Ask a Nutritionist: 6 of Our Burning Nutrition Questions

A nutritionist is one of those friends you want to have in your contacts list. All of us on Team LC have been known to text our girl Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly with random questions while we’re standing in the middle of the grocery store aisle. “What were those raw vegan Paleo wraps you recommended again?” (They were these, by the way.) “Is this green juice really as healthy as it looks?” (Not if it’s full of sugar!) But, since not everyone has a nutritionist on hand, we asked Kelly to share her answers to six of our burning nutrition questions with everyone here on the site. As a part of Ask Me Anything August, we are excited to present this Q&A with Kelly today. Some of her answers might surprise you, and they’re almost guaranteed to change the way you eat…

Your nutrition questions are being answered today on LaurenConrad.com!

1. Three big meals or several small meals a day?
Three meals a day! It absolutely depends on my client’s blood sugar, thyroid health and past dietary habits, but I am more often than not pulling clients back to three meals a day. I encourage my clients to eat to satiety and teach them to calm insulin and balance hormones naturally. All grazing does is leave you full of insulin (a hunger hormone that stops fat burning and makes you want to snack more). Excessive levels of insulin in your bloodstream can also indicate the first stage of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. My tip: Give your body a 4-6 hour break between meals and opt for three meals a day.

2. What are the absolute healthiest foods that you recommend eating daily?
Coldwater fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel are my go-tos for omega 3 fatty acids. With most Americans’ poor fatty acid ratios and rampant inflammation, it’s a daily recommendation for my clients. Dark leafy greens, cucumbers and lemons are also staples in my fridge. Alkaline, fiber-rich and full of water, these foods keep your internal ecosystem alive and well—not to mention they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Looking for fats and fiber? Coconut oil, avocados, and chia seeds keep my clients satisfied, insulin sensitive and regular (yep, I said it!).

3. How much does diet really play into healthy hair, clear skin, and strong nails?
Strong nails, shiny tresses and clear skin are primarily linked to the products you’re using, diet and/or hormones. For instance, a clear skin protocol at Be Well means we are eliminating estrogen-heavy foods like soy, inflammatory foods like dairy and excess sugar from our diets. Eighty percent of the time we can clear our skin with diet alone, but if we don’t see improvements in a few short months we run labs to check hormones.

4. Low-fat vs. low-carb diet for weight loss?
I am shocked that so many people are still counting calories, and specifically calories from fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. A low simple carb, low sugar diet is best for weight loss, always. Carbs break down to glucose (blood sugar) causing insulin (a sugar storage hormone) to surge. Glucose must be stored in the body, and if you aren’t actively burning glycogen (stored glucose) from your muscle with exercise, the carbs you eat (or glucose) will be stored. When there is no room left for sugar in muscles and liver, excess blood sugar stores as fat. That said, make sure you’re filling your diet with my fab four: protein, fiber, greens and healthy fats.

5. What’s the one food you would tell your clients to stop eating?
Soy. The phytoestrogens in soy are stronger than many of us realize, with prevalent side effects including acne, hypothyroid, infertility and cancer. In my practice, I can think of one client in particular who completely cleared 12 years of persistent adult acne by simply removing soy. It’s the one food I can’t ignore.

6. What’s the one best piece of nutritional advice you can give?
The “diet” or “lifestyle” you choose now will probably change. Always continue to listen to your body. Also, don’t feel obligated to explain yourself or your choices, don’t preach, and don’t jump on quick fix fads.

Think of it this way: If Paleo, raw, vegan, and vegetarian diets were all designers, my body would be a boutique of my favorite pieces in each collection. Sometimes you just like one designer’s summer collection better, and then another designer’s collection the next season. But as long as you feel your best in what you’re wearing, that’s all that matters.

Above all else, love yourself and be well.

Do you have any questions you’d love to ask Kelly?

Leave them in the comments, and we might just continue our Ask a Nutritionist series next month!

XO Team LC 

Photos: Be Well By Kelly
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  • haeley stewart

    Just because your a nutritionist and not a dietician doesn’t mean that your information is wrong and your not credible. The nutrition field is not regulated, so anyone can claim that they are a nutritionist. If you are a client looking for dietary advice, you need to make sure that you are choosing a person who has a degree/background/actual knowledge. For example, I am a nutritionist. I have my degree in nutrition (the same degree/classes that dietitians get), have lots of experience helping people reach their goals and a large knowledge base. The reason I am not a dietician is because I did not go after a dietetic internship after school and sit for the test. That doesn’t mean my information is wrong or that I am a fraud, it’s just different. It’s claims like, “nutritionists are frauds” or “Nutritionists aren’t as credible” that make it so hard for us to find jobs and show people that we do know what we are talking about. The FEW jerks who call themselves nutritionists, but have no background give a bad rep to everyone who has worked their butts off. That should be regulated. But it is the clients job to do their research and hire someone credible. You wouldn’t hire someone to paint your house with no experience. You wouldn’t hire someone to be your accountant without a degree.

    But I find it extremely offensive when people make comments like this when they don’t know what they’re talking about. Why don’t you do your research? Almost everything that was said in this article is accurate and the nutrition field is constantly evolving and new information is coming up all the time, which doesn’t make people wrong.

  • haeley stewart

    Your completely wrong FYI… I am a nutritionist, with a 4 year degree (the same degree that dietetics students go through). Just because you are a nutritionist doesn’t mean you don’t have a degree, training or experience. The only difference is that I didn’t take a dietetic internship after and sit for the exam.

    Do you know why nutrition students don’t always take a dietetic internship? Because they are unpaid, you are not aloud to work other jobs, you student loans kick in mid way through and you have to relocate to wherever they place you across the country. Some people don’t have the means to do that.

    It’s true nutrition is unregulated, so do your research when hiring one. You wouldn’t hire a lawyer with no experience…

    It’s people who bash nutritionists, like you, who make it extremely hard for us to find work without a tarnished name. So thank you for being ignorant!

    • Rose

      “all registered dietitians are nutritionists BUT not all nutritionists are registered dietitians.” This is a key statement about the point made by KC above.
      First of all, not to be petty, but I must point out your incorrect use of “aloud” where it should be “allowed.” Second, you can do a distance dietetic internship, which is what I did as it fit my lifestyle (and I did an accelerated program that only took 4-5 months). Ignorant are those that do not understand there is a reason for people to be licensed as a registered dietitian and why only 50% of those that apply are actually accepted. Additionally, people do not hire “nutritionists” for most positions in the field of nutrition as legitimate positions require one to be a registered dietitian. I am not bashing nutritionists, but pointing out that those who are registered dietitians need to defend their profession because of people like the woman providing INCORRECT nutrition information in this article. If your knowledge base from your four year degree was sound, then you would understand what this woman said is not all accurate or even evidence based…….

  • hi

    If i became a licensed regular nutritionist after i graduate could i also work as an animal nutritionist or would i have to get a completely separate degree?

  • Zac Alaca

    Hi 🙂
    Fibre increases the time food takes to digest, and high GI carbs are absorbed faster in to the bloodstream than low. So if a food has a lot of fibre but also high GI, like fruit, does that mean it will give you energy quickly/spike your insulin or will it be released slowly because of the non-digestible fibre? Also if you ate high GI white rice, with a lot of fibre, would that slow down the speed at which the rice is digested considerably? Or does the carbs and fibre have to be of the same molecule?
    Thanks

  • Zac Alaca

    fibre increases the time food takes to digest, and high GI carbs are absorbed faster in to the bloodstream than low. So if a food has a lot of fibre but also high GI, like fruit, does that mean it will give you energy quickly/spike your insulin or will it be released slowly because of the non-digestible fibre? Also if you ate high GI white rice, with a lot of fibre, would that slow down the speed at which the rice is digested considerably? Or does the carbs and fibre have to be of the same molecule?

  • Kate

    I know that hummus is supposed to be healthy but now I’m confused about all this bad soy. Can someone clarify?!

  • Rafael Centenera

    a CLEAR recommendation! 🙂 <3

  • Rebecca

    just eat algae (vegetarian sushi has nori sheets), and you will get all the omega 3 (DHA, ALA and EPA)

  • Rose

    Agreed! Some of the comments below by other readers based on the misguided information in this article embody the point you are trying to make! I am a registered dietitian and when people just believe something they read and take it as expert info (which the info in this article is not as this woman has no real credentials), then that perpetuates the problems with our field. Have the registered dietitian I have seen featured in other articles on laurenconrad.com provide the answers to the questions instead!

  • Ester Paggi

    This is a very interesting article, but im also concerned about the soy thing.
    Unfortunately im intollerant to lacticine and i have to eat soy yougurts 3 times a week, but now that i read this article, im a little concerned! I also noticed that i tend to break out more lately by eating lots of soy yougurts, so my question would be, what could be a replacement for soy yougurts? Im very interested in this topic that also concerns my health as well!
    Thank you for your help!

  • Kfir Zaltsman

    Hi All,
    Following this great article, I would like to share with you a new startup company called “Nutroutine” – a marketplace, connecting between nutrition experts and people who are looking to make lifestyle changes. One of the section on their website called “ask” – a place where people can ask any question related to nutrition, health, wellnes etc., and get professional answers from nutrition experts. If you find it interesting, please go to: ask.nutroutine.com. Their homepage is: http://www.nutroutine.com. I find it very useful as a client, and it might interest you as a dietitian/nutrition expert.

  • Najia Jones

    My name is Najia. I’m 39. I’m anemic. I have lost the love or sensation for food. I’ll force myself to eat 1 meal a day. What is wrong with me? How can I correct this issue?
    Thank you