In addition, many sugar-containing foods also contain a lot of fat. Foods such as cookies, pastries, ice cream and cakes should be avoided largely because of the fat content and because they don't contribute much nutritional value. If you do want a "sweet," make a low-fat choice, such as low-fat frozen yogurt, gingersnaps, fig bars, or graham crackers and substitute it for other carbohydrates on your meal plan.
The plate method. The American Diabetes Association offers a simple seven-step method of meal planning. In essence, it focuses on eating more vegetables. When preparing your plate, fill one-half of it with nonstarchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes. Fill one-quarter with a protein, such as tuna or lean pork. Fill the last quarter with a whole-grain item or starchy food. Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Trigylcerides are fatty molecules that travel in the bloodstream. Excess sugar and fat can increase triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are also manufactured in the liver. The body uses triglycerides for energy, but excess triglycerides are a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Many lifestyle factors can influence triglyceride levels.
Agatston believes that the faster sugar and starch are absorbed and the faster they enter the bloodstream, the fatter you will get. He suggests eating foods and combination of foods ( i.e., proteins, fat and small amounts of carbohydrates) that cause gradual rather than a sharp increase in blood sugar. Agatston makes distinction between good and bad carbohydrates. This is based on the glycemic index (GI). GI tells you how fast 50 grams of a particular food turns into sugar. Carbohydrates with a high GI raise blood sugar levels rapidly, while carbohydrates with low GI do it much slower. Examples of foods with high GI is white wheat bread, potatoes and various kinds of cereals. Green vegetables, whole grains, and beans are examples of foods with low GI.
Two DASH trials were designed and carried out as multi-center, randomized, outpatient feeding studies with the purpose of testing the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. The standardized multi-center protocol is an approach used in many large-scale multi-center studies funded by the NHLBI. A unique feature of the DASH diet was that the foods and menu were chosen based on conventionally consumed food items so it could be more easily adopted by the general public if results were positive. The initial DASH study was begun in August 1993 and ended in July 1997. Contemporary epidemiological research had concluded that dietary patterns with high intakes of certain minerals and fiber were associated with low blood pressures. The nutritional conceptualization of the DASH meal plans was based in part on this research.
As a self-described “nutrition nerd,” I couldn’t help but analyze the first three days of menus provided using my nutrient analysis software. You’ll see the daily totals at the bottom of each day, and while I can’t describe the intake as “good”, “ideal” or “healthy,” the data was slightly better than I expected. (Or perhaps, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this very odd combination of foods!)
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