RD Q&A vol. 22

I’ve decided to try to organize the Q&A’s. Volumes seemed appropriate! Happy Friday, everyone! Here we go with your questions!!!

Francesca: I wanted to ask you a quick question about whey protein powder. It’s my understanding that consuming whey protein is detrimental to your kidneys since the protein is so concentrated and it’s hard for the kidneys to process it, which sometimes results in kidney issues. Is this true? If so, should I skip the powder altogether or is there a safe “dose” to consume?

Prevention RD: Questions like this are so interesting to me! This is along the lines of “the colon needs cleansing” – untrue. Healthy kidneys can process larger doses of protein at a time. That said, excessive protein intake over time can be taxing on the body, including the kidneys. To answer your question, whey protein is absolutely safe. As for how much protein one should intake, a general rule of thumb I use is no more than 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram* of body weight for those that are moderately active. The DRI for protein is 0.8 grams a day and most Americans more than meet this recommendation. 🙂

*1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

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Hilary: Why does nutritional yeast cause me to have horrible intestinal bloating and pressure? I know some of the health benefits of using it in recipes, and I want to use it, but I am always overcome by these very uncomfortable symptoms when I consume it…. so I don’t. What makes these symptoms occur? Any tips for easier, comfortable digestion of nutritional yeast or animal-free substitutes in recipes?

Prevention RD: Nutritional yeast is PACKED with vitamins, particularly the B vitamins which are water soluble. With such large doses, the gut can experience some discomfort (the vitamins are soluble in the water). If I had to guess, being well hydrated and drinking lots of fluids with the meal containing the nutritional yeast may help. Other than that, I’m not sure what you can do other than use very small amounts of nutritional yeast and monitor your symptoms. Rest assured, I’ve heard this same complaint and experienced it myself! Hope you get some relief and are able to add it into you meals!!

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STH: My sister is on the Ideal Protein diet and, frankly, I’m worried about how safe it is.  The diet is VERY restrictive–no carbs of any kind, no dairy, no nuts, no beans, and only certain vegetables (no carrots, for instance) and only very limited exercise is allowed.  She basically eats steak, salad, and the treats she buys from the diet sponsor.  She’s lost about 70 pounds on it, but has plateaued with 50 or 60 to go, which means she’s been on this diet for almost a year and a half, with no end in sight.  I just don’t see how this can be healthy, and she hasn’t learned anything from this experience about healthy eating, so I fear that she’ll gain all the weight back once she goes off the diet.  I’d be interested to hear what you think about this.

Prevention RD: Honestly, it breaks my heart to hear that. One of the biggest red flags on whether or not a diet is “safe” and “sound” is if it omits entire food groups. The food groups exist for a reason — they each emphasize different macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Eating from each food groups constitutes a balanced diet. Then to restrict exercise? RED FLAGS EVERYWHERE! Also, see the first question on today’s Q&A. I would venture to guess that she’s intaking an unsafe amount of protein and it can cause damage to her kidneys if she were to continue restricting carbohydrates long-term. All that said, you’re in a tough spot. She can argue that she’s lost a lot of weight and is “healthier”. People who have found success with weight loss (even if temporary) will obviously take offense and put up their guard if someone critiques their methodology. Even still, this restrictive diet has been going on for a long time. If you haven’t done so already, I would speak with her about the safety of this diet. I would be happy to email with her, as well. Hugs to your sister.

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Hilary: Fun question…what’s your favorite non-produce edible to pick up at a farmer’s market?

Prevention RD: Our new farmer’s market in Michigan has these great whole wheat pizza doughs that are par-baked. It makes pizza night way faster than starting with yeast, water, and flour! 🙂 Honey, maple syrup, and local grass-fed meats are always favorites, too!

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Lindsay of Life and Kitchen: I have a coworker who’s sister is a dietitian and recommends that her clients only use spray butter because it is “healthier.”  Is spray butter really healthier than real butter?

Prevention RD: Personally, I don’t buy spray butter (but I love my Misto to spray olive oil!). Spray butter is lower in calories and fat, by a LOT, but the ingredient list is quite lengthy and definitely not “natural”. The recent trend has been towards less processed and more “whole” foods, which spray butter would not qualify. It’s really up to the consumer as to what they value most – more whole, unprocessed foods or those lower in calories. All that said, my hospital is supposed to be trans fat free and I just found liquid Blue Bonnet in the fridge that contained hydrogenated oil (trans fat). Eek! Label reading is key! But I guess to answer your question, I don’t agree or disagree, I would assess each client or patient individually and tailor my recommendation to their goals.

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Jan: To save time is it OK to freeze chicken breast with a marinade in the bag or will this cause the chicken to “break down ” from too much of a good thing?

Prevention RD: Yep! If the marinade is extremely acidic it may be subject to some breakdown but nothing detrimental to the end product. 🙂 Good question!

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Lindsay of Life and Kitchen:  I read that whole milk is healthier than low fat/skim because chemicals (or something like that!) has to be added to low fat to give it a milky texture.  What kind of milk do you recommend?

Prevention RD: Hmm, I can’t believe I’ve never heard this before! I buy skim milk because it is lower in calories and fat-free. Unfortunately, the fat in milk is saturated fat which is one we want to limit. My top priority when buying milk is that it is from cows not treated with hormone (rBHT). As for chemicals and additives, just be sure to check out the ingredient list (anything added to milk must be listed by law). I walked to my fridge to check out my label and all that’s in there is skim milk and vitamins A and D. Any information on this you could pass along, I’d love to read!

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Andrea: I have a cooking technique question.. I’ve making making several different kinds of truffles lately and I was wondering how you get the coating so smooth. Every time I make them, they are no where near smooth and then I get finger marks from where I picked it up. help! 🙂

Prevention RD: Here’s a little trick I learned when making buckeyes for the first time — use paraffin wax! It’s perfectly harmless to eat and it makes truffles and other chocolate-coated treats smooth, hard, and shiny! You can find paraffin wax in any grocery store near the canning goods and you just melt it along with the chocolate. Simple! 🙂

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As always, feel free to leave your question below in a comment, on Facebook, or email it to me at preventionrd at gmail dot com!

Donna is coming into town tonight! We have big plans of kayaking, microbrew drinking, and girl talk! 😀

Happy weekend!

Be well,

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9 Comments

  1. July 20, 2012 / 6:23 am

    Wonderful – as usual 🙂 I keep trying to think of some questions to ask you but I never seem to remember them after they float through my head lol. Next time I’ll write them down because I’d love to get your professional opinion on a few things!

  2. July 20, 2012 / 6:58 am

    I feel Hilary’s pain!! So many of the animal-free proteins cause me gas and pressure (beans…ahem, and even cottage cheese and portobellos). I’ve never had problems with Nutritional Yeast, but perhaps, like you said, she’s using too much? Or….and this is way out there…perhaps she is sensitive to MSG???

  3. July 20, 2012 / 8:25 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to use paraffin wax in chocolate peanut butter balls! People look at me like I have 3 heads or start telling me how damaging it is. I say “I’ve been eating them like that since I was a kid and I’m still kicking!” Oil makes them nasty and the chocolate doesn’t harden the same.

  4. July 20, 2012 / 8:28 am

    I have a question about egg beaters. My husband insists that they are better than eggs because they don’t have cholesterol. I think that eggs are healthier because they are more natural. What do you think?

    Also, have you heard of people getting stomach aches from certain brands of Stevia? Truvia, Pura Via, they all give me a stomach ache but regular stevia does not. Do you have any idea why?

  5. July 20, 2012 / 11:11 am

    Great questions and answers!! Enjoy your weekend Nicole!

  6. STH
    July 20, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    Thank you so much for answering my question, Nicole! You confirmed what I suspected about that diet. Unfortunately, I’ve already talked to my sister and my mother (who’s close to her) and they think that since the diet is sponsored by the local hospital and “medically supervised,” it must be fine. And, frankly, I think my sister believes on some level that if she were thin, all her problems would be solved and she’d live happily ever after. I don’t know how you argue with something like that. I will keep what you wrote in the back of my mind, though, and if the occasion arises, I’ll talk to her about it again. I appreciate your help very much!

    Oh, and an update on my diabetic boyfriend: after 6 weeks on the STH healthy eating program (I should patent it!) and a statin, his cholesterol is down from 220 to 112, sky-high triglycerides are now normal, and he’s lost 8 pounds! His doc says if he loses 25 more pounds, he can drop the Metformin. He came home after his appointment, gave me a big smooch, and thanked me profusely for all my healthy cooking! W00T!

  7. July 20, 2012 / 9:47 pm

    I love when you answer questions!

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