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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 15, 2002

Doctors Offer Five Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Make it Festive, but Not Fattening

WASHINGTON—To help people concerned about holiday weight gain, the doctors and nutritionists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) offer five tips for enjoying the holiday festivities with tasty, nonfattening foods. In America, 65 percent of people are overweight, and rates of weight-related illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, are skyrocketing.

“Share the gift of good health with friends and family,” advises Brie Turner-McGrievy, M.S., R.D., clinical research coordinator for PCRM. “With the obesity epidemic an ever-growing concern, now is the time to create a new family tradition by serving holiday foods that are tasty, nutritious, and slimming. In other words, skip the fat and make it vegetarian.”

Five Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain:

1.Share the gift of good health
When entertaining, serve festive holiday foods that are healthful and slimming. Choose a hearty autumn stew, faux-turkey with cranberry sauce, or baked local acorn squash drizzled with Vermont maple syrup and sprinkled with fresh herbs. For dessert, there’s pumpkin custard pie or sliced mango with ginger cookies.

2. Make it vegetarian this holiday season
Vegetarians are, on average, 10 percent leaner than omnivores. When researchers at PCRM instructed overweight individuals on how to switch to a low-fat, vegan diet, the patients lost weight without counting calories and managed to maintain or keep losing weight through the holiday season.

3. Lower the fat
Cutting out the animal fats found in turkey, ham, dairy products, and eggs and eliminating added oils, such as margarine or shortening, are easy ways to decrease calorie intake.

4. Get plenty of fiber
Fiber makes us feel full without adding too many calories, and diets high in fiber may prevent heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and weight gain. Every 14 grams of extra fiber in your daily diet cuts your calorie intake by 10 percent.

5. Travel smart
Order a vegetarian entrée or a salad while in the airport and on the plane, and pack healthy food to take with you.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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