You are what you eat
Hippocrates, the ancient greek physician once famously said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
In last month’s article we got a little bit technical and looked at nutrition, more specifically fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and what they offer us in terms of health. This month we are going to take a quick look at dieting: what you eat in order to lose weight or help a medical condition.
The word diet is now synonymous with calorie restriction. And you can’t fail to notice the amount of ‘diets’ offering you miracle weight loss results. This is the point at which most people break out into a cold sweat with memories of the latest fad diet that left them irritable, hungry and tired.
So let’s take a look at some of the more common diets:
Vegan - a diet of plants and food made from plants.
Vegetarian - as vegan but with addition of dairy and eggs.
Mediterranean - high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and
unsaturated fats. Low in meat and dairy foods.
LOW CARB HIGH FAT DIETS
Paleo - closely based on the diet of our hunter/gatherer ancestors (paleolithic).
Keto - reduce carbohydrate intake in order to force the body into a state of ketosis.
Aitkens - similar in effect to the Keto diet.
5:2 - eat normally for five days and fast for two.
16:8 - fast for sixteen hours and eat normally for eight hours daily.
Slimming world - swapping high fat foods for low fat ones.
Weight watchers - allocating foods a points value according to macronutrient content.
Cambridge - based around a range of shakes, soups and bars.
Cabbage soup - a seven day diet based predominantly around cabbage soup.
Clean 9 - based on very low calorie plan of aloe vera drinks, shakes and supplements.
don’t demonise any particular food group, instead feel free to demonise low nutrient processed foods: different diets work for different people but reducing processed foods is common to most
if you consume less calories than you use you will lose weight
exercise will not only help you to burn calories but will have numerous other health benefits (see previous articles)
if you eat nutrient rich food such as meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, fruit, dairy etc you will feel fuller quicker
My personal recommendation is to:
Reduce the amount of overly processed foods, alcohol, pizza, takeaways, beige and refined carbs such as bread, cakes, biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, crisps, pasta etc
Increase whole foods and healthy complex carbs such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, water, dairy, good fats. Have plenty of natural colour on your plate and don’t be scared of fats, some are essential to our health meaning that we can only get them through eating them in our diet (Omega 3 and 6).
Don’t count calories. Although this sounds counter productive, if your diet is based on the recommendations above you will feel satiated (full) because of the nutrient dense foods that you are eating.
Don’t get hung up on breakfast: the term literally means breaking your (overnight) fast so it doesn’t matter whether this is at 8am or midday as long as you don’t snack on rubbish.
Do what works for you and remember to keep a sense of perspective. In fact as I sit down to write this I am enjoying a cheeky wee glass of red wine … on a Tuesday evening!!
If you would like any advice please don’t be shy to ask.