The Freshman 15: Myth or Fact?

A nutrition coaching session for your college student should be a prerequisite.
Your son or daughter is about to head off to college soon. You may be in the midst of purchasing school supplies or dorm décor. Where does nutrition fall on your checklist? It is believed that college freshmen gain 15 pounds during their first year of college, otherwise known as “The Freshmen 15.” The subject of weight gain within the first year at college has been researched extensively in both the United States and Canada. The results from these studies indicate that “The Freshman 15” is simply a myth. However, the idea of “The College 15” may hold more truth than you think.

Auburn University began a study in the fall of 2007 with results reported in 2012 following changes in body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), composition and shape (using body circumference measures). Over a 3-4 year college period with 131 male and female students, the study concluded:


  • 70 percent of participants gained weight
  • Correlation found between waist circumference changes and weight/percent body fat changes in both males and females
  • The number of females with unhealthy waist circumference measurements (> 35 inches) doubled between the beginning of freshman year and the end of senior year
  • 26 percent of the gains in circumference measures in males were at the waist

Among both males and females, the observed weight gain consisted primarily of fat mass gains and smaller changes in fat-free mass.

Both “obesity” (having a BMI > 30) and “normal weight obesity” (having a normal BMI range of 18.5-24.9 but having excessive body fat) are associated with numerous health problems including elevated cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension and elevated blood sugar.

Whether you have a teenager at home about to go away to college for the first time or a college student in the midst of their college career, make sure to include nutrition coaching as a prerequisite. Equip your student with a nutrition consultation from a Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist. A realistic nutrition game plan doesn’t have to be complicated and will serve them well throughout their college career.

Cynthanne Duryea RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist contributed this article.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Air Fryers – Satisfy Your Crispy Cravings

Air fryers have sparked the curiosity of many people over the past several years now enabling you to enjoy healthy alternatives to fried food in less time. The name can be a bit misleading because this machine does more than just fry – it can roast, grill and bake. Air fryers simulate frying by circulating hot air around the food rather than submerging the food in high-fat oil.

So how does it work? The Maillard reaction is a scientific principle, normally refered to as browning. The air fryer uses the Maillard reaction to its advantage by using dehydration and intense heat to brown and form a crust on the surface of the food. The air fryer employs convection currents by swirling hot air around the fryer in order to cook foods quickly and evenly.

Frites de Patates Douces aux Epices Cajun et Sauce Yaourt et Aneth

There are several styles of air fryer models with various features which include:

  • Basket
  • Oven
  • Paddle

Air fryers are especially beneficial for those interested in reducing the fat content of their diet. Little or no oil is required in comparison to deep-frying or sautéing on a stovetop.

Air fryer recipes typically call for:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil =
    • 14 grams of total fat
    • 2 grams of saturated fat

Deep fat frying or sautéing usually requires much more oil and results in more calories. Air frying is an excellent way to reduce copious amounts of fat and calories without sacrificing taste and flavor.

Give this sweet potato fries recipe a try in your air fryer:

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries (serves 1)


1 medium sweet potato

1 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. sweet paprika

Black pepper to taste


Preheat fryer to 400°. Slice potato into even 1/8 inch fries. Toss with oil and seasonings. Cooking time will vary depending on size and make of fryer. Check the manual included in your air fryer for cooking times.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Lighten Up – The Scoop on Ice Cream

What better way to cool down on a hot day than with a scoop of ice cream? Before diving into this deliciously cold treat, you may want to consider a light ice cream with lower calories, saturated fat and sugar—a tasty alternative to regular ice cream.

79772400_ice cream


Buyer beware, a serving size for most ice cream is half a cup. Being mindful of the serving size when consuming this cold treat will prevent overindulgence. Premium ice cream can pack as many as 350 calories in a half cup serving! Instead, opt for light ice cream that has no more than 150 calories per serving.


Saturated Fat

Regarding saturated fat, it is important to watch your intake because diets high in saturated fat can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol. American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 percent of calories per day from saturated fat. For a 2,000-calorie diet this equates to 13 grams of saturated fat per day. Unfortunately, many ice cream brands have that much saturated fat packed into a single serving. Again, light ice cream is the better choice, boasting less saturated fat by using skim milk instead of whole milk. When choosing a lighter frozen dessert, reach for one with no more than 3 g of saturated fat per serving.



Since we are talking about ice cream, of course it’s going to have sugar. Limiting added sugar in your diet can help control weight, improve health and cut calories that don’t add any nutritional value.

American Heart Association recommended amount of added sugar:

  • Women:

< 100 calories per day

  • Men:

< 150 calories per day

So how do you calculate that? Each gram of sugar contains 4 calories, so take the grams of sugar, multiply it by four and that’s how many calories you’re consuming from sugar. A good rule of thumb is to limit sugar to no more than 12 grams per serving.

1 gram sugar = 4 calories

 [#] grams sugar X 4 = total number of calories from sugar


When purchasing light ice cream look for:

  • 150 calories or less per serving
  • ≤ 3 g of saturated fat
  • ≤ 12 g of sugar


Light Ice Cream Ideas

Below is a table comparing light ice cream options according to calories, saturated fat and sugar content. All of the ice creams listed are preferred over regular ice cream. Many light ice creams even boost your protein content either from milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate, reflected in the table below.

Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts Calories per Serving Saturated Fat (g) Sugar (g) Protein (g)
HALO TOP® – Chocolate 80 1.5 6 5
Arctic Zero® Light – Vanilla Bean 70 0.5 9 2
Skinny Cow® – No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich 150 1 5 4
Enlightened® – Cold Brew Coffee Chip Ice Cream Bars 90 2 5 7
Breyers® Delights – Mint Chip 100 2 2 7
Yasso® – Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar 80 0 11 5


Next time you’re looking for something sweet, stick to these tips to enjoy a sensible ice cream treat!


Article provided by Nicole Hawkins, University of Oklahoma student, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.




Take Time to Care for You Now

June marked 13 years of empowering women to improve their health through fitness and education with Cooper’s Female Focus program. Designed for women who spend the majority of their lives taking care of others, this program shows them how to take care of themselves by making their health a long-term priority. Available to women of all ages and tailored to meet each woman’s individual needs, Female Focus also equips participants with nutritional components that coincide with each of their fitness goals.

Cooper Fitness Center Female Focus Director and Professional Fitness Trainer Colette Cole, MS, developed this fitness program for women directly from her book, Women’s Health and Fitness Guide, co-written with Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic. Many women wanted to be personally trained by Cole, but she simply did not have the capacity to offer one-on-one help to the number of women requesting to be trained.
Cooper Portraits and Female Focus
Colette’s supervisor at the time, Brad Wilkins, now President of Cooper Health and Fitness, challenged her to solve this amazing issue. “That’s when the Lord put it on my heart to develop small group training just for women based upon their goals and needs,” said Cole. “God used the book in dramatic ways to help women on a daily basis, even thirteen years later.”

In the beginning there was no way of predicting how strong the relationships between the participants would develop. As each of the women’s fitness goals fluctuated with life stages and circumstances, the longevity and camaraderie of the group continued to cultivate. Some of the same women have now been coming to Female Focus classes together for almost nine years, socializing and participating in other group exercise classes outside of the program.

“The women who keep coming back to the program aren’t only returning for the expertise and health benefits,” said Cole. “They come back for the accountability and the relationships built with other women and instructors. The physical and relational benefits of the class work together to keep the women motivated to reach their health and fitness goals long term.” The participants also find emotional support from their peers as they relate to the good and bad seasons of life together – including cancer, becoming empty nesters or the passing of a parent – all while staying the course on their fitness journeys. This family-type atmosphere also makes new Female Focus participants feel welcomed and right at home.

Women seeing themselves as important enough to invest time and effort in their own health and well-being now, will take care of them later on in life. You must first take care of yourself in order to be fully functional, have better quality of life and take care of others. You’re worth it.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Summer Skincare Tips

Summer is in full swing. Personally, summer means heading to the beach, lake or any body of water to relax as fast as I possibly can. If you’re anything like me, tanning is a summer activity I look forward to‒what can I say? I love the summer glow. Unfortunately, with the warm weather and cloudless skies my skin is at a greater risk for sun damage. I’m not alone‒whatever your plans are this summer, chances are your skin is at risk too.

The sun emits UV rays, which can negatively impact your skin by accelerating the aging process, creating sunspots and burning the surface of your skin (and we all know how painful that can be). Driving, biking, swimming, running and even walking outside without the proper protection can leave your skin vulnerable to sun damage.

Don’t worry, I’m not here to scare you and tell you to never leave the house again. I am here to share Cooper Spa Dallas’ recommendations to prevent skin damage this summer while still maintaining healthy and glowing summer skin.


A tale as old as time. “Don’t forget sunscreen,” the phrase I heard from the moment I packed my bags for the beach as a kid to my senior year in college‒it’s physically impossible for me to forget sunscreen now. Although it’s a simple answer, the key is being able to apply it correctly.


Cooper Spa Dallas recommends wearing sunscreen with SPF 30-50 when in the sun, and reapplying it ever 2-4 hours following your first coat (as well as our Cooper Board Certified Dermatologist). When applying, make sure to use approximately two tablespoons worth of sunscreen on your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.

The key to full protection lies in the application of the sunscreen, making sure to fully cover your face, from your hairlines to your ears and lips. Follow these suggestions and your risk of sun damage this summer will plummet.


The desire to attain the perfect summer tan is a trend that has been around for decades and self-tanner is changing the game. For some, tanning is a summer ritual, laying out with music, friends or even a good read. While tanning leaves a temporary summer glow, it also leaves lasting skin damage.


Self-tanner gives you the glow you’ve been searching for without the harmful effects of UVA and UVB. UVA rays play a part in actively aging the skin while UVB rays burn the skin and cause skin cancer. Self-tanning is a healthy alternative to lathering yourself in tanning oil and baking in the sun.


Cooper Spa Dallas recommends having an evaluation of your skin and current sun damage. Cooper Spa uses SkinScopeLED technology to take an in-depth look into the current state of your skin, pinpointing sun damage and giving you recommendations on how to better prevent further damage.

Having a SkinScopeLED evaluation is a unique way to understand the state of your skin and how to prevent future damage. Our Cooper Clinic Dermatology offers head-to-toe skin cancer screenings. Learning how to take better care of your skin to prevent disease is important to your health and quality of life, make sure that you know how.

Blog provided by Afton Guedea, Cooper Aerobics Marketing intern and Student at the University of Oklahoma.

A Summertime Treat[ment] You Can’t Live Without

The summer season is finally upon us, which calls for long days, hot weather and relaxing by the pool–but are your feet ready? If the answer is no, “what in the world?” or anything in-between, Cooper Spa Dallas is a must stop for you this summer. The seasonal Lemongrass Ginger Pedicure is designed to rejuvenate your feet, leaving them with the ideal summer glow throughout sandal season!

As this summer’s marketing intern at Cooper Aerobics, I jumped at the chance to experience and write about Cooper Spa’s seasonal pedicure. I assumed I would get a run-of-the-mill pedicure instead, I received a relaxing full-body experience that left me ready to soak up the summer sun–and treat myself to some new sandals (but don’t tell my parents).

Containing healthy properties for the skin, lemongrass is a natural toner and is known to soothe irritation and strengthen your skin tissue. These properties combined with the refreshing Qtica products used by Cooper Spa causes a lemongrass ginger scent to fill the air in the salon area–cleansing your senses and leaving them revitalized and ready to beat the summer heat.

Spa Pedi 1

Triple Soak

Marcia, my nail technician, began soaking my feet in a warm lemongrass ginger triple fresh soak. She applied a gentle sugar scrub, exfoliating my legs and feet, after removing my previous polish, which has been there for an embarrassing length of time. The clean scent cleared my senses, and relaxed me from head to toe.


The callus remover and pedi file came next, which is normally torture for my sensitive and ticklish feet but ended up being a therapeutic break from the bustling week of my brother’s wedding and back-to-back graduations I had endured at the beginning of the summer. The cuticle work came next–cuticle remover and oil–followed by a lemongrass moisture mask.

I know what you must be thinking, “a mask for your feet?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I thought the same thing. My doubts ended when Marcia covered my entire right leg up to my knee then my left, wrapped them in warm towels and let the mask do its work. When the towels were removed and the mask was wiped away, my legs and feet never looked so hydrated and healthy!


A wave of relaxation hit me as Marcia removed the mask and replaced it with lotion accompanied by a soothing massage. The light yet intentional pressure released more tension. As the leg and foot massage ended, Marcia applied the Zoya nail polish named Joey, a light pink shade of polish I had chosen at the beginning of my treatment. I was immediately drawn to this shade because it was the perfect color to compliment my summer glow.

At the end of the treatment ended, my toenails perfect for sandal season and I felt ready to take on the summer. You too can be the envy at every summer pool party when you treat yourself to a 60-minute lemongrass ginger pedicure to achieve healthy, hydrated and glowing feet.

I can only hope my senior year at the University of Oklahoma will be as relaxing as the summer seasonal pedicure, but I have a feeling that football season will be a bit more stressful.

Enroll in Spa Rewards and start earning perks today—rewards can be used toward spa services, exclusive offers and more! Learn more at

Blog provided by Afton Guedea, Cooper Aerobics Marketing intern and student at the University of Oklahoma.

How to Pick Your Summer Produce

Summer is finally here and grocery store produce aisles are full of fresh and vibrant pineapples, peaches, melons and more. But how do you pick the most quality produce? Use these tips from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services to ensure you select the best fruit available.

  1. Know what fruit is in season.

Produce picked in season is often the most flavorful. If you are unsure what grows when, check the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

  1. Local fruit may be riper.

Since local produce does not have to travel as far, it can grow for the full season and be picked during its prime.

  1. Buy fruits at multiple levels of ripeness.

This way you will have fresh ripe fruit that remains flavorful and fresh until your next trip to the store.

Read on for specific tips on how to select and enjoy seasonal favorites.

Happy woman buying fruit in grocery


  • A ripe pineapple’s rind is golden yellow throughout the entire fruit. If it is green, it is not ripe yet and if it is orange, it means the pineapple is overripe.
  • The base of the fruit should have a sweet smell. If there is a faint vinegar-like smell, the pineapple may be overripe.
  • To cut a pineapple, cut the top and bottom off first. Next, slice the sides off the fruit with a sharp knife. If little brown pits are left on the sides, use the edge of a peeler to pull them off. For easier, more efficient cutting, look at this unique kitchen gadget that does all the hard work for you.


  • Look for a discolored yellow spot where the melon was resting on the ground; this indicates the melon had plenty of time to fully ripen in the patch. The same is true for all other types of melons.
  • Thump the watermelon. If it sounds deep and hollow, it is good to go. If the thump produces a dull sound, it is not quite ripe.
  • A ripe melon should be dull in appearance (not shiny) and fade lighter towards the stem.
  • If a piece of the stem remains, it could indicate the melon was picked before it was truly ripe.
  • If purchasing watermelon already cut, look for dark red flesh with all black seeds (no white seeds).


  • A ripe cantaloupe has a sweet aroma.
  • Press the stem of the cantaloupe with your thumb – it should give a little under the weight of your finger.
  • Melons should feel heavy, even considering their small size. Remember, the heavier the melon, the juicer it will be.
  • Store ripe cantaloupes in the refrigerator to prevent further ripening.


  • A ripe peach should be vibrant in color. Some areas of the fruit may be discolored, but there should not be any green spots.
  • Press your thumb into the fruit, the more the fruit gives, the riper it is.
  • Store peaches at room temperature with the stem facing down. Stacking peaches on top of each other or with other fruit may cause bruising.
  • Peaches last longer when placed in a sandwich bag and storing them in the refrigerator.
  • To easily remove the skins of peaches, place in boiling water for approximately 20 seconds, then place in ice cold water. Use a knife to remove the skin.


Beat the heat with these fresh and fruity summer recipes:


Article provided by Haley Billings, intern and dietetic student at Oklahoma State University, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates