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 »

Any benefits to intermittent fasting diets?

Intermittent fasting diets, which severely limit calories for one or two days a week (usually to about 600 calories a day), can be effective for short-term weight loss, but the long-term risks and benefits are still unknown. (Locked) 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 »

Fighting inflammation at the meal table

Gut bacteria, which are influenced by an individual’s diet, play a role in inflammation. An eating plan based on unprocessed plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains—is linked to lower levels of inflammation. More »

What to eat when you have chronic heartburn

Some foods and ingredients may intensify or trigger heartburn, such as spicy, fatty, or fried foods; citrus; tomato sauces; vinegar; chocolate; caffeine; onions; peppermint; carbonated drinks; and alcohol. People who have heartburn can still enjoy lean meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. The trick is making them flavorful. Suggestions include using only small amounts of spices, or using fresh herbs; roasting food to bring out natural flavors; and using low-fat sauces, such as pesto and low-fat yogurt-based sauces. 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 »