"Put Your Best Fork Forward" is the theme for National Nutrition Month® 2017 which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest starting with small changes in order to make healthier lasting changes you can enjoy. This year's theme for National Nutrition Month® inspires us to start with small changes in our eating habits – one forkful at a time. So whether you are planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, Put Your Best Fork Forward to help find your healthy eating style.
Carbonated water, also known as sparkling water, fizzy water, and seltzer water is plain water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved. This process, carbonation, results in the formation of an acid called carbonic acid. Unless they're flavored with citric or other acids, carbonated waters tend to have more neutral pH values than soft drinks like Coke. However, any acid can gradually wear away tooth enamel. Other foods and beverages that are acidic include coffee, red, white or rose wine, fruit and fruit juice including orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and tomato. These foods, although acidic in nature, become alkaline in our bodies (a good thing) and aid the digestive process. Bad for the teeth but good for the body!
Even though sugar isn’t necessarily high in acid, it promotes growth of acid creating bacteria creating an acidic environment. Especially bad for your teeth are acidic or sour gummies and sour candies. It’s always a good idea to rinse the mouth with water after eating anything acidic. Most drinking water has a pH of 6.5-9 so it helps neutralize the mouth after eating or drinking something acidic.
0-7 pH = acidic
7-14 = basic/alkaline
Here’s the pH of some common bottled waters with a low acid content.
Pellegrino (pH 5.3) Naturally carbonated
Perrier (pH 5.5) Naturally carbonated
Poland spring (pH 6.3)
Volvic (pH 7.0 )
Arrowhead (pH 7.1)
Dasani (pH 7.2)
Smart water (pH 7.2)
Voss (pH 7.3)
Evian (pH 7.4)
Fiji (pH 7.5)
Zephyrhills (pH 7.6)
Dannon (pH 7.8)
Icelandic Glacial (pH 8.3)
Incidentally, club soda is artificially carbonated water to which sodium salts and/or potassium salts have been added. These can include table salt and sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda). These alkaline substances are added to carbonated water to neutralize its acidity and to mimic the flavors of naturally occurring mineral water.
Small changes in beverages can add up to big calorie savings. These changes will reduce sugar and saturated fat which is good for your heart and good for your health.
You don’t have to give up your favorite mocha beverage, Just switch to skim milk and ask for half the syrup. This will save 9 grams of saturated fat (81 calories) in a 16 oz size. If you did this three times per week for a year you would save 1404 grams of saturated fat. (12,636 calories)
Switching from regular sugary cola to a sparkling water will save 53 grams of sugar for each 16 oz. If you did this once a day for a year you would save a whopping 19,345 grams of sugar (77,380 calories)
Happy healthy new year!!
Confused about probiotics and which ones are best for you or your patients?
Check out the Clinical Guide to Probiotics in the United States
It includes the indications, dosages, and clinic evidence for various strains of probiotics.
I often get questions from patients asking, “Are eggs bad for me?” and “How many eggs should I eat in a week?” The general consensus from the American Heart Association used to be to limit our egg consumption to 3 eggs per week because of the egg’s high dietary cholesterol content. However, it was proven many years ago that even though the egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol, this does not translate to high blood cholesterol. It’s surprising how many people still unnecessarily banish eggs from their diets. Eating a good, high protein breakfast is important for weight control as protein helps keep us full throughout the day. The egg contains the best quality protein too! No wonder they call it the incredible edible egg!
Click Here for a great article that gives the many benefits of eating eggs.
Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. We often get our signals crossed and think we’re hungry when we really are just thirsty. Water suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat.
The overweight person needs more water than the thin one. Since we know that water is important in fat metabolism, it follows that the overweight person who is trying to lose weight needs more water. Water helps maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. It also helps prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weight loss. Shrinking cells are buoyed by water which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water, it perceives this a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extra cellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, hands, and legs. Diuretics force out stored water along with some essential nutrients. Again, the body perceives a threat and will replace the lost water at the first opportunity. Thus, the condition quickly returns. The best way to overcome the problem of water retention is to give your body what it needs - water. If you have a problem with congestive heart failure or chronic kidney disease- always check with your medical provider for fluid recommendations.
If you have a constant problem with water retention, excess salt (sodium chloride) may be to blame. Your body will tolerate sodium only in certain concentrations. The more sodium you eat, the more water your body retains to dilute it. You can lower your sodium intake by eating less processed, cured and canned foods and drink more water. As water is forced through the kidneys, it takes away excess sodium too. 2300 mg of sodium or less is the recommended amount we should consume in a day. Divide that by three meals and limit each meal to 700 mg. One can of soup may contain 1500 mg of sodium or more! To stay within the recommended amounts avoid the salt shaker and reduce the amount of salt used in cooking. You will taste the food in it’s natural state and not just the salt. Since sodium is a preservative, anything in a box, can or bag must be suspect so make sure to read the nutrition label. Foods naturally low in sodium include all fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, natural unsalted nuts and seeds, natural unsalted beef, chicken, pork, eggs and most fish.
Water can help relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But, when a person drinks enough water and eats a diet rich in dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, normal bowel function returns.
How much water is enough? On the average, a person should drink six to eight (8 oz.) glasses everyday. However, the overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 lbs of excess weight. The amount that you drink should be increased if you exercise or if the weather is hot and dry. Water should preferably be cold. Besides tasting better, it is absorbed more quickly into the system than warm water. If you don’t like plain water try adding a little lemon juice to improve the taste and it’s a natural diuretic. Drink up!
OK it’s summer time and we have gardens and farmer’s markets and neighbor’s who generously share their bountiful crops, but how can we keep them fresh? Should they be stored in the refrigerator or on the counter?
Here are some hints to keeping produce fresh and safe.
These foods should be stored in the produce drawer of your refrigerator kept at 38-40 degrees.
These foods should stay out on the counter
Fruit and vegetables don’t mix well with each other in storage so keep them in separate drawers to help prevent ethylene gas building up which causes produce to ripen quicker. Fruits and veggies that produce ethylene gas should be kept away from foods that are sensitive to the effects of ethylene gas. Keep apples, melons and apricots away from strawberries, cherries, grapes carrots, broccoli, celery, green beans artichokes, asparagus and leafy greens. On the counter store avocados, bananas , nectarines, plums and peaches away from grapefruit, watermelon, lemons, limes, oranges and potatoes.
If all that is too much to remember:
You can alternatively buy green bags which are BPA free and create a beneficial storage environment for your produce enabling it to last longer. The bags can be used about 10 times each.
Crisper filters are available that attach to the inside of your produce crisper drawer. This gadget prolongs the life of your produce through an activated carbon filter which absorbs ethylene gas. It is all natural and made from coconuts. There is a date indicator which keeps track of when it’s time to replace the carbon filter.
Enjoy those yummy fruits and veggies this summer!!
I hate to admit it, but I love McDonald’s French fries, hot, lightly salted, yum! For a once in a while treat, how bad can they be? They’re only potatoes right? Then I read this:
According to CNBC the news website, there are actually 19 ingredients including an antifoaming chemical to stop oil from spattering, dextrose (a kind of sugar) which gives fries a uniform color, and sodium acid pyrophosphate which is know to cause inflammation in the body. Hmmm, I may rethink those fries. Maybe I’ll have the healthy option of fruit and maple oatmeal, oh but wait, there’s 32 grams (8 teaspoons) of sugar in that. It’s recommended that men consume no more than 9 tsp of sugar a day and only 6 for women. Maybe I’ll skip McDonalds all together and eat at home where I know what goes into my food. Be good to your body, it’s the only one you have.
Mary Sieruta, RD, MS, LDN, CDE
Mary Sieruta is a Certified Diabetes Educator and has been a Registered Dietitian with the Community Health Center for nine years.