– Juliet Burgh, Unite Nutrition Director
I’ve been a working for years with clients and while some nutritionist questions stay the same, some change with the trends. Here are my answers to the top 7 nutritionist questions I always get. Hope it’s helpful.
- How many times a day should you eat for optimal fat burning?
How many times you eat is a personal choice and depends on how long your days are. If you find yourself getting hungry all the time (every 1-2 hours), that is an indictor that what you are eating is spiking your blood sugar and is not keeping you feeling satiated.Ideally you should be able to go 3-5 hours between meals without feeling starved. For most people who wake up at 7am and go to bed at 11, 3 meals just aren’t going to cut it. As a nutritionist I recommend placing a snack between lunch and dinner, so when dinnertime comes you aren’t eating open the fridge. If you are an intense exerciser make sure to always have something to eat no more than 2 hours before and 2 hours after for optimal performance and recovery.
- What brands of protein powder do you recommend?
There are many reputable brands to choose from and there are some key things to consider and look out for when buying protein powder. For example, whey protein is the most popular supplement and has undergone extensive research to show the benefits for protein synthesis and recovery. However, if you have a dairy sensitivity this may not be the best choice. You also want to make sure that any protein supplement derived from cow’s milk is coming from grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free cows so it is truly healthy. There are also many plant based protein powders coming from peas, rice, quinoa, cranberry, hemp, etc. I do not recommend soy protein as over 90% of soy crops are genetically modified and sprayed with roundup pesticide.A few brands I like for protein powders are:
– Terra Whey
– Reserve Age Whey
– Jay Robb Whey & Egg
– Plant Fusion – Complete Plant Protein
– Garden Of Life – Raw
– Vega Sport Performance
- Is there such a thing as having too much protein?We tend to be overly obsessed with protein in a way where Americans on average are consuming 3-5 x the amount of protein than what they really need. Too much protein can cause inflammation, dehydration and stress on your kidneys. Unless you’re an athlete training hours a day, you really only need half to one gram of protein per pound of body weight.Not sure how much protein your eating?
I recommend using MyFitnessPal to track your food and meet with a nutritionist to determine the right amount for your lifestyle.
- Should I be eating gluten free for better health?
Gluten free diets have become more popular than ever, however unless you have a sensitivity or allergy you may not need to swear off all gluten. The quality of our food is what matters and most foods that contain gluten are heavily processed. If you are eating a whole foods diet you will inevitably be avoiding most things with gluten in them so it really is more about avoiding processed foods.For my nutrition clients I always recommend an elimination diet for 1 week with something like gluten, that way you can see if you do in fact have a reaction to this protein when you start eating gluten again. If you feel completely normal from having that piece of bread on a Saturday night, then I believe these things in moderation can be completely fine.
- I have a sweet or salty craving, what does that mean?
There are many reasons for experiencing cravings, but the top ones we can identify are:
- Craving sugary foods or something cold and creamy (think ice cream!) can mean you are dehydrated or have an insulin sensitivity and are dependent on sugar for energy.
- Craving salt can mean an electrolyte imbalance
- Cravings for any food, i.e. overeating, can be associated with stress, loneliness, emotional distress, etc. which means looking at lifestyle and relationships.
- What is an actual serving size?
A serving depends on the food you eat and how much you need for the goal you are trying to achieve. If you are maintaining your weight vs. trying to lose weight, your portions will vary. Some general serving size range recommendations for each meal are:
- Meat: 4-6oz.
- Grains: ½-1 cup cooked
- Beans: ¼-1/2 cup cooked
- Nuts: ¼-1/2 cup
- Oils: 1-2 tbsp.
- Nut butter: 1-2 tbsp.
- Veggies: In abundance
- Fruits: 1 small piece or ½-1 cup, 1-3 x a day
- Why am I feeling hungry so often?
When the body is nourished you should not feel your stomach growling or your head aching. True hunger is felt in the chest and throat. If you are having rumbling in your tummy, this is a sign that the foods you are eating are not sustaining you and may be throwing your blood sugar out of balance. True hunger also enhances the taste of your food and increases salivation. Notice if you have these signs, as so many of us have gotten into the habit of eating when we really are not hungry but maybe bored, stressed, used to eating all the time.