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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Wine Camp

Good food, good drink, and good people.

Three of my favorite things in the world collided last weekend at my very first year of participating in Wine Camp, an annual tradition which I was invited to by my dear Leanna and her mother, Lanette. We spent last Saturday hopping between local wineries sampling the local fare.

Every year, Lanette helps to organize a group of friends to take a trip to Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado, where some of the most interesting and tasty wines are fermented. Many years ago this trip was dubbed Wine Camp, as this was where the parents spent the weekend while their high-schoolers went to Band Camp. It seems like a logical thing to me.

As you've probably noticed, I'm a really big fan of both fueling my body and fueling my soul. I absolutely love it when these two things intersect. As it happens, wine is one of these delightful aliments.

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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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Why Nutrition Research Seems So Confusing

About 30 years ago, butter was bad for you and margarine became a healthy alternative. Left and right, healthy consumers tossed out the buttery saturated fat and replaced it with tubs of partially hydrogenated oils. The flavor was not as palatable, but the health benefits were worth it.

Then, all of a sudden (or so it seemed), the thinking changed. The medical community woke up and realized the health implications of eating trans fats, which largely come from these man-made partially hydrogenated oils.

Now the thinking goes that butter is a "healthy" fat and margarine is the worst thing ever.

This narrative is all too familiar to me. Daily I have discussions with patients about why it seems that medical or nutrition professionals "suddenly" changed their minds about the health benefits or drawbacks of food/supplements/medication/lab targets/diet trends. These patients are always so frustrated by this seeming lack of consistency.

Nutrition science is nuanced. It's not black and white, but rather all shades of grey. In order to understand why there are so many differences of opinion about nutrition, I want to review a few of the most common misunderstandings about scientific research in general.

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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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