Category Archives: Nutrition

Understanding Net carbs, by Lisa Johnson, RD

A very popular aim of health food manufacturers is to lower the glycemic load of your food. This means they take a food that would normally have a higher carbohydrate count and they lower the impact of those carbs on your blood sugars by adding protein and fiber to the product. They also may use sugar alcohols to sweeten it instead of cane sugar since sugar alcohols raise your blood sugar only half as much. Sugar alcohols are sweeteners ending in (-ol) such as erythritol (used most often), maltitol, xylitol, or sorbitol.

Personally, I purchase these foods and enjoy them in a weight management plan. Some examples include:

  • Clean protein bars like the ONE bar
  • Low Carbohydrate Tortillas like Ole Extreme Wellness
  • Sukrin’s Fiber Syrup

I like them because they are all-natural foods without artificial sweeteners and the fiber added is often prebiotic which means it is good for your gut flora balance, or it promotes healthy elimination which can be impaired when carbohydrate foods are restricted on a weight loss plan. In addition, the foods are satisfying which support adherence with your lifestyle.

The cautions are that sugar alcohols can cause stomach discomfort for people with IBS, though erythritol usually does not. Likewise, chicory root fiber can cause bloating, or gas for some people. Or, the prebiotic fibers may be derived from corn to which some people are allergic. Be sure to read the ingredient list for chicory root or prebiotic vegetable fiber if these are problematic for you.

Here are labels of normally high carbohydrate foods modified to supply low impact on blood sugars due to the protein and/or fiber contents. Clearly this is important for managing diabetes, but also for weight loss because low blood sugars make it easier for your body to burn fat for fuel rather than store it.

I know this is confusing to people learning to read labels, so I hope this sheds some light on the science behind the net carb craze. For more help, ask your dietitian to help you choose the products most suitable for you.

Total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols = net carbs (carbs impacting your blood sugar)

Making Pizza Work by Lisa Johnson, RD

Who doesn’t love pizza! It has become one of America’s favorite comfort foods. The problem with comfort foods, however, is that they won’t leave you comfortable very long! Pizza’s are high in fat; therefore, they are high in calories. And because the fats come from animal sources like cheese and meats, they are high in… Continue Reading

Plant-Based Nutrition, by Mackenzie Brenner, UNCG Nutrition Student

The adoption of a plant-based diet is ever increasing as the infinite list of benefits becomes more clear through research and personal experience. Whether it is decreasing greenhouse gas emissions or to consume more fiber and lower cholesterol, there are many reasons why someone might consider eliminating ultra-processed foods along with meat and dairy products.… Continue Reading

Keep it Light When You Light the Grill by Lisa Johnson, RD.

Grilling season officially kicked-off last Memorial Weekend. Most of us love this time of year when the days are long, and we can be outdoors whipping up a quick meal after hours. Thankfully, grilling techniques have evolved so that we have learned to grill much more than ribs, burgers, and steaks. Now, entire meals are… Continue Reading

It’s Time to Give Bean Pasta a Try! by Cari Culp, RD

Legume pasta is all the rage these days and rightfully so! I have been having so much fun with it in the kitchen. I am frequently asked if veggie (tri-colored) pasta or whole wheat pasta is better than regular pasta. Well the answer is, not really. There is not much difference in the ingredients, total… Continue Reading

Magnesium, A Mighty Mineral by Lisa Johnson, RD

Magnesium shines as one of the body’s most essential minerals. It cofactors over 300 bodily functions to aid with bone health, blood pressure regulation, insulin sensitivity, heart health, colon health, and brain health. Deficiencies have been linked with depression as well as attention deficit disorder and sadly over 60% of the US population are deficient… Continue Reading

What is the best protein bar to choose? by Cari Culp, RD

Despite our best efforts, let’s face it, we all get stuck in a pinch and need grab-and-go nourishment at times. Although whole food is always the best choice, it never hurts to have a good quality protein bar on hand for those times when life gets chaotic. The question is, with so many options, what… Continue Reading

Ways to Eat More Vegetables by Lisa Johnson, RD

Spring has sprung which means the garden-fresh vegetable selections will be more plentiful. And, most people adapt to warmer months by lightening their load when it some to food choices. Spring cleaning isn’t just for our environment we know! The benefits of a lifestyle high in vegetables are well established. Any healthcare professional will encourage… Continue Reading

Because We All Need That Cookie Sometimes! by Cari Culp, RD

Spring is right around the corner and many of us are looking for ways to tone up and maybe shed some of those holiday pounds. Limiting sugar is one great way to do that, but alas, for one reason or another, that sweet craving comes creeping in. We all want a little something sweet here… Continue Reading