Simple Eating Strategies
Searching for the answers about simple eating strategies, I consulted with a slew of nutritionists, including Barry Sears (author of The Zone) and Ann Louise Gittleman (Beyond Pritikin). What’s the best way to lose weight without being fanatical about it? Some of their suggestions are surprising. Others are so logical that our brainwashed-to-be-extreme minds may find them difficult to accept. Either way, they make slimming down without suffering seem easier that ever. Here’s how.
Eat fat. Contrary to conventional wisdom, you need fat to burn fat. “Fat slows down the absorption of carbohydrates,” says Gittleman. “It helps you to get more mileage from the food you eat.” Fat also helps you feel satiated, while excessive carbohydrates only make you crave more of them. That’s why you can plow through a whole box of fat-free SnackWells but can’t eat endless amounts of butter cookies or meat (of course, moderation is still the rule, especially with animal fat). Fat is a nutrient, sugar isn’t.
Monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oils, are important parts of your diet. Sweets are totally unnecessary and tend to have negative effects (see “fat/carb” box). Healthy sources of fat: nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
Banish the bagel. Breads fall into the carbohydrate category, which has been given celebrity status lately. But like sugary foods, many starched enter the bloodstream quickly, causing insulin levels to skyrocket (insulin, a fat-promoting hormone, makes you hold onto stored body fat, not release it.) The potential results: lingering hunger and gluttonous eating.
Befriend the green grocer. Fibrous carbohydrates, like those found in fruits and vegetables, enter the bloodstream at a very slow rate, keeping insulin- and appetite- under control. Slow cooked oatmeal is another favorable carb.
Avoid fat-free foods. Foods labeled fat-free usually contain high levels of carbs and sugars. Not only will you not lose any weight by switching to fat-free, but also you’ll probably gain because of the excess sugars and starches that will be converted and stored as fat.
It’s not what you eat, it’s in the mix. When eating normally, every meal should contain carbohydrates, protein and fat. Sears’ popular Zone diet supports this kind of cross-eating as the only way to diminish insulin production and increase the production of glucagon, the hormone that allows you to burn fat. And since protein stimulates the release of glucagon, eating it with starchy foods is both healthy and slimming.
Don’t count calories, but keep them in mind. When you eat too much, you store the excess food as fat- it’s that simple. Now you know why you’re no slimmer than you were before you converted to the bottomless high-carb eating. Sears recommends that you never go more than 4 hours without eating.
Beware the baked potato. See “Banish the bagel.”
Rx food. Think of foods as prescription drugs: Take the right doses at the right times in the right combinations. A good balanced ratio is anywhere between 30-40 percent protein, 20-30 percent fat, and 40-50 percent carbohydrates, depending on your activity level. Eyeball your plate to be sure these ratios are roughly right, and don’t fill up on too much of one kind of food. For most of us, eating adequate amounts of protein will be the biggest challenge. Some easy ways to do it: If you order a Caesar salad, have it with chicken. Or scoop out the soft inside of a bagel (it’s okay to have one once in a while) and replace it with cottage cheese. Craving a milkshake? Mix in some protein powder.
Rice cakes can be fattening. See “Banish the bagel.” Rice cakes have a dangerously high glycemic index (see fat/carb box).
Juice can be fattening. See “Banish the bagel.” Juicing gets rid of a fruit’s fiber, leaving behind only the insulin-boosting simple sugars.
The fat/carb connection. Dieters used to counting fat grams may soon be rating a food’s glycemic index (GI) instead. Nutritionists have named excess insulin the new archenemy, and a food’s GI will indicate how much insulin it will release. “Good” carbohydrates (such as lentils, apples, yogurt, and peanuts) rate low: they break down slowly, causing a balanced release of insulin. High-glycemic foods (like sugars, potatoes, and bread) are absorbed almost immediately, producing a surge of insulin, which can make the body extremely proficient at storing fat and equally sluggish at burning it. Moderate insulin producers include pasta, orange juice, and potato chips.
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