Limit Junk Food!
They are calling it the "Twinkie Diet."
There was a story going around about a man who lost weight by eating a diet composed mostly of what can only be described as “junk food.” According to the report, this nutrition professor ate snack cakes, chips, sugary cereals and cookies and lost over 25 pounds. Of course, you have to read the fine print to find out that he also drank a protein shake, ate vegetables and took a multivitamin.
His point in doing this was to demonstrate that it is the NUMBER of calories you eat that affects your weight, rather than the TYPE of calories. It’s sort of a re-statement of the old adage, “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.”
Calories should count toward good health.
While this adage may be true in the short-term, that is, you will probably lose weight if you eat fewer calories of any kind, in the long term, a diet of junk food can only be detrimental to your health. In addition, if you are eating a calorie-restricted diet, those calories you do eat should count towards improving your nutritional status and not harming your organs or leading to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
It's not real food.
It is for this reason that one important tip for better health is to limit or eliminate junk food. In case you’re wondering, “junk food” is all those over-processed, empty-calorie foods that fill the aisles at the grocery store and the vending machines at work. If it comes in a wrapper, has lots of sugar, fat (especially trans-fat), salt and/or additives with little or no protein or fiber, you probably can categorize it as junk food.
Send your palate to "Real Food School."
It may not be easy for you, but you can change your palate to prefer healthier foods. The less you include of the overly sweet and salty processed foods, the more you will enjoy healthy alternatives. As you re-educate your palate, the junk foods you used to enjoy will begin to taste too sweet, too salty and too artificial.
Here are some things you can do this week to help limit junk food--or even eliminate it from your diet:
-When you shop at the grocery store, stick mostly to the perimeter of the store and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Most of the junk food is found in the inner aisles, and if you don’t wheel past it, you won’t have to resist putting it in your cart. In addition, if you shop when you are hungry, you will be more likely to put junk foods in your cart. If you shop wisely and don’t have junk food in the house, you won’t be tempted in a moment of weakness to indulge.
-Resist eating while doing other activities, such as watching television. Much of the junk food we eat is consumed almost unconsciously. You can eat a whole bag of potato chips before half time of the football game without really noticing it. If you simply must have munchies while you watch the game, substitute a healthier choice. After all, you will be mostly focused on your team and not what you are putting in your mouth!
-If you really want to limit junk food, walk past the vending machine at work, since it is a sure source of junk food. Bring healthy snacks instead; it will save money, too, since vending machine offerings are usually overpriced.
-At the same time that you limit junk food, find a healthier substitute for your favorite junk foods. For instance, when was the last time you popped some popcorn in a little oil with a bit of good quality unprocessed salt? It tastes wonderful and it’s a whole food without the chemicals or additives or anything that would adulterate it into a junk food. Of course, it still has calories, but just remember to eat it in moderation.
-Be selective and plan ahead. If you don’t want to eliminate junk food altogether, then be selective about the kind, amount and frequency of your indulgences. If you are going to a party or getting together to watch the game, save your junk food allowance for that time. Also, you can set an amount ahead of time, so you don’t eat too much of the stuff. Once you have reached your limit, stay away from the food or munch on the raw veggies that are usually on offer. By using these techniques you will be practicing conscious eating and will be able to cut down on the amount of junk food you are eating.
If you do not limit junk food, it may be hazardous to your health.
My concern about the “Twinkie Diet” story mentioned above, is that gullible people will miss the point and believe that eating junk food (1) is a good way to lose weight, and (2) is harmless and even beneficial.
It’s important to remember that this is not a scientific study. This was one guy in an unmonitored setting, experimenting with his own health to make a point about calories. The same regimen may affect you in a totally different way, and it is certainly not a long-term weight loss solution for anyone!
Most of us have heard the acronym "GIGO" which is a computer science term that stands for "Garbage In Garbage Out." It refers to invalid data entered in a computer program, which results in output that is also invalid or "garbage." This same concept can be applied to your health. If you eat garbage, i.e. junk food, you will reap poor health.
Limit junk food.
I hope that you will consider limiting or eliminating the junk food and empty calories in your diet. There are so many healthy and delicious alternatives that will have a positive and not a negative effect on your long-term health.
It’s called junk food for a reason, and if you do not limit junk food that you put in your body on a regular basis, you may end up with junk health!
Eat an be healthy with my warmest regards,
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