All plants have carbohydrates

ChemCompound_sqHere’s a typical exchange between a patient and me during a nutrition counseling session about carbs:

Me: Are there any foods or food groups that you avoid?
Patient: I avoid carbohydrates.
Me (internal gasp): OK, so take me through a day.  What do you eat for breakfast?
Patient: I eat yogurt with fruit.
Me (scratching head): Hmmm.

There’s so much confusion out there about nutrition and carbohydrates in particular.

The first time I received any kind of formal education on carbohydrates was during an elective nutrition course in college, so I’m hardly surprised that many people don’t know what carbs are or where they’re found.

However, what I do have a difficult time grasping is why anyone would want to completely avoid carbohydrates in the first place.

What exactly are carbohydrates and why are they important to our overall health?

Continue reading

Basics of Nutrition: Calories

Water
Books, magazines, the Internet, TV, all of them are full of nutrition “facts”. So much of it is misinformation or disinformation. Sometimes it helps to get back to basics. That’s what we aim to do with this new special.

Each week we’re profiling one of the building blocks of dietetics. Whether you’re new to nutrition or a long-time healthy eater, we hope you’ll enjoy this weekly primer on the basics.

This week we’ll talk about calories.  What is a calorie? Fundamentally, it’s a measure of energy. But not all calories are made equal.

Read on to learn more and at the very least you’ll be prepared for the next trivia night.
Continue reading