Nutrition News: Weight Loss Made Easy
If you knew you could do just three things and lose weight, would you do them? Can it be that simple? No one diet works for everyone, but a look at popular diets finds they all have three things in common: eat more vegetables, eat less sugar and eat more whole foods.
If we just do those three things, we can lose weight. And the best part? You're not arguing with your neighbor over keto or low-fat or intermittent fasting as to the best eating plan. In my work as a dietitian, I've seen many weight loss plans work, but it boils down to being ready to make some changes. Start with these three and you'll see some weight loss.
1. Eat more vegetables. Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and high in vitamins and minerals. You can't go wrong having an extra helping. Sadly, only 1 in 10 Americans meet their produce requirements. Take a veggie challenge and try a new vegetable every day. If you think you don't like cauliflower, try it prepared a different way. My go-to: grilled vegetables. The grill brings out the flavor and makes everything taste better.
2. Eat less (added) sugar. This may be more challenging, but it gets easier over time as we tame that sweet tooth. Most Americans consume 19 teaspoons of added sugars per day. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Think of sugar like your checkbook. If you spend your added sugar teaspoons in your flavored creamer, you need to forget the chocolate chip cookie. Be on the lookout for other sugars -- agave, cane juice, maple syrup, honey, fruit juice concentrate, date sugar, brown rice syrup. They are all sugar with different names.
3. Eat more whole foods. Sounds easy enough. Choose more whole fruits and vegetables, meat, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, whole grains, seafood, chicken. Choose fewer packaged foods such as potato chips, ice cream, frozen pizza, cookies and boxed foods. Overly processed foods have been linked to weight gain. The fiber in whole foods helps fill us up -- and helps us lose weight.
Q and A
Q: Is fruit OK to eat?
A: Fruit and carbohydrates in general have gotten a bad rap. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, which work synergistically in your body -- just what you need for a healthy lifestyle. A new study finds that eating whole fresh fruit is associated with weight management and weight loss, especially in people overweight or obese. Too many people don't eat fruit because they think it contains sugar. It does, but it's natural sugar that is processed by your body differently than added sugars. Over a three- to 24-week period, the researchers saw weight loss and weight maintenance but no weight gain. So go ahead and snack on that apple or orange or handful of grapes. You may lose a few pounds!
In the Midwest, August means fresh sweet corn. We love to grill it and sprinkle it with a garlic Parmesan seasoning. Often, there's an ear or two left over. So here's a great recipe for zesty avocado black bean dip to add a healthy avocado to your diet and use that extra corn, which gives it a wonderful naturally sweet flavor. The recipe's from Eating Well magazine.