Macros and Micros: What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot to be confused about when it comes to nutrition. Sometimes it seems like you need a nutrition dictionary just to keep up with all the terms you find in nutrition articles on the Internet: keto, pescatarian, ghee, kefir, freekeh, paleo, gorp, Dukan, Ayurveda, quinoa, Himalayan salt…it’s dizzying. Perhaps eventually I’ll have time to write about all of these (and more). But it’s important to walk before you run, and understanding the difference between “macros” and “micros” is a good place to start. “Macro” is short for macronutrient, while “micro” is short for micronutrient. “Macro” means big, “micro” means small. The list of macronutrients is pretty short: protein, fat, and car

Ask the RCW Dietitian: White Vegetables

Are white vegetables like cauliflower less nutritious than more colorful ones like broccoli? “Eat the rainbow” is a common suggestion from nutrition professionals to the public. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Skittles – it’s a prompt to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, which then provide a variety of nutrients. But what about white vegetables? There’s no white in the rainbow, so is there any reason to include them in our diet? Actually, there are lots of reasons. The foods that come to mind when white or colorless vegetables are discussed include cauliflower, onion, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, and potatoes. Yes, potatoes are often classified as a “grain” nutritional

Ask the RCW Dietitian: Artificial Sweeteners

Is it true that artificial sweeteners will keep you from losing weight? Artificial sweeteners have been on both sides of the weight loss debate. As they moved into our food supply to a greater extent in the 1980’s and 1990’s, they were marketed as a weight loss solution in opposition to consuming sugar. Over the past 10-15 years the shift towards more “natural” food and nutrition philosophies has reduced the enthusiasm towards these products. In July of this year, the 180 degree shift was completed when a large-scale review of research connected intake of artificial sweeteners with weight gain and the associated chronic diseases such as diabetes. How do we make sense of this? Let’s try. Ther

Explaining the “Keto” Craze

Have you heard the term “keto” lately? You may have a friend or relative who is trying out the “keto diet”, or maybe you’ve read about it on the Internet. The usual celebrities have vouched for it, including Gwyneth Paltrow (who apparently both follows and markets every diet imaginable), Kim Kardashian, and even Mick Jagger. But what is a keto diet? And does it have benefits? Let’s start with what it is. “Keto” is short for ketogenic. In a conventional diet, glucose – derived from carbohydrates – is the main source of fuel for the body’s cells. It’s the body’s preferred source of energy and the most efficient to use. When the body is deprived of glucose, however, it’s forced to use an altern

Ask the RCW Dietitian: Pregnancy

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. What should I be concerned about related to nutrition? A woman’s body needs some extra nutritional “building blocks” during pregnancy, and there are a few nutrients that are especially important to include. Folate – Also known as folic acid, adequate intake of this nutrient has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in newborns. Good food sources include greens like spinach and broccoli, legumes like pinto beans and lentils, and fortified grains like cereal or tortillas. Even if you eat these foods, a prenatal vitamin will help ensure folate needs are met. Iron – Growing a new human means making extr

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