Search Ask the Dietitian
General Nutrition Questions
I would like to know the quantifiable size of a gram. Is it about 1/4 teaspoon? I am trying to visualize this concept. Thanks
I want to ask you about avocados? How bad are they? Aren't vegetables in general good for you?
Avocados are a great food and one of my favorites! One-half an avocado contains about 15 grams of fat (10 grams monounsaturated, 1.8 poly and 2.2 saturated fat). This size serving contains more than 10% vitamin A, C, B6, folacin, potassium, copper and manganese with more than 20% vitamin K. The only real problem with avocados is the fat content, but they contain mostly good fats.
Vegetables are good for you if you eat them raw or cooked without adding a lot of butter, sauce or cheese to them. Definitely, don't deep fat fry vegetables.
I have searched and I am now asking for help. I need a chart for each food group and it needs to have carbohydrates, sugar and protein. Other info is great, but the requested is a must. If you could offer direction it would sure make my husbands job as head cook so much easy. I truly am desperate and need all the help I can get. Thank you sincerely.
Your husband should consider purchasing a nutrition analysis software program that has food ingredients like tomatoes and brand name foods like Hunts Tomato Sauce. Then he could analyze his recipes for these nutrients. Sugar data is limited for basic foods, but most brand name foods have sugar listed on the Nutrition Facts label.
I work in a prison kitchen and would like your assistance in how to prepare menus for sodium restricted diets and for people who have high cholesterol. Thank you.
I would highly recommend your prison hire a dietitian to plan balanced menus for both sodium and cholesterol restricted. If funds are short, start out with a consulting contract that just requires menu planning for a certain number of hours a week / month.
The Dietetians in Health Care Communities dietetic practice groups of the American Dietetic Association has a sub-group that specializes in correctional facilities. You can also find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation).
I know this is a weird question, but how many calories are in male ejaculate? I heard some where like 10, but I have also heard 200, which sounds a bit high. I was just wondering. Thank you for your time.
Hi. My question is: What is it that causes one's urine to smell after eating asparagus? What's asparagus noted for nutritionally? Thanks!
Asparagus contains methylmercaptan a sulphur compound derived from an amino acid called methionine which is an essential amino acid. Asparagus is a good source of folacin, vitamin A and vitamin K.
I am doing a project about the benefits of beef and required some information. What are the nutritional benefits of beef? Thank you very much.
I have a friend who constantly craves sugar even after she has eaten her regular meals. She craves ice cream and cookies (anything with sugar in it throughout the day). Is she lacking something in her diet? If so what is it?
This person has a high metabolism. She works out a couple of hours at the gym almost every day. She has been checked for diabetes and she doesn't have it. Any advice?
As for me, what causes cellulite? How do I get rid of it. I'm 5 foot 5 inches and weigh 125 pounds. I should not have cellulite.
People who crave sugar aren't lacking some nutrient (vitamin or mineral). Sweets often are accompanies by fat, but sweets are not long lasting sources of energy (4 hours to absorb into body). You say she eats sugar during the day. If so how frequently? Between meals and at mealtime? Does she eat other foods like meats, vegetables, fruits and milk as well as complex carbohydrates like grains? Does she eat in front of other people or alone?
If her weight is proportionate to her height and she is not binging on sweets (bulimia), then I wouldn't worry about it. However, you do mention that she works out a couple of hours in the gym. Compulsive exercising is another indicator of an eating disorder (anorexia). Could she be trying to exercise off the sweets she has eaten? Is she training for a sports competition? Athletes often eat carbohydrates though not usually foods high in sugar. Unless a person is training to compete in a specific sport, a couple of hours exercise a day may be a bit much.
Symptoms of diabetes are excessive thirst and urination as well weight loss even when a person is eating enough food. There may be a fruity smell (ketosis) to their breath. Often people with diabetes wake during the nite to go to the bathroom. Pregnant women and men with an enlarged prostate wake up in the night to urinate, so it is not entirely indicative of diabetes.
Research has shown that women crave sweets the week prior to menstruation, but no other time. Often when women are pregnant, they express various cravings. However, it is very difficult to connect cravings to any biological or chemical need by the body at this time. Young children will express a preference for sweets especially if they are fed sweets from a young age.
Typically salty foods start a meal (appetizer) and salt increases the amount of saliva produced which we in turn swallow. This sends a message along with our sense of smell that our stomach should start producing digestive juices (hydrochloric acid) and get ready to digest food. Sweet foods usually end a meal which has the effect of turning off the appetite. Hence the parental admonition to children to not eat candy before a meal as it will spoil their appetite. Besides the fact that candy has enough calories and often fat to satisfy a child's before a meal.
Perhaps she is eating sweets because of the endorphins they produce. Endorphins are the feel-good-me's of the brain. Carbohydrates and in particular sweets appear to increase the production of these chemicals and lift a person's mood.
Do any of these possibilities fit?
With regards to cellulite, there is not such thing. If you are referring to a dimpled (orange peel) appearance to your skin, you are looking at enlarged fat cells (hypertrophied). Basically if you do regular aerobic exercise (at least 30 minutes 5 times per week) to reduce body fat, the dimpled skin should go away. You should also do regular weight lifting to increase muscle size while you are working to reduce body fat. Unfortunately, there is no cream, exercise or pill to reduce fat cells. It just takes healthy foods and regular exercise.
I hope that you can provide me with nutritional information on Schlotzsky's sandwiches, the original in particular. I have asked at the restaurant here, but they don't have the information available. I appreciate any thing you can give me on this information. I would like to know the following at the least. How many calories? How many grams of fat? How much fiber (if any)? I would like this information for their small original. Schlotzsky's is not just local to Oklahoma. There is a place on the internet which doesn't have this information for Pennsylvania. Thank you.
The turkey, chicken and tuna sandwiches are lower in fat (from 4 to 11 grams fat), but still way too high in sodium with almost all over 774 milligrams per sandwich and the majority over 1,000 milligrams sodium. Ironically the BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) has only 551 milligrams sodium which is not what one would expect from a sandwich with bacon, but does have 12 grams fat. The deluxe original has, 3,132 milligrams sodium which is 130% of the daily recommended amount of sodium.
I found your address on the dietitian's web page.
I recently discovered jicima and absolutely love it chopped up raw as a snack during the day. I'm trying to find out what its nutritional qualities are and am coming up short. Could you tell me any resources where I can find what vitamins and minerals are contained in this Mexican Root?
I have included a table below with the nutrient content in 1 cup (130 gms) of raw jicama. One cup of sliced raw jicama has about 40% Daily Value vitamin C and 16% of your DV for folacin. Otherwise, it is negligible in other vitamins and minerals. FYI, it is low in calories and mostly carbohydrates.
Yambean (jicama), raw
When I eat asparagus, I find that my urine has a peculiar odor. Why is that? I understand this vegetable has cleansing abilities, if so, how does it do it and what is it exactly cleansing or detoxifying? What's asparagus noted for nutritionally? Thanks!
Please let me know.
Some people, notice a strong odor after eating asparagus. This appears to be produced by two sulfur-containing compounds. As few as five or six spears may be enough to produce an odor. The odor may be noticed even within 15 minutes after eating the asparagus and disappears in a few hours when the asparagus is completely digested and absorbed.
According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board most authorities originally felt that the compound which causes the odor in urine after consumption of asparagus is methylmercaptan, which is a sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, methionine. Later studies suggested the compounds were methylthioacrylate and methylthiopropionate. This is disputed by a few individuals who claim that the odiferous compound is asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide, which is derived from the amino acid, asparagine. In any case, the product is formed as a derivative during the digestion and subsequent breakdown of beneficial amino acids, which occur naturally in asparagus. Doesn't sound like any researcher has specifically nailed down what the exact compound is.
Asparagus is a good source of folacin, vitamin A and vitamin K. As to detoxifying your body, it doesn't. You liver is the organ responsible for detoxifying and does so with alcohol or other toxins. Cleansing, well, fiber helps clean out your gastrointestinal tract and your lungs get rid of impurities in phlegm or by coughing. Furthermore, your immune system is prepared to act against foreign substances. The concept of cleansing or detoxifying your body is not a simple one-food silver bullet solution. I wouldn't consider a specific food a cleanser or detoxifier.
For years I have been trying to eat a healthy diet. I have read several books about nutrition and have made attempts to follow many of their guidelines. I think I have a pretty good idea of how to eat properly so that I receive a sufficient amount of nutrients, but I'm not sure if I do. I look at the Nutrition Facts on food packages, but it's tough to really tell what nutrients I am actually getting throughout the day. Do you know of an accurate way in which I can determine the amount of nutrients I am getting from what I eat?
I have been hearing more and more about the importance of eating a nutrient rich diet to prevent diseases like heart attacks, cancer and stroke. The more I hear, the more concerned I become. Could you please tell me how I can find out how nutrient rich my diet is?
You're right. Unless you track everything you eat or drink, you may not know if you are getting all the nutrients you need, especially if you eat a reduced calorie or modified diet (i.e. diabetic, low cholesterol, salt free).
First you should record every food you eat for at least 3 to 7 days to determine what nutrients you consume as food, beverages and nutritional supplements each day. Because your food intake on weekdays and weekend days is usually different, you should record food from both days. Remember to include the quantity and measure of each food or beverage you eat or drink. For example, 1 cup of Cheerios with 1/2-cup skim milk, 1 tsp. added sugar.
Next you need to analyze the nutrients in every food you wrote down in your food record. A Registered Dietitian could provide you with a complete analysis of your food intake with charts and graphs. They could also include any vitamin or nutritional supplements in your nutrient analysis report as well as the nutrition information from food labels that you can submit with your food diary. The charts and graphs will help you see the effect of the supplements you are taking and whether or not the specific vitamins and amounts are necessary or if you are deficient in another nutrient. You would be wise to repeat this on a monthly or periodic basis to keep track of how healthy you are eating.
A detailed nutritional analysis will provide direction for changes you need to make to eat a healthy diet. For instance if an analysis shows that your food record is lacking in folacin (folic acid), a dietitian could provide you with a list of foods that are good sources of the nutrients your diet is low in.
Your other alternative is to buy nutrition analysis software and spend the time yourself inputting your foods and supplements.
The number one health risk factor for all most all the major causes of death and illness are diet related other than smoking. Research has shown that even small changes in eating habits can make a positive change in your health risk from nutritional sources.
My question is how proper nutrition and exercise can improve your health?
You are what you eat. If you eat junk, it will be reflected in your health. If you don't exercise, you will lose muscle mass and calcium density in your bones.
The top 10 causes of illness and death in the US have a nutrition component and many have a lack of exercise component. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise (30 minutes per day, 5 days per week), can prevent many illnesses. So if you want to live a healthier life, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight.
What does a diet mean? Is a diet important for a person?
A person's diet is the food that you eat. It does not necessarily mean weight loss.
I am currently researching meal supplements. I am attempting to locate information regarding current studies on a total meal supplement. Not that I am an advocate to meal supplements, I am concerned with the world's population increase and the continuous degradation of soils used for supplying our foods. Are you aware of any research pertaining to a meal supplement containing "all" of the vitamins, calories, fiber, minerals and ?? that one's mind and body would need? Have these needs been determined, including trace elements? I would greatly appreciate any information you could offer.
There are many studies that examine between meal supplements as well as total liquid meals replacements, if you are referring to products like Ensure or Sustacal. These liquid formulas are designed to provide 100% of the RDA in approximately 1800 calories and 5 to 8 cup (1200 to 1800 ml). I would suggest you check the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, which has an index in the December issue. Also, the Journal of Clinical Nutrition would be another good source. These should be available in the library of any university that has a nutrition science department. Have you done an on-line Medline search of medical literature for liquid supplements?
These supplements are usually prescribed for persons who need to supplement their food intake with calories, protein, vitamins or minerals or who are unable to eat any solid food. The issue of the world's increase in population or degradation of soils used to grow food is not going to be solved with liquid supplements as most are milk based. Cows need more acreage to graze and produce milk or meat than the equivalent caloric and protein from grains, fruits and vegetables. Also, liquid supplements are more expensive than whole foods.
Thanks a lot. I was just wondering because if I go to like GNC and they have vitamins and stuff that are supposed to increase metabolism. So I was just curious is as to whether or not they are at all effective.
Forget supplements unless you eat less than 1200 calories a day, then take 1 multivitamin. Chromium picolinate is being touted as increasing metabolism and to date there is no supporting evidence other than chromium is necessary to make insulin, which is used to move glucose from the blood into cells. And don't listen to people who have no formal education in nutrition. Some states regulate who can provide nutritional advice because of all the misinformation being given out over the checkout counters. Why don't you read Nutrition Today magazine, which should be available in your local library.
I meant to mention that if there is a book that I could buy telling the nutritional values of various foods, I would be willing to buy it. If there were one that you recommend, I would appreciate your advice.
Why don't you look at Edmund's Food Ratings For Dieters that I wrote. Basically, it rates 900 foods on how appropriate or not they are for persons who want to lose weight. Each food's nutritional analysis is also listed with the ratings.
I am working on a Valentine's Day feature article on eating hearts (animal hearts, of course). I am curious about how healthy or unhealthy this is.
I would be very grateful if you could supply me with any knowledge that you have on the subject. How should it be prepared? What animals' hearts are edible? What is the nutritional value of a heart? Who eats them? I know this is very short notice, but I must gather all the information by Tuesday. Thank you so much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.
Heart is considered an organ meat similar to liver or kidney. It would be about as healthy as eating liver, which contains similar nutritional content. Most people probably wouldn't eat heart or liver on a daily or even weekly basis in the US, but may in other cultures.
Three ounces (100 gm) contains about 188 calories, 274-mg cholesterol and 5.7 grams of fat. Because it is animal meat, it is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It is an excellent source of Vitamin B12. The proportions of saturated, mono and unsaturated fats are about equal which is good.
I remember cooking and eating heart in a college food class and we simmered it. However, I'm sure there are better, more tasteful methods of cooking. I remember heart has sinews, but parts are similar to liver. You can eat chicken, turkey, lamb, pork and calf or beef heart. Chicken is the most tender and can be broiled or cooked in a small amount of fat (sautéed).
I have been looking for nutritional information regarding cactus (nopales/nopalitos). In particular, I am looking for fat and protein breakdown of this food and whether this is a healthy addition to a vegetarian diet.
I checked my nutrition analysis software which contains 4 cactus including nopal. One cup of cactus contains 61 calories, 1-gram protein, less than 1 gram fat and 14 grams of carbohydrate. This same serving provides 15% vitamin C and 24% magnesium with only 10% fat. Other vitamins are negligible.
Cactus appears nutritionally like a fruit because of its nutritional content and would be a healthy addition to a vegetarian diet. The only problem you may have is finding a grocery store that carries it.
Fish, pork, chicken and beef - can you give me some advice on what amount (quantity) I should consume of these in a week.
Also, I've had some people tell me to stay away from pork, but I thought that pork had less fat than beef did?
General recommendations are to eat lean red (beef or pork) meats 3 or 4 servings a week and chicken, poultry or fish the remaining days. I would suggest you pick 3 days like Monday, Wednesday and Friday to eat red meats to simplify remembering what you ate when. Portion size per serving should be 3 ounces cooked or 4 ounces raw. These recommendations would include noon and evening meals. Red meats are an excellent source of iron, which if eliminated in your diet can contribute to iron deficiency anemia.
Pork is an excellent, lean red meat and that is s significant source of thiamin. It contains about 1/3 the iron content of beef. Pork farming methods have changed. Pigs are leaner when brought to market. Beef and pork, depending on the cut, contain about the same amount of fat 42%.
A male college student intakes 3447 calories/day (101% RDA). His iron intake is 284% RDA. His zinc intake is 282% RDA. His calcium intake is 346% RDA. These values are 3-day averages. Should he attempt to lower his intake of these minerals. Why or why not?
There is no RDA for calories. We can estimate what a person's basal energy needs are using height, weight, sex and age (Harris-Benedict formula). In addition, an activity factor (to cover what a person does during a typical day) can be added to the basal calorie needs. Structured exercise programs can add additional calorie needs. If this male college student has estimated that around 3400 calories is what he needs per day without gaining body fat, then the calorie intake at 3447 is not significant.
The greater than 100% RDA of iron, zinc and calcium are fine. Excess minerals will be excreted via the gastrointestinal tract. The above average intakes of these minerals suggest that the student is a big meat eater and milk drinker (more than 3 cups per day). Maybe, this student should eat more grains, bread, rice or pasta to increase the carbohydrate content of his diet to get a better balance of nutrients.
A three day or weeks average of nutrients is a better indicator of nutrient intake that just analyzing a meal or just one day.
I'm putting together a report on apples, cherries, plums, pomegranates, raspberries and watermelons. I am looking for information on their chemical content, their nutritional value and their uses in preventative medicine and healing. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
The nutritional value of fruit varies, but usually contains significant sources of fiber (including the peel), vitamin C, folacin, vitamin b-6 and E. Vitamin C values ranged from 9% (apples) to 42% (raspberries).
The representative associations of the various fruits i.e. Washington State Apple Association, may have information about chemical content. I don't. Other fruits are grown in Oregon and California. You can call each state's chamber of commerce to get the phone numbers.
How long should frozen fruit be boiled? Only until it thaws or up to ten minutes? This refers to raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
You do not need to boil frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is best when thawed slightly. The thawed fruit can be eaten as is or added to other recipes, cooked or uncooked. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries should be cleaned, rinsed and dried before freezing. Fruit is high in acid and is unlikely to cause food poisoning.
Which is the best bread to buy? Is dark bread better?
The best bread depends on your personal taste. Whole wheat bread and enriched white bread have similar nutritional analyses. Bread is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. However, whole wheat bread does provide significantly more fiber and iron.
Read the bread label. I recommend a whole wheat bread with whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient and no white flour added. You have to carefully read the label as wheat flour may be listed first. It is flour made from wheat without the bran coating. Next, the label should list only the other ingredients in bread such as water, sugar, shortening, salt and yeast.
As to the color of bread, you can turn bread a dark brown by adding molasses which increases the iron content (not significant per slice though). The color does nothing to add fiber to your diet and I do encourage patients to increase the fiber in their diet by eating whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
White flour is nutritionally similar to whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat flour is slightly higher in calcium, phosphorus and potassium, but white flour is slightly higher in riboflavin. It is a food myth that white flour causes hyperactivity in children or that white flour is inferior to whole-wheat flour. The main difference between the two is fiber and whole-wheat flour is much higher in fiber.
I know that whole wheat bread is better than white bread. What about cooked cereal. Isn't it better than cold cereal?
It depends on which cold and which cooked cereal you are comparing. I recommend any cereal that is not sugarcoated but is enriched with iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. These nutrients are usually lost during grain processing.
A quick trip down the cereal aisle will tell you there are a lot of cereals to choose from in today's market. Here are some suggested guidelines for choosing a cereal whether hot or cold. Look at the Nutrition Facts label on the cereal box. Most cold cereal will have information about what carbohydrates can be found in one serving. Starch, fiber and sugars may be listed. Four grams of any sugar is equal to one level teaspoon of sugar and eight grams is equal to two teaspoons. I would suggest any cereal that has eight grams of sugars or less per serving, especially if the cereal has fruit such as raisins or apples in it. Not all hot cereals have the sugar content listed on the package. Some of the newer individually packaged instant cereals are very high in sugar. A guideline for any cereal that does not have the grams of sugar listed is to look at the list of ingredients, which are listed in decreasing order. If sugar or sweetener like corn syrup is one of the first three ingredients, don't buy that cereal. Also, read the label for the word "sweetened" or "sugar added".
I will admit that a bowl of cooked cereal seems appealing when it is below zero outside. I cannot prove however, that cooked cereal "sticks to the ribs" longer than cold cereal. We do know however, that high fiber foods do slow down your stomach emptying, which may add to your feeling full longer. Oatmeal is one such high fiber cereal that may delay your stomach emptying and give you the sensation of feeling full longer.
What is the difference in nutritional value between white and yellow cheese?
The color is one difference in cheese. Most people recognize cheddar, colby or American as yellow and brick or Swiss as white.
Nutritionally, hard cheeses such as Parmesan, cheddar, colby, Swiss, brick and American are good sources of calcium that are equivalent to milk. One and one half ounces of hard cheese is equal to the calcium in one cup of milk.
Cheese can also be substituted for meat at a meal or added to casseroles to increase the protein content. Cheese made from milk contains all the essential amino acids necessary for growth and repair of muscles and internal organs.
One major difference in cheeses, though unrelated to color, is the fat content. Cheeses can vary from three to eight grams of fat per ounce. Low fat cheeses that contain five grams of fat or less include:
low or reduced fat cheeses
creamed cottage cheese
light cream cheese
mozzarella, part skim milk
ricotta part skim milk
The calorie content of the white and yellow cheeses listed above is about the same at 75 calories per one ounce.
Search Ask the Dietitian