Refined sugar consumption has become public enemy No. 1 and with good reason: primarily empty calories with little nutritional value, too much sweet stuff increases your risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and depression.
But also remember that sugar free isn't necessarily fat friendly. It may have other forms of sweeteners, which count as carbohydrates. Artificial sweeteners can dull your taste buds over time and make you feel hungry. So for 2013, eliminating refined sugar from your diet is the best eating change you can make.
Fiber not only gets things moving but can slash your risk of heart disease and diabetes. By slowing down the time it takes for digestion, fiber helps to curb appetite and level out blood sugars. Remember to look for "whole grain" listed as the first ingredient on the label. Twenty-five grams per day is recommended. You can also get fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. So for 2013 be sure to eat at least three servings of whole grain daily.
The bottom line is, balanced eating and portion control along with exercise equal weight loss, but joining a commercial nutrition or weight loss program may be very helpful for many.
Most people aren't familiar with proper serving sizes and end up overeating, and programs like these help with education such as this. It is also helpful to be accountable and among others who are facing the same challenges. Food diaries are a proven method to assist in controlling what we eat and helping to point out problem areas. So, in 2013 you may want to think about joining a group.
Super-foods, or more aptly "antioxidant rich foods," will help you look better, sleep better, feel better and increase your energy. It's easier to add a healthy food then nix an unhealthy one; so in 2013 add antioxidant rich food. If you resolve to drink more green tea, you'll hopefully force some of that high-sugar soda out of your glass without knowing it.
Not all fat is our enemy. As it turns out, we need "good fat" in our bodies in order to efficiently burn the fat that has accumulated around the belly, thighs and butt. Good-for-you unsaturated fats include: olive oil, nuts, fatty fish and avocado.
For 2013, replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, but remember both carry the same calories. Nuts may be good for us even though they contain good fat, but a whole can of them will wallop a lot of calories and weight gain. Moderation is the key.
Carbohydrates (carbs) are not the enemy: Without our primary source of energy our bodies are forced to live off ketones, which is not a healthy thing. Yes, choose healthier whole grain options and complex forms of carbohydrates such as fresh fruit, but don't give the whole food category up.
WHAT TO LOSE
Lose any diet that restricts whole categories of food such as carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, meats or fat. Diet plans need to meet all of the body's nutritional needs.
Commercial Cleanses: Detoxes claim all sorts of results, but feeding our body all the nutrients it needs to run optimally and then trusting it to detoxify itself as designed is your safest bet.
Diets that play with pH levels: An example would be the Alkaline Diet. Because it tends to exclude large food groups you need to be wary.
Always talk to your doctor or nutritionist about any diet before you begin. If a diet sounds too good to be true and the FDA hasn't approved it you probably should steer clear of it.
The very best diet to choose for 2013 is simply to eat healthy, focusing on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Don't restrict a certain category of food, and watch your portioning. The bottom line is you must expend more calories than you take in no matter what you eat; but don't waste your calories on foods that aren't nutritionally sound. Try to add some form of physical activity or exercise to your day; take baby steps but move more.
Please remember to contribute toward your OFA nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable at current levels without the support of participant contributions. Be aware that food stamps can be used toward your contribution. I do not want to have to make any further cuts to nutrition services. Thank you for your support.
Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritious noon meals at several Congregate Dining Sites throughout the county along with a Restaurant Dining Out Program. Our Dietitian, Cheryl Walhstrom, R.D. is available for nutrition counseling in your home at no cost to you. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Call the office for more details and information. Call: 753-4471, 661-7471, or 363-4471.