The biggest cause of obesity is a diet high in sugar, processed foods and refined grains. Unfortunately I just described the diet that most people in the US are eating everyday. Throw in a sedentary lifestyle and we have the perfect formula for diabetes and a slew of preventable illnesses.
If I had to pick a diet that would cure the obesity problem in the US, it would be a diet that is very high in vegetables, low in grains (if your not very active), and high in omega-3 fats with adequate amount of protein from lean meats, chicken, fish, and eggs.
We’re basically talking about an all-natural diet. I like to tell my personal training clients to eat like a vegetarian who eats meat. In my opinion there’s nothing healthier than eating a variety of vegetables every day. When choosing your vegetables make sure you pick different colors. Different colored vegetables have a variety of vitamins and minerals that we all need.
Why I tell my clients to limit grains is because most grains are low in nutrition while relatively high in calories. If you are very active you can, and should, eat grains. But when it comes to weight loss cutting down on the breads, pasta and cereals are a great way to reduce calories without sacrificing good nutrition. Like I’ve said before, cutting back on carbohydrates is most people’s best weight loss option. Here is a review paper that supports these findings.
Not eating processed foods is a no-brainer. No one advocates eating processed foods but many people don’t realize what they’re eating every day is processed. Whenever someone tells me I never eat processed foods, I always ask them to tell me what they ate yesterday. Typically they will say something like… a muffin for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch and then pasta with chicken sausage for dinner. It turns out that these items are mostly processed foods.
A natural diet means foods that are not altered from their natural state. A muffin is a grain product that things have been added to it. The cold cut turkey and bread of the sandwich is processed. Pasta is processed. All these foods have been altered from their natural state in a negative way. Mostly by adding salt, sugar and oil.
When preparing meals stick to the basics. If you’re eating grains have a bowl of oats with some nuts and berries. Try to stay away from sandwiches for lunch; instead have some fresh turkey thrown on top of a salad. For dinner have a piece of salmon with 2 different colored vegetables. In addition, eat a piece of fruit every day for dessert. Use natural herbs and spices for flavor and stay away from the ketchup, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.
It’s not always easy to eat a whole natural diet in America. They’re processed foods wherever you go. Sometimes it’s hard finding anything natural to eat in a deli or fast food joint. But we have to be motivated and make the extra effort to eat natural. Instead of a deli, walk into a supermarket. Get a bag of raw nuts and some fruit. This is equally satisfying and so much healthier.
Obesity is really out-of-control in the United States. So lets start believing that whole natural foods can be the solution for obesity.
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Best – Mike Cola