POPULAR DIETARY TREATMENTS
Americans spends millions of dollars each year on diet books, products, and weight-loss plans. With all of this dieting, you would think obesity would be decreasing every year instead of increasing. So, why aren't they working?
Because people are doing the wrong things! These popular diets often offer promises of quick weight-loss with no hunger, and the majority of those dieters who do succeed end up gaining the weight back plus some within a year. First, we'll discuss some of these fad diets and then talk about what you can do to lose weight and keep it off.
High-Fat, Low-Carbohydrate Diets - Millions of Americans have joined the low-carb craze and started high-fat, low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, and the Zone Diet. They are made up of about 60% fat, 10% carbohydrate, and 30% protein. These diets say you can eat high amounts of fat and protein while getting very low amounts of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables. The main premise of the low-carb diet is that a diet low in carbohydrates leads to a reduction in body's production of insulin. The end result is that fat and protein stores will be used for energy. So you stuff yourself full of unlimited amounts of meat, cheese, and butter, and only eat a small portion of carbohydrates.
Moderate Fat Diets - Next, there are the moderate fat diets. Moderate fat diets include diets like Weight Watchers, the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, and Jenny Craig. These diets are made up of about 25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, and 15% protein. They encourage the intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and essential fatty acids found in foods like olive oil and salmon. These diets are usually nutritionally balanced if the dieter eats a variety of foods from all categories. For example, Weight Watchers operates on a point system where foods get a number of points based on calorie, fiber, and fat content. Dieters get a specific amount of points they can use for the day. While it's not encouraged, they may choose to spend most of their points on carbohydrates instead of balancing it out. This could lead to deficiencies in nutrients such as calcium, iron, and zinc. However, if followed properly, these diets are probably the most successful for losing weight and keeping it off.
Low and Very Low-Fat Diets - Finally, you have your low-fat and very low-fat diets. Diets in this category include the Dr. Dean Ornish's Diet and the Pritkin Plan, among others. They are made up of about 13% fat, 70% carbohydrates, and 16% protein. These diets are mostly vegetarian diets and don't recommend eating a lot of meat. Like the low-carb diets, you can eat unlimited amounts of certain foods. Because you can't eat a lot of meat, these diets are deficient in zinc, vitamin B12, and essential fatty acids. Also, it is so restrictive that people find a hard time staying on it for life and end up gaining their weight back.
So what should you eat if you're trying to lose weight? The majority of obese people eat too much, and they eat too much of the bad stuff. But even if you're eating the good stuff, you can still eat too much. So, you first need to know what to eat, and second, you need to learn how to recognize when you're full and when you're really hungry.
It's also important to remember that your weight should be lost gradually. Don't expect miracles overnight like some fad diets promise. When you first start dieting, you will probably lose more water weight, therefore you may be losing more pounds initially. But, if you're doing it right, your weight loss will slow down to an average of one to two pounds per week. Studies have shown that you can only lose three pounds of fat per week, so anything over that is water loss or muscle loss, which you need to stay away from.
AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDATIONS
The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a variety of foods from the different food groups. In order for women to lose one to two pounds a week, they should consume between 1200 and 1500 calories a day. Men should consume between 1500 and 1800 calories a day if they want to lose one to two pounds a week. Let's examine the different food groups the American Heart Association suggests you consume.
Meat, Poultry, Fish - You should consume no more than 6 ounces of meat, poultry, and fish per day. Lean cuts of poultry and fish have fewer calories than fatty red meat, but you can find lean cuts of red meat in your supermarket.
Breads, Cereals, Starches - This food group includes bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. You can have six servings from this food group a day. A serving size is 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, and 1cup of rice, pasta, or ¼ to ½ cup of starchy veggies. So, if you eat Remember here, that whole grain is best. When you can, choose whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta instead of their white counterparts that have been stripped of nutrients and fiber.
Vegetables and Fruits - Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of your diet because they contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients. You can have five or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables. A serving size is ½ cup to 1 cup of cooked and raw vegetables, ½ cup of fruit juice, or one medium piece of fruit. Aim to choose a variety of colors in your diet because they have different vitamins and minerals. Let's examine the colors you should include in your diet every day.
Red - Red fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that help keep your heart and urinary tract healthy. They also help with your memory and lower your risk of some cancers. When it comes to red, choose from apples, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers, and radishes, to name a few.
Yellow/Orange - Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that keep your heart, vision, and immune system healthy. Some yellow and orange fruits and veggies include apricots, lemons, peaches, cantaloupe, yellow squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Green - Green fruits and vegetables help lower your risk of some cancers and keep your bones and teeth strong. Choose foods like green grapes, broccoli, avocados, spinach, green apples, and limes.
Blue/Purple - Blue and purple fruits and vegetables lower the risk of some cancers and keep your urinary tract healthy. They also help maintain your memory function. Some delicious blue and purple foods are blackberries, blueberries, raisins, plums, eggplant, and purple cabbage.
White - White foods promote your heart health, and if you already have healthy cholesterol, they'll help maintain those levels. Bananas, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, and garlic are tasty options you can fit into your meal plan.
Milk Products - If you love dairy products, the good news is that you can still eat them and lose weight. However, choose low-fat or fat-free products. They contain the same vitamins and minerals, taste good, and lower your cholesterol all at the same time. Adults aged 19-50 should have three servings of milk products per day. A serving of dairy is 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk, 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt, 1 ounce of low-fat cheese (stay away from fat-free cheeses—they have too much sodium) or a ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese.
Fats - You should have no more than five servings of fats a day in the form of oil, nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, and mayonnaise. Fat servings include one teaspoon of oil, three teaspoons of nuts or seeds, 5-10 olives, 1/8 of an avocado and two teaspoons of mayonnaise. If you love the taste of butter on your vegetables, use a fat-free imitation butter spray. It really doesn't taste that much different.