The Power of Protein – What’s enough? What’s too much?

Protein Facts

If a little is good, more is obviously better. Wait! Not so fast! Protein is both powerful and necessary to maintaining health, BUT in the case of this macronutrient, more is just more and not better.

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Protein is necessary for muscle growth and development.

First, let’s take a look at what proteins are and what they do in the body. Proteins are made up of amino acids (think of these as legos) and provide the major structural components of muscle tissue, brain tissue, the  nervous system, blood, skin and even hair and nails! It doesn’t stop there – this macronutrient also provides a transportation system for minerals, vitamins, fats, and oxygen. It even plays a role in maintaining the acid-base balance and fluid balance. Although we derive energy from consuming protein, it is the body’s least preferred source of fuel for activity and rest. However, during times of starvation, the body  breaks down its stores to provide a source of fuel. (more…)

The Health Halo Phenomenon

What is the Health Halo?

“Gluten free!”

“Reduced fat!”

“Sugar free!”

“Trans-fat free!”

If it looks healthy and says it’s healthy – then it is, right? Not always. Just because certain products contain added fiber, Omega fatty acids, or have fewer calories than the original version doesn’t mean it has added nutritional benefits.

The “Health Halo”: a term given to those subtle, but persuasive words or phrases listed on food packages or clever marketing schemes. For example, when a food label says “organic” or “low fat”, we tend to automatically believe the food is healthier if not even “good or us”.  (more…)

Decoding the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines – Keeping it Simple

Simplify the Complex

If you’re like me, you appreciate succinct, simple and easy to understand (and apply) health and nutrition information. One look at the lengthy 2010 Dietary Guidelines document tells us the information contained within those pages is anything but succinct, simple, or easy. This week’s post reduces the complexity of the guidelines and summarizes what dietary practices we need to implement and/or change to positively influence overall health and wellbeing. For a full examination of the updated guidelines, visit 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.

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Wine Me Up! Is Alcohol Beneficial to Health?

wine-glass-1323719-640x960Sipping the Good stuff

As adult libations go, I reach immediately for the vino. I love a crisp, fruity Pinot Grigio on a hot day and crave the comfort of a dark velvety Cab when it’s cold. But, the question I often am asked is “how healthy is wine?” Let’s review what the body of literature tells us.

people-summer-garden-sittingGoodness Grapes!

Red wine contains something called resveratrol – a polyphenol compound found in certain plants that appears to have some antioxidant properties. Past research indicated resveratrol may be the key ingredient responsible for reducing inflammation and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” stuff) as well as preventing blood clots. A caveat – much of the research was on animals and animals have different reactions to different substances. A second caveat – resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, which are the principal ingredient in most wines – including the whites. The difference is the grapes are fermented longer for red wines than white, so the levels of this polyphenol are greater in reds. This is not to say that white wines don’t have their benefits – they can and do!  (more…)

BBQ – Healthy Business

In case the 90 degree weather didn’t tip you off, it’s summer! Hopefully you are all enjoying long sunny days, empty schoolyards, campfires, parties, and picnics in the park. As is American tradition and culture, we typically like to celebrate the summer season with endless backyard barbeques.

Gatherings of this nature generally involve food and beverages that may not be – let’s say – of the heart healthy variety. This summer, as you partake in the festivities, keep the following tips in mind. In doing so, you will find it is possible to enjoy the celebration and indulge in delicious food without compromising personal health and nutrition goals. (more…)

Good Carb. Bad Carb. What’s the deal?

Carbohydrates are often demonized and characterized as “the one” that makes weight gain so profound. I’m here to tell you this is not the case and it’s time we take a closer look at the facts before committing to a “bread boycott”.

What are carbs?

molecule-1166570-639x577Carbs are “hydrated carbons” as the name carbohydrate implies; they are sugar compounds made with carbon and water attached. See – nothing scary! Not only do our bodies need carbs for immediate energy, carbs are the only fuel source for the brain and red blood cells (a little science nerdy nerd fact for you in case the dinner table conversation runs out of “energy” – pun totally intended;))

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Detox Diets – Help or Hype?

The Detox Diet If you Google “detox diet”, you will come across a thousand different definitions and variations. To break it down to the common denominators, most include some element of the following: fasting, increased water intake, restricted caloric consumption and often, but not always, a recommendation to consume specific Read more…

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