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February 11, 2011 > Low Fat Doesn't Have to Mean Low Flavor

Low Fat Doesn't Have to Mean Low Flavor

Lunch and Learn Cooking Demonstration Focuses on Heart Healthy Options

In an ideal world, steamed broccoli and that slice of cheesecake in the refrigerator would have the same amount of calories and fat. Sadly, in the real world, that's just not the case. To stay healthy, we have to watch what we eat, and every day decisions we make regarding our diet can have an enormous impact-on a lot of things... The pounds on the scale, our waistline, how much energy we have, and our heart health.

According to data published on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Web site, the most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. That means every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.

Not surprisingly, heart disease represents the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. For both men and women. And although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," women account for nearly 50 percent of heart disease deaths, the CDC states.

When it comes to risk factors for heart disease, there are some things we can't change, such as our gender, age and genetics. Other things we can. Making sustainable lifestyle changes, like eating a low fat diet, has been shown to help lower the risk of heart disease.

But changing old habits isn't as easy as snapping our fingers, is it? Nutrition labels on our favorite foods can be hard to decode-and what about those recipes that call for things like butter, cream cheese and sour cream? Are they banished forever?

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Anna Mazzei, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Hospital, will be whipping up a Low Fat Cooking Demonstration at the Washington Women's Center to help participants get an idea of how to modify their cooking and eating habits.

"National Heart Month is recognized in February, and one of the things that people love are foods that are typically high in fat," Mazzei says. "The question is: how do we get the same satisfaction without as much fat?"

During her demonstration, Mazzei says she won't be going for an all or nothing approach because, to be successful, it's more about being creative than cutting out anything and everything.

"Now in the marketplace there are lighter products available," she says. "You don't have to go to nonfat, but probably to lighter products to help cut down some fat and calories."

Items that are high in fat-like a slice of cheesecake-also pack in the calories with little nutritional reward in the form of essential vitamins and minerals. Whereas a serving of broccoli runs you about 25 calories, the same quantity of cheesecake is more like 250 calories.

"I'm going to look at some of the highest fat items and how to scale them down," Mazzei explains. "We're going to do some taste testing and focus on how to take these things and make a satisfying, yet lighter version."

Examples of items Mazzei is going to sample during the food demonstration include:
* Fried chicken
* Chicken nuggets
* Cheesecake
* Recipes with butter and cream cheese

Another great way to improve heart health-and something goes hand in hand with a low fat diet-is exercise. If you missed the evening Exercise for Your Health class at the Women's Center earlier this month, call to find out about the center's range of fitness classes, from gentle yoga to the official Arthritis Foundation's official exercise program.

Yum!

If you're interested in learning more about how to create a tasty, low-fat diet, join Mazzei for her Lunch and Learn cooking demonstration at the Washington Women's Center Conference Room on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from noon to 1 p.m.* The Washington Women's Center is located at 2500 Mowry Ave., Suite 150.

*Space is limited to 20 participants. To register, (800) 963-7070 or go online at www.whhs.com/womenscenter

For more information about exercise programs and other services at the Women's Center, call (510) 608-1301 or toll-free at (866) 608-1301.


Learn More About Heart Health

Washington Hospital physicians Dr. Jon-Cecil Walkes, cardiothoracic surgeon and Dr. Michael Parmley, internal medicine, will discuss prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease at a free seminar on Tuesday, February 15. The seminar will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. You can register online at www.whhs.com

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