Carbs, Fats, Sugar, Sweeteners – What are the best foods for Weightloss?
It’s time to straighten out the issues around fat. So many of us fear fat and opt for fat-free or low-fat options, these are often touted as the better option in several diet plans too reinforcing this misconstrued issue.
First and foremost, let’s set the record straight- we all NEED fats in our diet.
Not the kind found in doughnuts and deep-fried snacks – there are bad fats like trans and hydrogenated fats that we must avoid.
BUT Healthy fats, on the other hand, are essential to health, hormone balance, heart health and are known as essential fatty acids, which can be found in foods such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil to name a few, that I encourage everyone to consume. These healthy fats are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, play a big role in skin, hair, nail, heart immune and bone health. Stay tuned for discuss more tomorrow!
First fat was the bad guy, now with the reputation carbs have developed over the recent years it’s not surprising that so many of us actually fear eating them. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are two types of carbs and there is absolutely no reason to fear the good kind.
Good vs bad carbs, in simple terms, equates to non-refined vs refined carbs. Good, think whole fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Bad, think anything white, sweet and fluffy.
Complex (unrefined) carbohydrates are a complete source of carbohydrate and provide the body with natural sugars and fibre as well as having a range of nutritional benefits. The simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, have been processed to the point of being practically void of nutrients and are quickly absorbed by the body and turned to sugar in the blood.
Eating complex carbs provides the body with slow release energy so you won’t experience a ‘crash’ like you do with sugar of refined carbs. Non-refined carbs also contain fibre which not only helps keep us fuller for longer but also helps with digestion and keeps us regular (very important for all aspects of health including hormone balance). Complex carbs have also been shown to help improve brain function too.
Key points are:
1st - Don’t fear the right carbs or the good fats. Embrace them! Instead of thinking of restriction and counting like low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) think right-carb, good-fat! (see my previous posts where I discuss this more in depth.
2nd Tip Download my curb your cravings food plan, click the link here
But we do need to conscious of the amount of sugar we are eating
We do need naturally occurring sugars to fuel our bodies and minds, but we need the right kind of sugar. There is nothing wrong sugars found in fruit and vegetables. The problem is that we simply add too much extrinsic sugar to our foods, like sucrose and concentrated fructose that are added to processed foods that we seem to be having far too regularly. This is what poses a threat to our health and leads to problems such as weight gain, heart disease and type II Diabetes.
So many of us are now seemingly addicted to sugar, and we keep on adding more and more of it to our diets on a daily basis. The intense sweetness of added sugar triggers the reward centre of the brain, where the neurotransmitter dopamine works to make us feel comfort and pleasure from food. Sugar triggers more pleasure centres in the brain than drugs. Sugar makes us feel good very quickly. However, unlike drugs the sensation doesn’t taper off, it drops off very suddenly and leaves us craving more.
When you eat sugar, you set off a series of domino effects that push the body to use more of its resources:
Vitamin C – Sugar and Vitamin C have a similar structure and enter cells using the same receptors. High glucose levels inhibit vitamin C from entering our cells and decrease absorption rates. Researchers have found that reduced sugar intake may improve vitamin C levels as well as its benefits.
Vitamin D - The metabolism of a type of sugar fructose, increases the production of an enzyme which breaks down stores of vitamin D. It can also undermine the production of another enzyme necessary to synthesise vitamin D. A shortage of Vitamin D can lead to a suppressed immune system and numerous health problems, including certain cancers. It's no estimated at least 75% of people in Western countries are deficient in vitamin D, consuming excess sugar alongside depleted vitamin D could explain why we experience such high rates of bone, teeth, and immune issues.
Magnesium -The high blood sugar and elevated insulin levels associated with excess sugar intake decrease magnesium absorption and cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium faster. Since magnesium is key in stabilising blood sugar, it’s a vicious cycle!
Chromium -like magnesium, is involved in blood sugar regulation. Depletion of chromium contributes to decreased glucose tolerance, a precursor to diabetes.
Cutting added sugar out of your diet isn’t easy. We’ve all been there! But I, promise you once you have make it through the initial stages of fighting off cravings and possible headaches etc you will start to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and no longer be a slave to sugar.
On that note, lets talk about ‘diet’ drinks. These ‘low-calorie diet’ drinks can an actually help us put ON weight! The reason for this is that the brain can’t distinguish between sweetness and sugar. When we consume sugar it automatically triggers insulin to help get the sugar into our cells to be used by our body. When we drink or eat foods containing ‘sweeteners’ our brain gets confused and expects sugar to hit our blood stream, when this sugar doesn’t arrive our brain gets confused and disrupts our blood sugar balance. Our body is expecting sugar, but it doesn’t arrive which can often lead to increased cravings for sugar and ultimately eating more and gaining weight. Studies undertaken between low calorie and ‘regular’ sugary drinks show that those who consumed the ‘low calorie’ drink go on to consume more calories!! Studies also show that these sweeteners upset the careful balance of our gut microbiome and help to favour the bad bacteria which also leads to more cravings for sugar!
So what can we do?
As soon as you say I am going on a diet or put yourself on a diet it is loaded with so much negative emotion. You start thinking of all the things you can’t have any more or you are not allowed.
It suggests there is a start date or end date and you work towards getting there.
What it IS about is eating healthily long-term, supporting your body with nourishing foods and aiming for balance.
Aim for 80/20. That's eating nourishing whole foods 80% of the time, balanced with some indulgence for the remaining 20%!
3 ways to do this:
Follow that rainbow: eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to benefit from the nutrients residing in the phytochemicals that lend their beautiful colours. Look for rich reds, bright yellows, deep greens, vibrant purples and crisp whites.
Start leafing around – Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, watercress, rocket, cabbage, radish, spring greens and pak choi) are rich in sulphur-containing compounds, which support the two phases of liver detoxification. Experiment with smoothies, soups, salads and roasted vegetables.
Put some spice into it: herbs and spices also house a surprising abundance of phytonutrients. Turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, rosemary, and cinnamon are among my personal favourites.
Too often we feel it must be ALL or NOTHING. We work hard and then have a little wobble and throw it all away.
Start with your next meal, next night sleep, your next drink, your next thought.
I am here to tell you, you are not alone and you definitely don’t have to do it alone. If you would like some support, drop me a message and we can do this together.