Nicolette Pace on News 4 Jax: Food Cures for What Ails You

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At one time or another millions of Americans may complain of feeling under the weather from some very common ailments. If you’re suffering from a cold, flu symptoms, headaches, indigestion or high blood pressure, you might want to look to your pantry instead of the medicine cabinet.

There are certain foods that you can add to your daily diet to help you solve some of these common problems.  Check out my segment on News 4 Jax where you can find the good news food remedy to cure what ails you.

Eat Healthy!  Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

Aging Breakthrough! Listen In…


New research can help you to understand how to fight aging from the inside out.

Beauty is skin deep but DNA damage is on a cellular level. It’s important to understand how to recognize the top aging offenders and how to develop the discipline to build a healthy daily routine that will keep you young and vibrant.

Listen in to my interview with the Town of North Hempstead Project Independence Radio Show as I dispel the myths and describe what it takes to improve your health once and for all.

4 Fad Diets that Can Fail You


This hot topic is in the news!  If you feel like it’s time to get some weight off or are frustrated that watching what you eat isn’t cutting it, then plunging into a program that promises to deliver may seem like the solution.   But what you may not realize is how these four popular fad diets work and what you should be aware of before you take a step you may regret.

1- Fork diet:

Pros:  Ever wondered how French people stay thin? Are you looking for a way to stop evening food binges and overeating? Maybe the Fork Diet is for you. By switching your heavier meal to earlier in the day this can give you a better opportunity to burn off calories. It is also easier on your digestion and metabolism, as eating just before bed can lead to weight gain. By only using a fork to eat your dinner, this can help you to slow down rapid eating.

 Cons: Unfortunately, just targeting dinner is not enough to really make this diet a success. Forking your dinner meal and eating only fish, vegetables, brown grains every night, can get played out fast. This can lead to a return to old habits and food choices. Even though the diet gives advice on lowering fat and sugar, the menu choices for the other two meals and snacks include frequent use of   goodies and other high calorie foods which may get in the way of weight loss.

Who are good candidates: This diet can be good for people who want to change their eating pattern of evening overeating. Lightening up the dinner meal makes sense! So does using utensils to eat instead of your fingers that is associated with food choices that are dense in calories like street foods or snacks. Behavior modification changes can help iron out eating swings where you may miss daytime meals and make up for it at night.

2- Paleo diet:

Pros: Ever wonder how a caveman ate?  This “back to your roots” diet offers suggestions on foods which may have been part of our diet over 1 million years ago. Returning to a whole-foods, seasonal, plant based diet is great as we try to turn the clock back for our high use of processed, convenience foods. You will naturally cut your use of salt, sugar, preservatives and other additives that are not good for your health.  Ramping up your nutrients and fiber is a natural way to sense fullness and control your appetite with less, so it’s a good thing for weight control.

Cons: The diet downside involves the use of absolute restrictions that contradict science and anthropologic evidence on the history of our diet. High selectivity and speculations on what should be eaten or excluded turn this diet into more of a ritualistic philosophy. This may promote disordered eating for some people who are prone and lead to an obsession. Some versions (Raw food, Macrobiotic, Warrior) may ignore entire food groups, present elaborate rules for meal timing and spacing which may compromise nutrients or ignore individual lifestyles.

Who can benefit: We can all benefit from borrowing elements of the Paleo diet and weave it into your daily food choices. Using more plant foods and less processed foods is especially helpful for people who have been eating a lot of convenience, prepared foods with little use of fruits and vegetables. This can help you to improve appetite control and control cravings.

3- Hollywood Liquid Detox Diet:

Pros: If you are wondering what high profile celebrities may do to get camera ready for a big event, then a liquid Hollywood diet offers some advice on what a juice cleanse may be about.  Taking it easy with food for a day or two is a good idea to help your system recover from overindulging and to get back on track (think holiday eating). This liquid diet leads you urinate more so you will feel less bloated.  It also can give your stomach a rest from stretching too much with large meals. This can help you recognize fullness with less.

Cons: Forget the hype and know that following this diet for more than one or two days can be dangerous. If you are looking to lose weight you will be disappointed as this diet causes water loss not fat. If you do it for a longer time you will disrupt your body composition by losing precious muscle. This leads to a lower metabolism and greater body fat.

Who can Benefit:  Some people can benefit from a brief period of taking in soups or juices to help recover from a digestive illness or to put the brakes on overindulgences after a party night. It’s a quick turnaround as you alleviate bloating and calm your taste buds down from eating too much fat, sugar and salt.

4- Magic Supplement Diet:

Pros: Are you anxious to get weight loss results in a short time?  Cutting calories by 50-70% of what you normally eat will get weight off fast. Many of diet supplements on the market slam you right into diet mode by as you hope to get immediate and motivating results.  Today’s popular preps promise to improve your metabolism so weight loss is almost effortless. Many of the supplements offer examples of what foods to eat and give you menu suggestions which can encourage better overall food choices to stabilize your appetite.

Cons:  Diet supplements can cause a variety of problems for many people.  Scientific evidence may be unraveling a potential mild benefit for some like the Raspberry Ketone, Green tea or Green coffee extract but the findings are not proven and the use of these products has not been standardized for use.   For others, using them is controversial and potentially harmful especially for people with underlying health concerns that accompany weight problems.  All in all, using weight loss supplements ignores a critical and necessary step which involves a clinical evaluation before going on a calorie restricted diet and the counseling that is needed to help you succeed.

Who can benefit: Extreme calorie restrictions are reserved for significantly overweight persons who have already been evaluated by a certified health professional. Implementing a safe weight loss diet is more than avoiding certain foods and taking a pill.  If you are looking to improve your weight and generate longer lasting benefits then seek out those who specialize in evaluating your medical history, your weight, your diet and lifestyle for great start to a new you!

For another take and more information on these fad diets, check out my article in the Feb/March 2013 issue of Miabella Magazine. It’s important to remember that these popular diets entice you with promises and can offer some benefits but they may not be the best way to help you in the long run.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

Too Many Nutrients? Watch me on CBS The Couch to find out more…

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This morning I was up bright and early to appear on CBS’s Live from the Couch to discuss five vitamin supplements to think twice about. Watch as I discuss  how taking too many nutrients can disrupt the balance of your body. You’ll be surprised to learn that all of the key nutrients and vitamins you need are found in delicious foods that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.

Eat Healthy!  Be Happy! Nicolette M. Pace

Foods & Anger: Lose Your Short Fuse!


If you’re in a bad mood can you blame the food?

Yes it’s true, growing research over the last two decades has linked food and nutrition to anger and aggression. While these findings are controversial they have also paved the way for new and promising ways to help us temper our tongues, reverse our rage, and calm the savage beast within all of us.

Make no mistake, this concept has rarely discussed openly until recently. This news should not highlight and build a “Twinkie defense” or foster lack of ownership in how we behave. Rather, it is another piece of a puzzle that explores anti-social behavior which is more commonly attributed to either genetics, the influence of disease, trauma or psychosocial factors.

Many have received traditional treatments that involve medications and therapy but have rarely been exposed to how food can help improve symptoms of anger.

Take a close look at your diet to keep these mood busting foods in check and curtail your consumption for a complete mood make-over and get one step closer to health and happiness!

SUGAR OVERLOAD: if you are eating more than 10% of your calories from sweets routinely, you may have become very sensitive to the effects of a high sugar diet.  That means if you need 2000 calories a day to maintain your weight than no more than 50g should be coming from sugar. Note, one soda contains almost 40 grams!   Sugar dependency is real and promotes cravings for more as well as from comforting starchy carbs which disrupt your metabolism and mood.

Consequence: Look forward to reactive low blood sugar with feelings of irritability, restlessness, frustration and low energy. Cravings for sugar and starchy foods will kick in. You may grab them to help you feel better but unfortunately the effects are short lasting, lead to weight gain, further sugar metabolism problems and more discomfort.

FAT SABOTAGE: Excessive fat intake is easy unless you put some thought into planning meal choices.  A fast food diet will deliver lots of unhealthy fat that can impact your mood in a big way. Watch out for how frequently you eat fried foods and burgers, watch choices at take out and other restaurant chains. These venues are known to have menu items that may contain trans fats or other fats which have been associated with aggression.  Common offenders include a variety of laden appetizers and snacks, loaded salads, dressings, desserts and cocktails.

Consequence:  Brain neurons need a balance between healthy fats and omega 3 for proper development and functioning. This is a critical step for growing brains where neuro-development continues through age 21.  After that and throughout adulthood, a diet that contains unhealthy fats will promote inflammation, attack nerve cells and disrupt communications between cells. Over time this can impact memory, performance, enjoyment and coping with stress.

NUTRIENT KNOCK-OUT:  Super calorie laden processed foods wipe out nutrients in two ways. One is by diminishing the value of the food by super saturating it in calories. This may mean you need to eat 2-4 times the serving size (also 2-4 x the calories) in order to hit the nutrient mark. The other way leaches nutrients from processing methods. Nutrient losses from fresh whole food sources can occur from mechanical mixing, heating and squeezing the food into preformed perfect shapes.This increases toxic by-products and impacts the way your brain functions.

Consequence: Less than optimum levels of key vitamins and minerals have been found in persons with anger, aggression, depression, violence and even suicide.  Additionally, acting impulsively and being overly sensitive to criticism have also been noted. These “sub-clinical” vitamin and mineral deficiencies were related to vitamin C, some B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid and B6) plus iron, magnesium and manganese.

DIRTY FOODS: Processed foods are warehouses for additives that may not be the best for you or your mood.  Take hard look at the food label to key into whether you are eating a dirty food.  Check out foods that come in a box or bottle, contain 5 or more ingredients or have words that are hard to pronounce, chances are that it may be a dirty food.

Consequence: Foods sensitivities are real and researchers have discovered that they may be capable of producing aggression. This is linked to various food additives that include artificial colors, preservatives and flavoring agents. These additives have been implicated independently with childhood hyperactivity, not only for those with food allergies or ADHD.

Eat Healthy!  Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

Getting To Your Healthy Target Weight

After all, it’s still about having a dream and hope for a better quality of life. With weight loss surgery this dream can become a reality. But what happens when your weight loss expectations don’t seem to pan out?   Don’t panic!  Questions on what really is a healthy weight, what your target weight is and what it takes to get there need to be answered.  So, whether you are just beginning your journey or have traveled down the road a bit, this is the time to understand …the benefits, the limitations, the effort and the support that will see you through and get you to a place where you really want to be.

Ideal or Real?

We may all be familiar with the dreaded Ideal Body Weight values and the life insurance tables which, for many years were the standard reference to compare whether you were at a healthy weight.  Many things have changed since then and screening for weight problems has become more advanced. A lot more is taken into consideration then whether you are a low risk to buy life insurance. The research that was used to set these ranges is out of date. It included only a select group of people who don’t really reflect the larger population. Instead, more and more research is showing that using the ideal body weight as a reference is not only flawed but helps keep the stigma of being overweight alive. Comparing yourself to unrealistic values that imply you are less than ideal is not a healthy outlook. This can contribute to feelings of frustration, anxiety, disappointment and lead to a return to habits that cause you to gain weight. Get away from the notion that ideal body weight is equal to desirable.

A better way to gauge where you stand and explore health risk is by looking at your Body Mass Index or BMI. The BMI is helpful to compare groups of people (children and adults) to see the relationship between their height and weight. The BMI is used in screening for health risk. There are cut off points which coordinate with a degree of being over a certain weight. The BMI is not perfect either, it does not reflect muscle or fat mass however, it is known that as BMI climbs, so does body fat and this is a predictor of health risk. In addition, the cut off points have varied between BMI’s of 24 and 27 but in general a BMI of 25 has been accepted as one of the indicators for health risk screening. To figure out what’s best for long life and great health, more information needs to be put into the equation. So take the BMI and customize it to help you see where you really stand. Figuring this out is key!

Frame Size Does Matter

You bet it does. So, whether you large, medium or small frame, are a man or woman , whatever your body shape, waist size or body fat percentage is, personalizing your profile will help you to not only set goals so you can achieve them but also reinforce how successful you really are and help you to keep on target.

For example, men and women have different views on what their weight should be. It turn’s out that both physical build (frame size, body fat, lean mass) and perception come into play.  Most men view a BMI of 27 as desirable while most women have a lower weight goal that equates with a BMI of 24 or less.  One of the reasons for this reflects average differences in lean body mass between men and women which equals almost 2 BMI points. But, if the difference is not because of lean muscle, relaxing your view may mislead you and not give you an idea of your health risk. This is because men have a lower tolerance for body fat than do women.

Many women desire weight goals that are consistent with BMI’s of 24 or lower.  In these instances, many women may not realize that they could be setting themselves up for disappointment in that the weight may not be attainable or sustainable. At times, unrealistic comparisons to ideal body weight and society’s views on ultra thinness can be influential. Young women are especially vulnerable to these thoughts. Difficulty arises when you continue to struggle with your weight and are dissatisfied. Dieting yo-yos, impossible weight plateaus and ultimately weight regain can be an outcome.

For both men and women body shape and belly fat is very important because fat in your mid section and torso interferes with the ability of vital organs to function at their best even if your BMI is 25 or less.  Waist measurements that fall out of the range of 40” for men and 35” for women signal a problem. This is your core and it needs to be healthy!

Why is all of this important? Because you can’t determine where you stand and whether or not you are at a healthy target by looking at just one value. You can run the risk of being misclassified and after all that you go through to lose weight no one wants to hear that they are still overweight!

Expect and Accept

Take the guess work out.  Expectations and perceived notions about weight loss need to be straightened out because research has shown that only one quarter of weight loss surgery candidates estimated correctly how much weight they could expect to lose. Get realistic estimates of how much weight loss is reasonable and what you can expect from the program. Setting your sites on the benefits to changing your life are individual. They include expectations for improvements in health, quality of life, social and sex life, self-image, feelings of attractiveness, work performance and self-confidence.  Only you can evaluate how far you’ve come and see what is most important to you.

Expecting that a particular weight will guarantee improvements is misleading. And so is saying one weight loss surgery is more effective than another. Truth is, the degree of weight loss varies and it doesn’t have to do with the type of surgery it is. This is because some studies are looking at the percent of excess weight lost and others are looking at BMI loss. As you now know excess weight is based on ideal body weight and that brings problems as you learned earlier.

Expect that you can lose anywhere from 10-50% of your weight with the diet, exercise and lifestyle plan that accompanies weight loss surgery. Ask for simple language that gives you a pounds estimate. Accept that losing 10% of your weight is significant for your health. You see improvements in blood work, fewer or discontinued medications, improved breathing, fitness, sleep, stress, inflammation.  Reflect and reward yourself on having attained this milestone!

Ultimately, BMI goals are not known for someone who is resolving serious weight problems so don’t get locked in to that value either. Getting to your healthy target weight will involve a lot of things but setting the record straight from the beginning and staying on track will bring you your dream for your very best weight.  Your journey doesn’t end it evolves with you!


Be Slim, Fit and Healthy in a Hurry

By Nicolette M. Pace MS, RD, CDE,CDN, CFCS

Want to look extra-fabulous for that special occasion and feel great?

Slimming down in a hurry can be a simple matter of just watching what you eat for a few days.

When you follow these quick slim down tips you will see that these techniques not only lead to a svelte midsection but that they help to retone the body and mind, increase energy and focus and help to correct habits that lead to weight gain.

For example, if you have indulged too much over a period of time, it’s a good idea to short-circuit those behaviors with a cooling off period.  In other words, a diet clean-up phase can help you to counteract the overeating.

The sooner you treat diet lapses and relapses, the more likely they don’t escalate into collapses with weight gain and ill health.

There are a few premises for you to consider to slim down in a hurry which can lead to good habits and food choices.

One of these relates to stomach bloating. It not only makes you uncomfortable but makes it hard to fit into that special outfit. This is certainly true for celebrities who are fine-tuning their look for the Oscars or for others who are prepping for that special occasion to look and feel great.

You can have mid-section bloating due to digestive sluggishness, large meals or water weight. You can feel rotten.

This can happen from eating too much of certain foods and not enough of others, stretching the stomach with too much food or having  poor fluid or electrolyte balance.

Tips to slim down involve including as well as avoiding certain foods so you can keep that mid section top notch.

A practical word of advice, real toning, conditioning and body shape comes from a long term health eating and lifestyle plan. These interventions can be the icing on the cake for some and for others the beginning phase to looking great.

Look to Fiber for Digestive Fitness:

Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet is the key to staying regular. There are basically two types. One will stimulate your digestive system to move and the other is gel-like and attracts water to it.  Both are great and provide your body with natural, healthy cleansing. You will find that most foods are a combination of fibers. Adding a cereal to your daily menu that has at least 5 g of fiber in it is a great way to get started.  Don’t overdo fiber especially if your system is not used to it. In excess, (60g or so daily) fiber has been shown to block some nutrient absorption.

Introduce Probiotics: Feed them with Prebiotics

Yogurt and other fermented dairy products contain friendly bacteria (probiotics) to help with our system equilibrium. They also help improve nutrient absorption and boost the immune system. Prebiotics are the foods the bacteria thrive on.  Fruits are generally their favorite meal and help to support a healthy colony.  Strawberries and creamy yogurt anyone?

What About Fat? What About Sugar?

Both can contribute to mid-section bulging. Outside of the usual churning and mixing that occurs in the stomach, fats are not really digested there so they contribute to bloated feelings and distend the stomach. A high fat meal will lead to stomach swelling and reflux which increases discomfort, bloating, burping and is dangerous to your health if stomach contents leak into your throat.  High sugar diets have been also shown in research to lead to greater mid-section fat than calories from other foods.

I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!

Common sense will tell us that if you don’t want to feel bloated keep portion size reasonable. But what is reasonable, given your hunger, appetite and desire?  A human stomach is a muscle and it is approximately four cups in size.  The stomach contains receptors which upon realizing the presence of food will release these sensations to our brain to help recognize fullness and stop eating. We can continually stretch our stomachs with large meals in doing so contribute to signal silence. It is a bad loop to be in and it should be reversed. Use lower calorie high volume foods like fruits and vegetables as a way to gradually bring down calories while keeping portion size appropriate. Don’t overfill the stomach no matter what you eat.

A Ship at Sea: Don’t Rock the Boat

Fluid balance in our bodies is regulated very carefully and relates to not only water but the minerals associated with it.  As far as diet goes, sodium and potassium are  two minerals that complement our fluid balance. When we eat a high salt diet, it attracts water and will lead to puffiness and bloating. A large amount of people are especially sensitive to sodium and retain it for longer in their system which will lead to or contribute to very serious health complications. Potassium in our diet is generally very low due to low fruit and vegetable intake. Potassium will help to balance out the sodium load. As you try to reduce salty prepared foods, add servings of fruits and vegetables for your body to right itself.

Go for the Royal Flush:

Don’t just look to any fluid but carefully select water-based naturally flavored liquids without sugar or sweetneners. These are absolutely the best for hydration, contain no calories, are needed for digestion and absorption of foods and help us to metabolize fat. Flavor water with citrus.  A plant chemical in the skin can stimulate the digestive system.  Brewed teas also release plant chemicals for health benefits. Ginger, mint, and chamomille are herbs that help with indigestion, gas, a sluggish bowel and help to calm the stomach.

Better yet, tie all of the above together and eat vegetable soup and low fat yogurt and protein-fruit smoothies. They can help fill you up without bloating, help you to tone up quickly and give you great nutrition!