Mike Gorski RD, CD
It is hard to know these days what is healthy and what isn’t. Everyone claims to be a nutrition expert and wants to tell you what you must be eating and what you must be avoiding.
To get sound advice you need to seek out an actual nutrition professional – a dietitian, or someone who went to school for nutrition and at least understands the biochemistry and physiology of the human body and how it interacts with food.
Unfortunately, even some credentialed experts will give you the wrong foods for the wrong reasons. Here are the five foods that I have heard recommended by professionals that are overrated when it comes to their health benefits.
1) Breakfast Cereals
Even the multi-colored candy looking cereals have health claims on them now. Just because they are “whole grain,” doesn’t automatically make them healthy. However, some of the less obvious cereals still aren’t that healthy comparatively speaking. Cheerios has launched a “High Protein” version that touts 11g of protein per serving. However, this is including milk (which already contains 7 grams of protein per cup). It also contains 17 grams of sugar per serving – might as well have a Snickers bar for breakfast.
My Recommendation: If you want a healthier whole grain, stick to oats. If you want a higher protein food stick with eggs, Greek Yogurt, or a protein smoothie.
Its not that bananas are inherently bad, its just that they are always talked about being high in potassium which helps with muscle function and cellular signaling. Bananas really aren’t that high in potassium compared to other foods, and they don’t contain a lot of other phytonutrients (things like anti-oxidants, and other natural immune boosters).
My Recommendation: If you are looking for more phytonutrients stick with any type of berry. If you want more potassium, try spinach, it has 3x the amount of potassium!
3) Low Fat Flavored Yogurt
Just because something is labeled “low fat” doesn’t automatically make it healthy. Low fat flavored yogurts (think Key Lime, Pineapple, etc.) still contain a lot of sugar – some as much as a serving of ice cream!
My Recommendation: Use plain yogurt, or even better, Greek yogurt. You can blend up berries in the yogurt to add sweetness without all the added sugar – and with the added phytonutrients of the berries!
4) Gluten-Free/Organic Labels
Like the “low fat” label, just because something is labeled gluten-free or organic doesn’t mean that it is healthy. While these labels might be important to some people, they don’t give anyone a free pass to eat mindlessly. It is crucial to still read labels and know the calories in every food you eat. Interestingly enough, some “gluten free” versions of some foods are higher in calories than the normal version.
My Recommendation: Be aware of the calorie amount in ALL foods, especially if weight loss is your goal. Just because it has a flashy label on the front, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice out there!
5) “High Protein” Non-Protein Foods
By non-protein foods, I am talking mostly about foods that are not meat/eggs. It has been claimed that peanut butter is a great source of protein, or quinoa is a high protein grain, or even that sweet potatoes are a high protein food. Unfortunately, one serving of peanut butter only has 7 grams, and one cup of quinoa only contains 8 grams (brown rice has 5 grams – so not that big of difference) and a sweet potato only has 2 grams.
My Recommendation: Stick to lean meats for your high protein sources. Most have 7 grams per OUNCE. If you do not eat meat, your best sources are cheeses, nuts, and lentils or vegetarian based protein powders.
While this list is not all-inclusive, it covers five of my favorite healthy fallacies that I have still heard being preached by various “experts.” Read labels, do your research, and don’t fall for TV personality or Internet nutrition gurus.
Andrew Grow, Investment Advisor
Moving from your current residence can be extremely exciting and frustrating at the same time. Maybe you are moving in to your new house, which is certainly exciting, but then you’ve got to move all of your possessions, cancel the cable and internet bill, contact the post office… the list goes on! Here are a few tips and ideas to save you money, and hopefully avoid some of that frustration.
Create a budget – Moving costs money. Will you be hiring a moving company or will you enlist the help of friends and family? Will you need packing supplies and/or a moving truck? If you’re moving far, you need to think about gas, food, and perhaps evening lodging. Determine how much it will cost in advance to help you keep your expenses in check. And make sure to have a little extra in savings, just in case an unexpected expense arises.
Take inventory – Make a list of everything you want to move from your current residence to your new home. Making a list of the possessions you want to take with you will help when you actually start filling up boxes – stick to your list as opposed to making the decision to keep or throw away an item as you pack. This is also a perfect time to donate items you no longer need or want, but that can be used by someone else.
Contact your utility companies – Reach out to your cable and internet provider, utility companies, and any other service providers to let them know of your address change and, more importantly, a date to cease service. There is no need to pay for a service once you have left the previous residence.
Set up your mail to be forwarded – Stop in at your local post office, both for your current address and your new residence, to set up mail forwarding. You will also want to contact friends, family and businesses that send you mail to inform them of your move. This is another time making a list can help – cross off the names on your list as you let them know of your new address.
Shop around for moving companies – If you have only a few smaller items to move and can handle this on your own, more power to you; however, if you need the assistance of a moving company, shop around for different quotes. Not all moving companies are the same – some companies will do all of the packing for your (usually for a fee) while others will even shrink wrap all of your larger possessions (again, usually for a fee). Read reviews, get different quotes, and decide which company fits your needs best.
Doing your homework before moving day arrives can save time and money, and will hopefully make a stressful day a breeze. You’ll thank yourself on moving day for planning the day out weeks in advance. Instead of stressing over decisions to be made on the day of the move, you will be enjoying your new home with peace of mind knowing the work is already done.
Michelle Braddock, Executive Vice President
You’ve probably heard stories about how certain behaviors affect your eyes, but a lot of what you’ve heard is probably a myth. As a follow-up to my February blog on the value of vision plans, I’d like to provide you with some interesting facts and perspectives when it comes to vision myths.
iPad or Kindle
According to a recent study conducted at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, your iPad or Kindle can help you regain vision loss and increase reading speed. The study revealed that participants with moderate vision loss of the central vision due to eye disease saw an increase in reading speed of an average of 15 words per minute. Moderate visual impairment is considered 20/70 to 20/160, compared to 20/20, which is considered perfect vision.
Set at an 18 point font, both the iPad and Kindle proved to increase reading speed, compared to a printed book or newspaper in those with moderate vision loss. However, the iPad resulted in a gain of 42 words per minute vs. the Kindle, with an increase in reading speed of 12 wpm. Researchers believe that the back illuminated screen of the iPad offers a sharper contrast between the words and the space around them, providing greater comfort and clarity to those who experience complications while reading. The original Kindle used in the study did not have a back-lit screen. It’s important to mention that those with perfect vision preferred to read off printed materials over digital tablets.
Other interesting facts
Don’t take your sight for granted. An annual eye exam and an understanding of the facts will help to protect your sight for life.