miércoles, 9 de julio de 2008

A really simple diet that really works

If you’ve tried everything and you’re sick of counting calories or points, remembering which foods to eat, and so on, then this is the diet for you.

Introducing “The Half Diet

This is a very simple diet with minimal rules. Here they are:
At any given meal only eat HALF of what you would normally eat.
You can eat any kind of food you want.
You can eat UNLIMITED green, orange and yellow vegetables - assuming they are not drowned in fats.
Optional Success strategy: eat fruit instead of processed foods for snacks.
Optional Success strategy: walk briskly for 20-30 minutes a day. Can be broken up into 10 minute chunks throughout the day.

That’s it. I’ve seen this diet work. It’s simple and very portable. Restaurants? No problem. Just eat HALF. Ask for steamed veggies to fill up on. If you follow this simple plan, you should be able to lose weight since you will only be eating half of what you normally eat.

No diet is easy, but at least with this one you won’t have to think too much. Another key to success with this diet is to take smaller bites and eat more slowly. This way you won’t feel like you ate less. Wishing you much success!

As always eat lots of fruits and veggies. To make eating fruits and veggies easier, why not blend them into a smoothie?

Source: lifelearningtoday.com

miércoles, 25 de junio de 2008

What is and how the South Beach Diet works

The South Beach Diet has quickly captured the hearts and stomachs of dieters. Because of the buzz it’s been getting at the watercooler and at parties, it’s fast becoming one of the most popular carb-control plans. Developed by Miami cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center, the diet is meant to promote weight loss but not at the expense of heart health. Unlike other wildly popular low-carb plans, South Beach calls for keeping tabs on saturated fats and favors lean meats and proteins over bacon, cheeseburgers, and steak. Recently, Agatston came out with a South Beach Diet cookbook.

While the South Beach Diet is lumped together with other low-carb plans, it takes a decidedly different and healthier approach to protein and fat. Agatston contends that weight loss is just one of the priorities of the diet (the other is healthful levels of cholesterol and other blood fats). As with other low-carb diets, it’s questionable if the restrictive first phase really banishes carb cravings and is truly safe. So perhaps dieters can jump headfirst into phase two.

Basic principles:

The plan consists of three phases. In the first, carbs are curtailed dramatically in order to stop cravings. Next, dieters keep blood sugar on an even keel by adding back small amounts of slow-to-digest “good” carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Without getting too complicated, foods are categorized based on a ranking system called the glycemic index (G.I.), which measures their ability to raise blood sugar. Foods with low G.I.’s are favored because they are digested and absorbed slowly and release sugar into the blood gradually; colas, sugar, and refined grains are downplayed since they have a high G.I. Simply put, “the faster the sugars and starches you eat are processed and absorbed intro your bloodstream, the fatter you get,” Agatston says.

How the diet works:

There’s no calorie counting. In fact, there’s no actual diet plan per se. Agatston uses sample menus to outline what you need to eat. Lists of “foods to enjoy” and “foods to avoid” round out the plan. Basically, it adds up to three meals a day and three small snacks or six “eating occasions.” Agatston doesn’t like to call his diet low-carb; nevertheless, carbohydrates are indeed limited.

What you can eat:

Varies depending on the phase. In phase one, dieters pick low-G.I. carbs from Agatston’s list and pair them with modest portions of proteins including lean meats and seafood. Dairy, except for low-fat cheese, is taboo in this phase. By phase two, you start mixing in higher-G.I. foods in small amounts. Sweet treats, such as hard candy, frozen fudge bars, and Popsicles, are limited to 75 calories’ worth per day.

Does the diet take and keep weight off?

No clinical data. There are no independent trials that look at the success of the diet alone or compare it with other popular plans. However, Agatston has his own study with 40 overweight volunteers. Dieters were randomized to either South Beach or the American Heart Association Step 2 diet. At the 12-week point, South Beach dieters lost nearly 14 pounds, or about twice as much as the AHA dieters.
Is the diet healthy?

Phase one is too restrictive. But phase two and the maintenance phase promote healthful fats, lean proteins, and complex carbs, albeit a smaller percentage of them.

What do the experts say?

“It’s one of the more sensible of the low-carb diets,” says John Foreyt, PhD, a well-known weight-loss researcher t Baylor College of Medicine. “If you pick and choose carefully in the later phase, you can make a sensible eating plan out of it. The problem with it, of course, is that there is no data on the long-term results on whether it keeps weight off.” Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, who has counseled patients at Northwestern Memorial Wellness Institute for five years, says she tells patients “not to read any of the theory part of the book or worry about glycemic index. It’s a bit convoluted,” she says. “But I do tell them to buy the book for its menu ideas, recipes, and cooking tips. There’s a great recipe for mashed cauliflower that is a good substitute for mashed potatoes.”

Who should consider the diet?

Anyone wanting to try a somewhat safer version of low-carb dieting: Cooks, chefs, and dieters who appreciate good food will find lots of creative recipes here.
Bottom line:

This is the best of the reduced-carb regimens. Its emphasis on healthful fats and lean sources of protein is laudable. The advice to eat three bites of a rich dessert (no more, no less) when you eat out is clever. On the other hand, forget the tip about filling up with a glass of Metamucil (fiber supplement) 15 minutes before mealtime. Eating high-fiber foods at the meal is a much better—and tastier—strategy.

Source: health.com

While we all know to some extent that junk food is bad for health, new research shows that if a food has been processed to even a small extent, it may be contributing to weight problems.

Even foods that are labeled as "healthy" or "low calories" or "diet food" can actually do more harm than good.

Oprah has been campaigning against processed foods and emphasizing the importance of eating fresh foods and her assertion now seems to have a scientific reason.

Why processed food is not healthy?

The food manufacturers - with good intentions - have no choice but to add "stuff" to make the food last longer and still taste delicious. Since any food loses its natural flavors during processing and when it sits on a shelf in the store or in your pantry, companies add all kinds of chemicals to either retain some of the original flavor or make the food be flavor-rich.

How does processed food make you fat?

While the body looks for calories, it also looks for nutrients. That is why when you are getting small or no nutrients in processed foods, the body goes into the "hunger mode" and starts to preserve calories. The net result is that the calorie-rich processed foods turn into fat and the body refuses to burn them.
Eliminating processed foods from your diet

Processed food is convenient, especially for busy moms or college students or single women with demanding jobs. But it is best to eliminate it or minimize it in the diet. These are some tips:
1- If it is in a can or a bottle or a box (or whatever exotic packaging), ask yourself if you can avoid it.

2- While shopping in the supermarket, go to the fresh food aisles first and try to find whatever you need there. Only then, go to the processed food aisles.

3- Fresh food is typically more expensive - try to cut back in other areas of your life to find the extra money.

To the extent possible, also stay away from ready-to-eat meals, no matter what the label says or even if is sold in a health-foods or gourmet supermarket. The best way to eat healthy is to cook your own meal using sauces that you have prepared. You must also try to read the recipe carefully to figure out how you can cut sugar and fats.

Increase the intake of healthy protein (lean meat, eggs, tofu, etc.) in your diet - high protein diets suppress appetite.

Source: lindisima.com