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Dietitians of the Week
Check our Facebook page every weekday for our RD of the Day, as we put a much-deserved spotlight on a dietitian who's either making headlines or writing them and delivering their expertise through the media. Here are this week's featured RDs.

Cindy Gates, RD, LD
On the subject of food cravings and how to curb them, Monday's RD of the Day dishes some reality right at the start of this article in the Sioux City (IA) Journal.

Food cravings can be both physical and psychological in nature, but most times, Cindy Gates, RD, LD, of the June E. Nylen Cancer Center, said the need for a chocolate bar or a bag of chips is due to stress, boredom or loneliness.

"A lot of food has chemicals that are released to help you feel better. You get that quick fix but it doesn't last very long," she said.

Cindy also says that many of us are sleep deprived, overfed and undernourished, with magnesium deficiency the most common problem.

The best way to combat these cravings? "Mindful eating is key in this battle. People eating under stress, in their car or at their desk, don't appreciate what they're eating."

Gates recommends putting the food on a plate or a bowl to control portion sizes. Buying individually wrapped snack foods will help too.

For providing readers a reason to think twice before giving into unhealthy cravings, Cindy was Monday's RD of the Day.

Read the article: Need help handling food cravings? Here's how

Lauren Falcone, RD
People have always been judgmental, to a degree. However, since the advent of social media, various forms of "shaming" has exploded. Everyone who has an opinion about someone or something now has a forum to call others out for their choices, whether it's their fashion sense, their weight, or how they conduct their personal lives.

Tuesday's RD of the Day focuses in on a particular brand of shaming that only a dietitian could—food shaming.

Writing in the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal, Lauren Falcone, an RD with Vassar Brothers Medical Center, begins the article by sharing a personal story about being in a restaurant with friends and being called out for ordering a healthier option than most at the table.

"At one point or another, we have all been a part of, witnessed or experienced food shaming," Lauren says. "It's the act of judging someone’s food choices, commenting on them and making people feel bad or ashamed of those choices,"

Sharing a meal with family or friends has always been an important and celebratory social experience but, according to Lauren, this new phenomenon of food shaming creates undue stress and can even cause serious problems.

"Food shaming projects negative feelings and correlations with food, which in turn can lead to poor body image, binge-eating or other eating disorders," our RD of the Day says. "It’s time to end comments like, 'You’re going to eat that?!' and “I can’t believe that is what you ordered.'"

For calling out the shamers, promoting food positivity, providing five simple ways to stop food shaming, and sharing her recipe for Teriyaki Meatballs, Lauren earned our Tuesday honors.

Read the article: Hey, it’s my problem! Mind what you eat

Ashvini Mashru, MA, RD, LDN
In their quest to be more fit, lose weight, address specific health issues, or live by a certain moral standard, many people make the choice to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Wednesday's RD of the Day finds in her practice that many new vegetarians and vegans struggle with certain nutritional deficiencies and can be just as much at risk for filling up on empty calories and processed foods as omnivores.

In a feature on Philly.com's Goal Getter health blog, Ashvini Mashru, MA, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and author of Small Steps to Slim, provides the experience and the science as her basis for deciding when supplements are necessary for vegan and vegetarian diets.

"I see a lot of clients who turn vegan or vegetarian to lose weight," Mashru explains. "However, although a vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy, it still has calories. It doesn't give you permission to eat a whole bag of chips or several vegan cupcakes in one sitting."

Ashvini balances the specific need for supplementation, and includes a section about when it's needed, with the use of natural sources to make up for certain nutritional deficiencies.

Of course, owner of Wellness Nutrition Concepts in Malvern, PA, concludes the piece by recommending talking with your physician before starting a vegan or vegetarian diet, especially if you have a medical condition, and meeting with a dietitian for help with planning meals.

For her balanced and professional insight, we chose Ashvini as our Wednesday RD of the Day.

Read the article: When supplements are necessary for vegan, vegetarian diets

Ana Johnson, RD, CDE
For those who believe the hype about the consumption of protein being a magic bullet for weight loss, Thursday's RD of the Day would like you to pump the brakes a bit.

In the SFGate article titled "Does Eating Protein Burn Fat?", Ana Johnson, RD, CDE, starts with a very basic reminder to readers.

"It's important to not get carried away with these types of claims, because eating more calories than you burn results in weight gain, no matter where the calories come from," says the blogger of wholelifediets.com.

The Irvine, CA-based diabetes educator also makes of point of stating that food does not burn fat - only exercise can do that. However, she adds, protein does increase satiety, may slightly speed up metabolism and makes it easier to stick with a low-calorie diet.

Ana's expertise is broken down into four sections: In the piece Protein and Metabolism, Protein and Weight Loss, Protein and and Weight Management and Protein and Your Diet.

For each section of knowledge and the professional wisdom within them, Ana was our RD of the Day for Thursday.

Read the article: Does Eating Protein Burn Fat?

Niki Kubiak, RD, CSSD
It's football season and that means many fans will be either tailgating at games across the country or enjoying a spread in front of TV at home or with friends this weekend.

As a sports dietitian and Director of Nutrition & Health at Infinite Sports World in Omaha, our Friday RD of the Day knows that food and sports go hand in hand.

In her article for Live Well Nebraska, Niki Kubiak, RD, CSSD, provides fans with "three ways to build real tailgating traditions that will keep you satisfied and add better nutrition to your game-day favorites."

We won't give away Niki's three tips to a healthier tailgate here, but each of them has a common theme that she closes her article with.

"Real is better."

For using her professional wisdom to help football fans keep it real when it comes to what to eat during the game, Niki is our RD of the Day.

Read the article: 3 ways to make your tailgate party healthier without cutting any favorites from the menu