Dietetics Blog Archive

These are archived dietetics blogs from 2023 and earlier.

Let’s Talk About Lemon Water

April 12, 2023

By: Reagan Street

I am consistently surprised to see one trend continue to rise to the top around the new year: lemon water. With many impressive claims, lemon water tends to resurface as a hot topic like clockwork. Although I enjoy the taste of lemon water, I must reveal that it is not the cure-all we wish it were. Then what is the secret behind its claim to improve our health? It is less about the lemon and more about your overall water consumption.

Claim 1: Lemon water cured my skin.

Water has been and will continue to be an essential part of life, helping our bodies function in temperature control as well as in physical and cognitive performance (Popkin et al., 2010). A notable fact about your skin that you might not realize is that it is your body's largest organ (Richardson, 2003). If you are dehydrated, your body might have diminished function, which could be reflected in your skin. A study exploring the relationship between water intake and skin physiology determined that adding 2 liters of water, when dehydrated, to a person's already predetermined “healthy” lifestyles might positively impact their skin’s health (Palma et al., 2015). The recommended fluid intake is 3,000 mL for the average male and 2,200 mL for the average female. Many people do not achieve this recommendation; however, drinking too much water can also negatively impact health. Being overhydrated can affect your electrolyte balance, resulting in headaches and possible water intoxication (Yonemura et al., 1987). Fluid needs vary per individual, and to determine yours, it would be best to consult with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian (Meinders & Meinders, 2010).

Claim 2: Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning has helped me lose (insert X number) pounds.

Most social media influencers or proponents of lemon water suggest that if you drink lemon water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, it aids in helping flush out toxins, speeding up your metabolism, and cleansing the bowels. What do you usually drink first thing in the morning? Orange juice? Coffee? Several studies have determined that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like orange juice and coffee are associated with weight gain (Malik et al., 2006). Our bodies store calories from sugary drinks, often termed “empty calories,” meaning they provide energy like calories but little to no nutritional value — hence, empty. Your body will store these calories from sugar and, if not expended, will be stored as fat, which can contribute to overall weight gain (United States Department of Agriculture 2015). By drinking lemon water instead of a sugar-sweetened beverage in the morning, you are adjusting that behavior, swapping a caloric beverage with a zero-calorie option, which in itself could result in weight loss (Tate et al, 2012). Theoretically, you could achieve the same weight loss goal with a zero-calorie lemonade powder vs. an actual lemon, or … drinking plain water.

Bottom line

In conclusion, I enjoy lemon water, and you can too if you like the taste! However, there is no need to force yourself to drink it for the sake of reaping mythical health benefits. Meeting your fluid intake needs by drinking more plain water or adding a variety of different fruits and vegetables to your water, will positively impact your health and hydration status.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern


Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. 2006. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr 84:274-288.

Meinders AJ, Meinders AE. 2010. [How much water do we really need to drink?]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 154:A1757.

Palma L, Marques LT, Bujan J, Rodrigues LM. 2015. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 8:413-421.

Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. 2010. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev 68:439-458.

Richardson M. 2003. Understanding the structure and function of the skin. Nurs Times 99:46-48.

Tate DF, Turner-McGrievy G, Lyons E, et al. Replacing caloric beverages with water or diet beverages for weight loss in adults: main results of the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. Mar 2012;95(3):555-63.

United States Department of Agriculture. What are empty calories. Version current 30 November 2015. Internet: (accessed 19 February 2023).

Yonemura K, Hishida A, Miyajima H, Tawarahara K, Mizoguchi K, Nishimura Y, Ohishi K. 1987. Water intoxication due to excessive water intake: observation of initiation stage. Jpn J Med 26:249-252.


Are Superfoods Really Super? 

April 12, 2023

By: Jen Ray

Look up there in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Why no, it’s … a bowl of quinoa!?

Okay, in all seriousness, a bowl of quinoa does not have superpowers like Superman flying through the sky. However, quinoa is just one of many foods to be considered a superfood. So, the question that is probably on people’s minds is, “Are superfoods really ‘super’?”

What are superfoods?
First, we must define precisely what a “superfood” really is. If you ask a person on the street what they think a superfood is, they are likely to say they are foods associated with healthy food properties, such as containing vitamins. They may also say that superfoods are those that may positively influence our health by preventing disease (Kirsch et. al., 2022). However, there is no scientific definition of a superfood. Instead, it is a term used more for marketing purposes (Kirsch et. al., 2022; van den Driessche et. al., 2018; Liu et. al., 2021). According to Kirsch et. al. (2022), the Oxford dictionary defines superfoods as foods that are considered especially nutritious or can be otherwise beneficial to the health and well-being of a person. Hassoun et. al. (2022) define superfoods as nutrient-dense foods containing bioactive compounds and other possible health benefits or therapeutic values. Every year more foods are added to the “superfoods” list. Because of variations in worldwide dietary habits, people from distinct regions may perceive what a superfood is differently (van den Driessche et. al., 2018). Some of the most common superfoods are but are not limited to, honey, salmon, cranberries, and quinoa.

What are some of the superpowers?
Honey is considered a superfood because it reduces inflammation and supports the immune system, and it has been used for this, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Honey may also have an antiviral effect on enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2 (Hassoun et. al., 2022). Salmon falls into the superfood category because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can also positively affect immunity and inflammation. Salmon may also have antiviral properties, which may help protect against developing metabolic illnesses like cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and Type 2 diabetes (Hassoun et. al., 2022). Cranberries are rich in vitamins, pro-anthocyanidins, and other antioxidants (van den Driessche et. al., 2018; Proestos, 2018), which may lower the risk of developing CVD, reduce blood pressure, lower the incidence of urinary tract infections, and possibly affect cancer pathophysiology (Proestos, 2018). Besides containing all essential amino acids, quinoa has been categorized as a superfood because it may help lower body mass index (van den Driessche et. al., 2018).

So, is it true…do superfoods have superpowers?
As much as we want to believe there are foods with superpowers that can make us healthier or help prevent diseases, the science does not support this. Studies that have been conducted to date conclude that more evidence is needed to support preliminary findings on and beliefs surrounding superfoods. Results from many of the studies are found to be contradictory or not convincing; for others, the number of studies is limited, so widespread recommendations cannot yet be made (van den Driessche et. al., 2018). Most of the research indicates that superfoods can be helpful to our bodies; however, the research also suggests consuming superfoods as part of a healthy balanced diet (Proestos, 2018). “Superfoods” may have some benefits stemming from their inclusion in one’s diet, but to say they have superpowers on their own and can help protect us from disease or illness, at this time, is not yet a claim well-supported by scientific evidence.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by: Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern


Hassoun A, Harastani R, Jagtap S, Trollman H, Garcia-Garcia G, Awad NMH, Zannou O, Galanakis CM, Goksen G, Nayik GA, et. al. 2022. Truths and myths about superfoods in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. Aug 5:1-18.

Kirsch F, Lohmann M, and Böl G. 2022. The public’s understanding of superfoods. Sustainability 14(7):3916.

Liu H, Meng-Lewis Y, Ibrahim F, Zhu X. 2021. Superfoods, super healthy: myth or reality? Examining consumers’ repurchase and WOM intention regarding superfoods: a theory of consumption values perspective. J. Bus. Res 137:69-88.

Proestos C. 2018. Superfoods: Recent data on their role in the prevention of diseases. Curr. Res. Nutr. Food Sci. 06(3):576-593.

van den Driessche JJ, Plat J, Mensink R. 2018. Effects of superfoods on risk factors of metabolic syndrome: a systematic review of human intervention trials. Food Funct. 9:1944-1966.


Vegetarianism: Boon or Bane?

April 12, 2023

By: Jesse Perry

It is a common belief that switching to a vegetarian diet is better for health than a diet including meat. While there are many benefits to switching to a vegetarian diet, it is important to consider the possible drawbacks of removing meat from the diet.

What is a vegetarian diet?

A vegetarian diet is an eating pattern that restricts the consumption of meat. This diet has varying degrees of restriction surrounding eggs, milk, and fish. Vegetarians who allow eggs in their diet are considered ovo-vegetarians. Vegetarians who allow dairy products in their diet are considered lacto-vegetarians. Vegetarians who allow eggs and dairy are considered lacto-ovo vegetarians. If a person allows themselves to eat fish, they are considered pescatarian. People who eat no animal products are considered vegan.

What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet?

Despite claims that a vegetarian diet is better than a diet including meat not being true, this diet does provide many benefits that would make it seem so. A vegetarian diet can potentially lower the intake of undesirable nutrients, such as saturated fats. A decrease in these nutrients can help deter mortality caused by ischemic heart disease, which can occur by fat deposits blocking arteries in the heart (Key et al., 1999). A vegetarian diet can also increase the consumption of beneficial nutrients, such as complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber (helps with digestion), vitamins C and E (act as antioxidants), and folic acid (helps to prevent birth defects in women of child-bearing age). Overall, these benefits can lead to a reduction of heart disease, renal disease, diabetes, as well as many other chronic diseases (Leitzmann 2005).

Are there drawbacks of a vegetarian diet?

If executed correctly, there should be no drawbacks to consuming a vegetarian diet. However, some people switch from eating meat without doing enough research and preparation, thus leading to common dietary deficiencies. There are many nutrients that vegetarians can be deficient in, such as protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and iodine (Leitzmann 2005). Iron has two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is commonly found in meat, fish, and poultry, while non-heme is found in plant foods. About 15-40% of heme iron can be absorbed from meat, while only 1-15% of non-heme iron can be absorbed from food. As a result, vegetarians must plan meals carefully or take dietary supplements to ensure they maintain adequate levels of iron in their bodies. Luckily, many foods are fortified with iron, and vegetarians can choose foods high in iron, such as leafy greens, nuts, and legumes (Hunt 2002).

Bottom line

A vegetarian diet can be a healthful eating pattern if planned properly. Your body needs a balanced diet rich in nutrients to perform at its best and reduce the risk for chronic diseases. Attempting to start a vegetarian diet without planning could lead to nutrient deficiencies that would be detrimental to the body.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at To learn more about vegetarian diets, visit the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group.

Reviewed by Quadarius Whitson, UGA Dietetic Intern


Hunt JR. Moving toward a plant-based diet: are iron and zinc at risk? Nutr Rev 2002;60:127-134.

Key TJ, Davey GK, Appleby PN. Health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Proc Nutr Soc 1999;58:271-275.

Leitzmann C. Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages? Forum Nutr 2005;57:147-156.


Protein Intake and Timing – how to fuel for optimal muscle growth and performance

April 12, 2023

By: Dianna Thomas, BS

The protein craze is hitting social media like a tidal wave! We know this nutrient is vital for muscle growth, repair, and athletic performance, but how much should we have? When should we consume it? What types should we be consuming? You may find answers to many of these questions on popular platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, but if you stick around and keep reading, you can get a glimpse into what the latest science tells us.

How much protein should you be consuming?

The amount of dietary protein an individual needs differs based on factors including height, weight, age, sex, and activity level. The average individual should consume 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight, and both strength and endurance athletes may benefit from higher intakes (Thomas et al., 2016). Recommendations for strength athletes range between 1.2-1.7g of protein per kg, and endurance athletes should consume between 1.2-1.4g per kg (Thomas et al., 2016). If your goal is to put on some muscle or improve your strength and endurance, you may want to think about prioritizing this nutrient.

When should you consume protein for optimal muscle growth, repair, and performance?

Protein timing is an ongoing hot topic! Ultimately the timing and composition of a pre- or post-workout meal are highly dependent on the athlete’s tolerance as well as the length and intensity of the exercise session (Thomas et al., 2016). Studies have shown positive associations between muscle growth and strength when coupling resistance training and post-exercise protein. Consuming 20-30g post-workout can enhance performance and recovery (Carbone & Pasiakos, 2019). Ingesting high-quality protein immediately after and up to 2 hours post-workout can immensely benefit muscle growth and repair. Alongside post-workout, protein ingestion benefits can be observed when consuming 20-40g every three to four hours throughout the day and 30-40g before sleeping (Kerksick et al., 2017).

What are the most optimal protein sources?

Optimal protein sources are key to enhancing muscle growth and performance. However, what sources are considered optimal? While protein can be found in foods such as meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, and seeds, animal-sourced protein tends to have higher absorption rates (Berrazaga et al., 2019). Generally, they have higher ratios of the branched-chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine (Berrazaga et al., 2019), which are optimal for muscle growth, strength, and endurance. Although significant evidence supports animal-sourced protein, vegetarians and/or vegans can achieve optimal protein intakes with careful planning to incorporate various plant sources that will provide all essential amino acids (Berrazaga et al., 2019).

Bottom line

Ensuring your protein intake needs may seem overwhelming at first. Incorporating some of these suggestions can remove the guess-work and help you enhance muscle growth and performance.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Abigail Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern


Berrazaga, I., Micard, V., Gueugneau, M., & Walrand, S. (2019). The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review. Nutrients, 11(8).

Carbone, J. W., & Pasiakos, S. M. (2019). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients, 11(5).

Kerksick, C. M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B. J., Stout, J. R., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C. D., Taylor, L., Kalman, D., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Kreider, R. B., Willoughby, D., Arciero, P. J., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Ormsbee, M. J., Wildman, R., Greenwood, M., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Aragon, A. A., & Antonio, J. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 14, 33.

Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 48(3), 543-568.


Milk in the Media: Pasteurized or Straight from the Pasture?

April 11, 2023

By: Maddison Wilkes

In light of current online popularity and recent state legislative deliberation, raw milk is a hot topic in the media. Milk that currently lines supermarket shelves has been pasteurized, meaning the product has been heated to temperatures that destroy harmful pathogens, making it safer for human consumption. But how is the pasteurization process affecting the nutritional quality of your milk? Is raw milk more nutrient-dense? Does raw milk come with any risks? This post will shed light on these commonly asked questions.


Unpasteurized milk is claimed to fortify the immune system and stand as a nutritionally superior alternative to its pasteurized counterpart. Groups that market raw milk may posit that the product treats allergies, asthma, and lactose intolerance. Unfortunately, the risks often outweigh the benefits, and consumption of raw milk can pose a serious health risk to you and your family. Raw milk can harbor many pathogens, including CampylobacterListeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Salmonella enterica (Koski et al., 2022). Diseases caused by these pathogens are particularly dangerous to the elderly and children and could have long-lasting consequences. In just five years, 75 outbreaks related to raw milk were recorded, and over 75% of these cases occurred in states where raw milk was legal (Koski et al., 2022). These data demonstrate why it is imperative to know the risks, especially in states where the sale of raw milk for human consumption is allowed. Even from a trusted source or an organic farm, consuming raw milk can make you sick.

Health Claims and the Evidence

The Food and Drug Administration provides numerous evidence-based resources and trusted research studies to answer consumer questions about the health claims surrounding raw milk. For example, studies show that the majority of micronutrients in raw versus pasteurized milk do not differ substantially, with the exception of vitamins B2 and C, which are not significant micronutrients in milk (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 2011; Macdonald et al., 2011). Furthermore, raw milk does not contain the lactase enzyme or any probiotic strains that aid in lactose digestion, does not promote any immune system-supporting properties, and cannot treat or prevent allergies or asthma (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 2011). Raw and pasteurized milk do not differ in allergenicity, and individuals who are allergic to milk products should not consume either of these products if they are not well-tolerated.


It is important to remember that, when it comes to nutrition, we don’t always have to think in absolutes. While we might hear that “food processing” can have negative impacts on our health, we should appreciate that it can also protect our well-being, as is the case with pasteurization. When it comes to milk, the risks of consuming the raw form far outweigh any potential claimed benefits to health. The research shows that raw milk does not provide any additional health benefits when compared to pasteurized products, and it can serve as a vessel for harmful pathogens. Pasteurization is a crucial step in processing that keeps you and your loved ones safe, happy, and healthy.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sydnee Berman, Dietetic Intern


Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (2011, November 1). Raw Milk Misconceptions and the Danger of Raw Milk Consumption. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from

Koski, L., Kisselburgh, H., Landsman, L., Hulkower, R., Howard-Williams, M., Salah, Z., . . . Nichols, M. (2022). Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Linked to Unpasteurised Milk and Relationship to Changes in State Laws – United States, 1998–2018. Epidemiology & Infection, 150, E183.

Macdonald, L. E., Brett, J., Kelton, D., Majowicz, S. E., Snedeker, K., & Sargeant, J. M. (2011). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of pasteurization on milk vitamins, and evidence for raw milk consumption and other health-related outcomes. Journal of Food Protection, 74(11), 1814–1832.


The Deal of a Lifetime—Is Eating Healthy Expensive?

April 10, 2023

By: Whitney Sanders

Every day, many people shop in grocery stores with the idea that they need to spend an inordinate amount of money to eat what diet and wellness culture tells us is “healthy.” This includes fresh fruits and vegetables and low-carb options. But what if I told you that eating healthy can be budget-friendly? Below are useful tips to help you shop inexpensively and potentially improve your health outcomes at the same time.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables

A common nutrition misconception is that consuming fruits and vegetables is expensive. While there is some truth to that statement (Rao et al., 2013), let’s break it down. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive if the chosen foods spoil before consumption, if you’re buying them out of season, or if you find that the price of the fresh vs. frozen or canned version is more expensive. Buying frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can be less costly and can help you achieve the overall goal of consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Many think that frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are inferior to fresh, but that is not the reality. These products are often picked and stored, either frozen or canned, at their peak ripeness, meaning they still retain the same nutrients as their fresh counterparts. So, when you pop open the microwave and put a bag of frozen veggies in, those vegetables have all of their vitamins and nutrients still intact! Frozen fruits and vegetables offer the flexibility to consume out-of-season produce but at a lower price. As an example, carrots are in season as early as May through December, so buying fresh carrots from January through April may be scarce or nonexistent and cost significantly more. But if you want to add carrots to your plate when they are out of season, canned carrots cost significantly less and are available year-round (Connell et al., 2018).

Buying rice, potatoes, or pasta in bulk

Through the years, diet culture has convinced us that carbohydrates (carbs) are “bad.” But according to MyPlate, we need to consume as many as 10 oz (depending on age, sex, height, and weight) of grains daily. What are grains mostly made up of? Carbs! Buying rice and pasta in bulk will give you more bang for your buck, allowing you to purchase a significant amount of product that will last longer and help meet your dietary needs. Though the upfront cost may be slightly expensive, the price per unit (for example, lb or kg) is considerably less expensive than buying these products in smaller volumes. An honorable mention here goes to potatoes. While potatoes are not a grain but a starchy vegetable, buying potatoes in bulk and storing them properly (in a cool, dark cabinet) can also save money over time, as potatoes are just as versatile as rice or pasta in your diet (U.S. Department of Agriculture 2020).

Bottom line

Using these two tips can save you money, diversify your diet, and improve your overall health outcomes. Consuming a balanced eating pattern reduces the risk of chronic illness, ultimately giving you the most savings; a healthy, full life!

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sydnee Berman, UGA Dietetic Intern


Connell, P., Finkelstein, S., Scott, M., Vallen, B. Negative associations of frozen compared with fresh vegetables. Appetite 2018; 127:296-302.

Rao M, Afshin A, Singh G, Mozaffarian D. Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2013;3(12).

U.S. Department of Agriculture: MyPlate. Grains. Version current 2020. Internet: (accessed 10 February 2023).


How Sweet is Too Sweet?

April 09, 2023

By: Haley Hannah

Many individuals, including myself, turn to artificial sweeteners when craving something sweet but do not want to consume sugar. I tend to choose the “diet” or “zero sugar” option when selecting soda. I am not scared of sugar, but I try and limit my consumption. What many people might not realize is that diet soda in excess can have side effects, and I experienced a few of these first-hand during my freshman year of college.

I have always known that anything in excess is not “good;” however, I had believed that any food containing artificial sugars had a little more wiggle room for consumption. My freshman year was during COVID, so the dining hall was giving out liters of soda with student orders. I chose to bring home a liter of diet soda to keep in my dorm. Knee-deep in the study grind, I consumed the entire liter within three days. The next morning, I felt extremely lightheaded and dizzy and could not figure out why. The artificial sweetener in this soda may have been the culprit ... or was it?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (2014), artificial sweeteners are known to be sweeter than sucrose but are lower in calories. The FDA regulates and approves artificial sweeteners as food additives, which need premarket approval/review. On the other hand, the sweetener could bypass premarket approval if it is generally recognized as safe (or “GRAS”). Artificial sweeteners that have been approved by the FDA include sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), neotame, advantame, and aspartame – the latter of which was in the liter of soda I drank.

Aspartame consumption has been linked to reduced levels of hormones called catecholamines that work to raise blood sugar levels that are too low (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2023a; Czarnecka et al., 2021). When these these hormones are suppressed, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hypotension (low blood pressure) could result. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, weakness, anxiety, dizziness, and light-headedness (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2023b) and symptoms of hypotension include dizziness, light-headedness, lethargy, weakness, nausea, and fainting (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2022). A drop in catecholamines could be one possible explanation for my symptoms. The diet soda I consumed also contains caffeine, which can cause the same symptoms as hypoglycemia (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2023c). Whether the culprit in my case was excess caffeine or aspartame, or another factor altogether, the science tells us that artificial sweeteners should not be consumed in excess.

Bottom Line

Whether a product is packed with sugar or is artificially sweetened, it should be consumed mindfully and in the recommended amounts. It is easy to justify eating more of a food if it is artificially sweetened, fat-free, or low-calorie, but always proceed cautiously. A couple of ways you can be more mindful is by checking the serving size on the food label and checking acceptable daily intakes. According to the FDA (2018), the ADI for aspartame is 50 mg/kg body weight/per day. Another option is to find an alternative. I started drinking sparkling water because it hydrates and satisfies my craving for a carbonated drink. Kombucha is also a great option, as it is carbonated and can be lower in added sugars compared to soft drinks.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual®. Diabetes: Hypoglycemia (not caused by diabetes) nutrition therapy. Version current 2023c. Internet: (accessed 25 February 2023).

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual®. Diabetes Mellitus: Hypoglycemia (not related to diabetes). Version current 2023b. Internet: (accessed 25 February 2023).

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual®. Energy metabolism: Catecholamines. Version current 2023a. Internet: (accessed 25 February 2023).

Czarnecka, K., Pilarz, A., Rogut, A., Maj, P., Szymańska, J., Olejnik, Ł., & Szymański, P. Aspartame-true or false? Narrative review of safety analysis of general use in products. Nutrients 2021;13:1-17.

Food and Drug Administration. Additional information about high-intensity sweeteners permitted for use in food in the United States. Version current: 8 February 2018. Internet: (accessed 20 March 2023).

Food and Drug Administration. High-intensity sweeteners. Version current: 19 May 2014. Internet: (accessed 25 February 2023).

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Low blood pressure. Version current 24 March 2022. Internet: (accessed 25 February 2023).


Is it possible to meet your nutrition needs as a vegetarian?

March 12, 2023

By: Nancy Halloran

It can be a challenge to navigate nutrition facts versus myths. A common nutrition misconception is that vegetarian diets cannot provide adequate nutrient needs to humans. However, data from evidence-based resources conclude that human nutrient needs can be met on a vegetarian diet with careful planning and what potentially sparse nutrients are recommended to pay close attention to.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans explicitly include the Healthy Vegetarian Dietary Pattern as part of the recommended ways of eating (United States Department of Agriculture, 2023). The recommendations for vegetarianism are the same as the standard U.S. Dietary Guidelines, except that protein is received from plant sources. The Dietary Guidelines show how the varying nutrition needs of toddlers, ages 12 to 23 months, and older adults, ages two years and older, can all be met with a vegetarian eating pattern. Due to the lack of animal protein sources, there are vital nutrients to prioritize when creating plant-based meals, including vitamin B12, iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, n-3 fatty acids, and calcium. The MyPlate graphic (found on is a helpful educational tool based on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that you can use to view plant-based options within the protein food group.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published its latest position statement on the vegetarian diet in 2016 and contends that a well-planned vegetarian diet provides adequate nutrition throughout the lifespan (Melina et al., 2016). Their stance on vegetarianism emphasizes that careful planning of vegetarian diets is not only healthful but may also provide benefits toward preventing certain diseases. A recent systematic review presents vegetarians with higher scores on the “Healthy Eating Index” than non-vegetarians in 9 out of the 12 studies included in the review (Parker et al., 2019). Greater adherence to plant protein, whole grains, fruit, and sodium consumption created a higher diet quality in the vegetarian group, whereas, non-vegetarians adhered more to refined grains and total protein foods than vegetarians. Higher quality diets in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians can potentially and partly explain improved health outcomes, yet further research is necessary to solidify these findings.

We now know that a vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrition required to live healthfully. By incorporating plant-based protein sources, adhering to MyPlate guidelines, and thoughtful planning, individuals can sustain their nutrition needs with a vegetarian diet.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at To learn more about vegetarian diets, visit the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group.

Reviewed by Skylar Mercer, UGA Dietetic Intern


Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. 2016. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Dec;116(12):1970-1980.

Parker HW, Vadiveloo MK. 2019. Diet quality of vegetarian diets compared with nonvegetarian diets: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 2019 Mar 1;77(3):144-160.

United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Internet: Accessed 1 February 2023.


What Does An Eating Disorder Look Like?

March 11, 2023

By: Sydney Williams

I want you to create an image in your head of an individual who is currently struggling with an eating disorder… are they a white, underweight teenage girl? Because of media misrepresentation and lack of awareness, many people imagine someone within that demographic to depict a stereotypical eating disorder patient. The truth is, anyone can develop an eating disorder; this includes any age, gender, ethnicity, or body composition. Over 30 million people around the world are affected by eating disorders, and the majority of them usually go undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated (Kutz et al., 2020). Overall, approximately 9-18% of young women and 1-3% of young men have experienced an eating disorder before they enter early adulthood (Silen et al., 2020).

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is defined as a mental condition that impairs both mental and physical health and where disturbed attitudes toward one’s body image, weight, and calorie consumption heavily contribute to the origin and maintenance of the eating disorder (Treasure et al., 2020). The Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, 2013) most recently named five classifications of eating disorders to guide health professionals to the most appropriate diagnosis, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), and Other Specified Feed or Eating Disorder (OSFED). The classifications of eating disorders each present differently amongst individuals. As more research and studies have been conducted, the prevalence of eating disorders is even greater than originally thought. The prevalence of disordered eating behaviors and eating disorder diagnoses has increased dramatically over the past 50 years, and the many people who suffer with an eating disorder come in all shapes and sizes.

Anorexia Nervosa

Body dysmorphia often co-occurs with Anorexia Nervosa and is a mental health condition characterized by a preoccupation over perceived defects in one’s body image, even if the defect is not completely accurate (Hardardottir et al., 2019). Anorexia Nervosa is the restriction of energy intake resulting in low body weight and can result from body dissatisfaction (DSM-5, 2013). Most people with anorexia nervosa experience a profound fear of gaining weight, even though they are most likely underweight. Denial of the urgency of their current low body weight disables many people from seeking help or treatment.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is the recurring binge eating episodes characterized by consuming large amounts of food quickly with a lack of control. This coincides with unhealthy compensatory behavior, such as purging, using laxatives, over-exercising, and consuming diet pills (DSM-5, 2013). On average, the bingeing and purging episodes occur at least once per week for three months in order to obtain the appropriate diagnosis (DSM-5, 2013).

Binge Eating Disorder

Like Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder consists of recurring episodes of consuming large amounts of food in a short period with no control (DSM-5, 2013). Binge Eating disorder differs from Bulimia Nervosa in that there are no purging episodes that follow the bingeing. These binge-eating episodes are demonstrated by quickly eating, eating beyond comfortableness, and hiding these episodes, especially during times of stress.

Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is an eating or feeding disturbance resulting in an individual being unable to meet essential nutritional needs and one or more of the following: significant weight loss, nutritional deficiency, dependency on nutritional supplements, or interference in social functioning (DSM-5, 2013). This specific eating disorder differs from the others because the cause of the restriction of food is not due to body dissatisfaction.

The bottom line is that eating disorders stem from various causes and present in bodies of different shapes and sizes. It is essential to consider this before making presumptions about a person’s health based on how they look.

If an individual displays patterns of disordered eating or has a diagnosed eating disorder, they should seek the help of a qualified nutrition or mental health professional. A licensed and registered dietitian nutritionist can provide personalized, science-based recommendations that cater to the individual and can refer clients to other health professionals as needed. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sydnee Berman, UGA Dietetic Intern


American Psychiatric Association. The Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders. (2013) 5th edition. 

Hardardottir, H., Hauksdottir, A., & Bjornsson, A. S. Body dysmorphic disorder: symptoms, prevalence, assessment and treatment. (2019). 105(3), 125–131.

Kutz, A. M., Marsh, A. G., Gunderson, C. G., Maguen, S., & Masheb, R. M. Eating Disorder Screening: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Test Characteristics of the SCOFF. (2020) Journal of general internal medicine, 35(3), 885–893.

​​Silén, Y., Sipilä, P. N., Raevuori, A., Mustelin, L., Marttunen, M., Kaprio, J., & Keski-Rahkonen, A. (2020). DSM-5 eating disorders among adolescents and young adults in Finland: A public health concern. The International journal of eating disorders, 53(5), 520–531.

Treasure, J., Duarte, T.A., Schmidt, U. Eating Disorders. (2020). The Lancet, 395(10227), 899-911.


Should I Be Taking a Probiotic?

March 11, 2023

By: Megan Tomlin

I am here to answer the trendy question many people have been asking: Do I need to be taking a probiotic supplement? In short, it depends. First, we need to define what a probiotic is. At its core, a probiotic is a substance that increases the growth of living microorganisms in our gastrointestinal tract (Marcason 2013). Probiotics are often used as a blanket term, but there are many different strains of probiotics that are further classified into their genus and species (National Institutes of Health 2022). Prebiotics and synbiotics are other terms that we often hear about when it comes to gut health. A prebiotic typically comes from a food source that is nondigestible and that creates a beneficial environment for microbes to grow, whereas synbiotics are foods and supplements containing both pro- and prebiotics (Marcason 2013).

Next, it is important to realize that the act of taking probiotics in the form of dietary supplements is fairly new. More advanced research is needed to understand these supplements’ regulation, use, and prescription. The International Science Association explains that many supplements on the market claim to be probiotics; however, they do not contain the required amount of contents, live microorganisms, or scientific evidence to support the claims that are on the label (Hill et al. 2014). When considering if a probiotic supplement is right for you, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine if you can benefit from a supplement in the first place.

While research from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library has investigated the benefits of probiotics, including cancer treatment and support (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2006), there is not enough evidence to widely recommend probiotic use by healthy people (National Institutes of Health 2022). There is also evidence that probiotics can benefit gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and respiratory infections (Marcason 2013), however more studies are needed to prove this. This emphasizes how important the need is for continued high-quality research on probiotics.

In terms of everyday use, we can get beneficial probiotics from our food as well as dietary supplements (National Institutes of Health 2022). Instead of taking a supplemental probiotic, consider incorporating foods into your diet known to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. Fermented foods support the development of these beneficial microbes and include sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, and kombucha (Marco 2017). Greek yogurt is another food that naturally contains a hefty dose of probiotics.

Putting all of this information into perspective, the most crucial step is identifying your reason for considering a probiotic supplement. Whether you suffer from gastrointestinal issues or would simply like to give them a try, be sure to discuss the use of probiotics with your healthcare provider.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Abigail Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library. Is there a relationship between a patient’s intake of probiotics to reduce symptoms and the reduction of symptoms associated with cancer in all cancer patients? Version current 2006. Internet: (accessed 16 January 2023).

Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, Gibson G, Merenstein D, Pot B, Morelli L, Canani R, Flint H, Salminen S et al. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat. 2014;11:506-514.

Marcason W. Probiotics: Where Do We Stand? JAND. 2013;113:1424.

Marco ML, Heeney D, Binda S, Cifelli CJ, Cotter PD, Foligné B, Gänzle M, Kort R, Pasin G, Pihlanto A, et al. Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond. NIH. 2017;44:94-102.

National Institutes of Health. Probiotics. Version current 2022. Internet: (accessed 12 March 2023).


Restricting vs. Limiting: Your Definition of Dieting Matters to your Health

March 11, 2023

By: Tiersly Wanka

If you look up the word “diet,” you will see various definitions that are centered on the concept of eating less. A significant difference in these definitions is the use of the terms limiting or restricting. Some would define dieting as restricting food intake, while others would describe it as limiting of certain foods. Though these two words are synonyms, they have distinct differences in how they relate to the practice of dieting for health.

A restrictive diet completely removes certain foods from a person's consumption. For a dieter, this may mean avoidance of foods perceived as unhealthy or, in other cases, semi-starvation. In theory, restricting foods sounds like a reasonable tactic to lose weight, but research suggests otherwise. Studies have shown that restrictive dieting, though effective initially in promoting weight loss, leads to a period of refeeding, binging, weight gain – higher than the original weight – and adverse physiological changes, such as depression and irritability (Polivy, 1996). These observations are quite the opposite of what popular diets are advertised to feel like. In addition, it is hypothesized that the human body learns to adapt to starvation by gaining weight or storing excess fat. When dieters go through a cycle of food insufficiency to food abundance, the body becomes more efficient at storing fat because it cannot predict when enough food will be available and consumed next (Higginson and McNamara, 2016).

So, how is limitation any different from restriction when it comes to dieting? Food limitation refers to a reduction in said food but not complete avoidance. For instance, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a healthy dietary pattern diverse in fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy and limited in fats and sugars. The Guidelines do not suggest a restriction, but rather a limitation, of certain foods like fats and sugars that have been shown to lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Limiting the intake of these foods reduces the risk for developing these conditions without entirely restricting said foods (United States Department of Agriculture, 2020-2025).

If you are interested in making a change to your eating pattern to support your health, first consider the foods outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that you should prioritize and add your diet for their nutritional value. Then, focus on limiting the less nourishing foods you typically consume rather than restricting them altogether.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern


Higginson A, McNamara J. An adaptive response to uncertainty can lead to weight gain during dieting attempts. Evol Med Public Health 2016; 2016(1):369-80.

Polivy J. Psychological Consequences of Food Restriction. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996 96:589-92.

United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Internet: (accessed 1 February 2023)


Your fitness pal app is not really your friend!

March 10, 2023

By: Tiffany Vo

Nutrition and fitness-tracking apps are common, easy-to-use tools used to track habits to improve health. They look promising, claiming to ensure exceptional results by simply following a routine; however, they do not advertise the possible consequences of using them.

Being aware of what and how much you eat is not inherently bad if you enjoy learning about generalized eating habits and achieving health goals. However, can you be too aware? Self-tracking may seem innocent initially, but it becomes worrisome when unintentional behaviors result like an obsession with numbers, such as calories and weight, and body image (Eikey 2021, Simpson and Mazzeo 2017). Diet culture and the expansion of technology have blurred the lines defining health-conscious behaviors versus problematic patterns, and disordered eating and eating disorders can be triggered or further exacerbated by the restrictive nature of tracking apps (Eikey 2021, Simpson and Mazzeo 2017).

These tools offer personalized advice, which sounds enticing; however, their suggestions are just that – suggestions. The apps entirely neglect individual needs or the realism and safety of the user’s goals (Simpson and Mazzeo 2017). Rather than providing accurate suggestions, they are only programmed to offer generalized recommendations based on data from individuals with a similar age, weight, height range, and health goals (McCaig et al. 2019). They often prompt users to check-in, log their meals, and weigh themselves regularly, which can lead to a hyper-fixation with these numbers (Eikey 2021).

Eating disorders are mental disorders characterized by obsessive and harmful behaviors centered on food, body image, and weight (National Institute of Mental Health 2023). Disordered eating is a collection of behaviors, such as excessive calorie and food restriction, preoccupation with weight and body image, hunger denial, and extreme physical activity compensation (Eikey 2021). Studies show that 73% of tracking app users convey that their app had at least some contribution to increased disordered eating behaviors or eating disorders (Eikey 2021).

Common features among these apps include motivational messages to encourage users to obtain a certain number of steps, half-hearted notifications when a goal is not met, and visual rewards and punishments, such as completing a physical activity ring or seeing a red negative number when calorie limits are exceeded (Eikey 2021). Such messages and visuals can have negative impacts – such as a need to compete to beat yesterday’s score and a decrease in self-worth if these goals are not met (Eikey 2021). Research has determined several unintended consequences of frequent tracking: an obsession with numbers, an inflexible diet, app dependency, and extreme negative emotions. Users report looking at food as macros rather than actual food, opting out of social events involving food, and having anxiety attacks centered on eating (Eikey 2021).

If an individual displays patterns of disordered eating or has a diagnosed eating disorder, they should delete the app and seek the help of a qualified nutrition or mental health professional. Instead of relying on external cues provided by tracking apps, the best method to achieve nutrition and health goals is to speak to a licensed and registered dietitian nutritionist who can provide personalized, science-based recommendations that cater to the individual rather than the generalized information an app can offer. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Abbie Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern


Eikey EV. 2021. Effects of diet and fitness apps on eating disorder behaviours: Qualitative study. BJPsych Open 7:e176.

McCaig D, Elliott MT, Prnjak K, Walasek L, Meyer C. 2019. Engagement with MyFitnessPal in eating disorders: Qualitative insights from online forums. Int J Eat Disord 53:404-11.

National Institute of Mental Health. Eating disorders. Version current January 2023. Internet: (accessed 27 January 2023).

Simpson CC, Mazzeo SE. 2017. Calorie counting and fitness tracking technology: Associations with eating disorder symptomatology. Eat Behav 26:89-92.


Are greens powders a green light?

March 10, 2023

By: Emilie Hudgins

One of the latest trends appearing on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram is nutritional “greens” powders. Many brands have been launching powdered nutritional supplements featuring the benefits of powdered fruits and vegetables. These powders typically tout similar benefits across brands; improved gut health, decreased digestive issues, improved energy, and overall improved health. Many influencers online have featured these products in their content, attributing their improved health and nutrition to these vibrant powders. Although these products claim to fill nutritional gaps in consumers’ every day diets, are they an appropriate nutrition solution for people seeking to improve their health?

The evidence that greens powders are beneficial for human digestive health is not clear, as there have not been many studies on these novel supplement products. One study conducted in mice found that dietary vegetable powders affected the microbiome and immune homeostatis of the digestive tract (Zou et al 2022). The changes in the digestive tract of mice from this study indicated that vegetable powders could potentially be beneficial as functional food supplements, but this type of study has yet to be carried out in humans. The case for powdered greens products benefitting health in other areas could be possible depending on the consumer and their individual health concerns. A study by Zhang et al. (2009) found that systolic and diastolic blood pressure measures were reduced when participants consumed a powdered fruit and vegetable supplement. This could be useful information for consumers hoping to decrease their blood pressure as a part of an otherwise healthy diet and prescribed medication by their healthcare provider. Likewise, a study by Egbi et al. (2018) found that green leafy vegetable powders improved the health status of Ghanian children who were anemic. The circumstances vary greatly between the population in this study and the target western audiences of influencers promoting greens powders. A supplement of any kind is not a substitute for whole fruits and vegetables; however, these supplements have the potential to be helpful for those who struggle to get adequate nutrients through their diet alone.

Bottom line

Overall, the health effects of popular greens powders have yet to be proven in large and diverse human populations. The product claims regarding improved digestive health, immunity, energy, and overall wellness are simply not supported by current research. Caution should be exercised before taking any dietary supplements. Look for supplements that display seals for 3rd-party testing to ensure you are consuming what is promoted on the label. The following are reputable seals: USP Verified, NSF International,, Informed Choice, or NSF Certified for Sport.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Skylar Mercer, UGA Dietetic Intern


Egbi G. Gbogbom S. Mensah GE. Glover-Amengor M. Steiner-Asiedu M. Effect of green leafy vegetables powder on anaemia and vitamin-A status of Ghanaian school children. BMC Nutrition. 2018: 4;27.

Zhang J. Oxinos G. Maher JH. The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study. J. Chipro. Med. 2009: 8, 101-106.

Zou Y. Haifei Y. Zhang L. Ruan Z. Dietary vegetable powders modulate immune homeostasis and intestinal microbiota in mice. Foods. 2022: 11;27.

 This is a good time to educate about what to look for in a supplement – teach folks reading this about the type of seals to look for that the product has been third party tested and contains what it says on the label. 


Fabulous Fueling! Featuring: Fiber

March 10, 2023

By: Brooke Stephan

Dietary fiber is composed of carbohydrates (long-chain polymers) that cannot be broken down by human enzymes; therefore, they are not digested or absorbed by the human body (Park et al. 2011). Most Americans, specifically 90% of women and 97% of men, do not consume the recommended daily amount of 22-28 g for women and 28-34 g for men (United States Department of Agriculture, 2023). The lack of sufficient fiber intake highlights Americans' needs to recognize the importance of this nutrient and its benefits which include improved metabolic health, colon health, gut motility, regulation of appetite, metabolic processes, and decreased risk of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease (Barber et al., 2020).

If these benefits, however, do not entice you to increase your fiber intake Dr. Will Bulsiewiczis, a well-known gastroenterologist, might be able to. He wrote the book Fiber Fueled and a cookbook focusing on increasing fiber in your diet. He says that the Golden Rule of eating should be plant-based diversity (Bulsiewicz 2020, pg. 76). The way to do that is by eating a variety of plants each day, so your gut microbiome has a variety of microbes to feed off of as well as being able to produce short-chain fatty acids that lower cholesterol, decrease fat accumulation, promote the release of satiety hormones, aid in blood sugar regulation, and protect against cancer (Bulsiewicz 2020, pg. 65). He further says, "By following the Golden Rule of healthy eating, you can have it all - the flavors, smells, and textures from food that you love, food that also just happens to bring you more vitality and health rather than taking it away” (Bulsiewicz 2020, pg. 76).

Fiber has also been linked to decreased mortality due to the role that fiber has in increasing excretion of bile acid and estrogen, lowering serum cholesterol, slowing glucose absorption, improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood pressure, promoting weight loss, and decreasing inflammation (Park et al. 2011). Further, one study’s results showed that individuals in the highest quartile of fiber intake, 29 g, had a 22% lower risk of death (Park et al. 2011). It was also found in this study that people in the highest quartile compared to the lowest were also more likely to exercise, have a lower body mass index, and smoke and drink less, highlighting the idea that fiber intake generally correlates with healthier living (Park et al. 2011). 

Fiber is a vital nutrient in the diet that can have a powerful influence on improving health and longevity. It can be incorporated into the diet through fruits, vegetables, and grains. For example, swapping white bread for 100% whole wheat, adding a banana to toast or spinach or flax seed to a smoothie, or simply eating an apple can increase fiber intake. In order to be successful and sustain an increased fiber diet, consider adding just one food with fiber in it at each meal.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of fiber and see where it takes your health. Living this lifestyle may help you fight disease, live longer, and overall feel (fiber) fueled.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern


Barber, T. M., Kabisch, S., Pfeiffer, A. F. H., & Weickert, M. O. (2020). The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients, 12(10).

Bulsiewicz W. Fiber Fueled. 1st ed. New York City, NY: Avery, 2020.

Park Y, Subar AF, Hollenbeck A, Schatzkin A. Dietary fiber intake and mortality in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jun 27;171(12):1061-8.

United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Internet: (accessed 17 January 2023).


Are “Superfoods” Worth the Hype (and Money)?

March 10, 2023

By: Amy Speer

The term “superfood” is a common buzzword across social media and is frequently on food labels around grocery stores, but can these foods provide us with additional health benefits? While there is no scientific authority-regulated definition of a superfood, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a superfood as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health” (Superfood). While these foods are essential to a healthy and balanced diet, items on the grocery store shelves labeled as “superfoods” may be more of a marketing scheme than a health tactic. Instead, aiming for a balanced eating pattern that follows MyPlate recommendations (, which likely already include superfoods, can improve health and longevity. 

Recent studies display evidence that, yes, many foods classified as superfoods can be beneficial to our health. One randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of walnuts on insulin resistance, as walnuts are high in branched-chain amino acids and are responsible for appetite control and satiety. This study found that after five days of walnut consumption via smoothies, participants felt more satisfied following meals than those who did not drink these smoothies, and this was related to an improved insulin resistance and decreased diabetes risk (Tuccinardi et al., 2021). Dark chocolate is another product commonly touted as a superfood. One randomized controlled trial researched the effects of dark chocolate on mood. Evidence from this study showed that daily consumption of dark chocolate, with a cocoa content of 85%, resulted in improved gut health and better mental state (Shin et al., 2022). Another superfood, green tea, contains components of both caffeine and L-theanine, which are known to improve cognitive function. A systematic review of 21 studies on the effects of green tea concluded that green tea results in reduced anxiety, improved memory, and increased overall brain function (Mancini et al., 2017).

The studies above supply evidence that several superfoods can provide health benefits. However, focusing solely on eating superfoods will not prevent ill health or disease. Furthermore, all these foods that were the focal points of the studies are common and affordable grocery items, none of which usually include “superfood” on the label. Therefore, when aiming to incorporate more superfoods into the diet, focus more on consuming whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, and less on processed items that may just include “superfood” on the label as a marketing scheme.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Claire Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern


Mancini E, Beglinger C, Drewe J, Zanchi D, Lang UE, Borgwardt S. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2017;34:26-37.

Shin JH, Kim CS, Cha L, Kim S, Lee S, Chae S, Chun WY, Shin D. Consumption of 85% cocoa dark chocolate improves mood in association with gut microbial changes in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Biochem. 2022;99:108854.

Superfood. Dictionary, Merriam-Webster. (Accessed 26 Jan 2023).

Tuccinardi D, Perakakis N, Farr OM, Upadhyay J, Mantzoros CS. Branched-Chain Amino Acids in relation to food preferences and insulin resistance in obese subjects consuming walnuts: A cross-over, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled inpatient physiology study. Clin Nutr. 2021;40(5):3032-3036.


Eggs: Harmful or Helpful?

March 10, 2023

By: Megan Smith

Although many foods face scrutiny from health enthusiasts and scientists from time to time, eggs have had a particularly tough time in the spotlight. From weight-loss influencers promoting egg whites over whole eggs to the media instilling fear that eating eggs will lead to adverse health outcomes, consumers are rightfully confused about egg consumption. Public demonization of any one food can result in adverse effects such as anxiety around a particular food, confusion regarding a healthy diet, and avoidance of a food that may be beneficial. It is important that individuals seek evidence-based recommendations from licensed professionals such as a primary care physician or a registered dietitian. 

The general fear of eggs stems from the idea that the dietary cholesterol found in egg yolks will increase plasma cholesterol levels and, thus, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). While there are always exceptions to dietary advice due to an individual’s specific health issues, it has been found that in most healthy individuals, dietary cholesterol does not raise plasma cholesterol or increase the risk of CVD (Kang & Zivkovic, 2021). 

Another important factor regarding the association between dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease is the fact that most cholesterol-containing foods also contain high amounts of saturated fatty acids, which can increase the risk of CVD. Eggs, however, are an exception, containing only 1.56 grams of saturated fat per egg (Soliman, 2018). Additionally, large studies have revealed that egg consumption may be associated with a decreased risk of stroke (Astrup, 2018). Due to the recent evidence that cholesterol, unaccompanied by saturated fat, does not increase the risk of CVD, the latest 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( no longer recommends restricting dietary cholesterol to 300 mg/day.

Eggs contain a wide array of nutrients, such as vitamin D, iodine, selenium, iron, folate, DHA, choline, and lutein (Astrup, 2018). Further, eggs provide 7 grams of complete protein per egg and have been shown to increase feelings of satiety (Kang & Zivkovic, 2021). Eggs are an affordable and nutrient-dense food that can offer many health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. As with any food, moderation is key, and all foods can fit into a healthy diet.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern


Astrup, A. Goodbye to the egg-white omelet—welcome back to the whole-egg omelet. AM J CLIN NUTR 2018;107:853-854.

Kang. J.W, Zivkovic. A. M. Are eggs good again? A precision nutrition perspective on the effects of eggs on cardiovascular risk, taking into account plasma lipid profiles and TMAO. J Nutr Biochem 2021;100:1-5.

Soliman, G. A. Dietary cholesterol and the lack of evidence in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients. 2018;10:780.


Kids Won’t Eat Vegetables … Or Will They?

March 10, 2023

By: Kassidy Sharpe

It is widely known that fruits and vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. They help support children’s growth and development, and they also contain antioxidants that fight chronic disease. In fact, with each additional serving, the cancer fighting properties of vegetables are increased (Callahan, 2021). Knowing this, parents try to introduce vegetables to children but are often met with resistance. This can be the case for several reasons, the first being that many introductory vegetable foods marketed for weaning children contain a combination of fruits and vegetables, giving the foods a sweet taste. Human children are biologically inclined to like sweet foods, and early introduction can lead to dissatisfaction with the introduction of plain vegetables because of their bitter taste (Callahan, 2021; Nekitsing et al., 2022). The combination of sweet foods like sweet potato in baby foods can mask vegetable flavors and rob children of the opportunity to develop a genuine liking for vegetables.

It is also important to note that there are ideal windows for vegetable introduction that are not widely known by parents (Callahan, 2021; Nekitsing et al., 2022). Fortunately for parents and children alike, there is new research that not only shows the benefits of early introduction of vegetables into the diet, but also gives tips for parents to increase vegetable acceptance in children of any age (Callahan, 2021; Marcella et al., 2022).

A few tips for parents are to model eating vegetables with their kids and have a dedicated dinner time for their family. Children are more likely to taste foods when they are also being eaten by the family, and dinner routines help to establish family norms (Callahan, 2021; Marcella et al., 2022). Another tip is to repeatedly expose children to vegetables even if they turn away from the foods the first few times they’re offered (Callahan, 2021; Ehrenberg et al., 2019). Many parents may sigh at this suggestion, but research shows that it can take up to nine exposures for a child to develop a liking for a vegetable flavor (Ehrenberg et al., 2019; Callahan, 2021). One last tip for older children that may help to make dinner time less stressful is to give children age-appropriate tasks during meal preparation so that they can be more engaged with the foods they eat.

All in all: parents, don’t give up! There is still hope for you to have adventurous eaters, and if they are hesitant to try new foods there are many avenues to overcome this. Each new nutritious meal is an opportunity for developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime!

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you form eating strategies that will be enjoyed by the whole family. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern


Anzman-Frasca, S., Savage, J. S., Marini, M. E., Fisher, J. O., & Birch, L. L. (2012). Repeated exposure and associative conditioning promote preschool children’s liking of vegetables. Appetite58(2), 543-553.

Callahan, E., 2021. A Review of Evidence to Support Why Young Eaters Need Veggies Early and Often. Partnership for a Healthier America

Ehrenberg, S., Leone, L. A., Sharpe, B., Reardon, K., & Anzman-Frasca, S. (2019). Using repeated exposure through hands-on cooking to increase children's preferences for fruits and vegetables. Appetite142, 104347.

Marcella, C., Daniela, B., Giuseppina, C., & Paola, M. (2022). Home-based interventions targeting vegetable intake and liking among preschoolers: A systematic review. RICERCHE DI PSICOLOGIA45, 1-26.

Nekitsing, C., & Hetherington, M. M. (2022). Implementing a ‘Vegetables First’Approach to Complementary Feeding. Current Nutrition Reports11(2), 301-310.


The Elephant in the Bloom

March 10, 2023

By: Rose Sebaugh

The consumption of greens powders and products has become one of the new leading health trends amongst young adults and teens. Social media influencers endorse greens powders as superfood-containing and bloat-reducing health supplements that maintain “morning skinny” all day. With glowing reviews, nationwide popularity, and remarkable promises, why not try these products?

Depending on the company, greens powders are able to impresses consumers with their products’ variety of delicious flavors, enticing packaging, and enthusiastic recommendations across multiple social media platforms. Though these products have persuasive anecdotes on their side, their products’ lack of backing by science is less than convincing. As greens powders are classified as a supplement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate their ingredients, effectiveness, or safety (FDA 2022). Because of the unregulated nature of the supplement market, companies are not required to prove that their product contains the advertised ingredients, and it is easy for consumers to make bogus purchases.

The best way to find safe and reliable supplements is to search for third-party tested products. In third-party testing, an unaffiliated, independent lab tests a company’s product for the safety and validity of ingredients and their quantities. Companies benefit from third-party testing because it dramatically increases credibility and customer assurance, making the products more likely to be accepted by scientists and healthcare professionals (NSF 2023). Based on a case series study testing the immune properties of 30 immunity health products, more than half of the supplements were found to be misbranded, adultered, or contained additional ingredients to those listed. None of the products revealing misinformation were third-party tested, demonstrating the importance of the third-party tested certification seal (Crawford 2022).

Unfortunately, many greens supplements are not third-party certified, so while their powders may be exactly what they market, they could also be far from what the companies advertise. With high prices of $39.99 for a 30-day supply of a popular greens powder, consumers need to understand the unreliability of this product and focus their attention on whole fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrient intake. Supplement companies could benefit from hiring dietitians, scientists, and healthcare workers, and consumers should remain wary if purchasing supplements without third-party certification.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Sitara Cullinan, UGA Dietetic Intern


Crawford C, Avula B, Lindsey AT, et al. Analysis of Select Dietary Supplement Products Marketed to Support or Boost the Immune System. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(8):e2226040.

Food and Drug Administration. Dietary supplements. Version current 2 June 2022. Internet: (accessed 29 January 2023).

National Science Foundation. NSF. Version current 2023. Internet: (accessed 29 January 2023).


Dairy: An Acne-Causing Culprit?

March 10, 2023

By: Bethany Younce

I, myself, have always been at war with my skin and the acne that overwhelms it. I know many others suffer from this same inconvenience, which negatively affects quality of life and self-esteem, particularly among adolescents and young adults. After every over-the-counter medicine and claimed cure failed me, I was about to give up. My final hope was put into a holistic doctor who advised me to cut dairy out of my diet, and my problems would be resolved. Surely it could not be this easy, right?

Several studies reveal a correlation between higher dairy consumption and acne development when compared to individuals who consume little to no dairy (Melnik and Schmitz 2009). Specifically, milk proteins – casein and whey – have been linked to increased insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels. These factors serve as “hormonal mediators” for sebaceous follicles, or pores, in the skin, and have been found to contribute to the development of acne when in excess (Melnik and Schmitz 2009). Sebaceous glands are responsible for controlling oil production on the surface of the skin, which can result in acne if the pores become clogged (Cooper et al., 1976). Though adults who suffer from acne typically have higher levels of IGF-1 circulating in the blood, IGF-1 is essential to our bodies in many ways and shouldn’t be overly suppressed. Prescription acne treatments, such as Accutane, aim to decrease, but not eradicate, these levels (Rodighiero et al., 2009).

Considering that dairy composes an entire necessary food group, important nutrients should be substituted if you choose to eliminate dairy from your diet. One of the best alternatives closest in nutrient composition to cow’s milk is soy milk that has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D. When browsing alternatives, look on the Nutrition Facts Labels of plant-based “milks” that have been fortified with nutrients common in dairy, such as protein, vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus (Bridges and Parrish 2018). There are other creative ways to incorporate these nutrients into your eating pattern. For example, purchase cereals and juices that are fortified with calcium, incorporate canned salmon or sardines into your diet, and add dark leafy greens into your routine – blend these calcium-containing vegetables into a fruit smoothie, serve them as a side, or mix them into casseroles.

I am not claiming that cutting dairy out of your diet is the cure to clear skin. Many factors can be causing the clogged pores on your face; however, there is convincing evidence that supports lowering or eliminating dairy intake, especially milk proteins, in clearing some of those unwanted spots. The connection between diet and skin health is an exciting area of research that is still in development. Additional large-scale studies are needed in diverse populations before dairy-free diets can be widely promoted to treat acne. Furthermore, foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins have been shown in the literature to work as “acne protectors” and should therefore be prioritized in a balanced eating pattern that will support your skin as well as overall health.

If you are curious about eliminating dairy, speak with your healthcare provider before embarking on a drastic change in your eating pattern. Nutrition recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help ensure you are meeting your individual nutrient needs if you choose to eliminate dairy from your diet. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Claire Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern


Bridges M, Parrish CR. Moo-ove Over, Cow’s Milk: The Rise of Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives. Pract Gastr 2018;171:20-27.

Cooper M, McGrath H, Shuster S. Sebaceous lipogenesis in human skin: variability with age and with severity of acne. Brit Journ of Derm 1976;94:165-172.

Melnik B, Schmitz G. Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. Exp Derm 2009;18:833-41.

Rodighiero E, Bertolani M, Saleri R, Pedrazzi G, Lotti T, Feliciani C, Satolli F. Do acne treatments affect insulin-like growth factor-1 serum levels? A clinical and laboratory study on patients with acne vulgaris. Derm Ther 2020;33.


Breaking the myth: Low Carb is Best for All

March 10, 2023

By: Grace Potts

Diet culture is a phenomenon that has taken a hold of our society and has harmed many people. Society tells us that we all need to be a certain weight and body shape, however that is simply not true. One of diet culture’s most famous diets is the low-carbohydrate (or low-carb) diet. However, this diet can actually leave the health of young women and girls in a worse place than they began, when it comes to mental health, weight, and the balance of the hormones in their bodies. Research has shown that dieting and restricting calorie intake below energy needs can cause stress on the body, increasing cortisol levels, and resulting in weight gain rather than weight loss (Tomiyama et al., 2010).

Often times when following a low-carb diet, the instant weight loss people see and are inspired by is due to the water weight that their body is no longer hanging onto. Carbohydrates are broken down in the body into glucose that we use for energy, and excess glycogen is stored in the muscles along with water as glycogen clings to water in the storage phase. For every gram of glycogen that is stored, 3 grams of water is stored along with it (Fernandez-Elias et al., 2015). Therefore, when your body is getting rid of these glycogen stores, and there are not enough carbohydrates coming in to replace them, the number on the scale decreases because of water losses. It can be psychologically challenging when people hit a weight loss plateau because their body is no longer just shedding water. While this might sound defeating, there are plenty of healthy and safe ways to include low or moderate amounts of carbohydrates in the diet while maintaining a favorable and healthy hormone balance.

When considering a change in eating habits, an important first step is to contact your healthcare provider or registered dietitian to ensure that you are meeting your specific nutrition needs. Robbing your body of important nutrients can be very dangerous and can easily occur without adequate planning. One helpful tactic is to avoid making aggressive changes in the diet and instead aim for sustainable small changes. Research has shown that including smaller, more frequent meals in the day will help regulate blood glucose levels, which positively affects hormonal balance in the body (Schwarz et al., 2011). While a low-carb eating pattern could be beneficial for some people, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach to attaining good health. Choosing to limit carbohydrates in the diet can be done in a safe manner with the support of a qualified nutrition professional!

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern

Works Cited

Fernandez-Elias, V. E., Ortega, J. F., Nelson, R. K., & Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2015). Relationship between muscle water and glycogen recovery after prolonged exercise in the heat in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol, 115(9), 1919-1926.

Schwarz, N. A., Rigby, B. R., La Bounty, P., Shelmadine, B., & Bowden, R. G. (2011). A review of weight control strategies and their effects on the regulation of hormonal balance. J Nutr Metab, 2011, 237932.

Tomiyama, A. J., Mann, T., Vinas, D., Hunger, J. M., Dejager, J., & Taylor, S. E. (2010). Low calorie dieting increases cortisol. Psychosom Med, 72(4), 357-364.


Myth: Diabetes Equals a No-Sugar Diet

March 10, 2023

By: Julia Pittman

“You have diabetes.” Millions of people have heard these three dreaded words. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Another form of diabetes can result when someone's pancreas is removed, but that type is beyond the scope of this post. Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes all have different treatments and outcomes, but they share two main factors: insulin and carbohydrates.

To break it down, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder affecting beta cells in the pancreas. In type 1, the body attacks its beta cells for an unknown reason, and the pancreas can no longer produce insulin (Quinn et al 2022). Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. While type 1 diabetes has no cure and is irreversible, it is very manageable with healthy lifestyle habits and medications.

Type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disorder, and it is possible to reverse depending on the severity at the time of diagnosis and what the person diagnosed is willing to do to change their lifestyle. The more advanced type 2 diabetes is, the more challenging it is for the diagnosed person to move toward controlling their disease. Someone with type 2 diabetes, simply put, does not produce enough insulin to compensate for the amount of carbohydrates they are ingesting (Welch and Vella 2022). Diet, exercise, and medication can help manage blood glucose for people diagnosed with type 2.

Gestational diabetes is quite similar to type 2 diabetes in that the mother's body is insulin resistant. During pregnancy, insulin resistance naturally occurs because the glucose from the mother is being used by the baby as well, so there needs to be excess glucose available (Lende and Rijhsinghani 2020). This type requires tighter glucose control than type 1 and type 2, but the condition usually reverses after the baby is born.

While blood sugar levels are affected by all three types of diagnoses, sugar should not necessarily be cut entirely out of one’s diet to manage diabetes. Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate, and carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel. The body needs carbohydrates to function at its best. Carbohydrates are found in foods such as starches, fruits, and milk. Meat, non-starchy vegetables, cheese, and eggs do not have carbohydrates. People with type 1 diabetes do not have dietary restrictions; however, they must be taught how to take insulin to cover the amount and type of carbohydrates they eat. A healthy diet benefits overall health for everyone, but a diabetes diagnosis does not mean that a piece of cake or a doughnut is suddenly off limits. With all three types of diabetes, monitoring carbohydrates, exercise, and medications is a balancing act. There are many factors that can affect a person with diabetes, but they are certainly not limited from living a happy and healthy life! Having the support of a qualified healthcare provider who is well-versed in diabetes management can make all the difference.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN specializing in diabetes education, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at To learn more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association at

Reviewed by Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern


Lende M, Rijhsinghani A. Gestational Diabetes: Overview with Emphasis on Medical Management. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020; 17: 9573.

Quinn L, Thrower S, Narendran P. What is type 1 diabetes? Medicine 2022; 50: 619-624.

Welch A, Vella A. What is type 2 diabetes? Medicine 2022; 50: 625-631.


Plant-based milk alternatives exposé: Are they truly better than cow milk?

March 10, 2023

By: Jaeclyn Hong Pham

As plant-based milk alternatives technology is becoming increasingly advanced, we commonly hear about the claim that these are healthier choices than dairy cow milk. This post aims to debunk the myth and further explain the nutrition-focused differences between cow milk vs. alternative milk.

Plant-based “milk” offers an alternative way to drink milk without lactose content, with excellent sources of micronutrients and often with fewer calories. It is suitable for those who prefer a vegan, low-calorie, low-fat, and lactose-free diet. While plant-based milk is a good alternative for inevitable medical conditions that require a particular diet, those who choose to shift their food selection to plant-based milk with the sole belief that they are healthier than cow milk are mistaken. When considering buying plant-based milk over cow milk, most people usually forget the most crucial difference between them- dairy content. A study estimated the yearly growth rate of plant-based milk-free beverages to be 10.18% between 2020 and 2024 (Fructuoso et al. 2021). The widespread promotion of plant-based milk has convinced us that dairy is somehow unhealthy. Dairy is one of the essential food groups, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate tool (

Consumers must understand that cow milk and plant-based milk are not entirely comparable. While plant-based milk offers highly fortified nutrients, fewer calories, and generally less fat content, cow milk contains a higher dairy value and essential macronutrients. The key word here is ‘dairy.’ Cow milk offers the nutritional benefits of dairy if consumed per daily recommendation. The beneficial effects include reduced risks for developing childhood obesity and other chronic diseases and improved body composition, which is the ratio between muscle and body fat (Thorning et al. 2016). For consumers who have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance or milk allergy conditions, non-dairy plant-based milk products can help these individuals obtain the essential nutrients for their diet. In addition, plant-based milk varies in nutrient content depending on plant source, processing, and fortification of these products (Mäkinen et al. 2016), and there is potential concern for nutritional gaps with plant-based milk. When comparing cow milk to rice, soy, almond, and coconut alternatives, soy milk is most nutritionally comparable to cow milk because it is rich in proteins and fat (Vanga and Raghavan 2018). Unfortunately, consumers assume the nutrition content is similar to any plant-based milk, so they are most likely to choose other plant-based milk based on taste and perceived health benefit. Ultimately, choosing plant-based milk over cow milk without a medically-derived reason defeats the sustainability within the dairy industry.     

Overall, both types of milk have different emphases on nutritional quality. Due to the complexity of special diet requirements and personal preferences, no exact answer exists regarding which product is better. The key is understanding what the body needs and correctly interpreting nutritional content when making decisions on appropriate milk for one’s diet. Essentially, it is vital to remember that dairy is an important food group, so if one should not consume dairy, a similar nutritional profile of alternatives should be considered to ensure adequate nutrient intake. 

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Mary McKennon Pierce, UGA Dietetic Intern


Fructuoso I, Romão B, Han H, et al. An Overview on Nutritional Aspects of Plant-Based Beverages Used as Substitutes for Cow's Milk. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2650. Published 2021 Jul 30.

Mäkinen OE, Wanhalinna V, Zannini E, Arendt EK. Foods for Special Dietary Needs: Non-dairy Plant-based Milk Substitutes and Fermented Dairy-type Products. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(3):339-349.

Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow's milk? J Food Sci Technol. 2018;55(1):10-20.

Thorning TK, Raben A, Tholstrup T, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Givens I, Astrup A. Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. Food Nutr Res. 2016;60:32527. Published 2016 Nov 22.


Does an alkaline diet help to prevent Cancer?

March 09, 2023

By: Beatriz Sarai Ortega

There is a lot of misinformation on food’s role in preventing diseases. It can be challenging to identify myths from facts, especially when it comes to “it” diets. The alkaline diet, for example, became popular in the twentieth century as a suggested way of eating to prevent cancer. Even though there was no supporting evidence of its effect, many people adopted this diet. Let’s look at the components of the alkaline diet to determine if it can be effective for cancer prevention.

What is an alkaline diet?

An alkaline diet is situated on the belief that certain foods increase your body’s acidity, which can be harmful. The main goal of this diet is to maintain an alkaline pH in the body up to 7 by choosing specific food groups. The alkaline diet encourages a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables (high in alkalinity) and low or no meat consumption (high in acidity). The diet also limits grains and added sugars, and it relies on the theory that if you consume a diet high in alkaline foods and low in acidic foods, you help your body prevent multiple diseases, specifically cancer.

What is pH?

pH is a quantitative measure that indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions inside our body. Those indicators range between 0 to 14, where 0 to 7 indicates an acid base and 8 to 14 indicates an alkaline base.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow without control and spread to other parts of the body (National Cancer Institute, 2022).

Should we be eating an alkaline diet to prevent cancer?

Our body needs a variety of foods to perform its essential functions. The alkaline diet limits one of the three important macronutrients that our body needs: protein. The body needs protein for cell repair, general growth, and muscle recovery. Foods themselves can’t be classified as “acid” or “alkaline,” depending on their effect on our bodies. Our body can maintain close control of the pH levels in our blood through our lungs, bones, and kidneys working together. There is no need to avoid essential nutrients that our body needs.

An eating pattern rich in fruits and vegetables and moderate consumption of meat products has been shown in research studies to help aid in cancer prevention (National Cancer Institute 2022, World Cancer Research Fund International 2018). So, yes, adherence to such a diet does have the potential to reduce the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis, but it is not due to a change or adjustment in the body’s pH level. It is most likely due to beneficial vitamins and minerals that are acquired by an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables (Caballero and Clerici 2020).

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Quadarius Whitson, UGA Dietetic Intern


Caballero AJD and Clerici C. Alkaline diet and its relation with health and disease: A systematic review. Actualización en Nutrición 2020;21:16-24.

National Cancer Institute. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Version Current April 2022. Internet: (accessed 20 February 2023).

World Cancer Research Fund International. Whole grain, vegetables, fruit and cancer risk. Version current 2018.Internet: (accessed 20 February 2023).


What the Gel? Why Running Gels May Not Be For You

March 09, 2023

By: Austin Malone

Imagine you are gearing up for a 5k at a local park and have yet to do the training to prepare. If only there were something to help give your body more energy to power through this dilemma. Suddenly, you remember the energy gel a friend handed you last week. The package says it is a quick and easy way to boost energy. So, you swallow the gel, hope it works, and start your run. Maybe this scenario has happened to you, or perhaps you are curious about the purpose of these “magical” boosts of energy in a pouch. In this post, I will share what an energy gel is and why it might not be for everyone.

Most energy gels contain a combination of carbohydrates (like glucose) and electrolytes (like sodium or potassium). Carbohydrates are the most common energy sources used by the body when exercising. Specifically, carbohydrates provide the primary energy source for quick, anaerobic exercises, such as lifting weights or running sprints. Depending upon the duration and intensity of the exercise, our bodies will use either fats or glucose from carbohydrates to continue the movement (Fritzen et al., 2019).

Those inexperienced at their sport or who have not trained adequately for an upcoming event may see little to no benefit from consuming an energy gel. For exercises that are 45-70 minutes in length, only a minuscule amount of carbohydrates is necessary to restore what we lose (Reinhard & Galloway, 2022). This means that consuming an energy gel may prove unnecessary in this scenario. There may be some psychological benefits, such as feeling a sudden surge of energy, but the physiological benefits of energy gels are minimal for the average runner (Karahanoğlu, 2022). On the other hand, if a well-trained runner participates at a high intensity for an extended period of time (longer than one hour), an energy gel will likely benefit their performance.

The bottom line is that the more practice and training a person’s body has undergone, the greater chance it has for utilizing the quick carbohydrates provided by an energy gel during exercise. However, if a casual exerciser would like to try a gel to boost their energy during a run, they might enjoy the taste -- but there are probably better ways to spend their hard-earned money.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Quadarius Whitson, UGA Dietetic Intern

Works Cited

Fritzen, AM, Lundsgaard A, Kiens B. Dietary Fuels in Athletic Performance, Annu Rev Nutr, 2019 Aug 21;39:45-73.

Karahanoğlu A. Psychological Effects of Energy Gels: An Investigation into Runners' Energy Gel Choice and Consumption Strategies in Marathon Running. International Journal of Food Design 2022 7(1):29-78.

Reinhard C and Galloway S. Carbohydrate Intake Practices and Determinants of Food Choices During Training in Recreational, Amateur, and Professional Endurance Athletes: A Survey Analysis, Front Nutr 2022 Mar 11;9:862396.


Does alcohol consumption have health benefits?

March 09, 2023

By: Neal Chauhan

Many of us know the harmful effects of alcohol consumption and risk for cancers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022), but are there any health benefits? Excessive alcohol consumption leads to premature deaths and is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). The recommended limit on alcohol consumption per day is two drinks or less for men and one drink or less for women (United States Department of Agriculture, 2023). Two-thirds of American adults consume alcohol occasionally, while 44% regularly consume at least one drink per week (O’Keefe et al., 2014). One of the main benefits of low to moderate alcohol consumption is reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk (McEvoy et al., 2022)

CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States and one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide (Chiva-Blanch & Badimon, 2019). Most studies testing the benefits of alcohol consumption have shown that low to moderate consumption can lead to a reduced risk of CVD events (Chiva-Blanch & Badimon, 2019). However, excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of CVD. These studies indicate an optimum alcohol consumption level to reduce the risk of CVD while not increasing risk. While low to moderate alcohol consumption has shown protective cardiovascular benefits compared to those with little to no alcohol (McEvoy et al., 2022), there is not enough evidence to suggest that those who do not drink should take up the habit.

The benefits of alcohol consumption also depend on the type of alcohol consumed. Fermented beverages contain various bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols. Polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which reduce the incidence of diseases such as CVD and cancer (Chiva-Blanch & Badimon, 2019). Red wine is the alcoholic beverage that contains the highest number of polyphenols, followed by white wine. A recent study showed that the protective benefits of alcohol against CVD were more apparent among wine drinkers than those who preferred beer or spirits (McEvoy et al., 2022). There is a notion that red wine is the only type of alcohol beneficial for health; however, other types have been shown as protective for cardiovascular health.

Bottom line

While alcohol is mainly used to have a good time or relax, it can also benefit heart health with low to moderate consumption. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022) recommend that you not drink at all if you:

  • Are under the legal drinking age
  • Are pregnant or may be pregnant
  • Have health problems that could be made worse by drinking
  • Are doing things like driving that could be dangerous with alcohol
  • Are recovering from an alcohol use disorder or find it hard to control the amount you drink
  • Take prescription medication, including cancer treatment

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Eden Crain, UGA Dietetic Intern


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Alcohol and cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Internet: (accessed 17 March 2023).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Deaths from excessive alcohol use in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Internet: (accessed 17 March 2023).

Chiva-Blanch, G., & Badimon, L. Benefits and risks of moderate alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease: Current findings and controversies. Nutrients 2020, 12, 108.

McEvoy, L. K., Bergstrom, J., Tu, X., Garduno, A. C., Cummins, K. M., Franz, C. E., Lyons, M. J., Reynolds, C. A., Kremen, W. S., Panizzon, M. S., & Laughlin, G. A. Moderate alcohol use is associated with reduced cardiovascular risk in middle-aged men independent of health, behavior, psychosocial, and earlier life factors. Nutrients 2022, 14, 2183.

O'Keefe, J., Bhatti, S., Bajwa, A., DiNicolantonio , J., & Lavie, C. (2014). Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health: The dose makes the poison…or the ... Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Internet: (accessed 22 February 2023).

United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Internet: (accessed 16 March 2023).


Don’t be salty about salt

March 09, 2023

By: Alissa Pantuosco

In the United States, it is hard to find a product on grocery store shelves that does not have this abundant mineral. The average consumption of salt for Americans is exceptionally high. The 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (United States Department of Agriculture, 2020) recommends that Americans ages 14 years and older should consume less than 2,300 milligrams daily. In perspective, 2,300 mg of sodium equals about one teaspoon of finely ground salt. We constantly hear that lowering sodium is better for health, but is salt as “bad” as it seems? 

History of salt

Salt is composed of sodium and chloride (NaCl), an ionic compound (National Library of Medicine, 2023). Salt can be harvested from the sea or salt mines worldwide, and it has been one of the oldest seasonings since the start of civilization. Salt was once valued high enough to be used as currency! In fact, the word “salary” is derived from the word “salt.” Roman soldiers’ monthly allowance was called “salarium,” with “sal” being the Latin word for salt (Luke, 2007).

Types of salt: Is one healthier than the other?

Salt can vary in texture, flavor, and color. In the American diet, a few brands tend to be more popular. There is not necessarily a “healthiest salt,” but the differences can help you decide which is best for you. 

Table salt: One of the most common salts in grocery stores is table salt. Most of us are familiar with the iconic umbrella lady on a familiar brand of salt you might see on the shelves. Table salt is harvested from underground salt deposits, processed to remove impurities, and finely ground. Most brands are also iodized to help prevent iodine deficiency. Iodine is a trace mineral not made by the body, so we must obtain it from food sources (Leung et al., 2012).

Sea salt: Sea salt results from evaporated seawater and has a coarser texture than regular table salt. Many salts classify as sea salt but are generally less processed than table salt and keep trace minerals. One interesting type of sea salt is Hawaiian, which comes in red and black colors. The black color results from volcanic salt and activated charcoal, and the red Hawaiian salt is unrefined sea salt combined with red volcanic clay, making it rich in iron (Drake and Drake, 2011).

Himalayan pink salt: Himalayan pink salt is hand-harvested from the Khewra Salt Mine deep in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. This salt claims to have around 84 natural minerals found in the human body (Drake and Drake, 2011).

Health benefits of salt and negative impacts of too much

Salt stimulates nerve impulses and supports electrolytes and fluid balance. Sodium and chlorine are crucial elements that promote cellular balance, circulation, and blood sugar levels (Harvard School of Public Health, 2023). Sodium can be a tricky balance because excessive salt in one’s diet could lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases (Patel and Joseph, 2020). Although, potassium can help with relaxing blood vessels and decrease blood pressure. Emphasizing potassium is important in regulating sodium-to-potassium ratios, as we commonly consume more sodium vs. potassium when it should be the opposite (Harvard School of Public Health, 2023). Sea salt and Pink Himalayan salt contain naturally occurring potassium. Most of us are getting an overabundance of sodium from our diet from refined and commercially prepared foods, as about 75% of sodium comes from packaged and prepared foods, usually in the form of table salt and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in canned soups, frozen meals, and lunch meats excessively (American Heart Association, 2023).

Sprinkling salt on your meal at the dinner table is not the issue of why the average American’s salt intake is high, even when you add it to your cooking. The more nutritionally dense a food is, the less sodium it has (United States Department of Agriculture, 2020). Avoid unnecessary amounts of sodium by preparing more home-cooked meals, emphasizing whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, etc., where you can control the amount of salt in your food. Lastly, use it sparingly and don’t take it for granted because over 2,000 years ago, you could have been rich with the salt you have now! 

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Quadarius Whitson, UGA Dietetic Intern


American Heart Association. Sodium sources: Where does all that sodium come from? Version current 2023. Internet: (accessed 1 February 2023).

Drake SL, Drake MA. Comparison of salty taste and time intensity of sea and land salts from around the world. J Sensory Studies. 2011;26:25-34.

Leung AM, Braverman LE, Pearce EN. History of U.S. iodine fortification and supplementation. Nutrients. 2012; 4:1740-46.

Luke RG. President's address: salt-too much of a good thing? Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2007;118:1-22.

PubChem® National Library of Medicine. Sodium. Version 2023. Internet (accessed 1 February 2023).

Patel Y, Joseph J. Sodium Intake and Heart Failure. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21:9474.

United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. Version 2020. Internet: (accessed 1 February 2023).


Intuitive Eating = The Anti-Diet Approach

March 09, 2023

By: Avery Lusk

Today, there is overwhelming pressure to look Instagram-perfect. The invention of social media has created an endless desire to look a certain way and portray this perfect lifestyle and appearance that is impossible to keep up with. Everyone is guilty of scrolling on Instagram and coming across someone they follow with an attractive physique and thinking, “wow, I need to look like this.” This increase in body dissatisfaction has made diet culture increasingly popular among individuals trying to reach their never-ending goal of being “picture perfect.”

The body dissatisfaction relationship associated with social media is linked to the increase in individuals’, especially women’s, self-criticism, anxiety, depression, and disordered eating (De Valle and Wade, 2022). As a result, individuals believe they should adhere to a diet and restrict themselves of certain foods to achieve their body goals. Diet culture contributes to the perception that if you consume certain foods and look a certain way, you are considered healthy and have a higher social status (Faw et al 2020). This perception is wildly inaccurate, yet people buy into this concept and follow the popular diets, leading to unhappiness and increased body dissatisfaction.

What if people started changing their mindset regarding food and formed a better relationship with it? It’s likely they would not have to diet to lose weight and also be healthier all around. This can be achieved by Intuitive Eating ( Intuitive Eating is a framework for listening to your body's signals, feeding it when it’s hungry, and honoring what your body craves instead of heeding to dietary rules and restrictions that are externally driven (Gödde et al 2022). The principles within Intuitive Eating push back against diet culture, resulting in better overall psychological and behavioral health. Evidence shows that those who follow Intuitive Eating principles have decreased disordered eating behaviors and weight concerns, compared to those who follow diet culture norms (Gödde et al 2022). So, instead of adhering to the unhappiness that diet culture brings, do yourself a favor, and eat intuitively.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at You can also seek the advice of certified Intuitive Eating counselor, who has been trained specifically in helping clients achieve health through the principles of Intuitive Eating. Find a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor at:

Reviewed by Mary McKennon Pierce, UGA Dietetic Intern


De Valle MK, Wade TD. Targeting the link between social media and eating disorder risk: A randomized controlled pilot study. Int J Eat Disord 2022;55:1067.

Faw MH, Davidson K, Hogan L, Thomas K. Corumination, diet culture, intuitive eating, and body dissatisfaction among young adult women. Pers Relationship 2021;28:408-410.

Gödde JU, Yuan TY, Kahinami L, Cohen TR. Intuitive eating and its association with psychosocial health in adults: A cross-sectional study in a representative Canadian sample. Elsevier 2022;168:2-3.


Intermittent Fasting: Is it only good for weight loss?

March 09, 2023

By: Hannah Jane Kedzierski

Intermittent fasting is a trendy method of fast weight loss that many individuals have been adopting over recent years in hopes of shedding some pounds. In this diet approach, individuals only consume food within one short time window during the day and refrain from consuming food during all other hours (Vasim et al., 2022). Though there are variations, the typical pattern for intermittent fasting includes a 6-hour window for food intake, followed by an 18-hour fasting period. Because of its popularity, you might be wondering if there are additional benefits to fasting besides weight loss? Can people who are striving to maintain their weight participate in intermediate fasting and see benefits?

One of the potential benefits of intermittent fasting besides weight loss is the regulation of blood glucose in patients with diabetes. A recent study showed that people diagnosed with diabetes who engaged in intermittent fasting had improved blood sugar control after the trial, whereas patients who consumed a regularly scheduled diet did not receive these same benefits (Sutton et al., 2018). Another study revealed that subjects who participated in intermittent fasting over 6 months vs. those who did not had decreased body mass as well as fasting glucose and cholesterol, factors that are associated with a lower risk for disease (Wei et al., 2017). It is difficult to determine from these stuides if the health benefits were due to intermittent fasting or if they were influenced by weight loss. Because caloric restriction is common with intermittent fasting and often results in weight loss, it is difficult to determine if intermittent fasting itself has benefits that are not associated with a change in body weight. It is important to note that some studies report adverse effects of intermittent fasting, such as an increased risk of developing gallstones and development of disordered eating behaviors (Wei et al., 2017).

So, should you practice intermittent fasting? First and foremost, ask your healthcare provider for advice before embarking on intermittent fasting to be sure it is right for you. Because individuals vary widely in terms of eating and activity patterns, mental health, and genetic predisposition, there is no such thing as a ‘once size fits all’ approach to achieving excellent health. No diet is perfect for everyone. What matters most is that you strive for a balanced eating pattern that is maintainable, enjoyable, and safe for you. If you are trying to lose weight, either intermittent fasting or decreased calorie consumption over a traditional eating time frame could provide results. If you are aiming to decrease your risk for chronic disease and improve your overall health, intermittent fasting could be beneficial, as long as it is maintainable for your lifestyle. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not the only option for achieving good health, as there are plenty of other eating patterns that are considered health-promoting. For example, increasing vegetable, fruit, and whole grain consumption and aiming to meet the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( also leads to improved health.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Mary McKennon Pierce, UGA Dietetic Intern


Sutton EF, Beyl R, Early KS, Cefalu WT, Ravussin E, Peterson CM. Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metab. 2018 Jun 5;27(6):1212-1221.e3.

Vasim I, Majeed CN, DeBoer MD. Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 31;14(3):631.

Wei M, Brandhorst S, Shelehchi M, Mirzaei H, Cheng CW, Budniak J, Groshen S, Mack WJ, Guen E, Di Biase S, Cohen P, Morgan TE, Dorff T, Hong K, Michalsen A, Laviano A, Longo VD. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Feb 15;9(377).


Meat in Moderation?

March 09, 2023

By: Erin Iverson

An emerging fad diet, the carnivore diet, only includes meat, excluding grains, sugar, alcohol, fruits, and vegetables. Social media platforms broadcast this diet, claiming benefits such as higher energy levels, better body composition, and better hormone levels. The carnivore diet is also advertised to protect or manage autoimmune disorders and boost immunity. However, this diet is still relatively new and, as a result, has not been studied extensively. 

Consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( and the educational tool MyPlate (, which is based on these Guidelines. An eating pattern that avoids fruits and vegetables will lack essential nutrients, such as fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals, which are associated with a lower risk for the development of obesity and other chronic diseases (Slavin & Lloyd 2012). Legumes contain high levels of phytochemicals, namely lectins and peptides, which work to reduce inflammation levels in the body, and consistent inclusion of whole grains is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (Zhu et al. 2018). The effect of whole grain consumption on health is mainly due to dietary fiber, which lowers serum LDL cholesterol and glucose levels after meals. The fiber in grains also provides beneficial gut bacteria with nutrients to grow and maintain a healthy gut microbiome (Tosh & Bordenave 2020). The carnivore diet aims to cut out the aforementioned foods, which could have harmful effects in the long term on an individual's health. What’s more, the high amounts of saturated fat (fat found in animal products) that an individual is likely to consume on the carnivore diet has been associated with elevated LDL-cholesterol levels and risk for mortality (Clifton & Keogh 2017). Higher consumption of processed meats and red meats has been associated with higher all-cause mortality as well (Larson & Orsini 2014).

Overall, the carnivore diet completely restricts food groups shown to benefit human health when it comes to disease prevention and longevity. More research is required to determine the long-term effects of this diet, including the diet's actual health or autoimmune impacts. At this time, I would not recommend the carnivore diet due to the mounting evidence in support of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in health improvement and maintenance. Social media will continue to promote this diet along with other fads that are not evidenced-based. When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Mary McKennon Pierce, UGA Dietetic Intern


Clifton PM, Keogh JB. A systematic review of the effect of dietary saturated and polyunsaturated fat on heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2017;27(12):1060-1080. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2017.10.010

Larsson SC, Orsini N. Red meat and processed meat consumption and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2014;179(3):282-289. doi:10.1093/aje/kwt261

Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(4):506-516. Published 2012 Jul 1. doi:10.3945/an.112.002154

Tosh SM, Bordenave N. Emerging science on benefits of whole grain oat and barley and their soluble dietary fibers for heart health, glycemic response, and gut microbiota. Nutr Rev. 2020;78(Suppl 1):13-20. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuz085

Zhu F, Du B, Xu B. Anti-inflammatory effects of phytochemicals from fruits, vegetables, and food legumes: A review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58(8):1260-1270. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1251390


Take out the Moo and What’s Left? Cow’s Milk versus the Alternatives

March 09, 2023

By: Renee Hutton

Individuals are constantly searching for the perfect diet hack that has the secret to health and happiness while focusing on sustainable environmental choices. As a result, entire food groups can be cut out of the diet, such as dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, sour cream, and cream cheese. As plant-based alternatives to milk products, such as soy, almond, and oat, gain popularity, more consumers choose to drink alternative "milks," claiming they are healthier for the consumer and the planet. 

Consumers might also turn away from dairy milk and toward different alternatives due to fat composition. Saturated fat, specifically, has been debated and villainized over the years. However, recent studies show evidence that the saturated fat in dairy products might have neutral or positive effects on health, possibly pivoting attention back to fat-containing dairy foods (Astrup et al. 2020). For those who are seeking to avoid or limit whole-fat dairy products due to the saturated fat content, the lower-fat and fat-free options on the market are excellent substitutes that offer the same nutrient-dense profile.

Cow’s milk contains eight grams of highly bioavailable complete protein, meaning it supplies the body with all of the essential amino acids, whereas most alternatives have minimal protein – less than one gram – and are not considered complete. Soy milk is the only viable alternative to dairy due to its similar complete protein and calorie content, yet it still lacks multiple micronutrients found in dairy milk (United States Department of Agriculture, 2023). Naturally, cow’s milk has ten essential micronutrients and is only fortified with two in the US. In contrast, most plant alternatives, such as almond milk, do not naturally contain the essential nutrients found in dairy (such as calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, niacin, zinc, selenium, iodine, and potassium). Consumers must check food labels of milk alternatives to determine if products are fortified with these missing nutrients. Soy milk is the most comparable, naturally containing selenium, copper, and choline and fortified with calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin D (The Dairy Alliance, 2023).

Recent trends show consumers’ desires to be environmentally friendly and eat more sustainable foods. The dairy industry is often targeted for greenhouse gas emissions, making a vegan diet seem more appealing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the dairy industry only accounts for less than 2% of the US's total GHG emissions, while animal agriculture accounts for less than 5%. Total agriculture accounts for less than 11% of the U.S.'s emissions, while transportation, electric power, industry, and commercial and residential emissions encompass the remaining 89% (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2022).

Overall, when comparing cow’s milk to its plant-based alternatives, dairy has greater protein quality and availability than most alternative milk products. Regarding the environment, the dairy industry continuously improves production practices, especially in reducing emissions to ensure a sustainable product.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Skylar Mercer, UGA Dietetic Intern


Astrup A, Magkos F, Bier D, et al. Saturated Fats and Health: A Reassessment and Proposal for Food-Based Recommendations. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Aug, 76 (7) 844–857.

The Dairy Alliance. Milk impersonators. Version current 2023. Internet: (accessed 5 Feb 2023)

United States Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. Version current 2022. Internet: (accessed 5 Feb 2023).

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse gas emissions. Version current 2022. Internet: (accessed 5 Feb 2023)


An Optimized Ketogenic Diet Needed for the Future?

March 09, 2023

By: Yiwen Xu

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet (KD) is a combination of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and adequate-protein diet. This diet was discovered initially as a potential treatment for epilepsy among children and continues to be studied for its role in managing this condition (Sampaio 2016). We see many products on shelves labeled as “Keto” today because the diet has also emerged as a promising method for losing weight and as a therapy for several chronic diseases. Should you consider going on the KD? This post will help you decide.

Potential Improvement and Bypass toward Criticism

Many studies demonstrate the benefits of the KD in terms of weight management and controlling blood sugar and blood lipid levels; however, more and more doubts appear. For example, it is shown that the KD has short effectiveness, low intakes of fiber and vitamins like A, C, K and folate, and reduced bone health. Although many articles question KD's efficacy and negative health impact, some of the criticism and questioning can be overturned or ameliorated by gathering more scientific evidence or making easily addressed adjustments.

The effect of reduced body weight can last up to one year, which is considered a sufficient time for patients with obesity to achieve their goals (Bal et al. 2012). The definition of long-term success following a diet is in ambiguity, and it is variable among individuals. For example, some people consider five months as long-term, while others consider three years as long-term. Furthermore, many diets that promote weight loss are ineffective in some ways because patients cannot strictly stick to these diets. Adequate support via medical nutrition therapy counseling by a qualified nutrition professional and reinforcing mindful eating is necessary for most people adhere to dietary changes.

Some criticism focuses on the decreased fiber level and low intakes of certain vitamins, as whole grains and select fruits and vegetables are avoided on KD. However, this problem could be solved by consuming fiber and multivitamin supplements if indicated by a healthcare professional. Gibson et al. (2017) showed that prebiotic and probiotic supplements could improve health by encouraging the growth of gut microorganisms; however, more studies are needed in order to prove that these supplements would benefit the general population. According to Merlotti D et al. (2021), research has shown that KD can impair bone health; however, many other factors will negatively affect bone mineral density, such as chronic antiepileptic drugs and reduced mobilization. People choosing to go on the KD should have their bone density checked by their healthcare provider to monitor their bone health.


The KD is generally good therapy for weight loss and management of other chronic diseases - as long as it is safe for the person to try based on their individual needs, and it can be adhered to. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the KD eating pattern is not recommended for individuals with pancreatic disease, liver conditions, thyroid problems, eating disorders or a history of eating disorders, or gallbladder disease or those who have had their gallbladders removed (Gordon 2021). Furthermore, diets high in saturated fat may increase the risk for heart disease the long-term cardiovascular health of people who follow the KD requires more study.

Although the KD has some problems and is not the ideal diet for everyone, it does show promise and has an important place in the nutrition therapy profession. We have a lot more to learn about the KD, so more research in this area is needed to determine its long-term effectiveness in certain populations.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Jacey Leonard, UGA Dietetic Intern


Bal, B. S., Finelli, F. C., Shope, T. R., & Koch, T. R. Nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery. Nature reviews. Endocrinology 2012; 8(9), 544–556.

Gibson, G. R., Hutkins, R., Sanders, M. E., Prescott, S. L., Reimer, R. A., Salminen, S. J., Scott, K., Stanton, C., Swanson, K. S., Cani, P. D., Verbeke, K., & Reid, G. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology 2017; 14(8), 491–502.

Gordon, B. What is the Ketogenic Diet? Internet: (Accessed 11 March 2023).

Merlotti, D., Cosso, R., Eller-Vainicher, C., Vescini, F., Chiodini, I., Gennari, L., & Falchetti, A. Energy Metabolism and Ketogenic Diets: What about the Skeletal Health? A Narrative Review and a Prospective Vision for Planning Clinical Trials on this Issue. International journal of molecular sciences 2021; 22(1), 435.

Sampaio L. P. Ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment. Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria 2016; 74(10), 842–848.


Can taking a vitamin C supplement prevent a common cold?

March 09, 2023

By: Emma Sykucki

Vitamin C supplements have been infiltrating grocery store aisles and are advertised as the new common cold prevention. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, aids in the functioning of our immune system. When an individual starts feeling unwell, they might believe that “boosting” their immune system with a vitamin C supplement will heal them. Others might believe that when the weather gets colder, they should take vitamin C to use as a cautionary measure. But does taking a vitamin C supplement actually prevent the common cold?

The common cold entails many different symptoms including congestion, cough, sore throat, fever, and runny nose. This is a wide range of symptoms for one supplement to prevent and treat, but all of these symptoms are caused by a respiratory virus. Vitamin C has been known for treating respiratory infections since it was discovered (Hemilä and Chalker 2013). Therefore, it is a substance of interest for preventative and therapeutic measures against the common cold.

A research study was conducted that involved 11,306 participants in 29 comparison trials. The study concluded that regular consumption of a vitamin C supplement did not reduce the chances of catching a cold, but did have a slight effect on reducing the duration of symptoms (Hemilä and Chalker 2013). However, consuming a vitamin C supplement after the onset of symptoms showed no effect on the duration and severity of the common cold symptoms (Heimer et al 2009). These data show that taking a vitamin C supplement only when you are experiencing common cold symptoms will not help you get better but that regular supplementation will reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of feeling unwell. Regular consumption of vitamin C can reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms by an average of 23% (Hemilä 2009). This only occurs when vitamin C is taken year-round and not just during the cold season, which most of the population does the latter. For the general adult population, taking a vitamin C supplement is not effective at preventing the common cold.

A key benefit of this finding is saving money. Vitamin C supplementation will not prevent common colds and should not be bought for that purpose. Instead, consuming vitamin C-rich foods will provide sufficient nutrient intake. Some vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits like kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, and others like tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes. Regular intake of vitamin C-rich foods will provide equal or better protection against the common cold than supplementation.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Abbie Klinker, UGA Dietetic Intern


Heimer KA, Hart AM, Martin LG, Rubio-Wallace S. Examining the evidence for the use of vitamin C in the prophylaxis and treatment of the common cold. JAANP 2009;21:295-300.

Hemilä H. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold? – A review of current evidence. Scand J Infect Dis 2009;26:1-6.

Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1;CD000980.


BCAAs: Too Good to Be True?

March 09, 2023

By: Avery Prosperi

I have seen many people take branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) when exercising to improve their energy levels when working out, lose weight, or supplement protein that they presume is lacking in their diet. There needs to be more clarity about the actual benefits of BCAAs and whether or not they help people with what they claim to do. This post will shed light on what we know about these dietary supplements and if they are indeed helpful to athletes.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs are a form of an ergogenic (i.e., performance-enhancing) supplement composed of leucine, isoleucine, and valine (Holeček 2018). These essential amino acids have been shown in some research studies to lower plasma markers of muscle damage and soreness after weightlifting (Khemtong et al 2021); however, more research is needed to confirm this. BCAAs cannot increase muscle protein synthesis alone - there must be other essential amino acids present for this to occur (Wolfe 2017). Taking a BCAA supplement will also not provide your body adequate protein that it needs. Consuming a nutrient-dense diet that includes a variety of protein sources should be the priority when it comes to improving athletic performance.

When to take BCAAs?

The recommended amount for BCAAs is 20g/day or less for up to 6 weeks (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2022). The dosage will vary depending upon the brand that you choose to take. Taking a BCAA supplement that is third-party tested is helpful for athletes to monitor exactly what they are putting in their bodies. NSF is an example of a program that is recognized by the US Anti-Doping Agency and protects athletes from buying products that possibly be contaminated with other substances that are potentially banned (NSF 2023). The products that are certified third party tested will have a stamp on the product.

Who should avoid taking them?

People who have been diagnosed with diabetes should avoid supplementation with BCAAs due to an increased chance of insulin resistance, which can lead to further complications associated with diabetes. People with neurologic and psychiatric disorders should also avoid taking BCAAs because impaired serotonin synthesis from tryptophan could occur, and this can lead to aggression (Holeček 2022).

Bottom line

To conclude, scientific evidence is mounting that BCAAs might be a helpful supplement to people undergoing endurance exercise frequently. However, more research needs to be conducted in a variety of active individuals before these supplements should be recommended to all athletes. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if a supplement is warranted, and if so, the brand and dosage that would be right for you!

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Claire Mouser, UGA Dietetic Intern


NSF. Certified for Sport®. (2023). Retrieved March 16, 2023, from

Holeček, M. (2018). Branched-chain amino acids in health and disease: Metabolism, alterations in blood plasma, and as supplements. Nutrition & Metabolism, 15(1).

Holeček, M. (2022). Side effects of amino acid supplements. Physiological Research, 29–45.

Khemtong, C., Kuo, C.-H., Chen, C.-Y., Jaime, S. J., & Condello, G. (2021). Does branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) supplementation attenuate muscle damage markers and soreness after resistance exercise in trained males? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 13(6), 1880.

Ra, S.-G., Miyazaki, T., Kojima, R., Komine, S., Ishikura, K., Kawanaka, K., Honda, A., Matsuzaki, Y., & Ohmori, H. (2018). Effect of BCAA supplement timing on exercise-induced muscle soreness and damage: A pilot placebo-controlled double-blind study. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 58(11).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022). Office of dietary supplements – dietary supplements for exercise and athletic performance. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from 

Wolfe, R. R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: Myth or reality? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1).


Denormalizing College Binge Drinking

March 08, 2023

By: Jamie DiBartolomeo

A significant influence of modern teenage and college culture is social media. Perceived belonging encourages binge drinking as students believe it may earn them more friends or popularity amongst social groups who binge drink or by attending social events where binge drinking occurs. Nearly all young adults have access to social media and may succumb to its trend influence, whether directly from the source or indirectly from their surroundings. Not only does social media influence cultural trends in activities, clothes, and music and display the diverse daily lives of individuals, but the camera in each person's pocket also gives social media an invite to every party. Whether you stay home and suffer from "FOMO" by watching real-time posts or feel pressure to push your limits performing for a camera, social media has normalized a culture of placing trends and popularity over personal wellness. Popular social media giants that have contributed to normalizing unhealthy behaviors, such as Barstool Sports and Old Row, have opened a door of normalizing dangerous binge drinking to gain a social media following or five seconds of fame on these accounts. Should binge drinking continue to be an accepted societal norm?

Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in men and four or more drinks in women in a short period (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2012a). The age group that most often binge drinks are individuals from ages 18-34 years, with 90% of alcohol consumed by youth done so by binge drinking (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2012a). Consumption of alcohol at this rate can significantly increase individuals' risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and learning and memory problems, among many others (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2012b). If there are so many potential health risks, why is binge drinking normalized among teens?

In a study that probed deeper into the college-age audience, students were evaluated on their participation in binge drinking with measures such as perceived belonging, involvement in school activities, or both (Berger et al 2022). This study determined that 39.3% of students report binge drinking, and those who reported feelings of belonging or participation in school activities were much more likely to engage in binge drinking than those who did not report perceived belonging or participation in campus activities. Social media may further accentuate this by bridging online friendships with real-life social events and encouraging drinking for photos to post (Fat et al 2021). A study examining the relationship between social media use and binge drinking uncovered higher likelihoods and participation in binge drinking among 10-15 and 16-19-year-old social media users (Fat et al 2021). Having unfiltered access to social media for these impressionable age groups can expose them to glorified drinking practices by older age groups that become repeated by younger generations.

Reviewed by Alyssa Guadagni, UGA Dietetic Intern


Berger A, Wang A, Martusewicz, Cottler L. Defining belonging and its association to binge drinking among college students. Substance use and misuse 2022; 57:8, 1341-1344.

Fat LN, Cable N, Kelly Y. Associations between social media usage and alcohol use among youths and young adults: findings from Understanding Society. Addiction 2021; 116: 2995-3005.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC Vital signs: Binge drinking- nationwide problem, local solutions. Version current 10 October 2013a. Internet: (accessed 29 January 2023).

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC Vital signs: Binge drinking- a serious, under-recognized problem among women and girls. Version current 8 January 2013b. Internet: (accessed 29 January 2023).


Pre-workout supplementation: Does it actually work?

March 08, 2023

By: Melissa Cruz

Ever feel too tired to exercise or like you are not performing well? Pre-workout (supplementation) might be your answer. Research reports 30% of young adults consume an energy-boosting supplement, and these products rank second in usage behind multivitamins (Martinez et al. 2016). In this post, we will delve into what pre-workout supplementation is, its potential benefits, and the negative implications that can associated with the use of these products.

What is a pre-workout supplement, and how is it helpful?

A pre-workout supplement is a dietary supplement taken before exercise, with the intention of enhancing acute performance by increasing energy levels and facilitating changes in muscle function (Guest et al. 2021). Pre-workout supplements come in different forms, including powders, liquids, and energy drinks that are typically consumed an hour before exercise. Pre-workout supplements can contain multiple ingredients, including, most notably, caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that enhances performance by delaying fatigue, increasing muscle energy, and improving focus (Guest et al. 2021). Additional ingredients that are commonly included in a pre-workout supplement include creatine, beta-alanine, amino acids, and nitric oxide agents, which work together to enhance performance and adaptations to exercise (Harty et al. 2018).

Are there any negative implications?

A potential issue with pre-workout supplementation are the symptoms associated with ingesting high amounts of caffeine. These symptoms can include elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. Research indicates caffeine's adverse side effects are mitigated by reducing the dose of the caffeine-containing pre-workout supplement, and slowly increasing the dosage over time to the serving size recommended as tolerance increases (Guest et al. 2021).

Another area for improvement concerning pre-workout supplements is the limited supervision of dietary supplements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lack of monitoring from the FDA means that nutritional supplements (including pre-workout supplements) do not require approval for effectiveness and safety. Knowing this, look for third-party testing on supplement product labels from companies such as The National Science Foundation (NSF) and InformedChoice, which are independent companies that test the safety and effectiveness of supplements.

Take away

In conclusion, current research supports the use of pre-workout supplements for providing energy and improving muscle function (Guest et al. 2021). Caffeine, the main ingredient in many pre-workout supplements enhances performance and, when paired with other nutrients, can provide further benefits for exercise performance (Harty et al. 2018). It is also essential to know that pre-workout supplements should be consumed cautiously given that they are minimally regulated by the FDA. If you plan on investing in a pre-workout supplement, look for third-party testing on the packaging and consider adjusting your dosage if you notice any negative effects.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Julia Lance, UGA Dietetic Intern


Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ, Jenkins NDM, Arent SM, Antonio J, Stout JR, Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Goldstein ER, Kalman DS & Campbell BI. (2021) International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18:1, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4

Harty PS, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. (2018) Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15:1, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6

Martinez N, Campbell B, Franek M, Buchanan L, Colquhoun R (2016) The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13:1, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7


Mushroom Coffee: Are Fungi Really Fun?

March 08, 2023

By: Celia Croxton

Drinking your morning cup of coffee with an extra dose of blended mushroom doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it? What if we changed the phrasing to “coffee, with an extra dose of adaptogens?”

The wellness industry loves to market specific products as “superfoods” by labeling them with catchy titles that promise splendor. Mushroom coffee (coffee mixed with mushrooms) is an example of the wellness industry at work. Essentially, mushrooms are dried out, ground down into a powder, and then mixed with dry coffee beans. Certain companies promise their morning mushroom beverage will deliver customers energy, focus, and immunity (Mudwtr, 2023). If you’re looking to switch up your morning beverage, this post will answer a few of your questions.

Why mushrooms?

Different cultures often use mushrooms in medicine for their many healing properties. Certain mushroom species offer antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects (Wani et al., 2010). Also, mushrooms contain micronutrients such as vitamins B, D, potassium, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These fungi also contain macronutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. Previous research investigating the nutraceutical properties of different mushrooms has found that mushrooms can help improve the immune system, lower cancer risk, aid in regulating blood sugar levels, and inhibit tumor growth (Rathore et al., 2017). These unique benefits come from bioactive compounds found in various mushroom species. The only caveat to these medicinal uses is that many of these bioactive compounds are susceptible to degradation by heat (Gąsecka et al., 2020). This means heating these mushrooms decreases the potency of their medicinal ingredients.

To drink or not to drink?

Mushrooms have multiple nutritional benefits, including antioxidants which can help neutralize free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress. Free radicals can damage DNA resulting in mutations and, sometimes, cancerous cells (Wani et al., 2010). Essentially, incorporating mushrooms into your diet could help protect you from cancer. In addition to antioxidants, species such as reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps can help combat feelings of stress, insomnia, and depression (Rathore et al., 2017). While mushrooms can be beneficial, it’s important to remember a well-rounded diet rich in foods from all food groups is the best option for promoting health and preventing disease.

Main takeaway:

Previous research has identified beneficial nutrients and compounds in mushrooms. However, it is essential to recognize that the effects of these beneficial nutrients can be inhibited depending on the preparation method. Heat can destabilize select bioactive compounds, decreasing their effectiveness. Brewing a cup of coffee exposes mushrooms and their beneficial nutrients to high heat. If you’re considering incorporating mushrooms into your diet,  consuming these fungi raw, slightly cooked, added to smoothies, or lightly sautéed may be a practical preparation method that maximizes mushrooms’ nutrition-related benefits.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Julia Lance, UGA Dietetic Intern


Gąsecka, M., Siwulski, M., Magdziak, Z., Budzyńska, S., Stuper-Szablewska, K., Niedzielski, P., & Mleczek, M. (2020). The effect of drying temperature on bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Leccinum scabrum (Bull.) Gray and Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. J Food Sci Technol, 57(2), 513-525.

Rathore, H., Prasad, S., & Sharma, S. (2017). Mushroom nutraceuticals for improved nutrition and better human health: A review. PharmaNutrition, 5(2), 35-46.

Wani, B., Boda, R. H., & Wani, A. H. (2010). Nutritional and medicinal importance of mushrooms. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4(24), 2598-2604.


Myth: You have to be Skinny to be Healthy

March 08, 2023

By: McKenzie Clark

What does “healthy” look like? Society has labeled certain body types as “healthy,” but the truth is that health is not defined by how someone looks. Health has been defined by the World Health Organization as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (Hu C et al., 2020). Notice the section stating that physical, mental, and social well-being all play a part in a person’s health. The World Health Organization does not list any specific measurements needed to be met to be declared as healthy. So why does society believe you must be a size zero to be healthy?               

Many societal assumptions about health are tied to expectations of body size and shape. Today, many physicians rely on Body Mass Index (or BMI) as a marker of health, but it is based solely on a person’s weight and height. This is problematic because BMI does not reveal fat distribution in the body. BMI is determined based solely on a person’s weight and height. BMI does not reveal fat distribution in the body, which is a more significant indicator of health than BMI (Kok et al., 2004). BMI places individuals into one of five categories: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. This system puts people into a box without considering other important health indicators, such as average blood glucose levels (A1c), blood pressure, cholesterol, and fat distribution. Being labeled as anything other than healthy can harm a person’s self-image. Studies have shown that a negative body image and low self-esteem can contribute to further weight gain and failure to lose weight (Talen et al., 2009). Mental health is essential to one’s overall health and should be considered just as important as physical health.

If you remove the numbers from the scale or your calculated BMI from your chart, you will find many more numbers that are just as good, if not better, indicators of health. We look to BMI for overall health because studies have shown that obesity can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, and other debilitating chronic diseases. However, this is just one test to determine your risk factor and the cheapest, quickest way. Other measurements, such as blood pressure and blood glucose, are important tools for physicians to determine your overall health and risk of developing a chronic disease. 

The bottom line is that there is no way to determine someone’s health based on how they look. Undernutrition and over-nutrition affect all body types and sizes and have severe implications on one’s health. Investing your time in proper nutrition, an active lifestyle, and good mental and spiritual health will help lead you toward a healthy life!

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Eden Crain, UGA Dietetic Intern


Hu C, Jurgutis J, Edwards D, O'Shea T, Regenstreif L, Bodkin C, Amster E, Kouyoumdjian FG. “When you first walk out the gates…where do [you] go?”: Barriers and opportunities to achieving continuity of health care at the time of release from a provincial jail in Ontario. PLoS One. 2020 Apr 10;15(4):e0231211. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231211. PMID: 32275680; PMCID: PMC7147766.

Kok P, Seidell JC, Meinders AE. [The value and limitations of the body mass index (BMI) in the assessment of the health risks of overweight and obesity] Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde. 2004 Nov;148(48):2379-2382. PMID: 15615272.

Talen, M. R., & Mann, M. M. (2009). Obesity and Mental Health. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, 36(2), 287–305. 


Lettuce Water- Does it Aid in Sleep?

March 07, 2023

By: Gabbi Carroll

What is it?

A viral TikTok trend guarantees to help people sleep better with a new drink called lettuce water. Lettuce water can be made like tea by boiling water over romaine leaves, letting it cool, and then drinking it. Over 26 million people have viewed the hashtag #lettucewater.

Does it actually work?

A 2017 Korean study investigated the sleep-inducing effect of the extract of green romaine lettuce on mice. The mice were already sedated with medication and used romaine extract, which has a higher concentration than just lettuce leaves. Lettuce leaves have active components, including lactucin and lactucarium, which can help promote sleep (Kim et al., 2017). This study concluded that the mice's intake of the extract was a beneficial source of sleep-enhancing material (Kim et al., 2017).

However, it is hard to compare mice to humans because they were already sedated with medication, and the extract was much more concentrated than lettuce leaves. Lettuce water is more diluted and lacks the sedation medication originally used in the study diluted and without excess prescription. Nonetheless, research has been conducted on L. sativa seed oil which was found to promote sleep with no health-related hazards (Yakoot et al., 2011). A study by Yakoot and colleagues in 2011 was conducted on insomnia and geriatric patients and was found helpful for sleeping aid. Despite its well-known safety, L. sativa seed oil has recently been introduced to research and investigation.

Another study was conducted on children that used lettuce seed oil to help with sleep disorders (Ranjibar et al., 2020). Conclusions stated that the use of lettuce seed oil on the forehead and temples is a safe and effective treatment for sleep disorders. However, follow-up research studies using objective outcome measures are required (Ranjibar et al., 2020).

What does all of this mean?

All in all, limited studies have been conducted to prove if the lettuce water trend aids in sleeping. There may be no effect from just the lettuce. However, specific components of lettuce have relaxing, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory effects (Ranjibar et al., 2020). Because of the conflicting research, more extensive studies are needed to confirm this. Sleep can be affected by diet, environment, lifestyle, and general well-being. While there is no harm in washing lettuce and brewing it like tea, it may not be an effective sleeping aid or do much to improve your health. See your healthcare provider for guidance and treatment plans if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep. Exercise caution before trying any new viral TikTok trends.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Megan Appelbaum UGA Dietetic Intern


Kim, H.D., Hong, K.B., Noh, D.O., Suh, H.J.. Sleep-inducing effect of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) varieties on pentobarbital-induced sleep. Food Sci Biotechnol 2017;26(3):807-814

Yakoot, M., Helmy, S., Fawal, K.. Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of lettuce seed oil in patients with sleep disorders. Int J Gen Med 2011;4:451-6

Ranjibar, M., Afsharypuor, S., Shakibaei, F., Mazaheri, M.. Effect of Topical Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Seed Oil on Childhood Sleep Disorders: a Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial. Research Journal of Pharmacognosy 2020;7(3):47-54


What’s the Deal With Cholesterol?

March 06, 2023

By: Whit Cooney

Cholesterol has been a topic of intrigue for decades now. Health crazes about how you should never eat eggs or avoid red meat, along with the rise of the vegan/vegetarian diet, all have roots in the health beliefs behind cholesterol. However, some diets emphasize eating more of certain fats to raise some cholesterol like the Mediterranean diet. So, what is the deal with cholesterol?

The problem is that these two arguments refer to different types of cholesterol. The two types of cholesterol usually brought up are Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which are considered harmful and good, respectively. In general, red meats have more cholesterol than fish, which was the reason for avoiding red meats and leaning towards the Mediterranean Diet. However, according to a study conducted by Davidson et al. (1999), there is hardly any difference in serum cholesterol when on a lean red meat diet (1%) vs. a poor white meat diet (1.8%). Along those same lines, a study conducted in 2018 found that the cholesterol in eggs is not absorbed very well in our bodies and does not significantly affect our plasma cholesterol levels (Kim and Campbell 2018).

Different types of cholesterol may not affect your health in the way that most people think. I bring this up because there has been much discussion on how HDL and LDL affect your heart health, mainly that LDL causes or increases the risk for heart disease and HDL prevents it. A study by Kanter et al. (2012) found results that challenge this idea. They found that it isn't so much the amount of each of these cholesterols on their own that matters, but the ratio of LDL to HDL determines your cardiovascular health. That’s not to say that you don’t need to care about cholesterol levels, but maybe it isn't as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be. The different cholesterols should not be viewed in isolation from each other but in how they both affect you simultaneously. Both affect your health, and the focus should be on improving the ratio.

When navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Eden Crain, UGA Dietetic Intern


Davidson MH, Hunninghake D, Maki KC, Kwiterovitch Jr PO, Kafonek S. Comparison of the Effects of Lean Red Meat vs Lean White Meat on Serum Lipid Levels Among Free-Living Persons With Hypercholesterolemia. Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(12):1331-1338.

Kanter MM, Kris-Etherton PM, Fernandez ML, Vickers KC, Katz DL. Exploring the Factors That Affect Blood Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk: Is Dietary Cholesterol as Bad for You as History Leads Us to Believe? Advances in Nutrition 2012; 3: 711-717.

Kim JE, Campbell WW. Dietary Cholesterol Contained in Whole Eggs Is Not Well Absorbed and Does Not Acutely Affect Plasma Total Cholesterol Concentration in Men and Women: Results from 2 Randomized Controlled Crossover Studies. Nutrients 2018; 10(9): 1272.


What is pre-workout, and why are people dry scooping it?

March 06, 2023

By: Stephie Brimeyer

Dry scooping pre-workout powder is one of the latest TikTok trends. It entails consuming a scoop of your favorite pre-workout power without mixing it in water. Many internet and social media advertisements claim that dry scooping will help improve workouts. When used correctly, the powder can be helpful for athletes in an intensive training program. However, there are dangers to be aware of before you attempt this trend.

What is pre-workout?

The main ingredients of a pre-workout powder are caffeine, amino acids, nitric oxide agents, creatine, betaine, and beta-alanine. The primary ingredient in most pre-workouts is caffeine, which can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream within 60 minutes of digestion (Harty et al., 2018). Beta-alanine acts like an intramuscular buffer, and consumption improves high-intensity exercise performance (Harty et al., 2018). Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in muscle that is generally safe and well tolerated (Harty et al., 2018). 

Are there dangers to dry scooping?

Like most supplements, pre-workout powders are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can contain higher levels of ingredients, like caffeine, than what is on the label (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition 2023). They could also contain unknown toxic ingredients, and the dry powder itself can cause choking and breathing problems (Johnson-Arbor 2023). When taking the pre-workout without liquid, you could ingest 2-3 times the amount of caffeine and other energizing ingredients. This can adversely affect people who are sensitive to caffeine or who have underlying heart and lung conditions (Johnson-Arbor 2023).

Where to turn for nutrition advice?

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, particularly about supplements, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Megan Dora Appelbaum, UGA Dietetic Intern


Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (2023). Dietary supplement ingredient directory. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Internet: (accessed 18 March 2023).

Harty SP, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. (2018). Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 15:41

Johnson-Arbor K. Dry scooping can be life-threatening. Poison Control. (2023). Internet: (accessed 18 March 2023).


Coffee before breakfast or breakfast before coffee?

March 06, 2023

By: Grace Burton

Have you noticed or used nutrition-related information from social media sources such as Tik-Tok, Instagram, or Facebook recently? Young people are getting much of their nutrition advice from influencers and considering it factual, with no background information or investigation. A recent topic of interest on social media discusses the common habit of drinking coffee immediately after waking up. People on social media claim this is an unhealthy habit that will cause multiple negative side effects, including increases in cortisol levels, hormone imbalances, and bloating. Seeing this content may make you wonder when should we be drinking our coffee, and how is our body affected by this beloved beverage?

Drinking coffee is an important part of many people’s morning routines, and for good reason. Coffee has been found to increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and shorten our reaction time, benefits that may help many individuals start their busy lives in the early hours of the day. Moderate consumption of around 160 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to 2 cups of brewed coffee, may also be associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases, like hypertension, heart disease, and some cancers (Papakonstantinou et al 2015).  Given the researched benefits of coffee consumption, why are some influencers arguing against this delicious part of our morning routines?

Recent claims on social media state that coffee will increase cortisol levels, if consumed immediately after waking. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body that peaks around the time of wakening and declines over the course of waking hours, then hits its lowest level during the early phases of sleep. The hormone and its pattern of secretion is essential for bodily functions, like energy balance and memory consolidation (Lovallo et al 2005).  It is accurate to say that cortisol is highest when we awaken, but there is no evidence that coffee will increase cortisol levels. With that being said, coffee consumption has been found to prevent these morning cortisol levels from falling (Gavrieli et al 2011). Additionally, continuing to drink caffeine throughout the day may increase cortisol secretion in the afternoon, but there is a blunted response in individuals that consume caffeine regularly.

There is extensive research on this topic, and the overarching consensus is that your coffee consumption should depend on your preference and your body’s reactions. Currently, no scientific evidence shows increased cortisol levels resulting from a cup of coffee in the morning, but it is important to consider how you feel while you’re drinking your morning beverage. Nutrition and diet should be individualized, which is why trends on social media are not the place to get personalized health advice. If you feel you are not reacting well to drinking coffee on an empty stomach after awakening, consider changing your routine and pairing your caffeinated beverage with breakfast or a mid-morning snack. Otherwise, if that morning brew is what you look forward to after waking up, then there is likely no reason to stress about the claims on the internet.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Julia Lance, UGA Dietetic Intern


Gavrieli A, Yannakoulia M, Fragopoulou E, Margaritopoulos D, Chamberland J, Kaisari P, Kavouras S, Mantzoros C. Caffeinated Coffee Does Not Acutely Affect Energy Intake, Appetite, or Inflammation but Prevents Serum Cortisol Concentrations from Falling in Healthy Men. J Nutr 2011;141:703-707.

Harris A, Ursin H, Murison R, Eriksen H. Coffee, stress and cortisol in nursing staff. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2007;32:322-330.

Lovallo W, Whitsett T, al’Absi M, Sung, BH, Vincent A, Wilson M. Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels. J. Behav. Med. 2005;67:734-739.

Papakonstantinou E, Kechribari I, Sotirakoglou Κ, Tranatilis P, Gourdomichali T, Michas G, Kravvariti V, Voumvourakis K, Xampelas A. Acute effects of coffee consumption on self-reported gastrointestinal symptoms, blood pressure and stress indices in healthy individuals. Nutr J 2015;15.


Do I have to avoid all sugar to be healthy?

March 06, 2023

By: Jacee Baldivid

When consumers think about added sugars, they might assume that sugar is put into foods for the sole purpose of making them sweet. They might not realize that sugar is also added to products to lengthen their shelf life or enhance their overall flavor. Sometimes it is easy to tell if sugars are added to a product based on its sweetness, but some foods with high amounts of added sugars might not taste sweet at all.

How much added sugar am I consuming?

Read the label of a 12-ounce soft drink can and you will see it has around 39-grams of sugar. Next, check underneath the total sugars line to read how much sugar is added to the product. Next to this value, you will read the percentage of sugar that makes up the daily percentage value. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 -2025 suggest limiting added sugars to less than 10% of the total daily calories. For example, if a person’s daily caloric intake is 2,000, drinking that can of soda could satisfy their added sugar intake percentage for the day.

Do added sugars impact health?

Consuming added sugars has the potential to significantly impact abdominal fat and increase blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (SITNFlash, 2015). According to a 15-year research study, people who consumed up to 21% of their calories from added sugars had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (Harvard Health, 2022).

Should I avoid sugar altogether?

Though consuming too much added sugar can negatively impact one’s health, this does not mean that consumers should not eat sugar at all. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy contain sugars that are naturally present in these foods, and whole grain products tend to have less added sugar than their more processed counterparts (such as sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts). The Food and Drug Administration recommends choosing more foods with a “5% daily value or less” of added sugars and attempting to choose fewer foods with a high daily value of 20% or more (FDA, 2023).


It can be difficult to decipher the names of ingredients that are used as added sugars. Before buying products, scan the nutrition label for the amount of total sugar, added sugar, and % daily value to make an informed decision.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Megan Appelbaum, UGA Dietetic Intern


Dietary guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 54 –55 (n.d.).

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (2023, February 1). Added sugars on the new nutrition facts label. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from

SITNFlash. (2015, October 5). Natural and added sugars: Two sides of the same coin. Science in the News. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from

Harvard Health. The sweet danger of sugar. (2022, January 6). Retrieved February 1, 2023, from


Is it necessary to eat right after training because of the anabolic window?

March 06, 2023

By: Gabrielle Arters

Should athletes consider the timing of postworkout nutrition to enhance performance gains?

The period after training or exercise is deemed critical to nutrient timing and has been termed “the anabolic window.” During this period, the body begins rebuilding muscle tissue damaged from training and restoring depleted energy reserves (Aragon and Schoenfeld 2013). The anabolic window is known as the "window of opportunity." It is defined as the specific time frame in which an athlete should consume a protein and carb ratio meal to optimize body composition, exercise performance, and recovery (Aragon and Schoenfeld 2013). Research has claimed that timing strategies can produce dramatic improvements in body composition, such as an increase in fat-free mass (Aragon and Schoenfeld 2013).

So what happens to our body during exercise?

Intense resistance training causes the depletion of our bodies' stored fuels in the form of glycogen and amino acids. Exercise causes damage to muscle fibers. During training, as much as 80% of ATP production is derived from glycolysis. Glycolysis is a process that occurs in cells to break down sugar into smaller molecules. This process is essential because the energy stored in glucose can be used to make ATP, which is the cells' energy source. During exercise, your body needs more energy to keep your muscles moving. To meet this demand, your cells use glycolysis to break down glucose quickly and produce ATP. Without feeding and in response to resistance training, muscle protein balance remains in a negative state. Athletes can increase muscle protein synthesis rates by incorporating protein and carbs after a workout (Jäger et al., 2017).

Nutrition timing

Consuming adequate carbs and protein directly after a workout effectively initiates a positive muscle-protein balance and, over time, muscle hypertrophy (Jäger et al., 2017). But what exactly is the right timing window? Studies have reported that muscle protein synthesis peaks within three hours postworkout and remains elevated for up to 24-72 hours. Peak elevation tends to appear between 30-60 minutes after training. Therefore, it is recommended to consume immediate energy and sustained feedings every 3-4 hours to optimize muscle growth and recovery (Jäger et al., 2017). A meta-analysis of trials analyzing the difference between consuming protein within one hour versus two hours post-workout showed a small but significant improvement in muscle hypertrophy in those who consumed protein within one-hour post-workout (Schoenfeld and Aragon 2018).


The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) states that the optimal timing for consuming postworkout protein depends on the athlete's tolerance. The anabolic effect can last up to at least 24 hours; however, it will likely decline as time increases post-training (Jäger et al., 2017). Although research has shown the impact of protein timing on muscle hypertrophy, the overall results are relatively small, indicating additional research is needed to form more definite guidelines on this issue. The most critical factor for muscle building, exercise performance, and recovery for athletes is ensuring enough total protein intake, ranging from 1.0 to 2.0g/kg, depending on the athlete's sport and individual goals (Schoenfeld and Aragon 2018).

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Eden Crain, UGA Dietetic Intern


Aragon A, Schoenfeld B. 2013. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10(1): 5.

Jäger R, Kerksick C, Campbell B, Cribb P, Wells S, Skwiat T, Purpura M, Ziegenfuss T, Ferrando A, Arent S, Smith-Ryan A, Stout J, Arciero P, Ormsbee M, Taylor L, Wilborn C, Kalman D, Kreider R, Willoughby D, Hoffman J, … Antonio J. 2017. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14: 20.

Schoenfeld B, Aragon A. 2018 Is There a Postworkout Anabolic Window of Opportunity for Nutrient Consumption? Clearing up Controversies. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 48(12): 911–914.


Why should athletes carb load before a big event?

March 06, 2023

By: Allison Arters

The athletic staff may advise athletes to eat a large carbohydrate-filled meal the night before a big event, race, or game. Some carbohydrate-heavy foods include pasta or rice, cereal or granola, oatmeal, bread, and potatoes. Carbohydrates are the first macronutrient the body utilizes for quick energy. Glycogen is the form in the body that stores carbohydrates as for fast, efficient energy source. Having adequate glycogen stores improves tissue repair and recovery in the body. If glycogen levels are low or depleted, the athlete will experience exhaustion and be at risk of injury.

What is carb loading, and what happens to the body?

A high-carbohydrate diet that elevates glycogen in muscle has been shown to affect athletes’ exercise performance positively. Studies have indicated that athletes with super compensated muscle glycogen levels have higher endurance and intensity than athletes with low to normal non-compensated muscle glycogen (Jeukendrup 2011). High carb availability is critical to promote optimal performance during competition. Having higher than normal pre-competition muscle glycogen available for use will increase performance and time until exhaustion in athletes (Bussau et al., 2002). Athletes will be able to exercise longer before hitting muscle fatigue (Murray & Rosenbloom 2018). Muscles of trained athletes have a higher capacity to synthesize glycogen, allowing more glycogen to be stored for later use (Bussau et al., 2002).

When should carbohydrate loading begin?

Engaging in endurance exercise for more than 90 minutes can cause extreme glycogen depletion. Therefore, athletes need to overcompensate glycogen storage to prepare for competition. There have been little to no effects of carbohydrate loading in resistance training and moderate-intensity exercise fewer than 60 minutes (Burke et al., 2011). The athlete should begin carbohydrate loading around 24-36 hours before the event and consume approximately 10-12 grams per kilogram of body weight (Burke et al., 2011). Carbohydrate loading is only efficient if the athletes consume enough calories to sustain their high energy expenditure (Deldicque & Francaux 2015).

Carbohydrate loading can be a beneficial strategy to help endurance athletes perform optimally.

When it comes to navigating nutrition messages, recommendations for individuals are specific and vary based on age, medication use, and health conditions. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sift through messages that promote health vs. hype. To find an RDN, use the Find a Nutrition Expert tool at

Reviewed by Megan Appelbaum, UGA Dietetic Intern


Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. 2011. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Science 29: S17-S27.

Bussau VA, Fairchild TJ, Rao A, Steele P, Fournier PA. 2002. Carbohydrate loading in human muscle: an improved 1 day protocol. European Journal of Applied Physiology 87: 290-295.

Deldicque L, Francaux M. 2015. Recommendations for healthy nutrition in female endurance runners: an update. Frontiers in Nutrition 2:17.

Jeukendrup AE. 2011. Nutrition for endurance sports: marathon, and road cycling. J Sports Science 29: S91-S99.

Murray B, Rosenbloom C 2018. Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes. Nutr Rev 76: 243-259.


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


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


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.


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


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.


Bacon, L., & Aphramor, L. (2011, Jan 24). Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift. Nutr J, 10, 9.

Bombak, A. (2014, Feb). Obesity, health at every size, and public health policy. Am J Public Health, 104(2), e60-67.

Robison, J. (2005, Jul 12). Health at every size: toward a new paradigm of weight and health. MedGenMed, 7(3), 13.

Reviewed By: Alexa Burnett, UGA Dietetic Intern


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


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).

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


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


Masood, W. (2021, November 26). Ketogenic diet. StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from

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


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


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. (accessed 29 March 2022).

Golikova M, Bunn J. Mealime. Version 4.13.4. 24 February 2016. (accessed 16 March 2022).

Mysportscience. Is game changers game changing or is it sensationalism? Version current 2021. (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.


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


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.


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


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,
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.


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


America Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. Ergogenic Aids: Counseling the Athlete. Version Current 1 March 2001. 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. Accessed 24 January 2022.

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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


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). 


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


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:


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


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.

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,

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.


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


American Heart Association. Monounsaturated Fat. Version current 1 June 2015. Internet: (accessed 26 January 2022).

American Heart Association. Polyunsaturated Fat. Version current 1 June 2015. Internet: (accessed 26 January 2022).

American Heart Association. Trans Fats. Version current 23 March 2017. Internet: (accessed 26 January 2022).

Cleveland Clinic. Fat: What You Need to Know. Version current 28 November 2014. Internet:*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


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


Campbell Kenisha, and Rebecka Peebles. “Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: State of the Art Review.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, 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, 


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


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.


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.


Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials. Are You Planning a Cleanse or Detox? Read This First. Version current 3 January 2020. Internet: (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: (Accessed 25 January 2022).

Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. The Dubious Practice of Detox. Version current 1 May 2008. Internet: (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


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.


Azziz R. (2018). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Obstetrics and gynecology132(2), 321–336.

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.

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.

Woodward, A., Klonizakis, M., & Broom, D. (2020). Exercise and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Advances in experimental medicine and biology1228, 123–136.

Reviewed by: Betsy Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern


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


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: (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: (accessed 22 January 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate. Version Current 2022. Internet: (accessed 14 February 2022).


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. 


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


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


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: (accessed 22 January 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture. My Plate. Version Current 2020. Internet: (accessed 22 January 2022).


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


Barrett DM. Maximizing the nutritional value of fruits & vegetables. Food Technol 2007;61:40-4.

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


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


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.


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

May 01, 2022


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.


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


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. 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. Published March 10, 2020. Accessed January 26, 2022.


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


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


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.


American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Food Hub: Fresh Versus Frozen Fruits and Vegetables. Version current 2021. (accessed 26 January).

Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials: Are Fresh Vegetables Healthier Than Frozen or Canned. Version current 2020. (accessed 26 January).

Piedmont. Fresh vs. frozen produce: Which is healthier? (accessed 26 January).

Reviewed by: Betsy Cogan, UGA Dietetic Intern


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


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:

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:


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.


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.

Weight. Noom. Accessed February 12, 2022

Reviewed by: Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern


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


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.


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


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.


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, 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!


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

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:

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:

 Reviewed by: Jessica Strosahl, UGA Dietetic Intern


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


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: (accessed 23 January 2022).

Mayo Clinic. Counting Calories: Get back to weight-loss basics. Version current 8 December 2020. Internet:  (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.


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.


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,

Gordon, Barbara. “Choose Healthy Fats.” EatRight, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ,

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


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 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



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 

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 

University, U. S. (2021, April 13). Does healthy eating cost more? USU. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from


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


Harvard Health Publishing. Intermittent fasting: Surprising update. Version current 2021. Internet: (accessed 23 January 2022).

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Intermittent fasting: What is it and how does it work? Version current 2022. Internet: (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


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


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.

Konopka, A. R., & Harber, M. P. Skeletal muscle hypertrophy after aerobic exercise training. Exercise and sport sciences reviews 2014; 42(2), 53–61.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food availability and consumption. USDA ERS - Food Availability and Consumption. (n.d.). (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. (accessed 25 January 2022)


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


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.


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


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).


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.


            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

Reviewed by: Jessica Beasley


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


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


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.


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.

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.

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


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).


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


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.


“Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss.”The Nutrition Source, 22 May 2019,

Gordon, Barbara. “What Is the Ketogenic Diet.” EatRight,

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.


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 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.


McCallum K. Are Juice Cleanses Actually Good for You? Houston Methodist On Health. Published January 6, 2020. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Newman J. The Juice Cleanse: A Strange and Green Journey. The New York Times. Published October 27, 2010. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Publishing HH. Juicing -- Fad or Fab? Harvard Health. Published July 2015. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

SKINNY CLEANSE® Get Results Fast. Raw Generation, Inc. Published 2021. Accessed March 31, 2021. 

Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). Published July 1, 2012. Accessed March 31, 2021. 


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.


Murder Among Mormans, Directed by Jared Hess, BBC Studios, Netflix,

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


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.


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

4.         Reliance Private Label Supplements. (2020, October 19). An introduction to whole food supplements. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from


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


  1. Biesiekierski J. R. (2017). What is gluten?. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology32 Suppl 1, 78–81.
  2. Celiac Disease Foundation. What is Gluten?. Version Current 2021. Internet:
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Ditch the Gluten, Improve Your Health?. Version Current 8 November 2019. Internet:
  4. Mayo Clinic. Celiac disease. Version Current 2021. Internet: and causes - Mayo Clinic


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.





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,, 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,


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.)
  2. Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:270832. doi:10.1155/2010/270832
  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


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.


Collins C. Monday’s medical myth: organic food is more nutritious. The Conversation. March 12 2012. Accessed: March 31 2021.

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.

Kanuckel A. 5 Myths About Organic Food You Might Not Know. Farmers Almanac. March 25, 2021. Accessed: March 31 2021.

Tangermann V. Is Organic Really Better? 4 Food Myths Debunked By Science. Futurism. February 6 2018. Accessed: March 31 2021.

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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.


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.

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).

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.


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.


Cold-Pressed Juice: Hipster Hype or Health Hero? (2018, October 10). Retrieved from

How Does Social Media Affect Your Body Image? (2018, August 28). Retrieved from

Sharkey, L. (2019, May 01). Influencers Are Giving Inaccurate Dietary Advice At Alarming Levels, According To This Study. Retrieved from


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.



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.


  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: (accessed 31 March 2021).
  3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Caffeine and Cancer. Version current 2013. Internet: (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.




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. 





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!


  1. Ivy JL. Regulation of muscle glycogen repletion, muscle protein synthesis and repair following exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2004;3(3), 131-138.
  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




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.


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.

This post was originally published on In Defense of Processed Food (Link:


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