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Dietetics Blog

Dietetics students have the chance to publish their blog posts on this site. From challenging the latest fad diets to cool shadowing experiences to engaging in thier community, you'll read posts from students who are broadening their writing and media skills using this platform.

Hair, skin, and nail vitamins - do they work?

May 03, 2022

Have you ever tried hair, skin, and nail vitamins? Let’s break down the research behind these trendy supplements. 

Hair, skin, and nail vitamins attribute their power to Vitamin B7, more commonly known as biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin. B vitamins are important because they work for many metabolic processes in the body. B vitamins are transported and stored in water in the body, therefore excess B vitamin storage is excreted through urine, making toxic upper limits hard to reach (a reason biotin supplementation may be OK).

However, your daily multivitamin may already contain 30-150 mcg of biotin. (100%-500% of the suggested daily value) Women’s multivitamins include a higher biotin dosage to attract women to their product. The adequate intake is 30mcg/day for adults and children four years old and older. Packaged foods may contain additionally fortified biotin.

As you can see in this example, Olly Women’s multivitamin already contains 500% DV for biotin.

Many hair, skin, nail supplements are not third-party tested and consumers should be aware of products that lack third-party testing. In cases where participants had an underlying cause of poor hair or nail growth, such as those with alopecia or patients in which biotin deficiency is prevalent, a biotin supplement may be necessary. However, there is insufficient evidence that biotin supplementation is needed for healthy individuals.

One study suggests that the ketogenic diet in mice resulted in a biotin deficiency. Individuals participating in a ketogenic diet may be advised to increase biotin consumption.

In conclusion, research studies lack results of cosmetic advantages of biotin supplementation. Biotin supplementation results are most notable in pre-term hair loss conditions or brittle nails. However, biotin supplementation for healthy individuals is not needed. Check your daily multivitamin to see how much biotin you are already consuming.

Warning: Most hair, skin, and nail vitamins are not third-party tested. As a nutrition student, I want to educate the public on the safety of supplements. Invest in supplements that are third-party tested for your protection. Look for these labels on your products.

Reviewed by Claire Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern

References:

Patel DP, Swink SM, Castelo-Soccio L. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017;3(3):166-169. doi:10.1159/000462981

Yuasa M, Matsui T, Ando S, et al. Consumption of a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet (the ketogenic diet) exaggerates biotin deficiency in mice. Nutrition. 2013;29(10):1266-1270. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2013.04.011

Mock DM. Biotin: From Nutrition to Therapeutics. J Nutr. 2017;147(8):1487-1492. doi:10.3945/jn.116.238956

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Myth: The Gluten-Free Diet Is Healthier for Everyone

May 01, 2022

It seems these days that alternatives are taking over the grocery store. There are milk alternatives, cheese alternatives, meat alternatives, and numerous gluten-free products. The gluten-free diet became very popular, very fast. In the last ten years, the number of gluten-free products on the shelves of grocery stores has increased exponentially. In 2016, more than $15.5 billion was spent on retail of gluten-free foods (Niland and Cash 2018). The gluten-free diet, unless necessary to follow, is a fad diet, or a diet that is popular for a short period of time. People have the misconception that gluten-free foods are healthier. I am here to bust that myth.

What is the gluten-free diet, and who should follow it?

To begin, gluten is a protein found in grains that when moistened and worked, creates air pockets that provide batters and doughs their elasticity and fluffiness. Think products like breads, pastas, and cereals. Gluten is found in popular grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye (Diez-Sampedro et al 2019). The gluten-free diet simply means that foods consumed must not contain gluten. Alternatives to wheat, barley, and rye include corn, rice, quinoa, potato, and nut flours. Those who should follow the gluten-free diet include those with Celiac Disease or nonceliac gluten sensitivity. Nonceliac gluten sensitivity can consist of a gluten allergy, gluten intolerance, or one that when ingesting gluten, leads to symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, and much more.

Why should you not eat gluten-free if not necessary?

The simple answer is cost, but it goes much deeper than that. Gluten-free products tend to be priced 2-3 times higher than their non-gluten-free counterparts. “A 2015 study found that gluten-free bread and bakery products were on average 267% more expensive than gluten-containing breads, and gluten-free cereals were found to be 205% more expensive than gluten-containing cereals,” (Jones 2017). In addition to cost, those who choose gluten-free products when not necessary are at risk of multiple nutritional deficiencies, including fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins deficiencies (Jones 2017). Lastly, gluten-free products tend to be higher in fat which can lead to chronic diseases like CVD, diabetes or hypertenson.

The Takeaway

In summary, while the gluten-free diet is necessary for those with health concerns, it isn’t recommended for the general public. Products that contain gluten offer many nutritional benefits such as more fiber intake in comparison to their gluten-free counterparts, less sodium, fat, and B vitamins. While choosing gluten-free products when not required is not always the healthier option, there are products in the store that are healthier alternatives that may also be gluten-free. These could be products such as vegetable pastas like Banza brand, or nut crackers like Nut Thins. Be sure to educate yourself before buying gluten-free items at the store to ensure you are making the right choice.

References

Diez-Sampedro A, Olenick M, Maltseva T, Flowers M. A Gluten-Free Diet, Not an Appropriate Choice without a Medical Diagnosis. Jrnl of Nutr and Met 2019; 2019.

Jones AL. The Gluten-Free Diet: Fad or Necessity? Diabetes Spectr 2017;30(2):118-123

Niland B, Cash BD. Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non–Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterol Hepatol (NY) 2018; 14(2):82-91.

Reviewed by: Alexa Burnett, UGA Dietetic Intern

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What Healthy Looks Like

May 01, 2022

Who decides what healthy looks like? Our society has made health a weight-focused idea and perceives the dieters in smaller bodies as the healthy ones. We often hear that obesity is not only a significant problem but a national epidemic. However, health is so much more than a person’s weight. Health can be determined by physiological measures, including blood pressure and blood lipid levels, and health behaviors, such as the quality of the diet and exercise habits (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). Health can also be determined by psychosocial outcomes, including self-esteem and perception of body image (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). Have you ever tried to change the size of your body to improve the status of your health? You may be surprised, but after diving into evidence-based research, you might reconsider society’s harsh push towards weight-loss for health.

It is essential to recognize that most individuals who participate in a weight loss plan cannot sustain many popular wellness diets and cannot achieve the benefits of improved morbidity and mortality (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). Many epidemiological studies discovered that overweight or moderately obese people live as long if not longer than normal-weight people (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). Analysis following the largest cohort of United States adults in three major National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys found that the adults with longer life spans were overweight (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). Living a long life does not have to be done in a small body.

Obesity is often linked with chronic disease, but it may just be an early symptom of diseases rather than the primary cause (Bacon & Aphramor, 2011). For example, evidence shows that in a patient with obesity and type 2 diabetes, blood glucose can be normalized without weight loss (Robison, 2005).  In addition, individuals with obesity who maintain an active lifestyle have lower mortality rates than normal-weight individuals who live sedentary lifestyles and are unfit (Robison, 2005). This statistic demonstrates the importance of physical activity in health, despite the size of the individual’s body. Physical exercise and diet do not necessarily result in weight loss because different bodies are set to stay within a range, which varies from person to person.

Public health policy has tried to treat obesity through weight loss promotion (Bombak, 2014). However, since 1992, the American National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released statements that dieting is ineffective for sustainable weight loss (Bombak, 2014). These dieting patterns lead to weight cycling, higher stress levels, depression, and individuals feeling dissatisfied with their weight loss (Bombak, 2014). In addition, one to two-thirds of individuals who dieted eventually regained more weight than they lost initially (Bombak, 2014). Preventing and treating chronic disease should be a more significant health priority and epidemic (Bombak, 2014). The next time you find yourself considering weight loss to improve your health, examine the evidence. Body size is not an indicator of health, and weight loss is not always necessary, especially in individuals with a natural weight range higher than others.

References:

Bacon, L., & Aphramor, L. (2011, Jan 24). Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift. Nutr J, 10, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-10-9

Bombak, A. (2014, Feb). Obesity, health at every size, and public health policy. Am J Public Health, 104(2), e60-67. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301486

Robison, J. (2005, Jul 12). Health at every size: toward a new paradigm of weight and health. MedGenMed, 7(3), 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16369239

Reviewed By: Alexa Burnett, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Is dairy bad for you?

May 01, 2022

Have you ever heard someone say they are going diary free because diary is bad for you? Well, I am here to tell you today that the claim “dairy is bad for you” is only a myth. Dairy is one of the five food groups that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) includes in their MyPlate food guidelines. The USDA composes their food groups based on the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients present in food that should be consumed every day (U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). Unless a medical provider suggests staying away from dairy, you should not be cutting it completely out of your diet.

One literature review titled “Beneficial Health Effects of Milk and Fermented Dairy Products” discusses that peptides in milk proteins can have positive biological effects such as serving as an antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, an antioxidant, as well as many other substances (Ebringer et al., 2008). They can also prevent diseases such as hypertension, coronary vascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes (Ebringer et al., 2008). The review addresses the myth of milk being unhealthy for individuals and explains that there has not been a single study performed that backs up this claim. Milk is one of the main sources of calcium and along with the protein and peptides, it contains essential fatty acids, vitamin D, and other components that can provide positive effects on cardiovascular health, immune function, as well as the gastrointestinal tract (Ebringer et al., 2008).

Authors of the review “Milk protein for improved metabolic health: a review of the evidence”, McGregor and Poppit, concluded that dairy consumption can have an impact on decreasing the currency of metabolic disorders and their risk factors. Milk proteins can improve your metabolic health by furthering body composition changes to increase lean body mass and decrease fat mass. Branch chain amino acids in milk promote protein synthesis as well as skeletal muscle metabolic function (McGregor and Poppitt, 2013).

Contrary to fad diet trends circulating in the media, it is not advised to completely eliminate dairy products from the diet. Dairy products contain milk proteins that are beneficial to metabolic processes and can even help prevent diseases. Dairy contains vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health and by eliminating or reducing the consumption of these nutrients, deficiencies can occur and metabolic processes can be hindered. For the general public, cutting out an entire food group is not recommended by healthcare professionals due to the lack of evidence supporting this idea. Unless you have to avoid dairy for medical reasons, go ahead and drink that milk!

Reviewed by: Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Ebringer, L., Ferenčík, M., & Krajčovič, J. (2008). Beneficial health effects of milk and fermented dairy products. Folia microbiologica53(5), 378-394.

McGregor, R.A., Poppitt, S.D. Milk protein for improved metabolic health: a review of the evidence. Nutr Metab (Lond) 10, 46 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-10-46

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

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What is the ketogenic diet?

May 01, 2022

As I was cooking dinner with a friend, I opened the freezer and saw that it held frozen meals with "Keto" written all over them. The packaging was very aesthetic and appealing. I asked why she was buying keto-friendly food. She explained that her mom had sent her these frozen meals for the past two months. She was very excited about the pretty packaging and explained that the meals tasted delicious. As I looked on the back of the food label of the meal, I saw a very high-fat content and loads of sodium. Is the keto diet beneficial? Let's dig in.

What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that sends the body into a state of ketosis. This diet includes consuming about 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbohydrates. Usually, three to four grams of fat are consumed per one gram of protein and carbohydrates (Politi, 2011). In response to low consumption of glucose, insulin secretion slows (Masood, 2021). This is a stark change for the body, as carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source.

Why is it helpful?
The ketogenic diet has its place. It is proven to be useful as a treatment for epilepsy. A study at John Hopkins Hospital surveyed over 1,000 children with epilepsy. 52% of these children had complete control over their seizures using the ketogenic diet. 27% said they had more control over seizures (Wheless, 2008). It has also proven helpful in obese individuals, as the diet has shown correlations with weight loss in some individuals.

Are there negative implications?
The ketogenic diet can have negative effects, as anything not practiced in moderation can. A few of these short-term effects include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness (Masood, 2021). Hypoglycemia can occur in diabetes patients using this diet if their medications are not adjusted properly. The ketogenic diet is not recommended for those with liver failure or pancreatitis. Vitamin deficiencies and kidney stones are common long-term side effects of a ketogenic diet (Masood, 2021).

Would I recommend it to my friend?
I would not recommend my friend begin eating a ketogenic diet because she does not have epilepsy or trying to lose weight. If she were trying to lose weight, this diet is often not sustainable. It should only be exercised for up to 1 year (Masood, 2021). In other terms, it would be easy for a person following the ketogenic diet to see rapid results initially but revert to their old ways of eating and gain the weight back.

So, why did my friend have these keto-frozen meals in her freezer? Most likely for convenience. Later in the conversation, she expressed that she was not following a ketogenic diet. Eating these frozen meals when she wants a quick lunch to take to work is helping her to fuel her body. Since she does not have epilepsy or is attempting weight loss, the ketogenic diet may not benefit her. The ketogenic diet has its place but following because it is a fad or comes in a pretty package could cause more harm than good.

Reviewed by: Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern

Resources:

Masood, W. (2021, November 26). Ketogenic diet. StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

Politi K, Shemer-Meiri L, Shuper A, Aharoni S. The ketogenic diet 2011: how it works. Epilepsy Res Treat. 2011;2011:963637. doi:10.1155/2011/963637

Wheless JW. History of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia. 2008;49 Suppl 8:3-5. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01821.x

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A Take on Veganism in Athletes: From an Athlete to an Athlete

May 01, 2022

To reach top performance as an athlete, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. If you talk to most sports dietitians, they advise their athletes to stay away from veganism since there is a high risk of under-consumption of essential amino acids and insufficient amounts of vitamin B12. In this blog post, I aim to provide information on the benefits of a carefully planned vegan diet in athletes, as well as share my own experience with veganism as an elite NCAA Division-I diver.

As it stands, there is no consensus on whether a vegan diet will substantially benefit athletic performance. However, there are profound health benefits associated with increased consumption of whole plant foods. For example, ‘Near vegan diets' have been shown to aid in the overall immune response in athletes with a high-intensity training regimen (Fuhrman and Ferreri 2010). Similarly, according to a review published in the International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine, incorporating more plant foods into your diet can decrease inflammation and increase antioxidant levels, which play an essential role in reducing oxidative stress within the body (Wirnitzer 2020). A considerable part of athletic training is finding ways to recover quickly and stay healthy so consistent elite performance can be maintained (Wirnitzer 2020). When considering the influence that veganism has on cardiovascular health, many sports are endurance-based and athletes aim to have the best cardiovascular health possible. Plant-based diets can also improve plasma lipid concentrations, blood pressure, and body weight, which have been shown to positively impact endurance athletes (Barnard et al. 2019).

I would now like to share my own experience with veganism. Leading into the nation-wide COVID-19 quarantine mandate, I moved from Missouri to Virginia so I could continue practicing at a USA diving national training facility. When the training became more intense, my body had an extremely negative response. I kept getting sick, I was sore 24/7, and I just didn’t feel like myself. During one of my sick days, I watched the “Game Changers” documentary on Netflix (Psihoyos 2018). This movie opened my eyes to the potential benefits a vegan diet could provide me. Though there have been critiques regarding the scientific integrity of the film, most sports nutrition scientists agree that the message to consume more fruits and vegetables is an excellent one (Jeukendrup 2021). After a quick phone call with my sports dietitian, she could tell I was serious about trying a vegan way of eating. She recommended I download the app "Mealime” to help plan out balanced meals as a place to start (Golikova and Bunn 2016). I decided to give it a try, and my results were shocking. I felt highly energized within the first week of my new diet consumption. Over the next month or so, I noticed my body recovering well from soreness, and I was no longer getting sick. This dietary adjustment became a “game-changer” for me. However, after a while, it became hard to keep up with. Meal prepping for a vegan diet is challenging, and it limits your ability to eat at a restaurant. Eventually, I quit my vegan diet and continue to maintain as many plant-based foods in my diet as possible.

The purpose of this post is not to encourage that each active person become vegan, but rather provide insight on benefits and resources for those interested in learning more about this way of eating for athletic performance and overall health. For athletes who are curious about learning more about vegetarian or vegan diets, resources such as the Gatorade Sports Science Institute provide helpful advice (Larson-Meyer 2018). Most athletes can benefit from increased plant consumption; however, it is not an end-all-be-all solution to reach maximum performance and should be pursued with the help of a registered dietitian. It is my hope that this information can be utilized when considering the positive impacts plant-based diets can have on you or your performance.

Reviewed by: Regina Yang, UGA Dietetic Intern
 

References:  

Barnard N, Goldman D, Loomis J, Kahleova H, Levin S, Neabore S, Batts T. Plant-based diets for cardiovascular safety and performance in endurance sports. Nutrients 2019;11:130.

Fuhrman J, Ferreri D. M. Fueling the vegetarian (vegan) athlete. Current sports medicine reports 2010;9:233-241.

Gatorade sports science institute. Vegetarian and vegan diets for athletic training and performance. Version current 2018. https://www.gssiweb.org/en/sports-science-exchange/Article/vegetarian-and-vegan-diets-for-athletic-training-and-performance (accessed 29 March 2022).

Golikova M, Bunn J. Mealime. Version 4.13.4. 24 February 2016. https://www.mealime.com (accessed 16 March 2022).

Mysportscience. Is game changers game changing or is it sensationalism? Version current 2021. https://www.mysportscience.com/post/2019/11/06/is-game-changers-game-changing-or-is-it-sensationalism (accessed 29 March 2022).

Psihoyos, L. (Director). (2018). The Game Changers. [Film]. ReFuel Production.

Wirnitzer C. K. Vegan diet in sports and exercise – health benefits and advantages to athletes and physically active people: A narrative review. Int J Sports Exerc Med 2020;6:1-32.

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Is “boosting” your metabolism really a thing?

May 01, 2022

The supplement and weight loss industry often market products by advertising that they will “boost your metabolism!” but what does that mean, and is it possible?

Metabolism is an umbrella term encompassing all the bodily processes that break down stored forms of energy (catabolism), such as glucose and fat stores. However, metabolism also includes all the physical processes that build up glucose and fat stores (anabolism). According to your body’s needs and energetic state, these processes are tightly regulated. For example, after a meal, our body’s main task is to break down food into components that we can use and then put that energy to work or store the fuel for later use. So, how do our bodies use all this energy? Our energy usage can be broken down into 4 categories (Heydenreich et al., 2017):

  • RMR: Your resting metabolic rate is the energy expended to keep your body alive if you were to lay still for 24 hours. This includes breathing, thinking, keeping your heart beating, and is between 60 and 80% of your daily energy expenditure.
  • TEF: The thermic effect of food is the energy your body uses to break down food into usable components. How much energy is needed will vary based on the macronutrient content of your diet but can be approximated to 10% of 24-hour energy expenditure.
  • NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis refers to the daily activities we perform when we’re not lying in bed, like washing the dishes, going to class, or running to Jittery Joe’s to grab a spiced chai latte with oat milk + pumpkin. NEAT will use roughly 15% of total energy usage, depending on the day’s activities.
  • EAT: Exercise activity thermogenesis is the energy used by intentional exercise. Exercise consumes the smallest amount of total energy expenditure, as little as 5%.

Several uncontrollable biological factors determine the rate of your basal metabolic rate: your age, your genetics, and your sex, to name a few. Like RMR, the thermic effect of food is another uncontrollable aspect of our metabolism.

However, the ~20% of our energy expenditure spent on physical activity (NEAT & EAT) is the portion of metabolism that we have the opportunity to “boost.” Physical activity and exercise, particularly resistance training (Schoenfeld et al., 2017), contribute to maintaining our muscle mass, also known as lean body mass. One pound of lean body mass consumes approximately 13 calories at rest, compared to 4.5 calories consumed by a pound of fat stores (Wang et al., 2011).

So, what well-meaning influencers and profit-oriented companies really mean when they claim to be “boosting metabolism” is burning more calories when your body is at rest, i.e., increasing your RMR. Yes, this is really a thing, but it, unfortunately, cannot be produced and sold as a product.

Bottom line: No food or supplement has the power to instantaneously increase the rate of human metabolism. Currently, increasing muscle mass is the only evidence-based strategy for burning more calories at rest.

Reviewed by: Abigail Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern

References:

Heydenreich J, Kayser B, Schutz Y, Melzer K. Total Energy Expenditure, Energy Intake, and Body Composition in Endurance Athletes Across the Training Season: A Systematic Review. Sports Med Open. 2017 Dec;3(1):8.

Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci. 2017 Jun;35(11):1073-1082.

Wang Z, Ying Z, Bosy-Westphal A, Zhang J, Heller M, Later W, Heymsfield SB, Müller MJ. Evaluation of specific metabolic rates of major organs and tissues: comparison between men and women. Am J Hum Biol. 2011 May-Jun;23(3):333-8.

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Magic Pills, Empty Promises, and Zero Customer Satisfaction

May 01, 2022

Millions of people worldwide click on less transparent titles and fall into the trap of consumer capitalism. I am fascinated that the concept of “magic pills, empty promises, and zero customer satisfaction” convinced you to read more. At least with this title, you can detect what you are getting into. If you look up anything regarding weight loss or exercise, your search engine would spew out about 35 million results. You will be prompted with hundreds of supplements, teas, or powders that are “essential” for you to get and can boost your health. When searching for weight loss, a variety of weight loss pills pop up that cause confusion when navigating the cluttered search results. Among those results, a product with bright pink packaging and trendy font caught my eye.

Skinny Bird is manufactured by HUM, a company that sells and promotes supplements for almost any possible issue that one might have. Skinny Bird contains 5-HTP, Caralluma Fimbriata, green tea extract, and chromium (“Skinny Bird®.”, 2022). The instruction claims by taking three capsules a day 30 minutes before meals, the remedy works its miracle!

Let’s get into the science behind it. During an experiment on the effect of 5-HTP on weight loss in obese patients, researchers observed that 5-HTP has a short-term positive impact on weight loss in those patients (Cangiano et al, 1992). Caralluma Fimbriata is represented as an appetite suppressant on the website HUM; green tea extract is found to have a positive correlation with obesity;.chromium, a lipid and carbohydrate regulator, works with the body to build lean muscle mass and decrease fat (Suzuki, 2016). However, according to Jayawardena et al (2021), there is not enough evidence on Caralluma Fimbriata to recommend it as an appetite suppressant, and there are “inconsistent results” for the efficacy of green tea in the study, which leads me to believe that the claim HUM makes about it is a stretch. While all of these studies semi back up the claims the HUM makes about the ingredients in Skinny Bird, there are not long-term benefits discussed. This is where the issue lies.

The consumer will buy a product like this in hopes of weight loss. When the product does not work or have lasting effects, the consumer might blame themselves or think they purchased a bad product. A healthy physical and emotional well-being should be attained through beneficial lifestyle choices. It is much more rewarding to achieve health through consistent exercise and a colorful plate filled with nutritious items. A person’s dream body will not be found in a pill, powder, or tea. It will be found in the practice of following one’s passions, nourishing their bodies, and exercising the mind.

Reviewed by: Regina Yang, UGA Dietetic Intern
 

Sources:

Cangiano C, Ceci F, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Laviano A, Muscaritoli M, Antonucci F, Rossi-Fanelli F. Eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects treated with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;56(5):863-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/56.5.863. PMID: 1384305.

Jayawardena R, Francis TV, Abhayaratna S, Ranasinghe P. The use of Caralluma fimbriata as an appetite suppressant and weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Nov 10;21(1):279. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03450-8. PMID: 34758791; PMCID: PMC8579607.

“Skinny Bird®.” Weight Loss Supplement - Skinny Bird - HUM Nutrition, https://www.humnutrition.com/product/9/skinny-bird.
Suzuki T, Pervin M, Goto S, Isemura M, Nakamura Y. Beneficial Effects of Tea and the Green Tea Catechin Epigallocatechin-3-gallate on Obesity. Molecules. 2016 Sep 29;21(10):1305.

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Creatine: Should it be in our diet?

May 01, 2022

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an energy source used mainly in cellular metabolism using ATP replenishment. This means that creatine helps the cells in our body use and reproduce energy. Creatine is used for when we need quick energy, This explains why athletes will use it for a practice or a workout, so they have that quick burst of energy to capitalize on their activity. We know our body needs fuel every day, and some days, we need more than usual. We generally get half of our daily creatine needs from what we eat, which is in red meats and seafood. “The remaining amount of creatine is synthesized primarily in the liver and kidneys from arginine and glycine by the enzyme arginine.” (Kreider 2017) Creatine is diffused in the mitochondria of our cells and produces ATP from oxidative phosphorylation and the mitochondrial creatine kinase. ATP and phosphocreatine are then diffused back into the cytosol and help with energy needs for our body. The creatine system is important to regulate our metabolism and may help explain the health benefits of the creatine supplements. (Kreider 2017)

Why do people take it?

The majority of consumers are athletes. Athletes are drawn to short bursts of energy to get them through their workout or training session. Oral creatine ingestion is used in sports as an ergogenic aid, and some data suggest that creatine and creatinine may be precursors of food mutagens and eremic toxins. (Wyss 2000) Ergogenic aids enhance the production of energy and help with recovery. Injury prevention is another reason athletes take oral creatine. Oral creatine might reduce the frequency of dehydration, muscle cramping, and injuries to the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. (Mayo Clinic 2021) Brain health, bone health, and skin aging may also show improvements with creatine supplementation. “The most effective way to increase muscle creatine stores is to ingest 5 g of creatine monohydrate (or approximately 0.3g/kg body weight) four times daily for 5-7 days.” (Kreider 2017)

What forms of creatine are there?

Most people get their creatine from red meats and seafood. (Kreider 2017) Our bodies make about 1 gram of creatine per day from our liver, pancreas, and kidneys. (Mayo Clinic 2021) Creatine powders, pills, or liquids are some other ways to supply creatine for our body. The powders are usually mixed in with water or mixed into the foods that you consume throughout the day. “Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that’s popular among athletes.” (Mayo Clinic 2020) Athletes always need energy in order to perform at their best and creatine is a potential supplement to supply them with that quick energy. This is also the most recommended creatine supplement by registered sports dietitians.

Take away

Creatine research proves that it is safe to use for most people, but I still suggest researching the side effects and how they will play into your life. Creatine can affect someone positively if it is used the right way. “Studies consistently reveal that creatine supplementation exerts positive ergogenic effects on single and multiple bouts of short-duration, high-intensity exercise activities, in addition to potentiating exercise training adaptations.” (Wax 2021) Creatine can be very beneficial for people who need quick bursts of energy. However, one should consult with their sports dietitian or medical provider before use.

Reviewed by: Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern


References

America Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. Ergogenic Aids: Counseling the Athlete. Version Current 1 March 2001. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0301/p913.html.Accessed 24 January 2022.

Kreider, Richard B et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 14 18. 13 Jun. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

Mayo Clinic. Creatine. Version Current 9 February 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-creatine/art-20347591. Accessed 24 January 2022.

Mayo Clinic. Performance-enhancing drugs: Know the risks. Version current 4 December 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art-20046134. Accessed 2 Febuary 2022.

Sumien N, Shetty RA, Gonzales EB. Creatine, Creatine Kinase, and Aging. Subcell Biochem. 2018;90:145-168. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-2835-0_6. PMID: 3077900. Accessed 24 January 2022.

Wax B, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR, Mayo JJ, Lyons BC, Kreider RB. Creatine for Exercise and Sports Performance, with Recovery Considerations for Healthy Populations. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 2;13(6):1915. doi: 10.3390/nu13061915. PMID: 34199588; PMCID: PMC8228369.

Wyss M, Daouk R, et al. Creatine and Creatinine Metabolism. Phys Rev 2000; 80:1-107

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Carbs: Problem or Solution?

May 01, 2022

"Are you struggling to lose weight no matter how much you exercise? You need to cut out carbs! Carbs are sugar, and sugar causes weight gain. Now you will start to lose weight easily!"

Have you ever heard advice like this from fitness influencers or bloggers? The advice is very general, and it does not explain the full story of carbs and how our bodies utilize them. Together we will uncover what carbs are and if we need to cut back on them in our diets.

What Are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are macromolecules, as are proteins and fats. Carbohydrates come in a few varieties:  simple sugars (one to two sugar molecules), complex carbohydrates (many sugar molecules), and glycoconjugates (Chandel 2021).

What Happens to Carbs in the Body?

When we consume carbohydrates, our bodies have a few different choices of what to do with them. . Carbs are our main energy source, and when the body does not need energy, the carbs are converted to glycogen for storage (Chandel 2021). When the body needs energy, it converts the consumed carbs (or carbs from glycogen) to ATP (the energy currency of our cells) (Chandel 2021). During glycolysis, some carbohydrates may also be converted to fatty acids for other purposes in the body (Chandel 2021).

If Carbohydrates Are Energy, Why Are They Made Out to Be the Bad Guy?

Some publications claim that high levels of carbs are unhealthy based on the assumption that earlier humans consumed a low-carb diet (the Paleo diet) (Brouns 2018). However, historical data from about 50,000 years ago demonstrate that humans consumed a relatively high carbohydrate diet - about 35% of their calories came from carbohydrates (Brouns 2018).

So, I Can Eat Plenty of Carbs Without Weight Gain?

The current MyPlate recommendation is for carbohydrates to make up 45-65% of your total calories in a day (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2022). High carb diets do not necessarily correlate with obesity; the quality of carbohydrates is the key factor (Seidelmann et al., 2018, Sartorius et al., 2018). Most people think of bread and pasta when it comes to carbs, but there are nutrient-dense alternatives, such as vegetables (carrots, broccoli, corn, etc.), fruits (apples and bananas), and nuts (Seidelmann et al., 2018). 

Takeaway

Carbohydrates are the main energy source in our bodies, and in most cases, it is not ideal to significantly cut them from the diet. There is more to carbohydrate foods besides pasta. Enjoy your carbs and make them healthy. Your body will thank you!

Reviewed By: Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Brouns F. Overweight and diabetes prevention: is a low-carbohydrate–high-fat diet recommendable?. European Journal of Nutrition. 2018 ; 57:1301-1312. 

Chandel NS. Carbohydrate metabolism. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. 2021 ; 13:1-15.

Sartorius K, Sartorius B, Madiba TE, Stefan C. Does high-carbohydrate intake lead to increased risk of obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2018 ; 8:18449.

Seidelmann, S. B., Claggett, B., Cheng, S., Henglin, M., Shah, A., Steffen, L. M., Folsom, A. R., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Solomon, S. D. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health 2018 ; 3:419–428.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Myplate grains. Version current 2022. Internet: https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/grains

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Plant-Based/ Vegan Diets

May 01, 2022

Over the last several years, the terms “Plant-based” and “Vegan” have become increasingly recognized. In today’s age, where social media is a primary source of information for many, we see influencers, celebrities, and nutritionists promoting these plant-based and vegan diets for better health. Does this kind of diet encourage better health, or do these people just want us to think that?

What is a plant-based/vegan diet?

A plant-based or vegan diet is precisely what it sounds like. It is a diet that is wholly comprised of foods that are made from plants. This means that all foods from animals are avoided, including honey. In addition to animal products being restricted, highly processed foods are typically limited from this kind of diet but may still be consumed.

What can you eat on a plant-based/vegan diet?

Today, we look around the grocery store, and we can see that there are many new plant-based alternatives that people can buy. Although while eating a plant-based diet, you cannot eat meat, fish, and dairy, there are many foods available for someone to consume the critical nutrients needed in a daily diet. Some vegetable sources rich in protein include legumes, nuts, whole-grain cereals, oil seeds, and potatoes. Other nutrients like calcium, iron, and riboflavin can be found in broccoli, kale, spinach, and mushrooms. There has also been a rise in plant-based “meats” commonly made from legumes such as soybeans and lentils, which allow those consuming a plant-based diet to feel as if they were consuming meat.

What are the possible benefits of consuming a plant-based diet?

Plant-based diets have been found to reduce risk factors that may lead to the development of diseases. Those who consume an entirely plant-based diet have shown to be at less risk of heart disease. The relevance of type 2 diabetes, dementia, kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and gallstones has dramatically decreased. In addition to a decrease in the development of many diseases, it has been found that those who do not consume meat have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels than those that consume meats. These decreased cholesterol and blood pressure levels can be due to lower saturated fats typically found in animal sources.

What are the possible risks of consuming a plant-based diet?

Although there are many benefits to consuming a plant-based diet, there can be many risks of nutrient deficiencies. It has been commonly found that individuals who do not consume meat may be deficient in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. To prevent deficiencies in these nutrients, those consuming a plant-based diet must consume foods high in zinc and iron, like legumes and soy proteins. In addition to consuming foods high in zinc and iron, it is advised that supplementation of Vitamin B12 is taken to prevent this deficiency. The possibility of acquiring nutrient deficiencies is genuine for those who consume a plant-based diet. In addition to being at risk of nutrient deficiencies, those who consume plant-based diets may be at risk of consuming foods high in calories and low in nutrient value. Today’s society markets plant-based processed foods as “healthier alternatives,” but, they are high in additives and preservatives, making them palpable and safe to consume. Because many of these “healthier alternatives” are high in calories and low in nutrient values, those who eat a plant-based diet must consume whole foods with many fruits and vegetables and enjoy processed snacks in moderation. Consuming whole foods with many fruits and vegetables will supply the body with various vitamins and minerals that promote overall health!

Reviewed by: Sydnee Berman, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Fehér A, Gazdecki M, Véha M, Szakály M, Szakály Z. A Comprehensive Review of the Benefits of and the Barriers to the Switch to a Plant-Based Diet. Sustainability. 2020; 12(10):4136. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104136

Janet R. Hunt, Ph. D., R.D, Moving toward a Plant-based Diet: Are Iron and Zinc at Risk?, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 60, Issue 5, May 2002, Pages 127–134, https://doi.org/10.1301/00296640260093788

Richter, Morgrit, H. Boeing, D. Grünewald-Funk, H. Heseker, A. Kroke, E. Leschik-Bonnet, H. Oberritter, D. Strohm, and B. Watzl. Vegan diet. Position of the German nutrition society (DGE) 2016;63(04):92-102.

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Is fat is bad for you?

May 01, 2022

Have you ever heard the idea that fat is bad for you? While nutrition professionals may think this notion is funny, there are plenty of reasons why fat has a bad rap in many people’s minds. Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and it’s common knowledge cholesterol levels are a key indicator of one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. In popular media, the link between fat intake and poor cholesterol levels is widespread, connecting dietary fat to cardiovascular events such as, heart attacks, strokes, and death. With such daunting connections, many assume avoiding fat all together might just solve the problem of that increased risk; however, fat consumption and risk for cardiovascular diseases is far more complex than that with some types even lowering your risk. Let’s look at each type of fat one at a time to get a clearer view of the bigger picture.

Trans-fat has undeniable negative effects on cardiovascular health, so much so that its use in foods has been banned. In fact, the only places you’ll find trans-fat are in small amounts of products in which it naturally occurs (baked goods, etc.). Added trans-fat has such a bad wrap because time and time again research shows a strong association between trans-fat intake and increased LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreased HDL (good) cholesterol (American Heart Association, 2017). As saturated fat is more widespread in the American diet, saturated fat is hard to avoid. Most major sources of fat are going to have at least a small amount of this type making it very difficult to avoid completely, but reducing the amount consumed to a maximum of 10% of one’s daily caloric intake is recommended (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2020) as this type of fat raises both total and LDL cholesterol (Cleveland Clinic 2014). Now that we’ve reviewed some of the less healthy fats, let’s take a look at the healthy ones.

In the case of monounsaturated fat, swapping in these in place of saturated fats will both lower LDL and total cholesterol as well as provide the body with essential fat soluble nutrients such as Vitamin E (American Heart Association, 2015). Some common sources include avocados, olive oil, almonds, and peanuts. Finally, polyunsaturated fat has also been shown to lower LDL and total cholesterol levels and possesses other health benefits as well such as providing the body with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to one’s diet (American Heart Association 2015). Common sources for this type of fat include fish, walnuts, and canola oil.

After putting all this information together, we can now see a much more nuanced and informed view of why we need fat and what our regular fat intake should look like. Cutting out trans-fat, limiting saturated fat, and emphasizing mono and polyunsaturated fats are key strategies to promoting optimal cardiovascular health.

Reviewed by: Betsy Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern

REFERENCES

American Heart Association. Monounsaturated Fat. Version current 1 June 2015. Internet: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats (accessed 26 January 2022).

American Heart Association. Polyunsaturated Fat. Version current 1 June 2015. Internet: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/polyunsaturated-fats (accessed 26 January 2022).

American Heart Association. Trans Fats. Version current 23 March 2017. Internet: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat (accessed 26 January 2022).

Cleveland Clinic. Fat: What You Need to Know. Version current 28 November 2014. Internet: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11208-fat-what-you-need-to-know?_gl=1*l6ms3f*_ga*MzY3NTIxMDUwLjE2NDMyMjc5MTE.*_ga_HWJ092SPKP*MTY0MzIyNzkxMS4xLjEuMTY0MzIyODI0NC4w&_ga=2.232912862.1315048096.1643227911-367521050.1643227911 (accessed 26 January 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

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Do Eating Disorders Only Affect Women?

May 01, 2022

When asking someone what an eating disorder is, most people would probably imagine women dealing with anorexia. They might assume people with this condition are very skinny and underfed. This is not the case for everyone who has an eating disorder and educating others about this will help in recognizing and treating the patient with the best care.

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are classified into three groups anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating (Wolfram, 2019). All three of these can cause detrimental effects to someone's health or even cause death. A person struggling with anorexia nervosa is likely to restrict their calories and have rules to eating (Wolfram, 2019). Some symptoms to look for would be food restriction, constant weight loss, fear of eating with others, hiding body size with clothes, or secretive eating. Bulimia nervosa is defined as eating large amounts of food without control and then vomiting (Wolfram, 2019). Medical professionals look for the same fears of eating, sore throat, and any past history of bathroom trips after eating. Binge eating disorder is characterized as someone eating large amounts of food in a short time that is past fullness and without concern of hunger. Some signs include eating quickly and privately, weight gain, dieting, and depression (Wolfram, 2019). It is also important to look at the patient’s exercise goal and their ideal weight goal. Understanding how the patients thinks can give the medical professionals insight on their behavior and if these goals are impossible to obtain and will cause them harm.

Who is affected?

Anyone can be affected, including men and children (Wolfram, 2019). These groups tend to be overlooked and misdiagnosed. Men and women experience eating disorders differently (Strother et al., 2012). Men and women can also have different body image issues which can affect their relationship with food. Women are usually motivated by the idea of being thin and have a higher usage of laxatives and purging. Men tend to strive for a more muscular, lean body. Research has shown that men use excessive exercise and dieting to get their ideal body image, but this can result in starvation (Strother et al., 2012). Children are also affected by eating disrobers, in most cases are from patients that had previously been obese but had lost weight (Campbell and Peebles 2014). There is not just one cause for eating disorders but understanding the symptoms and helping diagnose the individual is essential to get the care they need (Campbell and Peebles 2014).

How is it treated?

People diagnosed with an eating disorder should be treated under the care of a medical professional. This team can include a primary care doctor, a psychologist, and a dietitian specializing in this area. One recommended approach for men with this diagnosis is an all-male therapeutic group (Strother et al., 2012). This allows them to feel safe in their environment with people who understand (Strother et al., 2012). When treating children, it is essential to include nutritional rehabilitation with specific knowledge about the age group (Campbell and Peebles 2014). Continued research needs to be done so that the medical professional can provide the best care for everyone's condition.

Reviewed by Abigail Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Campbell Kenisha, and Rebecka Peebles. “Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: State of the Art Review.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2014-0194. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

Eric Strother, Raymond Lemberg, Stevie Chariese Stanford & Dayton Turberville (2012) Eating Disorders in Men: Underdiagnosed, Undertreated, and Misunderstood, Eating Disorders, 20:5, 346-355, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2012.715512

Wolfram, Taylor. “Understanding Eating Disorders.” EatRight, 26 Feb. 2019, https://www.eatright.org/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/understanding-eating-disorders. 

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Is Creatine Loading Really Necessary?

May 01, 2022

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular performance supplements to date because it does something that many supplements cannot do: work effectively. Creatine’s claim to fame is that there have been many studies and research reviews to prove its worth. Notice that I mentioned only Monohydrate and not any of the other forms of creatines such as hydrochloride, nitrate, or malate. Research has only proven the effectiveness of the monohydrate form, other forms lack evidence on their effectiveness (Hall M, 2013).

Creatine monohydrate is a dietary supplement that increases muscle performance in short-duration, high-intensity resistance exercises, which rely on the shuttle of phosphocreatine for short burst of energy (Hall M, 2013). There is also substantial evidence that creatine supplementation during resistance training increases muscle mass and performance (i.e., strength) by influencing metabolism, hydration, glycogen content, and inflammation (Mills, Scotty et al., 2020).

Who would not want to take a supplement proven to help increase physical attributes and improve performance? However, there is a common misconception on introducing this supplement to the body. Most directions on taking creatine advise having a loading phase. The “Bro” science behind loading creatine comes from the belief that loading reduces the amount of time it takes for creatine to build up in the muscles to create greater amounts of available creatine. To make matters worse, supposedly, skipping the creatine loading phase may result in prolonging peak performance. 

Let’s break down the facts of creatine absorption. Creatine is absorbed by the small intestine into the blood. The muscle then absorbs creatine from the blood as needed. The absorption of creatine in the muscle is influenced by sodium and insulin. It is advised to take creatine with sugary drinks (e.g., grape juice) or with a meal because the muscles can absorb creatine more easily when insulin is present. Insulin is released after your body consumes sugars, to promote post-meal absorption of sugars into the body. Still, creatine or creatine supplements consumed without sugary drinks can still be absorbed, just less effectively.

The effective dosing for creatine supplementation includes loading with 0.3 grams per kilogram body weight for 5 to 7 days, followed by maintenance dosing at 0.03 grams per kilogram most commonly for 4 to 6 weeks (Hall M, 2013). In a research article on the effects of creatine loading in sprint and endurance performance, evidence showed that prolonged creatine supplementation in humans does not increase muscle or whole-body oxidative capacity (Van Loon, 2003). In the study, a placebo was given to half the trial group during the week-long loading phase and the results concluded that both groups improved. If this loading phase was so necessary wouldn’t one group be significantly better than the other? Ultimately, this gives slight indication that a loading phase may not be as necessary as people think because the effects of taking creatine in general is overall positive. Creatine will get stored in the muscle regardless of a loading phase or not, therefore there is no need to take so much the week before.

Reviewed by: Jaclyn Barta, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.

Mills, Scotty et al. “Effects of Creatine Supplementation during Resistance Training Sessions in Physically Active Young Adults.” Nutrients vol. 12,6 1880. 24 Jun. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12061880

Van Loon LJ, Oosterlaar AM, Hartgens F, Hesselink MK, Snow RJ, Wagenmakers AJ. Effects of creatine loading and prolonged creatine supplementation on body composition, fuel selection, sprint and endurance performance in humans. Clin Sci (Lond). 2003 Feb;104(2):153-62. doi: 10.1042/CS20020159. PMID: 12546637.

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Overate? No Need to Detox!

May 01, 2022

We’ve all been there. Whether it was your favorite food, a stressful week, or you were simply bored, we can all recall times were we ate more than we needed to.

What if I told you that you didn’t have to drink celery juice for the next week or try the newest celebrity diet pill to “reverse” what you just ate? Diet culture loves to find ways to promote detoxification and weight loss, but if they really worked, everyone would be using them. Many studies have shown that these “cleanses” and extremely low-calorie diets lower the body’s metabolic rate as it goes into a “starvation phase” to conserve energy. The body eventually adjusts to a lower intake, so once caloric intake is restored to its initial level, the dieter typically gains the weight back plus some (Harvard Health Publishing 2008).

The truth is, if you have a liver and kidneys, amongst other major organs, you don’t need to drain your wallet on products to “detox”. Our bodies have systems in place to help us naturally, as long as you provide them with proper nutrition and care. Current recommendations include drinking water and consuming a variety of fiber-rich plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to promote bowel regularity. Additionally, consuming cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts may support the body’s natural detoxification pathways. If it feels comfortable, walking or other light exercises can help with digestion (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2022).

Luckily, one meal won’t affect your health in the long term. One study aimed at understanding the physiological differences between eating until “comfortably full” and again until participants “could not eat another bite”. The results showed that despite eating about twice the amount of food in the second trial, there was only a small increase in blood sugar and fat levels compared to eating until “comfortably full”. Thus, for generally healthy people, the body is able to compensate for overeating by regulating blood sugar and fat by raising your heart rate and releasing hormones, such as insulin, from the gut and pancreas (Hengist 2020).

So, although repeated overconsumption is associated with negative health effects, current research shows that occasional overeating doesn’t pose much of a risk to your health. Feeling the need to compensate with a detox diet can leave you feeling sluggish from not meeting your energy needs, and won’t be helpful in the long term since most weight lost is just temporary water weight. What’s more, some herbal supplements advertised for detoxification can lead to adverse food and medication interactions, doing more harm than good (Cleveland Clinic 2020).

Instead of feeling guilty and defeated, nourish yourself with a well-balanced diet and give yourself grace. Ignoring your cravings won’t make them go away, so honor your body and enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Use this as an opportunity to give your body what it needs to sustain its incredible self-cleaning mechanisms. Lean into self-care, not self-destruction.

References:

Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials. Are You Planning a Cleanse or Detox? Read This First. Version current 3 January 2020. Internet: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-you-planning-a-cleanse-or-detox-read-this-first/ (Accessed 12 February 2022).

Foroutan, R. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eat Right. What’s the Deal with Detox Diets? Version current 14 January 2022. Internet: https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/fad-diets/whats-the-deal-with-detox-diets?rdTye=site_move&rdInfo=fd7 (Accessed 25 January 2022).

Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. The Dubious Practice of Detox. Version current 1 May 2008. Internet: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-dubious-practice-of-detox (Accessed 21 January 2022).

Hengist, A., Edinburgh, R., Davies, R., Walhin, J., Buniam, J., James, L., . . . Betts, J. (2020). Physiological responses to maximal eating in men. British Journal of Nutrition, 124(4), 407-417. doi:10.1017/S0007114520001270

Reviewed by: Alexa Burnett, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Myth: Diet and exercise will never help me manage my polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

May 01, 2022

What is PCOS? 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common hormone-related disorders in reproductive-aged women (Azziz R 2018). Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for higher blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, fertility issues, and mood disorders (Azziz R 2018).

How can nutrition affect PCOS? 

Simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, candy, and soft drinks have a different effect on the body than complex carbohydrates such as beans, brown rice, and vegetables. When an individual consumes simple carbohydrates, the blood sugar “spikes”, giving the individual short-term energy followed by a crash of that energy. When the body consumes complex carbohydrates, they are extra steps digestion has to go through, resulting in a more leveled out sustained energy from that sugar. The “leveled out” reaction occurs due to fiber. This concept is important for individuals with PCOS since it is common to have higher than average blood sugar levels (Azziz R 2018). Managing the type of carbohydrate intake could aid in managing their blood sugar levels since they are already higher than average.

Recent research has examined the effect of protein on blood sugar regulation. When protein is paired with a carbohydrate, the body can respond to that sugar better, leading to a more leveled-out response (H. Farshchi et al, 2009).

Overall, it is recommended to have a regular eating pattern with calories spread throughout the day, protein consisting of 20% of the day’s calories, fat from 30%, and then 50% with complex carbohydrates rich in fiber promoting regularity and vitamins and minerals (H. Farshchi et al, 2009).

How does exercise affect PCOS? 

Some of the ailments associated with PCOS are also correlated with being overweight/obese. Exercise is a tool individuals can use to achieve weight loss to manage their PCOS better. However, exercise benefits are more than just weight loss for individuals with PCOS. As previously discussed, those with PCOS are at an increased risk for insulin resistance. According to the research, “exercise improves…insulin sensitivity” (Woodward et al, 2020). Why is insulin important? When individuals eat a carbohydrate source, the sugar in the blood increases from recently eating, and the hormone insulin is released to knock on the cells to request that the sugar enter. When someone has insulin resistance, the cells in the body cannot hear that insulin knocking and must produce more for the cells to notice that there is sugar to go into the cells. Once the higher amount of insulin is produced, the cells let the sugar inside, but now the body has an imbalance of insulin to blood sugar leading to low blood sugar with the high amounts of insulin. Therefore, improving insulin sensitivity would enhance the body’s response to sugar in the blood allowing the cells to use the sugar more effectively in the blood; thus, better managing the PCOS.

Overall, “guidelines for PCOS suggest at least 150 minutes [2.5 hours] of physical activity per week” (Woodward et al, 2020). Although this may seem extreme or unachievable, it is important to start small and gradually work up to the end goal. If the patient is a complete beginner, prespring 150 minutes of physical activity per week may sound daunting, therefore start with a 15-minute walk each day, then a 20-minute walk the next week, so on and so forth. Hate walking? Try rock climbing, boxing, dancing, or yoga. It is essential to individualize the exercise experience to help foster a more sustainable and fulfilling habit.

In conclusion, proper nutrition and exercise are essential for managing PCOS. From working your intake of simple carbohydrates to aiding in how your body can let sugar into the cell, you can take a one-stop forward in managing your PCOS today.

References:

Azziz R. (2018). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Obstetrics and gynecology132(2), 321–336. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.00000000000026

H. Farshchi, A. Rane, A. Love & R. L. Kennedy (2007) Diet and nutrition in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Pointers for nutritional management, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 27:8, 762-773, DOI: 10.1080/01443610701667338

Phy, J. L., Pohlmeier, A. M., Cooper, J. A., Watkins, P., Spallholz, J., Harris, K. S., Berenson, A. B., & Boylan, M. (2015). Low Starch/Low Dairy Diet Results in Successful Treatment of Obesity and Co-Morbidities Linked to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Journal of obesity & weight loss therapy5(2), 259. https://doi.org/10.4172/2165-7904.1000259

Riccardi, G., & Rivellese, A. A. (1991). Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes care14(12), 1115–1125. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.14.12.1115

Woodward, A., Klonizakis, M., & Broom, D. (2020). Exercise and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Advances in experimental medicine and biology1228, 123–136. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-1792-1_8

Reviewed by: Betsy Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Are fresh vegetables more nutritious than frozen vegetables?

May 01, 2022

This myth is one that has tricked a lot of people into believing in something that is not true. I have gotten asked this question by so many people, especially people with  busy schedules. Do not feel bad if you fell into this category of believing fresh veggies are more nutritious than frozen veggies. I used to think that there was no way a bag of frozen vegetables could have the same nutrient components as fresh vegetables. By reading this blog post, I hope it will help you see why this myth is not valid. Many people are under the impression that frozen vegetables have fewer nutrients than fresh vegetables.  

Most of the general population are very busy, and it is important to know that you can prepare a bag of frozen vegetables and it will count the same as if it was fresh vegetables. There are different nutrition factors in the way that you prepare them but they both give you excellent amount of nutrients. According to an article, Microwaving cooking has a higher retention of Vitamin C than if it was steamed or boiled. Vitamin K is more heat stable so it can be retained after the cooking process. Vitamin E was released in the cooking process. According to the agriculture and food chemistry journal, researchers proved that no evidence suggested that frozen vegetables were worse than fresh vegetables. The researchers found certain nutrients were higher in the frozen than in the new and vice versa (Bouzari et al., 2015).

We know that the most nutritious vegetables are closer to their season. Local vegetables will be the best because they have just come out of the fields. One way to eat locally is by going to the local farm markets and buying the produce there because that is going to be your best option for the most local grown vegetables. The longer the produce sit and are exposed to heat and light that could lower their nutrient values. However, frozen vegetables get picked right when they are fully ripe and packaged right away to ensure they maintain their nutrients (Beth Czerwony,2020). According to a researcher at UGA, she showed that some frozen vegetables had higher amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folate than the fresh vegetables left on the shelf for five days at the local grocery store. Freezing helps maintain the nutritional value of fresh vegetables while stored (Melancon, 2013). This information proves that the frozen option could be better for you depending on when you get the vegetables.

As Americans, we know that we are not consuming enough vegetables in our daily diet. Since we now know that frozen vegetables are just as good for you as fresh, that should help us consume more vegetables each day.  Frozen vegetables are very convenient, so we have no excuse not to pop them in the microwave and have them for a nice side to dinner. Fresh doesn’t always mean better.  The recommended daily intake of vegetables according to MyPlate for women ages 19-30 is 2.5 to 3 cups and for college aged men 19-30 is 3 to 4 cups (U.S Department of Agriculture, 2022). The goal is to eat the recommended daily intake of vegetables whether fresh or frozen.

Reviewed by: Claire Marie Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern

References:

Bouzari A, Holstege D, Barrett DM. Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Jan 28;63(3):957-62.

Cleveland Clinic. Are fresh vegetables healthier than frozen or canned? Version Current 17 July 2020. Internet: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-fresh-vegetables-healthier-than-frozen-or-canned/ (accessed 22 January 2022).

Lee S, Choi Y, Jeong HS, Lee J, Sung J. Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2017;27:333-342.

University of Georgia. CAES Newswire. Version Current 13 December 2003. Internet: https://newswire.caes.uga.edu/story/4966/frozen-nutrients.html (accessed 22 January 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. Version Current 2022. Internet: https://www.myplate.gov (accessed 14 February 2022).

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Potatoes: Healthy or Harmful?

May 01, 2022

White potatoes are one of the most versatile foods in the kitchen, but the health community has given them a bad reputation. Should you be switching from regular fries to sweet potato fries?

White potatoes have been tied to an increase in diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease for years, despite their true nutrient quality. They have even been removed from the vegetable group in food guides due to their affiliation with high-fat diets (King and Slavin 2013). What is commonly seen as a cheat food can provide essential nutrients to your diet.

Would you eat potatoes more often if you knew the real benefits? In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for America, vitamin C and potassium were listed as two nutrients of concern. White potatoes are the leading vegetable in potassium per serving and are an excellent source for vitamin C, dietary fiber, and other vital nutrients such as vitamin B6 and phytochemicals (King and Slavin 2013). One study found that people who consume white potatoes had a much higher total vegetable and potassium intake than people who avoided them. The white potato also retains the majority, if not all, of its potassium and dietary fiber in all cooking methods (Storey and Anderson 2013).

White potatoes are most associated with high-fat, fried foods such as French fries and tater tots. Due to this, people assume the potato itself is bad for you rather than the way it is prepared. For example, boiled potato is very nutrient-dense, but a fried potato has added fat and sodium that is undesirable (Slavin 2013). If fat is not added to the potato during preparation, it has approximately 0.1% lipid content. Only one-third of that is saturated fatty acids. That is a lower fat content than rice and pasta (King and Slavin 2013).

If you choose a low-fat cooking method, the white potato is a great option to increase your vegetable intake and reach your recommended daily intake of potassium, dietary fiber, and other essential nutrients. By labeling the white potato as a food to avoid, you miss out on its nutrient and energy benefits. It is an affordable and tasty vegetable that can be prepared for people of all age groups. 

References

King JC, & Slavin, JL. White potatoes, human health, and dietary guidance. Adv Nutr 2013; 4(3), 393S–401S

Slavin JL. Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and resistant starch in white vegetables: links to health outcomes. Adv Nutr 2013; 4(3), 351S–5S.

Storey, ML & Anderson PA. Contributions of white vegetables to nutrient intake: NHANES 2009-2010. Adv Nutr 2013; 4(3), 335S–44S.

Reviewed by: Jessica Beasley, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Avoid Carbs if you want to lose weight?

May 01, 2022

If you were to sit down and ask yourself, how often have you heard the saying not to eat carbs, how many times would that be? Today, many people believe the Keto Diet is the best plan to lose weight. Keto is a diet that explicitly takes out the whole food group of carbs. So, today I am here to debunk the popular myth that an individual must avoid carbohydrates to lose weight. Most people think that carbs are all bad; that is not true. Carbohydrates are one of the macronutrients we need to have energy. The type of carbohydrates you eat is more of the problem regarding gaining and losing weight. There are different types of carbohydrates. Some carbohydrates are simple, and some are complex. Simple carbohydrates are the ones that are going to lead to weight gain. A statement that helps clarify this point is that if carbs were terrible, then people over in other countries where their main dish with every meal is at least half carbs would be highly overweight. I let that stick with me because I realized just how true that statement was and how we need to let that sink in when we start thinking about all carbs as being all bad.

Ever since the Keto diet has come around, this has caused this myth to gain a lot of attention. The Keto diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. The reason that it restricts carbs is that carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body. (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2021). Another popular diet is the Atkins diet. This diet is a consumption of high-fat food and very few carbohydrates. A study showed that the weight loss was due to the duration of the diet and not the fact that it cut out carbohydrates. This study shows that people were losing weight because they cut out carbohydrates, but they were doing the diet for a short period.

The research showed a difference between people who did the diet for six months but no difference for people who did for twelve months (Astrup et al., 2004). It is also important to remember to have a balanced diet. According to MyPlate, one-fourth of your plate should be grains. We know that grains are carbs so, if we are required to have grains on our plates, then that must mean we need some carbs in our diet. Carbohydrates are essential in our diets because they give us energy. Grains are crucial to your diet because they provide many nutrients needed for the body to be healthy. These nutrients are complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and minerals. However, we need to be mindful of the grains we are eating. According to MyPlate, we want half of our grain portion to be whole grains (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2020). When it comes to those whole grains, they have complex carbs in them, which helps you stay full longer and have more energy. Examples of complex carbohydrates would be oats, brown rice, and quinoa. After reading this article, I want you to go out and eat that bagel for breakfast with no fear of not being able to lose weight.

Reviewed by: Jessica Beasley, UGA Dietetic Intern

References:

Astrup A, Meinert Larsen T, Harper A. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? Lancet. 2004 Sep 4-10;364(9437):897-9.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eat Right.  “What Is the Ketogenic Diet.”  Version current April 2021. Internet: https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/fad-diets/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet (accessed 22 January 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture. My Plate. Version Current 2020. Internet: https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/grains (accessed 22 January 2022).

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Fact vs. Fiction about Fresh vs. Frozen

May 01, 2022

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day is important for a balanced diet. Based on current scientific evidence, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend that adults eat about two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily (U.S Department of Agriculture 2020). These servings can be hard to achieve, especially with rising fresh produce prices, but fear not! Fresh produce is often touted as the best (or only) option for working these foods into a healthy diet, but several studies that will be discussed in this post have shown that the nutrient content in frozen fruits and vegetables is comparable to their fresh counterparts. Frozen options are often more affordable, better when buying for larger households, and a great form of these foods when trips to the grocery store are less frequent.

Due to the high water content of fruits and vegetables, their quality decreases quickly. By the time they make it from the farm to the grocery store and are finally purchased, some nutrients may be lost. The longer it sits in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten, the more the quality of the product may continue to degrade. Frozen produce, however, is often picked at peak ripeness and immediately frozen, which helps preserve the nutrients (Barrett 2007). Frozen produce can be just as nutritious an option as fresh, especially when you may not use it right after purchase.

One two-year study examined the status of certain key nutrients in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as “fresh-stored” to mimic five-day refrigeration in the home after purchase. The researchers found that there were generally no significant differences in nutrient levels, and any decreases in nutrient content they did find were due to the five-day refrigerated storage (Li et al 2017). In another study, researchers found that the amount of vitamin C, B2, and E, and beta-carotene (used to make vitamin A) in eight different frozen fruits and vegetables was comparable to their fresh counterparts. They even found that vitamin C was higher in some frozen produce (Bouzari et al 2015).

When it comes down to it, it’s most important to get your fruits and vegetables where you can. The DGA states that fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are all part of a healthy eating pattern (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2020). Frozen produce is just as viable an option for fitting it into your diet in a more accessible and affordable way. So, go ahead and grab that bag of frozen berries and enjoy all the health benefits they have to offer!

Reviewed by: Jaclyn Barta, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Barrett DM. Maximizing the nutritional value of fruits & vegetables. Food Technol 2007;61:40-4. https://fruitandvegetable.ucdavis.edu/files/197179.pdf

Bouzari A, Holstege D, and Barrett DM. Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. J Agric Food Chem 2015;63:957-62. doi: 10.1021/jf5058793.

Li L, Pegg RB, Eitenmiller RR, Chun JY, and Kerrihard AL. Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables. J Food Compos Anal 2017;59:8-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2017.02.002.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

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All Athletes Can Suffer From Disordered Eating

May 01, 2022

One of the longest-enduring myths amongst the general population, athletic coaches, and athletes is that only female athletes can experience disordered eating (DE) and eating disorders (EDs). Not only does this myth sew further shame and unlikeliness to seek help with DE/EDs into male athletes, but it discredits the experience of queer athletes too. Though the traditional rhetoric prefers to acknowledge only female athletes’ experiences with DE/EDs, there are several reasons to heighten awareness of other athletes’ experiences with food & body image in athletics.

Possibly the most severe side effect of only focusing on female athletes in the conversation about DE is the missed opportunity to recognize a red flag that could indicate declining performance and overall health in other athletes. In 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) essentially renamed the “Female Athlete Triad” (an unhealthy grouping of menstrual dysfunction, low energy availability, & low bone density/osteoporosis in female athletes) to “Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport” (RED-S). One of the main motivations of this renaming was to emphasize that male athletes reap similar, severe disadvantages from eating too little to keep up with the demands of their sport to female athletes (Mountjoy et al., 2018). In addition to damaging decreases in their testosterone levels (which threatens overall health and athletic performance), male athletes are at the same risk of damaged immune, bone, hormonal, metabolic, circulatory, developmental, mental, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health when the energy required for their athletic training outweighs the amount of energy they eat (or drink) too dramatically (Mountjoy et al. 2018). Thus, it is highly valuable to acknowledge the presence of DE in male athletes so diet-linked declines in their athletic performance and overall health can be prevented before they become too severe.

Despite the legitimate issue of DE/EDs in male athletes, popular sports culture normalizes ED/EDs in female athletics but disregards or shames the topic on the male side. While it is true that biological males and females think about food and body image differently, it is not sufficient to assume that male athletes are free of body image and food concerns. In a study comparing the prevalence of disordered eating in elite male and female soccer players, researchers found no significant difference in the genders’ risk of developing disordered eating habits (Abbott et al., 2021). The study found that athletes’ degree of perfectionism was more to blame for their DE risk than was their gender (Abbott et al., 2021). This finding suggests that athletes are less likely to be driven into DE by their biological gender than by their sport’s tedious performance and appearance expectations. Thus, it should not be female vs. male that determines alertness of an athlete’s eating habits but rather the presence of body size/shape norms in their sport (e.g., “smaller” for long-distance running or “bigger” for football) and the level at which the athlete is competing (i.e., recreational vs. elite).

Beyond the inclusion of male athletes in the discussion on DE/EDs, queer athletes must also be considered because of the unique way that those who are non-binary or trans may be affected by the discussion of body image in particular sports. In a summary of LGBTQ+ athletes’ experience with disordered eating, dietitians noted that only ~30% of queer athletes come out to their team or coaches and are more likely to struggle with disordered eating than their peers (Scritchfield and Sheinman 2021). Addressing everyone’s experiences with DE/EDs ensures that all athletes are monitored for at-risk eating behaviors and can help refocus performance nutrition on performance rather than on the gendered expectations of an athlete’s appearance that the sport may have.

Reviewed by: Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Abbott W, Brett A, Brownlee T, Hammond K, Harper L, Naughton R, Anderson L, Munson E, Sharkey J, Randell R, Clifford T. The prevalence of disordered eating in elite male and female soccer players. Eating and Weight Disorders 2021;26:491-498.

Mountjoy M, Sundgot-Borgen J, Burke L, Ackerman K, Blauwet C, Constantini N, Lebrun C, Lundy B, Melin A, Meyer N, et. al. IOC consensus statement on relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S): 2018 update. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:687-697.

Scritchfield R, Sheinman E. Inclusive nutrition and disordered eating counseling for LGBTQ+ athletes. 1st ed. Chicago, IL: Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., 2021.

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Intermittent Fasting – healthy or harmful? Breaking down the risks and benefits of popular health trends

May 01, 2022

Disclosure

Anyone looking to try any form of fast should first discuss this with their doctor.  Intermittent fasting can be dangerous for those with underlying health conditions.

What is intermittent fasting?

As more than 2 in 3 adults struggle with obesity, new weight loss methods have been explored (Stockman et al 2018).  Intermittent fasting is a method that condenses one's meals to a specific period during the day.  The restrictions apply to when you can and can’t eat, however, do not restrict what foods you choose to eat or the quantity.  Many people wonder, “eating whatever and however much you want while losing weight, what’s the catch?”  Below we will review the potential health benefits and risks with this new fad diet.  In short, insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas which lowers glucose levels. When one waits a designated amount of time to eat, the body's insulin levels will drop.  The decrease of insulin is when fat cells release sugar which is how we get our energy (Tello et all 2021).  Weight loss occurs when we wait an extended period of time, and insulin levels go down to be able to burn off fat.

Benefits/Risks

The idea of weight loss is simple; it occurs when the energy expended is more than the energy consumed.  In short, it is less likely we can consume the same number of calories in 8 hours as we can in 24.  Short-term benefits were found due to the manipulation of body processes such as improved metabolic health and weight loss.  When the body is in a fast, it goes through ketosis which occurs when the fat stores are utilized which produces ketones (Torborg et al 2020).  In the short term, intermittent fasting has been said to help with inflammation, reduction of oxidative stress, and insulin sensitivity (Stockman et al 2018).

The most obvious reason many don’t stick with this diet is its sustainability.  Depending on the ratio of time between consuming and fasting hours, it can be intense.  Knowing yourself and what will be manageable for you is important when choosing the time frame of on and off fasting, or even the type of diet.  In addition, there is little information on the long-term effects of fasts (Torborg et al 2020).  One should be aware that severe caloric restriction could lead to deficiencies and malnutrition.  Because intermittent fasters are not going to consume the same number of calories as one would without fasting, it is important that those fasting be more aware of their intake and continue to meet the recommendations based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Worth the popularity?

Although there are intriguing experiments released on rodents revealing evidence of positive health benefits, minimal research and the long-term effects on humans has not been studied. Intermittent fasting should be done at your own risk, and it is recommended to consult with a professional before starting this diet.

Reviewed by: Regina Yang, UGA Dietetic Intern

Resources:

Stockman MC, Thomas D, Burke J, Apovian CM. Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight? Curr Obes Rep. 2018;7(2):172-185. Accessed January 26, 2022.

Tello M. Intermittent fasting: Surprising update. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156. Published November 16, 2021. Accessed January 26, 2022.

Torborg L. Mayo Clinic Q and a: Long-term benefits and risks of intermittent fasting aren't yet known. Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-long-term-benefits-and-risks-of-intermittent-fasting-arent-yet-known/. Published March 10, 2020. Accessed January 26, 2022.

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Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

May 01, 2022

It's has been regularly stated that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but does this hold for those who want to lose weight? Many prominent supporters of dieting to lose weight have advocated for restrictive meal practices such as intermittent fasting to help many achieve their desired weight loss goals. Practices such as this restrict caloric intake throughout the day, producing the caloric deficit needed to achieve weight loss. But this practice is proving to do more harm than good.

One of the reasons skipping breakfast is used in these diets is that it increases the chance of assessing a caloric deficit. According to research by Wicherski, skipping breakfast increased the relative risk of becoming obese or overweight by 75%, along with 78 % of the studies in the article showing an increase in weight in those who skipped Breakfast (Wicherski et al 2021). Weight gain is the opposite of what we want! As breakfast skipping increased the relativity of adverse health conditions, eating breakfast decreased the relative risk of weight gain, increased BMI, WC, and obesity (Wicherski et al 2021). Grabbing that bowl of oatmeal or quick smoothie may not be such a bad idea after all!

Other serious adverse health effects have been documented because of skipping over the day's most important meal. According to a systematic review done on children, those who skipped breakfast were reported to have increased triglyceride and LDL levels and decreased HDL levels (Monzani et al 2019). Cheerios are good for your health after all! In this same review, children skipping breakfast also had higher blood glucose levels and developed metabolic syndrome at a higher rate (Monzani et al 2019).

A breakfast high in fiber, such as a bowl of oatmeal with whole wheat toast and a spread, will keep one full for longer and provide that necessary morning boost. This combination, along with many others packed with heart-healthy ingredients, will help alleviate many of these health issues associated with not eating breakfast. Recommending a high caloric breakfast has resulted in weight loss and increased energy expenditure. This practice has lower BMIs, decreased cholesterol, and LDL levels (Lopez-Minguez et al 2019). A higher caloric breakfast allows for lower calorie meals throughout the rest of the day, which may be challenging to make up for when breakfast is missed (Lopez-Minguez et al 2019). Missing out on breakfast has also proven to be a disadvantage regarding exercise and its benefits to weight loss. It decreases the number of carbs used by the body as fuel during training, forcing the body to use alternative less-efficient fuel sources (Lopez-Minguez et al 2019). It appears that dropping a few pounds will require some fuel to get there.

The next time you think about skipping breakfast, remember that it truly is the most important meal of the day, and its benefits for your health are plentiful in the long run!

Reviewed by: Abigail Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Wicherski J, Schlesinger S, Fischer F. Association between Breakfast Skipping and Body Weight-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Longitudinal Studies. Nutrients. 2021;13(1):272. Published 2021 Jan 19. doi:10.3390/nu13010272

Monzani A, Ricotti R, Caputo M, et al. A Systematic Review of the Association of Skipping Breakfast with Weight and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents. What Should We Better Investigate in the Future?. Nutrients. 2019;11(2):387. Published 2019 Feb 13. doi:10.3390/nu11020387

Lopez-Minguez J, Gómez-Abellán P, Garaulet M. Timing of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Effects on Obesity and Metabolic Risk. Nutrients. 2019;11(11):2624. Published 2019 Nov 1. doi:10.3390/nu11112624

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Why Fresh Produce is Not Always the Healthiest

May 01, 2022

In the media, fresh fruits and vegetables are marketed to be healthier over frozen or canned produce. However, buying fresh produce can be expensive and wasteful if you don't use the produce before it goes bad. So, do fresh fruit, and vegetables offer better and more nutrients than canned or frozen? Surprisingly, no. Fruits and vegetables you see at the grocery store have typically traveled many miles and been exposed to heat and light through the packing and traveling process. Also, this time-consuming process can eventually cause the nutrients to be lost in food items. Conversely, frozen produce is picked at the perfect level of ripeness when that product has the highest nutrient value at that moment. (Czerwony 2020). Once picked and the product is immediately frozen, there is no loss of nutrients, which preserves and eliminates the potential loss of the nutrients. The method of freezing the fruit or vegetable stops nutrients from being lost (American Diabetes Association 2021). It is important when buying frozen products to glance over the ingredient list. Often, frozen products will have unnecessary ingredients added, such as sugar, juices, or sauces. Another benefit to choosing frozen over fresh is the price. When fruits and vegetables are out of season, the price tends to go up, so an alternative option is to buy the frozen version of that product for a more affordable price that will last longer (Cleveland Clinic 2020).

Alternatively, buying canned goods is an affordable, long-lasting option. These items will not expire fast, so there is no worry about wasting food and throwing money away. It is important to be cautious of sodium or juices added to the products in canned goods. Often, when sodium and juices are added, they can add a sufficient amount of extra calories and sodium. To avoid this, shop some of the many brands with lower sodium options, or you can rinse the items in a colander to remove excess sodium or juices (Czerwony 2020).

Farmers’ markets or shopping locally grown produce is another way to buy fresh and get more nutrients out of your food. Most of the produce at these venues is picked the day of, or more recently, and free from exposure to the shipping and harmful heat, unlike grocery store produce; Therefore making this method a great alternative to buy fresh while also supporting your community (Czerwony 2020).

Overall, fresh does not always mean it is the “healthiest” option. Frozen and canned produce can often offer more nutrients at more affordable prices and have longer shelf/freezer lives. Buying local from farmers’ markets or other locally sourced stores offers fresh produce at an affordable price, as well.

References

American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Food Hub: Fresh Versus Frozen Fruits and Vegetables. Version current 2021. https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/fresh-versus-frozen-fruitsvegetables.html (accessed 26 January).

Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials: Are Fresh Vegetables Healthier Than Frozen or Canned. Version current 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-fresh-vegetables-healthier-thanfrozen-or-canned/ (accessed 26 January).

Piedmont. Fresh vs. frozen produce: Which is healthier? https://www.piedmont.org/livingbetter/fresh-vs-frozen-produce-which-is-healthier (accessed 26 January).

Reviewed by: Betsy Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Let’s Talk About Chlorophyll Water

May 01, 2022

You may have heard of chlorophyll water while scrolling through social media and heard people tout about some of its potential benefits. There have been claims that it helps with weight loss, digestion, and clear skin. So what’s the truth? Is chlorophyll water the drink that can do it all?

First, let’s talk about what chlorophyll water is. Chlorophyll water is green in color and has been fortified with chlorophyll supplements. You can buy it already made in-store or make your own at home with water and a liquid chlorophyll supplement. Some people add other ingredients to give it flavor like lime or lemon but put simply, it’s just chlorophyll and water.

Now that we know what it is, we can discuss whether it’s harmful and if it does what it claims to do. One study found that green-plant membrane, which contains chlorophyll, resulted in weight loss and decreased appetite for overweight women (Montelius et al 2014). However, this study fails to isolate chlorophyll as the reason for this weight loss (Montelius et al 2014). Besides the potential benefit of chlorophyll in weight loss, chlorophyll is a known antioxidant, which studies have shown to be protective against cancers (de Vogel et al). In fact, chlorophyll can potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer due to its antioxidant capabilities (de Vogel et al 2005).

Like other supplements, people should be careful of supplementation if they are taking medications to avoid any drug interactions that can be harmful. Chlorophyll is mainly found in foods with high levels of vitamin K, which interacts badly with blood thinner drugs like Warfarin. However, even though chlorophyll is found in vitamin k-dense foods, research has found no harmful effects of chlorophyll drops and chlorophyll water when taking medications (Siriwatanametanon 2017).

In conclusion, chlorophyll water is probably not going to result in drastic weight loss. Still, there are some nutritional benefits like antioxidants, which are great for reducing you risks of cancer. At the end of the day, it’s up to you. If you enjoy chlorophyll water and feel like it makes you healthier, then go for it, and for those of you not drinking chlorophyll water, then you’re not missing out.

Reviewed by:  Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern

Resources:

Montelius, C, Erlandsson, D, Vitija, E, Stenblom, EL, Egecioglu, E, Erlanson-Albertsson, C. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Appetite 2014;81:295-304. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.101

Siriwatanametanon, N. Warfarin-chlorophyll products, herb-drug interactions. Pharm Sci Asia 2017;44(4):173-189. Doi: 10.29090/psa.2017.04.173  

de Vogel, J, Jonker-Termont, DSML, van Lieshout, EMM, Katan, MB, van der Meer, R. Green vegetables, red meat, and colon cancer: chlorophyll prevents the cytotoxic and hyperproliferative effects of haem in rat colon. Carcinogenesis 2005;26(2):387-393. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgh331

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How Wellness Culture Is the Master of Disguise

May 01, 2022

Until a few years ago, diet culture in our society set the gold standard for what the “ideal” body type should be. It turned society’s focus toward achieving this standard by any means possible. Businesses such as Weight Watchers capitalized on this concept that was rooted in fat-phobia and sparked the obsession with fad-dieting. It wasn’t until the past decade that stereotypical “diet culture” appeared to make its exit and was instead replaced with the “wellness movement.” Modern wellness culture focuses on body positivity, self-care, overall “well-being,” and other efforts in an attempt to “change your life for the better.” Though this shift seems to be a refreshing alternative to harsh diet culture, it seems too good to be true. Have we as a society truly changed our beliefs about ourselves and others so drastically, so quickly?

To put it simply, not really. The diet industry rebranded itself into the multi-billion-dollar wellness industry we know today. The wellness industry is the ultimate façade that is deeply rooted in the same foundations that made traditional diet culture so harmful. While particular focuses of wellness culture may indeed be beneficial, wellness culture at its core is still really about weight loss and body image.

Large companies and even existing diet programs are adapting to this change and getting more strategic about how they market their products. “Wellness programs” are more accessible than ever due to apps and smartphones that reach a large client base and exist more or less as diet programs under different marketing.

One of the most popular yet problematic “anti-diet” wellness programs that are currently dominating the wellness industry is Noom. Noom is designed for weight loss through behavior change from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach and guarantees long-term results. It advertises an individualized plan without the use of restrictive dieting that is supported by “psychology” and “science” when in reality, it’s just another restrictive plan intended to assign a halo or devil horns to each food.

The fitness industry didn’t create the wellness movement; rather, the industry followed the power of leading influential voices when they spoke out. In other words, the influencers speaking out for body positivity and inclusivity, health at every size (HAES), and anti-diet efforts had good intentions, and the industry slapped a new label onto their same old scheme. The industry is still capitalizing on deep-rooted physical insecurities that simply cannot and will not disappear as quickly as the “wellness movement” was born.

References:

Eikey EV. Effects of diet and fitness apps on eating disorder behaviours: qualitative study. BJPsych Open. 2021;7(5):e176. Published 2021 Sep 24. doi:10.1192/bjo.2021.1011

Honary M, Bell BT, Clinch S, Wild SE, McNaney R. Understanding the Role of Healthy Eating and Fitness Mobile Apps in the Formation of Maladaptive Eating and Exercise Behaviors in Young People. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(6):e14239. Published 2019 Jun 18. doi:10.2196/14239

Marks, R. J., De Foe, A., & Collett, J. (2020). The pursuit of wellness: Social media, body image and eating disorders. Children and Youth Services Review, 119, Article 105659. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105659

Weight. Noom. https://web.noom.com/weight-loss/. Accessed February 12, 2022

Reviewed by: Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Myth: Women with gestational diabetes can’t have sugar

May 01, 2022

Pregnancy can be a scary and uncertain time for many women. Not only are women expected to maintain their own health, but they are also responsible for their growing child’s. The stress and anxiety are only exacerbated when many women are told they have “failed” their oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). An OGTT is the generally accepted method for diagnosis of gestational diabetes (McIntyre et al 2019). Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications, affecting up to 18% of pregnant women (McIntyre et al 2019). Gestational diabetes is not well understood by the public while simultaneously affecting a large proportion of them, leading to many myths and misunderstandings. A common myth is that women diagnosed with gestational diabetes cannot have sugar or desserts. This idea is wrong! As with everything, a healthy diet with gestational diabetes is all about moderation and balance.

Many people assume that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes automatically aligns with adopting a low-carbohydrate diet. A low-carbohydrate diet consists of less than 45% of daily caloric intake coming from carbohydrates (Mahajan et al 2019). Controversial evidence surrounds this dietary approach, and recent studies conflict with conventional advice to lower carbohydrate intake (Mahajan et al 2019). One study found that a higher carbohydrate diet contributed to lower fasting glucose, less insulin resistance, and reduced inflammation (Hernandez et al 2018). This study also highlighted that the quality of the carbohydrate eaten, namely complex carbohydrates, is more important to consider for blood sugar control (Mahajan et al 2019). Additionally, a low carbohydrate diet, a potentially major change from a mother’s typical diet, can contribute to anxiety and stress which can negatively impact pregnancy outcomes (Mahajan et al 2019). It is important to consider creating balance in the diet over reducing carbohydrate intake. Even modest reductions in carbohydrates can potentially lead to an imbalance in macronutrient intake and a reduction in overall energy intake (Mahajan et al 2019). During pregnancy, decreased energy intake is rarely recommended and can put the mother and child in danger (Hernandez et al 2018).

Mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes should consider positive lifestyle changes rather than restricting carbohydrate intake (Rasmussen et al 2020). A healthy and balanced diet should result in appropriate weight gain for the mother and fetus, regardless of glucose tolerance (Rasmussen et al 2020). Additionally, the ideal diet for management of gestational diabetes includes adequate carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber, and micronutrients (Rasmussen et al 2020). Physical activity is a significant component involved in the control of glucose levels as well, as it has been shown to improve glucose and insulin levels in pregnant women in the short and long term (Rasmussen et al 2020). Moderate intensity exercise 3-4 times per week for women with gestational diabetes is recommended to help balance glucose levels following meals(Rasmussen et al 2020). Overall, a healthy balanced diet, relationship to food, and exercise is recommended to manage gestational diabetes while glucose restriction is not recommended. Pregnancy is tough enough as it is, and restricting carbohydrates following diagnosis of gestational diabetes may only make it more difficult!

Reviewed by: Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Hernandez TL, Mande A, Barbour LA. Nutrition therapy within and beyond gestational diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2018;145:39-50.

Mahajan A, Donovan LE, Vallee R, Yamamoto JM. Evidenced-based nutrition for gestational diabetes mellitus. Curr Diab Rep 2019;19(10):94.

McIntyre HD, Catalano P, Zhang C, Desoye G, Mathiesen ER,  Damm P. Gestational diabetes mellitus. Nat Rev Dis Primers 2019; 5(1), 47: 1-19.

Rasmussen L, Poulsen CW, Kampmann U, Smedegaard SB, Ovesen PG, Fuglsang J. Diet and healthy lifestyle in the management of gestational diabetes mellitus. Nutrients 2020;12(10):3050.

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Too Much Protein, Not Enough Gains: Busting the Myth Behind Excess Protein Intake

May 01, 2022

Growing up in a competitive sports academy, many fellow players sought muscle gain through buying protein supplements and increasing their protein intake. The commonly held consensus (aside from “no pain, no gain”) was that increasing protein intake as much as possible allowed more significant muscle growth in a shorter period. After college, I learned this belief was not exclusive to athletes but a recurring belief among amateurs and professional athletes alike. This led me to ask, does high protein intake actually increase muscle growth? The answers may surprise you.

There are many benefits to meeting protein needs. Protein adequacy builds and repairs muscle tissue, which is essential for gaining and maintaining muscle mass. However, these needs are not as large as many think. The recommendation for athletes in professional strength training only ranges from around 1.2-1.7 g/kg body weight (Rodriguez et al. 2009). For a 145lb active female, this range would equate to about 79-112 g protein per day. This range varies depending on activity level and type of exercise; the regular weekend runner needs as little as 0.8 g/kg (around 53 g protein for that same female). Each person has individual needs based on these factors. Finding your own and consuming your personalized range ensures your body can build and maintain muscle most effectively.

If meeting recommendations helps you build muscle, more must do the same faster, right? Not really. Above a certain point, protein intake will not be utilized to increase muscle mass (Rodriguez et al. 2009). This means you only need the recommended amount and obtaining extra is not needed and does not give any additional benefit. Having a high protein intake could harm you. Taking in more than double your recommended protein needs can lead to kidney damage (Ko et al. 2017), and an increased risk of injury due to calcium extraction from bones (Darling et al. 2009). Moreover, building muscles safely requires the balance of both protein adequacy and maintaining appropriate energy. Caloric deficits cause the body to break down protein for energy leading to muscle wasting not growing. Thus, eating a nice, balanced meal with appropriate carbohydrates beforehand and protein after will ensure safe exercising practices with a proper nutritional approach.

So when you finish your next workout, eat some protein, but not too much! Have a balanced recovery with a protein amount that fits your needs, not a protein supplement with unnecessary calories and increased carbohydrates which your body doesn’t need. The best form of protein is from natural sources: lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy, and soy products are a few of the many excellent foods with high protein content. Choose these the next time you work out or have a meal to ensure adequate, balanced, high-quality protein sources.

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Darling AL, Millward DJ, Torgerson DJ, Hewitt CE, Lanhan-New SA. Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90(6):1674-1692.

Ko GJ, Obi Y, Tortorici AR, Kalantar-Zadeh K. Dietary protein intake and chronic kidney disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2017;20(1):77-85.

Rodriguez NR, DiMarco NM, Langley S. Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Am Diet Assoc 2009;109(3):509-27.

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Do I need a multivitamin?

May 01, 2022

In 2021, 57.6% of adults in the United States reported using a dietary supplement within 30 days. The most common form among all age groups used was multivitamins (Mishra et.al, 2021). What is so magical about a multivitamin that over half of the US population feels they require it? The short answer is nothing.

Most Americans can do without any form of supplementation. If you are eating a wide variety of foods from a balanced diet including whole grains, colorful fruits and veggies, and hearty proteins, you are more than likely meeting the adequate intake for essential vitamins and minerals. Cases where multivitamin supplementation may be necessary include pregnant or breastfeeding women, people of older age, those limited in the variety of foods you can consume due to allergies or restrictions, or those diagnosed with a nutrient deficiency. These situations will need to be addressed by your healthcare provider and registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to ensure the safety and benefit of supplementation (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2022a).

If you are still considering taking a multivitamin, be sure to remember the FDA does not regulate the supplement industry for safety or efficacy. This means that what is stated on the label may not reflect what is actually in the product and may cause health risks. When shopping for supplements, look for items that have been third party tested by outside companies to ensure you are buying a trusted supplement brand. Reputable third parties include NSF Certified for Sport, USP Verified, Informed-Choice, or BSCG Certified Drug Free (Akabas et al, 2016).

When taking a supplement, remember that food comes first. Vitamins and minerals found in supplements have NO energy value. They will not fuel your body like the macronutrients from real foods will. Multivitamins are not intended to replace a nutrient-dense diet. Doing so will only result in more severe health issues. Focusing on filling your diet with a bountiful of real foods will do miles more for your health than a twice-daily pill (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2022a).

Not to mention, multivitamins are profoundly more expensive than whole foods. The supplement industry is making billions of dollars per year preying on Americans who are simply trying to do the best for their health (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2005). Did you know a turkey sandwich contains more essential amino acids than an entire bottle of amino acid supplements at a fraction of the cost (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2022 B)? Educating yourself on how to properly fuel your body with nourishing foods will help you meet all your nutritional needs without breaking the bank. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help make recommendations to meet your individual personal and financial needs through real foods!

References

A: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: Do You Need to Take Them? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Version current 2022a

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements/vitamins-minerals-and-supplements-do-you-need-to-take-them Accessed 26 January 2022

B: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Understanding Dietary Supplements. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition, Version current 2022b, https://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/THEACADEMY/7ced21c0-646a-49a2-bf42-65c0f561ddb8/UploadedImages/SCAN/Documents/SCAN_NCAA_Dietary_Supplements.pdf Accessed 26 January 2022

Akabas, S. R., Vannice, G., Atwater, J. B., Cooperman, T., Cotter, R., & Thomas, L. (2016). Quality Certification Programs for Dietary Supplements. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics116(9), 1370–1379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.11.003

Institute of Medicine (US) and National Research Council (US) Committee on the Framework for Evaluating the Safety of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements: A Framework for Evaluating Safety. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005. 1, Introduction and Background. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216048/

Mishra S, Stierman B, Gahche JJ, Potischman N. Dietary supplement use among adults: United States, 2017–2018. NCHS Data Brief, no 399. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15620/cdc:101131

 Reviewed by: Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: Don’t Put A Time Limit On When You Can Eat!

May 01, 2022

Like many, I have also fallen victim to blindly following my current favorite influencer’s “nutrition advice.” Thankfully, I have since learned to do my own research before following any more advice that is not backed by science. A few years ago, I saw a fitness influencer post about how intermittent fasting (IF) was the reason she looked the way she did, so naturally, I looked up the rules and how to intermittent fast, and I started the next day. I was left hungry and frustrated, but she said to “push through a week or two of being hungry, and your body will adjust to the allowed feeding time.” I lasted maybe a week and quit.

So, what even is IF, and what does it entail? IF is a diet that limits the amount of time you can consume food for the day. There are a few options for IF, the first being a 16/8 fasting: eating for eight hours and then fasting for 16. The second is known as the 5:2 approach, where five days a week, regular eating habits are followed. On the other two days, only one 500-600 calorie meal is allowed (Johns Hopkins Medicine 2021). The only thing allowed during the fasting period is any zero-calorie beverage. The idea behind IF is that it can be used as a diet to help aid in weight loss. But is ignoring our body's natural hunger cues and essentially starving ourselves worth it to hopefully lose a few pounds?

One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories. In a perfect world, with no outside factors coming into play, reducing daily calories by 500 calories a day, or 3,500 a week, should result in losing one pound of fat a week (Mayo Clinic 2020). Simply put, to lose weight, one must be in a calorie deficit: calories in must be less than calories out. IF is a very restrictive way to be in a calorie deficit. Does this method, where hunger cues are being entirely ignored when they do not fall into the allowed eating time, work better than just eating when hungry while being in a calorie deficit? When IF and daily calorie restriction (CR) are compared, both diets are equally effective ways to decrease body weight and fat mass (Varady 2011). Daily CR is an evidence-based method for viable weight loss, whereas more research is still needed to assess if IF is a sustainable method. The extreme time restriction on when food can be consumed may lead to other issues, such as eating disorder behaviors (Cuccolo et al., 2021). Based on the studies already completed, there seems to be more harm done with IF than simply being in a calorie deficit. So, eat when you are hungry and honor your hunger cues!

Reviewed by: Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern

References:

Cuccolo K, Kramer R, Petros T, Thoennes M, Intermittent fasting implementation and association with eating disorder symptomatology. Eat Disord. 2021; 1-21.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? Version current 2022. Internet: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work (accessed 23 January 2022).

Mayo Clinic. Counting Calories: Get back to weight-loss basics. Version current 8 December 2020. Internet: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065  (accessed 23 January 2022).

Varady K, Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obes Rev. 2011; 12:593-601.

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Does Eating Fats Lead to Weight Gain?

May 01, 2022

There is a misconception and misunderstanding about the significance and the harm of fats in one’s diet. Many people believe that eating fats are harmful to their health. In certain cases that is true when it comes to saturated fats and trans fats, but monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are essential to our diets. There are many benefits to having fats in your diet such as the building blocks of cell membranes, absorbing vitamins and minerals, being used as a source of fuel, blood clotting, lower disease risk such as heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure and reduce irregular heartbeats (Truth About Fats).

Previous research has found that many people do not know which fats are healthy to know how to incorporate them in their diets. We know this to be the case as the amount of saturated fat consumed has risen as well as the obesity in the world has risen; we see people shifting away from incorporating these foods into their diets. Learning the healthier fats such as the omegas are the first step to realizing the health benefits they provide (Diekman). Some examples of healthy fats to start to replace others within your diet are olive oil instead of butter, eating omega 3 rich fish such as salmon once per week, choosing lean meat and skinless chicken, and limiting processed foods (Mayo).

One of the more important components of fat are the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Studies show that these are most important for improving cardiovascular health by keeping the arteries smooth and free of damage thus preventing plaque buildup (Cleveland). These fats are essential, meaning your body cannot make them on their own, they are found in fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and eggs. Another form of fat beneficial to our health is monounsaturated fats. These fats are known to increase our HDL which is our good cholesterol in the body that helps build our cell membranes (Gordon).

Based on this research, it is best advised for the health of an individual to know the healthy fats of a diet and consume them regularly. In many of the studies conducted showing that the healthy fats stated above help in many ways, they were also looking at why people view fats to be negative. Fats are high calorie foods and lead to over consumption because fat is shown to have low satiety when consumed. Fat, unlike protein and carbs, is stored daily and not easily burned which depresses the senses of other foods consumed and stored (Golay).

When learning what the healthy fats are, we are still not to over-indulge in them because they are deemed “healthy” but rather pick them off the shelves before we reach for the saturated and transfat products.

References:

Mohebi-Nejad, A., & Bikdeli, B. (2014). Omega-3 supplements and cardiovascular diseases. Tanaffos13(1), 6–14.

Diekman C, Malcolm K: Consumer Perception and Insights on Fats and Fatty Acids: Knowledge on the Quality of Diet Fat. Ann Nutr Metab 2009;54(suppl 1):25-32. doi: 10.1159/000220824

“The Truth about Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the in-Between.” Harvard Health, 11 Dec. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good.

Gordon, Barbara. “Choose Healthy Fats.” EatRight, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/choose-healthy-fats.

Golay A, Bobbioni E. The role of dietary fat in obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997 Jun;21 Suppl 3:S2-11. PMID: 9225171.

Reviewed by: Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Myth: Healthy eating is too expensive

May 01, 2022

How many of you have once said, “I can’t eat healthy foods because they are too expensive?” Believe me, you’re not the only one. Many are discouraged from eating a healthy diet before giving it a chance, because eating healthy is portrayed as way too expensive. Now let’s dive in to see if this is fact or fiction.

How expensive is it to eat a healthy diet? According to studies, on average you will spend $1.48 more per day to eat the most healthy diet versus the least healthy diet (USU 2021). This equals out to on average ten extra dollars per week. The only category of food that showed a true difference in price was protein, consisting of meat and fish, coming in at $.29 more expensive per serving. So yes, the least healthy option does cost less, but the difference is way smaller than many people expect.

After looking a little further in depth, I calculated two meals on Walmart.com to compare how the prices vary per serving. The meals compared were salmon, brown rice and green beans versus a cheeseburger on white bread with French fries. To standardize the comparison, all items used were Great Value brand. The healthier meal rang in at $1.37 per meal versus the unhealthy one coming in at $1.34 per serving. A $.03 difference while still more expensive, is small in comparison to what has previously been portrayed in society.

These last tips are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on how to eat healthy on a budget. First thing first, you need to decide how much is feasible for you to spend on food per week. Coming up with a budget will help you tremendously. Shop for store brand products because they are often cheaper than the name brand. Check ads for different local grocery stores because certain places may have items on sale that week. Convenience foods often cost more, so plan ahead of time to prepare your meals and it will be more cost effective. If you can buy foods in bulk and freeze them, you will get more for your money. Lastly, don’t buy more than you know you’re going to eat before it goes bad, wasting food is wasting money (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022)

In short yes, unhealthy food is slightly less expensive but if you do your research ahead of time a healthy diet won’t hurt your wallet like you thought it would.

Reviewed By: Sydnee Berman, UGA Dietetic Intern

 

References

Mayuree, R. (n.d.). Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24309174/ 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/10-tips-eating-healthy-budget 

University, U. S. (2021, April 13). Does healthy eating cost more? USU. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://extension.usu.edu/nutrition/research/does-healthy-eating-cost-more

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Is Intermittent Fasting the Ultimate Solution to Weight Loss?

May 01, 2022

When one searches "intermittent fasting" on Google, around 83,700,000 results pop up. 83,700,000 results that are mostly advocating for this time-restricted diet. Because there are so many results, consumers that are looking for tips on weight loss, decreasing their caloric intake, or the "best" diet can be easily swayed by these platforms and their rave reviews. So, is intermittent fasting the ultimate path to weight loss?

The answer is complicated. Before we get into the research available, it is important to define this eating pattern. Intermittent fasting is defined as “an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule" (Johns Hopkins, 2022). This typically means fasting for around 16 hours and only eating within an eight-hour window. This fasting period is meant to break down the energy consumed, which allows "our insulin levels [to] go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy" (Harvard, 2021), meaning one is in a "fat-burning zone". In addition, restricting the hours in which someone eats will likely limit the amount of calories they consume during the day as well. 

The most important thing to keep in mind when finding the perfect solution for weight loss is that everybody is different. What works for some may not work for others. For those who are obese or have Type II diabetes, “intermittent fasting… can lead to a reduction in body fat mass and metabolic parameter improvements” (Zubrzycki et al 2018). But those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a history of disordered eating may find this rigid eating schedule will do more harm than good (Harvard, 2021). In addition, if you naturally wake up hungry, eating in the morning to honor your hunger cues and fueling your brain and body will be much more beneficial than feeling hungry throughout the fasting period.

To answer the question posed in the title, yes, intermittent fasting can be a tool for weight loss through a caloric deficit. Overall, a person should focus on what they eat rather than when they eat. Focusing on consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins (however that may look for you) will leave one feeling full and satisfied, and can also allow for weight loss progress too. It truly does not matter the time of the day you eat or how many meals you eat, as long as you find a way to meet your goals sustainably and enjoyably—and that will be the ultimate dietary solution for you!

Reviewed by: Jaclyn Barta, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Harvard Health Publishing. Intermittent fasting: Surprising update. Version current 2021. Internet: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156 (accessed 23 January 2022).

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Intermittent fasting: What is it and how does it work? Version current 2022. Internet: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work (accessed 23 January 2022).

Zubrzycki A, Cierpka-Kmiec K, Kmiec Z, Wronska A. The role of low-calorie diets and intermittent fasting in the treatment of obesity and type-2 diabetes. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2018;69(5):10.26402/jpp.2018.5.02. doi:10.26402/jpp.2018.5.02

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Are Protein Shakes the Key to Success When Building Muscle?

May 01, 2022

Social media can help find new recipes, workouts, and advice for what some may consider “healthy living.” With the flood of information available, it is difficult to know what is actually useful for you and your personal goals. With the recent trend of wanting to gain muscle and a more toned butt, many influencers are pushing the idea that extra protein from shakes, special bars, and snacks is needed – but is it true?

Along with social media influencers encouraging increased protein consumption immediately following workouts and throughout the day, the companies selling these products incentivize using their product to meet workout and body goals. Their products often have high levels of carbohydrates in them. The belief is that this will increase insulin response (the hormone used to regulate how the body uses carbs, fat, and protein to make energy) to help muscle cells take in more protein for muscle growth. Studies show that this might not be the case, and the extra ingredients in the shakes may be unnecessary (Isenmann et al., 2019). The increase of sugar in the blood with the carbohydrates in shakes raises the sugar in the blood and helps muscles repair themselves after exercise. However, studies have shown that simply eating a meal after workouts can provide similar results (Isenmann et al., 2019)

The average person receives enough protein through their daily diet to meet their energy needs. Most Americans actually overconsume protein and daily recommended calories (US Department of Agriculture, 2021). It is recommended that most adults consume 0.8-1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. This amount can increase to 2 g per kilogram body weight for extreme athletes like bodybuilders (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). While eating protein after a workout can improve muscle size, dietary sources can meet these needs (Konopka and Harber, 2014). As someone looking to become more active or gain a little more muscle, you are most likely doing just fine with your eating habits.

Exercise and health is not a one size fit all model. While the tips and tricks that may surface on the Tiktok “For You Page” might seem very intuitive, it may not work for you, and that is okay! Stick to what makes you feel good and aim to get nutrients from each food group. Everything should be done in moderation. So if you’re thinking of spending extra cash to splurge on energy bars and protein shakes, consider buying ingredients for a meal with lean protein sources and low-fat dairy options like chicken, lean beef, fish, nuts, beans, low-fat cheese, and yogurt. You may meet your needs just from your favorite meal!

Reviewed by: Sydnee Berman, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Isenmann, E., Blume, F., Bizjak, D. A., Hundsdörfer, V., Pagano, S., Schibrowski, S., Simon, W., Schmandra, L., & Diel, P. Comparison of Pro-Regenerative Effects of Carbohydrates and Protein Administrated by Shake and Non-Macro-Nutrient Matched Food Items on the Skeletal Muscle after Acute Endurance Exercise. Nutrients 2019; 11(4), 744. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040744

Konopka, A. R., & Harber, M. P. Skeletal muscle hypertrophy after aerobic exercise training. Exercise and sport sciences reviews 2014; 42(2), 53–61. https://doi.org/10.1249/JES.0000000000000007

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food availability and consumption. USDA ERS - Food Availability and Consumption. (n.d.). https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-availability-and-consumption/ (accessed 22 January 2022)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - nutrient recommendations: Dietary reference intakes (DRI). NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx (accessed 25 January 2022)

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Creatine supplementation: is creatine a “GO” or a “NO” for children?

May 01, 2022

As strength training has become more common for children, so has the use of creatine. Creatine is an ergogenic aid that is commonly used in athletes to improve strength and increase lean mass. The use of creatine in children has been a controversial topic for several years. However, there is a considerable amount of research suggesting that creatine use causes no harm and might actually be beneficial for children. A research article on creatine supplements in children and adolescents reports there are no adverse effects found in the studies performed to test creatine use in adolescent athlete populations. (Jagim and Kerksick 2021). The article did recommend that adolescents using creatine should be performing rigorous and supervised strength training, eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of energy, knowledgeable about the supplement, and not exceeding correct dosage amounts (Jagim and Kerksick 2021). Another article about the efficacy of creatine use stated that weight gain was the only side effect of creatine that has been consistently reported (Kreider 2017). Children and adolescents who use a creatine supplement should be advised that weight gain could occur when using the supplement. In addition, creatine supplementation was said to be “well-tolerated” regardless of age (Kreider 2017).

Creatine can actually be of benefit to children when used properly. Research on creatine supplementation in athletes specifically shows that creatine use decreases incidences of injury (Buford et al 2007). Not only does creatine protect from injury, but it also has beneficial effects in a clinical setting. For example, creatine can be used to treat some types of muscular dystrophy (Buford et al 2007). Based on the research about creatine use in children and adolescents, creatine use is safe in children and adolescents when used properly and appropriately. Although there seems to be a negative stigma against creatine use in children, there is not sufficient evidence showing any adverse effects of the supplement.

Reviewed by: Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern

Resources:

Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J. International society of sports nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007;4:1-8.

Jagim AR, Kerksick CM. Creatine supplementation in children and adolescents. Nutrients. 2021;2:664.

Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;13:14-18.

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Fact or Fiction: Do Restrictive Diets Actually Lead to Weight Loss?

May 01, 2022

Fad diets are everywhere. The majority of them are very restrictive, whether restricting calories or daily life activities. Different dietary patterns work for different people, but restricting is generally not the answer for weight loss. Now, let’s talk about a few fad diets and determine if they actually work.

The Paleo Diet

The paleolithic, or paleo, diet mimics what humans ate during the Stone Age, which began about three million years ago.  Cereals, grains, legumes, and dairy are completely eliminated on this diet (Obert et al., 2017). Regardless of weight status, the heavy restriction of grains can lead to a deficiency of B vitamins, which can negatively impact on brain function (Kennedy, 2016). When following people who participated in the paleo diet, researchers found weight loss happened in the first six months. However, the promising results did not last. Participants regained the weight lost from the paleo diet within two years (Obert et al., 2017).

Juicing and Detox Diets

Juicing and detoxing are common diets for short-term weight loss. It is important to note you do not need to “detox” your body; your kidneys and liver will eliminate toxins for you. Diets like juicing and detoxing are restrictive because the diets only allow juices and supplements from the program and can last anywhere from 2-21 days. There is a reduction in calories from juicing diets, which can lead to weight loss. However, restriction to this extreme can cause an increase in levels of cortisol, AKA the stress hormone, even after the juicing program is complete. Cortisol can cause an increase in appetite, leading you to gain more weight than the weight you lost from the diet (Obert et al., 2017).

The Keto Diet

Ketogenic, or keto, diets aim to cause weight loss by forcing your body to use fat stores instead of carbohydrates for energy. These diets restrict carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day or less than 10% of total daily calories from carbohydrates. People on keto diets lost a significant amount of weight in the short term according to a study by Bueno and colleagues. Like the participants on the paleo diet, participants regained the weight lost within two years (Bueno et al., 2013).

So, Should I Try a Restrictive Diet?

Probably not. Of the restrictive diets mentioned, all participants gained back the weight they originally lost. If you are trying to lose weight, I want you to examine why you are attempting weight loss. Is it to be healthier? You can become healthier without losing weight, just like you can lose weight without becoming healthier. I encourage you to look into adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate or substituting brown rice instead of white rice in your next burrito bowl. You can become healthier without extreme restriction.

Reviewed by: Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern

Resources:

Bueno NB, de Melo ISV, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013;110(7):1178-1187. doi:10.1017/S0007114513000548

Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy--A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. Published 2016 Jan 27. doi:10.3390/nu8020068

Obert, J., Pearlman, M., Obert, L. et al. Popular Weight Loss Strategies: a Review of Four Weight Loss Techniques. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 19, 61 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-017-0603-8

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Less is better?

May 01, 2022

Have you ever fallen into the hamster wheel of cutting calories to lose weight only to find that you feel more hungry, more tired, and ultimately gain more weight? Throughout the day, your body burns calories when performing essential processes within the body, such as digesting and absorbing food—this is known as total energy expenditure (TEE) (Heydenreich et al., 2017). Food consists of various amounts of calories. Therefore, the food you eat throughout the day makes up the calories you consume. In order to lose weight, you must eat in a calorie deficit, meaning you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning. Unfortunately, this narrative has been twisted and has led to many people believing that they should consume as few calories as possible in order to lose weight quickly.

Let’s break down how the body reacts when it undergoes a dramatic decrease in caloric intake. The human body strives for a state of homeostasis, or stability, because of this your body naturally acts in an effort to counteract the effects of a caloric deficit. This deficit is counteracted by a decrease in your metabolism and an increase in your appetite. Studies have shown that significant caloric restriction can have long-term effects on your appetite gut hormones, resulting in alterations in appetite, the perceived reward of food, and weight regain (Benton et al., 2017). The altered perceived reward of food can result in episodes of binge eating in which significant amounts of calories are consumed in a short time span. These alterations in your appetite and metabolism make it difficult to sustain weight loss. You may be asking yourself, “if that doesn’t work, then what will”?

A “slow and steady” approach is a safer way to guarantee sustained weight loss while maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Decreasing your calories by ~500-700 calories a day will result in a 1-2 pound weight loss per week. This calorie deficit in combination with 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines of America, will promote healthy and sustainable weight loss (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2020). It is important that you view food as fuel, rather than the enemy. In having a healthy relationship with food, you will be able to enjoy food in moderation and avoid unhealthy habits such as food restriction, binge eating, and the guilt that typically follows. The Dietary Guidelines of America provide many key points, such as, “focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and staying within calorie limits”(U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2020). 

To answer the title of this blog, less is not better. Deprivation and restriction are not necessary for sustained weight loss. Instead, focus on eating healthy, nutrient-dense meals throughout the day while maintaining a slight calorie deficit and adhering to physical activity guidelines.

Citations

            Benton D, Young HA. Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017;12(5):703-714. doi:10.1177/1745691617690878

Heydenreich J, Kayser B, Schutz Y, Melzer K. Total Energy Expenditure, Energy Intake, and Body Composition in Endurance Athletes Across the Training Season: A Systematic Review. Sports Med Open. 2017;3(1):8. doi:10.1186/s40798-017-0076-1

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

Reviewed by: Jessica Beasley

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You want to lose weight? Cut out carbs?

May 01, 2022

            You hear it all the time: “You want to lose weight? Cut out carbs!” The low-carbohydrate diet has overtaken the internet and social media platforms as the quick fix for shedding weight. Influencers and other members of diet culture who are not properly educated in the realm of dietetics are advocating for this diet. Yet, they are unaware of the science behind it.

            Current recommendations by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest daily consumption of carbohydrates to be 45-65% of total calories (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2020). Trending low-carbohydrate diets suggest limiting carbohydrate intake to 10-25% of total daily calories, or less than 10% of daily calories as the very-low-carbohydrate diet promotes. The idea behind “going low-carb” is to lose weight and improve health by cutting out foods such as bread, fruit, pasta, starchy vegetables, sweets, whole grains, and grains while consuming larger amounts of protein and fats. Can you imagine how the general public perceives this? They will often avoid entire food groups, including fruits, vegetables, and grains which are essential for receiving proper nutrients because they believe them to be “bad foods.” Avoidance of entire food groups will increase risk of nutrient deficiencies. Studies depict that the global consumption of saturated fats in the diet is on an upward trend of 5%, while the consumption of carbohydrate percentages in the diet will continue decreasing to 5% by 2030 (Clarke and Best 2017). One factor in this trend is that carbohydrates are perceived as “bad,” and people are consuming less while increasing their consumption of other macronutrients—often in an unhealthy manner as seen by the increase in saturated fats. Demonizing carbohydrates and limiting them in the diet might also cause adverse effects including dizziness, lightheadedness, constipation, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue as the body is adjusting to using ketone bodies as fuel instead of carbohydrates (Kirkpatrick et al 2019).

            Consuming low amounts of carbohydrates increases energy expenditure, allowing weight loss to occur. Additionally, this diet reduces appetite which also contributes to weight reduction; the increase in protein consumption to compensate for the reduction in carbohydrates is the cause of this, as protein has higher satiety (Kirkpatrick et al 2019). Many factors of low-carbohydrate diets are due to changes in hormones. Hormones including ghrelin (deemed the “hunger hormone”) and leptin (which signals satiety sensations to the body) are affected by carbohydrate intakes (Kirkpatrick et al 2019).

            Although the low-carb diet is currently trending, The American Heart Association explains that there is no proven advantage of this diet over conventional calorie-restricted, low-fat diets in the long term (Jensen et al 2013). This being in terms of weight loss and cardiovascular health. While studies of short-term effects of low-carbohydrate diets suggest greater weight loss results (largely due to water loss in the body), studies on long-term affects show no advantage of this diet over others (Kirkpatrick et al 2019).

            Overall, if you are attempting to lose weight, remember it is important to follow MyPlate guidelines to ensure you’re consuming a balanced diet and meeting requirements for each food group: fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein. As explained, there is no long-term advantage of the low-carbohydrate diet over another. If you so choose to follow this diet, it is important to ensure you are still nourishing your body with all essential nutrients for adequate health.

Reviewed by: Claire Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern

References

Clarke C, Best T. Low-carbohydrate, high-fat dieters: Characteristic food choice motivations, health perceptions and behaviours. Food Quality and Preference 2017; 62:162-171.

Jensen M, Ryan D, Apovian C, Ard J, Comuzzie A, Donato K, Hu F, Hubbard V, Jakicic J, Kushner R et al. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults
A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. American Heart Association 2014; 129:102-138

Kirkpatrick C, Bolick J, Kris-Etherton P, Sikand G, Aspry K, Soffer D, Willard KE, Maki K. Review of current evidence and clinical recommendations on the effects of low-carbohydrate and very-low-carbohydrate (including ketogenic) diets for the management of body weight and other cardiometabolic risk factors: A scientific statement from the National Lipid Association Nutrition and Lifestyle Task Force. Journal of Clinical Lipidology 2019; 13:689-711

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov

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Healthfood Shops: Unregulated

May 01, 2022

A new smoothie shop opens downtown. Everyone wants to try the healthy, new place. You stroll in on a Saturday morning to check out the menu. You are greeted with delicious-sounding teas and shakes — Orange Cream, Blueberry Crumble, Peanut butter Chocolate Cheesecake — and it is for weight loss! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The problem with these “health food shops” is that they are missing real health-promoting foods in their recipes. That Blueberry Crumble shake is made from a powder; no fiber, vitamins, or antioxidant-containing blueberries are in sight. The supplement industry is a multibillion-dollar industry that promotes diet culture, which promotes weight loss no matter the consequences. Herbalife is often the company backing these “nutrition” shops. If you have never heard of Herbalife, it is a multibillion-dollar multi-level marketing company represented globally that has come under fire from multiple government agencies, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for misleading consumers. You may be thinking, what magic diet pill does this company sell to reach this profit level? Herbalife’s website advertises “protein shakes, weight-management programs, nutritional supplements, sports nutrition solutions, and personal care products” (Herbalife Nutrition). Unfortunately, the company may be selling you liver toxicity. One case study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology observed a young woman with Herbalife-related hepatotoxicity, meaning her liver was damaged by a chemical agent (Mutneja et al). The 35-year-old woman was diagnosed with a drug-induced liver injury which was correlated with her use of a Herbalife protein shake for two years. When she stopped using these products, her liver injury resolved.

The supplement industry is unregulated. This poses a health risk to the general population because many of these companies' claims are unfounded. Consumers are left billions of dollars poorer and with no results. As mentioned previously, some of these health supplements are harmful. A review of hepatotoxicity by dietary supplements published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences stated that specific ingredients in Herbalife products were not listed as safe for the consumer, and pathogenic microorganism contamination was found in several products. At the time of publication in 2016, there were 57 cases of reported liver injury worldwide, with some causing liver failure requiring a transplant (García-Cortés M et al). Although this is a relatively low number on a global scale, it raises big concerns for the entire supplement industry regarding the safety of their products.

Does this mean we should stop going out for smoothies? No. This means that you should be cautious about what you are consuming. Be wary of any outlandish claims promoted by supplement companies, and opt for a smoothie with real fruit, chocolate, or peanut butter in place of powdered supplements.

References:

Federal Trade Commission. 2016. Herbalife Will Restructure Its Multi-level Marketing Operations and Pay $200 Million For Consumer Redress to Settle FTC Charges. Accessed January 25, 2022. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/07/herbalife-will-restructure-its-multi-level-marketing-operations

García-Cortés M, Robles-Díaz M, Ortega-Alonso A, Medina-Caliz I, Andrade RJ. Hepatotoxicity by Dietary Supplements: A Tabular Listing and Clinical Characteristics. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2016;17(4):537. doi:10.3390/ijms17040537

Herbalife Nutrition U.S. 2021. Accessed January 24, 2022. https://www.herbalife.com/.

Mutneja H, Attar BM, Demetria M, et al. Herbalife Related Hepatotoxicity. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2016;111:S953.

Reviewed by: Jaclyn Barta, UGA Dietetic Intern

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Hydration and Exercise: Preventing Dehydration and Increasing Sports Performance

May 01, 2022

            Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so you should drink water when you’re thirsty. While this statement isn’t wrong, it certainly isn’t a rule to live by. When one feels thirsty, they are well below a properly hydrated level. This can cause a myriad of health problems and decrease muscle and brain performance. So how can one stay properly hydrated, especially during a bout of exercise?

Before Exercise:

Before losing more fluids to exercise, it is critical to be hydrated properly prior. But what does proper hydration look like? Should you just drink as much water as possible before starting? While hydrating varies from person to person, it is recommended that one consumes fluid at 5-7 mL/kg body weight 4 hours before starting exercise. Two hours before starting, fluid consumption should be decreased to 3-5 mL/kg body weight (Sawka et al. 1990). Hydrating at a rate greater than this is not beneficial as it may dilute serum sodium levels, causing a condition called hyponatremia. To prevent hyponatremia, it is recommended to consume 460-1150 mg/L of sodium along with your water. This ensures that your net electrolyte levels remain steady throughout physical activity.

During Exercise:

Once the exercise has started, the two primary goals of hydration are to prevent excessive dehydration and changes in one’s electrolyte balance. (Seebohar 2011). Dehydration is indicated by a 2% or greater loss in body weight. While fluid loss varies due to an individual’s sweat rate, inadequate consumption of fluids to make up for this loss is a driving force for dehydration. Preventing excessive changes in one’s electrolyte balance, like the amount of fluid lost, largely varies on sweat rates. Those especially at risk include women and salty sweaters.

Fluid replacement strategies are highly individualized due to varying sweat rates, but the general recommendations are to rehydrate with 90 to 240 mL of a 6% to 8% carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise lasting an hour to an hour and a half. Drinking a beverage with 460-1150 mg/L of sodium may also promote fluid retention and prevent hyponatremia (Laursen et al. 2006).

References:

Laursen et al., (2006). Core temperature and hydration status during an Ironman triathlon. British Journal of Sports Medicine (40: 320-325).

Sawka, M.N., and Pandolf, K.B. (1990). Effects of body water loss in physiological function and exercise performance. In: Perspectives in exercise science and sports medicine: Fluid homeostasis during exercise, edited by D.R. Lamb and C.V. Gisolfi. Indianapolis: Benchmark Press.

Seebohar, B. (2011). Fluids. In: Campbell, B. and Spano, M., NSCA's guide to sport and exercise nutrition. (1st ed., pp. 71-86). Human Kinetics.

Reviewed By: Jessica Beasley, UGA Dietetic Intern

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The Keto Diet

April 26, 2021

The Keto Diet

By: Dominique Miller

            The keto diet is a diet high in fat and creates ketones in the body by breaking down fat. Ketones are the primary source of energy for many cells in the body that circulate in the blood.

The Diet 

            The diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day, which is less than a medium bagel. Popular keto diets suggest 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein.

So what’s the hype?

            The keto diet is attractive to dieters because of weight loss evidence without experiencing the same degree of hunger. There are health benefits, such as lower blood sugar and reversal of insulin resistance. The diet is centered on not eating low-fat foods, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, and butter. These are very appealing to current dieters because they can eat foods that other diets eliminate. 

Potential Pitfalls

            The keto diet is difficult to maintain, especially since there are symptoms of extreme carbohydrate restriction: hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain fog. The typical American diet is non-restrictive unlike the keto diet which is complicated. The keto diet has shown flu-like symptoms among users at the start of the diet and results in people eating this diet episodically. Unfortunately, resuming a non-ketogenic diet results in weight regain and loss of the metabolic improvements experienced while on a diet. Individuals with a pancreatic disease, liver conditions, thyroid problems, having a history of eating disorders, or gallbladder disease should not go on this diet.

The Bottom Line

            The keto diet eliminates and reduces several food groups that are necessary to live a healthy lifestyle. Keto is a fad diet and for the majority of consumers is not sustainable. On the other hand, MyPlate incorporates all food groups. For a personalized dietary plan that meets your individual needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist. An RDN can create a customized dietary program based on your unique health and nutrition needs and goals.

References

“Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss.”The Nutrition Source, 22 May 2019, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/.

Gordon, Barbara. “What Is the Ketogenic Diet.” EatRight, www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet.

Stafford, Author Randall, et al. “A Skeptical Look at Popular Diets: How Ketogenic Should You Go?” Scope, Logo Left ContentLogo Right Content 10,000+ Posts Scope Stanford University School of Medicine Blog, 14 Feb. 2019. scopeblog.stanford.edu/2019/02/14/a-skeptical-look-at-popular-diets-how-ketogenic-should-you-go/.

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Juice Cleanses: Yes, or No?

March 31, 2021

Juice Cleanses: Yes, or No?

By: Livvy Plageman

In the last couple of decades, juicing and juice cleanses have become increasingly popular due to the rebranding of a 1940s diet called the Master Cleanse. The Master Cleanse is essentially a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup that is consumed for 10 days. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Jared Leto, and Demi Moore swear by its weight loss effects when they have participated in the cleanse for concert tours, movies, etc. However, the juice cleanses of today are a little less intense and generally provide the user between 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for the length of the juice cleanse program (Newman, 2010). Also, the selling point for these programs is the fact that they will “uplift your energy levels naturally,” “retrain yourself to eat a healthier diet,” and “support healthy gut function” (SKINNY CLEANSE® Get Results Fast 2021).

            While there are some benefits to a juice cleanse, they do not exactly mimic the benefits advertised on these juice cleanse websites. One of the obvious benefits to a juice cleanse is that you are consuming great amounts of fruits and vegetables. As these cleanses are mainly fruit and vegetable juices, some cleanses even advertise that their products contain several pounds of produce in a single bottle; the number of vitamins and minerals in each juice are fairly high. So, for a person who may find it difficult to consume enough fresh fruits and vegetables, adding these juices into their diet could be beneficial (McCallum, 2020). Also, some studies in the last 10 years have found a link between different juices and the prevention of certain health risks. For example, kale juice may improve cholesterol levels by reducing risk of heart disease, and carrot juice may reduce the stress of cells in women being treated for breast cancer (Publishing, 2015). Although this research is promising, many more studies to be conducted to prove whether or not juices are beneficial and safe in comparison to their whole fruit/vegetable counterparts.

            The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Myplate.gov both support that one-half of the plate should be whole fruits and vegetables. Not only does this provide adequate vitamins and minerals but also supplies the body with necessary dietary fiber needed for appropriate digestive function and the prevention of chronic diseases (Slavin & Lloyd, 2012). Insoluble fiber is found in whole fruits and vegetables and helps to promote bowel regularity, stabilize the blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and promote the feeling of fullness. When fruits and vegetables are juiced, this type of fiber is lost and the advertised effect of supporting digestive function is proved false. Another myth of juice cleansing is that cleanses will detoxify the body and 'cleanse' the intestines of potentially harmful waste products. Combined with a healthy diet, the body’s liver and kidneys are able to filter blood, expel toxins, and cleanse the body continuously without the boost of specific juices (Publishing, 2015). So, if the goal is to help regulate digestion and detox the body, a juice cleanse is not necessary.

In summary, if you are able to get enough fruits and vegetable in your diet, there is no need for a juice cleanse, as the advertised effects do not hold up to a diet full of whole fruits and vegetables.

References

McCallum K. Are Juice Cleanses Actually Good for You? Houston Methodist On Health. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/jan/are-juices-cleanses-actually-good-for-you/. Published January 6, 2020. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Newman J. The Juice Cleanse: A Strange and Green Journey. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/fashion/28Cleanse.html. Published October 27, 2010. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Publishing HH. Juicing -- Fad or Fab? Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/juicing-fad-or-fab. Published July 2015. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

SKINNY CLEANSE® Get Results Fast. Raw Generation, Inc. https://www.rawgeneration.com/products/best-juice-cleanse-for-weight-loss?variant=1118721576. Published 2021. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/. Published July 1, 2012. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

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Instagram Misinformation and Mormonism, An Interesting Correlation

March 30, 2021

Instagram Misinformation and Mormonism, An Interesting Correlation

By: Emmaline Peterson

Hopefully, by the time I finish this article, the title makes sense. Recently a documentary has come out on Netflix called “Murder Among Mormons” by Jared Hess. SPOILERS: The show’s premise is there was a man, Mark Hoffman, obsessed with and incredibly skilled at scamming and deceiving people to see at what point people would stop believing in him. When he was almost caught, he… well, I probably cannot write about that, so just watch the documentary if you want to know. I am sure the title will give you a hint.  It started with something as simple as Mark hiding treasure the day before he and his friends went treasure hunting to convince his friends he was great at finding treasure the next day. Years later, Mark somehow got many Mormons to re-think the Mormon faith because of a fake document he created that completely changed the history of the Mormon religion. Mark made thousands of Mormons question their belief in not only the faith but in God themself. Mark did all of this because he just wanted to prank some people. For his own amusement. Now you may be thinking, how could these Mormons be so willing to believe in something so fake? How gullible could they be? That’s the thing. Mark did not just write on a piece of paper some fake story and said, “Hey guys look at this, isn’t it crazy.” No, he planned this out for years. Mark had all of the credibility he needed to pull this off. He was a loyal member of the church and had proclaimed himself to be a professional historical lost artifact finder due to years of him “finding” many artifacts (aka creating things in his office like a crazy scientist to seem as authentic as possible). You see, we look at someone who appears professional and associate their credibility with their knowledge, skills, experiences, etc. It is natural! It makes sense! Do not beat yourself up for it. Do you see where I am going with this? No? Okay, let me change perspectives.

You are scrolling through Instagram one day, and you see your favorite fitness model. You like the way she looks. She is fit, seems super healthy, runs 20 miles a day, and she is everything you want to be! Every week she posts something about her diet. This week she posts that she gave up eating anything with sugar, even natural sugar because it made her break out. Your first thought when you see this information is what? I love sugar? I love strawberries. I love late-night ice cream runs with friends. But then you look at the Instagram model and think, but she has such good skin, and I would love to be like her. So, you give up sugar so you can be just like her. You tell your friends you can’t come to this month’s weekly ice cream trips, and you notice you have a debilitating headache almost always. Even worse, your skin looks no different. At the end of the month, this same Instagram model posts a story of them drinking a milkshake. Later that week, she posts a sponsored ad from a skin company and tells her followers that this is actually how she has such clear skin. You feel betrayed. The Instagrammer was Mark Hoffman, and you were a loyal Mormon follower. What did you do to deserve this?

I wanted to perform some research independently and tell you statistically how much misinformation is out there, but that would be almost impossible. Within a month, Instagram users post more than 500 million posts. Researchers are not even close to capturing the amount of misinformation that is out there because Instagram is an endless spout of fake news(Walsh-Buhi, 2020). A scientific article I found made a great point on the consequences of misinformation:

“Moreover, misinformation may have additional consequences that—although difficult to observe—are equally insidious. For example, misinformation could create the impression that no consensus exists on a topic or that official sources of information are not credible, generating feelings of apathy, confusion, and mistrust. This could then lead individuals to disengage from health information seeking, avoid health care, or make decisions that are detrimental to their health. Although there are challenges to linking online activity with offline behavior, theoretically informed empirical research is needed to elucidate the full extent of the real-world consequences of misinformation exposure.” (Chou, et al, 2020)

This quote is what reminded me of the documentary about Mark Hoffman. His misinformation did exactly what this quote talks about. People feel betrayed, feel confused, and lose trust in research when they hear so many different solutions to an ongoing problem.

            Be skeptical. Always ask questions. Believe in yourself, your religion, your abilities and do not compare or depend on others to validate where you stand. Of course, take advice, trust the scientific research when offered. But just because someone seems credible doesn’t mean every word they speak is the hard truth. Mark Hoffman was one impressively believable guy, and yet everything he did was a lie.

References:

Murder Among Mormans, Directed by Jared Hess, BBC Studios, Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/watch/81226889?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2C13691d8ee4007e568fc06eade60b6ba7c2ef5745%3A57d499fb89d81f75dbcef60ec6191b71cae5eacc%2C13691d8ee4007e568fc06eade60b6ba7c2ef5745%3A57d499fb89d81f75dbcef60ec6191b71cae5eacc%2Cunknown%2C

Sylvia Chou WY, Gaysynsky A, Cappella JN. Where We Go From Here: Health Misinformation on Social Media. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(S3):S273-S275. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305905

Walsh-Buhi ER. Social Media and Cancer Misinformation: Additional Platforms to Explore. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(S3):S292-S293. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305949

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Fiction: You can get all your nutrients from your diet alone

March 29, 2021

Fiction: You can get all your nutrients from your diet alone

By: Isabella Morin

Many people are hesitant about the use of supplements due to the limited regulation provided by the FDA. However, it has come to light that the soil in which our produce is grown is depleted. We know that healthy soil yields healthy crops, and people who eat from healthy soil are healthier overall1. The soil has been degrading gradually over the years due to modern farming practices1. It is no longer possible to receive all of our nutrients from the food we eat, as produce is grown on depleted soil2.

What are whole-food-based supplements?

Whole food supplements are a complex formula, including whole-food-based plant ingredients and animal extracts to create a dietary supplement easily absorbed by the body3. The vitamins found in whole food-based supplements are highly complex and contain various enzymes, co-enzymes, minerals, and elements the human diet lacks4. Whole-food-based supplements are made from whole-food nutrition and concentrated food and herbs.

The need for whole-food-based supplements

The goal of whole-food-based supplements is to provide nutrients as they are found in nature3. The potency and efficacy of these nutrients are preserved, and their nutritional value is safeguarded. Most people believe they can receive their nutrients from food alone when that is not the case. In 1948, a single serving of spinach contained 158 milligrams of iron. Today, the same spinach serving is only 27 milligrams of iron due to being grown on nutrient-depleted soil. We would have to consume six bowls of spinach to receive the same amount of iron one bowl provided in 19482.

Why synthetic supplements are harmful

There are issues with generic brand-name supplements as they often contain chemicals that are not easily absorbed by the body. The majority of vitamins today are made with synthetic ingredients4. Synthetic vitamins come from cold tar or a petroleum-derived product made in a lab to change the chemistry to match the nutrient. The issue with this process is that a lab could never put all the nutrition and beneficial co-factors in the vitamin present in food. The body utilizes the co-factors to put the nutrients into action in the body. A lot of processes to make food healthier end up destroying their nutrients. For instance, sterilizing milk with heat destroys the Vitamin C found in milk. Also, fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is not necessarily helpful as our body cannot effectively absorb those added vitamins and minerals4.

References

1.         Purdy, M. (fall 2020). Integrative Dietitians as Environmental Stewards and Climate Champions. TheIntegrativeRDN,23(2).

2.         Medford, L. (2002). Why Do I Need Whole Food Supplements. LDN Publishing.

3.         Standard Process. (2020). Standard Process Whole Food Philosophy. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.standardprocess.com/about-us/quality/whole-food-philosophy

4.         Reliance Private Label Supplements. (2020, October 19). An introduction to whole food supplements. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://reliancevitamin.com/blog/an-introduction-to-whole-food-supplements/

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What is gluten?

March 21, 2021

What is gluten?

By: Destiney McDaniel

Now and days, the words "Gluten" and "Gluten-free" seem to be everywhere you turn. Numerous individuals have adopted a gluten-free diet and have decided that not consuming gluten will improve their health. All of us are different, so there is no "ideal diet" that will be the same for each person. Not too long ago, many people had not even heard of gluten, and some do not even know what it is, yet they are avoiding it.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the primary storage protein of wheat grains. Gluten is primarily made up of two proteins; gliadin and glutenin.1 It is the general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale- a cross between wheat and rye.2 Gluten’s functions are essential to determining the dough quality of bread and other baked products. It is commonly used as an additive in processed food for improved texture, moisture retention, and flavor.1

Who benefits from a gluten-free diet?

When individuals with Celiac Disease consume gluten, they have an immune reaction. They develop inflammation and damage in their intestinal tracts and other parts of the body when they eat foods containing gluten.3 A gluten-free diet is necessary for them to eliminate inflammation. Current estimates suggest up to 1% of the population has this disease.3 Some individuals are “gluten-sensitive.” Their test for Celiac disease is normal, but they experience symptoms when they eat gluten-containing foods. It makes sense for individuals with celiac disease, wheat allergies, gluten sensitivity, and gluten intolerance to avoid gluten.

Is it okay to consume gluten?

There is no compelling evidence that a gluten-free diet will improve health or prevent disease if you do not have celiac disease and eat gluten without trouble.3 In the future, more research may be conducted that shows some people without celiac disease are better off avoiding gluten. Before considering switching to a gluten-free diet, there are some things you may want to keep in mind. Gluten-free foods are commonly less fortified with folic acid, iron, and other nutrients than gluten foods.3 Gluten-free foods tend to have less fiber and more sugar and fat.3 From a financial standpoint, gluten-free foods tend to be more expensive than conventional foods. The main point is it is okay to eat gluten-containing foods if you do not experience any symptoms. Please do not waste your time stressing about gluten unless it is necessary!

What should I do if I am concern about eating gluten?

If you experience any of the following digestive symptoms, I advise you to talk to your doctor. Symptoms of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity include:4

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea vomiting 
  • Constipation 

More than half of adults with celiac disease have signs symptoms unrelated to the digestive system, including:4

  • Anemia, usually from iron deficiency
  • Loss of bone density or softening of bone
  • Itchy, blistery skin rash
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance, and cognitive impairment
  • Joint pain
  • Reduced function of the spleen

Children with celiac disease are more likely than adults to have digestive problems including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen belly
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Pale, foul-smelling stools

References

  1. Biesiekierski J. R. (2017). What is gluten?. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology32 Suppl 1, 78–81. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13703
  2. Celiac Disease Foundation. What is Gluten?. Version Current 2021. Internet: https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/what-is-gluten/
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Ditch the Gluten, Improve Your Health?. Version Current 8 November 2019. Internet: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ditch-the-gluten-improve-your-health
  4. Mayo Clinic. Celiac disease. Version Current 2021. Internet: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220ptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

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Why Weight? The Weight-Neutral Benefits that Physical Activity Can Bring to Your Life

March 08, 2021

Why Weight? The Weight-Neutral Benefits that Physical Activity Can Bring to Your Life

By: Julia Lance

In our society, physical activity, health, and wellbeing influence our lives daily. Whether this influence appears as social media dieting adds, schedules revolving around fitness routines, and/or self-judgment or guilt, this presence is felt by many of us. For some, like myself, we try to dismiss this burdening feeling as motivation or failure to meet our goals, when in reality, it’s the pressure that diet culture puts on us to lose or maintain a specific weight, appearance, or image.  This pressure, however, leads to destructive feelings and habits that become linked to activities such as exercise, and this is why so many people dislike physical activity altogether. So, as individuals who have grown up in a society that is obsessed with weight status and diet culture, how can we empower ourselves by using movement to reclaim or discover our enjoyment of physical activity when we know nothing different? The answer may be simple: Set the outcome of weight aside.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals should practice at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a mixture of the two each week and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities to maintain weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases (2020). These recommendations may be lofty for some individuals due to time, energy, and/or resource limitations. While it is important to recognize and value physical activity recommendations, it is even more critical to realize that any physical activity -regardless of intensity or duration, is more beneficial than none. Do not feel discouraged if you are not able to complete the CDC’s weekly recommendations, because according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) any amount of physical activity compared to none at all will:

  • Aid in the management or prevention of arthritis, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, & some types of cancer (e.g. breast & colon cancer)
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Reduce anxiety, stress levels, and feelings of depression
  • Aid in regulating blood pressure
  • Improve and/or maintain muscle strength

All of the benefits listed above are weight-neutral, meaning that they occur regardless of weight change when practicing physical activity. Shifting the emphasis away from weight status and viewing these weight-neutral benefits as motivators for increasing physical activity could lead to empowering and sustainable practices of exercise. So the next time you plan on being active, remember the many other benefits that are associated with physical activity aside from weight loss or maintenance -because weight does not define an individual’s health or abilities.

Resources:

1. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

2. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/real-life-benefits-exercise-and-physical-activity#activity

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Supporters Not Fixers

March 08, 2021

Supporters Not Fixers

By: Rebecca Reese

             I remember every detail about the day my mother came home from the doctor's office crying as if I would imagine her on my wedding day. Yet, this story I am about to tell you impacted me more than my mother. I remember there was a huge rainstorm, which was odd during that sunny July day. It was as if the world cried for the sorrows that I was experiencing that day. My mother, who is my biggest role model, immigrated from Korea when she was twelve. In many Asian cultures and my own, an idea of "thin" makes you worthy. My mother has the most beautiful curves you can imagine, and I lucked out and got those exact curves. Her curves were like looking at a backroad full of butterflies with the most beautiful sunset you can imagine. Yet, she hated every inch of them all because of where she fell on the BMI scale. She hated them because my grandma pointed them out. She hated them because she didn't look like the women in the magazines at her OBGYN office. Most of all, she hated them because of what her doctor said to her, "you need to lose weight, you need to exercise more for someone with your built, you are just not educated on the right American foods."

        In the story I just told, I hear the same plot when talking to my friends, standing in line at the dining halls, and on my social media. According to victims of weight stigma, physicians and family members are the most common sources of weight bias. Weight-based teasing and diet talk among family members have been linked to binge eating, weight gain, and extreme weight control behaviors. Another significant issue is weight bias in healthcare (NEDA, 2018). Weight is just one part of health, so why is weight the main focus in healthcare? Focusing on eating less, exercising more and negative encounters can lead to experiences or expectations of poor treatment that may lead to stress and the prevention of care, mistrust of physicians, and poor adherence among obese patients. Stigma can reduce the quality of care for obese patients despite healthcare providers' best intentions to provide high-quality care (Phelan et al., 2015). 

"Weight loss will take care of all your health issues when you are obese" is a reoccurring message I see in health care. Weight loss can reduce many health risks associated with obesity, which are insulin resistance, diabetes, hypoxemia, hypercarbia, and osteoarthritis. We have to remember; causation does not equal correlation. Potential side effects of weight loss include increased risk of gallstone development and cholecystitis, severe body dysmorphia, water and electrolyte complications, moderate liver disease, and increased uric acid levels. Less severe problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, hair loss, and cold intolerance, may also occur (Pi-Sunyer, 1993). 

        As a future registered dietitian, I will make it my passion to eliminate myths around obesity. Nutrition is much more than weight or recipes, vitamins or minerals. Nutrition is somewhere we can come together to share diversity, empathy, pleasure, stories, and the legacies of cultural identity. As future healthcare providers, we are here to support, not fix. We should support our patients because these "obese" people are people—these people who could potentially represent our mothers, fathers, significant others, or our professors. People are more than a “body” or a number on the scale. By being supporters, we introduce a new inclusive perspective to individualized healthcare.

Works Cited

Phelan, S M, et al. “Impact of Weight Bias and Stigma on Quality of Care and Outcomes for Patients with Obesity.” Obesity Reviews : An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, vol. 16, no. 4, 2015, pp. 319–26, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25752756, 10.1111/obr.12266. Accessed 28 Apr. 2019.

Pi-Sunyer, F. Xavier. “Short-Term Medical Benefits and Adverse Effects of Weight Loss.” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 119, no. 7_Part_2, 1 Oct. 1993, p. 722, 10.7326/0003-4819-119-7_part_2-199310011-00019. Accessed 15 Sept. 2019.

“Weight Stigma.” National Eating Disorders Association, 18 Feb. 2018, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/weight-stigma.

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Myth: Eating after 8:00 makes you gain weight

March 07, 2021

Myth: Eating after 8:00 makes you gain weight

By: Molly Edwards

How many of you out there grew up listening to your mother or grandmother saying the famous saying of "not to eat after 8:00 pm because it will make you gain weight?" Most of us grew up with the fallacious belief, whether we followed it or not, that if we ate a late-night snack, then it was going to be a contribution to weight gain. Many believe that there is a correlation between bedtime snacking and a higher BMI, but correlation doesn't mean causation!

There are a few old-fashioned theories that contributed to the idea of eating past 8:00 pm is undoubtedly going to make you gain weight. The first theory discusses how metabolism significantly slows down when you're asleep, and as a result, you burn fewer calories1. In actuality, your metabolism only reduces by 15%  when you're sleeping.2 The difference in your metabolism between when you're sleeping and awake is minimal, which seems counterintuitive. The answer to this miraculous fact is because your body is still very much active when you're sleeping by running your heart, lungs, and brain. Your basal metabolic rate comprises 80% of the metabolism needed to run all of the body's involuntary processes.2

The second theory revolves around believing insulin levels are more significant at night, resulting in glucose more likely being stored as fat due to the higher insulin concentration in the bloodstream1.  As more research is completed on this topic, it is known that insulin levels are relatively the same at night as in the middle of the day.1 For people with diabetes who wake up with elevated fasting blood glucose levels or struggle with nocturnal hypoglycemia, bedtime snacks are highly encouraged.3 The reasoning behind this is associated with the large gap of time between meals.3 For some, after too much time, has gone by, the body ultimately signals the liver to take the stored form of glucose, glycogen, and convert it back into glucose to feed the body as a survival mechanism. Those with type 1 diabetes are reliant on exogenous insulin, so to maintain suitable blood glucose levels, eating a snack will help maintain those levels while asleep.3 Therefore, snacking at night would be a great way to reduce the amount of time between meals and have a greater chance of regulating fasting blood glucose levels in the morning.

The third theory delves into how carbohydrate consumption at night is not being utilized as energy, and because of this, all of the glucose transfers as fat1. As research goes on, there has been no reliable evidence to prove that the time of day has an effect on how many carbohydrates are immediately stored as fat. Regardless of the time of day, an excessive amount of calories consumed over the number of calories burned will result in an influx of weight. The type of foods being consumed late at night by your typical American is highly processed, high in sugar, and calorically dense. The time of day these foods are consumed has no effect on the outcome. Consequently, you will not get "fat" if you eat before bed.

It is essential to listen to our body's hunger cues and to nourish our bodies but limiting calorically dense foods in the evening. Eating a snack before you go to bed is a means of survival; it will not cause you to gain weight.

Myth busted!

  1. Bruno, Audrey. “does late-night snacking make you gain weight?” 28 july 2015. (Accessed 30 march 2021.) https://www.delish.com/food-news/a43280/late-night-snacks-weight-gain-myth/
  2. Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:270832. doi:10.1155/2010/270832https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/
  3. Kinsey AW, Ormsbee MJ. The health impact of nighttime eating: old and new perspectives. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2648-2662. Published 2015 Apr 9. doi:10.3390/nu7042648

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Myth Busting: Is organic food healthier and more nutritious?

March 07, 2021

Myth Busting: Is organic food healthier and more nutritious?

By: Devin Walters

There has been much debate on whether organic food is healthier than conventionally grown crops. Many organic enthusiasts will decry the consumption of conventional crops, leading many to believe that it is harmful to the body. They claim that eating fruits and vegetables in their purest form are more nutritious, healthy and free of pesticides. Is all of this really true? It is time to dispel the myths surrounding organic food. If you are on the fence about choosing between organic food and conventional food, I thought it would be best to answer a few common questions.

Does organic food contain more nutrients?

Contrary to what some might believe, there is not enough evidence to support that organic food is nutritionally superior to their non-organic counterparts. There is no discernable difference between their nutrient content.

Does Organic Always mean Pesticide Free?

While conventionally grown foods are typically known for being treated with pesticides, organic foods are not completely absent of pesticides either. There are over 20 chemicals that organic farmers use to keep their crops free of unwanted pests. They may not be any more or any less safe than synthetic products. The pesticides that organic farmers use is natural, but natural does not always mean safe. Rotenone is an organic pesticide that can be produced naturally. However, it has been found that Rotenone may cause Parkinson’s disease like symptoms in rats.

If a food is labeled organic, does it mean 100% organic?

Just because food carries the organic label, it does not necessarily mean that it is 100% organic. A food must meet a minimum requirement of being 70% organic to qualify for an organic label.

Are GMOs dangerous?

The fear of genetically modified organisms is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why people choose to eat organically. GMOs have had the misfortune of being vilified because of the alleged effects that they have. According to WHO, genetically modified crops in the present have not been shown to pose any significant threat to human health. In fact, there are many positives for GMOs. By modifying crops, they build an increased resistance to insect damage and viral infections. This increase in resistance actually lessens the need for using pesticides.

The Takeaway

In short the choice of selecting either organic or non-organic food is up to the consumer. I wanted to dispel any fears people may have towards non organic products. They are not as scary as you thought they were.

References

Collins C. Monday’s medical myth: organic food is more nutritious. The Conversation. March 12 2012. Accessed: March 31 2021. https://theconversation.com/mondays-medical-myth-organic-food-is-more-nutritious-5574

Johnston R. The great organic myths: Why organic foods are an indulgence the world can't afford. Independent. 23 October 2011. Accessed: March 31 2021. https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/the-great-organic-myths-why-organic-foods-are-an-indulgence-the-world-can-t-afford-818585.html

Kanuckel A. 5 Myths About Organic Food You Might Not Know. Farmers Almanac. March 25, 2021. Accessed: March 31 2021. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/organic-food-myths-35253

Tangermann V. Is Organic Really Better? 4 Food Myths Debunked By Science. Futurism. February 6 2018. Accessed: March 31 2021. https://futurism.com/organic-gmo-food-myths.

Header image from: https://impactprogram.ca/myths-vs-facts/

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Factors that lead to hypertension

March 06, 2021

Factors that lead to hypertension

By: Lanbin Cui

It is well known that hypertension is an acquired disease even though people with a family history of hypertension are more likely to get it. The common factor that leads to hypertension is age. The older the patient, the higher the risk of high blood pressure. According to the result of testing hypertension patient characteristics from different geographic locations, the study in India illustrated that testing subjects are all performing characteristics as over ages of 40, males, BMI over 25 and have the family history of hypertension. Besides that, type II diabetes, cigarettes, breastfeeding duration could also be the factors that lead to hypertension. Another study also obtains evidence that factors cause high blood pressure is surrounding sex, high BMI, using tobacco and alcohol.

Otherwise, economic and social status, educational level of parents is also underlying risk factors for hypertension. A study shows that factors caused hypertension in Ethiopia are mainly based on age, tobacco use, physical activity, diabetes, eating habits includes salt intake and BMI. Living environment is another factor lead to hypertension to some extent. Based on the results of investigated the prevalence of demographic characteristics and behavioral risk factors for hypertension by residential area. Residents in the rural areas have a much higher rate of hypertension than residents in semi-urban areas. Test subjects have significant characteristics include parents with a history of heart attack, low fruit and vegetables consumption, high red meat and salty or fried food consumption.

As for other factors such as age, smoking history and physical activity, no significant differences are existing between semi-urban residents and rural residents. Another study is to investigate the prevalence of hypertension of semi-urban residents aged older than 18 years old. The results show that most patients are at the age of 36 and over and the number of female patients is higher than male patients. Other common characteristics of hypertension patients are high waist hip rate, diabetes status, physical activity, a history of a parent having a heart attack, high consumption of meat and salty or fried food, low consumption of fruit and vegetables. Without considering age factors, a history of a parent having heart attack does not significantly affect hypertension. As for the study f the prevalence of hypertension of rural residents aged over 18 years old, whether the ages of patients are considered, the result shows that patients commonly perform characteristics include higher waist hip rate, diabetes status and salt intake.

Hypertension is also related to stress. Stress can lead to blood pressure elevate by stimulating nervous system to produce vasoconstricting hormones. Besides, the factors lead to hypertension are able to cooperate with each other which affect blood pressure multiply. Therefore, unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits bring the possibility of hypertension apparently. Living environment affects eating habits to some extent because of food cultural differences.

References

Bijani, M., Parvizi, S., Dehghan, A., Sedigh-Rahimabadi, M., Rostami-Chijan, M., Kazemi, M., Naghizadeh, M. M., Ghaemi, A., Homayounfar, R., & Farjam, M. (2020). Investigating the prevalence of hypertension and its associated risk factors in a population-based study: Fasa PERSIAN COHORT data. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 20(1), 503. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12872-020-01797-3

Mphekgwana, P. M., Malema, N., Monyeki, K. D., Mothiba, T. M., Makgahlela, M., Kgatla, N., Makgato, I., & Sodi, T. (2020). Hypertension Prevalence and Determinants among Black South African Adults in Semi-Urban and Rural Areas. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(20). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207463

Kulkarni, S., O'Farrell, I., Erasi, M., & Kochar, M. S. (1998). Stress and hypertension. WMJ : official publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin, 97(11), 34–38.

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Why we should seek Registered Dietitians and not food/health bloggers for nutrition advice?

March 06, 2021

Why we should seek Registered Dietitians and not food/health bloggers for nutrition advice?

By: Alejandra Delgado

With the growing number of influencers on social media, it is almost impossible to regulate what is being put out there. This is harming the overall health of the public due to the inaccuracy linked with the dietary advice that is being given. Research has been conducted on the content of such blogs. The study focused on the credibility of these blogs and whether bias was associated with the provided information. Results showed that most bloggers did not pass a scoring test that required a minimum of 70 percent. Thus, most of the information that was being sent out onto social media platforms was incorrect. The majority of these bloggers gave advice based on what they thought was correct or how they would approach a situation without concrete evidence supporting their claims.

Watching food and health bloggers post beautiful pictures of food or exercise routines may seem like a very innocent and unharmful action. However, in reality, research shows that social media is very detrimental to one’s self-esteem and body image. A CNN article highlights that social media does harm body image because individuals are no longer just looking at celebrities who were an example of unattainable beauty, but now, individuals are comparing themselves to others who are just like them. Individuals are living in the highlight stories of these bloggers and comparing every little thing.

The reason behind why these health bloggers are hurting the overall health of the community is because they are disregarding the dietary recommendations that are provided by the USDA and the HHS and advertising fad diets instead. An example of a typical fad diet that is often encouraged by these health bloggers is cold-pressed juices. These juices are overly priced, which is usually a big issue with fad diets; they’re unsustainable, whether that be because it’s too difficult to keep up with the diet or too expensive. Such diets put food insecure individuals at a disadvantage, making them feel unsure about their potential to lose weight, be healthy, or look like the blogger they follow and are constantly comparing themselves to. Besides, there is no concrete evidence claiming that these juices are as healthy as these bloggers claim them to be. It is also important to remember that a nutritious diet is a diet that is focused on variety and not on drinking a cold-press juice all day, every day. Whole fruits help us get fiber, and this juicing process reduces the fiber content dramatically. Further, these juices do not provide satiety as what a whole fruit would, which would ultimately lead to feelings of hunger and overconsumption of calories from such juices. These juices are an excellent way to get some fruit and vegetable intake when consumed in moderation while still focusing on other nutrients.

It is essential to understand that Registered Dietitians go through a lot of schooling to obtain advanced degrees and credentials that certify them to provide accurate nutritional information. Also, registered dietitians continue their education year after year to ensure that their knowledge is updated, as nutritional information and guidelines are continually changing.

References:

Cold-Pressed Juice: Hipster Hype or Health Hero? (2018, October 10). Retrieved from https://foodinsight.org/cold-pressed-juice-hipster-hype-or-health-hero/

How Does Social Media Affect Your Body Image? (2018, August 28). Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/how-does-social-media-affect-your-body-image

Sharkey, L. (2019, May 01). Influencers Are Giving Inaccurate Dietary Advice At Alarming Levels, According To This Study. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/influencers-are-giving-inaccurate-dietary-advice-at-alarming-levels-according-to-this-study-17283387

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Got Milk?

March 01, 2021

Got Milk?

By: Mallory McDaniel

Which milk is best for you?

It seems like every week, there is a new variation of milk arriving on the shelves at the grocery store. As I glance through the case, I think to myself- which type of milk is the best for me? How am I supposed to know which one to buy? With all of the new products on the market, it is easy to be overwhelmed and unsure of what to buy. Also, there is much misinformation that floats around about dairy products that may place a preconceived idea in our heads that may not be accurate.

What is most important to remember that not all milk products are the same. They have differing amounts of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, vitamins, and minerals. Which type of milk you choose to purchase is based on what your individual health goals are. There is not a one size fits all! Learn more about some of the different milk products below:

Cow Milk

Cow milk comes in many different forms, such as whole milk, 2%, 1%, and fat free. These types of milk are traditionally known to contain high levels of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B. There are varying amounts of fat depending on which % fat you choose, as well as no added sugar in traditional milk. Additionally, cow’s milk provides 8g of protein per serving.

Almond Milk

Almond milk has increased in popularity over the years due to the fact that it is low in calories and is a plant-based alternative to regular cow’s milk. Demand has also increased for almond milk because of the increasing number of people becoming intolerant to milk products. Almond milk provides a lactose-free alternative that may be tolerated by the body more easily. In addition to being low in calories, almond milk is lower in fat than whole cow’s milk and similar in vitamin D and calcium due to fortification. Beware of sweetened versions of almond milk though as up to 20g of added sugars may end up in your beverage.  Almond milk provides 1g of protein per serving.

Soy Milk

Soy milk has been on the shelves for centuries, but similar to almond milk, has become increasingly popular over recent years. It is also consumed by those with intolerances to milk products, as well as vegetarians. Soy milk is derived from soybeans, which are a rich source of protein and fat. Cow milk and soy milk have similar amounts of calories, protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Soy milk is the most nutritionally similar to cow milk, but there are studies that link soy consumption to digestive distress.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is another milk alternative that has filled the shelves over recent years. The craze for coconut milk has heightened over recent years just as coconut oil has. A dairy-free option, coconut milk is known for its creamy texture and sweet flavor. Nutritionally, coconut milk is lower in calories and calcium than cow’s milk, but similar in vitamin D profile. Coconut milk provides 0g of protein. What sets coconut milk apart from other milk is its high saturated fat content. There is much debate on whether or not the saturated fat in coconut milk is beneficial for our health, but the bottom line is that it can healthfully fit into diets with specific needs.

With the many types of milk on the market as well as new varieties hitting the shelves every week, it is helpful to learn about each type and their varying nutrient profiles. If you are looking for a lower calorie option, you may opt for almond milk. If you are looking to add more protein into your diet, opt for cow milk or soy milk. What is the best option for one person may not be the best option for the person next to you. It is crucial to realize that all milk options have the ability to healthily fit into one’s diet depending on your specific needs and goals.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24800664/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756203/

https://biomedres.us/pdfs/BJSTR.MS.ID.002239.pdf

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The Coffee Conundrum, or is it?

March 01, 2021

The Coffee Conundrum

By: Kendall Kaikkonen

Global Impact

Coffee spans the entirety of the world whether it be consumed as arabica coffee beans, being ground at a Starbucks off Epps Bridge, or Robusta beans being prepared in Africa. The one common denominator is that everyone enjoys a nice cup of coffee.

Origin of the question

One question often circulates scaring avid coffee consumers, does drinking coffee cause cancer? The origin of this question resulted from the publication of a 1981 study linking coffee use to pancreas cancer. The study reported a causal relation between coffee drinking and pancreatic cancer causing some coffee lovers to put their cups down for good.1

Current Evidence

An expert panel for the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2016 convened and concluded that coffee is unlikely to cause breast cancer, prostate cancer, or pancreatic cancer. However, the panel classified very hot beverages, drinks hotter than 65 degrees Celsius or 149 degrees Fahrenheit, as potentially carcinogenic.2 To accommodate for this caveat, when drinking cups of coffee either from a coffee shop or home, allow for the cup of coffee to cool down before enjoying the delicious beverage. The American Cancer Society found a multitude of studies associating drinking coffee with a lower risk of dying from all causes of death. In addition, the American Cancer Society found that coffee may lower the risk of neck, colorectal, breast, and liver cancer.2

As of 2013, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics takes the stance that coffee appears to either decrease the risk of cancer, or to have no effect on cancer risk.3 The Academy draws attention to countries that heavily drink coffee may engage in other health behaviors, such as smoking, that can increase the risk of lung cancer. Even in countries with extremely high coffee intake, research does not support a causal link between coffee or caffeine with cancer risk.3

Regina Wierzejska conducted a review of scientific data in 2015 that confirmed a lack of correlation between coffee consumption and the development of cancer.4 The review acknowledged that authors suggested positive health properties from consuming coffee which corroborates with the statement piece of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. An important limitation is noted that most studies fail to provide the type, strength of brew, and or serving size which may influence the impact coffee has on the human body.4

Take Away

Coffee is back on the menu and staying for good. Based on current evidence, consuming coffee does not appear to have a causal relationship with any form of mortality and cancer, quite the opposite, in that consuming coffee may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Consuming coffee in moderation is recommended at a temperature of less than 149 degrees Fahrenheit so that the beverage is both enjoyable and worry free. Coffee is a commodity to be consumed without fear of causing harm to our health and bring the world together in appreciation for the delicacy that is coffee.

References:

  1. Feinstein AR, Horwitz RI, Battista RN. Coffee and pancreatic cancer. The problems of etiologic science and epidemiologic case-control research. JAMA 1981; 246(9):957-61. doi: 10.1001/jama.246.9.957.
  2. American Cancer Society. Coffee and Cancer: What the Research Really Shows. Version current 2018. Internet: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/coffee-and-cancer-what-the-research-really-shows.html (accessed 31 March 2021).
  3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Caffeine and Cancer. Version current 2013. Internet: https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/healthy-nutrition-now/foods/caffeine-and-cancer (accessed 31 March 2021).
  4. Wierzejska R. Coffee consumption vs. cancer risk – a review of scientific data. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig 2015; 66(4):293-8.

Links:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7253179/
  2. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/coffee-and-cancer-what-the-research-really-shows.html
  3. https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/healthy-nutrition-now/foods/caffeine-and-cancer
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26656410/

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HAES and IE: A Student Perspective

October 12, 2020

HAES and IE are two abbreviations that, before my senior year at UGA, I had heard in classes but did not fully understand. These two abbreviations have led me to read, research, and learn about an entire new set of ideas and teachings that I greatly relate to. Part of this is due to the opportunities afforded to me by professors who have allowed me to form my own thoughts through research, discussions, and deep thinking.

Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating are methodologies that are rapidly gaining attention in the fields of foods and nutrition. Some people fall into a category where these approaches reign supreme for counseling and educating patients or clients. In contrast, others feel that more conventional and historical models have more success and validity. Still, some practitioners and individuals believe in a middle ground of this continuum, where both teachings and practices have a healthy place. Before determining what category you fall into, it is essential to understand what the ideals of each methodology are. 

 

So what is HAES?

HAES or more formally known as Health at Every Size, is a holistic approach to health, emphasizing that health is not the absence of disease but is individual to each person. HAES and its parent organization aim to end discrimination based on body weight and size.1 HAES is a voluntary program and each provider must choose for themselves if they wish to follow its teachings and practices. I believe it is important that Nutrition and Dietetics related fields continue to teach and promote HAES. It is crucial to provide students with all of the evidence and knowledge and allow these future practitioners to make their own informed decisions on ideas they choose implement into practice. This ideology is something I continue to research, learn, and develop opinions about every day.

 

Intuitive Eating

Along with HAES, intuitive eating is another practice that has emerged with more popularity in recent years. Intuitive eating is the ideology of weight-inclusive and evidence-based knowledge that uses human instinct, emotion, and thought to base eating. This teaching method focuses on the idea of self-care and using a person’s intuition and internal cues to choose what foods they want to eat and how much of that food to eat.2 Intuitive eating removes the idea of good foods and bad foods and emphasizes respecting and working for a happy and healthy body. IE, like HAES, focuses on health as not the absence of disease but a holistic view of your body. 

 

During the Spring of 2020, I was afforded the opportunity to read “Anti-Diet: Reclaim your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating” by Christy Harrison. During my Medical Nutrition Therapy II class with Dr. Emma Laing, we read the book and wrote short responses on our emotions and thoughts based on individual chapters. Our reading was coupled with lessons in class about different dieting and weight-based techniques. Valuable lessons included methods of interpreting BMI and the pros and cons of bariatric surgery. This class allowed us to experience both ends of the anti-diet/diet continuum-learning the different practices, techniques, and ideas of both weight-inclusive medicine and weight-based medicine. This further sparked my interest and desire to educate myself in these two related ideologies. The lessons in the book, as well as other outside sources, led me to strongly support the principles of Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. While I feel that I am a strong proponent of Health and Every Size and Intuitive Eating, I feel as though I settle in the middle of the continuum regarding beliefs and practices. I want to encourage, educate, and support future clients and patients to follow these teachings while emphasizing there is a place reserved for those who wish to lose weight or worry about how their weight may be affecting their health or future. 

 

Links

  1. https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/content.asp?id=76
  2. https://www.intuitiveeating.org/definition-of-intuitive-eating/

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Protein shakes: Refueling your post-workout body

September 01, 2020

Muscle fatigue, soreness, and overall exhaustion are often experienced after exercise. What if there was a solution to combat these issues and allow your body to operate at its fullest following a workout? There is, it’s simple, and it’s right at your fingertips.

Protein shakes are a popular commodity in our society that values health and wellness. A combination of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins, they live up to their hype. In order to get the best results, it is crucial to understand how the contents of protein shakes promote muscle recovery and why timing is a key factor.

What is glycogen?

Imagine muscles are a flashlight. A flashlight relies on batteries to function correctly, and it will continue to emit light as long as the battery has enough power. As the battery starts to die and the light begins to dim, the power source must be replaced in order to restore full function. Our muscles function similarly. They rely on glycogen as their primary source of power during exercise. Once these energy stores are depleted, muscles become fatigued. Refueling the body to promote glycogen repletion and protein synthesis is key to optimum muscle recovery.1

Carbohydrates and glycogen repletion

When glycogen stores are depleted, carbohydrates must be made available for the body to synthesize glycogen and restore muscles. Exercising results in an increased sensitivity to insulin, which allows for greater glucose uptake in muscles.1 This insulin sensitivity declines following a workout, so the timing of carbohydrate consumption is essential. Delaying carbohydrate intake has been shown to reduce muscle glycogen stores compared to immediate use.2 Further, waiting several hours after exercise to consume carbohydrates shows a 50% decrease in glycogen synthesis.1 It is recommended to refuel the body with carbohydrates within two hours of exercise for the best results.2

Protein and muscle recovery

Another contributing factor to muscle recovery is protein availability. Muscle fibers, or myofibrils, become damaged as muscles are worked. The splitting of myofibrils allows for muscle growth, but the body must have an adequate supply of protein for repair.3 Consuming protein after a workout increases muscle protein synthesis, allowing for this necessary tissue repair. Since exercise increases amino acid uptake, protein ingestion is most effective immediately following a workout. While protein plays a critical role in muscle repair, it also contributes to an increase in glycogen synthesis when ingested with carbohydrates. These two macromolecules together increase the rate of glycogen storage by about 38%.1 This evidence suggests that protein shakes containing both protein and carbohydrates are an effective way to refuel the body following a workout.

Supplying the body with essential nutrients to promote muscle recovery is paramount for improving body composition and maximizing workouts.4 Quicker repair of muscle tissues via protein supplementation can help reduce delayed onset soreness and prepare the body for the next workout.2 Like replacing a battery in a flashlight, carbohydrates in protein shakes promote glycogen synthesis that refuels muscles with the energy they need to perform.

When time is of the essence, protein shakes provide an efficient means of replenishing the body following exercise. They’re convenient, cost-effective, and they don’t have to be boring! The beauty of protein powder is that you can create a mixture that fits your taste. Blend it with water and crushed ice for a cold, refreshing smoothie, or add unsweetened coconut milk or oat milk for a satisfying thirst quencher. After your next workout, reach for a protein shake and feel confident knowing you’re recharging your body with the best fuel on the market!

References:

  1. Ivy JL. Regulation of muscle glycogen repletion, muscle protein synthesis and repair following exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2004;3(3), 131-138. https://www.jssm.org/hf.php?id=jssm-03-131.xml#
  2. Ivy JL, Katz AL, Cutler CL, Sherman WM, Coyle EF. Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: effect of time of carbohydrate ingestion. J Appl Physiol. 1988 Apr 1;64(4), 1480-1485. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1988.64.4.1480
  3. Pearson AM. Muscle growth and exercise. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1990;29(3), 167-196. doi: 10.1080/10408399009527522
  4. Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Aug 29;14(1). doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4

Links:

  1. https://www.jssm.org/hf.php?id=jssm-03-131.xml
  2. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/jappl.1988.64.4.1480
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408399009527522
  4. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4

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You are NOT what you eat: Exploring Intuitive Eating’s gentle nutrition principle

September 01, 2020

There is far more to health than what we weigh, yet we live in a society that ties the way we look, what we eat, and even what exercise challenges we do, to moral virtue. The popular phrase, “You are what you eat,” is often used to motivate people to healthfully fuel from the inside to produce a healthy appearance on the outside. This concept is not only short-sighted, but it can be potentially harmful. The insinuation with this phrase and others like it, is that you are not worthy if you do not eat a “clean” enough diet or fit a thin ideal standard of beauty. What if we all ate the same exact meals and snacks and exercised the same amount, would all of our bodies look the same? No, of course not.

Despite the personal responsibility that is often expected of people to be in charge of their body size, weight is actually not something many of us can control. Even if pursuing weight loss to improve health elicits long-term successes for some individuals, the truth is that many are unable to maintain this. In fact, repeated cycles of weight loss and regain, reduced self-esteem, disordered eating behaviors, and diagnosed eating disorders can also develop as a result of dieting, and people who fall into the pattern of weight cycling might end up gaining more weight than if they have never dieted at all. Feelings of inadequacy can perpetuate negative body image and the desire to diet restrictively or exercise punitively.

Dieting and exercising to the extreme and below basal energy needs, or even spending much of the day thinking about food, weight and body image, are never the answer to achieving optimal health. What if we took the focus off weight or outward appearance in determining a person’s health or moral virtue? What if we were able to eat when we were hungry and stop eating when we were full? One way to explore these concepts is through Intuitive Eating, which “cultivates a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body.” In this post, I list the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating with brief summaries adapted from the authors, Tribole and Resch (see the full list at this link), and I elaborate a bit on principle #10 – Honor your health with gentle nutrition.

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at diet culture that promotes weight loss and the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight.

  1. Honor Your Hunger

Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.

  1. Make Peace with Food

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing.

  1. Challenge the Food Police

Scream a loud no to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The food police monitor the unreasonable rules that diet culture has created.          

  1. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes just the right amount of food for you to decide you’ve had “enough.” 

  1. Feel Your Fullness

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is. 

  1. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you. But you’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion.

  1. Respect Your Body

Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size. But mostly, respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. All bodies deserve dignity.

  1. Movement—Feel the Difference

Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.

   10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or become unhealthy, from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating.

The authors of Intuitive Eating have placed “honoring your health with gentle nutrition” as the 10th and final principle in their list – and they did this for good reason. It is essential to heal your relationship with food first before you’re ready to delve into making food choices that promote health according to national recommendations. Appreciating that the concept of “health” includes mental health as well as other aspects beyond simply body size, it makes sense that a positive relationship with food can have a positive impact on life.

While nutrition is of course an aspect that is important to health, food brings us together in ways that are also important to our wellbeing, such as connection, culture, satisfaction, and joy. Viewing food as a source of both pleasure and nourishment is a key part of the realization that health does not have to be so closely connected to what you eat. When you allow a wide variety of foods during meal times without strict rules attached, you have the chance to experience your own hunger and fullness cues.

Another aspect of eating intuitively involves paying attention to how a specific meal or snack impacts you physically, beyond satisfying your cravings. Taking note of how these foods or meals make you feel, in particular, if you feel nourished and comfortable after eating them, is a cornerstone of honoring your health with gentle nutrition. Though intuitive eating offers the enthralling notion that “no foods are off-limits” during meals and snacks, the process of discovering or re-discovering your natural hunger and fullness cues takes patience and time. As with any facet of nutrition, practicing gentle nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and its meaning may shift throughout various stages of your life. Tribole states in a blog post, that “Our bodies are dynamic and ever-changing: be patient & approach this practice with curiosity & compassion.”

If you think you might be ready to try intuitive eating and/or practice gentle nutrition, there are several paths to getting started. First, recognize that an overhaul in a lifetime of thoughts and behaviors surrounding dieting and body acceptance is not going to happen overnight. Preparing to practice gentle nutrition might also mean sitting with a bit of discomfort around your own fat phobic thoughts and rhetoric. For example, how likely are you to make a casual comment about someone’s weight loss, even if you phrase this as a compliment couched as a concern for health? Doing this might seem like the kind thing to do among friends or family members, but it actually perpetuates the idea that thinner bodies are more disciplined, healthier and more worthy of attention, and we know that this is untrue.

Reflecting on my own education and social interactions growing up, these pivotal times in my life were definitely steeped in diet culture. In my dietetics education, for instance, we were instructed to help people with obesity lose weight. I have since learned that this is not so simple nor is it a realistic or helpful health goal for many. Fat phobia and weight stigma can lead to stress, higher risks for chronic disease, and avoidance of healthcare. I often ask my students who are studying to become RDNs, PAs, and MDs, how useful they will feel as a practitioner if their patients avoid coming to their office because they fear being shamed due to their weight? For the many students who enter the field of nutrition to do their part in combating the obesity epidemic, just as I did, it’s a struggle for them to have a definitive answer to this question.

I am encouraged that the field is evolving to a place where weight-inclusive approaches to optimize health, including Intuitive Eating, are being explored. It is my hope that the message being taught to both students and the public shifts away from losing weight and toward developing eating and activity habits that are enjoyable and best support overall health for those who are able. In truth, I would like to see the phrase, “You are what you eat,” disappear. Embracing different body sizes and shapes and celebrating what they can do should be the priority, instead of judging them based on the societal virtue they don’t measure up to. Likewise, appreciating that anyone can choose to pursue health if they desire, regardless of the number on the scale or their body shape or size, would go a long way … as long as you consider their socioeconomic status, food insecurity, and any limitations to resources and activities.

Lastly, it’s important to eliminate any external messages that make you feel shame or guilt about how your body looks. Since unrealistic body ideals can exaggerate a negative body image, fill your newsfeed with body-positive images that encourage self-compassion and provide a space that is inclusive of the many ways we can approach health.

If you have read the 4th edition of Intuitive Eating, perused the website, and are still interested in learning more, I recommend checking out podcasts, books, blogs, and social media support groups created by RDNs and therapists, such as those listed below:

If you would like to personally seek guidance from an RDN, suggested providers are listed on the Intuitive Eating website and also on Harrison’s website. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or are in the early stages of recovery, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before embarking on Intuitive Eating. It’s possible that your hunger and fullness cues can be altered or absent.

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Emma Laing, PhD, RDN, LD is Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Dietetics at the University of Georgia. Her area of research encompasses imaging techniques for assessment of bone and body composition and employing dietary and physical activity interventions to reduce the risk of chronic disease, including osteoporosis. She is also interested in determining the efficacy of non-diet approaches to improve health and well-being. Her courses likewise challenge diet culture and incorporate the deleterious effects of weight stigma on health. https://www.fcs.uga.edu/people/bio/emma-laing

This post was originally published on In Defense of Processed Food (Link: https://processedfoodsite.com/2020/08/25/you-are-not-what-you-eat-exploring-intuitive-eatings-gentle-nutrition-principle-by-emma-liang/)

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