It's hard to avoid that 3 p.m. stomach rumble, when nothing can stand between you and the office vending machine. And while it's fine to eat something to hold you over until dinner (in fact, we encourage it!), some choices will help you keep on your weight-loss track—while others can surely derail you. So at the vending machine, instead of choosing that ever-so-tempting pack of Twizzlers, try a 100-calorie cookie pack or a Nature Valley granola bar. Better yet, bring a snack from home! We're fans of sliced veggies dipped in hummus. Delish!
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
The good news is that all of these miscalculations are manageable with a little effort. First, be truthful with yourself. Are you really exercising as hard as you think you are? If not, step it up. Next, experts advocate ditching the processed junk for real, whole foods. Somer suggests committing at least 75 percent of your diet to a menu rich in fresh fruits and veggies, 100 percent whole grains, legumes, nuts, nonfat dairy products and seafood. “Load at least three-fourths of every plate with colorful plants,” suggests Somer. “Bring food with you so you aren’t tempted by drive-throughs and vending machines.”
It’s a no-brainer that diet and exercise are both crucial to your well-being and your waistline. And that generally adhering to recommended guidelines (like getting regular doses of aerobic activity and resistance training, filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and eating lean protein) is the best way to optimize your health overall. But what if you want to achieve something specific—to drop a dress size, say, or stave off heart disease? Research shows that, in certain cases, focusing on one over the other will give you better, faster results. Real Simple asked experts to consider five common goals. Here are their verdicts.
Here’s what we do know: The keto diet may be useful in treating symptoms of epilepsy, a seizure disorder. “The use of keto in treating epilepsy has the most evidence,” Angelone says. One study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, for example, followed epileptic patients on the keto diet and found that 36 percent of them had a 50 percent reduction in seizures after three months on the diet, and 16 percent were seizure-free. However, experts aren't entirely sure why the keto diet has this affect, she adds.
If you’ve decided to move forward in trying the keto diet, you will want to stick to the parameters of the eating plan. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of your calories will come from fats. That means you’ll eat meats, fats, and oils, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says. (This is different from a traditional low-carb diet, as even fewer carbs are allowed on the keto diet.)
In addition, watching your weight may reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer. According to a study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the risk of dying from prostate cancer is more than double in obese men diagnosed with the disease compared with men of normal weight at the time of diagnosis. And obese men with local or regional disease have nearly four times the risk of their cancer metastasizing, or spreading.
We do know that improved nutrition reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, and usually improves overall quality of life. It’s estimated that a third of cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to diet in adults, including diet’s effect on obesity. Additionally, a healthy diet helps to increase energy levels, facilitate recovery and enhance the immune system. According to the World Health Organization, a person with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more is considered obese.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.
Before starting, ask yourself what is really realistic for you, Mattinson suggests. Then get your doctor’s okay. You may also work with a local registered dietitian nutritionist to limit potential nutrient deficiencies and talk about vitamin supplementation, as you won’t be eating whole grains, dairy, or fruit, and will eliminate many veggies. “A diet that eliminates entire food groups is a red flag to me. This isn’t something to take lightly or dive into headfirst with no medical supervision,” she says.
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.
When your body burns its stores of fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet -- or going back to a normal diet afterward -- can be tricky if you’re obese because of other health issues you’re likely to have, like diabetes, a heart condition, or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make diet changes slowly and only with the guidance of your doctor.
The effects that dietary fat has on your blood cholesterol levels will help you choose which ones to consume. According to the American Heart Association, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the "bad" cholesterol because when too much of it circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove "bad" cholesterol from arteries and prevent blockage. The goal is to have a
Though not always followed for weight loss per se, an anti-inflammatory diet is rich in whole foods (including fresh fruits and veggies), and low in packaged, processed ones (like french fries and pastries), so there is a chance you will still shed pounds with this approach. But usually, folks follow this diet to help prevent or treat chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. And that’s smart, considering there’s a bounty of research to support this notion. Adopting this diet is relatively simple. It isn’t focused on counting calories or carbs, or following any sort of specific protocol. Instead of constantly thinking about the quantity of food you are eating, an anti-inflammatory is all about prioritizing the quality of what is on your plate.
Much like its nut butter cousins, tahini packs in some solid nutrition, including about 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber (as well as vitamins and minerals) per 2 tablespoon serving. It’s made from ground, hulled sesame seeds, so it may be a nut butter option for people who are allergic to tree nuts and peanuts (though sesame seed allergies are also common).
A recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics concludes that 35 percent of adults exercise regularly (more than 6 of 10 dont), and nearly four in 10 arent physically active. Lack of exercise can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The CDC estimates that about 112,000 deaths are associated with obesity each year in the United States. However, this estimate is likely to change in the future as more data become available.
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
“The alkaline diet often has a focus on eating lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which could be a good thing,” says Hultin. “However, keep in mind that this is not an evidence-based therapeutic diet. When people take it too far — for instance, drinking baking soda — or become too restrictive or obsessive over food choices, it can definitely turn negative.”
Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.