Raise The Bar
Our best intentions may actually be working against us. Why is it that in the age of home gyms, 100 calorie snack packs, and gluten free and fat free foods, obesity and related diseases are still rising? It may be time to rethink some of the advice we've been following.
We need to understand that all calories are not the same. Different foods affect our microbiome and hormones differently. And these have a big effect on how we use or store the energy. Foods also affect our appetite and cravings differently.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The key is to focus on eating quality foods and not so much on counting calories. As a general guideline, the closer a food is to the way it exists in nature, the better it is for us.
Blame it on our ancestors, but this is the reason they survived and we are here. Our species evolved eating these natural, whole foods. In relation to the timeline of evolution, only recently have our bodies encountered cookies, potato chips, and even bread. Your body knows what to do with whole foods and evolved to thrive on them while processed foods are more likely to lead to inflammation and signals that confuse your body.
In addition, those cravings that lead to overeating are a survival instinct as well. When food was scarce, cravings to overeat calorie dense food even though we didn't need it encouraged us to eat more when food was available, which allowed us to survive when it wasn't. Fortunately, most of us do not have to worry about starvation these days..."food" is everywhere. However, we still have the survival mechanism in our genes that creates a preference for high calorie, sugary, salty, foods.
Once again, focusing on whole foods helps to manage this craving instinct. For one thing, most of the whole foods are less likely to trigger the craving instinct. It's hard to eat just one potato chip but pretty easy to eat just one stick of celery. In addition, it helps you fill up on healthier foods so you are less likely to reach for the candy bar or donut and initiate that instinct.
One other point, rethink the role fats play in our diet. Once considered the enemy, many fats are actually healthy. If you've been avoiding fats in favor of carbs, try adding some healthy fats into your diet, like eggs, avocados, nuts, olives and olive oil, coconuts and coconut oil, and even some butter from 'happy cows' (grass fed). These can curb hunger without affecting your hormones and appetite the way many simple, refined carbs do.
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