Sanna Delmonico, MS, RDS, CHESSanna is an instructor at The Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley, where she teaches food safety, gastronomy and nutrition to culinary students and chefs.
Question: I know chocolate is considered a healthy snack, but are all kinds of chocolate healthy?
Answer: Chocolate has complex flavors, amazing mouthfeel and myriad phytochemicals, including polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant activity (Katz, Doughty & Ali 2011). It is linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and even improved mood (Mostofsky et al. 2017; Scholey & Owen 2014; Sorenson & Astrup 2011).
Question: Is there a nutritional benefit to sprouting beans or other seeds?
Answer: While I don’t want to discourage you from eating nutritious beans and seeds that haven’t been sprouted, sprouting or germinating seeds does change their nutritional profile and make them more digestible. All kinds of seeds make delicious sprouts.
The history of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) provides a fascinating glimpse into what has stayed the same (eat plenty of fruits and veggies) and what has changed (dietary cholesterol isn’t so evil after all) in the past four decades.
Issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the DGA have amassed immense influence since the first ones were published in 1980. All U.S.
Question: Is kefir like yogurt? Does it have the same health benefits?
Answer: Kefir is a tart, fermented-milk product similar to yogurt. It is thought to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains, where it is traditionally made from cow, sheep or goat milk. Kefir is sometimes slightly carbonated and may contain small amounts of alcohol.Read More
Question: I keep hearing about the “human microbiome” and its importance for health. Could you explain how diet affects bacteria in the intestines?
Answer: You have probably heard that you have more microbes (bacteria, fungi, etc.) in and on your body than you have actual human cells. It is shocking to most people, but when you consider the sheer number of microbes, collectively called the microbiota, you realize they must have an impact on your health.
Sanna Delmonico, MS, RDN, CHE, is on the faculty at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in Napa, California, where she teaches food safety, nutrition and gastronomy. As a dietitian nutritionist working in a culinary school, she makes it her goal to help students see the connection between good health and delicious food.
Question: Dried seaweed snacks are really popular these days—even my kids like them. How nutritious are they? What about other types of seaweed?
Question: There are so many choices of pasta in the supermarket now—whole wheat, bean pasta, gluten free and vegetable pasta. How do they compare?
Answer: With multiple options for your pasta dinner, deciding which to choose can be a challenge. I compared 100-gram servings of a variety of dry pastas, including traditional/regular pasta, regular pasta with added spinach, whole-wheat pasta, bean-
or legume-based pasta, pasta made with rice or corn, and fresh veggie spirals made from butternut squash (ESHA). One hundred grams is a little over 3 ounces.
Question: A lot of people are talking about alkaline water. Does it help with all the things I have heard, like preventing cancer?
Answer: Claims about the benefits of alkaline water include effectiveness in treating heartburn as well as preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease. The theory goes that consuming water with a higher pH will balance the pH of your body, negating the effects of acidifying diets that, according to the theory, lead to a variety of health problems.Read More
Question: Do safflower oil supplements help with weight loss? I have heard they are especially good for reducing belly fat.
Answer: The safflower oil and weight loss story is a great example of what can happen when one small study gets more media attention than it really deserves. The study you’re thinking of, which was covered all over the media and the internet, looked at the effects of safflower oil as well as conjugated linoleic acid (found in animal fats) on body composition and concluded that supplementation may be helpful for weight loss (Norris 2009).
Question: Are purple and red carrots, purple cauliflower and other colorful varieties of vegetables nutritionally the same as the regular vegetables?
Answer: I was recently served a salad of thinly shaved ribbons of purple, red, orange and yellow carrots. It was beautiful, unique and delicious. I’m glad to see these colorful vegetables become more widely available, because it makes cooking and eating that much more interesting. Nutritionally, colorful varieties are both similar and different to the more usual options.
Question: Is millet as nutritious a grain as quinoa? Can I cook it the same way?
Answer: Millet is an “ancient grain” that is increasing in popularity owing to its nutty flavor, chewy texture and good nutrition. While quinoa is very familiar to Americans and seen everywhere from trendy bowls in fast-casual restaurants to pancakes made by home cooks, millet is just being discovered. Actually, most of us do know millet, at least by sight. It is the small, round, yellow grain found in your backyard bird seed.
Question: Is millet as nutritious a grain as quinoa? Can I cook it the same way?Answer: Millet is an “ancient grain” that is increasing in popularity owing to its nutty flavor, chewy texture and good nutrition. While quinoa is very familiar to Americans and seen everywhere from trendy bowls in fast-casual restaurants, to pancakes made by home cooks, millet is just being discovered. Actually, most of us do know millet, at least by sight. It is the small, round, yellow grain found in your backyard bird seed. Read More
Question: What’s your take on raw milk? Is it more nutritious than pasteurized milk? Is it safe?
Answer: In choosing to emphasize whole foods and unprocessed foods (both worthwhile endeavors), some people have embraced the idea that raw, unpasteurized milk is preferable to pasteurized milk. However, you have asked the most important question: Is raw milk safe? In the case of milk, safety should be your biggest consideration.