Archive for February, 2009


The adherence to a reduced-kilojoule diet has more effect on long-term weight loss than any particular emphasis on protein, fat, or carbohydrate content, researchers claim.

“Diets that are successful in causing weight loss can emphasize a range of fat, protein, and carbohydrate compositions that have beneficial effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” say the authors of a two year study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Similar studies have been small, of short duration, with few men, notes the research team, headed by Dr Frank M. Sacks at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Their study included 811 subjects (36% male, ages 30 – 70 years, who ranged from being overweight to morbidly obese, and were “sufficiently motivated”.

Subjects followed one of four diets
The subjects were offered 72 training sessions throughout the trial, instructed to reduce their daily intake kilojoules, and were randomly assigned to one of these four diets:

  • Low fat, average protein: 20% fat, 15% protein, 65% carbohydrates
  • Low-fat, high protein: 20% fat, 25% protein, 55% carbohydrates
  • High fat, average protein: 40% fat, 15% protein, 45% carbohydrates
  • High fat, high protein: 40% fat, 25% protein, 35% carbohydrates

After six months, the participants had lost, on average, 7% of their initial weight, but most began to regain weight after 12 months. At 2 years, there was no significant difference among the diets in the amount of weight lost. About one third had lost at least 5% of their initial body weight, while one in six lost at least 10%. From 2% to 4% lost 44 pounds or more.

The authors note that the subjects’ “craving, fullness, and hunger and diet-satisfaction scores were similar at six months and at two years among the diets”.

Behavioural factors very important
Attendance at training sessions, on the other hand, had a strong association with weight loss, which the authors view as “a proxy for commitment to achieving weight loss and for engagement in the programme”. The findings, they note, suggest that “behavioural factors” are more important than the percentage of nutrients in the diet and are the main influence on weight loss.

Dr Martijn B. Katan, at VU University in Amsterdam, sees the results as discouraging. “Even these highly motivated, intelligent participants who were coached by expert professionals could not achieve the weight loss needed to reverse the obesity epidemic,” he writes in an editorial.

“We do not need another diet trial,” Katan declares. “We need a change of paradigm.”

That new paradigm, he maintains, will require “a total-environment approach that involves and activates entire neighbourhoods and communities”, from various branches of government to schoolteachers, doctors, restaurant owners, sports associations, and the media, encouraging people to eat better and get more exercise.

Otherwise, Katan concludes, “the only effective alternative that we have at present for halting the obesity epidemic is large-scale gastric surgery”.

Source: Health24.com


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Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes, research by psychologists suggests.

The Heriot Watt University study found people rated the change in taste by up to 60% depending on the melody heard.

The researchers said cabernet sauvignon was most affected by “powerful and heavy” music, and chardonnay by “zingy and refreshing” sounds.

Professor Adrian North said the study could lead retailers to put music recommendations on their wine bottles.

The research involved 250 students at the university who were offered a free glass of wine in exchange for their views.

Brain theory

Four types of music were played – Carmina Burana by Orff (“powerful and heavy”), Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky (“subtle and refined”), Just Can’t Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague (“zingy and refreshing”) and Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook (“mellow and soft”)

The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard.

The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music.

The results were put down to “cognitive priming theory”, where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.

“Wine manufacturers could recommend that while drinking a certain wine, you should listen to a certain sort of music,” Prof North said.

Previously, Professor North conducted supermarket research which suggested people were five times more likely to buy French wine than German wine if accordion music was played in the background.

If an oompah band was played, the German product outsold the French by two to one.

Here is some music and wine pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon: All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)

Chardonnay: Atomic (Blondie), Rock DJ (Robbie Williams), What’s Love Got To Do With It (Tina Turner), Spinning Around (Kylie Minogue)

Syrah: Nessun Dorma (Puccini), Orinoco Flow (Enya), Chariots Of Fire (Vangelis), Canon (Johann Pachelbel)

Merlot: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding), Easy (Lionel Ritchie), Over The Rainbow (Eva Cassidy), Heartbeats (Jose Gonzalez)


Source: BBC

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You are probably bored with your home cooked meals, and would like to visit a restaurant for a change. On the other hand, your doctor has advised you not to eat restaurant foods as it can result in weight gain. You simply don’t know which way to go, right? In this article I will tell you how to enjoy restaurant foods while at the same time making sure that you don’t get any fatter!

Here is a rule of thumb for you: if a certain food tastes too good, it means it has been richly fried, and as such, not good for your health. Surprisingly enough, the raw vegetables and fruits, which usually taste awful, are the best foods for quick weight loss!

1. Visit vegetarian restaurants: In order to be on the safe side, visit restaurants which offer only vegetarian meals. This is not to say that non-veg meals are bad. With non-veg restaurants, you have to take extra care to make sure that you are not eating high-calorie or high-fat foods.

As an example, ordinary chicken meat which is served in most restaurants is usually laden with huge amounts of fat which is bad for you! Lean chicken meat, on the other hand, is good for you, but not all restaurants offer lean chicken meat as part of their menus. With vegetarian restaurants, you will be more often than not on the safe side!

2. Let the salad dressing go: You have heard it a zillion times that salads are good for quick weight loss. The reason behind this is that salads are nothing but raw vegetables in chopped form. Raw vegetables, as you might be aware, help you burn fat by boosting your metabolic rate. However, the salad dressing that is provided in most restaurants is rich in calorie. So whenever you ask for salads, make sure to instruct them to remove the salad dressing from the top!

3. Stay away from buffets: A lot of the foods you see at buffets are rich in calorie content. These foods are cooked in bulk with a large amount of oil, thereby making them unsuitable for those who are looking forward to shedding some pounds. If you really want to eat from buffets, make sure you steer clear of these fatty foods and choose the salads and other healthier alternatives instead! That way, you won’t accumulate an excessive amount of fat in your body!

4. Control your portions: Check the amount of food you are going to eat before you take that bite! If you think that the food provided to you exceed the portion control limit you are allowed, eat according to your portion limit and then carry the leftovers back home to be eaten on the next day. Ask for a box from the restaurant to help you carry the leftovers.

As long as you use your discretion, there is nothing wrong with eating at a restaurant once in while. So go ahead and appease your tastebuds!


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The economy is in turmoil and your budget is restricted. Yet socializing with your customers is still an important way to cultivate business. But how do you continue to entertain business clients and still be fiscally responsible?

According to business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of “NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead”, (Prentice Hall Press), you don’t have to spend a small fortune to have a good meal. “You just need to do it smartly,” Pachter says. “You can still be a gracious host and stay within a budget.”

Pachter offers these nine tips for socializing when funds are tight:

1. PICK THE RESTAURANT CAREFULLY. There are many excellent restaurants at different price ranges. Get recommendations from other people, visit the restaurant yourself, or check the menu prices on the restaurant’s web site. You can also explain your choice to your guest by saying something like, “I know this great Italian restaurant. It has excellent calamari which I know is one of your favorite dishes.”

2. MAKE SUGGESTIONS IN THE MID-PRICE RANGE. As a host it is your responsibility to make recommendations to your guest. You don’t have to recommend just the most expensive items.

3. DON’T ORDER THE SPECIALS UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PRICE. Many waiters don’t give the price when telling you their specials of the night. It can be uncomfortable to ask the price of an item in front of your guest. Specials can cost from 10 – 40 percent more than the regular menu items.

4. MANAGE THE ORDERING OF THE WINE. Learn a little about wine so you can take charge of the ordering of the wine. There are lots of good wines at reasonable prices. Check the wine list. It is often posted on the restaurant’s web site or you can talk to the wine steward ahead of time. If you turn the wine choice over to your guest, he/she may order a much more expensive wine than you would have chosen.

5. PREORDER THE DINNER, IF HOSTING A NUMBER OF PEOPLE. You can usually pick three entrees ahead of time. Many restaurants will print a special menu for your guests. Speak to waiters before the meal and instruct them not to refill the wine glasses unless the glass is empty or the guest has asked for more. Waiters will pour freely, increasing your bill, unless instructed not to do so.

6. STAY SOBER. It is easy to lose control and forget your budget if you have had too much to drink. Order a drink you don’t like and you can nurse it all evening.

7. DISCREETLY USE ANY COUPONS YOU MAY HAVE. With sales down, many restaurants are offering discount coupons. You can arrange ahead of time to have the check paid away from the table so your guest does not see the bill paying.

8. BE GRACIOUS YET SET SOME LIMITS WHEN YOUR GUESTS WANT TO CONTINUE THE EVENING. You can take your guests to the bar or another location, explain why you can’t stay (make it a good reason-early meeting), but buy the first round before you excuse yourself.

9. IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE DINNER. Lunch and even breakfast can provide an opportunity to socialize with your customers during a less expensive meal.


Source: www.expertclick.com

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South African wines, once little known in the U.S. because of the stigma of apartheid, are taking off as connoisseurs trim their purses in search of quality for price: The South African rand’s downward spiral has put many decent South African wines in the $10-to-$15 range. Wine columnists are bubbling like flutes of methode champagnoise. Regions like Stellenbosch and Swartland are rolling off retailers’ tongues.

It didn’t hurt that President Obama reportedly celebrated his November election victory with Graham Beck Non Vintage South African bubbly. (The same label that former South African President Nelson Mandela toasted with at his inauguration in 1994.)

Or that when Wine Spectator magazine recently rated 400 South African wines, a quarter of them were handed marks of at least 90 out of 100. Sadie’s high-end Columella is the only South African wine ever to crack Wine Spectator’s 95 rating.

 Source: LA Times

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Follow these steps not only to pick the right wines but to help everyone remember what they liked and why.

Crises-emotional, economic, existential–often spur a good night on the town, and the current global crisis is no different. Then again, since it’s an economic crisis, maybe just a glass of wine. Or two. Well, that could be R200 or more. Plus tip.

Perhaps a wine tasting party at home is a better idea. And if the desired atmosphere is for guests to learn a thing or two about different wine varieties and styles, develop their palates and discover their personal likes and dislikes, a little thought needs to go into the planning.

Fortunately, the first rule is the easiest: Begin with bubbly (and it doesn’t have to be Champagne).

Sparkling wine is the perfect kick-off to a party because it allows the guests to start sipping–and loosen up–before the formal “tasting.” To keep costs down, look for the new Douglas Green Sparkling Wine range. It is in the R30 -R40 range..

After the bubbly is when the planning comes into play.


Choose a Theme
It’s easiest to organize a wine tasting party if there’s a theme.. A sensible theme also gives your local wine shop a guiding principle for the wine recommendations.

For example. Try a South African wine region theme. Try Merlots form Stellenbosch, Paarl, Breede Rivier, etc. Keep the price range the same and compare the best value for money wine.

Or try a relatively new wine style like Pinotage Rosé wines. Buy a few different brands of this style and compare. Rosé wine consumption are growing globally and this wine style are probably the global “flavour of the month”


Pick the Pairings
If you’re serving several different types of wine, make sure there’s plenty of food to go with them all lest the party go downhill a bit too quickly rather than build to a crescendo. When you buy the wines, ask the experts at the shop for food-pairing recommendations based on each, then head to a cheese shop or gourmet food store.

Just remember, pairings don’t have to be complicated. By and large, no one will leave a wine tasting hungry–or completely disoriented–if you have a few baguettes (preferably warmed at 180 degrees (celsius) for five to 10 minutes before the tasting), ample and varied cheeses, hard salami, olives and nuts (marcona almonds work well) for guests to munch on.

Last but not least, take the time to type a wine list for the event, writing the wine name, a tasting note and the story behind each winery. Then print a copy for each guest. A wine list gives everyone something to read and think about while tasting the wines. Adding a line asking guests to rate the wines as they taste them is a great way to keep people engaged throughout the evening–and thinking more about their own preferences.

If writing notes and keeping track of ratings is too formal for your liking, a wine tasting party is, at the very least, a casual yet elegant way to catch up with friends. How “serious” or educational you make the party is up to you and your guests. The more frequently the group gathers and tastes, though, the more interesting and fun the tastings will get, whether they span regions, vintages or both.


Source: Forbes

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Say you enter a wine store. You walk around the shelves reading labels, mouthing the names of the grapes and the wine estates that produced them. Someone approaches you offering help and you blurt out, “Oh, I know what I want.” You quickly grab a bottle but you have no idea why you did that.

That uneasy – even defiant – feeling is called “onephobia,” the fear of wine. But that’s all right. We were not raised in a wine drinking environment or culture. We only discovered wine in our adult years because it adds a lovely flavor to meals and because of the health benefits. What scares you is not the wine per se; it’s the embarrassment of not knowing anything about the wine and, worse, overpaying for a wine that turns out to be inferior.

TIP: What info should you look for in a wine label?

  • Vintage or age of the wine. Most of the wines sold in stores are young and are meant to be consumed right away so buy this for a start. When you’ve grown familiar with the young wines, you can then progress to the older wines but do it at your own pace.
  • Alcohol content. Alcohol levels of 15 percent are said to leave the wine unbalanced although some classic wines do have high alcohol content. For beginners, keep it at 14 percent or below for obvious reasons.
  • Logo. Usually the drawing of the chateau or wine estate is printed on the label; if you see cute animals, you’re most likely buying cheap wine. Some of these wines are very well priced and value for money, but is not always the case.
  • Estate-Bottled. This means the one who made the wine also grew the wine on their own plot of land. This is a good sign. In French the term used is mise en bouteille au chateau or au domaine. Wine growers stake their family reputation on the wine they produce and the label says so.

TIP: Gain confidence in your own taste even if you end up choosing something that may not be a popular label. Each time you go out, try a different wine and keep a notebook of which you like, which ones you don’t like and why. Someone said, “There’s no right or wrong here. You are free to hate any wine! Soon you’ll see a pattern of what types you enjoy, and those are the ones you should try different brands of and learn more about.” In choosing wine, you literally “suit yourself.”

TIP: The most expensive wine may not be the finest and the best for you, because we all have different taste buds. Choose wines that you find agreeable to your taste, and that fall within your budget range, whatever budget that might be. Don’t allow any second or third party to choose for you unless you ask.

TIP: Start simple. Best of all, eat something with the wine like some finger food or with a plated dish. Your wine must complement your food.

Source: philstar.com

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