Monday, September 30, 2013

Fat Quality Does Make a Difference


For years there has been debate around which fats are the best to consume with most evidence pointing to consuming Omega- 3’s and limiting all other fats. Recently some reports have suggested that coconut oil is okay or that saturated fats aren’t so bad after-all, so what Are the Facts? Current scientific evidence seems to indicate that saturated fats need to be limited – so consume less animal fat (fish is an exception here) – and plant fats – canola, olive, soybean, sunflower oils and seeds, nuts and nut butter – are better.

Two weeks ago I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the International Experts Movement on Health Significance of Fat Quality (IEM) and researchers provided the latest science on How fat quality impacts risk for disease. The presentations identified the following points -

* Reduce saturated fats and use unsaturated fats likes nuts, nut butters, seeds, oils and margarines made from oil instead

* Control carbohydrates by choosing fruits, vegetables and whole grains – Not fat free foods

* Use oily fish more often – salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring

* AVOID trans fats, palm oil and coconut oil

For more scientific information and tips for use visit –

September is “Fruits and Veggies - More Matters” Month


While summer produce might be slowing down fall produce continues to provide a good variety of options and color at local markets and hopefully on your menu. If you find that keeping fresh produce “fresh” is a challenge, a new guide from the Produce for Better Health Foundation might help.

This handout outlines which produce should be stored in the refrigerator, which should stay at room temperature and which need a little time on the counter before going into the refrigerator. The handout also talks about proper produce cleaning tips to ensure that your produce is free from potential foodborne bacteria.

Before heading to the market this week take a look at this handout at -

Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD, FAND

Director of University Nutrition

Monday, September 23, 2013

Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products


Last year a news report looked at arsenic in rice and it generated lots of concerns. Now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a follow-up report that indicates that the levels of inorganic arsenic, the toxic form of arsenic, are too low to cause immediate health damage.

The FDA tested more than 1300 samples of rice and rice products and found a range in the amount of arsenic in the samples. In rice grains, the range was from 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms/servings, with instant rice having the lowest amount and brown rice the highest. When it comes to rice based foods the range was from 0.1 to 6.6 micrograms per serving, with infant formula at the low end and rice pasta at the high end.

While the FDA plans to continue assessing the health risks of rice consumption over a long period of time they do have some current recommendations.

The FDA recommends that -

* Consumers focus on a well balanced eating plan – get plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy and grain foods.

* Choose a variety of grains – enjoy wheat, barley, quinoa, oats, wild rice which is a grass not really a rice, and other grains

* Choose a variety of grains for infants first solid food rather than only choosing rice cereal

For more information on arsenic and rice visit For help with your diet, contact a Registered Dietitian. You can find a Registered Dietitian at

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do you Know your Phytochemicals and Phytonutrients?


You’ve probably heard the words phytochemicals and phytonutrients but do you know what they really are or why they are important? The both terms have the same beginning and that is because both words refer to plants, so phytochemicals are plant chemicals and phytonutrients are plant nutrients but the two are often used interchangeably.

Phytochemicals and phytonutrients both refer to a wide variety of compounds in plant foods that provide health benefits beyond those of traditional vitamins and minerals. You might recognize words like antioxidants, carotenoids or flavonoids all of which are a category of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are thought to help in the prevention of heart disease and several forms of cancer along with the promotion of bone and skin health so including them in your diet is important to your overall health.

Fruits and vegetables can easily fit into any meal or snack so take advantage of fall produce to vary your diet and promote your health. Learn more about phytochemicals by visiting Fruits and Veggies More Matters at -

Connie Diekman, M.ED., RD, CSSD, LD

Directory of University Nutrition

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eat Seasonally for Flavor and Nutrition


Enjoying produce when it is at its peak makes your dining experience better and it can also boost the nutrition in the foods you choose. When fruits and vegetables are consumed in season they tend to have more nutrients due to the better growing environment and often they are more recently picked thus preserving some of the more sensitive vitamins and minerals.

In addition to providing more flavor, and potentially more nutrition, eating seasonally often means you are purchasing foods that were grown closer to your home – a benefit to your community. Locally grown produce also helps the environment since transportation time is shorter, meaning less fuel usage.

If you’re working to include more produce in your meals but have run out of good ideas a great resource for tips on how to prepare fruits and vegetables, find recipe ideas and even lists of what items are in season, visit

Connie Diekman, M.Ed, RD, CSSD, LD

Director of University Nutrition