The Diet Detective: 13 Tips to Stay Healthy and Fit This Summer


Avoid Exercise Dangers


The dangers of urban air pollution are of special concern to those who exercise during the summer, says Dr. Ronald Crystal of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Try exercising indoors. If outdoors, exercise in the early morning or evening when it's cooler. The sun is not at its peak and the ozone levels are at their lowest.
Sun Screening


Biking, swimming or walking outdoors in the summer sun? Try Bullfrog--it stays on great. Also, Bethesda Sunscreen Soap ( actually contains sunblock. Use it in the shower, and you'll have protection of at least an SPF 10. The soap also has aloe vera, healing balm of Gilead, glycerin and chlorophyll.
Got carrots? A recent review of several studies that was published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology showed that eating foods rich in beta carotene or taking supplements may protect against sunburn. However, 10 weeks of use are required to show an effect. Unfortunately, supplementation with beta carotene is not a replacement for using sunscreen.
Weekend Warriors Beware of Summer Heart Attacks


Heat can play a role in heart attacks. According to Dr. Jack Flyer of CardioCare: "Heat stroke (fast heart rate, confusion, shortness of breath and cessation of sweating) is a condition that causes the body's core temperature to rise," and can lead to heart attacks. So don't work out in the middle of the day, drink water before you go outside and take it with you.
Cool Cooking Tools


Want to make guacamole, grilled veggies or fruit salad? Get
Williams-Sonoma's Professional Multi-Chopper ($49.95). It slices, dices, wedges, cores and it's dishwasher safe. Try Williams-Sonoma's Smokehouse Hickory Wood Chips ($7), a great way to add flavor without calories. Speaking of flavor, try the fabulous Garlic Genius. It chops garlic into tiny cubes ($24.95). Visit
Ice Cream Cheat Sheet


Fudgsicles are a good choice at 45 calories. Frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream have about 140 calories per serving. Non-fat yogurt is about 110. Italian ices (100 calories per cup) are a better choice than gelato (about 500 calories per cup). If you're going for a cone, make it a wafer cone at 20 calories, as opposed to a sugar cone that's 50 or 60 calories or a waffle cone at 100 to 160 calories. Four tablespoons of sprinkles are about 220 calories.
Barbecues and Picnics


For frankfurters, the best toppings are sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard and relish. Stay away from cheesy sauces and chili. As for burgers, make your own using the leanest beef, and toss in veggies such as mushrooms, onions and peppers to increase nutrients and lower the calories without reducing the volume. Watch out for barbecued ribs, which add up to more than 1,000 calories for six medium ribs. Just one 3.5 oz. fried chicken breast has about 250 calories, and one drumstick with skin has about 200 calories.


One cup of pasta salad has 500 to 650 calories. Use 100 percent whole-wheat pasta and light vinaigrette or low-calorie Italian dressing to save calories. Coleslaw can be more than 350 calories per cup, so use light or non-fat mayonnaise. Use low-calorie marinades instead of oil and butter to flavor foods. And be careful using cooking spray on your grill. Spray the grill before you turn it on; otherwise, the spray can flare up.
On The Road?


Watch out. "Unhealthy eating, in general, can cause decreases in energy and mood. In addition, stress levels are easily increased with improper nutrition. Furthermore, a lot of greasy fast foods can cause indigestion, which can negatively affect sleep," says Steven Aldana, Ph.D., author of Stop and Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide (Maple Mountain Press, 2007). He suggests avoiding breakfast places such as Denny's, Shoney's and IHOP.

Charles Stuart Platkin is an Active Expert , nutrition and public health advocate, author of the best seller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), Breaking the FAT Pattern (Plume, 2006) and Lighten Up (Penguin USA/Razorbill, 2006) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for The Diet Detective newsletter free at

Copyright 2008 by Charles Stuart Platkin

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