Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Vegetables - Nutrition and Recipes

Fall is in the air as leaves are falling and cooler days are encouraging you to pull sweaters out of the back of the closet. We tend to crave heartier meals during cooler months, so to ensure that you're meeting your daily vegetable needs, try these hearty fall vegetables:

Pumpkin is full of fiber, which can help keep you full throughout the day, and vitamin A, which helps with vision. Autumn's that time of year when everyone's ordering pumpkin spice lattes, which are often high in calories and fat and offer no fiber. Instead, try a pumpkin cheesecake smoothie  or pumpkin bread  to get your pumpkin fix.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a role in tissue repair and growth. For an easy snack, try sweet potato crisps. They're a great alternative to regular fries.

Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts provide fiber, vitamin C, and folate, but they often get a bad rap, and I'll admit that I disliked them up until a year ago. Before then, I had always had them prepared in a way in which their bitter taste remained. If you're a newbie to Brussels sprouts, I recommend roasting them, which will reduce their bitterness. Toss Brussels sprouts with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees F for 35-40 minutes (time may vary depending on size of the Brussels sprouts).

Cauliflower contains vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K. Folate promotes healthy pregnancies, and vitamin K helps with blood clotting. Try cauliflower popcorn  for a warm, tasty treat as the days get colder.

For more recipes, visit 

Written by: Danica Pelzel, Fontbonne University Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by: Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD, FADA, Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St Louis

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oh No Another Low-Carb versus Low Fat Diet Study!

Last week, sorry the start of a semester can be crazy, another study came out looking at which diet yields more weight loss. The results pointed to the benefits of the low-carb diet But there are some question marks.

The study, which appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was a 12 month randomized, parallel design study, meaning that two different groups followed similar study trial plans with the only difference being the type of diet they followed. At the end of the 12 months the results showed about an 11 pound weight loss for those on the low-carb diet and a 4 pound loss for those on the low-fat diet.

The study did have some limitations so the outcome may not be generalizable to the everyday "real" world. The limitations were 1) diet information came from recall of food consumed, which is of course very subject to memory lapses. 2) the dietitians who collected the recall information knew which subjects were on which diet and even though they followed a standard method, this could impact data collection. Finally, 3) the study also looked at heart health parameters but did not go long enough to see if the diets had any impact on heart health.

So what does all this mean.
1 - we still don't know if or what the "perfect" weight loss diet might be
2 - both diets averaged close to 1500 calories at the end but during the study the low-fat diet often was at a higher calorie level - so was it the calories
3 - weight loss should be a lifestyle focus, not a diet focus

If you need help finding the right diet for health - and a healthy weight - contact a Registered Dietitian (RD). If you are a WUSTL student you can meet with a Registered Dietitian in Student Health. If you are not a student you can find an RD at

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