Nutrition and Dietetics - Dietetic Internship


Dietetic Internship Director:
Vicky Green, PhD, RD, LDN
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CTH 147

Reponse to Consumer Questions

What is gluten and how can it be bad for you?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten helps foods to maintain their shape acting as a glue that holds foods together. Many processed foods also contain gluten, so it is important to read all ingredient labels. Gluten is only harmful to those with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a hereditary disease that develops when gluten is ingested. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body’s immune system responds by creating antibodies that attack the small intestine. These antibodies damage the microvilli on the small intestine, and this hinders nutrient absorption into the body. If celiac disease is left untreated, it can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders like Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, multiple sclerosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, epilepsy, short stature, and some cancers. For those without celiac disease, gluten is fine to consume.

New research is investing a newer phenomena called, “Non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” Little is known on this topic, and until it is defined, it cannot be diagnosed. For the mean time, it is advised for those who do not have celiac disease or a wheat allergy but experience symptom improvement on a gluten free diet, they may be considered to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.


How would you explain nutrition?  And do you think it is important?

Nutrition is the nourishment of cells in order for an organism to stay alive. With proper nutrition, many health problems and chronic diseases can be delayed or prevented. Nutrition can be further broken down into categories as different diets such as those used in a hospital or clinical setting, or subcategories such as infant nutrition, sports nutrition, geriatric nutrition, etc.


I feel that nutrition is important because it is a means of survival. Without it, we would not be here. So many scientific advances have been made so that now people and animals can be properly nourished intravenously or directly through the gut.

Are eggs bad for you?

Eggs are not bad for you. One whole egg has about 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. A whole egg is high in cholesterol, with about 210 mg of cholesterol. Whole eggs can be incorporated into a heart healthy diet by limiting other sources of cholesterol from animal sources. Just an egg white has about 0.1 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of protein, and no cholesterol. Whole eggs and egg whites can be a great source of lean protein.


Which is better: peanut butter or a banana for a source of protein?

A serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons. This provides 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein. A serving size for a banana is about 7 inches long. This provides 105 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, and 1.3 grams of protein. Peanut butter is a better source for protein.



What curbs the body’s hunger longer, fruits or meats? – Brittany Smith

Meats curb the body’s hunger longer than fruits since meats take a longer time to be digested by the body than fruits, they keep us fuller longer. Meats are high in proteins which take the body a longer to digest than fruits, which are made up of mostly water. The best way to curb hunger is through eating a balanced meal consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fiber in combination with healthy snacks in-between meals.


What is the best way to lose weight healthily? – Brittany Smith

 The best way to lose weight healthily is through healthy eating habits accompanied by healthy exercise patterns. The action of losing weight is simply burning more calories than you take in. One pound is equal to about 3500 calories, so you would have to have a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound. Intake should consist of balanced healthy meals accompanied by healthy snacks. Exercise of 90 minutes or more per day, 3-4 days a week is recommended for weight loss. A healthy weight loss goal is no more than 2 pounds per week. If weight loss is more than 2 pounds per week, there is an increased risk of regaining the weight that was loss.


How do you read a nutrition facts label on a box or bag of food items? – Michele Falin


  1. Start by looking at the serving size.
    1. The serving size is the portion size of the food. The number of servings you eat determines the amount of calories and nutrients you eat.
  2. Next look at the calories.
    1. Calories provide a measure of how much energy a food serving contains.
    2. Remember that the serving size you eat will determine how many calories you actually consume.
  3. Next look at the fat, cholesterol and sodium content on the label.
    1. When looking at a food label, it is important to select food items that have less fat, cholesterol and sodium.
    2. Eating too much fat, cholesterol and sodium has been proven to increase your risk for certain chronic diseases such as CVD and diabetes.
    3. Food items that have less than 5% of a nutrient are considered low and food items that have 20% or more of a nutrient are considered high
    4. FDA requires food items that are labeled “Low-Fat” must have fewer than 3 grams of fat per servings. “Reduced-Fat” must contain at least 25% less fat than the original food item.
  4. Next, look at the dietary fiber, Vitamin A & C, calcium and iron
    1. Selecting food items that are high in these nutrients can improve your health and reduce your risk for disease.
  5. The Footnote
    1. The footnote is required to be on all food labels.
    2. This label explains what the food label is based on a 2,000 calories a day diet.
    3. This label provides the daily value recommendations for different nutrients.
  6. Percent Daily Value
    1. The percent daily value is based on 2,000 calorie diet
    2. This determines whether a nutrient is high or low
    3. Use the %DV to compare foods and choose what is best for you.

      What is the most well rounded food a person can consume? - Haley Kormos

      While all foods eaten in moderation can fit into a healthy diet, there are several types of foods that could be considered well-rounded options. Every individual requires an ample amount of fruits, vegetables, and unrefined whole-grains in his or her diet. These three food groups provide many of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function. Since the foods available in these groups provide many necessary nutrients, they could easily be referred to as “well-rounded” foods.

      Where should a person who is obese start in their attempt to get into shape? - Haley Kormos

      It is important for an obese person to realize that even small changes count. Many studies indicate that slow weight loss is best when compared to extreme, rapid weight loss. I would recommend that the obese person begin by trying to make some substitutions in his or her diet, (ex. switching from regular soda to diet, choosing 2% milk over whole, etc.), and begin doing some sort of activity at least 1 day a week. It is important that the person begins to become active, even if it is only for 5 minutes at a time. After the person becomes comfortable with small changes, he or she can slowly progress to larger changes over time. This will allow the individual to make a true lifestyle change, while also losing weight.

      What are the best food options for a type 1 diabetic? – Christie Clark

      Individuals with type 1 diabetes have the same nutrition needs as anyone else. Depending on your diet plan (carbohydrate counting, exchange lists, set meal plan) and whether you take multiple daily insulin injections or have an insulin pump effects when and what you should eat. Carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood glucose. Therefore, foods containing carbohydrates should be closely monitored. These foods include grains (breads, pastas, rice, cereals, crackers, pretzels), milk and milk-based products, beans and peas, starchy vegetables, fruits, sweets, and desserts. All individuals, especially those with type 1 diabetes, should choose fiber-containing carbohydrates, as fiber helps with digestion and lowers cholesterol levels.   Try to cut back on high-fat, high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, cakes, and ice cream, and instead choose whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, and protein-containing foods.

      Listed below is the American Diabetes Association’s list of diabetes superfoods, which contain fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals.

      Diabetes Superfoods:

      1. Beans
      2. Dark green leafy vegetables
      3. Citrus fruits
      4. Sweet potatoes
      5. Berries
      6. Tomatoes
      7. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, oysters, muscles, anchovies, sardines)
      8. Whole grains
      9. Nuts
      10. Fat-free milk and yogurt


      As a type 1 diabetic since age 5, I feel I have a more than basic understanding of nutrition but one thing has always made me curious, Sugar Alcohols are typically present in sugar free candy, yet from my understanding behave much like sugars. How and why is that so? How are those sugars absorbed, and is that any different than glucose? – Christie Clark

      Sugar alcohols are a type of reduced-calorie sweetener often used in products labeled “no sugar added” or “sugar-free”. Commonly used sugar alcohols include isomalt, lactitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH). Sugar alcohols provide 1.5-3.0 calories per gram, while sugar provides 4.0 calories per gram. Compared to regular sugar, sugar alcohols are converted to glucose in the bloodstream more slowly and require a smaller amount of insulin to be metabolized. Sugar alcohols alone do not typically cause a large increase in blood glucose unless eaten in excessive amounts. Sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect, causing gas and bloating. Be sure to check the nutrition facts label before eating a food containing sugar alcohols because these foods can be high in calories and often contain more carbohydrates than you may expect.


      How many calories does a person need per day? – Kelsey McGuire
      It varies from person to person, depending on various factors including physical activity level, age, gender, weight, and height. To calculate how many calories you need in a day without any activity use Mifflin St. Jeor. For males: (9.99x weight in kg) + (6.25x height in cm) - (4.92x age in years) + 5. For females: (9.99x weight in kg) + (6.25x height in cm) - (4.92x age in years) - 161. The factor method is a simple way to estimate calorie needs based on activity level: sedentary (25-30 calories per kg weight), moderate (35 calories per kg weight), very active (40 calories per kg weight).

      Can you lose/maintain weight without completely cutting out carbs? – Kelsey McGuire
      Yes, losing and maintaining weight is dependent on energy intake vs. energy output. To lose weight, take in less calories than you expend in a day. To maintain weight your calorie intake needs to equal your energy output. Carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet, and the AMDR for carbohydrates is 45-65% of calories.

      Is ice cream horrible for you? – Lisa Prendergast
      As with most foods, ice cream should be eaten in moderation.   In a ½ cup of vanilla ice cream there are about 145 calories, 7.9 grams of fat, 4.9 grams of saturated fat, 32 mg of Cholesterol, 58 mg Sodium, 17 grams of Carbohydrates, 0.5 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of Protein.   The calcium in the 1 serving of ice cream meets 9% of the daily value for calcium, meaning it meets 9% of the amount of calcium that should be eaten in a day for a person on a 2000 calorie diet.   Besides calcium, ice cream is also low in sodium. What makes ice cream a food to eat more on an occasional basis is that it is high in saturated fat and high in sugar.
      Moreover, there are many types of ice cream brands and flavors out there, these different options offer “healthier” versions that can be lower in fat and use alternative sweeteners- such as splenda.   When looking at ice cream nutrition labels compare the differences in fat, calories, saturated fat and sugar, to make your final decision. If you are an individual that eats ice cream on a rare occasion then it is okay to treat yourself and go for the regular version, however if you are someone that likes ice cream on a daily basis, it might be a better choice to go for the lighter version to help cut down on some of the fat and calories you are consuming on a daily basis. Frozen yogurt is also a great option that will naturally be lower in fat, calories and sugar to get in your fixing for a cold sweet treat!

What role does sodium intake play in weight loss and weight gain? – Lisa Prendergast
Salt does not have any calories so technically it does not cause your body to gain weight. Too much salt in a diet can lead to a temporary gain in weight because it causes the body to retain water. The sodium in salt is an electrolyte that our body uses to make certain functions happen, such as allow our muscles to work. When we have too much sodium in the body, our body uses thirst to even out the balance so the body can continue to work properly.   When an individual’s diet is too low in sodium, weight is lost. The weight that is lost is the body ridding itself of the extra water, to again create the neutral balance.

Are there any true superfoods? - Kaitlan Beretich

Although there is no official definition of superfoods, they do exist. Foods that are considered superfoods are extremely high in nutrients and antioxidants and/or provide nutrients that promote good health in a variety of ways. For instance, foods high in antioxidants play a role in fighting cancer and inflammation. Common examples of superfoods include salmon, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, and green tea.

I’ve heard negative and positive things about cheese. Is it good for you? - Kaitlan Beretich

Cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Protein helps to curb hunger and aids in satiety, while calcium helps keep bones and teeth strong and helps to prevent osteoporosis. Cheese also contains zinc and biotin. Zinc aids in tissue growth and repair, prevents and treats macular degeneration, protects hair, and keeps nails strong. Biotin is also important for hair health. However, cheese is often high in saturated fat which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. Some cheese is high in sodium which can lead to the development of high blood pressure. Cheese can also contribute to weight gain since full-fat cheese is higher in calories compared to fat-free and low-fat cheeses. It is okay to eat cheese in moderation! Pay close attention to the serving size and try to choose cheeses lower in fat, saturated fat, and sodium. These cheeses are generally less in calories, also.