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Nutrition Column

What you eat is as important as how much

Most people are not overweight because they eat too much, but because they eat the wrong kinds of foods and are sedentary. Most overweight people donít eat more than a few thousand calories a day. This is compared to the thousands of calories athletes eat while maintaining extremely lean bodies. Many people waste a substantial portion of calories on foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar, yet low in volume. In other words, they eat lots of calories but in tiny packages.

Rather than cut calories, you would be much better off changing what you eat. Instead of choosing processed foods high in saturated fat, hydrogenated oil and sugar, which shift your metabolism down, develop a taste for foods containing whole grains along with more vegetables and fruits all of which are rich in complex carbohydrates, high in fiber, and low in saturated fat. Because carbohydrates and protein have half the calories of fat, you can eat twice as much of them without increasing your caloric intake. They also often have a higher water content further adding to their volume and lowering their caloric density while maximizing their nutrient density.

The high volume of a nutrient dense diet consisting of lower fat, less processed foods will provide fullness and high quality Ė and as researchers have shown aid in appetite suppression and weight loss. When combined with proper exercise it is a potent combination for weight loss and change in your body composition. Your body will become more efficient at burning those fuels you eat, rather than storing them as fat.

While you'll still have to watch what you eat, at least you'll be able to eat more. It may not be as much fun as gobbling snacks the way you used to, but it's a lot smarter than eating a candy bar or a donut and starving the rest of the day.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 2.02.06