A Healthy Diet is more than just your Macros and Micronutrients

When we talk about healthy diets, we often hear about having the right mix of:

  • Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) and
  • Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)

But, did you know that a healthy diet is more than just these nutrients?

Yes. Our nutritional status, and consequently our health, are not just defined by our macro and micronutrient intake.

For example, polyphenols and indoles act as antioxidants in the body but are considered as non-nutritive components. However, they provide beneficial compounds to the human body that are particularly helpful in maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give sweet cherries their deep, vibrant color. Numerous scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in sweet cherries:

  • Have antihypertensive effects which helps reduce the risk for heart diseases
  • Exert neuroprotection which help prevent visual impairment and cognitive decline especially as we get older

Aside from anthocyanins, sweet cherries also contain polyphenols such as flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids which have been shown to:

  • Inhibit the growth of cancer cells
  • Diminish hyperglycemia (beneficial for those who are at risk for diabetes)
  • Alleviate gout symptoms

So, whenever I create healthy meal plans, I do not only consider the calories and macronutrients in picking which foods to include. I often add colorful and flavorful fruits such as sweet cherries to meal plans to make sure that my clients and my family get enough fiber, vitamins and minerals as well as bioactive compounds on a regular basis.

Research is ongoing, but the library of work exploring the health benefits associated with eating sweet cherries already offers a multitude of health benefits.

Super sweet Northwest Cherries are not available year-round though, but they are currently offered by online fruit sellers and supermarkets. So, don’t hesitate to add sweet cherries to your grocery list or online cart today, OK?

The good things is that you can also order your cherry boxes and support a cause at the same time! With Cherries For Charity, $1 worth of Northwest Cherries will be donated to our local medical front liners for every box purchased.

Click here to order: https://bit.ly/3wRaupr.

Thinking of a healthy and Pinoy-friendly merienda?

Here’s a sweet-savory cherry recipe idea I’d love for you to try. This is inspired by the Grab-and-Go Asian Style Cherry Buns from the Northwest Cherry Growers website. I substituted some of the ingredients like chicken instead of turkey and calamansi in place of lemon juice.

Asian-Style Cherry Buns

10 Servings

Ingredients

1 (8 oz.) package hot roll mix

120 grams ground chicken

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped Northwest fresh sweet cherries

1/4 cup chopped Kastanyas

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt, ground ginger and cornstarch

1 tablespoon honey

1 pc Calamansi juice

Directions:

  1. Prepare hot roll dough according to package directions.
  2. Stir-fry chicken and onion in oil until chicken is browned and onion softened.
  3. Stir in cherries, kastanyas, soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt, ginger, and cornstarch.
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Cut dough into 10 pieces. Flatten into 4-inch rounds.
  6. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each; gather edges and seal. Place sealed-side down on greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 170°C for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Combine honey and calamansi juice; brush on hot rolls.

This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherries Philippines. All opinions are mine and references are indicated below.

For more cherry recipes, information about Sweet Cherries and references to health benefits mentioned, please check these out:

Sweet cherry health benefits: https://sweetcherryhealth.org/

Cherry recipes: https://www.nwcherries.com/cherry-recipes

Kain po! 😊

Ano ang pwedeng i-substitute sa RICE?

Isa ka ba sa mga AYAW kumain ng rice because…

  • Nakakataba DAW ang rice
  • Nakaka-Jabetis DAW ang rice
  • Hindi DAW healthy ang rice
  • Toxic DAW ang rice
  • Etc

Yung totoo, naniniwala ka sa mga ‘to?

Because, according to science and looking at the evidences, hindi makita ng aking 20-20 vision with eyeglasses ang connection ng mga ito sa pagkain ng rice.

But to be fair, madami din naman akong na-encounter na understandable reasons kung bakit may mga taong ayaw na sa rice:

  • “I tend to overeat when I eat rice”
  • “I want to increase fiber in my diet”
  • “I want to have more variety in my diet”

So, to address the question “What can I substitute for rice?”, here is my answer:

If you want to increase FIBER in your diet, you may replace white rice with:

  • Brown/black/red rice
  • Corn, Oats
  • Potatoes / Kamote
  • Whole wheat bread

If you want to increase protein in your diet, you may replace rice with:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa, Couscous

FYI, these foods are also similar to rice in terms of carbohydrate content:

  • Kakanin – biko, sapin-sapin, bibingka, kalamay, tupig, suman, tikoy
  • Puto, cuchinta
  • Espasol, hopia, pianono
  • Cake, mamon, biscuit
  • Corn flakes
  • Ampaw, pinipig
  • Maja, binatog
  • Bihon / sotanghon, miswa
  • Gabi, kamote, kamoteng kahoy, ube, tugi
  • Saging na saba
  • Sago
  • Kastanyas

Kaya kung umiiwas ka sa rice pero wagas ka naman sa mga pagkaing ‘to ay wala ding epekto kung calorie deficit ang habol mo.

Yes, rice is carbs not all carbs are the same.

Para sa mga taong takot sa carbs kasi DAW “carbs are bad”, you might want to consider eating LESS processed carbs (white rice, noodles, white bread, pastries, softdrinks and other sugary drinks).

But, if you really want to have a healthy diet, I encourage you to eat carbs that contain more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, i.e, whole grains, root crops, beans, tubers, fruits, vegetables.

Basta ako, kanin is lyf. Physically active ako kaya extra rice is lifer.

Reference:

Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI.) 2019. Food Exchange Lists for Meal Planning. 4th ed. Bicutan, Taguig City, Philippines.

What is the role of carbohydrates during pregnancy?

Carbohydrates and pregnancy by Grace Banal, RND

Most of us are aware that pregnant moms need more energy (calories) and protein, especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters and most especially if the mom is underweight prior to getting pregnant.

This is because pregnant moms have higher basal metabolic rate and therefore need extra calories from their diet. Protein is also needed for the development of the baby, mom’s uterus and other mammary tissues.

On the other hand, carbohydrates are just as important during pregnancy because:

  • Carbohydrates provide energy that help pregnant moms gain appropriate weight during pregnancy. In general, moms within normal weight prior to getting pregnant should gain about 11 – 16 kg during the entire pregnancy. When a pregnant mom’s weight gain is on track, the baby is most probably growing well, too.
  • Aside from providing energy for the growing baby, carbohydrates also provide energy for moms who are physically active. I was still working (as a nutritionist and personal trainer at that) during my first and 2nd trimesters of pregnancy and the extra energy from carbohydrates helped me keep going. Please consult your OB-GYN for specific advice about physical activity during pregnancy.
  • Carbohydrate-rich foods contain fiber which help prevent hemorrhoids common among pregnant women. I personally experienced this soon before I gave birth and oh boy was it painful! After ko manganak mas ramdam ko yung sakit ng hemorrhoids kaysa sa sakit ng tahi ko 😀
  • Aside from fiber, foods that contain carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains, tubers and root crops) also provide micronutrients such as B-vitamins especially folate, vitamin A and vitamin C which are necessary to keep both mom and baby healthy.

For these reasons, pregnant moms are encouraged to eat about 175 grams of carbohydrates per day (ASPEN 2007). Pregnant moms are encouraged to get their carbohydrates from eating whole foods such as whole grains (brown rice, corn), root crops and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes), beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables. This is to make sure that they also get important nutrients other than carbohydrates.

For more information about whole foods, please click this link:

https://www.facebook.com/gracebanaldietitian/posts/3680627631948878

Just like most moms, I, too, had unusual food preferences then. I craved for fresh and plant-based foods most of the time and I didn’t want to eat meat! 😊

Which is why for today I will be sharing with you one of my favorite foods when I was pregnant – Curry Potato Salad!

Potatoes provide pregnant moms with energy, complex high-fiber carbohydrates and protein. Potatoes also contain potassium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B6 which help moms stay healthy during pregnancy. So, here it is:

Curry Potato Salad

No of servings: 5

Ingredients:

600 grams Potatoes

1 tsp Olive oil

65 grams Sliced ham

1 pc Hard-boiled egg white

2 1/2 tbsp Low fat cooking cream

1 tbsp Mayonnaise

1/3 cup Chopped onion

1 1/2 tbsp Curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Sugar, white

1. Wash and boil potatoes until tender.

2. Toast ham in non-stick pan until cooked.

3. Boil the eggs and discard the egg yolks. Mash the egg whites and set aside.

4. In a bowl, combine potatoes, sweet ham, mashed egg whites, low fat cream, mayonnaise

and curry powder. Mix ingredients thoroughly.

5. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Curry Potato Salad Nutrition Information

Word of caution, though.

Pregnant women also need to control their carbohydrate intake because too much carbohydrates in the diet may cause excessive weight gain. This, along with other risk factors, can result to Gestational Diabetes (GDM) which is detrimental to both mom and the baby.

Next time, we will discuss more about GDM and low carbohydrate diets for pregnant moms so stay tuned.

Kain po mommies! 😊

Disclaimer:

This post is for general information purposes only. Please consult your doctor for specific medical advice. Specific nutrition recommendations may vary with each individual so please consult a licensed dietitian for a personalized dietary advice.

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA – Philippines. All opinions stated above are my own and references are indicated below.

Reference:

Gotsclich, M. M. (2007). The ASPEN Nutrition Core Curriculum: A Case-Based Approach – The Adult Patient

Calorie Counting

Calorie Counting by Grace Banal, RND

I do calorie counting as part of my services as a dietitian / nutrition coach. But, calorie counting is my least favorite part of my job and I really wish I can delegate this to someone else, like to my clients or with the use of apps or software.

There are actually apps and websites that do calorie counting and I wish I can recommend these to everyone. The problem with calorie counting apps is that when you lack knowledge about serving portion measurements, estimation, conversion and food compositions, there’s a good chance that calorie counting using apps and websites will lead to erroneous results.

For example, you might plug in 1 cup rice when in fact what you ate is actually 1.5 cups. Or, you might mistake 1 tsp to what is actually 1 tablespoon. Therefore, you have to have an idea on how 1 cup, 1 lb, 100grams, 1 teaspoon etc actually look like.

Also, ingredients, recipes and cooking methods make a lot of difference in their total calories. 1 serving of Fried Chicken is different from 1 serving of Chicken Pastel because you have to consider additional ingredients and sources of fats. This is actually very daunting! Ugh my heart!

Aside from ensuring the accuracy, another reason I still do the calorie counting for my clients is because I want to protect them from being too obsessed with calories and numbers. I can’t imagine myself having to count calories of every food I eat everyday. No way! So, despite me not really enjoying the calorie counting thingie, I have no choice but do it for my clients’ well-being.

So, if you’re someone who do calorie counting, please note that

✅Calorie counting is a tried-and-tested strategy in weight management

⚠️However, please make sure that your numbers are accurate by being aware of portion sizes, weights and other measures, ingredients and methods of cooking.

⚠️Also, if you find yourself getting negative emotions (frustration, worrying, anxiety, perfectionism, etc) as a result of calorie counting, please step back, breathe and check the quality of your overall diet instead:

👉variety

👉colors

👉freshness

👉flavor

These cannot be quantified. So while numbers and calorie counting are important in weight management, please don’t forget the bigger picture:

👍How you feel

👍Your relationships

👍Your overall well-being.

Alright?

What should you eat before and after exercise?

Just like a car that needs fuel for it to move, our body also needs fuel in the form of foods and beverages for us to perform better especially during exercise and to get the most out of every exercise session.If we don’t eat enough or if we don’t eat the right kind of foods surrounding our workout, we might:

  • Not be able to finish the exercise session or keep up with the desired exercise intensity
  • Lose muscle mass
  • Compromise our immune system

So, to all of us who have written “mag-eexercise na’ko pramis” as part of our 2021 goals, I’d like to share with you my go-to strategies on what to eat before and after exercise:

1 – 2 hours BEFORE exercise, eat light meals or snacks that are:

High in carbohydrates + Low to moderate in fiber + Moderate in protein + Low in fat Example:

👉Mashed potato with low fat cheese + Orange juice

👉Plain cereals with low fat milk

👉Plain bread + Hard-boiled egg + Juice

1 – 2 hours AFTER exercise, eat snacks that are:

High in carbohydrates + Moderate in protein + Low in fat

Example:

👉Banana Milk Shake

👉Tuna Sandwich (use canned tuna in water)

👉Baked Potato wedges + Juice

Among these foods, potatoes are my go-to snack before and during exercise. This is because it is a carbohydrate-rich food that also contains protein. 1 medium-size potato (148grams) contains 26 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein. This carbohydrate-protein combination helps us sustain our energy throughout the entire exercise session.

Apart from this, potatoes also contain potassium which is crucial in maintaining fluid balance in the body, especially during exercise. Potatoes also contain vitamin C which plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Also, one medium potato also contains 110 calories which translates to energy during exercise. Adequate energy helps prevent protein from being used as energy source therefore preventing muscle mass loss.

Most of all, I love potatoes’ versatility and ease of handling. It’s easy to prepare with lots of options (baked, mashed, boiled, turned into pancakes or hash etc). It’s also not messy to eat so it’s easy to bring wherever I plan to exercise – this will be especially useful when we can finally go to the gym or outside of our house to exercise. Until then, please stay at home. 😊

Bonus tip: Make sure that you also stay well-hydrated during your exercise. Drink enough water before, throughout your exercise session and after.

In my experience as a dietitian and as a fitness trainer, a lot of people tend to get excited about starting their fitness goals every January. However, not many people are aware of how crucial pre- and post-exercise fueling are and how to do it exactly.

This is one of the reasons why some of us are not able to sustain these goals and eventually stop exercising after just a few weeks of starting.

I hope I was able to give you some ideas to help you get your fitness goals to a good start. More importantly, I hope we can work together in making exercise a regular habit that we can sustain until the end of the year and beyond.

Have a great week ahead! 😉❤️💕

Reminder: Please consult a doctor before starting an exercise regimen and a dietitian for personal dietary advice.

This post is sponsored by Potatoes-USA Philippines. All opinions stated are my own and references are cited below.

References:

Dunford, M., & Doyle, J. (2019). Nutrition for Sport and Exercise (4th ed.). California: Wadsworth.

Fink, H., Mikesky, A. (2015). Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. (4th ed). Jones and Bartlett Learning.

A healthy diet is more important than your health

Hindi daw healthy ang pagiging “mataba”. Eh pano kung mataba pero healthy ang diet? 🤔

May isang study kung saan sinundan ng mga experts ang 79,000 men and women for 21 years!After 21 years, 38% of those men and women died.

Sa study na’to, nalaman ng mga researchers na:

✅ Pinaka-KAUNTI ang mga namatay sa mga taong OVERWEIGHT pero ang diet nila ay rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, high-fiber grains, fish and olive oil (aka Mediterranean diet). Konti lang din ang kinakain nilang mga karne.

⚠️At ito pa, mas maraming namatay sa mga normal ang weight pero hindi healthy ang diet nila.

Therefore, hindi por que payat o normal ang timbang ay healthy na agad at safe sa mga sakit. Huwag masyado magfocus sa timbang pagdating sa health. Instead, ask yourself these questions:

Sapat ba ang kinakain mong prutas at gulay sa araw araw?

Ano ang carbohydrate sources mo – refined ba or whole grains?

Mas madalas ka bang kumain ng karne kaysa sa isda?

Nag-eexercise ka ba regularly?

If you’re eating well and exercising on a regular basis, don’t feel disheartened if hindi ka pa payat/slim/”sexy” etc., ok?

Kaya ang hype ay huwag po sana puro papayat o pamacho.

Mahal ang maintenance medicines at pabigat sa pamilya ang pagkakaroon ng diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension etc. Kung magpapapayat na rin lang, dun na tayo sa tama at pangmatagalan.

Let’s strive to eat healthier so that we can live a more productive and meaningful life, diba? 🙂

Happy weekend! 🎉

Links to the study mentioned:

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003331

https://www.abc.net.au/…/health-bmi-vs-diet…/12688270

Note:A main limitation of this study is its study design (observational) with self-reported lifestyle information plus risk of residual or unmeasured confounding (e.g., genetic liability). Hence, NO CAUSAL INFERENCES can be made based on this study alone.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Dieters

Powerful Lessons for Weight Loss

Have you ever wondered what makes some dieters successful at losing weight and keeping it off?

Let me share with you some powerful lessons in weight loss 😊 that I have learned from being a nutritionist-dietitian and personal trainer who helped clients lose weight, and from writing my thesis about weight management.

Habit No. 1: Achieve caloric deficit

You may wonder if there is such a thing as the “best diet” for weight loss and sometimes you are tempted to rely on testimonials and popularity when choosing a diet to follow. But, if you look closely at these diets you’ll realize that these diets are effective only when they help you achieve a caloric deficit, that is, to eat less calories. For example, intermittent fasting seems to be effective in helping you lose weight simply because you limit the window of opportunities for eating. The Ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is very high in fat and very low in carbohydrates – this limits your food choices and fatty foods make you feel full for a longer period of time thereby making you eat less. Therefore, the real “magic” in these diets is the calorie restriction that comes with them.

Habit No. 2: Aim for long-term

As I have mentioned in my previous Facebook post, adherence to a diet is a much better predictor of weight loss success than the actual type of diet a person follows. In other words, it’s not just the foods you eat but more importantly, how long you can stick to eating those foods. Any diet can work for you if you can successfully stick to the reduction in calories most diets create. This is where fad diets become problematic – their long-term effects on health is questionable, if not downright dangerous. So, even if you can stick to a diet long enough to see a drop in your weight but your doctor is telling you to stop because it’s messing with your health, chances are you have no choice but to stop. If you want to live longer, that is.

Habit No. 3: Account for individual preferences

To achieve Habit #2, the diet you choose to follow should be in line with your food preferences, health concerns, lifestyle, and culture. For example, the Mediterranean diet is widely accepted for its effects on weight management and general health but if you Google it, most of the foods included are olive oil, Greek yogurt, salads, berries, salmon, almonds, etc. It may work easily for people living in Western/Mediterraniean countries but the challenge is how to make it work for Pinoys given that our palate (and our wallets ☹) are not accustomed to these foods. If the diet you follow doesn’t take into account you as a person and your lifestyle, there is a good chance you won’t be able to stick to it long enough to see a significant weight loss.

Habit No. 4: Address behavior

We often underestimate the importance of individual autonomy and our capacity to self-regulate our own health. This is where behavior modification becomes essential in preventing and treating obesity. Think of weight management as an iceberg – the weight lost is the tip of the iceberg while the biggest chunk – the foundation – is our knowledge, attitudes, behavior and system towards weight management. You can address the tip of the iceberg by temporarily changing your diet, as in fad diets, but without enough knowledge and with negative attitude towards healthy weight loss, your iceberg is bound to melt in the ocean of frustration.

Habit No. 5: Exercise for weight maintenance

Unfortunately, according to studies, exercise only modestly contributes to weight loss in overweight and obese adults. The good news is that physical activity may decrease abdominal fat, increase cardiorespiratory fitness and may help with maintenance of weight loss. This is where exercise becomes important – when the getting gets tough with your diet, exercise may just save the day and give you that push towards sustainable weight loss.

Habit No. 6: Aim for fat loss, not weight loss

I once met a client who has the same height and weight as me but she looks “flabby” and I look a lot slimmer compared to her. She was baffled and calmed down only when we compared our body composition analysis. My body fat percent was 20% (at that time 😊) and hers was 29%. It is possible to lose weight and still have a high body fat percent – by losing muscle and water weight, which is common to crash dieters. Even if you lose weight if you still have a high body fat percentage, you will not look as slim as you wanted to be. I bet you want to lose weight to look good NOT on top of your weighing scale but in front of the mirror, right?  It’s not the weight lost per se that will make you look good – it’s your body fat percentage, and a little bit of dressing up maybe.

Habit No. 7: Slow and steady

In the first few weeks of dieting, weight is usually lost but is almost gained back even if you continue doing the things that made you lose weight in the first place. This is because losing too much weight rapidly puts your body in a “defensive mode” where it fights to maintain the weight range in which it is used to function at its best. This does not mean that efforts to lose weight is futile. It means that you need to give your body enough time to adjust to its new weight for it to go down further and stay there. If you don’t, your weight might just go up and down but not going anywhere – like a yo-yo. So, if you want to lose weight for real and for good, don’t hurry. You didn’t become overweight or obese in a month so don’t expect to be skinny in a month either, right? Work on achieving and sticking to good health habits as you wait for that elusive goal weight.  

In life as in weight loss, we are what we repeatedly do. Weight loss success is not a once-in-a-lifetime transformation but a product of your daily habits. Looking at your daily weight management habits, do they point towards success or do they lead you down the doughnut hole?

Additional readings:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Very Low-Carb Diets: Dapat ba akong maki-uso?

You have probably heard enough OPINIONS, so let’s just get down to the FACTS, shall we?

Fact #1: We NEED carbs

The primary role of carbohydrates is to provide

  1. Energy to all cells in the body

Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for physically active people. If you are sedentary, your carbohydrate needs may be lower but should not be less than 55% of your total calories[1].

  1. Dietary fiber

Fiber is essential to human health because it helps improve blood lipid levels, regulate blood glucose and responsible for making us feel “busog” which prevent us from eating more than necessary.

Fact #2: Carbs ALONE do NOT cause obesity

According to recent systematic review and meta-analysis (a.k.a a study of many studies) about carbs and obesity[2], it cannot be concluded that a high-carbohydrate diet or increased percentage of total energy intake from carbohydrates increases the odds of obesity. There are many other variables that cause obesity – total calorie intake, physical activity level, age, gender, and the type of carbohydrates most frequently eaten. In short, carbs alone do not cause obesity but the quality of carbs eaten might play a role in the development of obesity. As of now, there is no clear evidence to support that severe restriction of dietary carbohydrates promote either long-term health or weight reduction.

Fact #3: NOT all carbs are created EQUAL

According to the latest National Nutrition Survey [3], the prevalence of obesity among Filipinos has increased from 16.6% in 1993 to 29.9% in 2013, with 31.1% of adult Filipinos being overweight or obese. Also, Filipino adults lack fiber, Vitamin C, potassium and Vitamin B6 in their diet.

According to this survey, most of the calories Pinoy adults eat come from foods with low nutrient density such as WHITE RICE and SWEETS [4].

BUT, it does NOT mean that just because rice and sweets are carbs, we should skip carbs altogether.

We need to understand that not all carbohydrates are the same. Take Rice vs Potato for example.

1 cup of white rice [160grams] contains about 200 calories, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 55mg potassium, 0.1mg Vit B6 and zero vitamin C [5].

1 medium-size [148grams] potato with skin has only 110 calories and contains 2grams of dietary fiber, 620mg potassium, 0.2mg Vitamin B6 and 27mg vitamin C [6].

See the difference?

With the same amount in grams, potatoes have less calories and more fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. So, if you reduce your overall carbohydrate intake to less than 20% of your total calories, there’s a good chance you won’t be getting enough of these nutrients that help you maintain good health. Plus, low-carb diets promote heavy consumption of meats and fats which may put you at risk of developing certain diseases.

Bottomline:

Do NOT skimp on carbs. Instead, eat nutrient-dense carbs like potatoes, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables because these contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eat less processed carbohydrates such as sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.

In short, the answer is NO.

References:

[1] Slavin, J., & Carlson, J. [2014]. Carbohydrates. American Society for Nutrition. Adv. Nutr., 760-761.

[2] Sartorius, K., Sartorius, B., Madiba, T. E., & Stefan, C. [2018]. Does high-carbohydrate intake lead to increased risk of obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open

[3] Angeles-Agdeppa, I., Sun, Y., Denney, L., Tanda, K. V., Octavio, R. D., Carriquiry, A., & Capanzana, M. V. [2019]. Food sources, energy and nutrient intakes of adults: 2013 Philippines National Nutrition Survey. Nutrition Journal.

[4] Department of Science and Technology- Food and Nutrition Research Institute [DOST-FNRI]. The 8th National Nutrition Survey [2013] results – dietary survey; Philippines; 2013.

[5] Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute [1992]. The Philippine Food Composition Tables. Metro Manila, Philippines.

[6] FDA Food Labeling Guide. Appendix C: Health Claims. www.fda.goc/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/ucm064919.htm.

Additional readings:

Lamothe, L. M., Le, K.-A., Samra, R., Roger, O., Green, H., & Mace, K. [2017]. The scientific basis for healthful carbohydrate profile. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 1058-1070.

Full disclosure:

This post was sponsored by Potatoes USA – Philippines, but all opinions stated above are my own.

The Gift

I remember when I was about 4 or 5 years old, my cousins and playmates keep telling me that I am smart. Do you have any idea why?

Because they said I had a huge hairy forehead and to them a person with hairy forehead means a smart person. So, I asked my dad about it and he told me that I am indeed smart because I got if from him, so I believed it. Back then, it felt good to regarded as something positive – being smart. So, I took that as my identity and embraced it. I took that identity with me as I went to school. True enough, I consistently belonged to the top 5 of the class from Kinder to 4th year high school – because I believed I was smart.

That belief was put to test when I moved on to college at the University of the Philippines Diliman. It turned out, most of the students there are way smarter than me, and the lessons are far too difficult for my intellectual capacity. In my first year I failed Algebra and Trigonometry and Chemistry. I thought to myself, maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

However, I grew up with that belief – that I am smart – so it was difficult to shake off. It was already my identity – weaved into my very being. So, I held on that identity, picked myself up, and moved on. Eventually, I graduated from UP, no honors but I made it to the Top 10 of the 2008 Nutritionist-Dietitians Board examinations. Now, I am taking up Master’s degree under a scholarship grant and after this I plan to take up a doctorate degree under a scholarship grant again. And I believe I can do these because I believe I am smart enough.

What if nobody told me that I am smart in the first place? What if I was told differently – that I’m lazy, stupid, good for nothing? What if I was told these negative things by my peers and my family? What if I believed them and took those as my identity? Do you think I would have ended up differently?

Have you ever been called something positive – that you are kind, friendly, strong, intelligent, witty? If yes, please believe it. It’s their gift to you – accept it humbly and hold on to it. Hold on to it with your dear life that when the world says otherwise, you know which is true.

Likewise, when you meet people whether a kid, a friend, a colleague, a family member – always see the good in them and make sure that you tell them that. That’s your gift to them. Who knows, they might as well accept that gift, embrace it and identify with it, and then do the same to other people. Imagine the good things that can result from that very simple act. And that, my friend, is how we can change the world.