Five Publix dietitians standing in front of a white background

Our registered dietitians get lots of questions about nutrition — from the latest fad diets to what foods you should eat. It’s easy to feel lost when it comes to diet and nutrition. That’s why our team of registered, licensed Publix dietitians took your top 10 nutrition questions and shared their answers here!

10. “Are there certain foods that can boost my metabolism?”

It is a common belief that raising your metabolism helps you burn more calories and increase weight loss. Unfortunately, there are more myths about boosting metabolism than actual tactics that work. According to our dietitians, eating or drinking foods like green tea, caffeine or hot chili peppers may provide a small boost in your metabolism, but not enough to make a noticeable difference in your weight.

9. “Should I avoid gluten?”

People who go gluten free may feel better because they end up cutting out gluten, along with desserts and junk foods, which results in weight loss. However, there’s nothing magical about eliminating gluten. If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you’re unlikely to benefit from a gluten-free diet. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, check out this article to make sure that you are getting the nutrients that you need and be sure to keep an eye out for our gluten-free icon and browse our gluten-free recipes.

8. “Are plant-based diets better for my health?”

Research shows that plant-based eating patterns including Mediterranean and vegetarian diets may support health by resulting in weight loss and lowering the risk of heart disease. However, shoppers can choose from many new plant-based foods, such as burgers made from plant-based protein or cheese made from coconut oil. Just because these foods are made from plants doesn’t mean they are better from a nutritional perspective. It is important to check the nutrition facts panel to compare, and always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new diet. For plant-based recipe inspiration, check out our hearty plant-based Lentil Bolognese over Zoodles.

Zucchini noodles topped with lentils on a white plate on a gray background

7. “Should I take supplements?”

Unlike prescription or over-the-counter drugs that must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be marketed, dietary supplements do not require premarket review or approval by the FDA. Rather than relying on the claims on the packaging, we recommend that you do research using a reputable site. Also, let your healthcare providers (including doctors, pharmacists and dietitians) know which dietary supplements you’re taking so that you can discuss what’s best for your overall health. Your health-care provider can help you determine which supplements, if any, might be beneficial for you.

6. “Does intermittent fasting live up to the hype?”

There’s evidence that both alternate-day fasting and periodic fasting may be effective for short-term weight loss, but there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether it’s effective long term. Intermittent fasting may be easier to adhere to than counting calories or trying to increase physical activity. It’s also a simple hack for curbing the endless snacking and nibbling and nighttime eating that can pack on calories. But it’s not for everyone. If you decide to try it, make sure you check with your physician first.

5. “How can I help my kids cut back on sugar? Are sugar substitutes a better option?”

It is important to cut down on the amount of sugar that your children consume, but the type of sugar matters too. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies to limit added sugars for kids.

As far as sugar substitutes are concerned, moderation is the key. Nonnutritive sweeteners don’t contain calories and include saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda). Despite controversy surrounding these sweeteners, the FDA recognizes them as safe to use. No matter which type of sweetener you decide to use, moderation is a good rule of thumb.

4. “Should I buy organic foods? Are they healthier?”

It is important to note that organic is more about the way that foods are produced versus the nutritional value. At this point, there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that shows that organically produced foods are higher in nutrients. If your goal is to limit your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics and hormones or if you have concerns about environmental impact, look for the “USDA Organic” or “Made with at least 70% Organic Ingredients” shelf tags in our stores. For organic recipe inspiration, try our Aprons recipe made with organic cauliflower, Asian Style Cauliflower Tacos with Peanuts.

Cauliflower on lettuce on white plate

3. “What is the best diet to follow?”

The best diet to follow is one that works for you and also meets your nutritional needs. It may be tempting to follow the latest fad diet but before starting a diet consider these factors:

  • Is it flexible? A flexible plan doesn’t forbid certain foods or food groups, but instead includes a variety of foods from all the major food groups.
  • Is it balanced? Your plan should include adequate nutrients and calories. Eating large quantities of certain foods, drastically cutting calories or eliminating entire food groups can cause nutritional deficiencies.
  • Is it doable? A diet should include foods you enjoy eating, not ones you can tolerate over the course of the plan. If you don’t like the food on the plan, the plan is overly restrictive or it becomes boring, you probably won’t stick to it, which makes long-term weight loss unlikely.

2. “Do you recommend detoxes or cleanses?”

Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. However, there’s little evidence that detox diets remove toxins from the body. Your body can clear itself of most toxins on its own. Skip the detox and focus on eating a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy items and lean proteins. Limit your intake of saturated fat, added sugars and sodium.

1. “Should I avoid carbs?”

Carbohydrates gained a bad reputation recently, especially considering the popularity of high fat, low carb diets. In the short term, these diets show promising results in terms of weight loss, but long term results are unknown.

From a nutritional standpoint, carbohydrates provide essential nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. Rather than eliminating or limiting carbs, focusing on the type of carbs is key.

When it comes to carbohydrates, follow these recommendations:

  • Limit foods that are high in processed, refined simple sugars. These foods provide calories, but they have very little nutrition.
  • Focus on nutrient dense carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.




Karleigh W.

Written by

Karleigh W. joined the Publix family in 2013 as a front service clerk. Before becoming a full-time member of the team, she was a 2019 summer intern. Her love for writing, serving customers and Publix culture fuels her inspiration to bring new ideas to The Publix Checkout. Outside of work, Karleigh likes to bake, cook and spend time with her husband and their cat, Cici.

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