Covid and Fish Oil?

Salmon and vegetables on a dinner plate
Salmon and other seafood types are one of the best foods for protein.(Photo by cattalin on

Covid-19 News

Still worried about COVID? Eating more oily fish may protect you

March 17, 2023

by Shyla Cadogan

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Oily fish are a part of many healthy diets, mainly because of the omega-3 fatty acids they carry. Studies show they have the ability to boost brain health and may even reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, there’s even more reason to add salmon or sardines to your diet. Scientists report that omega-3 fatty acids can also help protect against severe cases of COVID-19.

A team of researchers from the Fatty Acid Research Institute and the University of South Dakota designed a study that compared the risk for three COVID-19 scenarios: testing positive, hospitalization, and death as a function of baseline plasma DHA levels. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid, which is abundant in fish like salmon. EPA is another fatty acid also found in oily fish. The team examined the implications of adding both to someone’s diet.

They measured the percent of total fatty acids (DHA levels) using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and converted them into an Omega-3 Index, which includes the percentages of red blood cell EPA and DHA for actual analysis. Their work included information from a sample of 110,584 people (COVID hospitalizations and deaths), as well as 26,595 individuals with just a positive test result, pulled from the UK Biobank. The outcomes were assessed from January 2020 to March 2021.

High omega-3 levels cut down COVID risk by a fifth

After fully adjusting their models to account for other variables that could affect the results, the team found that those with the highest omega-3 index were 21 percent less likely to test positive for COVID than those with the lowest levels. The risk for a positive test was actually eight percent lower for every standard deviation increase in plasma DHA percentage. Additionally, patients with the highest omega-3 index were 26 percent less likely to need hospitalization than those with the lowest.

Among patients who died of COVID-19, trends weren’t as significant. Risk of severe infection was lower in those with the second highest omega-3 index. In the highest bracket, the risk reduction was actually minimal and statistically insignificant.

Sardines packaged on ice
(Photo by Harris Vo on Unsplash)

“This study confirms previous findings that low omega-3 status is associated with increased risk for hospitalization with COVID-19. We extended these findings by also showing reduced risk for testing positive with the infection and by providing evidence that the risk for death may also be reduced,” says Dr. William S. Harris, President of Fatty Acid Research Institute, in a media release. “Furthermore, we identified the Omega-3 Index levels associated with the least and greatest protection from COVID-19. Altogether these results support the practice of increasing consumption of oily fish like salmon or omega-3 fish oil supplements as a potential risk reduction strategy when it comes to COVID-19.”

Certain countries enjoy even great protection

The team adds that there seems to be a global pattern as well, as found in previous work. South Korea and Japan have both reported very low severity of COVID-19. Although these countries are very diligent about masking, social distancing, and other spread mitigation practices, there is a fascinating connection between Omega-3 Index values of healthy South Korean and Japanese individuals and COVID-19 outcomes. In these nations, indexes are about 8-12 percent and 7-11 percent respectively, which is significantly higher than the 4-5 percent in Western countries like the United States.

“A worldwide pattern linking higher omega-3 fatty acid intakes with lower rates of death with COVID-19 was documented by Vivar-Sierra et al. Although only suggestive, this observation adds further support for a potential role of omega-3s EPA and DHA in the prevention of fatal COVID-19 disease,” the study authors report.

These findings back the notion that including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is essential for a well-rounded, healthy diet. However, they also show that by possibly reducing severe infections from COVID-19, there may be even more of an incentive to getting enough in your daily diet.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19 symptoms, fish oil, oily fish, omega-3

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About the Author

Shyla Cadogan

Shyla Cadogan is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science. She is on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian, with next steps being completion of a dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center where she currently is gaining experience with various populations and areas of medical nutrition such as Pediatrics, Oncology, GI surgery, and liver and renal transplant. Shyla also has extensive research experience in food composition analysis and food resource management.

Mediterranean Diet and Dementia?

“There are around 50 million dementia cases globally, with around 10 million new cases discovered by doctors every year. Alzheimer’s disease makes up 50 to 70 percent of those cases. Its development and progression have links with both genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle.”

The Mediterranean Diet scores have high marks again when assessed for dietary effects on dementia.

The American Plate: 1910’s

The Supermarket

A Hungry Nation on the Move

The decade reflected high living, high prices, the introduction of income taxes, women’s suffrage, World War 1, an influenza pandemic that killed between 20 million and 50 million people and prohibition. “Secretary of State Williams Jennings Bryan, a Prohibitionist, served grape juice instead of wine at a 1913 dinner for the British ambassador. By 1919, the Temperance League had won out and the sale and distribution of alcohol was banned. In 1920, saloons were shuttered, and distilleries closed.”

Cooking For Health???

Coca Cola had entered the food market in 1910; at the same time, Nathan franks entered the culture that now included, railroads with deluxe dining, grocery stores, frozen foods and refrigerators.

By 1912 an organic substance (later named vitamin) is discovered by American chemist, Casimer Funk. 

In 1894, the USDA published its first food recommendations through a Farmers’ Bulletin, suggesting diets for males based on content of protein, carbohydrate, fat and mineral matter. In 1916, Caroline Hunt, a nutritionist, wrote the first USDA food guide, Food for Young Children. Milk and meat, cereals, vegetables and fruits, fats and fatty foods, and sugars and sugary foods made up five food groups. Then How to Select Foods addressed recommendations for the general public based on those five food groups in 1917. (Can you believe the fat and sugary foods groups ???

Crisco Sandwich? 

“Proctor and Gamble introduced Crisco, the first solid vegetable shortening. The product is hard to sell to women who had been taught to cook with lard and/or butter. To promote its produce, the manufacturer suggested glazing sweet potatoes with brown sugar and Crisco and spreading sandwiches with Crisco mixed with an egg yolk.” YUM!!!

Convenience: Self-service Grocery Stores

In 1912, change began to replace the grocery store with self-service “supermarkets”.  Previously, a shopper would hand a list to the clerk to retrieve the items from shelves behind the counter – a time-consuming process. George Hartford established the first Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. which he called the A&P “Economy Store”. A clerk still took the orders, but the store did not offer credit or delivery and saved costs with lower prices. In Memphis, Clarence Saunders continued the trend in 1916 when he began the Piggly Wiggly chain. Customers followed a serpentine route past all 600-plus items on shelves (a huge selection for the time) but there were still long lines. Still, this process began the key factors  in the emergence of distinctive packaging, advertising, and brand recognition. Everything from pasta to tamales went into cans, the technology for electric refrigeration was developed, and the frozen-food industry got its start.

People Were Talking About….

Clarence Birdseye, who after spending a winter in Newfoundland, noticed that fish caught and left in the frigid air froze immediately and tasted good after being thawed and cooked. This inspired him to pioneer the commercial frozen food industry.

George Washington Carver and the 300-plus products he developed based on peanuts and the 118 products based on sweet potatoes. His research gave southern farmers ruined by boll weevil infestations a reason to plant crops other than cotton.

Luther Burbank and his 12-volume work, Luther Burbank: His Methods and Discoveries and Their Practical Applications. Burbank’s  extensive cross-breeding of plants led to the development of the Burbank,  or russet potato, which would make Idaho famous.

Household Appliances

This decade was the era of household appliances.  “Middle-class households were used to having at least one live-in servant. As household help began to leave for better jobs, housewives had to do for themselves – a monumental task. For example, the laundry which was a two-day affair. The arrival of mechanical help is heaven sent. An item as mundane as a porcelain range – no more blackening, no more polishing removed one two-hour chore. By 1911 electric chafing dishes, skillets, grills, toasters, percolators, waffle irons, and stand-up mixers were introduced along with the very welcomed electric ranges, and basic refrigerators, invented in 1915.”

Must have been a very Merry Christmas for these ladies!

The Obesity Pandemic: A ReBlog

The Obesity/Diabesity Pandemic

Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of  type 2 diabetes mellitus, so much so that the epidemic is often called diabesity. It has been described as one of the most important crises that has invaded our public health system.

Global Statistics,  Source: Lancet

  • Since 1980, the number of adults with diabetes worldwide has quadrupled from 108 million to 422 million in 2014.
  • Diabetes is fast becoming a major problem in low and middle-income countries.
  • From 1980 to 2014, the prevalence of diabetes more than doubles for men in India and China.
  • Half of adults worldwide with diabetes in 2014 lived in five countries: China, India, USA, Brazil and Indonesia.

So what are some solutions?  

The standard American diet is in much need of an overhaul and our national food systems need to change if we wish to reverse or at least slow down this trend. Many say that it would take the same determination as the campaigns to change behaviors that were utilized during the campaigns against smoking. .

Prevention awareness should be first on the front lines of treating the people with prediabetes that can often be reversible using lifestyle modifications. There are already some prevention models in the community; however, these should be expanded so that they become more easily accessible to more people. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) uses intensive behavioral therapy to help people lose a little bit of weight (typically 5-10%). When this program is followed, the number of people progressing to have diabetes comes down by more than half. In people over 60, the reduction was 70%.

Nutrition education should be incorporated into the school system in the early years to help young children understand the importance of knowing where our food comes from and why nutritious foods are the best choice. They can be taught about balanced eating, calories, reading labels and grocery shopping. Nutrition education can also be offered at the middle and high schools levels by returning to a revamped and modernized home economics course in the curriculum. 

A lingering problem has existed for many primary care physicians for many years in that they say they were never adequately prepared in nutrition principles in medical schools. In a survey of family physicians (2009), two thirds said that dealing with extremely obese patients is “frustrating “and one-half said treatments are often ineffective. This is reflected by a lack off obesity training.

Shockingly, another survey in 2010 of 140 doctors revealed that nearly one-third were not even familiar with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) prediabetes guidelines. Only 6 percent were able to identify all 11 risk factors and on average, the doctors could only identify just eight of the warning signs. Only 17 percent knew the correct laboratory values for blood glucose and only 11 percent said they would refer a patient to a behavioral weight loss program..

There should be an increased access to professional treatments. Medical professionals not trained in obesity management should refer their patients to outside providers such as dietitians, exercise trainers, behavior therapists, psychologists, or a new concept of health coaches. These providers should be trained, certified, and credentialed to protect the public from unscrupulous treatments and to provide quality care. Reimbursement of qualified health professionals needs to be enhanced to keep. Otherwise patient volume high and they lessen out-of-pocket expenses.

We have become a nation of non-cooks and prefer to have our meals prepared by someone else. Encourage home cooking and home kit meals to help to counter using fast foods and packaged highly processed meals loaded with calories, fat, sugar and salt.

Educate the public on food labeling including ingredient lists. Beware of food companies that promote products with a “health halo” meaning exaggerated claims are made that appear to make unhealthy foods seem healthy because of an added nutrient or ingredient. Corporations also mislead consumers with their labeling so they include four different types of sugar to keep sugar from being listed as the first ingredient. This is misleading to the consumer when attempting to make wise food choices.

Stop corporate-government partnerships and diminish lobbying.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is funded by myriad food companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s. The dairy industry has a long history of influencing the food pyramid and Dietary Guidelines. A good example is the placing of a glass of milk on the MyPlate Logo.

Another health organization guilty of taking in millions from food companies is the American Heart Association. They offer a “Heart – Check logo for a price: $5, 490 to $7,500 that is renewable for another fee annually. The product has to be low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to gain this “honor.” However, some products such as Boar’s Head processed meats have the logo and still may still contain high levels of sodium. If the AHA were sincere in their efforts to help consumers choose healthier foods to rein in obesity/diabetes, they would realize that research has shown that a 1.8 oz. daily serving of processed meat raised the risk of diabetes by 19 percent and heart disease by 42 percent. Most current dietary recommendations emphasize a reduction in processed meats (my emphasis).

There is bad news on rising obesity rates – read about them HERE.

It will take a concerted effort from government, politics, industry, communities, and consumers and the perpetrators of our obesigenic culture to begin to change this trend.

Why do some people get Covid more severely than others?

COVID-19 strikes with alarming inconsistency. Most recover quickly while others die. The disease devastates some communities and spares others. Understanding why and how COVID-19 preys on some and not others is essential to limiting its spread and mitigating its impact.

Prevention, averting, detecting, and restricting disease, is always better than even the most effective treatment. In the first place, We need answers to verify the findings of any new promising study.

Ever wonder why some places on the globe suffer from the virus so differently than others? Can the Blue Zones populations give us some answers?

Can Ultraprocessed Food Contribute to Dementia?

 Is Eating Fast Food a Dementia Risk? 

The health risks of eating ultraprocessed foods —including sausages and burgers as well as pizza and ice cream — are well documented. They have been shown to raise the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cancer among other ailments. ( 

In a new study, researchers followed more than 10,000 Brazilians with an average age of 51 for more than 10 years. They found that people who consumed more than 20% of their daily calories from ultra processed foods had a 28% faster cognitive decline compared with those whose intake was less than 20%.  Unfortunately, that 20% is not a high threshold: just 400 calories out of the 2000 calorie diet. And most Americans are well over that, getting on average a whopping 58% of their calories from ultraprocessed foods.

 “The sample size is substantial and the followup extensive,” says Dr. David Katz, a nutrition specialist who was not involved in the study. While short of proof, this is robust enough that we should conclude ultraprocessed foods are probably bad for our brains,” 

Source: The Week. December 23, 2022, Volume 22, Issue 110.

Hail to the Caesar Salad

Hail to the Caesar Salad!! Adapted from Jeffrey C. Pommerville Alcamo’s Fundamentals of Microbiology, Eighth Edition.

For history buffs, the first Caesar salad is reported to have evolved on July 4, 1924, in the mind of Caesar Cardini, the proprietor of a restaurant (Caesar’s Restaurant) in Tijuana, Mexico. Cardini was desparate for a fill-in during a paraticular busy day, so he threw together some Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, lemon, garlic oil and raw eggs. ‘’

“Over the years the reputations of the salad and its inventor grew. The highlight of the preparation of the salad was at table side. However, a problem had existed for years – the raw eggs. They are used for adding creaminess to the dressing. Raw eggs had contributed to many sauces, e.g. Hollandaise Sauce without a problem and eating raw eggs had been considered to contribute protein to muscle bound young men. However, the problem became serious when eggs were omitted from the recipes due to reports of Salmonella infections that were traced to them and nothing else contributed to that wonderful quality of creaminess.”

The problem became a debate among Caesar salad connoisseurs – many felt that a Caesar salad is not really truly up to par unless the raw egg was present.

Now we have the choice of using pasteurized raw eggs that involves heating eggs in hot water or a microwave oven, then maintaining them at 134 degrees F in a hot air oven for one hour. This procedure has been shown to disable the Salmonella. Better yet is to use commercially produced pasteurized eggs, however, they are often hard to find and should be found in those eggs that meet the standards for egg pasteurization by the FDA. Until then you cannot find it safe to test the cookie dough, have eggs over easy or enjoy Caesar Salad the way it was meant to be.”

Four Surprising Foods That Can Give You Food Poisoning

Source: Partly Adapted from:

Bottom Line’s Breakthroughs in Health and Healing
Robert B. Gravani, PhD, CFS, is professor emeritus of food science at Cornell University, Ithica, New York. He is past president of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Fact Checked by Sally Feltner, PhD, MS, Publisher Food Facts and Fads

How can food make us sick? Food-borne illness is any illness that is related to the consumption of food or contaminants or toxins in food. The harm caused by contaminants in the food supply can occur where it is grown or produced, during processing, storage, or even in the home kitchen. The harm caused depends on the type of toxin, the dose, the length of time over which it is consumed, and the size and health status of the consumer. The more we know about how to prevent these illnesses, the better and food safety becomes imperative and even life-saving.

You may have become familiar with the following rules of food safety. For example: True or False?

Freezing causes most bacteria to cease multiplying, but does not kill them.
Smell is not a foolproof indicator of contamination. Bacteria that most commonly cause food-borne illnesses may not change the smell, taste, or appearance of foods.

Both of these statements are true. However, there may be other food safety practices to follow that are not as familiar for self protection.

  1. Melons and other fruits with thick skin (cantaloupe, mango, papaya and avocado. The risk for illness may occur as you cut into the fruit that can transfer the bacteria from the skin to the flesh. There have been several outbreaks blamed on cantaloupe. What to do? Wash fruits using water and a brush to get at nooks and crannies – soap is not necessary.
  1. Raw flour – who likes cookie dough or cake batter off the spoon? “Recently, there were dozens of the people in the U.S. that became ill by eating raw dough from flour contaminated with the E. coli bacterium. About 10 million pounds of flour were recalled because of these outbreaks.

3 .”Cooked packaged Meat A GENERAL RULE – TOSS ANYTHING THAT REMAINS FIVE DAYS AFTER YOU OPENED THE PACKAGE. For unopened packages, use the “Best Buy” date as a rule of thumb of when to toss.

Note: A bacteria called Listeria is particularly dangerous for any one with a compromised immune system (diabetes or cancer) or pregnant women. To be extra careful, heat deli meats and smoked food until they are steaming. Listeria is a troublesome bacteria in that it can grow on equipment in the kitchen and at refrigerator temps. Keep your fridge at less than 40 degrees F,

For rare or even medium-rare hamburgers a reliable meat thermometer should register greater than 160 degrees F. Also avoid burgers that appear pinkish – they are not fully cooked. Ground Meats especially should be cooked until there is no red seen and the juices run clear.

4.”Bagged Salad Greens have been the cause of many outbreaks – especially romaine lettuce for some reason? It is best to buy the whole head of lettuce and rinse thoroughly. No need for soap, but dry and refrigerate.”
Organic may make no difference. Look for brands that claim that it is harvested by “hands-free cultivation and appears to be locally grown. This may be the best – however, sometimes contamination occurs in the field that has been invaded by animals (prone to carry E. coli). Sprouts of any kind should not be eaten raw. If you see some on your salad or sandwich, politely discard them.

Does Calorie restriction affect immmune system response?


Can food restriction affect immune health?

 A new study says yes. Research reported in the journal Science investigated the relationship of eating fewer calories, immune response, and inflammation.

“The body makes both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds, both called prostaglandins, so the body can ramp up an inflammatory response if it needs to, and also dial it back in order to not “burn down the house. If you have too high of an inflammatory response, you have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and so on.”

Mark Bittman, David L. Katz MD. How to Eat: All Your Food Questions Answered.

Some undifferentiated cells from the bone marrow, proceed to the thymus gland to become T cells (T stands for thymus). The thymus is large at birth and increases until puberty, when it begins to shrink. Mature T cells become immunocompetent  (educated) meaning they colonize in the lymph nodes, spleen, and tonsils where potential interactions can occur with pathogens and other immune cells.

With aging, the thymus gland accumulates fat that interferes with thymus function.  Fewer T cells are produced; thus immune function decreases.  

Study participants restricted their caloric intake about 14% for two years. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) less thymus fat accumulated compared to a control group with no caloric restriction. Although no changes of gene expression were detected in the T cells DNA; however changes in the fat tissue showed that expression that encodes a protein involved with inflammation was inhibited by the calorie restriction.

Editor’s Note: “Moderately decreased food intake that does not cause malnutrition has beneficial effects on health span and lifespan in model organisms.” The authors stated.

Science. 2002 Feb 11;375(6581):671-677.

Tricks for Weight Loss?

Foods You Can Eat Without Gaining Weight

These healthy options are light on calories and fat, plus they fill you up

Healthy lettuce wraps with grilled cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes. Top view over a dark slate background. Plant-based diet concept.


Stephanie Watson,


January 20, 2023

Cutting is critical when you’re trying to lose weight. You cut calories. You cut fat. Basically, anything that’s crammed with carbs, sweetened with sugar or dipped in a deep fryer is suddenly off-limits.

But dieting doesn’t have to require deprivation. Many delicious (and healthy) foods can still be part of your dining repertoire. Some members of the produce family are so light in calories and fat that you can eat them with (relative) abandon.

Vegetable love

The one category of foods that you can eat loads of without suffering the consequences of weight gain are nonstarchy vegetables, says Alexis Supan, an outpatient dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine. “Mostly any vegetable besides potato, corn and peas, you can eat endlessly,” she says.

ripe grapefruit slices, closeup

domnicky/Getty Images

10 healthy foods you can eat without gaining weight

Indulge in these to your heart’s content, along with a balanced diet.

  1. Celery
  2. Lettuce
  3. Watermelon
  4. Broccoli and cauliflower
  5. Grapefruit
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  8. Kiwi
  9. Carrots
  10. Spinach and kale

A cup of chopped broccoli or a grilled portobello mushroom contains just 30 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. You can chow down on two entire cups of lettuce and consume less than 16 calories. Because of its high water content, a whole tomato has a mere 22 calories. Cauliflower, kale, carrots and sprouts are similarly nutrient-dense and light in calories.

These produce mainstays bring a few other things to the table. “What makes them so incredible and so beneficial for weight maintenance and weight loss is they are high in macronutrients [such as carbohydrates] and micronutrients [vitamins and minerals]. And they’re rich in fiber,” says Beata Rydyger, a registered nutritionist based in Los Angeles. Fiber keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which helps you avoid sudden attacks of the munchies that might otherwise make you crave junk foods.

If vegetables aren’t your favorite foods, you might be thinking how unappealing this way of eating sounds. But there are ways to spice up your veggies to make them more palatable.

Roast them in olive oil spray, then add a blend of garlic and other herbs and spices, Supan suggests. If you love dip, which tends to be high in fat, use salsa instead to add even more vegetables into the mix. Or blend a ranch flavor packet into plain Greek yogurt. “Now you have a really high-protein, very healthy dip that you can use along with your vegetables,” she says.

What about fruit?

Fruits are a different story. With most of them, you don’t want to go overboard. “Grapes are a perfect example. A lot of people love to snack on grapes and could eat the whole bag in an afternoon without really thinking about it. But grapes are a high-sugar food,” Supan cautions. “Keeping most fruits to a cup-and-a-half for the day is a good goal to have.”

The exceptions are berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries), kiwi and grapefruit. These fruits are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index — which means they won’t boost your blood sugar too much. Just be careful before eating grapefruit to make sure it doesn’t interact with any medications (such as statins) you take. And don’t load it up with sugar to make it taste sweeter.

Filling up the healthy way

If you’re looking for all-you-can-eat foods, it may be worth revisiting your entire diet to make sure it’s satisfying. “When people eat the right meals throughout the day, that tends to fill them up much more, and they don’t have that constant hunger,” Supan says.

Many other foods pack a powerful nutritional punch for their calorie count. Examples are healthy proteins such as fish, chicken, tofu or beans, which should be part of each meal. You also want to add healthy fats from nuts and olive oil, vegetables and whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice to your meals. “These foods will create satiety, and you can go longer without feeling that urge to snack, so you won’t overindulge,” Rydyger says.

Snacking on other high-protein, high-fiber foods will help to hold you over until dinnertime. A can of tuna, an apple with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter, a handful of nuts, a cup of plain air-popped popcorn, a half-cup of cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg all make excellent options. Though they do contain calories, they’re high in protein, so you won’t be tempted to overeat at your next meal.

Drinking a glass of water or having a cup of bone broth (which contains protein in the form of collagen) might also help fill you up before a meal

Revamping your diet

When you’re used to eating a certain way, making large-scale changes to your diet can feel overwhelming. “That’s why I recommend for clients to start very slow. Make a few swaps each week, and see if that works. Maybe add one vegetable into a meal once a day,” Rydyger suggests. “Starting very small and building your way toward a lifestyle change is important.”

When it comes to dieting, the aim is not “How low can you go?” Your body needs calories for energy. Try to focus less on the numbers and more on the overall quality of your diet. The most important thing is to eat whole foods — ones that aren’t processed in a factory

Eating nothing but low-calorie foods could rob your body of the nutrients it needs, such as the calcium that keeps your bones strong. Plus it could leave you starving and have the opposite of the intended effect. 

“Those low-calorie diets lead to blood sugar instability and harsh crashes,” Rydyger says. “You’re bound to crash at some point and overcompensate with even more food than you had originally planned to eat.”

When making changes to your diet, you don’t need to go it alone. It’s preferable to get some help from your primary care doctor or a dietitian. Your doctor can check your vitamin and cholesterol levels to make sure you safely embark on your new way of eating. A dietitian can assess your needs and create a meal plan that’s not only tailored to your goals but also sustainable over the long term.

Can Foods Have ‘Negative’ Calories?

Some fruits and veggies, notably celery, grapefruit and cucumber, have been touted as “negative-calorie foods.” The premise is that these foods are so low in calories that the very act of chewing and digesting them burns more calories than the foods contain.

It might seem a logical assumption. After all, celery is mostly water, and a whole stalk contains less than 6 calories. For a while, drinking celery juice on an empty stomach was all the rage with dieters. But what limited research exists on the subject has pretty much debunked the negative-calorie claim. Researchers tested out the negative-calorie hypothesis by feeding celery to humans, as well as to bearded dragon lizards, and in most cases, it was a bust.

Bottom line: Celery certainly won’t make you gain weight, but it won’t take weight off, either.

Stephanie Watson is a freelance writer with more than two decades of experience covering consumer health. Her work has appeared in WebMD, Time, Harvard Health Publications, Healthline, HealthCentral and many other publications. She also served as executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch.