Everyone feels their best when they consistently eat a healthy, balanced diet. For obese people, nutrition is one of the most important ways you can manage your weight, control your blood glucose, keep cholesterol in check, and help prevent the development of serious complications in the long term. Eating healthy can also help combat inflammation, which some researchers believe contributes to obesity-related conditions. People with prediabetes can avoid developing diabetes by changing their diets and making other lifestyle changes.
Some popular diets may contain toxic levels of some nutrients or dangerously low levels of others. Always consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.
What does it involve?
Even small changes in what, when, and how much you eat can significantly affect your health. Replacing soft drinks with fruit-flavored water or high-calorie snack foods with fresh fruit or veggie snacks could furnish significant results. If you are diabetic, simply eating a consistent amount of calories at each meal and timing meals consistently each day can make it easier to control your blood glucose. Be sure to take blood sugar management medications exactly as directed by your doctor and at the right times to keep your blood glucose steady.
There are many different diets designed to help people lose weight. Most diets focus on limiting the number of calories you take in. Some diets prioritize eating high-protein or low-fat food. Many diets have proven effective for some people. There is no one diet that is effective or healthy for everyone trying to lose weight.
A nutritious diet for someone trying to lose weight is not very different from a healthy diet for other people. In general, focus your diet on fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy products, and sources of healthy unsaturated fats such as nuts.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Antioxidants are nutrients that may help reduce inflammation. Foods such as cantaloupe, citrus, tomatoes, broccoli, mango, pineapple and berries are especially rich in Vitamin C. Fresh produce is also often high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. Eat as many vegetables as possible, and eat fruit in balance with other carbohydrates. If you can, forgo dip or dressing in order to cut calories and reduce your caloric intake.
Some types of fat raise cholesterol and may contribute to inflammation, while other types may help reduce inflammation. Researchers have tied saturated fats to increased inflammation. Saturated fats come from high-fat animal products (including full-fat dairy), fried foods, and baked goods made with tropical oils. Reduce your saturated fat intake by limiting your consumption of foods such as fatty beef, pork, chicken with skin, lard, cream, butter, cheese, full-fat or 2 percent milk or yogurt. Instead, choose skim milk, fat-free yogurt, skin-free chicken or fish, and vegetarian meat substitutes.
Conversely, the type of fat found in walnuts, pecans, flaxseed, canola and olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, and sardines may help fight inflammation as well as heart disease. These foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Dietary fiber keeps your heart healthy and your bowels working properly. You can eat more high-fiber foods including vegetables, dried or fresh fruits, legumes such as peas or beans, some nuts including almonds and pistachios, and whole-grain products. Making the switch from white bread to whole-grain, from white rice to brown rice, or from regular pasta to whole-grain pasta will also add fiber to your diet. Oats and quinoa are other examples of whole grains. Always check labels to make sure products are whole-grain.
High blood pressure is a concern for many obese people. A high-sodium diet can raise your blood pressure, increasing your risk for heart disease. Instead of relying on salt, experiment with using lemon juice or different spices such as pepper or curry powder as a way of enhancing the taste of food.
Consider consulting a dietitian or nutritionist to help plan a diet designed to meet your specific needs and goals.
Finding the right diet for you can help you lose weight, control your blood glucose, lower your cholesterol, and prevent serious complications such as diabetes or heart disease.
Many different dietary approaches have proven effective for losing weight. Diets are most effective when people adhere to them consistently. Nutritional approaches to losing weight are most effective when people have ongoing support and work on changing their food-related behavior as well as what they eat.
Side effects of some blood glucose medications, which can include upset stomach, fatigue, and dizziness, may make it difficult to eat regular meals or focus on a healthy diet.
Fatigue, depression, or physical disabilities may make it more difficult to find the energy to prepare fresh, healthy meals. Making large batches of food in advance and freezing several portions for the future can help conserve energy.
You may feel disappointed to give up favorite high-sugar or full-fat foods. However, think of diet changes as a chance to explore unfamiliar foods and find new favorites. Many recipe books focus on low-glycemic, low-fat cooking and provide a wealth of exciting ideas.
Depending on where you live, it may be harder to get to a grocery store with a good selection of produce and other healthy foods.
To read more, visit:
Eat Right – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Dietary Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity – National Center for Biotechnology Information