No Fad Diets!

There are some simple changes that can be made to your diet, which can easily help you to lose weight and keep it off, without resorting to extreme ideas, or fad eating habits.The main problem with diets like those, that almost eradicate carbohydrates, or involve other extreme eating styles, is that it is almost impossible to maintain them over the long-term and they are liable to turn a person into a self obsessed fanatic, who may lose the very real joy of eating and the delight in good food.

Eating IcecreamCredit: Flickr by bulinna

The Most Important Thing

Research comparing different types of diets, have found that the low-glycemic diet, which is similar to a traditional mediterranean diet, is the most effective at keeping weight off and lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Low carbohydrate diets are effective for losing weight, but this seems to come at the cost of increasing the stress hormone cortisol, which is bad news.

The good thing also about the low-glycemic diet (G.I.), is that there is no need to deny, or starve yourself, you simply need to make a few different choices and here's how:

1. Carbohydrates are important, they help to maintain the supply of glucose to the brain and the nervous system. Without carbohydrates the body can lose weight, but will also lose muscle and a person may become mildly depressed and develop headaches. However it is important to select the right type of carbohydrate. Quite simply, all highly processed carbohydrates like white flour are out, instead of white bread for example, opt for heavily seeded and sourdough breads. Select rices like Basmati, which has a high amylose content and thus is a lower glycemic food. Pasta generally is O.K, as pasta has a high protein content, being made of durum wheat. The sauce selected to go with pasta is however, very important, a healthy low-fat tomato based sauce and a moderate amount of lean meat is the best and don't forget to add garlic and onions, which confer cardiovascular benefits.

Don't Be Extreme, Be Wise

spaghettiCredit: Flickr Vox Efx


2. Dump the processed cereal and find a muesli without added sugar, or eat porridge made from oats (fast in the microwave), with a splash of honey and add beans to your diet, which are low-glycemic and filling. low-glycemic foods are digested more slowly and the sugar is released into the blood stream slower, this factor is very important for avoiding diet induced diabetes and for appetite control. Sourdough breads, as mentioned are an extremely good choice, because the fermentation process produces acids which also lower blood sugar.

Other Helpful Factors

1. Reduce fat intake, especially in ready prepared foods, which may contain bad fats like, saturated fats (found in, lard, palm oil, cream) and especially trans fats formed by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils. This type of fats can increase cardiovascular risk and impact metabolism.

2. Add vinegar and lemon juice to the diet, perhaps in salad dressings for example. These food acids can lower blood sugar levels, which is important for those at risk of diabetes.

3. Add chillies to the diet, as they increase the metabolic rate and increase the bodies ability to burn fat. Chilli powder is the easiest method and can be sprinkled on pasta and other dishes.

3. Drink tea. Black and green tea without milk add important antioxidants to the diet and also reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut. It is important not to add milk to the tea however, as milk protein binds the important tea compounds.

4. Add herbs and spices to cooking, as many culinary herbs target (PPAR)gamma, which is an important factor in insulin resistance. Helpful herbs and spices are: cinnamon, black pepper, thyme and bay leaves.

5. Forget about drinking carbonated soft drinks, as these are bad news; both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. Soft drinks with sugar increase fatty liver and artificially sweetened soft drinks impact  insulin signaling and triglyceride formation. Instead, opt for plain carbonated water, with a squeeze of lemon.

6. Add a good quality yogurt with plenty of active cultures to your diet, as yogurt specifically, has been found to reduce abdominal fat (International Journal of Obesity).

7. Eat raw nut like almonds, which are nutrient dense and inhibit hunger signals and thus allow weight loss  (International Journal of Obesity).

8.  Add supplements of oligofructose and inulin to your diet, which are prebiotic fibres which,  increase the production of short chain fatty acids like butyrate and propionate which modulate glucose production, inhibit appetite and protect against diet induced obesity.