PHO Who?

ForwardFit Health | Nutrition 0 Comments

By Carla Schuit   – Registered Dietitian

Lately there has been a lot in the news about PHO’s (partially hydrogenated oils) and Trans fats.  The FDA changed the face of the food industry last week by announcing that they are removing PHOs from their list of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredients and therefore prohibiting their use in food. if food companies want to continue to use PHOs they need to apply for an exemption with the FDA and the ingredient will be regulated as a food additive. Meaning, if food companies provide enough evidence and support to the FDA then they can rule that PHOs will be allowed in food for that specific use. So what does this mean? Why are they doing this? What are PHOs? Why should you care?

PHOs are oils, typically soybean and/or cottonseed, which have been partially hydrogenated by adding hydrogen molecules to a liquid to make it more solid at room temperature. They are stable and versatile, used to create a desired taste and texture in all kinds of food products. However, they also increase heart attacks and other cardiovascular events seven times more than other fats. It is this reason that the FDA took action to ban the ingredient from foods. They could no longer consider PHOs safe to consume and we currently consume them in great amounts. Think of all the products in the grocery store. Margarine, crackers, ice cream, dressings, sauces, baked goods, etc… almost all shelf stable products on the aisles of the grocery store contain PHOs in one form or another. You can identify these items by looking at the ingredient statement on packaging as well as the  Trans Fat content on the nutrition facts panel.

So Trans Fat bad, yes, but fats play an important part in food and recipes. If you take out trans fat what do you replace it with? This is what food companies are currently struggling with and they seem to have two primary options. One being palm and/or palm kernel oil and the other being animal fats, more commonly called ….lard.

Palm and palm kernel oil is oil expressed from the fruit or seed (kernel) of palm plants. These are primarily grown in Southeast Asia. It is a saturated fat similar to coconut oil. Palm kernel oil also is a source of carotenoids giving it a reddish color. These are successful in helping food companies achieve the same if not very similar end product they did when using PHOs. However, palm/palm kernel oil has a sustainable downside. Farmers have to clear large areas of rainforests to make room for palm plantation. Displacing wildlife and changing the ecosystem. Companies are aware of this and working with group such as RFPO to make a sustainable system of harvesting.
Lard or animals fat. This is another saturated fat that companies are beginning to replace PHOs with. Animal fats typically do not translate well with most consumers so food companies are favoring plant options as much as possible.

The main reason food companies began using PHOs was because consumers were shying away from saturated fats. Recent research has shown that the consumption of saturated fat isn’t as harmful as once thought and trans fats are doing more harm than good.

So what does this mean for you? It means that products will contain much more saturated fat. If you already have a diet high in processed meats, red meats  and other animal products this will only add to your saturated fat intake during the day. Although saturated fat isn’t as bad as we once thought it does still accumulate in your body and you should consider this when making food choices.

It also means that products are going to have shorter shelf lives. If you are used to purchasing items and having them around for months this will no longer be an option. More items may need to be refrigerated to prevent fat rancidity. You may also see product prices go up because these ingredients are more expensive. It will be up to the food companies to figure this out for you.

Your best bet in this is to stick to your whole foods diet and avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. I know this article is a little more technical than usual but I thought it was good information. As your reward for sticking it out see the tasty avocado chocolate pudding recipe below!



1 large ripe avocado

1 tbsp cocoa powder

½ tbsp honey ( or maple syrup)
Mix and mash!! Serve cold. You can change the amounts of cocoa and honey depending on how rich and chocolaty you like it. I also like to add a little cinnamon for something extra!

ForwardFit Anniversary Celebration

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Anniversary Celebration_ Year_Flyer_FF
We are so excited to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary at our Carol Stream location that we want to invite you to come and join us. On Saturday, June 13th we will be having FREE classes. 9am Fitness Boxing, 10am – Metabolic Circuit Training, Possibly more!!! We will have vendors on hand giving out samples answering questions and offering items for our raffle. Also as a big bonus if you sign up for a membership that day you will receive your first month free!

The event is free so invite friends and family. We look forward to celebrating this special day with you.

Questions? Ask

Hot Trends 2015

ForwardFit Health | Nutrition 0 Comments

By Carla Schuit   – Registered Dietitian

Food trends are ever changing. There is always some new food you should be eating or a new top 5 list of foods you should avoid. We have all heard them. Eggs will give you a heart attack, Flaxseed will save your life, Kale is king!! So what is true and what isn’t? Here we will explore some current food trends and see if they are all they are hyped up to be.

Matcha Tea- This is a fine green powder made from grinding green tea leaves called Tencha. For 20 days before harvest these tea bushes are shaded to increase the leaves production of chlorophyll and L-Theanine ( an amino acid which occurs naturally in tea and certain types of mushrooms). Although green tea is also healthy and provides many antioxidants, it is believe that matcha provides increased benefits because you are consuming the whole leaf opposed to a liquid derived from it. Matcha and green tea have been credited with health benefit such as protection against heart disease, cancer, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction and boosting metabolisms. Matcha is traditionally drank but can also be added to various recipes.

Fermented foods- Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi have made a huge splash on the food scene recently. In any local paper you can find classes on how to home ferment foods. But what do they do? Fermented foods are actually very beneficial for gut health. When these foods are fermented they develop helpful enzymes and bacteria that aid in digestion of other foods. This digestive bacteria allows some who are lactose intolerant to consumer kefir or some yogurts because the lactose is digested by the enzymes. Home or small batch fermented foods are best. Those made commercially are pasteurized and lose their healthful benefits.

Bone Broth-This is definitely the hottie of 2015. Bone broth is made by first roasting then boiling chicken, beef or pork bones in water with vegetables and sometimes vinegar that when cooled will gel from the protein and collagen in the bones. It contains about 16g of protein, 17g carbs and about 27%, 9% and 13% for your daily needs of Vit C, iron and calcium respectively. It has been touted to treat everything from digestive issues to joint health. There are no studies available right now to substantiate the benefit of drinking a cup of bone broth a day. It is definitely a better option than buying store boxed broth and is more nutrient dense.

Turmeric- This wonder spice has so many benefits. I tis used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, stomach pain, arthiritis, diarrhea, etc. It is also used as a natural color. But be careful! That beautiful, bright yellow color can stain anything you use. I know, I now have a bright yellow spoon instead of a white one. It is a vibrant and flavorful spice great in soups and other dishes.

Bullet Proof Coffee- This is another highly popular item right now. It coincides with the most popular diet at the moment, the paleo diet. High protein, low carb. Bulletproof coffee is taking a specific coffee brew and adding MCT oil and grass-fed butter. What you get is a high fat, high caffeine concoction in the morning. This has been shown to increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you consume this in the morning you would need to then re-balance the remainder of your day. Adding more unsaturated fats and staying away from saturated fats, including red meat and coconut oil. I recommend skipping and eating a steak instead.

Cauliflower- This has become the savior to all low-carbers. Bland in flavor and versatile in texture it has proven a great substitute for potatoes, soup thickeners and rice. People are doing everything from roasting, ricing and pureeing to get more cauliflower in their diet. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, folate, phosphorous and biotin. It is a great addition to any meal and easy staple in a low carb diet.

There will always be a new “best thing for you” coming out in the news and the nutrition field is always evolving. I recommend talking to your favorite Dietitian or doing some research of your own before jumping on any new nutrition bandwagons.

For next month I would love to get your thoughts on what you want to hear about. This article is here to inform you about food and nutrition. Please email topics to so that you can hear about what interests you!!

Happy Eating!

A Little Wine a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away?

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*Warning Drinking too much of any Alcoholic product is not healthy and can cause adverse reactions*

Before we jump into why wine is good for you, let’s get to know wine a little more. Wine is made from fermented grapes or other fruits. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Which countries produce the most wine? Here’s a list of the top 10: Italy, France, Spain, United States, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Chile, & Portugal. The term bouquet refers to the total scent of the wine. Aroma is the scent of the grapes. When wine tasters want to describe the bouquet and the aroma together, they use the term nose. As white wines age, they gain color. Red wines, on the other hand, lose color as they age. To analyze your glass of wine, hold the glass on an angle in front of a white background, such as a napkin or tablecloth. White wines can range from a pale yellow-green to a brownish hue. Reds begin at purple and scale all the way to brown.

Now to the good part… What are the benefits to wine? Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage. While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That’s because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.

Still, many doctors agree that something in red wine appears to help your heart. It’s possible that antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits. Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that’s gotten attention. Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots. Research in mice given resveratrol suggests that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease.

Also, Wine could preserve your memory. When researchers gave memory quizzes to women in their 70s, those who drank one drink or more every day scored much better than those who drank less or not at all. In one British study, those who drank roughly a glass of wine a day reduced by 11% their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, a major cause of gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancers. As little as half a glass may also guard against food poisoning caused by germs like salmonella when people are exposed to contaminated food, according to a Spanish study. When Australian researchers recently compared women with ovarian cancer to cancer-free women, they found that roughly one glass of wine a day seemed to reduce the risk of the disease by as much as 50 percent. Earlier research at the University of Hawaii produced similar findings. Experts suspect this may be due to antioxidants or phytoestrogens, which have high anticancer properties and are prevalent in wine.

And in a recent University of Michigan study, a red wine compound helped kill ovarian cancer cells in a test tube. On average, women who drink moderately seems to have higher bone mass than abstainers. Alcohol appears to boost estrogen levels; the hormone seems to slow the body’s destruction of old bone more than it slows the production of new bone. Premenopausal women who drink one or two glasses of wine a day are 40 percent less likely than women who do not drink to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a 10-year study by Harvard Medical School. While the reasons aren’t clear, wine seems to reduce insulin resistance in diabetic patients. With many benefiting health factors Red wine can help you be a healthier you.

Just as a consumer warning: A recent lawsuit warns consumer that Cheap Wines may have arsenic in them. For example Two-Buck Chuck” and a box of Franzia White Zinfandel may contain more arsenic than what’s widely considered safe, according to a lawsuit filed a couple of weeks ago and dozens of other cheap and popular California labels — actually pose a health risk isn’t entirely clear. Los Angeles Superior Court lists 83 wines that had levels of arsenic much higher than what’s considered safe for consumption, at least by drinking water standards. The suit names more than two dozen California wine producers, including the makers of Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw White Zinfandel — popularly known as Two-Buck Chuck — and other well-known brands from Sutter Home, Beringer, Fetzer and Korbel. So, the best advice is to stay away from the following list to receive the added health benefits of wine.

Navigating Nutrition: How to read food labels to make the healthiest purchases.

ForwardFit Health | Nutrition 0 Comments

Come join us as our registered dietition Carla presents this great topic on Saturday, May 30th at 11:15am at ForwardFit. 26w535 St. charles Rd. unit B, Carol Stream, IL 60188

Every week it seems there is a news story about what is or is not healthy for us. The grocery store is crowded with thousands of items in their bright, shiny packages. But what does it all mean? Grass-fed, cage-free, high protein, Non-GMO. In this presentation we will go over all the claims you see in the grocery store and hear on TV so you know exactly where your money is going and what you are buying to eat as healthy as possible.

Please contact: or call 630-660-7783 for more information.