Debunking Diet Myths (part 1)

Debunking Diet Myths (part 1)

July 16, 2019 1 By William Morgan


>>BETHANY SWEATMAN:
Good morning, everyone.
I think we are going to
go ahead and get started.
Welcome to the Defense
Logistics Agency’s first
Nutrition Panel Discussion
hosted by the DLA
Headquarters Fitness
Council and DLA Resiliency
Council.
My name is Bethany
Sweatman from the DLA
installation Support,
and I will be your emcee
today.
At this time, I would
like to ask you to silence
all personal electronic
devices as we are
livestreaming this event.
The theme for today’s
discussion is Debunking
Dieting Myths: Practical
Nutrition for Everyday
Living.
We would like to extend
a special welcome for our
participants on
today’s panel.
Dr. Natasha Schvey,
Ms. Karen Hawkins,
Ms. Melissa Walker,
Dr. Jonathan Scott, and
Dr. Tricia Psota.
Our moderator for today’s
discussion is Lieutenant
Colonel Jannell MacAulay.
Please join us in giving
them a warm welcome.
[Applause] At this time,
I would like to introduce
DLA’s Chief of Staff,
Dr. Renee Roman.
As a member of DLA’s
senior leadership and
champion of the resiliency
efforts at DLA, Dr. Roman
is heading an effort
to ensure employees are
provided the resources,
programs, and processes
that support their
personal efforts to become
more resilient.
Fortifying workforce
resiliency is Goal 2 of
the DLA’s Strategic Plan
2015-2022: People and
Culture.
DLA’s leadership
recognizes that the
agency’s success depends
on the readiness of the
workforce to meet evolving
mission requirements.
DLA will have four focus
areas to help employees
become more resilient,
and one of those areas is
nutrition and
physical fitness.
Please join me in
welcoming Dr. Roman to the
stage.
[Applause]>>RENEE
ROMAN: Good morning.
Good morning to those of
you who are physically
here and those joining us
from around the virtual
net.
You know, weathering the
blizzard this weekend
really gave me a chance to
think about what we really
mean when we talk
about resiliency.
The winter storm in many
ways forced us to have to
make changes, have
to adapt to things.
It caused a certain amount
of stress to all of us.
All of a sudden we had
to either change a work
schedule or we had kids at
home that we thought would
be gone or we had to go to
grocery stores with empty
shelves.
But it caused a little bit
of that sense of we had to
then adapt and bounce
back from a changing
environment and a
changing situation.
So sometimes we think
about resiliency and we
think about it from the
standpoint of major life
changes.
You think, I am good,
there’s nothing major
happening.
But resiliency is not only
dealing with the major
changes, but the minor
ones, like Snowmageddon
out there or stress at
work or different kinds of
things.
It doesn’t have to be
a big, major thing that
cause cause us to have to
be able to bounce back,
react, be adaptive,
and be resilient.
So when you think about
that in the broader
context, you begin to
understand why it is
important for us to
be able to have the
capability to be
resilient, because while
the big challenges
probably aren’t happening
to us every day —
thank God, those little
challenges, whether they
are at work or at home,
are constantly happening.
So the idea of being
able to fortify your
resiliency, to give all
of us — you, me, our
families — all of us
the ability to be able to
maintain strength and
be resilient, really is
important.
So when we look at the
four focus areas that we
have established as we
approach resiliency and
try to fortify resiliency
in the Agency, we are
looking at the areas of
mental, physical, social,
and spiritual health.
Because each one of
those are a pillar that
collectively helps you
fortify our ability to
adapt, react, bounce back,
when those challenges
happen, whether they’re
big other small.
Many people depend on us,
whether it is our family,
our friends, or our
coworkers, they depend on
us every day.
So our ability to take
care of ourselves so we
can take care of
others is important.
That’s what today’s
program is about, take
tips from aspects of
taking care of ourselves
from nutrition and health
and be able to blend that
into what we are able to
do when we think about
what we are able to do.
I think many of you have
heard the senior leaders
say that our DLA workforce
is really our strongest
resource.
And so we don’t want to
just say it; we want to
put the action to the
words to show that we
really believe that
you are our strongest
workforce.
And as such, we have many
programs and services that
we have available around
the Agency to help fortify
your personal resiliency.
At our Headquarters
complex, we have our
Health and Fitness
Council have worked to put
together this program.
Similarly, across the
enterprise at all of our
field locations, there are
also concerted efforts to
make sure that we link
resources and programs and
processes to help you in
regards to fortifying your
resiliency, whether that
be in the aspect of health
and wellness or whether
it be in the mental or the
spiritual, any of those,
we are constantly looking
now to really kind of
bring those programs to
the forefront to
help you link in.
So this panel today on
Practical Nutrition for
Everyday Living is a great
opportunity to learn how
to adopt and sustain
those behaviors.
And I’m thrilled that
all of you have made the
commitment to join us
today with our goal of
fortifying your
personal resiliency.
As leaders, we are
committed to helping our
team strengthen resiliency
by ensuring that we
provide resources,
programs, and processes to
support your
personal efforts.
Lieutenant General Busch,
as well as the entire
senior leadership team,
view workforce resiliency
as a key priority, not
only because a resilient
team is more productive —
and they are — but also
because it’s the
right thing to do.
It’s the right thing to
do for every one of you
sitting out there.
It’s the right thing to do
for each one of us who are
senior leaders personally.
It is really the right
thing to do for us
collectively.
So I’ll get off the
stage, and I’ll turn it
over to our panel of
experts who today can
provide useful information
to help us as we weather
not only the storms that
we have outside and the
challenges that we may
have with that, but help
us weather any of the
other storms we may have
in our personal or
professional life.
With that, I’ll turn it
back over to Bethany.
[Applause]>>BETHANY
SWEATMAN: Thank you,
Dr. Roman, for
those remarks.
I would now like to
introduce the participants
of today’s discussion,
and I would like to direct
your attention to the
programs you received for
the complete biographies
of each of our
participants.
I am going to start
with closest to me.
Dr. Natasha Schvey is a
postdoctoral fellow in the
Department of medical and
clinical psychology at the
Uniformed Services
University of Health
Sciences.
Dr. Schvey’s primary
research focus has been on
obesity, eating pathology,
and weight stigmatization.
Our second panelist,
Ms. Karen Hawkins, is a
Registered Dietitian
working in the Military
Community and Family
Policy Office within the
Office of the
Secretary of Defense.
With more than ten
years of public health
experience, Ms.
Hawkins has developed,
coordinated, and evaluated
health and nutrition
programs throughout the
Commonwealth of Virginia.
Our third panelist, Ms.
Melissa Walker, is a
Registered Dietitian,
trainer, and proud U.S.
Army Veteran.
Ms. Walker currently works
as the Wellness Amenity
Program Manager for
the General Services
Administration.
In her current role,
Ms. Walker manages and
oversees the development,
promotion, and
implementation of
facility-based health and
wellness programs for
GSA, such as Fitwel, the
concessions program,
fitness facilities, and
health units.
Our fourth panelist,
Dr. Jonathan Scott, is a
senior scientist and
nutritionist at the
Consortium for Health and
Military Performance and
Adjunct Assistant
Professor in the
Department of Military and
Emergency Medicine at the
Uniformed Services
University of Health
Sciences.
Dr. Scott conducts
research for the
Department of Defense on a
variety of topics related
to nutrition.
Our final panelist is
Dr. Tricia Psota, a
nutritionist with the
Center for Nutrition
Policy and Promotion
at the United States
Department of Agriculture,
where she is responsible
for developing
evidence-based dietary
guidance and promoting
the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans through a
wide range of nutrition
marketing and
communication strategies.
Let’s give them a warm
welcome one more time.
[Applause] Today’s
discussion will be
moderated by another
special guest, Lieutenant
Colonel Jannell MacAulay.
Lieutenant Colonel Mac all
lay is joining us to go
from joint base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in
New Jersey, although she
was formerly here in the
building, so we are
happy to have her back.
At the joint base, she
currently serves as the
Commander of the 305th
Operations Support
Squadron.
We had a lot of phone tag
back and forth trying to
coordinate some details.
When I did finally get
a hold of her, she very
nonchalantly said I am
just trying to get two
major airfields
cleared off.
We are digging
out from the snow.
I was like oh, you know,
is that all you are doing?
Like no big deal.
But I say that just to say
how happy we are that you
were willing and able to
make this trip all the way
out here just for this,
so we are thrilled to have
you here.
Outside of the office,
Lieutenant Colonel MaAulay
lay has a PhD in the field
of strategic health and
human performance.
As well as being a
certified health coach
with a certificate in
plant-based nutrition.
She specializes in
improving the performance
of employees of large
organizations through a
focus on nutrition,
fitness, mind/body
balance, and optimal
medical health practices.
Please join me in
welcoming Lieutenant
Colonel MacAulay to
the stage to get our
discussion started.
[Applause]>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Thank you so
much.
Thank you for
that introduction.
Good morning to everyone.
I will be your moderator
for today’s panel
discussion.
Over the next hour, I
will pose questions to our
panel members based on the
questions we received in
advance.
Some questions will be
posed to specific panel
members based on their
fields of expertise, while
others will be broader and
up for open discussion.
As a reminder to our
panel members, please be
sure to speak directly
into the microphone or
pass it around if that’s
easiest, as this is being
broadcast live on the
DLA — throughout the DLA.
Please wait for a
microphone before you
begin speaking.
At this time, I am going
to start with the first
question.
What are the most common
nutrition misconceptions
that you come across
on a daily basis?
I don’t know who
wants to start.
Maybe we will start at
the end or — Dr. Psota?
>>TRICIA PSOTA:
All right.
So I would say first that
the common misperceptions
that I encounter in the
work that I do is that
certain food groups need
to be eliminated to be
healthy.
And I think a lot of that
comes from different fad
diets that are
out in the media.
And contrary to that,
I work at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture,
and our main nutrition
education tool is what we
call My Plate, which is a
visual representation of
how you can balance all
the food groups
into a healthy diet.
So I’d say that’s the
biggest challenge that we
face is explaining why you
need foods from all the
food groups to get all the
nutrients that your body
needs.
>>I think one of the
biggest misconceptions
that we hear where we
are at is that there is a
one-size-fits-all
approach to nutrition.
We really know
that’s not the case.
For some individuals, a
diet that may be low in
carbohydrates may
work out well.
For another individual,
a vegetarian may work out
well for them.
So really, it’s about what
works out best for you,
your family, and your
current situation and,
really, what you are able
to maintain over the long
haul is what’s really key.
>>So I have a kind of
interesting job, so I deal
with food service
contracts across the GSA
inventory, and so I work
directly with a lot of our
vendors, and we get a lot
of customer input as to
what they want to
see on the menu.
So I hear a lot of buzz
about, you know, why do so
many products have gluten,
or why are you — why
aren’t there more
vegetarian entrees.
So what I end up dealing
with personally is, again,
a lot of general education
as to how all foods will
fit, that even we
can promote a healthy
cafeteria approach and
still provide all the food
groups, and also
provide options.
You know?
You can eat a healthy
diet, but you can also
splurge.
It doesn’t have to be —
so in our cafeterias at
GSA, we are all about
options and variety and
education.
So that’s really our
approach, making sure that
all foods have a place at
the table and that when we
do confront people who
are very concerned about a
certain food being on our
menu or being served in
our cafeterias, we can
explain to them how
variety and options really
are the optimal way of
sustaining a healthy diet.
>>I would have to say
that I support that as
well.
I think there’s so much
information that is
available over the
Internet today, and we
often get caught up with
reading the story, the
latest stories that are
available on the Internet
regarding what to eat and
how much to eat and when
to eat and why to eat.
Yet, at the end of the
day, what it really comes
down to is when we get
home at the end of the day
and we have to pull
something out for dinner,
especially if we have
families at home,
children, well, what do we
have in our kitchen, and
how much time do we have
available to prepare it?
And so as a dietitian, one
of the things that I like
to focus on when I am
working with people, with
clients, is finding out
what is in their kitchen
or what — where do they
go get their food because
what’s really important is
what you do in your life.
And what you currently do
is what is going to affect
you over the next year,
the next five years, the
next ten years.
So if you are the type of
person that goes out to
eat often, well, then
figuring out what it is
that you go out to eat is
really, really critical
because changing behavior
does not happen overnight.
And don’t get caught up
in — one of the things I
like to say is try not to
get caught up in all the
information that is
available on the Internet
because it’s so easy
to become confused.
Sticking with variety
and not being too hard on
yourself is
really important.
>>So my formal training
is as a clinical
psychologist, so I come
at this topic from more of
the eating and obesity
side of things.
The biggest dieting
misnomer I see frequently
is that weight is an
accurate and reliable
proxy for health; and in
fact, we know that not to
be true at all.
So we make a lot
of assumptions.
We see somebody that might
be carrying excess weight,
and we might make an
assumption about his or
her diet or the quality of
nutrition that that person
is consuming.
Likewise, we might see
somebody who is lean, and
we might make assumptions
that that person is very
fit and healthy.
So I really want to try
to dispel that myth, that
weight is certainly one
index of health, but it is
not the only index of
health, and it can often
be a very misleading
index of health.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Great.
I think you all
covered that very well.
I am going to throw the
next question at probably
the dietitians.
We will start there
with your expertise.
So if individuals want
to look at easy ways for
monitoring their caloric
intake, what are some of
your suggestions for the
ways they can do that?
>>Well, I think you
do need to have that
information available, and
one of the things that we
are working on in our
federal facilities is
making sure that the
foods, recipes, entrees
that are offered are
labeled with calorie
content, which is not
always easy for every
vendor out there to
accomplish because, you
know, many of the smaller
vendors do not have
registered dietitians
or people who can do a
nutritional analysis
on a recipe.
But I think being informed
about portion size, having
visuals so that you know
what that portion size
looks like.
I know when I did a lot
of personal counseling, it
was amazing how one
person’s perception of a
half a cup is very
different than someone
else’s perception of
what a half a cup is.
And if calories intake and
balance is what you are
going after, you really
have to understand what
those portion sizes are
and how to correlate that
to the overall calorie
needs that you have.
>>And to support that as
well, I think there’s a
variety of apps
that are available.
I know that there’s
the supertracker.
That is one that is
available through USDA
that can be used for
tracking calories if that
is something that you
are interested in doing
with — in regards to
looking at how much you
are eating and
weight management.
But there are a number of
apps that are available
that can be used for
tracking calories as well.
>>I think it can almost
be as simple as times as
listening to yourself and
listening to your body.
If you are really focused
on the eating and the
eating experience, your
body will let you know
when you are hungry.
It will also let you
know when it’s full.
But when we are distracted
sitting in front of a
screen, you know, that’s
diverting our attention
away from what we are
doing, we lose sight of
that.
So it can be as simple as
making eating an occasion,
whether you are spending
that with family, friends,
others, or even just by
yourself, focus on the
eating.
Enjoy the experience.
>>So I feel bad going
back to the tracking
discussion when Dr. Scott
so eloquently talked about
the mindfulness
approach to eating.
Of course, that’s
definitely something to
encourage, but to follow
up on what Ms. Hawkins
said, at USDA, we do have
the supertracker tool,
which will help you keep
track of what you are
eating, and it’s linked to
USDA’s nutrition database,
so it’s a reliable tool,
and it will let you know
about certain nutrients
that you are eating, but
also meeting
the food groups.
You can track physical
activity as well.
And you know, we are
making this more fun.
We are seeing that that
can get burdensome for
people to really track
everything that they eat
or every activity they do.
So there’s a lot of quick
and easy ways to get
around that, not just with
supertracker, but plenty
of other apps that let
you, you know, save your
favorite meals for your
family and your recipes
and things like that.
So it makes it more easier
to really track what you
do so it doesn’t
take too much time.
But one thing that we
are seeing that’s really
popular nowadays
is gamification.
So challenging people,
you’ll see that with
FitBits.
People are challenging
each other.
We are excited that we are
launching with that with
supertracker as well.
Did you meet everything
in that little box?
As you can tell from our
answers to the first round
of question, there really
are so many different ways
to be healthy, you don’t
need to fit certain
criteria and check
all the boxes.
So that’s something we
are really trying to
encourage is just those
small changes and small
steps approaches, so you
can challenge, you know,
your family or friends or
coworkers to can you just
get a food from each
food group every day?
And you know, so we are
launching those right now,
and we have seen a lot of
promise, especially among
school kids and health
classes, where they are
just challenging each
other to do one little
thing to be a little
bit healthier.
So if you are a little
overwhelmed at the idea of
tracking everything,
there’s a lot of shortcuts
or quick and easy apps
and tools you can use to
really support you in your
efforts to be healthier
but also make it fun
so that you don’t feel
burdened by it but
more excited about it.
I know for those of us
in our office when we try
these things out, it’s
kind of fun to challenge
each other and see who
can get more steps or make
sure they meet the
recommendations to get
half their plate of fruits
and vegetables every day,
things like that.
So there’s a lot of
different approaches, but
I think it’s — getting
back to what Dr. Scott
said earlier about picking
what works for you.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Thank you.
I think there’s a
lot of great tips.
The Japanese have a
phrase, and when you
listen to your body, that
means you eat until you
are about 80% full.
If you go past that point,
it takes a while for our
stomachs and our brains
to kind of connect; right?
If you eat to that 80%
full as the Japanese do,
they usually prevent
getting that full feeling,
so you don’t really have
to monitor and count any
calories at that point.
But there are good tools
out there if you are
trying to limit
those calories.
I’d like to turn the
next question maybe to
Dr. Schvey.
Can we open up the
discussion on the
difference between a
diet and a lifestyle?
>>NATASHA SCHVEY:
Absolutely.
This is a common question
I get from my patients.
Okay, I want to start
a diet and lose weight.
A diet is actually
something I discourage my
patients from
undertaking — I see a
thumbs-up in the
audience — for a number
of reasons.
A diet, it implies there
is a time limit to it,
this is that this is
something I am going to go
on for a finite period of
time, I am going to start
January 1 and do that diet
until I get to this number
on the scale,
and then what?
That’s when I actually see
a lot of my patients is a
couple of years after
that diet, they did really
well, they lost an amount
of weight that they were
pleased with,
but then what?
They ended up gaining back
that weight, and usually
people gain back that
weight and then some.
That’s what we call the
yo-yo dieting phenomenon,
that it doesn’t usually
go back to that point, it
actually exceeds the
weight that that person
was previously at.
So I really encourage
sustainable lifestyle
changes.
And again, I know that my
first point had to do with
using weight as a proxy
for health, and I really
discourage you
from doing that.
And similarly, I urge
you to avoid dieting to
achieve a certain
number on the scale.
I think there are a lot
more reliable metrics that
we can use to gauge our
health and our wellness.
So we see patients who
have lost maybe 5%, 10% of
their body weight.
They might not feel
pleased with that, but
from the medical side,
we are overjoyed.
We see that even with a
5% to 10% loss in body
weight, we see a number
of health improvements.
So that individual might
not have gotten to a
weight that they feel
happy with or they might
not feel that that’s a
success, but medically,
that might be considered
a huge success.
So focusing less on the
scale, and also I like to
ask my patients is this
something that you are
going to be happy
doing in a year?
Is this something that
you can see yourself doing
when you switch jobs, when
you move, when you have a
birthday party that
you are going to?
Because if not, it’s
probably not something
that you want to be
undertaking right now.
So I usually urge my
patients that I see to
focus on small, sort of
tangible goals that they
can accomplish, and
whether that’s a goal
that’s a preset calorie
limit or whether it’s a
goal of I want to be able
to tie my own shoes at the
end of the year, and that
is my goal and that’s what
I am going to
work towards.
I think as Dr. Scott
mentioned, it’s not a
one-size-fits-all
approach.
So whatever is a
meaningful, salient goal
to you, that’s what
you should be using.
And again, that sort of
sustainable lifestyle
change.
And I think that there’s
really an enormous
overemphasis on individual
nutrients and am I getting
enough protein and
did I eat too many
carbohydrates, and I think
taking a more holistic
approach is usually
much more beneficial.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Thank you.
Does anyone else have
any comments on that?
>>JONATHAN SCOTT: I will
just say, too, you know,
in its most basic
definition, a diet is
simply what we eat.
So in effect, we
are all on a diet.
But we are not necessarily
dieting per se.
And that’s really
important to keep in mind,
as Dr. Schvey brought up,
that it’s not so much the
diet that’s important but
the lifestyle piece that’s
important and really what
is very meaningful to us
and our family and
those that we support.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Great.
Thank you.
I am going to turn it to
a little bit more in the
news type controversial
questions.
One relates to food dyes.
Does anyone want to
comment on the current
status of are they or are
they not okay for us to
consume?
I know that’s a tough one.
>>I can’t speak to the
science per se as to
whether a particular food
dye is going to cause, you
know, autism or some of
the other things you hear.
But I think if you focus
back generally on eating a
healthy diet, you tend to
just avoid things that is
have dyes in them.
Right?
So if you are focusing on
fruits and vegetables and
whole grains and lean
protein, you don’t come in
contact with those things.
So if your diet centers
around, you know, the
cupcake with the,
you know, bright red
Valentine’s Day frosting
on top, then you are
probably going to be
exposed to those types of
things.
So regardless of what
research is showing in
terms of do they cause
some type of health impact
or not, I think the bigger
question to ask is are you
focusing your diet around
the right types of foods
and avoiding those things
that have that in there to
begin with?
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Okay.
Dr. Scott?
>>JONATHAN SCOTT: I
will just make one quick
comment too.
A lot of these big
headlines that we see on
the news are based on
correlational data.
And as we know,
correlation does not equal
causation.
One of the graphs that
sticks out in my mind that
I have seen is the sharp
increase in obesity over
the last 30 years mirrored
by the sharp increase in
bottled water consumption.
There is a very strong
correlation between those
two, but you wouldn’t
say that drinking bottled
water causes obesity.
That’s really important
to make the distinguish
between those two things.
Also I would say as far
as the food dyes are
concerned, I don’t work
for the government.
I am a contractor.
But that all of these
different additives have
what is known as generally
recognized as safe or GRAS
status.
They have gone through
some vetting or approval
process to be allowed
to be used in the food
supply.
Whether or not you choose
to consume them is up to
the individual, but there
has been some process that
has been used to
determine their safety.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Thank you.
I would like to turn the
discussion to what I think
is one of the
biggest myths.
Somebody might say I
am eating gluten-free
product; therefore,
it’s healthier for me.
Or I am on a gluten-free
diet, so I have a
healthier diet.
Can you kind of discuss
how sometimes that can be
misleading?
>>So I think a great
example of this is in the
’90s when the
low-fat/nonfat products
hit the scene.
Everyone uses the image of
the green Snackwell’s box.
There was this
misperception because they
were low fat or nonfat, I
can eat as many of these
cookies as I want, as
opposed to looking at the
overall nutrition provided
by these products.
So that’s one of the
things we are now seeing
with gluten free or
whatever nutrient you want
to pick free, it doesn’t
mean that they don’t have
other things in them
that could be unhealthy.
Whether, you know, it was
eating all these low-fat
cookies because you
thought, oh, they must be
healthy; they
are lower in fat.
At the end of the day,
they still have calories.
So if you eaten of them,
you are going to likely
gain weight
because of that.
So that’s the other — now
what we are seeing with
gluten free and some of
these other fads is that
just because they don’t
have a certain nutrient in
them doesn’t mean that
they are nutritious for
everyone.
Gluten-free products
definitely have a place in
the market.
For people who have
celiac disease, they are
essential for them.
But there is this
misconception that because
they work for someone
with this personal disease
state that it’s
good for everyone.
That is not the case.
Not that I am
anti-gluten-free products.
They are good for people
with celiac disease, but
they are not necessarily
for everyone.
And I think you can do
that with any of those
pick a nutrient
type products.
Just because something
doesn’t have sugar added
doesn’t mean that they
didn’t put something else
in there to add flavor to
the product, whether it’s
sodium or whatnot.
So I think that, you
know, again, Ms. Walker
said if you get back to
just eating healthier,
more nutritious foods, you
don’t really even need to
pay attention to that
because a lot of the
healthiest foods aren’t
going to have things in
them that you — I hate
to say avoid or — there’s
nothing good or bad.
There’s a place for
everything on our plates
and in our lifestyles, but
I think that’s the main
thing to think
about with that.
>>Yeah, I think you
covered that one pretty
well.
Can we just transition
that to now discuss when
we talk about gluten, a
lot of people think of
grains; right?
So grains are evil; right?
And not all carbs
are created equal.
So can we discuss that a
little bit, the difference
between whole grain versus
refined and clarify that a
little bit?
I don’t know if one of the
dietitians want to take it
or Dr. Scott.
>>So you know, we, in
our guidelines at GSA, I
mean, we emphasize
whole grains.
We promote that 50% of all
the product line served in
our cafeterias are based
around whole grains.
And you know, it’s a very
easy thing for a consumer
to look at the ingredient
list, if you see the word
“whole” as one of the
first ingredients, then
you know that they are
using whole grains.
Whole grains provide, you
know, a slew of benefits
to your health, and I
think there does need to
be a recognition that
whole grains are probably
a better option than
something that’s refined.
Whole grains often give
you more fiber because the
grain is intact.
You get more nutrients.
When you are looking at a
processed grain, they’ve
taken away the whole and
the shaft of the grain, so
you are only left with the
gluten part which isn’t
going to provide you
with as many nutrients.
So I do think there is
benefits to looking at
whole-grain products.
I think the other
benefit is they are more
satiating, so they
make you feel full.
So when you eat a
whole-grain product and
are mindful of enjoying
the food, slowing down,
taking in the atmosphere,
you are also just going to
feel that 80% full, the
Japanese approach, quicker
than if you are eating
a lot of refined grains.
The great thing, too,
is there are some really
great products out there.
Whole-grain pasta now, I
pull this one over on my
husband all the time.
He claims he doesn’t like
whole-grain pasta, but I
use it all the time and
he doesn’t even know it.
So I don’t
mention it to him.
I just go with the flow,
and he thinks he’s happily
eating the refined pasta,
and I am making him
healthy stealthily.
[Laughter]>>I would
also support that as well
with the whole grains.
I think that, again, it
comes back to what is in
the media, and a lot of
folks are following gluten
free.
That does not mean that
you need to follow gluten
free to be healthy.
Choosing whole grains is
going to be a good way to
go.
We do recommend that.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Okay.
Great.
This one will be
for each of you.
We all know that there’s
no panacea for weight
loss.
There’s no — a diet
magic pill does not exist.
If you had to give your
best tip for where to
begin to start if you are
looking for a weight loss
plan, what would that be?
>>So this is one that I
think is hopefully pretty
easy to implement, but I
would say if you have to
only target one thing,
it would be those
sugar-sweetened beverages.
We know that that is
the single greatest
contributor to our overall
calorie intake of any
other food.
So I would say if nothing
else, if you want to keep
everything else the same
and just eliminate or
reduce those
sugar-sweetened beverages,
you are going to be
in much better shape.
Andening when I say
sugar-sweetened beverages,
sometimes the first thing
that jumps to mind is coke
or Pepsi.
You might be thinking,
oh, I don’t drink Coke or
Pepsi, but what about
sports drinks, energy
drinks, coffee drinks?
Again, this is
something — and I can
talk a little bit more
about sugar-sweetened
beverages.
But our body consumes
them in a way that’s very
different from calories
we get from solid foods.
So when we ingest
150 calories of a
sugar-sweetened beverage,
our body fails to
compensate for it later.
If we have 150-calorie
Snicker bar, we are not
going to eat as much later
in the day because our
body is compensating for
having consumed those
calories.
When we ingest calories
in a liquid form, our body
kind of ignores it, so
we are usually eating the
same amount as usual plus
those added calories from
those sugar-sweetened
beverages.
That would be my number
one tip if you have to
start somewhere.
>>And with reducing your
sugar-sweetened beverages,
to help fill in for, to
replace it, water is key.
That’s an ideal solution.
One of the things I
suggest is carrying a
water bottle with you as
much as you can throughout
the day because that will
help you to make sure you
are getting enough water
throughout the day.
>>I think over time the
one tip that I have seen
being the most successful
with my clients is
moderation.
I think it’s a mistake to
go into any type of, you
know, program thinking
that you are going to
eliminate a lot of foods.
Everyone has their
favorite foods.
Everyone enjoys things,
you know, at the dinner
table.
There’s tradition around
foods, and you know, I
have had people who, you
know, want to eat the tofu
Turkey at Thanksgiving.
I am like really?
Come on.
You are not going to
eat a tofu turkey at
Thanksgiving.
But maybe instead of
eating two pounds of
turkey, you could eat
half a pound of turkey.
So I think the idea of
looking at what you enjoy
about food and instead of
eliminating things that
you enjoy, just cut down
on them, either eat them
less frequently or eat
them in smaller portions,
and I think a great
example is in restaurants
now where you see
the petite desserts.
So it’s like a cheesecake,
but instead of it being
700 calories, it comes in
a little shot glass, so
you get the taste of it,
and it’s mindful, you eat
it slow and enjoy it.
Sometimes you still feel
that satisfaction of
having the dessert but you
are not getting all the
calories.
>>JONATHAN SCOTT: I will
take a non-food approach
with this answer even
though we are discussing
food today, and my top
tip would be to prioritize
sleep.
Sleep is number one.
People always ask me my
top take-only tips, it’s
sleep.
Prioritizing seven to
eight hours of sleep a
night.
We hear it time and time
again, but every day we
are learning more and
more about the power and
benefits of sleep.
And if we can really get
our brain to be able to
reset and be cognitively
engaged throughout our
day, it really makes
making the easy decision
the way to go, whether
it’s through food,
physical activity, smoking
cessation, drinking more
water.
All of those decisions
become a lot easier when
our body has had
the chance to reset.
It makes us more
productive at our work.
So the follow-on to that
is finding what tips work
out best for you as far as
being able to prioritize
that seven to eight
hours a sleep a night.
>>[Speaker off mic]>>
JONATHAN SCOTT: I do not.
I respect that.
Again, trying to work
through what would be some
appropriate strategies.
>>For those of you who
didn’t hear, he was asked
if he had children.
And I understand that that
relates to the amount of
sleep people can get.
So going last, I think
that it gives me a
disadvantage or an
advantage because I feel
like a lot of things I
might have suggested have
will be been suggested.
So instead of being
repetitive of what I think
are some good suggestions,
I will offer some
others — or one.
I know I need to pick one.
But I think that the
small steps approach is
really — research says
over and over again that
it’s successful.
So instead of trying
to change your whole
lifestyle at once, to
do things gradually.
And you know, starting
with what might be
manageable for you.
If this week it’s carrying
a water bottle around, and
in a month it’s cutting
back on maybe having, you
know, one soda a day
instead of two or
something like that.
Because then it gets
ingrained in your
lifestyle.
It’s your new normal.
So I think I’ve seen that
when I did one-on-one
patient practice, that was
what I saw was the biggest
predictor of success
long-term as opposed to
the people who followed a
diet for a set amount of
time.
I saw many people who come
back, as Dr. Schvey said,
five or ten years later
because it was a time,
bound, usually more
extreme approach; where
those people that are able
to sustain weight loss and
maintain a healthy weight
long-term do those small
steps.
So I would encourage
to you start with those
little things, and once
they become your new
habit, build in
something else.
>>JANNELL
MacAULAY: Great.
I think that was —
everyone got some great
tips from all of you on
how to incorporate — get
that healthy start, right,
for weight loss and for
overall health.
Now, I will do another
one where each of you can
kind of give your tip.
Because I know
we are all busy.
Eating healthy food sounds
like it’s a very easy
thing to do, but it is
difficult when you are —
have a busy life and
you have kids; right?
So what would be some
of your tips for maybe
healthy snacks on the go?
I know I will kind of
start one of my things,
it’s all in the prep.
I know with kids that
makes it difficult, but I
bring nigh kids into the
prep on Sunday — my kids
into the prep on Sunday.
If you go to the grocery
store, you come home and
prep little sections in
the refrigerator, my kids
can just grab grapes or
their carrots, and there
is already pre-dished-out
peanut butter for them.
I don’t know if you have
any similar healthy tips
for how to make it easier
to eat healthy on the go.
>>I am all for the
pre-prepping because I
think you will find that
time — whether there’s
children around or
whatnot, whether it’s your
decompressing at the end
of the day and do it while
you have the news on
or a favorite TV show.
I am all about
prepping ahead of time.
And then I think, you
know, although it’s not
always the most
cost-effective, there is
plenty of things available
that you can get for grab
and go, whether it’s
pre-portioned packets of
nuts or, you know, string
cheeses or things like
that, and you can
pair things together.
There’s plenty of
grab-and-go fruits like
apples and bananas and
pairs, and clementines are
great this time of year.
So I think I would
encourage people to not
make it too difficult for
themselves, to really take
advantage of what is
naturally grab and go, and
then when you do have
the time, to prep ahead.
>>JONATHAN SCOTT: I
think other things we can
do, too, when we are in a
rush and can look to grab
and go, we continue to
come back to fruits and
vegs.
Don’t neglect those
in the frozen section.
Frozen fruits and
vegetables certainly have
a place.
The ones that come to mind
is the vegetables that
come in a microwaveable
bag, you throw them in for
a few seconds.
You might want to be
mindful of some of the
different vegetables that
have cheese sauces out of
them.
But hey, if that’s what
you get for your kids to
eat veggies, that would
be a compromise I would be
more than happy to make.
That is fine.
With fruits, even looking
at some of your canned
fruits in their own
juice or individually
prepackaged portion
size, whether that’s the
oranges, the pineapples,
et cetera, that can be a
very easy fix to not
getting in enough fruits
and vegetables, and
it seems as if those
microwave vegetables are
on sale for a dollar every
other week depending on
which grocery store you
shop at.
So they are really not
going to break the bank,
and it’s a really nice way
of, well, I don’t want to
buy something fresh
because I am not sure how
to prepare it or it goes
bad before I use it.
That can be an easy way
to bump up your fruits and
veggies that you are
consuming throughout the
day.
>>So since I deal a
lot with retail and
restaurants and food
service, I will answer
from the perspective of
your — you didn’t make it
out the door with
something preprepped, you
are heading to work and
you know you are going to
be eating out for lunch.
So one of the things
that, you know, we are
working on is ensuring
that all our cafeterias
are providing healthy
food, but I think it’s
important for people to
seek out those restaurants
and eateries and delis
that are near where you
work and find those
locations that offer
healthy choices.
And if you are not sure if
something is healthy, ask
the manager, ask the
owner to provide nutrition
information.
If people will
consistently ask for that,
then they will provide it.
So I think it’s really
important to know that
this deli down the street
has low-sodium really
delicious turkey breast
sandwiches on whole grain,
and it’s a normal portion
size, and I know if I go
there I am going to
get something healthy.
I think it’s important to
research and search those
things out once, you are
done, and then you have a
go-to spot when you need
to eat healthy on the run.
>>This one’s for the
moms and dads in the room
that are on the run a
lot with their kids.
Something I did with
my kids when they were
younger, I would keep the
boxes of the lower-sugar
granola bars in the car
as an emergency, and also
keeping bags of apples
and oranges as well.
Because even if you don’t
have time on the weekends
to do that prep that you
would like to do or that
would be very beneficial
if you did do it for your
family, keeping those
things around — and of
course, you know, keeping
an eye on them to make
sure they are
not going bad.
Getting rid of them
after a week or so.
But that’s just one other
idea that can help you
with getting some of the
quick, easy foods into
your eating on
a daily basis.
>>So I feel like there’s
not that much left that
hasn’t been said.
These have all been
fantastic suggestions.
So sort of piggy-backing
on what some of the others
have said, some of the
rationale for having those
quick-and-easy snacks is
because we know that when
people are going a long
time without eating, it
sort of depletes our
cognitive resources.
So I don’t know about
you guys, but I am really
hungry, I am not going
to make myself a salad.
That’s just the last
thing I am going to do.
I am going to grab
something that’s tasty and
quick.
So what you want to do
is you want to kind of
preempt that
from happening.
You want to — it’s
not about will power.
I want to underscore
that here.
It’s not about with power.
If you are so hungry or if
you have been going hours
without eating or have had
a stressful day, anyone is
going to reach for
something that’s quick and
easy.
So what you want to be
sure of is that what is
quick and easy is going to
be on the more healthful
side than not.
So planning ahead I think
is a really big one.
Even if it’s just going
to Costco, getting a big
thing of granola bars,
and making sure that you
always have one of
those in your bag.
Maybe it’s not the best
option, but it certainly
beats driving home
starving, then opening the
fridge and eating
everything you can get
your hands on when you are
so depleted and exhausted
and starving.
So I think just being
planful about that can
help to preempt some of
those overeating episodes
that I know a lot of
us might encounter,
especially towards
the end of a long day.
>>JANNELL MacAULAY: And
Dr. Schvey, I think you
were describing
me the other day.
I was very hangry.
I’m sure a lot of you have
experienced that before.
I am going to turn into
the next topic, and we
will lead ourselves down
from Dr. Psota and get her
USDA perspective.
But food labeling is I
think the next — we will
address that topic next
because I think in my
experience, many people
can get confused as to
what is on the front of
a box versus the backs of
the box.
One thing that I found
surprising when I first
learned it, but when you
look at those grams of
sugar, you need to divide
by four, and that tells
you how many tee spoons
of sugar are actually in a
serving size.
Many cereals, they might
be having as much sugar in
their cereal as if they
were eating a Twinkie
before they
head to school.
It’s something you should
definitely bring in and
start looking at if
you haven’t already.
So I am looking for any
other tips you might have
on how to decipher
food labels.
>>Sure.
Food labeling is a huge
issue now, and it’s
really, really important.
When we are shopping, we
are busy, and none of us
have time to decipher the
hieroglphyics on the side
of the box.
It doesn’t make sense,
it’s confusing, some
places have it in one
place and another on
another.
I urge you to be
cynical shoppers.
I know that’s bad, but we
have had a lot of trouble
in the food industry in
the pest deck AIDS with
really deceptive
food labels.
I don’t know if any of
you remember the Smart
Choices.
That was a big controversy
about six years ago where
Smart Choices was a label
that was kind of slapped
on the front of products,
and it was a big, green,
you know, picture, and it
caught your eye and looked
like it was something that
was healthy because it
says “smart choices.”
Well, it turns out — we
actually did thorough
analyses of the
nutritional content of
some of those products
that were labeled “smart
choices.” They were awful.
They were dismal because
there was no consensus
scientifically about what
constituted a smart choice
and what didn’t.
And we continue
to see that issue.
So actually, Smart
Choices, after all that
controversy, they did have
to discontinue that, so
you will no longer see
that, which is great.
However, in its place, we
now see on boxes of fruit
loops “made with whole
grains” or on a box of
fruit snacks, “contains
real fruit juice.” This is
really tough to decipher
because it sounds
healthful, sounds like you
are doing something good.
Again, we don’t want to
say any products are off
limits, but you do want
to be smart when you are
shopping and not fall
into that trap that we all
would of seeing, oh, now
has four grams of fiber,
now with extra protein.
Kind of use common sense.
I know that’s the least
helpful advice I could
give you.
But if there is a product
you don’t think is
particularly healthy but
then you see made with
whole grains or fiber, try
to see that a little bit
and recognize that the
food industry — and I
don’t want to be
polarizing here, but there
are certainly incentives
that the food industry is
pursuing by labeling
certain products as maybe
being more healthy
than they actually are.
So being sort of cynical
when you are seeing those
products and trying to
see through what might be
misleading, what
might be deceptive.
And one other aspect of
food labeling that can be
so difficult is
portion sizes.
Sometimes we will get a
bag of chips or a box of
cookies, and it says for
one serving size, and it
doesn’t seem so bad, but
then it turns out that
that bag of chips actually
has two serving sizes in,
not just one.
So really paying attention
to how many servings are
in a particular package.
>>Okay.
If you are in the grocery
store and shopping and you
do happen to be one of
those people that reads
labels — there are a few
of us that do that besides
just dietitians — what I
suggest is that you look
at the first three
ingredients because that
is what your product
contains the most of.
Everything else is pretty
much fillers after that.
But if you do read labels
and you want to know
what’s in the food you are
buying, look at the first
ingredients.
Other folks are also
going to suggest that you
just shop the
perimeter of the store.
What I like to work with
people and tell them to do
is where do we
get our rice?
Where do we get
our canned beans?
Where do we get some
of the other grains and
things?
They are all in the
center of the store.
So yes, shopping the
perimeter can help you to
avoid having to read
too many labels.
However, there are a lot
of foods that are in the
center of the store that
are very, very good foods
to choose and to eat.
>>I think one of the
more beneficial pieces of
food labels is the
comparison aspect.
So when you really break
it down, honestly, what I
feel most people gain in
terms of reading a label
is if you have this
yogurt, this yogurt, and
this yogurt, you flip it
over, and you are going to
see, okay, one has 180
calories, this one has
300, and this one has 80.
If you don’t get any
further than that, you at
least know that if
calories are a concern to
you, this particular
product has 80 calories,
you might choose that one.
And I think that’s why
kind of the front of
package labeling where
they are just giving you
the calorie count,
particularly like in
vending machines where you
don’t have the opportunity
to grab the product, turn
it over, and see it, is
helpful.
You know, if people see a
row of chips and they are
not really tuned in to one
is baked and one is deep
fried but they see one has
110 calories, the other
has 250, hopefully they
will choose the 110
version as a healthier
option just to manage
their calories.
I think that’s probably
for me what I’ve seen as
most beneficial is being
able to compare products
against one another.
>>JONATHAN SCOTT: Many
of them have already been
said.
I will hear what Dr. Psota
has to say and maybe weigh
in afterwards.
>>JANNELL MacAULAY: Dr.
Psota, I can give you
another question, too,
if you are ready for it.
>>TRICIA PSOTA: I think
they really did cover
what’s on a food label
and ingredient list.
>>JANNELL MacAULAY:
I think so too.
My next question.
You alluded to My Plate
in your first comments.
Most of us in the audience
probably grew up with the
food pyramid which then
shifted to My Plate.
I wonder if you could
maybe discuss that a
little bit, that
transition, and then I
have a second part of the
question because if we
talk about the registered
dietary guidelines, I know
there’s some hot off
the press information.
I was wondering if you
be share that with us.
>>TRICIA PSOTA: Sure.
As she mentioned, most of
us grew up with the food
pyramid.
There might be one person
in the audience that
hasn’t been exposed
to the plates.
That shifted about
five years ago when the
guidelines came
out in 2010.
We shifted from the
pyramid that we grew up
with to a plate.
And there was a lot of
reasons for that, but the
bottom line is it visually
makes a little more sense
to see what should
my plate look like.
And there’s lots of people
who debate that certain
things should be on the
plate, certain things
shouldn’t be, but what I
can tell you is the latest
nutrition science, and
that is what the plate is
based on.
This is for general
overall health, and also
to reduce your risk
for developing chronic
diseases, like
obesity and diabetes.
So the current plate,
when you look at it,
you’ll notice that
there’s — essentially it
looks like four quarters
on a plate, so divide it
in half vertically
and horizontally.
Essentially.
One side is going to be
fruits and vegetables, so
you know, we always
encourage make half your
plate fruits
and vegetables.
And then the other side is
going to be grains, which
we encourage half of your
grains over the course of
a day or a week to be
whole grains, which we
covered earlier.
And then protein,
lean protein sources.
So it’s a little less than
a quarter of your plate
should be protein.
And lean protein sources,
whether you are a
vegetarian and you choose
beans or nuts are fine,
whether you choose to
consume meat and you
choose white poultry meat
over dark meat, most of
the time, not
always, whatnot.
There’s a lot of things
that can fit into your
plate.
And then just off to the
side we have a smaller
circle that represents
the dairy food group, so
whether you have a cup of
yogurt, a cup of milk, you
know, a piece of cheese.
And so one of the
questions that we often
face in our office is well
I don’t eat on a plate.
I eat from a bowl or I
don’t have all the food
groups at every meal,
and this is obviously a
limitation.
We can’t have 15 different
plates to show this.
But we are working on
a lot of resources to
translate that for the
American public to show
that, well, if you are
eating from a bowl at
breakfast, you can have
your whole-grain cereal
with your lower fat milk
if you choose and throw a
banana in there.
Well, you are getting
most of the food groups.
Then at lunch, you might
choose to get some more
protein, whether it’s
from meats or whatnot.
So we realize that people
eat what we call mixed
dishes, so you are not
eating on a plate like
that with your four little
piles of food and one off
to the side.
But it’s just a
general guide for you.
So I encourage people,
you can check out choosemy
plate.gov.
We have a lot of
interactive resources for
everyone.
And then as far as the
dietary guidelines, the
plate is based on
the guidelines, so we
launched — all our
updates happened to choose
my plate and also
supertracker, the tool I
mentioned earlier, on the
backend to make sure they
match the recent dietary
guidelines that came out.
They come out every five
years from USDA and the
Department of Health and
Human Services, and the
2015-2020 guidelines,
there was a lot of press
around them.
I think a lot of that is
due to just the way media
has changed with social
media and whatnot, but
also because,
understandably, commodity
groups and industry want
to make sure that nothing
is said that could
hurt their bottom line,
essentially.
So there was a lot of
discussion about different
foods and whether
they should be in the
guidelines and whatnot.
But overall, the main
message of the guidelines,
this edition, is to eat an
overall healthy pattern of
food.
So to get away from
thinking, oh, did I meet
the limit for fat or
did I stay below it?
Did I get enough X amount
of servings of fruit or
dairy each day
or each meal?
And it’s just about
overall eating that
healthy pattern so that
you don’t feel constricted
at each meal.
And the healthy pat
concern can look very
different for
different people.
Whether, you know, there’s
recommendations in there
based on what the average
American eats and how to
make that healthier.
There’s also
recommendations in the
guidelines for if you
choose a vegetarian diet,
how you can still meet
all your nutritional needs
through that pattern.
And we also included a
Mediterranean-style diet
because there’s a lot of
research to show that a
Mediterranean-style diet
is associated with lower
risk.disease.
So there’s a lot of
information there, and I
could talk about it a
while, but I don’t want to
hold up the time.
So if you have additional
questions, I am happy to
answer them.
But I would
encourage people, our
consumer-facing
information is choose my
plate dot gov and
supertracker.usda.gov, and
those will provide you
with resources and tools
to really implement
the best guidance for
nutrition right now that’s
based on the lightest and