Is Halo Top a Healthy Switch From Real Ice Cream?

Jessica Penner, RDNutrition, Smarten Up, Virtual Grocery Store Tour2 Comments

Halo Top Healthy

I haven’t been too impressed with “frozen desserts” in the past. I’m looking at you Breyers blue box! They’re mainly just super-sweet and icky. They don’t have that creamy, rich, melt-in-your-mouth enjoyment that ice cream does. So I didn’t have high expectations when I heard about Halo Top. It’s advertised as a low-calorie, healthy alternative to ice cream, and I just didn’t think it could possibly compare to ice cream. As a Dietitian I’m all for making healthier choices in the foods that form the core of my diet. The foods I eat the most NEED to be healthy! But … Read More

Food Evolution Review – the great GMO vs organic debate

Jessica Penner, RDMiscellaneous, Nutrition, Smarten Up7 Comments

When somebody suggested I do a Food Evolution review, I thought “oh no, not another shockumentary.” The modern documentary is problematic. It’s too powerful. Given the chance to invade people’s brain with emotionally driven images, one-sided arguments, and compelling music for 1-2 hours straight, filmmakers can convince rational people of irrational things. Combine that with some fear, and the emotional power it can have over us, and you get the very dangerous genre I call a shockumentary. These are far too common in the health world. Films like What the Health and Cowspiracy use misinformation to scare people into eating a certain … Read More

The Whole 30 – a Dietitian’s review

Jessica Penner, RDNutrition, Smarten Up17 Comments

whole 30 review dietitian

I get asked about the Whole 30 diet on a regular basis. I guess it’s pretty popular? About time I let you know what this dietitian thinks! what is the whole 30? Founders Melissa and Dallas Hartwig have put together a strict elimination diet that you’re supposed to follow for 30 days. And when I say strict, I mean strict. They even go so far as to say “Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” If you accidentally eat something on the “avoid” list, you’re required to restart back at day one. Ouch. The aim of the diet is to “put … Read More

What the Health Review – the good, the bad, and the ugly

Jeremy PennerNutrition, Smarten Up37 Comments

what the health review

Don’t ask a dietitian to watch the latest popular food documentary. It’s bad for our blood pressure. I knew this already, but I couldn’t stop myself from writing a What the Health review. what the health review – the good Every scare piece has something good in it, a slice of truth that the filmmakers can hang their hat on and spin their lies around. So here’s the element of truth behind What the Health: most of us should eat less meat and more plants. what the health review – the bad I just wish documentary makers could figure out … Read More

Is Coconut Oil Healthy?: an overly complex answer to an overly-simplified question

Jeremy PennerNutrition, Smarten Up3 Comments

is coconut oil healthy

Is coconut oil healthy? Well… nutrition science is complex… End of story. G’day.  Just kidding. But really, the study of nutrition is still relatively young and incomplete. So if you’re wondering if coconut oil is healthy, the short answer is: we don’t really know enough yet. That may be frustrating to hear, so allow me to make excuses for my chosen field of practice, and give you the longer answer to your question about coconut oil. why nutritional science doesn’t know enough Nutritional studies are modelled after pharmaceutical (drug) studies. When researchers study drugs, things remain relatively simple. They have … Read More

is powdered peanut butter healthy?

Jessica Penner, RDNutrition, Smarten Up, Virtual Grocery Store Tour19 Comments

powdered peanut butter

Powdered peanut butter is all the rage! But should it be? When I first heard about this powdered PB I thought it was just a clever invention for astronauts and backpackers. Then I started to see it pop up on Instagram. Regular, everyday people were eating this stuff in their regular, everyday lives. Like, with full gravity… in their kitchen! So I needed to explore why this was happening. I didn’t have to look far. The main reason people like powdered peanut butter is plastered in big bold letters right on the jar. “85% less fat calories than traditional peanut butter” … Read More

Veggie Straws: are they a healthy choice?

Jessica Penner, RDNutrition, Smarten Up, Virtual Grocery Store Tour9 Comments

Let’s talk Veggie Straws! On the surface they sound like a healthier snack option, don’t they? I mean they have the word VEGGIE in the title and they’re so light and airy and a serving is 68 straws! Sounds amazing! But are they really? I decided to see how they stack up to other chips. I had tortilla chips in my house so that’s what I used as a comparison. THE TLDR VIDEO VERSION: Veggie straws take up the same volume as tortilla chips At first it sounds like you’re getting a HUGE snack with a serving of veggie straws: 68 pieces! … Read More