If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, consider these three diet changes. It is easy to get bogged down with thinking you have to do everything perfectly. This can trip people up when they commit to a diet, slip off-track, and declare their attempt a failure. First of all, if you did something differently, even for one day, it is not a failure! Congratulate yourself on making positive changes, no matter how long they last. That being said, if you’re going to make changes in your diet, start with these three things. They are very high-value changes that give you the biggest benefit.
1. Eat less sugary foods.
2. Change the meats you eat.
3. Replace bad fats with good fats.
Let’s start this week with the first change, eating less sugary foods. Sugar is a life-sapping anti-nutrient when taken in at typical “American diet” levels. High sugar intake is linked to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. These diseases are our main killers. Sugar elevates insulin, which leads to premature aging and degenerative diseases. Sugar actually takes more from the body than it gives. In other words, to convert sugar into energy requires vitamins and minerals, which refined sugar lacks. That is why it is an anti-nutrient.
AVOID: white bread, white pasta, white rice, fruit drinks, soda, flavored yogurt, ketchup, sucrose, glucose, fructose, rice syrup, corn syrup, maltodextrin
CHOOSE: whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, sprouted grains, stone ground grains, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, whole oats (not quick-cooking), stevia sweetener
On average, each American consumes 120 pounds of sugar per year, compared with 5 pounds in the early 1900’s. It is ideal to limit grains to 1-2 servings per day. Many of us are “addicted” to sugary foods. Cutting down significantly on refined sugars will likely produce headaches, shakes, fatigue, stomach trouble, and mood swings. These symptoms should dissipate in one week. For most of us, easing away from sugary foods is more practical. Start by having one grain-free meal every few days, then increase to one grain-free meal daily.
Children will benefit from this change in diet by having less sickness, improved behavior, better sleep, and potentially better grades. Adults will notice steadier energy levels, better concentration, and improved ability to lose weight.
We’ll address the second and third dietary changes, meats and fats, in future postings.