The New Food Rules

“I’m on a gluten-free, vegan, low sodium, low fat, alkaline diet.”

It seems that every other day the pages to the eating guide have been reworked making it increasingly difficult to keep track.

Luckily, there’s a new set of “Food Rules” to abide by and we have broken it down into six simple laws to abide by.

Take a look to find out whether you’ve been eating accordingly.

Steer Clear of Zero-Calorie Foods & Drinks

If you’re goal is losing weight, it seems natural to cut calories from sugar. However, the artificial sweeteners used to make these super-sweet drinks and low-fat, low-calories snack packs come with their own set of problems.

When compared with regular sugar, sugar replacements can trigger greater activation of reward centers in the brain, which alters the way you experience the “reward” you get from sweet tastes. In other words, consuming artificial sweeteners may cause the brain to loose its ability to provide an accurate gauge of energy consumption. That change in brain signals can become a challenge in regards to appetite control.

A recent study from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that zero-calorie artificial sweeteners might alter gut bacteria in such a way that predisposes mice to glucose intolerance–a precurosor of diabetes.

It’s all about Fiber

There’s nothing sexy about fiber, but research suggests that 97% of Americans don’t take in enough of it and that has damaging results. Lack of fiber leads to gut bacteria which evidence shows likely influences their risk for diabetes and even some autoimmune diseases.

Unlike our ancestors, who ate a wide range of plant material and are thought to have eaten up to 150 grams of dietary fiber each day, on average, Americans consume 16 grams daily. Research dating as far back to the 60s point to fiber  as an important factor in overall health. An early study found that African populations, which had high-fiber, plant-based diets, were not subject to Western diseases.

A recent study published in the BMJ analyzed the gut bacteria of 49 overweight and obese adults by having them follow a calorie-restricted, fiber-rich diet. Those with higher initial levels of gut microbe species responded better to the diet, lost more visceral fat, saw an improvement in heart-disease risk factors and even achieved a better waist-to-hip ratio.

Stop It With The “Super” Foods

We’ve all fall victim of an over-hyped, health food product. Too often do shoppers focus on the nutrients found in their food, rather than the food itself. Researchers have recently coined a term for this concept: “nutrient-centrism.”

A new study out of Cornell University found that people believe that eating potassium, for instance, will better protect them from disease than bananas, which is one of nature’s best sources for potassium. Researchers say that this kind of thinking misses the point and more and more experts are recommending whole foods with nutrients in their natural context, rather than supplements. Sure, drinking acai berry “superfood” juice will hurt, but i’s not necessarily more nutritious than good, ol’ fashioned blueberries.

End The Protein Obsession

Protein enriched foods are everywhere these days, from dried pasta or energy drinks, but there’s growing skepticism over its supposed benefits. With the increasing population of the paleo diet, which promotes high protein consumption, so came the trend of protein packed meals.

Now, protein is essential to a healthy diet, there’s no doubt about that, but the constant anxiety over whether we get “enough” protein (particularly amongst vegetarians) is unnecessary. “If you’re eating enough calories, it’s really hard not to get enough protein,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University. Federal data shows that men eat an average of 99 grams of protein a day and women 68. While the Institute Of Medicine only recommends 56 daily grams for men and 46 for women.

Particularly, when it comes to meat proteins, there’s room to cut back. Sure, you may loose weight by cutting carbs to replace with protein, you may loose weight, but you also may be introducing other problems. Dr. Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute found that cancer risks increases nearly 400% among Americans who get 20% or more of their daily calories from protein, compared with those who restrict their protein intake to 20%.

Another hitch in the protein plan: it may play a negative role in aging. “Proteins and their amino acids regulate the two major pro-aging pathways,” Longo says. Thus, increasing proteins seems to induce higher rates of both death and disease.

Ditch The Box

This one seems intuitive, but it’s worth emphasizing. Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, conducted a study in 2014 that observe various diets to determine which plan is the healthiest.
They found that good diets emphasize foods with minimal processing and an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. “Everything after that is less important,” Dr. Katz concluded.

 Wired for Weight Gain

The formula for weight management is simple: calorie counting and exercise, but the trouble with that equation is that it assumes all foods are equal, regardless of their caloric value. More recently, researchers have discovered that calories from, let’s say potato chips, are not at all like the ones from a pomegranate. Furthermore, what our bodies do with these various calories are drastically different.

The new evidence shows that carbohydrates quickly raise insulin levels. Insulin serves as a hormone alarm to prepare the body to store calories in case of a famine. So, when we’re in “crisis” mode, our bodies will shuttle calories
into storage in our fat cells. This results in the body lacking adequate fuel at any given moment. This incites hunger, which leads to eating…in most cases. In other words, cutting calories doesn’t address the underlying issues when too many calories are directed into fat cells,” days Dr. David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and author of Always Hungry? “The problem isn’t so much the question of the amount of calories but their distribution.”

The good news is that Dr. Ludwig believes that fat cells can be “retrained” when we eat the right foods, such as olive and nut oils. In fact, the right foods can wire you to burn MORE calories. In 2012, Ludwig had three people eat three different diets for a month each. When on the Mediterranean diet, which boasts lighter oils and fewer carbohydrates, Ludwig’s subjects burned the dame number of calories they would have had they exercised at a moderately vigorous level each day.


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