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Fad Diets Part II

Fad Diets Part II

by Laura J Hieb, ND on May 25, 2022

Many fad diets focus on a certain food that is claimed to be a miracle metabolism-booster that will quickly melt away the pounds--as long as you eat it at every meal, or in place of a meal. Grapefruit, cabbage and celery are a few that come to mind.

Sadly, there is no one miracle food for weight loss.

Well maybe there is one. Iit's not exactly a food, but it is low in calories.

 You guessed it! Water.

Water is, as we all know, essential for life.

 AND it helps our cells to have a higher metabolic rate when they contain enough water. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn. The rule of thumb for water intake is 1/3 to 1/2 of your body weight in fluid ounces of water daily. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you would want to drink 50-75oz of water daily--roughly 6-9 cups.

Also, when drinking water, it's best to do so away from meals. Try drinking 1-2 glasses of water on rising and then the rest between meals.

Okay, back to actual food.  

There are some groups of food that can help you lose weight and keep it off if you include them with your meals.

They are non-starchy vegetables, and protein.

Non-starchy vegetables are basically all veg except for corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, and winter squashes. Non-starchy vegetables are high in water, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (nutrients in plants that we may or may not have names for, but that seem to do great things for our health) and fiber. Also they are very low in calories. Aim for 5-18 serving daily. A serving is 1/2 cup, except for raw leafy greens--the serving for them is 1 cup.

Protein, specifically animal protein and some soy protein, is especially important because it helps us make muscle, among many other things. As stated before, the higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolism.

Vegetable proteins (other than tofu and tempeh) typically come with a lot of carbohydrate, and do not contain the same amount and kinds of amino acids as animal protein, so while they are still healthy, vegetable proteins do not have as much of a beneficial effect on metabolism as animal protein.

Overall, aim for 20-30 grams of protein 3 times daily. Some examples include the following:

A piece of meat or fish the size of a deck of cards--about 3 oz--contains approximately 21 grams of protein.

A large egg contains 6-7 grams of protein.

A half cup/4 oz of firm tofu contains about 20 grams of protein.

 A half cup of cooked black beans contains 7 grams of protein.

A half a cup of cooked oatmeal contains 3 grams of protein.

 A half cup of almonds has 6 grams and a half cup of veg has 1-2 grams.

 Please note: Unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein cannot be stored, so you can't just eat a 1 pound of steak for breakfast and be done for the day! That's why it's important to eat it at every meal.

Some spices are said to increase our metabolic rate by increasing heat--ie, they are "thermogenic". These include turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these herbs are indeed warming, and they contain antioxidants and help to repair DNA, so they do a lot of good things, but whether they increase metabolism is still open to debate. Used in moderation, they are great. Used in excess they can cause symptoms like heartburn, indigestion and diarrhea, so more is not necessarily better.

To be continued.