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Nutrition for Cancer

Prepare for Treatment

Did you know that by adjusting your nutrition you can feel better and stay stronger during cancer treatment? Both the cancer and the cancer treatment can affect your appetite, your ability to tolerate foods, and your body’s ability to utilize nutrients. By having a dietitian or nutritionist on your treatment team, you’ll be better prepared to cope with side effects and meet your nutrition needs during this difficult time.

Weight Management

young attractive doctor and patientSome cancer treatments can lead to weight loss while others can lead to weight gain. Weight loss may be due to a loss of appetite and/or an inability to tolerate food, while weight gain may be related to fluid retention, increased appetite and/or decreased physical activity. If cancer treatment is making it difficult for you to manage your weight, ask an dietitian or nutritionist to join your treatment team. You won’t regret it!

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Many herbs and other supplements are marketed to people who are going through cancer treatment. Always talk to your oncologist before adding any herbs or supplements to your treatment regimen. Some herbs and supplements can cause harmful side effects and interfere with proven cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation.

For a detailed description of herbs and supplements and any evidence supporting their effectiveness and safety, visit nccam.nih.gov/health/atoz.htm. Your oncologist and a dietitian/nutritionist can help you sort through this information and make an informed decision about whether or not take any herbs or other supplements.


Kristy Richardson is a dietitian and exercise physiologist, specializing in sports nutrition and weight management, She is the founder of OC Nutrition and also works as a nutrition professor at Fullerton College.

References

American Cancer Society (2012). Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families. Retrieved November 4, 2013, http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002903-pdf.pdf.

holidays-xmas

Surviving the Holiday Season

The hardest time of year for weight management is from Halloween until Valentine’s Day – temptations are everywhere from home to the workplace and everywhere else you go, people wear more clothes and are more covered up because of the weather, and people tend to exercise less because they are stressed, exhausted, it is cold, and they have very little time. Here are some tips to manage weight during the holiday season:

Plan ahead

  • Eat something before you go out so that you are not inclined to eat everything or anything in sight.
  • Stock your home, office, and/or car with healthy snacks such as fruit in your home, almonds in your office, and a nutrition bar in your car.
  • Plan on making healthy choices for your meals such as mustard instead of mayonnaise or light Italian rather than ranch dressing.

Manage stress

  • Make a list of stress relieving activities that do not include food or eating such as getting a massage, exercising, listening to music, or talking on the phone.

Party responsibly

  • If you are attending a pot-luck party, bring something healthy so you know there will be at least one healthy choice at the party.
  • Eat small portions of your favorite sweets at parties.
  • Try to fill your plate with mostly fruits and veggies at parties.
  • If you want to try new dishes, only take a taster size portion so that you are not tempted to eat more than you should. Then go back and get more of what you like if you are still hungry.
  • Drink a glass of water after each glass of soda or alcoholic beverage in order to cut beverage calories in half.
  • Focus on socializing with other guests rather than eating the food available.

Keep moving

  • If you know you will not have time to exercise, try to fit other small activities into your day such as parking farther away, taking the stairs, and putting the shopping cart away instead of putting it to the side.
  • If you have a stationary bicycle or a treadmill that you haven’t used for a while, take it out and put it in front of the TV, so you can watch TV when you work out.
  • Take a walk alone or with your spouse, kids, or other family and friends after dinner.

Kristy Richardson is a dietitian and exercise physiologist, specializing in sports nutrition and weight management, She is the founder of OC Nutrition and also works as a nutrition professor at Fullerton College.

 

References

Cleveland Clinic. (2009). 8 Steps to Surviving the Holiday Weight Gain. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx

Zamora, Dulce. (2007). Holiday weight management; Surviving the Feasting Season. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://www.medicinenet.com/holiday_weight_management/article.html

Healthy Eating

Nutrition for Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorder treatment is most effective with a team approach and a Dietitian (RD) is an important member of the treatment team. Nutrition counseling by an RD who specializes in eating disorders is essential. An RD can help you follow a well-balanced nutrition plan for optimal health and energy, develop a healthier relationship with food, and improve your body image.

Nutrition for Fibromyalgia

There are numerous conditions that benefit from a well-balanced diet and, though more research is needed, there appear to be potential benefits for Fibromyalgia too. At the very least, well-balanced nutrition will give you more energy and help you to feel better overall.

Don’t Go “On” a Diet

DietThink about the statement “I’m going on a diet”.  When we say we’re going on a diet we’re implying that eventually we’ll come off the diet and the changes we’re making are only temporary.  We might “white knuckle” it for a few weeks or months but eventually we come off the diet because the changes are too extreme.

Most of us are looking for a quick fix so we often consider an effective diet to be one that takes off a lot of weight quickly.  When we gain weight back after going off a diet we don’t typically say “the diet didn’t work”, instead we blame ourselves for lacking will power.  We need to redefine a successful weight management program as one that doesn’t depend on will power and instead uses realistic lifestyle change to take off weight gradually and keep it off forever.

Are you ready to seek expert advice to develop a realistic weight loss plan?  Click here to search MFN for Nutritionists/Dietitians who specialize in weight management.  They can help you develop a personalized plan that works for you and your unique lifestyle.

Trans Fat in Hiding

Did you know if a product contains less than half a gram of trans fat per serving, the manufacturer is not required to list it on the label? This means a product with 0.49 grams of trans fat can read no trans fat on the label. As a result, if you consume a few servings of a product like this, you could consume over a gram of trans fat without knowing it!

According to the American Heart Association you should limit your daily consumption of trans fat to less than 1 percent of your calories. This means if you consume 2,000 calories per day, no more than 20 calories or 2 grams of fat should come from trans fat.

So, how can you tell if a product contains trans fat? Look for “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredient label because trans fat is created during the hydrogenation process. Restaurants and food manufacturers love to use these hydrogenated oils because they taste good, are inexpensive and help preserve food.

Trans fat is often found in fried foods and bakery items such as pie crust, pizza dough, cookies, cake, French fries, crackers, margarine, and shortening and a small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in animal foods such as lamb, butterfat, and beef. The best way to avoid trans fat is to eat a well balanced diet that is mostly plant-based. Don’t forget to read labels and limit or avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils because this means they contain trans fat!