Over the years, there are several diet fads and many different snippets of advice about healthy eating. Eggs and avocados used to be extremely bad for you. You used to have to avoid fats at all costs. High carb diets were the way to go, and then it was high-protein diets. It can all be extremely confusing. To sort the fact from the fiction, apply a few simple diet principles whether you want to lose weight or just want to be healthy.
Eat your Greens
Your mom was right; you have to eat your fruit and vegetables. You need between five and nine servings of fruit and vegetables daily to maintain good health.
Fruit makes an ideal snack food or dessert. Non-starchy vegetables should make up at least half your plate when it comes to lunch and dinner. Try eating fruit and vegetables as close to raw as possible. If you want them cooked, steam lightly – do not cook until flavourless or you will lose all the nutrients.
Protein is the Way to Go
You should have a small serving of protein with every meal and snack. This will keep your blood sugar consistent and help you resist the urge to snack. A serving of protein need not be a lot – ten almonds or a small tub of yoghurt will do the trick. Just make sure that it is a high quality, low fat protein. Cheese, for example, has a lot of saturated fat and this makes it a bad protein. Chicken, on the other hand, is lean and a source of good quality protein.
Starch is not just for your Shirts
“Carbs” has become a dirty word but the truth is that you need a certain amount of carbs to function at your best. You should stick to high quality, low GI carbs though. Low GI carbs help to regulate your blood sugar levels and provide a steady release of energy throughout the day. That is what makes oatmeal such a great breakfast. Generally speaking, the less processed a carb is, the better it is for you. Processing removes the fibre from the carbs and it is this fibre that slows the conversion of the carb into glucose in your blood stream.
There have been a lot of studies that have shown that dieters who consume the correct amount of low-fat dairy daily lose more weight than those that do not. It is better to choose low-fat options when it comes to dairy, just be careful of added sugars when it comes to low-fat. This is especially true of fat-free yoghurts that often contain a lot of sugar to make up for the lack of fat.
Fat is Good
Some fat is essential – without it, your body cannot function effectively. Here again it is the quality of the fat that matters. When avocados were the bad guys, it was because they were high in fat. They are still high in fat but we now understand that it is mono-unsaturated fat which is exactly the type that a healthy body thrives on. The bad fats are those that contain trans-fatty acids or are saturated – like those created when fat is heated.