New Year’s Resolution: I Will Finally Pick the Right (Sensible) Diet

HealthGal Health Guide
  • You want to lose weight, or get healthier, or both, but sometimes enthusiasm for those goals can conflict with your sensibilities.  You easily get lured by the next “hot diet” since many new books and programs are typically released in the New Year.  Or you decide to take a shortcut with supplements or herbal preparations that have little science behind them (and may be downright dangerous).  You are lured by the many magazine and newspaper headlines that shriek easy and quick ways to lose weight.  Again, your common sense is challenged by the diet hype.  After all, despite the many years we may have been invested in gaining weight or developing chronic health issues, we ALL want a quick fix.  Here’s an example of what you’re up against when it comes to common sense and patience versus quick weight loss schemes.

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    I recently saw a media query from a reporter looking for an expert to comment on the following:


    Why is peanut butter considered a worse food choice than bacon? Salads are considered healthy compared to bacon but why does adding Caesar dressing make it worse than eating bacon? How does adding half and half to a cup of coffee make it worse than consuming bacon? Why is eating tilapia considered worse than eating bacon? What in American cheese makes it just as bad, if not worse, than consuming a slice of bacon? What other foods do you believe are worse than bacon?


    My reaction initially was, “Are you kidding me?”  That’s like asking, “Why is murder worse than kidnapping?”  Why would a reporter want to somehow suggest that eating bacon is healthier than some other vices?  Doesn’t it make sense to simply explain why both bacon and other food choices may not be good “frequent food selections,” and clarify which foods are treat foods, and which foods need more careful selection, like peanut butter, so you are truly getting a food made from nuts, and not a food with added unhealthy oils and sugar?  Done that way, the article or column wouldn’t be very catchy or sexy, would it?  A sensible column on diet and exercise just doesn't get a whole lot of traction from readers, maybe like yourself.  You really want a fast weight loss solution, right?


    Delusions can also confound weight loss.  It’s time to abandon the belief that you can be fit and fat.  If you are regularly overeating, carrying excess weight, and you keep gaining weight, you will likely become a victim of some very serious chronic diseases and lose your quality of life.  A recent MedPage dialogue hashes out the subject further.  The jist of it is that yes, short term your body may not express any obvious disease.  Obesity that goes untreated, however, is likely to result in a number of health issues, even if you can still maintain a certain fitness level.


    If you have made the decision to finally invest in a well-vetted diet or eating program, consider a choice from the following list:


    Some of these are plant-based diets, some are guideline diets recommending a pyramid approach to food group choices, and some of these diets offer community support, but all these diets will help you to lose weight and improve health, though they will require patience and commitment.  These diets will also allow you to eat out, without experiencing deprivation or boredom, important features that will help to keep you on track.  Add in some regular exercise and you will have a complete lifestyle program.  No gimmicks or unrealistic promises…just solid, healthy living.


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    If you are set on following a low carb diet, then the more recent version of the Atkins Diet - Atkins 40 -  seems to offer more flexibility after the initial phase of the diet, and now includes whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, Geek yogurt and cheese.  Colette Heimowitz, Atkins Vice President of Nutrition and Education offered, “The Atkins diet is the leading low-carbohydrate lifestyle in America, backed by more than 80 peer-reviewed, scientific studies published in such esteemed publications as Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. These studies affirm the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets not only for weight loss, but also diabetes management, lowering heart disease risks and other significant health markers.”  I think most people in the past who followed Atkins were attracted to the “lots of meat” component, which has some clear health downsides.  This newer Atkins 40 version appears to have somewhat better balance.  I still think the list above offers the top diets with tremendous health benefits, and the possibility of sustained weight loss.


    We are all still eating too much processed food, and too many portions of carbohydrates (grain-based) in general.  We also tend to make poor quality grain choices.  I do think we can all benefit from increasing our protein consumption, making selections from a broad range of choices.  Limit grains and emphasize whole grains and high fiberchoices.  Limit treats and liquid calories.


    Read more about the new diet rankings to find a diet that “fits” you.  Don't forget to check out Ten Tips for a Healthier New Year.


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Published On: January 14, 2015