Spelt Pasta, Weight Loss Supplements, and Omega-3 Eggs

Q: Is spelt pasta really the most nutritious?
Q: I’ve noticed that many weight loss supplements are endorsed by physicians or other scientific experts. If these claims are made in an advertisement, is the product safe?
Q: Do eggs that are high in omega-3 fat provide the same healthy fat found in fish?


Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Is spelt pasta really the most nutritious?
A: Spelt is one of the earliest cultivated varieties of wheat, a slightly different type of grain from the wheat most commonly used today. As with regular wheat pasta, spelt pasta is available in whole-grain and refined varieties. Whole-grain spelt pasta has calorie, carbohydrate, fat and protein content similar to regular whole-grain pasta. Although whole-grain spelt contains more dietary fiber than refined types of spelt or traditional pasta, it does not necessarily offer more fiber than regular whole-wheat pasta. Spelt pasta is a nutritious way to add interest and variety to your meals, but it is also more expensive than regular or whole-wheat pasta. In terms of nutrition and lower disease risk – cancer risk in particular – the type of whole grain you choose matters less. The important message is that you include at least three servings of whole grains throughout the day.

Q: I’ve noticed that many weight loss supplements are endorsed by physicians or other scientific experts. If these claims are made in an advertisement, is the product safe?
A: Not necessarily. These endorsements don’t mean that the expert recommending the product is expressing a universally accepted view that is supported by his peers or based on sound scientific research. Moreover, oftentimes “experts” are financially compensated for their endorsements. In addition, support for a product based on one isolated study or one individual’s experience is not a reliable basis for action. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that consumers seeking weight loss are spending billions of dollars on products and services that are not effective and may even pose health dangers. In the end, regular exercise, portion control and balanced food choices are the true “secrets” of successful weight control.

Q: Do eggs that are high in omega-3 fat provide the same healthy fat found in fish?

A: Egg producers can alter the type of fat found in their eggs by changing the type of fat that their chickens are fed. Several brands of eggs are available from hens given a diet that includes ground flaxseed, a source of omega-3 fat. Amounts vary between producers, but compared to a traditional egg that has essentially no omega-3 fat, these eggs may each have from 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) of omega-3 fat per egg. As a reference, the omega-3 content of a three-ounce portion of fish considered high in omega-3 fat (namely trout, sea bass and sockeye salmon) can range from 800 to over 1000 mg. A double serving of eggs that provide the upper range of omega-3 content would be roughly the equivalent of one serving of these fish. A cautionary note to those sensitive to cholesterol: Two eggs contain from 370 to 450 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol – more than is recommended for a whole day.

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research www.aicr.org

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