Thursday, February 28, 2013

Myth: Some of the foods I eat seem to be causing acne.

Answer: BUSTED, kind of...

We don’t know for sure yet what causes acne, but diet may play a role. A new review of a group of studies looking at diet and acne in males 15 to 25 years of age found that eating less high-carb foods such as white bread, pasta, crackers, white rice, soda, juice and candy bars is linked to less acne. Researchers suggest that eating these foods spike blood sugar which increases hormones. The hormones can stimulate oil production, triggering acne. However, good clinical studies involving larger numbers of people are needed before it can be stated that certain foods actually cause acne.
variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains & dairy
Replace junk foods with a healthy, balanced diet

So what to do in the meantime? There’s nothing wrong – and a lot right – to suggest eating less foods like soda, candy bars and refined grains like white bread. Eating more whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins will provide you with a healthy diet and can protect against heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

What about chocolate and acne? Based on the research, it’s more likely that the sugar in chocolate is what causes acne reactions, rather than the chocolate itself.

For more tips about healthy eating, visit

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Myth: I made a New Year’s resolution to get to the gym more but now I’m starting to miss some days. I must be the only one.

Answer: BUSTED!

Unoccupied machines at the gym
Join the club…the failed New Year’s resolution club! Gold’s Gym recently identified February 7th as ‘fitness cliff’ day – the day when they start to see gym membership slow down after all those New Year’s resolutions. What’s happening? Often the goals that we set are just not realistic. Here are some tips to get you started (or re-started!):
  1. Be specific! A goal like “I will go to the gym more often” is not specific enough. Instead, your goal is better stated this way: “I will go to the gym 3 days a week.”
  2. Be realistic! Start slow to make some early and quick successes. If you aren’t currently active, it isn’t realistic to expect that you will walk 5 miles in a month. You are more likely to be consistent if your goals are realistic. Consistency leads to achievability when it comes to goals.
  3. Write your goals down – in your calendar, smartphone, wall calendar. Pencil in your 3 days a week at the gym each week so it is part of your weekly schedule.
  4. Reward yourself. If you’ve met your walking goals, get a snazzy pair of new walking shoes as a reward.
For more tips, check out Get active by starting simple!

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Myth: Foods sold in school vending machines don’t have to follow the same ‘healthy’ rules as school meals.

Answer: TRUE, but that may change...

On Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, USDA issued proposed guidelines that would mean healthier options in schools – foods lower in fat, sugar and sodium with more of the nutrients kids need. Access to sugary drinks would be limited.

Why is this important? Students get anywhere from about 1/3 to 1/2 of their calories at school.1 About 40% of all students buy and eat one or more snacks at school and 68% buy and drink at least one sugary drink.1 The proposed guidelines would cover foods available in school vending machines, "a la carte" lunch lines and any other foods regularly sold around school including snack bars. The proposed rules, if approved and implemented, would not cover in-school fundraisers, bake sales, after-school concessions at school games, food brought from home for classroom celebrations or anything a student brings from home to eat. School meals that are supported by the government wouldn’t follow these new guidelines since they follow other recently updated rules. Individual states and school districts could decide to add additional regulations to go beyond the guidelines.

There will be a 60 day comment period. The guidelines are available at and The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered and implementation rules are published.

1How can healthier school snacks and beverages improve student health and help school budgets? Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, accessed Feb. 5, 2013.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933