Beth Kitchin PhD RDN blogs on health and nutrition. Her blogs are fact-based and offer a common sense approach to a healthier life. She's a food lover so don't expect her to tell you what not to eat! Beth is a an Assistant Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Nutrition Sciences Department and the patient educator at UAB's Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic. She also appears weekly as a guest contributor on WBRC's morning show "Good Day Alabama".
Alabamians are no strangers to severe weather and the power outages that often come with it.Hurricanes, tropical storms, straight line winds and tornadoes often leave you without electricity. With Tropical Storm /Hurricane Isaac heading our way later this week, let’s review a few key food safety tips to prepare for the storm. We’ll also talk about what to throw out and keep after a long power outage. Here are some tips from the folks at FoodSafety.Gov!
Before the Power Outage:
·Appliance Thermometers. You should have one in your freezer and your fridge. Not only will it help you keep the temps at the right level during fair weather, you can tell after a power outage to tell if the food is still safe.
·Fill Your Freezer. A full freezer will keep food safe longer. Group your foods close together and fill plastic container with water and freeze them if your freezer is not full.
·Keep a Supply of Bottled Water Stored in a Safe, Dry Place.
During and After the Power Outage:
·Keep Fridge/Freezer Doors Shut: Food in the fridge will be safe for 4 hours if you keep the door shut. A closed, full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours if you don’t open it. That time span drops to 24 for a half-full freezer.
·Check the Temps: If the freezer temp is 40 degrees or lower, it is safe to refreeze the foods; if the fridge temps are above 40 here are the rules:
·Raw or cooked eggs, meat, poultry, fish
·Casseroles, soups, stews
·Soft cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese, brie, mozzarella
·Cut fresh fruit
·Cooked Pasta, Rice or Potatoes
·Creamy Salad Dressing and Mayonnaise
·Jelly, mustard, ketchup, pickles, olives
·Hard cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, parmesan - whole or grated)
a lot of focus on protein these days but is it necessary to work so hard to
meet your protein needs? Proteins do many, varied jobs in our bodies. Fat and
protein can’t do these jobs. Proteins provide structure to our bones, teeth,
and connective tissues. They are the enzymes that our intestines make to break
down our nutrients so they can pass into the bloodstream. They are the
antibodies that fight infections. They make and repair muscles.
all that work to do, we need to get the right amount of protein each day. How
much do you need?
The average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of
body weight. To run
this calculation on yourself, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2.
This will give you your weight in kilograms (kg). Then multiply by 0.8 to get
the grams of protein you need. Here’s an example:
pounds/2.2 = 68 kg
x 0.8 = 54 grams of protein a day.
take a look at what that translate into for the average person:
athletes and older people may have higher protein needs. Elder adults should
aim for 1.0 to 1.2 grams for each kilogram of body weight. Athletes should aim
for 1.2 – 1.8 grams for each kilogram of body weight.
are some high protein foods that make it easy to get your protein!
Foods High in Protein
·3 ounces cooked poultry or beef 27
·3 ounces tuna, salmon, other fish 21 grams
·½ cup Greek yogurt 12 - 14 grams
·½ cup cottage cheese 14
·½ cup tofu 10
·½ cup cooked beans 9
·1 cup of milk or soy milk 8
·1 ounce of cheese 8
·¼ cup or 1 ounce of nuts 7
·1 egg 6
·1 cup cooked pasta 6 grams
Timing and protein quality count too! Dairy, eggs, lean
meats, and soy foods are generally the protein sources best used by the body.
Spreading that protein out throughout the day at each meal and snack can help
you hang on to your muscle strength if you’re older. For athletes, getting 25 –
30 grams within 2 hours after a training session may help maintain and build
What about high protein drinks and protein bars? I like
people to focus on foods first. But if you have a poor appetite or just can’t
eat enough of these foods, high protein drinks may do the trick. But it doesn’t
have to be Ensure or a protein drink – something like good old Carnation Instant
Breakfast can work just as well. The bottom line is to read food labels to find
high protein foods you like!
Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN
UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences
Can hot foods actually cool you down in the heat of the
summer? Warm tea is a staple in India. Spicy foods abound in Mexico. So it
makes sense to ask this question even though it sound counter intuitive.
It turns out folks may be on to something. If the
conditions are right, hot foods may actually make you feel cooler.
Our bodies are really good at regulating our
internal temperature. One of the main ways it does this is through sweat.
In the case of hot beverages, it’s through the
temperature receptors in the stomach. The hot beverage hits the stomach and
your internal temperature increases about .5 degree Celsius (about 1.5 degrees
Fahrenheit). The body says “I’m heating up – I need to cool down”. To cool
down, you start to sweat.
With spicy foods, the end result is the same –
increased sweating. But this time, it’s the receptors in the mouth that send
the signal to the body that the temperature is rising. This is “gustatory
·But here’s the kicker: in order for sweating to
cool us down, you’ve got to have air flow for the sweat to evaporate and cool
you down. Humid air and too much clothing keeps the sweat from evaporating.
So, is there research that supports all this? There’s
actually some from a researcher at the University of Sidney in Australia. Dr.
Ollie Jay’s research shows that the cooling effect of the sweat outweighs the added
heat of the hot beverage – as long as the sweat can evaporate.
So, go ahead and indulge in that hot coffee or spicy salsa
this summer. Just make sure you’re catching a breeze at the same time!
Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN Assistant Professor Nutrition Sciences
We've been doing Facebook Live sessions on Tuesday's on the Good Day Alabama show right before or after my nutrition segment. I always get a lot of really good questions from viewers. Today, a lot of people asked questions about getting kids to eat healthy and what to feed kids. When I was an undergrad in clinical nutrition, our textbook for pediatric nutrition was by Ellyn Satter. She's a registered dietitian and a social worker. She's pretty much the queen of child nutrition and her advice is practical, healthy, and based on science. One of my favorite things shes says is that parents are responsible for what foods are offered to the child while the child is responsible for how much they eat. She recommends offering children choices and then letting them decide among those choices.
You can visit her wonderful website here: Ellyn Satter Institute While child nutrition is not my expertise, I have learned a few things over the years - particularly the years I worked at Head Start:
Children do like healthful foods - but you as the parent or other responsible adult need to offer the children healthy foods and have them available. I will never forget hearing a child say "Who doesn't love a grape? I just wish my mom would buy them!".
Adults need to model healthful eating. You can't expect kids to eat healthy if you don't - so be a good role model.
Kids like to be involved in grocery shopping and food prep. Getting kids involved in the food prep process and trying a variety of foods at family meals can help kids learn to like healthful eating!
Don't make foods off limits. When you tell a child that a food is bad and they shouldn't eat it, it only makes them want it more. We adults are the same way! So let your kids have candy and chips - but as part of an overall healthy eating pattern. Read Ellyn Satter's advice on how to handle "forbidden foods" with kids so that they don't feel deprived but also learn to eat healthy foods too!
We'll be talking about this topic more on Good Day Alabama so keep watching!
Beth Kitchin PhD RDN Assistant Professor Nutrition Sciences University of Alabama at Birmingham
There’s been a backlash against juice over the last couple
of years. Why? Well, juice has as many calories per ounce as soda. And those
calories come from fructose – the natural sugar that gives fruit all of its
calories. Juice became a victim of the unfounded hysteria over sugar and
fructose. I’ve heard people say “juice is bad for you”. Many people have told
me they’ve given up juice and just eat whole fruit. That’s not a bad idea –
because whole fruit does have way more fiber in it than juice. But do you have
to completely eliminate juice from your diet? Especially if you like it? I’ve
always told people that drinking juice is fine – and now I have some research
to back it up!
Some health experts have been telling parents not to give
their kids juice because it can lead to obesity. Now of course, making a
blanket statement like that without any attention to how much juice is pretty
ridiculous. This week, an analysis of juice studies published in the journal Pediatrics shows that juice in
moderation is not associated with weight gain in children. The researchers
analyzed data from eight studies for a total of 34,470 boys and girls under 18.
They found only a slight associated increase in BMI (body mass index) in
children age 1 to 6 who drank 6 to 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice a day. This
slight increase did not put children at risk for obesity. In children and
adolescents age 7 to 18, there was no link at all between fruit juice and weight
So, here are some guidelines for drinking juice:
for 100% fruit juice
drink juice to quench thirst
juice to 8 ounces a day for children particularly
whole fruit for most of your daily fruit servings
juice with mineral water
100% fruit juice is high in vitamins like vitamin C and
folate and also high in potassium – a mineral that helps keep blood pressure
low. Some people with diabetes notice that some fruit juices raise their blood
sugar, so they may need to limit juices. That makes sense. Otherwise, some
juice every day can be good for you! For people who like juice, I recommend drinking
a cup a day to count as one of your daily fruits and then eating whole fruit
for the rest of your servings!
Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences University of Alabama at Birmingham
Auerbach BJ, Wolf FM, Hikida A, et
al. Fruit Juice and Change in BMI: A Meta-analysis Pediatrics. 2017;139(4):e20162454
If you’re taking a
nutritional supplement for your eyes, you might want to take a close look at
what’s in it.
Back in 2001, a
well-done study by the National Eye institute found that a specific combination
of nutrients could slow down the progression of age-related macular
degeneration. Macular degeneration is one of the biggest causes of blindness in
people over the age of 65.
The landmark study is
“AREDS” (Age-Related Eye Disease Study). The researchers randomly assigned over
3600 participants either to a placebo or to a high dose supplement. The
researchers found that the participants on the AREDS supplement reduced their
risk of progressing to advanced disease by about 25%. The researchers also
looked at whether the supplement had an effect on cataracts. It did not.
While this was great
news for people with macular degeneration, there were some problems with the
high amount of supplemental beta-carotene had been shown in other studies to
increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
high level of zinc caused stomach upset in some of the study participants
original formula did not have lutein or zeaxanthin or omega-3 fatty acids which
some researchers thought might help
started the AREDS 2 study to answer these questions.
They found that
cutting the beta-carotene and replacing it with lutein and zeaxanthin was
effective and safer. They also found that the omega-3 fatty acids did not slow
down macular degeneration. So now we have the new AREDS 2 formula that came out
several years ago. They also found that reducing the zinc didn’t change the
Here’s what you should
look for in an eye supplement:
AREDS 2 Formula:
500 mg vitamin C
400 IU vitamin E
10 mg lutein
2 mg zeaxanthin
80 mg zinc
2 mg copper
These amounts are much
higher than what you could get in your diet or in a typical vitamin/mineral
supplement. Of course, after the first AREDS study came out, sales
of eye supplements boomed. But some of these eye supplements are not the AREDS
formula and probably won’t give you the results you want.
The supplement only
helped people at the intermediate and advanced of macular degeneration. People
in the early stages did not see much benefit. So this high-dose supplementation
is only for people with intermediate or advanced stage macular degeneration and
should only be taken under the supervision of an eye doctor.
The Bottom Line: If
you have macular degeneration, talk to your doctor about which eye supplement
is best for you. Read the labels carefully to make sure they have the
right combination of nutrients in them. If you are shopping for the
supplement, you need to compare directly the label on the bottle with the
information from the National Eye Institute. And remember, if you do
not have macular degeneration, there is no proof that an eye health supplement
will help prevent diseases of the eye!
For more information
on eye supplements, the ARED2 study, and advice on whether you need an eye
health supplement, visit the National Eye Institute site.
Beth Kitchin PhD RDN
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham