Nutrition in the News

Straight talk about soy

SoybeansWe’ve been told that regularly eating soy-based foods lowers cholesterol, calms hot flashes, prevents breast and prostate cancer, aids weight loss, and wards off osteoporosis. Some of these benefits have been attributed to a unique characteristic of soybeans—their high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant-made estrogen (phytoestrogen). However, some of the claims made for soy were based on preliminary evidence.

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5 Quick tips: Choosing healthy protein foods

Protein1. Upgrade the protein on your plate. The Healthy Eating Plate encourages you to eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken, or eggs in place of less-healthy options like red and processed meats.

For example, try a turkey or black bean burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or slice up a fresh-roasted chicken breast or salmon for your sandwich instead of using processed high-sodium lunch meat.

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Eating well for your waistline and wallet

what_should_you_eatEating a healthy diet isn’t simply a matter of knowing what to eat – though that’s a major factor. It’s also about knowing how to acquire and prepare such foods, and last but certainly not least, it’s about being able to afford these healthier foods. One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is the belief that it’s expensive, a topic explored in a paper (1) coauthored by HSPH’s Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.

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The problem with potatoes

In the U.S., people eat an average of 126 pounds of potatoes per person each year. (1) However, potatoes don’t count as a vegetable on Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate because they are high in carbohydrate – and in particular, the kind of carbohydrate that the body digests rapidly, causing blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip (in scientific terms, they have a high glycemic load).

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Re-thinking your New Year’s resolutions

to-do-listThe holiday season brings parties, presents and an endless array of festive foods. Some people adopt a holiday eating or exercise strategy to offset all the snacking and sipping, while others willingly overindulge, planning to start the new year with a clean slate and new diet plan — the popular but usually ineffective “I’ll start tomorrow” strategy.

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Develop a “sugar strategy” for healthy holiday eating

Chocolate with berryShared meals are a highlight of the holidays. And while it’s easy to overindulge when there are so many delicious dishes on the table, desserts can be especially easy to overeat.

  • A 2013 study examining how sugar and fat affect regions of the brain related to overeating showed that when it comes to food cravings, sugar has a stronger impact than fat. (1)

With a few simple tips, you can enjoy sweet treats without overdoing it. Avoiding sugar altogether might be an unrealistic option, but with the right “sugar strategy,” you can indulge wisely.

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