...cut out the soda

From The Cooper Institute and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Vincent Lombardi


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Written by July 30, 2015

Sue Beckham, PhD

Director of Adult Initiatives
The Cooper Institute

What’s the best strategy for helping others adopt healthier behaviors? These tips will help you to assist that friend, coworker, or family member struggling with change, determine their readiness to change, and nudge them forward in the process. 1. You can facilitate change but you cannot change someone else. An individual must make their own decision to change. You can show your support, but no amount of nagging or coercion will force someone to change if they are not ready. So don’t take on the responsibility for their decisions and actions. Do what you can and realize that the rest is up to

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Written by July 9, 2015

Steve Farrell, PhD, FACSM

Science Officer
The Cooper Institute

Mention the term ‘processed food’ to most people and you will get a very negative response. Processed food gets blamed for a number of chronic health conditions such as prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergies, and some cancers. While there is no question that some processed foods are not the best choices, we need to pause before we overgeneralize. In other words, before jumping on the ‘all processed food is bad’ bandwagon, let’s take a closer look. The technical definition of a processed food is quite broad. Any food product that has undergone a transformation from the raw

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Written by July 2, 2015

Steve Farrell, PhD, FACSM

Science Officer
The Cooper Institute

If you watch television, you might have seen and heard a “non-attorney spokesperson” plead with persons who have been prescribed statin drugs to call the number provided due to the “dramatic increase in cases of type 2 diabetes caused by statin drugs.” Statin drugs are commonly used to decrease blood levels of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and have been shown to significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular morbidity (illness) and mortality (death). In an earlier blog, Do Statin Drugs Increase the Risk of Diabetes?, we found that the benefits of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by taking a statin were

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Written by June 4, 2015

Steve Farrell, PhD, FACSM

Science Officer
The Cooper Institute

Over the past few years, a number of claims have been made regarding the benefits of dietary coconut oil (DCO). Weight loss and improved heart health are among the most commonly purported health benefits of DCO. Because I’m a big proponent of the old adage ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’, let’s take an objective look at what the science says. First off, while dietary saturated fats tend to increase blood levels of LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), not all saturated fatty acids are exactly alike. Dietary saturated fatty acids fall in two categories based on

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Written by May 21, 2015

Steve Farrell, PhD, FACSM

Science Officer
The Cooper Institute

Most of us who are very active know how important it is to consume fluids, carbohydrate, and electrolytes (salts) during endurance exercise. Doing so helps to prevent dehydration and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which in turn helps to delay fatigue. The scientific literature is chock full of studies regarding the beneficial effect of sports drinks during long-term exercise. However, less is known about post-exercise nutrition. For endurance athletes who are training on a daily basis, what and when they consume foods and beverages post-exercise has become a hot topic in the exercise science research world over the past few years.

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Written by May 14, 2015

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Does Exercise Make Us Hungry? There has been much debate about the effect of exercise on appetite and energy intake throughout the years. Although some scientists have proposed that exercise stimulates appetite; most studies do not support this finding. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise4 examined the effect of walking on appetite and food intake. In the study, subjects participated in two different trials – an exercise and a non-exercise (control) trial. On one day subjects walked for 60 minutes on a treadmill at an intensity where they had some mild shortness of breath, but were still able to

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Written by May 7, 2015

Lauren Ruzicka B.S., MPH Candidate


You may know someone who currently or at one time worked a night shift. Our society is indebted to those who work from sun-down to sun-up in order to keep communities safe, secure, and well-functioning while the majority of us are snoozing. Law enforcement members, firefighters, emergency medical staff, reporters, IT technicians, military personnel, truck drivers, security workers, postal service employees, and countless others sacrifice more than sleep and risk more than exhaustion due to the alternate work schedule that they face. Many factors contribute to the unique health risks that come with working a night shift. Nutrition quality has

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Written by April 30, 2015

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

As the summer nears, you may notice more people getting in shape for swimsuit season. Shedding a few pounds and toning muscles in order to look their best at the pool, lake, or beach. Let’s bounce back to an earlier post that reminds us how logging your food and physical activity can help modify your behaviors in support of healthier choices. Study after study has found that people who keep a daily record of foods and beverages consumed as well as minutes of physical activity have greater success balancing calories and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, a large

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Written by April 20, 2015

Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RD

Lead Integrator
Health Integration, LLC

Energy balance is all about managing the calories we take in (food and beverages) and the calories we burn off with daily energy needs and physical activity. Increasing physical activity to 60 minutes or more each day is key to increasing the ‘calories out’ side of the balance scale. But, what works for reducing ‘calories in’? A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition¹ shows that reducing the calorie density of kids’ foods and beverages may be the answer. Calorie density is the amount of calories per gram of food. For instance, 28 grams (1 ounce) of potato

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Written by April 16, 2015

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

It’s National Stress Awareness Day! And, in honor of this day, let’s review an earlier post that examines various stressors that may affect your eating habits. In the past week, have you eaten for reasons other than physical hunger? If you’re like most people, you’d answer, “YES!”. True physical hunger is defined as discomfort, pain, or weakness caused by your body’s need to eat food for energy or fuel. On the other hand, psychological hunger is the desire to eat for nonphysical reasons and is often triggered by the environment around you (external triggers) or your moods and emotions (internal triggers). Which of

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