comscore Want to lose weight? Write it when you bite it. | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Want to lose weight? Write it when you bite it.

Top athletes make sure they know precisely what they eat every day. This year’s Super Bowl champ Patriots quarterback Tom Brady follows a strict routine of 80% vegetables and whole grains, 20% lean meats.

But chances are you can’t remember what you ate yesterday! A couple of years ago, 75% of Americans told pollsters they ate healthfully, even though 90% fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s little wonder that 70% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese and don’t know how they got there!

If that’s you, try this trick that’s proven to work. Keep a food diary. The act of writing down — every day — everything you put in your mouth will automatically help you eat less and better.

That’s the conclusion of a study published in Obesity. The researchers acknowledge that most folks feel like keeping a food diary is an onerous task, but they show it isn’t and it works! Over six months, study participants who lost 10% of their body weight spent only 14.6 minutes a day recording the calories/fat, as well as the portion sizes and preparation methods! But don’t get too obsessed. It was the frequency of making notes, not the quantity of details, that correlated with the greatest weight loss. Three or more entries a day was optimal. So create a food diary where you can log of all the food you eat, or enlist a buddy or coach to email your food choices to daily.


In 1973 the Kinks released “Plastic Man”: “He eats plastic food with a plastic knife and fork. … And he likes to lick his gravy off a plastic plate.” Little did they know 46 years later their rant would end up being an accurate warning about the health hazards of chemicals in plastics.

For instance, take hormone-disrupting phthalates. They’re a chemical in vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics and plastic clothes and equipment. But they’re also found in personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hairsprays and nail polishes), as well as plastic packaging film and sheets (hence, in food), inflatable toys, blood-storage containers, medical tubing and some children’s toys.

A recent study tracked the chemicals’ effect on 209 kids. First, researchers measured phthalate levels (and their metabolites) in the urine of women during late pregnancy. Then they sampled levels in their children at ages 3, 5 and 7. Finally, when the kids reached 11, they were given a standard test to assess their motor skills, such as manual dexterity and running speed and agility. The research showed the motor skill-damaging effects of prenatal exposure to phthalates persists, especially in girls, and exposure to phthalates after birth was related to lower motor skills in boys. Motor skill deficiencies are associated with cognitive problems and emotional/social difficulties.

Smart steps: Read labels and ditch phthalate- containing products. Phthalates may be listed as BBP, DBP, DEHP, DEP, DiDP, DiNP, DnHP and DnOP. Avoid plastics with the recycling number 3 and products with added fragrances. Buy fragrances and aromatherapy products made with only 100% essential oils.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to

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