Ask Dr. Everett

Dear Dr. Everett,

I have heard so many things about the health benefits of chia seeds and flaxseeds. Which one do you think is more nutritious? 

Chia Seeds

Chia, it's not just a pet anymore.

Chia, it’s not just a pet anymore.

 

The Chia Pet was a novelty item in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. Since then it has emerged on the health and wellness scene as an add in to cereal, salads and smoothies. Once the little black seeds are added to liquid they form a gel,  adding volume to soups and stir frys. Two tablespoons has:

69 calories

4.4 grams of fat

2.3 grams of protein

6 gram of carbohydrate

Chia seeds have a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 20% of fiber  plus many essential vitamins and minerals:

Calcium – 9% RDA

Phosphorus – 12% RDA

Magnesium – 12% RDA

Potassium – 2% RDA

B1 – 6% RDA

The seeds do not have a taste and some anecdotal reports by runners claim that the seeds help provide energy for long distance runs.

 

Flaxseed

This seed doesn't take any flax!

This seed doesn’t take any flax!

 

Flaxseed has been getting a lot of positive press as a food that can help improve heart health. The seed has a hard hull and has to be ground before using (please make sure you use a different grinder than the one you use for coffee beans). Any unused ground flaxseed must be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to stay fresh.

Two tablespoons have:

75 calories

6 grams of fat

2.6 grams of protein

4 grams of carbohydrate

Flaxseeds have a RDA of 15% of fiber

Calcium – 4% RDA

Phosphorus – 9% RDA

Magnesium – 14% RDA

Potassium – 3% RDA

B1 – 15% RDA

 

The Winner Is….

 

Both seeds have valuable nutrients that can help supplement a healthy eating plan. The high fiber content can act as a natural laxative, so start with a teaspoon or two per day before adding two tablespoons to your diet. The slightly higher RDA of vitamins and minerals along with it being deemed a “functional” food places flaxseed as Dr. Everett’s favorite.

 

 

Small Portions = Small Plates

The formula for losing weight sounds so simple: eat less and move more. Both tasks can be equally daunting, especially when smaller portions of healthy foods looks like this to many people:

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An optical illusion called the Delboeuf effect shows that two dots of equal size appears smaller inside a large circle and larger with a smaller circle around it.

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The solution?

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Eating smaller portions on smaller plates can trick the brain into thinking you are eating an adequate amount of food.

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No, you don’t need to buy new dishes. Simply use a salad plate instead of a traditional dinner plate. The oversized platters plates that you received as a wedding present? Use them to serve healthy snacks at your next game night!

References
http://www.livestrong.com/article/507006-three-benefits-of-eating-smaller-portions/
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/portion/portion.cgi?action=question&number=1
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/01/28/145865238/deception-diet-how-optical-illusions-can-trick-your-appetite

Kids in Crisis

Do you remember how many overweight classmates you had in elementary school? I can only recall one. Sometimes we would eat lunch at the same table in the cafeteria, where I would watch her eat two sandwiches, a bag of potato chips and cookies washed down by a Tahitian Treat soda*. I felt deprived with my one sandwich, apple and purchased milk.

Fast forward to today. An alarming number of school aged children are not just a few pounds overweight, but obese. These children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes among other diseases.

How can parents help their children learn healthy habits to prevent obesity?

1. Enroll their children in a sport or exercise program.
2. Learn and teach children how to read food labels for nutritional values.
3. Make healthy living a family affair.

*For the non – Philadelphians, this is a Tahitian Treat soda:

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Every Calorie Counts

Protein and carbohydrates have four calories per gram, and fat has nine calories per gram. So alcohol has how many? Zero? I wish! Alcohol has seven calories per gram, and no nutritional value.
Thus, our next step towards a healthier lifestyle is:

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Here is a chart with serving sizes and calorie counts for wine, beer, whisky and cocktails:

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Serving size definitely matters regarding alcohol consumption. We often judge restaurants and bars on the size of a cocktail or glass of wine, complaining if the pour seems too small. In reality, most of us are drinking up to two or three times the serving size. I will admit that I have never had a three ounce Cosmopolitan in my life! Let’s do the math –

Three 6 ounce Cosmopolitans = 990 calories! Talk about diet sabotage. Try one of these low calorie cocktail recipes when water just won’t do.