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Complimentary Nutrition Information
Frequently Asked Nutrition Questions

Am I getting all the nutrition I need?
Am I at risk for diabetes?
BMI: What does it mean?
Which is better, butter or margarine?
Can diet help prevent high blood pressure?
Exactly what is a serving?
What are some easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to my diet?
How can I manage my diabetes?
What does “Net-Impact Carbohydrates”, the new term on food packages, mean?

Am I getting all the nutrition I need?
Eating a variety of foods is the best way for most people to get the nutrition they need.

Recently, at the American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, researchers revealed that many people are not eating a variety of foods therefore lacking in essential nutrients for a healthy body.

If you’re eating a healthful diet—following the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid—you’re likely getting all the nutrients you need already.

However, some people, such as those who consume fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, women of childbearing age, older adults, people who smoke, vegetarians, people with food allergies or people who consume fewer than 1,600 calories a day, may benefit from the addition of a multivitamin. Talk to your physician or a dietetics professional to determine if this is right for you.

Am I at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes exists in two forms—Type 1, or insulin dependent, and Type 2, or non-insulin dependent.

The rate of Type 2 diabetes has more than tripled in the last 30 years, with much of the increase attributed to the growing rate of obesity. In addition, certain populations have a higher risk of diabetes, especially African-Americans and Hispanics.

Other characteristics that can put you at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes include:

  • A relative with diabetes
  • A body mass index greater than 25
  • An elevated triglyceride or low HDL cholesterol level
  • Gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than nine pounds.

If you think you might be at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, check with your physician and dietetics professional to help develop an eating and physical activity plan that’s right for you.

BMI: What does it mean?
BMI stands for body mass index – a way to judge your body weight in relationship to your height. This index can provide some insight into whether you weigh more than you should.

To calculate your BMI for adults, multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Divide that number by your height in inches, squared (i.e., height x height). The ideal number should be between 20 and 25. If you’re below, you may be underweight and if you’re above, it could mean you are overweight.

It’s important to remember that BMI is just a number. There are many other factors that need to be considered when judging how much you should weigh. Use BMI as a guide only.

If your BMI falls out of the range, contact a dietetics professional for help.

Which is better, butter or margarine?
From a fat and calorie standpoint, butter and margarine are the same with about 35 calories and four grams of fat per teaspoon. Both are primarily fat; only the source differs. Butter contains more saturated fats than most margarine. Because margarine is made from vegetable oil, it has no cholesterol.

For a spread with less saturated fat, buy soft tub margarine, rather than stick. Whipped versions of butter or margarine have less fat per tablespoon, too. Reduced- and low-fat are sold, too, but they aren't suitable for some recipes.

If you like the taste of butter or margarine, enjoy it in small portions and from a tub, rather than a stick.

Can diet help prevent high blood pressure?
Genetics, excess weight and physical inactivity all contribute to people’s increased risk for high blood pressure, or hypertension. Adding more fruits, vegetables and dairy foods to your eating plan may help reduce that risk.

The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been shown to help reduce blood pressure in people with normal and elevated levels. The DASH diet is an eating plan that adds foods to your diet rather than taking them away. It is rich in low-fat dairy foods, fruits and vegetables – all of which are recipes for lowering high blood pressure.

Consider following the DASH diet whether or not you have high blood pressure. Consult your doctor or dietetics professional to help you fit DASH into your eating plan.

Exactly what is a serving?
Dietary recommendations are frequently give in “servings” – three to five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, two to three servings a day of meat and so on. Do you know what is meant by a “serving?”

Knowing the size of a serving can help you determine your portions – the amount of a particular food you eat at a given time. Here are some examples of serving sizes, for use in gauging your portions:

· Three ounces of cooked meat, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards
· Two tablespoons of peanut butter is the size of a golf ball
· A medium piece of fruit looks like a baseball
· A medium bagel is the size of a hockey puck
· One ounce of cheese is the size of four dice
· A small baked potato is the size of a computer mouse
· The serving size for raw vegetables, yogurt and fruit is one cup – which will fit into an average woman’s hand.

What are some easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to my diet?
Learning to incorporate healthy foods into recipes can make it easier to get the variety of nutrition you need.

Try some of these ideas:

  • Mix rolled oats into meatloaf
  • Bake vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and squash with fish steaks or chicken breasts
  • Add frozen or fresh vegetables to canned soup
  • Steam vegetables along with pasta and serve with tomato sauce
  • Use chopped fruit in breads or muffins
  • Add chopped apricots, apples, or pears to a green salad.

You’ll soon find that eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily really is easy and fits into a lot of your favorite recipes.

How can I manage my diabetes?
For many people with diabetes, balancing meals and snacks coupled with regular physical activity make it easy to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

New research shows that people who suffer from diabetes can still enjoy just about any food on the menu if they exercise care and caution. Keys to managing blood sugar levels include:

  • Learn about your body and your needs
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get regular aerobic activity
  • Keep a meal schedule that is consistent
  • Understand your medication needs and use medication appropriately.

In addition to these tips, remember that heart disease is a major complication of diabetes. Make sure to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For more help, ask your doctor about the latest treatments for diabetes and contact a dietetics professional today.

What does “Net-Impact Carbohydrates”, the new term on food packages, mean?
The low-carbohydrate diet craze has generated new lines of foods that claim to contain carbs that don’t affect your blood sugar. Are these foods the right recipe for you?

Food companies created the term “net-impact carbohydrates” to give their products more shelf appeal. Net-impact carbs result from replacing wheat flour with soy flour or adding fiber, sugar alcohols or fat. According to manufacturers, these compounds don’t increase blood sugar the way other carbs do.

Don’t be swayed by promises on food wrappers. Remember calories count and special low-carb food products are not calorie-free.

You can modify your carbohydrate levels without learning a new food vocabulary. Make sure carbs you consume are in the form of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. And pay close attention to your portion and serving sizes. You may find you can cut down on the amount of carbohydrates you eat and still get all you need.


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