Ask the Expert: Diet

February 4, 2008 11:15:54 AM PST
Jewel Osco Dietician Kim Kirchherr answers your diet questions. Butter vs. Margarine: which is 'better'?
Answer: a liquid, or softer choice is best type of fat for heart.
  • Choose oil, spread in a tub, or pump spray over stick
  • Olive, canola other liquids are best
  • Pump sprays can be "free" choices
  • Read labels: § 0 g trans fat/ No hydrogenated fat
  • Goal is to reduce saturated and trans fat and keep total fat at an appropriate level for calories consumed
  • More information:

    Fresh vs. Frozen produce? Which has more nutrition?
    Answer: Good news: both are excellent choices!

  • Most frozen/canned foods are processed within hours of harvest, so both flavor and nutritional value are preserved.
  • Key is to not overcook either choice.
  • Bonus? The frozen option saves prep time for busy days
  • More information:

    Do I need a vitamin/mineral supplement?

  • It is important to talk with the doctor, pharmacist, and dietitian about whether or not a supplement is a good idea. It depends on current diet, medical history, medications, and any other special needs, such as planning a pregnancy, having surgery, etc.
  • If you do not consume a variety of foods with a balanced diet including all food groups, it may mean that a supplement might be a good idea. First step is to review current lifestyle choices including food and beverage intake, medications - both prescribed and over the counter, and medical history.
  • Consider combined intake from all supplements (including multi-vitamins, single supplements, and combination products)
  • Consider intake of fortified foods, like cereals, drinks, etc.
  • Too much of a good thing -- excess intakes of some supplements may cause health problems.
  • Supplements should not replace prescribed medications or the variety of foods important for a healthy diet.
  • More information:

    What's the best way to lose weight? The programs where you purchase prepackaged foods, or do it yourself type programs?

  • Bonus to pre-packaged foods: portion control education; convenience
  • If your health care provider tells you that weight loss is important for your health, here's what to look for (be sure to get clearance before making changes to diet or exercise routine, especially when medical conditions are present):
    • A healthy eating plan that includes a reduction in calories but does not forbid specific foods or food groups.
    • Tips to increase moderate-intensity physical activity.
    • Tips on healthy behavior changes that also keep cultural needs in mind.
    • Slow and steady weight loss. Depending on starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at a rate of 1/2 to 2 lbs per week.
    • Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet.
    • A long term plan to keep the weight off after appropriate weight loss is achieved.

    For more information getting started with a personalized plan on how much to eat plus activity ideas visit

    For tips on controling your weight visit

    For more information visit