I decided to enroll in a FIG (freshmen interest group) that consisted of a cluster of classes all taken by a small group of students with the purpose of transitioning students into college from high school. My FIG included college algebra, psychology, and my greatest nightmare – science of nutrition. I wrongfully thought this class would simply consist of diet-planning, weight management, and basic knowledge about the nutrients. Boy, was I wrong. The class was a basic requirement for most pre-health majors. As a communications major, I was so lost. I hate science and that didn't help my struggle. 

If I could go back in time, I definitely would not take it again. Among all the useless information I learned, there were a few helpful tips and facts I learned that can be applied to everyday life. No need to take the class (if you don't have to), I've got you: 

1. How to choose the best bread

Stephanie Schoenster

Differentiating whole-wheat, whole-grain, and multi-grain can be tough. Although most labels claim to be "whole wheat" or "whole grain", they don't necessarily have to be. The first ingredient listed is always the most abundant one, so the first ingredient listed should be "whole-wheat flour" rather than something like "enriched bleached flour". Also, to ensure you're getting the most nutrients, choose a bread that has at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per 100 calories.

2. Fortified milk is key to get essential nutrients.

Tiffany Gao

Just like bread, milk comes in quite a variety. Being lactose intolerant, I've always opted for cow milk alternatives but nonetheless remained a heavy milk drinker. Which is why I was confused to find out I was also vitamin-D and calcium deficient? Turns out, although good alternatives for lactose milk, some milk alternatives don't have enough of the required nutrients regular milk brings. To ensure you're receiving an adequate amount of nutrients, check that your milk is fortified with enough vitamin-D and calcium.

3. Drinking coffee right after you wake up isn't exactly necessary.

mocha, milk, espresso, cappuccino, coffee
Kristina Kim

Because of our circadian rhythm, our body naturally secretes a sufficient amount of the hormone cortisol to provide us with energy and alertness around 8-9 A.M. Drinking coffee during this cortisol rush will reverse the natural effect it brings all the while increasing tolerance for caffeine in the long run. Optimal caffeine intake hours would be right after the morning's cortisol rush and after cortisol peaks throughout the day which occur at 12-1 P.M. and 5:30-6:30 P.M.

4. Nutrient toxicity is a very real thing.

goody, spam, chocolate, milk, cake mix, dairy product, sweet, candy
Ari Richman

It seems that ever since we were kids eating gummy vitamins, we always assumed consuming more vitamins is better. Incorrect. Toxicities for certain vitamins and minerals are more common than you'd think. Immediate symptoms of nutrient toxicities include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc. and the long-term risks are even more severe. In light of this, vitamins should be taken carefully when needed with caution towards its tolerable upper-level intake (maximum amount of a nutrient you can have without damaging effects).

5. Carbohydrates aren't evil.

In this weight-loss-obsessed time, a common myth that has prevailed is that carbohydrates are fattening. Most fad diets recommend lowering carb intake or getting rid of it altogether. This is absurd considering that 45-65% of your calorie intake should be coming from carbs. Carbs break down into glucose which provides us with energy to carry out all our bodily functions. To add, carbs that are high in fiber can actually assist in weight loss. Everything in excess can be harmful, so the same applies to carbs. An adequate amount of fibrous complex carbs are essential to a healthy diet.