"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Low Calorie Diet Meal Plan

Lisa Cutforth - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I am known for not being a fan of meal plans, or low calorie diets.  So why then have I spent the last six weeks painstakingly trying to create the perfect low calorie meal plan?

I'll start with the reason I am not a fan of meal-plans and low calorie diets. 

Low calorie diets focus primarily on "calories".  All calories are not created equally, and low calorie does not mean healthy or balanced necessarily.  I have rarely seen "low calorie diets" done well or nutritiously, partly because people end up eating "fake food" and counting calories rather than nutrients.  It is possible to get low calorie nutritious meal-plans all over the web, great software that you can punch in your stats and it pulls up a nutritious low calorie meal plan for you to follow, but they can be complicated (fancy recipes, specific foods not always to your tastes or your budget, individual so difficult to adjust for a family), and so despite them being a great resource they seem to have poor compliance.  And no matter how good a meal plan is, if you don't stick to it, you won't get results.  Personalised meal plans I have devised for my clients in the past have also had low compliance, people get bored or lose interest, and a meal plan doesn't address triggers, or teach you how to make choices in the real world.

So then why am I creating a low calorie meal plan?

Meal plans can be a great starting point, a guide or blue print for how to combine foods or structure meals, or gauge portions. Low calorie and low glycaemic load diets have been found to be an effective approach to weight management and longevity if they are done well.

So I figured if I created a meal plan that addresses some of the weak points in meal plans and low calorie diets, we might be onto a blueprint for "the perfect modern day diet".  If it is easy to use and practical for the whole family, if it meets nutritional needs, if it is low calorie and low glycaemic load, and doesn't leave you hungry, if it is easy to follow and gets you results and is the blue print for a system of eating... then I am REALLY HAPPY to promote it and encourage you to use it...  

I will let you know when it is available... and I will definitely be asking for some people to help me test and review it!!!

If you have comments to help me in this process... please get in touch and tell me what you would like this plan to include or need it to be to meet your needs!

All calories are not created equal

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, June 17, 2013

Many of my clients have heard me arc up at "low calorie diets".  Here's why.

All calories are not created equal and a calorie does not give reference to the nutritional value of a food other than how much energy it "yields" in a laboratory, nor does it tell us how the body will use it. 

Just because two meals have the same amount of calories does not mean:

- They will fill you up equally

- They will satisfy you in the same way

- They will meet the same needs (nutrition, satiety or other)

- They are equally healthy

- They will be as effective at helping you lose or control your weight

- Or that they will be broken down, used or stored in the same way by the body.

The body deals with different foods differently, and an emphasis on nutrient dense (or high nutrient) (and probably "whole food") is more important than an emphasis on "low calorie", for health AND FOR WEIGHT LOSS.

A study done on two groups of people found that the people who ate more junk food, had lower nutrient levels in their blood despite eating more actual food and more calories than the other group.  So they had bigger appetites, ate more food and were less nourished than the group who ate healthier food (and were satisfied eating less).

Another study by Harvard confirmed that weight loss is not just about the amount of calories we consume but also about the type of food the calories come from:

"In a 2012 Harvard study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 21 over- weight and obese young adults tried three different test diets—a low-fat diet, a very low-carb/high-protein diet, and a low-glycemic index diet—for four weeks at a time.

Each diet consisted of the same number of calories but differed in their protein, fat, and carbohy- drate content. In the low-glycemic index diet, participants ate carbohydrates that are digested and broken down slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels (e.g. low-processed foods such as fiber-rich whole grains, nuts, or beans).

The result? Researchers found that the low-glycemic index diet actually speeds up metabolism and helps burn calories, making you lose weight faster, suggesting that all calories are not equal.

According to to an author of the study, David Ludwig, M.D., a professor in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “from a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike, [and] the quality of the calories going in affects the number of calories going out.”

In other words,"Low Calorie" on it's own is not where the "magic" is. "Low calorie diet" can be ambiguous and misleading.  Calorie restriction is an effective weight control method (and in fact can also increase longevity), when done in the context of good nutrition principles. Calorie restriction should not be done ignorantly or at the expense of good nutrition, or it can actually compromise health and sabotage weight loss.

Source: Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep It Off, http://www.health.harvard.edu/


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