Can You Eat Like a Nutritionist?

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Identify the Enemy

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Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds are all complex carbohydrates. These are not enemies to good health. They provide nutrients and fiber to slow the conversion and absorption of glucose. Empty or refined carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, bread, chips, crackers, cookies, candy, cake and sugary beverages are the enemies.

An average person consumes the equivalent of 52 spoonfuls (208 grams or about a half pound) of sugar per day! This glucose overload from sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or converted carbohydrates raises insulin and

Let’s just say that you have more than a casual interest in nutrition. For the sake of your digestive system and general health, it helps to eat like a nutritionist. In agricultural societies, meals can go from field to table on the very same day.

Capitalistic processing and marketing of food has led to competition for consumers tastebuds. Food selection is often based on appearance (artificial coloring) and taste (artificial flavoring)—not nutrition.

A Trip Behind Enemy Lines

Can You Eat Like a Nutritionist?

So you’re hungry in the middle of the day. A spicy bag of chips with bright yellow and red colors on top of the refrigerator sure looks good. A television commercial advertises piping hot french fries. That’s worth a quick trip across the street.

While making a selection from the visual menu board, it seems more cost-effective to get a meal deal, which includes a burger and soda. Later in the evening, a tamale with Spanish rice looks good for dinner.

These are all vision-based meal selections. If you think like a nutritionist, you realize you primarily consume non-fibrous carbohydrates and sugar that quickly convert to glucose. A limited amount of simple grain-based carbohydrates are required throughout the day for energy. Excess is stored as fat.

So that bag of chips and meal deal leave you at a deficit for protein. Sure there is some protein in the beef patty, but it can’t compensate for the bun, soda, fries, masa, and rice consumed today.

What’s the number-one reason why we snack on chips, soda and cookies? Because they are easily accessible. If you can’t stop filling your cart with addictions, perhaps someone else should shop for you. Various services allow you to have healthy meals ingredients delivered to your home throughout the week.

Successful Defense

With easily accessible healthy snacks, we reach for them to satisfy those gnawing cravings. So step one is buy less junk. Spend twenty minutes chopping several days worth of carrots and celery into bite-size pieces. Place these veggies in an air-tight container with fresh water and store in the refrigerator.

Because carrots are root vegetables, they absorb moisture. This enhances the texture and flavor so you can snack on them raw (without calorie-rich dressing or hot wings). Having a large batch of precut veggies also makes it easy to add them to salads, stir fry or pasta. (Whoops.)

Can You Eat Like a Nutritionist?

Refrigerate sliced carrots and celery in water so they are crisp, ready to add to healthy meals, or snack on.

In the sortable table below, notice how sugars and carbohydrates in a cup of celery compare to those of a few cookies or a candy bar. Remember, carbs quickly convert to sugar so they should be on your watch list. Note too that it only takes about 25 pretzels to reach an adult recommendation of 1500 mg of sodium per day (CDC recommends 2300 mg).

FoodServingSodiumCaloriesSugarsCarbs
Celery1 cup96mg190.8g3.6g
Carrots1 cup88mg526.1g12.3g
Cheez It Original Snack Crackers27 crackers (30g)250mg1601g18g
Lay's Barbecue Potato Chips35.4g190mg1902g19g
Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies3 cookies110mg16011g21g
Rolled Gold Classic Pretzels9 pretzels (27.6g)560mg110--23g
Snickers Bar2 oz140mg27126.2g34.5g

According to MayoClinic, based on a 2000-calorie-per-day-diet, 225 to 235 grams of good carbohydrates are recommended. If endeavoring to lose weight, less might be consumed. Snack food flavor selection can dramatically affect sodium, calories and carbo­hy­drates. People often combine snack foods and exceed suggested serving sizes.

Eating like a nutritionist requires having a basic idea of how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should be consuming on a daily basis. It is helpful to stay within prescribed guidelines for sodium and sugar.

So when hunger pangs arrest your attention, curb them with something that digests more slowly like carrot or celery sticks. Then drink a glass of water while you rationally consider more substantial healthy options.

It all starts with shopping habits. If all your snacks are refined carbs—chips, crackers, bread, cookies, Ramen noodles—then when you try to make wise choices during the day, you are nutritionally handicapped. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. Plan and prep healthy meals in advance.

To support the writing of useful articles about nutrition, ClinicalPosters sells human anatomy posters, scientific posters and other products online. Also shop for ClinicalPins that include more than lapel pins or leave an encourag­ing comment to keep the work going. Stay safe and A Bit More Healthy.

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate, artist, pro­gram­mer, and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites. He has 17 years experi­ence as a Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs graphics con­sul­tant.

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