March 28, 2008

Buy Green for the Future

By Vestina Crayton, 4-H Family Educational Instructor
Pinellas County Extension
Green Purchasing, Environmentally Preferred Purchasing, and Sustainable Purchasing are all words that describe buying products or services that have a reduced negative impact on human health and the environment as compared to other products and services designed for the same use. Choosing to purchase green products can have positive long term impacts. For example: “Buying 100 percent recycled-content paper can reduce energy use by 44 percent, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent, cut solid waste emissions in half, decrease water use by 50 percent, and practically eliminate wood use.” Rutgers, January 2008

One objection to purchasing green products is the cost. In some cases, the cost of green products compared to traditional products is more. However, if you consider the potential impacts that traditional products can have on your health and the environment, you may be surprised at the true cost. Green purchasing takes into consideration the costs associated with each phase of the product’s life cycle. Generally speaking, the life cycle of a product includes:
  • Acquiring the raw materials
  • Production /Manufacturing
  • Operation
  • Maintenance
  • Disposal

Identifying and evaluating a green product is simple.

  • Many retailers have developed product lines that are specifically green, environmentally preferable and/or sustainable.
  • Look for the Florida approved labels for green purchasing. For more, visit

Energy Star logo
Green Seal logo Green Guard logo

  • Ask these simple questions, is the product
    o Made from nontoxic materials?
    o Reusable and durable?
    o Made from recycled materials or can be recycled?
    o Energy and water efficient?
    o Made from plant based raw materials?

Making the decision to purchase environmentally-friendly products is one of the many small ways you can make a big difference in your life, your family’s life, and your community for generations to come. For more ways to enhance your quality of life by creating and sustaining a better environment, visit Pinellas County Extension at

Other Resources:
Rutgers the Supply Chain/ Green Purchasing Overview
Environmental Protection Agency

March 25, 2008

Spring Break: Ideas for Family Fun

By Patti Neary,
Pinellas County Families & Consumers Program, Educational Instructor

FishingThe kids are on Spring break and the weather is gorgeous! NO, it’s not time for spring cleaning; it’s time for some family, friendly fun! Saving money and gas is on everyone’s mind these days, so why not give your child the pleasure of your company and choose activities you can do together that won’t hurt the pocket book!!! We are surrounded by many beautiful parks and beaches so get out and explore. Your mini-vacation awaits you..!

You can refer to the Pinellas County Parks location guide:

Remember, the best reward your child can receive and the best gift you can give your child is spending time together having fun. So pack your backpack, and head out for a day of fun!! Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Walking: Use pedometers and count steps, allow child to participate in planning. Don’t forget the healthy snacks and water!!!!
  • Hiking in the woods: Bring along insect identification book and a picnic basket lunch!

  • Outdoor camping: Pitch a tent in the backyard, cook dinner or breakfast on the grill, make s’mores, and watch the stars.
  • Picnic
  • Old fashion picnic in the park: Pack up the blanket and picnic basket, play old fashioned games like horse shoes, badminton or croquet.

  • Litter patrol: Inexpensive plastic gloves are fun to wear for kids, large plastic bags; visit parks, beaches or roads and pick up litter.

  • Visit area farms: Pick your own fruit or vegetables, or whatever is in season. Take them home and cook what you picked for dinner.

  • Plant a garden: Dig, shovel, plant flowers or vegetables or a butterfly garden.

  • Get out and be active: Toss a football, throw a Frisbee, play catch, have a hula hoop contest or fly a kite.

  • Go bowling: Ask about bumper bowling for young ones.

  • Cooking with your child: Plan a special dinner for someone and let your child participate in the planning and preparation. Learning to cook helps children in so many ways. They learn about health and nutrition, they are more apt to eat what they make and it helps boost their self esteem. If you are interested in our family cooking classes check out the flyer at this link on our website:

  • BikingNature Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of nature things to find at a park or beach.

  • Bike riding as a family: Wear helmets and appropriate clothing, and ride the Pinellas County Trail:

  • Bird Watching: Buy an inexpensive camera, bring along binoculars, visit a park and take pictures of birds, or each other. Create memories of the special day!

  • Play Board Games: Buy a board game, go to a park, find a picnic table, play and enjoy time together!!!

March 24, 2008

FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk with Cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano

By Nan Jensen, Pinellas County Extension,
Family and Consumer Sciences Program Leader

Media Inquiries: Stephanie Kwisnek, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

cleaning cantaloupeThe agency detains products from the Honduran manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert regarding entry of cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because, based on current information, fruit from this company appears to be associated with a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the United States and Canada. The import alert advises FDA field offices that all cantaloupes shipped to the United States by this company are to be detained.

In addition, the FDA has contacted importers about this action and is advising U.S. grocers, food service operators, and produce processors to remove from their stock any cantaloupes from this company. The FDA also advises consumers who have recently bought cantaloupes to check with the place of purchase to determine if the fruit came from this specific grower and packer. If so, consumers should throw away the cantaloupes.

To date, the FDA has received reports of 50 illnesses in 16 states and nine illnesses in Canada linked to the consumption of cantaloupes. No deaths have been reported; however, 14 people have been hospitalized. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The FDA is taking this preventive measure while the agency continues to investigate this outbreak in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state partners. Such intervention is a key component of FDA’s Food Protection Plan.

Symptoms of foodborne Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections. Individuals who have recently eaten cantaloupe and experienced any of these symptoms should contact their health care professional.

The FDA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes:

  • Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
  • After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly.
  • Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh cantaloupes.
  • Scrub whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Don't use soap or detergents.
  • Use clean cutting surfaces and utensils when cutting cantaloupes. Wash cutting boards, countertops, dishes, and utensils with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, or seafood and the preparation of cantaloupe.
  • If there happens to be a bruised or damaged area on a cantaloupe, cut away those parts before eating it.
  • Leftover cut cantaloupe should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel packs when transporting or storing cantaloupes outdoors.

For University of Florida, IFAS Extension fact sheet on
Melons: Safe Handling Practices for Consumers, please visit:

For more information on produce safety, please visit:

For additional information on FDA’s Import Program, please visit:

March 17, 2008

Cactus and Succulent Dish Gardens

By Michael Pettay
Horticulturist, University of Florida/IFAS Extension Educator

Dish gardens can make a snazzy display for plants such as cactus and succulents.

What's the difference you say? Well, succulent is a generic term that refers to any plant that has thick, fleshy leaves, stems or roots adapted for storing water during dry periods. Cactus refers to a specific family of succulents, native to the Americas, characterized by thick, water storing stems and often by long, sharp spines. In short, all cacti are succulents but not all succulents can be called a cactus!

Succulents have leaves, stems or roots that store water from the rainy season for use in the dry season. Plants in the family Cactaceae, from the Greek 'kaktos', for thistle, are stem succulents.

Cacti usually have spines, which are actually modified leaves. While leaves are very good at photosynthesis, and cooling plants off, they lose water and generally can't take much heat. Cacti photosynthesize through their stems and tolerate heat very well.

Both types of plants need very little care, prefer low humidity, and come in many shapes, sizes and colors that can add interest to a table top, a window sill in a brightly lit room, or a sunny porch. I actually have cactus gardens in larger pots in full sun around a backyard deck.

cactus dish garden
Start with a relatively shallow pot, container or dish, at least two to three inches deep. Clay or terra cotta works better for plants that prefer to be on the dry side. Make sure it has drain holes in the bottom! Plastic pots will work if you are cautious with watering but be careful in full sun. The sun shining on a dark colored plastic pot can very quickly overheat the roots!

Fill it with special cactus potting mixture or make up your own using equal parts of potting soil and sand. Choose a few interesting looking plants and leave them enough room to grow a little. I usually tell folks to use an odd number of plants for a more interesting, natural looking pattern, and to leave room for a few larger stones and a thin top dressing of sand or gravel. Although they certainly look like they could take care of themselves, cacti are slower to react to poor care than other types of plants, so only purchase those that are healthy. Look out for scars, bruising, broken stems or spines, or stems that are long, thin and pale. Remember, also, that cactus may be sun types or shade types.

Sun type cactus look like what most folk would think of as a cactus; heavily armed, stem succulents. They can take direct sun outdoors and would prefer a South or West window if kept indoors.

Shade cactus are critters like Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) that require special care and probably would not be good additions to a dish garden.

Be sure to have your gloves handy when working with cacti. Or you can also fold several sheets of newspaper and place them lightly around a cactus when you lift it out of its original pot for transplanting.

Allow your dish garden to dry out between waterings. Every two weeks during their active growth period would probably be adequate.

Cacti need fertilizer also, but not as much as other types of plants. Fertilize monthly, from April to October, with something in roughly a 5-10-5 ratio, such as tomato or African violet fertilizer, at one half the label recommended strength.

Place it in a sunny spot and enjoy!

March 12, 2008

Citrus Questions?

By Jane Morse
University of Florida, IFAS Pinellas County Extension Agent

rust miteA common occurrence this time of year is to see oranges that have brown areas. This is most likely rust mite damage (unless it smells rotten). Rust mite damage is nothing to worry about as it doesn’t affect the taste of the fruit; it just makes the outside rind not be perfectly orange.
If you want perfectly orange rinds, spray your trees in March or April with a horticultural oil (use an oil that lists paraffinic oil as the active ingredient). Always read and follow directions exactly as indicated on the label of pesticides.

leafminerAnother common problem on citrus is leafminers. Leaves will look misshapen and one can see serpentine tunnels on the leaf surface. For mature trees this will not harm them and little control is available. Either leave them alone or during the spring growth flush spray the tree with horticultural oil twice, spaced two weeks apart. Very young trees can be hurt by the loss of leaf surface that leafminers cause. Young trees should be treated with a horticultural oil during the spring growth flush.

Fertilization is necessary to keep your tree healthy and producing well. Bearing trees should be fertilized 3 times per year with a good quality 8-8-8 citrus or palm fertilizer that supplies micro nutrients (i.e. zinc, manganese, boron and copper) as well as the macro nutrients (i.e. nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). The amount applied at each application is about five pounds. A tree that is 5 years or older would receive three separate applications of 5 pounds for a total of 15 pounds of fertilizer per year. A bathroom scale can be used to determine fertilizer weight. If your trees are surrounded by turf and you are fertilizing your turf, then you probably don’t need to apply extra fertilizer to your trees.

The recommended 3 applications per year can be made in January-February, May-June and October-November. Be sure to evenly spread the fertilizer. A general guideline is to spread the fertilizer as many feet beyond the drip line of the canopy as the age of the tree in years (up to ten). For trees younger than 5 years call the Extension Service at 727-582-2100 to get their recommended fertilizing schedule.

The soil pH is also important. Citrus prefer a soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If you live near the beach or have an alkaline soil (above pH 7.0) then minor element deficiency symptoms may develop. The only way to supply these minor elements when the soil pH is alkaline is by applying a nutritional spray to the leaves (foliar application). These sprays should contain zinc, manganese, boron and copper. Spraying once per year should be sufficient. Local garden supply stores should be able to recommend a spray for you.

Watering is also important to tree health. Too much water or too little water can damage your tree. Trees in a well-drained soil usually need about 3/4 inch of water per week (if there is no rainfall). Too much water can cause foot rot to occur. Watch out for flooding, or soggy soils. Citrus do not like to have wet feet!

What about pest and disease management? Homeowners usually only need to apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap or copper fungicide to control pests and disease.

There are many beneficial-bugs that help to keep pest-bug populations under control and by using horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps most of the beneficial-bugs are saved while the pest bugs are killed. Beneficial-bugs do us a great service and help to keep most pest-bug populations well under control. Using hard chemicals that kill all bugs, including the beneficial-bugs, can actually cause an explosion of pest-bugs to occur. So stay away from the hard, conventional pesticides, especially those that keep killing for a long time. You do NOT need them and they usually make the problem worse.

For other questions about plants:

Information for this article was obtained from: Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape Control Of Insects, Mites And Disease Of Florida’s Dooryard Citrus

March 11, 2008

Seeing Red and Black Bugs?

By Jane Morse
University of Florida, IFAS Pinellas County Extension Agent

Jadera haematolomaHave you seen red and black colored insects crawling all over your grass and up the sides of your house? Do you have a Goldenrain tree or Chinaberry tree in your yard or close by? Then most likely the insect you are seeing is the harmless Jadera haematoloma. This is a seed-eating insect and it won’t harm your plants.

These bugs are in a way providing a service to you. They are eating the seeds of the tree so that you do not have thousands of baby trees sprouting up under the adult tree.

In central Florida, March, April and May are usually the peak months for Jadera bugs. The adults are 1/3 to ½ inches long (with wings) and about a 10th of an inch wide. Their color is mostly black except for reddish eyes, shoulders and border area of the abdomen. The nymphs (young) are mostly reddish in color, with the mid-section, antennae, beak and legs brown to black. They look like their wearing little black vests over their red bodies.


Usually, no control is necessary. A small concentration on a plant can often be destroyed by hand collecting.

If the bugs are a nuisance in lawns or playgrounds, removing the tree seeds by raking shortly after the seedpods or lanterns have fallen to the ground is recommended, but should be done when the trees first drop the seedpods, before the seeds detach. Attempting to rake them when the bugs become noticeable in March or April, after the seeds have detached from the seedpods, is too late.

Eliminate hiding places such as piles of rocks, boards, leaves, and general debris close to the house. Repair and close places where bugs can enter the house, such as cracks around doors and windows and in the foundation. Brushing or knocking large populations of the bugs that are on plants or walls into a small pail with water at the bottom is another method of control. A little liquid detergent added to the water will help to kill them more quickly.

If they are in the house, either sweep or vacuum them up and dispose of them. Pyrethrins or insecticidal soap can also be used. Always read and follow the label of any pesticide used.


March 10, 2008

The Teen Brain is Different

By Vestina F. Crayton
4-H Youth Development, Extension Educational Instructor

Quite often conversations about teens include a series of questions that begin with ‘why?’ Why do they act that way, why did they do that, why are they dressed that way and so on. Over the years, studies have been done on the teen brain to help answer some of these questions.

In 1999, by utilizing MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technologies, some researchers were surprised to discover that just before puberty, a second wave of overproduction of gray matter (the thinking part of the teen’s brain) occurs. The teen’s gray matter changes in different functional brain areas at different times in development. For example, the gray matter growth spurt just prior to puberty is predominant in the frontal lobe where brain functions such as planning, impulse control, and reasoning take place.

One noted researcher, Dr. Yurgelun-Todd, Director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroimaging in Belmont, Mass, shared her thoughts with Frontline on what her research implied. She compared and contrasted how adults and teens process information with the frontal part and the lower (amgydala) part of the brain. Below is and excerpt from the interview.

  • Frontline: In adults, how are those two parts of the brain related? What do we see there?

  • Yurgulun –Todd: In an adult, this anterior or prefrontal part of the brain carries out a lot of executive functions, or what we call more thinking functions: planning, goal-directed behavior, judgment, insight. And we think that that particular part of the brain influences this more emotional or gut part of the brain. Therefore this relationship is key to understanding behavior. Teens (top image) used less of the prefrontal (upper) region than adults (bottom image) when reading emotion.
  • amgydala frontal
  • Frontline: What does your work tell you about young teenagers?

  • Yurgulun –Todd: One of the implications of this work is that the brain is responding differently to the outside world in teenagers compared to adults. And in particular, with emotional information, the teenager's brain may be responding with more of a gut reaction than an executive or more thinking kind of response. And if that's the case, then one of the things that you expect is that you'll have more of an impulsive behavioral response, instead of a necessarily thoughtful or measured kind of response.”
    Armed with this information, parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults who question the behavior of teens, can began to understand that the teen brain is a work in progress.

For more information on teen development, contact Pinellas 4-H Youth Development at (727) 582-2450 and sign up to participate in the 4-H Family Teening -Up program. This program is an opportunity for parents and their teen to learn how to communicate and strengthen their relationship.


  • To read the interview with Yurgulun-Todd in its entirety, visit
  • Ackerman, Sandra. (2006). The Teen Brain: A World of Their Own. Program Three in the Public Broadcasting Series, The Secret Life of the Brain. Accessed on March 1, 2006 at
  • Bond, Suzanne & Bond, Dan (2004). Professional Resource Materials for Family Information Services, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Wallis, Claudia. (2004, May) What Makes Teens Tick: Inside the Adolescent Brain by Claudia Wallis. Time Magazine.
  • Steinberg, Laurence. (2004). The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting. Simon and Schuster.
  • Walsh, Michael (2004) Why do they Act That Way: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teenager. Minneapolis, MN: Family Information Services

March 5, 2008

Live Oak or Laurel Oak – Do You Know the Difference?

By Pam Brown,
Urban Horticulture Extension Agent, Pinellas County Extension

When you first notice them, a majestic Live Oak and a Laurel Oak may look like the same tree, but there are some important differences that could be very important to you and your landscape over the years. Both are Florida native trees.

First let’s look at the characteristics of each tree:

Live Oak, Quercus virginiana

Live Oakis a large, sprawling, tree that grows to a mature height of 60 to 80 feet with a spread of 60 to 120 feet. It develops very strong wood that is quite resistant to decay. These trees can live for 300 years or more, are very tolerant to drought and are somewhat tolerant of salt.
Live Oak leaves
The leaves of the Live Oak have smooth edges that are sometimes toothed and are a lustrous green on top and pale green with very fine fuzz on the underside. Live Oaks will retain leaves until after the next year’s foliage has appeared, making it a true evergreen. Clusters of three to five acorns are found on long stalks attached to twigs. The mature bark is a deep red-brown and slightly furrowed vertically.

Laurel Oak, Quercus laurifolia,

Laurel Oakis a tall, broad tree that grows to a height of 60 or more feet with a fairly symmetrical oval canopy spread of 40 to 60 feet. The fast growth rate results in relatively weak wood that is prone to break and decay. Laurel Oaks have a lifespan of 50 to 70 years when grown in ideal conditions. These trees are moderately drought tolerant and have a low salt tolerance.
Laurel Oak leaves
The leaves of the Laurel Oak are smooth, narrow, shiny green on top and pale underneath with a yellow midrib. The margins of the leaves are either smooth or irregularly lobed. Acorns are about ½ inch long and found singly attached directly to the twig. The bark is a dark reddish-brown that becomes deeply fissured with age.

Now, why is this important for you and your landscape?
Research at the University of Florida has shown that the Laurel Oak is very prone to failure in hurricane winds due to the weak wood and their tendency to decay. These trees may not be appropriate to plant near a home or other structure. Their deep roots and a relatively short height in relation to crown spread, along with strong wood help the Live Oak withstand the high winds and strong storm surges that can bring trees down during hurricanes. For research details:

March 4, 2008

Super-Charged Drinks and Bars: The Right Source for Nutrition?

By Jana Folkert, Dietetic Intern, Bay Pines Health Care System
Pinellas County Extension, Family & Consumers

JoggersThere seems to be a special drink or energy bar to address every conceivable health need these days, from athletic performance to vitamin deficiency to sleepiness. In reality, however, are these carefully marketed beverages and bars genuinely useful as part of a well-balanced and nourishing diet? And are the advantages of supplementing usual intake with these products worth their expense, usually significantly greater than “normal” food and drink options?

The beverage market has exploded with extensive options for the thirsty shopper, including an overwhelming selection of flavored waters, sports drinks, and herbal teas. Fancy water choices boast fruit flavors and vitamin supplementation, while sports drinks promise electrolyte replacement and herbal teas tout their ability to improve any number of functions- from memory to energy. Unfortunately, many of these beverage choices contain sugar in addition to their other special ingredients, easily contributing an additional 100-150 calories per bottle to the diet. In regard to the herbal teas, caution must be exercised in trusting the grand and glorious claims made by the label- in many cases the supplemented herbs have not been scientifically proven to perform the intended effect (such as memory enhancement), not to mention the lack of regulation in quantity and potency of the “herb potion” advertised on the bottle. As far as sports drinks are concerned, their electrolyte and carbohydrate replacement functions aren’t necessary unless strenuous physical activity continues for greater than an hour at a time. Considering all these factors, the best beverage choice is still plain old water in most situations.

University of California Extension has a fact sheet comparing the some of the drinks that are on the market.

BikerAnother recently exploding market has been that of energy and meal replacement bars. Many athletes have introduced a trendy and portable snack option to their exercise routine, believing in the supplement’s ability to improve performance and workout benefit. Others have begun to use these bars as handy snack and meal options while on-the-go as their lives spin at breakneck pace. There are certainly attractive advantages to the energy bar concept, including provision of necessary calories, vitamins, and nutrients, in a convenient, portable form. Downsides to their use, however, are also of concern. Most bars can be rather expensive, have been extensively processed, and may contain herbal additives of questionable potency and usefulness. They also can cause excessive calorie intake when added to the diet without swapping out another calorie source. In reality, there isn’t any “magic” about the nutrient components of the bars, and healthy workout snacks or on-the-go meal options can be created from regular food using a little effort and creativity.

If you plan to choose an energy bar consider these tips:

  • Try to avoid bars with palm kernel oil or partially-hydrogenated fat in the first five ingredients on the label.

  • Limit saturated fat to 3 grams or less per bar and no trans fat.

  • To help manage appetite for weight control, choose a bar with at least 3 grams of fiber.

  • Women may want to choose a bar that contains at least 300 mg of calcium per serving to help meet their daily calcium needs. But evaluate your other sources of calcium during the day first to see if you need the extra amount in an energy bar.

  • Sources of sugar should not be more than half the grams of carbohydrates in the bar. Look at the total carbohydrates on the label, then the sugars listed just below. Try not to select a bar with high fructose corn syrup, glucose, or fructose as the first ingredient.

March 3, 2008

Nutrition Fact vs. Fiction

By Mary B. Morgan, Dietetic Intern
Pinellas County Extension, Family & Consumers

National Nutrition Month logoIn the midst of the latest fad diets and conflicting nutrition advice, it can be a challenge to know what is fact or what is just simply fiction when it comes to nutrition. March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Nutrition: It’s A Matter of Fact”. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In honor of this theme, it seemed appropriate to clear up the confusion surrounding nutrition!

I have researched the top five nutrition myths out there today. I bet you’ve heard of some of them! Read on to see if you can determine whether the statement is “Fact or Fiction”!
  1. Skipping meals helps you lose weight.
    FICTION—In fact, people who skip meals throughout the day (especially breakfast) tend to be heavier than people who eat 4-5 times per day. Why? Because not eating every few hours sends your body into “starvation” mode and so the next meal you eat, your body will cling to every bit of the calories it can hold on to. Skipping meals also slows down the metabolism, which in turn makes it more difficult to lose weight in the long run. Your best plan is to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going strong and control your appetite.

  2. You can eat as much low-fat/fat-free food as you want.
    —Low-fat/fat-free does not mean calorie free! Generally, when fat is taken out of the product, sugar and other carbohydrates are added to maintain the taste. Compare the calories in a full fat versus low-fat/fat-free product; you may be surprised that the calories are the same and sometimes even more in the low-fat/fat-free version. Remember—weight comes down to calories consumed, not fat!

  3. Eating after 8pm causes weight gain.
    —It doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat. What matters is how much you eat and how much physical activity you get throughout the day. No matter what time of day you eat, if you consume more calories than you need, your body will store the extra calories as fat.

  4. Fats should be avoided when trying to lose weight.
    FICTION—The truth is, our body needs fat to help in nutrient absorption and nerve transmission—just to name a few of fat’s purposes. However, when consumed in excess amounts, fat contributes to weight gain and other medical problems. It is important to note that all fats are not created equal. Saturated and trans fats (fats found in animal products, baked goods and other commercially prepared products) should be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (fats found in liquid oils, fish and nuts).

  5. “Eating for 2” is necessary during pregnancy.
    FICTION—Energy/calorie needs vary with each individual, but the idea that pregnancy allows a woman to eat double is false. It is recommended that a pregnant woman increase her calorie intake by 100 calories per day during the first trimester and 300 calories per day during the second and third trimester. An extra snack during the day of yogurt or milk, fruit, and an extra dinner roll is often adequate.
Remember, if it is too good to be true—it probably is!
For more information on separating fact and fiction, check out the American Dietetic Association website:

Take the quiz to see if you can determine fact or fiction!