The beginning of the end of Oz

This experiment with the Dr. Oz show could have worked.  It required Dr. Oz to hold true to his intelligence and integrity. He had the training, the platform, it could have worked. 

  • It was a problem from the beginning that he needed to fill 5 hours (40 minutes/show) of TV programming each week.  One hour of thoughtful programming content could have done a world of good.
  •  It was a problem that Oz wasn’t transparent.  He presented bogus products as-if they had real evidence.  His show boosted record sales for dietary supplements, but he promoted supplements that don’t work.  Admitting to this after-the-fact isn’t good.
  • It would have been fantastic if Oz had presented honest and accurate information, instead of fiction. There are many traditional medicines and practices that have great benefit and should be honored, but don’t present them like they have the rock solid proof.  America is smarter than that.

New Yorker article here:

Given the work I do (in nutrition science and evidence-based, natural therapies), I’m familiar with the evidence.  Given what Oz says on his show, I’ve long wondered how he kept his medical license.  He has good training, he knows good science, and he had to have known that he was misleading the public.

Dr. Oz could have stuck to accurate reporting.  He could have done so much good.  He presented good information when he was a guest on Oprah’s show, and then he was on his own. We had better transparency in Wizard of Oz movie; at least there we learned that the man behind the curtain was just a regular guy. 

Saturated Fat; it’s not all bad

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with saturated fat.  We like the way it tastes in food and we know too much isn’t good for our health.  In the quest for answers, I was recently interviewed in an article.

In brief

  • Some saturated fat in the diet is just fine 
  • Saturated fats from different foods (e.g., dairy, beef, plant) have different health properties
  • We are learning more about individual fats, but we don’t eat individual fats, we eat food.  So continue to eat food and be selective about where you get your saturated (solid) fat.

Link to the article here: Saturated Fat Today’s Dietitian Vannice 11.14

Guidance on healthy fats in Prevention magazine

I was recently interviewed by Prevention magazine on new science regarding fat in our diet.  Some of you remember the fat-free trend, where you’d eat a box of fat-free crackers and still be hungry (there are reasons for that). Then we went to fat substitutions and low-fat everything; real fat was out.

Turns out, we can eat all kinds of fats – naturally occurring is best –  balance and moderation is still ‘in’.

Some highlights: 

  • The type of fat we eat matters!  
  • Most of us need more long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA, specifically)
  • Saturated fat is not all evil!  Some is OK; make choices.  
  • Eating mono- and poly-unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, fish) instead of refined carbohydrates is a better choice for cardiovascular health.  

Click on this link for a handy reference chart that I created of some smart and tasty substitutions:  Easy fat substitutions Vannice Prevention mag 2014

The article on healthy fats is here I didn’t know the article title would be weight loss; the content refers to good health!  Healthy fat update. Vannice Prevention 2014

“Choose your fat like you choose your friends; wisely!”©

FTC ruling prevents memory and cognitive claims

FTC final Decision and Ruling is that Martek and ihealth, sellers of BrainStrong Adult are no longer allowed to make the claims of “improves memory in adults” or “prevents cognitive decline in adults”.

Find the complete ruling here: FTC Decision and Ruling Martek/ihealth Cognitive and Memory claims 8.14

The product most directly affected is BrainStrong Adult which contains 900 mg DHA along with some l-theanine and green tea extract.  Distrubuted by i-health (formerly Amerifit).

New recommendations for pregnant women and children

In light of the abundance of research demonstrating Need and Benefit from consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 for pregnant women and young children, the FDA and EPA have issued an update of their 2004 advice.

This updated advice pertains to all women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and everyone who feeds young children. 

Why this advice matters?  Intake of EPA and DHA is deplorably low in the United States, particularly among pregnant women and young children. These nutrients are essential fats that must be consumed through diet.

The documented benefits during pregnancy and for young children are too numerous to list here; contact me if you’d like more information.

Recommendations, in brief (see link below for complete update):

1. Eat 8-12 ounces of a variety of fish* a week.

  • That’s 2 or 3 servings of fish a week.
  • For young children, give them 2 or 3 servings of fish a week with the portion right for the child’s age and calorie needs.

2. Choose fish lower in mercury.

  • Many of the most commonly eaten fish are lower in mercury.
  • These include salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish, and cod.

* “Fish” refers to fish and shellfish collectively



Draft Updated Advice (1 page PDF) – also attached


Consumer Health document + Instructions to comment


This is excellent news!  

The Position Paper on Dietary Fats is published

I’m thrilled to share news of my recent publication!


Nutritional consultant Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN, has written a new position paper on dietary fats for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Co-authored with Heather Rasmussen, PhD, RD, of Rush University Medical Center, the paper updates the 2007 position of the academy. 

A summary of the key recommendations follows.

  • The type of fat in the foods we eat is as important as the amount of fat we eat.
  • Americans should increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and limit saturated and trans fats while consuming 20%-35% of their daily calories from fat.
  • Dietary fat recommendations aren’t as simple as saturated or  unsaturated because fatty acids within these groups influence health and disease risk in different ways. For example, the health impact of ALA is different from EPA omega-3; the health impact of lauric differs from stearic saturated fatty acids. Healthcare providers, dietitian nutritionists, the food and supplement industries, and the general public need to become aware of the specific fatty acids within the general fat categories.
  • Fat is an important nutrient in the diet: some kinds of fats are essential for good health (omega-3s) while some are detrimental (trans fats).
  • Many Americans have replaced saturated fat in their diet with refined carbohydrates, increasing their risk of diabetes and heart disease. Replacing saturated fats (typically solid fats) with polyunsaturated foods (typically liquid oils) and more vegetables is a healthier choice.

The Academy recommends a food-based approach that includes regularly consuming fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Dietary supplements can supplement essential fatty acids for general or specific health needs. JAND, 2014;114:136-153For more information please contact Gretchen Vannice at


Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN, consults with industry, academia, and healthcare.  A frequent speaker, she is also the author of Omega-3 Handbook A Ready Reference Guide for Health Professionals(


Alan Kristol, PhD, long-time research investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center recently stated “ I suspect there are benefits to eating fish. You might decrease your chance of heart disease a bit. But there is no benefit at all for anyone to be taking supplements. “. *

At the same time, Dr. Kristol is the 2nd author of 2 studies (below) which report protective effects from very high levels of EPA and DHA from fish.  These studies reported that consuming EPA and DHA from fish at levels much higher than what the average American consumes was protective against chronic diseases, even in people with diabetes.


Zeina Makhoul, Alan R Kristal, Roman Gulati, Bret Luick, Andrea Bersamin, Bert Boyer, and Gerald V Mohatt. Associations of very high intakes of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids with biomarkers of chronic disease risk among Yup’ik Eskimos. Am J Clin Nutr, Mar 2010; 91: 777 – 785.

Zeina Makhoul, Alan R Kristal, Roman Gulati, Bret Luick, Andrea Bersamin, Bert Boyer, and Gerald V Mohatt. High chronic intakes of eicosapentanoic (EPA) and docosahexanoic acids (DHA) are associated with desirable lipid profile and reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), and attenuate effects of obesity on triglycerides (TG) and CRP. FASEB J, Apr 2009; 23: 334.2.



Answers about omega-3s, from fish to krill to Lovaza

As an independent expert, I was interviewed for a Feature article in this month’s issue of Natural Food Merchandiser.  Adam Ismail, the outstanding executive director for the international omega-3 trade group ‘GOED’ (also the group that I support and have volunteered many hours), and two other men from industry are interviewed as well.  

Answers to questions ranging from Why are omega-3s important, to What is Krill, what about vegetarians, and is there enough fish to supply demand are answered here. 

Link to article here (may need to register to access)

or to entire magazine here.

It’s open to the first page of the article for you………


Let me know what other questions you may have!

You can also see my book at                              (book is available in paper and digital versions)

Thank you New Hope and Natural Food Merchandiser for the opportunity!