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Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


A new study confirms that eating out, no matter what type of restaurant you choose, is less healthy than eating at home.  Using dietary intake data gathered from 24-hour food recalls of more than 18,000 U.S. adults, the analysis revealed  that eating at full-service sit-down restaurants is nutritionally similar to eating at fast-food outlets and that eating at home is significantly healthier.   

Compared to eating at home, eating out at either sit-down or fast food outlets, led to an average increased intake of nearly 200 calories per day. As for sodium and total fat, both fast-food and restaurant diners increase their intake but full-service restaurant meals contained an additional 412 mg of sodium compared to home while fast food offered 297 mg of additional sodium.

Still, fast-food meals got poorer marks with respect to excess saturated fat content.  Fast-food meals also contained significantly more sugar and significantly less fiber, potassium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and C than home-cooked meals, while full-service restaurant meals did not.  Interestingly, when participants ordered out from sit-down restaurants, they consumed less than when they ate out.  This was not the case at fast-food restaurants.  The authors hypothesize that eating in the home setting rather than at a restaurant, prevents impulse orders of desserts or extra drinks and may facilitate adding some healthy foods from home to the take-out.

What to do:  Prepare food at home as a much as possible.  Menu planning is one of the most effective ways to increase meals prepared at home.  Convenience foods, (e.g. frozen meals, canned soups, ready-to-eat grilled chicken, etc.), though often high in sodium, can also be a reasonable calorie-controlled home option.  Combining these with frozen veggies steamed in the microwave or fresh raw vegetables can result in very quick, healthy meals.  There's also always eggs or canned tuna for a lightning fast healthy dinner. 

When you do eat out, look for entrees that include lean proteins and plenty of vegetables.  Avoid options high in carbohydrate (i.e. pasta entrees) or cream (i.e. Alfredo sauce) and meat fats (i.e. prime rib).  Also focus on keeping the portions controlled.  When available, choose the small option, half-portion, or kid's sized meals.  And, extras such as bread, drinks that contain calories, and dessert.

Adapted from articles available at:

An R.  Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption and daily energy and nutrient intakes in US adults.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Available online ahead of publication 1 July 2015. DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.104

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Diets rich in antioxidant phytonutrients called polyphenols are associated with lower systemic inflammation and improved health.  Resveratrol, abundant in dark chocolate, red wine, berries, and nuts is one of the most studied phenolic compounds.  A growing number of small studies have linked supplementation with resveratrol to improvements in blood cholesterol, body fat percentage, weight, exercise performance and recovery, and biomarkers of inflammation.   A new experimental study in mice has revealed that polyphenols may help protect against obesity and related metabolic diseases by promoting the "browning" of white fat tissue.  Unlike most fat stores, brown fats are very metabolically active and promote the breakdown of fat stores.

In the study, female mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol were found to be 40% less likely to develop diet-induced obesity than control mice whose diets were not supplemented with the polyphenol compound.  Resveratrol appeared to induce brown-like fat formation in white fat by increasing the expression of genes specific to brown fat cells and stimulating fatty acid breakdown.

While it is not known whether resveratrol stimulates the browning of white fats in humans, some studies in humans suggest resveratrol has similar  metabolic  effects.  For example, in a 2014 randomized cross-over experimental study, researchers found 30 days of 150mg resveratrol supplementation significantly decreased fat cell size compared to placebo.  The study also revealed that resveratrol supplementation resulted in increased expression of genes involved in fat breakdown.

What to do:  While preliminary evidence is encouraging, larger studies need to be conducted to truly determine whether it is useful and safe to supplement with resveratrol.  In the meantime, there is plenty of evidence that consuming a diet high in polyphenols helps to reduce inflammation and improve chronic disease risk.  Foods richest in polyphenols include cocao powder and dark chocolate (look for at least 70% cocoa), flax seeds, blueberries, red grapes, red wine, pecans, hazelnuts, plums, and artichokes.  Most herbs and spices also contain high levels of polyphenols.  Foods especially high in resveratrol specifically, include purple grape juice, red wine, red grapes, peanuts, cocoa, blueberries, and cranberries.  

Adapted from article available at:

Wang S, X Liang, Q Yang. Resveratrol induces brown-like adipocyte formation in white fat through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase. International Journal of Obesity2015 39: 967–976.  DOI:10.1038/ijo.2015.23.  Published online ahead of print March 12, 2015.

Konings E, Timmers S, Boekschoten MV et al.  The effects of 30 days resveratrol supplementation on adipose tissue morphology and gene expression patterns in obese men.  International Journal of Obesity. 2014 Mar;38(3):470-3. DOI:10.1038/ijo.2013.155. Published online ahead of print Aug 20, 2013.

Timmers S,  Konings E, Bilet L et al.  Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans. Cell Metabolism2011 Nov 2;14(5):612-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.10.002.