Nutrition FAQ

I have a food allergy, where should I go for help?

If you have a food allergy of any kind, it is important that you first make this known on the Syracuse University Health Assessment form. This way, Health Services will have this important information in your medical chart. If you have a meal plan and eat at the various dining centers on campus, please contact the Syracuse University Food Services (SUFS) dietitian at 315-443-9884. The SUFS dietitian will work with you one-on-one to assist you in making healthy and safe food choices related to your food allergy and overall nutritional health. It is also very important that you carry up-to-date allergy medication with you at all times. In case of an emergency dial 711 from a campus phone or 911 if off campus. For more information about Food Allergies please make an appointment with the Syracuse University Health Services Dietitian and/or the Syracuse University Food Services Dietitian.

I am concerned about my roommate. She seems to be losing a lot of weight and not eating a lot. What can I do to help her?

Your roommate may be experiencing some disordered eating patterns or may have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are psychological conditions that affect individuals in many different ways. While many people think that eating disorders are about food, they are not. It is much more complicated than that. The best help you can offer your friend is to encourage her to seek help with professionals at Health Services (443-9005) and the Counseling Center (443-4715). In the meantime, don't talk about food, weight or body image or size. Don't comment on physical attributes or looks. Please realize that you cannot “cure” your friend; successful recovery from disordered eating patterns or an eating disorder requires expert assistance from professionals. However, if this situation is making you uncomfortable or increasing the stress in your life, please come talk to us at Health Services and at the Counseling Center . You should not have to suffer because of your friend's health. For more information about how to help a friend with an eating disorder, pick up “How to help a friend 101” and other health resources at Health Services.

I just became a vegetarian and I am concerned I am not getting enough protein. How can I make sure I am eating well as a vegetarian?

To ensure an adequate intake of protein as a vegetarian, try eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products. Some grains like quinoa are also good sources of protein. Also, don't forget foods such as hummus and nut butters. Iron rich foods include, beans, and iron enriched cereals and breads. To maximize the amount of iron that is absorbed from foods, try to include a vitamin C rich food like orange juice, tomatoes, strawberries and such with your meals. So, for example, throw some berries in your cereal or yogurt; or add tomatoes to your sandwich or salad; or drink orange juice with your cereal for breakfast. Dark leafy green vegetables are also good sources of iron and vitamin C.

Zinc can be found in fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, legumes, soy products and enriched breads and cereals. Many dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D as well as soy milks and breakfast cereals. Other sources are egg yolks, cream cheese and shrimp.

I want to build muscle. Should I take a protein supplement?

You need several things to put on healthy muscle mass:

  1. An overall appropriate amount of calories from carbohydrates, fat and protein. Usually, your carbohydrate intake should be about 60-65% or your total caloric intake. Your intake of fat should not exceed 25% to 30% of your total caloric intake and the rest can come from protein (about 10 to 15%). Increasing only the protein portion of this caloric intake can make your kidneys work more than normal. While athletes need a little more protein than individuals who don't work out, the increase is probably not as much as you think; 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight is recommended. Athletes completing heavy resistance training may benefit from 0.5 to 0.75 grams per pound of body weight.
  2. Water: Maintaining proper hydration is essential to protein digestion and athletic performance.
  3. Consistent and safe strength training. Please consult with staff at Recreational Services for more information.
  4. Rest! A fatigued muscle will do you no good. The gains you see in added muscle mass come from the body's repair during times of rest between work outs.
  5. Patience and time. You will not develop muscle tone and “be cut” in one day, one week or probably one month. Be patient, work out safely and give yourself and your body time to build muscle mass in a healthy way.