Misleading Labels On Foods

By: Janet Hunt
The other day, I pulled out some small center cut pork chops for dinner. As I was cutting open the package, I started reading the nutrition label. The first thing I read was each serving was 140 calories. Since I am a calorie counter, I thought “wow – not bad.” Then I put my “let’s be real” hat on and took another look. The label said there were 8 servings in the container, but I saw only four small pork chops. This is a great example of misleading the consumer. If the producer thought there was 8 servings, then each pork chop should be cut in half!

As an ACE Certified Health Coach, I teach Weight Management classes. One of the favorite class topics is on food labels. I am always amazed at how producers and manufacturers mislead consumers and how many consumers do not read the labels thoroughly. Besides the pork chop package, let’s look a few other misleading labels.

Another good example related to serving size is pork and beans. On a regular 16 oz. can, the manufacturer claims the number of servings in the can is 3 ½. That is pretty darn small when you compare it to a serving size of beans at a typical BBQ restaurant. Be wary! You might need to do some math to get the real number of calories for what you are eating.

How about “multi-grain”? It means nothing! You could stuff every grain in the world into a single loaf of bread—but if they’re not whole grain, they’re not worth your time. Dense multigrain breads are often packed with sugar. Check the ingredients list for only whole grain flours and make sure there’s less than 2 grams of sugar per slice.

Another is “wheat” bread. Again it means nothing unless the label says whole wheat. Heck! Old fashioned white bread is made with wheat flour. If the first, second or even third ingredient says “enriched” wheat flour, then you are getting duped if you are trying to eat healthy.

How about sea salt? I was recently at someone’s house and they were bragging that they only purchased sea salt. Why? It’s a complete myth that sea salt is healthier than table salt. Both have the same amount sodium. Plus, table salt supplies iodine, a nutrient that’s necessary for thyroid health—and sea salt does not. Choose sea salt if you like the coarse texture, not because it’s “healthier” or more “natural.”

As I have said before: READ THE LABEL and DO YOUR RESEARCH! Manufacturers are in the business to sell you their products!

For more information on nutrition labels, contact Janet Hunt, ACE certified Health Coach at jhunt9155@gmail.com or a dietician.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

By: Janet Hunt
I have been teaching a Silver Sneaker™ Flex Stability class at East Limestone Senior Center for over six months now. This class is designed for individuals that are still mobile and wish to lower their risks of falling. Often during this class and my other classes, students ask me why does the risk of falling increase as we age. Because I feel so strongly about remaining fit and active throughout life, my first answer is that risk for falling increases due to muscle weakness. But there are other health and environmental issues that increase the risk. One is the vestibular system (often simplified to “inner ear problems”).

The vestibular system is the apparatus of the inner ear involved in balance. It consists of two structures of the bony labyrinth, the vestibule and the semicircular canals, and the structures of the membranous labyrinth contained within them. A properly functioning vestibular system does the following:

  • Allows us to see properly while in motion
  • Helps us orient ourselves to gravity
  • Determines direction and speed
  • Makes automatic postural adjustments

The vestibular system is sensitive to head rotations and to linear accelerations. The vestibular system can be affected by injury, disease, some drugs, and the aging process. Below are some other facts about the vestibular system:

  • Over 35% of U.S. adults over 40 have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their life.
  • The annual cost for fall-related injuries is expected to reach $44 billion by 2020.
  • People with vestibular disorders may have vertigo or spinning sensations, dizziness, fatigue, jumpy vision, unsteadiness, brain fog, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss and ringing in the ears


But like most other systems in our body, the vestibular system responds to exercise. Some of the standard balance exercises like standing on one leg are effective, but additional activities are good, too. Join a more traditional exercise class that includes resistance work. Try a yoga or tai chi class. Enjoy some childhood activities – swinging, merry-go-rounds, ball tosses, etc.

For more information about balance and stability and exercise to lower the risk of falling, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or other personal trainers that work with older adults.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment

By: Janet Hunt
Below is a list of fitness classes offered in the Athens area, outside of a gym, that are targeted to older adults. These classes are open to all. No sign up is needed and classes are ongoing. All equipment is provided. Donations are accepted. Below is a schedule:

Youth Center at the First United Methodist Church
203 N. Jefferson St. (next to LCCI)
Strength and Balance – this class uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Exercises are both standing and seated. Classes meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 – 9:15 a.m.

Gym at Round Island Baptist Church
14790 Brownsferry Rd.
Strength and Cardio – this classes uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Because we have the entire gym, we walk laps indoors. Most of the exercises are standing with some seated work. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 10 – 11 a.m.

East Limestone Senior Center
25820 Nick Davis Rd
Strength and Balance – this class uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Exercises are both standing and seated. Classes meet on Monday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

East Limestone Senior Center
25820 Nick Davis Rd
Stability – this class includes standing and walking exercises that will be beneficial in decreasing the risk of falling. Chairs are encouraged for warm-up and cool-down only. Class meets on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Above listed classes are offered by Janet Hunt, an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and ACE Certified Health Coach. For additional information please call 256-614-3530 or email at jhunt9155@gmail.com.

For those that are looking for more personal instruction (one-on-one or with a partner), Janet offers personal training to fit your special needs whether is it strengthening your core, increasing your flexibility, working on increasing strength, or losing weight. If you have a small group interested in starting fitness classes at your location, Janet is available or can refer you to instructors to fit your group’s needs.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Cost Of Diabetes In The USA

By: Janet Hunt
With all the talk about healthcare, how much it costs this country, and whether it is a basic right or a privilege, I thought I would take look at the costs of Type 2 Diabetes. It is a disease that some studies indicate is preventable by lifestyle changes in as many as 90% of all cases.

From information published by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and ADA (American Diabetic Association), the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. These costs are broken down as follows:

  • Hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost)
  • Prescription medications to treat the complications of diabetes (18%)
  • Antidiabetic medications and diabetes supplies (12%)
  • Physician office visits (9%)
  • Nursing/residential facility stays (8%)
  • Other (10%)

People with diagnosed diabetes have average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. On average, people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be without the diagnosis of diabetes. Then there are the indirect costs:

  • Increased absenteeism ($5 billion) for those employed
  • Reduced productivity while at work ($20.8 billion)
  • Reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.7 billion)
  • Inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($21.6 billion)
  • Lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion)

In 2012, an estimated 22.3 million people or 7% of the population in the U.S. were diagnosed with diabetes. It is predicted that one in three people will be diagnosed with diabetes in 2050. With that, it is doubtful that medical costs will decrease.

I am not a politician, but if I were, I would recommend we focus on our lifestyle and what we need to do to reverse this trend. We need greener communities that encourage physical activities. We need school lunches that focus on healthy choices. We could tax the unhealthy foods that lead to diabetes and our incredible health costs to offset these healthcare costs. We could educate people on the true seriousness of diabetes and its costs.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

By: Janet Hunt
Often I cannot sleep at night or I sleep very poorly. And I hear the same concern from many of my students, which is not all that unusual. According to the American Sleep Association, 35.3% of Americans report sleeping less than seven hours a night which is the minimum recommendation for most of us. Chronic lack of sleep does more than make us tired. It lowers our immune-system functioning and increases our risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Lack of sleep also negatively impacts cognition –, impairing memory, judgment and concentration.

If you fall into that 35.3%, below are some suggestions that may help you. First, set up your bedroom. If unwanted noise or silence is an issue, a fan can help neutralize the sound. Ensure you are sleeping with the right mattress and pillows.
Now that you are set up, here are some sleep dos and don’ts:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (give or take 20 minutes).
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal near bedtime as it can interfere with digestion. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can interrupt sleep in the middle of the night
  • Keep all blue light electronics out of the bedroom (TV, smartphones and tablets).
  • Exercise regularly but not right before bed if it tends to rev you up instead of calm you down.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep after five to 10 minutes, get out of bed and sit quietly in another room (don’t turn on electronics).

Below are some ideas that can promote sleepiness:

  • Hot bath/shower
  • Reading
  • Gentle stretches
  • Journal writing
  • Hot cup of decaffeinated tea
  • Meditation
  • Quiet time

Now that you know some do’s and don’ts, it is time to set up some sleep rituals. First, look at your current sleep habits and identify the negative factors. My bet is the culprits are TV and smartphone. I hear people say they watch TV until they fall asleep or play games on their phone.

If all else fails, see your doctor. But I would turn to drugs as a last resort. Often they will make you groggy the following day; and all drugs have side effects. In my opinion, the less you take the better off you are.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

By: Janet Hunt
People in this country spend more than $30 billion per year on dietary supplements. I believe, and studies show, that most dietary supplements are a waste of money.

Dietary supplements do not replace healthy meals. Most healthy adults can obtain all of the nutrients they need from food alone. I agree there are circumstances when a dietary supplement is recommended, but those have to do with treating a diagnosed nutrient deficiency by a physician such as:

  • Iron supplements if diagnosed with iron deficiency
  • Prenatal vitamins with folic acid before and during pregnancy
  • Vitamin B12 for vegans and older adults with low B12 levels
  • Calcium and vitamin D for those at risk for or who have osteoporosis
  • Fluoride for older infants living in areas where water supply isn’t fluoridated
  • Vitamin K in a single prophylactic dose for newborn infants to prevent bleeding
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for people at risk for heart disease who don’t consume fish

Besides most dietary supplements being a waste of money, some are actually toxic in large doses. Some fat–soluble vitamins such as vitamin A can build up to toxic levels. Even water-soluble vitamins can cause problems such as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems when taking too high a dose.

If you do take vitamin or mineral supplements, stay below the Institute of Medicine’s Tolerable Upper Intake Levels. These upper levels tell you the maximum daily intake and are based on available research.

Sometimes supplements can also harm someone with certain health conditions, or who take prescription medications for those conditions. For example, someone taking a blood thinner could experience serious harm from high levels of vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. Sometimes the effectiveness of medications can be altered if taken with supplements. For example, oral contraceptives can be rendered inactive if taken with St. John’s wort. St. John’s wort can also interfere with other medications, including antidepressants.

Pregnant and nursing women should be especially cautious with supplements, including herbal supplements unless prescribed by a physician. Supplements can sometimes cross the placenta or be transmitted through breast milk. Most supplements have not been tested on pregnant or breast feeding women.

Remember supplements are not drugs. According to the FDA, supplements are “Not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure diseases.” If you think you might need a supplement, talk to your physician. If you still choose to take a supplement, do your homework. Supplement manufacturers do not have to disclose the amounts of ingredients, or sometimes even the exact ingredients in their products.

For additional information about supplements and whether you may need them, talk to your physician or a registered dietician.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Health & Fitness – Fiber

By: Janet Hunt
Eating healthy may improve your health and lower your need for prescription drugs. Dietary fiber is a component in plant based foods that is linked to a wide range of improved health outcomes, including lower cholesterol, better blood sugar regulation, improved intestinal health, greater satiety (feeling of fullness), and lower rates of certain types of cancer. Fiber is found naturally in plant foods that should comprise the greater part of a healthy diet.

The typical American diet includes only about half of the daily recommended amount of fiber, primarily due to the amount of processed foods we eat. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 grams of fiber per day in your diet; and here are five great fiber sources.

Legumes are a class of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. They are some of the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they are a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Canned beans are affordable and a convenient way to get your legumes. Try subbing pinto beans for meat in your next batch of chili (or add less meat and more beans), add black beans to your burritos or canned beans to your salads, or whip up a batch of lentil soup. If you’re concerned about sodium, rinse the beans under running water first. This will eliminate about 30 percent of the sodium. The fiber in legumes ranges from 5 to 8 grams per half-cup serving.

While fruits and vegetables both contain fiber, fruit generally has more fiber per serving than do vegetables. One cup of berries, for example, contains 4 to 10 grams of fiber (about twice that of an apple). Blackberries and raspberries have 8 grams fiber per cup, while elderberries top the chart with 10 grams per 1-cup serving.

There are many different types of grains that contain bran. Oat bran, for example, contains soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol levels. The bran found in corn, wheat and rice is largely insoluble fiber, which can help fight constipation. High-fiber cereals often include bran in their ingredients. Or if you don’t eat cereal, sprinkle bran on fruit and yogurt or add into casseroles or baked goods. One ounce of wheat bran and oat bran yields 12 grams of fiber, whereas raw corn bran packs 22 grams of fiber per ounce.

Many fruits contain 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving, but pears contain two to three times that much. A large pear has 7 grams of fiber, while a large Asian pear contains 10 grams. Stick with fresh pears because canned pears usually have added sugars and less fiber (because fiber degrades over time and is generally lost during the canning process).

Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. Black-eyed peas pack 6 grams of fiber per half-cup, and even green-pea powder is popping up with 4 grams fiber and 4 grams protein per 1 ½-tablespoon serving.

To check out the fiber content of some of your favorite foods, visit the USDA Nutrient Database website at http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search. For more help with a healthy nutritious diet, talk to a registered dietician or a certified Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

By: Janet Hunt
Traditional milk producers want us to drink more cow’s milk because sales and consumption are down due to all the plant-based competition who also call their products “milk.”

Because consumers might think “milk” is milk with the same nutritional value, I am sharing the following table from IDEA Fitness Journal, May 2017.

Milk Nutrients per 8 ounces
Cow’s milk 80 – 150 calories
0 – 5 g saturated fat
8g protein
30% calcium
20% vitamin D

Soymilk 100 calories
0.5 g saturated fat
7g protein
29% calcium
25% vitamin D

Almond milk 35 calories
0g saturated fat
1g protein
20% calcium
25% vitamin D

Hemp milk 100 calories
0.5g saturated fat
4g protein
10% calcium (30% if fortified)
25% vitamin D

Oat milk 130 – 150 calories
0g saturated fat
4g protein
0% calcium (30% if fortified)
0% vitamin D

Coconut milk 80 calories
5g saturated fat
1g protein
10+% calcium
30% vitamin D

Rice milk 120 calories
0g saturated fat
1g protein
1% calcium (30% if fortified)
25% vitamin D

One thing to consider if you are drinking or using “milk” for its calcium is that calcium-fortified foods are a good option for those who do not like or cannot tolerate dairy products. But calcium-fortified products are more like supplements than natural sources of calcium. The calcium in fortified foods varies in its bioavailability (how well the body is able to absorb and use it), depending on the form of calcium used and how it is affected by other substances in the food or “milk.” Most studies have found that the calcium in fortified orange juice is as well utilized as that in cow’s milk. But few other calcium-fortified foods have been tested in terms of their bioavailability, and none have been tested for their effects on bone health.

So as I have said in the past, do your homework and read nutrition labels. Do not rely solely on the claims on the front of a product.
For more information regarding nutrition labels and healthy lifestyles, talk to a registered dietician or a certified health coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Smoking and Your Health

By: Janet Hunt
I find it hard to believe I have never written about smoking! I was just driving home from one of my classes listening to talk radio and the topic was smoking. I was surprised to hear smoking (nicotine) is the most addictive drug – more than heroin, and 25% of all people who try smoking become smokers. Unbelievable! Do not even try it. It stinks. It causes bad breath. Long-term smokers get smoker’s cough and smoker’s voice and smokers’ face (wrinkles). Still want to smoke? Below are some more serious statistics from the CDC.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.

Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following combined:

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Illegal drug use
Alcohol use
Motor vehicle injuries
Firearm-related incidents

More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.

Smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths; and more women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.

Smoking causes about 80% of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in the U.S.

Scared of developing cancer? Listen to these statistics from the CDC.

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:

Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
Colon and rectum (colorectal)
Kidney and ureter
Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
Trachea, bronchus, and lung

Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.

If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.

We all know the relationship between smoking and heart disease, strokes, and respiratory diseases and we still smoke. But the CDC still has more statistics.

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health.

Smoking can make it harder for a women to become pregnant. It can also affect her baby’s health before and after birth. Smoking increases risks for:

Preterm (early) delivery
Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
Low birth weight
Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
Ectopic pregnancy (often referred to as tubal pregnancies)
Orofacial clefts in infants

Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage.

Smoking can affect bone health. Women past childbearing age who smoke have weaker bones than those who never smoked. They are also at greater risk for broken bones.

Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.

Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts. It can also cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is damage to a small spot near the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision.

Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers.
Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body, including inflammation and decreased immune function.

Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

My advice is to not start smoking. Quit if you are smoking. Vote to increase taxes on all tobacco products. For help quitting, talk to your health care provider.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise and the outside temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which then increases your heart rate. If the humidity is high, your body has additional stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness

Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids.

Heat illnesses include:

  • Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps (front of your thighs) and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F, and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F. Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability.
    You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death

Pay attention to warning signs

During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition. Remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Drink fluids — water or a sports drink. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact your doctor. If you have signs of heatstroke, seek immediate medical help.

How to avoid heat-related illnesses

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Watch the temperature. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts
  • Get acclimated. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level. If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. If you plan to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink instead of water.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas — or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
  • Understand your medical risks. Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.

Heat-related illnesses are usually preventable. By taking basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn’t have to be sidelined when the heat is on.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.