Expert answers to your food and nutrition questions
"Every week, I get asked questions about food, diets and what's what in nutrition. So here I've posted my most practical answers to the most asked questions. Please note that due to the volume of emails and letters I receive, I can't answer individual questions. But if you read the ones here, I hope you'll get good guidance on your own problem. Or at least a starting point! Love you to post a comment at the end if you have alternative ideas. It will all help others."
Food in Focus (24 answers)
- Q. Nutritionists tell us to eat more oily fish. What fish are oily and what is the best way to cook them to preserve their nutrients?
- Q. Do liquorice strips have a laxative effect?
- Q. I don’t eat much bread but do love savoury crackers either as a snack or something to dip with. How healthy are they?
- Q. Is carob better for you than chocolate?
- Q. Is it true that vinegar makes a meal low in GI?
- Q. Are cashew nuts, particularly salted roasted, as nutritionally good for us as walnuts and almonds - I never see them listed in the 'good' nuts to eat?
- Q. Are dried fruits as good for you as fresh fruit? Is there a limit on how much you can eat?
- Q. Are fresh vegetables always better than frozen?
- Q. Are those 'medical honeys' worth it or just marketing?
- Q. Are waxed apples injurous to eat?
- Q. Atkins or more carbs?
- Q. Can you explain how unit pricing works?
- Q. Do all types of salt contain sodium and is any one healthier than others?
- Q. Do herbs give you much in the way of nutrition?
- Q. Do psyllium husks lower cholesterol?
- Q. Does sugar cause hypoglycaemia?
- Q. If nuts are high in fat why do I keep hearing they're good for my heart?
- Q. Is grapeseed oil good for lowering cholesterol, or should I stick to olive and macadamia nut oil?
- Q. Is sugar absorbed more rapidly than starchy foods?
- Q. What is rooibos and is it really free of caffeine?
- Q. What is the difference between Greek yoghurt and natural yoghurt?
- Q. What's better - nuts eaten whole or as spread?
- Q. Which bran is best – wheat bran or oat bran?
- Q: What is permeate and how is it made?
Keeping food safe (8 answers)
- Q. Could you explain how green long-life bags work?
- Q. How come many of the cans in my cupboard have no use-by dates on them?
- Q. I am pregnant and have read a warning for pregnant women about Listeria. What is it?
- Q. I eat a lot of fish for their omega-3 – should I worry about mercury?
- Q. I love making fresh fruit smoothies and was wondering if vitamins degenerate if the smoothie is stored in the fridge for a few days?
- Q. Is it true that the acidophilus in yoghurt is so unstable that it can be destroyed on the short unrefrigerated trip home from the supermarket?
- Q. Which cheeses should I avoid to steer clear of listeria?
- Q. Which is correct? To put hot food in the fridge or to leave it cooling on the bench?
Energy boosters (2 answers)
Feeding kids (18 answers)
- Q. Our kids have so many activities after school it’s hard for us all to eat together. Does this matter?
- Q. Why do my kids love fast food?
- Q. Are energy drinks safe for kids to drink?
- Q. Do canned baby foods retain their vitamins?
- Q. Does salt or sugar damage a baby's liver?
- Q. Goat's milk, soy milk or cow's milk - how do they compare nutritionally?
- Q. How do I get my kids to eat vegetables?
- Q. How often should my teenage kids eat fast food?
- Q. Is there a limit of omega-3 a young child should consume?
- Q. My child won't eat breakfast. What do I do?
- Q. My daughter has become vegetarian. What foods do I need to make sure I include in her diet?
- Q. Should children drink low-fat or full-fat milk?
- Q. We hear about childhood obesity all the time. Should kids switch to lite milks as it seems they still have all the calcium etc they need?
- Q. What are some healthy dessert ideas for toddlers?
- Q. What are some high fibre foods that are appealing to small children?
- Q. What do the “May contain traces” statements mean on food and can my allergic child have them?
- Q. When can I introduce normal family foods to children?
- Q. Why do kids refuse to eat vegies?
Additives & food labels (1 answers)
Nutrients you need (17 answers)
- Q. Do carbohydrates affect our blood sugar differently? Is sugar absorbed more rapidly than starch
- Q. How useful are zinc lozenges for stopping colds?
- Q. I know vitamin D is made by the sun but what does it do as a vitamin? What foods will I find it in?
- Q. I’ve seen eggs for sale with lutein added. Do I need lutein and are eggs the best way to get it?
- Q. Should I take a B12 supplement if I'm vegetarian?
- Q. Do I need to take lutein and are eggs the best way to get it?
- Q. I've heard iodine is so important they're adding it to bread. Why?
- Q. Is the body unable to absorb calcium without fat?
- Q. I’ve heard about selenium but don‘t know much about it. What does it do in the body?
- Q. I’ve seen DHA listed on food labels. What is it and where do I find it?
- Q. To avoid mercury, which are the best types of fish to buy?
- Q. What do I need vitamin B12 for and where do I find it?
- Q. What does potassium do in the body?
- Q. What is chromium and why do we need it?
- Q. What’s magnesium and where do you get it?
- Q. Why do we need vitamin K for healthy blood?
- Q. Would you recommend taking a women's vitamin supplement?
Drinks (10 answers)
- Q Are sports drinks the best thing to drink if you want to rehydrate in hot weather?
- Q. Is red wine actually good for you?
- Q. Are there any hangover cures that actually work?
- Q. Can I eat grapes or grape juice to get the benefits of the antioxidants in red wine?
- Q. Do I really need a sports water when I exercise?
- Q. How do they make decaf tea? Is it full of chemicals?
- Q. How does eating a fresh fruit, such as an orange, compare to drinking the juice after squeezing by hand?
- Q. If you don't drink wine, can you get the same antioxidants from purple grapes or dark grape juice?
- Q. Soda water and mineral water: what's the difference?
- Q. What's the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero?