Nutrition Q & A

From 2013 to 2016 I wrote the Nutrition Q&A for The Washington Post. In each column I provided research-based answers blended with practical pointers. Below you'll find the topics I covered and links to the complete articles on The Post's website. Enjoy the reliable reads!

February 10, 2014

Q: When you read a nutrition facts label for raw meat, is the fat content listed for raw or cooked weight? If it’s the cooked weight, is the manufacturer assuming the meat is rare or well done?

A: Good questions! Let’s unravel this starting with a few bites of background on meat and poultry nutrition labels. First, definitions. Meats, sometimes called red meats, includes beef, lamb, pork and veal and the less commonly eaten bison, emu, venison, etc. Poultry includes chicken, turkey and the less commonly eaten duck, hen, goose, etc.

In 1994, when the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 went into effect, our packaged foods got a facelift with the now familiar nutrition facts label.

January 25, 2014

Q: I’ve made up my mind: I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year by eating fewer calories and exercising more. Cutting down my breakfast calories is one challenge. My typical breakfast is 400 calories: three tablespoons of almond butter, two slices of low-calorie bread and one cup of fresh fruit. I could cut my calories to 200 by opting for a frozen low-calorie breakfast sandwich. Is this nutritional compromise worth the 200-calorie savings?

A: It’s January and the height of New Year’s resolutions season, so let me applaud you for tackling shedding those unwanted 20 pounds for good. It sounds like you realize your effort will take time, persistence and close examination of your current food choices. So true!

Breakfast is an important meal.

December 5, 2013

Q: I hear that incorporating flax into my eating plan is healthful. I see flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds and whole flaxseeds available. Do they provide the same nutrients? What are ways to use them?

A: Let’s sort through the facts on flax. Flaxseeds are the seed of the flax plant, which grows in cooler climates, such as in Canada and the northern United States...

November 6, 2013

Q: What should I eat if I’ve been told by my health-care provider that I have prediabetes? I’m confused by the conflicting messages I hear and read.

A: November is an apt month to answer this increasingly common question. It’s American Diabetes Month.

You didn’t detail the conflicting messages you’ve gotten, but as a dietitian and diabetes educator, I hear and read many....Read more...

October 8, 2013

Q: It seems like all my friends are trying one of the trendy diets — one’s on a juice cleanse, another’s going gluten-free (but doesn’t need to be); is all of this safe and healthy?

A: We constantly hear about the latest, greatest diet sure to, once and for all, help you shed unwanted pounds forever...

September 10, 2013

Q: Do all whole grains contain dietary fiber? What are other sources of fiber?

A: Your questions seem simple, but they’re not. Answering them, however, is important because they focus on two healthful eating goals: 1) Eat more whole grains and 2) Eat more dietary fiber...

August 13, 2013

Q: I think I eat pretty healthful, balanced meals. Do I still need a multivitamin and mineral supplement?

A: Here’s the bottom line. Most people who are healthy and eat healthfully don’t need a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.

July 16, 2013

Q: My boyfriend and I recently decided to start eating healthy together. After about six months of eating healthy meals (prepared by me!), he’s lost 15 pounds, and I’m up 5 pounds. What am I doing wrong?

A: Great question! First, kudos to you and your boyfriend for choosing to eat more healthfully and prepare more home-cooked meals...

June 18, 2013

Q: What’s the difference between sugar (white granulated sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup? Should I limit one more than the other for health reasons?

A: High-fructose corn syrup is a corn-based sweetener...