Forget the fads, here’s an A-Z of the foods you should eat to stay slim
In the third part of our Supercharge series, Chrissie Russell gets the expert view on the perfect eating plan
Call off the desperate diets and forget faddy foods. These are the foods you need to be munching on if you really want to stay slim…
A is for…Apples Studies show that adding either three apples or pears to daily meals can promote weight loss with the hypothesis being that crunchy foods keep you feeling full longer.
B is for…Berries Trials with blueberries have shown them to be brilliant belly-fat busters. Research found that rats who consumed two percent of their diets as blueberries had significantly lower blood fats, lower cholesterol and less belly fat after 90 days.
C is for…Chia seeds These tiny superfood seeds, beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow and model Miranda Kerr, are packed with soluble fibre which delays the release of food from your stomach keeping you feeling full longer.
D is for…Dark chocolate New studies found that people who ate dark chocolate before being presented with a pizza dinner, ate 15pc less than those who gobbled down milk chocolate.
E is for…Eggs They get a bad press but a study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that when dieters ate two eggs for breakfast, five days a week, they lost 65pc more weight than those who had a bagel for brekkie.
F is for…Flaxseeds “Studies show that these little seeds reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome, improve blood pressure and reduce fasting glucose levels all without causing us to gain weight,” says nutritionist Heather Leeson (positivenutrition.ie). “Their high levels of fibre-like lignans help |fill us up and support hormone levels and they're great ground and sprinkled on cereal or added to home-baked breads.”
G is for…Grapefruit A compound found in the citrus fruit lowers levels of insulin (the fat storage hormone) with one study showing that eating a grapefruit 30 minutes before a meal resulted in eating 10pc less.
H is for…Herbal Teas While some studies show that caffeine can help with weight-loss and impact on hunger-controlling hormones, herbal teas potentially have greater worth for staying trim.
“Caffeine can upset blood sugar levels and lead to weight gain in the longer term,” explains Leeson. “Herbal teas are naturally caffeine free and they increase our hydration — and it's a fact that many of us reach for food when in fact we're actually just thirsty.”
I is for…Ice cold water Researchers at the University of Utah found that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of icy water a day had higher metabolic rates than those who only drank four. In fact, drinking it has been shown to stoke the metabolism.
J is for…Jerusalem artichokes Packed with insoluble fibre, ‘nature's laxative', Jerusalem artichokes |are great for the digestive tract with a healthy gut, imperative in sustaining a healthy weight. The root vegetable is low in fat and calories and helpful in stabilising blood sugar levels.
K is for…Kelp Earlier this year, scientists at Newcastle University used kelp in bread during trials and found |even a small amount reduced people's fat intake by a |third.
L is for…Lentils “These mighty little legumes are high in protein and soluble fibre, helping to keep us feeling full for longer and aiding elimination of waste while providing a good source of iron and folate to provide sustained energy,” says Leeson.
M is for…Mackerel Regular intake of fish oil, combined with exercise can significantly decrease body fat. Leeson explains: “High levels of the hormone insulin circulating in our blood promote fat storage, particularly around the middle.
“Good levels of omega 3 fats, found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, help our bodies respond to insulin more effectively and avoid the food we eat being stored as fat.”
N is for…Nuts Recent research found that participants who regularly eat tree nuts (such as almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts) were between 37 and 46pc less likely to be obese.
O is for…Oats According to a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, oatmeal can help keep you slim by keeping you fuller for longer than other cereals. Actress Cameron Diaz agrees, saying: “Savoury oatmeal is my favourite thing in the world.”
P is for…Parmesan Life's too short to never eat cheese. Parmesan is the dieter's friend because it's flavourful in small amounts, notching up just 22 calories and one gram of fat per tablespoon. It has more calcium than any other cheese and is packed with protein, both of which help the body metabolise fat.
Q is for…Quinoa Beyonce helped shed her baby weight with this super-seed and Kate Moss reportedly scoffs it before photo shoots to feel full but without the bloat. Leeson explains quinoa's appeal as being “rich in nutrients, containing good levels of protein and shown in studies to reduce inflammation and obesity”.
R is for…Red Wine Researchers studied normal weight women for over a decade and found that those who drank one to two glasses of red wine a day were 30pc less likely to be overweight than non-drinkers.
S is for…Spinach Packed with twice as much ‘feel full' fibre as other greens.
T is for…Tomatoes They stabilise blood sugar and the high levels of chromium, fibre and biotin help stave off sweet cravings.
Tomatoes also contain a lot of water with studies showing that water consumed from foods stays in the stomach longer than beverages and can help you feel full longer.
U is for…Uncooked vegetables Raw food is full of enzymes and when you're getting good nutrient value from food you're less likely to overeat.
“Raw veg is also high in water therefore very hydrating and high in fibre keeping you full for longer,” adds Walsh.
V is for…Vinegar Research suggests that drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (a favourite with Heidi Klum) diluted in water before a meal reduces insulin spikes and can promote long-term weight management.
W is for…Wholegrains “Brown rice and 100pc wholegrain bread typically have almost twice as much fibre as their refined counterparts,” explains Leeson. “High fibre foods require more chewing, slowing down our eating and giving our brains a chance to catch up with our stomachs.”
X is for…Xylitol “Xylitol is found in chewing gum and |has been shown to lower tooth decay,” says Orla Walsh. “However, a handy trick used by people trying to lose weight is to chew gum when cooking to prevent picking while preparing.”
Y is for…Yogurt Its high protein levels help reduce the blood sugar fluctuations that lead to cravings. Research by the University of Tennessee found eating yogurt caused the body's fat cells to pump out less cortisol making it easier to drop pounds while the amino acids helped burn fat. Stay clear of diet and fruit varieties though, which can contain a lot of sugar.
Z is for…Zest Leeson explains: “Grating the zest of limes, oranges and lemons into yogurt, salad dressings, water or teas adds a lovely fresh flavour without the calories. Citrus peel also contains more vitamins and minerals than the juice together with cancer-fighting chemicals like limonene.”
Karl Henry’s tips to help with your 15-minute workout
Now that you have started your exercise plan and are following the eating tips on these pages, I’m going to give you some simple suggestions that will keep your brain focused on how to get that summer body you have always dreamed of.
One pound of muscle is much smaller than one pound of fat, even though they weigh the same. So don’t be disheartened if the number on the scales isn’t moving after all your hard work. Your body composition will be changing and you will notice your clothes becoming looser even if your weight remains the same. Using a measuring tape to measure your body can be very helpful. With exercise and the right diet, you can turn your body into a fat-burning machine. The more lean muscle tissue you have on it , the harder it has to work to keep it there. So eat at least 1.5g of protein per kilo body weight and train hard.
It’s not your body or your metabolism that are causing you to become overweight or obese – it’s your brain. Making poor food and lifestyle decisions will lead to you gaining weight. If you spend years following a pattern, it leads to neural tracks being laid down, and overeating is no exception. The good news is that there’s increasing evidence that the brain can in large part “fix” itself once new behaviour patterns begin to kick in. This is relevant for the way hunger and satiety hormones function.
Remember that it is not our problems that cause us stress, it's avoiding them. Often the task is not as bad as we anticipated once we get started; sometimes getting started is the hardest part — break it down into smaller tasks and this will eliminate a lot of stress. You will find yourself happier, more focused and healthier.
Eliminate the feeders. Your body is often a direct result of those you surround yourself with. If the people are negative, they will stop you from achieving your goal — you won’t lose weight, get fit and achieve the body you want. Socialise with healthy people instead. Those who have the same goals and aims. This means you will get the body you want, the frame of mind you want and the food you want too.
- Karl Henry is a qualified personal trainer. For more information, go to karlhenry.ie
Why we should all eat ‘real food’ and ignore crazes
Despite our appetite for a quick fix, miracle cure, new advice from nutrition experts suggests that all fad diets are futile in battling the bulge.
Yale-based doctor and professor David Katz has probed the claims of every mainstream diet on the market, from low-carb to vegan, Mediterranean and low GI only to declare “they’re all false”.
His findings, entitled Can We Say What Diet is Best for Health? and published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Annual Review of Public Health, reveal that the best approach for sustainable weight management is to eating ‘real’ food and mostly plants.
“The important issue that we overlook is that we’re creatures,” Katz said. “The food that is good for us is the food that we're adapted to eating.”
It’s a revelation that flies in the face of the slimming craze for eliminating food groups such as sugar, dairy, meat and grains.
Katz argues that some sugar has been part of the human diet forever and the longest living people on the planet, Mediterraneans and Okinawans, include wheat and wholegrains.
With regard to meat he says sourcing is important, choosing animals fed on plants and free from antibiotics and hormones, but that eating meat and dairy is consistent with our ancestors.
There’s no need to stress about saturated fats or excess calories as long as you steer clear of processed products and foods that bear no resemblance to anything found in nature. Katz says: “Every week, there's a new fad diet that refutes last week's fad diet…it's hard to do the maths, and the point is you don't have to - just chose wholesome food.”