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An Interview with an RDN: You and Kefir

Last week we brought you the first in our Interview with an RDN series – Probiotics 101. This week, we’re following up with some of your most common questions about what kefir can do for you, and if it’s appropriate for your diet and lifestyle.

Once again Molly Bray, RDN, a Community Dietitian with Jewel Osco; happily responded to some of your questions. But before we go further, we want to iterate that the following information is not intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition. You should always speak with a certified and registered health professional before changing our diet, adjusting medication or taking on a new exercise program.

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The Mother of All Questions

It seems a day doesn’t go by where we don’t get asked the question, “if I drink kefir will it make me skinny?” or, “can kefir help me lose weight?” Our standard answer is notoriously vague (it has to be), so we’re glad read what Molly has to say:

For individuals trying to lose weight, I always recommend consuming high-protein snacks that have fewer than 150 calories at least twice a day. Kefir is the perfect snack because one eight ounce serving contains 11 grams of protein, which helps keep you full. It also contains the right amount of carbohydrates to keep you satisfied until your next meal.

In short, kefir itself isn’t a magic bullet that will guarantee weight loss (one doesn’t exist), but it can be an easy, convenient and delicious part of a healthy diet that supports weight loss.

Kefir and Health Concerns

Another one of our most frequently asked questions involved diabetes. Specifically, people ask, “can I have kefir if I have diabetes? If so, how much do you recommend?” Once again, we’re not certified health professionals and don’t know your individual story (see point above about reaching out to a medical professional if you’re unsure), but Molly gave us the following answer:

Kefir is a fantastic high protein snack for anyone, even individuals with diabetes. I would recommend looking for a kefir with less than 20g of total carbohydrate per serving. The Perfect 12 line is a great choice with only 12g of total carbohydrate and 11g of protein per serving.

Easy enough! Once again, it comes down to doing what’s right for your body and staying on course with the recommendations of the health professionals providing you care.

Finally, we’re often asked about what kefir means to people who are lactose intolerant. Due to the unique fermentation process, our kefir is 99 percent lactose-free. Many people who are lactose intolerant want to know, “can I have kefir?”

For those of us with lactose intolerance kefir can be a great alternative to milk. Not only is kefir 99 percent lactose-free, but the live and active cultures actually aid in digestion of lactose foods. It is also worth mentioning that one cup of kefir has the same amount of calcium as a cup of milk.

You read that right, not only will kefir (most likely) not harm someone who is lactose intolerant, the live and active cultures actually help digest lactose! How cool, right?

Practically Perfect in Every Way

We’re not talking about Mary Poppins here, but making a reference to our Perfect 12 line of kefir that is sweetened with stevia. We’re so grateful to Molly for taking the time out to answer our questions, but we couldn’t help wondering what her Lifeway Kefir flavor of choice is. With so many options to choose from, we expected the decision to be difficult and were impressed with her thorough response:

I absolutely love the Key Lime Pie Perfect 12 kefir. The natural tartness of the kefir compliments the tartness of the key lime so perfectly. I drink kefir because I believe maintaining a healthy gut is one of the most important steps to an overall healthy lifestyle. I always encourage 8-10 glasses of water a day, at least 25 g of fiber a day for women and 38 g a day for men, 30 minutes of physical activity and foods with probiotics.

That’s it for our Interview with an RDN series for now. If you have a burning question that we’ve not been able to answer for you, please reach out to us at info@lifeway.net. Who knows – maybe it’ll make the next round in our series?

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Molly Bray, RDN, received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the College of Saint Benedict and completed a dietetic internship through Iowa State University. Her career has taken her from Minnesota where she worked in the clinical setting as a weight loss counselor to Florida as a clinical dietitian. Working in a hospital setting, she gained experience educating patients of all ages and specialized in diabetes management.

Her clinical experience also includes pediatrics, nutrition support in the ICU, chronic kidney disease, chemical dependency, and weight management. Molly made the move to Chicago to work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a nutrition services manager. Since November 2013, she has been following her passion for nutrition and wellness as a Community Dietitian with Jewel Osco. In her free time she loves experimenting in the kitchen and trying new recipes that combine good health and great flavor.

For more information about how Jewel Osco Dietitians can help you Build a Better Basket, email AsktheDietitian@JewelOsco.com