Slim by Design

It’s true: your kitchen (and the rest of your house or office) is making you fat. Dr. Brian Wansink, one of my favorite behavior researchers, says so in his new book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life”. Continue reading

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breastcancerSending healing thoughts to my sister, Eileen, who began her chemotherapy on Thursday. “Fight Like a Girl”!!!

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Dr. Oz is at it Again

arginineI can always count on my Dad to give me ideas during my annual visit to Western New York state. This week, Dr. Oz is promoting a new supplement to assist in weight loss: L-arginine.

Now, as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I am familiar with L-arginine: it is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein; it is conditionally non-essential, which means that your body can usually make enough of it to meet your needs. But if you break your leg or have major surgery to recover from you may need additional amounts to help you heal. It is also used to promote dilation of the blood vessels and may be important in reducing inflammation in the body. Continue reading

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How Much Water Should We Drink?

water fountainsandragraph of fluidsshark jaws 


Hi everyone! My name is Sandy Rhoads and I have had the honor to mentor under Nadine Pazder during my advanced rotation as a dietetic intern through Keiser University in Lakeland, Florida. I will be graduating in August, 2014 and my realm of interest is in clinical dietetics, specifically diabetes education and research on any subject about nutrition. As you can imagine, I was thrilled when Nadine asked me to write a blog about one of the most important nutrients known to mankind, water!   I sincerely hope you enjoy my blog.


Confused about how much water to drink?

The reason you’re confused just might lie in the signs and symptoms associated with drinking too little or too much water. If we drink too little water it could lead to weakness, poor endurance, headache, speech difficulty, constipation, palpitations, dizziness, disorientation, and confusion. If we drink too much water it could lead to confusion, disorientation, fatigue, muscle weakness, spasms and cramps, nausea and vomiting, headache, unconsciousness, convulsions and coma. Yep, you’re confused if you drink too much and confused if you drink too little! So you may want to go get a glass of water right now, especially if you’re feeling thirsty, which would mean you have already lost 2% of your water volume and this could quite possibly lead to more confusion.


Why is water such an important nutrient?

Before we jump into deciphering our water needs, let’s look at why we need it. First of all, we can only survive a few days without it, whereas we can survive for weeks without food. Second, water acts as a solvent, reactant, protector, and regulator of temperature and pH in our body. When we are born, water accounts for approximately 75% of our weight. As we age this percentage declines and by the time we are adults the approximate percentage for the average male is 60% and female is 50%. This further declines in the elderly to less than 50% because the proportion of lean body mass to body fat influences the amount of water as a percentage of body weight. Generally, water accounts for 75% of muscle tissue and 10% of fat tissue. Therefore, an obese individual will also have a slight decline.water fountain

So how much water should you drink?

To answer this question we need to take a look at some of the variables that should be considered if viewing the dietary reference intakes. Although recommended water intakes vary for each continent, they typically are based on total water intake from both beverages and foods. Some of the issues we will need to consider to help us get an accurate tally of our needs are physical activity, environmental factors, and diet. These will all be discussed shortly, but first let’s review some of the ways that our body obtains the water it needs. Our bodies get the required fluid amounts through a combination of drinking water, water in beverages, and water in foods. About 70% to 80% should come from beverages and the other 20% to 30% will come from foods. Beverages range between 84% and 100% water, with fruit juices being at the lower end of the range and water being 100%. Solid foods range from 0% to 96%, with oils being 0% and cucumbers 96%.graph of fluids


Don’t pull your calculator out just yet!

It just so happens that a group of really smart individuals already did the work for you. These scientist and statisticians did the math by subtracting the 20% from foods and devised that the recommended amount for men is 13 cups and 9 cups for women. Below is the general guideline which includes the amounts you need to get from the water that you drink and from other beverages, even those containing caffeine.


The overall generallyguideline to adapt is: Adults – 19 years and older Children – Based on weight
Males: 13 cups 7 lbs. = 2 cups
Females: 9 cups 21 lbs. = 5 cups
Minimum 6 cups 44 lbs. = 8 cups


So what about adjusting needs for physical activity, climate and diet?

The general rule of thumb for exercise is for every one pound loss when exercising; replace with 2 cups of water. Keep in mind that prior to the exercise session you need to be well hydrated and continue to replace fluids early and often throughout your exercise session. Good sources of fluid include water, sports drinks, juices, soups, smoothies, fruits and vegetables. The fluid needs for competitive sports depend largely on the sport and the requirements are more structured. A sports dietitian can assist you in designing a personalized hydration plan that considers thirst, urine color, and body weight changes under varying conditions of exercise.

The concerns regarding adjusting water needs related to type of diet would be primarily for someone on a high fiber diet; this type of diet would require approximately 8-10 cups a day (minimum 8 cups a day). If you’re worried about not getting enough from the foods you eat, don’t be. Almost every food contains water, so it is virtually impossible to not meet those needs.

The recommended total daily beverage intake from the Institute of Medicine is for generally healthy people living in temperate climates, but for individuals that live in an area where they are exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures; their body will use more water to maintain its normal temperature. Under these conditions, fluid intake may need to be increased. The best way to know if you are drinking enough fluid is to meet the AI, and drink water if your mouth is dry or if you are thirsty. Remember, by the time you get thirsty you have already lost 2% of your water volume and a >2% body weight loss is considered dehydration.

What else should you know?

One last “fluid for thought”…. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger and result in unwanted weight gain. My advice would be to drink 8 ounces of water and wait 10 minutes.shark jaws

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At the FAND symposium

Barton SeaverThis week I am in Fort Lauderdale attending the annual Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics symposium. Opening night keynote speaker was Chef Barton Seaver. Maybe you have seen his book “For Cod and  Country? His background is culinary with a special interest in seafood and the oceans. His mission is to help consumers eat healthier while eating in a sustainable manner. Currently, he is an explorer for National Geographic and he is also involved with the Harvard School of Public Health.

In his mind, the most successful environmental campaign to hit an urban area has been recycling. I know that you have seen the logo: Recycle Reduce Re-Use). But it is not sustainable because we haven’t reduced the number of plastic bottles, etc, that we produce each year.

Managing the fishing industry in a sustainable manner is also challenging. Because 95% of the fish that we eat comes from only 10 species, and 65% comes from only 3, we have created an economy that is wasteful: 90% of what is caught never feeds anyone, and is released back into the ocean dead or dying. Day after day. Without so much as a chance for the oceans to restore and refresh.

His solution? Eating what the ocean provides (catch of the day); eating smaller portions to reduce overfishing a species; eat farm-raised as often as possible; shift your preferences down the food chain; eat diversely. His recommendation? “When you set your table, be mindful of the impact your food choices make on your body, the community and the environment”.

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