Intelligent Eating

 Kathryn P. Haarala
 Dietetic Intern

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
– La Rochefoucauld

The fact of the matter is that this world is too full of false information, especially when it comes to nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and weight loss.  As a society of quick fixes, food to-go, food delivered, fast food, and “To-Do’s” the length of a grocery list intended to feed a team of college football players, it is quite evident we are on the run and quite busy! So, we grasp any information we are given without taking the time to research if it is accurate or not.  Perhaps it is time we outsmart some of the less than accurate information!  If someone tells you a great way to lose weight is by removing all carbohydrates, removing all fruit, eating all meat, or drinking a supercharged shake, you should question this information.  Let’s plunge into some weight loss myths and shake out the truth!

Remove all that you love, ban all that is “bad”

So here you go.  You’re pumped and TODAY is the day.  Today is the start of your fantastic weight loss journey! Motivation is high and goals are set.  You’re going to eat lettuce and say no to every slice of cake, French fry, mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookie, potato chip, and ho-ho that comes you’re way!  Sound familiar? Of course it does.  The mindset of removing all foods deemed “bad” is a mindset that will have you reaching for the Chunky Monkey ice cream at 3 pm (or am, in that case).  Realizing that foods you love are allowed every so often will help you in the long run, while banning those foods you love will inevitably lead to a binge sooner than later.  If you’re an ice cream kind of gal or guy, allow yourself a serving every so often (and every so often does not mean every day, folks!) Just make sure that 80-85% of the time you are choosing foods high in fiber, naturally colorful foods(fruits & veggies) and are filling up on plenty of water.

Diet foods and low-fat foods are your friend.

False. Think again.  Our society is so scared of “fat” and continually opts for low-fat foods to ensure they are eating healthy and low-calories dishes.  Here’s the thing, the low-fat and diet foods are generally pumped full of sugar and additives.  The process of removing naturally occurring fats generally leads to sugar being added to the product.  Take peanut butter for instance: The low-fat version in comparison to the original version has the same amount of calories, 190 for 2 Tbsp.  How can that be, you ask? If you check the nutrition facts you’ll see that fat has been reduced (and by the way, the fat they took out was heart healthy fats) and sugar has been added.  Doesn’t sound like the low-fat version was the better choice, does it? Plus, we tend to have the mentally, ”because it’s low-fat, I’m allowed to eat more.” Eating the entire package of Oreos, even if they are low-fat, doesn’t mean calories aren’t present. Stick with whole foods.  Stick with foods in their original state, foods that haven’t been chemically manipulated and modified.

Mini-meals are the best for weight loss

We’ve heard this newest food rule belabored continuously, and it may seem to make sense, but it all depends on the actual size of this meal you call “mini”.  A large study with 10,000 subjects, completed in 2009, found that between meal snackers were 69% more likely to see an increase in their weight.  Now, I am a big believer in having a piece of fruit, cheese stick, of small handful of walnuts between meals when I start to feel my tummy start to rumble, but all too often, the idea of a “mini-meal” turns into a full blown meal for many people. If you are eating 5-6 real meals per day, or are choosing to continually graze on crackers, chips, and cheese, it is quite evident that those pounds will eventually find their way to your rear, dear.

The main thing to remember and focus on is your relationship with food.  Food is not the bad guy! We need food for nourishment, for energy, and to be able to chase our bad beagles up the road, or have the vitality to keep up with the little ones in our lives.  Just remember, our bodies are well equipped and very intelligent.  Listen to you stomach. It will remind you that it needs an orange to make it to lunch, or some peanut butter and a banana to make it through that run.  And just because it is 12:00 noon doesn’t mean it’s time to eat.  If you aren’t hungry because you had a big breakfast with the co-workers, it is ok to eat at a later time.  Do not let the clock tell you it’s time to eat, and do not be afraid to eat when your tummy is rumblin’ mid-afternoon.  Food is nourishment. Food is energy.  Food is life! Here’s to your health!

Eat Intelligently, Friends!


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