Food to Eat, Foods to Avoid
Diet plays a critical role in determining who becomes obese, diabetic and is at an increased risk for heart disease and strokes. Good health is based first and foremost on a good diet. This means we must pay attention to how we get our calories and how many calories we get from which sources.
Over the past 40 years, the number of calories we eat has increased by more than a third. Most of these calories come from fast foods, prepackaged foods and sodas, even though these are the unhealthiest things we can possibly eat. Fast food, processed food, commercially baked goods and fried food are usually loaded with trans-fats. Foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, such as margarine, shortening and hard butter are also loaded with trans-fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids raise “bad” LDL cholesterol while lowering “good” HDL cholesterol. In other words, it drastically increases the risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
Processed carbohydrates or foods that have been refined to make them more consumer friendly, including white breads, pastas, baked goods and other junk foods are detrimental to your health. These foods have been stripped of their nutrients and often times bleached. They offer little to no nutritional value and are often referred to as “empty calories”. That, however, is a misnomer as they may be void of nutrients but are often extremely high in calories and register very high on the glycemic index. Processed carbohydrates have been associated with high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. When eating carbohydrates it’s absolutely necessary to look for whole grain options and considering fruits, vegetables and beans as your primary source of carbohydrates.
If there is one thing which has also played an important role in the obesity epidemic is high fructose corn syrup. For every half can of soda consumed, a person has a 26% increase in risk of becoming overweight. Corn syrup is artificially manipulated in order to give it that super-sweet taste. Evidence is showing that the body may not be able to digest it accordingly. By packing in lots of hard-to-digest calories that severely harm our blood sugar levels, high fructose corn syrup has become a serious dietary problem.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, diet sodas have also been linked to obesity. A 2005 study showed that a person has a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can of diet soda he consumes. A separate 2008 study showed that rats on diets of artificial sweeteners gained more weight than rats on a sugary diet. The theory is that diet sodas trick the body into expecting calories when none are available, which in turn causes the person to overeat.
Whereas processed foods, junk foods and sodas all play a key role in the epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, there are foods we can eat that will help lower these risks. Foods rich in soluble fiber, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and many beans can dramatically lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising the “good” HDL cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids do wonders to help heart health, improve cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of forming blood clots. Foods that are high in Omega-3s include salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, halibut, sardines and mackerel. Those who incorporate a handful of fresh, unsalted nuts also find they have improved vein and circulatory health. Try shopping the perimeter of the store and avoid the middle where most of the processed foods are found.
For more information about foods to eat and foods to avoid or to see how thousands of people have experienced rapid weight loss with the Amino Diet, call 800-980-7208 and speak with a Certified Health Coach. You can also visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aminodiet.
Authored by Dr. Humble Finsand