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Nutrition in a Nutshell #1

by Barbara Hiebert, R.D.

I have to admit, I love good food. So I suppose it's no surprise that I studied nutrition and became a dietitian (otherwise known as the Diet Police). After studying food chemically, physiologically, socio-culturally, and aesthetically, I have come to the grand conclusion that God did not create food to be boring! The French refugee cook in the movie "Babette's Feast" demonstrates to a small religious community the joy of a delicious gourmet meal shared together in recognition of God's grace.

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental, however. I see this daily in my line of work. High caloric intake, low exercise, and poor nutritional value of the foods we eat puts us at risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. We may know what we should eat, but often find it difficult to change our habits to achieve a balanced diet. In this series of Nutrition in a Nutshell, I hope to provide information that will assist you in developing a healthier diet.

One rule of thumb which is very helpful is the "Five-a-Day" rule. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A serving of fruit is: 1 fresh fruit (or a handful of grapes), 1/2 cup canned fruit, or 1/3-1/2 cup of fruit juice (the kind with lots of pulp is best). A vegetable serving is: 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are important for their fiber and vitamin content. Take a look at your daily intake and see if you reach the 5-a-day goal.

Future topics will include: Folate and Heart Disease, Eating for Two, Fad Diets, Behavior Modification, Eating Disorders, and Recipe Modification.

Please let me know if you have other ideas or questions! My e-mail address is:; snail mail: 2412 Crest Rd. Baltimore, MD 21209.