Science-based truth about Milk and Milk Trends

Science-based truth about milk and milk trends -

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It is super trendy these days to switch from a dairy milk to a milk alternative. In fact, I was just sifting through an article last night that said “dairy milk has nasty additives.” The article, of course, was recommending that people switch to coconut milk and almond milk. It is very disheartening to me that there is so much misinformation out there when it comes to nutrition. So as your supermarket registered dietitian, it is my job to do my best to provide you with the most current science-based research so that you can make the best decision for you and your family!

To start off, dairy milk doesn’t have any “nasty additives.” Dairy milk, especially if low fat or fat free, offers 8 grams of protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D, all of which are very important to get enough of each day.  There is absolutely no reason to stop drinking milk and switch to a milk alternative for health benefits.  There simply are none unless, of course, you are lactose intolerant. Some will argue that there are “8 grams of sugar in milk and that’s a lot.” The truth is if you are drinking plain white milk, the 8 grams of sugar is completely natural to the milk, it is from the natural sugar called lactose found in milk. There is no need to limit these natural sugars.  If you are drinking chocolate or other flavored milks, then yes there are added sugars, and added sugars should be limited.

The truth about Coconut Milk - www.cobornsblog.comCoconut Milk

Even if someone is lactose intolerant, I don’t recommend this milk.  Technically, coconut milk doesn’t have lactose in it, so it could be an alternative. What it does have is saturated fat.  Saturated fat is the type of fat that has been proven to increase cholesterol levels in our blood. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the saturated fat in coconut products is not considered heart healthy according to the American Heart Association, Harvard School of Public Health, and Mayo Clinic among others. Also, there is very little protein in coconut milk.  Any flavored coconut milk, even vanilla flavored has added sugars. It is usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

The truth about Almond Milk - www.cobornsblog.comAlmond Milk

I usually don’t recommend this milk either.  Although it doesn’t have the saturated fat like coconut milk, thus making it a better choice in that sense, it still doesn’t have any protein.  If you are used to getting protein from your milk source, know that you are not getting it here so you need to increase your protein somewhere else.  This is especially important for growing kids.  Again, many times almond milk is flavored thus meaning there are added sugars.  Yes, you can get unsweetened and that would be better and is usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D as well.

The truth about Soy Milk - www.cobornsblog.comSoy Milk

If someone is lactose intolerant, I will recommend this milk as the best alternative because it doesn’t have the saturated fat like coconut milk, and it does have the protein comparable to regular milk plus it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.  Soy milk is obviously a soy product.  Did you know there are many health benefits to consuming soy? Be sure to check out my April blog to learn about all those benefits!

Bottom line, if you aren’t allergic to dairy milk, there is nothing wrong with consuming it.  It is very nutritious and highly recommended to consume each day with every meal. Those other milk alternatives aren’t always what they are marketed to be.  Yes, they can still be a part of a healthy diet, just like anything else.  If you really enjoy them, great, but now you have the facts to make the best informed decision.

No matter which milk you choose, cheers!

Peace and Wellness,

Stay Healthy This Winter

Tips for staying healthy during the winter. -

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I know what you are thinking: it’s cold outside, it gets dark early, and that all makes it difficult to be active, eat nutritious and try to stay fit and healthy during these long winter months.  That is why I want to take this opportunity to revitalize your desire to be well with some easy tips to keep you going through these harsh winter months.  Doing so will not only keep you in a better mood, but it will keep your immune system functioning at high speed, helping to prevent you from getting sick.

First, remember it’s not just being active and it’s not just eating right; both are important in combination with each other.

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Join a gym with friends - www.cobornsblog.comJoin a Gym

For fitness, if joining the gym is in your budget and motivates you to exercise on a regular basis, that is awesome. Bring your friend or spouse along to keep it fun and to keep you committed. It’s warm indoors, plus it’s an opportunity to get out of the house and around others who share your passion for fitness and health.  There are usually fun classes offered to mix it up or you can use the equipment.

Keep in mind even just walking or biking is excellent exercise; even if just for 20 minutes, it really is better than nothing. Don’t forget your iPod with your favorite music! That is sure to amp up your energy level!  If you are still struggling like I am, and I am really struggling with this one personally because I don’t have the motivation myself, I will definitely be recruiting one of my friends.  When I lived with my cousin, we would go to the gym every night, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I honestly looked forward to it. It was a way to unwind and have some girl time. We would walk alongside each other or ride bikes and just chat about our day and before you know it, there went an hour. Try to spend your time doing “mindless” exercise… rather than “mindless” eating.  It doesn’t have to be “typical” ways of working out at the gym, either. What about playing tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, or swimming at your gym? Sometimes all it takes is getting a new workout outfit, or new gym shoes, or even just a fun water bottle or gym bag!

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Live an active lifestyle - www.cobornsblog.comLive an Active Lifestyle

Okay maybe the gym isn’t your thing, then be active in other ways. This is where the “living an active lifestyle” comes in.  These are all the tips, such as: taking the stairs, parking father away from the building, walking some extra laps around the mall when running errands, or having a family outing at the bowling alley or the roller-skating place instead of going out to eat.

Or how about embracing the winter and playing winter sports such as skiing, sledding, ice skating, hockey, or snowshoeing?

Tips for staying healthy in the winter: Stay active at home - www.cobornsblog.comStay Active at Home

Maybe you feel like staying in the house. Okay then, how about lifting soup cans, doing sit ups and pushups during commercials, or putting in a workout DVD? How about jump roping in your living room or buying a treadmill and setting it in front of the TV? O you can play an active Wii game with your kids! Guess what? Cleaning your house is even considered a form of activity! Did you know you can burn nearly 200 calories in an hour?!

Now for the eating right part…

First and foremost, don’t engage in another one of those fad diets. Just eat real food. Here are some basics to healthy eating:

  1. Eat enough fruits and vegetables – at least one of each with every meal – and add more at snacks! Remember, all forms count: Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice.
  2. Consume healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, Smude’s sunflower oil, and nuts and seeds.
  3. Incorporate lean proteins. But don’t OD on the protein part. The average adult really only needs about 50 grams per day.
  4. Substitute refined grains for whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal, to name a few.
  5. Limit added sugars to 25 grams per day; this does NOT include whole fruits or 100% juice.  However, this does include honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and raw cane sugar.
  6. Reduce sodium intake to 2300mg/day.
  7. Be aware of your portions.

This is what your plate should look like at each meal, including breakfast.

Keeping track of your progress really seems to work for a lot of people. It makes them aware of their daily needs, they can make goals based on that, and then track their progress. If you start to track, be sure to reward yourself when you reach those goals.

Good luck! Please reach out anytime you have a question or would like to learn more.  I always offer grocery tours; it’s a perfect environment to learn, hands on, more in depth about healthy eating.

Be sure to pick up a few of these tips from each category and you will be on the track to better overall health and wellness.

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Dietitian

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Lighten up your meals without compromising flavor

Lighten up your meals without compromising flavor.

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Happy spring, everyone! Whenever it rolls around to this time of the year people are usually looking for ways to increase their activity levels outside and ways to lighten up their meals in hopes of losing any of that extra winter “insulation” as I like to call it. Here are some of my favorite ways to lighten up your dishes without compromising any flavors.  You know me; I won’t eat it if it doesn’t taste as good as or better than the original versions.

Change your cooking method

First of all, before you even change the foods you are preparing, the cooking method and cookware that you use has a significant impact alone.  For example, instead of frying, try grilling.  This method of cooking allows for the excess fat and calories to drip off of the foods.  Also, a new item that has been recently added to the market is ceramic cookware.  This cookware has nonstick properties without Teflon.  In fact, it is so nonstick that you can literally fry an egg with NO oil.  I own this cookware myself and can’t image using anything else.  See what I mean by just the method and cookware already having the ability to lighten up your meals?

Simple substitutionsLighten your meals by using Greek Yogurt instead!

So now let’s get into ways to lighten up the recipes or foods themselves….

  • Instead of using butter use light butter by Land O’ Lakes; it’s real butter, but half the fat has been removed and there is good fat in the butter via the addition of canola oil.
  • Low sodium turkey bacon instead of regular pork bacon
  • Tomato pasta sauce instead of Alfredo pasta sauce
  • Portabella mushroom in a bun instead of a large burger
  • To thicken soups, gravies, and sauces, use puréed vegetables, mashed potatoes or a slurry of cornstarch and cold water instead of cream or roux
  • For fried chicken take off skin and use whole wheat bread crumbs in oven
  • Make your own pizza using thin whole grain pizza crust with lots of veggies
  • Use whole grain sandwich thins instead of bread
  • Choose small bagels over the regular sized bagels… did you know the proper portion for bagels is the size of a hockey puck??
  • Add more veggies and fruits to your grilled kabobs instead of mostly meat
  • Try chicken/turkey brats instead of pork or beef brats
  • When making Alfredo sauce, use whipped cream cheese, light butter, and Greek yogurt with a little skim milk. Always used whipped cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese.
  • Greek yogurt can be used in place of SOOOOO many different items such as cream cheese, mayo, butter, oil, eggs, you name it – it can be substituted. Check out the chart above.  You will notice it says Chobani… feel free to use your favorite fat free Greek yogurt. The main reason for doing this is to cut out the saturated fat, because you will be using fat free Greek yogurt of course.

As you can see, there are so many items that can be substituted for Greek yogurt.  The same goes for avocados… a heart healthy fat.  For example, you can use avocado slices in place of cheese as it still has that creamy texture.  You can use it as a spread instead of mayo, you can add it to smoothies and even make an avocado CAKE! See, the possibilities are endless!! Speaking of avocados in place of mayo, you can also use mustard in place of mayo! If you ask me mustard has a way stronger flavor with only a small serving and low sodium and no fat…perfect!

I scream for ice cream

For those hot summer days that we are about to see…. believe it or not…. be refreshed with a scoop of Kemps fat free, no sugar added frozen yogurt.  This has the highest NuVal score out of any of our ice creams! Add some ground flax seed, walnuts, berries, etc. – how does that sound for a delicious and nutritious snack?

My love for Ranch dressing

One of my absolute favorite guilty pleasures is RANCH… OH EM GEE! I use it on EVERYTHING! So I decided I needed to change it up a bit and as I always say, let’s make everything we eat as nutrient dense as possible: here is what I do…

I buy a pack of the ranch seasoning and add one cup of fat free Greek yogurt in place of the mayo… it’s fat free, low sodium, and it has protein, calcium, and hopefully vitamin D.  Then I pour in a cup of skim or 1 percent milk, again this is adding protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  Now compare that to the average bottle of ranch! If ranch isn’t your cup of tea, try to use more vinaigrettes; at least they are the heart healthy fats and they tend to be lower in sodium (not always.)  Heck, just make your own… extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite dried herbs.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Three ounces of chicken breast meat with skin has almost 150 calories; three ounces of chicken without the skin has 50 fewer calories. www.cobornsblog.comSay No to skin. Three ounces of chicken breast meat with skin has almost 150 calories; three ounces of chicken without the skin has 50 fewer calories. Tasty as it might be, the skin contains mostly heart-unhealthy saturated fat. You can cook with the skin on to retain moisture  (add fresh herbs or citrus zest underneath it to really bake in some flavor), but be sure to remove the skin before you enjoy your meal to save on calories and saturated fat.
  • Sauté—the skinny way! A couple of tablespoons of low-sodium vegetable broth can be used instead of oil or butter in your stir-fry or as the basis for a sauce. This method will add a nice flavor to your dish as well as a little moisture—and you’ll save calories to use elsewhere. To get a dose of unsaturated fats, serve your broth-sautéed veggies with a side salad, and pour an olive oil-based dressing over the top.
  • Squeeze on the citrus. To add a powerful flavor punch with minimal added calories, use citrus on steamed veggies instead of butter or over a salad instead of a dressing. It’s even great on fruit salad in place of sugar and adds some zip when squeezed onto a pasta salad. Don’t forget to use the flavorful zest of citrus fruits as well! Wash a lemon, orange or lime, then use a zester or grater to add the zest to dishes such as baked seafood.

I hope you learned a few ways to lighten up your meals just in time for spring! Happy cooking!

Peace and Wellness,

Coborn’s Supermarket Dietitian

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What's the deal with saturated fats?

What's the deal with Saturated Fats? Are they good or bad?

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Hi Everyone! I think you will find this blog very interesting, as it has to do with saturated fats. There has been so much information floating around about them… are they good?… are they bad? Well, read on my friends…

New Research

As you know, science is always changing as there continues to be more and more research done.  In the world of nutrition, aka my world, new recommendations are coming out all the time so I always need to make sure to be basing my dietary advice on the most current evidence based research, which brings me to my topic for this blog… what is the real deal about saturated fats?

You may have noticed headlines all over the news, Facebook, and other forms of social media entitled, “Is saturated fat really all that bad?” Well, let me explain….

The three kinds of fats

What is the deal with Saturated Fats? www.cobornsblog.comI will start out with the basics… there are three kinds of fats… saturated, unsaturated and trans.  Please click here to learn more about trans fats. For both the saturated and unsaturated fats, there are many different kinds of fats under each of those headings.  For the different kinds of unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, which include omega 3s and omega 6s, these fats all have different properties that can be beneficial in the body in different ways.

A GOOD Saturated Fat?

Until recently all saturated fats were known as the bad guys…but now new research is showing that a specific type of saturated fat, called stearic acid, may not be so bad after all. As you may have read in my last blog, this is why the scores in the meat items have increased, as that is the main type of saturated fat found in beef.

In order to validate my points and use the most current evidence based research; here are a few declarations for you to read:

Here is a statement from the American Heart Association: Stearic acid is a saturated fat that is very stable in storage and during frying. Stearic acid is used to form margarines, shortenings, spreads, and as a cream base for baked products.  Even though stearic acid is a saturated fat, studies have suggested that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels.”

Not all Saturated Fats are good.

“What are the “bad” fats and which foods contain them? The “bad” fats are saturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods.  The majority we eat come mainly from animal sources, meat and dairy (milk fat) such as fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese, and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk.  These foods also contain cholesterol.  Many baked goods and fried foods can also contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant foods, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.”

Here is a statement from Mayo Clinic:When choosing fats, pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat. This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.”

To sum it all up

What is the deal with Saturated Fats? www.cobornsblog.comWhat this is all stating here is that saturated fats are still recommended to be minimal in the diet as they increased total cholesterol levels increasing one’s risk for chronic disease.  However, there are many types of saturated fats and current research is showing that the type of saturated fat known as stearic acid is not increasing cholesterol levels.

Harvard School of Public Health validates these above statements as well.

Bottom line: Even though you see many studies and posts all over social media about new research etc, you cannot always just read the headline and take that to the bank as they say… always check in with a professional and make sure you understand it correctly.  Some of those studies are small or short in length and can’t be regarded as evidence for the general public.

My Summary: Saturated fats are still regarded as not the best choice; they should be limited as they contribute to increased cholesterol levels.  However, one of the types of saturated fats, called “stearic acid,” is the only saturated fat known as this time to not increase total cholesterol levels.  Foods that have stearic acid as the main type of fat include: beef and pure dark chocolate.

Questions? You know where to find me.

Peace and Wellness,

Coborn’s Supermarket Dietitian

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Label Reading 101 - Label Reading 101 - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley
Coborn’s Dietitian

Happy New Year, Everyone! What are your goals for the new year? Now I know you are probably expecting me to write about losing weight, exercising more, etc. But as you know, I already did that last year, so if you are interested in that blog please click here.

This year I want to encourage you all to focus on getting the facts right in all areas, but especially nutrition, of course. Because I am a supermarket dietitian I live in the grocery store and my number one job is to help you navigate through the grocery aisles and help you choose the most nutritious choices.

Label reading can be such a pain AND it can be quite confusing, so let me help explain how to read labels accurately and efficiently. - Serving Size VS. Portion Size - What you are actaully eating1. Start with the Serving Size

  • Check the label for the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label. You can see this demonstrated in this graph.

2. Check out the Total Calories and Fat

  •  Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat.
  • Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of the food item. (Remember it is the number of servings you consume that determines the number of calories you actually eat).
  • It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

3. Let the Percentage Daily Values be your guide - % Daily Values Chart

  • Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:
  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.
  • Five percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • 20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

4. Limit Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium

  • Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
  • Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat. Limit to 100 percent DV or less per day.
  • Zero trans fats; make sure there are no partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list either! That indicates trans fats even if the Nutrition Facts Panel says “0 grams.”
  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of sodium increase your blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

 5. Get enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
  • Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients.

 6. Additional Nutrients

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sugar
  • Most Americans eat more protein than they need, so a percentage Daily Value is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • We want to limit our added sugar as much as possible

7. Check the Ingredient List/Order of ingredients

  • Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label.
  • Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid pork or shellfish or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating - Product Claims and what they mean8. Package Claims

Many times you will see nutrition claims on the front of packages such as the examples below.  Learn about what those terms actually mean for the food product by taking a look at the chart shown here.

In case that sounds like too much work, I am sure you are familiar with NuVal.  If not, come and see me! Oh, and I will be blogging a TON about NuVal in March! Get excited for all things NuVal during March, National Nutrition Month!! Until then, Happy New Year to you and your families and friends! Make it a healthy one!

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian


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