To Wash or Not Wash Organic Fruit?

To Wash or Not Wash Organic Fruit?

Question:

If you buy organic fruit, do you have to peel the skin (e.g., from apple)? Do you have to still wash the fruit thoroughly?

– Michael J.

Answer:

Dashing out the door, I’ll admit that sometimes if my fruit is organic I won’t take time to wash it. But I should! Though organic produce is not treated with pesticides or herbicides, there is the chance for contamination from the spraying of nearby fields, handling, and processing. Cold germs can even get on your fruit at the grocery store from other shoppers. In a review of over 200 studies, researchers found that organic produce was equally likely to be infected with E. coli compared with conventional produce*. Yes, wash your fruit thoroughly! No need to peel it.

For further reading see our July 2018 article What No One Tells You About Organic Produce

* Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review. C Smith-Spangler, et al. Annual of Internal Medicine. Sept 2012; 157(5): 348-366.

– 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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Airline Crew – Healthy Food Options

Airline Crew – Healthy Food Options

Question:

Could you recommend any best practices, storage methods, perishable and non-perishable food items, protein shakes, or other helpful tips for flight attendants or airline crew who desire to eat healthily but have limited access to refrigeration or healthy food options while on 3-5 day work trips?

– Ryjean R.

Answer:

The two flight attendants I asked replied that they usually bring hard boiled eggs, avocados, salsa, sealed chicken apple sausages, green smoothie singles, lots of sturdy fruits like apples and oranges, nuts and seeds, carrots, jicama, and celery sticks with almond butter. For meals: vacuum-packed brown and white rice (can be served cold with cheese cubes and peas/corn), pasta salad with diced ham, or some frozen items like homemade casseroles or chicken curriesmicrowave required. Having a good cooler is essential!

Also see our previous answer to another flight question – What meals can I pack that will keep for up to 5 days, and that will help me lose weight?

– 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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Recommended Reading - Q+A

Does Camphorated Oil Burn Fat?

Does Camphorated Oil Burn Fat?

Question:

Does camphorated oil burn fat?

– Margaret

Answer:

Camphor is an insoluble, waxy, flammable, white or transparent solid with a strong aroma (typically from Asian evergreen trees or basil) that is used in skin balms and liniments.

You may get a different answer from a company or person promoting sales of it, but nutritionally camphor oil has NO proven effect on weight status, metabolism or body fat. Oral intake is not recommended as side effects include mouth and throat burning, nausea and vomiting. Ingestion of camphor can lead to coma and death.

Note that in the 1980s, “camphorated oil” (20% camphor in cottonseed oil) was removed from the US market because of safety concerns. Use of products containing more than 11% camphor is not recommended.  Diluted camphorated oils are only for topical or aromatic use in the treatment of infections, cold/cough, and respiratory disorders, sleeplessness, skin conditions, pain and swelling.

Resources:

  1. CAMPHOR WebMD 8/24/2018 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-709/camphor
  2. CAMPHOR PubChem Open Chemistry Database 8/24/2018 https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/d-camphor#section=Top

– 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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Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Question:

I’ve had my body fat tested via Dexascan and my metabolism calculated via a breathing test. The determination was that I should be consuming no more than 2,103 calories and no fewer than 1,700 calories daily.

I prefer to eat only 1,700 calories whenever possible — and work out (weights & cardio) a few days each week in order to create an even greater deficit. It’s my understanding that, for me, eating fewer than 1,700 calories daily can result in a “starvation response” whereby I’ll actually retain fat instead of burning it.

My Question: Since fiber isn’t used for energy or stored — but is counted as a carb worth 4 calories/gram on nutritional labels and calorie-tracking apps — should I deduct from my daily totals the caloric value of the fiber I eat in order to stay out of “starvation mode”?

For example, say I’ve eaten 1,700 calories today, but that included 35g of fiber, which equals 140 calories. That dips my actual daily calories roughly 10% — to 1,560 — and into the starvation-mode territory. Should I compensate for those “missing” fiber calories with more food, or is my logic flawed and fiber actually DOES count toward my macros/calories?

– Darin S.

Answer:

Great question, Darin! Fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates from plant sources that may be fermented in the large intestine. Considered a subset of the total carbohydrate, dietary fiber is listed under carbohydrates on a Nutrition Facts panel. It includes both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as lignin, whether naturally occurring or added.

Yes, since fiber is not digested (thus not used for energy or stored), it’s known to have less than the 4 calories per gram than other carbohydrates do. In fact, certain fibers offer almost 0 calories, while others provide only a smidge of energy after their fermentation by colonic bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that fermentable fibers provide about 2 calories per gram. Manufacturers may subtract the insoluble fibers when calculating energy, but not soluble fiber grams. Half of your stated 140 calories calculated from the fiber may already have been considered on food labels, leaving only 70 calories or 4% of your daily target of 1,700.

My recommendation would be to not compensate for any “missing” fiber calories, as people, in general, tend to under-report food intake when tracking and diet analysis calculations are already inaccurate by 10%. Maintain your protein intake when restricting calories and I’d suggest bumping your pre- or post-exercise nutrition up by 100 calories on your workout days.

Rather than focus on fiber in calorie-counting accuracy, readers should instead focus on getting the recommended amount of fiber each day, which has recently increased. As of 2016, the FDA the daily reference value of fiber was raised from 25 grams to 28 grams.

Resource

  1. Carbohydrate Issues: Type and Amount. ML Wheeler and FX Pi-Sunyer. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2008; Suppl 1, 108(4): s34-39.

– 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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Recommended Reading - Q+A

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Question:

I have a question on sweet potatoes. Someone told me that eating one sweet potato before a workout is a great source of energy and it does not contain any bad cholesterol. What is your take on this?

– Nick C.

Answer:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy! They are full of complex carbohydrates (25 grams = 100 calories) for lasting fuel with a little protein (approx. 2 grams per cup). Sweet potatoes do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. They have a good fiber content, providing 4 grams per medium potato, which is beneficial for watching your cholesterol.

They are so easy to microwave and eat with a spoon right from the peel when sliced length-wise. No condiments needed! Kept cold, chunks of cooked sweet potato can be dressed up to make savory or sweet. Avoid fried sweet potato pre-workout as you don’t need the added fat slogging you down and hampering performance.

Resource:

  1. What’s to Know About Sweet Potatoes? Megan Ware. Medical News Today, Sept 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

– 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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Recommended Reading - Q+A

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