Healthy Advice for Over-eaters

Healthy Advice for Over-eaters

Question:

I have trouble with overeating. I find it difficult to control myself when other people are eating unhealthy foods such as chips, pastries, pizza and fast food. My brother invites me to potlucks and there are foods there that I know I cannot control myself with. Also, my mom invites me to eat at fast food restaurants. Whenever I eat those foods, at the moment I feel good, but then 20 minutes later (or when I find out that I gained weight), I feel guilty and frustrated. I’m tired of going through the same cycle over and over again. I want to be free from that cycle and gain new healthy habits that I can manage myself, such as having willpower and control. Anything that would be helpful.

– Gema N.V.

Answer:

Kudos to you for acknowledging a weakness and reaching out for help. You should have the health and nutrition your body deserves. All of the advice and education I could provide here would not in itself lead you to healthier habits, however. Willpower and self-control regarding food are really about your relationship and beliefs about food. You need to examine those (the “why”) before you can move forward (the “how”).

Keep in mind that if you have been dieting or restricting yourself, it is common to over-consume when given the opportunity. You mentioned accepting invitations from a couple of family members, so I understand the difficulty in separating yourself from those environments. However, you are responsible for what goes in your mouth and how much. Bringing your own food (even to share) may be a solution to join them while maintaining a healthy intake.

A support group or self-help guide are good options for delving into how you think about food, your body, and your nutrition, and what certain foods or eating situations may represent to you. If you are feeling trapped in a cycle of binging and guilt, consider finding an eating disorder specialist who can help you reduce feelings of shame, increase self-acceptance and steer you to a better path.

“As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is ‘Love of Oneself’.“ — Charlie Chaplin, 1959

– 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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Controlling High Potassium Levels

Controlling High Potassium Levels

Question:

I have a potassium level of 6.0 and my doctor says I need to consult a nutritionist to fix my diet. I have a pretty simple diet day in and day out, coffee and a bagel with the cream cheese and lox for breakfast, a fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumber, radish, green onions and sour cream early afternoon, and a sandwich either with tuna salad or pastrami and V8 juice in the late afternoon. I don’t see how that can affect potassium level. I would appreciate your professional opinion on the subject. Thank you very much in advance.

– Leonard G.

Answer:

While I can’t provide you individualized treatment recommendations through this forum, I will address a low-potassium diet for hyperkalemia in general. Always follow the advice of your physician. For personalized medical nutrition therapy, please visit a registered dietitian nutritionist. Find one through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.

The potential potassium content of a day’s intake with only 12 fl oz black coffee, 3 oz bagel, 2 oz lox, 2 tbsp cream cheese, salad (w/ tomato, cucumber, radish, green onion & 2 tbsp sour cream), tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread, and 12 fl oz V8 juice would be in the range of 1,500-2,000 milligrams, which is compatible with a low-potassium diet. Of course, your intake would be greater if your portions are greater.

Lists of high and low potassium foods are offered by the National Kidney Foundation. Look for areas you can reduce your intake further. Vegetable juice is listed as high potassium, whereas apple, kale, and celery are listed as low potassium. You could juice those three together for a lower potassium late afternoon drink.

 

– 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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Advice for A Balanced Protein Shake

Advice for A Balanced Protein Shake

Question:

I am trying to gain mass. If I like doing post-workout protein shakes, what is an effective way to get carbs into the shake? Also, what is a good ratio of carbs to protein?

– Joe O.

Answer:

If your protein shake choice doesn’t include carbohydrates, you have a few options. Sugar is easy to dissolve and table sugar is cheap. Agave nectar or honey won’t be gritty. Non-fat milk powder or fruit juice both provide naturally occurring sugars. If using a blender, a banana or ground oats will work fine.

Trying to avoid sugar and go for a more complex carbohydrate may result in a pasty, bland shake if using household ingredients like a couple tablespoons of fine sifted flour or boiled mashed potato. If not using a blender, you’d best find a supplement carbohydrate that mixes in well. I’d suggest a simple maltodextrin that costs less than $5 per pound.

Of course, if you want to skip the hassle, just switch to a recovery shake with carbohydrates included. Ideally in the ratio of 2-3 grams carbohydrate for each gram of protein for strength training and mass gain. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends a general 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is supported by endurance exercise. Of course, as caloric nutrients, the absolute amount of carbohydrate and protein should be bodyweight dependent.

– 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 Distilled Water Healthy for You?

Is Distilled Water Healthy for You?

Question:

Is drinking distilled water bad for you? What type of water should I drink?

– Danisha O.

Answer:

Distilled water is one form of purified water and it is safe to drink, but not exclusively. The thing with removing impurities is that the natural minerals like calcium and magnesium are also removed. This is desirable for household appliances like hot irons, but your blood has sodium and other solutes in it. In summary, distilled water may not be as beneficial for your body as other forms of water.

The water used for intravenous injection is sterile but still contains solutes to match blood concentration and pH. Tap water impurities and micronutrients vary based on the local source, as do those for spring waters and bottled waters. Filtered water removes contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides but some can also lower the mineral content. Carbon block filters allow the mineral salts to remain. Specialty waters that are ionized, reverse-osmosis or alkaline are promoted for various reasons but overall for proper hydration, an adequate volume of fluids is key. Having affordable, good-tasting water means you’ll drink more of it. In the end, there is not an absolute consensus on the type of water you should drink.

A special note: for exercise, sports drinks are actually ideal as they have the proper concentration of glucose and electrolytes to enhance absorption and promote fluid balance.

– 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

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Foods to Help Aid Muscle and Ligament Recovery

Foods to Help Aid Muscle and Ligament Recovery

Question:

What are the best foods for muscle and ligament recovery?

– Craig K.

Answer:

If you’re talking about short-term daily recovery from your workouts, you want to alleviate soreness and oxidative stress while prompting muscle fiber protein synthesis. Plant foods are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that may help combat delayed onset muscle soreness. Consider increasing your daily fresh produce intake and enhancing dishes with ginger, cinnamon, curcumin, saffron, and ginseng.  Consume a protein and carbohydrate-rich recovery snack within half an hour of completing your workout to combat muscle damage and maximize future performance.

If you’re talking about long-term recovery from an injury, the goal is to maintain adequate nutrition to support healing and prevent muscle loss. Thus, keep up protein intake and calories overall. Initially, you want to avoid inflammation so include foods with proteolytic enzymes such as pineapples and ginger root. The micronutrients zinc and vitamin C are also anti-inflammatory, so have oysters, wheat germ, liver, citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes often. Omega-3 fatty acids may help counter muscle loss, so consume sources like salmon and nuts daily. In the rehabilitation phase after surgery or time off, supplementing with branched-chain amino acids or creatine may help rebuild strength.

Resources:

A review of nutritional intervention on delayed onset muscle soreness; Part I. Kim J, Lee J. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation. 2014; 10(6): 349-356.  doi:10.12965/jer.140179.

Meal Timing: What and When to Eat for Performance and Recovery. U Rock Girl! Ace Fitness April 19, 2017. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6390/meal-timing-what-and-when-to-eat-for-performance-and-recovery

Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Tipton KD. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z). 2015; 45: 93-104.  doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0398-4.

– 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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