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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Hot Health Topics

Heath solutions are always in the news, the latest findings on this and that.  Seems like it’s always changing or worse, contradicting.  This month is a mish-mash of popular topics in health.  What can you trust to be accurate information and how does it pertain to you?  It's always good to check if it comes from a trusted source or ask yourself if they are trying to sell you a product.  "Fake News" or not, let's go over a few popular news worthy topics and figure out what it means to you.

Should you be on a Paleo Diet?
    The currently popular paleo diet is supposedly based on eating what our ancestors (or caveman/cave-woman) ate.  There is no agreed upon diet of the caveman/cave-women, many of the diets of our ancestors varied depending of the region in which they lived and what was available.  Basically the Paleo diet is interpreted as eating meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds.  What is not in the diet is grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes and processed foods.  This list may vary due to multiple interpretations for this type of diet.  As with many diets there are good parts and some questionable parts.  No processed foods or refined sugar is great!  But it leaves out some healthy foods like legumes and whole grains which provide vital nutrients, minerals and fiber.  I've yet to meet someone who is 100% on the Paleo diet.  As with many diets that can be overly restrictive, they are difficult to sustain over the long-term.  However, if you feel good on this type of diet and see good results, try a part-time Paleo plan and cycle through times where you have whole grains, legumes and other healthy foods to ensure you are getting a balanced nutritious diet.  The best diets are the ones that make you feel good, meet your needs, and you can sustain over the long-term until they become a part of your lifestyle.
Sugar, is it really that bad?
    As the battles were against "Big Tobacco", now the sugar and soda industry have become "Big Sugar" and it's historical relationship to public health.  Recently disclosed internal sugar industry documents that date back to the 1960's showed that they paid scientists to downplay the role of sugar in heart disease and focused the blame on saturated fat.  Now to the present, we have the evidence, the American Heart Association (AHA) states that sugar is a major risk factor for heart disease as well as obesity and diabetes.  Sugar may also have inflammatory effects, affect mood and be addictive.  To manage sugar intake, the AHA and 2016 US Dietary Guidelines recommend added sugar be less than 10% of total calories.  Look for added sugar in unexpected places like salad dressings, breads, sauces and even in some canned beans.  Check the ingredients list on package foods for sugar.  This will become easier to spot as we transition to the newer food labels that will separate the naturally occurring sugars in foods and list the actual amount of added sugar along with a percentage daily value.
Do I need to take probiotics?
    Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide many health benefits.  They are known as beneficial bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal (GI) system.  In the GI there are “good” and “bad” bacteria.  Probiotics are the “good” ones that can crowd out the “bad” bacteria.  There is still much more to be discovered with probiotics, in regards to which strain and how much is needed to address specific health issues.  When the balance of “good” bacteria is greater, your health and digestion can improve in many ways.  Probiotics can bolster your immune system, shorten the duration of colds and assist with digestion; which could mean less constipation, diarrhea, gas and/or bloating.  These microorganisms can even crowd out the other organisms that can lead to yeast infections or urinary tract infections.  How do you get more of these “good” bacteria?  To do their deed they need to populate in the gut.  There are plenty of common foods such yogurt, yogurt-type drinks sometimes called “kefir” and fermented foods (some pickled foods, depending on how the “pickling” is done) that contain “live cultures” or probiotics.  These foods could be helpful after taking antibiotics to rebalance the gut flora.  Probiotics have become so popular, new food products are being marketed that claim to have these organisms added to them.  There are also probiotic pills, powders, “beads” or “pearls.” As you can see finding them can be quite simple but it becomes more complex to determine the proper dose and strain of these organisms needed to address specific conditions.  Only a few specific strains have been proven to be beneficial.  Getting the right dose can be tricky because these live organisms can die off if not stored or processed properly.  However, this is no reason to avoid some of these products, especially yogurt and fermented foods containing live cultures.  In some cases a probiotic supplement is needed to provide the right strain and amount of microorganisms to address specific health issues.

As you can see the answer isn't always straight forward.  We are all individualized in our needs and may have conditions in which supplementing with additional nutrients and probiotics would be beneficial.  If you'd like to explore your needs further or work on reducing sugar in your diet, schedule an appointment with Sheri to find out what is best for you.

Here are few reasons to see a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through diet and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 


Trump's Nomination for USDA Chief Scientist

In the latest of a series of ill qualified nominees to the Trump administration, Sam Clovis has been nominated as chief scientist of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Clovis has no background in science, formerly a talk show radio host and campaign chairman for Rick Perry.  He is known for his racist positions and as a climate denier.  The Union of Concerned Scientists finds this "an unacceptable and illegal choice for this important role that affects farmers, rural communities, and the health and nutrition of all Americans."  If you agree, tell your senator to reject Sam Clovis for USDA chief scientist.  For more information on Trump's policies that can affect food and nutrition, go to Helpful Links

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 14 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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