Organic Food: Pesticides vs. Your Budget

by Robard Corporation Staff April 15, 2016

In an increasingly health-conscious society, buzz words about healthy eating are rampant, and consumers are being constantly overwhelmed with information about what kinds of foods are healthier and why. This is definitely the case when it comes to organic. Today, organic options are not only found at specialty stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s; they can now be found in your local ShopRite or Acme.

But while much of the hype around organic is about nutritional value, organic produce actually has not been shown to be that much better for you. Rather, the real concerns when it comes to organic versus conventional food are two main safety issues: chemical contamination and bacterial contamination.

Focusing on chemical contamination, countless studies have shown that exposure to pesticide residue was more than five times higher in conventional food than in organic food (38 percent versus 7 percent), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. While the long-term health risks of pesticides remain unclear and controversial, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. And let’s be honest, we’ve only recently begun to understand and experience the tragic effects of DDT (one of the first pesticides) on the environment and on humans, which have included breast and other cancers, male infertility, miscarriages and low birth weight, developmental delay, and liver damage.

While health is of course a concern, the average consumer is also worried about how to stretch a tight grocery budget. According to Consumer Reports, the price of organic produce can be on average 49 percent more than non-organic options, which really add up by the time you get to the register.

So what is a smart, health-conscious shopper on a budget to do?

Well, when it comes to produce specifically, not all non-organic options pose as much of a threat to consumers. If you can’t afford to go full organic, experts suggest choosing organic for the foods containing the highest amount of chemical residue, and choosing conventional foods for those with the least residue. Foods that absorb the least amount of residue are generally those with thick skins that are not consumed, such as onions, avocados, and bananas.

When it comes to chemical and pesticide exposure, certain fruits and vegetables have a reputation for being more egregious offenders. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list. In being a more health-conscious, but strategic shopper, refer to the Dirty Dozen™ list for items you should always try to buy organic, and go the non-organic route for the other items that didn’t make the list. See the graphic below for a full list of the Dirty Dozen™ to help guide you in your organic shopping journeys!

(Image courtesy of Environmental Working Group)

For which foods did you make the switch to organic? Share on Facebook!

Consumer Reports, Columbia University Medical Center, Environmental Working Group

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Cooking | Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Health and Money | Healthy Eating

Kick the Can – 5 Healthier Soda Alternatives

by Robard Corporation Staff April 12, 2016

To most it’s not a shocker that soda is not the most nutritious beverage you could consume. And to be honest, nutrition is probably not what you think of when you reach for a soda; but rather, you’re probably yearning for that sugary sweet fizz that pairs divinely with a juicy cheeseburger or greasy pizza.

In fact, as reported by the Huffington Post, a Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity study found that a majority of Americans understand that soda is bad for them, and even still, nearly half of surveyed Americans (48 percent) drink soda on a daily basis, with 28 percent drinking one a day, on average, and with 20 percent drinking two or more glasses.

When it comes to young people, the Center for Disease Control reported that soda is the largest source of sugar in the diet of children and adolescents. You may already have a sense of soda’s complete lack of nutritional value, but consider these four disturbing, but little-known facts about (both diet AND non-diet) soda:

Fun Soda Fact #1: Aspartame breaks down in our bodies and converts to methanol. Our natural body temperature converts the methanol into formaldehyde, which preserves the dead. 

Fun Soda Fact #2:
Phosphoric acid is used in home cleaning products and drains calcium from bones and teeth. According to a case study published in the journal General Dentistry, a comparison was done on the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet-soda drinker, and found the same level of tooth erosion in each of them.

Fun Soda Fact #3: A study showed that two or more cans a day increases your waistline by 70 percent more than non-drinkers in just 10 years. Participants who slurped down two or more sodas a day experienced a 500 percent greater increase.

Fun Soda Fact #4:
Soda is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, infertility, kidney damage, diabetes, high blood pressure.

If these facts have you cringing about the amount of formaldehyde being produced in your body as you read this, try not to worry. Today is as good a day as any to kick the can and start reducing your soda intake. If you are still looking for a sweet drink to enjoy this summer, but with added nutritional benefits, check out our five tasty and healthier alternatives to soda:

Sources: Infographic by Brandon Gaille,, Huffington Post

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Healthy Eating | Obesity

How ONE STEP Can Help You Overcome Your Weight Issues Starting Today

by Robard Corporation Staff April 7, 2016

THE GYM. Did the word make you shudder? In all reality, the gym can be a scary and intimidating place. Gym membership advertisements sell us these glamorous images of thin, fit people working out with smiles on their faces, and not a single bead of sweat on their brows. Clearly working out is easy and fun, right? Well… not necessarily…

For many average Americans, losing weight is something that just does not seem that simple. And while it’s obvious to most that exercise is a vital component of losing weight, where and how to start can be questions that many overweight and obese people just aren’t sure how to answer.

In a study by the Center for Disease Control in 2012, more than two thirds (69 percent) of adults are overweight or obese and more than one third (35 percent) are obese. And while the American Heart Association advises at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for most or all days of the week, 80 percent of American adults do not get the weekly recommended amounts of physical activity. Moreover, a study last year linked physical inactivity to more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year, more than those caused by smoking.

Starting an exercise program or a gym membership can be tough, especially when considering some of the real (or perceived) barriers to physical activity that many people face. In a survey conducted by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, respondents reported barriers to exercising such as being too fat, being too shy or embarrassed to exercise; being too lazy or not motivated; having an injury or disability (males only); and being not the sporty type (females only). And when we look at those upbeat gym commercials, it feels easy to say, “I can’t do that.”

But actually… YOU CAN. And there is ONE important step that can get you on the path to a healthier you!


Exercising requires hard work and commitment, and it can even be dangerous for those who are severely overweight or obese and more susceptible to suffering injuries, as activities they participate in have the potential to place a significant amount of stress on their ankles, knees, hips and lower back. But with the will to make a change, you can choose wellness and life, and it can be as easy as that first step. And your first step does NOT need to be in a gym.

If you are committed to making a healthy change in your life and losing some weight, start by focusing on low impact activities. Thirty minutes a day is all you need, and you can even split up that 30 minutes into several smaller sessions, such as 10 minutes of brisk activity in the morning, during lunch, and after work.

Try to make your first step a nice walk. Throw on your headphones and take a walk around your neighborhood. Or for added cardio and strength, walk up and down a flight of stairs for ten minutes, and you’ll be guaranteed to feel the burn. Don’t forget to stretch! Warming up your muscles, especially when you are a beginner to exercising, can help you avoid injury.

Most importantly—DON’T GIVE UP. Taking that first step can be hard. Taking the next step and then the next can seem even harder. But the more steps you take, the easier it will become. And before you know it, a new you will be staring back at you in the mirror, and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t started sooner.

For some inspiration in getting your weight loss journey started, check out these video testimonials from people like Jim Carpenter, who lost more than 290 pounds and just participated in his first 5k walk, or Bill DiNicola, who was excited to ride a roller coaster for the first time in 15 years after losing an astonishing 226 pounds. 

If you are really concerned about your weight and want to also get your diet on track, consider seeing a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist who can provide even more comprehensive, personal, and specialized advice on how to lose weight safely. Find a clinic with a weight loss program here.

So are you ready to get started? What change are you going to make to your routine TODAY to be more active? Let us know how your first step went and keep us posted on your progress by commenting below.


Sources: CBS News, Center for Disease Control, The National Center for Biotechnology Information, Livestrong

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Exercise | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity | Weight Loss Programs

5 Tips to Control Your Worst Food Cravings

by Robard Corporation Staff April 6, 2016

It never fails. You’re two weeks into your new healthy eating diet, determined to lose some pounds and get ready for beach season. You did your meal planning. You stocked up three to five days’ worth of chicken breast, salad, and quinoa for lunch. Then hump day rolls around in your busy work week, and what rears its ugly head? CRAVINGS.

And you’re not craving that apple in your lunch bag. You’re craving a red velvet cupcake. With a pile of sweet cream cheese frosting, and (gasp!) chocolate sprinkles, this delicious, decadent, mouth-watering dessert will set you back 300-400 calories and cramp all your healthy eating progress this week. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

In a study published in the journal Appetite, 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men who participated reported experiencing cravings. Cravings are motivational states that give us the urge to seek out and consume a particular food, and generally that food is not broccoli.

Professor Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, has researched the kinds of foods that people crave most often. Not surprisingly, the most commonly craved foods tended to be salty snacks, sweets with high sugar and fat content, and all high in calories.

Though the exact cause of food cravings is difficult to pinpoint, many doctors and nutritionists alike believe that they develop as a result of a complex medley of biochemical processes and a variety of hormonal and emotional factors. Cravings can be strong and persuasive, and when we give in to them, they can leave us feeling like we failed at our diet, not to mention with a sugar crash.

So what can you do when the craving hits? Luckily, there are things we can do to control the urge to binge on our favorite forbidden snacks.
Follow these 5 tips to beat the cravings and get you back on track with your diet or weight loss program:

What other tricks have you found useful in beating your worst food cravings? Comment below, or share your tips with us on Facebook!

Source: Tufts University

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating | Healthy Lifestyle | Hunger | Obesity

Only 3% of the Country Has Healthy Lifestyle Habits – Do You?

by Robard Corporation Staff March 31, 2016

How many of these four things do you do?

• Maintain a good diet
• Engage in moderate exercise*
• Stay within your recommended body fat percentage
• Be a non-smoker

If you can’t say you do all four then you are among the majority. In fact, about 97 percent of the U.S. population can’t make that claim according to a recent study performed by Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi.

Why is that important? Well, the more of these habits you embrace, the more it decreases the potential health risk you may have. What the researchers found is although many of the people in the study did engage in some of these lifestyle habits, only a meager 2.7 percent of the people engaged in all four.

It’s nice to put a number on it, but it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an overwhelming majority of our population is not engaged in a healthy lifestyle. Increasing obesity rates alone add perspective to research like this. The question is: What can we do to lead a healthier lifestyle to lead a healthier life?

Probably the most important part is a good diet — something that just 38 percent of the study’s participants had. A good diet will do things such as help with body fat, as well as give you energy throughout the day to do various things, including physical activity. Mental health, although not mentioned in the study, is something that should be included in a healthy lifestyle. Things such as stress, anxiety, and self-esteem can be factors in how you feel, what you weigh, and how healthy you are. Synergy with all these aspects is a good formula for a healthy lifestyle. The next step is to actually do them.

What healthy change can you make today?

Source: Oregon State University

*“Moderate exercise” was defined as 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week and a “good diet” simply included eating foods recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Habits | Healthy Eating | Healthy Lifestyle

Want Some Coffee With That Sugar?

by Robard Corporation Staff March 17, 2016

Many of us start our day with a fresh cup of coffee. Some make theirs at home, others go to places like Starbucks and order their favorite morning soda — oops, sorry: “beverage.” That slip up may have been innocent enough, but there is a startling similarity that a can of soda has with your favorite hot morning beverage.

Action on Sugar, a charity that consists of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health, recently analyzed 131 hot drinks. What they found was a third of the beverages contained at least nine teaspoons of sugar. That’s equivalent to a can of Pepsi or Coca-Cola, with some of the most egregious offenders being Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and surprisingly, KFC.
To add some perspective to how much sugar that is, the National Health Service (NHS) in England says that no more than 30 grams of added sugar should be a part of your daily diet. According to this study a Venti–sized Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon from Starbucks has in excess of 99 grams of sugar — more than three times what the NHS considers the maximum allowed amount.

Not everyone drinks Starbucks, but the ones that do, love Starbucks. So this isn’t a once a week indulgence people have before going to work or during the day. It’s more of an everyday piece of morning bliss before they head into the office. All that sugar adds up in a day when you include the rest of a person’s daily diet, but it also has a cumulative effect onto itself.

Ask Kawther Hashem, one of Action on Sugar’s researchers. Her drink of choice was a large white café mocha with caramel and vanilla syrup, cream on top and chocolate drizzle at Starbucks. These orders never seem simple.  Hashem drank these three times a day, seven days a week. Needless to say it eventually took its toll.

“I drastically cut back on these sugary drinks after I was diagnosed with a very high cholesterol level and liver problems three years ago,” Hashem says. “I still have high cholesterol now and was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver — which means it is not working properly — not from alcohol but from sugar.”

Some coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa have responded to the study by stating that they plan to have reduced sugar in their beverages implemented no later than 2020 — a seemingly far cry from March of 2016. They say this while also somewhat deflecting responsibility. By stating that their nutritional information can be found both in store and on their website, they’re basically telling consumers that we should know what you are getting yourself into when you drink their beverages.

Analysis like this underlines a couple issues many believe have direct connections to the obesity epidemic: Sugar consumption and portion control. Both have increased throughout the years along with the obesity rate. Many would state that this not a coincidence. Some places, like New York City, tried to implement a “Soda Ban” which put restrictions on available sizes of sugary drinks, but it was met swiftly by opposition and eventually rejected. So what’s the answer? What do you think?

Source: BBC

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: Eating Habits | For Dieters | For Providers | Healthy Eating | Obesity

Robard Offers Healthcare Providers the Best Diets for Weight Loss

by Robard Corporation Staff March 7, 2016

Obesity statistics in the United States are staggering. When you see that more than 35 percent of men and women are obese, you have to ask yourself what can be done about it. As a healthcare provider, you want to make sure your patients lead a long, healthy life — and obesity may be prohibiting them from doing that.

If you’re a healthcare provider or professional that’s ever considered offering obesity treatment as a fee-for-service addition to your practice, now is the time. Not only is obesity the country’s biggest health issue, it’s also one of the more lucrative businesses to undertake. When it comes to considering treating obesity, keep this in mind: Lack of experience, cost and other trepidations can be lessened or eliminated by practical hands-on training and resources to support a new program, your staff and your business. That’s what we do, and we can help.

It is imperative to recognize that as the obesity epidemic grows, so will its related comorbidities. Eighty percent of people with diabetes are overweight. That’s more than a mere coincidence. Robard providers can attest that when their patients go on one of our weight loss programs, comorbidities such as diabetes subside and even dissipate. Our obesity treatment models were created specifically for busy medical and healthcare professionals so a new obesity treatment program can be implemented — utilizing your existing staff — while you maintain focus on your expertise. Resolution or reduction of chronic medical conditions can be achieved by treating the common root source:  Obesity.  It starts with you. Click here to learn more.

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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Filed Under: About Robard | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity | Products | Treating Obesity | Weight Loss Business | Weight Loss Programs

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