Nutrition Tidbits

Fiber's Effect on Insulin

Insulin (mu/l)
Apples 23
Apple Puree 32
Apple Juice 44
Mean serum insulin levels after 30 minutes of ingestion 60g of carbohydrates as apples, apple puree, and apple juice. (Heaton, 1978)
Insulin (mu/l)
High Fiber Meal 28
Low Fiber Liquid Formula 80
Mean serum insulin levels after 30 minutes of ingestion 75g of carbohydrates as a high fiber meal or a low fiber liquid. (Albrink, 1979)

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, cress, kohlrabi, and bok choy. In addition to providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they also contain natural cancer-preventive compounds including:

  • Sulforaphane
    • especially high in broccoli
    • may decrease diabetic conditions
  • Indole-3-Carbinol (I-3-C)
    • Converts to Diindolylmethane after digestion
    • may decrease atherosclerosis and breast cancer
    • binds with estrogen receptors (Auborn et al. 2003)
  • Selenium


Red Wine

Resveratrol is a compound (C-14, H-12, O-3) linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease and cancer, and is thought to activate sirtuin and the SIRT-1 gene. Resveratrol is found in some plants (eg: knotweed), fruits (eg: mulberry), and seeds (eg: peanut) and especially in the skin of grapes and certain grape-derived products (eg: red wine).

The health benefits of wine, including lower LDL and its antioxidant properties are greater when the skin of grapes makes contact with seeds for at least 3 weeks. Unfortunately, for many wines this time is less than a week. Greater resveratrol is typically found in grapes that are (1) smaller, (2) have more seeds, (3) grows in cooler climate. Interestingly, muscadine grapes grown in southeast United States has several times more resveratrol than wine.


Beverage Cola Cocoa Coffee (strong) Coffee (weak) Tea (strong) Tea (weak)
mg per serving 43-75 10-17 200 80 80 50

Cholesterol Lowering Effect of Foods

High-fiber diets


  • plant sterols and stanols, found in some vegetable oils, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • 2 grams/day can lower LDL by as much as 15%

Omega-3 fatty acids

Dark Chocolate


Dark Chocolate is rich in flavonols and catechins which may:

  • lower blood pressure
  • increase HDL
  • lower LDL



  • Some yogurt contains live active cultures
  • Probiotics are found in foods and dietary supplements that contain good bacteria:
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus
    • Enterococcus
    • Bifidobacterium
  • Health benefits
    • Prevention of common gastrointestinal tract problems
    • May help those with irritable bowel syndrome, crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis
    • Help prevent bad bacteria from attaching to intestinal wall and entering the bloodstream
    • Fewer vaginal infections
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and immunosuppressed patients should check with their physician before consuming probiotics.
  • Other probiotic foods include kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, kombucha, tempeh, and poi.

Milk & Exposure to Light

Milk loses about 80% of its Riboflavin in 2 hours with direct exposure to light (sunlight or florescent light). All or nearly all of milk's ascorbic acid is destroyed after a 30 minutes exposure. Whey proteins (composed of amino acids containing sulfur) degrade producing “sunlight” flavors (reminiscent burnt hair) lasting for 2-3 days. Unsaturated fatty acids in milk become oxidized, producing malodorous carbonyl compounds (tasting metallic or cardboardy) and do not dissipate.

Holmes AD & Jones CP, 1944Choe E, Huang R & Min DB, 2004

Dietary Estrogens (Phytoestrogens)


Phytoestrogens, or natural estrogens, mimic steroidal estrogens and offer health benefits, unlike synthetic hormone disrupters, eg: Bisphenol A.

  • Isoflavones
    • genistein, daidzein, equiol puerarin, caoumestrol, glycitein, biochanins
    • from soy, legumes, peas, clover, alfalfa, kudzu
  • Lignans
    • matairesinol, pinoresinal, secoisolariciresinol
    • especially from whole grains: flaxseed, rye, wheat
    • also wheat germ, barley, hops, rye, rice, beans, oats, and sea vegetables
  • Certain flavonoids
    • rutin, naringenine, luteoline, resveratrol, quercetin
    • especially from citrus fruits and grapes
    • also apple, pear, cherry, carrot, fennel, onion, garlic, sunflower seed, flax, vegetable oils (including flax and olive)

Murkies AL, Wilcox G, Davis SR. Phytoestrogens. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998; 83: 297-303


Soy Protein Foods

  • Soy protein foods can decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Includes tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamame, and other soy protein products
  • Contain phytoestrogens which help prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
    • Conditions such as the soil in which the produce grows may influence the levels of phytoestrogens.
  • For those with hypothyroidism, soy may bind with thyroid medication, thus lowering adsorption.
    • Soy foods or supplements may be taken at different time of day.

Our Evolutionary Diets

73% hunter-gatherer societies derived 56–65% of calories from animal food. 14% of these societies derived 56–65% calories from gathered plant foods.

  • Protein: 19–35% of calories
  • Carbohydrate: 22–40% of calories

Cordain L, Miller JB, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SH, Speth JD (2000). Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 71:682–92.

Vitamins / Minerals Our Evolutionary Diets RDA* Current Intakes*
A (retinal equivalent) 17.2 4.8 - 6.0 7.02 - 8.48
Beta carotene (mg) 5.56 - 2.00 - 2.57
E (mg) 32.8 8 -10 7 - 10
B1 (mg) 3.91 1.1 - 1.5 1.08 - 1.75
B2 (mg) 6.49 1.3 - 1.7 1.34 - 2.08
Folic acid (mcg) 357 400 149 - 205
C (mg) 604 60 77 - 109
Calcium (mg) 1956 800 - 1200 500 - 720
Iron (mg) 87.4 10 - 15 9 - 11
Potassium (mg) 10,500 3500 2500
Sodium (mg) 768 500 - 2000 4000 - 20,000
Zinc (mg) 43.4 12 - 15 10 - 15
Fiber (g) 100 - 150 20 - 35 10 - 20

*Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council: Recommended Dietary Allowances, 1999

Rob Dunn, Biologist in the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University

...for most of the last twenty million years of the evolution of our bodies, through most of the big changes, we were eating fruit, nuts, leaves and the occasional bit of insect, frog, bird or mouse. And so while, some of us might do well with milk , some might do better than others with starch and some might do better or worse with alcohol, we all have the basic machinery to get fruity or nutty without trouble.

Dunn, R. Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians. Scientific American, 23 July 2012

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