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  • Freedom and Independence at the Supermarket

    Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

    Let’s pretend it’s the year 2025. Picture your typical 4th of July picnic, party, or cookout. Now, imagine shopping for all those foods and beverages in your favorite supermarket.

    You’ll be taxed on practically every holiday treat containing sugar, from the American Flag cake, southern sweet tea, baked beans, ketchup and buns for hamburgers and pickle relish and buns for hotdogs. You’ll see warning labels plastered across the packages of your red, white, and blue cookies (sugar) and even on that deli counter potato salad (salt and sugar).

    Seems far-fetched, right? Hopefully. But given the sad state of affairs right now in 2015, I have my concerns and doubts. Too many leaders, so-called experts, and powers-that-be have gotten their way with controlling your choices. Regressive taxes, regulations, restrictions and out-right bans continue to be proposed on sugar-sweetened beverages – even sugary desserts and snacks in some states. It’s all couched as a critical public health step while disregarding individual choice and preferences. Politicians seem to have forgotten that behavior change comes with empowerment through education and conscientious personal responsibility.

    As you enjoy your 4th of July celebration this year, I hope you will join me in declaring independence and freedom from government control over food and beverages choices.

    Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk


  • Your diet should be based on facts, not fears

    Melissa Joy Dobbins MS, RDN, CDE

    I’m proud to say that I grew up in Illinois and have lived in the Chicago area for my entire 20+ year career as a registered dietitian nutritionist. I absolutely love Chicago, but I don’t love all the extra taxes we seem to have. And now, Illinois politicians are proposing yet another tax, the Illinois Beverage Tax. Their proposal would affect more than just soft drinks, it would also include sports drinks, juices, and teas and could result in a price increase of 72% on some beverages. In Chicago, where beverages already have a sales tax and a city tax, this additional tax could result in a single product being taxed three different times.

    There is no evidence that beverage taxes have helped reduce the rate of obesity or diabetes, they simply raise revenue for the state. The reason I became a dietitian in the first place was to help people make their own, well-informed decisions about their health and nutrition based on facts and not fear. Therefore, the misleading implication that soda taxes will decrease intake and help curb obesity is of particular concern to me.

    As a young child I was on food stamps, and to this day I feel like the richest person in the world if I can afford to buy whatever I want at the grocery store. That doesn’t mean my shopping cart is void of nutrition, it means that I get to choose what I put in my cart and have the right to balance my purchases and my intake of foods according to the 80/20 rule: make healthier choices 80% of the time, and enjoy treats 20% of the time. Balance is key.

    As a dietitian, I know firsthand from counseling thousands of clients, that having choices is helpful in determining what works best and creating an individualized plan. Because I think “choice” is so important, I joined the Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes and wrote a letter to my Illinois State Representatives opposing the beverage tax. If you’re an Illinois resident, I encourage you to do the same.


    Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with more than 20 years’ experience helping people enjoy their food with health in mind. She is known as the Guilt-Free RD – “because food shouldn’t make you feel bad!” TM. Connect with her on Twitter @MelissaJoyRD, check out her blog, and her new Sound Bites podcast.



  • Avoiding Excess Calories

    Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN

    I heard a funny joke the other day about a woman who couldn’t double the recipe for her favorite chocolate chip cookies because her oven didn’t go up to 700 degrees. Anyone who likes to cook knows you don’t have to double the oven temperature to make more cookies, just the ingredients, but it got me thinking about some of the other “kitchen math” that keeps people from eating well.

    Counting calories is by far the toughest nutrition problem most people have to solve each day.  Knowing how many calories we consume is one half of the energy balance equation (more math!) Knowing how much energy we expend in physical activity is the other half.  The calories from all foods and beverages contribute equally to the intake side of the equation. When we consume more calories than we expend we can gain weight.  Increasing our level of activity is one way to off-set those extra calories. Consuming fewer calories is another. Keeping both sides in balance is the goal for weight maintenance. If you’re tuned in to popular media you might think sugar-sweetened drinks are responsible for obesity, but that simply isn’t true.

    All calories count - which is why I shake my head in disbelief at those who single out just one caloric source as the cause for obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Proponents of taxes on soda, warnings on sugar-sweetened beverages, and more red tape for grocery stores have got it wrong. As a registered dietitian, I’m convinced that consuming excess calories is the problem and unfortunately, there is no tax that will fix that.   


    Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, "The Everyday RD," is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

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