Are you #RD to Chat?

By Carlene Helble

The ultimate Twitter chat is ready to launch this November and it’s something you won’t want to miss! Registered Dietitian Janet Helm (@JanetHelm on Twitter) created #RDChat to help dietitians, students, and others interested in nutrition and health connect on fresh, hot button topics.

#RDChat will occur as a moderated conversation on Twitter the first Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET in an hour long session. Things like headlines from newspapers, as well as new studies, and controversial topics will be covered with the help of special guests.

New to Twitter chats? Janet provided these step by step instructions to get you ready to go!:

  • The chat happens live on Twitter and you can jump in at any time during the hour.  Simply log on to your Twitter account and you can use any of these options to help you manage the conversations.
    • One option,  go to and type in #RDchat.  Only the  tweets that include that hashtag (#) will appear.  You may have to refresh the page to get new results.
    • If you use Tweetdeck, start a column for #RDchat.  Only tweets that are tagged with #RDchat will appear in that column for you to respond to.
    • There are several other programs you can use that are specifically designed for chats on Twitter: All you have to do is log on to one of those programs.  When prompted, type in #RDchat and you’ll only see tweets that include that hashtag.  It allows you to see the fast-paced conversation happening in real time.  You use just like Twitter;  reply, comment, retweet, etc.  All of your tweets will automatically be tagged with #RDchat.

See you for a #healthy #nutritious and interesting @Twitter chat in November!

Biggest Loser Nutritionist on Today and Twitter Wednesday May 19th

If you’re a Biggest Loser fan, you’ve probably wondered at one point or another what the contestants eat while on the show and how do they learn to eat healthier to keep the weight off. If you don’t already know, it’s Cheryl Forberg, RD — a fellow dietitian and professional chef. She sees the contestants throughout the show to help them make changes to their eating habits.

Watch Cheryl on the Today Show this Wednesday morning (May 19th). She will be talking about her new book “6 Weeks to a Healthier You” that focuses on the long-term benefits of weight loss. She’ll share changes that people can make, one change a week for 6 weeks, to improve their nutrition and overall well-being.

After the show, she’ll be on Twitter answering YOUR nutrition and health questions. (How cool is that?) And if you tweet her your question, you’ll be in the running to win one of ten signed copy of her new book! This could be the closest you’ll get to The Biggest Loser!

Follow @CherylForbergRD and join in the conversation from 1-2pm ET on May 19th. This nutrition Q&A is made possible by Avocados from Mexico and more information about how to participate is available here:

Get your questions ready and good luck!

(disclosure: compensation received for this post from Avocados from Mexico)

RU Tweeting What UR Eating?

My techie friend sent me this link and I am just now getting to blogging about it. Evidently, the Twitter application has been retooled to create an online social networking food diary “Tweet What You Eat”. (TWYE). I guess the idea is that you can track the foods you are eating and their nutritional characteristics. Right now it is very basic… food name and calories. But it is crystal clear that this could be expanded to include anything about a food you would care to track – protein, carbs, fats, vitamins/minerals, or ingredients (important information for food allergies or preferences).

According to the website, you can look up foods you don’t know in the database. They don’t tell you which database they use. Most places use the comprehensive USDA nutrient database. I have to say I don’t use Twitter and I haven’t tried this application. Would love to hear from anyone who has tried TWYE. Is it easy, is it helpful? Tell me more.

I can speak from my own experiences using food diary applications. First off, let me just say that there are pros and cons to food diaries. The top reason to use them is to bring more awareness to the type and amount of food you are eating. The major down side is that it takes times. Depending on the system you use to track the information it can take a lot of time. I personally like Calorie King online. For only $40 a year, you get access to a comprehensive online database of foods and exercises, graphical reports of your long-term trends, and access to online education about nutrition and healthy eating at their CK university.

The other potential downside of food diaries is accuracy. You need to accurately recall what you ate and how much and the system needs to have accurate data. If the system doesn’t have exactly the food you ate, there will be some amount of variability. So you have to be OK with doing the legwork and just using the information as a guide.

Back to the TWYE idea… I am not sure what the true value a Twitter-based food diary brings that isn’t already covered by robust systems like Calorie King. I guess you can text your information. But if  you have internet on your phone, you can use the CK mobile version and get access too. Maybe this is just a fun experiment or maybe it could go somewhere. Who knows. Time will tell. I just find it interesting anytime we can explore blending technology with nutrition behaviors.