by Karen Collins
, MS, RD, CDN
Institute for Cancer Research
for the week of: October
Q: I recently heard that
dieters teas can contain dangerous ingredients. Can that
A: Yes. Tea is not regulated like medicine, so just
as some supplements can pose risk, dieters teas may promote
weight loss in risky ways. Sometimes these teas use ingredients
that are laxatives or diuretics. This produces water loss, which
you see on the scale as weight loss. However, its vital
to remember that this kind of weight loss is not loss of body
fat and is sure to be temporary. The risk comes in when fluid
loss is substantial or leads to loss of electrolytes like potassium.
This can create problems with heart rhythms or pose other heart-related
strains. Examples of laxative-type ingredients in some of the
common dieters teas include malva (Chinese mallow), buckthorn,
cascara, frangula and rhubarb root (da huang, Chinese rhubarb).
Another problem these pose is that with continued use, you can
become dependent on them for bowel function. Diuretic ingredients
in dieters teas include dandelion root, juniper berry and
uva ursi. These ingredients produce only water loss, not body
fat loss, and some have caused liver damage. For a safer approach,
drink regular black, green or herbal tea as a beverage. Simply
by switching to a zero-calorie drink to replace higher calorie
choices, or drinking tea instead of eating when you may not be
hungry, youll cut calories in a way that will add up to
true body fat weight loss. It wont be fast, but it will
be safe and lasting.
Q: What are wheat berries?
Is it true that they are a super-healthy choice?
A: Wheat berries are the whole-grain kernel of wheat
including the bran, germ and endosperm. That means they
are great sources of antioxidant phytochemicals as well as vitamins
and minerals. And just a half-cup of cooked wheat berries provides
at least 4 grams of dietary fiber, comparable to what you get
in two slices of many whole-grain breads. Look for wheat berries
in the "natural food" section of your supermarket.
As with regular brown rice and whole-grain barley, this is not
a quick-cook dish (about one hour); however, you can cook a large
batch and refrigerate to use within a couple days. Or package
it in meal-size portions and freeze for up to a month.
Wheat berries also come out well
cooked in a slow cooker for eight to twelve hours. You can use
wheat berries as a side dish, as a "bed" for stir-fries
or chili, or added to stew or soup. They have a satisfying, slightly
chewy texture and subtle nutty flavor that also make them delightful
in a salad with apples, cranberries or other fresh or dried fruit.
Talk Archives 2011
Talk Archives 2010
The American Institute for Cancer
Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on
the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management
to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates
the public about the results. It has contributed more than $91
million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals
and research centers across the country. AICR has published two
landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the
field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR
also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions
of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk.
Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in
brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is part of the global
network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of
cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International,
a membership association which operates as the umbrella organization
for the network .The other charities in the WCRF network are
World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (www.wcrf-uk.org); Wereld
Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (www.wcrf-nl.org);
World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (www.wcrf-hk.org); and Fonds
Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (www.fmrc.fr).