Willpower for Weight Loss? Not the Best Strategy

willpower for weight loss does not work

If the cupcake was not in your house, it would not be an option.

Many of us think that it’s necessary to have willpower for weight loss. We think, “If only I am strong enough and determined, if only I exercise self-control with my diet and exercise, I will be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle and weight.” Such thinking can be mighty self-limiting. It converts a positive decision- to be healthy- into another reason to feel guilty if willpower isn’t enough to get the weight loss started and the goal achieved.

Think about your eating environment instead instead of willpower for weight loss

For this reason, if you are my client, I advocate a different approach. Namely, I believe that willpower is a self-defeating concept when it comes to losing weight or maintaining weight loss. Instead, I counsel my patients to control their eating environments. By sustaining a “healthy” eating environment, you can also assist in improving your own health and weight. Such an environment means limiting the high calorie and fat foods in your home, so that you are not tempted to succumb to their temptation, which in turn makes willpower at home irrelevant.

Strategies for weight loss without willpower:

Toss your leftover holiday or special occasion goodies

If you have trouble pitching them, give them to a skinny friend or bring them to your office. A moment on your lips can result in months on your hips, as the saying goes. Evaluate if it is worth the momentary gratification.

Be smart when you do your grocery shopping

Avoid putting high temptation foods in your cart in the first place. Self-control only needs to happen at the grocery store. Avoid impulse purchases with a planned grocery list that you stick to. And, as you have heard before, don’t grocery shop when you are hungry. It be a good idea to also not shop when you are pressed for time or tired.

Stock up on lots of health enhancing foods at the grocery store

These healthy foods are your “tools” for successful weight loss. If you are concerned about fresh foods perishing, remember, frozen foods are just as nutrient dense as their fresh counterparts! Here are some suggestions for keeping a healthy stocked kitchen.

Any treats in the house should be less than 150 calories

There are many desserts available that are pre-packaged and under 150 calories. These lower calorie treats can be great for curbing our sweet tooth. Here’s a list of 50 calorie treats providing protein, fiber, and help for your sweet tooth. If others in your household just have to have certain high calorie treats in the house, tell them to make them unavailable to you. In plain English, let them hide them.

Keep undesirable foods off your counter and out of your line of vision

Make these food items hard work to get to. Don’t keep the ice cream in the freezer; instead, if you want to indulge, make it so you have to go out and get your portion of ice cream. And if you do go out and indulge at the ice cream shop, think about some smart strategies ahead of time. A little mental preparation ahead of time can help you make the best choices for your health and waistline.

While there are always other eating and dining obstacles to be faced while trying to lose weight and keep ourselves healthy, take a step in the right direction by reducing your reliance on willpower and making your home a healthy eating environment!

Keto Diet: Healthy or Harmful? Depends Who You Ask!

Keto foods

Popular food choices for the keto diet. Is the keto diet really healthy or harmful?

We all know the keto diet is the rage, but is the keto diet healthy or harmful? Do you really want to put your body through the process of getting into ketosis? When I counsel my clients, I often point out that just being skinny is not what defines overall health. While their goal may be weight loss, you want to maintain or even improve your long term health in the process of losing weight. With that stated, it’s important to look at the keto diet through the lens of how healthy or harmful the diet is to your overall health.

Truth be told, I want to scream “keto diet, please leave and never come back.” I think there are many awesome (logical and scientifically based) reasons to consider skipping the keto diet and looking elsewhere for healthier weight loss strategies. It reminds me of the popularity of the Atkins diet. Twice in my professional lifespan the Atkin’s plan reared it’s “ugly” head. Once when I was right out of college, and then decades later. The “keto” style of eating with restricted carbohydrates is nothing new to the professional community.

Back in the late 1980s, medically supervised fasts gained in popularity and those diets also restricted carbohydrates and overall calories. The end result, like the keto diet, was to make the body go into ketosis. Newsflash, in 1980 those diets were supervised in a medical setting because going into ketosis was not considered to be safe without medical supervision. Now, no one thinks twice about it. This attitude is on trend with everyone being an “expert”, because everyone eats.

Keto diets: healthy, harmful, or somewhere in between?

Management of epileptic seizures by the keto diet has been going on for over a century. There is no dispute as to the efficacy of keto diets for seizures. “Keto” flu symptoms aside, the keto diet is an easy and mindless way to lose weight. Without sufficient carbohydrates available to fuel the brain and central nervous system, the body transitions to using ketones. Those ketones act as a natural appetite suppressant, making the weight loss process easy.

Eat the fat, sufficiently limit the carbs, make the ketones, and voilà the body fat melts away. This is the impression I get from all the keto diet fans out there. The questions I have are: can this be sustained, do you want to sustain it, are you going to be healthier in the long run? And, did you know that going into ketosis is meant to be a survival mechanism to stay alive?

keto diet

How much fiber is in this keto diet dinner? Not as much as you think!

Keto diets may be harmful for what they are lacking

Fiber

Sadly, for the keto junkie, fiber intake is too low. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are your only source of dietary fiber. There is no fiber in oil, butter, bacon, eggs, or anything meat related. Did you know that women need 21-26 grams, and men need 30-38 grams of fiber? This is why constipation is a problem. Sure, take some fiber pills. However, last time I checked, you need a lot of those pills to meet your dietary fiber goals.

Adding healthy fiber rich foods to your diet helps regulate both your blood glucose and cholesterol level. Colon cancer prevention and diverticulosis are two notable conditions that benefit from fiber. Fiber fills you up and helps you feel satiated, without ketones.

Food for your gut bacteria

Those carbs you are severely restricting are a significant food source for your gut bacteria. Fiber rich foods, which are found almost exclusively in complex carbohydrates, offer prebiotics for your probiotics (gut bacteria) to feed on. Probiotic bacteria need prebiotics as a fuel. If you haven’t heard it already, your gut microbiome is very important to your overall health status. Skipping carbs can affect the type of bacteria that grow in your gut. Feeding your gut bacteria with prebiotic rich carbohydrates is the best way to fight inflammation and improve your immunity. Sure, you can take a probiotic in pill form, but those probiotic bacteria need their own food and it should be from fiber rich carbohydrates. 

Micronutrients

Those carbs you are skipping contain significant sources of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Key micronutrients at risk include vitamin C, all the B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In fact, without your fruits and vegetables, it will not be possible to meet your potassium requirements. You cannot meet your potassium requirements in pill form without a prescription from your doctor. Blood pressure issues? Increasing dietary potassium can help lower blood pressure.

Phytochemicals

Fruits, vegetable, and whole grains have compounds called phytochemicals. The phytochemicals protect the growing plants from disease. When we eat plant based foods, we are also eating those phytochemicals. Most phytochemicals are thought to confer protection from heart disease and cancer.

What else is going on with all that protein and fat?

While you are losing weight on the keto diet, is your liver gaining fat? Too much animal protein and fat generally contribute to a fatty liver. Fatty liver can lead to death. At this point, there is not enough research to lean one way or another. In practice, decreasing dietary fat is always effective medical nutrition therapy for a fatty liver.

Are you living without a gallbladder? This keto diet plan will make you pretty uncomfortable and maybe even sick. The gallbladder stores your bile which is released in amounts needed to digest your fat. Without a gallbladder, one might not be able to handle the amount of fat consumed on this diet. You could feel pretty miserable as a result.

Too much animal protein can weaken your bones. And, if you have kidney disease, your kidneys could be strained dealing with all that extra protein. Got gout, the excess protein will aggravate it. So, is the keto diet healthy or harmful? The answer is probably somewhere in between. As a short term fix for weight loss, perhaps it’s ok if you enjoy eating fat. Long term, I suggest you rethink your options. Carbohydrates are healthy and let you eat like a normal person.

If you ask someone that has lost weight on this diet, they will most likely praise the keto diet and indicate it’s healthy because they feel great. My response is they probably feel great because they lost the weight. If you ask me, there are healthier, less risky methods to lose weight. There are many reasons to avoid the excessive fat on the keto diet and enjoy your carbohydrates. If you need more convincing, check this list out!

Do you have a keto diet experience? I’d love to hear any and all comments on short or long term experiences with this diet.

My Food Sensitivities: A Dietitian’s Personal Perspective

When I was 40 years old, I became very ill-so ill I headed to the emergency room. The doctors said something was going around and I should go home to rest. And rest I did! In fact, for at least a week I was barely able to move. I followed up with my primary care physician who proceeded to do a complete medical evaluation. All tests came back negative. So, I rested some more and tried to pretend that I felt normal. Never did I imagine that my extreme fatigue was due to food sensitivities.

my food sensitivity journey

Is this healthy for me or not?

As time progressed, I mentioned my fatigue issues to every physician I saw, and the responses ranged from “You have medical conditions that cause fatigue- IBS, fibromyalgia, asthma”, to “You seem OK, you aren’t acting tired now”, to “You are the healthiest patient I’ve seen today!” My energy levels continued to wax and wane. Sometimes I was near normal and other times I needed to drag myself to bed. Fatigue was my partner in life, and although rest didn’t solve everything, I was often tired enough that I simply could not move. My goal became to get through the day as a functioning person and carry on with my commitments as best I could.

Later in life, food sensitivities uncovered

During the second 50 years of my life, it seemed that my energy levels were worsening. I figured at this point I was functioning at less than 50% of normal. Then, last year, a college friend asked me about food sensitivity testing as she was considering going that route due to ongoing headaches and IBS symptoms. I told her I had mixed feelings about it, but said that maybe we could go down that path together. I am so grateful that I took that path as my life has actually changed course.

Food sensitivity testing is controversial

Some medical “experts” question accuracy of any food sensitivity testing process and the clinical relevance to a patient. For those practitioners that feel it may help a patient, there is controversy as to the best test to use. I used the Alcat test which evaluates how your white blood cells react in contact with various foods, chemicals, and food additives. Based on your white cell response, your reaction to various foods, additives, and chemicals is assessed on a scale of non-reactive to severe.

It’s important to keep in mind that food sensitivity testing is different from allergy testing. With an allergy, there may be an immediate response. With a food sensitivity, the response in terms of symptoms may be delayed by days so it does become difficult to determine what foods may be problematic. In my case, I would never have been able to succeed by just eliminating foods speculated as often problematic because one of my severe responses was to fluoride. Turn on the tap water and there is fluoride. Grab coffee at a restaurant, there is fluoride. Grab that toothpaste, there is fluoride. That is just one example of how the testing can help you come up with a customized eating plan just for you. I would never have been able to determine that something found in my water was a contributing factor in causing my fatigue, muscle, and joint pain.

My life has changed now that I know my food sensitivities

Today, I still look OK but I also feel pretty good! I am now able to work with a trainer, and regularly work out on a treadmill and elliptical. I even have competitions with my active grandchildren to see who can get the most steps in a day! My energy level is far more consistent, and when I’m tired, that’s all it is tired. I’m not fatigued to the point of being unable to move. I have come a long way from the fatigue that has haunted me for the last 25 years. I am so thankful that I was able to access testing. It can be very challenging to make the necessary dietary changes but, it’s worth the effort if your life changes! My only regret is waiting so long.

Do you have a personal story to share about your food sensitivity testing experience and outcome?

Chronic Fatigue: 4 Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Tackle

It goes by many names: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), myaligic encephalomyelitis (ME). Whatever you want to call it, it requires lifestyle changes to cope, and bed rest is not a quick fix for those that are truly afflicted. If you have this condition, you know who you are! You may also remember your life before the condition and after, that red line of health and when it was crossed and what triggered your seemingly endless fatigue.

chronic fatigueEven rest can’t help chronic fatigue

Here are some tried and true tips to help chronic fatigue:

Manage your weight for lessening chronic fatigue

Under the circumstance, this can be a huge challenge. If you are needing to pace yourself with rest, then you will be sitting more. Eating more nutrient rich low calorie foods will be your tool for weight management. It’s amazing what a difference there is in terms of calorie burn on days you are mostly sitting vs. being able to walk around all day when you may feel better. It’s important to match your calorie intake with calorie output.

I am a huge fan of fitness trackers for just this reason. Knowing real time energy output on bad days and then better days, helps immensely in weight management. The fitness tracker can guide you on how much you can eat on a given day based on your calorie burn.

Do eat a nutrient dense diet

Your calories need to “count” from a nutritional standpoint because there may not be a lot of discretionary calories for you to be eating if you are burning few calories due to your fatigue and limited activity. The better quality diet will only increase your chances of feeling better. There’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt.

Too tired to prepare food?  Never cook for only one meal. Double batch and use your freezer. Don’t be afraid of a frozen meal such as Healthy Choice brand meals. They are always going to be healthier than what you might grab at a restaurant.

Consider certain supplements

The condition remains one that the established medical community cannot open a text book and find solid direction on how to treat. With that said, there are a few supplements that may be helpful. Consider CoEnzymeQ10, D-ribose, and probably a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. I don’t uniformly recommend the latter to patients, but when calories need to be restricted for manage weight, it’s not a bad idea in my opinion. The CoQ10 and D-ribose are tied in with our biochemical energy cycle, and I personally find them to be helpful. Other research has suggested a daily dosage of 200 mg CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH twice a day as being therapeutic for symptoms.

Know and state your boundaries to manage chronic fatigue

While boundary setting is not necessarily a nutrition tip, it’s an important lifestyle tip. Learn to say “no” if you feel it will compromise your health. Many of us are so eager to be normal, that it is very easy to overdo it when we feel on the normal end of the spectrum. Both mental and physical pacing need to be first and center in your life. If you are reading this, you are probably all too familiar with the “crash and burn” cycle of both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Doing too much at a time can result in being a limp rag doll later. Best to manage that precious resource called energy and pace yourself all day and every day-even when you may be feeling “normal”.

What tips can you share to live your best life?

 

 

Tips To Decrease Your Triglycerides: 6 Easy Steps

six tips to decrease your triglycerides

Decreasing blood triglyceride

Do you need to decrease your triglycerides? Triglyceride levels are the blood fat not readily discussed during your doctor’s appointment. The focus may be more on your blood cholesterol level. But, blood triglyceride levels are still very important to your heath. If your blood triglyceride value is elevated, your blood is thick like motor oil. This can contribute to heart disease. Here are six simple tips to decrease your triglycerides.

Limit alcohol as the first of 6 tips to decrease your triglycerides

For some people, cutting out alcohol drastically lowers triglyceride levels. While you may like it if your doctor tells you red wine is healthy, your dietitian knows it can increase your triglyceride levels. So, I tell patients to eat grapes instead! I know it’s not as fun, but it works.

Choose fats wisely

Replace butter with olive oil. Don’t forget to swap these fats for each other! Simply adding olive oil to your diet on top of your usual butter intake will not decrease your triglyceride level. That also goes for topping your salad with a whole avocado. While an avocado has heart healthy fat, the impact on your triglycerides will be the same as too much olive oil. Scale it back to a small wedge or 2 Tbsp.

Decrease simple carbs

Carbohydrates are basically divided into two categories: complex and simple. Bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables are examples of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be sweet, such as soft drinks, desserts, candies, and syrup. Individuals should avoid simple carbohydrates in order to decrease triglyceride levels. Some people are so biologically sensitive to sweets that their triglyceride levels drastically increase when they eat too much sugar.

In any healthful diet, complex carbohydrates should be in the 45-65% range of overall calories. But even excessive amounts of healthy complex carbohydrates can elevate triglycerides. Triglycerides often decrease when complex carbohydrates are less than 60% of the overall diet.

Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and herring give us omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: tofu, soybeans, flaxseed, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Increase physical activity 

Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss and decrease triglyceride levels at the same time. Triglyceride reduction occurs with both short bouts of exercise and longer term repetitive exercise. Most studies find that the best bet is to do 30-45 minutes of moderately intensive exercise five times a week. Have your doctor approve an exercise program if you have been inactive.

Maintain or get to a healthy weight as a final tip to decrease your triglycerides

A healthy body weight has been shown to correlate with lower blood fats-including both triglycerides and cholesterol.

In Summary

Start lowering your triglycerides by cutting down your alcohol and total fat. Add some more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. And, lastly, ramp up your physical activity and get to a healthy weight. These steps usually get the job done when trying to decrease triglyceride levels.

Do you have a success story about how you lowered your triglyceride numbers?

Want to get a bit more insight, click here.

5 Weight Control Tips for December Damage Control

Woman Stepping onto ScaleWeight loss in December is not usually the objective for my clients.  Most of my clients simply hope to hold the line on their weight.  The challenges of the holidays are numerous:  shopping which leads to more frequent fast grab lunches at the mall, office parties, stress-related eating, and family or friend gatherings during the holidays.  Here are 5 tips to help you manage the tipping point on the scale:

  • Try to eat a healthy meal before hitting the mall.  If your shopping period is an all day affair, then plan your restaurant meal in advance.  Use the Internet to preplan your options at your mall restaurant by reviewing the nutrition information online.
  • For office parties and gatherings, try to have a healthy snack of fruit or veggies prior to the festivities.  If you are feeling a sense of fullness, it will be easier to resist some of those high temptation goodies which are sure to be available.  If you are having lunch catered in, see if you can find out the menu so you can preplan how you will handle the meal to meet your health and weight objectives.
  • You can help your stress-related eating by simply controlling your eating environment at home.  Make sure your kitchen is full of healthy food options which are easy to prepare as opposed to a kitchen full of high temptation baked goods and candy.  If you must bake for the holidays, keep those baked treats where you cannot easily get to them.  Better yet, store them at skinny friend’s house.
  • For gatherings with family and friends, contribute something to a potluck which meets your dietary objectives.  Make it something healthy, but something you can enjoy as well.  Fresh shrimp, a fruit platter, or crackers with reduced fat cheese spreads are good options.
  • Watch those alcohol calories!

An ounce of prevention is probably worth much more than a pound of cure.  It is much easier to avoid weight gain, than to undo those unwanted December pounds come January.

Wishing my readers a happy and healthy holiday season and 2013.

Heartburn: Food and Lifestyle Fixes

 

how to halt heartburn

Managing heartburn

Recently a student in a college nutrition class I teach raised her hand to contribute to a discussion on heartburn. She indicated that her doctor told her to drink whole milk to help her heartburn. She stressed that the doctor noted it HAD to be whole milk. Since she was not interested in drinking whole milk, this recommendation was not followed through on by the student. The recommendation was neither realistic for her, and probably not really the best advice to take anyway with regard to managing heartburn. And, she’s not alone in trying to control heartburn. Surveys suggest 25-40% of the population experience heartburn on a monthly basis and 7-10% have the problem almost daily.

You know if you have suffered from heartburn. Symptoms include a burning sensation in your chest, mouth, or both. You may actually have a burning sensation in either your chest, mouth, or both areas. Your throat may be sore and you may even vomit food and bile.

Common factors contributing to heartburn include: pregnancy, smoking, certain medications, obesity, and alcohol.

Food factors to consider for control

Certain foods are known to aggravate heartburn. Take a look at the following list of foods and evaluate if your symptoms are worse when you eat these foods.

  • Citrus fruits (limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruit)
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated food (coffee, soda pop, tea)
  • High fat foods (salad dressing, oil, butter, margarine, fried foods, rich desserts)
  • Raw onions and garlic
  • Tomato based foods
  • Peppermint or spearmint oils (sometimes recommended for irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Lots of sugar

Lifestyle factors and heartburn

By manipulating your daily habits, you can help to decrease your heartburn symptoms.

  • Make sure you eat a low fat diet. Fat triggers the sphincter muscle to relax, and allows stomach acid to more easily reach the esophagus.
  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible.
  • Mange your weight and lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Avoid overly large meals-instead eat smaller meals more frequently.
  • If necessary, prop your head up with multiple pillows at night. This makes it a bit more difficult for the acid to back up into your esophagus.
  • Drink liquids between meals, instead of with your meals.
  • Wear loose clothes.
  • Wait several hours to lie down after a larger meal.

Taking these first steps to halting heartburn can be very effective. You can always consult with a dietitian as well. If your symptoms persist even after diet and lifestyle adjustments, you should see your physician for medical management of your problem.

 

Weighing in on Doctor Refusing 200 Pound Patients

As I turned on the morning news the other day, the attention grabbing “teaser” headliner was about a physician in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts who refused to treat anyone weighing more than 200 pounds (link below). If you haven’t heard it, the recap is that an internal medicine physician has decided to reject all new patients weighing over 200 pounds. She indicates that her staff has been “hurt” by handling these heavier people (not sure what she means by this), and that those patients already in her practice and weighing 200 pounds were grandfathered in. She  notes that some of these grandfathered patients proceeded to lose weight after her office policy was implemented. The physician further states that there is an excellent university affiliated medical facility nearby which is better suited for treating patients.

This scenario seems to beg the question, “is this a new trend in the medical profession?”  Will the United States evolve to medically managed weight loss centers for all people classified as obese?

Who should take responsibility?

Mayor Bloomberg restricts soda pop. Michelle Obama encourages us to plant vegetable gardens. But what can individuals and society really do to take responsibility? This will become even more pressing of a concern to individuals if primary care physicians begin to refuse treating heavier patients on a wider scale. If those heavier people are required to find access to health care in settings equipped to handle their special needs, this could also potentially handicap the weight loss process even more-if possible.

Failing at weight management

Right now, we are clearly failing in managing our weight as a nation. We did not come to this point because of one problem. As a society, we are not inclined to move. For safety reasons, we may stay inside (dodging bullets). We sit in front of computers all day, play video games rather than dodge ball, and we eat out constantly. While eating out is a great treat, doing so too often really insures your energy intake is too high which translates to weight gain. Unless you are training for a marathon or triathlon, you still need to critically manage your energy intake if you are going to manage your weight. All too often, those that workout regularly still forget the energy content (meaning calories) of the food they consume. So, again, what are some solutions?

What’s the societal solution?

I do not have a simple solution because there is not necessarily a simple solution to a laundry list of factors causing this national crisis. Our current societal complexities seem to set us up for obesity at this point. Both physicians and patients need to take responsibility for slimming down the nation.

Apparently, it is perfectly legal for this physician to screen her patients according to weight limits. If this is her prerogative (and it’s her practice), she should make a point of offering some other options. While she was relying on a nearby medical facility affiliated with a teaching hospital, she and other physicians have other options. How about business cards of dietitians, therapists, and trainers and refering to those professionals! And, patients need to take responsibility as well. There is no magic solution here. The message to move more and eat less is perceived as “boring” by many. And to many, this simple message is not really simple.  After all, how much should one really eat and move in order to both prevent and manage obesity?

What can we do as a nation? Please provide input to this question directly on my blog.  I look forward to your comments.

A bit more on this story.

 

 

6 Starter Steps to Tame Your Triglycerides

 

I recently had a client come to a nutrition consultation for a severely elevated triglyceride level. While his elevated triglyceride level was a challenging and depressing situation for him personally, it was what his cardiologist told him to eat which was really depressing! His physician actually told him to “eat grass and cardboard.” Obviously, this doctor was being sarcastic, but the comment implied that the diet needed to be overly restrictive. As is often the case with nutrition advice, this particular advice was misleading, incomplete, and inappropriate in terms of helping the patient improve his medical outcome.

6 ways to decrease triglycerides without eating grass and cardboard

Maintain or get to a healthy weight.

Triglyceride and cholesterol reduction may result from losing weight if overweight. Maintaining an ideal weight is important for all aspects of health, including triglyceride reduction.

Increase physical activity

Aerobic exercise can aid with weight loss and decrease triglyceride levels at the same time.Triglyceride reduction occurs with short bouts of aerobic exercise as well as long-term repetitive exercise. Most studies support doing 30-45 minutes of moderately intensive exercise five times a week. Have your doctor sign off on your exercise if you have been inactive!

Cut down on carbs

Carbohydrates are basically divided into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates tend to be sweet, such as soft drinks, desserts, candies, and syrup. Bread, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables are sources of complex carbs.

It is generally recommended that people with high triglycerides avoid simple carbohydrates. Some people are so sensitive to sweets that their triglyceride levels increase drastically when they eat too much sugar. In any healthful diet, complex carbohydrates should be in the 45-65% of overall calorie intake, but even too much high-fiber, nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates can aggravate triglyceride levels when eaten in amounts exceeding 60% of total calorie intake.

Limit alcohol

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), even small amounts of alcohol can increase triglyceride levels. For some people, cutting out alcohol can elicit a marked decrease in their triglyceride levels. In the case of my patient, his triglyceride decreased a whopping 90%.

Choose fats wisely

Up to 30% of the calories you get from fat should come from foods higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to the AHA.

Eat more fish

Most health experts also recommend eating more fish because of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, which have been associated with decreased triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids also help make the blood less sticky, so it is less likely to forms clots that contribute to heart attacks. Fatty fish like sardines, herring, and salmon are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: tofu, soybeans, flaxseed, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

While these are steps to start you off, a licensed dietitian can personalize your food plan to meet your goals. You do not need to eat cardboard and grass!

What’s on your plate to lower triglyceride levels?

Healthy Eating Confusion? 5 Easy Tips to Start!

healthy eating confusion

Wondering how to Eat? Follow 5 steps to clear up healthy eating confusion!

If you are confused about how to eat, you are far from alone. We are a society on ”nutrition” overload. Messages reach us each time we turn on the ten o’ clock news or boot up the computer. Eat eggs, don’t eat eggs, do this, don’t do that-and consumers feel messages conflict and constantly spin a one-eighty every other week. No wonder the public is unsure about what to eat or who to take advice from! With that in mind, here are 5 tips to clear up healthy eating confusion. These tips can help most people improve their overall health status.

5 important and easy tips to clear up healthy eating confusion

Decrease your animal protein consumption

This will decrease your saturated fat intake, keep your calories in line, AND decrease your carbon footprint on our dear planet earth.

Eat more plant-based foods

The upside of this, is simply, more anti-oxidants, more fiber, fewer calories, and less of a carbon footprint on planet earth.

Focus on unprocessed foods as much as possible

The less processed the food, the more nutrient dense the food. When the food is molded, distorted, manipulated, or redesigned, the nutrition composition is most likely altered, and not usually for the better!

Don’t be afraid of bread

Whole grain breads are a rich source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and fiber.

Cast a wide net on the variety of foods you eat

No single food is a magic health bullet. Eating a variety of foods keeps your taste buds happy and also increases the likelihood that you are getting more and varied nutrients into your diet.

Some people should not follow these suggestions due to specific medical concerns. But  for most people, this is an excellent start to eating a better quality of diet. If you need to omit food groups or implement special diet therapy, consider consulting with a Registered/Licensed Dietitian to design a food plan that works for your health goals.

Bon Appetit!