ASK OUR DIETITIANS

Got a food ques­tion? We have the an­swers.

Clean Eating - - BITS & BITES - Reg­is­tered dietitians Tif­fani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and cre­ators of URock­Girl.com,a web­site ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing well­ness and a healthy, bal­anced life­style.

Q/ Will eat­ing foods high in choles­terol raise my risk of heart dis­ease? What do my blood choles­terol num­bers re­ally mean?

A/

Di­etary choles­terol, found in foods such as but­ter, eggs and shell­fish, does not raise blood choles­terol in the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple. It was once er­ro­neously tar­geted as a ma­jor cause of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease (CVD). But choles­terol is a very im­por­tant com­po­nent of var­i­ous hor­mones and cell mem­branes, and your liver and in­testines make most of the choles­terol your body needs. CVD is be­lieved to be caused by in­flam­ma­tion, ox­ida­tive stress, smok­ing, in­ac­tiv­ity and a diet rich in sugar, trans fats and high-glycemic foods. The ba­sic lipid panel, which mea­sures to­tal choles­terol, LDL, HDL and triglyc­erides, fails to iden­tify up to 60% of peo­ple who are at risk. Ad­vanced test­ing, in­clud­ing hs-CRP (mea­sures in­flam­ma­tion in blood ves­sels), LDL-P (mea­sures LDL par­ti­cle num­ber), LDL par­ti­cle size (small and dense LDL are the dan­ger­ous kind) and Lipopro­tein(a), are the best for get­ting a clearer pic­ture about your risk. If you have fam­ily his­tory of CVD or feel that you are at high risk, ask your doc­tor to or­der the NMR, Car­dio IQ, Lipopro­tein Par­ti­cle Pro­file (LPP) or VAP test. These spe­cific tests take a deeper dive into the lipid classes and are more ef­fec­tive at pre­dict­ing risk of CVD.

Good news: A heart-healthy diet can in­clude foods such as eggs and shell­fish. Try our Crab Cakes with Honey­dew Straw­berry Salsa. cleaneat­ing.com/crab­cakes-salsa

Q/ Does diet suc­cess depend on one’s DNA?

A/

When it comes to diet, what works best for your friend or your part­ner may not work for you. In­di­vid­ual ge­net­ics play a sig­nif­i­cant role in how each of us re­spond to diet. Our genes af­fect how we me­tab­o­lize dif­fer­ent foods, pre­dis­pose us to food sen­si­tiv­i­ties and al­ler­gies and in­flu­ence our in­di­vid­ual risks for obe­sity. Stud­ies also show that the foods we eat can al­ter our genes and the genes of our off­spring. Re­search con­ducted by Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity sci­en­tists tested four pop­u­lar di­ets: Mediter­ranean, Ja­panese, Stan­dard Amer­i­can Diet (SAD) and ketogenic. The re­searchers found that dif­fer­ent ge­netic types re­sponded well or poorly to each diet, and that there is no one sin­gle diet that is op­ti­mal for ev­ery­one. Ge­netic test­ing to match us with in­di­vid­u­al­ized di­ets is al­ready hap­pen­ing. But short of map­ping out your diet DNA, the key to iden­ti­fy­ing the right diet for you starts by de­vel­op­ing an aware­ness for how your body responds to dif­fer­ent foods and how your weight and other mark­ers of health are af­fected, for bet­ter or for worse.

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