Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How Much Is Too Much Fruit?

Dear Laurie,
I just found out that I love kiwis and have been enjoying them along with lots of other fresh fruits this month.  It got me to wondering, can a person eat too much fruit?  I mean, I know that fruit is good for you, but what if you are eating a lot?  Is there some maximum number of servings above which it's not good for you anymore?    Francine K.

Dear Francine,
This is quite a thoughtful question and you bring up a good point: At some level, even things that are "good for you" can take a turn and become more harmful than helpful for a number of reasons.  As far as fruit goes there are a few ways that eating many servings per day could start to be less "good for you":

1) Eating so much fruit that you experience discomfort from the fiber intake:  If you aren't used to a high fiber intake you could begin to experience intestinal bloating and/or diarrhea.  At this point it would be a good idea to back off to fewer servings per day.

2) Eating so much fruit that you don't have room for other nutritious foods:  The reason it's important to include balance and variety in your diet is to get in good sources of all the vitamins and minerals.  Fruits contain some, like vitamin A and C and potassium, but are poor sources of thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, protein, and vitamin B12.  You must leave room in your diet to include grains, dairy, protein, and some healthy fats to keep your diet balanced and include all of these nutrients.

3) Eating so many fruits your calorie intake becomes too high:  You can eat so many fruits, or juices, that you gain weight from an excessive calorie intake.  Fruit, while fat-free and low-calorie, is not calorie free!  A typical fruit serving has 60-80 calories, so if you start having 10 each day, you can see how this could quickly add up!  Limit fruits to three or four servings daily (and leave juice out of your diet) if you are trying to limit your calorie intake, and focus on taking in more vegetables, which are generally lower in calories.

4) Fruit isn't a good choice for some people on medical therapeutic diets: If a person has diabetes or renal disease, their fruit intake has to be limited to control the intake of sugar and potassium, respectively.  For a normal healthy diet fruit contributes necessary nutrients, but in some conditions these same nutrients must be restricted.  If you are on a special diet for a medical condition, be sure your doctor or dietitian has explained to you what really is good for you and what should be limited in your diet.

Fruits are healthy snacks and additions to any meal for all the nutrients they contain.  But you certainly can overdo it!  Even though the recommendations are for 9-12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, there are people who eat more than this, and for the above reasons, it can become a case of doing more harm than good.  It goes back to the rule we dietitians use all of the time in deciding how much is a good amount: Everything in moderation!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Are Hidden Fats?

I've been reading that when watching one's calories it is important to also watch for "hidden fats".  What exactly are these?    Linda H.

Dear Linda,

Hidden fats are those that are not at first apparent in a food.  You know you are adding fat to your food when you put butter on your bread, or dressing on your salad.  But when are there fats present that you may not be aware of?

Unless you are a cook or a baker, you may not know that fats are used in preparing many foods.  Butter can be used to cook fish, for example.  You may order what you believe to be a low-fat menu item that actually has more calories provided by the butter the fish is cooked in, than calories from the fish itself!  When ordering in a restaurant, ask how a meal is prepared.

Baked products, like pies, muffins, and croissants, use lots of shortening to result in a moist or flaky texture.   Some people mistakenly believe if they don't put butter on their muffin or croissant that they're having a low-fat breakfast or snack.  In fact, the fat contained in one of these treats can contribute over half the calories.

There are also fats naturally occuring in many animal products: milk, cheese, or yogurt that does not specifically state "low-fat" or "fat-free" can also have as many as half the calories contributed by fat.  This means a 'fat free' version would cut your calorie intake in half!
Meats and chicken also have fat in them.  Leaner cuts can save calories, but the fat does serve a purpose in keeping the meat moist and tasty.  You need to find a happy medium between enjoying your food--fat included--and limiting the amount of fat you take in throughout the day.

There are many sites available on the internet where you can look up fat content of foods to find out where the hidden fats lie.  Ingredient labels are also helpful when purchasing packaged foods and they will always tell you exactly how many grams of fat are included on the "nutrition facts panel".

Being well-informed will be your best weapon against excessive fat intake.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Can I Help My Adult Daughter Lose Weight?

Dear Laurie,
I am writing because I'm concerned about my daughter.  She's 35 years old and a single mother.  She doesn't take the time to cook healthy but is always taking her 11 year-old daughter out for fast food or ordering pizza, and keeping junk food in the house.  They are both overweight and now she has been diagnosed with diabetes.  I'm worried the same is in store with my granddaughter.  What is a relatively simple diet they can go on that isn't too restrictive so they can stay on it long enough to have results?    Jane W.

Dear Jane,

Unfortunately, all the love and concern you have for your daughter is not going to help her lose weight.  The person with the problem is the one who has to decide when they are ready to make a change.  Just like any other condition, each individual decides when their priority is to get healthy.  Your daughter has another incentive--having a healthy daughter herself.

I know how frustrating it is to sit by and watch someone contribute to their own health risks--we all know people who smoke, drink too much, eat too much or exercise too little and we wish we could help... but all we can offer is our support, and to let them know we are here for them in whatever capacity they need when they are ready to change.

You might ask your daughter if there is one change she is willing to make that is simple and easy (such as substituting water in place of soda this week and see how she and her daughter feel about that).  Let her know you are concerned and that when she is ready, you will help her find a plan that is easy and tasty! 

Perhaps they can plan a visit to a registered dietitian where your daughter and granddaughter can go  together.  What they really need is not a diet, but a lifestyle change, and that is scary to think about all at once.  A dietitian is trained to help people make these changes in a way that is safe, reliable, and most likely to last a lifetime, as opposed to the diet-of-the-week which is more likely to result in gaining the weight back in a short period of time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Much Junk Food Can I Have In a Day?

What is a good level of calories to eat of junk food in a day?   Sam M.

Dear Sam,

While many Americans consume nearly 30% of their calories from junk foods, in reality we only have about 10% to spare on foods that provide energy without nutrition.

This means an average person who eats a 2100 calorie diet takes in 700 calories from fried foods, candy bars, danishes and pastries, cakes, cookies and candies, ice cream, soda and similar foods.  It's very easy to see the number climb quickly because these foods are very calorically dense.

Ideally, after you consume the nutrient-dense foods (fruits, vegetables, grains and starches, dairy products, and good sources of protein) you will have 150-250 calories leftover to indulge in a sweet treat.  A small square of chocolate or a half-cup of light ice cream; a small piece of cake or 2 plain cookies will give you the sweet taste you seek without overdoing the fat, sugar, and calories.

What's The Cheapest Fruit To Buy?

Dear Laurie,  I am on a limited budget and can only afford one type of fruit--what would the best choice be? --Carolyn L.

Dear Carolyn,

You don't have to limit yourself to one type of fruit, even if you can only afford limited amounts each day!  Mix them up every day of the week to give yourself the most variety.  That's important to get in the variety of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals that fruits provide.

If I had to pick a few nutrient-packed choices I'd go with oranges and kiwis for their concentrated vitamin sources.  But all fruits have something good to offer!

Remember that frozen and canned fruits, while lower in fiber, still have a lot of nutrient density to offer in a naturally low-calorie package!  Look for canned varieties that have the least sugar added.  There's no need for sweetener in a food that already contains nature's fruit sugar. And, while fruit juice can contain the good vitamins that fruits provide, they are nowhere near as filling as eating the fruit itself.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Want To Gain Weight, But Not Gain Fat

I read your post on gaining weight with the Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink.  I am also a teenage girl, trying to gain some weight healthily but do not want to get fat. What should I eat to gain weight healthily instead of drink nutritional supplements?  Laura B.

Dear Laura,

In order to gain weight, it's simply a matter of taking in more calories than you burn each day.  The supplement I suggested is well-balanced and helpful for those who simply cannot ingest a larger amount of food.  It's actually not that easy to eat a lot of calories when you are eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains!

You are wise to inquire about how we can gain weight without having it come from high-calorie foods that provide little nutrition; like creams, gravies, chips, cakes and other foods low in nutrient density.

I always recommend turning to the food guide pyramid ( for a balanced diet, that is nutrient dense, and provides a variety of foods while incorporating moderation.  You can enter your specific details and there will be a diet plan designed just for you!  You can choose the foods you enjoy from each group and know you are following a healthy diet plan that will eventually lead to a healthy weight--whether you are looking to gain or to lose.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Many Calories Do You Burn Running One Mile?

I am curious to know how many calories are burned running a mile?  Laura K.

Dear Laura,

There are a few factors to mention when answering this question.  It's not the same for everyone:

First, the more someone weighs (especially if it's more muscle tissue than fat comprising their weight) the more they burn with any kind of movement compared to someone who is smaller.  For instance, a 200 pound man who runs a mile will burn more calories than a 110 pound woman.  That's why when you're on the gym equipment they have you enter your weight, so the machine can more accurately compute the calories you are burning.

Seemingly, it would also depend on how fast you are running the mile.  It would make sense that someone running a 8 minute mile would burn more than someone jogging a 12 minute mile.  Not so!  Remember that after the 8 minute mile, the faster person stops--the slower person continues to exercise 50% longer.

Realistically I use an average of 100 calories burned per mile, whether a person is running, jogging, or walking.  A very slow person just starting out may take 25 minutes to walk a mile.  They are burning the same 100 calories--it's just taking longer.

If you like to use a pedometer, the average steps per mile is 2000.  This means you can also calculate 100 calories burned per 2000 steps if you don't have the access to measuring the actual length of your walk.

Happy trails :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Should Fruit Be Eaten on an Empty Stomach or With Meals?

Hi, I'm trying to find out the best time to eat fruit. I have heard many suggestions, but I need to hear it from a registered dietitian. Is it better to consume it on an empty stomach, with meals, or does it really matter at all? Thanks, Marie A.

Dear Marie,

I am so glad you have turned to an RD for the answer to this!  Today is not the first time I've had this question posed either (see entry of 8/31).
The truth is, the human body is capable of digesting any food you eat at any time of day and in combination with any other food, despite certain diet books that claim the contrary.

So go ahead and enjoy fruit whenever you like: if there were any rules they would look like this:

- You can eat it in your house, you can eat it with a mouse
- Enjoy some fruit while on a boat, you can have it with your goat
- You can digest it in a box, or munch on some while with a fox
- On a train, in a plane,  stomach full or empty--it's all the same
- Night or morning does not matter, ignore the diet fad book chatter!
(credit, of course, must go to Dr. Suess for the play on words from the book Green Eggs and Ham)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Can I Find the Glycemic Index of a Food I Eat?

Can you please tell what the glycemic index would be of Thomas English Muffins - Light Multigrain. Each muffin has 100 calories, 22 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber. My sister is borderline diabetic and I am trying to help her find the glycemic level of this muffin.  Thank You, Linda F.

Dear Linda,

It's great to see someone take control of their diet and monitor it closely in attempts to control their blood sugar, even before they are labeled with diabetes.
In first trying to come with a simple numerical answer for you, I found this informationon a website called 
 "GI testing is relatively expensive and very time-consuming. Human test subjects are required, and only a limited number of laboratories currently perform these tests. Consequently, GI data is only available for a very small percentage of the foods that we consume. . . .
To make matters worse, food manufacturers are creating new food products at a much faster rate than GI testing can be performed. Each year, tens of thousands of new packaged-food items are added to grocery shelves, but only a few hundred foods are tested for GI. Because of this, it's doubtful that we'll ever reach a point in time where GI is known for all foods. . . ."

So the short answer is, there may not be a known Glycemic Index number for the product about which you inquire.  That said, the fact that these muffins are multigrain is probably going to mean a lower glycemic index than a refined grain product. 

Even so, the number itself is something to be taken with a grain of salt.  Glycemic index is tested when the food is eaten alone in a measured amount (not necessarily a serving size) and based on the amount it raises blood glucose levels as compared to a reference food with the same number of grams of carbohydrate.  It is tested on a small number of healthy individuals, and you cannot necessarily extrapolate that information to yourself or another person with altered blood glucose metabolism.  Furthermore, the glycemic index will change if you eat the muffin with anything else--say an egg, or a buttery spread on top of the muffin--or drink juice or milk or any other calorie-containing beverage along with the muffin.

The best way to know how this muffin will affect your sister's blood sugar levels are for her to test her sugar 2 hours after eating the muffin and several times throughout the day to see if it has an effect on her readings in comparison to a day when she has another type of bread at the same meal.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How Does Pasteurization Affect the Health Benefits of Juice?

I've heard much about the benefits of black currant juice. The juices I find in grocery and health food stores are all pasteurized. What effect does pasteurization have on the health benefits of this or any other juice? Mark N.

Dear Mark,

There's a lot in the news these days about juices providing health benefits. Fruits contain many different substances that we are finding can help protect our cells.

I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, when choosing a juice for health benefits--they all seem to bring some great properties to the table.

Also, eating the fruit itself, is usually better for several reasons: you're usually getting a more pure form (zero processing), fewer calories, and less concentrated sugar, as well as more fiber when you eat the fruit instead of the juice.

And, as I found out researching your question this morning, it turns out that pasteurization does have an effect on some of the components in juices.

Pasteurizing the fruit is for safety reasons, to keep bacteria from growing. So this has to be considered a health benefit too!
However, I did find some studies that seem to answer your question. One, Biodiversity of Total Phenolics, Antioxidant Capacity, and Juice Quality in Apple Cider Taxa that was submitted to the Journal of Horticulture, Environment and Biotechnology examined the effect pasteurization has on phenols and antioxidants. They found no effect on the phenol content of apple juice after pasteurization, but in fact there was a "significant effect" on the antioxidant activity.

Another study found a significant reduction in carotenoids (namely violaxanthin and lutein) after the pasteurization of Valencia orange juice (Effect of thermal pasteurization and concentration on carotenoid composition of Brazilian Valencia orange juice from Food Chemistry in 2004).

So, it turns out that pasteurization does have an effect on some of the components that are healthy in juices: however, it does outweigh the risk of getting sick from bacteria that can grow in juices that aren't pasteurized.

The bottom line is that it's probably best to eat the fruit when you can, and drink a safer (pasteurized) juice that gives you a bit fewer of the antioxidants and vitamins when the fresh fruit is not available.

Is This The Best Supplement For Me to Gain Weight?

I am a 15-year-old teenager who is currently underweight and is taking a packet of nutritional oral supplement everyday. The supplement that I am taking contains high protein and calories, no fat and a lot of nutrients. However, both my parents and I have noticed that the supplement contains 30grams of sugar in each single packet, which is a very high amount of sugar a day for a teenager like me, excluding the other amount of sugar I consume in my daily food. Should I continue to take the supplement for its benefits or should I switch to other supplements instead because of the high amount of sugar it contains, to prevent diabetes or other health problems in the future? Candice N.

Dear Candice,

It would be so helpful for me to know the name or specifics of your supplement. Also, I wonder why it is you are underweight? Any health problems now? Or just very active without a big appetite?

Actually, 30 grams of sugar is not a tremendous amount. That's what can be found in a can of soda, so it's not unreasonable to see it in a serving of a supplement, especially if that is the only ingredient that is giving you calories... without it you wouldn't possibly be able to gain weight!

There is also no danger of getting diabetes from eating sugar itself--once a person has diabetes sugars can contribute to high blood glucose levels, and certainly excessive amount of sugar can cause weight gain--but you aren't overweight! It's a great habit to have healthy eating habits right now to continue into your later years, but if weight gain is your priority now you're going to have to be eating some sugars and fats to get in the calories!

I'm not certain what the other health benefits are in the supplement you're taking, but I do have another suggestion.
If weight gain is your goal, having a supplement with no fat in it may be counterproductive. Fat has twice the calories of sugar and it would be easier to gain weight eating less food if fat was one of the ingredients in your supplement. The one I recommend most often for young people is Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink. They have actually recently changed their name to "Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials".
When the powder is mixed with one cup of whole milk it provides 220-250 calories and 13 grams of protein. You can also buy it ready-to-drink in cans. The carb content is 20 grams per serving.

It also provides 25% of many essential vitamins and minerals in each serving. If you're trying to gain weight you may try taking two to three servings each day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Help! I've Reached a Plateau on the Atkins Diet

I have been doing atkins diet for the past year. For the first 6 months I lost 50 pounds, and for the past 6 months no more weight has come off, in fact I have put on about 16 pounds. I am currently 160. I have tried everything from exercise to adding carbs but nothing works. I'm guessing my metobolism has dropped so low that my brain thinks I'm in starvation mode. I am now consuming about 50 carbs a day and calorie intake about 2000. I'm worried by increasing carbs too much I will put it back on. im thinking of switching to a low calorie diet but worried that won't work due to low metobolism ie weight gain. I exercise 60 mins a day with combination of 20 mins bike and 30 mins moderate walking and jogging. Please give me some advise as to what to to. Elena S.

Dear Elena,

Wow! First of all, congratulations on sticking with it for six months to lose all that weight.

I suspect the problem may be that you are eating too many calories at this time.
I don't believe your metabolism drops on the Atkins diet: it usually drops from following a very low calorie diet for an extended period of time, and depending on how you follow Atkins, it's not usually low calorie. The fact is, at about 6 months is the time many people reach a point of taste fatigue on the Atkins Diet--they just literally can't put up with eating meat/vegetables/cheese and that's all anymore! Little by little, other foods work their way in to the diet. As soon as you add in the carbs, the principle of the diet won't work anymore (you now are feeding your body some quick energy and it doesn't have to constantly burn fat for it).

If you're now eating 2000 calories a day, that is a maintenance diet for your weight. You didn't mention your height or your goal weight, but I'm assuming you want to lose another 20 pounds or so, especially if you put 15 back on recently. It may be somewhat reassuring to know that, if you had added carbs back in, this results in normalizing your body's way of obtaining energy, which includes not flushing out a great deal of fluid to rid of the ketone bodies built up on a carb-free diet. In other words, several of the pounds the scale reflects now are just water in your body, going back to where it belongs... you probably did not gain 15 pounds of body fat!

Try going on a lower calorie diet ( is a good site to build a balanced diet and find out how many calories you can eat and still lose weight) and eat as many grams of carbs as you like :)
Sometimes, switching to another diet will get you over that hump and back to losing weight.

Don't expect it to come off as quickly, though. If you lose a pound a week, that is fantastic progress, so don't be discouraged by doing it slow and steady.

By the way, great move with the hour a day of exercise! If you can make that a habit you'll be set for life at the weight you want once you get there :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can Someone With Low Cholesterol Eat a "Cholesterol-Lowering" Spread?

I am wondering if it's safe for someone without high cholesterol to eat a product like "Smart Balance" that says it's helpful for those with high cholesterol ... also, could it be harmful for a toddler to eat it? --Alice O.

Dear Alice,

The human body makes all the cholesterol it needs (it actually does have some useful functions!) and you never have to eat any.
Some of the products that claim they are good for lowering cholesterol are really just suggesting they don't contribute to higher cholesterol. The same would be true for having fresh fruit--as an example--it won't raise your cholesterol!

On the other hand, there are some products out now that DO contain ingredients to LOWER your cholesterol. Benecol, and "Take Control" are spreads that have soybean or other plant components designed to bind to cholesterol and drag it out of the body (like a medication called questran, and the over-the-counter metamucil also do). These would not be harmful to kids any more than feeding them extra soluble fibers (like beans or oats), but they are quite expensive and I doubt most people would let any other family member use theirs instead of a less-expensive spread that's good enough for everyone!

So smart balance would be fine for a small child, just as any other spread, and even butter! Just remember the old adage, "everything in moderation".

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What Are Some Good Protein Foods for Vegetarians?

I need help planning healthy vegetarian meals. I don't eat cheese because it gives me migraines, and beans give me lots of gas, even if I use beano. I don't really know what to do with tofu? -- Mary S.

Dear Mary,
For vegetarians to get good sources of protein, the meal should include a combination of foods that will provide all 9 essential amino acids. The easy rule for this is to mix two of the following three food groups: vegetables, grains, and dried beans/nuts.

Now, you've already said you can't do the beans, so finding ways to combine vegetables and starches would be your best option. For example, tomato sauce and pasta, rice with stir-fry vegetables, corn tortilla filled with salsa and guacamole, or rice and peas are ways to combine these: and a peanut butter sandwich is another combination that works! Other less-frequently used grains include cous cous, and quinoa (the latter of which is an excellent source of protein).

Consider making an omelet for dinner sometime, with veggies inside (although the egg white is already a complete protein source).

Try soy cheeses if the dairy might be what triggers your migraines.

And, finally, there are loads of great veggie-burgers out there already made with soy or other good protein sources, so you don't have to process and cook tofu meals: You've probably seen the veggie patties, burgers, sausages, etc. which are made to give vegetarians similar options as meat eaters without using any animal products. My favorite brand is Quorn: they have 'chicken' nuggets and cutlets, 'beef' patties, 'turkey' roasts and more! The vegetable protein is made from mushrooms and these are the best fake meats I've ever tasted (and I'm not a vegetarian!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How Do I Count Sodium Intake to Meet the Daily Value?

I read the daily value for sodium is 2400 milligrams, but how do I count this up when all foods (like fruits and vegetables) don't have labels on them--let alone eating out in restaurants. Also, is this a minimum or a maximum or an average? James P.

Dear James,

The daily value for sodium is actually more of a maximum suggestion. This is different from most of the nutrient recommendations because the average American is known for eating too much--more than 4000 milligrams per day, and sometimes as much as 7,000 or 8,000 milligrams per day! We only need about 500 milligrams per day for proper body functioning, but public health advocates do want to be certain that people don't start buying everything "low sodium" in an effort to eat minimally, lest they end up falling short of their needs. The daily value is a great number to shoot for without going crazy trying to find low sodium versions of everything, and being able to enjoy a hot dog once in a while.

Rather than counting everything you eat (which is exhausting by the middle of the day, let alone trying to continue monitoring your intake over a long period of time) I suggest reading labels on canned, frozen, and other processed foods and avoiding anything with over about 500 milligrams per serving. Be sure to read what the label calls a serving size: if you eat a can of soup that has 400 milligrams per serving, you can be pretty sure they call a serving "1/2 can", meaning you will be consuming 800 milligrams!

Canned soups are usually very high sodium (with some good lower sodium alternatives right on the next shelf), as well as smoked meats and lunch meats (like ham and hot dogs), and the typical TV dinner (there are some great lower sodium brands available). Fast food meals are also often approaching 1000 milligrams in a sandwich: all fast food establishments will provide you with their complete nutritional information, so check out the sodium content of the foods you usually choose. Some of the websites even have a 'meal builder' so you can add fries and desserts to your burger and see what the grand total is!

Many other foods--canned vegetables, breads, cereals, and dairy products--may have 150-250 milligrams per serving. If you have a few servings of these per day they can add up, but won't exceed thousands of milligrams a day. Also balancing out your diet are very low sodium foods, like fruits, juice, fresh vegetables, rice, and chicken. I wouldn't bother to count these to add up a daily total more than once or twice, just to give yourself a good idea of how you generally eat.

By limiting each meal to less than 700 milligrams, you'll total a daily sodium intake below 2100 milligrams (saving any highly salty snacks) without having to count every bite you take.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Supplements To Improve My Health

It's really hard to eat right these days so I bought some one a day vita craves and some ensure(Immun Balance, complete balanced nutrition). I was wondering if those two products could help me nutrition wise when taken with my regular meals? Or is it not a big influence in my nutrition? My major in college is Health and wellness. I love the body and doing physical activity. I think eating healthy is such a big part though. That is why I try to eat good. Thank you for your time. --Joe G.

Dear Joe,

That's great that you are trying to eat right, especially considering your major! You might want to focus on how you can eat better so you'll be able to share this experience with your clients in the future. Interesting that you point out how difficult it is -- if you can figure out what your difficulties are in eating healthy and how to overcome them, you will be a huge help to those with whom you work in the future.

Meanwhile, the vita craves look like a good choice, since a serving (2 gummies) provides just about 100% of most of the daily values for many vitamins and minerals--you don't want to aim for more than 100% of what you need... that would be like pouring extra oil into your car and hoping it will run better!

Also, consider that your intake of calcium is not met through a supplement, nor is fiber, nor protein, and probably lots of other micronutrients we may not even fully understand yet. So, eating well is of utmost importance and these vitamin supplements can act as a safety net when our diets aren't so great.

The ensure is really more aimed at elderly people who cannot eat enough food. Some people just are too sick to eat or need many more calories than they can manage to swallow, so they are supported by 3, 4 or even 8 cans of these drinks per day with minimal intake of regular food.

A supplement I think may be better suited for you is Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink. Especially if you aren't overweight, this drink provides 250 calories (if you mix it in whole milk), vitamins and minerals; you get protein and calcium from the milk; and it's much less expensive and more tasty than many of the pharmaceutical canned drinks.

Do I Drink Too Much Iced Tea?

Hello, I found your blog through Google and was wondering if you can tell me if it's bad for my health if all liquid which I consume through the day consists entirely of iced tea. Greg S.

Dear Greg,

That depends on a lot of other things. Chances are you can maintain your hydration adequately with just drinking tea (instead of water), which I believe is what you wanted to find out.

But you may be consuming a high amount of something that is not healthy for you in large amounts, depending on how much tea you are drinking and if you have any present health conditions: too much caffeine (which can affect your blood pressure, and urinary frequency), too much oxalate (potentially harmful if you're at risk for developing kidney stones); too much sugar and calories if it's sweetened or too much artificial sweetener if it's diet!

Everything in moderation is a good rule to follow .... consider replacing one or two glasses of your tea with another beverage once in a while, like juice or milk, which provide valuable nutrients ... or just plain water!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Drinking Water During Workout Makes Me Nauseous

I know how important it is to keep hydrated before, during, and after exercising. I do my best to drink plenty of water, but whenever I drink water during a workout it makes me nauseous. If I don't drink anything while I work out I get thirsty, and I know it's not doing me any good. But if I DO drink anything (water, Poweraid, Gatorade, etc.) I really feel like I'm gunna puke seconds later. I have no clue why this happens, do you have ANY ideas? Rita N.


I can make a few assumptions here: One is that you are drinking large gulps of water during your workout instead of sips. This can cause nausea: The blood flow in your body during exercise is dedicated to helping you have an efficient workout--the muscles that you are working, the lungs breathing in plenty of oxygen, and your heart beating faster--as a result, blood is diverted away from the GI tract.
Many people feel nauseated, and even throw up, when working out very hard. Your GI tract is disturbed by the presence of having something to attend to when it's not ready to handle it.

If you are drinking a few ounces at a time, I would suggest taking minimal sips just to quench the dryness in your mouth...just a tablespoon or so between sets. If you do this 15 times during your workout (every 4 or 5 minutes in an hour) it will add up to about 8 ounces. This may be enough to keep you hydrated during your workout.

Then drink plenty of water afterwards when it doesn't upset your stomach.

There is also the fact that warmer water is more quickly absorbed than colder water, so if the water you are drinking is very cold you might try bringing a bottle of room temperature water--it will quench your thirst and hydrate you just as well.

I'd love to hear back from you regarding how these steps work!