Ask Your Living Whole Dietitian!


*This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health and wellness.

QUESTION: Where can I find more information about proper nutrition for a runner? Any suggestion on where to find a sport nutritionist around here?

Being physically active has many health benefits, and good nutrition plays an important role in physical activity and athletic performance. Whether participating in physical activity for personal fitness or for competition, everyone benefits from a well-balanced diet that incorporates healthy sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Athletes achieve peak performance by training and eating a balanced diet including a variety of foods.

Each athlete is unique and has varying nutrient needs. For example, an endurance athlete would increase the percent of carbohydrates they eat depending on the outcomes. A strength athlete would consume a higher protein intake to support building more muscle mass. Consult a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition for a more tailored plan.

To find one in your area visit:

QUESTION: I have a question regarding taking digestive enzyme supplements. I’ve starting having issues with gas and bloating which I have attributed to ageing. I consider myself lactose intolerant and I try to stay away from foods high in gluten since it seems to cause the gassiness as well. It has been brought to my attention that taking digestive enzyme supplements could aid in eating some of those foods again. What are digestive enzyme supplements and would they help with the gas and bloating caused by irritant foods?

Digestive enzyme supplements promise to fix all sorts of abdominal symptoms, including bloating, gas and overall gut health. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that they do any good.

Naturally occurring digestive enzymes help break down food so we can soak up nutrients. The majority of digestive enzymes come from your pancreas, which floods the small intestine with enzymes when food arrives there.

The supplement versions of these enzymes come from plants and animals. But there’s no way to know what’s really in supplements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate them. Therefore, you can’t be sure what the pills are really made of or the exact amounts of enzymes they many contain.

Sometimes the body doesn’t make enough digestive enzymes. This can slow down the digestion process and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For example, if your small intestine doesn’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, you’ll have a hard time digesting lactose- the sugar in milk and milk-based products. This can lead to bloating and gas.

Sometimes doctors recommend taking prescription-strength digestive enzymes. These may be necessary when digestive enzyme levels are low because of health conditions such as chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis.

It is important to remember that supplements are not required to go through the same stringent testing as prescribed medicine, and are not regulated as closely by the FDA. It’s best to consult your physician about whether a prescription digestive enzyme is right for you.

Talk to your doctor about your GI symptoms, potential causes, and whether digestive enzyme supplementation is a good choice for you.

QUESTION:  Do you have a list of potassium rich foods and the amount of potassium it has and the best way to get the most potassium out of that food?

Eating a variety of potassium rich foods daily is the best way to obtain the potassium the body needs.  Potassium is widely available in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables.  Leafy greens, beans, nuts, and starchy vegetables like winter squash are rich sources. 



POTASSIUM (milligrams)

Baked potato, with skin

1 medium


Lentils, cooked

1 cup


Pinto beans, cooked

1 cup


Squash, acorn, mashed

1 cup


White beans, canned

½ cup



½ fruit



1 medium


Spinach, cooked

½ cup


Soy milk

1 cup


Tomatoes, fresh

½ cup


Broccoli, cooked

½ cup


Nuts: almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, Brazil, cashew, mixed

1 oz


Source:  USDA National Nutrient Database



QUESTION: Where could I get a few good daily menu examples for a mild renal impairment (high potassium) and diabetes?

It is best to consult with your health care professional for the best menu plan as it relates to your medical condition. Individuals with renal impairment and/or diabetes need to be cautious of:

-Spikes of blood sugar

-Monitoring intake of certain nutrients such as carbohydrates, potassium or phosphorus

-Fluid imbalances

Reference: For more information on Diabetes Meal Plans and a Healthy Diet

Quick Meal Ideas | ADA (

QUESTION: There are so many weight loss diets out there. Many written by respected physicians in the health care field. How do you know which one to choose? If one is vegetarian, how do you avoid simple carbs and get enough protein?

With so many diets out there, it is easy to get confused. It is always important to focus on making healthy changes that you can continue for your entire life instead of focusing on short-term changes. Make sure you focus on foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed like whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. In addition, an easy way to monitor your portion size is to fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables, 1 quarter of your plate with whole grains (whole wheat bread, quinoa or brown rice) and the other quarter with a healthy protein (beans, legumes, tofu). However, if you are looking for a diet, the table below will help clear up some confusion about weight loss and nutrition.

Things to look for when choosing a diet

Thing to avoid when choosing a diet

  • Emphasizes balanced meals
  • Diets that overemphasize one food or food group
  • Suggests tracking food intake
  • Diets that exclude a food group
  • Eat regularly (every 3-4hours)
  • Diets that guarantee rapid weight loss
  • Diets that follow evidence based guidelines
  • Diets that skip meals
  • Diets that incorporate physical activity
  • Diets with celebrity endorsements
  • Focus on long-term lifestyle changes
  • Diets that exclude or never mention physical activity
  • Incorporates all food groups (Carbohydrates, healthy fats, lean proteins)
  • Short-term diets


QUESTION: I have read the wonderful benefits of beet juice. Should everyone drink beet juice? If so, how many ounces per day?

Beets are loaded with an impressive nutritional profile. They are a good source of folate, potassium, vitamin C, iron, beta-carotene, fiber, nitrates and a plethora of antioxidants that help us fight inflammation and cancer.

The literature shows that a cup of beet juice daily may lower blood pressure. However, we would like to caution against focusing on one food such as beets and encourage you to focus on eating a variety of whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing can also rob you the opportunity of benefiting from the fiber and other nutrients inherent in the peel of fruits and vegetables. Special populations such as diabetics and patients suffering from kidney disease or on specific medications need to consult their health care professional before they start juicing.


Beets and Blood Pressure

All about the Vegetable Group/How many Vegetables are needed?

Here are a few beet recipes:

QUESTION: Oils, what’s the healthiest or best cooking oil to cook with. Or is it best to use pam spray? Why is it better?

Cook with healthier oils. Although there are healthier oils such as olive, canola, soy, peanut, sunflower, corn, it is important to keep in mind that all fats including healthy fats provide more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein. These oils are healthier because they are high in healthy unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) which can help protect your heart and support overall health. In general, when choosing cooking sprays choose the ones with the healthier oils and use sparingly to control calories.

Healthy fats can have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fat and trans fat in your diet.

QUESTION: I know some employees eat meat but what is the advantage of not eating meat and where can we get our protein from?

There are many health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet. Studies have shown that vegetarians have an improved life expectancy and lower rates of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In addition, our Loma Linda University Adventist Health study has shown that vegetarians have lower blood pressure than nonvegetarians. Adequate protein needs can easily be attained through a well-planned vegetarian diet by consuming a diet rich in nuts, beans, legumes and tofu.

For more information on vegetarian diets please watch our video at


Vegetarians and blood pressure

QUESTION: There has been so much debate recently over whether or not organic produce is a better choice. What does the scientific research say? Is it worth the difference in price?

Whether to go organic or not is a decision only you can make based on your family’s needs and wants, and your budget. If you’re buying organic solely for better nutrition, based on the scientific literature there’s no evidence you’re gaining any real advantages. But if you’re concerned about pesticides and you can afford organics, it might be worth it to buy them.


Dirty Dozen Produce

EWG's 2022 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce | Dirty Dozen

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables. US Food and Drug Administration website

Food and Pesticides US EPA website

 Food and Pesticides | US EPA

QUESTION: Which is better nutritionally speaking: Extraction or juicing. Does it really make a difference?

We would suggest skip the juicing/extracting from whole fruits and vegetables and eat these items in their whole form. Whole fruits and vegetables contain the seeds, peels, and fiber in many cases, so they are richer in nutrients, and the sugars are absorbed more slowly in the bloodstream. When you make juice and discard the fiber, skins, peels, and seeds, you may be throwing away the richest parts of the fruit or vegetable. Several studies have indicated that most of the phytochemical activity is in the peels. One of the problems with juice is that you are getting a very concentrated source of natural sugars without the fiber to slow down the absorption into the bloodstream. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that eating more whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Greater consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Juicing can be one way to increase your nutrient intake, and incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables that you many not normally eat, such as kale or spinach. However, if this is why you are juicing, we would suggest you try smoothies instead of juicing. You should not rely on juice as your sole source of fruit or vegetable intake. It is important to keep in mind that juicing is not appropriate for everyone. For example, if you have diabetes or kidney disease, you may need to limit, or monitor your intake of certain nutrients such as carbohydrates, potassium or phosphorus, and adding certain fruits or vegetables may not be recommended.

In general, the recommendation is to eat a variety of whole fruits and vegetables. If you are concerned about your blood sugars, it is important to talk to your health care professional about juicing or extraction.


QUESTION: How long after preparing the “smoothie” do the nutrients keep their peak value?

There is no conclusive scientific evidence that gives us exact numbers. In general, fresh is probably best. It will not taste as fresh after the first day. 

QUESTION: Will a low fat and high protein diet help with weight loss?

Part of the problem with low-fat diets is that they are often high in carbohydrate, especially from rapidly digested sources, such as white bread and white rice. And diets high in such foods increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Many studies indicate that the type of fat is very important to long-term health. Replacing saturated and trans with healthier vegetable oils can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. However, keep in mind that too many calories from both fat and carbohydrate will lead to weight gain, which will increase risk for certain types of cancer and heart disease.

Higher protein diets seem to have some advantages for weight loss. There are a few reasons why eating a higher percentage of calories from protein may help with weight control:

-More satiety: People tend to feel fuller, on fewer calories, after eating protein than they do after eating carbohydrate or fat.

-It takes more energy to metabolize and store protein than other macronutrients.

-Improved body composition: Protein seems to help people hang on lean muscle during weight loss.

Focus on making healthy lifestyle changes instead of following a specific diet. Choose minimally processed, whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthful sources of protein (beans and tofu), and plant oils. Try to limit sugar sweetened beverages, refined grains, potatoes, red and processed meats, and other highly processed foods, such as fast foods.


Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men

For more information on weight management/weight loss watch our video on Resolutions and Debunking Popular diets found on our website

QUESTION: Are “fat-free” foods healthy?

Just because a product is labeled “fat-free” or “low-fat” doesn’t mean it is healthier or even lower in calories. Some healthy choices are foods in their natural state that contain little or no fat such as most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dried beans. “Low-fat” and “fat-free “ products are often higher in salt, sugar, or starch than their full-fat counterparts, to make up for the flavor and texture that’s lost when food manufacturers take away fat. So they are not necessarily “healthy” choices. For example, low-fat and non-fat salad dressings are nearly always higher in sugar and salt.

*The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the care or advice of your healthcare/medical provider(s).