Sunday, March 05, 2006


Which diet is best—low-fat or low-carb?
More people are looking for ways to help them lose weight. They want to look better and to keep from having a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes (sugar), or other health problems. So this is a very important question. But it is only part of the question that needs to be answered.
If you look at pounds lost over the short term, the answer to the question is, “Neither.” Both diets work about the same. In fact, any diet that cuts down on the total number of calories eaten will cause a short-term weight loss.
So the more important question is, which diet is the best one to be on for a long time? Which diet will help you keep the weight off? To date, no studies have looked at long-term weight loss with a low-carb diet. No studies have looked at the effect of this diet on preventing health problems like heart attacks and strokes. Many studies have shown, however, that low-fat diets help to keep weight under control and prevent health problems. These include high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, and maybe even some types of cancer. Some helpful tips are given below. For more information, talk to your doctor.

What is healthy eating?
The American Heart Association has come up with eating guidelines for healthy American adults. Babies, children, teenagers, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people who already have medical problems have other needs that must be looked at before they start a new way of eating. These people should talk to their doctorS before they start any new diet. Everyone else should be able to follow the guidelines given here:

Eat different kinds of foods. This strategy helps you get all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and energy your body needs.

Make sure to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Not only does this approach help you get what your body needs, but it also could cut down on your chances of getting certain types of cancer and keep your heart healthy.

Make sure to eat at least 6 servings of grain products every day. This tactic also helps your body get the nutrients it needs. Plus, whole grains are complex carbohydrates, which are an importance source of energy. And whole grains help lower your cholesterol and may prevent bowel cancer.

Make sure your diet is low in saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol. These are the “bad” fats that can cause you to have high cholesterol levels, a heart attack, or a stroke. When shopping for fats, oils, and margarines, look for those that have 2 grams or less of saturated fat per tablespoon.

Use nonfat or low-fat milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Full-fat dairy products also contain the “bad” fats. Changing to nonfat or low-fat ones helps to get rid of “bad” fats and cuts down on your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It also lets you cut down on the number of calories you eat a day without having to give up anything.

Try to eat fish at least twice a week. Fish raises your “good” cholesterol level and lowers your “bad” cholesterol level, so eating it regularly will reduce your chance of a heart attack or stroke. As with meat, remember that an acceptable serving of fish is about the same size as a deck of cards. Taking the skin off and baking, grilling, or broiling is much better for you than frying fish.

Try not to eat too many “empty-calorie” foods. These are foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. The list includes things like regular cola, sweetened ice tea, candy bars, and most desserts. They taste good, but they aren’t good for us. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever eat these foods. Just do so on rare occasions and in smaller amounts. Remember that super-sized portions result in super-sized people.

If you drink alcohol, have only one drink per day if you are a woman and only two drinks per day if you are a man. Drinks made with alcohol, shots of alcohol, beer, and wine are all empty-calorie foods. Drinking more than the limits can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

Eat less than a total of 1 teaspoon of salt a day, including whatever salt you put into the food when you made it. This will help keep your blood pressure low. And low blood pressure makes it less likely that you will have a heart attack or stroke.

What about exercise?
Exercise is important in any plan to lose weight or just to live in a healthy way. The secret to losing weight is to eat fewer calories than the number that your body burns each day. To lose even more weight, in addition to cutting down on the amount of food you eat, you can increase your activity level. When you do this, the calories that you burn exercising are added to those that your body uses routinely.
Everyone should try to exercise for 30 minutes almost every day. However, you should start with a shorter amount of time. Pick an activity that you enjoy, such as dancing or walking with friends, and start with just a few minutes every other day. Then slowly increase the time until you are exercising for 30 minutes a day. If you have been inactive for many years or have any medical problems, you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

I would also recommend signing up for a gym to workout just in case you do not have the discipline to follow through the strendous exercise program. Most gyms these days do have classes like YOGA, STEP AEROBICS, BODY COMBAT , BODY-PUMP etc. where you can take part so that it will not be so boring just to jog or run everyday.


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