14 Questions Nutritionists Get Asked the Most

What is the best food a person can eat?

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This is an easy question to answer, says Jackie Newgent, RDN, author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, and spokesperson for KIND Snacks. Her verdict? You can never go wrong with lots of non-starchy vegetables. “I advise aiming to fill half of every mealtime plate or bowl with vegetables like spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, zucchini, or salad greens,” she says. “Yes, even at breakfast-time!” It’s also backed by science: Eating more vegetables can help you lose weight and manage your blood sugar, according to a study published in Nutrients.

Bottom line: There’s a reason vegetables are the common variable in every single diet out there. Veggies are packed with fiber and nutrients, they fill you up, and you can eat as many as you want for very few calories.

Should I snack or not?

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On the one hand, you hear it’s good to eat every two hours to keep your metabolisms revving and to keep yourself from getting so overly hungry that you lose control. On the other hand, you also hear that it’s best to cut out all snacks and “fast” for a certain number of hours every day. If you’re confused about how often to eat, you’re not alone, Newgent says. “Snacking may help fill in nutrient gaps, keep you satisfied, and potentially prevent overeating at mealtime,” she says. Her favorite snacks combine a protein with produce, such as hummus and veggies or nuts and fruit.

Bottom line: Snacks should be small portions, but some people overeat them. If snacking is a trigger for you, don’t do it. Bottom line, it’s best to eat when you’re hungry; abstain when you’re not. Every person needs to find what works for them personally. Here are 30 of our favorite snacks.

Should I go gluten-free?

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Gluten, the protein found in grains like wheat and barley, has gotten a bad rap—and that’s a shame, says Monica Auslander Moreno, RDN, consultant for RSP Nutrition. “Whenever someone asks me if they should go gluten- or dairy- or whatever-free, I point out that just because it’s a trend does not make it appropriate for you,” she explains. “There are certainly medically indicated reasons for these ‘elimination diets’ but it is not prudent advice for the general population, and can actually result in nutrient deficiencies, disordered eating, and microbiome disturbances when certain proteins like gluten and dairy are cut out.”

Bottom line: Unless you have a medical condition that prohibits eating a particular food group, there is no need for you to cut it out, she says. Next, read on for the 19 ‘healthy’ food rules nutritionists regularly ignore.

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