There’s more to a diet than meal fre­quency

The Western Star - - LIFE - Keith Roach

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have al­ways heard that break­fast is the most im­por­tant meal of the day. I never eat break­fast. Most times I eat just once a day, at din­ner­time — and no, I don’t pig out then, ei­ther. I have bone­less, skin­less chicken breast or pork chops baked or on the grill, with a boxed pasta side dish, and I feel just fine and have lost weight. I call it the once-a-day diet. If this works, and I can eat just once a day, then I think it’s fine and easy to do once you get used to it. — R.G.

AN­SWER: While I’m glad this diet has helped you lose weight, my ex­pe­ri­ence is that many peo­ple who eat only once daily have prob­lems with weight gain, prob­a­bly be­cause they are so hun­gry that they con­sume more calo­ries than they need. Break­fasts help many peo­ple with en­ergy dur­ing the day and keep them from get­ting so hun­gry that they make poor choices. How­ever, eat­ing large meals less fre­quently is a suc­cess­ful strat­egy for some peo­ple.

How­ever, I can’t agree with your over­all food choices. You haven’t men­tioned any fruits or veg­eta­bles, whole grains, legumes or nuts, and these are the ba­sis for a healthy diet, in my opin­ion. Your diet is de­fi­cient in many mi­cronu­tri­ents (such as vi­ta­min C and cal­cium), so I hope you just ne­glected to men­tion these and ac­tu­ally are con­sum­ing some. A diet that helps a per­son lose weight is great,

but a diet for op­ti­miz­ing over­all health is dif­fer­ent from what you are re­port­ing. A nu­tri­tion­ist or your doc­tor can pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion.

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is the deal with mono­glyc­erides and diglyc­erides? I’ve read that these in­gre­di­ents are just trans fats in dis­guise, and that they are not con­sid­ered as fats by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and so are not in­cluded in the fat calo­rie count. Should I avoid prod­ucts with these in­gre­di­ents be­cause of con­cerns about choles­terol lev­els? It’s dif­fi­cult to find breads or other pas­try prod­ucts with­out one or both of these listed in the in­gre­di­ents. — G.W.S.

AN­SWER: Mono- and diglyc­erides are very much like fats, which are chem­i­cally triglyc­erides. They all have a glyc­er­ine “back­bone” to which one, two or three long chains of fatty acids are at­tached. Mono- and diglyc­erides are used in many prod­ucts as emul­si­fiers, which help oil and wa­ter stay to­gether.

The fatty acids them­selves can be sat­u­rated (bonded with hy­dro­gen) in “cis-” or in “trans-” — a tech­ni­cal term for which side of the bond the hy­dro­gen goes on — it’s a chem­i­cal dif­fer- ence that looks hardly no­tice­able but makes a big dif­fer­ence in the way the fat af­fects your body. Trans- sat­u­rated fatty acids (“trans fats” for short) in­crease the lev­els of LDL choles­terol (the un­healthy kind) and de­crease HDL choles­terol (the good kind) in the blood, and sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing block­ages in the ar­ter­ies, even when taken in small amounts (2 grams a day is a risk). Foods that con­tain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat can be la­belled as hav­ing “0 grams of trans fats,” which makes avoid­ing them dif­fi­cult. You have to care­fully read in­gre­di­ent la­bels.

The dose makes the poi­son: I rec­om­mend min­i­miz­ing monoand diglyc­erides, al­though it is very dif­fi­cult, as you say, to avoid them com­pletely if you buy com­mer­cial breads and pas­tries (and many other prod­ucts, too). You can min­i­mize your con­sump­tion by cook­ing us­ing in­gre­di­ents you can trust, buy­ing prod­ucts with­out them when you can and re­duc­ing pro­cessed foods over­all. If you do that, a small amount of mono- and diglyc­erides are un­likely to cause harm. Dr. Roach re­grets that he is un­able to an­swer in­di­vid­ual let­ters but will in­cor­po­rate them in the col­umn when­ever pos­si­ble. Read­ers may email ques­tions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cor­nell.edu or re­quest an or­der form of avail­able health news­let­ters at 628 Vir­ginia Dr., Or­lando, FL 32803. Health news­let­ters may be or­dered from www.rb­ma­mall.com.

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