Getting Fiber from Fruit

June 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Fruit, General


What is fiber and how do I incorporate it in my diet? Dietary fiber is a nutrient found in plants that our bodies cannot absorb or digest. Incorporating fresh fruit to your daily diet can help increase your fiber intake. There are several health benefits to consuming fiber each day.


There are two types of fiber that help with maintaining normal bodily functions: soluble and insoluble fiber. Because fiber cannot be broken down and absorbed in the body, it simply makes its way through the digestive tract promoting motility of other materials that need to be excreted. Insoluble fiber in particular helps produce normal bowel movements by bulking the stool to increase weight while also softening it. Bulking the stool decreases watery loose stools and helps with constipation.


Soluble fiber on the other hand helps lower cholesterol and keep blood glucose levels stable. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is what is commonly known as the “bad” cholesterol.


Soluble fiber has water-holding properties and dissolves into a viscous gel-like substance. This gel-like substance helps lower LDL cholesterol by inhibiting LDL absorption through the intestines and into the bloodstream. The formation of the gel-like substance also slows gastric emptying which helps with blood sugar control. Slower gastric emptying translates to slower nutrient absorption in the digestive tract. Therefore, when glucose in consumed in tandem with fiber, the absorption of the glucose will take longer than normal preventing a spike in blood glucose levels. Due to the water-holding properties soluble fiber also results in stomach distention, which makes the body feel full. The delayed gastric emptying then makes the body feel fuller for a longer period of time. This mechanism can aid in weight loss as it can help prevent snacking and cravings.


Adding fruit to your day is an easy way to increase your fiber intake. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 21-38 grams for the average adult. Fiber can be found in all fresh fruits. However, the amount of fiber in each fruit varies. Common fruits with the highest amount of fiber per serving include blackberries, muscadine grapes, pears, kiwis, and figs. It is imperative to note that fiber content in fresh fruit is NOT the same as in fruit juice. Fruit juice loses most of its fiber contents during processing. Some fruit juice may have unnecessary added sugars included during processing. Therefore it is recommended to consume fresh fruit rather than fruit juice in order to increase fiber content and reduce added sugars.



  1. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet – Mayo Clinic [Internet]. [cited 2018 Aug 27]. Available from:
  2. Food Composition Databases Show Nutrients List [Internet]. United States Department of Agriculture. [cited 2018 Aug 27]. Available from:


Thank you to dietetic intern Molly Lowery for her contributions to and creation of this post.

Is Bone Broth Healthy?

Recently in the food world, the “super food” bone broth has been a huge hit due to its supposed variety of health benefits. Some people have even started drinking bone broth in place of their morning coffee or tea. Bone broth has been acclaimed to sooth arthritis and boost immune function while also smoothing and strengthening skin. To clear the air, there is nothing new about today’s bone broth. Bone broth, or stock, has been used in cooking in many cultures around the world for centuries. Bone broth can be made from bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin from beef, poultry, pork, and fish. These animal components are simmered in water over several hours and can be consumed hot as it is or incorporated into soups, gravies, and other dishes. So what about bone broth makes it a health food?


Sadly, little research has been done with bone broth and therefore, the supposed health benefits have little evidence to back them up. Bone broth has peaked scientists’ interest for over 80 years. A research study regarding nutritional benefits of bone broth dating back to 1934 in The Archives of Disease in Childhood came to the conclusion that bone broths are not of  “great nutritional value”. Over the years, there have been few studies on bone broth with indefinite conclusions. The medical journal Chest published a study in 1978 concluded that chicken soup helps clear nasal passages. The study found that consuming hot chicken soup significantly increased flow of mucus significantly better than consuming cold or hot water. While results appeared to be significant in this study, it is important to point out that there were only 15 subjects involved. Not to discount the study’s results, however, a small amount of participants like this suggests for further research to be done. Another piece of research surrounding chicken soup was published in the Chest in 2000. Researchers concluded that chicken soup might reduce inflammation. Laboratory test results showed that consuming chicken soup lowered the activity of the white blood cells called neutrophils. This specific type of white blood cell is the immediate responder when there is an inflammatory response within the body. While this study reports positive outcomes, the study was not confirmed in a controlled group of participants.


One of the few factual pieces of health information is that bone broth is a good source of protein. One cup of bone broth has about 5 grams of protein. Proteins are the fundamental pieces of muscles, bones, cartilage, and skin. Bone broth has also been suggested as a post-workout drink to replace lost electrolytes when exercising. High concentrations of electrolytes, such as sodium and chloride, are easily lost through sweat.


Several other health claims have been made about bone broth with no scientific evidence to support them. A few are listed below:


Claim 1: Bone broth strengthens bones because of the calcium content. Even though bones simmer in the broth for hours at a time, little calcium is released from the bones into the broth. The amount is so little that will not significantly increase bone strengthen or prevent bone conditions such as osteoporosis.


Claim 2: Bone broth relieves join pain. Arthritis occurs due to a loss of collagen, which is protein that provides padding for the joints. The collagen found in bone broth is not directly absorbed and transferred directly to the joint to prevent joint pain. Dietary collagen protein is broken down into amino acids just like any other protein food source. These amino acids are then used to help build and repair components of the body including skin, cartilage, and bone; however, they will not immediately transfer to the joints to relieve pain.


Claim 3: Bone broth helps firm and smooth skin. While collagen plays a structural role in skin just like it does with joints, it isn’t directly absorbed through the skin either.


The sad truth about supposed “superfoods” is that there is no one food that has all the health properties that the body needs. The body requires a variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and we are unable to obtain those from one specific food source. It is important to incorporate a wide variety of all food groups in your diet in order to nourish your body properly. While bone broth is most likely harmless, it does not have the curing capabilities that the media construes. Incorporating bone broth into a healthy balanced diet may help promote health overall, however, it will not be the magic ingredient that cures one from any illness.



  1. McCance RA, Sheldon W, Widdowson EM. Bone and vegetable broth. Arch Dis Child. 1934 Aug;9(52):251–8.
  2. Taking Stock Of Bone Broth: Sorry, No Cure-All Here [Internet]. [cited 2018 Aug 28]. Available from:
  3. Publishing HH. What’s the scoop on bone soup? [Internet]. Harvard Health. [cited 2018 Aug 28]. Available from:

Thank you to dietetic intern Molly Lowery for her contributions to and creation of this post.

National Nutrition Month

March 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, General

March is known as National Nutrition Month as accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month brings focus to nutrition education in areas of sustainability, healthy food choices, healthful eating and physical activity. This year National Nutrition Month has an important theme, “Go Further with Food”, encouraging people to shop locally, conserving resources and being environmentally friendly, all while adding healthful and nutritious foods into your diet.

A great tip to shop locally is to locate local farmers markets which often provide fun, fresh foods, fruits and vegetables that are often more affordable and more flavorful than local grocery stores. When you promote nearby farms/growers by buying locally you are conserving natural resources and promoting food procurement that has minimal effect on the environment. The environmental impact of growing and transporting food is not often though about; however, the miles driven for food delivery from farm to grocery stores and markets can have a detrimental impact on the environment and an indirect impact on human health.

The Community Food Security Coalition states, “Agriculture, food, and communities are three systems that interact in many ways. While these interactions are beneficial to human health, they can also compromise it, as four of the ten leading causes of death are related to dietary and lifestyle factors.”

Plan ahead for your shopping needs so that you only purchase what is needed and prevent food waste. Be sure that you know how to prepare the foods that you’ve purchased. If you have questions about how to store, preserve and/or prepare the foods on your list, ask a local farmer at the market or even a clerk at the grocery store.

Registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Libby Mills says, ”Sustainability is about making the best possible choices for your health, the health of the community, the environment and those producing your food. Sustainable practices build strong communities, diverse ecosystems and healthy individuals.” Now that sounds like something to celebrate!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Mindful Eating

With a busy schedule full of work, family and life obligations, it is easy to rush meal times while eating our food on the run. Many of us have mastered the skill of multi-taking, only to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy our food. Do you ever stop to notice the texture of the food that you’re eating or pay attention to your body telling you that you’ve had enough?  Mindful eating is a way to bring the focus back to the peace and joy that eating can provide.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is applying mindfulness to why, when, where, what, and how you eat. This means being aware of both the physical and emotional feelings connected to eating; it is the process of paying attention to the experience of eating.

One study suggests that applying mindful eating tools may help you to avoid overeating by being aware of portion control, taste, texture and sensations such as mouthfeel. By being mindful you will raise awareness to why are you eating (are you hungry or simply snacking?), what you are eating (is this food nourishing to your body?), and how you are eating (am I on the run, multi-taking, driving, watching TV, texting? Am I even enjoying my food?).

Individuals who apply mindful eating tools have reported an increase in self-efficacy; cognitive control, improved eating behaviors; and even decreased symptoms of depression. A mindful eating approach may increase consumption of healthful fruits and vegetables which have protective qualities to help fight against coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers.

Quick Tips For Eating Mindfully:

  • Observe your body: Notice hunger and fullness signals that guide you to start and stop eating.
  • Do not judge yourself: If you want to eat something, have it; as long as eating this food will not bring about any feelings of shame or guilt. If it will, recognize this and either avoid eating it or try to change your reaction to this food.
  • Notice your reaction to food. What do you like, what don’t you like? Try closing your eyes for a moment while you are eating to experience food in a new way.
  • Savor your food: While eating, notice all of the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of the food. Focus on each mouthful. Try to engage all 5 senses when you eat (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch).

Ask yourself, “Am I…” 

  • Physically hungry? Try using a scale of 1-10 (1 very hungry and 10 very full). Ideally, you want to eat when your hunger is mild at a 3-4 and stop when it reaches a 7-8.
  • Eating quickly or slowly? If you notice you’re rushing; take a deep breath and slow down.

Mindful Eating Resources:

  1. Intuitive Eating website:
  2. Miller CK, Kristeller JL, Headings A, Nagaraja H. Comparison of a mindful eating intervention to a diabetes self-management intervention among adults with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Health Educ Behav. 2014;41(2):145-154.
  3. The Center for Mindful Eating website:
  4. Tylka, T. Intuitive Eating Assessment Scale. J Counseling Psychology 2006(53):226-240.
  5. Mathieu J. What Should You Know about Mindful and Intuitive Eating?J Am Dietetic Assoc 2009;109(Dec):1982-1987.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Carlyn Blevins for her contributions to this post.

National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is Put Your Best Fork Forward.

So how exactly can you go about leading with your best fork?

Small shifts in your food choices add up over time. So don’t stress if you don’t have a “perfect” diet – just work to make small changes that move you in the right direction!

Here are the key messages for this year’s month-long celebration of nutrition:

  1. Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
  2. Practice cooking more at home and experiment with healthier ingredients.
  3. How much we eat is as important as what we eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  4. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  5. Manage your weight or lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

For more great information about National Nutrition Month, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ NNM website.


Does Your Shape Matter More Than the Number on the Scale?

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For individuals struggling with overweight and obesity, focusing on body mass index (BMI) or the number of the scale may be the wrong health indicators.

An emerging body of literature suggests that an older measurement, the waist-to-hip ratio may be more valuable when assessing the impact of weight on health.

A new study published in the journal Obesity found that participants with a high waste-to-hip ratio had a higher risk of heart attack.

People with a high waist-to-hip ratio are often described as being “apple” shaped. Apple shaped individuals hold fat around their important vital organs. This type of fat leeches into the bloodstream easily and causes a negative effect on cholesterol and other blood fats.

The World Health Organization states that a healthy waist-to-hip ratio is less than 0.9 for men and less than 0.85 for women. It is important to note that there are no particular exercises you can do to reduce fat in one particular area of your body. “Spot reducing” does not work; rather, cardiovascular and strength building exercises can help convert fat to muscle and lower overall body fatness. For tips on calculating your own waist-to-hip ratio, click here.

A Vegan Diet May Help to Fight Global Warming


Did you know that switching to a diet free of meat, dairy, and eggs saves 50% more carbon emissions than driving a Prius. Imagine choosing a diet that is not only healthy and tastes great but helps to protect our planet. The first study to look at a plant-based diet and estimate both its health and climate impact supports the idea of moving toward the elimination or reduction of meat in the diet. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlights the fact that what we choose to eat greatly impacts the global environment and our personal health. Choosing a diet that provides less meat and more fruits and vegetables could help to prevent 5.1 million deaths per year by 2050 and substantially decrease planet-warming emissions.

Oxford researchers modeled the effects of four different diets: A diet in which no guidelines are adopted; one that follows minimum global guidelines, a vegetarian diet, and a vegan diet. They found that in a world where everyone consumed a vegan diet 8.1 million fewer people would die due to complications from chronic disease per year, and food-related emissions contributing to climate change would be cut by an astonishing 70%. This was compared to a 29% decrease in emissions from a diet following dietary recommendations and a 63% reduction from a vegetarian diet.

What’s more, if the population were to adopt more vegan-based eating habits the countries that would have the greatest impact are the developed nations due to higher rates of meat consumption and obesity. Raising animals for food now uses a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass, in addition to using almost 80% of deforested land in the amazon as cattle pasture. So next time you are reaching for a meat-based protein do your body and the planet a favor and try substituting soy instead, as producing just one pound of meat compared to one pound of soy requires 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Amanda Cravinho for her contributions to this post.

Savor the Flavor – March is National Nutrition Month

March 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Dietary Patterns, General




It’s not too late to get back to the basics of healthy eating. The importance of following a well-balanced and nutrient –dense eating plan packed with tasty foods is celebrated this month. National Nutrition Month®, created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a campaign focused on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s theme “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” encourages taking a moment to enjoy the culture and tradition of food by soaking in the flavor and pleasure that nutritious foods provide. Make it a point this month to refocus your attention from concentrating on specific food and nutrients and instead vow to implement a healthy eating pattern by balancing a rainbow of tasty foods and beverages from each food group. The goal is to promote overall health by reducing the risk of chronic disease though maintaining a healthy weight, developing individualized physical activity habits, and practicing a balanced diet that get your taste buds dancing!

If you are looking to get involved this month here are some ideas:

  • Plan a cooking demo or nutrition event
  • Organize a National Nutrition Month® presentation at your local park district or senior center
  • As a family, commit to trying a new fruit or vegetable each week during National Nutrition Month®.
  • Organize a food donation campaign for a local food pantry or shelter
  • Plan to eat more meals together as a family during National Nutrition Month®

For more information on National Nutrition Month® and how to get involved visit

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Amanda Cravinho for her contributions to this post.

Unleash the Heat: Benefits of Adding Spice

March 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Dietary Patterns, General



If you’re a seeker of spicy foods, you may not only be increasing health benefits of your diet but increasing the possibility of a longer life.

Don’t fear the heat! A 2015 study looking at half a million people over a seven year period found that the consumption of spicy foods six-times per week reduced the risk of death by 14%, a 10% decreased risk was also seen when consumed twice a week. So what are the benefits these fiery foods provide?

Weight loss – Hot peppers have been shown to speed up metabolism and curb appetite. Researchers at Purdue University found satiating effects after eating fiery foods. In addition, a senior dietitian and professor at UCLA points to the relationship of how the scorching sensation in your mouth slows food consumption saying, “If you eat more slowly, you’re more likely to notice your body’s satiety cues. Some data has even shown that capsaicin (the active component of chili peppers) can increase the ability to burn calories.

Anti-inflammatory effects – Capsaicin may help with autoimmune conditions as these illnesses are less common in countries were spicy foods are consumed regularly.

Antimicrobial effects – Hot peppers have been used to preserve food and studies show capsaicin to have antibacterial and antifungal effects.

Pain Relief – When used topically, Capsaicin aids in the release of the body’s own opioids.

Be aware that there may be some downsides to consuming these scorching morsels, such as damaged taste buds (which will regenerate), uncomfortable bowel movements, and thinning of the blood. Individuals taking medications like warfarin should be cautious of capsaicin as it may thin blood too much, for others the blood thinning effects may be a benefit.

So if you’re an enthusiast of the heat… turn up the dial, as for many the good outweighs the bad.

Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Amanda Cravinho for her contributions to this post.

Dietary Guidelines: What’s New & Best for You?



January 7, 2016 marked the release of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 – 2020. Since the introduction of the dietary guidelines in 1980 15% of Americans were classifies as obese, now more than 35 years later this statistic has ballooned to 35% of all Americans. Obviously the intended messages of the guidelines are not impacting our society in the way they were intended. So what are the new dietary guidelines, how are they different, and how can they impact change in our society?


  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount
  3. Limit calories from added sugar and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
  5. Support healthier eating patterns for all

How they are different:

The new dietary guidelines are much broader to allow focus on small changes in the diet instead of letting individual food groups and nutrients consume you. The key component is emphasis on a healthy eating pattern that is calorically appropriate to help support a healthy body weight and reduce risk of chronic disease. Shifts in personalized food and beverage choices need to be made to achieve a healthy eating pattern and increase nutrients of concern such as potassium, calcium, Vitamin D, and fiber.


A new specific limit on added sugars to less than 10% of calories is highlighted in the new guidelines. Paying attention to identifying sugary beverages in your diet and limiting these can make a huge impact on eliminating excessive calories in your diet and may even aid in trimming up your waistline.


There has also been a removal of a specific limit on dietary cholesterol. Evidence shows there is no relationship between dietary and serum cholesterol. It is now recommended that Americans eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.

The new guidelines offer an adaptable framework to allow food choices that fit in your budget and align with personal and cultural preferences. Benefits of these new guidelines enable you to choose a diet that is right for you.

Below are key recommendations to consider when implementing a heathy eating pattern:

  • Include a variety of vegetables – dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), and starchy
  • Focus on fruits, especially whole
  • Grab grains, at least half should be whole grains
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy beverages)
  • Implement in your diet a variety of protein foods (seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products)
  • When possible, choose oils as fat sources
  • Limit saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar, and sodium
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugar
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium
  • Limit alcohol to one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men
  • Meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise)

Simple solutions to make these recommendations work for YOU:

  • Make a switch to replace sugary desserts with fruit instead
  • Limit soda or energy drinks to one per day
  • Tailor portion sizes to fit your needs
  • Substitute medium or high fat protein for lean choices each day
  • Cook more often at home to limit added sugar and sodium
  • Make a conscience effort to increase daily activity
  • The Mediterranean, vegetarian, and DASH diets are all examples of healthy eating patterns

Impact of society in order to implement change:

With the new dietary guidelines there is a shift toward the idea that everyone plays a role in supporting healthy eating patterns. It is time to recognize that there is more influence on our food choices than education and will power alone. Other factors play a vital role in influencing food choices such as, personal relationships, where you live, work, and shop. Health professionals, industries, government, and communities are needed to support Americans and their families in making dietary and physical activity choices that align with the Dietary Guidelines. It is important to support local farmers, get involved to increase recreational access in your neighborhood, and foster partnership with food manufacturers to align more accessibility to recommended foods. Everyone plays a role in making healthy changes and in improving the health of the current and future generation. For more information on the dietary guidelines please visit

Special thanks to dietetic intern Amanda Cravinho for her contributions to this post.

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