Consumers Cast Vote for Frozen Yogurt

For health-conscious dessert lovers, it's an important question: ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Gourmet ice cream fanatics aside, growing numbers of consumers seem to be choosing frozen yogurt. In 1986, the top four frozen yogurt chains had sales of $128 million, according to Restaurant Business, a trade publication.

Fewer calories and less fat are two reasons to choose frozen yogurt over ice cream, says Venesa Strong, a Santa Maria registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the California Dietetic Assn. A half-cup of vanilla Haagen-Dazs, she says, contains 267 calories and 17 grams of fat. In comparison, about a half-cup of Honey Hill Farms vanilla frozen yogurt has 90 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, according to company analysis. Nonfat frozen yogurts have even fewer calories and less fat.

But, notes Susan Magrann, an Anaheim registered dietitian and another association spokeswoman, yogurt should be regarded as a "fun food, not a substance food. Don't have it (alone) for lunch."

'White Coat' Hypertension

Researchers call it "white coat hypertension." It's more likely to affect women and more likely to occur if a physician, not a technician, takes the blood pressure reading.

Reporting in last Friday's Journal of the American Medical Assn., researchers from the New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center found that more than one-fifth of 292 patients with untreated borderline high blood pressure exhibited this pseudo hypertension. Daytime pressures, as measured by recording devices, were normal but shot up when measured in a clinic setting. (A pressure of 120/80 is considered normal.)

Why do their readings escalate in a clinic setting? Researchers speculate that anxiety may drive them up and, during subsequent visits, the patients' memory of an abnormal reading may reinforce the phenomenon as a conditioned response. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest doctors follow "a period of observation" before treating high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, other blood pressure research suggests that middle-age people with normal pressure will probably have normal pressure later in life. "People tend to have blood pressure patterns," says Dr. Joseph Stokes, a professor of medicine at Boston University's section of preventive medicine and epidemiology and a co-principal investigator in the Framingham Heart Study. But the finding should not tempt middle-agers to rely on statistics instead of common sense to avoid hypertension, he cautions. To maintain healthy blood pressure levels, Stokes recommends weight control, regular exercise, restricting sodium chloride, fat and alcohol intake (no more than four to six drinks a week), along with sufficient potassium, calcium and fiber. If that sounds like too much work, concentrate on keeping an eye on the scale, he advises. "Weight is 90% of it."

Aerobic Injuries

Since the debut of low-impact or "soft" aerobics, high-impact or traditional aerobic exercise has been rapped by some researchers as more likely to cause injuries. But in a recent Florida study, high-impact exercisers who worked out on a mat-cushioned floor suffered fewer injuries than low-impact exercisers who worked out on the same kind of floor.

Sustaining the most injuries, says Joan Carroll, an instructor of physical education at the University of Florida, Gainesville, were high-impact exercisers working out on a hard, gymnasium-type wood floor. About one-third of them had injuries over a semester's worth of classes. Twenty-three percent of low-impact exercisers and 16% of high-impact exercisers on mat floors reported injuries.

Hand-held weights, often used during the aerobic portion of low-impact classes, may be driving up the injury rate, says Carroll, emphasizing that her findings are preliminary. Her advice: Choose mat floors over gymnasium-type wood floors if possible. (Wood floors designed for aerobics also appear safe.) And don't use hand-held weights during the aerobic run portion of a high-impact class: "That's asking for an injury."

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