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Health at Every SizeThis follows on from a  previous post as I go through HAES.

What you eat – at least from the perspective of weight loss – probably just doesn’t matter a whole lot. Nobody has yet proven that any particular dietary habit results in sustained weight loss….what you eat does matter for good health.

Studies show that large people eat no more than lean people.

What we eat seems to be more important that how much we eat.

1970s marks a time when more people turned to diets. It also marks a time when processed food becomes more readily available and affordable. These foods bypass our weight control meters, adding calories without telling us we’re full which is why we eat more. This is not to say don’t eat these foods, but be aware that our body doesn’t respond to them as they should.

High-fructose corn syrup seems to have taken over from ‘real’ sugar in the US is one that does this. It’s known as isoglucose or glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, and hasn’t taken over to the same extent. Fructose cheats your body as well, with glucose being “real” sugar.

If there is a sinple guide to eating more healthily than adding fibre to the diet would be it.

You don’t need food rules to guide your choices. You don’t need to fight your desires. All you need is to respect your body, by listening and responding to its signals.

There’s a warning that nutritional research is complicated, that there’s no such thing as ‘bad food’, as all food can be good or bad for depending on which way you look at it and what the latest piece of research says. Much of the research is funded by the bodies who want to prove the health of their products. A valid comparison to this is the wonderful facebook page showing all the ways you can get cancer depending on your lifestyle from the Daily Mail, many of them contradictory. This shows the ridiculous levels to which media’s “good advice” can sink.

Most of the increase in our calorie intake has been from “high-glycemic carbohydrates” which are more quickly digested and absorbed and when eaten in quantities can cause a spike in insulin production, and the insulin allows cells to use glucose for energy. Repeated spikes in insulin make the body less sensitive to insulin. The glucose that we can’t use gets converted into fat and stored, and it tends to get stored in the abdomen.

Insulin spikes can be caused by refined grains just as much as by excessive sugar consumption. Now I don’t eat sweet stuff at all. I eat brown bread with grains in; if I’m not cooking for my children I always eat brown rice or pasta. I don’t eat enough straight carbs, having followed standard dietary advice for too long, and I probably don’t eat enough sweet things for balance either.

Eating fibre slows digestion so reduces spikes as well as making you feel full. I don’t eat enough fibre. I’m happy on whole grains, but don’t eat enough pulses, fruit and veg.

High-fat diets also don’t stimulate leptin (stimulated by insulin to make you feel full). Unsaturated fats (plant foods) are better than saturated fats (animals) better than trans fats (processed). Monounsaturated fats are better than polyunsaturated fats.

The major source of saturated fat in our diet is meat.

By having a little bit of protein with every meal, you ar likely to notice that you will feel full longer.

I have learned to eat breakfast before the school run most of the time, rather than waiting until later. Whether I’m hungry first thing depends on what time I ate the night before and whether I snacked later. I can’t say that it makes me feel better but I am trying to not ignore hunger pangs when I have them.

I do eat lunch and dinner at reasonable times, well mostly.

My portion size is too much. I tend to eat “free food” like salad, with a heavy meat portion so not enough fibre, carbs or balance.

In terms of the glycemic rush, I rarely or never drink soft drinks, eat sweet snacks, use fruits in syrup, add sugar to anything, eat sweets, jam, honey, white rice. The only box I tick is for overeating.

We don’t seem to have the same problem with high-fructose corn syrup in the UK and I rarely drink fizzy drinks. I’d get more Vitamin C if I drank more fruit juice.

For fibre, 25g is the recommended amount for a woman. I reckon I eat under 10g per day. Although I eat quite a lot of unsaturated fats, I also eat large portions of meat, and red by preference. I eat little processed fats, tending to have take away food once a week.

I don’t exercise.

I’m not making a list of rules to follow, but am trying to highlight the areas where I need to try and make changes that I can enjoy.

Increase fibre with whole grains and pulses, fruit and veg.
Glucose not fructose
Unsaturated fats (plant foods) > saturated fats (animals) > trans fats (processed)
Monounsaturated >polyunstaurated
Bit of exercise
Eat regularly

Quotes are taken from “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon