Nutrition, Videos, Weight loss advice

How Effective is Oatmeal for Weight Loss? (in both High Carb and High Fat Diets)

People generally think of oats as being good for weight loss, but how effective are they really, especially if you’re already eating a high carb low fat diet? In today’s video, I’m talking about 4 scientific studies to figure out how exactly oats affect our weight, both on standard high fat diets and on high carb diets.

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Links mentioned in the video:

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Nutrition, Videos

Studies: Only Some Types of Junkfood Cause Depression: Fast food vs Pastries vs Processed Food (+ Role of Exercise)

Today I’m sharing studies on how diet affects depression, specifically looking at fast food, pastries / baked goods, and processed foods. Only some of these categories actually seem to contribute to depression, whereas others don’t! I also talk about findings showing exercise plays a big role in how these foods contribute to depression. 

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Links mentioned in the video:

  • Patreon
  • Study links: 1 | 2 | 3
    • (you can find the other studies I cite in passing by searching the titles that are shown in the video)

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Nutrition, Videos

Research: The Healthiest Grain for Vegans | 14 Grains, Ranked

In today’s video, I’m answering a question that quite a few of you have asked: what’s the healthiest grain? There is of course no single straightforward answer to that, but I used my scientific expertise from getting my PhD and publishing studies to create a metric that scores grains in terms of how much they help fill in vegans’ micronutrient categories that tend to be lowest (especially wfpb vegans). See the details in the video!

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Nutrient table

GrainMy scoreIronMagnesiumSeleniumZincFiberProtein
Grits / Polenta389717569
Millet439203111113
White rice4610621919
Brown rice565201714710
Bulgur5813253172716
Sorghum70113214131014
Buckwheat768419181515
Barley7781539152212
Quinoa8114359231216
Oats88122428241315
Amaranth10523441820916
Farro138112680211917
Kamut153122588281719
Table: the percent daily value provided by each grain in each category in 200 calories (for average height 5’6″ woman), and my score for each grain. Note that it’s all relative, so it doesn’t matter how tall you are or how much you eat, or anything like that! For the nutrients, the winner in each category is bolded.
Nutrition, Videos

Studies: High Carb vs High Protein Diets for Mood, Depression, and Anxiety | Serotonin + Tryptophan

Today I’m sharing studies on how diet affects your mood, through tryptophan and serotonin. Specifically, I’m talking about how eating a high protein vs high carb diet affects your serotonin levels, and therefore mood, depression, and anxiety! (This is a follow up to my last video on dietary tryptophan & mood)

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Nutrition, Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Vitamin D Can Make You Lose Weight?

Vitamin D is obviously important for our health, but recent research is suggesting it may also affect our weight too. In today’s video, I’m going over a study looking at how vitamin D supplementation affects weight loss, and who it works for!

Here are the two supplements I’ve used & liked, both are vegan vitamin D3:

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Nutrition, Videos

Studies: Foods that improve your mood (+ depression and anxiety symptoms)

Today I’m sharing something a little closer to my personal research interests (given that I’m getting my PhD in psychology/neuroscience): how your diet can affect your mood! In the video I quickly cover tryptophan, the amino acid that has antidepressant-like effects, and go over a study directly looking at how people’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, and overall mood are affected by being put on a high vs low tryptophan diet. 

And the list of high-tryptophan foods from the study is below!

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High-tryptophan foods:

  • Nuts like cashews, walnuts, and almonds
  • Legumes like soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas
  • Seeds like sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower
  • Grains like oats, wheat, rice, and corn

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Nutrition

Which Nut/Seed Butter is the Healthiest? (for Vegan Diets)

There are a LOT of different types of nut & seed butters out there. Peanut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, walnut, sunflower seed, tahini… all with their unique uses.

I got a question on my Instagram asking:

Which nut butter is the healthiest?

First, although there’s no definitive answer to this because of how many factors are involved, I’m answering this based on a few nutrients that are particularly important for vegans (and vegetarians).

Vegan diets, for example, tend to naturally have quite a lot of B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, fiber, etc., so although articles aimed at omnivores might focus on “healthiest” in terms of those types of nutrients, I’ll be looking at nutrients that 1) are most likely to make a difference on a vegan diet, and 2) vary significantly between different nut butters:

  1. Zinc: One of the few nutrients that vegan diets typically provide substantially less of. It’s important for immune functioning, skin health & acne prevention, and digestion, to name just a few things.
  2. Iron: The other main nutrient that vegan diets often get less of. It’s especially important for women to get enough, to avoid anemia.
  3. Magnesium: 50% of the US population is actually magnesium deficient1. Having low magnesium can cause anxiety, poor sleep, muscle twitches, and more. 
  4. Calcium: Although not as pressing of an issue as the media and milk industry would have you believe, low calcium intakes have been linked to osteoporosis.
  5. Vitamin E: Especially important for your brain and nerves! Studies show that people who eat more vitamin E have less damaged white matter in their brain as they age2.

I also included omega 3, fiber, and protein in the table below in case you’re curious!

I’ve bolded the nut/seed butter that wins in each nutrient category, and below I’ll go over which I think are the overall winners.

All of these values assume that each butter is made JUST out of the nut/seed, without any added oils or anything. The amounts below are per 300 calories.

Nut/seed butterZinc (mg)Iron (mg)Calcium (mg)Magnesium (mg)Omega 3 (g)Vitamin E (mg)Protein (g)Fiber (g)
Cashew33.52015900.5102
Hazelnut1.22.2557807.274.5
Sunflower2.62.740167018114.5
Tahini2.34.5215480.208.54.7
Walnut1.51.345734.20.373
Almond1.61.7170136012105
Peanut1.40.8309102.512.54.3
Per 300 calories; values are from the Cronometer.com database

Based on being consistently high across multiple of these nutrients, the winners are…

Tahini and Sunflower Seed Butter

And the runner ups are cashew butter (also high in a lot of things) and walnut butter (for the omega 3).

For a breakdown of how each one stacks up versus the others:

  • Cashew butter: High in zinc, iron, magnesium, and protein
  • Hazelnut: High in vitamin E and fiber
  • Sunflower seed: Very high in vitamin E, high in zinc, iron, magnesium, protein, and fiber
  • Tahini: Very high in iron and calcium, high in zinc and fiber
  • Walnut: Very high in omega 3; in fact it’s the only one that has a substantial amount
  • Almond: High in calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein and fiber
  • Peanut: High in magnesium and protein

If you already know you’re missing a certain nutrient (like iron for example) based on blood tests or diet tracking, then the healthiest nut butter for you is the one that fills in that need the most! And of course, the best nut butter is the one you enjoy the most, since they’re ALL a healthy part of any diet.

Are there any other nut/seed butters you’re curious about?