BODY BY DESIGN'S Mark Misner
"Making Healthy Decisions"
Reprinted from "South Tampa Community News" article 5-2011
On April 15th and 16th the American Cancer Society held the sixth annual Relay For Life of Davis Islands. It is an amazing event. The Relay consists of fundraising teams, along with survivors and caretakers, walking the track for 18 continuous hours. The event is a chance to celebrate life, remember those lost to cancer, and inspire us to fight back against cancer. I have tried to expose my children in some small way each year. I remember the first year it was held on Davis Islands, the event was staged on the field at the Bayshore Little League complex. I brought my daughter's little league softball team and we helped give the participants a well deserved stretch session before they began walking. I was incredibly moved as the bagpiper led only cancer survivors for the first lap. Since then, I have continued to bring out my family to see the very moving first lap completed by the survivors.
This year was even more powerful for me. My mother is battling breast cancer for the second time. Our family is very hopeful the cancer was detected early and the treatment will be successful. In addition, I was asked to be the Fight Back emcee for the closing ceremony. I feel blessed that Leslie Hudock, event chair for a second year, gave me such an opportunity. Cancer is very omnipresent. The battle for a cure is ongoing. You can personally help fight back in many ways. You can volunteer, donate to this worthy cause or form your own relay team in 2012. Visit www.relayforlife.org/davisislandsfl to learn more. If you, a friend, or a family member hasn't faced cancer, consider yourself very, very fortunate.
The American Cancer Society's (ACS) website states; "Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes." Many types are hereditary and others are influenced by environmental factors. Unfortunately, the exact cause of most cases of cancer is still unknown. It is known that using tobacco products is a significant risk factor along with sun exposure and alcohol consumption. "There is no sure way to prevent cancer, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of get- ting it," says the ACS along with suggestions to reduce your risk. These include avoiding tobacco, using sunscreen and covering up when in the sun, staying away from tanning beds, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet and participating in early detection screenings.
Part of eating a healthy diet includes avoiding trans fatty acids. You need to know what trans fatty acids are and take extra care to remove them from your diet. Trans fats are created through a chemical heat and pressure process designed to turn oils into solids with the physical consistency of butter. The process, called partial hydrogenation, chemically alters the molecules of oil. The end product is used as a preservative and texture enhancer for many packaged foods, including both fried and baked goods. Trans fat is harmful to humans. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should limit your intake of trans fat to less than one percent of your total calories. With a 2,000 calorie diet, that's equivalent to less than two grams of trans fat per day. According to the AHA, "Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fat you probably eat every day, this leaves no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fat."
Please read the nutrition labels. Look first at the trans fat line, you want to see a zero here. However, you must also read the list of ingredients since the manufacturers are permitted to round down. The amount of 0.9 grams of trans fat is shown as 0 grams. The key word to avoid is hydrogenated. (Don't be fooled, partially hydrogenated is equally as unhealthy.) If you see this listed in the ingredients, I would recommend another choice. And don't forget to check the nutrition information provided by restaurants; fast food is one of the most abundant sources of trans fat.
An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study that further analyzed twelve separate studies found trans fat elevated "bad" cholesterol, while lowering "good" cholesterol. Many other research studies have confirmed the dangers of consuming trans fat. Please be very careful with your food choices. Although some food manufactures, restaurants and fast food chains have stopped using trans fats, far too much is still out there.
To eat healthy, it is not enough to limit fats and avoid trans fat, you should also monitor your sugar intake. Many people do not realize how much sugar they are getting in their food. While we need naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables and dairy; we simply consume too much added sugars. Unfortunately, food labels do not distinguish between naturally occurring sugars and those added, often excessively, by the manufacturer. To be a savvy shopper, you need to read the list of ingredients and be on the lookout for hidden sugars and avoid products with sugar (by any name) listed among the first three ingredients.
Here is a sample of alias names used by added sugars; corn sweetner, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, dehydrated can juice, dextrin, dextrose, gructose, gruite juice concentrate, glucose, hugh-frutose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, rice syrup, saccharose, sorghum, sucrose, syrup, treacle, turginado sugar and xylose. Don't be deceived by natural sounding sugars, they are still an excessive, added sugar.
For a lower cancer risk, the ACS recommends maintaining a healthy weight by eating a diet containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
(at least 5 servings a day), lean meats, lowfat diary selections and whole grains. It suggests you avoid refined grains, added sugars and limit your consumption of red meats, processed meats and alcohol. Fight back against cancer and other diseases by valuing your health and the benefits of making informed decisions when faced with dietary and lifestyle choices.
Have a healthy day here in Tampa!