Another Shot at Weight Loss: Is B12 the Magic Bullet or Bunk?

Last evening the topic in my college nutrition class was vitamins.  As we came to the topic of vitamin B12, several students inquired about B12 for weight loss.  One student said her former pediatrician suggested she take B12 to help with weight loss.  Several  students in other course sections asked repeated questions about B12 shots for weight loss.  I must admit I was stumped as to why they would even ask about this. THEN, the spa Groupon email came this morning advertising B12 shots.  The Groupon ad suggests B12 injections as an additional therapy for boosting energy and the body’s metabolism for those looking to lose weight.  The price: a mere $69.00 for 12 vitamin B12 injections.  This a major savings from the original hefty retail value of $480.00!  This all begs the question as to if there is any benefit to B12 injections for weight loss.

We do like to take pills and look for magical methods to lose weight easily. Unfortunately, I would have to say this is just another one of those gimmicks.  I can find no sound scientific basis for suggesting additional B12 from supplements or injections to aid in weight loss.  If someone is tired from the anemia due to a B12 deficiency (called pernicious anemia), then administration of B12 will indeed give that person more energy because the person needs the B12 to treat that specific type of anemia.  But, for the rest of us, that B12 will neither give us more energy or boost our metabolism.  There are ways to boost one’s metabolism, but chowing down on more B vitamins or injecting them is not a way to raise our metabolic rate.  We get energy from the calories in our foods and resting our bodies.  B vitamins do not give us energy, they are needed in small amounts to help the biochemical reactions that occur in our bodies to release energy from foods-that gives us energy!

Most people who eat animal protein are getting more than sufficient amounts of B12.  B12 is derived from animal protein, and since many Americans eat more protein than recommended, B12 is not usually an issue.  For vegans,  it may be necessary to take a B12 supplement to meet requirements.  However, many foods are fortified with B12 (such as cereals which may have 100% of B12 requirements provided in a single serving) so not all vegans would necessarily need to be taking a supplemental form of B12.

Have you tried B12 shots for weight loss?  Did you see any benefit?  Right now over 200 Groupon deals have been sold!  Is this a waste of money or helpful for your waistline?

 

 

 

 

Is Your Child Too Energetic? Check Out the Caffeine!

If your child seems a bit too “energized”, you might want to throw out the theory that it’s simply overstimulation from sugar, and give some thought to hidden caffeine-like compounds in the diet.  While Johnny may not be drinking Starbucks with you in the morning, there are actually plenty of opportunities for kids to get caffeine-like compounds into their bodies. Caffeine, and another dietary compound called theobromine, are commonly found in foods we give our kids.  Common food sources of both caffeine and theobromine include:

Beverages.  Lemonade, bottled teas, non-cola soda, vitamin water, hot cocoa,  chocolate milkshakes, and energy smoothies can all contribute varying amounts of caffeine-like stimulants. While your 5-year old may not be consuming energy drinks, your teen probably is, and these beverages are loaded with excessive caffeine. Because these beverages may be hidden sources of caffeine or other stimulants, read any available labels of all beverages you provide to your child and teen.

Noting that a standard cup of drip coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine, check out how some of these common beverages stack up with regard to caffeine content:

  • 8 ounces of most popular energy drinks range from 80-300 mg
  • 12 ounces of Coke Zero, Classic Coca Cola, Diet or Regular Dr. Pepper, Sunskist Orange Soda- 30-45 mg
  • 12 ounces of Diet or Regular Mountain Dew has 55 mg
  • Diet Snapple Tea-42 mg
  • White Tea or Green Tea-15 mg-25 mg

Foods.  Foods may contain either caffeine or the caffeine-like stimulant theobromine. Foods containing theobromine include chocolate flavored cereals, desserts, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate candy.  Coffee ice cream and yogurt could contain varying amounts of actual caffeine and should be discouraged for children. A 6-ounce serving of Dannon Coffee Yogurt contains a whopping 36 mg of caffeine while Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream has 50-60 mg of caffeine per one cup serving.

You won’t find the caffeine content of these foods listed on any Nutrition Fact Panel, so all you can do is be aware of the potential foods containing caffeine or theobromine.

Medications.  Certain adult medications may contain caffeine which speeds pain relief.  Examples of non-prescription pain relievers containing caffeine include:  Excedrin, Anacin, and Dristan. Parents should avoid these medications and choose medications that are caffeine-free.  Another medication an adolescent female might take which does contain caffeine is Midol for relieving menstrual cramps.

While a little caffeine will not harm your child, if your kid is bouncing off the walls or having trouble sleeping it’s wise to assess if he or she is consuming too much “hidden” caffeine.  Thoughts on how else caffeine gets into our kids’ diets?

Fall Favorite Foods : Pumpkin Pie and Minestrone Soup

Today some major plans fell through, and I very unexpectedly have the whole day free to tackle my kitchen and food preparation. With the fall chill in the air and mums on the front step, I am in the mood to make some of my favorite “fall” foods.

For your sweet tooth, consider pumpkin pie.  In my family, we eat pumpkin pie all year-not just during the holidays.  This is a slimmed down version, with literally half the calories of traditional pie.  The trick is to get rid of the crust calories, but still have the pie hold its shape.  Using Bisquick mix (and you can use the reduced fat version), you will decrease the calories by 50%.  This is a healthy dessert, full of anti-oxidants.  You might even want to consider eating this for breakfast!

Slimmed Down Pumpkin Pie Recipe (1/8 pie has about 100 calories)

  • 15 oz. Can pumpkin pie
  • 1 can evaporated skim milk
  • ¾ cup Splenda or 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup Bisquick mix

Mix all the ingredients in bowl.  Use baking spray and coat a glass pie pan. Add the mixture and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue baking approximately 45 additional minutes.

Soups are another fall favorite recipe.   Soups are wonderful in that most can be frozen very well and then pulled out of the freezer for a very quick dinner when time is tight.  A favorite soup in our family is quick minestrone.  It takes virtually no time to assemble my version of this recipe.  This is a true family favorite, and all of my adult children and daughter-in-law really enjoy this recipe.  I hope you do as well.

 Very Quick Minestrone Soup (1.5 cup serving has about 200 calories)

  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • one large can (28 ounces) of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can light kidney beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup medium pasta shells, uncooked
  • 1 cup frozen peas or Italian-style beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese to top soup (optional)

Directions

Toss all ingredients into a stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with whole grain bread and a light salad.  This is a meal rich in anti-oxidants and fiber.

Bon Appetit!