Varied diet achieves success



Healthy carbohydrates include vegetables, whereas refined sugars supply the body with empty calories.


In our age of quick fixes and instant solutions, crash weight-loss plans and fad diets seem almost mandatory. Who wants to wait weeks to see results when magazine covers promise we can melt fat overnight and drop 10 pounds in seven days?

But while the idea may seem appealing that, in just a few days, we can shed the extra pounds we’ve accumulated over several years, it’s far from realistic, let alone healthy.

Fad diets often create nutritional imbalances, and the weight loss they facilitate is rarely maintained when the diet ends.

High protein, fat risks

Many of today’s popular diets prescribe reduced carbohydrate intake and increased consumption of protein, fat, or both. This encourages weight loss because it creates ketosis, a condition in which the body metabolizes body fat to produce energy.

Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? Losing weight by tricking the body into fat-burning mode? Only if you’re prepared to live with the diet’s side effects, which may include headache and/or muscle weakness, as well as diarrhea or constipation resulting from inadequate fibre intake.

perils of high carb

On the opposite side of the coin are the high-carb diets that advocate low protein and fat intake.

But those who cut too much protein and fat from their diet risk failure because not only are both nutrients important for healthy metabolic function, but a certain amount of protein and fat increases satiety. When these vital components are missing from the diet, we experience a feeling of continuous hunger, which will likely result in overeating.

It is important to distinguish between healthy carbohydrates — such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which are highly nourishing —?and refined starches and sugars, which supply empty calories and rob the body of nutrients during metabolism.

Only a varied diet consisting of natural whole foods and balanced nutrients achieves long-term weight loss and optimal health.

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cooking with fats

Cook only with fats that remain stable at temperatures above the boiling point, such as butter, olive oil, and unrefined palm and coconut oil. Don’t heat polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as safflower, sunflower, and flaxseed oils. Heating these oils causes them to break down, allowing trans fatty acids to develop.

From the editors of alive magazine

Alive is Canada’s award-winning natural health and wellness magazine. Every month, alive focuses on traditional and holistic healing, beauty, environmental issues, nutrition, emotional well-being, and supplementation. Pick alive up for free at your natural health store. Visit for more.