In addition to contributing to this blog, Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE., visits to the Student Health Center to see students with eating and nutritional concerns. Students can make an appointment by calling the Student Health Center at (216) 397-4349. There is no fee for this service.

Q: Should I take a multi-vitamin?

There is no quick answer to that question.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally the American Dietetic Association) feels most people don’t need supplements.  They believe the best way to obtain your nutritional needs for health and to prevent chronic disease is by eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich food.  There are times where a supplement may be needed to help people obtain their nutritional requirements.

A: Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend a supplement if:

  • You have a health condition that increases your nutrient requirements (i.e., anemia, osteoporosis, etc.  )
  • You are an older adult (over the age of 50)
  • You decide not to consume certain foods groups (i.e., grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, fat)
  • You are on a calorie restrictive diet eating less than 1,600 calories per day
  • You are a vegetarian or vegan
  • You are pregnant, lactating or a woman of child-bearing age
  • You have a medical condition that limits your food choices (food allergy, celiac, etc.)
  • During periods of rapid growth and development (i.e., infancy, childhood, adolescence or pregnancy)

For more information about supplements log onto the following websites:

A registered dietitian (RD) can help you evaluate your eating pattern and determine whether a vitamin/mineral supplement is right for you.

We offer this service to our students by nutritionist, Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE, who is a licensed and registered dietitian.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu. 


Q: I hate getting up early; I really need my sleep, so I get up just in time for class?  Is breakfast really that important? 

A: You probably have heard over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  As the name implies it “breaks the fast”, the time you spent without food or fluid.  This meal is essential to refuel and rehydrate.   Numerous research studies support that is more than “breaking the fast”.  There is evidence that associates those who eat breakfast on a regular basis are more likely:

  • To have increased concentration and performance in the classroom.
  • To maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Not to feel hungry before it’s time to eat lunch.  Many people who have no breakfast are likely to snack on high calorie/sugar/fat snacks.
  • Not overeat at lunch.
  • To have the energy for the activities during the morning

The energy you get from an extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning is not as beneficial as the energy you obtain from having breakfast.  Remember it only takes a few minutes to make a healthy breakfast.

The best breakfasts provide a balanced mixture of energy-containing nutrients. These are carbohydrate, protein and fat.   There are many fast and easy combinations that provide you with this mix of nutrients.

Pick 2-3 foods, including at least one from each of the following food groups:

  • Breads and grain (i.e.cereal, toast, muffin, crackers, English muffin, bagel, granola bar)
  • Dairy/Milk (i.e. low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, cheese)
  • Fruit or Vegetable (i.e. bananas, apples, carrots, dried fruit, vegetable or fruit juice)
  • Meat/Substitutes (i.e. cheese, peanut butter, nuts, eggs)
Examples:
  • Yogurt, banana and hot tea
  • Peanut butter, bagel and orange juice
  • Cheese, crackers, and vegetable juice
  • Cereal and milk
  • Greek yogurt, sliced almonds, craisins and juice box

For more information on why to have a healthy breakfast log onto the following websites:

For more information on a quick and healthy breakfast,  log onto the following websites:

If you need some help planning a healthy breakfast contact our nutritionist, Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE.   We offer this service to our students.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu.


Q. What is fiber and why do I need it?

A. Fiber is found in plant foods such as grains (breads, cereal and pasta) and fruits and vegetables.  Fiber is the part of plant foods that is indigestible and therefore has no caloric value.

Fiber is best known for helping food helping to keep food moving through the digestive tract and keeping us regular.  Fiber has many other health benefits and may help prevent:

  • Heart disease:  Fiber may aid in the prevention of heart disease by helping lower your cholesterol.
  • Diabetes: Fiber helps control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
  • Digestive Problems: Adequate amounts of fiber from foods can help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Weight Gain: A high-fiber eating plan is lower in calories and tends to make you feel full faster.
  • Cancer: Use in combination of a low-fat diet fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer.

Experts suggest that men get about 38 grams of fiber a day, and women about 25 grams. Unfortunately, in the United States we take in an average of only 14 grams of fiber each day.

By including 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and beans you can better meet your fiber needs.

Excellent sources of fiber include oranges, raw spinach, apples (include the skin), whole grain bran and garbanzo beans.

For more information about sources of fiber and how to include fiber in your diet log onto the following websites:

If you need some help planning a healthy diet or in cooperating fiber into your diet contact our nutritionist Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE.   We offer this service to our students.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu.


Q: Everyone is telling me to eat Greek yogurt because it’s better for you, what is Greek yogurt?

A:  First of all, yogurts are creamy cultured milk, which has similar benefits of milk.   Most importantly yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium and other minerals that keep your bones, muscles and tissues strong.  Plain yogurt is made from concentrated milk which contains about 12 grams of natural sugar (lactose) per cup.

Greek yogurt does not mean it was made in Greece: by definition it is a strained yogurt.  During the straining process much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, are removed giving it its thick consistency. Greek yogurt, can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.  However on the down side, the yogurt can contain more fat and less calcium.  It is important to read the label as Greek yogurt does come in reduced fat and fat free versions.

Both American and Greek Yogurt are healthy for you, just in different ways.  The main difference is Greek yogurt has more concentrated protein, but each contains high amounts of probiotics, although Greek yogurt contains more, simply because it is more concentrated.

The following Greek yogurts are available in a nonfat brand.

  • Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt
  • Fage greek , nonfat
  • Oikos nonfat
  • Voskos, nonfat and Voskos, organic nonfat

For more information about yogurt and Greek yogurt log, onto the following websites:

If you need some help planning a healthy diet, contact our nutritionist, Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE.   We offer this service to our students.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu. 


Q: My dad and other family members have high cholesterol- is this genetic?

It is good that you are concerned about your health; high blood cholesterol can increase your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Some people have high blood cholesterol because of the foods they eat and others have high cholesterol because of genetics.

So what’s the difference?   Not only do you get cholesterol from the foods you eat (your diet) your body also makes cholesterol to use in normal body functions.  The cholesterol made by your body is partly influenced by your genes and these genes are shared by your family members.

Even though genetics play a role, families often share the same eating and lifestyle habits. Some health problems that seem to run in families may be worsened by these unhealthful eating habits. If you have a genetic tendency to produce more cholesterol, you may still obtain additional benefits from reducing the cholesterol in your diet.

Some of the basic goals are to:

  • Balance calories to manage body weight.
  • Eat at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, including a variety of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, beans, and peas.
  • Eat seafood (including oily fish) in place of some meat and poultry.
  • Eat whole grains—the equivalent of at least three 1-ounce servings a day
  • Use oils to replace solid fats.
  • Use fat-free or low-fat versions of dairy products.

For more information about hearth healthy eating log onto the following websites:

If you need some help planning a heart healthy diet contact our nutritionist Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE.   We offer this service to our students.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu.


Q: I am so confused- what is the difference between a portion size and a serving size?

A:  What a great question.   We have seen over the years that food portions have gotten larger, supersized is enough for at least two people.  Larger muffins, bigger slices of pizza, jumbo soft drinks, etc., has led to an increase in waistlines and body weight.  These growing portion sizes are changing what Americans think of as a “normal” portion size.  This is called “Portion Distortion.”

A portion size is the amount of food served in a single eating occasion. For example, a bowl of pasta from Olive Garden is a portion.   A serving size is a standardized unit for measuring food. This would actually be much smaller than what you get at Olive Garden. A serving of pasta is ½ cup cooked.  Below are some tips for controlling portion size and sticking to appropriate servings:

  • To know serving sizes for different foods, see the chart below.
  • Use smaller size plates to eat.
  • When at a restaurant, be especially wary of the serving size. Split a dish or take half of your meal home.
  • Don’t go for seconds.
  • Read the nutritional facts label so you know how much you are eating.

Food

Serving Size

What it looks like

Pasta or rice ½ cup (cooked) Light bulb
Cereal 1 cup Baseball
Cheese 1.5 oz. 3 dice
Milk 1 cup Tennis ball
Oil, dressing, butter, etc. 1 teaspoon 2 stacked nickels/1 poker chip
Meat, poultry, or fish 3 oz. Deck of cards
Dried fruit or nuts ¼ cup Golf ball
Baked potato 1 small potato Computer mouse
Ice cream/ frozen yogurt ½ cup Light bulb
Corn on the cob 1 ear Length of a pencil
Hamburger 2 oz. Deck of cards
Ribs 2-3 pieces Checkbook
Pizza 1 slice 2 dollar bills
Apple 1 cup/medium sized Baseball
Berries/grapes ½ cup Light bulb
Popcorn 3 cups 3 baseballs
Muffin/biscuit 3 oz Hockey puck

 

For more information about healthy serving sizes onto the following websites:

If you need some help planning a healthy diet contact our nutritionist Karin Palmer, RD, LD, CDE.   We offer this service to our students.  You can make an appointment with her by contacting the student health center at 216-397-4349, or e-mail her at nutritionist@jcu.edu.