6 Nutrition Surprises

Cooking Light's nutrition experts share news and views from the American Dietetic Association's national conference.
Kathy Kitchens Downie, MS, RD

1. Chips can make a decent snack. When you’re tired of popcorn as your go-to whole grain snack, Frito Lay’s Scoops are a good alternative: They fit the crunchy, salty snack bill, plus their first ingredient is whole corn. Not bad for a chip.

2. Nutrition labels may be off. Way off. A food package’s Nutrition Facts panel can lawfully be printed so the sodium value can vary by 20 percent. For example, if a package says one serving contains 480 milligrams of sodium, then your intake could be between 384 to 576 milligrams per serving!

3. Forget good-to-bad ratios when it comes to fats. The polyunsaturated fat linked to healthy heart beats and lowered blood pressure3, omega-3 fatty acids are still the “in” nutrient. Ratios between omega-3s and omega 6s are “out,” meaning many nutritional scientists think the specific consumption ratios aren’t as important as an overall good-for-you diet.

4. Follow a dietitian's blog for nutrition news you can trust. If you find the right sources (among plenty of bad ones), the web can be a good place to learn more about healthful eating. Our favorite smart, entertaining, and informative nutrition blog: NutritionUnplugged.com. Blogger Janet Helm is a Registered Dietitian and appeals to consumers, moms, foodies, science junkies, and anyone interested in knowing more about what they’re eating.

5. The best tool for healthful eating is moderation. If you struggle with that, there are products someone wants to sell you. This conference’s enormous food and product expo unveiled a few gimmicks, including “red light” silverware. Outfitted with two small green and red lights, this flatware designed to help you slow down at mealtime, so you can better register when you’ve had one bite too many. You click the end of the fork “on” (think of a click pen) when you begin your meal; the green light shines for 40 seconds, which means you are free to eat. When the red light comes on―and lasts a grueling 24 seconds―you cannot eat. Seriously.

6. Learn to share, and indulgences won't haunt you. Here's a little secret about how some dietitians eat in real-life: We split appetizers and ask for half-pours of wine when dining out, so we can taste a little of everything and still enjoy the drinks without going overboard with calories.