Ask Dr. Gourmet: November 11, 2008

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.Q: I really enjoy making low calorie, healthy soups at home. With these, I always calculate the number of calories per serving by adding the calories of all of the ingredients, and then dividing by the number of servings. My question is... do I need to account for the amount of water I put in the recipe, or will that be automatically changed by the number of servings that the recipe makes?

A: The great news is that the soups that you are making are usually just as you say - low calorie and healthy. It's also great that you are calculating and keeping track of your calories. We know that this is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Even better news...

Q: Lately I find myself eating my oats straight out of the box without cooking them. Are there any health benefits from doing so or are there any preservatives that must necessarily render the oats healthier if they are cooked? I really enjoy eating the dry oats so I'd appreciate your view on this.

A: There should be no problem with you eating uncooked oats. In a way these have already been cooked. Rolled oats are steamed in the process of getting them into that round cardboard box. There are no preservatives in most such products.

Q: Why didn't you include salt content in your evaluation of hot dogs?

A: This is a great point and I so much appreciate you writing.

The challenge is that there almost very few hot dogs on the market that are lower in sodium. The average hot dog runs in the range of 500 to 700 mg per serving. I am aware that Hebrew National makes a product labelled Reduced Fat Beef Franks that is lower in sodium at 360 mg each. I have not been able to find them....

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