Accessibility to foods: Some diet plans ship foods straight to your door, while others require you to shop for very particular ingredients. There are also a range of price points, with some diets costing substantially more than others. Consider whether the food allowed on a particular diet will fit into your budget and be relatively easy to find at grocery stores.
Lowering sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams, (less than 1,500 milligrams for older adults, African Americans, or those with health conditions that increase risk for high blood pressure), is also an important component of a healthful diet. Foods high in sodium are often processed, pre-packaged, and may have more calories from added fats and refined sugar. For more information on sodium, see fact sheet Sodium and the Diet.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Larsen and his colleagues showed that the rate of maintenance of weight loss were higher among participants who were assigned to the low-protein diets and to the high-GI diets compared to the high-protein diets and low-GI diets. Significant weight gain was seen in a low protein-high GI group, but in a high protein — low GI diet weight reduction after weight loss continued. However, there was no interaction between the protein and GI. In another study, changing the diet GI did not significantly affect weight maintenance, but the low GI group consumed fewer calories.
Sure, you certainly need to drink plenty of water to help expedite the process of ridding your body of excess sodium, you can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
“It’s no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they’re filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer. —Laura Burak, RD, CDN
If we think eating junk food is a firmly established way of life and that we're better off picking the lesser of two evils, as "Eat This, Not That" implies, then we have totally lost our way and need a course correction immediately. The road to a slimmer and healthier you is to eat food mostly in it's natural state - fresh, whole, and of the highest quality available; anything less than that is a fool's game.
Eating dessert every day can be good for you, as long as you don’t overdo it. Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of fruit or salad.
Americans are busy, especially during the holiday season. Many people head out for fast food while shopping at the mall or while taking a break from decorating. Matt says we need to make wise choices when eating out. While one in every four meals is eaten on the road at a restaurant or drive-thru, we can still enjoy our favorite foods without suffering the consequences. The economics of the restaurant business are so different than any other business. Restaurants don’t abide by the same rules that grocery stores do, because there are no labels that indicate fat, calories, sodium, etc. Matt says many Americans eat like they shop. We are “shopping for calories to stuff into” our bodies’ closets. “What we are buying when we eat at a restaurant is fat, calories and sodium. More is not a bargain, not by a long shot,” says Matt. Portions are oversized, fattier and more unhealthy than ever. Even though there are calorie-dense items on the menus of America’s restaurants, Matt says there are tons of delicious ways to cut hundreds, even thousands, of calories from your daily diet. BEST OF THE BEST AND WORST OF THE WORST The top 5 worst foods: * Worst Food Invention, pg. 39, Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pastae, 1,480 calories, 56 g fat (24 saturated, 1 g trans), 2,280 mg sodium, 188 g carbs * Worst Salad, pg. 49, California Pizza Kitchen Thai Crunch Salad with Fresh Avocado, 1,399 calories, 10 g saturated fat, 1,712 mg. sodium, 123 g carbs * Worst Drink, pg. 45, Cold Stone PB&C Shake (Gotta Have It size), 2010 calories, 131 g fat (68 g saturated, 2.5 g trans), 880 mg sodium, 153 g sugars * Worst Kids’ Meal, pg. 42, Cheesecake Factory Kids’ Pasta with Alfredo Sauce, 1,803 calories, 87 g saturated fat, 876 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrates * Worst Food in America, pg. 53, Outback Steakhouse Baby Back Ribs, 2,310 calories, 177 g fat (67 g saturated), 3,027 g sodium, 58 g carbs The top 5 best foods: * Best Side, pg. 24, Wendy’s Chili, small, 190 calories, 6 g fat, 830 mg sodium, 14 g protein * Best Drive-Thru Mexican, pg. 30, Taco Bell Grilled Steak Soft Tacos fresco style (2), 310 calories, 9 g fat, 1,210 mg sodium, 18 g protein * Best Sandwich, pg. 24, Quiznos Roadhouse Steak Sammie, 250 calories, 7 g fat, 980 mg sodium * Best Pasta, pg. 32, Olive Garden Linguine alla Marinara, 430 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 900 mg sodium * Best Ice Cream, pg. 84, Ben & Jerry’s, Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, 240 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated), 22 g sugars EAT THIS, NOT THAT * Chicken Sandwich: Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Club, pg. xviii, (410 calories, 12 g fat – 5 g saturated, 1,460 g sodium) vs. Panera Chipotle Chicken (990 calories, 56 g fat -15 g saturated, 1 g trans, 2,370 mg sodium) * Coffee Starbucks Venti Espresso Frappuccino Blended Coffee, pg. xxiii, (290 calories, 3.5 g fat – 2.5 g saturated, 57 g sugars) vs. Dunkin Donuts Large Frozen Cappuccino with Skim Milk (550 calories, 0 g fat, 105 g sugar) * Breakfast: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, pg. 29, (300 calories, 12 g fat – 5 g saturated, 820 mg sodium, 18 g protein) vs. Panera Bacon, Egg and Cheese Grilled Breakfast Sandwich, (510 calories, 24 g fat - 10 g saturated, .5 trans, 1,060 mg sodium) * Fast Food Burger: Wendy’s ¼ Pound Single, pg. 34, (470 calories, 21 g fat, - 8 g saturated, 1 g trans, 940 mg sodium, 27 g protein) vs. TGI Friday’s Cheddar Burger, (1,310 calories) * Pizza: Dominoe’s Thin Crust Ham and Pineapple Pizza (2 slices), pg. 30 (294 calories, 14 g fat – 5 g saturated, 690 mg sodium) vs. Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni (1 slice), pg 38, (960 calories)
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.