Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Are you always hungry? – this could be why…..

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The debate rages on. Is it the quality or quantity of your food intake that causes obesity? A new study puts the emphasis on the quality of our diets- those high glycemic, processed, rapidly digestible foods may be the culprits, in addition to the portion sizes. The obesity epidemic started largely when the American diet tilted toward low fat foods, replacing them with high carbohydrate foods. This caused an alarming rise in diabetes, resulting from an insulin overload in the bloodstream. Past studies have attempted to tease out the issues causing obesity, but have been stymied by flaws in the design of the experiments, such as compliance with diet, self reports, etc. This article, based on a study in JAMA focuses on how we need to refocus our intake on those foods that are not processed, have no or limited amounts of chemicals and preservatives and have low glycemic indices. Reduced emphasis on foods with refined sugar, refined grains, potato, rice and corn products will help us reset our metabolism. The first article is an explanation of why we may feel hungry, even when we are consuming too many calories.

This second article gives a summary of the findings of this JAMA study that is the foundation for the article

So, how do you figure out which foods have a low glycemic index? When you look at the reference here:

You’ll see many of the usual suspects- many vegetables are low glycemic, and fruits and nuts have low to medium glycemic indices. When thinking about packaged foods, such as crackers, bread, cereals and anything with a lot of preservatives, you can be pretty sure they’ll have a high glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods often are whole foods and have 1 ingredient- for example- eggs, zucchini, grapefruit, steel-cut oats, most fish and grass fed lamb or beef. There are a few exceptions- salads with various vegetables, vegetable side dishes made from scratch that use many different spices, etc, but you get the idea.

So, once again, WHAT you eat, in addition to moderate portion sizes will influence your weight, and your ability to maintain a comfortable, healthy weight. For some people, summer presents a good opportunity to eat lighter, knowing we’re showing more skin! I know I’m more in the mood for salads, as the heat does not stimulate my appetite as much as the cold weather beckons me to my kitchen and stove. Summer BBQs and celebrations present many temptations to eat things I don’t stock in my own house. I had my annual hot dog on July 4th (and savored every bite) and I love pies of all kinds! However, I always load my plate up with salad and fruit first, eat it over the course of at least 20 minutes to a half hour, and then I end up eating less calorie-laden processed foods and dessert!

So, let’s hope this great summer weather continues, and eat consciously but joyously!

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