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Diets or “A diet that makes sense”

I think we’ve discussed before that weird diets don’t work. Sure, you might lose 10 or 15 lbs on the cabbage diet, then wham, a plateau and you’re stuck. That’s because your body adjusts to your new calorie intake and if it is too low your body shifts into “starvation” mode to keep you from starving to death and you lower your metabolism making you feel crappy and depressed because you aren’t losing weight. You need a diet that makes sense.

 

Most diets deprive you of something you need to be healthy. That’s why you can’t binge diet. To be healthy you need to:

 

Drink 80 to 120 oz of water per day

Yes, you can get water from coffee, tea, coke zero, etc, etc, but those other drinks add toxins and sugar that your system will need to fight to eliminate. Drink water. Actually, better yet, drink water with lemon in it. As much lemon as you want, just no sugar. Lemon in your water helps to neutralize your pH because even though lemon juice is acidic it is processed by the body making it a base.

Eat a diverse, well balanced diet 

We’ve heard that line all our lives, but what does that mean?  It means that you should have a protein at every meal.  Eat different proteins, mix it up.  Eat beef or pork for breakfast, chicken for lunch or fish for diner.  Don’t stop there.  Try new stuff.  Eat lots of vegetables.  All colors of vegetables.

Lots of fruit too.  Try eating vegetables or fruit for snacks.  You can almost eat a much as you can hold.  But its important to lower your desire to stuff your self to the gills.  You do that by not eating sugar or carbohydrates high on the GI scale.

Remember, sugar begets more sugar.  Yes, you do need carbs, but make sure they are complex carbohydrates, allowing your body to convert them to energy over a longer time, using more of the energy instead of storing it as fat.  That brings up the “f” word, Fat.  Don’t fear fat.  Eat natural butter, not margarine.  Eat lean meat but don’t worry about that too much.  Eat and use olive oil in cooking and salad dressings.  You get the drift.  We’ll talk more about it as time goes by.

Exercise when you can

Do what you can to exercise.  Take the stairs, walk the dog, etc. Exercise not only burns calories but also raises your metabolism making your body burn more calories even at rest.

Eat healthy foods

Most importantly, when you put something into your body, make sure it’s good for you.  Read the label, if you don’t know what the ingredient is don’t eat it.  Try to make your own food.  Don’t eat out as much.  If you eat packaged or processed food, don’t eat anything that has more than 5 ingredients on the label.

If you drink alcohol

Try to reduce your intake and drink more red wine than any thing else.  If you normally have a drink or two a night, don’t drink on Wednesdays for a couple of months.  You’ll be surprised at the difference.

It used to be thought that alcohol was treated by the body as a carbohydrate.  It isn’t.  When you take a drink, your body gives priority to metabolizing the alcohol first.  So alcohol is really treated like a fat in the body.

“This is because alcohol is oxidised by the body in preference to fat, thus ‘saving’ fat for storage. Therefore, alcohol affects the diet in the same way as an increase in the percentage of fat eaten. This is something to remember in your weight loss quest.” – BYC

 

In Conclusion

So, if you do all five of the things above and you still aren’t losing weight, the only thing left is portion control.  You are now healthy, just not at your ideal weight because of the stored calories in your past.

You only have one option:

1. eat fewer calories than you burn

But you can do that in two ways:

1. eat less

2. exercise more

Here at the Fat Farm we consider these suggestions as a diet that makes sense and recommend tracking your caloric intake at SparkPeople.com

Their online tracking method will tell you the number of calories you need and even calculate the nutrition for you. If you are diabetic they will track your glucose readings among other things.  Ask me how I use it to keep my recipes and normally eaten (grouped) foods charted.

 

Later – Jughandle

A Reversal on Carbs

Article from the LA Times:

A reversal on carbs

Fat was once the devil. Now more nutritionists are pointing accusingly at sugar and refined grains.

By Marni Jameson, Special to the Los Angeles Times

December 20, 2010

Most people can count calories. Many have a clue about where fat lurks in their diets. However, fewer give carbohydrates much thought, or know why they should.

But a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America’s ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

“Fat is not the problem,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”

It’s a confusing message. For years we’ve been fed the line that eating fat would make us fat and lead to chronic illnesses. “Dietary fat used to be public enemy No. 1,” says Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University. “Now a growing and convincing body of science is pointing the finger at carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar.”

Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake. The most conservative recommendations say they should eat half that amount. Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years with the help of a 30-year-old, government-mandated message to cut fat.

And the nation’s levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease have risen. “The country’s big low-fat message backfired,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The overemphasis on reducing fat caused the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar in our diets to soar. That shift may be linked to the biggest health problems in America today.”

To understand what’s behind the upheaval takes some basic understanding of food and metabolism.

All carbohydrates (a category including sugars) convert to sugar in the blood, and the more refined the carbs are, the quicker the conversion goes. When you eat a glazed doughnut or a serving of mashed potatoes, it turns into blood sugar very quickly. To manage the blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin, which moves sugar into cells, where it’s stored as fuel in the form of glycogen.

If you have a perfectly healthy metabolism, the system works beautifully, says Dr. Stephen Phinney, a nutritional biochemist and an emeritus professor of UC Davis who has studied carbohydrates for 30 years. “However, over time, as our bodies get tired of processing high loads of carbs, which evolution didn’t prepare us for … how the body responds to insulin can change,” he says.

When cells become more resistant to those insulin instructions, the pancreas needs to make more insulin to push the same amount of glucose into cells. As people become insulin resistant, carbs become a bigger challenge for the body. When the pancreas gets exhausted and can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, diabetes develops.

The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag that diabetes, and possibly heart disease, is just around the corner. People are said to have the syndrome when they have three or more of the following: high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg); high blood pressure (over 135/85); central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches); low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women); or elevated fasting glucose.

About one-fourth of adults has three or more of these symptoms.

“Put these people on a low-carb diet and they’ll not only lose weight, which always helps these conditions, but their blood levels will improve,” Phinney says. In a 12-week study published in 2008, Phinney and his colleagues put 40 overweight or obese men and women with metabolic syndrome on a 1,500-calorie diet. Half went on a low-fat, high-carb diet. The others went on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The low-fat group consumed 12 grams of saturated fat a day out of a total of 40 grams of fat, while the low-carb group ate 36 grams of saturated fat a day — three times more — out of a total of 100 grams of fat.

Despite all the extra saturated fat the low-carb group was getting, at the end of the 12 weeks, levels of triglycerides (which are risk factors for heart disease) had dropped by 50% in this group. Levels of good HDL cholesterol increased by 15%.

In the low-fat, high-carb group, triglycerides dropped only 20% and there was no change in HDL.

The take-home message from this study and others like it is that — contrary to what many expect — dietary fat intake is not directly related to blood fat. Rather, the amount of carbohydrates in the diet appears to be a potent contributor.

“The good news,” adds Willett, “is that based on what we know, almost everyone can avoid Type 2 diabetes. Avoiding unhealthy carbohydrates is an important part of that solution.” For those who are newly diagnosed, he adds, a low-carb diet can take the load off the pancreas before it gets too damaged and improve the condition — reducing or averting the need for insulin or other diabetes meds.

Americans can also blame high-carb diets for why the population has gotten fatter over the last 30 years, says Phinney, who is co-author of “The New Atkins for a New You” (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

“Carbohydrates are a metabolic bully,” Phinney says. “They cut in front of fat as a fuel source and insist on being burned first. What isn’t burned gets stored as fat, and doesn’t come out of storage as long as carbs are available. And in the average American diet, they always are.”

Here’s how Phinney explains it: When you cut carbs, your body first uses available glycogen as fuel. When that’s gone, the body turns to fat and the pancreas gets a break. Blood sugar stabilizes, insulin levels drop, fat burns. That’s why the diet works for diabetics and for weight loss.

When the body switches to burning fat instead of glycogen, it goes into a process called nutritional ketosis. If a person eats 50 or fewer grams of carbs, his body will go there, Phinney says. (Nutritional ketosis isn’t to be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that can occur in diabetics.)

Beyond the fat-burning effects of ketosis, people lose weight on low-carb diets because fat and protein increase satisfaction and reduce appetite. On the flip side, simple carbs cause an insulin surge, which triggers a blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry again.

“At my obesity clinic, my default diet for treating obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is a low-carb diet,” says Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, and co-author of the new Atkins book. “If you take carbohydrates away, all these things get better.”

Though the movement to cap carbs is growing, not all nutritional scientists have fully embraced it. Dr. Ronald Krauss, senior scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and founder and past chair of the American Heart Assn.’s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, says that while he fundamentally agrees with those advocating fewer dietary carbs, he doesn’t like to demonize one food group.

That said, he adds, those who eat too many calories tend to overconsume carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and sugars. “It can be extremely valuable to limit carbohydrate intake and substitute protein and fat. I am glad to see so many people in the medical community getting on board. But in general I don’t recommend extreme dietary measures for promoting health.”

Joanne Slavin, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a member of the advisory committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is less inclined to support the movement. The committee, she says, “looked at carbohydrates and health outcomes and did not find a relationship between carbohydrate intake and increased disease risk.”

Most Americans need to reduce calories and increase activity, Slavin adds. Cutting down on carbs as a calorie source is a good strategy, “but making a hit list of carbohydrate-containing foods is shortsighted and doomed to fail, similar to the low-fat rules that started in the 1980s.”

As nutrition scientists try to find the ideal for the future, others look to history and evolution for answers. One way to put our diet in perspective is to imagine the face of a clock with 24 hours on it. Each hour represents 100,000 years that humans have been on the Earth.

On this clock, the advent of agriculture and refined grains would have appeared at about 11:54 p.m. (23 hours and 54 minutes into the day). Before that, humans were hunters and gatherers, eating animals and plants off the land. Agriculture allowed for the mass production of crops such as wheat and corn, and refineries transformed whole grains into refined flour and created processed sugar.

Some, like Phinney, would argue that we haven’t evolved to adapt to a diet of refined foods and mass agriculture — and that maybe we shouldn’t try.

health@latimes.com

 

 

 

 

Cleaning up your carb act: Where to begin

latimes.com

Here is expert advice on how many and what kinds of carbs you should be eating each day.

By Marni Jameson, Special to the Los Angeles Times

December 20, 2010

Most Americans eat between 250 and 300 grams of carbohydrates a day, the equivalent of 1,000 to 1,200 calories. The Institute of Medicine, which sets dietary nutrient requirements, recommends 130 grams a day. Some, such as Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, say achieving that would be a big step in the right direction, but other low-carb advocates believe the number is too inflexible.

“What people can tolerate varies widely based on age, metabolism, activity level, body size and gender,” says Dr. Stephen Phinney, nutritional biochemist and an emeritus professor of UC Davis. For healthy adults the number can be higher, he says, while others will feel and function better if they stay between 50 and 100 grams a day. “I’ve seen some people get in trouble when they eat over 25 grams.”

If you’re lean and active, you can tolerate a higher carb intake than if you’re fat and sedentary, says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. But genetic predisposition, he adds, will also play a role.

Good carb or bad? How to choose wisely

Food scientists divide carbohydrates into two categories: good and bad. A good carb is one that doesn’t raise your blood sugar quickly. (Some people call these complex carbs.) Examples are whole grains, brown rice and legumes. Bad, or simple, carbs trigger a fast rise in blood sugar. Some examples are white bread, refined pasta, processed cereals, cookies, candy and sugary sodas.

When evaluating carbs, look at both the fiber content — it should be high — and glycemic index, which should be low, says Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.

One rule to use when buying bread (the words “whole grain” on a package can often mislead) is the 6 to 1 rule, he says: Look for a ratio of 6 grams of carbs to 1 gram of fiber to determine whether the product is truly whole grain. An example: If the bread has 24 grams of carbs per serving and 4 grams of fiber, the ratio is 6 to 1 — that’s good. If it has 44 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber, it’s 22 to 1 — not so good.

The glycemic index ranks food on a scale of 1 to 100 based on a measure of how fast blood sugar rises after a food is consumed. Foods with a glycemic index below 55 are considered low glycemic.

As a general rule, the more processed a food, the higher the glycemic levels and the lower the fiber levels. In addition, when flour gets refined, many minerals and vitamins get lost or depleted along with the fiber.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of carbs that Americans eat are the bad kind. In the typical American diet, 55% of calories come from carbohydrates, according to Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. More specifically, Hu says, the carb breakdown in our daily diet goes like this:

Sugary sodas, sweet beverages and fruit juice: 10% of total calories.

Refined starches, including white bread, cakes, bagels, cookies and muffins: 20% to 25%

Potatoes, white rice, tortillas and refined-grain cereals: 10% to 15%

Healthful sources, including nonstarchy vegetables, whole grains and legumes: 5% to 10%.

‘Net’ is key when counting

Counting carbs is easier than counting calories, if you know where to look. Start by being aware of what foods are naturally high in carbs. Those include anything with flour and sugar, starchy vegetables (corn, peas and potatoes), rice, pasta, cereals and sweets. You can find carb counters online and tables in low-carb diet books.

On packaged foods, look at labels. Then you’ll want to calculate “net carbs,” the number that counts. First find the total grams of carbohydrates per serving, then subtract grams of fiber and sugar alcohols. For example, if one serving of canned beans has 18 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber, net carbs equal 12 grams.

Why do this? Fiber is a nondigestible carbohydrate, so it’s not absorbed by the body. Sugar alcohols, found in certain foods labeled “sugar-free” — including gum, candies, cookies and some sodas — are lower in calories, absorbed only slowly and don’t affect blood sugar levels much.

Tips to help cut them from your diet

Many well-known diets, including the Zone diet and the South Beach diet, focus on cutting and counting carbs to varying degrees. The most famous is the Atkins diet, which starts with an induction phase, a very-low-carb diet of fewer than 20 grams daily, and ramps up the carb allotment later in the diet. Other low-carb diets are less strict. The Zone diet, also known as the 40-30-30 diet, is a calorically restricted diet that recommends that 40% of calories come from carbs, 30% from protein and 30% from healthful fats (ones from plants and fish). The South Beach diet more closely resembles the Atkins regimen but does not restrict carbohydrates as much in the early phase.

Whether you’re ready for a whole new way of eating or just want to cut back on carbs, here are some ways to do so:

Substitute sugar-free beverages for sugary soft drinks, sports drinks and juice.

Look for low-carb and sugar-free products in stores. Low-carb tortillas, bread, pasta and ice cream are in many grocery stores.

Instead of a starchy vegetable, such as potatoes, corn or rice, serve two green vegetables and a nonstarchy soup or salad.

Skip the bread basket at restaurants.

Have olives or cheese on high-fiber wafers as an appetizer.

Boost your intake of most green vegetables, nuts and berries.

At lunch, order an entree salad instead of a sandwich. Ask for your burger bunless, served on top of extra lettuce and tomato, with cheese.

Order your burrito naked and your tostada without the tortilla but with guacamole.

Add portions of fish, poultry, cheese, meat and eggs to your diet: These are virtually carb-free. Add peanut butter (the kind without added sugar), which is relatively low in carbs.

Get a low-carb cookbook or search for low-carb recipes online.

What the nutrition experts say

Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health:

“Almost everyone could improve his or her health by cutting back and paying more attention to carbs. Reduce refined carbs in the diet and replace them with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fats from vegetable sources. Reduce the overall amount of carbs from 55% of calories to below 40%, and make as many of those good carbs as you can.”

Dr. Ronald Krauss, senior scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and founder and past chair of the American Heart Assn. Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism:

“Avoid white starches, sugars and trans fat; look for whole kernel (not just whole wheat) grain products; load up on vegetables, limit red meats (especially processed); and don’t agonize about saturated fat. Even better, burn up calories by getting plenty of exercise; then you won’t have to worry as much about choosing between fats and carbs.”

Dr. Stephen Phinney, nutritional biochemist and emeritus professor of medicine at UC Davis:

“A person’s carbohydrate intake should match his tolerance. In my case, since I am carbohydrate intolerant, I eat less than 50 grams of net carbs a day from vegetables, berries and fermented dairy, including sour yogurt, cheese and buttermilk. I’d rather eat a diet higher in fat, rich in protein and lower in carbs than take two drugs a day with side effects, which I used to have to do to control my blood pressure.”

Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University:

“A very-low-carb diet is likely healthier for the long term, but it’s difficult to consume given the food environment in which we live. I’ve never recommended a very-low-carbohydrate diet, one under 20 grams a day, for my patients, though I have suggested patients stay between 100 to 120 grams. You can eat a lot of vegetables, lean meat and some dairy and have a healthy diet not high in carbs.”

Joanne Slavin, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota, member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:

“Americans have to eat fewer calories. But I see no value in making a hit list for carbs. There are many healthy eating patterns, and potatoes, pasta, white bread and rice surely fit into many of these.”

Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Medical Center:

“If we were to design a one-size-fits-all diet, it should probably be a low-carb diet. We should go back to the days of hunter-gatherers. The secret to maintaining a low-carb diet is to increase fat intake, but only natural fats, not man-made fats. I can keep patients on a low-carb diet forever if they can have cream, butter and bacon.”

Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the department of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health:

“Eating moderate carbohydrates can be healthy if they’re comprised of high fiber and whole grains. Personally, I avoid refined starches and sugars, and limit my carbohydrates to what I get from vegetables and whole grains. If I only eat healthy carbs, I feel so full, I really can’t consume more than 40% of my calories from carbs per day, so I tend to stay well under that.”

health@latimes.com

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

Jughandle says:  Thanks Darlene for that great article on Carbs, but some may be wondering how to keep up with all those numbers.   If you decide to do this low carb thing and want to stay healthy try

www.Sparkpeople.com  

and use their trackers to count anything you want.  Its free.

 

 

The Glycemic Index diet

The Glycemic index is a way of measuring a foods carbohydrate effect on a person’s blood sugar levels, or “blood glucose levels”.  As you might be aware, spikes in your blood sugar level cause cravings.

The long and short of it is that a healthier diet consists of foods that fall in the lower range of the index, generally under 55.  Foods that fall in the high range (70 and up) are risky.  Complex carbohydrates low on the index can even raise your metabolism and help you lose weight more quickly.

The following are just a few to get you started:

Glycemic Index list of foods
Sugars
Fructose – 12-25, average 19
Glucose – 85-111, average 100
Honey – 32-87, average 55
Lactose – 46
Diary products
Milk, regular (full fat) 11-40, average 27
Skimmed milk – 32
Yogurt without sugar – 14-23
Bread
White bread – 64-87, average 70
Whole wheat bread made with whole wheat flour – 52-87, average 71
Muffins, cakes, pancakes, waffles etc – vary between 38-102, mostly between 55 and 80
Crackers
Rice Cakes – 61-91, average 78
High fiber rye crispbread – 59-69, average 64
Cold Cereal
All bran – 30-51, average 42
Bran buds – 58
Corn flakes 72-92, average -81
Corn Chex – 83
Fruit loops – 69
Rice chex – 89
Special K – 54-84
Hot cereal
Quick cooking oats – 66
Instant cream of wheat – 74
Grains
Barley – 22-48
Barley, cooked – 50
cornmeal boiled in water – 69
long grained white rice – 50-64
Short and medium grained white rice – 83-93
Brown rice – 66-87
Pasta
Rice pasta – 40-92
Mung bean noodles – 26-39
Fruit
Apples – 28-44, average 38
Raw apricots – 57
Dried apricots – 31
Underripe Banana – 30
Overripe Banana – 52
Cherries – 22
Dates – 103
Grapefruit – 25
Grapes – 46-49
Pears – 33-42
Plums – 24-53
Strawberries – 40
Fruit juice
Carrot juice – 43
Cranberry juice cocktail – 52-68
Grapefruit juice – 48
Orange Juice – 46-53
Pineapple juice – 46
Glycemic Index list of foods
Sugars
Fructose – 12-25, average 19
Glucose – 85-111, average 100
Honey – 32-87, average 55
Lactose – 46
Diary products
Milk, regular (full fat) 11-40, average 27
Skimmed milk – 32
Yogurt without sugar – 14-23
Bread
White bread – 64-87, average 70
Whole wheat bread made with whole wheat flour – 52-87, average 71
Muffins, cakes, pancakes, waffles etc – vary between 38-102, mostly between 55 and 80
Crackers
Rice Cakes – 61-91, average 78
High fiber rye crispbread – 59-69, average 64
Cold Cereal
All bran – 30-51, average 42
Bran buds – 58
Corn flakes 72-92, average -81
Corn Chex – 83
Fruit loops – 69
Rice chex – 89
Special K – 54-84
Hot cereal
Quick cooking oats – 66
Instant cream of wheat – 74
Grains
Barley – 22-48
Barley, cooked – 50
cornmeal boiled in water – 69
long grained white rice – 50-64
Short and medium grained white rice – 83-93
Brown rice – 66-87
Pasta
Rice pasta – 40-92
Mung bean noodles – 26-39
Fruit
Apples – 28-44, average 38
Raw apricots – 57
Dried apricots – 31
Underripe Banana – 30
Overripe Banana – 52
Cherries – 22
Dates – 103
Grapefruit – 25
Grapes – 46-49
Pears – 33-42
Plums – 24-53
Strawberries – 40
Fruit juice
Carrot juice – 43
Cranberry juice cocktail – 52-68
Grapefruit juice – 48
Orange Juice – 46-53
Pineapple juice – 46
Tomato Juice – 38
Vegetables
Beets – 64
Carrots – 16-92 average 47
Corn – 37-62, average 53
Potato – 56-111
Sweet potato – 44-78
Legumes
Blackeyed peas – 33-50
Chick peas (garbanzo beans) – 31-36
Chick peas, canned – 42
Canned kidney beans – 52
Lentils – 18-37
Canned lentils – 52
Dried split peas – 32
Pinto beans – 39
Soy beans – 15-20
Nuts and snacks
Cashews – 22
Corn chips – 72
Peanuts – 7-23
Popcorn – 55-89
potato chips – 51-57
Candy
Jelly beans – 76-80
Life savers – 70
skittles – 70
snickers – average 55

 

Read more: http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Food_List_Glycemic_Index#ixzz1QMyylbZ9

Read more: http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Food_List_Glycemic_Index#ixzz1QMxaOKhy