Monthly Archives: January 2016

The New Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020: What you need to know

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for American’s was released last week. These guidelines are only updated every 5 years, and the changes made have a large impact on government run programs and policies. This set of recommendations is not only designed to get Americans to eat healthier, but it sets standards for the National School Lunch Program, the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and for food stamps (SNAP).

“So give me a brief summary of what these guidelines say..”

There is a lot of emphasis on adopting healthy eating patterns throughout the lifespan, and at all ages in order to decrease our risk for chronic disease (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc) and nutrient deficiencies. It is advised to eat more nutrient dense foods in place of less healthful options. The guidelines even go on to show in pictures how to shift to more nutrient dense foods over less healthful options, which is a major plus.

A healthy eating pattern is rich in: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean sources of protein, low fat or fat free dairy, and oils. It limits calories from added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

Produce Heart

We are advised to limit added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, since the majority of Americans are exceeding their intake. The dietary guidelines have always been good at recommending foods to increase (i.e. increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains), but haven’t been so good at telling us what foods to decrease. Instead, the focus is still on certain nutrients to limit. This means whole grains instead of refined grains; whole fruit over fruit bars.

Here is how to interpret these percentages:

Added SuSugary Drinkgars <10% of caloric intake

  • ~180 calories* from added sugars or 45 grams of added sugar per day
  • Most of our added sugars are coming from our drinks -sodas, iced teas, sports drinks, coffees, energy drinks.
  • One 16 oz bottle of Snapple Iced Tea packs 46 grams of sugar, what is recommended for one day!
  • Unfortunately, the current food label does not tell us how much sugar was added into a product, but tells us the amount of naturally occurring pus added sugars

Saturated Fat <10% of caloric intake

  • 180 calories* from saturated fat or 20 grams of saturated fat per day
  • There are 21 grams of saturated fat in a Big Mac and small French Fries from McDonald’s
  • For more specifics on saturated fat content of food items, look at the food label

Sodium <2,300 mg/day

  • The largest contributors to sodium intake are breads, deli and cured meats, pizza, sandwiches and canned soups.

“So what is different in this year’s Dietary Guidelines as opposed to the past?”

There is no specific recommendation for cholesterol anymore, as in previous years it was recommended to limit cholesterol consumption to <300mg/d. The US was one of the few countries around the world that set a limit on cholesterol intake, but now this limit has been lifted. It is recommended to limit cholesterol from food sources, since our bodies make about 70% of circulating cholesterol.  While this is great news for egg and shellfish lovers, remember that these items are still a concentrated source of fat, and can dramatically increase your caloric intake if you are not careful.

The guidelines point out that ¾ of Americans are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, dairy, and oils. It also states that about ½ of the population (the majority teenage and adult males) is exceeding their intake of grain and protein foods (specifically meat, poultry, and eggs).

If you find that it is difficult to meet these recommendations, or if you have any questions about what they mean, make an appointment with your registered dietitian! Until then, the best way for us to meet these guidelines is to limit our intake of processed foods, and eat more fresh, whole foods.

Snow Shoveling: Common Faults and Using Correct Mechanics

snow_shoveling_1How about all this unseasonably warm weather we are currently experiencing… amazing right?  Well as much as we would all like this warm, sunny weather to continue, it is inevitable that the foot high snow falls are just around the corner.  Well, in preparation for these impending snow storms, Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition wanted to share some basic faults that occur when shoveling snow.  We will also discuss correct snow shoveling mechanics.  Finally, if one of you readers unfortunately commits a fault and ends up injuring your back or neck shoveling, we will be here for you to address your pain and disability.

Most of us at some point have experienced the following scenario… three quarters through shoveling you feel a stabbing pain in your back and an accompanying electrical shock down into your calf.  You end up bent over without being able to straighten up.  The above mentioned nightmare is usually a result of the following faults:

  • Not bracing your core
  • Bending over to pick up snow with straight legs
  • Rotating your torso without moving your feet to throw the shoveled snow
  • Not taking necessary rest periods
  • Dehydration
  • Improper warm up

So now that you all are versed in some common faults resulting in debilitating back pain, it is time to discuss the necessary steps to prepare your body for shoveling along with correct body mechanics:

  • Recommend a general warm up consisting of low intensity aerobic exercise for a couple minutes followed by a simple full body stretching routine
  • Drink ample fluids before, during and after shoveling snow
  • Drawing in your deeper abdominal muscle (transverse abdomens) and squeezing your buttocks (isometric contraction of gluteus maximus)
  • Making sure that in preparation of tossing the freshly shoveled snow you turn your entire body starting with your feet
  • Take routine breaks… shoveling snow is a very demanding task for your cardiorespiratory system which can result in serious cardiac issues if you are not physically fit
  • Make sure you bend your knees, hinge from your hips and keep your back straight

If you are one of the unfortunate victims of the snow shoveling reaper, we are well equipped to deal with your debilitating pain and get you back on your way.  Joe and I can provide a myriad of modalities (electric stimulation, moist heat etc.), soft tissue mobilizations, manual stretching and therapeutic exercise to address your pain and minimize the chances of you experiencing another episode of back pain attributed to shoveling.  HAPPY SHOVELING!

Ed Kinsella P.T. D.P.T. Cert. MDT

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501


Red Wine and Heart Health

A glass of wine is equivalent to one hour at the gym!? Not so fast. clinking wine glasses

Results from a 12-week  research study carried out by Jason Dyck and his team at the University of Alberta in Canada has some of us clinking our happy hour wine glasses in celebration. This study demonstrated that a natural compound found in red wine improves physical performance, heart function, and muscle strength that would be equivalent to the benefits we get from working out at the gym for an hour.

It is important to note that these results are geared towards those who are unable to exercise, or who have a limited ability to exercise. “I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do,” says Dyck. “It is very satisfying to progress from basic research in a lab to testing in people, in a short period of time.”

While this study is promising, here are some key things to consider: This study was done in rats and not humans. Cartoon Rat Scientist Also, red wine was not provided to the rats, but rather a diet with the supplement form of resveratrol. The results from this study show that the 2 groups of rats that were compared were exercising, but there was a greater benefit seen in the group consuming the resveratrol.

So before you reach for the bottle opener, remember that drinking too much alcohol can increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.  We must also remember that a 5oz glass of wine has about 120 calories, and that drinking too much could cause us to gain weight. This is an important fact to consider when on a weight loss program.

So what is resveratrol and where can I find it? Resveratrol is an antioxidant found not only in red wine, but also in blueberries, peanuts, red and purple grapes, and cranberries. Variety is the spice of life, so choose these healthful foods in moderation. Thinking of taking a resveratrol supplement? Foods contain a lot more compounds and nutrients than we currently know, and eating whole foods is always recommended over a supplement.


What do I do now?

  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and enjoy!
  • Do not replace your daily workouts with a glass of red wine
  • Physical activity provides not only a plethora of physical benefits, but has also been shown to improve mental health and happiness