Category Archives: Nutrition

Failed another weight-loss plan? New study reveals the problem is actually NOT you.


How much of your diet is blamed on your non-compliance?  Don’t beat yourself up if you think you’ve been focused enough on your diet but still can’t lose those pounds.

 A new study reveals that how food is metabolized actually varies from person to person, and in some cases, it can be the total opposite of each other. And if this is the case, any standardized diet approach based on the idea that we all absorb nutrition in the same way, would actually just be playing hit or miss. You’d definitely be much better off going after personalized nutrition that is made for you, based on your own individual profile, your diet and habits.

Blood sugar is one of the main things that are monitored especially when dealing with diet related diseases like obesity, and cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Too much disturbance in blood sugar levels, for instance, makes the body insensitive to insulin, a hormone which facilitates proper absorption of sugar in the blood so we can utilize energy from the food we eat. This leads to magical weight gain even if we’re not actually eating too fatty or too much. To help address such problems, nutritionists have come up with diet recommendations based on food’s Glycemic Index (GI), which ranks how much food affects sugars in our blood stream.


A food’s GI has always been viewed as a standard for each food item. Based on this index, with the consideration of a some factors like a person’s age and Body Mass Index, nutritionists see if a food item should be enjoyed or avoided. However, based on a new comprehensive study it is reveals that a food’s Glycemic index is actually not a set value, but varies per individual.

 This study led by Dr. Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav biologists at  Weizmann Institute in Israel, involved monitoring blood sugars of 800 participants over a week. Such studies are not usually done in such large scale. Data was collected through various meals like health questionnaires, including a mobile-app reporting of lifestyle and food intake with a total of 46,898 meals measured.  In this study it was found that people show big differences in their responses to food, and in some cases have complete opposite responses.  A particular case is of a person discovering she has been consuming food perceived as good for her, but was actually affecting her blood sugars negatively, which she wouldn’t have known outside the study.

woman speaking to nutritionistSo in reality, your current diet based on the standard GI is possibly not helping you that much. What this study essentially revealed is that you should be seeking guidance from a nutritionist that will  look at you as an individual and will not base advice on a standard one-size-fits-all index when trying to come up with a diet regimen. A personalized nutrition plan definitely would be the best way to go.


Cell Press. “‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2015. <>.

Parents, Be Mindful Even On Halloween

halloweencandyTempting as it may be to let loose a bit and let your kids go with all the rainbow colors of candy, parents must remember that too much sugar has actual consequences to a child’s health.

It is not just the sugar rush that we’re talking about. Sugar has a much more negative effect on the body that is important for us to know.


Dental decay is an obvious one. Sugar is known to speed up breakdown of teeth as it fuels the bad bacteria in the month. Though kids naturally lose their baby teeth, it is important to take care of them as you would permanent ones as the bacteria on the surface of baby teeth can attack the healthy ones still under the gum surface, which can adversely affect their growth by the time they’re ready to come out.

Study also finds sugar lowers the immune system to up to five hours after consumption.[1]

Ever notice that close to midnight or when you’ve been up all night, eating sweets has the effect of making your throat scratchy and making you feel like you’re coming down with something? That’s because sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bad bacteria in our bodies.

badsugarSugar as fructose  and glucose that are in abundance in Halloween candy also has the effect of make one feel famished. Muching on sweets makes your brain resist leptin, which is the protein that help signal the body that it is full. Anytime sweets are introduced in the diet, it makes it easier to eat too much. Partnered with the fact that sugar is highly addictive[2], it can lead to complications and diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Though Halloween is just one night a year, letting kids loose on sugar, and having candy in the cookie jar for weeks after, can introduce kids to sugar eating habits and that would be extremely harmful for them in the long run.

Here are a few tips to make this Halloween a little less about the sugar and a bit more about the fun:

Consider giving out inedible treats like Halloween accessories as glow sticks, colorful bracelets, and bubble bottles that they can have fun with while out in the streets at night. Just remember not to give out things that little kids can choke on.


Have the tradition of a contest of who can bring home the most candy. That way, kids will have the motivation not to eat any of the candy until they get home, so that you may a handle on what and how much sweets your kids actually consume.

trick or treatThough a bit more out of the way, if you are visiting houses of people you actually know, like friends or relatives, have a deal with them to give out healthier treats to your kids, or prepare something you yourself approve of, and hand them out to house owners before you set out for the night with your kids. It’ll just be between adults.

Remember that sweets during Halloween can just be a portion of the fun. Make other fun highlights such as creating costumes, decorating, and storytelling with your kids, that will focus more on the activities rather than the sweets.

Mother and Daughter Painting a Pumpkin


[1] The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Albert Sanchez, J. L. Reeser, H. S. Lau, P. Y. Yahiku, R. E. Willard, P. J. McMillan, S. Y. Cho, A. R. Magie, and U. D. Register. – Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. – The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc. 1973., Copyright © 1973,\

[2]The Skinny on Obesity – UCTV Prime


To Determine Sound Weight Loss Advice, Use MoBaVa

Online in der Küche

The pool of information on the internet can be overwhelming. Nutrition and weight-loss tips and tricks are being showered to us from different sources and websites. Even our friends share links on social media, persuading others to follow some  fly-by-night blogs and articles written by people who claim themselves nutrition coaches, while boasting vast knowledge in wellness. But many of the diet regimens that are being recommending are turning out to be so restrictive, unsustainable and can potentially put our health in serious jeopardy. And so, how will we discern the good information that are being paraded in front of us?


First, don’t just read the title of the link, read the whole article. Sometimes, titles can be so misleading that people tend to share these links without realizing that they have been a victim of click-bait.

Next, upon reading, check if  article is promoting “MoBaVa”. MoBaVa stands for Moderation, Balance and Variety. Full-fledged nutrition coaches know the importance of these three elements for weight loss and healthy eating.

Let’s discuss the three:

Moderation– Countering the typical misconception of “dieting” that can be an excruciating array of restrictions, moderation only suggests that you have your meals in controlled portions, well distributed throughout the day. Smart eating coaches know that eating in moderation (meaning not too much, yet not too little) is the key for you to avoid unnecessary extra calories, while keeping your metabolism going.

Which one?

Balance– We all know that our bodies need different kinds of nutrients that are necessary to sustain our daily activities and involuntary processes. Having enough of each necessary nutrient can make us perform optimally. However, the keyword here is “balance”. Our meals should have a good balance of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and of course, water.  Nonetheless, some people who claim to be nutrition coaches eliminate important macronutrients totally from the menu, carbohydrates being the best example. Carbohydrates are vital in providing energy. The glucose that it produces is also the food of our brain. Some advocate using protein as a source of energy, which is not a good idea since protein’s primary purpose is to build and repair muscles and other tissues. Also, too much protein without having enough water can also put burden in our kidneys, thus, can promote some form of kidney diseases in the long run.

healthy balanced lifestyle

Variety– There is no such thing as superfood, in which all the nutrients that you need are present in one particular food item alone. We need variety for us to meet all the nutrients our bodies need. One food item has its unique edge, which may not present in another. Weight loss and healthy eating requires variety in food selections. It’s quite hard to imagine always having the same type of food everyday. But just the same, some people binge certain food items, like banana, for instance, saying that it’s much superior to weight loss compared to other fruits. While others indulge on celery because they have read somewhere that it has “negative” calories. These food items are not bad. But it’s also not good to abuse them just for the sake of an abrupt weight-loss. Having too much of a food item can make you get tired of the food eventually while not reaping the benefits of having a variety. In a nutshell, your meal should be in melody. Not monotonous.

If you have sufficiently seen that an article promotes these three, then this is the time you should feel comfortable following the article or sharing it with your friends. If you are still not confident with the content, ask your diet coach for further information and experts’ insights. They will be more than glad to help.

The HAPI Team

Weight Loss at 50? Yes You Can!

Many are apprehensive to the repercussions of being overweight upon reaching the age of 50. It’s actually a valid concern that we should not take lightly. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, being overweight at 50 years old and beyond can make you more at risk to lifestyle diseases compared to those people with the same dilemma but at a much younger age.

It’s a sad fact that many people of this age range only decide to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise upon hearing their medical diagnosis. But it’s also great to know that some even hire a one -on-one coach to guide them along the way while taking for consideration their special needs. So how hard is it to lose weight at this age?

Mature Woman on Weight Scale

Slower metabolism

We have to admit, it’s a bit harder at this point to lose weight. But more difficult does not mean impossible. You just need to understand that you need to exert more effort. The most blamed cause of weight gain at this age is slowing metabolism. At this age, muscle mass is also declining due to limited physical activity that usually comes with age. And since muscles are vital to the good and constant flow of metabolism, weight loss can be a bit harder, if done the wrong way.

If you don’t have any serious medical concerns which might limit you to do some moderate physical activities, working out is still essential to healthy weight loss, regardless of age. But since we now understand that good flow of metabolism is the key to weight loss, and muscle mass is one of the most important factors to boost it, it’s completely understandable that weight training must also be added to your workout. However, weight training must be controlled and monitored based on your initial capacity and will only progress eventually as your strength increases to avoid any injuries. It’s not really necessary for you to bulk up in muscles, but weight training is important to increase muscle mass to promote faster metabolism.

Muscle depreciation

Second, cardiovascular or aerobic training must still be done. This is the part that you will increase your energy expenditure to speed up weight loss. Regular jogging or brisk walking is recommended at first, and more intense workouts can be done once your endurance increases. It is recommended that you do it for at least 30 minutes to increase your heart rate to a considerable level.

Changes in daily caloric requirement

chocolatesLast, and the most important of all is, of course, changing your food intake.
Caloric deficit is necessary. At this point, a good nutrition coach will be of great help, since they can help you interpret
your requirements, and assess and validate your food intake. Nutrition coaches usually suggest that you should be cutting down your daily caloric intake to up to 500 calories. This is necessary for you to burn that extra energy that you had consumed without storing them for no immediate purpose.

Though losing weight might be slower in middle age, once you integrate these healthy habits to your lifestyle, know that you are doing something substantial for your general welfare and eventually, your life.

Yes, it’s better late than never. Do it one step at a time and you’ll eventually get that much better, healthier version of you.

Why should you get advice from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Almost any type of information is accessible these days. You can go online and find what you are looking for, if not from self-help books, podcasts, or TV programs. And if that’s not enough, you can even join groups and browse forums, to get information straight from other people’s experiences.

But at this age, when information is free-flowing, and the temptation to self-diagnose is stronger than ever (Hello, Google.), why should you seek help from an expert such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Cheerful doctor on the phone in her office while she is using her laptop

Nutritionists Know

It is the job of your Nutritionist to find out the latest in health and nutrition research and what they mean for you. As published information over time tend to express different views on what’s good for the body and what should be avoided, it is important to talk to someone who makes it his number one priority to be informed, and sort through the large amounts of data , so he can advise you on just what will work for your specific needs.

Value of One-on-one Consultation

Your needs can very well be different from that of the next person. Though people can have very similar concerns as having high cholesterol, difficulty in losing weight, or wanting to get in better shape, a Nutritionist is in the best position to tell you what changes you should be making. He does this through taking time to personally listen and know you; your history, the concerns you want addressed with regard to your nutrition and health. He will also be able to monitor your progress over time as you make improvements. In these consultations, you are also made accountable to someone other than yourself; which will help to nudge you during a slump or when you don’t feel motivated enough to follow through with your regimen.

Help Navigate Food Allergies and Intolerance

Aside from helping you avoid allergy attacks by keeping you informed of your food allergies, and food intolerance, nutritionists help in a way that can drastically improve the way you view your food and eating. Knowing that you have food allergies and intolerance has a tendency to limit you to only the safe food items that are already top of mind. Your Nutritionist can help give you a considerable number of food options that may not be commonly known,  and actually help you bring joy back to eating.

Wonders for Weight Loss

Many people may stick to a handpicked weight loss strategy for a time, fail, try another, fail again and finally get frustrated and give up. Six o’clock diet, fad diets, crash diets; just the myriad of options out there can be reason enough for you to put off dieting  until the next day. Though Nutritionists may not be as adept in other areas involved in weight loss, such as working out or exercising, nutritionists have the 411 on the food that you put into your body. That alone is already a big part of the weight loss equation. Nutritionists can give you structured and personalized meal plans that you can follow which is tailored to your needs and considers your own vitals to help you lose and keep those stubborn pounds off. They can also give you advice on how to modify and substitute ingredients, in case you have trouble putting together meals set out in your plan.


What’s more is that with the advancements in communication technology, channels for nutritionists have vastly widened to make their Nutritionist consultations accessible and closer to people. Nutritionist can now do remote consultations through the internet. Applications are now able to provide meal photojournaling services via mobile devices. These day-to-day meals can then be shared with nutritionists so they can give valuable expert advice on what should or should not be done. People can now be able to integrate these into their everyday meal decisions so that they can efficiently reach their health goals.

So the next time you want to make changes in your diet, consider asking advice form a Nutritionist. It will prove to be highly beneficial. 🙂


Reflecting on HAPIfork’s Launch

Happiness Voltaire Quote

Another CES has come and gone and the HAPIfork is now officially launched. While I’ve attended hundreds of trade shows, probably 20 CES’s and launched dozens and dozens of products over the years, this launch was different.

In the course of one week, HAPIfork, the first connected fork that helps you slow down how fast you eat, garnered media attention from outlets on every continent except for Antarctica and I expect that will come soon given the hype.

People tweeted about HAPIfork from about 80 countries and wrote about it from 73 more. In less than two weeks, nearly 10,000 tweets mentioned #HAPIfork from around the world.

From Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, World News Tonight to USA Today, the WSJ, Rolling Stone, Jay Leno, the Colbert Report, Huffington Post, Techcrunch, Scientific American and CNET, HAPIfork was brought the world’s attention.

Rolling stone

Frankly, given that I think like as much like a journalist as I do a marketing pro, I knew HAPIfork would be hot. After all, it has a lot of unique selling points.

First, it’s a handsome looking gadget with a clean design that comes in five fun colors.

Second, it is unique in what it does: helps you slow down how fast you eat.

Third, it was developed by the French, a country known for enjoying their food and taking long meals.

Fourth, there hasn’t been an innovation to the fork in….I don’t know, perhaps since the invention of the fork itself?

What I didn’t anticipate was how fast HAPIfork’s “hotness” would accelerate, particularly at a show like CES which shows off thousands of new products and innovations from around the world. In other words, it’s a crowded show to make a new product from an unknown company in the U.S. truly shine.

So, what is the sensation really all about? HAPIfork addresses an emotional issue we all have as humans – eating. As a woman, I’ve dealt with issues around weight and eating fast since I was a teenager and there probably isn’t one person who can’t relate to both at least on some level.

While I’ve never been heavy and come from lankier family stock than not, as a teenager and in my twenties, there was a lot of pressure to be thin largely because of the way the media flashed images of models the size of toothpicks. For men, the pressure may not be as acute, however whether it’s for “image” or peer pressure, maintaining our ideal weight isn’t easy for most of us.


And, at the end of the day, it’s not healthy to be overweight and it doesn’t get any easier as we age.
In addition to known benefits of having a healthy diet, eating the right food can change your energy levels, your mental attitude and reduce if not eliminate the cravings you once may have had, e.g., starchy and processed foods with excess amounts of sugar.


While I’m not a dietician or a doctor, I celebrate health benefits from a cleanse once a year and notice positive differences in my body when I eat a more alkaline diet.
While eating unhealthy food and too much of it is an obvious known issue, what we don’t pay as much attention to as a society is how FAST we eat and the impact it has on our consumption.


When we eat slower, we consume less calories (roughly 11%), we improve our digestion and decrease issues related to gastric reflux. If you’re over the age of 35, ask yourself how many TV ads you remember seeing as a child on antacid products and how many you see today? It ‘feels’ like there’s an antacid commercial on the hour.

HAPIfork is unobtrusive. When you are eating too fast, you’ll receive a gentle vibration, reminding you to slow things down. Some people argue that they don’t need a fork to make them eat slower and can do it on their own. While some people may have that level of discipline, there are thousands of others who need a little help.

ForkfrontsideGREEN hires

We all know people who are so disciplined; they’re the people who find themselves at the gym seven days a week. There are others who fare better with a trainer and others who can’t stick with a program at all.

Think of HAPIfork as a personal coach which can prompt you to slow down one aspect of your busy schedule: your meal.

For me personally, the busier my day, the faster I tend to eat and so a $99 investment in a device that can help modify that behavior is a no brainer. Reality check: Apple charges close to that for a plastic adapter cable that merely charges a laptop.

And, let’s not forget the countless other plastic gizmos that are priced above $99 in places like Brookstone, airline magazines, TV advertorials and beyond, that don’t help improve your health.

The second issue that HAPIfork touches on is behavior modification, which is important if people want to see improvements in their health or anything for that matter.

Consider This: a coach asks you to work out for 60 minutes a day and yet when you start off, you can’t even make it past 15 minutes without huffing and puffing. In the back of your mind, you think “this is impossible,” and feel like quitting. What if he came back to you and said, “start off with 20 minutes a day for three weeks and then increase it to 30 minutes a day,” and so on. Suddenly you feel that this might be possible after all, you start to see some progress even if its small. Now, how do you feel?

Consider This: you’re a smoker and while your Uncle John quit cold turkey and your family is hounding you to do the same, you don’t seem to have the same willpower as Uncle John. And so, you start to wear the patch and chew the gum so you can reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. Suddenly, your one pack a day is down to four cigarettes a day and then ten a week. Now, how do you feel?

Enter the world of behavior modification and the impact that even slight shifts in behavior can have on your overall health and well-being. Slight behavior modification can lead to moderate and/or dramatic behavior modification over time.

HAPIfork offloads your eating patterns to an online dashboard which you can check on a daily or weekly basis, data you can also access from your phone (Windows 8, iPhone and Android).

The dashboard shows a percentage of how much faster you are eating than you should, so as you slow down, you can see that number improve over time.

dashboard image reduced

The great thing about the data is that you can either choose to keep it private or share with your family or even a doctor who may be working with you on an overall dietary program.

When we start to see incremental improvements in our scores, we can feel not just a sense of ‘hope,’ that yes, we can actually do this, but empowerment.

With empowerment comes changes in behavior and with those changes, comes a healthier and I’d argue, a more integrated and holistic self. The more awareness we have about our habits, the more we can feel empowered to change them based on information we have personally captured.

After all, it’s your body and we only have one in this lifetime. Why not treat it right? It’s harder to do when we don’t realize just how badly we abuse it on a daily basis, whether that be less sleep than we should be getting, smoking, consuming processed food or eating too fast.

I am excited to be working with the HAPILABS team because of how we can help empower others to take control of their health and take control of their lives.
If you were at CES, you may have heard HAPILAB’s CEO Fabrice Boutain walk around with his finger up in the air and saying “Join our HAPIrevolution” with a smile on his face.

If you weren’t in Las Vegas, you’ll see and hear that sentiment in our literature, on our website and at the core of the HAPILABS team across three continents.
If you ever run into anyone on the HAPILABS team, you’ll bound to be affected by the contagious HAPI energy and desire to help people turn their health and well being into a positive force.

HAPILABS team at booth

The goal here is not just to launch a fork, but a way of “being and thinking” about your health. In this HAPIrevolution, our hope is that together, we can raise the awareness and take charge of when we eat, what we eat and how fast we eat.

Help us help you so we can collectively reduce the rising numbers of growing disease and obesity in the U.S. and around the world.

Photo Credits: Screenshots from HAPILABS, woman with food from Sara Beyer/Flickr, slow eating and digestions panels from SlowControl, group shot taken in booth on my trusty Canon 7D. Voltaire image from Chanty Elise Designs.

HAPIfork Unveils at CES 2013!

hapilabs at ces unveiled

We kicked off CES 2013 with a bang! CES is where we officially launched HAPIfork, the world’s first connected fork, starting with CES Unveiled, the official media event at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

HAPIfork, our flagship product is the first in the HAPILABS line to help people on their mission to lead a HAPIer and healthier life. This smart fork knows how fast you’re eating and helps you slow things down using a patent-pending technology. By eating slower, you can improve the way you feel after every meal, enhance your digestion and reduce your weight.

When you are eating too fast, HAPIfork sends you gentle vibrations and indicator lights so you are aware of when you’re not eating at a pace that is optimal for your health, allowing you to slow down without a disruption to your meal or conversation. All of your HAPIfork eating data is transmitted to your online account when you connect your HAPIfork to your computer via USB or your smart phone via Bluetooth. This flexibility means you can monitor your health improvement at home or on the road from a mobile device. You can choose to keep this information private or share some or all of this data with friends who are supporting you, your health and lifestyle.

The complete suite, which will be priced at $99, will include the HAPIfork Device, an Online Dashboard, which stores and reviews your eating-related data and helps you track your progress meal after meal, aMobile App which allows you to follow your stats from your mobile device, a Online Coaching Program for tips and tricks on eating smarter and healthier, and an Online Social Game, designed to motivate you to implement your new habits with your loved ones.

Below, HAPILABS CEO Fabrice Boutain shows a HAPIfork and HAPItrack prototypes in Paris this past December.

Hapilabs (2)