Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Alan Lakein
OK – now you are ready to choose the diet plan for you to lose weight and keep it off. There are many different reasons that you might have decided to diet right now. You may be preparing for a big event. You may have made a big New Year’s resolution. Or it maybe that you’re just ready to lose some weight to improve your health.
Most diets boil down to a set of strategies that give you fewer calories, eliminate junk foods, and restrict your intake of foods high in carbohydrates and/or fats. Every healthy diet includes eating lots of fresh vegetables that are the less starchy types. The sources of the proteins that you choose are also important, since you only have 3 main macro-nutrients to fiddle around with in your diet: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
The evidence for their health promoting effects is really confusing. What we do know at this point is:
1. Lower carb diets are probably good choices for many people.
This type of diet reduces the intake of junk foods and items that can trigger you body to need to use the hormone insulin. If you don’t release the insulin, your body does not have a chance to fail at using the insulin properly.
Inability to use insulin properly to get bodily cells to take up and use blood sugar correctly is the immediate reason why people develop diabetes. A frightening number of people in the U.S. and other developed countries have pre diabetes or diabetes type 2, with high blood sugar levels that damage organs throughout the body.
Resistance of the body’s cells to the effects of insulin is the immediate cause of the high blood sugars that wreak havoc on your eyes, nerves, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and more in these conditions. Being overweight contributes to the problem for a variety of reasons, but one factor is that fat seems to make it harder for insulin to do its job.
Are all carbs bad for you? Not at all. There is a lot to be said for low carb eating. Carbs in certain fruits like berries, for example, do not hit your blood sugar as hard as other fruits like bananas. And berries are full of antioxidants that can protect
your cells from damage and promote health in other ways.
2. Low fat diets are less clearcut.
It is probably helpful to eliminate certain food sources of fats like red meats. But fatty fish like wild salmon has health promoting omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat is good for you. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve your cholesterol, probably reduce your risks for heart attack and stroke, cut down inflammation all over the body, improve and stabilize mood, and more.
Experts argue, though, over saturated fats. Some people believe that all saturated fats are bad for you. Others point to studies suggesting that only some are. Monosaturated fats like olive oil, for instance, maybe good for your heart health.
Fats are necessary to give you a feeling of satiety and stabilize your sense of hunger. If you feel full, it really helps cut down on your craving for foods and the risk that you will break down into a binge on forbidden foods.
3. High protein diets probably help you lose weight, but the scientific evidence is that balanced and complete vegetable proteins (e.g., beans complemented with a food source that has the amino acids that many beans may lack) are better for you than animal proteins as sources.
Remember to work with what you have learned about your own food addictions. Everyone is different, not only in what foods they like to eat, but also in which foods will help them lose weight.