Tuesday, February 28, 2017: 7:27 am
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INstride holiday chat

Carbs, diet plateaus: Nutrition and holiday eating chat with registered dietitian Stacey Matavuli

MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today's chat with IU Health Bloomington Hospital registered dietitian Stacey Matavuli. Please feel free to ask your nutrition and holiday eating questions.

Stacey: How are you? Thanks so much for joining us today. Are you ready to get started?

STACEY MATAVULI: Hello! I'm ready!

QUESTION: I've read/heard that eating things like white rice or white bread are at the end of the day no different than eating a donut. How can that be true and where do you stand on carb intake?

Ricky Gervais, Bloomington

STACEY MATAVULI: Hi, Ricky! Thanks for the question. Nutritionally speaking, eating rice or white bread is quite different than eating a donut, primarily when the donut has been fried and has quite a bit of added sugar. However, I'm guessing that the theory behind this might be that white rice, white bread and donuts are all processed, some more than others and therefore, would have the same effect on blood sugar. That isn't exactly true either. On a spectrum, the white rice and white bread have more complex carbohydrates than the donut as well as more vitamins and minerals. I hope that helps!

QUESTION: Please tell me what you think of genetically modified foods.

Lynne, Bloomington

STACEY MATAVULI: Hi, Lynne. Genetically modified foods certainly are a hot topic! I believe the research has shown them to be safe and nutritionally similar to their natural counterpart. I do think the initial thought behind GMO is that a superior product could be manufactured than what is grown. I think more research needs to be completed on this subject.

QUESTION: Stacey, Are there any benefits to cutting off your carb intake later in the day? Does it matter if you have that sandwich for lunch or dinner?

Thanks, S

STACEY MATAVULI: Hi, S~ I'm assuming you are referring to weight management and avoiding fat storage with this question. And, unfortunately, this question doesn't have quite a complete straightforward answer. It will depend on what and how many other calories you are consuming throughout the day, your activity and how big the sandwich is (i.e. is it a standard sandwich, a large sandwich or supersized from a restaurant) and again determined by total calorie intake throughout the day. If calories are balanced, then it shouldn't matter whether you enjoy your sandwich at lunch or dinner.

QUESTION: Stacey, is it true that it's better to eat several small meals throughout the day, instead of three?

Lynne, Bloomington

STACEY MATAVULI: Great question. For many people eating several small meals throughout the day is beneficial as it keeps their hunger and satisfaction in check. When eating 3 meals/day, especially if those meals are spaced far apart, one may end up over-hungry when arriving at the table at meal time which decreases our ability to eat slowly, select wisely and stop when satisfied. Another benefit to eating more frequently is that for a short while after each meal, your metabolism stays revved, if you will. Therefore, for some, eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day helps maintain a higher level of metabolism.

QUESTION: Hello! I have been "dieting" for almost 3 years now. I lost 50 pounds and have gained back 20. I workout every day and have continued to watch what I eat. I have hit several plateau's along the way. When this happens I switch up my workout, I have tried bootcamp. I am at the point where no matter what I change nothing is working to get these 20 pounds back off! What do you suggest for people who have hit plateaus? I might mention I am 35 and it seems over the past year, my metabolism has just stopped! -I have also tried supplements with no avail.

kdr1977, Bloomington

STACEY MATAVULI: Hi, KDR. Congratulations on the net loss of 30#! That's great work and unattainable for some. I hear your frustration and want you to stay focused on the positives! There are many factors that could be playing a role here. First, as you mentioned, your age could be a sabateour in that metabolism decreases as both we age and lose body mass. I'm assuming that with your workouts you have been participating in some resistance training. Keep that up as it helps maintain muscle mass which is metabolicallly active tissue (fat, not so much). Remind yourself of why you are wanting to lose weight in the first place. Is it completely aesthetic or for health reasons such as lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes or heart disease, etc.? The biggest benefit to health comes in the loss and maintence of 10% of your initial body weight lost. After that, there are continued benefits to weight loss but not as great as in that first 10%. Genetics is also going to play a part in how your body wants to be and while it might be hard to hear, it sounds as if your body is fighting to keep on a little more weight than what you want. What you have to remind yourself of is that a healthy body weight is one that is maintained with healthy and "doable" habits. If you have to go to extremes to maintain a lower weight, that's unhealthy both physically and emotionally. Continue with your consistent workouts including resistance training, a diet that is nutritionally adequate and focus on what you have control over, i.e. your actions (working out and eating healthy) and reactions (how you accept yourself and your health parameters). Unfortuantely, I have no magic formula or prescription but would be happy to help you in more detail should you have more questions!

QUESTION: What are some easy ways to add more protein in your diet if you're not a big fan of meat or beans?

AJ, Bloomington

STACEY MATAVULI: Hi, AJ. While meat and beans are primary sources of protein, especially in a typical American diet, if you are eating a variety of foods and getting balanced intake, it's difficult to not consume adequate protein as grains, vegetables and dairy all contain small amounts of protein. In regards to specific protein sources, you might want to consider milk, both yogurt and Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, nut butters and vegetarian sources such as a Boca burger or soy crumbles. Make sure you are selecting low or non-fat choices of the dairy products to limit your intake of saturated fats as well. Hope that is helpful!

MODERATOR: That's all the time we have for today's chat. Thanks for joining us. You can always check out our Food page for recipes — some more healthful than others.

Stacey: Thanks again for chatting with our readers. Any last tips/thoughts before we say goodbye?

STACEY MATAVULI: Thanks for the questions! I appreciate the questions and interest in nutrition. Keep in mind that healthful eating is a great goal for the New Year and absolutely CAN be accomplished throughout the Holiday Season! Happy Holidays!

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