October 2007 News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.

Nutritionally speaking, don’t get tricked into too many treats

The season of gluttony, also known as the winter holidays, is upon us. 

Though some might argue that the never-ending gorgefest doesn’t start until Thanksgiving, Halloween could hold its own as a fanciful excuse to eat massive amounts of sticky, gooey calorie-laden treats. 

But celebrating the spooky date doesn’t mean it’s time to nudge the scale under the cabinet.  

Bernadette Latson, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says parents should remember that Halloween only lasts a single day.

“As a dietitian and mom, I recommend allowing trick-or-treat to proceed as it will, then have fun sorting the loot with your children,” Ms. Latson says. “Young children love to organize treats into types, colors, favorites.”

She says parents should let their kids indulge in a few favorites, but immediately toss the rest.

“The next day, Halloween is over and the treats are over too,” she says. “It’s bad for the kids and everyone else in the house to leave any of that loot lying around, so dispose of it immediately and go back to regular eating.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear


Be aware of all forms of the peanut in Halloween goodies

Parents often let children indulge in a variety of candies during the Halloween holiday, even while they are still out on their neighborhood treks. Those with peanut-allergic children, however, should be on the lookout, since numerous products are made frequently with peanuts.

“A peanut allergy is an abnormal immune response of the body to the proteins found in peanuts. It is important to carefully read the labels of candy and commercially baked goods to ensure a child allergic to peanuts does not accidentally consume them,” says Dr. David Khan, a UT Southwestern Medical Center pediatrician and allergy specialist.

Peanuts are a common cause of food allergy and have the potential to cause fatal reactions if ingested by peanut-allergic individuals. Besides foods with peanuts or peanut butter listed as ingredients, those who are allergic to peanuts should avoid foods that contain any of the following:

  •  cold-pressed, expressed, or expelled peanut oil;
  •  ground nuts;
  •  mixed nuts;
  • artificial nuts, and/or;
  • peanut flour

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/pediatrics to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in pediatrics.

Media Contact: Erin Prather Stafford


Holiday decoration also a great nutritional value

Before chucking the innards of your family’s fearsome Jack o’ Lantern, simmer on this: Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A,, C and potassium and fiber. and And tthose slippery, white seeds are full of fiber r, vitamin B12 and polyunsaturated fatty acids, one of the “good” fats.

Then there’s the added bonus: pumpkin is also naturally low in fat and calories.

Though fresh is usually best, canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie mix) is just as good, if not better, than a pumpkin straight off the farm, says Dr. Jo Ann Carson, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Canned pumpkin has more nutrients per cup than fresh cooked pumpkin, mostly due to removal of water, packing in more pumpkin per cup,” Dr. Carson said.

One cup of canned pumpkin has 83 calories, 7 grams of fiber and about twice the recommended dietary allowance ofmore  vitamin A. than the recommended daily allowance.

Dr. Carson offers the following tips for incorporating pumpkin into your diet:

  • Make pumpkin pie without the crust. Pumpkin custard is nutrient-rich without the extra calories and unhealthy fat contained in the crust.
  • Add pumpkin to muffins, pancakes and cookies to increase their nutritional content.
  • Simmer chunks of pumpkin with green beans to make a colorful vegetable dish.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear


Bone density scans can help slow progression of osteoporosis

Women should start undergoing bone density scans in their early 40s, a UT Southwestern Medical Center orthopaedic surgeon says.

“Bone scans alert us to women who might be prone to osteoporosis and we can prescribe medications that slow the progression of the disease,” says Dr. Kimberly Mezera.

Osteoporosis is a gradual weakening of bones that can lead to fragility and make women susceptible to fractures. When women are in their 50s, all should have at least one baseline scan. Patients typically lie down for a bone density scan, which is similar to having an X-ray taken.

Women who have a strong family history of osteoporosis and women who are post-menopausal should be particularly vigilant about getting regular bone-density scans so that any weakening in the bones can be diagnosed early and treated, Dr. Mezera says.

For more information about scheduling a bone densitometry, call UT Southwestern radiology at 214-645-XRAY (9729).

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/orthopedics to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in orthopedics.

Media Contact: Russell Rian

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