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diet myths

Carbs: Why do people think they’re bad?

carbs, carbs are not bad

Carbohydrates. What comes to your mind when you read that? This nutrient receives an undeservedly negative reputation through no fault of its own. They’re so misunderstood.

Many people avoid them. They have the idea they’re bad. They’re not. Nearly 100 percent of carbs break down to glucose in the body. That’s a good thing because glucose gives us energy.  All macronutrients—carbs, fats, proteins—give us energy because they have calories. Carbs though are very efficient at providing fuel—glucose, needed by every cell.  And it’s the preferred energy source for our brain, central nervous system, and red blood cells. Continue reading

Dear gluten-free dieter

Thanksgiving is almost here and for the 1 percent with celiac disease and estimated 6 percent with gluten sensitivity it undoubtedly will be a challenging holiday to maneuver. But quite honestly I’m not worried about them. They take their disease very seriously and don’t mess around. Plus there are numerous resources they most certainly have turned to. (This post is not for them.)

It’s the other estimated 20 to 30 percent that follow a gluten-free diet for a myriad of reasons. I recently wrote about this in a post Gluten-Free – the real reason it might help. Continue reading

Gluten-free: The real reason it might help. PLUS! a gluten-free comparison

It’s amazing how many people are experts in nutrition. I was at a seminar last Saturday—totally unrelated to nutrition. (WordPress if you must know—I guess I’m a nerd at heart. Yep, spent a beautiful day geeking out indoors.)

Since I like to be a walking billboard wearing my Neily on Nutrition t-shirt I struck up a conversation with a woman visiting from California. As many people are prone to do, she shared a story of a friend.

The stories usually always start a certain way. I love them. Her friend read a book. Ah yes. And now they’re an authority on the diet du jour. Continue reading

I write & make videos on what interests me in the nutrition world…

My mom made a comment about my Facebook page which got me thinking. (Don’t moms have a way of doing that—making you think?) I often post my Neily on Nutrition blogs and videos in addition to Mom and me MothersDay2014my endless posts and pictures about my Great Dane fosters on my private FB page. I also have my Neily on Nutrition business page, but Facebook has an algorithm and only a select few get to see those posts, unless I want to pay to boost my posts. (I don’t.)

Continue reading

Diet myth #5 with Shelley Rael – Gluten-free diets for weight loss?

Gluten Free Thursday: Ricotta Pecan Spinach Salad

Gluten Free Thursday: Ricotta Pecan Spinach Salad (Photo credit: Love.Sasha.Lynn)

Diet myth #5 – Gluten-free diet for weight loss?

Shelley Rael, registered dietitian nutritionist from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I had a chance to talk about many diet myths. This was our fifth myth—our topic was gluten-free diets for weight loss. To watch the video, scroll to bottom or click here.

Neily: The gluten-free diet has gotten really popular as a weight loss diet. Will people lose weight on the gluten-free diet?

Shelley: Sure, because they’re cutting out a lot of foods that they normally eat. If they went on a fat-free diet they could theoretically lose weight if they’re cutting out (fat) or if they went on a sugar-free diet (and cut out sugar). I am not an expert in gluten-free but I am an expert in fad diets. This appears to be one of the biggest trends right now. All these foods are gluten-free—some of which never had gluten to begin with, like peanut butter and fruit. I saw something today that said this fruit is gluten-free. Gluten is the protein that is in certain grains—it’s not ever going to be in fruit. But what people do, people hear that gluten-free is the way to go because they hear it from the media or their friend or something…

Neily: Or some celebrity…

Shelley: Yeah, celebrity or pseudo-celebrity. But they don’t have celiac disease or they don’t have a need to go gluten-free. What they are doing—like we talked about with some other myths—when they cut out carbohydrates or refined grains or foods that have gluten, they’re cutting out a big portion of their regular diet. So yes, they will probably, initially, lose weight because they just cut out this huge part (of their diet). If I cut out the sugar and cream in my coffee, I’d probably lose weight because I’m cutting out something in my normal diet.

Neily: Gluten-free is such a huge industry now. There are so many gluten-free products. If you go gluten-free with fruits and vegetables and the non-wheat whole grains and lean meats—that’s a really healthy diet and you probably could lose weight. But when you start adding other food, for example junk food…gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

Shelley: Exactly. When any other fad diets come along—like I said this gluten-free is, I believe, a fad for people who don’t need to be gluten free. Whatever comes up next they’re going to be cutting out—in all likelihood—an entire food group, they’ll lose weight. A lot of things I’ve seen and read about gluten-free foods is that they are actually higher in calories than their regular counterparts. So it’s not necessarily the healthier way to go if you don’t have the disorder (of celiac or gluten sensitivity).

Neily: Gluten sensitivity may be an issue for some people. And for some to experiment, they might feel better. It’s fine to experiment. But, of course, if they have celiac and they go on a gluten-free diet (before getting tested), it’s not going to show up on a test. But as far as sensitivity, if somebody is going to try gluten-free, it may make them feel better or it might be the placebo effect.

Shelley: They might be eating better. Doing it is not going to be harmful necessarily but it’s mostly unneeded. It’s not necessary for most people to do.

Diet myth #4 with Shelley Rael – You shouldn’t eat certain foods together?


Diet myth #4 – Fact or fiction: You shouldn’t eat certain foods together

Have you ever heard you shouldn’t eat certain foods together? Like no fruit with protein? Shelley Rael, registered dietitian nutritionist, and I met last fall in Philadelphia at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Food and Nutrition Conference and expo. (To watch the video scroll to bottom or click here.)

Neily: Shelley, what is myth # 4?

Shelley:  Something that clients mention, something they read online or in a book, is that they shouldn’t combine carbohydrates and protein or they should have fruits separate from their meals.

These often come together…they’re told to have fruits separately from their meal so they should eat fruit before their meal but not with their meal because it “ferments” in the stomach. A couple of things I say about that is one, our body is very efficient and it’s a wonderful machine. It works well when we feed it well. That’s not going to mess up the machine. Eating fruit with your meal…

Neily:  It does not ferment…

Shelley:  Yeah…so the enzymes do their job whether the fruits are by themselves or with other foods. And regarding not mixing carbohydrates and protein—I tell people we have these three major energy (calorie) nutrients specifically, carbohydrates, protein and fat. All foods have at least two of those nutrients so it is virtually impossible to not have those mixing. The protein and carbs often come together although not all the time. Meat is protein and fat mostly. It’s very hard to get one that’s just carbohydrates—sugars are 100% carbohydrates, oils are 100% fat but everything else is a mixture. There is nothing that is 100% pure protein.

Neily:  And our bodies are very efficient at processing it all.

Shelley:  Yes. It works well. It works better if we feed it better. But there is not this big alarm that goes off if we eat fruit with meals.

Neily: It’s okay to eat your proteins, fat and carbs together!

Diet myth #3 with Shelley Rael – Fact or fiction? Carbs are bad for you

This is third in the series of six myths that Shelley Rael and I talked about in Philadelphia at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo in October. To watch the video click here or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Diet myth #3 with Shelley – Fact or fiction? Carbs are bad for you

The term "natural" is applied to man...

Neily: This is Neily on Nutrition!  I’m with Shelley Rael, a private practice dietitian from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re talking about diet myth number 3. And that is…?
Shelley: That carbs are fattening.
Neily: Alright.
Shelley: People say they cut out carbs because carbs make them fat. I tell people all the time nutrition is not black and white. There are many things that are involved. By themselves, carbohydrates are not fattening; they are not higher in calories than other foods. Per gram they’re actually lower in calories compared to fat.What happens is that people say I cut out carbs, I lost a lot of weight and well, you know they cut out the sugar, the candy, the sodas, the refined carbohydrates. The plant-based carbohydrates—the fruits and vegetables—are not the carbs that are making people fat. If you have five oranges you wouldn’t be fat.The other thing I tell people is that when you cut out the carbs, you’re losing a lot of water. Carbs and water are best friends, “BFFs”. So when the carbs are gone, you lose a lot of water. But as soon as you have a piece of toast, all that water comes back and the weight fluctuates.So, on one hand yes, cutting out carbs can help you lose weight but that will happen with any food that you cut off altogether.
Neily: Yes, it comes down to the calories.
Shelley: Right, and it’s also the quality of the carbohydrates. Again calories are calories, but when you are having good calories, the healthier calories so to speak whether they are carbs or fat or protein, it’s going to be healthier and better than having the refined, processed junk which tend to be carbs.Sugar sugar
Neily: All carbohydrates are plant-based foods—the fruits, the vegetables, the whole grains—and then you’ve got your refined carbohydrates. American Heart Association has the recommendation for six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and nine teaspoons for men. That’s what 24 and 36 grams (respectively).Also one of the things people are quick to look at is the sugar on the label. Just because it has sugar (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it). Something might be a yogurt and it has sugar in it but that’s from the lactose from the milk… I get that a lot.
Shelley: I get that a lot too. I help people learn that the label where it says sugars does not distinguish between added and naturally occurring sugars. So I tell them, look at the ingredient list and if it’s sugar or corn syrup or pure cane syrup or honey or molasses or any of those many aliases of added sugar. There is still no way to know how many grams of sugar are added or naturally   occurring but the lower that sugar is on the list of ingredient list—or not there at all—the better that’s going to be.That’s the frustrating part with the labels.
Neily: That’s why people come to see registered dietitians to learn these things!
Shelley: Exactly. We can teach them.
Neily: Right. Thank you Shelley. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video!


Diet Myth #2 with Shelley Rael, MS, RD – White foods: to eat or not to eat?

various potato dishes: potato chips, hashbrown...

various potato dishes: potato chips, hashbrowns, tater tots, baked potato, and mashed potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diet myth #2 with Shelley Rael, MS, RD:  “You shouldn’t eat white foods” (or should you?)

Shelley Rael, registered dietitian in private practice from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I had the chance to catch up in Philadelphia during the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. We discussed six diet myths—here was the second one. (To see the video, scroll to the bottom or click here.)

Shelley: This one is kind of twofold. People say they cut out white foods. I hear people say I stopped these white foods and I lost all this weight. And what I think most people are referring to is the refined grains, the refined white bread—which by the way, I would never give up ever. Like ever. I look forward to that.
Neily: Yes
Shelley: White rice, white potatoes—that’s what a lot of people are referring to. I hate that all these white foods are clumped together. As I say, it’s discriminating. Of course, we want brown foods—brown rice, and the whole grain bread but there are a lot of white foods that are really good for you. Potatoes are not evil but people think they are. Onions, leeks, garlic, cauliflower—those are white foods that are good for you. People are like, you know what I mean. But I just want to clarify that we cannot just put this one color on the hit list so to speak. When I talk about potatoes there are a few parts about potatoes that I mention. You know they’re great sources of vitamins and fiber. It’s what we DO to the potatoes.
Neily: Exactly. How is it dressed? The company it keeps.
Shelley: What we eat with the potatoes. Mashed potatoes—I’ve made healthier versions of mashed potatoes. But people talk about the stick of butter and the cream they use in mashed potatoes—that’s what makes potatoes go to the far side, the dark side.
Neily: A loaded baked potato—you’ve got bacon, cheese, sour cream, butter and it all adds up….
Shelley: Add a little bit of chives for the veggies. And have it with a 20 ounce steak. Or French fries—the No 1 vegetable in this country. French fries and ketchup is No 2 as a vegetable. You know French fries and ketchup are the No.1 and No. 2 sources of fruits and vegetables in the country. That’s not what we want to do. It’s not the fact that it’s white as much as it’s fried, with a lot of salt.
Neily: Right. So it’s okay to eat white food. Thanks Shelley! Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.

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