I Can’t Believe It’s Not…Bad For Me? | Q+A

I Can’t Believe It’s Not…Bad For Me? | Q+A

Question:

I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Is this product safe as it relates to heart health? Is this a bad fat or fat substitute?

– Hazel M.

Answer:

Before I get into nutritional analysis, let me say that in regards to any substitutes (for fat, sugar, or salt) I always mention that their risks and benefits depend on how much and how often you consume them. If you use less than a teaspoon only once per week, the difference between the substitute and the real thing is probably negligible. However, heavier daily use may mean a significant change in overall fat, sugar or sodium intake. So you can decide how important the following is for you.

The butter substitute you speak of has 50% less fat than real butter with the following breakdown for a tablespoon; 6 gm total fat, 2 gm Saturated, 0 Trans, 3 gm Polyunsaturated, 1.5 Monounsaturated. Compare that to a tablespoon of butter: 12 gm total fat, 7 gm Saturated, 0.5 gm Trans, 0.4 gm Polyunsaturated, 3 gm Monounsaturated. The substitute has less of the harmful saturated and trans fat with more of the heart-healthy unsaturated fats. In addition it has alpha-linolenic acid, a precursor to omega-3 fat which provides a couple of heart benefits, namely a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol.

Yes, used as a spread, the product is safe for your arteries. If you are cooking with it in a pan, I’d suggest using straight oil instead, as margarine and the like are not intended for high heat.

– 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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Brown Rice vs. White Rice – Which is Healthier? | Q+A

Brown Rice vs. White Rice – Which is Healthier? | Q+A

Question:

I have read an article in Korean newspaper saying that brown rice is not good for you. I thought brown rice is much healthier than white (regular rice) is it true?

– Caroline

Answer:

Below are the nutritional values of brown rice compared to enriched white rice for 100 grams cooked rice. Overall, the brown rice offers more of the nutrients that we need (fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc) with slightly fewer calories. Because it is enriched, white rice does offer more folate and iron. Neither have Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, or cholesterol.

Nutrient values as per standard reference (non-branded) in the USDA Food Comparison Database, (release 28), some values rounded.

– 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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How Do I Keep From Losing Weight Unintentionally? | Q+A

How Do I Keep From Losing Weight Unintentionally? | Q+A

Question:

I have been working out 5 to 6 days a week. Almost 3 years now. Consuming 3700- 4000 calories, 400+ carbs and 180+ protein daily, and still dropping weight at an alarming rate. Any suggestions on what I can do to add pounds or keep from losing? I’m 175lbs.

– Preston B.

Answer:

Hello Preston. If you have been losing weight unintentionally, you should see your physician to rule out any underlying problem. Your energy needs may be higher than you think. It’s not unheard of for a very physically active and lean man to require 6000 calories a day! My immediate nutrition recommendation would be to stop counting calories, consume more of what you already eat, and add highly caloric foods to your day.

Energy dense foods include: Dried fruit, Avocados, Coconut, Cheese, Ground beef, Nuts, Tortillas and Granola.

Rich toppings include: Dips, Dressing, Sauce, Hollandaise, Real gravy, Margarine, Mayonnaise, and Syrup.

– 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.

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

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

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Gaining Muscle, Losing Belly Fat: Vegetarian Edition | Q+A

Gaining Muscle, Losing Belly Fat: Vegetarian Edition | Q+A

Question:

I am a 32 year old male with weight = 150 lb. (approx.) and height = 5′ 5″. I am a regular to LA fitness and go 3 to 4 times per week. I do strength training for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes cardio (with incline). I am looking to gain muscle and lose the stubborn fat around my waist. I have been facing trouble with the diet choices I need to make. Note: I referred this post as well, which is helpful. I am a vegetarian and I eat eggs but no meat/seafood/chicken etc. I used to eat rice (white/brown) and vegetables (fried/cooked), and I am taking whey protein as well. What should my diet look like to do this? Please advise. Thanks in advance.

– Manoj

Answer:

If I am understanding you correctly, Manoj, perhaps you think you’re having trouble getting enough protein to build muscle and lose fat? Vegetarians can easily meet protein needs with adequate beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and good vegetable & grain choices. Plus, you consume milk and egg products, which is a benefit when looking to increase protein.

Look to get at least 2 legume servings per day, 1 egg, 10 grams milk protein, 2 cups cooked vegetables + 1 cup raw, and 6+ grain servings per day. The remainder of your calories can come from fruit and unsaturated fat. To lean out, you’ll also need to limit added sugars, alcohol, and fried foods. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated!

Since you are keeping up to date with the Living Healthy blog, then you’ve probably already seen this recent post but I’ve included it for the rest of our readers.

– 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.

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

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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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Treat Yourself – Healthy Indulgences

Treat Yourself – Healthy Indulgences

Having an appetite is normal, friends. We all want a little permission to eat according to that appetite sometimes, especially when we’ve made changes to our diets. The key is doing so while maintaining progress toward our health and physique goals. Like spending money when on a budget, you may need to make compromises and sacrifices when you want to splurge.

First, let’s understand the ‘budget’ –  your self-imposed diet. It’s okay to make healthy changes such as moderately restricting intake for calorie reduction or cleaning up a diet that is full of processed foods or high in fat. On the other hand, intense restrictions* or abstinence from favorite foods are often followed by gorging/binging when those eating restrictions are lifted. Gluttony and over-indulgence not only mean excessive calories, but may lead to guilt.

Instead of telling yourself that you’re “following” a diet or “cheating” on it, drop both terms, which infer that only 100% compliance is acceptable and create negative thoughts when you can’t adhere to diet requirements. You should feel good about your overall intent, specific diet plan and progress, while anticipating hiccups along the way. Day to day or week to week, we all have natural fluctuations in the amount we eat (and our body weight) that a new diet plan may not be able to override.

So now on to the relaxation part…

Many people successfully attain their goals while incorporating a little freedom to their eating. Balance is the key. One approach is the 80/20 rule, where a very healthy diet is eaten 80 percent of the time so that 20 percent of the time a more relaxed diet can be consumed. In terms of days of the week, that 20% would account for about 1.5 days. Another method used to balance indulgence with restriction is to choose one discretionary food per day — a pre-planned sugary, fatty or alcoholic item. In fact, incorporating a moderate amount of a favorite food may help obese individuals achieve success in the long run, by avoiding some of the aforementioned rebound excessive eating.

Here are some specific suggestions for healthy indulgences:

  • Opt for a single-serving package of chips, fried snacks or cookies.
  • Use measured portion containers, such as a half-cup for ice cream.
  • Allow a daily ounce of dark chocolate, preferably with fruit or nuts, to curb cravings. See our article, CANDY – Why We Crave It & How to Control Those Cravings, if you have a sweet tooth for confections.
  • Dried fruit offers more intense flavor and sweetness than fresh fruit.
  • Adding avocado slices to salads, sandwiches and tacos enriches the healthy fat content with a smooth buttery feel in the mouth.
  • Fried portion of rarely-eaten fish or vegetable to gain those nutrients and variety. Just skip the Ranch dressing, cream sauce or dip served with it.
  • Have half a regular burger or pulled pork sandwich with a side salad or scoop of coleslaw to get your fill.
  • Make your own healthier version of notoriously heavy foods (e.g. potato fries baked in the oven, lasagna with reduced fat cheese and lean beef, brownies made with prune puree).
  • A small dessert the size of a ramekin, shooter glass, or mini muffin should please the palate.
  • Share an appetizer or dessert, as most are meant to be enjoyed.

Tips for maintaining progress while relaxing your diet:

  1. Decide before starting your meal how much to put on your plate, instead of deciding how much to eat off your plate during the meal.
  2. Compensate for extra calories with additional exercise.
  3. Document your weight routinely.
  4. Plan for special occasions such as a holiday meal, as described in our Eat All You Want at Thanksgiving Dinner and Not Gain Weight!? article.

*If you think you may have an unhealthy obsession or preoccupation with your diet or an inflexible or rigid eating behavior which impacts your well-being (physical, social, emotional, financial), you should seek out the assistance of an expert in disordered eating. To find one, call NEDA 1-800-931-2237 (US) or NEDIC 1-866-633-4220 (Canada).

Disclaimer: This blog post should not be construed as medical advice. Do not attempt to change your diet, fitness routine, or any other activity related to your health without first obtaining the advice of a medical professional. 

References:

Mind over platter: pre-meal planning and the control of meal size in humans. JM Brunstrom.

International Journal of Obesity, 2014. 38, S9–S12.

Psychological Consequences of Food Restriction. Janet Polivy. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, June 1996. 96 (6): 589-592.

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Foods That Help Curb Hunger

When your belly is sending messages you can hear, it’s time to listen up! Check out our list of seven foods that help quiet the hunger growls.

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