Having a nutritionist on call would be the best, wouldn’t it? Someone to answer your most pressing health and diet questions and offer well-informed words of encouragement when you need it most.
But because we can’t all have a personal diet consultant on hand ‘round the clock, we gathered the answers to some of the most commonly asked healthy eating questions, straight from the experts themselves.
Will Consuming Carbohydrates Prevent Me from Losing Weight?
"No. Your body needs carbohydrates daily and your brain only functions from the intake of carbs. With that said, there are many different types of carbs. Focus on consuming high-fiber carbs and combining them with protein to help with weight loss. Fiber fills us up and satisfies hunger levels. Recommended carbs to consume when trying to lose weight are: vegetables of all types; starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and legumes; fruits like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries; and whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and brown rice.” – Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, founder of Family. Food. Fiesta.
Why Can't I Lose Weight?
"Truth is, there is no single right way to lose weight. Successful 'losers' usually have tried a myriad of ways to lose weight, and eventually they find what does work and make it their lifestyle. Weight is lost by consuming fewer/burning more calories than the body needs. But, there's nothing super sexy about that (nobody’s writing any books on that) despite the fact it works. What works for one does not necessarily work for everyone.” – Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, Neily on Nutrition
Does Eating After 8pm Cause Weight Gain?
"No. While you're likely less active as you reach evening time, and your metabolism slows a bit, this doesn't mean automatic weight gain after the clock strikes 8. Our bodies need a certain amount of fuel (calories via food) each day. Give it too much, and you gain weight. Too little, and weight loss results. This is true no matter what time of day (or night) it is. That said, there are some people that benefit from giving themselves an eating cut-off time. If you tend to mindlessly snack on large portions while watching TV after dinner, or you find yourself stress-eating at night, giving yourself a rough nighttime eating cut-off time can help.” – Willow Jarosh MS, RD, co-owner of C&J Nutrition and co-author of the upcoming book, The Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook
Should I Try Juicing?
"If you love the flavor of juices that primarily contain vegetables, then including juice as part of your daily routine (or getting a juice occasionally) isn't a bad way to get a boost of nutrients. However, if you typically hit the mostly fruit juices, consider that 4-6 ounces of fruit juice is calorically equivalent to a large piece of fruit but not as satisfying because you're not chewing or getting any fiber. In addition, because the fiber is removed from juice, we wouldn't recommend that you replace your daily veggie servings with veggie-rich juice, but rather use the juice as a supplement to provide a boost of nutrients and fun flavor.” – Stephanie Clarke MS, RD, co-owner of C&J Nutrition and co-author of the upcoming book, The Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook.
I Don’t Have Time to Be Healthy, What Are Easy/effortless Ways to Be a Little Healthier?
"We always say our nutrition plan has to fit your lifestyle; we know you’re not going to change your life to fit a food plan (plus, it won’t stick!). Start with the basics: Get your hydration, meal timing and sleep on point. And then focus on what you’re adding in versus what you’re taking out. Also, and probably hardest, separate yourself from your computer, phone and television while eating and take a real meal break, even at the office. Mindfulness for just 10 minutes works wonders in knowing when you’re full.” – Carolyn Brown, MS RD, Foodtrainers
How Can I Get Rid of Belly Fat?
"Eat your veggies first. Sounds so simple, but vegetables fill you up, not out. I find that when people focus on eating more vegetables, they naturally eat less of the more caloric foods and are able to lose weight easier. Not to mention, they enjoy an incredible nutrition boost.” – Marisa Moore, MBA. RDN. LD., Marisa Moore Nutrition
Will Skipping Breakfast Make Me Fat?
"Skipping breakfast will not make you fat. However, if skipping breakfast leads to eating a larger meal, then it will. Patients who are not fans of breakfast often skip over this meal and "back end" calories to the end of the day. I ask those patients to take notice of this – try eating breakfast one day and then the next skip it – if your dinner on the days that you skip breakfast turn out to be larger, then you may actually benefit from having this morning meal.” – Leah Kaufman, MS, RD, CDN
What Are Some Healthy and Easy Snack Ideas?
"Your total snack should be less than 200 calories and have a combination of fiber, healthy fat and protein, such as KIND Nuts & Spices Bar, Mini Babybel cheese and piece of fruit, or 100% whole grain WASA crisp bread with one tablespoon of almond butter.” – Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet
Will a Gluten/free Diet Help Me Lose Weight?
"If you're trying to lose weight, banning gluten from your diet can only help if it cuts your calorie intake. However, there's little evidence to support the idea that a gluten-free diet promotes weight loss alone, and I don't recommend this as a practical or ideal strategy especially because many gluten-containing foods including whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas can provide valuable nutrients and help you meet daily food group quotas. Many gluten-free foods pack in calories and sugar, and people may think that just because they don't contain gluten they're somehow better for them when it comes to promoting weight loss.” – Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and author of Younger Next Week
I Often Feel Hungry at Night Before I Go to Bed. What Can I Eat and Not Gain Weight, or Should I Go to Bed Hungry?
"It’s always important to listen to your body and as long as your late night snack isn’t putting you over your daily calorie goals it won’t promote weight gain any more than eating at other times of the day. Pay attention to your hunger-cues (stomach pains, shakiness, light headedness, or irritability) and make sure you are eating because you are actually hungry and not bored or stressed out. Great late night snack options are small amounts of foods high in protein and/or fiber. Great options include nuts (a handful of almonds, walnuts, or cashews), Greek yogurt or coconut milk yogurt with berries and Chia seed pudding made with coconut milk.” – Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, National Media Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics