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Story and photo by Jermel Quillopo, staff writer


Have you ever wondered how food affects your body? Or what types of food can enhance your performance in sports?

Health educator Deanna Larson addressed those questions for HPU students Feb. 13 at the windward campus in a program sponsored by HPU Athletics and First-Year Programs.

Larson grew up always having junk food available, creating bad eating habits that she carried when she went off to college. However, when visiting home from college, she found that her father was showing early signs of cancer in his esophagus.

“ I realized that my dad was taking 14 prescriptions for things like high blood pressure, acid reflex, and cholesterol,” said Larson. When she realized that her father would die if he missed a dose of his various medicines, she devoted her time to studying nutrition to help improve her father’s health.
Larson addressed the media’s influence on the public’s view of body image.

“ Models are not perfect,” Larson said. “It’s the makeup, it’s a great program and a good computer that make them look perfect.” Larson wants everyone to realize that, in the media, “good-looking people are selling crappy food” for the body.

Larson warned that foods labeled “fat-free” are worse than the original products.

“ Many fat free foods are made with olestra, which is fake fat,” Larson said, that depletes essential nutrients for the body and creates abdominal cramping.

According to statistics taken in 2000, Larson said, “35 percent of all Americans were overweight and many went on diets to achieve a certain body figure or image.” she added: “95 percent of diets fail because many can’t keep the weight off.” Diets are dangerous, Larson added. they lead some people to develop health problems. Roe Gallo, a health author and friend of Larson has said that skinny does not mean healthy.

Many believe that milk builds strong bones by providing calcium. They are wrong about the strong bones, Larson said, and there are healthier sources of calcium: raw nuts, raw seeds, oranges, and tofu.

“ Calcium takers” are foods or habits that deplete calcium from the body. “Smoking, excess salt, caffeine, soda, and animal protein are calcium takers,” Larson said.

“ If you want salt on your foods,” she added, “Celtic sea salt is a healthier substitute.”

For milk lovers, healthier alternatives include soymilk, rice milk, oat milk, and almond milk.

Soda is dangerous

“ Diet soda is worse that regular soda,” Larson said. She referred to research by a college in Texas that found that soda is an appetite enhancer. Larson pointed out that many diet sodas contain aspartame, an artificial sweeter, that is toxic to the body and linked to problems ranging from Multiple Sclerosis to neurological damage.

Soda also contains phosphoric acid, Larson said, which causes tooth decay and calcium depletion. Students were surprised to learn that soda is a great substance for cleaning:

“ Phosphoric acid is known to eat grease,” she said. “Put soda in the toilet bowl and let it sit for a while. The acid eats away the dirty [substances] in the toilet bowl,” Larson added.

She suggested that water, green tea, and juices are better for us. The best water is Aquafina, she said, ironically bottled by the Coca-Cola Company.

Animal protein

Larson especially wanted to get one myth cleared up: animal protein is not that essential to building muscles, and many protein supplements pass through the body with causing any results. The best animal protein is fish, and the best fish is salmon, tilapia, and sardines.

Athletes should avoid protein shake supplements, Larson said because theymay have a negative effect on the kidneys and liver. Healthy protein powders, Larson recommends are rice protein-based and made by Nativa.

Finally, Larson advised students to eat more than one meal a day. “Everyone should have six fists-full of food a day,” said Larson. With only one meal a day, she explained, the body holds stores food as fat because it does not know when it will next receive food. With multiple meals, the body processes its food.

“ I thought that it was highly informative,” said Ray Anthony Mendoza, a sophomore nursing student. “Its great to know the significance of food and how it affects the body.”

For more information, visit gotohealth.com.


10 suggestions for a healthier lifestyle.

1. Define healthy
2. Limit animal products
3. Try vegetarian meals
4. Eat raw fruits and vegetables
5. Limit processed sugar
6. Limit caffeine
7. Drink more water
8. Eat whole grains and not refined flour products
9. Educate yourself
10. Take a daily supplement



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