My Written Work

Published written work in The State Times:

Throughout my undergraduate college career, I had the opportunity to write nutrition articles in our school newspaper, The State Times.

1. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/09/11/avoiding-the-freshman-15/

2. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/09/18/benefits-to-all-natural-foods/

3. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/09/25/the-importance-of-breakfast/

4. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/10/09/the-effects-of-alcohol-on-the-body/

5. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/10/02/nutrition-apps-for-a-healthier-you/

6. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/10/30/an-apple-a-day-why-its-a-superfruit/

7. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/11/06/how-much-sugar-is-too-much/

8. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/11/20/gmos-should-we-label/

9. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/11/13/benefits-of-a-plant-based-diet/

10. http://thestatetimes.com/2013/12/11/avoid-over-indulging-this-holiday/

11. http://thestatetimes.com/2014/02/05/tips-for-healthy-eating-on-a-budget/

12. http://thestatetimes.com/2014/02/12/health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/

 

Unpublished articles created for National Nutrition Month 2016 below:

Sugar Substitutes

By Kayla Slater, MS, RDN

March 2016

Are they healthy? Should you use sugar substitutes over table sugar? Which should you use? Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners are highly controversial due to cancer causing evidence in laboratory studies. But the FDA has approved 6 high intensity sweeteners which do not have clear evidence to link to cancer in humans, so are considered to be safe at acceptable levels.

The 6 high intensity sweeteners approved by the FDA are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, neotame, and advantame. You will find sweeteners used in products that are marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet.”  The sweeteners approved by the FDA have Acceptable Daily Intake levels (ADIs). A fair amount of evidence confirms safety of artificial sweeteners at the acceptable levels, but it is unlikely to exceed the limit.

Sugar substitutes may be beneficial for individuals wanting to limit added sugars in their diet that find it hard to limit sugar-sweetened beverages or snacks/sweets. These sweeteners may or may not have any calories, but are sweeter than table sugar so you may use less than table sugar. Replacing added sugars with artificial sweeteners reduces calories in the short-term. Although, not enough evidence exist to support artificial sweeteners over table sugar for long-term weight management.

The 6 approved artificial sweeteners:

  1. Saccharin – known as Sweet ‘n low, a non-nutritive sweetener
  • Approved for use in beverages, fruit juice drinks, bases or mixes
  • Previously had warning label due to evidence linking bladder cancer in rats, but not in human studies, so warning label was revoked.
  1. Aspartame – known as Nutrasweet or Equal, nutritive sweetener
  • Used as a general purpose sweetener and approved for use as a tabletop sweetener, chewing gum, puddings, breakfast cereal, dry bases, and carbonated beverages
  • 200x sweeter than table sugar
  • 100+ studies support safety except individuals with PKU
  1. Ace-K – known as Sunett or Sweet One, non-nutritive sweetener
  • Used as a general purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer except in meat and poultry
  • Approved for use in baked goods, frozen desserts, candies, and beverages
  • 90+ studies to support safety
  1. Sacralose – known as Splenda, non-nutritive sweetener
  • Used a general purpose sweetener for baked good, beverages, chewing gum, gelatins, frozen dairy deserts
  • 110+ studies to support safety
  1. Neotame – known as Newtame, non-nutritive sweetener (approved in 2002)
  • General purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer except meat and poultry
  • 113 animal and human studies to support safety
  1. Advantame – non-nutritive sweetener, recently approved by FDA in 2014
  • General purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer except meat and poultry
  • 37 animal and human studies to support safety

Note on stevia glycosides also known as Truvia: raw stevia is not approved by the FDA, raw stevia leaves cannot be imported in the U.S. The stevia marketed and sold is processed, not natural.

Although more evidence is needed on safety of artificial sweeteners, FDA has approved 6 artificial sweeteners safe for consumption at acceptable levels which are on the GRAS list. The only groups recommended to not use artificial sweeteners are individuals with PKU and if pregnant. But you must decide if they would be more beneficial for you.

References

 

Choosing the Right Nut Butter and Oil

By Kayla Slater, MS, RDN

March 2016

A variety of nut butters exist in the food market today making it difficult to know which to choose. Nut butters are expensive, is it worth buying an expensive nut butter for your health? Nut butters are popular because they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but vary in fat and nutrient content. These fats also referred to as the “good fats” which help to reduce LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Fats are needed in the American diet, the fat recommendation is 20-35% of total calories, but according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines of Americans, saturated fat should be limited to less than 10% of calories and recommend to decrease saturated fat by choosing more foods in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Peanut butter

The most widely used nut butter is peanut butter. Peanut butter contains the most protein than the rest of the nut butters. Peanuts contain more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats than its saturated fat content. It’s best to choose natural peanut butter for less sugar content.

Almond butter

This nut butter is lowest in saturated fat and highest in fiber compared to the other nut butters. Almond butter also contain vitamins such as vit. E, Ca, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, folate and iron.

Walnut butter

Walnut butter contains a high amount of total fat, but has the highest amount of polyunsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and polyphenols.

Hazelnut butter

This butter contains the highest amount of total fat compared to the other nut butters. Contains the least amount of protein.

Cashew butter

Contains more monounsaturated fats than polyunsaturated fats.

Conclusion: Not one nut butter is best for your health. Nut butters contain heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein, but still should be consumed in moderation due to the fat content. It’s best to choose natural and organic to limit added sugars, calories, and avoid chemicals/pesticides.

————————————————————————-

With a variety of oils to choose from, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know which oil is the best to use. Choosing the right oil depends on your needs and the purpose. Any oil is better than solid fats (such as butter) since they have less saturated fat, but all oils have differing amounts of fats and other nutrient components beneficial to health.

These oils are best for frying due to their high smoke points:

  • Vegetable oil – refined canola, corn, cottonseed, olive, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and sesame oil; low in saturated fat and contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
  • Peanut oil – rich in monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid and contain phytosterols
  • Sesame oil – contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

These oils can be used for light frying, sautéing, baking, or as dressings:

  1. Canola oil – low in saturated fat and a good source of mono and polyunsaturated, but contains low levels of omega 3 fatty acids
  2. Olive oil – high in monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids
  3. Sesame – contains mono and polyunsaturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids
  4. Flaxseed – contains omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 fatty acids, this oil is not ideal for cooking
  5. Peanut oil – contains phytosterols and have a high smoke point making it ideal for frying
  6. Grapeseed oil – has PUFAs and high in omega 6 fatty acids
  7. Walnut oil – contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids

*Note on coconut oil – Coconut oils is high in saturated fat, but high in lauric acid which may raise good and bad cholesterol. Choose “virgin” coconut oil and use in moderation.

References

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090313p64.shtml

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/all-about-oils

Heart-Healthy Cooking: Oils 101

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils

Eating Right with Less Saturated Fat 

By Kayla Slater, MS, RDN

March 2016

An average of 11% of calories comes from saturated fat in the American diet. Americans in each age group are above the maximum limit of 10% of calories from saturated fat in their diets. Saturated fat raises LDL “bad” cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing saturated fat intake to less than 10% of calories per day. And to choose more foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Here are ways you can eat right with less saturated fat:

Read Food Labels

Make sure to read food labels on packaged foods to know how much saturated fat the food contains per serving. Look for foods that are lower in saturated fat and higher in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Choose Lower Fat Forms

For foods and beverages that contain solid fats, choose lower fat forms such as fat-free or low-fat milk instead of 2% or whole milk, low-fat cheese instead of regular cheese, and lean cuts of meats (chicken, turkey, fish, 90% lean beef) instead of fatty cuts of meats (beef, beef brisket, steak).

Use Oil Rather than Solid Fats

Prepare foods with oils (such as canola) which are lower in saturated fat than solid fats (such as butter, stick margarine) which are high in saturated fat. Oils such as canola, olive, and sesame are also good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Try cooking with an oil or using oil-based dressings and spreads on foods instead of solid fats.

Replace Ingredients

According to the data from WWEIA, NHANES 2009-2010, most of the saturated fat in Americans’ diets are from mixed dishes. To lower saturated fat from mixed dishes, try replacing ingredients in mixed dishes such as fatty meat and regular cheese for lean meat or low-fat cheese. And add more vegetables and whole grains.

Choosing the Best Oil

Oils have less saturated fat than solid fats and contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats “good fats” as well as omega 3’s and omega 6’s which are good for heart health. Use these for light frying, sauteing, or as a dressing in place of butter or stick margarine.

  1. Canola oil – low in saturated fat and a good source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, but contains low levels of omega 3 fatty acids
  2. Olive oil – high in monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids
  3. Sesame – contains mono and polyunsaturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids
  4. Flaxseed – contains omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 fatty acids, this oil is not ideal for cooking
  5. Peanut oil – contains phytosterols and have a high smoke point making it ideal for frying
  6. Grapeseed oil – has PUFAs and high in omega 6 fatty acids
  7. Walnut oil – contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids

*Note on coconut oil – Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but high in lauric acid which may raise good and bad cholesterol. Choose “virgin” coconut oil and use in moderation.

Sources:

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