Day 3, here we come. But first, a few pictures of the “fun”…
Okay, now onto the Q&A
Jess from Flying on Jess Fuel: Can you suggest some of the best yogurts with highest culture counts?
Prevention RD: Great question, Jess! Activia (3 strains), Oikos (5 strains), and Kefir (12 strains) are some of the most popular and easiest to find yogurts with the highest number of cultures and CFU’s. There’s many more out there, but why talk about products no one can find? There are two things to consider with cultures – the number of bacterial strands and the number of CFU’s (culture forming units). The more of each, the better. Yogurt can be a tricky beast because so many of the flavored varieties include tons of sugar. One serving of flavored yogurt can contain over 20 grams of sugar! My personal pick would be which ever plain variety you enjoy (I love the plain Kefir as a drinkable yogurt that can be added to fruit smoothies), without adding in too much sugar. As a side note, many companies will offer up the number of bacteria strands, but not necessarily CFU’s. As usual, it’s hard to be a consumer…but this is my $0.02!
Eva of Eva Bakes: What differences, if any, are there between grocery store-bought eggs and ones I’d get at a local farmer’s market or farm? Do organic or natural eggs actually have any added benefits?
Prevention RD: Nutritionally, no difference…unless they are fed a diet rich in omega 3’s, in which case the yolk will contain omega 3’s (this can be regardless of organic vs. inorganic). Organic eggs have to do with the diet the chickens are fed – organic vs. non-organic (potential for pesticide-containing feed). Eggs can be hard to purchase with the considerations of cage free/free range (ethics), organics (pesticides), and diet (grain/organic). With each step in a the earth-friendly, “healthier” direction, the price tag will increase from about $1.20/dozen to $5/dozen. It really boils down to personal choice more than nutrition.
Lena: Vitamin Water seems to be really popular here in Singapore. But is it worth anything? Or is it just watered down kool aid :)? Does it help provide those extra vitamins?
Prevention RD: It’s not going to harm a healthy adult to take in the added vitamins and minerals, but 120 calories and over 30 grams of sugar might! I am pretty certain there are low-calorie or calorie-free versions, as well…but then I could argue for and against artificial sweeteners My impression of Vitamin Water is that they are very good advertisers. Will 100% of Vitamin A help me “focus” (yes, they have a flavor called “Focus”) at work? I sure wish, however nearly no one in the US is deficient in Vitamin A…or the B vitamins. Vitamin E is the most “valuable” addition, and it’s only in about half of the flavors. As for antioxidants, those are best coming from whole food sources, like fruits and vegetables. Vitamin waters offer a small leg up on regular soda, but probably not worth the cash.
Rumana: Hey Nicole, could explain why people say that vegetable oil (including canola) is bad and that you should avoid it like the plague?
Prevention RD: I’m really glad you asked this question! To start, “vegetable oils” would include canola, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oil (I may be missing a few). Hundreds of years ago, we didn’t derive oil from these plants and the process by which it is extracted is where in lies some of its opposition. Nutritionally, canola oil offers up the lowest amount of saturated fat, which we want to limit in the diet. I posted about canola oil back in May of 2010 and I still feel the same way. Here’s the post: Is Canola Oil Good for You?.
Let’s take a look at this graph (which I love and used when teaching college nutrition courses):
You can clearly see fat proportions this way. Ideally, you want less red (saturated) and blue (omega 6) and more orange (omega 3). That said, canola and flaxseed oil clearly win out. Flaxseed oil is the winner here, however, it is quite expensive. I would choose olive oil as a second choice because of its moderate saturated fat content and low omega 6 content. It is also a more “natural” choice. You can see that the other vegetable oils don’t offer up much of any omega 3 and tend to be high in omega 6’s.
You may be wondering about omega 3’s vs. omega 6’s and why we won’t want too many omega 6’s. I mean, they sound healthy…right? In the American diet, we have PLENTIFUL amounts of omega 6’s and we really don’t want any more. Our body prefers to keep a healthy ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s and ideally that ratio should be lower to help prevent everything from heart disease to breast cancer to rheumatoid arthritis. Many sources believe that humans started with a 1:1 ratio and we have evolved to intake up to a 1:17 ratio in America (a good goal would be 1:3 to 1:5). In short, we need less vegetable oils, such as corn, sunflower, and soy (sources of omega 6’s) and more flax, walnuts, and fish (sources of omega 3’s) to keep this ratio balanced. Personally, I think canola oil can help people obtain this goal as it is so plentiful in omega 3 fatty acids, but it’s not the only way to get’em in!
Thanks for all the wonderful questions!
Have a question YOU would love answered? Please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at preventionrd at gmail dot com! Thanks for all the wonderful questions…hope you find the answers helpful!