Getting Rid of “Uh-oh!” When You Go

Getting Rid of “Uh-oh!” When You Go

Question:

How do I get rid of runny stools?

– Bjorn

Answer:

What goes in must come out, so I consider what happens in the bathroom open for discussion here. If you suffer from persistent runny stool, there may be an underlying physical cause or infection and you should first consult a physician*. Aside from medication side effects, if your bowel movements are loose on occasion it could be stress or something you’re eating that ‘disagrees’ with you.

The gut can be affected by not only emotional stress or anxiety, but physical stress as well. (e.g., endurance runners often have colitis, resulting in bathroom issues when they run). A diet change or introduction of new/unusual foods, particularly spicy ones, may prompt your GI system to partially reject what it’s unfamiliar with. Another possibility is that you may have a reduced tolerance for lactose, fructose, gluten or sugar alcohols.

Here are some tips to deal with runny poop:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat slowly
  • Chew thoroughly                            
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Slowly increase soluble fiber intake (potatoes, beans, instant oats, figs) Soluble fiber helps to bind water and form soft, bulky stools.

To help determine if particular foods may be bothering you:

  • Try going a week avoiding your most likely trigger: alcohol, caffeine, greasy foods, diet drinks, dairy products, gluten sources, apple/peaches/pears or spicy foods.
  • Keep a food journal of everything else you are eating and whether you have loose stools.
  • If symptoms resolve, then incorporate the item back into your diet before moving on to eliminating the next one.

*See a medical doctor if you have chronic diarrhea, defined by 3 or more watery stools per day lasting 4 weeks or more, or if you’ve lost weight unintentionally as you may be at risk for dehydration or malabsorption.

References:

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea
  2. WebMD https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/chronic-diarrhea-16/default.htm

– 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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Which Salt is Best – Himalayan Pink, Celtic Sea, Iodized?

Which Salt is Best – Himalayan Pink, Celtic Sea, Iodized?

Question:

Hi! I have read various articles about healthy salt. Some say Himalayan Pink Salt and another article talks about Celtic sea salt. I know it’s important to get iodine in our diet. Which salt is best?

– Mary F.

Answer:

Besides the sodium-chloride compound we know as the base of our table salt, natural salts of the earth contain other elements and possibly some contaminants. In the case of Himalayan pink salt which is harvested from mountains in Pakistan and sun-dried, the mineral content varies by mine since the salt range is so expansive. Iron oxide is evident in the characteristic pink color, while potassium, magnesium and calcium are imperceptible. The content of these trace minerals is so low that it would take cups, if not pounds, of Himalayan salt to make a nutritional impact.

Similar to sea salt procured elsewhere around the globe, Celtic sea salt harvested in seaside fields contains minerals, sediment, and algae that affect its color and taste. It is sun-dried in solar evaporation ponds and contains small amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and to a lesser extent, iodine. Contaminants like microplastics and heavy metals are possible, as there is global ocean pollution and open water circulates.

Granulated table salt is refined to remove such impurities, but other trace minerals are lost and chemical traces remain. Ferrocyanide, talc, and silica aluminate are commonly included in its processing. The addition of potassium-iodide to salt in the United States began as a public strategy for treating goiter and continued as a prevention, much like our fortification of folate in cereals for neural tube defects during pregnancy. About 70% of the table salts sold in the US are iodized and contain additional stabilizers.

Other notable food-grade salts include Kosher salt coarse grains usually processed without iodine, fleur del sel flakes collected from the top of seawater salt ponds, sel gris salt crystals from the bottom of those evaporated ponds, rock salt mined through brining, and those mixed with earthen compounds (such as kala namak, Hawaiian ‘alaea’, and black lava salt).

The best salt for you depends on your concern. If you need to limit sodium intake but want to use a naturally sourced salt, then consider a coarse or “rough” granule of any raw type as there is less packing of salt crystals in a measured volume. If your concern is getting enough iodine, then you can choose a Celtic sea salt and eat sea vegetables, potatoes, cranberries, strawberries, yogurt, navy beans, eggs and salmon for additional iodine.

Of course, if you rarely salt your food or only use small amounts like ¼ teaspoon in baking, the health difference is probably negligible and iodized table salt will work.

– 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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Which Rice is Most Nutritious?

Which Rice is Most Nutritious?

Question:

Which rice do you think is the best for all around nutrition, whether you are trying to gain mass or lose weight?

– Allen C.

Answer:

A particular food’s nutritional value can be interpreted many ways. What you consider to be most nutritious might be the most nutrient dense, highest calorie or healthiest (preventing disease) food. With respect to your question regarding weight change, a single food item plays a small part in an overall varied diet.

See our answer to a similar question last year: Brown Rice vs. White Rice – Which is Healthier? | Q+A

There are nearly 40,000 varieties of rice! My top picks for packing a nutrition punch are wild rice, brown rice, red rice and black rice. Their nutrient and phytochemical content varies as does their speed/completeness of digestion. Method of preparation can affect the starch breakdown and glycemic index, which play a role in satiety and therefore caloric intake. The less processed the better – I’d take fresh cooked white rice over a can of wild rice soup any day. Organically grown rice is less likely to have arsenic and would, therefore, be healthier, though it won’t affect weight directly.

Keep in mind the likelihood of cooking & incorporating these rice types into your preferred dishes and your willingness to try new recipes. If you don’t end up eating it, there is zero nutrition.

– 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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Let’s Talk About the Basics: Carbs, Fats & Proteins

Let’s Talk About the Basics: Carbs, Fats & Proteins

Question:

Can you provide me with a basic understanding of carbs, fats, and proteins?

– Mandeep P.

Answer:

Carbohydrate, fat, and protein are the three macronutrients (needed in large quantities) that give us energy. Alcohol also provides calories but is not a nutrient. Water is the other macronutrient but is calorie-free.

Carbohydrates are compounds that are predominantly used for energy in the body to fuel our brain, nervous system, organs, metabolic processes, and muscles. We get 4 calories per gram from carbohydrate molecules that reach our cells. Some carbohydrates aren’t even digested or absorbed – namely dietary fiber. It is specifically identified on a food’s Nutrition Facts panel, as are sugars. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex in structure. Simple carbohydrates are single or double sugar units, while complex carbohydrates are starchy. Sugars are naturally found in fruits, milk and yogurt, some vegetables, but can be added to just about any packaged or processed food. Starches include foods like potatoes, pasta, bread, rice, corn and cereal grains.

Fats that we eat are triglyceride compounds, the same type we store in our bodies. We get 9 calories per gram of fat, making fat the most energy-rich macronutrient. In addition to long-term energy, we use fat for insulation and protecting our internal organs. Each triglyceride has 3 fatty acid strands. Some of the bonds in a fatty acid are doubled-up making them unsaturated. Mono-(single) and poly-(multiple) unsaturated fats are healthier for us than saturated fat. Trans fat is produced unintentionally when in food processing, and unsaturated fat (typically plant oil) is hydrogenated to become solid. These are the worst fats that negatively impact health, even more so than saturated fat. The highest sources of beneficial unsaturated fats are fatty fish and plant foods like nuts, olives, and avocados.

Proteins are chains of nitrogen-containing amino acids that we break down and reuse to form our own protein in cell membranes, antibodies, and enzymes. These are functions neither fats nor carbohydrates can perform, and we don’t have amino acid reserves, so it’s important to get enough protein. We get 4 calories per gram of protein. Some of the amino acids we can’t form ourselves and so are considered essential to our bodies. Protein sources with the most essential amino acids include eggs, poultry, beef, pork, and dairy products. With an adequate amount of a wide variety of legumes, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegans can get enough essential amino acids from plant foods alone.

Did you know?… If you eat too many calories from any energy source, your body can convert it to stored fat.

– 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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Breakfast and Lunch Options for On-the-Go

Breakfast and Lunch Options for On-the-Go

Question:

I would like to find good breakfast diet. I can’t do milk products in the morning. Oatmeal is not my favorite, but I can eat it. I also need good lunch meal to carry with me as I am in sales so I’m in the car all day long.  

My background: 

  • I work out 3 days a week  
  • 61 years of age  
  • 6” tall 
  • Weight 200 lbs  
  • Cholesterol tends to be a little high  
  • No diabetes  
  • Do get low blood sugar at times  
  • Drink coffee  
  • Take vitamins  

Thanks for your help. 

– Kent S.

Answer:

Based on the information you provided, meals about 600-800 calories (assuming no snacks) seem suitable. You’d benefit from fiber, unsaturated fats including omega-3 fats and losing weight, hence the lower calorie range. 

Here are a few options about 600 calories for you to consider: 

Breakfasts 

  • Plated: 2 whole wheat waffles, peach or ½ mango, 4 egg whites, Tbsp pesto. Glass of pea protein milk. 
  • Smoothie: 2 cups vanilla soymilk, medium banana (chopped & frozen), 2 Tbsp each – instant coffee, wheat germ, chocolate hazelnut spread.  Blenderize all together, ice optional. 
  • Weekend treat: large baked sweet potato w/ skin (about ½ pound), 3 Tbsp sliced almonds, 3 oz Canadian bacon or ham, 1 cup wilted spinach (3 cups raw), 3 Tbsp feta cheese 

Lunches 

  • PB+B: 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter on 8 slices thin whole grain rye crisp bread, topped with 1.5 cups sliced berries 
  • Wrap: 10” whole wheat tortilla, 4 oz chicken breast, ½ cup shredded cabbage + carrot, ¼ avocado, Tbsp dressing. Apple on the side. 
  • Pasta salad: 1 cup cooked & chilled shells or macaroni, 6 oz oil-packed solid tuna, ½ cup white beans, ½ cup peas, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, diced green onion and herbs to taste 

Others have recently had similar questions. Read our answers here: Quick Eats While on the Road and The Mailman Diet. 

– 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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