Puppy Chow and Health Halos

Recently I received an email from a friend of mine with a link to a “Healthy Puppy Chow” recipe. For those of you who didn’t click the link, here’s the ingredient list: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips ½ cup creamy cashew butter 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ cup water ¼ cup honey 7 cups of Quaker Oat Squares ½ cup chia seeds Looking over the recipe, I started thinking about the different ways people define the word “healthy”, and how eating behaviors might change if a dish or recipe was defined as such. Research on the health halo effect has indicated that when we label or perceive something as “healthy”, we are automatically more likely to eat larger portions of it – in some cases negating the bene

The Importance of Process-Oriented Thinking

“I just want to lose weight.” This is a common sentiment heard in dietitian offices all over the country (and probably the world). 75-80% of my consults in the six months I’ve spent at RCW have been with clients trying to establish weight-loss goals. The goal to lose weight can be appropriate in many cases, in particular when an individual is at risk for developing a chronic condition – like diabetes – or is trying to reduce their health complications from such a disease. But often there’s an implication that losing weight, no matter how it’s done, will automatically benefit health and should be pursued at whatever cost necessary. This is the wrong mindset. There are many ways that people lo

Correlation, Causation, Breakfast, and Weight Loss

Understanding the difference between correlation and causation is essential in being able to interpret nutrition information presented in the media. New studies related to nutrition come out virtually every day, and many of them end up in the headlines of your favorite newspaper, magazine, or website. Sometimes these studies can provide useful information, but often their results are presented in a misleading way. As a result, we end up forming beliefs that may not be reflected by the actual science. A great example of this is the connection between breakfast and weight loss. Every child hears the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Actually, we hear it as adults as wel

Ask the RCW Dietitian: Meal Replacement Products

When is it appropriate to use protein powders, shakes, and supplements to skip meals? Are these truly meal replacements or do you need to consider the caloric intake along with activity level? Are there long-term side effects with the shake crazes that are out there now such as Advocare or Isagenix? This is a complicated question and there are lots of variables to consider. Meal replacement shakes, bars, and other products have been around for a long time. SlimFast was probably the first well-known brand, but at this point there are so many brands out there it’s not worth listing them all. There are differences from one product to the next, but most of them are generally marketed as being ad

Bacon, Cigarettes, and Cancer: An Example of Misleading Headlines

“Bacon: As Big a Threat as Cigarettes for Cancer Risk” “Damning New Report from World Health Organization” “Shock Waves Sent Through Food and Farming Industries” In October of 2015, the World Health Organization released a report that bacon and processed meats (think sausages, hot dogs, and, yes, bratwurst) are being classified as “Class 1 Carcinogens”, essentially confirming that there is a definitive link between consumption of these foods and an increased risk of cancer. This was a determination based on an accumulation of data from good research. Media outlets quickly jumped on this information and began equating consumption of these meats with the risks of several other items on the lis

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