With so many popular diets available it’s easy to get caught up in the low-carb versus low-fat debate. Don’t. Instead, concentrate on the quality of the foods you eat. If you eat “whole” foods high in protein, fiber and natural fats instead of processed foods you’ll lose weight. Fiber, especially, fills you up and slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This helps stabilize your blood sugar level and reduce cravings. High-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain products tend to be low in calories as well. When you eat healthy “whole” foods rich in the nutrients your body needs, you naturally regulate your appetite, lose weight and protect your body against disease.
Examples of whole foods include:
• yogurt with no sugar added
• whole-grain bread
• just about any food that isn’t packaged
• The Enemy: Processed Foods
When it comes to losing weight, processed foods, especially processed foods made with white flour and sugar, are the main roadblock. First, these foods don’t have enough of the filling nutrients and fiber your body needs. Second, they can cause your blood sugar level to spike too high, then drop too low. Whenever your blood sugar level is low you get hungry and you eat more even though your body might not need those extra calories.
Culprit #1: Refined (Enriched) Flour
Refined flours are made from grains but they contain very little—less than 20 percent—of the nutrients, and none of the filling fiber, found in the natural whole grains from which they are made. Most packaged food products arc made primarily from refined or enriched flours unless the labeling specifically states otherwise.
Culprit #2: Sugar
Sugar, just like refined flour, is an empty source of calories. Try to make every food choice count toward providing the nutrients you need. You are much better off eating foods that contain energy plus nutrients andfiber instead of empty calories. That doesn’t mean you have to give up sugar entirely, just eat it in moderation.