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Iodized Salt Is No Longer a Required Part of a Healthy Diet—Here’s Why

krutar/shutterstockIt’s no secret by now that eating too much salt can wreak havoc on your body. But what the heck is iodized salt, and should you be buying it?

For starters, iodine is an element that regulates your thyroid glands, stimulates brain development, and naturally detoxes your body. Most adults need about 150 mcg of iodine per day in order to avoid a deficiency, according to experts. Thankfully, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements say that Americans and Europeans are what’s called “iodine sufficient,” meaning their diet is varied enough to provide the necessary levels of iodine. That’s true even if they don’t use iodized salt, according to the Institutes’ research.

But don’t relax just yet. Iodine deficiencies can be pretty scary, and if you are pregnant, you need to be particularly cautious. The need for iodine increases during pregnancy, because low iodine levels can endanger your baby’s mental development. Doctors often advise pregnant women to eat dairy products and take vitamin supplements, but you should see your own doctor before making any radical changes to your diet. (Still, you can safely stick with these snacks to eat while pregnant.)

For everyone else, you need not worry too much about your iodine levels. And while it’s true that you can get your daily intake of iodine from iodized salt, that’s not always the healthiest solution. To reach the recommended level, you would need to eat more than half a teaspoon of iodized salt a day, which is two-thirds of the daily amount of sodium (1,500 milligrams) recommended by the American Heart Association. (These are the signs you’re eating too much sodium.)

Experts recommend getting your iodine from food, instead. Good sources of iodine—other than iodized salt, of course—include fish, dairy products, grains like bread, and fruits and vegetables. Multivitamin pills and seaweed are also rich in iodine. Make any or all of these foods a staple in your diet, and rest assured you’re well on your way to an iodine-sufficient life.

Now that your mind is in the kitchen, check out the real difference between baking power and baking soda.

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“Clean eating” promotes unhealthy habits—especially among kids

Clean eating seems ideal for parents who want to establish their children’s healthy habits early on. It’s no surprise really: “clean eating” is the perfect buzz term for parents who are faced with supermarket shelves full of baby and toddler food which is high in sugar content and low in nutritional value.

But while some clean eating plans are focused on a balanced diet—with less processed and more whole foods—others are extreme. Some advise cutting out things such as gluten, or whole food groups, such as grains and dairy—all the while advising us to consume so-called “super-foods” to maximize health and well-being.

There’s a reason why it’s called a “balanced” diet, and subscribing to any extreme nutritional plan can adversely affect child health on multiple levels. Excluding major food groups from our diet at any age can lead not only to inadequate calorie intake, but potentially malnutrition, and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins.

Food groups

Gluten—a protein found in cereals like wheat, rye, and barely—appears to be one of the main targets for clean eating plans. Although some people will have the clinical condition coeliac disease, which means their body has an inflammatory reaction to gluten, most people have no problems processing it.

Cereal products are recommended as one of the fundamental bases of a healthy diet by world leading health and nutrition organizations such as Public Health England, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and are a staple food in the Mediterranean diet. They contain the carbohydrates the human body needs to function, and so depriving constantly moving babies, toddlers, and children from the main fuel for their muscles and brain can only delay their development.

In addition to advocating that gluten should be cut, the extreme “clean eating” philosophy is that not all carbohydrates are created equal—even if it’s exactly the same molecules at the base of them. People are led to believe that refined sugar is the ultimate evil, a poison that will sabotage their health. Yet, they are happy to consume a “green” or “protein” smoothie that contains as much sugar as a can of fizzy drink without a whiff of guilt.

On the contrary, they feel they are doing something good for themselves and their kids, giving their bodies a boost of nutrients and even getting some veggie goodness into them. Similarly, a cake recipe that features agave syrup, honey or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar is marketed as a “healthy alternative” or a “guilt free” treat.

Some clean eating plans also advocate eliminating dairy products from the diet despite them actually being the most efficient natural source of calcium. A cup of milk or yogurt, or a slice of cheese, can contain anything from 300-400 milligrams of calcium, while a typical serving of non-dairy sources—except for small fish eaten with their bones—does not tend to contain even 100 milligrams, and usually falls well under that.

The average adult needs about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Children go through several growth spurts until adulthood and their needs are even higher—teenagers require 1,300 milligrams, for example. If not carefully designed, a non-dairy diet can delay children’s growth and impact on future bone strength.

At the same time, many of the promoted superfoods, such as kale, beetroot, and chia seeds, for example, can be potentially unsuitable for younger kids. Kale and beetroot are naturally high in nitrates that can be toxic for younger babies, while chia seeds swell up in the stomach filling the space for nutrient dense foods, and potentially causing upset tummies.

Healthy attitudes

In addition to physical effects, imposing a clean eating diet may change a child’s attitudes to food, too. It is well established that the most effective way to create or increase desire is to restrict access. Younger toddlers, who are unaware of the existence of the “forbidden fruit” will not ask for it. But when the restriction is lifted and children taste the “new” palatable foods, they are unequipped to manage their natural desire for it.

Healthy eating should not only be about promoting foods that sustain physical health, but also behaviors that sustain a healthier relationship with food. What this whole trend of clean eating is missing is that food is more than a fuel for our body. It’s also centuries of culture, and ignores how people connect over a meal and enjoy it.

Ultimately, helping a child to be happy and healthy isn’t about being “clean” or “dirty”, it is about teaching them to enjoy nutritional foods, and to be aware of what makes up a balanced diet.

The ConversationThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Naples celebrity chef and wife will offer healthy cooking classes

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The number of people sporting digital fitness trackers is growing at a healthy pace.
Behind The Headlines Staff

Even celebrity chefs have to consider a healthy diet.

While Chef Brian Roland prepares hollandaise and sauteed shrimp and mashed potatoes for a living at his new Crave Culinaire “restaurant without walls,” at home he’s eating a cauliflower crust pizza.

“It can be challenging,” he said of his culinary lifestyle. “I just have to be careful about making smart decisions.”

While Roland does the gourmet cooking at work, his wife, Nicole Roland, prepares healthy meals at home.

And together, they’ll share their techniques, tips and tricks during cooking classes that start next week.

“Giving people a little more confidence when they come to the table or go to the grocery store on the right things to buy and what to do with them,” Brian said.

More: Building a Venue: Chef Brian Roland launching event space in Naples

More: Naples chef didn’t win on ‘Restaurant Startup,’ but the real win came after

More: True Food Kitchen welcome addition to Naples dining scene

The couple opened Venue Naples, a customizable event space, earlier this year in Royal Cove Plaza in North Naples off U.S. 41 North. Crave Culinaire is the catering company that serves everything from hors d’oeuvres at private galas to four-course, public pop-up dinners.

Brian Roland’s culinary pedigree includes time at the former Maxwell’s on the Bay in Naples’ Venetian Village, at Chops City Grill in Bonita Springs, at Cru at Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers, as well as for Daniel Boulud at his Café Boulud in Manhattan.

In 2015 he appeared on CNBC’s reality television show “Restaurant Startup.”

At Venue Naples, he has already taught open-to-the-public gourmet cooking classes, like how to prepare meringues for holiday guests. But it was his wife’s idea to start offering more practical, easy-to-grasp classes on healthy home cooking for gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian diets. 

“I love helping people, and I have a gluten allergy myself, so I just love being able to find recipes that work for them, and just teaching people that healthy and nutritious can also be delicious as well,” Nicole Roland said.

She started cooking at home out of necessity. 

“From the moment we moved in together, I did most of the cooking because I didn’t want to wait until midnight to eat because of his schedule,” she said.

And she admits she was nervous, at first, to prepare a meal for a chef.

“And then I finally realized he just wanted a meal that he didn’t have to work for to cook. It soon became a lot less intimidating.”

For breakfast, Nicole Roland makes overnight oats or two-ingredient pancakes. For lunch, they eat salads or lentil pasta, and for dinner, paleo coconut-crusted chicken or fish with zucchini noodles — all gluten-free recipes.

“I love the food that she cooks,” Brian Roland said. “She’ll put something on the table at night and it’s out-of-this-world delicious, and she’s finding great alternatives.”

The cooking classes next week will be interactive and will include a three-course meal. The Rolands will cover meal preparation ideas, grocery store tips, recipes and other suggestions.

“Being prepared and knowing what you’re going to be snacking on and having the right meals planned will prevent you from grabbing something when you’re starving just to satisfy hunger,” Nicole Roland said.

Attendees have the option of two dates: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, or 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23. Tickets are $40 and are available at venuenaples.com/tickets.

‘We’re just really excited to share with the community what works well for us,” Brian Roland said, “and showcase some easy-to-prepare meals that are healthy, delicious and fun.”

Cooking classes with Brian and Nicole Roland

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug 22; 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23

Where: Venue Naples, 13240 U.S. 41 N., #205, North Naples

Cost: $40

To buy:venuenaples.com/tickets

More information: 239-292-1529

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Bluffs woman develops healthy cookbook by cooking for husband

There’s a story behind Linda Vergamini’s cookbook, “It Took a Catastrophe to Stop the Cheating or LindaV’s Healthy Cookbook.” It contains recipes she developed to help her husband, Bob, battle diabetes and heart problems during the past two decades.

Healthy diet could decrease gestational diabetes risk for South …


Sonia Anand, leader of the South Asian Birth Cohort (START) study. Credit: McMaster University

South Asian women in Ontario are at high risk for gestational diabetes, but a change in diet and pre-pregnancy weight could make a significant difference, according to a new study from McMaster University.

The research study, called the South Asian Birth Cohort (START), is led by Sonia Anand, professor of medicine at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and senior scientist at the Population Health Research Institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University.

The study revealed up to one-third of pregnant South Asian in Ontario develop . As well, pre-pregnancy weight and low-quality diet accounted for 37 per cent of the risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is an issue as it may cause type 2 diabetes in the mother and baby, and newborns have increased birthweight, higher body fat and lower insulin sensitivity.

The study results were published on August 10 in CMAJ Open.

“Our study suggests that if South Asian women could achieve an optimal pre-pregnancy weight and improve their diet quality, approximately one-third of gestational diabetes in this demographic could be prevented,” said Anand, who is also a cardiologist and director of the Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster.

Research was based on data from the START Birth Cohort study, which includes more than 1,000 women in their second trimester of pregnancy from Ontario’s Region of Peel.

The START Study collected health information, physical measurements and a glucose tolerance test from the women. Birth weight, skinfold thickness and cord blood glucose and insulin were obtained from the newborns.

Major determinants for gestational diabetes among this group of women included both factors such as age, family history of type 2 diabetes and maternal height, as well as modifiable factors like pre-pregnancy weight and low-diet quality.

A low-quality diet was characterized by higher consumption of meat (red, chicken and processed), rice and fried foods, and was lower in raw or cooked vegetables. A high-quality diet was associated with higher consumption of vegetables, legumes and whole grain breads.

Anand says the study highlights the importance of public health messaging to South Asian women who are considering pregnancy.

“To our knowledge, such messaging regarding pre-pregnancy weight and quality is not routinely provided by primary care physicians or public health specialists, and requires an integrated approach involving primary health-care sector and policy initiatives,” she said.

“Intervention studies are needed to determine if lowering pre-pregnancy and optimizing during pregnancy can reduce the high rates of gestational in this high-risk population.”


Explore further:
Weight gain between pregnancies linked to increased risk of gestational diabetes

11 Sneaky Ways You Can Get Everyone in Your Household to Eat Better

Do the hard work

Uber Images/ShutterstockIf given the opportunity, wouldn’t you love to hire an at-home chef to whip up the most delicious and nutritionally-rich foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Most people would prefer for someone else to roll up their sleeves and put in the hard work of chopping, slicing, boiling, and grilling, including your next-of-kin. That’s why Kaleigh McMordie, RD, says to trick ’em into eating smarter, lead by example, illustrating how simple it is to make something that’s good for you, while still tasting great. “Make them a healthy but flavorful meal. If it doesn’t taste like ‘rabbit food,’ they are more likely to enjoy eating healthier. Once they know healthy food can be tasty, they will be more open to eating better, and they’ll probably start to feel better too,” she suggests. She does add that when you first put together your sneaky menu, leave the tofu or kale off of it, as it might be a bit too far out of their wheelhouse. Instead, she says to “go slow with something on the grill, like a lean pork chop and grilled veggies with a baked potato.” Try these 10 tricks to make home cooked meals even healthier.

Sneak vegetables into everything

YuliiaHolovchenko/ShutterstockSo your partner looks forward to a cold one with a side of cheesy-fatty pizza every Friday and Saturday night? When you’re trying to shift your diet habits, it can be difficult not to reach for (or order up) ole’ standbys that lack nutritional value, like junk food. But McMordie reminds that your man can have his pizza—and stay healthy, too. The trick here is to go overboard on the vegetables, while keeping some of the traditional ingredients, like mozzarella and pepperoni, to a minimum. “Have a pizza night at home and have lots of fresh veggies and lean protein for toppings, and serve with a salad,” she suggests. “Or, if he loves spaghetti, sneak some extra veggies into the sauce. There are so many foods you can add more vegetables into without it changing the flavor.” Not sure what to put on top of your pie? Here are the healthiest toppings.

Express why it’s personally important to you

George Rudy/ShutterstockWhen you consider the reasons why you shifted your diet to focus more on fulfilling, healthy foods, your motivations were likely varied. Maybe you wanted to drop some weight before a big event or you reached a point where you were uncomfortable in your clothes. Whatever the cause, it’s important to express the reasoning behind your choices to those you share your home with. Not only is it the first step in earning their support, but it McMordie says it also gives you the opportunity to express how much you care about them. “Let them know that you care about their health and you want them to be around for a long time, and that’s why you care about their diet,” she says.

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Invest in smaller dishes

Barbara Dudzinska/ShutterstockWhen it comes to eating, size definitely matters, specifically plate size. “When a plate is big, you tend to want to fill it. When it’s small and you fill it up, you are eating less and even if you get a second helping, you are still eating less than you would be if you filled up a large plate,” explains Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD. It might seem like you’re too smart to fall for this trick, but a study backed up the claim.

Put the phone away

successo images/ShutterstockRemember one of those awesome New Year’s resolutions you came up with about giving less love to your electronics and more to those you share your home or heart with? It’s easy to get into the habit of scrolling through Instagram while you’re finishing up dinner, but Swinney says that, according to a recent study, when your mind is elsewhere while eating, you’re more likely to munch longer. “Turn off the TV and other electronics and turn on some relaxing music. Tell your family that you’d rather just focus on one another during dinner. Electronics are distracting and we tend to eat more when we are focusing on something else,” she explains. Here are more compelling reasons to break up with technology.

Have a veggie appetizer

zarzamora/ShutterstockNo matter if it’s a birthday party, a casual get-together at the beach, or just a BYOB Friday evening party, there’s always someone who remembers to grab something “healthy” to sit among the chips and dip. Swinney says to keep that same mindset when it comes to meal planning, by starting every meal with vegetables. Regardless if it’s crudité, a green salad ,or a homemade cup of vegetable soup, she says that eating a veggie at the start takes the edge off of hunger, which leads to eating less. “Eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to helping children and adults achieve and maintain a healthy weight, according to the US Dietary Guidelines. Eating more fruits and veggies of course adds fiber and nutrients which are important to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” she explains. “Even if you serve his same favorite foods at a meal, your spouse will most likely eat less of it! And he will feel full, which is often the main complaint of men who are trying to eat healthier.” Here are the most filling veggies, according to nutritionists.

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Do the grocery shopping

KucherAV/ShutterstockWhen you are the household grocery shopper, you can prevent temptation from even entering your house to start with. “If you don’t buy junk, they have to work much harder to get to it,” Swinney says. “Then, they’re more likely to reach for a healthier option if that’s the only food available. They may even start to love your favorite healthy snack if you just buy it for them,” she says. Grocery bill climbing higher and higher? Here’s how to cut costs.

Pack snacks

279photo Studio/ShutterstockTruth be told, you have little control over another person, especially when you can’t sit next to them for each and every bite they take. That said, Amy Gorin, MS, RD, says you can be on the first line of defense to sway them to the lighter side on their 3 p.m. snack attack by packing for them. “My boyfriend is a healthy eater, but that doesn’t stop me from packing him a bag of healthier snacks like roasted chickpeas and apples and oranges when he heads on a road trip with the guys. I’d much rather he eat those foods then stop for fast food on the road,” she says. Here are snack ideas that get the nutritionist stamp of approval.

Swap ingredients on the sly

And-One/ShutterstockIn certain instances, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and when it comes to smudging the truth on the exact ingredients you’re using or buying, consider staying mum until post-dinner. Gorin explains that most of the time, upgrading your ingredients to be healthy doesn’t make the overall taste change that dramatically, allowing you to know you created something bountiful, without boasting about it. “When I make French toast, I use whole-grain bread for added fiber and top it with heated frozen fruit, which gets all oozy and is a great stand-in for syrup. Or you can add a runny egg for added protein,” she explains. Here’s how you can get more whole grains in your diet.

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Sneak in pulses

Amazing snapshot/ShutterstockOne sure-fire, easy-peasy way to make sure your dishes are stock-piled with good, healthy vibes is to be strategic with sneaky ingredients, says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. One idea is to utilize ‘pulses,’ which is a superfood group made up of dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. “They are a fantastic source of plant-based protein and fiber, both of which are great for heart health and weight management, and it’s easy to sneak pulses into meat-centric dishes,” she explains. One example is cutting the ground beef in half and subbing in lentils in entrees like lasagna, tacos, or even burgers. Here are seven convincing reasons we should all be eating more beans.

Replace white with whole grain

esherez/ShutterstockConsider implementing a ‘whole grain’ only rule in your household—or even in your parent’s’ home if you’re trying to encourage better habits. Rizzo says that not only is whole grain easy to get used to after a few bites, but because it has been a trendy shift for a decade, there are options that seem less intimidating to those who have been used to eating white bread, only. She suggests starting with Dave’s Killer Bread Whole Grain Bagels or Cinnamon Raisin Bread. “These taste delicious and are what people are more used to eating, so they are easy to sneak into the home.” Here are science-backed reasons you should be eating more bread, not less.

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