Tuesday, September 30, 2014

For Optimal Health, Increase Fiber-rich Foods

More research confirms you should eat more whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts to meet your fiber needs.

Dietary fiber has long been touted for its digestive benefits, but the scientific research is booming on fiber’s ability to boost immune health and reduce risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Wendy Dahl, PhD, RD, researcher at the University of Florida, and David Klurfeld, PhD, National Program Leader for Human Nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, discussed the health benefits of fiber at the Food and Fiber Summit on January 28, 2014 in Washington D.C. For example, two 2013 meta-analyses published in Gastroenterology and a 2012 meta-analysis published in Annals of Oncology indicated dietary fiber is associated with lower risk for colorectal, gastric and breast cancers.
The fiber perception gap. Wide gaps exist between perception and reality when it comes to fiber intake, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2013 Food & Health Survey. An estimated 67 percent of people perceive they consume enough fiber, compared to 5 percent who actually meet their needs. “Consumers say they’re interested in getting more fiber; they know the health benefits and say they are motivated by them. And plenty of fiber-rich foods are available in stores,” stated Carol Byrd- Bredbenner, PhD, RD, FADA, professor at Rutgers, at the Food and Fiber Summit.
Why are we falling short? Even when people choose whole grains, legumes, whole fruits and vegetables, they may 
not be selecting those with the highest fiber levels. Legumes—beans, dried peas, lentils—are the fiber kings, along with whole grains. But not all grains are fiber superstars. For example, barley contains twice the amount of fiber than brown rice—3 grams per one-half cup compared to 1.5 grams, respectively. Even worse is avoiding grains because of one or another fad diet du jour. “The new popularity of gluten-free diets also may be contributing to our fiber shortfall as people avoid fiber- rich grains,” said Leah McGrath, MS, RD, dietitian at Ingles Market, speaking at the Food and Fiber Summit.
Furthermore, berries, artichokes, and pears are among the highest fiber fruits and vegetables, but many people load up on lettuce salads, thinking they are high in fiber, when lettuce provides only .5 grams per cup.

High Fiber Foods

2 c cooked farro, cooled

½ c diced red onions

½ c frozen unsweetened red raspberries, thawed
2 oz chopped walnuts, toasted
1 lemon, juice and zest

½ Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp grated ginger

2 tsp canola oil

Salt and pepper, optional

1.     In a medium bowl,
 toss together farro, onions, raspberries, and walnuts.
2.     In a small bowl,whisk together lemon zest and juice, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, oil and salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle over salad and combine well.

Makes 6 servings

Nutritional Information per Serving: 153 calories, 5 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 6 g fiber, 154 mg sodium

Recipe adapted courtesy National Processed Raspberry Council

Tips for Boosting Fiber Intake
This article was written by McKenzie for July 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition.

Disclaimer: While we are the consulting dietitians for the National Processed Raspberry Council, we simply chose to include the raspberry recipe in this article because we do really love it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Dietitian Is In: Evaporated Cane Juice or Ordinary Sugar?

When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Here's a recent question we were asked...and here's the answer!
Question: Is evaporated cane juice better than ordinary sugar?

Answer: Evaporated cane juice originates from the same place as white sugar: the sugar cane plant (although some white sugar is processed from beets). Here’s how both types of sugars are made. Sugar cane is shredded and pressed to make a juice that is boiled into a thickened syrup—essentially cane juice (which is not really a “juice”) after it’s washed and filtered. Water is evaporated from the syrup, forming wet sugar crystals that are spun in a centrifuge in order to separate the syrupy liquid (molasses). The remaining sugar is purified by another cycle of washing, crystalizing, and centrifuging to create brown sugar. White sugar is put through this process one more time to remove all traces of molasses and produce pure sucrose. On one end of the spectrum you have evaporated cane juice, which is sucrose and molasses, and on the other end you have refined white sugar, which is pure sucrose. Both forms are added sugars, with the same calorie and carbohydrate profile (4 calories per gram), and should be consumed in limited quantities.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mint Raspberry Smoothie

When you live in Los Angeles, you spend a lot of time talking about the traffic. This SNL skit of The Californians hits a little too close to home (it’s also hilarious, so I highly recommend you watch it.) While I'm not really one to experience road rage – which I accredit to the fact that I don’t spend too much time driving – being late can make me feel anxious. And the 405 freeway aka. the 405 parking lot, has the ability to make me late. That’s why I like to give myself extra cushion time when I have a morning commute.

In the past, an egg sandwich, overnight oats, or peanut butter toast were my typical on-the-go breakfasts, but more recently, I’ve been packing this Mint Raspberry Smoothie. It's not only super satisfying, it also feels like I’m spoiling myself on the mornings I make it. I love the sweet flavor from the raspberries, the hint of mint, and the creamy, thick texture.

Here’s the recipe:

Mint Raspberry Smoothie

1 cup soy milk
½ cup heaping scoop of reduced fat cottage cheese 
1 cup frozen raspberries
3 mint leaves
2 teaspoons maple syrup


Disclosure: While we are the consulting dietitians for the National Processed Red Raspberry Council and, we're sharing this recipe simply because we love it!

If you like this recipe, you may also want to take a peek at these recipes for:

A Triple Berry Smoothie