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    Natracure Blog — clean eating

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    The Hottest New Diet Isn’t a Diet at All

    Meet the dietary pattern, a style of eating with a proven record of success. Diets are out; dietary patterns are in – at least, that's what the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans seems to say. That's big news for those of us who like to incorporate the report's nutrition advice into our personal eating habits when it comes out every five years. This time, the government suggests we abandon diets that glorify or shun single foods and nutrients (think butter, eggs, fat and fiber – past years' targets) and shift our attention to overall eating patterns, or the sum total of what, how often and how much we eat, as well as what we eat it with. Why the move away from "good food/bad food" diets? For one, nutrition science is continually evolving and we are learning from our mistakes. Back in the 1980s, for instance, the guidelines told us to cut back on "bad fats" to lower our risk of heart disease – the No. 1 cause of death for Americans. But people who followed that recommendation filled the void on their plates with simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, bagels and fat-free cookies. In time, we learned those foods weren't any better for our hearts (or waistlines) than the high-fat fare they replaced. So in 2000, we tried again. The guidelines issued that year redeemed fats – as long as they were "good fats." This recommendation was based on newer research linking populations that regularly ate olive oil, avocados and almonds with a lower incidence of heart disease. We followed suit, dipping our bread in olive oil, adding sliced avocado to our burgers and making almonds our go-to snack. But so far, the only thing that has improved is sales of those foods. Our single-minded pursuit of the perfect food (or fat) to fight heart disease has kept us from seeing everything else that contributes to its lower rates in people with different dietary patterns. Now, after spending more than two decades rationing just three eggs into our weekly menus, we're being told cholesterol isn't as bad for us as we once thought. Does that mean it's time to order the broiled lobster tail with drawn butter to celebrate? Not so fast. What it means is precisely what the latest Dietary Guidelines concluded: When it comes to diet, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Put another way, when you eat foods together, their health benefits are greater than a single food could produce on its own. For example, eating eggs every day can lower your risk of heart disease if you are also eating plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, whole grains, fish and olive oil. On the other hand, eating eggs every day along with regular servings of fatty meats, refined grains and excess sodium from highly-processed foods can increase that risk. That's because the connection to heart disease isn't just about the eggs – it's also about everything else we consume with them. Another advantage of adopting a healthy dietary pattern is that the benefits are cumulative, like compounded interest. So, people who have been eating a Mediterranean-style pattern all their lives, for instance, get an immediate return on investment by meeting their nutritional needs early in life to support optimal growth and development. Later, they receive a long-term dividend by preventing, or greatly reducing, their risk of suffering from the noncommunicable diseases of adulthood, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration and the ubiquitous heart disease. But this payoff requires making consistent contributions to your healthy eating plan, just like building retirement wealth depends on making consistent contributions to your 401K. Both are more effective the sooner you get started. Choosing a healthy dietary pattern over a diet also leaves more room for the occasional holiday food exemption. (Sorry, but weekends don't count as "occasional.") That approach is different from the can-eat-can't-eat diet style, in which we're open to every loophole that might give us a free pass. Have you ever rushed off to work without eating breakfast so you feel entitled to partake in the office pastries? How about arriving home from work too tired to chop vegetables, so you eat pizza (without a salad) for dinner? What about the Sunday you finally get the whole family together for brunch and end up eating eggs benedict and a Belgian waffle to celebrate? You get the picture: Food choices can change with the seasons, but a dietary pattern remains the same. Convinced yet? If so, the highly-regarded Mediterranean and DASH plans are a great place to start. Those patterns offer the best of what is known about the food-health connection when put together right, so you won't have to upgrade to something new in another five years. You also won't have to worry about getting caught up in the next fad diet that promises to solve all your health and weight issues because history has shown us they don't work in the long term. Think gluten-free, low-glycemic index, high-protein, low-carb, antioxidant-rich, paleo and probiotic diets, to name a few. It's time to move on something more sustainable. You can start transitioning to a healthier pattern by following some of these simple tips. The goal is to make the right choice a habit so it becomes your default option. Eat at least one piece of whole fruit daily. Order “whole wheat” as your bread choice for sandwiches, toast and pizza crust. Choose fish over meat or poultry for an entree at least once a week. Drink one full glass of water with each meal. Add a layer of fresh or grilled vegetables to every sandwich. Use nuts or seeds instead of croutons on salad. Make chili with more beans and less (or no) meat. Have brown rice with all Chinese takeout. Include some vegetables whenever you grill. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in cooking and baking. Make your meat portions no larger than the palm of your hand. Choose vegetables to top pizza, fill an omelet, stuff a potato or stretch a soup. Keep hummus, salsa and sliced vegetables on hand as your go-to snack. Be more inclusive of fruits and vegetables by including fresh, frozen, canned and dried varieties in your repertoire. Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

    By Robyn Flipse via msn health

    Stop Counting Calories!

    A recent story in The Atlantic argued that calories aren’t a useful metric for weight loss: They’re calculated in flawed ways, and there are differences in how individual bodies digest and metabolize them. Some researchers think dieters would be better served by focusing on nutrient density or some kind of as-yet-undetermined satiety value. These are great scientific arguments, but the psychological case against calories is also worth considering. People can and do lose weight with calorie-counting, and some swear by the system. But is it not unbelievably time-consuming and soul-sucking? The existence of a calorie-counter is often defined by an obsessive focus on how to “spend” one’s daily allotment. In this reductive schema, Skinny Vanilla Lattes, Diet Coke, and fat-free yogurt are all arguably smart choices because they help maximize the amount of food you can eat without going over your limit. This mentality is problematic, to say the least. So-called “diet” foods, often low-fat and artificially sweetened, not only don’t help you feel full, they can make you even more hungry. (In the case of fake sugar, when your brain doesn’t actually get the sugar calories it thinks it’s getting, it seeks them out.) Plus, they taste like garbage. But isn’t bad-tasting food and a growling stomach the price you must pay in order to lose five, ten, or 100 pounds? Not really. Although calorie math gives the illusion that you can exert some control over your body by tallying (and, of course, limiting) what goes into it, the evidence says you can’t. Calorie counts aren’t as exact as we’re led to believe, and they don’t take into account gut microbes, which experts increasingly think play an important role in our digestion and, ultimately, our weight. The margin of error is so big that people can literally do everything by the book and still not slim down, as the Atlantic piece points out. Cue frustration and possibly more restriction that could veer toward unhealthy levels. Related: How to Fake a Juice Cleanse And for what? Experts agree that dieting doesn’t work in the long run. Sure, you’re likely to lose some weight at the outset, but most people won’t keep up a strict plan forever. And no wonder, since the concept of a calorie-counting diet is a killjoy: You must deny yourself the things you want in order to be “good.” If you do eat something pleasurable, you must do penance the rest of the day. And if you go over your calorie count, you were “bad” — and your handy tracking app has a record of every time you failed. Deep down, we know what we should eat, namely a mix of nutrient-dense foods like lean meats, seafood, fruits and vegetables, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and dairy. That’s not to say that high-calorie processed foods like Doritos and triple-fudge-chunk ice cream are off the table — on the contrary, research suggests that when foods are considered forbidden, we have stronger cravings and eat more of them when given the opportunity. The idea that no food is off limits is a hallmark of intuitive or mindful eating, a practice that also advises people to eat when they’re legitimately hungry and stop eating when they’re full. Intuitive eating might sound like hippie anarchy (after all, we do have an obesity epidemic in this country, not to mention structural impediments to people of all classes eating healthily), but it could be a huge relief to erstwhile calorie-counters who look at food and only see numbers. Related: 30 Things That Are Making You Fat Time previously spent tracking and worrying about calories could be better used shopping for and cooking or prepping food, or finding out which vegetables you like and how to cook ones you’re only lukewarm about. Learning portion sizes would be helpful, too, but not because of caloric content. Intuitive eating means consuming things that genuinely make your mind and body feel good; happy and satisfied but far short of a food coma. This approach can help people lose weight and keep it off longer than traditional dieters. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth remembering that food is meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed to death, or, alternatively, shoveled into your maw while scrolling through Instagram. Savor your food, eat well most of the time, and don’t shame yourself for eating some demonized item. Even if you never lose weight, you’ll be a hell of a lot happier. [The Atlantic] By Susan Rinkunas via The Cut

    8 Things Nutritionists Want You to Stop...Right Away!

    Nutritionists have had enough. They’re up in arms over the misinformation people are being fed and the healthy choices people are failing to make! These health experts are looking out for us and our wellbeing. It’s certainly in our best interest to take their advice and it’s high-time we start doing so! I’ve compiled a list of 8 things nutritionists want us to stop doing in order to achieve better health and longevity.   1. STOP CUTTING CALORIES – Jennifer Pullman, MA, RDN, LDN Jennifer Pullman has a problem with many of her clients cutting out calories. The idea that taking in less calories will cause weight loss is true to a point. However, Jennifer states that you will hit a level where your calorie intake is just too low. Your body will adjust to the new reduced amount of calories and actually slip into starvation mode! Make healthier choices on the foods themselves, not the numbers they carry.   2. STOP DETOXING – Monica Reinagel, MD, LDN, CNS Reinagel has a bone to pick with those claiming they are “detoxing”. She claims the idea that foods and beverages working to clean out the toxins from your body does not have legs to stand on. Instead, she suggests limiting the amount of toxins you put in your body in the first place!   3. STOP STARVING AND THEN BINGEING – Abby Langer, RD In Abby Langer’s opinion, too many people are skipping breakfast and eating light lunches, only to make up for it by bingeing at night.  One of the worst things you can do to your body is starve it during the day and then binge at night. She recommends eating multiple protein-heavy meals and snacks throughout the day to combat the snacking urges and general hunger at night.   4. STOP THE “CLEAN EATING” DIETS – Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD and Elizabeth M. Ward, RD Both Upton and Ward agree that people need to stop using the term “clean” eating and just refer to it as healthy eating. Clean is becoming a buzzword among marketers and they are using it to fool consumers. Clean isn’t a defined term at all in the food world and it can mean anything. Also, they feel as if people who say they eat “clean” may look down on others who they perceive to not be eating clean. In addition, this labeling can make people feel that they may be eating “dirty” if it’s not clean. We need to stop labeling our diets and just make conscious efforts to eat healthier!   5. STOP ASSUMING ALL SMOOTHIES ARE HEALTHY – Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD Marisa Moore has noticed what she refers to as a “health halo” surrounding smoothies. She feels people assume that by having a smoothie, they’re making a healthy choice. However, many smoothies and fruit juices are loaded with sugar and empty calories. We need to make sure we are reading nutritional value labels and are aware of the ingredients. Only then can you be sure you are actually having a healthy drink.   6. STOP EATING PROCESSED DIET FOOD – Alexis Jospeh, MS RD, LD Alexis Joseph swears against processed foods, but not just any processed foods. She specifically advises avoiding foods that marketers tout as “fat-free”. These products are actually loaded with chemicals and other unnatural ingredients. Although they are marketed as diet foods, these processed options are absolutely terrible for you. Avoid them at all costs. As Joseph proclaims, “Eat real food!”   7. STOP AVOIDING FRUIT – Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN Dawn Blatner does not want to hear that you aren’t eating fruit because of the high sugar content. Not only is this sugar natural, but fruit brings a plethora of other nutritional values along for the ride. Fruit boasts antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and more. There are few ways to get more natural nutrition than from fruit! Blatner suggests two cups or pieces of fruit daily.   8. STOP SKIPPING PROTEIN AT BREAKFAST  – Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD Moore is sick of people that are not only skipping breakfast, but when they do have a morning meal, they avoid protein. Having meat, eggs, yogurt, and nuts can all provide you with protein. It will keep you full for longer and will help you avoid trips to the office vending machine or local coffee shop for snacks.   Take this advice from nutritionists to heart. Avoiding certain foods, being smarter in the grocery store and having the right mind-set are all tools to use in your quest to be a healthier and more fit you.   By Pat DeRiso Sources: huffingtonpost.com, HuffPost Blog