We have gotten a lot of health and nutrition-based questions over the years, and while we wish we were qualified to answer all of them, sadly, we are not. So, we reached out to our ambassador Dr. Jaime Seeman to answer some of the most common questions we get!
Dr. Jaime Seeman is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist practicing in Omaha, Nebraska. Born and raised in the state, she played collegiate softball for the Cornhuskers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Sciences. She then graduated from medical school and completed her OBGYN residency at The University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is currently in private practice at Mid City OBGYN, offering a full range of obstetrics, gynecology, robotic surgery, and primary care services. She is a fellow in Integrative Medicine at The University of Arizona School of Medicine.
She is a board-certified ketogenic nutrition specialist and has a passion for fitness, preventative medicine, and ketogenic therapy in her medical practice and in her own life. She is married to her husband Ben, a police Sargent for LPD, and has three young daughters. Dr. Seeman is also Mrs. Nebraska 2020, running for Mrs. America, and appeared on NBC Titan games with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2020.
Here are the answers to some of your most pressing questions!
What is the best replacement for vegetable oils and butter?
When deciding what fats to cook with, you need to understand what kind of fat it contains and the smoke point before using it. Most "vegetable oils" are highly refined. These oils can be quite inflammatory to our bodies, especially when heated. The oils I avoid are refined canola, sunflower, safflower, grapeseed, soybean, corns, and sesame oils. Better choices for cooking would be things like grass-fed butter, beef tallow, or my favorite for high heat cooking is avocado oil. The flavor of avocado oil is very neutral, and it has the highest smoke point. Fragile oils should be used on salads or vegetables; these would be unrefined olive oil, flaxseed, or coconut oil.
How important is fiber? If recommended what are some good sources?
Dietary fiber is indigestible plant material that passes down our digestive tract either completely undigested or gets broken down by gut bacteria through a process called fermentation in the large intestine. The breakdown of fiber produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. This is where fiber shines in regards to colon and heart health. This substance is very similar to beta-hydroxybutyrate a well-known ketone body. On a ketogenic diet, the need for fiber may be much lower. Great sources of low-carb fiber are leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, bok choy, avocados, berries, or nuts/seeds.
Is too much red meat bad for us as mainstream media leads us to believe?
Mainstream media wants us to believe red meat is bad for us because it contains saturated fat. Previous advice from several medical journals led us to believe that reduced saturated fat would reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. What we understand now is that added sugars, flours, and vegetable oils were truly to blame. We should also understand that something like a beef Ribeye contains almost just as much monounsaturated fat as it does saturated fats. We are eating less red meat now than we were 30 years ago and the rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer continue to rise. Whole food sources like dairy, unprocessed red meats, and dark chocolate can be part of a healthy diet.
Is it okay for your child to eat the same diet as you? How might that affect their growth?
Children should absolutely eat what their parents eat! The nutritional needs of children are very important. Things like high-quality animal proteins provide the structure for growing bones and tissue. Most foods targeted to children like juice, bars, and cereals contain large amounts of added sugars, flours, vegetable oils and are devoid of essential vitamins and minerals without fortification. Children should eat REAL foods like high-quality meats, eggs, vegetables, and whole fruit.
What if Keto doesn’t work for someone to lose weight?
Any diet that creates a caloric deficit will aid in weight loss. People who do not lose weight on a ketogenic diet are likely overconsuming calories, usually from fat. Foods that contain fat are calorie-dense. Things like cheese, nuts, and seeds are what I usually see to be the problem. Portion control is a real issue! If you have weight loss moderating your fat intake and choosing the right kinds of fats is what you should focus on. Remember ketones are made from either dietary fat or body fat.
Is breakfast that important?
Our body's natural hormone patterns are set by our circadian rhythm or the absence or presence of sunlight. When we wake in the morning our gut has been resting overnight. The first meal of the day is truly important when it comes to nutrient value but that does NOT mean it needs to be first thing in the morning. It's best to eat your meals at a similar time every day as your body starts to anticipate these meals aiding in digestion and usage of that energy. Most people find intermittent fasting to be a great tool in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping insulin/glucose levels in check. Start with a 12-hour fasting window and work our way up to about 16 hours. That means you will eat all your calories for the day in an 8-hour window.
What nutrients does beef provide that you can’t get from other natural sources?
Beef is a truly nutritious food. There are essential nutrients found in animal foods like beef that we cannot get from plants. These nutrients are choline, B12, creatine, DHA, Heme Iron, Taurine, and carnosine. Beef also provides a great source of protein and fats.
What are your best tips to stay active during the winter months?
When the weather gets cold you either have to bundle up or stay inside. If you can't brave the elements, One of the easiest ways to get extra activity in those months is by always taking the stairs! Stairs are an easy thing to ramp up your non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is called "NEAT" and it includes things like brushing your teeth, cleaning the house, walking from your car, and taking the stairs.
How can people better advocate for themselves with their doctor, and have them listen and answer their questions?
It's so important that patients understand how to advocate for their own health. The real truth is NO ONE should care more about YOUR health, than YOU! Your doctor is simply there to provide sound medical advice. They should help you understand the pros and cons of treatments that they recommend. As patients though we need to take some self-accountability, by educating ourselves and truly putting in the work to better our health. If you feel you don't have a good working relationship with your health care provider then I suggest finding a new one!
Is it important for people to get their yearly physical?
Annual physicals are an important part of health care maintenance. It's easy to assume that you "look" or "feel" healthy but we can discover changes in things like blood pressure and labs before patients will have symptoms.
Are different diets better for different people, and does it depend on their underlying conditions?
There are lots of different ways to eat and be healthy. Depending on genetic variations, gender, muscle mass, and activity level we all respond differently to dietary interventions. At the end of the day though I think we can all agree that WHOLE foods are the best things for our body. Anything that comes in a bag, box, or carton tends to have added ingredients and harmful substances. My rule is to ask yourself two questions: Did it grow in the ground, and did it have a mom? If you can answer yes to both questions you're probably safe!
Thank you, Jaime (Dr. Fit and Fabulous), for answering our questions!