I started eating healthy and gained weight

Laurie writes:

“In the last year I’ve changed my diet and added back good fats like avocado, nuts and seeds (which I used to avoid due to fear of fat). I also started making kefir and yogurt. I feel SO much better. However, the added calories have slowly added pounds. So my question is….How do we fit in all the healthy foods we need to be eating and still limit calories?”

You’re not the first to have this dilemma, Laurie! Nuts, seeds, and avocados are all healthy foods but it is possible to get too much of a good thing.  Continue reading “I started eating healthy and gained weight” >

Are the calcium RDAs a dairy industry conspiracy?

Kate writes:

“I am a [lacto]vegetarian, and I make sure to get 3 servings of dairy every day. However, I still technically fall short of the recommended amount of calcium. I have a conspiracy theory that the dairy industry has undue influence on the [USDA], and that the calcium requirements are higher than they need to be. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on how accurate the RDA for calcium is, and any tips for getting the needed level on a vegan or vegetarian diet (without resorting to supplements or fortified foods).”

I can see how Kate gets there. The USDA is the government agency responsible for generating our nutrition guidelines. But it is also the government agency responsible for promoting the welfare of our nation’s dairy farmers. Is it possible that the desire to promote milk consumption has prompted the USDA to inflate the recommended amount of calcium? Continue reading “Are the calcium RDAs a dairy industry conspiracy?” >

Is stevia an artificial sweetener?

Cathy writes:

“Regarding the recent Nutrition Diva episode about artificial sweeteners, how exactly do you define “artificial” when it comes to sweeteners?”

Cathy is absolutely right that the terminology used to talk about sweeteners is vague and I should be better about defining my terms!

Caloric vs. noncaloric

Sweeteners can be divided into two broad categories: caloric and non-caloric. Even there, it gets fuzzy because virtually all “non-caloric” sweeteners are not truly zero-calorie, just so low in calories that we consider them non-caloric.

I think it’s smart to limit your consumption of both caloric and non-caloric sweeteners to around 5% of calories (or the equivalent amount of noncaloric options).

See also: What’s a safe intake of noncaloric sweetener?

How natural is it?

Although we often use words like natural, processed, refined, synthetic, and artificial to describe various caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, these are not precisely defined terms or categories. Continue reading “Is stevia an artificial sweetener?” >

How Bad for You is Lowfat Milk?

Karina writes: “I am a fan of low-fat dairy. I prefer skimmed milk and fat-free yoghurt. But lately, people have been telling me that low-fat dairy is “bad for you ” and full fat is better. When I ask why, they say it’s something to do with how the fat is removed. Another person says most of the nutrients are in the fat. What is your take on it?” Continue reading “How Bad for You is Lowfat Milk?” >

Create a world of flavor from just ten spices

Fresh spices are the best spices.  But I’ll bet you have spices in your cupboard that have been there for longer than you can remember. Most likely, you bought them for a specific recipe and haven’t used them since.

It doesn’t make sense to have dozens of spice mixes gathering dust in the cupboard when you can create endless variety  with just a handful of foundational flavors.

I recently teamed up with McCormick Spice to create this fun infographic, showing how to create  a half dozen of today’s most popular flavor profiles using just ten basic spices. But the possibilities are endless!

Spice Recipe Poster