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Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Nutrition Credentials

On blogs and social media, you run into a lot of different acronyms. I get a lot of questions about the letters after people's names, such as RDN, CNS, CNSC,  and CDE. You might be wondering, "What do these mean? Which professional is the right one for me? Can I trust them?" I'll help you sort through these questions... But first, you want to know the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian, visit my previous post on that topic. What do these acronyms mean?

Carb FAQs including Why Carbs Are Important

I believe in everything in moderation. But, sometimes people make carbs out to be bad and recommend low-carb diets. So, let's address this misconception that carbs are unhealthy.... First off, everyone needs all three of the macronutrients--carbohydrates, proteins, & fats. There is no single amount of carbs that is right for everyone, but there is a recommended range... Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) AMDR is a fancy phrase for the percent of calories that should come from carbs, fat, and protein, as recommended by the  Institute of Medicine : 45-65% Calories from Carbohydrates 20-35% Calories from Fat 10-35% Calories from Protein Because these nutrient recommendations are a range, everyone can get them differently. Some people do very well on a high carb diet with 65% calories from carbohydrates. Some people do well with only 45% calories from carbs. What do these percentages even mean? These percentages probably mean nothing to you. So, let's look at wh

Why I Don't Recommend the Glycemic Index

 In theory, the Glycemic Index sounds good. Lower glycemic index foods are supposed to cause a smaller rise in blood sugar whereas higher glycemic index foods cause a larger blood sugar spike. Eating lower glycemic index foods could be a good way to prevent or control diabetes. However, there's more to choosing what to eat than just picking low glycemic index foods.   The first time you see a list, it might surprise you. I saw this list from a doctor:  Apple juice 41 Orange juice 52 Brown rice 55 Banana 55 Potato chips 56 Ice cream 61 Pineapple 66 Watermelon 72 Baked potato 85 To an uneducated patient, this list makes fruit juice seem like a health food. It scored lower than other healthy foods like brown rice.  Ice cream seems healthier than pineapples, watermelon, & baked potatoes.  Glycemic Index Looks at One Thing These foods look "healthier" because glycemic index looks at one thing only--the rise in blood sugar.  It is true that ice cream causes a slower rise in

Post-COVID-19 Nutrition (Part 1): When To See a Dietitian

You may know that I was working in an ICU when COVID-19 first hit my hometown. As a RDN & CNSC, I provided nutrition support to those patients who were on ventilators & couldn't eat by mouth.  However, I have since transitioned to working in a different facility. Sometimes, I am still working with patients with active cases but, more often, I am working with patients recovering after COVID-19 or other illnesses. You may have heard the phrase "Long haul COVID", which refers to the negative health effects that someone experiences after the acute phase of COVID-19 infection. But, in my experience, there can be a prolonged recovery period after other critical illnesses & injuries as well, called post-viral syndrome or post-ICU syndrome. Here's why: In general, illnesses & injuries trigger proinflammatory pathways. These trigger cytokine signaling (sometimes called the cytokine "storm") and increased metabolism (or catabolism).  This catabolic pha

Supplement Saturday: My Search for a Multivitamin

 I've been taking a multivitamin for years, probably starting around when I started studying nutrition in college. But, I started the search for a good quality multivitamin only about two years ago.  Before that, I bought my multivitamin & any other supplements (primarily calcium, vitamin D, & flax oil) at the grocery store or a mass retailer, like Target. I knew that multivitamins & supplements weren't well-regulated, but I didn't really care about it. I was satisfied with the products I'd been buying...until I bought a store-brand supplement that seemed to give me severe headaches in 2020.  Characteristics I Look For In a Multivitamin:  1. Quality Testing. This is now a must for me. Testing is important to ensure that the product I am buying contains what it says it contains & does  not contain unwanted contaminants. Sone of the brands available in stores do test their products. For example, many Nature Made products have the USP-verified seal on them.

How to Meal Plan

There are multiple reasons you might want to meal plan. Planning meals in advance can help you make a grocery list. Having a meal plan can help make week nights easier. When you come home from work, no need to spend time debating, "What am I having for dinner?" If you plan ahead, you can even start prepping the meal ahead on the weekend or whenever you have spare time. A meal plan is not the same as a diet plan. It's not about counting calories or other nutrients. It's simply about planning ahead. As such, the guidelines I am about to share are general, healthy habits & are not intended for any specific medical condition. If you have a condition, like kidney disease, diabetes, or Crohn's Disease, you may want to work with a dietitian or other healthcare professional to learn about the appropriate dietary habits for your condition. Step 1: Consider any constraints.  Before you actually start picking out the food for you meal, determine if there are any factors


The information provided in this blog is not intended to replace individualized medical advice provided by your own doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare professional.
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