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Whole Grain Benefits

FOOD: Here are 5 foods you thought were healthy but aren’t



In this week’s Ask the Nutritionist, Nonie De Long highlights concerns about vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, egg substitutes, and grains

Dear readers, Today’s column is in response to a Suzy who asks why she is reading now that vegetable oils and margarine are unhealthy, even though they were considered healthy options five years ago. She wants to know why this has changed and if there are any other foods that we have been told are healthier that, in fact, are not. So, let’s get straight to the point and talk about the top five foods that you thought were healthy but really aren’t.

5) vegetable oils

We have been told that vegetable oils are healthier for us because saturated fat was believed to cause heart disease. This has since been exposed. It is a historical fact that nutritionist Ancel Keys, responsible for the “Diet Heart Hypothesis” that saturated fat causes heart disease, picked cherries and skewed data to fit the narrative he was trying to support. We now know that he received bribes from the processed food industry for this. Heart health had come to the fore as a problem in Western countries and his research set the stage for much of the misinformation that continues to this day. This includes the idea that fat is bad for us and that vegetable oils are superior to natural saturated fats like animal fats.

The truth is, saturated fats are far more stable, less processed, and less flammable – especially when they’re the by-product of healthy, properly grazed animals. The fat content in meat actually changes depending on how it is raised and fed. For example, grass-fed beef produces leaner meat with less flammable omega-6 fatty acids. We now know that saturated fat increases the “good” HDL cholesterol and is very filling – which helps with overeating. We also know that a low-fat diet promotes increased carbohydrate intake – which is probably the biggest driver of risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome today.

Take that away? Avoid highly processed, subsidized and industrially produced grain and vegetable oils and replace them with grass-fed or farmed animal fats, organic coconut oil, grass-fed butter, organic avocado oil or certified organic extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed first. Look for animals that have been ethically raised and fed on a bio-appropriate diet, as all of the toxins an animal is exposed to are stored in the body’s fat cells.

4) fruit juices

At some point in the last few decades, consumers became increasingly aware of the added sugar in juices and were looking for an alternative. The food industry responded to this demand with “all-natural, unsweetened” fruit juices. But are they better?

Since fruit contains vitamins, so does juice, right? Not really. Vitamins are damaged by high temperatures and in order to keep the fruit juice stable, it has to be pasteurized – or briefly heated. This means that all of the vitamins that were in it before the healing process are no longer present.

Well, at least they don’t contain sugar, right? Again, not really. Fructose – or fruit sugar – has been shown to be just as harmful to health as normal table sugar. American pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig has become famous for his work on this subject. He has shown that fructose is far from benign, but that it drives the diabetes epidemic and is not a better alternative.

Take that away? Lower your risk of diabetes and obesity and avoid fruit juices altogether. Instead, opt for a homemade herbal iced tea or amniotic fluid with a little stevia if you prefer a sweeter taste. If you’re craving fruit, consume all of the fresh fruit instead to get all the benefits.

3) Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners have long been around in a variety of forms. The food industry wanted to sweeten foods with no added sugar or calories. But over time it has been found that artificial sweeteners do not help with weight loss, may contribute to metabolic disorders like diabetes and weight gain, are known to damage the gut microbiome, and are often difficult to stop due to withdrawal symptoms in people who consume them on a daily basis. For a deeper look into the health problems of each and every one of them, go here.

There are now superior, natural sweeteners that we can turn to that do not pose these risks. I most often recommend monk fruit, stevia, unpasteurized honey, or raw palm sugar. Sometimes these are mixed with erythritol, which appears to be a safe sweetener made from corn that doesn’t cause the indigestion that other sugar alcohols often cause. I often recommend a product called Whole Earth that doesn’t have a strange aftertaste and is a mix of some of these products.

2) egg substitute

Eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol, right? Again we encounter the misinformation perpetuated by the Diet Heart Hypothesis. You may not notice it, but consuming cholesterol doesn’t cause high cholesterol. The body makes cholesterol on its own and strictly regulates it, as it is essential for fertility and brain health.

But it clogs the arteries, doesn’t it? Cholesterol is part of the patch the body makes to repair the lining of damaged artery walls. Blaming cholesterol for atherosclerosis (hardened and narrowed arteries) literally blames the patch on the problem.

Take that away? Whole organic free-range eggs are super nutritious! They’re packed with B vitamins and lecithin for the brain and nervous system – but it’s all in the egg yolk! I consider eggs to be a superfood that almost everyone can enjoy regularly with great benefits.

1) Grains are healthy

Most of the key health myth information we have received over the past half decade is also a by-product of the heart health myth, and that is the advocacy of cereal grains as essential to healthy eating. We followed these recommendations and people are fatter and sicker than ever before in our history. Children are now diagnosed with diseases that were previously only available to adults, such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The recommendation to eat cereal grains over and over again has a positive effect on this.

Farmers know that grain feeds animals. It is no different with humans. We’ve been told that slower starch absorption is superior to glucose, but in fact the glycemic index for whole wheat bread is around 31.2, making it a high glycemic food that isn’t much different from a candy bar when it is about how insulin gets your body going. And we can never lose weight in the presence of insulin!

We also know that grains are often very flammable. Not all, but many.

Take that away? Most people benefit from reducing their intake of grains and replacing them with vegetables, animal products, nuts, seeds, and fruits. If we want to keep a certain favorite cereal recipe in our diet, I recommend keeping it as a treat rather than a staple. Moving away from it does more to balance our metabolism than almost anything else we can do.

Thank you, Suzy, for the excellent question! As always, I look forward to readers’ questions. You can write to me anytime at While you’re at it, sign up for my free newsletter at to be informed of upcoming online cooking classes and workshops exploring the role of delicious, whole foods in good health. Subscribers will also get their names on the list for a Christmas gift of $ 200 homeopathic first aid kits!

Nonie nutritionist

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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