Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many calories should I consume each day?

A: Caloric needs vary based on the needs of the individual. Physical activity level, age, and gender are just a few of things that affect how many calories you need.  Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov or 411Fit for specifc needs.  If you would like more general numbers click here.

Q: How much water/fluid should I drink every day?

A: For the average healthy adult the 8x8 rule can be applied. The 8 x 8 rule = 8, 8 ounce glasses of water daily. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume about 3 liters or about 13 glasses of water. Women should consume about 2.2 liters of fluid daily, or about 9 glasses of water. A good rule of thumb is to monitor the color of your urine. If your urine is colorless or slightly yellow you are most likely getting adequate fluids.

Q: How much should I weigh to be considered “healthy”?

A: The best guess for determining a healthy weight is by calculating your body-mass-index, or BMI, a ratio of weight to height.  Ideally, a BMI between 18 and 25 is acceptable.  However, this does not account for excess body weight in the form of muscle mass. A BMI calculator can be found at the following link: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Q: How much fiber should I eat daily?

A:  The recommended intake for adults 18 - 50 years for age is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. For those over 50, the recommended intake is 21 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men.  If you are increasing fiber consumption increase water consumption as well to prevent constipation.

Q: Should I cut back my fat intake to lose weight?

A: Your goal should be to cut back on calories rather than fat. When choosing items that contain fat, the quality of the fat is more important than the quantity. Try to avoid consuming saturated fats whenever possible, saturated fats are found in animal food products like red meat & full fat dairy (whole milk, cheese etc.).  Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature: bacon grease, lard, & buttter for example. Although fat yields more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, fats such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated can actually benefit your heart health.  Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be found in canola and olive oils, as well as nuts & avocados. Unsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature. 

Q: What is the appropriate intake of sodium?

A: Healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Those suffering from high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes, or are middle-aged or older should consume no more 1,500 mg of sodium per day.   The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg or less daily.

Q: Do I need to take a multivitamin?

A: Yes and no. The average person does not get the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals each day through their diet alone. Vitamin D may be supplemented during the fall and winter months due to reduced sun exposure or vitamin B-12 maybe needed for vegans due to the lack of B-12 obtained in their diets. Talk with your doctor about receiving a blood test to determine if nutritional deficiencies are present. If it is determined that no deficiencies are present the use of a multivitamin may not be warranted.

Q: Can I lose weight and keep weight off with diet alone?

A: Losing weight and keeping it off is more difficult if not combined with regular physical activity. Regaining lost weight is common when diet alone is used for weight loss. It is recommended that you obtain at least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily.

Q: Are there any early physical signs that someone has diabetes?  I have a family history of diabetes and would like to know some warning signs.

A: There are various signs that may indicate the presense of diabetes. Below are the most common signs of Type 2 diabetes.  Speak with your doctor to discuss your risk for developing diabetes and whether a diabetes screening is warranted.
-Increased thirst and frequent urination
-Increased hunger
-Weight loss
-Fatigue
-Blurred vision
-Slow healing sores or frequent infections
For more information go to: http://www.diabetes.org/

Q: I was recently diagnosed with high cholesterol. I have a family history of high cholesterol, so how do I reduce my cholesterol by diet alone if I am already predisposed to having high cholesterol?

A: There are ways to reduce your cholesterol regardless of family history, the best way is through a combination of diet and exercise. Today's Dietitian offers some great suggestions and guidance for reducing your risk of developing high cholesterol or for controlling and maintaining healthy cholesterol values. Below I have included a link to an article in Today's Dietitian entitled, "Cholesterol Ed: A Crash Course for Clients", by Valerie Yeager. 

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdfeb2008pg58.shtml 

Q: How do I know if nutrition information I find on the internet is reliable?

A: Suggestions for evaluating the validity of nutrition information found on the internet can be found within the National Library of Medicine’s “MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing”. MedlinePlus Evaluating Internet Health Information Tutorial is a 16 minute presentation that outlines some helpful tips to evaluate whether health information found on the internet is valid or invalid.

Do you have a question you think should be added to this page?  Email: nutrition@wcu.edu

 

 

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