When you have a diet with no fat, no salt, no carbs, you may be sabotaging your efforts to lose weight with too much strict dieting and harming your health. Below are some simple strategies to consider.
1. Beware of fat-free cookies, salad dressings and desserts - even though they are fat-free, they still have calories plus they have to replace the fat with something, and it is usually sugar, which you might as well spread on your hips or abs. It is better to eat less of the real thing. Check for sugar per serving on the label.
2. You still need some good fats - which are found in fish, nuts, avocados, olives, extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil, macadamia nut oil, etc. Just do not go overboard; Fats contain about 120 calories per tablespoon. Choose reduce-fat cheese and lean protein choices like fish and skinless chicken.
3. Definitely cut back on salt - especially if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, want to lose weight, or have been advised by your doctor. The recommended daily amount is 1,500 mg. of salt, which can be found in one slice of commercially prepared pizza. Most people get much more than that in one day. Make sure you are getting enough potassium, which helps to counteract the effects of salt in the body. Eat potassium-rich foods like tomatoes, salmon, broccoli, lima beans, spinach and oranges.
4. Are you a vegetarian? I salute you for eating a plant-based diet because it has many health benefits including lower cholesterol and blood pressure, plus the reduced risk of developing heart disease, gallbladder disease, diabetes, colon and prostate cancers. However, you can become deficient in protein, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, Vitamins D and B-12, and Omega 3's (essential fatty acids). Make sure you take a B-complex supplement, Omega 3's, Vitamin D3, plus a good multi-vitamin.
5. The low-carb diet has received a lot of attention and many people lose weight, however, like low-fat diets, the low-carb diet only works if you watch your caloric intake. If you are filling up on bacon, burgers and steaks, you are not doing your heart or cholesterol levels any good. Foods like oats, whole-grains, low-fat dairy; beans and corn help you get enough fiber, which will keep you full and your gastrointestinal tract healthy. In addition, you need good carbohydrates for your brain to function with good memory and learning capabilities. Choose whole grains, whole fruits, steel-cut oats, whole-grain pasta and sweet potatoes, which are minimally processed and good for you.
6. Watch out for the sugar-free products - they are sweetened with sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol, which your body cannot absorb well and may cause gas, bloating and cramping. Instead, focus on your total day with less processed foods and too many restaurant foods.
Many people do themselves a disservice by all these different 'diet' strategies and you may not be eating as healthy as you could. Work with a Nutrition Counselor to help you plan meals and deal with your health concerns. Eat from the earth!