Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Don’t judge a dietitian by her or his cover

On a number of occasions I’ve had people remark to me “Oh, I’d actually take advice from you!” upon learning that I’m a dietitian. Apparently this is because I’m a fairly small, fit individual. Even though this comment is always intended to be a compliment, and I appreciate it. However, at the same time, it always irks me a little. My size and fitness level have no bearing on my nutrition knowledge or my ability to provide nutrition counselling. Sure, it might seem that I practice what I preach (and I certainly try to!) but a person can be a healthy weight, and even physically fit, without eating a nutritious diet. Conversely, I know many people who eat healthily but are not physically fit. Oftentimes our own healthy habits fall to the wayside when we’re busy, this is independent of profession. I know that judging a book by its cover is difficult to avoid, but please try to remember that dietitians are people too and as such we come in all different shapes and sizes.


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The DL on “green coffee extract”

Sorry about the hiatus there over the weekend. Don’t worry; I wouldn’t abandon you like that! I was just busy driving halfway across the country for a workcation. During my travels I noticed a new pair of “Refreshers” beverages that Starbucks is promoting. The Very Berry and Cool Lime Refreshers™ Beverages allow you to “rethink how you energize” with green coffee extract. They give coffee haters a way to enjoy coffee without any of the actual taste of actual coffee.

I was curious what this “green coffee extract” was so I picked-up one of their little brochures. It turns out that green coffee extract is… wait for it…. caffeine! That’s right, just good old fashioned caffeine. The fact that it comes from green coffee beans is completely irrelevant except to Starbucks clever marketers. I hate to break it to you but these “moderate-calorie” afternoon pick-me-ups still contain 70-90 calories in a grande (that’s about 66-86 more calories than a grande black coffee) all of which come from sugar. If it’s the caffeine boost you’re looking for, these drinks have considerably less caffeine than brewed coffee or espresso. Refreshers™ are no replacement for coffee. If you don’t like coffee you’re much better off with tea than you are with these beverages.

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Follow Friday: @offthehookcsf

A little more local love before I leave town again. This follow Friday goes out to Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery, Canada’s first community supported fishery. They’re a great local business that provides fresh fish to members on a weekly basis. You can pick up your share (they offer a couple of options so you can select to best suit your fish needs) from various locations throughout Nova Scotia.

Off the Hook uses the most sustainable methods of commercial fishing: bottom line and hook. To learn more about their methods you can check out their informative website.

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NS gets trendy, goes gluten-free

I’m really disappointed in the CBC’s reporting with this recent story on gluten-free foods in Nova Scotia. When I clicked on the link to read the story I was thinking “Isn’t it nice that N.S. is getting some positive recognition.” Then I started reading the brief article. It starts off fine, mentioning increasing diagnoses of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Sadly, it then goes on to quote a naturopath on his 75% diagnosis rate of gluten intolerance in his patients. Why, CBC, would you only quote a naturopath? Their diagnosis methods are not even remotely scientifically sound. Could you not get someone from the Celiac Association or a medical doctor to at least lend some credibility balance to your story? The quoting of a naturopath doesn’t negate the fact that Nova Scotia is seeing great advances in the availability of gluten-free foods. It also doesn’t negate the fact that access to such foods can greatly improve the lives of individuals suffering from celiac disease or a gluten allergy. However, for me at least, it automatically gets my back up.

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Nut nutrition

I find the peanut often gets a bad rap. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps it’s seen as “common” in comparison to other more exotic nuts like macadamia nuts (yes, I know, the peanut is technically a legume and not a nut at all). Perhaps it’s because it’s the cause of anaphylactic shock in people with severe nut allergies and as a result it has been banned from many schools. What ever the reason, it’s still a great source of nutrients and doesn’t deserve to be looked down upon.

When it comes to nuts, there really is no clear winner in the nutrient department. They all have different nutrient profiles and can all play roles in a healthy diet. If you were wondering which nut has the most protein, the least saturated fat, or the most calcium, or other some other nutrient, look no further than this handy dandy little chart I’ve compiled for you:

Nut variety Protein (g) CHO (g) Fat (g) Sat. Fat (g) kCal Fibre (g) Ca (mg) Mg (mg) K (mg) Zn (mg) Se (micrograms)
Peanuts 8.8 8.0 18.4 2.6 217 3.0 20 65 244 1.2 2.8
Almonds 7.7 6.8 18.5 1.4 209 4.1 93 100 261 1.2 1.0
Cashews 5.3 11.4 16.1 3.2 199 1.0 16 90 196 2.0 4.1
Walnuts 3.9 3.5 16.5 1.6 166 1.7 25 40 112 0.8 1.2
Pecans 2.7 3.8 20.7 1.8 198 2.6 20 37 118 1.4 1.1
Pistachios 6.7 8.6 14.3 1.7 178 3.2 34 37 325 0.7 2.9
Brazil nuts 5.1 4.4 23.6 5.4 233 2.7 57 133 234 1.4 680.6

All values are based on a 60 mL/37 g serving of dry roasted nuts and rounded to one decimal place.