Healthy Foods? Pt 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 14 May 2009 11:22

Following up where we last left off on losing weight and whether or not you can overeat on healthy foods....

 Weighing yourself on a scale on a weekly basis is the best method to tell if you are in a negative calorie balance. On average, you should be able to safely and healthfully lose about 1% of your weight a week and maybe even more. That is an average over time and some weeks will be better and some weeks will be less. While it may not seem like much, if you multiply the number out by 12 weeks or 24 weeks or 52 weeks, this could be 24, 48 or 100 lbs lost.

If weight is not coming off as fast as you would like, then you have to make some adjustments to what you are doing. There are several adjustments you can make in regard to the caloric in end and the caloric out end.

In regard to calories out, you have three areas you can adjust which are frequency, intensity and time (FIT). You can exercise on more days or more times in a day (Frequency), you can raise the intensity of your exercise (Intensity), and/or you can do it for a longer period of time (Time).

In regard to calories out, you can lower the calorie density of the diet, by shifting the composition of your meals to include more foods that are the lowest in calorie density (vegetables, salads, soups, fruit, etc)

In addition, the following items are also known (and proven) to reduce calorie intake

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Can You Over Eat On Healthy Foods? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 11 May 2009 00:00

I am often asked if it is possible to over eat on healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes.     

While it may be difficult to do for most people, especially in regard to fruit and to vegetables, I do not doubt that there are those who can gain weight eating just starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and/or legumes.  However, let us remember, no one is recommending such a program.

In the end, calories will always "count" but the problems is just "counting" calories is ineffective because 1) we have very poor tools that are highly inaccurate to count calories with, 2) it eventually and almost always leads to portion control, which leads to hunger, which leads to binging, 3) there are many other factors that may influence the daily fluctuations in weight that we have no way to control for (fluid balance, etc), Even fecal content of the bowels can cause a weight change of several pounds when eliminated if elimination is not regular.

There is just no way to micro manage all these details on a daily basis and that is why trying to micro-manage energy balance on a daily basis is virtually impossible. Some days it will not make any sense and some days it may make too much sense.

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Is Dieting Dangerous? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Thursday, 07 May 2009 00:00

With over 2/3 of Americans overweight and over 1/3 of Americans obese, dieting is one of our nations favorite pastimes.   Often, we are warned that dieting, especially yo-yo dieting,  can have negative consequences.   Is this true? Is dieting dangerous?  Or is it the method of dieting that many people use to lose weight, that can be dangerous?

The following is a conversation I had with some professional colleagues about this topic and I am reprinting it here word for word.....

As I know this is a topic that seems to evoke lots of responses, at many levels, I thought I would take the time to reprint some points from the article,and make some comments, in case anyone wants to dicuss them

And, as I have noted before here on this list many times, I do want to acknowledge that I agree that there are some really bad diets out there and that many people have really bad experiences with diets and many people who do some crazy/dangerous things to lose weight, and there are even some of us (health professionals) that recommend really bad diets........,

but....... that doesn't mean that "all" dieting is bad, or that "dieting" per see is bad or my recommending a very healthy, high carbohydrate, high fiber, nutrient dense and filling meal that "they" will like, for someone trying to lose weight, is somehow insanity. In fact, it seems to me that the article supports such a recommendation.

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The Set Point Theory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 16:01

The set-point theory argues that an individual's metabolism adjusts itself to maintain a weight at which it is comfortable.  While many people and professionals believe this theory to be true, and use to explain why they can not lose weight on a long term basis, research does not support this theory.

You see, I would argue that the set point theory may exist but not as commonly believed. That our weight is not the result of a certain predetermined number that our body fights to maintain but that our weight is the result of our maintaining an environment and a certain set of behaviors (diet, activity, etc) in a "zone" that we are most comfortable with. If we change these behaviors (the difficult part), we change the resulting weight and/or set point. Granted, this is not easy, but can be done. So, the question is, are we returning to a certain number/weight, or are we returning to a certain set of behaviors that result in that weight?

Let us look at the last 25 years when the average weight of American's has risen dramatically.   Did everyone's set point rise dramatically in the last 25 years? Or is this the result of a change in the environment and the behaviors related to energy balance including an increase in the availability of inexpensive calorie dense food, and a environment that encourages a sedentary lifestyle?

Think about it.

Here is a fairly recent lay article, followed by some research on the very topic.

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