Veggie mistake we’re all guilty of
WHETHER you're on a low-carb keto program, devoted to the paleo lifestyle or remain committed to low-fat eating - these plans have more in common than you think.
Since it may take years before scientists discover individual traits that could lead to more success on one plan compared with another, for now, we can learn a lot - and lose a lot - by recognising the nutrition advice that all experts agree on.
Here are three commandments that cross over all types of weight-loss approaches.
1. MAKE VEGGIES YOUR STAPLE
Many people make the mistake of thinking waist whittling means falling in love with kale, but you can get similar (or better) results from tasting the rainbow.
From spuds to corn to broccoli, no other food group delivers an abundance of nutrients for such a minimal calorie hit like veggies.
If you make them the hero of every meal you eat, you'll not only increase your chances of squeezing into your "goal pants" but strengthen your ability to prevent deadly diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
A good way to get your quota is to make veggies interesting - think a veggie bake, zucchini spirals, broccoli pasta or cauliflower rice.
Check that the biggest food group on every plate (or bowl) is veggies and you'll be on your way to a trim bod.
2. REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
Why does sugar sabotage your slim down?
Surely it can't be that bad if we're hardwired to crave it? The problem is, whether it's added or naturally occurring, sugar is in most foods and it taste so good.
However, there's no refuting that an excess of the sweet stuff is harmful in more ways than one.
It has damaging effects on insulin release and body fat deposition, offers little to no nutritional value (empty calories), contributes to overeating by stimulating our sugar cravings and rots your teeth.
According to the most recent Australian Health Survey, the average Australian consumes 60 grams - or 14 teaspoons - of added sugar per day. That's more than double the upper recommended amount of just 25-30 grams of added sugars per day.
Not surprisingly, the main sources of these added sugars are soft drinks, fruit juices and energy drinks, each containing roughly 7-11 teaspoons of added sugars per serve.
While not all sugar should be demonised - in fact, "quitting sugar" in its entirety is almost impossible. The natural sugars from fruits and vegetables that are eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet are fine - it pays to be conscious of the "added" stuff sneaking into our diets.
As always read the labels.
3. HERO WHOLE FOODS AND FIBRE
Fibre is often overlooked for its far-reaching benefits.
Beyond digestive health and increased longevity, fibre is a must for anyone trying to drop a dress size.
One of its best weight-loss superpowers the its ability to make you feel fuller sooner and for longer.
It also slows down the absorption of sugar in your body, meaning blood sugar is stabilised, cravings are dulled and fat is mobilised for energy (an optimal state for burning fat).
Clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews published in The Lancet.
The study found high fibre consumers had significantly lower body weight than low fibre consumers.
Fibre-rich whole foods, such as brown rice, oats, beans, nuts, legumes, chick peas, barley and whole wheat that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut, increase satiety (feeling full) that help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.
Unfortunately, data shows one in two Australians are not meeting the advised daily fibre intake (25-30 grams per day).
This is partly due to a widespread reduction in grain consumption due to faddy diets or removal of whole food groups, such as grains.
To ensure you reach your daily fibre quota, aim for two serves of whole fruit, (preferably with skin), five serves of vegetables, four to six serves of grains, preferably high fibre or whole grain, and one serve of nuts and legumes.
THE KEY TO KEEPING THE WEIGHT OFF
While diet is paramount to a svelte shape, exercise is just as important for maintaining it over a prolonged period.
Regular physical activity has been shown to increase caloric burn, regulate blood sugar and encourage healthy hormone balance.
Combine physical activity with the weight loss trilogy and you'll be on your way to foolproof fat loss.
Kathleen Alleaume is an exercise and nutrition scientist and founder of The Right Balance.