Five Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss and Overall Health
1. Reduce or eliminate sugar and grains...and even the mighty potato.
The excess carbohydrates that we consume (bread, cereal, pasta, corn, rice, potatoes) are far too high in starch and sugar. Throw in a side of Coke teeming with sugar and it is any wonder Americans are overweight and dealing with health epidemics like diabetes. It is not the fat in your diet...I repeat, NOT THE FAT IN YOUR DIET, that is causing the excess weight gain, but rather these unhealthy, processed carbs. While our bodies do need a certain amount of carbohydrates, the excess that we eat is converted, via insulin, into fat and stored in our fatty, or adipose, tissue. What’s more, the high insulin levels suppress both glucagons and growth hormones - hormones responsible for breaking down fats and sugars! So put down the fries, coke, and tastycakes and opt for healthier food this summer.
2. Drink water.
After a hard workout, sweat-soaked athletes and gym buffs often grab a Gatorade, vitamin water, or some such energy drink. These drinks are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It is wrongly thought that exercise removes essential nutrients from our bodies and so we must replenish. In reality, most people are not exercising enough for this to truly happen. Dr. Mercola explains that “you don't need to chug a sports drink unless you are severely dehydrated and are losing more than a quart of water in sweat in 30-45 minutes.
3. Take a high quality cod liver oil or vitamin D supplement.
Cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D. Among many other vital roles that vitamin D plays in our body, it helps with the absorption of calcium. Sufficient intake of calcium will not only aid in building strong bones, but it may also improve our metabolism and prevent fat storage. "Hormone and Metabolic Research” published a study in their March 2011 edition citing that participants with an increased intake of vitamin D exhibited increased production of testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that encourages muscle tissue synthesis and fat reduction.
4. Eat fats.
Fats are good for you. Yes...I just said that. Fats transport fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K throughout our bodies so that they may carry out their vital functions. Additional nutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron are also found in fats. Fats are also integral in our diet, as they build the outer layer of every cell in our body. This lipid layer’s integrity is paramount to the proper functioning of the cell; a strong lipid layer will improve insulin sensitivity and build hormones like testosterone. BUT...yes there is a but...you must choose the right fats. Trans and hydrogenated fats are never good for you. Choose whole food fat sources like organic and wild meats, whole dairy, and nuts. Steer clear of processed fats, fats treated with antibiotics, and fats treated with growth hormone.
5. Take a quality probiotic.
Our society has really done quite a number on itself with the overuse of antibiotics and the subsequent abnormal gut flora with which we are left. Fix that problem with a probiotic that will support your gut and aid in digestion. This will help you lose fat, have more energy, and increase your immune system function. Your gut is responsible for the formation of over half of the neurotransmitters in our bodies. These neurotransmitters send signals from your brain to all of your body’s cells and with a decrease in production comes poor brain function, low mood, and low motivation. Also, with metabolism support, foods will be better broken down so that nutrients and energy can be absorbed by the body and used effectively. Studies have shown that more cortisol (a steroid hormone released during times of stress) is produced in an unhealthy gut. Cortisol affects insulin health and results in increased belly fat.
"Hormone and Metabolic Research"; Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men; S. Pilz et al.; March 2011
Guldbrand, H., Dizar, B., et al. In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomization to Advice to Follow a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycemic Control Compared with advice to Follow a Low-Fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss. Diabetologia. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.