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Nutrition Questions Answered

March is National Nutrition Month (here are some quizzes to test your nutritional knowledge) and since the month is about to go "out like a lamb" I thought a short interview with a nutritionist would be a great way to end our celebration of the month.

I met with nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH, of Essential Nutrition For You. I had a lot of questions for her and she in turn had some really great answers. So informative, in fact that I wanted to share them with you. Here is a bit of the interview for you to read. You are sure to learn a thing or two from it - I sure did.

FitSugar: Is it important to eat protein at breakfast?

Rania: I always recommend that my clients have a balance of protein and carbohydrate at every meal. You can incorporate protein into your breakfast by eating a ½ cup of non-fat plain yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit. Other ideas include a veggie omelet with 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites and 1 slice of toast. If you are more the cereal or granola type, you will get protein in your milk, or you can try it with ½ cup of cottage cheese which will give you 14 grams of protein.

FitSugar:I have heard that it is good to avoid carbs at night…is that true and why?

Rania: Our bodies use carbohydrates during the day to fuel our brain and muscle. At night we are less active, so that means that we do not need that “immediate energy” that comes along with carbohydrates. Now, realize that vegetables are carbohydrates but they are not the starchy variety that you want to eliminate. Enjoy veggies and a protein source at night.

By limiting your carbohydrates at night, your body will actually be burning fat at night- thus allowing you to become naturally leaner and feel less bloated in the morning.

There are a couple of more questions, so

FitSugar: What do you think of fasting as a means to detox your body? Are there foods you recommend for detoxing the liver, and/or kidneys?

Rania: I am not an advocate of “detox” diets or fads that exist out there. What most of us do not know is that the body naturally detoxifies itself through our lungs (think….breathing), sweating, and through the liver and kidneys (always check to see that your urine is not too bright yellow- a sure sign that you are dehydrated).

For optimal “detoxing” make sure that you are hydrating daily, eating at least 25 grams of fiber/day to keep you regular and limit your consumption of packaged and processed foods. Think fresh is best and natural.

FitSugar: Do you have a supplement you recommend?

Rania: In all of my years as a Nutritionist I have never recommended a supplement until now- MONAVIE- you can learn more about it on my website at I have been using if for 3 months now and what I notice most is a boost in my energy, my skin looks better ( I don’t’ need to use my Retin-A every night) and best of all, my sugar cravings are down. I used to be a dark-chocolate chip kind of girl and now I go anywhere from 4-8 days without it. I enjoy using this product and I believe that prevention is the key to living well.

Check out Rania in action on MSNBC - gives her interpretation on the recent study claiming that diet soda is making Americans fat.

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