Is Fructose to be Feared?

Is Fructose to be Feared?

Question:

Someone told me that fructose wasn’t as bad as sugar because it comes from fruit. Does fructose come from fruit?

Thank you.

-Liz P.

Answer:

Sugars are generally single unit or dual unit compounds, called monosaccharides or disaccharides. Glucose (blood sugar) is a monosaccharide. Fructose (fruit sugar) is a monosaccharide. Sucrose (table sugar) is glucose plus fructose, making it a disaccharide. Lactose (milk sugar) is made of glucose and galactose, another disaccharide. All are natural sugars found in whole foods yet many are isolated as ingredients in processed food.

They all provide the same energy of 4 calories per gram and, in their isolated state, don’t offer any other nutrition. A whole fruit however, has water, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals that a spoonful of table sugar does not. In that respect, fructose is better than sucrose. But the person that spoke to you may have been referring to the different sugars’ effects on the body.

Fructose is rarely found in isolation and according to the International Food Information Council Foundation its absorption is improved in the presence of glucose.  Harvard Health indicates that fructose isn’t used anywhere in the body other than the liver. This may be why it’s linked to chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  When high fructose intake is due to its presence as an ingredient (namely high fructose corn syrup) it is often associated with inflammation, increased calories and fat deposition, according to Medical News Today.

So isolated sugars are not as good as the original sources. The best advice is to stick to the whole foods (fruit) and limit your added sugar consumption in general.

You may be interested in our previous articles Busting Sugar Myths: Fact or Fiction, and Which Fruits are Best to Eat?

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Protein?

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Protein?

Question:

Hello LA Fitness! It seems a lot of people are mentioning Chronic Kidney Disease. I hear that this can be from a number of reasons, including consuming too much protein. If you’re on a renal diet, or have kidney disease, or want to avoid getting CKD, how much protein is too much?
– Darque O.

Answer:

Whether you need to restrict protein or not should be determined by your nephrologist, depending on the stage of your renal disease. Note that the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)  states “Low protein and calorie intake is an important cause of malnutrition in chronic kidney disease1” and “There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine prescription of dietary protein restriction to slow progression of chronic kidney disease.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that protein in the urine is a risk factor for developing kidney disease2. While one might assume that dietary protein load is the culprit, it’s more likely from impaired kidney filtration due to diabetes. The CDC recommends two dietary improvements: eating more fruits and vegetables while eating foods lower in salt2.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, preventing diabetes and high blood pressure helps to protect your kidneys from chronic kidney disease (CKD)3. The organization advises cutting back on salt and added sugars and suggests a DASH eating plan3. Protein is not mentioned.

References:

1) National Kidney Foundation. K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2002; 39(2 suppl 1):S1–266. https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/ckd_evaluation_classification_stratification.pdf Accessed 9.3.2019

2) Prevention and Risk Management. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/prevention-risk.html December 21, 2017. Accessed 9.3.2019

3) Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/prevention October 2016. Accessed 9.3.2019

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Managing Menopause

Managing Menopause

Question:

I have begun Menopause and have been gaining weight and having bad hot flashes. Is there anything you can suggest I do?

Thanks,

– Lisa D.

Answer:

 

Every woman will eventually reach the stage of menopause and the ovaries cease production of estrogen. (sigh) The transitional time, termed perimenopause, may take several years. Nutritionally, managing these stages involves responding to changing hormones and influencing energy balance.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends a low-fat, vegetarian diet for women who are experiencing hot flashes. EndocrineWeb encourages “filling your meals with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.” Adequate protein is needed to support muscle-protein synthesis, with intake spread across the day. In regards to supplements, WebMD indicates that black cohosh, St John’s wort and flaxseed may help manage menopause symptoms.

Creating an energy deficit is necessary for weight loss, which can come from curbing caloric intake or boosting output. Regular exercise to the tune of 60 minutes daily also helps, particularly if it includes strength training to retain lean body mass.

Resources:

M Jacobsen. Midlife Nutrition — Helping Women Over 40 Overcome Nutrition Challenges, Today’s Dietitian March 2014 Issue Vol. 16 No. 3 P. 30

Pinkerton, JoAnn. “MenoPause Blog.” MenoPause, 2018, www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it. Accessed 8/27/2019.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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What You Need to Know About Optimal Nutrient Timing

What You Need to Know About Optimal Nutrient Timing

Question:

I usually work out at 6 or 7 am and I want to know if it’s better to eat breakfast before or after working out. If it’s after what should I eat before working out? Thank you for your help

– Santiago C.

Answer:

Optimal eating before and after a workout is all relative to the type and extent of your morning training. Some research points to greater fat burning performing cardio in a fasted state. Yet everyone seems to have a different eating schedule that works for them. Do you feel energized by a light breakfast ahead before working out or does it leave you feeling dull? Are you ravenous after working out or do you not register any hunger then?

BEFORE (approx. 30 minutes prior)

Since you don’t have the 3-4 hours ahead of time for a full meal, you can focus on a quick energy boost to restore glycogen and prime blood sugar for working muscles. If you don’t tolerate food well first thing in the morning, choose a simple carbohydrate source such as a cup of applesauce or single serving of graham crackers/pretzels with a cup of water. Move up to a mini meal of one egg plus a slice of bread and glass of milk if you feel better with solids in your system. You can also blend up a breakfast smoothie with Greek or skyr yogurt, cracked flaxseed, berries and banana.

DURING

Don’t forget about the opportunity to consume some nutrition during physical activity. For an intense exercise bout that lasts at least an hour you may consider sipping on a glucose-electrolyte beverage, aka traditional sports drink. These provide simple sugars for energy and potassium and sodium for muscle contractions and nerve impulse stimulation, as well as hydration for temperature regulation and nutrient processing.

AFTER (within 30 minutes following)

Immediately you can eat a granola-type bar you’ve packed in your locker bag or grab a protein shake from the juice bar to start off your recovery. This time is critical to nourishing your body for the whole day. Now’s the time for a heartier meal (e.g. oatmeal, lean turkey sausage and grapefruit) or a healthy breakfast wrap of eggs, spinach, feta, salsa and wheat tortilla. Choose foods with some protein and complex carbohydrate – a little fat is okay, too!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Introduce Teens to Healthy Eating Habits

Introduce Teens to Healthy Eating Habits

Question:

Good morning,

I have a question about how to introduce my daughter to a better way to eat. She is 17 but loves to eat junk food, no veggies. I think the way she eats is affecting her ability to concentrate and perform in school.

Please help.

– María G.

Answer:

I’m glad you said ‘introduce’ instead of lecture, tell, instruct, etc. Teenagers seem to hardly listen to their parents, let alone experts, regarding self-care choices. Communication experts suggest giving praise for good decisions. Another approach is to discuss how food industry marketing overtly influences their food choices. Perhaps start a conversation by asking her what factors she thinks are impacting her school performance – then listen and act on those first.

Although I’ve a handful of websites* to suggest she visit (assuming she bothers to read them), most teens are influenced by their peers and social media. Sigh. Role modeling a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do as a parent, letting you “teach by example.” Behaviors and choices surrounding a nutritious diet, adequate sleep and routine exercise should be a family undertaking. That includes siblings and other adults in the home too! 

Tips

  • Involve her in planning the menu, choosing recipes and creating grocery shopping lists.
  • Offer to shop for something she is willing to cook herself.
  • Keep ready-to-eat versions of fruits and vegetables readily accessible in the kitchen.
  • Limit the junk food purchased and brought into the home so it’s not available.
  • Get her active in hands-on vegetable gardening.
  • Eat together as a family.
  • Limit exposure to commercial television and don’t eat in front of the TV.

Recommended Sites:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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