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"Aaptiv" featured Jessica Tosto, MS, RD, clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions at Pace University in "4 Healthier Dip Recipes to Whip Up Quick"

11/13/2018

"Aaptiv" featured Jessica Tosto, MS, RD, clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions at Pace University in "4 Healthier Dip Recipes to Whip Up Quick"

Now that we’re well into fall (not to mention football season), dips are taking a front-and-center seat on the menu at your family and friend gatherings. This temptation can be tough to resist, even when you’re trying so hard to stick to a specific diet and exercise regimen. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy dip recipes out there that you can make yourself.

While it’s true that most dips, given their creamy consistency, are loaded with ingredients that are both high in calories and saturated fat (not to mention topped off with a hefty dose of cheddar or mozzarella), not all dips are created equal. “Other dips promote the benefit of being low-fat or low-calorie but at the expense of being chock full of artificial ingredients and ‘fillers,’” explains Jessica Tosto, MS, RD, clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions at Pace University.

The key lies in the preparation. If you’re purchasing a dip from a restaurant or your local grocery store, chances are that the recipe is delivering you the heartiest, most fattening version possible. However, if you’re preparing your own dips and spreads, you can add in whole food ingredients that are naturally lower in calories or have other health benefits, adds Tosto. This way, you can still enjoy the dipping experience and score a boost of nutrition while you’re at it. Here are healthy versions of your favorite dips of the season.

Southwestern Greek Yogurt Dip

Greek yogurt is an excellent substitution for sour cream. Not only is it less fattening, but it’s also more nutritious. Greek yogurt is packed with protein—just one cup scores you about 25 grams, which is about half your recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, loves to make this dip because it doesn’t contain any added sugar or sodium, and it packs both protein and gut-health friendly probiotics.

Ingredients:

5 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon lime juice
1-½ teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt with garlic, lime juice, and one teaspoon cilantro.
  2. Top with remaining cilantro, and plate with vegetables.

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"Aaptiv" featured Assistant Professor and Founding Director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program Christen Cupples Cooper in "Everything You Need to Know About the Pegan Diet"

08/27/2018

"Aaptiv" featured Assistant Professor and Founding Director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program Christen Cupples Cooper in "Everything You Need to Know About the Pegan Diet"

By now you may have heard about the trendy pegan diet that’s attempting to replace keto as the new-new in the nutrition world. Even if you know relatively nothing about this diet, you may recognize that its name sounds oddly familiar. There’s a reason for that. In fact, the diet, which was coined by Dr. Mark Hyman from the Cleveland Clinic, blends elements of the also-trending paleo diet with the vegan diet. “The paleo diet, which proponents believe mimics the diet of early humans, focuses on non-starchy vegetables, meat, eggs, and fish with limited amounts of fruit, nuts, seeds, and oils,” explains Christen Cupples Cooper, Ed.D., R.D.N., assistant professor and founding director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program at the College of Health Professions at Pace University.

Unlike a vegan diet, which focuses solely on plant-based foods and avoiding all meats and animal byproducts, Cooper explains that the pegan diet takes the whole-food, plant-food emphasis of both diets. It encourages people to incorporate vegetables in two-thirds to three-quarters of their meals. “To compensate for protein, the pegan diet allows for smaller portions of meat, fish, and egg,” Cooper says.

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"Aaptiv" featured Jessica Tosto, MS., R.D., clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions in "4 Healthy Back-to-School Sandwiches to Make This Fall"

08/10/2018

"Aaptiv" featured Jessica Tosto, MS., R.D., clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions in "4 Healthy Back-to-School Sandwiches to Make This Fall"

Sandwiches are a great lunch staple in the all-American diet. They’re delicious, filling, and super easy to make. While sandwiches can certainly be healthy, Jessica Tosto, MS., R.D., clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions at Pace University, explains that they can also be a hidden source of excess sodium, nitrates, preservatives, saturated fat, and even sugar.

“As long as you know which ingredients to look out for, sandwiches can be a healthy addition to your children’s lunch[es],” she says. The most important thing is to choose the right bread. She recommends opting for whole wheat or whole grain versions. Next, check the ingredient list. “If sugar or high-fructose corn syrup are in the first three ingredients, you may want to consider a different brand,” she says.

Another common sandwich staple is deli meat. “Unfortunately, in the past few years, processed meats, including deli meats like turkey, ham, roast beef, and bologna have been deemed carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO), meaning [that] they can cause cancer,” says Tosto. The good news is that there are still plenty of non-deli meat ingredients that you can use to make healthy sandwiches for your child’s lunch. Here are some of the best sandwich recipes for easy, back-to-school lunches.

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"Aaptiv" featured College of Health Professions Professor Christen Cooper in "What Exactly Is a Lectin-Free Diet?"

07/26/2018

"Aaptiv" featured College of Health Professions Professor Christen Cooper in "What Exactly Is a Lectin-Free Diet?"

The lectin-free diet is one of many popular diets trending recently. Naturally, this diet recommends avoiding lectins, a naturally-occurring group of carbohydrate-binding proteins found in almost all food. Typically, when we think of protein, especially protein that occurs in nature, we think healthy. So why would we want to remove these from our diets? According to the founder of the diet, California cardiologist Steven Gundry, M.D., a diet containing lectins leads to inflammation and weight gain. But, again, lectin is found in many good-for-you fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Here we discuss who, if anyone, should consider going on a lectin-free diet. To help us understand more about it, we turned to top registered dietitians to set the record straight.

What is lectin?

Lectin is a carbohydrate-binding protein found in a myriad of plant and animal foods. These include legumes, grains, milk, eggs, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. Though naturally occurring, Miriam Amselem, holistic nutritionist, fitness trainer, and yoga instructor, explains that lectin binds to the cells on the gut wall. In large amounts, lectin can damage the gut wall. This prevents the gut from absorbing nutrients and causes irritation that can result in vomiting and diarrhea. However, she and many other nutrition experts agree that there are good nutrients in most of these healthy foods that outweigh the bad. This includes beans and grains that are sources of fiber and help regulate blood sugar.

What is the lectin-free diet?

The lectin-free diet calls for the removal of high-lectin foods from one’s diet. This includes grains, quinoa, legumes, nightshade vegetables, dairy, out-of-season fruit, and conventionally raised meat and poultry. The food that gets the green light includes leafy greens, nuts, seed, millet, pasture raised meats, and wild-caught fish. The goal of a lectin-free diet is to shed pounds and reduce inflammation. In fact, Dr. Gundry himself claims to have lost 70 pounds on the plan.

There is evidence to back up the benefits, including one 2006 study that linked consumption of a lectin-free diet to positive effects on those with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Still, many experts are left unenthused.

The controversy over the lectin-free diet

According to Scott Schreiber, R.D., chiropractic physician and rehabilitation and clinical nutritionist, a lectin-free diet may actually cause more harm than good. You can find many vitamins and minerals in foods that contain lectin. “It is theorized that lectins are present in plants to discourage animals from eating them. Lectins can cause an upset stomach, which causes the animal to not eat that plant again,” he explains. “Translated to humans, it causes an inflammatory response. [This] can lead to other conditions, such as weight loss and IBS, and diseases including celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.” The bottom line, he points out, is that there’s not a lot of research that shows lectin is bad. “The diet is based on theory as opposed to fact.”

Christen Cupples Cooper, Ed.D., R.D.N., assistant professor and founding director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program at the College of Health Professions at Pace University, agrees. She adds that there’s nothing in the scientific literature on humans that would indicate that lectin is a villain. In fact, she believes the lectin-free movement is just a classic example of a how these trends begin in the first place. A profit-driven handful of individuals promote a diet and supplements with no evidence to back them up. “As a registered dietitian with training on food chemistry, I’ve observed physicians (who receive no nutrition instruction in medical school) who try to popularize falsehoods,” she says. “Anytime you come across a diet that seems to cut out common-sense healthful foods, run the other way and save your money.”

Cook foods high in lectin.

The best thing to do, if you’re considering trying to reduce your lectin intake, is to cook any high-lectin foods you consume. This degrades most of the lectins in food, according to Becky Kerkenbush, M.S., R.D., Media Representative for the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, boiling legumes in water eliminates almost all lectin activity. Other ways to degrade lectins include soaking or sprouting grains and seeds, as well as fermentation.

For those with severe gastrointestinal issues, reducing dietary lectin may actually be helpful to reduce diarrhea and enhance nutrient absorption, adds Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet. If you suffer from inflammation, she recommends consulting a nutritionist who specializes in digestive issues. They can oversee your diet in order to make sure you still get the nutrients necessary.

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