Government is also revising the Canada Food Guide to include foods that should be avoided altogether
The junk food advertising ban for everyone under the age of 17 would cover most cheeses and foods that are high in fat and salt such as chips, frozen waffles, fruit juice and even granola bars.
Health Canada is considering a widespread ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to kids under the age of 17. It could cover everything from TV, online and print advertising to product labelling, in-store displays and even end some sponsorships for sports teams.
The federal government announced the first step in St. John’s this morning by launching public consultations on how foods are marketed to kids in Canada.
“Most of the foods that are marketed to kids are these ones that are high in fat, high in sugar, high in sodium, so that’s what we’re looking at,” said Hasan Hutchinson, director general at Health Canada, who is overseeing the consultations.
“That would then cut out all of the things like, of course, your regular soda, most cookies, cakes, pies, puddings, ice cream, most cheeses because they are high in fat, they’re high in salt,” he said.
Health Canada would also target foods such as sugar-sweetened yogurt, frozen waffles, fruit juice, granola bars and potato chips.
The federal government looked at the Quebec ban on advertising to children, which has been in place since 1980.
In that province, companies can’t market unhealthy food to children under 13 years old. But Health Canada wants to go further, banning marketing to any person under 17.
“We know of course that children under 13 are particularly impressionable. But we feel that evidence is showing that teens [in the] 13- to 17-year-old age group are equally a vulnerable group,” Hutchinson said.
He points to the fact that many young teens have their own income for the first time, and are not as closely supervised by their parents.
Targeting high caffeine drinks
It is an argument Senator Nancy Greene Raine supports.
The Conservative senator introduced a private member’s bill last November that would have banned junk food advertising to children under 13.
But in her first appearance before the Senate committee studying her bill earlier this month, Greene Raine told senators she will be amending her bill to raise the age once it goes for clause-by-clause consideration.
‘Red Bull. Rockstar. These highly caffeinated soft drinks are working on the adolescents…but targetting them is really unhealthy,’
– Nancy Green Raine, Senator
“Some products that are being marketed to teenagers are, in my mind, very harmful. Red Bull. Rockstar. These highly caffeinated soft drinks are working on the adolescents — they like those products. But targeting them is really unhealthy,” Greene Raine said.
And she worries bad food choices made as teenagers lead to bad food choices in adulthood.
“A predilection to choosing foods high in sugar, salt, and fat as teenagers, can result in poor food choices for the rest of their lives,” said Greene Raine. “It’s recognized as one of the precursors to becoming overweight and obese, leading to all kinds of other chronic diseases.”
As part of the consultations, Health Canada is asking the public if the advertising ban should extend to sponsorships of sports teams.
Hutchinson said this is one area he thinks there could be some pushback from parents, who may believe sponsorships are critical for small sports teams to operate.
“They’re advertising because it has an effect. There’s a reason why they’re putting money into those sorts of programs,” Hutchinson said.
Greene Raine said she understands the link between sponsorships and sports — the senator won gold and silver medals for skiing at the 1968 Olympics, later becoming a spokesperson for Mars bars.
Still, Raine believes there should be some kind of limit on sponsorship of sports teams by companies that sell junk food.
“When you see things like: ‘wear your team jersey and come to our fast food outlet and we’ll give you a free slushie,’ that crosses the line,” Raine said.
Revising the Canada Food Guide
Health Canada is also launching a second round of consultations on the revised Canada Food Guide.
There were nearly 20,000 submissions in the first round of consultations in the fall of 2016, including 14,000 from the public.
The guide lists the foods Canadians should use as the foundation of a good diet, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
But for the first time, Health Canada is also listing the foods that should be avoided outright.
“What we’ve done is a special case on avoidance of processed or prepared beverages that are high in sugars, because based on our evidence reviews, we think we’ve got enough evidence to be as strong as that. We’ve never said anything quite that strong,” said Hutchinson.
On the naughty list: soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks including water, energy drinks and flavoured milks.
No more meal math: Eating high-quality foods—including plenty of fat—is the new golden rule of weight loss.
Keri Rabe, a 41-year-old elementary school librarian in Austin, Texas, used to be a hard-core calorie counter. Each day for a year, she logged everything she ate, squeezing in caloric space for twice-baked potatoes and tater tot casseroles by making them with low-fat dairy, believing fat would make her fat. She studied the menu before eating out at restaurants, choosing a dish by how many calories she had left for the day. “I thought for sure that was the only way to consistently lose weight,” she says. “I thought I’d have to do it for the rest of my life.”
By one measure, it worked; Rabe lost 10 pounds that year. But even though she met her goal, she was frustrated. She hated doing math before and after every meal, and even though she got away with eating low-quality food while losing weight, she still didn’t feel good—and she wasn’t satisfied.
So one day, Rabe stopped logging and went searching for a better path, not just to lose weight but to keep it off. “I was looking for a way I could eat for the rest of my life,” she says.
Rabe was about to learn what experts are now discovering: The quality of calories is what matters most for staying healthy, losing weight, and maintaining those results.
“When you eat the right quality and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own,” says David Ludwig, MD, an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School, who wrote the 2016 weight-loss book Always Hungry? “You don’t have to count calories or go by the numbers.”
Outsmart your metabolism
The problem with foods that make people fat isn’t that they have too many calories, says Dr. Ludwig. It’s that they cause a cascade of reactions in the body that promote fat storage and make people overeat. Processed carbohydrates—foods like chips, soda, crackers, and even white rice—digest quickly into sugar and increase levels of the hormone insulin.
“Insulin is like Miracle-Gro for your fat cells,” explains Dr. Ludwig. It directs cells to snap up calories in the blood and store them as fat, leaving the body feeling hungry in a hurry. This is why it’s so easy to devour a big bag of chips and still feel famished.
Repeat this cycle too many times and your metabolism will start working against you. What’s more, “when humans try to reduce their calorie balance, the body fights back,” says Dr. Ludwig. This happens in two ways: Metabolism slows in order to keep calories around longer, and you begin to feel hungrier. “This combination of rising hunger and slowing metabolism is a battle that we’re destined to lose over the long term,” he adds. In a dramatic study last year, researchers followed 14 contestants who had all lost big (most about 100 pounds) on The Biggest Loser, and they found this to be the case. Within six years, all but one of them had regained much or all of the weight they had lost because their metabolism stalled and their levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin plummeted.
Put fat back on your plate
The best way to break this fattening cycle is to replace processed carbs with healthy fats, argues Dr. Ludwig: “Fats don’t raise insulin at all, so they can be a key ally for weight loss.”
That idea, of course, contradicts decades of dietary advice. Americans have long been warned about the dangers of fat, since the nutrient contains more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins. By the math alone, replacing fat with carbs seems like a good idea—but it’s not. Studies have shown that people on a low-fat diet tend to lose less weight than people on a low-carbohydrate diet.
In another twist, eating healthy fats—the types that actually support the heart, like the omega-3s in tuna and the monounsaturated fat in olive oil—does not seem to cause weight gain. A trial published last year in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fat for five years lost more weight than those who were told to eat low-fat. A related study showed that folks who followed a high-fat diet reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent, while those instructed to eat a low-fat diet did not.
“After hearing for 40 years how eating fat makes you fat and how we have to count calories to control our weight, people are afraid of foods that humans have enjoyed and viewed as healthy for hundreds of years, like olive oil, nuts, avocado, fatty fish, even dark chocolate,” says Dr. Ludwig. “These foods are among the most healthful foods in existence, even though they are loaded with calories.”
Real, natural foods with fiber, protein, and fat are so satisfying, you’ll naturally eat less of them, the new thinking goes. “If the meal contains all three, then the food will move more slowly through the GI tract,” says Mira Ilic, a clinical dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. When a food takes its time passing through the body, you feel fuller longer.
Instead of choosing a meal based on calories, Ilic advises picking foods from all three categories: one high in fiber, like a vegetable or whole grain; a protein source (think: chicken or salmon); and a healthy fat, like a salad with olive oil and chopped avocado.
Listen to your body’s cues
But it’s still possible to overdo it, even on healthy foods. The biggest temptations are typically peanut butter and almond butter—when you eat them by the spoonful—and whole avocados, says Ilic. She likes the “healthy plate” method of foolproof portion control: assembling half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables, which are automatically healthy; a quarter plate of protein; and a quarter plate of quality carbs, like whole grains or legumes. Foods with healthy fats will pop up in the protein and carb parts of the plate, and if you stick to that formula, you’ll be less likely to overeat them. After creating so well-rounded a meal, you’ll find it easier to keep the amount of good fat you add to it in check.
Another way to guard against overeating healthy-but-rich foods is to slow down at the table. “A lot of people are eating way too fast,” says Ilic. “It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to pick up on satiety, the fullness of the stomach, and you miss the cue of being full if you’re eating too quickly.”
Be present to shed pounds
Recent research found that when people did a short mindfulness exercise called a body scan meditation—in which you take stock of how you feel inside—they were better able to pick up on internal cues that signal hunger and fullness. People who are more mindful have also been shown to experience fewer weight fluctuations over time.
Even though eating quality calories will help you crave treats less, there’s still room for the occasional indulgence. Dr. Ludwig is a fan of dark chocolate, which has heart, brain, and satiety benefits. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can keep the occasional cookie in the mix. “After cleaning the metabolic slate and lowering their insulin, people may be able to enjoy pastries, pasta, etcetera in moderation,” says Dr. Ludwig. If you miss these foods, he recommends experimenting to see what you can handle before cravings are triggered. “For others whose metabolism doesn’t tolerate that as much, the benefits of being in control of hunger and not having to fight cravings will be much greater than the fleeting pleasures of those processed carbohydrates.”
As for Rabe, she ended her year of dodging calories by embarking on a new one in which she embraced fat and reduced sugar. She lost about as much weight while gaining leanness, strength, and a steadier stream of energy.
“I feel so much freer to not be restricted and obsessed over calories,” she says. “I’ve made some really major changes in the quality of my diet, and I feel I can sustain them.”
Best of all, ditching the meal math renewed her love for food, so much so that she started her own cooking blog.
Rabe says she’ll never go back to counting calories. “I’m internally motivated to eat the way I do, because I enjoy it,” she says. “I like the way I feel now.”
New research reveals that high-fat diets can impair memory and make our immune systems attack our own bodies.
A junk food diet is clearly not healthy. Burgers widen our waistlines, raise our cholesterol levels and tighten our arteries. But scientists now think that even before it shows up as additional pounds on the scale, junk food is changing our bodies in other, surprising ways. It’s actually a form of malnutrition that could be making our immune systems attack our own bodies.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Immunology, scientists at Australia’s University of New South Wales investigated a typical western diet—one that’s high in saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Specifically, they looked at the diet’s impact on immune cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells.
The researchers fed mice a high-fat diet for nine weeks to see what effect it would have on the T cells before the mice gained weight. The results surprised study leader Abigail Pollock. “Despite our hypothesis that the T cell response and capacity to eliminate invading pathogens would be weakened we actually saw the opposite: the percentage of overactive T cells increased,” she explained.
This might sound great, but having more T cells doesn’t necessarily mean your immune system is stronger. In fact, when the immune system goes into overdrive, it attacks healthy parts of the body, resulting in autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Cell membranes—the bags that hold cells together—are made up of layers of fatty lipid molecules. Looking closely at the T cells, the scientists found that having extra fats in the diet actually changed the amount of lipid molecules in the cell membrane, which in turn, said Pollock, “changes the structure of the cell, altering the responsiveness of the T cells and changing the immune response.”
The team had shown previously that altering the lipid content of T cell membranes affects how they signal and activate each other, but this is the first time the effect has been shown in a living animal. More research is needed, they say, to figure out exactly what’s happening and determine which fats we could avoid to make sure our immune systems don’t go into overdrive.
Indeed, this is not the first study to show that a high-fat diet impacts the immune system; almost 20 years ago, scientists at the University of Oxford in the U.K. studied rats on diets rich in different fats. They found that the lymphocytes of rats fed a high-fat diet rich in palmitic acid grew more, whereas natural killer cells—another type of immune cell—of rats on a high-fat diet rich in stearic acid grew much less.
More recently, scientists at the University of Ulsan in South Korea compared obese mice on a high-fat diet and non-obese mice on a normal diet, and found that the obese mice had significantly lower levels of immune cells, including T cells, in their lymph nodes, where the immune cells wait until they are needed by the body. The lymph nodes near the intestine were much lighter in the obese mice and contained far fewer T cells than those of the control mice.
The scientists concluded that the accumulation of fat around the organs—visceral fat—due to a high-fat diet causes cells in the lymph nodes to self-destruct: “Dietary fat-induced visceral obesity may be crucial for obesity-related immune dysfunction,” they explained.
A high-fat diet won’t only affect your immune system; it could also impair your memory—and that of your kids. When they fed pregnant mice a diet high in lard, scientists at Capital Medical University in China found that the fat in their offspring’s brain was altered. The authors explain in their study: “Our research demonstrated that long-term high lard diet […] changed the brain fatty acids composition and damaged the memory and learning ability of mice.”
What’s in your burger and fries?
A junk food diet is rich in fat, but there are all sorts of other harmful things lurking in there too. Firstly, junk food is highly palatable—it tastes good. This makes us eat more and more, which is an even bigger problem because it’s also very high in calories. A small cheeseburger is 300 calories, the same as a whole (nutritious) meal. And you would rarely just eat a cheeseburger; adding fries (230 calories) and a soda (170 calories) takes the total to a whopping 700.
An excessive calorie intake leads to obesity, which has an impact on the immune system. Norwegian researchers found that being overweight led to inflammation—a sign of an overactive immune response. They studied this on a molecular level, to establish a link between metabolism, inflammation, heart attack and stroke. Their theory is that overeating provides our cells with too much energy and the tiny cellular engines—mitochondria—can stall.
“We believe that long-term stress on the mitochondria may cause metaflammation,” explained Dr. Arne Yndestad of Oslo University Hospital. “A metaflammation is a low-grade chronic inflammation over many years, and unfortunately it’s a condition that’s difficult to detect.”
There’s more. According to World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) we eat on average 8.1 grams of salt a day—about a third more than the recommended 6 grams. Junk food is high in salt; a junk food meal can tip you over the limit of your daily intake.
What’s the problem? Salt is implicated in making our immune systems go haywire. In three separate studies published in Nature, scientists showed that high salt intake increase production of T cells, taking them to harmful levels. One of the studies showed that feeding mice with multiple sclerosis a high salt diet made their disease progress faster.
One of the researchers, Dr. Vijay Kuchroo of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, points out that the evidence is not yet definitive, but “is building a very interesting hypothesis [that] salt may be one of the environmental triggers of autoimmunity” and that it’s not yet possible to predict the effect salt has on autoimmunity and the development of diseases like type 1 diabetes.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s a bleak picture for kids too. In 2015, WASH carried out an international study on the salt content of children’s meals, concluding that 8 out of 10 meals had more than 1 gram of salt per serving, tipping the maximum recommended serving per meal.
“The more salt you eat as a child, the more likely you are to have serious health issues in later life,” said Prof. Graham MacGregor, WASH chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London. “This can include high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney disease. That is why it is vitally important that children do not get used to the taste of salt.”
Unfortunately, our kids might be at a disadvantage from the outset: the gut bacteria they inherit can have an impact on their immune health. Babies get their gut bacteria—their microbiota—from their mothers at birth and this continues to be shaped through breastfeeding. The microbiota is known to have an impact on our immunity; Spanish researchers found that children with type 1 diabetes had different gut bacteria compared to healthy children.
In his review “Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity,” Dr. Ian Myles of the National Institutes of Health gives an overview of what we know about the effects of a western diet on the immune system. The bacteria found in children’s intestines can have a surprisingly big impact, he says. “Our bodies are a kind of mini-ecosystem, and anything that disturbs our bacteria can alter our health in profound ways,” he said in an interview with Time.
They might also be inheriting a genetic preference for unhealthy food. Researchers at Imperial College London have identified a gene linked to cravings for high-calorie foods. They asked 45 people to look at photos of high- and low-calorie foods and rate how appealing they were, and monitored their brain activity. They found that people with a particular genetic change near a gene called FTO who preferred high calorie foods had more activity in parts of the brain linked to pleasure. This, say the researchers, means people with this genetic trait will find it harder to avoid junk food. And if it’s written in our DNA, there’s a chance we can pass it on to our kids.
Even more reason to stop bombarding them with adverts for junk food. Children’s food choices are strongly influenced by advertising, and many countries are already responding by restricting advertising to kids.
Switching off the TV is one way to cut junk food cravings and intake, and therefore protect our immune systems. And the same researchers who found the genetic variants that cause food cravings also found a dietary supplement that can stop those cravings. But there are plenty of other things that can boost our immunity.
The problem with junk food isn’t just the bad ingredients it contains; it’s also the good ingredients it doesn’t contain. You won’t find vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in a fast food meal, but a study by U.K. scientists revealed that these vegetables switch on immune cells in the intestines, which they say explains the link between diet and immunity.
Junk food is also low in fiber, which is known to boost immunity. According to one study, dietary fiber encourages friendly bacteria to grow in the intestine. These lactic acid bacteria can boost immunity, so eating foods that help them grow—like fiber-rich prebiotics, fermented vegetables and raw garlic—could strengthen your immune system.
Immune-boosting antioxidants are also hard to find in your hamburger (unless it’s topped with mushrooms), so eating plenty of sweet potato, elderberry and low-fat yogurt will help.
In his review on fast food fever, Dr. Myles wrote: “While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.”
So the next time you’re tempted by a meal deal, consider cooking up some vegetables with chicken and a refreshing yogurt and berry dessert instead. Your immune system—and your memory—will thank you for it.
By Lucy Goodchild Van Hilten / AlterNet September 30, 2016
Lucy Goodchild van Hilten is a freelance writer. Read more of her work at telllucy.com.
Testosterone is a hormone that is secreted in both men and women. It is responsible for sex drive, as well as protein processing for muscle mass development and strength. Testosterone declines with age, illness and poor nutrition in both genders, though this change may be more marked in men. Synthetic hormone replacement therapy can cause adverse side effects. A natural way to raise the body’s testosterone levels safely include supplementing the diet with specific nutrients and physical exercise.
Take a B-complex vitamin supplement that includes folic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 to increase testosterone production. These nutrients are important in protein and fat metabolism for the manufacture of this hormone. Eat foods that contain these vitamins, including avocados, eggs, fish and wheat germ.
Increase the mineral zinc in your diet to raise testosterone levels and sperm production in the body. Take a daily zinc supplement according to the dosage on the label. Eat foods like shellfish, prawns and oysters that are high in this mineral.
Take a 500 mg of fish oil once or twice every day, as recommended by your doctor. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients which help to decrease sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. SHBG is a protein that captures or binds to testosterone in the blood, lowering availability of the hormone.
Get regular strenuous exercise, such as resistance training, weight lifting and endurance running to increase testosterone levels. Decreasing excess body fat helps to decrease estrogen and raise testosterone production in men. As little as 20 minutes of physical activity, four times a week can improve hormone production.
Eat foods that increase testosterone production. These include eggs, tomatoes, red peppers, cruciferous vegetables, alfalfa sprouts, apples and pineapples.
Reduce saturated fat, sugary and processed foods from your diet. These foods reduce testosterone levels in the body, leading to low libido, loss of muscle mass and other effects.
Lower than normal levels of testosterone production may be an indication of a disorder. If levels of this male hormone do not improve with natural methods, a blood test by your doctor can help determine whether there is an underlying cause.
Additionally, fish oil and other supplements may not be beneficial in all cases.
Ensure that you get adequate restful sleep each night. Sleeping less than the recommended 6 to 8 hours per night increases stress hormones, which lowers testosterone production. Additionally, learn to manage stress levels in healthy ways to naturally increase testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy may be required for some men with low testosterone levels. Consult your physician about treatment options.
With the many winter holidays upon us, one of the great challenges is maintaining a healthy diet. Choosing healthier options helps many of us ward off extra pounds, but for those with cancer it is crucial to overall health.
If you are undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation, you need extra nutrients to help maintain your energy and keep you feeling strong. Even if your appetite has waned, you still need to make good food choices that fuel your body and help you heal.
Many traditional holiday foods can be high in unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars which, when eaten in excess, can make you feel fatigued and miss out on nutrients vital for healing
Knowing what to eat and what to avoid can make the holiday season a healthy one for you. Follow the guidelines below to increase your intake of cancer-fighting nutrients, and keep you feeling your best this holiday season.
Fill one-fourth of your plate with complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential nutrients because they provide energy for body and brain. Good sources include whole grains (like oats, barley, farro, millet, and buckwheat), fruits, vegetables and beans. They also provide phytonutrients that offer cancer-fighting benefits and fiber to keep you fuller longer. Start by adding extra veggies to side dishes. Switch to whole-grain flour for baking your favorite holiday treats, try a bean dip or hummus with veggies as an appetizer, and include fresh fruits for dessert.
Choose healthy fats. Fat has been given a bad rap, but all fats are not equal. You want to avoid or limit saturated fats (the ones found in animal products like butter, cheese, and red meat) and trans-fatty acids (those that have been hydrogenated — often found in packaged foods and baked goods). Unsaturated fats are the good ones — olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish.
Include protein at every meal. Protein is important for healing during and after treatment. It also is essential for maintaining strength and energy. Choose a variety of plant sources, such as nuts and nut butters, seeds, beans, legumes, and soy. Good sources of animal proteins include grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy.
Emphasize “Seasonal” Superfoods. Superfoods are the superheroes of nutrition —many are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to help you heal and reduce inflammation, thus reducing your risk of chronic diseases and promoting cancer survivorship. Many superfoods are popular during the holidays — such as cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), beans and legumes, citrus, sweet potatoes, nuts and mushrooms. Fresh cranberry sauce with orange and sweetened with agave or honey is an ideal choice to include in your holiday meals. Try adding antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds to a kale salad for a festive starter, or warm up with pumpkin or butternut squash bisque. Sweet potatoes, baked or mashed, with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon, make a healthy and delicious side dish. Green beans sautéed with mushrooms and red bell peppers, steamed broccoli with lemon zest and garlic, and roasted Brussels sprouts caramelized with balsamic vinegar are all foods to fill up on. And if you’ve saved room for dessert, top a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt with blueberries or raspberries and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. Looking for something decadent? Bake an apple with cinnamon and nutmeg, and top it with chopped almonds or walnuts and maple syrup.
Remember: it is OK to have small portions of your favorite holiday foods, but fill most of your plate with a variety of plant-based foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Make a conscious effort to focus on healthy options this holiday season that will keep you strong and help you fight cancer.
Presented by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
One piece of advice often given to dieters is to eat until you reach satiety — that is, until you feel full.
The problem is that different foods can have vastly different effects on hunger and satiety.
For example, 200 calories of chicken breast may make you feel full, but it could take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.
Thus, weight loss isn’t just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.
What Makes a Food Filling?
Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index.
The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.
Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.
Filling foods tend to have the following qualities:
High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When foods contain a lot of water or air, the volume is increased without adding calories.
High protein: Studies show protein is more filling than carbs and fat. Diets higher in protein increase satiety and lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets do.
High fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full. It also slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel full for fewer calories .
So if you eat foods with the above characteristics, then you can usually eat them until fullness without getting in too many calories.
Here are 12 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.
1. Boiled Potatoes
Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t.
Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called resistant starch.
Resistant starch contains half the calories of regular starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts a lot like soluble fiber, helping you feel full.
Because adding resistant starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories.
Interestingly, cooling potatoes after they’re cooked increases their resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes multiple times continues to increase their hunger-suppressing effect.
In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest.
While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, fried potato chips were found to be three times less filling.
Bottom Line: Boiled potatoes, which are highly nutritious, are number one on the satiety index. Fried potato chips are three times less filling and not considered weight loss friendly.
2. Whole Eggs
Eggs are another food that has been unfairly demonized in the past. The truth is, eggs are incredibly healthy and high in several important nutrients.
Most of the nutrients, including about half of an egg’s protein, are found in the yolk.
Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.
In addition, they’re very filling.
Several studies found that people who ate eggs for breakfast were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel for breakfast.
In particular, one study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast lowered their body mass index (BMI) and lost more weight than those who ate a bagel.
Bottom Line: Eggs are a great source of nutrients, including high-quality protein. They may help you eat less for up to 36 hours after a meal.
Oatmeal is a type of porridge, or hot cereal, that is often consumed for breakfast.
It’s incredibly filling and ranks third on the satiety index.
This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to soak up water.
Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs.
When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal was better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day.
Bottom Line: Oatmeal is high in fiber and soaks up water, which makes it incredibly filling. It is more filling than traditional breakfast cereals and may help you eat less throughout the day.
4. Broth-Based Soups
Liquids are often considered to be less filling than solid foods.
However, research shows soups may be more filling than solid meals with the same ingredients.
When soup was eaten at the start of a meal in one study, subjects consumed 20% fewer calories at that meal.
Several studies found that routinely eating soup can reduce calorie intake, enhance satiety and promote weight loss over time.
Stick to broth-based soups, as they tend to be lower in calories than cream-based varieties.
Bottom Line: Soups are very filling foods. Eating soup at the start of a meal may increase satiety, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.
Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are well known for being good sources of fiber and protein.
This, combined with a relatively low energy density, makes them a filling food that may even promote weight loss.
A review of several studies indicates that beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are 31% more filling than pasta and bread.
Bottom Line: Legumes are high in protein and fiber, which make them very filling. They are also relatively low in calories, which makes them a weight loss friendly food.
Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet.
Several studies indicate eating fruit is associated with lower calorie intake and can contribute to weight loss over time.
In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index.
Because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows digestion, they help you feel full.
They are also over 85% water, which provides volume and improves satiety without adding calories.
It’s important to note that whole, solid fruit increases satiety more than puréed fruit or juice, both of which are not particularly filling.
One study looked at the effects of eating solid apple segments, applesauce or drinking apple juice at the beginning of a meal.
It found that those who ate solid apple segments consumed 91 fewer calories than those eating apple sauce and 150 fewer calories than those drinking apple juice.
Eating apple segments also resulted in higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings than other forms of fruit.
Bottom Line: Apples are high in water and soluble fiber but low in calories. Eating whole, solid apples may help you consume fewer calories and contribute to weight loss over time.
7. Citrus Fruits
Similarly to apples, citrus fruits are high in pectin, which can slow digestion and increase satiety.
They also have a high water content. Both oranges and grapefruit contain over 87% water, which means they’re able to fill you up for very few calories.
It has often been suggested that eating grapefruit can promote weight loss.
In one study, obese participants eating grapefruit lost significantly more weight than those given a placebo.
In another study, eating half a grapefruit three times daily at mealtimes for six weeks was associated with modest weight loss and a significant reduction in waist circumference.
When combined with calorie restriction, consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals resulted in a 7.1% weight loss, a significant reduction in body fat and weight circumference.
However, these results may not be exclusive to grapefruit, as drinking water before meals had similar effects.
Bottom Line: Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are also weight loss friendly foods. They’re high in fiber and water, which can help you feel full and consume fewer calories.
Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in people who are overweight or obese.
They’re also loaded with high-quality protein, which is known to be very filling.
In fact, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods on the satiety index and ranks second of all foods tested.
One study found the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef.
Another study found participants who ate fish consumed 11% fewer calories at their next meal than those who ate beef.
Bottom Line: Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which may increase satiety. Fish may also be more filling than other types of protein such as chicken and beef.
9. Lean Meats
Cut Pieces of Red Meat
Lean meats are high in protein and very filling.
In fact, higher-protein diets lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets.
One study found that people ate 12% less at dinner after eating high-protein meat at lunch, compared to those who had a high-carb lunch.
Beef scored second highest of all protein-rich foods on the satiety index, but other lean meats such as chicken and pork are also weight loss friendly.
Bottom Line: Meat is high in protein and very filling. Eating high-protein lean meat may help you consume fewer calories at subsequent meals.
10. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is low in calories but very high in protein.
It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.
These characteristics make cottage cheese a weight loss friendly food.
One study found that its effect on fullness is similar to that of eggs.
Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories. Its effect on satiety may be comparable to that of eggs.
Vegetables are low in calories and high in volume.
They’re also packed with all kinds of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that make them an important part of a healthy diet.
Furthermore, they’re high in water and fiber, both of which help fill you up.
Research shows that salads, in particular, help satisfy hunger, especially when consumed before a meal.
In one study, participants who ate a salad at the start of a meal consumed 7–12% fewer calories at the meal.
Another study showed that eating a salad at the start of a meal increased vegetable consumption by 23%, compared to eating it with the main course.
In order to keep your salad low in calories, avoid adding high-calorie ingredients and dressings.
Bottom Line: Vegetables are high in water and fiber, which may keep you full for longer. Eating low-calorie salads can help increase your vegetable consumption and decrease your calorie intake.
Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snack foods.
It is also high in volume, so it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, despite being relatively low in calories.
Studies have found that popcorn will fill you up more than other popular snacks such as potato chips.
Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest. Commercially-prepared or microwave popcorn can be extremely high in calories and contain unhealthy ingredients.
To keep your popcorn low in calories, avoid adding a lot of fat to it.
Bottom Line: Popcorn is a whole grain that is high in fiber and volume, both of which help you feel full. Studies have found that popcorn is more filling than potato chips.
Take Home Message
Filling foods have certain characteristics. They’re high in volume, protein or fiber and low in energy density.
Including more of these foods in your diet may help you lose weight in the long run.
Canada to follow World Health Organization recommendations released in 2010
The federal government is overhauling Canada’s healthy eating guidelines with a sweeping strategy that will include new rules for marketing and labelling certain foods aimed at children.
Health Minister Jane Philpott said the “iconic” Canada Food Guide has not kept up with the country’s changing demographics and lifestyles.
“The classic one-size-fits-all guide no longer meets the needs of Canadians,” she said in a Montreal speech.
Philpott said the guide must be “relevant and practical” and provide advice for Canadians whether they are shopping at the grocery store or looking at a restaurant menu. It must be individualized and adaptable for food preferences and sensitivities, she said.
Another change will eventually require labelling on the front of packages that will highlight if a product is high or low in certain nutrients such as sodium, sugar and saturated fats.
Protect children from marketing
In May 2010, the World Health Organization released recommendations on the marketing of food and beverages to children. It called on governments worldwide to reduce the exposure of children to advertising and to reduce the use of powerful marketing techniques employed by the manufacturers of foods and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fat acids, free added sugars or sodium.
New regulations will eventually require front-of-package labelling,
which will highlight if a product is high or low in certain nutrients
such as sodium, sugar and saturated fats. (Kelly Crowe/CBC)
Today, Canada is acting on those recommendations, following the lead of Quebec, which already restricts marketing to children under the age of 13.
It will take anywhere from five to 10 years to implement the changes, after consultations with industry, stakeholders and the public.
The last food guide was criticized because it was based on much input from industry. Philpott said stakeholders will have a say in the process, but they will not dictate the results.
“I think it’s only fair for the people who are selling food to be able to have opportunity to comment in terms of what the impact might be on them,” she said.
“But they will not have impact on the advice given in the guide.”
All meetings and correspondence between stakeholders and officials in her office will be transparent and made public, she said.
Conservative Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, who chaired a committee that carried out a sweeping study on obesity in Canada, welcomed the initiatives as “very encouraging.” He called the plan to ensure the food industry remains at arm’s length in the decision process “most heart-warming.”
“It’s a total conflict of interest,” he told CBC News. “You simply can’t have the people who make the greatest degree of money selling you any product, making a final recommendation to government as to how healthy that product is.”
Informed food choices
A group representing the sector said the industry is already taking steps to encourage Canadians to make more informed, healthy food choices, and said it is “keen” to ensure further steps are taken
“That said, this is an unprecedented amount of change that will require an unprecedented level of investment in an unprecedented time frame,” said Joslyn Higginson, vice-president of public and regulatory affairs for the Food and Consumer Products of Canada, in a statement.
“This will change what’s in our products, what’s on our product packaging and how those products are marketed.”
The food and beverage industry continues to face challenges with timely regulatory approvals and costs for reformulation and innovation. Outdated regulations mean it takes longer to bring new and reformulated products to market in Canada than in other countries.
“Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency must address lagging regulatory modernization quickly — before imposing new regulations,” she said.
“It’s the only way that food and beverage makers will be able to implement this scale and magnitude of change, and hope to remain competitive, much less grow and innovate.”
Food guide consultation continues
Health Canada just completed a scientific review of the Canada Food Guide. It found that most of the science behind its recommendations was sound.
However the department found there were not enough distinctions between age groups, sex, activity levels, or height.
Consultations will wrap up Dec. 8, 2016. The guide was last updated in 2007, but it remains the most requested document at Health Canada.
Philpott said the Healthy Canada strategy has three pillars:
Healthy eating, including the updated food guide and new labelling and marketing rules.
Healthy living, including promotion of physical activity and fitness and new rules to deter smoking and vaping.
Healthy minds, including new initiatives to improve mental health.
Elimination of trans fats to continue
The federal government asked industry to voluntarily eliminate trans fats in processed foods in 2007. No regulations were ever introduced by the previous Conservative government.
Many food manufacturers took them out of their products anyway, bowing to consumer demand. But some trans fats still exist in products, and Philpott said more action will be taken to eliminate them.
Sasha McNicoll, co-ordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, urged the federal government to fund a school food program in every school in the country as a way to ensure kids are eating nutritious food.
She said the program would cost about $1 billion a year, and suggested the federal government kick in 20 per cent of the costs shared by the provinces, municipalities and civil society groups.
“It can improve their health and it can improve their education outcomes,” she told CBC News. “An investment now can help children develop better eating habits into adulthood and that will hopefully save in health-care costs down the road.”
By Susan Lunn, Kathleen Harris, CBC News Oct 26, 2016
Peter Nieman, a well-known pediatrician based at Calgary’s Pediatric Weight Clinic, says that more often than not, when he sits down with parents of children who are overweight or obese, they don’t even realize there’s a problem.
Then, Nieman shows them growth charts and explains the trajectory their children are on: continued weight gain resulting in a significantly increased risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and many other serious conditions.
Mounting research shows the majority of parents, as well as their children, have an inaccurate perception of what constitutes obesity. Studies have shown that children that register as overweight according to medical benchmarks, rarely consider themselves as such, and are rarely considered overweight by their parents.
Why can’t we recognize the person sitting beside us at the dinner table, or looking back at us in the mirror, as overweight? The answer could lie in the fact there are more overweight adults in Canada than there are individuals considered to have a “normal” healthy weight. As it becomes more common for individuals to be overweight, our collective perception of what is “normal” weight is being skewed.
In short, fat is the new normal.
“There’s just some places where the norm is being overweight, so people just see themselves as melting in with everybody else,” Nieman said. “Everybody looks like that, so [the feeling is,] what’s the big deal?”
The number of Canadian adults who are overweight or obese remains stubbornly high, at roughly two-thirds of the population. Similar trends are found in young people: Statistics Canada reported recently that about three in 10 children and adolescents in Canada are overweight or obese, a number that has remained stagnant for a decade. The consequences of our misperceptions are steep. A study published in the British Medical Journal last week found that obese young people have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels and thickening of heart muscles. If they remain obese into adulthood – a strong likelihood without intense intervention – they face up to a 40 per cent increased risk of experiencing a stroke or developing heart disease in the future, the study found.
Katerina Maximova, assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, led a 2008 study that found 23 per cent of children and adolescents in Quebec were overweight or obese, but less than 2 per cent identified themselves as carrying too much weight. Young people whose parents or peer groups were overweight were significantly more likely to report having normal weight, even if they were overweight or obese.
“This means the social norms about what constitutes a normal weight are changing to accommodate the prevailing larger sizes,” Maximova said. “That was the disturbing message from our study.”
Few parents ever recognize their child has a serious weight issue, even if he or she is obese. A study in the Canadian Family Physician Journal found 63 per cent of parents with overweight children said their child’s weight was normal; 63 per cent of parents of obese children classified them as overweight.
Nieman says more than half of the parents of overweight or obese children he sees are overweight themselves, he said. A combination of busy lifestyles, reliance on convenience foods that are high in fat and calories and too little physical activity all contribute to the issue.
But as excess weight becomes increasingly normalized, we are less likely to consider it a problem. “We no longer see the issue,” Maximova said. “We’re no longer alarmed by it.”
That’s why a number of experts in the medical community want to shift the discussion from weight to activity. Instead of telling people about the importance of losing weight, it could be much more effective to make it easier for people to get out and be physically active in their communities.
“I’m not so concerned about their body size,” said Katherine Morrison, a pediatric endocrinologist and co-director of the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster University in Hamilton. “I’m very concerned about their health.”
Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, said possible solutions are as simple as making neighbourhoods more walkable or using public money to create supervision in public parks, instead of building a new community centre that may not be accessible to everyone.
Doctors also have an important role to play. Too few of them speak to parents about their child’s weight or measure body-mass index and growth on a consistent basis, even though all the research points to the fact that early intervention is key to preventing a lifetime of health problems related to weight.
“If you have a problem and nobody talks about it … there’s an elephant in the room,” Nieman said. “It’s going to be more difficult to treat those children.”
CARLY WEEKS The Globe and Mail Sunday, Sep. 30, 2012
Scientists began to uncover a link between sugar and heart disease about 60 years ago, and now, the general consensus among experts is that sugar intake is associated with heart disease risk.
But why did it take so long for researchers to inspect this link?
A new historical analysis published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday claims that the sugar industry sponsored research that cast doubt about sugar’s health risks and promoted fat “as the dietary culprit” in heart disease – and didn’t disclose it.
A group then called the Sugar Research Foundation funded some of the early research on fat as the primary risk factor for heart disease, a “sophisticated” tactic to overshadow other research that placed blame on sweets as a risk factor, according to researchers.
The foundation, now called the Sugar Association, questioned the new paper’s findings in a response to CNN, saying it’s “challenging for us to comment on events that allegedly occurred 60 years ago, and on documents we have never seen.” The organization was founded in 1943 by members of the American sugar industry and was dedicated to the scientific study of sugar’s role in food, as well as communicating that role to the public.
Researchers said the early heart disease research has implications for Americans’ health today.
“If we could rewind the script back to 1965 and we had said, ‘You know what, we’re not just going to worry about fat and heart disease, we’re also going to look at carbohydrates and in particular sugar, because that’s a concentrated form of carbohydrate,’ things might be really different,” said Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy in the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine and a co-author of the new analysis.
“If we had not dismissed the idea that carbohydrates played a significant role in heart disease, we would be potentially in a different place today in terms of our obesity and heart disease rates.”
The dawn of heart disease research
In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th leader of the free world, suffered a massive heart attack. America watched the president’s recovery intently, and exercise paired with a healthy diet became a new mantra to ward off heart disease. The following year, Eisenhower was elected to a second term, and America’s focus on heart health – and, specifically, what constituted a heart-healthy diet – burgeoned.
But by the 1960s, two opposing ideas about what caused heart disease emerged. John Yudkin, a British physiologist and nutritionist, suggested that sugar consumption was linked to incidence of and mortality rates from coronary heart disease: Specifically, eating too much sugar might boost levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in blood.
Meanwhile, Ancel Keys, an American physiologist, argued that heart disease was related to scarfing down too many bad types of fat, as such fats may raise cholesterol and possibly cause a heart attack.
Keys’ theory became more widely accepted than Yudkin’s. Keys even graced a 1961 cover of Time magazine and was one of the first scientists to champion the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Whatever happened to Yudkin’s theory? Researchers suggest that when the sugar industry “manipulated” the scientific debate on heart disease, his theory – along with other sugar consumption research – was swept under the rug.
Old letters reveal new secrets
The new paper was led by Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral researcher at the UCSF School of Dentistry, who collected letters dating from 1959 to 1971 between executives at the Sugar Research Foundation and various scientists.
Some of the letters, about 319, were in correspondence with Roger Adams, an organic chemist at the University of Illinois who died in 1971, and about 27 documents were in correspondence with David Mark Hegsted, a nutritionist at Harvard University who died in 2009.
In one instance, according to the new analysis, foundation Vice President John Hickson received drafts of a review by Hegsted and replied, “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”
“It isn’t unusual for faculty who die, for their documents and materials to be stored or given as a gift to the university where they worked,” Schmidt said.
“It just so happened that Roger Adams had a long history of working with the sugar organization, and his materials happened to contain documents by industry executives and are one window into how the industry manipulated science.”
Kearns, Schmidt and their colleague Stan Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF, analyzed the letters and other heart disease research-related public documents — from symposium proceedings to annual reports — from the 1950s and 60s.
The researchers discovered that executives in the sugar industry funded research in the 1960s and ’70s that, upon the executives’ request, cast doubt on the health risks of sugar while promoting the risks of fat. As fat was slowly reduced in the American diet, sugar was used more often to keep foods tasty, Glantz said.
“The sugar interest groups, with sophistication, were staying on top of the science that was being developed and intervening in a very sophisticated way to try to push the discussion away from things that would hurt them and toward things that would help them,” said Glantz, who has a long history of studying the tobacco industry. This new research on the sugar industry was sort of déjà vu, he said.
“It’s all the same tricks. … There was a pretty clear case emerging that eating sugar increased triglycerides, which increased heart disease risk. I think if the science had been left to its own devices, within a few years, there would have been a consensus that there was a causal link, which then should have influenced regulatory policy.”
Sugar warnings, then and now
In 1980, the United States issued its first dietary guidelines for the nation, recommending that Americans avoid too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol for better heart health.
The guidelines also mentioned to avoid consuming too much sugar — but not for the heart, rather because “the major health hazard from eating too much sugar is tooth decay” (PDF).
“Experts are still debating what the role of sugar and heart disease is, even though there was evidence going back to the ’50s and ’60s that a segment of the population with high triglyceride levels should potentially be concerned about their sugar consumption,” Kearns said. “Had we come to this conclusion much earlier, people who had this triglyceride level would have been counseled much differently.”
Now, it turns out that added sugars might be more of a risk factor for coronary heart disease than saturated fats, according to a 2015 paper published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
The paper suggests that a diet high in added sugars can cause a three-fold increase in the risk of death due to heart disease.
In the latest dietary guidelines issued by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the government put a limit on sugar for the first time, recommending that added sugar make up only 10% of your daily calories.
New recommendations from the American Heart Association say children 2 to 18 should consume no more than about 6 teaspoons of added sugars in their daily diets.
The sugar industry weighs in
A representative for the Sugar Association emailed a statement from the association to CNN, questioning the new paper’s findings about the history of heart disease research and the sugar industry.
“We acknowledge that the Sugar Research Foundation should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities, however, when the studies in question were published funding disclosures and transparency standards were not the norm they are today. Beyond this, it is challenging for us to comment on events that allegedly occurred 60 years ago, and on documents we have never seen,” the statement said.
The New England Journal of Medicine, where the first sugar industry-sponsored paper was published, didn’t implement a conflict-of-interest policy to disclose research funding sources until 1984. JAMA followed suit a few years later.
“Generally speaking, it is not only unfortunate but a disservice that industry-funded research is branded as tainted. What is often missing from the dialogue is that industry-funded research has been informative in addressing key issues,” the Sugar Association statement said. “Most concerning is the growing use of headline-baiting articles to trump quality scientific research — we’re disappointed to see a journal of JAMA’s stature being drawn into this trend.”
The deadly legacy of heart disease
As the debate around risk factors for heart disease continues, it remains the leading cause of death in the United States. About 610,000 people die of heart disease nationwide each year, about one in every four deaths.
Additionally, rates of obesity — which puts people at a higher risk of heart disease — have skyrocketed among both children and adults since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the CDC. As for Americans 20 and older, 30.4% reported that they were obese last year, up from 29.9% in 2014.
“We’re fatter than we’ve ever been, and we have diseases, epidemics of chronic diseases, related to sugar consumption,” Schmidt said. Meanwhile, the prevalence of diabetes has quadrupled in just over three decades.
“A third of the population is walking around with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The main risk factors for that are heavy sugar consumption, trans fat consumption and obesity. It’s soon to be the leading cause of liver transplantation in America,” she said, adding that even though sugary beverage intake among Americans has increased over the past couple of decades, it now seems to be on the decline.
“Particularly, sugary drinks have gone down a lot, which is really promising.”
Schmidt, Kearns and Glantz have done the science community “a great public service” by resurfacing the history of funded heart disease research, said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, in an editorial accompanying the new paper in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“As George Santayana famously said in ‘Reason of Common Sense’ (1905), ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’ ” she wrote.
Just last year, Coca-Cola was exposed funding health research to claim that exercise can mitigate the effects of excessive consumption of its products, according to a written statement from Dr. Jim Krieger, founding executive director of the nonprofit Healthy Food America. Krieger was not involved in the current study.
“We have to ask ourselves how many lives and dollars could have been saved, and how different today’s health picture would be, if the industry were not manipulating science in this way,” he said in the statement. “Only 50 years later are we waking up to the true harm from sugar.”
Nutritionists have a lot of advice to give, especially around weight loss. But what are the number one tips they tell people who are trying to drop pounds?
We tapped 12 nutritionists for the answer—you might be surprised by what they said.
Be Nice to Yourself
“Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. All too often we revert to negative self-talk, especially when it comes to our bodies. ‘You look so fat in that’ might pop into your head when you talk to yourself, but you would never use such harsh words to someone dear to you. Try to be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy. That negative talk could lead to apathy, overeating, and dietary sabotage.” —Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author of Read It Before You Eat It
Ask Yourself if You’re Really Hungry
“Learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Traditional diets cut calories, which can seem like a drastic change if you are used to eating more food than your body needs. When you feel deprived, it’s hard to find the motivation to continue, which is why most traditional diets fail. Instead, focus on fueling your body when you are hungry with healthy, nourishing foods. When you reach for a snack at 2 p.m. because you ‘always’ do, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just bored, tired, or stressed. If you’re hungry, have a healthy snack. If you’re not, figure out what emotion is really going on and address that. Shifting the focus to this mindset makes weight loss so much easier.” —Alexandra Caspero, R.D., founder of Delicious Knowledge
Stop Dwelling on What You Shouldn’t Eat
“Focus on the foods and drinks you should be saying ‘yes’ to, rather than focusing on ones you should cut. If your mantra is ‘no junk food,’ it’s likely that junk food—the very thing you are trying to avoid—is top-of-mind. Focusing on eating the healthy foods you love, like roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, or Sriracha hummus, makes you think about how to include them in your daily or weekly meals. That will help your unhealthy choices fall to the wayside.” —Tori Holthaus, R.D., founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC
Eat Whole, Not “Health” Foods
“Weight loss will happen as a side effect of choosing whole foods that provide the nutrients you need. New research demonstrates that foods labeled as ‘healthy,’ like ‘healthy cookies,’ may be contributing to the obesity epidemic because people are more likely to overeat them.” —Brigid Titgemeier, R.D., registered dietitian nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine
“Of course we have to watch our calories consumed, but how about focusing on calories expended? According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. I recommend trying a combination of things such as strength training, cardiovascular training, and core work to increase activity and lose weight. Keep a journal of your active minutes each week, or use an app, to stay accountable and hit your minute goals. —Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia
Don’t Ditch the Fat
“It’s a common misconception that you need to cut fat out of the diet to lose weight; however, omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, and monounsaturated fatty acids in foods such as avocado and olive oil have been linked to healthier waistlines. Eat these healthy fats to increase satiety and lose weight more easily.” —Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University
Make a Plan
“Planning is the key to weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, and living a healthy lifestyle. Plan out your meals and snacks in advance, grocery shop based on those meals and snacks, prep food ahead of time, and think through the ways you can incorporate your favorite unhealthy foods in moderation. In my experience the people who plan are the ones that succeed.” —Wesley Delbridge, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Rework Your Favorite Meals
“Don’t eliminate the foods you love. Instead, learn how to eat them in a healthier way. For example, don’t stop eating pasta. Add lots of veggies and lean protein, like shrimp, chicken, or beans to your pasta bowl, and avoid heavy, creamed sauces. Remember, the real win in weight loss is keeping the weight off, not just losing it quickly.” —Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet
Make Changes You Can Stick With
“Find a diet that is a lifestyle change you can embrace forever. Studies show that ‘diets’ don’t work because people don’t stay on them. A diet shouldn’t be something you go ‘on’ and ‘off.’ It should be something sustainable. It should be a way of eating for life—an eating pattern that doesn’t make you feel hungry, deprived, or obsessed with food.” —Sharon Palmer, R.D., author of Plant-Powered for Life
Follow Your Own Path
“There is no one meal plan that will lead to sustainable weight loss in everyone. People have to find what works for them, based on their own needs and preferences. —Maria Elena Rodriguez R.D., program manager of The Mount Sinai Health System’s Diabetes Alliance
Don’t Forget Calories
“No matter what plan you’re following, if you take in too much energy, it will get stored. When you’re aware of roughly how many calories you’ve eaten for breakfast and lunch, you’ll know if you can have some dessert after dinner. It’s kind of like a budget.” —Holly Herrington, R.D., dietitian at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medicine
Take Things Slow
“Don’t try to change everything about your diet at once. Start by making one improvement in what you’re eating or one improvement in how much you’re eating, but don’t try to change both at once. Ease into it, and you’ll find that the healthy changes you make become much more doable.” —Georgie Fear, R.D., author of “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss”