On this week’s Q&A session…
Lee of In My Tummy: My fiancé is trying to lose weight. Let’s just say for arguments sake that he eats 1600 calories a day. He will go his entire work shift without eating and the come home and eat a 1200 calorie dinner with a couple snacks several hours afterward. He claims that he’s not hungry for breakfast and that he’s too busy at work. Is this way of eating hindering his weight loss? I say that even though he’s eating the correct amount of calories for weight loss, his body thinks it’s starving, so it’s holding onto the fat. Is this actually true? Does the time that you eat your meals matter? Thanks!
Prevention RD: A gold star for you! Going long periods of time without eating, or back-loading your day with calories (heavy dinner, skimping throughout the day) is not ideal for weight-loss. While weight loss is a mathematical equation, there are a lot of factors that can hinder weight-loss efforts. The importance of breakfast is no myth and there’s a lot of research in support of having a larger breakfast each day to support weight-loss efforts. Having breakfast meal revs up the body to be a fuel burning (calorie-burning) machine throughout the day. So many times I get, “But if I eat breakfast, I’m hungry before lunch.” Probably so – the metabolism is working efficiently for a change! When we condition our bodies to know what it’s getting before it even happens, we can stall out and see a weight-loss plateau. Eating intermittently throughout the day and varying intake from day-to-day is the best way to keep things moving on the scale. And just like you described, it sounds like your fiancé has put his body into “starvation mode” where it does not want to lose weight because it’s either 1) not getting adequate calories, and/or 2) the calories he intakes are not diverse, varying from day-to-day, or spread out appropriately throughout the day. We have to understand that we are engineered to hold on to fat – we never lose fat cells, they only shrink and grow in size as we gain and lose weight (this is why re-gaining weight is so easy!). So tell your fiancé to have 3 meals a day (and possibly snacks in between if he’s hungry!), and to not back-load his day with calories. He should also aim to include 5-9 fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and adequate protein and exercise to produce lasting and successful weight loss. Thanks for the great question, and good luck to your fiancé!
Holly: I’ve got a lot of recipes that I like, but I know all of that white flour and white sugar is not the best. So…1) What is whole wheat white flour? Is it a good substitute? How do I use it in baking? 2) I’ve read that whole wheat flour cannot be replaced for white flour because it can throws off the baking chemistry. Is there a general rule about half white, half whole wheat, etc? and 3) I’ve heard that sucanat is the best kind of sugar to use. I feel like it does not incorporate into ingredients as well when I bake… any suggestions?
Prevention RD: I’ll address this in sections just as you broke it down! 1) Whole wheat white flour is wheat flour milled from an albino wheat versus the standard whole wheat flour which is milled from red wheat. The albino wheat has a softer texture, is lighter in color, and is sweeter and milder in flavor, yet it is still a whole wheat with all its benefits. 2) Various flours have different amounts of protein and so there are some recipes that do better with complete substitutions than others. What’s generally always “safe” and produces a good product is a 50/50 blend of whole wheat (white) flour and all-purpose flour. If you do opt for a full whole-wheat substitute (woot!), there are a few steps you can take to ensure your results are favorable. First, sift whole wheat flour – it is heavier and denser than all-purpose. Further, you can add a bit more of each wet ingredient and/or reduce cooking time. Also, avoid over-mixing which causes dense glutens to form. 3) Sucanat (cane sugar) probably works well in some recipes (cookies) and not so well in others (cakes, pies, bread) due to the size of the sugar granules. What you could try is grinding the sugar a bit more into finer crystals which would probably help the batter to have more evenly distributed sugar throughout. Brown sugar and agave nectar are great options, too! Great questions – I hope this helps some! I am easing into baking, it’s not my forte!
Heather of Get Healthy with Heather: I eat a ton of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I know for sure that I get over the recommended daily intake for fiber. Are there any downsides, other than the ehem… toots 😉 from eating too much fiber?
Prevention RD: Hehe! Toots are harmless but loads of fiber can also cause constipation if fluid intake does not increase along with fiber consumption. Can you ever get TOO much fiber if it’s incorporated healthfully? Nah, but the benefits of fiber likely plateau off after the recommended daily intakes (25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men) have been reached each day. Remember to get your fiber from whole grain sources, as well as legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Many products are adding fiber analogs (such as inulin – that found in Fiber One bars, for example) to increase the fiber content and their efficacy for use is not yet proven. Great question!
John of 2010: Time to Challenge Myself: Should I should toss the potassium out with the salt?
Prevention RD: Nope, not unless you have a kidney disease or diagnosed hyperkalemia (high potassium). The diet is rarely a cause for too little or too much potassium as many foods contain potassium. It’s an essential electrolyte in the body and serves no dangers like those of sodium. Great question! 🙂
Got a nutrition-related question you want an answer for? Send your question to me at PreventionRD@gmail.com! 🙂
Sundays are our lazy day — I play ice-hockey and we take the dog to the dog park when it’s nice. Other than that, I try to prepare a special dinner on Sundays…maybe something a bit more labor-intensive than the week days allow for. This Sunday I made a new salmon dish and it did not disappoint (especially the marinade!) Yum!!
Salmon with Black Bean & Mango Salsa
Adapted from the Pickleypear.com
3 salmon filets
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Marinate for 20 minutes (or longer, if desired)
Black Bean Salsa:
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1 soft mango, diced
a pinch of ground cumin
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped cilantro, to taste
1 fresh limes, juiced
1 red onion, chopped
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
few grinds freshly ground pepper
Bake salmon at 350* for 25 minutes. Top with salsa when plating.
Don’t forget to enter into the Larabar Giveaway! It ends tomorrow!
(Selfish) Question-of-the-Day: If you were teaching a cooking class for 40 people, what would you prepare?