Food & Nutrition Magazine

food-nutrition-mag-logoBy: Nikki Nies

Are you a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)? AND is the largest American organization of food and nutrition professionals. If so, do you actively read their published Food & Nutrition Magazine? It’s a fantastic, evidence based bi monthly magazine that is created and written by Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDNs) for RDNs.

This magazine has a plethora of information, everything from food related movie reviews to a list of RDN-Approved Desserts to the exploration of the latest food trendsIMG_8456

Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Blog, Stone Soup, is a guest blog written by members of AND. Some of the latest posts include Shaved Carrot and Fennel Salad, how to get ready for National Kiwifruit Day and  Winter Running Essentials.

I’m a huge fan of Food & Nutrition magazine due to their immaculate content, collaborative efforts and last, but not least, their dazzling pictures. If you’re a fan of the magazine, why not try your hand at becoming more involved in the production and creation of the magazine? To pitch a story,  Food & Nutrition Magazine welcomes engaging, dynamic journalism about food and food trends, innovations in research and practice, and explorations of the cultural and social factors that shape Americans’ diets and health.

Photo Credit: Food & Nutrition Magazine

Portfolio Diet

By: Nikki Nies{AE7BD78B-6507-4209-A994-0BCE1D51D5F1}Portfolio-Diet_article

The portfolio diet, created by David J.A. Jenkins, MD, decreases cholesterol levels without any side effects.  The name of the diet derives from the concept of figuratively “investing” in one’s health portfolio.  By investing in the consumption of cholesterol lowering foods, one is ensured of a variety of foods and diversification, just as in a diverse stock portfolio.

Previous diets aim at either cutting out an entire food group, but the portfolio diet looks at the big picture and has 4 key points:

1)   Soy products are consumed in replacement of meat (i.e. soy cold cuts, tofurkey)

2) 3 daily servings of Metamucil; oats and barley are primary source of grains; eggplant and okra are common vegetables consumed

3) replaces butter and margarine with plant sterol enriched margarine (i.e. Benecol, Take Control)

4) Handful of almonds consumed daily

Almonds contain cardio protective monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamin E.  With a daily intake, almonds provide an additional lipid lowering effect.  Soluble fibers, such as oats, prunes, lentils and peas reduce absorption of dietary fat and increase loss of bile acids in feces.  Soluble fiber is found in the form of beta glucans in oats and barley and as pectin in fruits and vegetables.  Total cholesterol levels can be decreased 3-5% if 5-10 g of soluble fibers consumed daily.

health-082511-002-617x411Soy products decreases cholesterol synthesis and increases LDL receptor uptake, with the recommendation of 25 g of soy protein consumed daily.  Phytosterols and stanols compete with cholesterol for absorption and are able to block uptake from gut.

While I was looking at past studies’ evidence regarding the efficacy of the portfolio diet, there was one author I couldn’t get away from.  That name is ‘Jenkins.” As you know, Jenkins is the founder of the portfolio diet and his name is everywhere when it comes to the “research” of this diet.  Without easy access to other researcher’s thoughts on the diet, it makes me question why the research isn’t there.  While Jenkins’ Portfolio diet is not the worst of the worst diets, it’s advertisement of the the vegan diet to reduce chronic disease is questionable.  Extensive studies have proven the positive impact of the adoption of this diet. 7 studies were conducted to assess the effect of the portfolio diet, specifically the consumption of almonds on blood lipid levels in those with hyperlipidemia.  Over a four week period, LDL cholesterol was decreased by 30%, percentage change in LDL: 8.0%, CRP: 0.28; no difference found in blood lipids or CRP between control and experimental group.

Although there is evidence of cholesterol reduction, there have been no studies that have investigated the efficacy of a vegan Portfolio diet on healthy cholesterol levels.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library posed the question “What’s the relationship between a portfolio diet containing almonds and cholesterol levels in patients with hyperlipidemia?”

It went on to share that in six of seven studies (with four time series studies, one positive, one neutral study and one randomized cross study), the intake of almonds was found to reduce LDL cholesterol by 30%.  In addition, a self selected portfolio diet that spanned over one year was found to provide a 12.8±2% decrease in LDL cholesterol.  While these numbers are promising, for a diet that has been around since 2003, there are still no present studies that have looked at the “entire diet”

Photo Credit: Lifescript and Red Orbit

1. Keith M, Kuliszewski MA, Liao C, et al. A modified portfolio diet complements medical management to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in diabetic patients with coronary artery disease. Clinical Nutrition. (0).

2. Phillips F. Natural cholesterol lowering with the portfolio diet.Practice Nurse [serial online]. July 23, 2010;40(2):19-22. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA.

3.  Evidence Analysis Library.  from:

Home Food Safety Program

By: Nikki Nies Home_Food_Safety_logo_color

Food service establishments and restaurants are always under scrutiny for their sanitation and ability to abide by health code regulations.  While this is important, home food safety measures need to be addressed and reviewed as well.  How awful would it be that your party guests develop food poisoning due to undercooked or bad meals.  Or a household unknowingly used spoiled produce for their dinner salads!

These scenarios are the worst of the worst, yet the Home Food Safety Program is a great resource that provides awareness about the serious measures of food poisoning (aka foodborne illnesses) and what role one initiate for optimal food safety! This program is a collaborative effort of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and ConAgra Foods food safety campaign.

For more information, please contact


Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating


DI App Tips

Original Image by Scott Akerman via Flickr
Original Image by Scott Akerman via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies.

In May 2013, I graduated from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science with a Concentration in Dietetics. I recently moved to the greater Chicago area, to complete the combined dietetic internship and Master’s program at Benedictine University.

I technically didn’t start my nutrition career until my junior year of undergrad.  I had originally been a business major and I knew I had a lot of “catch up” to do to be in a position to apply for an internship the following year.

Throughout my internship application, I was eager to learn the ins and outs the nutrition field. There’s a place for everyone in the nutrition industry, part of your job is to find your niche.

During your application process, perhaps these tips can keep you motivated, sane and to remember why you’re applying in the first place!


  • Say yes to every opportunity that falls in your lap! You might not have a writing background, but if your school’s nutrition club is looking for writers, volunteer! Don’t shy away from opportunities that you’re unfamiliar with.  It’s great to show variety in your skillset and that you can and will take the initiative to learn and grow.
  • Find a mentor.  Yes, it’d be helpful if this person was a RD, but it’s more important to find a mentor that you connect and feel comfortable with.  You can learn a lot from anyone if you want to
  • Join at least one Academy Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) or Member Interest Group (MIG).
    • Being a part of AND has a lot of benefits, you’re more likely to connect with fellow RDs and students at a smaller scope.  I joined the Chinese American Nutrition and Dietetics (CADN).  Through this MIG, I’ve connected with fellow Chinese American RDs and students, helped pioneer a mentoring program, organized networking events, wrote for several newsletters and created flashcards for fellow members.
    • Showing an interest in a concentration of dietetics shows long term thinking and gives you a bigger “net.”
  • Have as many quality hands helping you with your applications.  It’s great to varying perspectives and suggestions!
  • Know the program better than the director! Be familiar with what’s shared on the internship’s website, latest news and WHY you want to go there!
  • Have fun! While applying for internships will be stressful, don’t forget why you’re doing it–remember the big picture

Bottom Line: There’s always going to be someone or something that wants to give you advice, stick to who you are and know and you’ll shine!  Good luck to all!



By: Nikki Nies ANDeatrightlogoCMYK

The Board of Director’s recently announced the establishment of the Nutrition and Dietetics Associate (NDA) title. This is fairly recent news.  A breakdown of how this decision was made can be explained by AND’s very detailed explanation provided below:

  • Due to the competitive nature of dietetic internships, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) will recognize the efforts of baccalaureate DPD program graduates with the NDA title.  Annually, there are approximately 2,000 baccalaureate graduates who complete DPD programs, but have not been matched to a dietetic internship.
  • A new ACEND-accredited Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) was created  in January of 2012 for unmatched students, but due to a shortage of preceptors and supervised practice positions to support the ISPP, the implementation of NDA’s is hoped to provide  graduates to the path of RDs, not DTRs has lead us to this present day title addition.
  • Results from the Dietetics Workforce Demand Study, which looked at workforce trends and man power demand emphasized that in the future, students

“will want more assurance that nutrition and dietetics education leads to immediate and sustained employment.”

  • Will  provide NDAs access to needed credible food and nutrition resources and services
  • Ratio of RDs to American population is 1:8,000. NDAs will help bridge the gap, while providing credible, evidence-based food and nutrition information
  • Will connect NDAs with the nutrition and dietetics profession and AND
  • Will elevate NDAs in the marketplace–in comparison to Board Certification in Holistic Nutrition, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Supplement Nutritionist and/or Certified Nutrition Specialist
  • NDA Program participants could provide support for future graduate degree-prepared RDNs
  • Will be able to support and elevate RDNs
  • 81% of survey respondents stated participation in a NDA Program would provide competitive market advantage in the future
  • Will be able to assist in emphasizing overall wellness and prevention to the general public in supermarkets, wellness centers, WIC, the community and/or in school nutrition programs
  • Will help recognize the distinct roles and education of Bachelor’s degree versus DTR credential

The NDA Program named derived from a survey given to nutrition and dietetic students, asking  their impression of various titles and perceived value.  After evaluating the data was collected and voted on, the Board of Directors emerged with the NDA title.

Any questions or concerns about the NDA Program can be directed to: Diane Moore Enos, MPH, RDN, FAND, Vice President, Professional Development and Assessment, at, or 800/877-1600, ext. 4837.

An application for the NDA Program is based on the outcome of the Ad Hoc Task Force report to the Board of Directors, which could be available as early as August 2014.  So, if you’re interested, be on the look out for this application!


Why You Need a RD in Your Life!

Original Image by USDA via Flickr
Original Image by USDA via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

 People are always striving for the latest, greatest weight loss tips.  There’s an exhaustive list of those willing to provide information, but more important willing to “sell” you the information.  One’s health is nothing to take a gamble on and I’m sure you want to receive the best guidance.

When seeking advice from a health professional, it’s best to know his or her credentials and what experience the individual has in counseling.  When you see the credential Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) after someone’s name, you can be certain he or she has gone through adequate training and schooling to be qualified to give nutrition advice.

If you’re unfamiliar with the credential RD or RDN, let’s just go through a quick overview of why you should be consulting a RD:

  • They’re nutrition experts: Using their expertise, they’re able to help people make unique, positive lifestyle changes.  RD’s are easily accessible at hospitals, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, worksite wellness programs, schools, private practice and throughout local communities.
  • Best qualified to provide nutrition education and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for prevention, wellness and disease management
  • Can help reduce hospital doctor’s visits, hospitalization and/or reduced prescription drug coverage by increasing satisfaction levels and productivity
  •  Apply knowledge and practice of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) evidence based Nutrition Practice Guidelines, which are considered the “gold standard” guidelines to adhere to when working with the general public
  • Work as a team with other health care professionals to provide coordinated and cost effective care
  • Have received extensive training through academic, hands on and practical experience.
  • RD certification requires the minimum attainment of a bachelor’s degree, complete an accredited internship program and complete continuing professional education to uphold their competencies and credential
  • MNT provided from 6 months to a year has been contributed to a mean weight loss of up to 10% of body weight for clients
  • Helps lower blood pressure, lipid profiles, and A1C levels through continued counseling

And above all, RDs are working for clients to best meet not only their dietary needs, but to help clients live a healthier lifestyle.


Let No DEED Go Unnoticed


By: Nikki Nies

Trials and tribulations are dealt differently by all.  The method of coping is sometime more obvious to the naked eye.  However, one method of coping, disordered eating and/or eating disorders can lead to adverse effects.  Thankfully, the Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders (DEED), which is a subunit of the Sports, Cardiovascular and Nutrition (SCAN) dietetic practice group (DPG) is available for health professionals caring for disordered eating and eating disordered patients as well as the general public.

The DEED’s goals and statement of purpose are clearly listed on the homepage, at  . Accessing the DEED fact sheets are a great starting point to familiarize yourself with signs of symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, body image, amenorrhea and a description of the role RDs play in the treatment of Eating Disorders.

Don’t hesitate to use the professional and public resources, as well as the treatment providers listed on the website at

The members only section provides additional educational materials and access to the Ask the Doc Forum.  One can ask Dr. Ed Tyson, an eating disorder expert any questions.   Here’s the link

If you’re not a member of SCAN, joining is quick and simple if you’re already a Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) member.  Simply ask to join SCAN, which will gain access to DEED’s resources and contact.

Becoming more involved in DEED can be done by contacting any of three volunteer coordinators: Amanda Kirpitch, MA, RD, LDN, CDE; Sarah Gleason, RD or Gena Wollenberg MS, RD, CSSD


Elucidating Nutrition Credentials

Original Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr
Original Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

When looking for nutrition advice who do you turn to? Do you feel overwhelmed when trying to gain advice from a reputable nutrition expert?  Today I’ve provided an overview on the many nutrition credentials that are available for those in the nutrition field.  Do you currently see a certified nutrition specialist?  Do you know what their credentials after their last name really mean?

Certified Nutrition Specialist
  • Must have master’s degree  in nutrition or doctorate in clinical health care from a regionally credited university
  • Must have spent at least 1000 hours of supervised experience
  • Must pass 4 hour board exams on medical nutrition therapy
  • Credentialed by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists
Certified Nutrition Consultant
  • Must have high school diploma or GED
  • Must complete 11 open book tests over 5 year span
  • Credentialed by the American Association of Nutrition Consultants, which oppose licensure and registration
Certified Health Coach
  • Certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
  • Offers courses that cover 100 dietary theories
  • “Guide and mentor” clients to achieve personal welness goals
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree
  • Requires 900 hour internship
  • Requires 56 hours of online post graduate study in clinical nutrition or a master’s degree in human nutrition
  • Approach diet on an individual basis instead of adhering to standard recommendations
  • Often work in private practices or clinics
  • Credentialed by Clinical Nutrition Certification Board
Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
  • Trained specifically to counsel diabetics on nutrition and exercise
Holistic nutritionist
  • Must have a degree from approved holistic nutrition program
  • 500 hours of professional experience in field
  • don’t necessarily follow government food pyramid guidelines or those promoted by health associations
  • do not practice medical nutrition therapy or diagnose disease
  • Certified by Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board—a division of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals
Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • At least a bachelor’s degree
  • Trained in all aspects of nutrition, food and medical nutrition therapy
  • Have spent at least 1200 hours in a dietetic internship through an accredited program
  • Credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
  • New optional credential for existing RD’s
  • Enhances the RD brand and more accurately reflects to consumers who RDs are and what they do
  • Differentiates credential requirements and highlights that all RDs are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians
  • Communicates broader concept of wellness, including prevention of health conditions beyond MNT

After researching various credentials, it reminded the power of the letters next to someone’s name.  Like many. I always want the best.  What might be the best for me, might not be best guidance for someone else.  I suggest looking into who you want to take nutrition advice from, but most of all do you connect with them?  Helping one with nutrition is an mind and body treatment and you have to feel comfortable with whoever is helping you with the process.