**Orientations** Don't miss the opportunity to learn more about our health and weight management program at our free orientation sessions. We are located in the Indianapolis area! If you don't live near a site-we have a Remote Program. Contact us at info@hntindiana.com for more information. Visit our website to check available dates.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Food Labels: Health Claims vs. Marketing

There are 3 different claims that you might find on a food and nutrition label of any food product on the market.  They are 1) Health Claims, 2) Structure/Function Claims, and 3) Nutrient Content Claims.  These claims are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  

Last week we blogged on Nutrient Content Claims, so it only seemed appropriate to do a quick blog on health claims. The FDA states that health claims 'describe a relationship between a food, food component, or dietary supplement ingredient, and reducing risk of a disease or health-related condition'. A health claim has 2 parts: 1) some kind of substance (ie. food, food product or dietary ingredient) & 2) a disease or health related condition (ie. high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, etc).  

An example of a health claim might be "diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis" or "diets low in dietary fat may reduce the risk of some cancers".  Calcium and low dietary fat have been studied over the years and the conclusive evidence from research suggests that they reduce the risk of the stated above.  The FDA has certain requirements that these claims must maintain.  Read HERE for a complete list of health claims and their requirements.  

As you can see these claims are regulated and have evidence to back them up.  Therefore, they are appropriate for the consumer to know and so they are appropriate to be placed on the label of a food product. If a consumer is interested in reducing their risk of osteoporosis, knowing that the products they are deciding between will or will not help them in that goal is important to purchasing a product.  

On the other hand, there are claims that the manufacture places on the label that are not regulated by the FDA.  These claims are simply marketing claims.  They grab your attention and try to make you think you NEED a product based on the claim being marketed and a lot of times they are successful in doing so.  However, the research and evidence to back them up is not there! Be aware of these statements-they are traps to get you to buy their product.  Here is a short list of "marketing claims" that manufacturers use to get your money!

  • Doctor-recommended
  • Eco-friendly
  • Energy
  • Green
  • Naturally raised, naturally grown
  • Natural (except for the term's regulated use on meat and poultry)
  • High-quality
  • Local
  • No additives
  • Sustainable
  • Wholesome
The food label and design, along with the claims, can be very eye-catching and persuasive when deciding between products, but you must be careful what "catchy" images or words make you purchase a product.  Think through and know the difference between something that is helpful in knowing and something that is just there to encourage you to purchase a product! Those marketers are good...but we can outsmart them if we understand what they are doing!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Does THAT Mean on the Food Label?

The food label provides a plethora of information that most Americans can only dream about understanding.  What they do understand is something that grabs their attention whether it is the color, images or design on the product container.  In addition to the design, the words can also provide a reason to choose a product over another.  Phrases like "lower calorie", "good source of", and "fat-free" are at the top when it comes to grabbing the consumers attention when they are deciding between similar products. 

What are those phrases and what do they mean?  They are "nutrient claims" that are regulated by the FDA and must meet certain requirements in order to be noted on a products' package/container. Read on HERE in an article by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics to find out what the requirements are for the claims that you see most often.     

Do you see the claim in the picture below?  (hint: reduced fat)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Show yourself some love by making this year's V-Day special with festive Health One Chocolate Brownies using a heart shaped muffin pan.  This is a creative way to spice up your meal and make your meals fun!  If you happen to make this a reality this year...send us (rstandeford@hntindiana.com) a picture! We would love to see them.

Brownies & Icing
4 Packets Chocolate HEALTH ONE
1 Tbsp Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. Splenda®
1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
3 Tbsp. Fat Free Cream Cheese
¾ cup Water

Mix ingredients together. Bake in 8x8 pan at 350° for 25 minutes.

3 Tbsp Fat Free Cream Cheese
8 tsp. Splenda®
1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
Cocoa powder to taste
Butter extract to creaminess

Spread over brownies while it’s still warm.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Thinking About a Salad? Think Twice when for Weight Loss or Maintenance

The salad has We hear it all the time, "I ate a salad" or "I chose to get the salad bar instead of what I normally get", etc.  Chances are if you are trying to watch your weight you have said something similar.  Google provides this definition of salad: 


  1. A cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing: "a green salad".
  2. A mixture containing a specified ingredient dressed with mayonnaise: "tuna salad".

The salad has been around for a long, long time.  We're talking since the beginning of time when people gathered edible leaves as part of their meal plan. However, the salad we know today is not just edible greens! That would mean that the salad would consist of greens such as Romaine, Iceberg, Kale, Spinach, etc with little seasoning and a rather low calorie snack or meal.  

Today, the calories in a salad has not only grown due to increased portion sizes, but also due to the number of non-vegetable additional toppings. Because of the increase in calories, the salad may not always be the first and best option for weight loss or weight maintenance.  A salad can be a great option if you think twice about the amount and type of toppings that you add.  

Toppings to GO ahead and include these vegetables/herbs:
snow peas
green/red/yellow/orange peppers
green beans
artichoke hearts

Toppings to CONSIDER, but not get carried away with include fruits (remember fruits have calories too!):
mandarin oranges

Toppings to CONSIDER if you desire more lean protein:
low-fat or no-fat cottage cheese
grilled chicken
canned tuna
baked fish
ground turkey, cooked
egg whites

Toppings to LIMIT if you desire tasty salad, but want to limit calories:
dried fruit
sunflower seeds
sesame seeds
other seeds
nuts/water chestnuts
salad dressing (creamy, oil based) *Ask for on the side to dip fork
crispy noodles 
high calorie meats: those that are cooked in oil or fried

Instead of this:
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Choose something that looks like this:
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A veggie-filled salad will yield fewer calories and provide fullness unlike no other salad you could make AND you will be happy with your choice of building a salad that IS considered a good option for weight loss or weight maintenance!