The new year is in full swing! Have you been sticking to your “healthier eating” resolutions?
“The Doctors’” Travis Stork talked with Fit Celeb about what easy fixes, like adding more whole grains would lead to an overall healthier self, how combining foods can be more satisfying, and how food can act like medicine.
FC: What is the message you are trying to spread about living a healthier lifestyle?
TS: My goal is what things you can do or change that you can stick to for a lifetime.
The focus? Whole grains and debunking a lot of misconceptions people have of them – and how they are good for you and not “evil.”
“So many people think I either have to go, completely no carbs, or all carbs are bad. I’m trying to get the message out that whole grain actually can be beneficial if you know what your looking for,” says Dr. Stork.
FC: So what should we be looking for when it comes to making sure it’s good carbs?
TS: It’s important to learn how to read a package and as part of this whole grain initiative I teamed with General Mills because they re-formulated their cereal so that whole grain is the first ingredient. They put a big white check on the box (signifying that they have more whole grain than anything else). Other boxes, or bread, will say things like [3%] whole wheat, or made with whole wheat. If something says whole wheat or multi-grain, the only way you’re going to know if it has more whole grain than anything else, is if you read the ingredient list. You have to turn the box to the side and look yourself. And if it says whole wheat is the first ingredient, or whole oats, then you know – BUT – as often happens…you’ll look at the packaging and you think it’s primarily whole grain and you turn it to the side and it’ll say ‘enriched wheat four’.
He chuckles after a slight pause and adds:
“And that’s not whole grain.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that the word enriched is a word you should be weary of – not always, but, it means that it’s not a whole grain. The whole grain they stripped away the [germ], which is the fiber and a lot of the nutrients. And then they put some stuff back in it. I don’t think people realize the word enriched…really what you want is whole wheat flour, not enriched wheat flour. If you’re talking about cereals, breads, pastas, owe it to yourself to look at the ingredient list so you’re not fooled, and know exactly what you’re getting.”
Reading nutrition labels isn’t easy. It took Dr. Stork’s mom “years to learn.”
FC: Why is it beneficial to add whole grains to your diet?
TS: “The bad news, fewer than 5% of people use the recommended amount, which is 40 grams based on the dietary guidelines. The studies have shown that the people who…when they eat grains, and again the important point here is, if you’re eating grains – especially refined grains to whole grains – you’re more likely to be at your ideal body weight, you’re less likely to have heart disease, you’re going to have better G.I. health. Because again, with whole grain your getting the fiber and the nutrients. Whole grain can slow the absorption of sugars, make you feel full longer because of the fiber, and that’s why people need to realize that for the same number of calories whole grain makes you feel fuller longer. You still need to be aware of how many calories your eating, but you’ll find that if you eat whole grain for the long term, you’ll end up eating fewer calories throughout the day because you’re not as hungry.
FC: Can whole grain be used for energy, like working out?
TS: Whole grain you can consider a low glycemic food because it’s a complex carbohydrate, think of it as a slow burning fuel that can give you energy for a long workout, or quite honestly like I tell kids, to do well on an exam. Anyone who is active, fit, who wants to have good energy, it’s okay to have carbs – you just have to make sure you’re eating the right kinds.
FC: What are some foods that pair well with breakfast General Mills cereal?
TS: Team it up with milk, from the milk you get vitamins. I’m always a big believer in mixing it up. Another great breakfast is an egg with a slice of whole wheat toast.
Dr. Stork says that combining foods helps you get the most of your meal because your getting a combination of proteins, whole grains, and good fats.
“Ideally you should have it with milk, because again, you get the extra proteins,” adds Dr. Stork.
FC: Difference between soy, almond milk, whole milk, skim?
TS: What I think is important is to face the reality that there are people out there who don’t tolerate milk, the lactose intolerant and those people, they probably should go with an alternative. The only thing I will say when it comes to buying milk, if it’s an alternative like soy milk or almond milk, just look at the ingredients because if it’s flavored, you may be surprised to find out that the flavor added a ton of sugar to it.
FC: What do you love about food?
TS: What I love with food, is if you can mix and match…you’re getting some protein, with complex whole grain carbs, you feel full longer so you don’t over eat, you don’t get that massive blood sugar spike, and interestingly studies have shown you’re much less likely to eat over the next 24 hours rather than if you had a refined grain bagel.
Part of healthy living is that there is no such thing as carbs aren’t evil, protein isn’t evil, fat isn’t evil. It’s really about lean proteins, good carbs, and good fat. And eating them in the right combination that in my opinion can lead to optimal health. Not saying that one food category is evil.
FC: What is your favorite General Mills cereal?
Me too! Honey nut that is.
Dr. Stork encourages people to have a positive relationship with food.
“Get healthy now makes a difference later. Think about what you’re eating now, and how it’s going to affect your health 10-20 years later,” he says.
And he adds,
“We often don’t think of food as medicine. But if we eat the right kinds of food, in the right proportion, and ounce – it truly can act in some ways like medicine and provide us with all that we need to live a healthy life.”
To check out Dr. Travis Stork on “The Doctors”, visit www.thedoctorstv.com.
For more information about General Mills and their whole grain cereals, visit www.generalmills.com.
Photo credit: Courtesy CBS Television Distribution / Studio 29 Productions LLC