Entrepreneurial Eats

Marisa Moore (B.S. ’01, MBA ‘09) is raising America’s health IQ


The business of healthy living keeps Marisa Moore busy. Very busy. As one of just 30 registered dieticians who are spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Moore is in constant demand. She’s a regular contributor to HLN, CNN, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, Food and Nutrition magazine and has even made an appearance on the Today Show.

She writes, does on-camera interviews and cooking demonstrations, cultivates healthy menu items for restaurants and works with individuals to improve their health through better nutrition. She even teaches a class, fittingly called Nutrition and the Media, at Georgia State and is the consulting dietician at Spelman College. She’s also a past president of the Georgia Dietetic Association and is an active member of the Robinson College Council of Business Young Leaders.

“All of it keeps me on my toes,” she said, laughing.

Before becoming a food industry entrepreneur, Moore managed the nutrition worksite wellness program for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and was the corporate nutritionist for Atlanta Bread Company, where she worked in research and development and marketing.

When it comes to living and eating better, (“At home, I cook a lot of fish, and beans are a great plant-based protein. I also eat what’s in season,” she said) Moore has some rather simple advice.

“Eat well, move more, get plenty of sleep,” she said. “Oftentimes, people just need a simple shift in what they’re doing to get into healthier lifestyles.”

Nutritional Mythbusting

By Marisa Moore  RDN, LD

The Truth About Carbs
Carbohydrates make you fat! Carbs are good? Carbs are bad? Wah! Which is it?

The key is to choose the right carbs. Carbohydrates are essential for good health and are the body’s preferred source of energy and a key source of nutrients. They include all bread, pasta, rice, fruits, starchy vegetables, milk and sweets. To think of cutting all of these from your diet is just not realistic or advisable. However, instead of a big plate of pasta or rice, a pint of ice cream or bag of chips, choose healthy carbs like whole grains, beans and fruit and practice portion control at every meal.

Bottom Line: Eating too much of any food, not just carbs, can lead to weight gain. The key is to choose the right carbs.


Is Butter Really Better?
Good today. Bad tomorrow.

Butter is a saturated fat and current guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats found in butter, cheese and meats. Decades of research link saturated fats to increasing bad cholesterol and the risk for heart disease. However, research shows olive oil and other unsaturated fats like avocados, sesame and canola oils can help reduce the risk of heart disease. So… stick with what we know: Research supports the health benefits and merits of olive oil, nuts, avocados and other unsaturated fats. No such evidence exists for butter.
Butter is OK. Just enjoy it in moderation, as part of a balanced diet — don’t smother your morning toast or grits every day.

Bottom Line: Butter tastes delicious. Enjoy it in moderation.


Is Sugar the Enemy?
Labeling sugar public enemy number one is not a public health cure-all

Sugar provides no real nutrition benefit – only calories. It’s also linked to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an increased overall risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends women limit added sugars to 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day and men 9 teaspoons (36g) per day.
Think it’s impossible to eat less sugar? Grapes are sweet. You can train your taste buds to appreciate that. Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist if you need help!
Sugar is but ONE part of the diet that we know should be limited. Focusing on one food distracts from the entire picture.

Bottom Line: Most Americans can stand to eat less sugar. Focus on whole foods and limited added sugars.

What’s the Deal with Gluten-Free?

Do I need to be on a gluten-free diet?

Probably not. There are people who must follow a gluten-free diet to manage celiac disease. Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people in the United States. Gluten is a protein – not anything foreign or generally harmful. The truth is, unless you have celiac disease or are otherwise gluten intolerant or sensitive there is no proven benefit to going gluten-free.
Many gluten-free packaged foods contain fewer vitamins, less fiber and more sugar than the original versions. And often cost more.

Bottom Line: For most people, following a gluten-free diet doesn’t guarantee any better health or weight loss.

The Gremlin Effect

Will eating after 7 make me gain weight?

No. Your body doesn’t stop burning calories at 7 p.m. and I haven’t seen anyone turn into a gremlin by having dinner at 7:30. Eating after 7 p.m. does not make you gain weight. Eating too many calories all day long and not balancing them with activity does. Take heed. Some people tend to eat large portions of popcorn, chips, ice cream and other snacks after dinner, late at night or while watching television. Too much of this behavior can certainly lead to weight gain and even acid reflux. There is a Nugget of Truth to this, however: Research shows that people who regularly eat late dinners tend to have higher levels of stress and may get less sleep (possibly due to work, anxiety or other issues) — both of which can contribute to weight gain.

Bottom Line: There is no specific time to stop eating. There is nothing magical about 7 p.m. Eat smart according to your personal schedule and needs.