Calorie Economics 101: Balance Your Caloric Checkbook

Calorie Economics Series

Step 2:  ”Balance Your Caloric Checkbook”

Let’s face it depriving yourself of stuff you’ve loved your entire life, as a method for weight loss and healthier living, is extremely difficult to maintain. In short, DEPRIVATION DIETS DON’T WORK! Cutting out a major nutrient (ie carbs) or an entire food group from your diet may not be the healthiest solution either, since you’ll need to ‘make up’ the calories by increasing other things.  For some, this can worsen existing conditions (i.e., high-fat diets worsen heart disease and protein-rich diets aggravate kidney disease).

Here’s what the medical community has learned : Calories are the Key to Weight Management.  The word management is used purposefully here because it is important that the concept of an ‘ongoing’, perhaps even ever-changing, process is at hand. It requires you to be mindful without it necessarily consuming you.  It requires upkeep and maintenance.  It’s something like your bank account.

Most people don’t have an infinite amount of discretionary funds—there’s a certain amount in the bank.  If you spend more than that amount, YOU PAY, dearly.  But as long as you stay within your limits—your budget—you’re fine.

What would happen if you started to balance your caloric intake, like you balance your bank account?  What if you determined a set total calorie amount and stuck to it (ie, 2200 calories) everyday?

Scenario:   You love German chocolate cake (and you know it’s loaded with calories!).  It’s served at a wedding reception.  You eat some.

[If you ate a small amount of your favorite thing (Calorie Economics 101 Step 1 below), you could make up for it by having a lower calorie, well-balanced vegetable-centric dinner.  In this scenario, you won’t be completely deprived of your favs and you balance your calories out so your goals aren’t forsaken.]

Now, the set total calorie amount would be different for each person, depending on your age, weight goals and current weight, gender and activity level.  For example, you would set your total amount lower if your goal is to lose weight (say 1900 cal).  This should be determined with your doctor or a registered dietician.  Note: this concept is not new!!!  So, how can you make it work for you?  With a little work up front, a firm commitment and the lesson in Calorie Economics 101, this may help you.

1. Develop a Working Knowledge of the caloric content of certain foods.

a. Know the caloric content of your favorite high-calorie indulgence.

b. Know the caloric content of foods typically in your diet.

c. Know the content of low calorie foods that you like and fill you up.

d. is a good place to find estimates.

2. Balance your Caloric Checkbook throughout the day.

a. Set a total calorie ‘budget’ goal (say 2000 calories)- keep in mind that you may need to reduce your calorie intake by about ~500 calories to lose 1 lb/week.  This does not account for daily exercise ?

b. Review Calorie Balance a few times a day- use round numbers that are easy to remember and to do the math.  No need for spreadsheets or journals.  Keep it simple.

c. Use low calorie, filling alternatives (above 1c) when you’re over budget!

3. Stay within your Caloric Budget and Maintain Variety

a. Plan your meals around vegetables and fruit- you need 7-9 servings a day.  Compare this to 15% of your calories from fish, poultry & poultry

b. Use vegetables and fruit to Balance your Caloric Checkbook. This will help you avoid missing key nutrients in your diet.

c. Commit to staying within your set calorie goal.

*Dr. Dave’s mantra: one size does not fit all.   Keep in mind many people have specific dietary requirements.  For example, people with high blood pressure, kidney problems, or diabetes have to use more discretion about the actual food choices as a rule.  Ask your doctor if trying this calorie reduction method is right for you.

Low Mojo

Sexual dysfunction can take an emotional toll, but did you know that it could also be the sign of heart disease?  Dr. Aisha Taylor teaches us the truth about erectile dysfunction and its long term implications for men’s health.

Low Mojo?

by Aisha Taylor, MD

Fellas, do you have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection? Are you able to get an erection, but it’s just not quite enough?

If so, you may be suffering from a condition, known as Erectile Dysfunction (aka, ED or male impotence).

1) What is ED/male impotence?

ED is a disorder of sexual function where men are unable to develop or keep an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. This condition should seriously be considered when an erection is CONSISTENTLY difficult or IMPOSSIBLE to attain, despite sexual stimulation.

2) Who is affected by ED?

ED can affect all men, at any age; however ED typically becomes noticeable in the late 30s to mid 40s.

3) What causes ED? There are many causes of ED, which can be broken down into 2 main categories: organic and inorganic


Organic ED can be traced back to a medical condition that, in many instances, can be reversed. These include:

  • **Cardiovascular disease (In young men ages 20s-30s, ED may be the earliest sign of significant heart or vessel disease which may warrant evaluation/intervention by a heart specialist.)
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological problems (trauma, stroke)
  • Hormonal deficiencies (low testosterone, thyroid conditions, etc)
  • Lifestyle (smoking, ETOH abuse, obesity)
  • Drug side effects (blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, etc)

Inorganic ED can be traced back to a psychological states or conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression and are equally important. Believe it or not, psychological conditions can mimic organic causes of ED.

4) What are the treatment options?

There are many options for the management of ED, each tailored to the specific cause.

Treatment options include:

  • Counseling (Inorganic ED)
  • Pills (Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, a family of drugs that help maintain an erection by keeping the penis engorged with blood)
  • Injectable therapies (Trimix, Prostaglandin, etc.,) when pills are unsuccessful
  • Suppositories (MUSE) these are medications that are inserted into the penis
  • Penile devices (Penile pumps, penile prosthetics)- when all other medical therapy options have been exhausted

5) What should you do if you think you are suffering from ED?   SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION FROM A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ASAP! You may start with your primary care physician who will begin the evaluation to assess for the more dangerous causes (heart and vascular disease) of ED. After this, you may be referred to a Urologist.

Dr. Aisha Taylor is a urologist in training at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Her research interests include chronic pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis and bladder dysfunction in patients with M.S. Her clinical interests include female urology, male reconstructive urology, pelvic floor reconstructive surgery and neurourology.

Calorie Economics 101: Waste Your Food!

Step 1:  Get in the habit of ‘wasting your food’!

Medical research scientists know something about calories that not everybody knows: the more calories you consume the shorter your lifespan and the sooner you age. Add to this to the well-known fact that you simply gain weight if your caloric intake isn’t exactly balanced by caloric use (daily aerobic exercise).   Weight related health issues will soon overtake smoking-related health problems in America!

The answer is clear:  Eat less, look and feel better, live longer!

*Try this:

  • Put on your plate what you’d normally put on your plate, order what you’d normally order, grab the snack you typically grab, THEN…
  • Throw away 1/3 of everything!

That’s it!  Throw it away; don’t put it back because you know yourself—you’ll go back and get it.  Discard it in a way that you won’t retrieve it.  If you usually grab 6 cookies, throw away 2 of them. If the cookie is large, get rid of 1/3 of it. Crumble up the cookies or chips and put them into the garbage.  Give them away—whatever will keep you from going back and getting it.

Send 1/3 of your food back at the restaurant. Americans have grown accustomed to cleaning our plates, not listening to our stomachs.  Actually, the stomach was designed with a ‘full gauge’, like your car’s gas tank.  Unfortunately, we have learned to disregard the subtle stretch in our gut that tells us we’re ‘full’.  As a result, we continue eating, filling the tank to overflowing, just to empty our plate s.  Imagine if you kept. filling your gas tank after the gauge clearly said it was full.  Think about it.

Get rid of 1/3! Suddenly you’ll realize that at the end of the week–the month, 6 months–you’ve consumed 33% fewer calories!!! This along with your exercise regimen is a good way to get rid of the pounds and inches and keep them off.  And what’s more, you could live longer too.                                                                                                                                                    

*Dr. Dave’s mantra: one size does not fit all.   Keep in mind many people have specific dietary requirements.  For example, people with high blood pressure, kidney problems, or diabetes have to use more discretion about the actual food choices as a rule.  Ask your doctor if trying this calorie reduction method is right for you.

Stay tuned for the other parts in the series, Step 2: “Balance your Caloric Checkbook” and Calorie Economics 201: Good Fat  and Carb Crazy

Men’s Health Quiz

1.What’s the number one cause of death in men ages 25-45? Age 45-65?

2.T or F: Men do NOT get breast cancer.

3.When should you get your first screening for prostate cancer?

4.T or F: Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction.

5.What chronic disease(s) runs in your family (both sides)?

6.T or F: People with heart attacks either have bad cholesterol or smoke.

7.T or F: Women are smarter than men.

8.What is the most common form of cancer in males ages 15-35?

9.T or F: Sexual dysfunction is associated with an increased risk of heart artery blockages?

10.T or F: A man CANNOT conceive if he has had a vasectomy.

1.25-45?: Accidents/Unintentional injuries! 45-65?: Heart disease!

2.False.  This is rare but breast cancer can occur in men.  There is gland tissue in the breast of men, although a lot less.  Men at risk for breast cancer typically have strong family history of breast cancer due to a gene called BRCA gene. (see answer to #5)

3. 50 years old.  However, a man’s risk for prostate cancer increases significantly if he has a family history of prostate cancer.  In those men, the age for prostate cancer screening may be as early as 40 or 45 years of age.  Screening can be done with an exam and/or a blood test.  Ask your doctor which one is appropriate for you.

4.True.  The stuff in cigarettes can destroy the inside lining of your blood vessels and therefore cause them to function poorly.  Blood vessels are everywhere!  The blood vessels in your member are responsible for getting and keeping erections.  Get it?

5.Open- ended: Know your family’s medical history.  This will help you know what conditions/diseases you are at higher risk for and will arm with the tools to fight most of them off in many cases.

6.False. 50% of people with heart attacks have normal cholesterol! Smoking increases your risk of heart attack each cigarette you smoke.  The longer you smoke the higher your risk. But only 20% of all people with heart attacks are smokers.  This means that there are many other factors that determine your risk for a heart attack.

7.LOL!!!- This one’s a bye!  Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.

8.Testicular cancer is the most common in males ages 15-35.  Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.  Men should take care to do a testicular self-exam and note what your testicles normally feel like.  If you are unsure about it, ask your doctor!

9.True.  Recent studies are showing that there is a link between sexual dysfunction in men and heart disease.  Exercise, heart healthy dieting, portion control and taking your medications (if applicable) can be the key here.

10.False.  There is a 1/1,000 chance that a man can still inseminate after a vasectomy (surgical disruption of the tubes in which sperm travels) due to spontaneous reconnection of the tubes.  Also remember, a vasectomy, while highly effective for birth control, does NOT prevent sexually transmitted diseases of any kind.

Summer Travel with Kids

We provide practical tips and useful medical and health information to help you remain proactively healthy.  Dr. Allison Foster shares her tips for healthy and happy summer travel with the family.  As always, ask your personal doctors if these suggestions are right for you and your family.

Master Your Health!

Summer Travel with Kids: What Not to Leave at Home

Written By Allison Foster, MD

Summer is right around the corner and that means you and your family will likely be spending some time away on vacation.  Whether it’s a family weekend camping trip, a road-trip to the Grand Canyon, or many relaxing and fun-filled days at the beach or park, here is a list of the top 7 things you won’t want to leave home without during your summer travel.

1) Insect Repellant:  Insect repellant containing DEET provides the best protection against ticks which can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes which can transmit West Nile Virus.  DEET should not be used on babies under 2months of age.  Children over 2 months of age should use 30% DEET.  The concentration of DEET varies depending on the brand.  Too much DEET can be a bad thing, and too little DEET can result in inadequate protection.  Make sure to read

those labels!

2) Sunscreen:  Babies under 6 months of age should be dressed in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.  Keep these little ones in shaded areas.  If shade and adequate clothing aren’t available, parents may apply a small amount of SPF 15 sunscreen to limited areas such as the face and backs of hands.

Babies over 6 months of age and toddlers should have sunscreen applied at least 30 minutes prior to going outside, even on cloudy days.  Stay in shade when possible.  Make sure the SPF is at least 15 and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Older children and teens should cover up!  Wear a 3-inch brimmed hat or one with a bill that faces forward.  Stay in the shade whenever possible and limit sun exposure during peak times, 10am-4pm.  Use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.

3) Basic First-Aid Kit: With all of the fun outdoor activities to choose from during the summer, kids are bound to get a few nicks and scrapes along the way.  Make sure to have plenty of band-aids, some gauze and paper tape, a tube of first-aid ointment, and antiseptic wipes in your travel first-aid kit.

4) Emergency Numbers:Thankfully, 911 is an easy number to remember, even in an emergency.  Your pediatrician’s phone number may not be as easy to recall.  Make sure to carry your Pediatrician’s office number in case of urgent questions that may arise due to unexpected illness while away.  If your child’s friends are traveling with your family, make sure to have their emergency contact numbers as well.  It’s also not a bad idea to know where the closest emergency room is located with respect to your vacation destination.

5) Hand Sanitizer: With all of the sticks, stones, and germy objects that will be touched when outdoors, it’s good to have a bottle of hand sanitizer around when it’s lunch or snack-time.

6) Yummy Eats: Make sure to pack plenty of healthy, energizing snacks for the car trip and snack breaks at the beach. Cheese and crackers, nuts, baby carrots and fresh fruit are nutritious energy snacks. A supply of bottled water is a must-have for the cooler and for lunch don’t forget hand-packed sandwiches, fresh fruit such as apple and orange slices and veggie sticks.

7) Boredom-Proof Activities: How many of us have heard the phrases, “Are we there yet” or “I’m bored” one hour into an eight hour road-trip with your children?  To avoid this scenario, make sure to pack a selection of coloring and activity books, crayons and pencils, travel board games, books, a deck of cards, and a few of your kids favorite dolls or action figures.  It’s OK to bring the handheld video games as well, but remember that even during vacations, children should be limited to no more than 2 hours of total screen time daily.

Dr. Allison Foster is a board-certified pediatrician with offices in the south suburbs of Chicago including Harvey, Calumet City, and Flossmoor.  She accepts all forms of insurance and is accepting new patients.  Call 708-333-3030 to schedule an appointment.

Chocolate lovers take heart.

Finally, you have a really good excuse to eat more chocolate!  Chocolate has protective cardio- vascular properties.  A recent European study examined the incidence of heart attacks and strokes and overall blood pressure in people ages 35-65.  Those that consumed ~ 7 grams of chocolate (equivalent to 1 square of a chocolate bar) per day had lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.  Although most study subjects consumed milk chocolate, no clear difference in the overall benefit could be found between dark, milk or even white chocolate.   Cocoa is rich in a substance, called flavanoids, which is the major antioxidant also found in tea as well as fruits and vegetables, and may bring about a lot of the health properties of these foods.

Beware the often high caloric content of chocolate-containing foods. A dark chocolate bar is packed withand saturated fat.  So while you might decrease your chance of having a stroke with chocolate, you may very well offset the benefit by increasing fat intake and weight gain, both risk factors for heart disease, if you consume too much.

Chocolate Tips….

  1. Take it light: Small amounts (7grams or one small chocolate square) of milk or dark chocolate decrease cardiovascular disease risk.
  2. There’s no magic bullet: Chocolate consumption is not a substitute for exercise, healthy dieting, portion control and medications where appropriate, as a means to prevent heart disease.
  3. Balance is key: If you have a condition that can be affected or worsened by chocolate, like diabetes, ask your doctor if chocolate is a safe food.

As always, ask your doctor for advice.  If you are allergic to chocolate, avoid it completely.

Master Your Health!

‘3 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Body’

Anna Lane

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So You Think You Know GMOs?

Do we know more about our cell phones than our bodies?

Dr. Dave on Steve Harvey: Medical Miracles – Arlee Gregerson

Is it likely that the Flu killed Prince? Dr. Dave weighs in…

How this Mom Cheated Death


Dr. Dave talks in depth about a near death experience with Arlee Gregerson, a brand new mom who nearly didn’t make it. “We met on the set of the Steve Harvey Show, says Dr. Dave” Don’t miss this episode!

Paleo Diet

Paleo Diet

Forget everything you know about the food pyramid when it comes to the Paleo diet. This fad diet is purposely devoid of any grains, which makes up a sizeable portion of common food pyramid. The Paleo diet, also called the “cave man diet”, is based strictly on foods presumably eaten by early humans. The foods that are allowed on this diet are basically comprised of only meat, vegetables, and fruit. No processed food is allowed including milk, yogurt, and cheese.

The Paleo diet essentially harkens back to our way of eating before the boon of the agriculture revolution. The tenets of the diet are based on the premise that grains are not essential to the diet and, when over consumed, contribute to obesity. Grains are carbohydrates that are converted into glucose for energy. The glucose that is not used for energy immediately is stored as fat, almost certainly contributing to obesity and type II diabetes. The Paleo diet actually encourages consumption of virtually unlimited meat and vegetables. The upside to such a restricted diet is that you don’t have to worry about meticulously counting calories. Remember that no one diet fits all.

Although this diet may be new to many, the idea of a Paleolithic diet dates back to 1975. Walter Voegtlin first described the diet; however, it was made vastly popular at the turn of the century by Dr. Loren Cordain. Since then, many books, recipes, websites and blogs have been developed to help you understand and incorporate the Paleo Diet into daily life—no small feat for the average American. The books that Cordain has written describe in detail all one needs to know about the Paleo diet and the advantages.

Celebrities like Grant Hill, Uma Thurman, Jessica Biel, and Megan Fox and Kobe Bryant attribute their tiptop condition to the Paleo lifestyle.

More on the pros and cons of the Paleo here:

The New Health Revolution will be televised…

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Dr. Dave talks to Austrian scientist, Dr. Atanas Atanasov, in Vienna about inflammation, why it’s bad and why we can’t live without it. Dr. Atanasov also weighs in on the recent announcement by World Health Organization (WHO) that meat causes cancer.

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Dr. Dave talks tips and myths about belly fat! Certified Personal Trainers, David Franklin from D.C., Shantelle Sinclair from Miami and Annie Padrid from Chicago, tell women and men how to lose that midsection for good! Great show; don’t miss it!

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