SATURDAY, March 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Cutting out nutrients like carbs, fat or protein may be a popular way to shed pounds but doing so can have unintended consequences.
Instead, aim to balance these macronutrients to fuel your life and activities, said Dr. Elizabeth Albright of Michigan Health West University in Wyoming, Michigan.
In a university press release, I made some suggestions for a balanced diet that fits your lifestyle and provides the right fuel.
Food is essential to living, so don’t think of it as “good” or “bad”: Albright said just because some foods may propel you toward your goals more effectively doesn’t make other foods bad. Like putting unleaded gas into a diesel engine, some foods aren’t the right fuel for you and can actually harm your body. Gender, ethnicity, genetics, metabolism, and hormone levels influence nutritional needs.
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Change the way you think: Instead of following a “diet” that has an expiration date, make your eating habits a way of life.
Move processed foods: Reducing your intake of processed foods will improve your overall sense of well-being and often lead to improvements in chronic disease and weight loss. Albright said the chemicals used to increase the shelf life of foods are often highly inflammatory to the body, which can stress organ systems and eventually cause malfunction.
Choose these foods: Build your menu around lean meats and proteins. Add fruits and vegetables in large quantities. Albright then suggested adding carbohydrates for body, flavor or crunch. Carbohydrates should be an aspect, not the focus, of a meal.
Become a hacker: Food hacks can help you in times when you are really struggling with nutrition. They can include meal prepping, meal kits, slow cooker meals or healthy snacks.
Do your preparatory work before eating out: Review the menu and choose your meal before you go. This limits the temptations for now. Find some nutritious options to rotate with if you eat out a lot.
Food can be good and good for you: You can’t cut out the fat and sugar and stay healthy; Your body needs both in moderation. Watch your salt intake. Be generous with the spices. Albright suggested trying different flavor combinations.
Involve your family: Prepare the foods together. Let kids safely chop vegetables or measure dry ingredients when cooking. Introduce them to healthy eating at an early age.
Individual nutritional needs: Having a good diet that contains all the nutrients your body needs is most important. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian about your specific needs.
Myplate.gov has more on healthy eating.
Source: University of Michigan Health-West, press release, March 15, 2023