It’s become rather fashionable lately to bash the BMI (body mass index) as a meaningless metric–and certainly, the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. If you’re technically “overweight” but can still pass my four-point health assessment, you may be just fine the way you are. And by the same token, if your BMI is considered “healthy” but you can’t pass my assessment, you’ve got some additional work to do.
We had some great online discussions this week! Click here to chime in on the topic of food “addiction” and the best way to fight cravings. Here’s another great thread on promoting scientific literacy along with healthy eating habits, and one more on the best recipe websites.
Continuing with last week’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gas theme, we have another reader Q and A, in which I offer an easy (and only slightly gross) way to determine your “transit time.”
My hometown is still recovering from it’s collective hangover in the wake of the Baltimore Raven’s Superbowl victory on Sunday. If you missed my post on throwing a healthier Superbowl party, these healthy entertaining tips will work just as well for your Oscar party.
Finally, Ben Greenfield tells me there’s still some spots left at next month’s conference. If you live in the Pacific Northwest (or have a hankering to visit), Ben has assembled an unbelievable roster of speakers that I’ll be honored to share the stage with.
The 200th episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast was released this month. I took the opportunity to reflect back on some of the hot topics and controversies that I’ve covered over the last four years. Although the podcast is not intended to focus on weight loss, the topic comes up frequently…in particular, fact-checking the never-ending stream of diet fads and fictions. In the Nutrition Diva newsletter, for example, a reader wants to know whether cold drinks slow weight loss, as “someone” once told her. I also dedicated an episode to medium-chain triglycerides (or, MCTs) and their potential as a weight loss aid.
But there’s still lots to talk about besides weight loss. For example, whether it’s safe to drink bottled water that’s past its expiration date. Or, how to know whether “nightshade vegetables” are causing your joint pain. Or, how the latest behavioral research can help improve your family’s eating habits.
Finally, for those who like a little “diva” with their “nutrition,” here’s a little clip from a concert I did this summer in North Carolina, with the incomparable Amy Klosterman on piano.
An almond tree in bloom
This week’s round-up is turbo-charged with two weeks’ worth of nutrition advice and commentary (due to the fact that I failed to post a round-up last week)!
Let’s start with the headliners: In last week’s Nutrition Diva podcast, I took a closer look at all the media buzz around the latest study on carbs and weight gain. As usual, there’s a little more to the story than the sound-bytes would suggest. Also in the news, almonds turn out to be less caloric than we thought.
Speaking of nuts (and no, I am not referring to my dear readers!), a fan wrote in with a question about PB2, the new low-fat peanut butter(like) product taking calorie-counters by storm. Sometimes, less really is less. While we’re on the subject of calories, here’s a quick and dirty tip for a reader who wondered whether it makes more sense to focus on fat or calories when selecting non-dairy milk.
Over on the What’s Cooking blog, I have a post on selenium, what it does for you, and where you get it, including some yum recipes. You’ll find more great recipes in this post on starting the day off right with a vegetable-packed breakfast.
Wondering about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Check out this recent episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast (which features a special guest appearance from Everyday Einstein!). I got to pull out more fancy scientific terminology–words like ‘convective’ and ‘evaporative’–in this post on whether drinking hot tea cools you down faster than a cold beverage.
And, finally(whew!), this month’s Smart Nutrition segment with Tom Hall on WYPR-FM in Baltimore focuses on sports nutrition tips for serious athletes as well as weekend warriors.
That should keep you busy until next week!
How to keep calcium in bones and out of arteries
In last week’s podcast, I talked about the merits of moderation. But I’m not one to leave the dark side unexplored! This week’s Nutrition Diva show takes a closer look at the possible pitfalls of an “everything in moderation” philosophy. Following up on last week’s post on the new calcium recommendations, I’ve got an answer to a reader question on how to make sure calcium ends up where it’s supposed to. On the Quick and Dirty Blog, we ask how an “ancient” grain ended up with a registered trademark. And for all of you with flaxseed in the cupboard and no idea what to do with it, I’ve got some recipe suggestions on the What’s Cooking blog.
Oh dear. I’m afraid I tipped another sacred cow in this week’s Nutrition Diva newsletter. In response to readers who find water “boring” and want to know what they can drink instead, I suggested that we stop viewing beverages as sources of entertainment. One dietitian wrote to say that she found my advice “deplorable,” citing the conventional wisdom that people who only drink when they are thirsty are likely to be clinically dehydrated. (I’ve never seen any evidence to support this assertion.) Judging from the comments, however, most readers seemed to understand the point I was trying to make. Staying with the water-y theme, I have tips on seasonal vegetables that help fight water retention over on the What’s Cooking Blog.
In recognition of National Celiac Awareness Month, we reissued a Nutrition Diva episode on gluten free diets this week. And, as long as we were on the topic of grains, I tried to clear up a listener’s confusion over the pros and cons of brown rice on the Quick and Dirty Blog.
Thanks for all of your great questions and comments. Your curiosity and enthusiasm (and even the objections and complaints) keep my job interesting!
A public service campaign on one of the networks has as its tagline, The More You Know. And information is, in general, a good thing. But sometimes it seems to me as if the constant stream of nutrition information and advice coming at you from all directions serves only to ratchet up needless anxiety. Take, for example, the alarmist rhetoric about fructose that circulates around the internet these days. I regularly hear from people who are now afraid to eat fruit. In this week’s Nutrition Diva podcast, I explain the two crucial details that the fructose fear-mongers forget to tell you.
In this week’s Nutrition Diva newsletter, I address internet rumors that eating apricot pits can help prevent cancer. And on the Quick and Dirty Blog, I calm one reader’s fear that eating too many vegetables could lead to vitamin toxicity and perhaps even cause her hair to fall out.
On a lighter note, as we Northern Hemispher-ites get ready to kick off the summer barbecue season, I have some reminders on how to keep those cook-outs healthy as well as delicious over on the What’s Cooking Blog. (Don’t you love it when the thing that tastes better is also better for you?)
Parents quickly learn that redirecting a toddler’s attention toward an approved toy or activity works far better than simply saying “No” to undesirable behavior. In this week’s Nutrition Diva podcast, I have some ideas on how to use the same strategy to tame the “inner toddler” of your appetite and make dieting a little easier.
On the Quick and Dirty Blog this week, a reader wonders how to square research on the benefits of whole grains with the anti-grain arguments put forth in the popular new book, Wheat Belly, by William Davis. Meanwhile, on the What’s Cooking blog on Recipe.com, I discuss some of the pros and cons of adopting a gluten-free diet.
This month’s Smart Nutrition segment on WYPR-FM focused on the food OUR food eats, and how that affects our health and the environment. And in the random-facts-about-nutrition category, this week’s Nutrition Diva newsletter featured this Q&A on whether carrot greens are good for you–or even edible!
Finally, I had a great time talking with Harris Faulkner of Fox News about all things nutrition–pros and cons of red meat, recovering from surgery, energy drinks, organics, and whether growing your own vegetables actually saves money!
Back when Hippocrates counseled his followers to let food be their medicine, he wasn’t really advising an alternative course; he was stating the obvious. Back then, dietary cures were about all that doctors had to offer. In today’s there’s-a-pill-for-that medical culture, of course, Hippocrates’ advice takes on a different tone. And although it’s not really how he originally meant it, it’s still pretty good advice–especially when most of today’s chronic illnesses are caused by dietary excesses and indiscretions.
Regular readers know that I always advise getting your nutrition from foods, not supplements. Case in point: a recent study finding that, while vitamin E-rich foods offer lots of benefits, vitamin E supplements are largely useless. On the What’s Cooking blog this week, I’ve got the top foods for vitamin E, along with some delicious ways to enjoy them. Meanwhile, following last week’s good news about nitrate-rich vegetables ability to lower your blood pressure, I included some additional information about how to put this research to work in this week’s Nutrition Diva newsletter.
For those taking blood-thinning medications, this week’s Nutrition Diva podcast explains why people taking these drugs are sometimes instructed to avoid broccoli, spinach, and other super-nutritious vegetables. I’ve also got tips on how to enjoy the benefits of these great foods without interfering with your anticoagulant therapy.
Of course, it’s also possible to over-estimate what foods can do for us. On the Quick and Dirty Blog, I respond to a reader who wonders whether she should be eating more brown rice in order to get the benefits. Can you guess what my answer is?