Half the battle with maintaining any weight loss is eating a balanced diet with the level of calories our body needs to remain (thereabouts) at a constant healthy weight range.
Everywhere we look there are foods claiming to be healthy or diet, low fat ,low calorie, sugar free, fat free, but what exactly should we be looking for?
Pure, natural, unprocessed, unsweetened, non sugared, free of trans fats, high in fibre, good fats, good quality proteins and complex carbohydrates…
Lets look in a bit more detail.
Refined white Sugar, an absolute killer, not needed by the human body, a massive contender on the massive rise of Type 2 Diabetes as it is prevalent in sugary drinks, sweets,cakes to name but a few., and also very cunningly refined white sugar is also highly present in rather misleading “diet” and “low fat” foods.
If you need to use a sugar then choose a good quality unrefined pure honey or maple syrups which , although contain natural unrefined sugars, also contain many other vitamins and minerals beneficial to health, unlike refined white sugar.
An absolute bugbear of mine is that we seem to be continuously guided to choose lower fat, chemically ladened, high sugar substitutes, whereas if maybe a much smaller amount of the higher fat but more natural version was taken in moderation e.g. yoghurt, cheeses, mayonnaise, the amount would still be at a much lower level of fat than having a larger portion, and not be full of chemicals and sugars. So choose a full fat natural yoghurt or good quality cheese, but have it less often, rather than choosing a low fat high sugar, high chemical substitute more often! It´s a no brainer!
The body needs fats in small quantities, so to cut fat completely is going to be detrimental on our health.
Lets continue with fats.
Some fats are better for us than others, although some higher but less healthy saturated fats can still be enjoyed in low recommended amounts e.g. dairy products or red meats which also contain proteins and vitamins and minerals, it is recommended to consume more unsaturated “good” fats where possible e.g. olive and other cold pressed oils, avacado, oily fish like sardines, wild salmon and also nuts and seeds.
Hydrogenated or Transfats are the real bad guys, these are artificially created fats which are often found in processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, packaged baked foods, pizzas, pastries,many deep fried products as these harmful fats give a longer shelf life to the product. In short, these fats raise your harmful cholesterol, have no proven benefit to human health and are infact proven to be dangerous.Fact!
Another good reason to embark on more home baking using pure good quality good fats where needed along with clean ingredients and natural sweeteners. With home cooking you have complete control over what is going into your foods.
Sweeteners – again we are guided to choose “sugar free” alternatives of many foods (predominantly fizzy drinks) but are these any better for us than the sugar ladened versions??….I personally have my doubts. I wonder if consuming high levels of these chemically enhanced flavoured and sweetened foods and drinks on a regular basis are actually just as bad for you as the high sugar versions.
I believe that we can easily be guided to think that a sugar free chemical version is better and therefore we could be tempted to consume much more or these chemical substitutes, and surely this can be detrimental to health over time.
I believe we should be looking at more water consumption, flavoured naturally if needed with natural herbal fruit teabags, and keep the diet drinks and the sugary drinks to an absolute minimum, just very occasional if wanted.
So, in summary, I personally believe we should be avoiding as much as possible high sugar, sugar free, sweetened and low fat food and drink sources, and instead choosing natural products.
Consume ,therefore, natural higher full-fat products but in a recommended moderation, choose pure sugars if you need to such as pure unrefined honey and maple syrups again in moderation, choose plenty of good fat products, and a balance of complex carbohydrates and natural unprocessed protein sources, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and keep hydrated with pure water.
Watch this space for more blogs soon! xx