When is a calorie not a calorie?



When it comes to weight loss and your health. New research shows that “extreme restriction of fat or carbs can have bad effects” says Dr David Ludwig of the Obesity Prevention Center and primary author of this study. Dr Ludwig also advises that is not just the number of calories that count, but “we should also pay attention to the quality of those calories. So the argument that the food industry likes to make – that all foods can be part of a healthful diet as long as you watch calories – is really misleading at best.”

What should you be eating to get the weight loss and health benefits from food? Food that you can recognize or maybe more importantly that your grandmother would recognize. Whole foods. Unprocessed, brown rice, whole wheat or whole grains. Lots of colour, a variety of vegetables. I know this sounds too easy, but it works. The evidence for the health and weight loss benefits is adding up. Even though high protein diets remain popular, more evidence shows long term negative consequences. A study of young women in Sweden on a high protein diet showed that these diets had a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. So you would be thinner when you have a heart attack? Doesn’t sound like a great trade off. Dr Atkins had a heart attack and BTW he wasn’t really thin either.

Contrast that to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn a fit, lean 78 year old, physician and surgeon who has spent 20 years proving that diet can treat and prevent heart disease. Watch his 14 min video, Make Yourself Heart Attack Proof for a little inspiration. Along with Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard these physicians have proven that a diet rich in vegetables, primarily plant based and just as importantly whole foods – that means unprocessed – have lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes as well as many other health benefits, not just weight loss.

If you fill your plate with foods that are nutritionally dense (as opposed to nutritionally empty and calorie dense) they digest more slowly, have a lower glycemic index, have more fiber and more water, they fill you up faster and prevent disease.

Wow. This sounds like magic. Too good to be true. Eating a diet filled with whole foods, lots of vegetables and cutting down on animal products, processed foods, sugars, oils would result in looking and feeling good? Yes. It has been proven with thousands of people over many years. The best news is that you have a choice. You can be proactive, you can make great choices, you can see and feel the results almost immediately.

You don’t even have to make radical changes. You could start with the simplest steps. One meat free meal a week. Or eat vegetarian until dinner. Make your own lunch. Divide your plate in half and fill half with vegetables. Full disclaimer – you should know – I eat a whole foods, plant based diet. I do it for my health. But when people ask me “why do you choose to eat this way?” my answer is always “there is no downside”. None. The fact that the evidence is mounting, that vegetables really are good for us just makes it that much easier.

Change your mind, change your health,


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