Nutrition

Nutrition Articles

How it’s made: Cholesterol production in your body

Cholesterol has a bad reputation, thanks to its well-known role in promoting heart disease. Excess cholesterol in the bloodstream is a key contributor to artery-clogging plaque, which can accumulate and set the stage for a heart attack. But to fully explain cholesterol, you need to realize that it's also vital to your health and well-being. Although we measure cholesterol production in the blood, it's found in every cell in the body. The Harvard Special Health Report Managing Your Cholesterol explains cholesterol as a waxy, whitish-yellow fat and a crucial building block in cell membranes. It's also used to make vitamin D, hormones (including testosterone and estrogen), and fat-dissolving bile acids. In fact, cholesterol production is so important that your liver and intestines make about 80% of the cholesterol you need to stay healthy. Only about 20% comes from the foods you eat. (See illustration.) More »

Are eggs risky for heart health?

Large studies have not found evidence of higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular diseases in people who eat up to one egg per day.  (Locked) More »

Say cheese?

Even though dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk contain saturated fat, they don’t seem to pose a risk to heart health. Other nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium and potassium, which may help lower blood pressure, may explain the observation. But some nutrition experts recommend choosing low-fat milk and yogurt and not eating too much cheese. Replacing dairy fat with plant-based unsaturated fat appears to be a healthier choice.  More »

Where the worst type of fat is hiding in supermarket foods

Trans fats are found in many processed foods, such as pastries, crackers, breakfast cereal, and soup. But the Nutrition Facts label can show zero trans fat if there is less than half a gram per serving. To detect trans fat in food, one should look at a food’s ingredient list and look for partially hydrogenated oils, which are trans fats. Some foods that contain trans fat may be surprising, such as frozen fish fillets, cappuccino mixes, and even seasoned bread crumbs.  (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Best protein: animals or plants?

Men need about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. Animal products contain some of the highest amounts, but many sources also include high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Plant proteins might be a healthier choice since they also include essential vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. (Locked) More »

How to cut back on sugar and salt

Guidelines recommend limiting sugar to 10% of calories and sodium to 2,300 milligrams per day. Avoiding sweetened beverages and processed and packaged foods is key to reducing intake. Using spices and eating whole fruits can ease cravings for both salt and sugar. (Locked) More »