Next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade starts January 2nd

The next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade program kicks off in just a few weeks (January 2nd, to be exact).

This fun and flexible group challenge is a great way to kick-start healthy routines and to stay motivated long enough for new behaviors to become established habits.

Over 1,000 people have now done this program with me and the results have been incredible!

  • Virtually all of the participants report that the program made a positive difference in their eating habits
  • Half of them reported losing weight (even though weight loss is not a goal of this program)
  • More than half also reported having more energy/better mood
  • Participants reported everything from enjoying their food more to improved digestion to feeling less hungry to finally bringing out of control snacking under control

But perhaps the best part is the the warm, supportive (and funny!)  community…men and women from all around the world, from college age to post-retirement, sharing their questions, challenges, and triumphs. Six years after the very first Upgrade, they’re still checking in with other, exchanging tips, recipes, and encouragement.  We’ve had meet-ups in half a dozen cities around the country.

It’s Your Turn!

The next 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade group challenge launches Sunday, January 2nd at 4pm ET.  (Yes, the session will be recorded if you can’t join us then.)

Cost: $49
Includes:

  • Live one-hour online class, plus Q&A for as long as there are questions.
  • Access to a video recording of the session afterwards.
  • Free tracking app
  • Downloadable handouts and other program materials.
  • Private Facebook group for ongoing (and I mean ongoing!) connection and support.

You’ll find lots more details here or, if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can:

RegisterNow

Tip: Add my email address to your contacts or safe sender list to be sure the registration info doesn’t land in your Spam/Junk folder.

Not sure if this is for you?

My post on “Is the 30-Day Challenge Right For Me?” has answers to frequently asked questions. And feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you have and help you decide whether this is a good fit for you.

Nutritional comparison of beef and plant-based alternatives

In this week’s episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I explore how plant-based meat alternative compare with meat in terms of the nutritional and environmental aspect, along with new research on their effect on the microbiome.

Here are nutritional and ingredient details for three of the most common meatless brands, as well as two types of ground beef.

4 ounces (113 g), uncookedMeatless Farm GroundImpossible BurgerBeyond BurgerGround beef (85% lean)Ground beef (grass fed)
Calories (kcal)250240230240224
Total fat (g)1614141714.4
Sat fat (g)58576
Protein (g)19192019.422
Carb (g)119700
Fiber (g)33200
Cholesterol (mg)0006970
Sodium (mg)54037039074.676.8
Potassium (mg)210610330305327
Iron (mg)5.44.242.22.25
IngredientsWater, Pea Protein, Vegetable Oils (Canola, Shea), Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, and less than 2% of: Potassium lactate, Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Caramelized Carrot Concentrate for color, Potato Fiber, Potato Starch, Vegetable and Fruit Extracts for color, Salt, Molasses, Dried Vegetable (Potato, Onion), Sunflower Oil, Carrot Concentrate for color, Tomato Paste, Ascorbic Acid (Antioxidant), Concentrated Lemon Juice, Black PepperWater, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12. Water, pea protein*, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, dried yeast, cocoa butter, methylcellulose, and less than 1% of potato starch, salt, potassium chloride, beet juice color, apple extract, pomegranate concentrate, sunflower lecithin, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, vitamins and minerals (zinc sulfate, niacinamide [vitamin B3], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], cyanocobalamin [vitamin B12], calcium pantothenate).Lean ground beefLean ground beef

Related listening

Nutrition comparison of gluten-free flours

In this week’s episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I reviewed the nutritional benefits of watermelon seed flour in comparison to other gluten- and grain-free flours. You can listen to the episode here and below is a chart showing the nutritional values for several of the most common types.

1/4 cupCaloriesProtein (g)Fat (g)Sat fat (g)Carb (g)Fiber (g)Calcium (mg)Potassium (mg)
Watermelon seed flour17891535017207
Almond flour16061206472210
Coconut flour12063218106600
Cassava flour13000031220106
Gluten-free baking flour130200301459
Paleo baking flour110440.513327160
White pastry flour12030.50261658
Whole wheat pastry flour11040.502337111

What’s the healthiest way to eat rice?

In this episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I break down the differences between all the different types of rice. Which are most nutritious? Easiest on your blood sugar?

Nutritional comparison of rice varieties

1/2 cup, cookedCalories (kcal)Protein (g)Fat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Mg (%DV)
White, long grain1052022<12.4%
White, short grain1352029<12.1%
White, converted95202111.8%
Basmati (white)902021<12.4%
Jasmine (white)1052022<12.4%
Brown, long grain12531261.59.8%
Brown, medium grain1102123210.7%
Brown, converted11521241.37.6%
Black rice11531231~
Red rice11021232~
Wild rice8530181.56.5%
Haiga1022021<1~
Glutinous (sticky) rice852018<11%

How do pili nuts compare nutritionally?

This week’s Nutrition Diva podcast is all about the pili nut, the latest entry into the superfood derby.  Below is a chart showing how they stack up to other nuts nutritionally.

1 oz/30 g provides:Pili nutsAlmondsWalnutPeanutCashewMacadamiaCoconut
Calories200164185161157204101
Fat22 g14 g18 g14 g12.5 g21.5 g9.5 g
Saturated10 g1 g2 g2 g2 g3 g8.5 g
Monounsat.10 g9 g2.5 g7 g7 g17 g1.4 g
Omega 3----2.5 mg-- ------
Protein3 g6 g4 g7.5 g5 g2 g1 g
Fiber1 g3.5 g2 g2.5 g1 g2 g2.5 g
Vitamin E10 mg7 mg02 mg-----
Calcium40 mg76 mg28 mg26 mg10 mg24 mg4 mg
Magnesium85 mg76 mg45 mg48 mg83 mg37 mg9 mg

Is protein powder too processed to be healthy?

Catherine writes:

“Virtually everyone says to cut down on processed foods.  It’s  one of the few things everyone from different camps generally agrees on.  Yet a large number of nutrition “influencers” recommend smoothies that include protein pea powder, or “beef powder”.  How the heck are those not processed food?”

You’re right: Pea protein and beef powder (yuck) would both be considered processed foods. As would soy or almond milk, yogurt, or frozen strawberries.

Virtually everything we eat is processed to some degree. Perhaps it’s helpful more to think of processing on a spectrum.  A grape still on the vine would be at one end and a grape-flavored jelly bean on the other. Somewhere in between those extremes would be raisins, grape juice, and grape jelly.

The goal is not to completely eliminate processed foods (which wouldn’t even be possible).  It’s more realistic to think about choosing foods that are closer to the less processed end of the spectrum as often as we can.

What’s the purpose of the processing?

Rather than painting all processed foods with the same brush, it’s also worth considering what the purpose of the processing is.  Is it to concentrate the sugar, increase the intensity of the flavor, or otherwise create a product that hyper-stimulates the reward centers of the brain?  Is it to increase the profit margin of a cheap ingredient?

Or does it serve to extend shelf life, increase the nutritional value of a food, improve its digestibility, or make a nutritious food safer or more convenient to prepare?

Obviously, the processing required to turn peas or whey into protein powder serves a different purpose than the processing required to turn an ear of corn into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

If you enjoy smoothies, you can consider whether the benefit of the additional protein justifies the use of a somewhat processed ingredient like protein powder.  Your answer might depend on how easy it is for you to meet your protein needs from other foods in your diet.

Either way, though, even though it is somewhat processed, a smoothie would be closer to the less processed end of the spectrum than a strawberry-flavored McFrosty.

My diet is super healthy. Why isn’t my Nutrition GPA higher?

I received the following email from a frustrated user of the Nutrition GPA app.  I’m posting it here, along with my response, in case other app users might find it useful as well.

“I have been somewhat frustrated with the scores I’ve been getting on the Nutrition GPA app.  I know I definitely do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables some days. But I think my diet is very good otherwise–just not in ways the app measures!

“For instance, I don’t eat any meat, I eat no dairy on an average day, I rarely eat eggs, I obsess over sodium, I rarely eat baked goods–and when I do, they’re homemade, low sugar, low sodium, dairy-free, etc., and the only white flour I eat is in baguettes, Portuguese rolls, or occasional pasta. Nevertheless, I’m getting Cs and  even a D!”

How does the Nutrition GPA assess your diet?

The questions in the Nutrition GPA quiz represent the foods most strongly associated with overall diet quality, risk factors, and health outcomes.  If your grade is not as high as you think it should be, perhaps aspects of your diet that you think are “not so bad” or “occasional” are having more of an impact than you realize.
Conversely, aspects of your diet that you think of as  “very good” may not have as much impact (or be as consistent) as you think.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the details you mentioned:
  • If you don’t eat any meat, then you are always getting points on Q9.  So that’s certainly not responsible for your low grade!
  • Avoiding diary and eggs is not associated with improved diet quality or reduced health risks.  So they don’t impact your grade one way or the other.
  • If you have high blood pressure and are sensitive to the effects of sodium, then that might be an important thing for you to watch. But for the majority of the population, avoiding sodium does not improve their health or their risks. So it’s not monitored in the Nutrition GPA.
  • Baked goods that contain white flour will impact your grade–even when they are homemade, low sugar, low sodium, and dairy-free! If you’re only eating them occasionally, it shouldn’t affect your GPA too much.  But research shows that replacing white flour with whole grain flour (or avoiding it altogether) improves health and nutrition.  And that’s why you get a higher grade on days when you don’t eat things made with white flour.

There are also a few things that you DIDN’T mention. But if you are frequently having more than one alcoholic drink, more than 25 grams of added sugar, eating fried foods and/or you rarely eat fish, legumes, and nuts, this will drag down your Nutrition GPA.

All of which is to say that the whole point of the Nutrition GPA is to shine a light on those areas of our diet that could stand improving. And sometimes it reveals things that we may have over or under-estimated.  In which case, it’s working exactly as designed–and presents a great opportunity to improve your nutrition!

 

Protein Content of Common Foods

This table shows the amount of protein per serving of several common foods.

Note that the standard serving size for meat is 3 ounces, which is considerably smaller than the portions you may be used to seeing.   A 3-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

Click here to see a table of protein density (how much protein various foods provide per calorie).

FoodServing SizeProtein (g)
Chicken breast3 ounces25
Pork tenderloin3 ounces22
Hamburger, lean (broiled)3 ounces22
Ground turkey (broiled)3 ounces22
Salmon3 ounces19
Shrimp3 ounces19
TunaSmall can17
Cottage cheese, lowfat1/2 cup14
Plain yogurt1 cup12
Greek yogurt1/2 cup11
Tofu, firm1/2 cup10
Lentils, cooked1/2 cup9
Peanut butter2 tablespoons8
Black beans1/2 cup8
Chickpeas1/2 cup8
Spaghetti, cooked1 cup8
Edamame (soybeans)1 cup8
Oat bran, uncooked1/3 cup7
Egg1 large6
Hummus1/2 cup6
Egg white1 large4
Quinoa, cooked1/2 cup4
Brown rice, cooked1/2 cup3
Whole wheat bread1 slice3

See also:
Quick Guide to Complementary Protein Sources

New Ways to Use Whey Protein Powder