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Predicting Nutrition: It May Not be What You Think

You know how you think you know someone but learn more as Facebook friends? That’s kind of how it is with food.

Updated 11/2020

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know it.

You know how you think you know someone but then you become Facebook friends and see a whole other side of them? That’s pretty much how it is with food and nutrition from a health perspective. A new diagnosis of diabetes or other condition where food can help may have you looking at your plate in a whole new way. That’s actually a good thing, because knowledge is power.

The more you know about food, the more fun you can have even when it’s a serious choice directly impacting your health. It’s time to get back to fun, people!

Here are a few of my favorite nutrition questions with weird (true) answers that people have asked me about over the years to start blowing your mind with how awesome this quest for real food truth can actually be:

Brown eggs or white eggs? It’s not a nutrition difference. It relates to ear lobes. If a chicken has red ear lobes, you pretty much get brown eggs. If a chicken has white earlobes, you pretty much get white eggs. Choose what makes sense in terms of price at the store. You’ll get the same great nutrition, regardless of shell color.

chickens by the roost
I snapped this photo on a farm tour in the Pacific Northwest years ago.

Yellow or white cheese? The color is not an indication of nutritional differences. So you ask – what’s the best cheese? The answer: it depends on what you like, what else you are eating, and what you are making. Personally, I like strong flavors (like sharp instead of mild cheddar) so you get more taste with a smaller portion size. I like to use reduced fat in terms of overall fat and calories as I find it is nice and melty. Cheeses that typically are a little better in terms of sodium (besides the ones that state “low sodium” on the package) include Swiss, Monterey jack, and ricotta. Read labels and get informed about the choices you make. Choose the cheese(s) you like and manage your overall meals and snacks to balance calories and nutrients.

“Natural” doesn’t equal “good for you”. Snake venom (boo). Poison ivy (boo). Water (yay!). Vegetables (yay!).  Two of these are great. Two of these are awful. When something says it is “natural“, dig deeper. Read the packaging or visit the website of wherever you are seeing that word being used. If they explain themselves and you like it, great. If they don’t and/or you don’t like it? Next. And PS –  obviously snake venom and poison ivy are not good for you. Don’t get anywhere near them if you can help it.

Deciding what to make for dinner can be fun. Information can be fun, especially if you get practical answers that help you.

Fun makes important things, well, more fun.

Check back with me after you tell your friends about the chicken ear lobes. #mindblown

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.