Not another new diet!

It seems every few months there’s a new diet hitting the headlines, often endorsed by a celebrity showing off dramatic results. We all know however that within months the trend will have changed and there will be a new one coming along.

From no carbs, high carbs, all meat, vegan, cabbage soup, 5:2 (I could go on) as a nutritional therapist working with weight loss I’ve seen them all. Confused?  You bet.

Ok first thing to consider is how extreme the regime is, as let’s face it most of these diets will work to some extent short term but they can’t last forever and as soon as you begin to eat normally again the pounds pile back on.

Any diet that dramatically cuts back on food groups or is highly restrictive is not sustainable long term. Not to mention yo yo dieting where you lose and gain weight time and time again, which can actually end up slowing down your metabolism (this controls how we convert food into energy), resulting in it being even harder to shift weight.

So what’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off? If you look at eating habits from around the world the healthiest populations all have one thing in common and that’s, that they consistently eat balanced meals without the junk that is increasingly becoming the norm here in the UK.

Sugar has crept more and more into our lives and is difficult to avoid, added to everything from baked beans to yoghurts, we’ve become a nation of sugar junkies.

Cutting back on sugar (including refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta etc) is vital for overall health not just weight loss. Blood sugar imbalance affects not only weight but energy levels, mood and concentration. We’ve all been there, we reach for a sweet snack or sugary drink and we may feel good for a while but then the crash happens, we feel dizzy, hungry and crave for another sweet pick me up and the roller-coaster happens all over again!

So what is actually going on? When we have a snack or meal that is high in sugar or refined carbohydrates the glucose (blood sugar) in our blood rises. The hormone insulin is released to facilitate glucose into the cells, however if glucose rises too rapidly too much insulin is produced and excess glucose is removed from the blood resulting in the low blood sugar symptoms as above.

Basically any sugar in the blood not used for energy is stored in the body as fat. Resulting in weight gain. Stress and caffeine can also have an impact on blood sugar levels and therefore can also be a contributing factor to weight gain.

If you need extra help stabilising blood sugar levels, a supplement containing Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) can help, by supporting the body’s ability to transport glucose into the cells.

For a balanced meal, make sure you fill your plate so that half of it is vegetables in as many different colours as possible. One quarter of your plate should be protein (beans, lentils, fish, tofu or meat etc.) and one quarter slow release carbohydrates such as whole grain rice (a portion is the size of your hand).  

OK so you’ve cracked the balanced diet, still struggling? It could be a lack of friendly bacteria in your gut. The gut microbiome with its trillions of bacteria living in our digestive tract really can affect your ability to lose weight as it effects how foods are digested and even has an impact on how hungry we feel!  This delicate ecosystem can be affected by antibiotic use, stress, our surroundings and poor diet. A board spectrum probiotic supplements can be used to restore this.

Did you know?

Studies have found people have better glucose control, therefore better weight loss when having an overnight fast of at least 12 hours. So for example, if you finish dinner at 7pm try not to eat again until breakfast at 7am.

Did you know?

Drinking green tea can help boost weight loss? Antioxidants found in green tea such as EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate) and catechins have been found to improve weight loss by improving metabolism.

Did you know?

Cider vinegar is often used as an aid to weight loss. Cider vinegar has been used for centuries as an aid to help stimulate digestion. Try having a tablespoon with a glass of water before meals.

Healthy meal plan.

Breakfast

1 Slice of rye bread toast with 1 scrambled egg and 2 lightly cooked tomatoes.

Lunch

Mixed salad with a handful portion of quinoa, ¼ tin of mixed beans with salad leaves, rocket, watercress, spinach, 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut and 1 precooked beetroot.

Add a splash of olive oil and cider vinegar.

Dinner

Grilled fish such as mackerel or salmon with vegetables e.g. broccoli, carrots or peppers and a small handful portion of sweet potato mash. 

Healthy snack ideas

  • Olives
  • 2 oat cakes with hummus
  • 4-5 nuts
  • Piece of fruit with natural yoghurt
  • Handful of mixed seeds

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