Pros and Cons of Pea Milk

“My family recently replaced our lowfat milk with pea milk.  We’re trying to do our part for the environment and the advertising suggests that pea milk is much healthier than dairy. I’d love to know the health benefits and drawbacks of pea milk.”

If they come up with any more nondairy milk options, they’re going to need a second aisle for them at my grocery store!

One of the latest entrants into this category is a beverage made from yellow peas.  Like soy milk, pea milk boasts more protein than most other nondairy milks. With 8 grams of protein per serving, it’s comparable to cow’s milk. Legumes such as soybeans and yellow peas a also a relatively complete source of protein, although not quite as complete as dairy. Continue reading “Pros and Cons of Pea Milk” >

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?” >

Does losing weight really lower your disease risk?

James writes:

“Everyone refers to weight as being a risk factor for various diseases. But is it true that losing weight actually lowers one’s risk?  Or could some other factor be responsible for both disease risk and a higher weight?”

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight absolutely does reduce your risk of various complications and diseases. Because when you lose weight, it’s not just the the number on the scale that changes.  Losing weight can reduce your blood pressure as well as your fasting blood sugar, for example, and that in turn lowers your risk for stroke and diabetes.

And, by the way, losing even a small amount–as little as 5% of your current weight–can significantly reduce your risk of various conditions, even if you are still overweight. For this reason, you’d be better off losing a modest amount of weight and keeping it off than losing a large amount of weight and gaining it back!

(And if you’ve had enough of yo-yo dieting, you may be interested in a new project I’m working on.)
Continue reading “Does losing weight really lower your disease risk?” >

Trend Alert: What’s the deal with ginger shots?

Leah writes: “I’ve been hearing a lot about ginger shots as way to boost health and nutrition. Would they be good for everyone? What are the upsides and downsides of daily consumption?”

Fresh ginger juice can make for a zingy little pick-me-up. Will it detox your organs, kill cancer cells, or melt away fat? No. But ginger does have some legitimate health benefits. Continue reading “Trend Alert: What’s the deal with ginger shots?” >