Viewing entries tagged
Diet

Mythbuster: How to determine what's truly healthy – and what is just a trend

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Mythbuster: How to determine what's truly healthy – and what is just a trend

In a recent survey by the International Food Information Foundation (IFIC) on food and health, a remarkable 78 percent of consumers reported that they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat and avoid. Of those people, more than half agree that the confusing information makes them doubt the choices they are making. There is no surprise on the confusion considering 77 percent rely on friends and family for nutrition information, yet a handful trust these sources. In addition, the constant bombardment of the latest trend and faux nutrition experts touting the next miracle quick fix for weight loss can distort anyone’s views of what is sound advice for nutrition and health.

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Clean Eating

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Clean Eating

The way I interpret “clean eating”—and I think most nutrition experts would agree—is predominantly choosing whole, real foods or close to how they are found in nature, as well as foods that are less or minimally processed.

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Nutrition As We Age

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Nutrition As We Age

Eating right matters, and this does not change as we get older. In fact, it is never too late in life to see the health benefits of good nutrition. The main principles of eating well are the same no matter what age. A nutritious diet should emphasize fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (including fish and seafood) and plant proteins (beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds), and healthy unsaturated fats while limiting processed foods, especially processed meats and fast foods.

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New Year, Same Strategy

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New Year, Same Strategy

For many of us, the New Year also means the promise we make to ourselves to lose weight and get fit. My top bit of advice is to make good health a priority all year long, not just the few days or weeks after January 1. Many of us give in or give up as soon as the holidays begin and count on getting into shape in the New Year. But the time is now. It is easier to make gradual positive changes along the way than to try to lose weight overnight and make it last.

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Mythbuster: 5 Myths About Dieting

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Mythbuster: 5 Myths About Dieting

Fact: There is no scientific data that proves that eliminating gluten promotes weight loss. Any time we try something new, we are “all in,” at least at the onset, with a keen and committed attention to our nutrition, physical activity, and avoidance of what we (or the internet) consider  “bad food.” So yes, there can be indirect weight loss for some people due to cutting down on calories as a result of elimination of certain foods or even an entire food group. Additionally, if processed gluten foods are being replaced with fruits and vegetables, some weight loss will likely occur. 

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Mythbuster: Is Weight Gain over the Holidays Inevitable?

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Mythbuster: Is Weight Gain over the Holidays Inevitable?

I took an unscientific poll in the office and asked co-workers: “how much weight do you think people gain, if any, over the holiday season?"

The answers ranged from 2 to 15 pounds with the average number at 6.5 pounds. Well, luckily the results of my pseudo poll were way off. 

As it turns out, Americans gain an average of 1.32 pounds (0.6 kg) according to a study published in September 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study looked at weight gain over the holidays in three countries: Germany, Japan, and the United States. Americans participating in the study saw their weight increase by 0.2 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday and 0.4 percent over Christmas. Another study from 2000, in the same journal, found that the average holiday gain minimum was 1 pound (0.48kg). A look at studies over the last decade yielded similar results, demonstrating holiday weight gain is less than commonly asserted. Therefore, I remain optimistic for our waistlines between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. 

So what’s the problem?

Weight gain, even a little, is still weight gain that takes time and effort to come off. Although up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, the other half seems to remain until the summer months and sometimes beyond. Year after year, that weight can add up, not including any weight gain that occurs the rest of the year. So as hard as it is to resist the extra piece of pie or prevent weight gain during the holiday season, remember, it is much harder to lose it later.

Weight gain is not inevitable

Stay focused on all the healthy habits you have been working on the rest of the year. Here are some quick and familiar reminders from past blogs to get you through the holiday season: 

  • Eat complex carbohydrates with fiber, lean proteins, and healthy plant fats
  • Be physically active on most days of the week – make it a priority
  • Watch portion sizes – Ex: select small serving dishes
  • Make traditions healthy with some smart recipe substitutes
  • Be prepared ahead of time with meal and snack prep – Ex: Eat something healthy before going out to a holiday party or bring healthy options to the party
  • Stay social, but not by the food table – talk more, eat less by making food less accessible  
  • Eat consciously, no mindless eating
  • Skip the leftovers  
  • Watch the alcohol – these are empty calories
  • Find a buddy – build a support system 

The most recent study assessing weight gain in three countries concluded with the recommendation that the less one gains, the less one then has to worry about trying to lose it. I am going to agree with the researchers on this one! Check out this month’s blog to learn more on how to enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds.  


Lela Iliopoulos is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator and an expert in nutrition therapy, health promotion, and education. She is passionate about impacting nutritional health through the practical application of science-based information

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Taming the School Lunch Beast

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Taming the School Lunch Beast

Back-to-school season conjures up awesome memories of my sisters and me buying our school supplies that—of course—had to be color coordinated to our folders (Trapper Keepers) and notebooks. Do kids do that anymore? Anyway, back to school also means back to structured schedules, hurried mornings, and school lunches.

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Power Up with Breakfast

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Power Up with Breakfast

Whether it is a simple piece of toast spread with jam or a more elaborate plate of French toast with a side of eggs and bacon, breakfast is bread’s domain. From bagels and English muffins to an evenly toasted piece of your favorite bread, whole grains have long been a staple of the meal our mothers are always telling us is most important

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MythBuster: Is Bread Empty Calories?

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MythBuster: Is Bread Empty Calories?

If you think carbs are all wasted calories and bad for you, think again. Here is just one more reason to love bread, as if its deliciousness weren’t enough. Australian scientists found that the fiber in bread, cereals, and fruits helped people avoid disease and disability in old age. Their findings have been published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

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Mythbuster: Get the Facts on Carbs

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Mythbuster: Get the Facts on Carbs

Carbohydrates always seem to get a negative reputation. There are so many common misconceptions about carbohydrates, and it can be hard to keep in mind that carbs are good for us as part of a nutritious and balanced diet. To that end, I’ve gathered some common myths about carbohydrates that I hear all the time.

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Living Healthy While on the Road This Summer

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Living Healthy While on the Road This Summer

Whatever your destination or mode of travel, it’s challenging to eat well while on the road. Inhibitions go down, routines are broken, the schedule is out the window, food options are limited, and then there are those wait times that make us eat mindlessly. 

So how do we stay on course with a nutritious diet while hitting the road?

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Grains and Brains

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Grains and Brains

A lifestyle of healthy eating isn’t just good for your body; it’s also essential for good brain function. Some fad diets may warn against grains and carbohydrates, but it’s important to remember that grains are a source of protein, vitamin B2, and zinc.

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Grains and Women's Wellness

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Grains and Women's Wellness

A woman’s nutritional needs change as she ages, and it’s important to know where grains and fiber fit into these evolving dietary requirements so she can stay healthy mentally and physically. 

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Mythbuster: Diabetes and Carbs

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Mythbuster: Diabetes and Carbs

I understand someone wanting to get their blood sugar and diabetes under control and even prevent diabetes. I am all for it, and part of my job is helping people attain those self-management skills for long-term blood sugar and weight control for good health. However, food and carbs are not the enemy.

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Why You Should Dress Up and Other Tips for Eating Out

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Why You Should Dress Up and Other Tips for Eating Out

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2016 found that 92 percent of restaurant meals exceed the recommended calorie requirements for a meal. In some instances the calories in one meal exceeded the recommended intake for a whole day. Does this mean we stop eating out?

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Grains are good for you

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Grains are good for you

Carbohydrates are good for your brain! There is no better source of carbs than grains, and breads, tortillas, rolls, and buns don’t make up nearly the daily caloric intake that they get blamed for. So don’t buy into the fad of low-carb diets.

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Toddler Nutrition

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Toddler Nutrition

I have found nutrition for children of all ages fascinating, even before kids were on my radar. Nutrition is one way we can possibly alter the course of our genetic predisposition—maybe even prevent a condition—and hopefully have a great impact on our wellness and that of others. Life is full of uncertainties, especially when it comes to our health, but we normally have control over what we eat. So now that I am a mom, I see even more the significance of setting a good example and nourishing this little person as best I can. It’s both a gift and a huge responsibility.

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