Eat The Food. Lose The Weight.
Do you want to lose the weight? Stop to think about what they taught you in health class for a moment. You may notice that your knowledge when it comes to nutrition is totally backwards.
Maybe more like upside down... If you've been paying attention you know that the things we used to think were bad like eggs, bacon and butter are being revealed to actually be "good" for you! Likewise, the things that we have been told are "healthy" like cereal, fruit, and low-fat milk are maybe not so "good" after all...
A recent study presented at the 2018 annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology has reported findings that red meat and cheese should actually be considered to be heart healthy foods. wtf 🤔
Confirmation Bias in our Dietary Guidelines
You might not always be able to trust the most popular or widespread dietary guidelines. Unfortunately, these are a moving target. New research combined with corporate interests can muddy the waters.
This does not mean all dietary guidelines are created with greed, or malicious intent in mind. Yes, a lot of research is funded by the food industry, big pharma, and the federal government. These studies naturally tend to have some bias. All research inevitably does. The difference here is the scale at which that information is distributed vs some lesser known studies that don't always support the same findings.
Keeping yourself armed with a broad range of research ensures that you get a full picture of our current understanding of food. If you look hard enough you'll see that there is plenty of overlap between the different opinions. Focusing on the fundamentals can allow you to cut through all of the BS and re-shape the way you think about food.
The food macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fiber, proteins, and water. The micro-nutrients are minerals and vitamins. On a healthy diet, the three macronutrients most often cited are fats, proteins and carbs. These are the main components of all food. Incidentally, fiber and water have little or no impact on your waistline.
Non-Essential Carbohydrates and Insulin
Interestingly, carbohydrates are the only nutrient that are not essential to a healthy diet. These are the sugars, the starches, and includes all grains like wheat, corn and rice. They also are the foods that cause a spike in insulin, blood sugar (glucose level) and fat storage.
Protein is definitely essential, but too much protein can actually turn into excess sugar. Dietary fat and fiber are neutral. They have little or no impact on insulin.
Some researchers think anytime you put something in your mouth...it will impact insulin. This can be even small amounts of food. Insulin is one of 7 fat regulating hormones. You have to have insulin. Insulin resistance and too much insulin are what causes health risks.
Low-Fat Foods and Processed Foods
When low-fat foods are made, manufacturers remove fat from the rest of the food. However, they then have to replace the fat with another macronutrient. Can you guess what they commonly replace the fat with?
Remember... food is carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and proteins. Take out the fat, and one of these other macronutrients must be used to bring volume back to the food.
The answer is usually is carbohydrates, fiber, and added water. Carbohydrates break down into sugar (except fiber. which your body can't burn as energy). The downside of this is that eating excess carbohydrates has been shown to causes obesity... Not great. 😕
This extra carbohydrate intake also seems to be one of the primary factors for Metabolic Syndrome. These symptoms could indicate future chronic health issues as you grow older.
So, why are we told to eat this way? Why are carbohydrates such a large part of Dietary Guidelines in the U.S.?
Honestly, that there are a lot of reasons. However, by the look of a good portion of us in the United States its clear that these guidelines don't work for everyone. The fact is, you should always do your best to research and experiment with food to see what is best for you. Sometimes "common sense" is more common than it does makes sense.
Most of an American's diet is from carbohydrates. A man takes in about 296 grams of carbohydrates a day and a woman gets about 224 grams. Although these intake amounts are within the Institute of Medicine's recommendation that carbohydrates should constitute 45 to 65 percent of total caloric intake, Americans eat more sugar and less fiber than they should. The American Heart Association recommends that women and men take in no more than about 100 and 150 calories a day from added sugar, respectively, but the average American gets about 476 calories from sugar, with an intake of 119 grams of sugar daily. Additionally, an American takes in about 16 grams of fiber a day, which is far less than the 25 grams women should get each day and the 38 grams men need daily.
OUCH. That's a lot of sugar... If you think that doesn't sound very good for you, you're probably right. Don't worry though, once you know how these macronutreints affect your body its a lot easier to make smarter choices.
Take Small Steps to Lose the Weight
Going on a diet does not have to be a struggle. You don't even have to call it a diet. You are better off to think of it as a new meal plan. Hopefully you can even think of it as a new way of life. You can take action by coming up with a plan to take small steps to reach your goals.
Maybe you do not have to lose weight at all. Therefore, you just may want to look and feel healthier. If you are a foodie and already like to cook, it will be a new adventure in your kitchen. The road to eating better and becoming healthier can be fun and exciting. Above all, start by cutting back on the carbs and you will lose weight, be healthier, and live longer. At this point, the sky is the limit. So, what are you waiting for?