God, Hope & Helping Others
Posted By Dr. Mercola | July 29 2011
To be thin, you need to make smart food choices, watch your portion sizes and stay active. Yahoo Shine has made a list of nutritious, wholesome foods that can help keep you slender. Here are some of them:
Apples: Apples are a good source of dietary fiber, which contributes to a healthy digestive system and reduces cholesterol -- and also fills you up without calories.
Almonds: An ounce of almonds contains 167 calories, but has about 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber, both nutrients that can make you feel full.
Eggs: Research shows that eating eggs at breakfast can help you fight weight gain all day long.
To read more the rest of the list, you can click on the link below.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
One of the most pervasive MYTHS about weight loss is that you can lose weight by just restricting your calories and increasing your exercise. If you believe this and are seeking to lose weight, let me warn you that you will be in for a load of heartache as this is a myth that is not based in reality.
The key is the quality of your calories and exercise. Typically you will need to replace your grain carb and sugar calories with high quality protein and fats and replace cardio exercise with high intensity training like Peak 8. I realize that this might conflict with your previous understanding of a healthy diet, but that is clearly what the bulk of the science and anecdotal evidence supports.
In today's world, filled with 'convenience foods' of all sorts, it's harder than ever to keep your weight under control. In the decades since processed foods took over the market place, people have strayed further and further away from fresh whole foods, and this, I believe, is the main crux of the problem. So let's take a look at what the typical American is eating. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the top nine foods eaten by Americans are:
|Whole cow's milk||White bread||Refined sugar|
|2 percent milk||White flour||Soda, primarily colas|
|Processed American cheese||White rolls||Ground beef|
Is it any wonder why we are having health problems when SO MANY are eating foods that are not designed to keep them healthy? This table does not list the foods in any particular order, but soda is the number one source of calories in the US. Once you know that fructose and other sugars, along with refined grains, are the primary culprits behind the obesity epidemic, it's really no wonder that over 2/3 of all American adults are now overweight or obese…
Rather than listing individual foods that can help you maintain a healthy weight, I'm going to give you some pointers on healthy choices within the three primary groups of nutrients that all people need:
- Proteins, and
I believe that once you understand that you need all three, and know which foods within each group to focus on, "dieting" will be a thing of the past for you. Your body is designed to maintain a healthy equilibrium, both in terms of optimal health and weight, and it will do its best to stay that way provided you give it the proper tools—the proteins, healthy fats, good carbs and micronutrients—that it needs to thrive.
If you feel hungry, irritable, sleepy or sluggish after a meal, it's a sign that your meal did not contain the appropriate ratios of carbs, fats and proteins for you, so it's important to listen to your body.
When it comes to weight loss, I believe there are two primary dietary recommendations that directly conflict with most people's dietary choices but could make a very big difference for them:
- Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet, and
- Increasing healthy fat consumption
It is important to understand that the foods you eat are three times more important for controlling your weight than your exercise. It's very easy to sabotage yourself with sugary foods and beverages; especially beverages containing high fructose corn syrup, which many sports- and energy drinks are chock full of.
Consuming fructose and other sugars just before or during exercise will cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike and crash, most likely resulting not in increased hydration, but in reduced athletic performance. Not only that, but consuming fructose after your workout will completely shut down your body's production of HGH! This includes items that are typically viewed as healthy, such as fruit juice or even large amounts of high fructose fruits.
According to Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose is "isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means you can have the identical amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different. Different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses play an important role in determining what happens to those calories, including how much ends up being stored as fat. This is why calorie-counting doesn't work for weight loss.
One of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on the topic of fructose and weight gain found that fructose consumption leads to decreased signaling to the central nervous system from two hormones, leptin and insulin, both of which play key roles in hunger and satiety, as well as weight control.
Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite and fat storage, as well as telling your liver what to do with its stored glucose. When your body can no longer "hear" leptin's signals, weight gain, diabetes and a host of related conditions may occur. Insulin is also a potent regulator of fat accumulation. The analysis concluded that:
"The long-term consumption of diets high in … fructose is likely to lead to increased energy intake, weight gain, and obesity."
So please understand that the number one step of any weight loss and weight maintenance plan is to severely restrict or eliminate fructose from your diet. My recommendation is to keep your total fructose intake below 25 grams of fructose per day, if you're in good health. Most people will also benefit from limiting your fructose from fruit to 15 grams a day, and, if you need to lose weight, you likely will need to limit your total fructose consumption to 15 grams a day total, including that from fruit.
It's also important to understand that while carbohydrates include sugars, grains, fruits and vegetables, not all of these help promote optimal health and weight. All sugars and grains (including organic ones) promote insulin resistance, which sets you firmly on the path toward ill health.
One of the best ways to improve your health and weight is to make sure your carbs are primarily in the form of fresh, minimally processed high quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw. One simple way to boost your vegetable intake is to juice them. I am firmly convinced that juicing is one of the key factors to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health. And for every vegetable you pack onto your plate, you'll have less room for all those other simple carbohydrates that can expand your waistline.
You can review my comprehensive approach to how to juice on my vegetable juicing page.
However, whether you opt to eat them raw or juice them, some vegetables contain more health-promoting nutrients than others. And some, such as carrots and red beets, also have higher sugar content than others, which you'll want to avoid if you're currently overweight, are insulin resistant or diabetic, or have any chronic disease.
When selecting fruits, stick to those that are low in fructose, such as apricots, cantaloupe, lemons, limes, passion fruit, plums and raspberries. The following lists detail some of the best and worst vegetables for your health:
|Highly Recommended Vegetables|
|Avocado (actually a fruit)||Fennel|
|Beet greens||Green and red cabbage|
|Brussel sprouts||Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf|
|Chinese cabbage||Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot|
|Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels|
|Eggplant||Most fruits except for limes and lemons|
|Vegetables to Avoid|
Yes, they can. Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as grass-fed red meat, raw dairy, and tropical plants oils) are, contrary to what you've been told for the past several decades, vitally important for optimal health, and they provide a concentrated source of energy, which you'll need once you cut down on energy-dense sugars and grains.
Trans fats (think margarine and vegetable oils) are the fats you want to avoid as much as possible. These are the types of fats that will clog your arteries and promote heart disease.
Saturated fats, on the other hand, provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances that are essential to your health. They're also carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.
Fats also slow down absorption of your meal so that you feel satiated longer, which in and of itself can help you shed some pounds if your problem is frequent snacking due to constant hunger. Protein will further curb your hunger, which I'll discuss below.
Sources of healthy fats include:
|Olives and olive oil||Coconuts and coconut oil||Butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk|
|Raw Nuts, such as, almonds or pecans||Organic pastured egg yolks||Avocados|
|Grass-fed meats||Palm oil||Unheated organic nut oils|
I recommend using coconut oil for cooking, frying and baking, and saving the olive oil for salad dressing only, as it is easily damaged by heat. Also, if you need to increase calories you will need large amounts of these types of fats. When I'm in need of fat, I may have a quarter pound of butter in one day. I typically combine four tablespoons of butter with two tablespoons of coconut oil, a scoop of Pure Protein Power for protein and flavor, then chia or psyllium powder to thicken the mixture. It is an absolutely delicious snack that provides plenty of healthy fats and high quality calories.
This is an amazingly potent appetite-suppressant for many hours. However the caution is here is that your body will need to be shifted to fat burning metabolism mode, otherwise it won't work well. If you are eating the typical foods in the first table in this article you will need to shift off of them for 2-3 weeks before you can start using high levels of fats for fuel.
Lastly, another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3's and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.
It's important to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratios, and typically this requires you to increase your omega-3 intake by taking a high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, while simultaneously avoiding vegetable oils (trans fats), which are the primary source of damaged omega-6 fats.
The issue of satiety is a big one, especially when trying to manage your weight, and food manufacturers know this. According to an article in The Food Navigator, published last year, the US diet food market—which is typically focused on increasing satiety without the calories—is valued at $3.64 billion annually! Unfortunately, most "diet foods" are among the worst foods there are. Nearly all of them are processed and pre-packaged, and many contain high amounts of fructose, not to mention a slew of chemical additives.
This goes back to what I said earlier: you cannot judge the "diet-worthiness" of a food based on calories alone. You have to look at the source of those calories, and regardless of how many calories the fructose amounts to, remember that the vast majority of that fructose will turn directly into fat!
As I mentioned earlier, healthy fats can help you feel fuller longer, but protein beats both fats and carbs when it comes to satiety. Eggs (especially the yolks) and whey protein are excellent breakfast options for this reason. I typically also have a whole avocado for breakfast along with some red onions on my vegetable pulp from juicing, and four organic pastured raw egg yolks..
High quality protein sources include:
|Raw dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc)||Organic free range ostrich, chicken and eggs|
|Lean, grass-fed beef and bison||Wild-caught, mercury-free fish, such as salmon|
|Whey protein||Raw nuts and seeds|
Of the protein sources listed here, whey is perhaps the best of them all. But again, quality makes all the difference. Most whey products are from isolates that use putrid proteins that are even more toxic than trans fats. Make sure your whey is derived from grass-fed dairy cows, and minimally processed, without added artificial sweeteners and flavors.
If you're like most Americans, you're probably carrying a few extra pounds. I'm here to tell you that not only is it possible to take off the extra weight with a little thoughtful planning, it is also possible to keep the weight off by following a few sensible dietary guidelines. For more comprehensive details, please see my nutritional plan, which is divided into beginner, intermediary a..., so that you can slowly work your way toward a healthier lifestyle without too much fuss.