Medical Corner: Nutrition

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

The most common New Year’s resolutions tend to circle around health, weight loss, healthier food choices, etc. However, most people encounter difficult obstacles preventing them from successfully executing their goals. In an effort to help you live your best life, Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper is launching a new section this month called Medical Corner, where we engage with top medical professionals who can share their expertise on topical issues each month. This month we focus on nutrition and tips to help manage your goal. To read the full article, please visit

Registered Dietitian with Sinai Health System in Chicago Catalina Ruz Gatica, RDN, LDN
January has become the notorious month to begin anew; when people revive their healthy lifestyle. This year, how would you advise people to rethink their relationship with food?
I love that we are using the word “relationship” here because we do have a relationship with food. It may be a good or a bad relationship, but we all have a connection with what we eat. I encourage my patients to think of food as a source of fuel. What you put in your body can give you energy, make you feel fantastic and accomplished — or it can make you feel sluggish, full of guilt, and negative emotions. It’s a great idea to hit the restart button here at the beginning of the year, and establish a healthy and committed relationship with what you eat. Rethink your food choices and the fruit of your relationship with food could lead to increased energy, improved health, and a longer life.

Dr. Mark Loafman, Chair of the Family and Community Medicine Department at Cook County Health& Hospitals System (CCHHS)
What rule of thumb would you recommend to people when they are bombarded with information regarding “food trends?” 

Despite the many “food trends” that have popped up over the years, the basics of what constitutes a healthy diet haven’t changed much at all: 1) Get plenty of produce (fruits and vegetables), whole grains and low-fat dairy products. This helps us feel satisfied at meal time with less need or craving for fatty, starchy foods to feel full. 2) Limit saturated fats, which are generally the fat that comes from animals rather than vegetables; and 3) Watch your intake of sodium, which can cause fluid retention, and added sugars, which have low nutritional value and are linked to weight gain, diabetes and a variety of other health consequences.  In fact, eliminating sugary beverages from our diet seems to be one of the best and most important steps we can take. It helps to know that the strong craving for sweet drinks gradually goes away when we skip them and drink water instead.

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach at Midtown Athletic Club Chicago Jenny Maloney
What should people, regardless of age, take daily? What should they eliminate from their diet today?

People should center their diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains along with healthy fats like olive oil and avocadoes. Everyone is different so it’s hard to say what everyone should be taking daily, but the one thing that is consistent is water. Everyone needs water for his or her body and mind to function efficiently. Also, try to eliminate processed foods and added sugars as much as they can. It’s hard to do, but eating more real foods and less processed ones will get most people to their goals – whether it’s feeling better, weight loss, gut health, disease prevention and more.

Clinical Nutrition Manager at Norwegian American Hospital Natalie Knoll MS, RD, LSN
What ways can families cut back on unhealthy fats?

Diets high in saturated fats are known to increase weight, lipids and blood pressure. Rather than cut out fats all together, try replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fats from foods like olive oils, avocados, walnuts, and flax seeds or a healthier, balanced diet. Adding foods like this will also increase your fiber intake which can help keep you feeling satisfied and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

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