Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

TAG | nutrient-dense foods


A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a three-fold increase in the metabolic syndrome in children eating the least amount of dietary fiber when compared to the group eating the most. There were no differences when consumption of saturated fat or cholesterol was analyzed however.

The researchers recommend focusing on increasing fiber in the diet, and not worrying so much about finding low-fat foods. That does not mean teens should fill their diets with fat-filled foods, but it does mean seeking out nutrient-dense foods high in fiber.

This makes sense to me. Most low-fat foods today are those processed foods that have been filled with sugar to make up for lack of taste that comes with low-fat options. Replacing fat with sugar in foods is what has contributed to the current obesity and diabetes epidemic this country now faces. Up to 30 percent of teen’s dietary intake comes from beverages and sugary snacks. This has to change.

But change can be tough. Joseph Carlson, the lead researcher, stated, “The trick is getting people into the groove finding the foods that they enjoy and that are convenient.”

The statistics are screaming at us from many different sources. Our diets and lifestyle have to change in order for us to see significant health improvements. This begins in childhood. I recommend that adults consume at least 35 grams of fiber daily. For children and teens, I recommend adding 5 grams to their age. So a 13 year old should eat 18 grams of fiber daily. How can you add fiber back into your diet, and the diet of your family?

35 grams of fiber daily, Children, cholesterol, diabetes, diet, Dietary Fiber, fiber, low-fat foods, metabolic syndrome, nutrient-dense foods, obesity, saturated fat, sugar


Empty Calories vs Nutrient-Dense Foods

Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us!

I keep hearing about nutrient-dense foods, and I like that term because it places high importance on foods that contain a high amount of nutrients, like fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, lean proteins and healthy fats like olive oil and fish oil.

In contrast, the term “empty calories depicts a food high in calories, but low in nutrients. Empty calories can be found all around us—often in processed foods high in refined flours and added sugars. These foods pack the calories (don’t forget the pounds and the negative health effects, too!) but lack the nutrients.

This week, adopt a new general rule (a very good general rule, I might add): try to eat as many nutrient-dense foods as you can, and minimize (or eliminate!) empty calories. Replace your sweetened beverages with non-sweetened green tea. Replace your dinner roll with extra veggies! Say good-bye to that ice-cream dessert and hello to some fruit with plain yogurt. These choices get easier to make over time, and your body will thank you.

added sugars, calories, empty calories, fish oil, fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins, negative health effects, nutrient-dense foods, nutrients, olive oil, processed foods, refined flours, sweetened beverages, veggies


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