For those of you that know me, you know that I could never tell you to not drink coffee, because, well, I drink too much of it myself and that’s just not fair. I can, however, let you in on a few tips to help make your coffee consumption a healthier habit. Find out more in today’s post.Read More
High in calories and high in fat, tree nuts can't be good for you, right?!
One of my assignments for Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics class was to find a professional meeting to attend or watch a webinar online that was presented by a Registered Dietitian. Because of my busy schedule and the lack of events in my area, I chose to watch a webinar, on tree nuts.
Let me just say, that tuning in to this recorded webinar was a great assignment not only to gain information and to hear from other RDs, but it was a good motivation and realization of the information that we are surrounded by and that these webinars and so numerous and easily accessible. For those of you that don't know, I have a slight obsession with learning new information and becoming proficient on topics. This is a main reason why I listen to podcasts rather than the radio and now, knowing that I can listen in on webinars just like podcasts, it further drives my passion for learning, especially with nutrition as the topic. I encourage everyone to become a lifelong student and take advantage of these avenues for learning.
Okay, so back to tree nuts....
The focus of the webinar was how tree nuts lead to benefits in weight management. The presentation was quite science heavy but I will try to explain it in plain English to share all of the information. If you're interested in more of the graphs, figures and a more scientific explanation check out the webinar here and if you have any questions or want further information comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, looking at the correlation between BMI (Body Mass Index) and frequency of nut consumption, there appears to be either an inverse relationship (decreased BMI with increased nut consumption) or no change in BMI.
BMI does not take lean body mass (muscle) into account. Some individuals with larger muscle mass may present as "obese" for this reason. BMI is a good initial indicator, but a full body composition analysis (measuring fat mass and lean mass separately) is more accurate.
Other clinical studies show that when looking at two groups, one that ate a certain amount of nuts and the other group that didn't, the group that ate nuts lost more weight.
Now, looking at the actual mechanisms that cause this are their affect on appetite, energy yield and energy expenditure.
The positive effects on appetite include suppression of hunger, suppression of desire to eat, and enhancement of fullness or reduced meal size. (Note: Hunger and desire to eat are two different things! Hunger is defined as the sensation to eat based on energy needs; whereas, desire to eat can occur without hunger and is based more on "wanting" to eat something rather than your body's need for food.)
Another idea behind nuts is dietary compensation. All this means is that nuts are so satisfying that you may eat less calories somewhere else in the day. This video does a great job in explaining a study where walnuts in a breakfast smoothie left that group feeling more satisfied than the other group that received a walnut flavored smoothie. Factors that contribute to this feeling of satiety include the macronutrient profile (amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), fatty acids, fiber, and energy content.
Now, on to energy expenditure. The most interesting point made on energy expenditure, and possibly of this whole presentation, was that eating nuts, especially peanuts, actually increased resting energy expenditure. The amount of Calories you burn at rest, or the energy needed to make your body "run" on a daily basis, is your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This number is based on age, height, weight, muscle mass and a few other factors. So, these studies claim that this rate actually increases in those that eat nuts allowing these individuals to burn more Calories throughout the day.
Absorption of the energy from nuts is also a factor in how many Calories you're actually getting from the nut. To put it simply, not all Calories/energy from nuts can be accessed because if you don't break down the nut enough while chewing, the stomach acid is not strong enough to break down the cells fully and some of the fat from nuts may actually pass through your system without being absorbed. So, in a sense, we get decreased appetite, increased satiety, and increased RMR while not even absorbing all of the Calories.
One last fun fact from this study. Most people don't get bored with eating nuts. There are some foods out there that just seem to be something we can't eat every day, we get sick of eating the same thing or it just doesn't taste as good after a while. Neurological and self-reported studies show that nuts may be one of those foods that is resistant to monotony. Even over a period over 12 weeks, nuts were still well-tolerated when consumed on a regular basis.
Of course, even though they are a great source of healthy fat, protein and even some carbohydrates, we can't just eat nuts all day. These studies go further to say that moderate nut consumption is ideal so stick to 1-2 oz. a day to take advantage of these effects.
As I mentioned before, please feel free to ask questions or even look more into the information yourself!
Have a happy Wednesday and enjoy the rest of your week!
Mattes, Rchard D., MPH, PhD, RD, and Cheryl Forberg, RD. "The Health Benefits of Tree Nuts: Focus on Weight Management." Today's Dietitian. 4 Feb. 2016. Web.
DISCLAIMER: This information is intended for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered dietitian and the information I share may or may not be the best option for you. It is recommended to consult a physician, dietitian, and/or other health professional before starting any new physical activity and/or changing your diet.
So, last time I checked in with you all about my decision to pursue my graduate degree I mentioned that I went through a short amount of time where I really wondered if a graduate degree is something I really wanted. I am still adamant about furthering my education, but I may want to go into a different field other than physical therapy.
I seem a bit indecisive, I know.
For a very long time I had a set plan of what I wanted to do, I chose exercise science and physical therapy and never looked back. I was the student that wasn't going to change majors multiple times or even one time. I knew (or I thought I knew) exactly what I wanted to do and exactly what path I was going to take, and that was my biggest downfall.
I had/have this idea in my head of what my life is supposed to be. I've done some pretty cool things in my 21 years so I have the bar set for myself pretty high. I have that "go big or go home" mindset when it comes to what I see for myself. For a long time, I thought to be successful, I needed the doctorate degree, I would most likely move to a bigger city if not out of state, no doubt I would be running my own business and I would have it all figured out. In the last week I've come to realize, I don't think that's the life that's going to make me happy.
First of all, I'm beginning to get worried I will get too bored with physical therapy. The area I live in, most jobs are going to be in general rehab environments. In order for me to enjoy my job I think I would need something at a faster pace, like sports or pediatrics all the time. This would require me to relocate...
...which brings me to my next point. I'm not sure that I want to make that "big move," at least not yet. I've moved multiple times, lived in different areas, and multiple times I've moved back home. As much as I thought I wanted to get out of the thumb, I kinda like it here. Not saying I won't ever take an opportunity elsewhere, but it won't be that easy. Also not easy, reassuring myself that it is perfectly okay to stay in my small town for at least a little while longer.
Just yesterday morning I literally told myself, "If I have a choice, I will never make my life this busy again." Granted right now I don't really have a choice because of school and work, that's just the way it is. But running my own business full time might just be too much.
Lastly, I'm not sure any of us really ever have it "all figured out."
Taking all of this into consideration I've come to a fork in my road to graduate school. I can choose to stay on my path to become a physical therapist or I can take the alternate route that is currently on the table and get my master's degree in dietetics.
I've pretty much worked my butt off the last four years getting observation hours, taking extra classes, and looking into programs for physical therapy. But there's just something about dietetics and nutrition that interests me. I would have to face a few more chemistry and other science courses to meet the prerequisites for the program, but surprisingly, this is something I'm willing to do. One huge perk, no GRE required for the dietetics program!! (More to come on GRE testing in later posts).
As I have continued in my journey toward my exercise science degree, the more I have fallen in love with the health science field. That being said, I want to do it all. I want to help others in whatever way possible. Taking that into consideration I would really like to take the road that leads me to a place where I can be as involved as I want in the health and fitness world.
As of right now, I'm leaning towards the master's degree in dietetics. That being said, I'm still doing my internship in physical therapy (that's already pretty well set up), I'm still taking the GRE (already paid for), and going about the process of applying as I would if I didn't have another option. I'm also looking into contacting the other universities with dietetics programs and planning to register for the other prereqs that I need as soon as possible. Until I make my final, FOR SURE decision, I want to leave both paths of this fork in the road wide open.
Making the decision is going to be a process, as it already has proved to be. I want to be completely sure of whatever decision I make so it looks like it might be time for some more observation hours and a pros and cons list!
Comments and advice are welcome!