As a health professional, I have seen many patients jump on diet bandwagons throughout the years. One day we’re being told to cut out carbohydrates, the next fat, and then a few days later we are being told to count every calorie we consume. How is anyone supposed to stick to a healthy routine when there is always a new “World’s Best diet” right around the corner? The secret to lifelong health and weight management is no secret at all. In order to truly live a healthy lifestyle and prevent chronic diseases one must consume fats, carbohydrates and protein, focusing on quality, not quantity.
One of the most common misconceptions I come across is the idea that in order to be “healthy” an entire macronutrient group must be cut out of the diet. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The human metabolic system is like one large puzzle. Fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals make up the different pieces. In order to properly function, all of these pieces must be available. If one or two go missing, the puzzle can no longer serve its purpose. This is why diets missing an entire puzzle piece never work long term. Our bodies were designed to consume fats, proteins and carbohydrates together. When one consumes the proper ratio of the three, the body sends signals to the brain informing it that it is full and satisfied. When someone is on a restricted diet, they tend to over compensate with another food source. A recent study in a prestigious journal confirmed this to be true, finding that when people lowered their daily intake of protein by as little as 5%, they made up for it in carbohydrate rich foods, consuming an additional 260 calories per day. These patients also complained of being hungrier in the morning and snacking more often throughout the day. Sound familiar?
There is an easy, heart healthy solution proven to lower cholesterol, decrease cardiovascular mortality and increase glycemic control. If a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is what you are looking for, then the Mediterranean diet is for you. It is one of the best diets that offers protection against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other inflammatory chronic diseases. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats, while limiting red meats, dairy, saturated and Trans fats.
The idea of purposely including fats in one’s diet may seem a bit strange, but healthy, monounsaturated fats are a very necessary part of the human diet, playing an important role in energy production and chemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, the American diet consists of mostly unhealthy saturated and Trans fats that are found in most processed foods. Instead, the Mediterranean diet promotes healthy fats such as olive oil and linolenic acid that have been proven to help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting and provide anti-oxidant effects.
Although my first recommendation when it comes to proper nutrition is to eat natural, whole grain, organic foods, our busy lives don’t always allow us to do so. That is why I recommend LifeCore complete to my patients. LifeCore is the first and only meal replacement I have come across that truly represents the Mediterranean diet, contains the proper ratio of macronutrients, and actually tastes good! LifeCore contains three sources of easily digestible proteins shown to increase satiety hormones, carbohydrates, and healthy fats including olive oil, flaxseed and linolenic acid. A perfect option for anyone’s diet needs.
As long as we are talking about proper diet- If you are going to do ONE thing for you and your loved ones (kids), limit or eliminate white sugar especially drinks that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. As soon as you see that on the label, think “toxic”. Also, limit and eliminate any foods that are labeled as “diet” or contain “partially hydrogenated…” on the label.