Ocnutrition’s Blog


Focus on Fiber
February 19, 2012, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Dietary Supplements, General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading

Recently there has been a strong push for Americans to increase their fiber intake. Fiber has been added to food products such as cereals, yogurts, and sweeteners, and the market for fiber supplements has taken off. The majority of Americans are getting less than half the daily fiber recommendation (25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men), so this push for more fiber is a good thing.

Simply put, dietary fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that help maintain a healthy digestive tract and may improve heart health, immune function, and blood sugar control. Two major categories of fiber are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber has been found to lower cholesterol and promote digestive health. Good sources are oats, dry beans, peas, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to help it pass through the gut more quickly. Foods containing insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber is suggested for optimal health.

Functional fibers are fibers that have been isolated from food products or manufactured for therapeutic use. The use of fiber supplements has been linked with lowered cholesterol, increased weight loss, and improved gut and immune function. It is important to be aware of the type of functional or added fiber so you can receive the desired benefits. Listed below are some of the most common functional and added fibers, what they do, and the products they are found in.

Psyllium

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/lower blood pressure/regulate blood sugar, soluble, prevent/relieve constipation
  • Common Products– Metamucil: stir-in powder, wafers, caplets (assorted flavors)

Methylcellulose

  • Effects– Adds bulk to stool, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Citrucel: caplets, stir-in powder (unflavored or orange)

Inulin

  • Effects– Supports good gut bacteria, may help absorb calcium, bulking, prevents constipation
  • Common Products– Fiberchoice: chewable tablets (assorted flavors), Activia with Fiber, Fiber One: pancake mix, chewy bars, etc.

Wheat Dextrin

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/assist in weight loss/boost immune function, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Benefiber: stir-in powder, chewable caplets, tablets, to-go drink mix-ins

Bran

  • Effects– Bulk stool, relieve constipation, insoluble fiber, blockage risk (use in moderate amounts)
  • Common Products– Ready-to-eat cereals (All-Bran, Quaker Oat Bran, Raisin Bran), Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran: to be used in food preparation (i.e. baking)

The importance of fiber in our diet is becoming more and more undeniable, which is why finding ways to increase your daily fiber intake is worth the effort. Don’t forget to increase fiber gradually and drink plenty of water to prevent digestive discomfort. Before turning to supplements, try adding more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to your diet. Be creative and remember that fiber is just one component of a healthy lifestyle!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Sarah Trinajstich, CSULB Dietetic Intern.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills, and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com



“Healthy Fat’’—a Contradiction or Not?
February 19, 2012, 9:13 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading, Weight Management

Fat has gotten somewhat of a bad rap in the past and you increasingly see more and more “low fat,” “reduced fat,” and “non-fat” food items popping up in supermarkets. However a balanced diet should have 20-35% of your daily calories coming from fat. What’s important is to pay attention to the kinds of fat you’re eating, decrease unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats), and focus on healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3).

Saturated fat and trans fats are considered unhealthy because they promote unhealthy cholesterol levels, plaque formation, and inflammation in the body. Saturated fats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your calories and they are found in foods like butter, cheese, beef, whole fat dairy, and other animal products. Trans fats shouldn’t make up more than 2% of your calories and they are found in fast food, fried food, and other processed food with hydrogenated oils.

The healthy fats which have been found to have the most health benefits are monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. Monounsaturated fats can improve your cholesterol and decrease risk of heart disease and stroke. These fats are also needed to keep your body’s cells healthy. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and avocado. Omega-3 fats can improve heart health by preventing plaque buildup, lowering blood pressure, and preventing irregular heartbeats. The USDA recommends daily intake of 1.6 g (1,600 mg) for men and 1.1 g (1,100 mg) for women. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, etc.), canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables.

A few ways you can include more of these healthy fats in your diet are to:

  • use healthy fats instead of unhealthy fats when cooking (ex. canola instead of butter)
  • have a handful of nuts or trail mix for a snack
  • make an effort to have fatty fish at least twice a week
  • dip bread in olive oil rather than spreading on butter

Remember, not all fats are created equal and monounsaturated and omega-3 fats are necessary for optimum health. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on these healthy fats will improve your body’s function now and help prevent diseases in the future, a win-win!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Jenna Haug, CSULB Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



Sushi Tips Wrapped Up
November 12, 2011, 6:41 am
Filed under: Eating out, General Nutrition, Label Reading

Did you know that sushi started off as a small snack? Since then, sushi has evolved and become a popular meal option as well. The edible art is no longer exclusive to trendy Japanese restaurants. Now you can enjoy a 6- to 8-piece roll from just about anywhere, including express sushi joints, convenience shops, and your local grocery store. Whether you choose to have this unique food as a meal or snack, there are a few factors to keep in mind to maximize health benefits.

Though the colorful rolls are nutrient dense with lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, they do not necessarily make a complete meal. Consider complementing your sushi with miso soup, edamame, or a vegetable/seaweed salad.

Sushi is usually low in fat and does not exceed 350 calories; however, certain ingredients in seemingly healthy rolls can easily raise the calories above 500. Consider skipping the deep-fried tempura rolls and the rolls spiked with cream cheese or spiced mayonnaise. If you’re craving the crunch, get it with cucumber and add a touch of tempura flakes on the side. Instead of cream cheese, request avocado for a healthier fat. Lastly, if you want spice, order your roll plain and dab each piece in wasabi.
Sauces are great for adding flavor but they tend to shoot your sodium through the roof. Soy sauce can have as much as 1,000 mg per tablespoon. Consider using reduced sodium soy sauce or lightly dipping your sushi rather than letting it soak in the sauce.

Sushi is a delicious way to get several nutrients and control your caloric intake. To fully reap the benefits of this Japanese favorite, pair it with another dish, substitute ingredients, and watch the sodium. Douzo meshiagare (translation: enjoy your meal)!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Jensine Andrews, CSULB Nutrition Student. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



Greek Yogurt: Who is the New Kid on the Block?
July 5, 2011, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Label Reading

Yogurt was once considered a “health” food that you purchased in health food stores. There was typically one type of yogurt and it was generally plain or fruit flavored.  Well now the yogurt craze has exploded and yogurt dominates the dairy section in most markets.  In fact, some of the suppliers are having difficulty keeping up with the demand.  Why all the craze and who is the new kid on the block?

Yogurt can be an incredibly nutritious food.  It contains calcium, vitamin D and protein and many brands contain probiotics (good bacteria).  Probiotics in yogurt are similar to those already found in your body.  They provide health benefits by preventing the growth of “bad” bacteria and encouraging a healthy digestive system.  Some probiotics are linked with specific benefits such as immune support and relief from irritable bowel syndrome.

The newest yogurt flying off the shelves is Greek yogurt.  What is all the hype? Well nutritionally it is superior to “ordinary” yogurt in that it is higher in protein and lower in sugar.  Greek yogurt is also thicker and creamier because it is strained during production.  This reduces its liquid content which contributes to its improved texture and nutritional profile.  The draining process also lowers the sodium and acid content of the yogurt since much of the salt and lactic acid drains out with the liquid.  It can take up to four times more milk to make Greek yogurt when compared to ordinary yogurt.  Buyer beware, some manufactures are cutting corners by adding thickeners and milk protein concentrate instead of the more expensive process of draining the whey.

Tips to help you decide which yogurts are the cream of the crop:

  • Watch the added sugar.  Yogurt contains natural milk sugar (lactose) and unsweetened yogurt contains about 12 grams.  Anything beyond that is from added sugar or fruit.  Best to purchase plain yogurt and add your own fruit and sweetener, if desired.
  • Check the protein. Protein helps you feel full longer and this type of protein is high quality. Choose yogurt with at least 5 grams of protein or buy Greek yogurt which is in the double digits.
  • If desired, look for probiotics.  To obtain probiotic benefits be sure it contains live and active cultures such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.  This will be written on the label.
  • Avoid the “mix-ins” like chocolate and granola.  They simply boost the calorie level and not the nutritional value.

The next time you’re at the market, pick up a few different brands of yogurt and do your own taste test.  Once you find the one you prefer, incorporate it into your daily meal plan for a nutritious, satisfying snack.

Bon Appetite!

This information was brought to you by Robyn Moss, MS, RD and OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788



The Truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup
March 31, 2010, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Label Reading

Over the past few decades, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become a popular ingredient in a variety of foods and beverages. Since 1970, there has been a 1000% increase in the consumption of HFCS. Many believe that this increase has contributed to the rising obesity rates. This has lead to a multitude of negative feelings and controversy surrounding HFCS and the association of HFCS with obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Recently, many commercials have been put out by the Corn Refiners Association in HFCS’s defense. These commercials claim that HFCS doesn’t have any artificial ingredients and is safe in moderation. So what does this really mean? HFCS doesn’t technically contain any artificial ingredients, but it is processed with glutaraldehyde, a widely controversial substance still under investigation for potentially harmful effects in the body. HFCS, like other added sugars, appears to be okay in moderation, but since it is found in numerous products the amount can quickly add up. As a result, it is important to read the ingredients of the food you are eating and look for HFCS.

Completely excluding HFCS is likely more of a hassle than a benefit. Instead, limit the foods that contain HFCS and avoid the foods that list HFCS as one of the first few ingredients. Keep in mind that one of the best way to decrease your HFCS and added sugar intake is to consume a diet high in plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and to keep sweets and desserts to a minimum.

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino, Glendora and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
www.ocnutrition.com



Trans Fat in Hiding
February 9, 2010, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Heart Health, Label Reading

Did you know if a product contains less than half a gram of trans fat per serving, the manufacturer is not required to list it on the label? This means a product with 0.49 grams of trans fat can read no trans fat on the label. As a result, if you consume a few servings of a product like this, you could consume over a gram of trans fat without knowing it!

According to the American Heart Association you should limit your daily consumption of trans fat to less than 1 percent of your calories. This means if you consume 2,000 calories per day, no more than 20 calories or 2 grams of fat should come from trans fat.

So, how can you tell if a product contains trans fat? Look for “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredient label because trans fat is created during the hydrogenation process. Restaurants and food manufacturers love to use these hydrogenated oils because they taste good, are inexpensive and help preserve food.

Trans fat is often found in fried foods and bakery items such as pie crust, pizza dough, cookies, cake, French fries, crackers, margarine, and shortening and a small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in animal foods such as lamb, butterfat, and beef. The best way to avoid trans fat is to eat a well balanced diet that is mostly plant-based. Don’t forget to read labels and limit or avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils because this means they contain trans fat!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino, Glendora and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
www.ocnutrition.com



“Made with Whole Grain”
January 12, 2010, 3:08 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition, Label Reading

Have you seen the statement “made with whole grain” on the front of your cereal or crackers box and wondered whether or not you’re truly buying a whole grain product. Many companies are very tricky when it comes to advertising and they can make it seem like their product is a healthy whole grain when in reality it is a refined grain in disguise. 

The best way to tell if you’re receiving a whole grain product is by looking at the first ingredient on the ingredient label. Companies are required to list the ingredients in order by weight so the first ingredient is always the main ingredient in the product. If the first ingredient is “enriched flour” you are mostly receiving refined grain with a lot of the fiber, vitamins and minerals removed. If instead the first ingredient includes the word “whole” you are mostly receiving a whole grain product with higher nutritional value. Keep in mind that if a product says “made with whole grain” this does not mean that it is 100% whole grain. This just means that there is a little bit of whole grain in the product. Typically when a product says “made with whole grain” the first ingredient is enriched flour and the third or fourth ingredient is whole wheat flour. 

Another quick easy way to figure out whether or not you’re receiving a whole grain product is by looking at the fiber content. As a general rule, whole grain products contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.   

The techniques for identifying a whole grain can be applied to all grain products, including bread, cereal, crackers, tortillas, bagels, etc.  Have fun practicing these techniques the next time you go to the grocery store!

Examples of Whole Grain Products
Oatmeal
Cheerios
Shredded Wheat
Wheaties
Kashi Cereal
Triscuits
Ak-Mak’s 100% Whole Wheat Crackers
Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Mission Whole Wheat Tortillas
La Tortilla Whole Wheat Tortillas
Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins
Thomas’ Hearty Grains 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins
Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagels
Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagels
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Pasta
Minute Brown Rice
Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Ready Rice

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino, Glendora and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
www.ocnutrition.com