Flailing in the swell of bestselling diet books, infomercials for cleanses, and secret tips in glossy magazines, is the credibility of nutrition science. Watching thoroughly-credentialed medical experts tout the addition or subtraction of one nutrient as deliverance—only to change the channel and hear someone equally-thoroughly-credentialed touting the opposite—it can be tempting to write off nutrition advice altogether. This month we hear something is good, and next we almost expect to hear it’s bad. Why not assume the latest research will all eventually be nullified, and just close our eyes and eat whatever tastes best?
@Mark, Whey protein is fantastic as a meal replacement. When you’re on the cutting phase (dieting) to retain muscle mass, a protein supplement will help with this. Remember though, there is no substitute for food. Consider lean turkey or chicken breast (with the skin off) but half your normal portion with lots of green veggies (which also contains carbs and protein to help keep you fuller for longer!)
One study, published in JAMA in 2007, compared four weight-loss diets ranging from low to high carbohydrate intake. This 12-month trial followed over 300 overweight and obese premenopausal women, randomly assigning them to either an Atkins (very low carbohydrate), Zone (low carbohydrate), LEARN (high carbohydrate), or Ornish (very high in carbohydrate) diet.
What makes some grub extra satisfying? "Fiber and protein can help," says Barbara Rolls, author of "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet." Getting more bang for your bite matters, too: Low-energy-density foods, which yield big portions for few calories, "allow you to eat more without gaining weight," Rolls says. Want some of that? Make room for these secret-weapon picks.
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How it works: The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These are all different carbohydrates that if poorly absorbed can pass through the small intestine and into the colon. Bacteria in the colon then feed on the FODMAPs, producing gas, bloating and pain. A low-FODMAP diet eliminates FODMAP foods for six to eight weeks. After that, small amounts of FODMAP foods are gradually re-introduced to find your personal level of tolerance.
While it’s good to be aware of portion sizes on nutrition labels, why not flip them to your benefit? For example, instead of a bowl of ice cream with a few blueberries, have a bowl of blueberries with a spoonful of ice cream. While one cup of ice cream has more than 250 calories and not much in the way of nutrition, one cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Or, instead of a plate of pasta with some veggies, have a plate of veggies with some pasta. A mix of steamed or roasted cruciferous vegetables works great with a smaller amount of pasta. Not only does this ingredient swap cut the calories in the dish, the additional veggies provide nutrients like fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
"Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" emphasizes fruits and veggies and slashes sodium, fat, and saturated fat. Cutting sodium can help minimize bloat, and eating more low-calorie, high-fiber foods is a bright idea for any woman who needs to fit into her skinny jeans. More than that, it's a heart-healthy way of eating that can keep blood pressure in check. So you'll feel good, too.
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