Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat?

Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat?

Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat? My name is Janelle Hunt, MS, RD – and I’m a Registered Dietitian who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. In my last two blogs, I discussed how essential it is to consume carbohydrates and protein. Now let’s look at the last vital macronutrient, fat. Yep, the forbidden word, fat! It seems like currently the media is on a ‘carbohydrates are bad’ kick but many of us recall the 90’s fat-free craze. Almost all food naturally containing fat, became fat free. Cheese would no longer melt, potato chips caused gastrointestinal problems because of the Olestra being added instead of fat and our pans were never the same again as even oil or degreasers were forbidden. Even though the media moved onto different trends, this fad still hangs in the back of our minds and I often have clients who are still convinced that fat is bad. To answer the common question, Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat – let’s review the different types of fats: Saturated: found in animal-based products and tropical oils – meat, eggs, dairy, palm oil and coconut oil. They are typically solid at room temperature. These used to be thought of as bad fats but more studies are showing that as long as these are consumed in moderation, they are not harmful. Unsaturated (poly, mono and omega’s): typically found in plant oils as well as fatty fish – olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon and tuna. These are known for having huge health benefits. They are being used to treat schizophrenia and depression, prevent blindness, decrease cholesterol levels and...
Sugar Addiction: Eat More Protein and Crave Less Sugar

Sugar Addiction: Eat More Protein and Crave Less Sugar

Sugar addiction – a behavior of binge eating sugary foods – is a problem reported by many people, especially at this time of year, when Halloween candy is so prevalent! Some “sugar addicts” attempt to abstain from sugar, only to find that restriction can trigger binge eating. As I discussed in my last blog (August 18, 2016), carbohydrates are essential for health, and sufficient carbohydrate consumption can reduce cravings for sweets. Now, let’s look at the importance of protein. I find very few of my clients are fearful of protein, which seems to stem from the messages from the media telling us that if we consume lots of protein, that means we will lose weight and fit into society’s view of perfection. I specifically just read an article saying protein can help us lose belly fat. Honestly? Let’s think about that a minute. How can eating a chicken breast cause fat in our belly to shrink? Keep in mind that everything we eat breaks down into calories. If we over consume calories, we gain weight; if we restrict calories, we’ll lose weight. We should consume a variety of nutrients from all food groups. We do not gain or lose weight from certain foods, but rather from calories. For example – if we eat fat, it does not immediately turn into fat in the body, nor does protein foods immediately turn into muscle in the body. All food breaks down to calories and the body uses them where they’re needed or burns off what isn’t needed. To better explain this, let’s say you overall eat a balanced diet and your weight is...
Sugar Addiction: Why Am I Constantly Craving Sweets?

Sugar Addiction: Why Am I Constantly Craving Sweets?

Do you constantly crave sweets? Do you try to avoid sugar, but eventually binge? Do you wonder if you have a sugar addiction? We are constantly bombarded with conflicting nutrition messages; “Eat only foods that are fat-free or low-fat,” “Consume high fat food and lots of protein,” “Avoid all carbohydrates,” “Everyone should follow a Paleo diet,” etc. Let’s step away from the fad diet band wagon for a moment, and consider why it’s important to consume all nutrients in moderation – including carbohydrates. Foods containing carbohydrates are broken down to glucose in your body, which is the key nutrient. Examples of a few carbohydrate-rich sources are foods containing sugar like desserts or candy – as well as bread, rice, grains, lentils, potatoes, pasta, juice and fruit. Carbohydrates are an important energy source for your body, which you likely are aware of already. Not only are they important to provide energy for your body but they also provide fuel for your brain to function. Glucose is the only nutrient that can cross into your brain to be used as fuel to allow you to concentrate and think clearly. What is often not talked about is how important carbohydrates are for the production of making the messenger’s in your brain, specifically serotonin, which is responsible for functions such as making you feel happy and relaxed, as well as helping you sleep, regulate your blood pressure properly, have pain sensitivity and control your mood. Have you put carbohydrates into a “bad food” category? Especially sugar – have you told yourself that you should never eat sugar, because you have a “sugar addiction”?...
Eating Disorders: Physical vs. Emotional Eating

Eating Disorders: Physical vs. Emotional Eating

As a Registered Dietitian, part of my role is to provide education about nutrition. I recently taught a class on emotional vs. physical eating. I started the class by asking who felt they were an emotional eater, at which point about half of the class identified they emotionally ate. How about you? Let’s identify what exactly physical vs. emotional eating means, and discover which category you fall into majority of the time. CLICK THE CHART TO VIEW IN LARGER SIZE After I spent some time explaining this chart, the whole class was able to identify that they all do indeed emotionally eat. The reality is, we all emotionally eat at times – but, we each have differences in the frequency that it happens and the quantity of food consumed. We all link food with certain memories and we’re either taught or have learned to use food for enjoyment, to comfort ourselves, or try to satisfy a particular emotion we’re feeling. There is actually nothing wrong with some emotional eating; I bet you didn’t think you’d hear that from a dietitian! Emotional eating does become a problem, though, when it begins to affect someone’s weight negatively – with significant fluctuations, either up or down. Emotional eating is also a problem if it starts to control someone’s life to the point where food becomes their primary coping tool, leading to a complete loss of the ability to eat according to true physical hunger/fullness cues. So, maybe it’s time to stop beating ourselves up if we have a little something because it just sounds comforting or good. What would happen if you actually acknowledged that some emotional...
Eating Disorders and Nutrition: Why Your Brain Needs Green Veggies

Eating Disorders and Nutrition: Why Your Brain Needs Green Veggies

As a dietitian who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, I enjoy educating my clients about the role of nutrition in eating disorder recovery. Eating well isn’t just about weight gain or weight loss – it’s about feeding your brain so you can think clearly and feel in balance emotionally. You’ve probably heard this statement from your parents, teachers, or dietitians – “Eat your green veggies!” If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, this may seem like yet another “food rule,” which you either take to an extreme by over consuming these foods, or, you may rebel and eat very few green veggies. Have you ever wondered, “Why does my brain need green veggies?” Consuming enough folate-rich food is often talked about in the news as a way to assure having a healthy pregnancy. So, since folate so important for women who are pregnant, is folate important for non-pregnant women, and men, too? Recently, a great deal of research with folate has been done, which everyone should pay attention to, as it effects the health of the brain. Folate is commonly found in deep green veggies, such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, and broccoli. In addition, it is found in whole grain cereals, lentils, and black, navy or kidney beans. When we eat folate-rich food, it is converted in the intestine into a substance called L-Methylfolate, which goes into our brain and makes the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. You may have heard of the importance of having a good balance of these neurotransmitters in the brain, because of their role in having a balanced mood. Proper levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and...
Eating Disorders Dietitian & Nutrition Counseling

Eating Disorders Dietitian & Nutrition Counseling

My name is Janelle Hunt, and as a Registered Dietitian, I’m excited to be joining the team of therapists at Positive Pathways! I’ve specialized in treating Eating Disorders for the past twelve years, and I am an EDIT™ Certified Counselor who can offer nutrition counseling and much more. I welcome the opportunity to be a guide on your journey of recovery! What can I expect when I work with a dietitian? I’ve found that many of clients have either had bad experiences with dietitians or are confused at the role an eating disorders dietitian can play in their recovery. First of all, I’m not going to change everything you are currently eating! I focus on taking the judgment out of what you eat or don’t eat and help you learn to understand your intuitive cues. Your current and previous behaviors and dietary intake have likely played the role as a coping tool, so it’s important to understand this and give yourself grace during the recovery process. We work together as a team, and I find a balance to point out ways we can work on adjusting your dietary intake to help you decrease behaviors and meet your individual goals. What can I learn about nutrition to support my recovery? Certain nutrient deficiencies or the way we eat can greatly impact depression, anxiety, mental function, as well as how we feel physically. So, it’s my job as an eating disorders dietitian to guide you to achieve an overall better sense of well-being. I will help you work on eliminating your good and bad thinking around food as I believe we can incorporate all food into our...