Can an anti-inflammatory diet ease aches and pains?

Q. “My physical therapist suggested I go on an anti-inflammatory diet to help with joint pain. From what I can find on the Internet, this is a diet that limits saturated fat and simple carbohydrates (white flour, sugars) and concentrates on fruits, veggies, fish, olive oil and whole grains. Is there evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can help with pain?” Continue reading “Can an anti-inflammatory diet ease aches and pains?” >

What to look for when choosing an infant formula

What to look for when choosing a baby formula

Kelly writes:

“I recently gave birth and despite my best efforts, breastfeeding did not work out for us. Can you provide some kind of framework to make a good choice of formula? I’m sad I can’t give my son breastmilk and I want to give him the next best thing. Are there certain ingredients to look for or to avoid ? Is organic worth it? 

Although breast-feeding is considered to be ideal, there are many for whom this is not possible.  (As a side note, my sympathy goes out to those who are made to feel guilty or inferior for feeding their infants formula. Promoting the benefits of breast-feeding is one thing; demonizing or criticizing women who cannot or do not breast-feed is another.)

I also sympathize with parents faced with the daunting prospect of choosing the “right” formula from an overwhelming array of options.  Let me start by ratcheting down the angst: Babies are remarkably resilient. Like larger humans, they have the ability to thrive even when they do not always have perfect diets. That said, of course we want to do the best we can for them.

Although this should not take the place of the advice of your pediatrician, here are a few thoughts on what to look for and/or avoid in a baby formula. Continue reading “What to look for when choosing an infant formula” >

Are there nutritional benefits to dehydrating fruits and veggies?

“I read that dehydrators are the in thing this year. Clearly dried fruits are going to contain more sugars per handful than the original fruit but might there be nutritional benefits from drying foods?”

Food dehydrators can be a great way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables and to create portable, nutritious snacks. Although dried fruits are ever-popular, you can also dry vegetables and herbs.

So, when fresh garden tomatoes are overflowing your counter-tops in September, you can load them into your dehydrator and dry them to use through the winter. Green beans or kale leaves can be lightly salted and turned into addictive crunchy snacks. With a little extra prep, you can make your own homemade fruit leathers, crackers, and jerky! More ideas here. Continue reading “Are there nutritional benefits to dehydrating fruits and veggies?” >

Should our toddlers really be eating this much fake sugar?

Would you let your two year old drink diet soda?

Would you let your 7-year-old drink diet soda?

How about your 2 year-old?

A disturbing new study finds that 27% of elementary-school kids and 20% of our preschoolers are consuming artificial sweeteners on a daily or near daily basis.  This represents a 300% increase since 1999.

20% of preschoolers consume artificial sweeteners on a daily basis. Click To Tweet

With all the scary news about sugar these days, many parents may imagine that they’re doing their kids a favor by offering them sugar-free pudding or low-calorie fruit “juice.”  And the fact that artificially sweetened foods are “sugar-free” might make them seem safe for every day consumption. I suspect they are anything but. Continue reading “Should our toddlers really be eating this much fake sugar?” >

Should I stop being vegetarian to reduce my risk of diabetes?

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Q. I am a healthy, normal weight woman in my early 20s. I am also a vegetarian. Because there is a strong family history of type 2 diabetes (both parents and all four grandparents), my doctor suggested I adopt a relatively low-carb diet to reduce the risk of getting the disease myself.  But does going low-carb require me to give up my vegetarian lifestyle? Can a plant-based diet also reduce my risk, even if it’s high in complex carbs like whole grains and beans?

A.The good news is that being a vegetarian does substantially reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, despite the fact that vegetarians diets tend to be higher in carbohydrates than omnivorous diets.  Much of this risk reduction has to do with the fact that vegetarians are less likely to be overweight.

However, does this still hold true when diabetes runs in the family? Keep in mind that genes aren’t the only things that are passed down from generation to generation.  We also tend to inherit lifestyle habits and eating patterns. Continue reading “Should I stop being vegetarian to reduce my risk of diabetes?” >

Calories vs kcals vs joules

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I just ate an apple that had 116,000 calories.

No, it wasn’t the size of my house. That’s really how many calories a large apple contains.

As calorie, as you might remember from high school, is the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.  Turns out that an apple contains quite a bit of energy–enough to raise the temperature of 116,000 grams (or about 30 gallons) of water by 1 degree Celsius. Continue reading “Calories vs kcals vs joules” >