Posts in Science
Intermittent Fasting: The Myth of Six Small Meals

Almost daily I have a conversation with a client who is attempting to eat three small meals plus three small snacks per day. This person is often struggling to lose weight and also happens to never really be hungry. The only reason this individual is eating so frequently is because someone told her to.

In stark contrast to the six-small-meals-diet is an increasing popular eating pattern called Intermittent Fasting. So what exactly is the science behind not eating?

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One Diet to Rule them All

It's no secret that diets are hard to follow. If you've ever felt the effects of "yo-yo dieting" and the cycle of weight loss/weight regain I don't have to tell you that. And it's no secret there isn't wide agreement on what the best "diet" is; it takes one quick Google search for "best diet" to return over 53 million hits. The only clear thing is nutrition research is really confusing (read previous post about why that is).

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Does this Gluten Make my Butt Look Big?

I don't know if you've heard, but going gluten-free is all the rage these days. Usually when a patient is trying to impress me with how healthy her diet is, this phrase will slip in:

"I try to eat gluten-free as much as I can - because, you know, gluten is so bad for you..."

Wait, what?

Bread has been around since some of the earliest civilizations of man. From Bavarian pretzels to Italian pasta to New York sourdough, flour is a staple of so many cultures and cuisines. So what exactly is the deal with gluten?

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Coffee is my Love Language

I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. I mean, I'll drink any coffee in a pinch, but I really love a freshly ground cup of high-quality French press coffee.

Lucky for me, more and more nutrition research is pointing to the health benefits of this sweet nectar of life. So if you're a fan of coffee, here is your daily dose of good news...

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Breakfast is the Best... But is it the Most Important?

I have upsetting news: there is controversy as to the importance of breakfast.

I know, I know. Everybody "knows" that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - but recent articles and research studies have begun to cast doubt on this old adage.

Because I love breakfast so very much, this question tugs at my heartstrings. And because I believe in evidence-based nutrition, I've been pouring over the research in the last couple of weeks (I feel like I'm writing a second thesis, ya'll) to see if there is data to support the role of breakfast in weight, metabolism, and other health markers.

Here's what I came up with...

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5 Steps for Identifying Credible Nutrition Information

Quick, unofficial poll: how many times have you “Googled” something this week? Heck, how many times have you “Googled” something today?

I’ll be honest - I use this search engine all. the. time. Just today I’ve searched for the quickest route to the grocery store on my way home, the price of my mom’s Christmas gift, how much snow is predicted tonight, and what the bus schedule is for the Fort Collins Collins area.

I love Google. Unfortunately, though, its algorithm is not designed to filter between “true” and “untrue” information – that’s left up to the reader. When it comes to nutrition, there is so much of each true/untrue stuff out there, it’s really hard to determine which is which.

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The Wild World of Supplements

Of all things nutrition, one of the most obscure and confusing topics seems to be nutritional supplements.

Nutritional supplements come in many forms: herbs, vitamins, diet pills, and mineral compounds. They're recommended by everybody from your favorite chiropractor to your second cousin's personal trainer. They come with a multitude of health claims - burn more fat! Have more energy! Grow bigger muscles!

In 2014, Americans spent approximately $36.7 billion on dietary supplements. That's billion with a B. 

I often encounter people who have spent lots of money on these items. Occasionally I'm asked my opinion. So, what's the bottom line, after all?

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All You Need to Know About Cleanse Diets

'Tis the season... for cleanses. That's right; now that the holidays are over and everybody is repenting from all of the treats in which they've indulged, "cleansing" has again become immensely popular.

Have you heard of cleanses? The basic idea behind a "cleanse" is that our bodies have been exposed to many toxins (either environmental or in what we eat) and so we need to cleanse our organs or our colons. I see these fad diets in the news, on social media, and sometimes I'm even asked about them.

Cleanse diets run the gamut of crazy-and-dangerous to healthy-and-worth-your-time. It's (clearly) important to distinguish one from the other.

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The Great Battle Against Artificial Sweeteners

Lately I've been hearing this phrase a lot: "But you know, those artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar. You might as well just eat the real stuff."

Upon hearing this, several things immediately race through my mind:

1. Uh, of course you shouldn't eat a ton of artificial sweeteners. Who thought they were good for you in the first place? (I know, I know, probably the makers of artificial sweeteners)

2. What?! Did you just justify eating sugar by saying that artificial sweeteners are bad for you? Hold up, we need to talk about what SUGAR does in your body...

3. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. We need to debunk a few myths.

So today I'd like to talk about some of the common fears about artificial sweeteners and perhaps explain what all the confusion is about. Wish me luck.

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An Overview of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are confusing. They have weird names and are metabolized (broken down) by the body into components whose names we're not familiar with. That makes them scary. So, in anticipation of an upcoming post about the War on Artificial Sweeteners, let's review the current artificial sweeteners on the market today.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that you increase your consumption of artificial sweeteners. Nor am I advocating or endorsing one sweetener over another. My aim here is simply to provide scientific answers to some of the common concerns I often encounter. These are facts; not my opinions (although I understand the my unintentional bias is likely found). You will find the sources I cited with links throughout.

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The Tale of a Soda Pop

Carbs, glorious carbs!

A couple of weeks ago we talked about what happened as a reaction to the low-fat craze of the late 20th century: food manufacturers started taking fat out of all of their product and instead replaced it with sugar. What we didn't discuss is why this is such a big deal.

I'd like to walk you through a little of the physiology of what happens in our bodies when we consume sugar. Now before you get too concerned, remember that I'm a big fan of some types of carbohydrates (i.e. complex carbs that contain fiber). However, it's important to note that not all carbs are created equal. Some are made to fuel your body while other should only be enjoyed once in a while.

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