Questions and Answers for Nutrition
If you have a question that you would like a
nutrition expert to answer, ask your question in the text box below and then
Enter your e-mail
address (will not be displayed):
Questions and answers
that the Nutrition committee consider appropriate will be added below.
1. Why are whole grains so
important in our diet?
grain foods provide energy, a wide variety of vitamins and minerals,
antioxidants, phytochemicals and dietary fiber. All of these nutrients are
vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies.
Whole Grains Contain Several Nutrients:
Dietary fiber—helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, may lower
risk of heart disease, helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis, and helps
provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole grains are good
sources of dietary fiber, but most refined (processed) grains contain little
Thiamin (vitamin B1)—helps produce energy from carbohydrates in
all body cells.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)—helps produce energy in all body cells,
and helps change tryptophan, an amino acid, into niacin.
Niacin (a B vitamin)—helps the body use sugars and fatty acids,
helps enzymes function normally in the body, and help produce energy in all
Folate (folic acid)—helps the body form red blood cells, and is
important during pregnancy to reduce a woman’s risk of having a baby with a
spinal cord or brain defect.***
Iron—carries oxygen in the blood and reduces risk of
Magnesium—builds bones and releases energy from muscles.
Selenium—protects cells from oxidation and helps build a healthy
Phytochemicals—help protect against diseases, serve as
antioxidants, detoxifiers, immune boosters and anti-inflammatories.
Inflammation plays a major role in heart attacks, some cancers, allergies,
Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases.
2. When I drain and rinse
canned beans, how much do I reduce the sodium content?
In a study done at the Institute of
Technologies in 2009, sodium was reduced by 36% after draining, and by 41%
after draining and rinsing for a variety of brands and types of canned beans
3. The nurse in my district has
been asking me to provide carbohydrate information for students who are
diabetic for the new products on our menus. When I look at the product CN
labels & nutritional analysis, I noticed that there is a number for “sugars”
and a different one for “total carbohydrate”. I am confused. What
information does she need? Help! She keeps calling!
You are not alone; many people (including
people with diabetes) are confused by this. The answer is easily located on
all nutrition labels, including CN labels.
is a common technique used by
people with diabetes to help control their blood sugar (glucose). Blood
glucose is the basic fuel our bodies use. Carbohydrates are broken down to
glucose by our bodies. How much a person needs depends on several factors;
how active they are, their body composition and life cycle stage. Growing
children are frequently more difficult to manage as diabetics because their
daily needs often vary a great deal. Diabetics are allotted a certain amount
of carbohydrate at meals and snacks by their M.D. or R.D. (registered
dietitian). Knowing how much carbohydrate is in the foods that they eat and
then “counting” them up throughout the day (at each meal or snack consumed)
helps them better manage their blood sugar, reducing the complications of
diabetes. Because diabetes can be a potentially life threatening disease,
accurate reporting of carbohydrates is crucial.
are found in many foods but are highest in starchy foods (like
bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, dried beans, corn and cereal), fruits and
juice and some dairy products (like milk and yogurt).
that are lower in carbohydrate include: non-starchy vegetables
(like lettuce and tomatoes) and foods that are higher in protein (like
chicken, beef, fish and cheese)
Carbohydrate come in different forms, often called complex carbohydrates or
simple sugars but ALL carbohydrates can affect a
diabetic’s blood sugar.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Locate the term “Total Carbohydrate” on the label and provide that
number to the nurse who contacted you. Many districts find it helpful to
regularly list and distribute this information to their districts.
USDA / Labeling ~
FDA / Inspection Guides ~
Diabetes Food / Menu Planning
4. What's Healthier and/or less
expensive: fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables?
It depends on season and food item. Frozen &
canned are processed at their nutritional peak, preserving nutrients. Use
fresh as often as possible to get all the natural nutrition from the product.
However, if it is off-season, frozen or canned varieties may have more
nutrients because of the time passed from harvest to table when produce is
imported from other parts of the world. So the key is variety, eat lots of
different colors, and choose fresh when in season.