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Nutrition Column

Making eating guidelines easy

For those of you starting a new health program with nutrient guidelines there are some simple tips to make food selection easier and the necessity for logging less.

Basically, stick to an unprocessed, plant-based diet consisting predominantly of grains, vegetables, and fruit the need to track your food intake can be eliminated.

As long as you are not hypertriglyceridemic (high blood triglyceride levels), you can eat unlimited amounts of whole-grains, fruits and vegetables without concern for weight gain or disease development or progression. The research in this are is extremely strong and well supported.

Years ago, participants at the Pritikin Center were instructed on proper eating guidelines and had meals prepared to meet those guidelines. Over the course of one-month all subjects lost weight without feelings of hunger or deprivation despite the fact they could eat unlimited amount. In addition, they all improved their disease risk and eliminated most disease markers along with reducing or getting off of most medications.

This work, and others studies, have found weight control much easier with a plant-based diet - which are high in fiber and volume, nutrient-dense, yet calorically low - than a mixed diet combining plant and animal sources.

The foods you really need to keep an eye on are processed ones (even low-fat and non-fat versions) which are not nutrient-dense and stocked with sugar and calories.

In addition, you can limit the amount of animal protein sources since they are high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Animal protein, particularly red meat and dairy, have also been linked to degenerative disease.

Making sure to limit your intake of animal-based foods, including dairy, will aid in both weight loss and disease prevention. For more reading on the topic I highly recommend T. Colin Campbell's The China Study, available at books stores and on-line.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 4.18.06