Oceanside Nutrition
Matt Priven, MS RDN
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An Ode to Fiber

Fiber has a bit of a stigma. When we think of fiber, we tend to think of Metamucil powder and the bowel habits of the elderly. I’ll go so far as to say that fiber is the most overlooked aspect of food. Protein has certainly had its time in the sun. Fat is now having a real moment. Carbohydrates are constantly embroiled in media controversy. But fiber is standing in the back, maintaining a stoic disposition, while the world underestimates its potential.   

Dietary fiber is indigestible, but it exerts a powerful influence on our health, even though it never makes it past our digestive tract. Fiber is a carbohydrate, but it is distinguished by its indigestibility. Therefore, it doesn’t influence our blood sugar levels like “normal” carbohydrates do. 

We have historically classified fiber as either soluble or insoluble. For the average person, I don’t think it’s very important to distinguish between the two classifications. Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber anyway. The more interesting story is how fiber influences our health in ways that are not so obvious..

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Thoughts On Belgium's New Food Pyramid

Belgium has a new food pyramid, which is worth taking a look at. The Flemish Institute for Healthy Living presented their new guide last month, featuring an inverted pyramid design. This format puts the foods you should eat “more” of at the top and food to eat “less” of at the bottom. There is a separate red circle for foods that should be eaten “as little as possible,” which includes candy, soda, pizza, alcohol, processed meats, and added salt. Also of note, the pyramid encourages drinking “mostly water.” 

I’ll say first, here in the Unites States, government-issued nutrition recommendations don’t typically infiltrate the hearts and minds of the public. Our current visual representation of MyPlate is at best something my clients have “maybe seen once or twice.” We are often skeptical of these types of recommendations in the US (and rightfully so) given the overwhelming pressure put on government by food industry lobbyists...

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