Does one diet work for everyone? Is there one best way of eating? Is one diet better than all the others? The answer to all these questions is no. There are clear healthy eating habits everyone should follow. This includes avoiding processed foods, eating real/whole foods, avoiding sugar, and avoiding processed oils. The exact composition of a healthy diet can vary depending on one’s age, metabolism, and genetics. Most children are highly sensitive to insulin. This means they can eat carbs all day long and still remain thin. Furthermore, most children have a good metabolism. Unfortunately, as we get older things change. Most people, as they age, become less sensitive to insulin. This means that excess sugar is not burned by the body’s cells, but instead gets stored as fat. Insulin sensitivity varies from person to person. Some people can cut their carbs to 100grams a day and can lose weight and remain thin. Other people need to lower their carbs to under 25grams a day to lose weight. If you are on a low carb diet and not losing weight, you may need to cut your carb intake even more. Remember that everyone’s metabolism is different. Some people can eat a large amount of food and remain thin. Others are not as lucky. As we get older and lose muscle mass our metabolism slows down. We burn less calories at rest compared to when we were younger. A good way to naturally increase your metabolism is to increase muscle mass by lifting weights. More muscle mass leads to a higher metabolism and more calories burned at rest. The take home message is that everyone is different. Do not believe anyone who claims their diet is the best for everyone. What works for others, may not work for you. The key is to experiment and find what does work for you. Again, you can never go wrong avoiding processed food and sugar in your diet. A good rule of thumb that everyone can follow includes a diet of unprocessed, whole foods that your body recognizes as food. For most people, including a good amount of protein in every meal can help with weight loss. As noted above, cutting back on carbs is also important in losing weight. However, the exact amount will vary from person to person. Therefore, experiment a little with your diet if you are not having success. Keep a food diary if needed. Find what works specifically for you. One size does not fit all.
Green vegetables are nutritional powerhouses. They are very high in nutrients and very low in calories. (They are very nutrient dense.) They help fill you up with minimal calories. (They have a low calorie density.) In fact, greens have less than 100 calories per pound. Most people do not realize the nutrient power of greens. Some of the biggest animals such as elephants, gorillas, hippopotamuses, and giraffes all eat predominantly greens. How do they grow so large only on greens? Greens pack a powerful protein punch. Approximately 25% of calories from greens are from protein. For example, broccoli has 11gm protein per 100 calories. Romaine lettuce has 7gm protein/100 calories. In contrast, steak has only 6gm protein per 100 calories! Furthermore, greens are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals. Examples of green powerhouses include kale, spinach, arugula, romaine, bok choy, brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and peas. Eating more greens improves your health and prevents cancer. Eating more greens is critical to losing weight and improving your health. There is no such thing as too much greens in your diet. Having difficulty losing weight? Increasing the amount of greens in your diet will surely help the extra pounds to come off.
I love cheese. There are so many interesting types of cheese including Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, and Swiss amongst many other tasty varieties. Unfortunately, cheese has a lot of calories and saturated fat. It is very calorie dense (a lot of calories in a small serving size). In fact, a serving size is approximately the size of a dice. Most serving sizes have approximately 100-150 calories. Most people will eat several servings at once, thus taking in a large number calories without realizing it. This is especially easy while at parties. Cutting back on cheese is one way to cut back on calories and fat to help with weight loss. Unfortunately, even reduced fat cheese tends to have a fair amount of calories and saturated fat in a small serving size. (Watch those labels!)
Every meal should begin with either a piece of fruit or vegetable. Both are low in calories so they help to fill you up with less total calories for your meal and help with weight loss. They are filled with fiber which helps to keep you regular and fills you up with less calories. They are loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. Both contain multiple anti-oxidants which help in preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. For example, breakfast can start with a banana, apple, orange, or berries. Lunch can begin with fruit or a salad. Dinner can begin with a salad containing many different vegetables. The more colors the better! The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the healthier you will become.