There is a popular view that to stop getting fat you need to exercise, that exercise stops you getting fat. This is sort of true. Exercise will improve your health through improving your fitness but it is not as simple as what you eat you can be burnt off with exercise. It has been proven that your body has some internal control mechanisms and your metabolism comes into play as well. As I understand it the body will demand that the more you exercise the more you will be hungry to maintain your weight, after some initial weight loss around changing fat stores into increased muscle. Keep up the exercise but do not depend on this for significant ongoing weight loss – you are fighting your own body to do anything different.
So exercise is only part of the answer. But what else is going on? Basically what you put in your mouth determines how your body weight behaves. We are all individual and so will all have an individual reaction but in general lowering fat, salt and carbohydrate intake will make a difference to your weight. That is the basis of healthy cooking. Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The two main forms of carbohydrates are sugars (such as fructose, glucose, and lactose) and starches, which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables, grains, rice, breads, and cereals. The “bad” sugar is fructose as your body does not recognise this as an energy source and has no internal mechanism for controlling intake. Fructose makes up about 50% of common sugar cane sugar. Current thinking is that we need to get back to eating more like our ancestors – more protein and less man made polyunsaturated oils, less salt, sugar, cereal and grains in our diet. Sugar is the biggest issue as it is present in all processed foods. You expect it in confectionery but probably do not realise how much is in drinks, breads and most worryingly foods that are promoted as low fat and healthy – some of which even have the Heart Foundation Healthy Tick! The jury is still out on artificial sweeteners and their potential to make you more susceptible to cancer – so they may not be the “sweet” answer.
You need to know how much fat, salt and carbohydrates you are putting in your mouth when you eat. You need to have a look at the labels on food to see what is in it and use what you read to compare and find the best option. When you are looking at the label you need in combination lower amounts of fats, sodium and sugar. Reduce the proportion of grains you eat – things like bread, pasta and rice. Reducing portion sizes is also important to reduce overall intake – and reduce cost and the amount of food thrown out! If you want to know more respond to the blog and I will provide some background information and references.
Healthy eating is about reducing bad fats, salt and carbohydrates like sugar, bread, pasta and rice and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables in what you eat. It does not mean you stop eating these things – just know they should be in moderation and not the predominant part of your meal. Healthy eating is also about making a permanent change in how much and what you eat – not just short term. In future blogs I want to show how making these changes will broaden your flavour palate by eating a variety of tasty food. You will need to eat less and still feel full.
Next – What else do you need in your kitchen?