Heads Up Eating is now Stay Cut!

Same website, new name. I decided Heads Up Eating was a bit of a mouthful (ha). I saw StayCut.com was available, so I grabbed it.

In other news, when adding foods to meals the food search now pops up in a window instead of loading a whole new page. This is a lot nicer. I also re-wrote a lot of the scripts on the main journal page for increased performance, and made some other small usability improvements.

Upgraded servers

I upgraded the server that HUE resides on to a new dedicated server for future expandability. You may have noticed some hiccups over the last few days as things were transitioned over, but things seem to be running smoothly now. Our new server is located in the PEER 1 data center in downtown Los Angeles. As always, please email Tech from the Help menu if you experience any problems.


Cool new “Add Food” menu

Adding a food just became easier. Now when you click on “Add a food to this meal” from any meal in your journal, a new menu pops up. It allows you to quickly add recently added foods, search for a food, as well as the old link to the food tree. This is a subtle change but should save you some time, and it’s a lot more slick especially for recently added foods.

Add Food Menu

I also fixed a bug where it was possible to create a corrupted recipe.

Fluid Ounces are not the same as Ounces!

People get this confused ALL the time. A fluid ounce (Fl. Oz.) is not the same as an ounce (Oz.). They’re not even measuring the same thing! If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you’re probably not from the U.S., so you can skip this post.

Some people are grammar Nazis and get pissed about they’re vs. their vs. there, or your vs. you’re. Well, the fluid ounce vs. ounce thing is 10 times worse! At least with the grammar thing you can infer the correct information. If you mix up fluid ounce vs. ounce, the correct information is utterly lost, without any indication!

I think the main reason we mix it up is the colloquial use of ounce when referring to beverages. We use ounces when we’re talking about beers and sodas, like a “12-ounce brew to the dome.” The “fluid” part of the unit is implicit, so we drop it. However, that will get us into trouble if we’re trying to track out diet.

Fluid ounces measure volume. Ounces measure weight. They are not equivalent. Think back to your middle/high school science days. Density = mass/volume. Foods have varying densities, so the volume and the mass (weight in our case) will almost never be equal. If you enter a food into Heads Up in Oz., and the nutrition label describes the food in Fl. Oz., your daily journal will have incorrect information. If other people use your public food, they will too (unless somebody flags the food as incorrect).

Pay close attention to this when you’re entering nutrition labels. Most nutrition labels will use weight (in grams), so use that if you can. I recommend using metric units and you’ll never have to worry about this mix up.

New Recommended Foods section added

People often ask me what they should be eating, and why doesn’t Heads Up just come right out and tell you exactly what to eat. I’ve always envisioned Heads Up as a tool to guide you, but not a system that spoon feeds you (no pun intended) a diet plan. But many people need some guidance on what the content of their diet should consist of. What I thought would be helpful to people is a list of the healthiest foods you can put in your body. Together with this list of the world’s healthiest foods, Heads Up becomes an even more valuable tool.

I’ve always found the list that the non-profit George Mateljan Foundation put together at their World’s Healthiest Foods site to be useful. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ve decided to incorporate their list into Heads Up as a convenience for our members. The links will take you directly to the respective food at the “World’s Healthiest Foods” site.

There are certain foods I might add, particularly ones with more favorable protein ratios, such as Greek yogurt. But as is the list is a fantastic base and you simply can’t go wrong using it as the foundation for the contents of your diet.

Check it out

Working on Heads Up Eating again!

So after like a year and a half hiatus, I’ve started working on the site again. You’ll start noticing some improvements and new features soon. I’ve already done a few small things like expanded the page width a bit, rearranged some stuff, fixed a couple small bugs in the recipe feature, etc. It feels good to work on HUE again! I love looking at code (that I’ve written, heh).

I’m trying to focus on usability. I want the site to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, and decrease the time required for data entry.

As always, let me know if you have any suggestions or problems. It’s always great to hear from people.

Please don’t pass the salt

Almost everyone eats way too much salt these days. Luckily this is an easy thing to track in Heads Up, so pay attention to it. Most people find if they lower their sodium intake, in a short amount of time they don’t miss it. Personally I find most processed foods too salty tasting these days, as is normal in people who restrict their sodium intake. Besides the health reasons, excess sodium intake causes bloating, so you’ll look skinnier if you cut the salt.

Here’s a recent study indicating thousands of lives would be saved if people just lowered their sodium intake.

Consuming a little less salt could mean fewer deaths

For every gram of salt that Americans reduce in their diets daily, a quarter of a million fewer new heart disease cases and over 200,000 fewer deaths would occur over a decade, researchers said at the American Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Get on the fish oil bandwagon

If you don’t already take a fish oil supplement, get started now. So many studies have shown all kinds of benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Personally, I take 2 teaspoons of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil per day; it’s citrus flavored and not bad at all–definitely easier than olive oil. Here’s some of the latest research on fish oil:

Columbia research shows novel benefits of fatty acids in arteries

New research from Columbia University Medical Center continues to shed light on the benefits of making fish a staple of any diet.

Eating fish may prevent memory loss and stroke in old age

Eating tuna and other types of fish may help lower the risk of cognitive decline and stroke in healthy older adults, according to a study published in the August 5, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Eat oily fish at least once a week to protect your eyesight in old age

Eating oily fish once a week may reduce age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is the major cause of blindness and poor vision in adults in western countries and the third cause of global blindness, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Bacon Explosion not as bad for you as you think

No doubt you have probably seen the blog post about the Bacon Explosion, and you also probably thought, “holy crap, that has got to be the worst thing in the world to eat.” Well, yeah, it’s pretty bad.

But it’s not as bad as you might think. Of course there are articles all over the web touting this as a 5000 calorie food, but that’s if you ate all 4+ pounds of the thing. The nutritional content of a realistic portion (half a pound) may surprise you. Not only that, but there are many foods at restaurants that are worse than this.

I plugged the ingredients into the Heads Up Eating recipe feature, and created this food: Bacon Explosion

As you can see, it comes out to 878 calories, 60g fat, and 31g carbs for a good-sized half pound portion. That’s pretty bad, but not that bad if you compare it to, for instance,

  • Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes
    - 1540 calories, 77 g fat (7g trans fat)
  • Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger
    - 1145 calories, 71g fat, 56g carbs
  • Chili’s Awesome Blossom
    - 2710 calories, 166g fat, 191g carbs (okay, that’s if you ate the whole thing, but imagine if you split it between two or three people)
  • Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese (on the Kid’s menu, apparently)
    - 1210 calories, 62g fat

(This nutritional information is according to the Men’s Health Article, “The 20 Worst Foods in America”).

Of course, I don’t recommend you go out and eat this, (but if you do, log it into Heads Up, it’s already in there, *wink*). However, it illustrates how easy it is to misjudge the nutritional content of food, albeit an extreme example.