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Ask the Experts

Why We Say “People with Obesity”

Q: “People with obesity” sounds odd to me. Why don’t you just say, “obese people?” A: Jillian Reece, RD, a dietitian with the Tufts Medical Center Weight and Wellness Center, answers: “Many people are not aware that obesity is a complex disease with multiple causes including genetic, biological, and other noncontrollable factors. In June 2013, […]

Cholesterol and Genes

Q: It seems like everybody in my family has high cholesterol. I try to eat well and exercise, but my numbers are still high. Could it be in my genes? A: JosĂ© M. Ordovás, PhD, senior scientist and leader of the Nutrition and Genomics team at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on […]

Sustainability of Tree Nuts

Q: I recently heard that growing almonds requires more water than producing beef. I want to improve the sustainability of my diet. Should I give up tree nuts like almonds? A: Timothy Griffin, PhD, an associate professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, […]

Feeling Faint when Meals are Skipped

Q: Sometimes when I miss a meal, I end up feeling faint. What could be causing this, and what should I do? A: Anastassios...

I see lots of ads and Web pages touting the benefits of antioxidant vitamins....

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and executive editor of this newsletter, answers: “Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, molecules in need of an electron which roam the body potentially causing damage by taking electrons from other molecules. Many detrimental effects of aging and […]

Q. What is your experts’ take on genetically modified foods? Should I try to...

A. Timothy Griffin, PhD, an associate professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, answers: “Genetic engineering (GE) is the process of modifying an organism’s genes to change a characteristic of that organism. The most common use of this process is to make crops […]

Q. I heard scientists are growing meat in a lab. What does this mean?...

A. David Kaplan, PhD, the Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, answers: “The first cultivated meat product is already on the market in Singapore, but you will not find any in your U.S. supermarket yet. Pending final approved regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and […]

Q. I’m concerned about the recent outbreaks of foodborne illness related to greens. Should...

A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Although raw produce is responsible for a large percentage of foodborne illness (food poisoning) in the U.S., millions of servings of leafy greens are eaten every day without incident. “Greens can come in contact with germs like E. coli in the […]

Q. I had an attack of diverticulitis. How should I eat to prevent another?

A. Grace Phelan, MS, RD, nutrition support coordinator at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center and clinical instructor at the Friedman School, answers: “Sometimes little pockets or pouches (called diverticula) form in the intestinal wall. This is called diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is when the pockets get inflamed or infected, which can occur when intestinal contents get stuck […]

Q. Why can’t I find vitamin C on most Nutrition Facts labels? Who decides...

A.  Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and drinks. This label is required on all packaged foods, whether they are made in the U.S. or imported from other countries. It is based […]