Dave Grotto, RD, Works His Magic

Dave Grotto, RD and author of “101 Foods That Could Save Your Life” lectured us on nutritional strategies for a healthy heart.


He was super knowledgeable, personable and easy to talk to. His lecture was fun and lively and I learned a ton. It was really great to just sit and listen to a professional say “this is okay and this not” when we have sooo many popular theories right now of what is right and wrong in the nutrition world. I like just hearing the straight facts!

Here are some key points:

  • When something has a higher glycemic index, it is not completely a “cause and effect” thing where it immediately triggers your bloodstream. The difference of glycemic index amount between steel cut oats and instant oats is rather insignificant. Instant oats provides the bran, the germ AND the endosperm. Dave does not work for Quaker but he says INSTANT OATS IS JUST AS HEALTHY AS STEEL CUT OATS! Just don’t choose instant oats with added sugars!
  • All fats are not bad. Heart healthy fats are essential and your body loves ’em! Nut = GOOD. We all knew that though, right?!
  • Brown eggs are not “healthier” than white eggs. Brown or red chickens give brown eggs. Doesn’t mean they are any healthier! haha didn’t know that!
  • Don’t skimp on breakie calories. New studies show that people that eat a breakfast high in healthy calories eat LESS later in the day and thus consume less calories than people that skip or eat a “light” breakfast. Good to know!
  • Skipping meals DOES NOT help you lose any weight. When you skip meals you end up eating MORE and, thus, gaining weight. We should eat at least 3 meals a day. Dave recommends to his patients to try to eat every 3-4 hours.
  • Ladies, it’s a myth you should be “eating for two” when you are preggers. Your nutritional needs go up but it’s not “double”. It’s just different needs.
  • Dairy consumption is not linked to cancer (duh). There are tons of popular concepts out there but there is zero evidence that proves this true. However, diets high in saturated fats ARE linked to cancer (high fat dairy….choose fat free or low fat!)
  • Just because you crave a certain food, it DOES NOT mean your body “needs” it. Your body is just craving food or hydration.

What we need to eat less of!

  • Saturated fat. A big no-no!
  • Trans fat!!!
  • Dietary cholesterol (less than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fat)
  • People are exhausted hearing what they “can’t eat”. They want to hear what they CAN eat! We need to stay more positive and not just make lists of stuff we should ban from our diets. This doesn’t do anything but depress and frustrate people. It doesn’t help anyone to tell them they “can’t have pizza”. SO true!

What do we need daily?

  • Total fat should be 27% of daily calories
  • Protein should be 18% of daily calories
  • Potassium should be 4,700 mg. NO age group in the country is meeting this need. We need to focus on eating more fruits and veggies!
  • Calcium should be 1,250 mg
  • Fiber should be 30 grams

How much protein do we REALLY need?

  • You need about .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (divide your body weight by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms). If you are more physically active, 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram is fine. Very high protein diets may cause calcium leakage from your bones.
  • If you are looking to increase muscle mass, whey based protein is great.

Dave’s 101 Food Philosophy

  • There are NO “bad foods”.
  • Eat breakfast! In a study, women who ate a big breakfast (around 610 kcal) lost more weight than those who ate 1/3 of the calories.
  • Add more potassium!!!! No one is getting enough! Get it from fruits (and orange juice), veggies and dairy.
  • Look for “nutrient dense” foods instead of low calorie and low carb foods
  • Get more physical activity!

Heart Healthy Fats:

  • Almonds–vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids
  • EVOO
  • Avocado—Monounsaturated fatty acids and beta sitosterol

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

  • Multiple healthful physiological effects!
  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines is a great way to get these fatty acids. Yum yum!!! Recommendations say eat 2-3 servings (4-5 oz) of fatty fish per week
  • Mercury is a concern with tuna and “lower dwelling fish”. However, the benefits of ADDING in fatty fish far outweigh the concerns of mercury.
  • If you don’t like fish, do a fish oil supplement!
  • Farm raised salmon has HIGHER omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon.

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  • VeggieGirl
    November 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Oh my, what a FABULOUS book!! I need to purchase a copy, for sure.


  • Lindsey
    November 8, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Jenna, I am LOVING all these updates you’ve been posting today! Keep them coming! 🙂 🙂

    And ditto Veggie Girl, I may have to put that book on my Christmas list!

  • Andrea
    November 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    definitely on my xmas list too! i love how he says no food is bad 😉 also breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day! looks like you’re learning tons and having fun in the CHI !!

  • Moran
    November 8, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I am just catching up with today’s posts and they are GREAT! Keep them coming!!

  • Runeatrepeat
    November 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for taking such great notes. I love reading about this nutrition and health stuff.

  • Kristin
    November 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    As a nutrition major, I LOVE his advice- so real, so true. It’s all about common sense!! Thanks for taking wonderful notes, I’m definitely going to buy this book!

  • Mary
    November 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    It is so neat reading about your trip. I stumbled upon all of these lovely nutrition websites/blogs while searching for recipes, and I am so glad I did!

    The RD is SO right about not “eating for two!” I have been doing weight watchers since right before getting pregnant with my 2 year old son (Have lost 85+ pounds!), and my OB/GYN let me know to add “points” for dairy and extra fruit or protien, not junk!

    Have fun on the rest of your trip! 🙂

  • Maureen
    November 8, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Fascinating! Thanks for taking notes!

  • Santa Barbara Dreaming
    November 8, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Fantastic information! Thanks Jenna, they are really helpful. 🙂

  • emily
    November 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    the lecture sounds wonderful, keep us updated!

  • Madison (FollowMyWeigh)
    November 8, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    hey! thanks for the breakdown of what percentage fats and proteins should be in our diets. i guess carbs should be 45% then…really good to have a good and reliable guideline!

  • Megan
    November 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing all this wonderful info!

  • LisaR
    November 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I love the info you’re providing us! It’s very benificial!
    I’m not feeling too good today so I haven’t ate that much food but I know I need to…what do you think I should do? I don’t want to feel week but food doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

    Also! I don’t think I really understand what your glycemic index is. Could you explain?

  • Alison
    November 8, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I just saw on Twitter that you are eating at MK tonight– lucky girl! That is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago! I hope you enjoy it!

  • Oh She Glows
    November 8, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    I am sooo happy to hear the piece about eating bigger breakfasts! I have been wanting to increase my morning calories, but not sure the effect it would have.

    I also thought brown eggs were healthier….!

  • Pumpkin (Chef Erin)
    November 8, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Jenn- Sounds like you’re having soooo much fun! Is it cold? (Haha- I’m in the warm, tropical Keys right now!)
    This sounds like it was a great lecture- those are some really great key points for all of us to remember! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!

  • Our Food Recipes
    November 8, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Hi…you have a great informative blog. Just added and “faved” you too. Hope you can add Our Food Recipes. Thank you

  • Rachel
    November 9, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks so much for your awesome list! I really appreciate all the info and updates.

  • Laura
    November 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Jenna, you said that farm-raised salmon has higher omega-3 content. That’s cool, but what about the effects that fish farming has on the environment, wild fish populations, and traditional fishing economies. I think it’s fair to say the detriments of fish farming are something to consider when you’re looking at a bit extra omega-3.