Ask the di­eti­cian

Should you use more olive oil ? Is it a good idea to cut back on carbs? Are vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments use­ful? What is the right amount of wine? Joan Wides has the an­swers

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

IUSE PLENTY of olive oil which is healthy but ex­pen­sive — should I be us­ing it in place of all other oils? Olive oil is a healthy choice be­cause it is low in sat­u­rated fat and high in mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat which helps to lower bad LDL choles­terol and raise good HDL choles­terol. Less ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives in­clude rape­seed oil (canola in the US) which is also high in mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats. Oth­er­wise sun­flower, soya bean, and corn oils are high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats that also help lower bad LDL choles­terol. Re­gard­less of which oil you choose, try to use as lit­tle as pos­si­ble since all oils pro­vide about 99 calo­ries per ta­ble­spoon.

Is it nec­es­sary to drink red wine ev­ery day to pro­tect the heart?

Red wine (and in fact all al­co­hol) is con­sid­ered to be pro­tec­tive against heart dis­ease in men aged over 40 and post-menopausal women be­cause it con­tains an­tiox­i­dant plant chem­i­cals. But many other foods be­sides red wine con­tain th­ese, such as berries, green and black tea, fruit and veg­eta­bles. On the down­side, al­co­hol is calorific, dam­ag­ing to the liver in ex­ces­sive quan­ti­ties, and can in­crease blood pres­sure. So en­joy a light to moderate in­take if you wish (3-4 units per day for men, 1-2 units per day for women with at least two al­co­hol-free days each week).

I dis­like most fruits and veg­eta­bles. Can I get my five daily fruit and veg­etable por­tions from juice?

A glass of fruit and/or veg­etable juice (150mls) counts as only one por­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles, no mat­ter how much you drink. This is be­cause you do

Are some of my friends right to cut back strongly on car­bo­hy­drate foods?

Starchy car­bo­hy­drates, such as bread, rice, pasta and pota­toes, are an es­sen­tial part of a healthy, bal­anced diet be­cause they pro­vide fi­bre, vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and slowly re­leased en­ergy. This helps us to feel full longer, help­ing us to curb hunger be­tween meals. Base your meals on starchy foods so that they make up about one third of your daily diet and keep the added fat to a min­i­mum. Low carbo- hy­drate di­ets tend to be high in fat; a high fat diet, and es­pe­cially one high in sat­u­rated fat, in­creases the risks of obe­sity and heart dis­ease. Low car­bo­hy­drate di­ets also tend to re­strict fruit and veg­eta­bles so you may miss out on im­por­tant nu­tri­ents th­ese foods of­fer.

Should I be tak­ing daily vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments for good health?

A healthy, bal­anced diet, based around a good help­ing of starchy car­bo­hy­drates (prefer­ably whole­grain), plenty of fruit and veg­eta­bles, and a moderate amount of pro­tein and not re­ceive the same nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits from the juice as you do from the whole fruit or veg­etable. Re­mov­ing the juice from the whole fruit or veg­etable re­duces the fi­bre con­tent and re­leases a type of su­gar from the fruit or veg­etable which can dam­age teeth, es­pe­cially if drunk fre­quently. dairy prod­ucts, should pro­vide all the nu­tri­ents you need without hav­ing to take sup­ple­ments. Cur­rent think­ing is that nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring vi­ta­mins and min­er­als ob­tained from foods are the most ef­fec­tive.

In some cases, if amounts of a vi­ta­min or min­eral sur­plus to needs is taken, this will be ex­creted. But if th­ese vi­ta­mins and min­er­als are stored by the body, such as Vi­ta­min A or iron, ex­ces­sive amounts can be harm­ful.

Sup­ple­ments are a good idea for some in­clud­ing those with a proven vi­ta­min de­fi­ciency, preg­nant women (par­tic­u­larly folic acid) and older peo­ple without much ex­po­sure to sun­light (Vi­ta­min D).

Is food eaten late at night more fat­ten­ing?

This is a myth — your metabolic rate will be more or less con­sis­tent over the day and does not slow down at night, so you will not burn calo­ries more slowly at night than dur­ing the day. You will not store fat if you eat a large meal in the evening in­stead of a num­ber of smaller meals over the day, pro­vided your calo­rie in­take over the day is the same .

It is the to­tal amount you eat in a 24-hour pe­riod rather than the times of eat­ing that is im­por­tant.

But if you skip meals dur­ing the day, then eat large amounts dur­ing the evening, you are more likely to be over­weight than peo­ple who eat reg­u­lar bal­anced meals. You may eat over­large amounts be­cause you are over-hun­gry and peo­ple tend to eat more at home as op­posed to work any­way; you may drink al­co­hol which is an ap­petite stim­u­lant or you may re­lax late in the evening and eat fatty/sug­ary snacks at the same time.

Olive oil is a source of mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats which can help to lower “bad” choles­terol

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