Kindred Nutrition

Friday, April 11, 2014

Food Trends: Do I need a Calcium Supplement?

Check out Carmen's blog posted on health central 4/7/2014.

  • This is a question that my clients, particularly women, ask me on a regular basis.  Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies have been hot topics for a number of years.  Here are the facts that can help you determine if you need a supplement.

    Why are calcium and vitamin D important?

    Most of the body’s calcium is stored in your bones.  In your body, calcium is needed for muscle contraction, blood clotting, maintenance of cell membranes, enzyme and hormone function, and central nervous function. When you don’t consume enough calcium, your body pulls this needed calcium from your bones. Over time, this can lead to hollowing of the bones, otherwise known as osteoporosis. This causes weak bones, which can lead to fractures, particularly of the hip, wrist, and spine. Vitamin D helps you to better absorb calcium and store it in your bones.

    How much calcium do I need?

    Unfortunately, after the age of 30, your bones decrease in density and become more fragile if you aren’t getting enough calcium.
    • Adults under 50 years of age need at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. 
    • That number increases to 1200 mg per day for women over 50. 
    • Once you reach the age of 70, both men and women need at least 1,200 mg per day to maintain bone strength.
    Can’t I just get calcium from the foods I eat?

    Calcium is best absorbed from the foods that we eat. So if you can meet your calcium needs through diet, you won’t need a supplement. The best sources of calcium are dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt.  One cup of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium. Vegetables such as kale and broccoli are good sources of calcium, and fish with soft, edible bones (like sardines and salmon) also contain calcium. Many products such as bread, cereal, pasta, and juices are now fortified with calcium.  Milk substitutes, including almond and soy milk, contain even more calcium than a glass of cow’s milk.

    How do I get vitamin D?

    Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced when the cholesterol in your skin is exposed to sunlight, which converts it to vitamin D. Many people have become vitamin D deficient as a result of limiting sun exposure and working indoors.  Sensible sun exposure of the arms and legs (10-15 minutes a few times each week) is one of the best ways to get your needed vitamin D. 

    The current recommendation for adults is at least 600 IUs each day, and recent studies suggest that we may need even more. If you are looking to get vitamin D from your diet, dairy products are fortified with vitamin D.  Fatty fish, egg yolk, butter, margarine, beef liver, and fortified cereals are also good sources of vitamin D.

    I think I need a calcium supplement.  Which ones are best?

    When you look at the label of a calcium supplement, you need to look at the amount of “elemental calcium” (not the total calcium).  Elemental calcium is the amount of calcium that your body can absorb. The most recommended calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium citrate appears to be better absorbed, since it doesn’t need as much stomach acid for absorption; however, calcium carbonate is well-absorbed when taken with food.

  • Talk to your physician before starting any vitamin or mineral supplement, since calcium and vitamin D supplements can interfere with some medications.  There are common some side effects of taking a calcium supplement, including bloating, gas, and constipation. Very high doses of calcium can cause more serious effects such as kidney stones, so be sure to talk to your physician about the appropriate amount of supplement needed. A registered dietitian can help you evaluate your current diet to determine if you are meeting your needs and can show you ways to safely increase sources of vitamin D and calcium in your diet.
  • - See more at:

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Spotlight: Get Cooking Class starting week of 5/5/2014

    Kindred Nutrition is so happy to announce our Get Cooking! Seminar will start the week of 5/5/14.

    The classes will be in our waiting room at 700 Monclaire Avenue, Suite C, Frederick MD 21701

    The seminar consists of 4, 1hour weekly classes.

    Cost is $165.00 for the series  or   $65.00/class

    Topics included:

    Class 1:    Preparation and Planning
           - How to "prepare" 5 meals in one hour.  During this class our registered dietitian will go over a 5 day meal plan, provide a grocery list, and put all 5 meals together so they will be ready to freeze or cook.  Recipes will be provided and all meals will have been pre- prepared  and offered for a taste test.

    Class 2:    Savvy Sides
           - This class will focus on different sides that can be incorporated into dishes.  We will focus on fresh, frozen and some canned goods that will accompany and round up any meal.  An emphasis will also be made to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Recipes and grocery lists will be provided. All sides will be pre-prepared and offered for a taste test.

    Class 3:  Recipe Substitution and Modification
           - This class will demonstrate how to modify common recipes and make them healthier.  Recipes and grocery lists will be provided.  All recipes will be pre-prepared and offered for a taste test.

    Class 4:  Breakfast Basics
           -Now that you have some ideas about meal planning and dinners let's focus on how to get a healthy breakfast into the mix.  We will focus on breakfast recipes that can provide the energy you need to start the day.  All recipes will be pre-prepared and offered for a taste test.

    To register call 301-580-0008 or email

    Feel free to share this with friends, family, and colleagues.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Introducing additional hours

    Kindred Nutrition is happy to announce that we have added 8 more appointment hours to our week.

    Carmen is having so much fun with us she can't wait to build her client base even more!

    Kindred will now be open:

    Monday 8:00 AM-5:30 PM
    Tuesday 8:00 AM- 6:30 PM
    Wednesday 9:15 AM -5:15 PM
    Thursday 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM
    Friday 8:30 AM- 11:30AM

    Thank you to our Kindred Community. It is because of your success and your referrals that we continue to grow.

    Also our GET COOKING class will go live the first full week of May.  Who's in?          301-580-0008    

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Miraculous Misconceptions: 5 Common Nutrition Myths Debunked.

    Carmen Roberts, RD.

    Check out this blog written by Carmen posted on Health Central.

    • It’s hard to figure out what is healthy for you to eat when there are so many mixed messages in the news. As soon as you find out something is good for you, someone else tells you it’s bad for you!  Here are some common nutrition myths I hear.

      #1- All fats are bad and are bad for you

      We all need some fat in our diet, since dietary fat is an essential nutrient.  It helps you to absorb certain vitamins, and it gives you energy.  But when research came out decades ago that strongly supported the link between fat intake and heart disease, the grocery stores became flooded with fat-free and low-fat products.  What we now know is that it’s not the fat we eat, but the type of fat we choose to eat.  Saturated fat (which comes primarily from animal sources) and trans fat (which is found in many packaged products and baked goods) has been shown to increase your LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease.

      The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that no more than seven percent of our daily calories should come from saturated fat, while less than one percent of our total calories should come from trans fat (which has also been shown to harm your HDL or “good” cholesterol).  Replacing these fats in our diets with both mono- and poly-unsaturated fats can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.  The AHA suggests that 25-35% of our total daily calories should come from these healthier fats.  Good sources include avocadoes, olives, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.  This is how the Mediterranean Diet gained popularity. People who consume this diet, which is high in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats have a low risk of heart disease. So it’s not the fat—but the type of fat—that’s important.

      #2- Carbs make you gain weight

      There are many diets today that focus on low-carbohydrate eating for weight loss.  Here are the facts: the calories from carbohydrates are digested more quickly than the calories from fat and protein.  Therefore, people who eat a high-carbohydrate meal are often hungrier sooner than those who eat a meal with higher amounts of protein and/or fat.  Research has shown that people who eat lower carbohydrate meals have greater success with short-term weight loss. Howeverit’s not the carbs that are causing weight gain—it’s the greater calorie consumption because of hunger. So what’s the answer?  A diet that is balanced with protein; healthy, high-fiber carbohydrates; and heart-healthy fat not only provides you with a feeling of fullness for longer, but makes you consume less calories overall.

      #3- High-fructose corn syrup is worse than regular sugar.  

      High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been around for decades, and is used in place of sugar in packaged products because it is cheaper and extends the shelf-life of foods. Most studies have shown that table sugar and HFCS are metabolized by the human body in the same way.  HFCS became a hot topic a few years ago when a Princeton research study was published that showed that rats fed HFCS gained more weight than rats who were fed table sugar, despite eating the same amount of calories.

    • However, since then, other studies have shown no difference in weight gain in rats that have eaten both types of sugar.  Most researchers agree that eating HFCS isn’t any different than consuming regular table sugar. The bottom line is that Americans consume too much sugar—in any form—and this is what is contributing to overall weight gain from empty calories.

      #4- Eating late makes you gain weight. 

      I’m sure you’ve heard people say things like “everything you eat after 8 p.m. will turn to fat.” In many cultures, it is customary to eat a large meal later at night and, historically, these people are not overweight because of it.  So why is this a myth?  Many Americans that eat late at night also eat more calories because they are sitting in front of the TV, snacking, and eating high-calorie foods. Bottom line: It’s not what time you eat, but how much you eat, no matter what time of day!

      #5- All calories are created equal.  We know that to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we take in.  Our bodies need a balance of calories coming from fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Recent research indicates that people who follow a diet that is very low in fat and high in carbohydrate may actually burn less calories than those who follow a diet with moderate amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. It seems that the right balance for overall health and weight management is a diet that contains a moderate amount heart-healthy fats, lean protein, and low-glycemic carbohydrates.
    - See more at:

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Spotlight: Investing in your health - the value of a Dietitian

    It's National Nutrition Month, a favorite of dietitians. This year the theme is "enjoy the taste of eating right."  I couldn't agree more with this theme and am very happy to see such a positive branding in a message.  I sometimes joke that social medial will "kill" my profession with all the misinformation and fads out there but I'm very glad to see such a great group of dietitians promoting a successful brand this month.

    I am very proud to be a dietitian.  It is not easy to become one.  I repeat, it is not easy to become one. I do not repeat this for you to think I'm on a high horse.  I repeat it so you can understand that there is a BIG difference between a dietitian, health coach, nutritionist, or TV persona.  To become a dietitian one must complete a didactic program that includes Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and coinciding lab work and that's the tip of the iceberg.  To be honest not only do you have to complete the program but you have to do it well.  In addition to class work it is highly recommended that the student is involved in community outreach or that they volunteer in the healthcare field.  It is then that one applies to an internship program and is "matched" to a facility where they are mentored and work in food service, clinical, and community sectors.  Think residency for a year.  There is no pay, no housing, long hours, but the experience is invaluable.  You see, before we practice we need to have hands on experience.

    I constantly read negative press from people putting down dietitians, saying we focus on food service, are sponsored by Big Food, and more.  I am lucky I can laugh it off and label it as ignorance but it is disheartening never the less.

    I hope as nutrition prevention becomes more and more important people will learn to value the dietitian.  Too many join gyms, follow TV persona online, try this weeks new fad or supplement and are frustrated with lack of results. Just log onto Facebook and I bet you can pull at least 5 friends who are on the latest kick.  Think about it though, will it work? Are these friends/acquaintances the same people who will be trying the next thing in 60 days?  Are you thinking about trying it just because he/she said it works and if you do will it bring you the results you want?

    Here's a run down of where people are spending there money:

    • Average gym membership is $660/year.  15% of Americans have a membership and 8% use them.
    • The 8% that do not go to the gym waste $2.4 billion dollars a year or $55/month.
    • Those who utilize Nutrisystem spend $270-$300/month.
    • The average Jenny Craig participant pays $500-$625/month.
    • Average family health expenditures/month have increased from $522/month in 1982 to $1590 in 2002.  The largest increase in cost was pharmaceuticals and medication. I can only imagine what the numbers are now.

    My point is Americans are spending a lot of money and not getting results.  They are buying the latest neutraceuticals with the hopes of fat burning and energizing.  They join a gym hoping to lose weight but don't even get close to burning 3500 calories a week to lose a pound and aren't eating appropriately to fuel their new workouts.  All of this to not get the results you want. What a waste of money.

    On average in my practice clients' pay $180 a month for my services.  If they have insurance it is closer to $40-$100/month.  With this investment clients learn appropriate nutrition, realistic ways to integrate new practices into their life, how to balance meal plans with exercise and more. I am also qualified to work with co-morbidities, chronic disease, acute healthcare exacerbations and more.  For example, I'll know that the Magnesium supplement that was prescribed to you from your health coach is prohibiting Vitamin D absorption. Or I can assess your current diet and labs appropriately to not only figure out what you are deficient in but work with professionals to figure out why this is happening.  That's the only way we can stop the cycle.

    The best thing?  On average a client works with me for less than 9 months and they keep weight the weight off because they are making lifestyle changes they can stick with.  No fads, no gimmicks.  Often times my clients can decrease medication amounts or medication all together.  Cha Ching.  That's a great way to save money.

    I love my Kindred Community. We are warriors. We are successful. We are motivated. We are changing lives.  I hope more people will invest in the dietitian in 2014.  Until then think about your challenges.  How much are you spending a month? Is it working? Are you frustrated? If you aren't getting the goals you want it's time to brainstorm differently.  That's where we come in.  Seek out a dietitian.  You just might find out we know what we are talking about.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Food Trends: Top Diet Trends of 2013 by Carmen Roberts MS, RD, LDN

    At Kindred Nutrition we're not too keen on putting all of our eggs in one basket as a New Years Resolution.  Our goal is to help people establish lifestyle changes that are realistic and achievable so that a New Years Resolution can be more along the lines of spending more time with friends or family or taking that dream vacation.   That being said we are still aware that one of the most famous New Years Resolutions is to try a new diet.  In many ways 2013 was the year of "emerging or re-emerging diets."  Were you just as confused as we were? Below is a summary with pros and cons. Enjoy!

    The Paleo Diet
    The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is centered on the premise that if we eat like our caveman ancestors, we will lose weight and ward off disease. The “hunter/gatherer” way of life encourages the consumption of those foods that existed during the caveman days, including all meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.  The Paleo diet excludes all dairy, grains, and legumes, claiming that the onset of chronic disease occurred as a result of the agricultural revolution that introduced these foods into our diet.
    Pros: Cutting out all processed foods, salt, and added sugars can have many health benefits.  Consuming a diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats can help you to lose weight, regulate blood pressure, control blood sugar, and prevent type 2 diabetes.
    Cons: Eliminating all dairy products could lead to a deficiency in calcium and vitamin D.  Cutting whole grains out of your diet may reduce dietary fiber intake.  A high fiber diet has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

    Intermittent Fasting
    The intermittent fasting (IF) approach to dieting is to allow your body to go a “longer than normal” amount of time between meals.  IF can vary greatly from person to person- some people choose to skip one meal each day while others may choose to fast for an entire day once a week.  During IF, a person consumes no solid food (however water, tea, and low or non-caloric beverages are allowed).  The proponents of IF believe that during this period of fasting, the body can be “cleansed” of dead and damaged cells.  Some studies have shown that alternate day fasting can lead to a decreased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
    Pros: For many people who are trying to lose weight, frequent snacking or late-night eating can be a large contributor to excess caloric intake.  Sticking to 3 sensible meals each day may help in limiting overall calorie intake while preventing hunger. There is no harm in skipping an occasional meal, and for some people this may be effective in helping them to lose weight in the long run.
    Cons: Other research has shown that for people who frequently miss meals or go long periods of time between meals tend to over-consume high fat, high calorie foods at the next meal, making their efforts counterproductive when trying to lose weight. Inconsistent eating patterns can also negatively affect your metabolic rate (how effectively your body burns calories).This diet is not appropriate for growing children under the age of 18, pregnant and lactating women, athletes, people living with diabetes, and other individuals (such as people with severe chronic reflux or GERD) for whom regular food intake can help to alleviate their symptoms.

    hCG Diet
    The hCG Diet is a weight loss diet that couples extreme caloric restriction with daily injections or oral drops of hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), which is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. The diet is very low in calories (as low as 500 calories per day). Dieters are encouraged to follow this plan for 45 days.  The theory is that the hCG hormones will make you feel less hungry and force your body to burn stored body fat for fuel.
    Pros: As with any diet that restricts calories, you will lose weight if you are burning more calories than you are consuming. The diet plan includes primarily organic, unprocessed foods, which can have a positive impact on your health.
    Cons: There is no proven research that hCG injections can promote weight loss. The weight loss resulting from following this diet is most likely from the dramatic caloric restriction.Severe complications and deficiencies can be a result of extremely low-calorie diets. Most dietitians do not encourage their clients to consume less than 1200 calories per day, since very low-calorie diets can force the body to break down muscle mass rather than stored body fat for fuel.  Very low-calorie diets can also be deficient in many key nutrients your body needs. And not only is hCG expensive, but injections can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and can have harmful side effects.

    The Gluten-Free Diet
    First, we need to define what gluten is, and the difference between true gluten allergy and gluten intolerance.  The gluten-free diet has been around for quite some time, and has been used as the dietary treatment for people who have Celiac disease, which is a digestive disorder that prevents your intestines from absorbing nutrients properly.  People with this disease have an allergy to gluten, which is the protein found in grains (wheat, barley, and rye). For people with Celiac disease, eating gluten can cause severe intestinal damage and can present with dramatic symptoms, including mouth sores, rash, joint pain,severe abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.  True Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose, since it may present with similar symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers, or Crohn’s disease.
    For people who have gluten intolerance, the damage to the body is not as severe, but it may present with uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and abdominal cramping. For this reason, some people choose to avoid gluten for a period of time to determine if eliminating gluten from their diet improves these gastrointestinal symptoms.
    Gluten-free eating has become increasingly popular with the general population with new diet trends such as “Wheat Belly.”  This diet claims that by removing wheat from your diet, you will lose weight. This is based on the theory that when you eat wheat, your body secretes very high levels of insulin, causing your body to store more fat, particularly in the abdominal area.  This diet also claims that these high levels of insulin can lead to decreased blood sugar, which can cause you to feel hungry.  The author of this diet states that by removing wheat from your diet you can limit the cycles of high insulin and low blood sugar, decreasing your hunger and cravings, resulting in overall weight loss.
    Pros: There are many research studies that show that limiting high-carbohydrate foods (particularly those with little nutritional value such as snack foods and high-sugar foods) can lead to decreased hunger and lower caloric consumption, resulting in weight loss.  Selecting high-quality carbohydrate choices that are high in fiber (such as fresh vegetables and fruits) instead of starchy foods with limited nutritional value can also help with weight loss and can limit the extreme swings in insulin and blood sugar levels that cause hunger.  If you do have symptoms of gluten intolerance, this diet may be for you.  Gluten is difficult to avoid, however with the growing popularity of gluten-free diets, there are many gluten-free products now available not only at natural markets, but in your corner grocery store.
    Cons: You can achieve the positive results listed above of hunger suppression and weight loss without eliminating wheat entirely.  People who follow a gluten-free diet may be at risk for nutritional deficiencies, since many grains are enriched with vitamins and minerals. Have your dietitian evaluate your daily intake of these key nutrients: fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Food Trends: About the Avocado

    I’m often surprised when clients tell me that they are afraid ofAvocado’s.  How in the world could a fruit so versatile have ever gotten such a “bad” reputation?  Not only does an avocado provide natural unsaturated fats but it also acts as a nutrition booster.  You see the fat provided in the avocado helps with absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, all which are very important for your immune integrity, bone strength, eyesight, and blood clotting factors.

    Let’s go back to that bad reputation.  My client’s have admitted it’s really the fat that makes them nervous.  Every other fruit has little to no fat. So let’s clear some things up. It’s important to note that the fat in the avocado is mostly monounsaturated.  Instead of getting nervous about that I think it’s a bonus!  Remember monounsaturated fat in food has been proven to lower our “lousy” or LDL cholesterol and potentially increase your “healthy” or HDL cholesterol.  Both of these factors prove to decrease cardiovascular risk.

    In addition to the nutrition benefits, the fat in the avocado can help with satiety as well as add additional texture to meals.  You can even use an avocado to substitute a saturated fat when using it as a spread or more. I love this resource from the site that provides tips on how toeat Haas Avocados.

    The lesson here is that the avocado is a great example of a food that needs to be analyzed in its entirety. Yes it contains monunsaturated fat but also protein, fiber, and over 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  It also acts as one of your 5-a-day servings of fruit.   Forget about the fat and look at the whole picture. Could this be the perfect fruit? Challenge yourself and incorporate avocados into your day.  It's worth it. Need some recipes

    Disclosure and Disclaimer:
    Although I did receive financial compensation for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences.  For nutrition information on avocados, please be sure to visit website.


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