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Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats from foods like fish, plant oils, nuts, and avocados is good for cardiovascular health.

Q. I understand that “bad fats” can clog my arteries, but what do “good...

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “A diet rich in saturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels, especially the more harmful LDL cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol levels can lead to the buildup […]
Look for the word “whole” at or near the top of the ingredient lists on packaged breads.

Q. The bread aisle is a very confusing place. What kind of bread should...

A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Eating bread is fine, as long as you make good choices and don’t overdo it. In fact, your choice of bread can be an opportunity to improve your dietary pattern. Healthy dietary patterns include whole grains in place of refined […]
Live active cultures may make yogurt easier for those with lactose intolerance to digest.

Q. Will I benefit from the live bacteria in yogurt?

A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Probiotics are live microorganism (typically bacteria and yeasts) that some evidence indicates can confer health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers. Specific strains are used to make yogurts and other fermented foods, like kefir (a yogurt drink), the fermented tea […]
All caloric sweeteners contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Q. What is the best kind of sugar to use? Should I switch to...

A. Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of the Friedman School and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers. “When consumed in higher amounts, all added sugars are similarly associated with negative health effects. This includes regular (cane) sugar, beet sugar, brown sugar, sugar ‘in-the-raw,’ high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and fruit juice […]

Q. Do people who do not have a gluten sensitivity benefit from reducing or...

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, a nutrition professor at the Friedman School and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “The short answer is no. “Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. In people with the autoimmune condition celiac disease, gluten damages the lining of the intestines, leading to malabsorption […]
Calorie counting

Q. I find it difficult and off-putting to calculate the calories in all the...

A. Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter answers: “Counting calories is not necessary, and, I believe, not desirable when trying to lose weight. Calories of course matter, but the number of calories we ultimately eat—and burn—is influenced long-term by […]
Corn

Q. Some dietary advice treats corn as a starch, but some says it’s a...

A. Helen Rasmussen, PhD, RD, FADA, LDN, a research dietitian at the HNRCA, answers: “There is a lot of confusion about where corn should fit in your dietary pattern, and for good reason. In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, corn is classified as both a vegetable and a grain. Botanically, it’s actually a fruit! All […]
Water bottle

Q. Does the amount of deuterium in drinking water matter to one’s health?

A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Deuterium is a naturally-occurring isotope of hydrogen. Most hydrogen atoms have one proton and no neutrons. When a hydrogen atom does contain a neutron, it is called deuterium. Deuterium is also known as heavy hydrogen. Since water is made up […]

Q. I have a normal BMI, I eat right, and I stay quite active...

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSC, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “A large waist (over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men) is one of the components of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increases risk for heart attack, stroke, and type […]
Colon

Q. I have been told I shouldn’t eat nuts because of my diverticulosis. Is...

A. Alicia Romano, MS, RD, a dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center, answers: “Nuts are healthy foods that are good choices to incorporate into your diet for the long term, given their general healthy nutrient profile. They are a plant source of protein and naturally high in fiber and healthy fats (omega-3 and polyunsaturated […]