In 2010, Weight Watchers, one of the most commercially successful diet programs, dropped a bomb on the weight-loss world by altering its points system. It was the first time in 13 years that Weight Watchers modified its mega-popular points system.
The point system change acknowledged that while calories in versus calories out is still important, it’s more important what you eat.
The old paradigm point system was flawed. Weight Watchers’ president came to the conclusion--which no doubt many natural health experts have known for decades--“Calorie counting has become unhelpful.”
Kudos to Weight Watchers for finally admitting that a calorie isn’t just a calorie.
The easiest way to exemplify this is taking two different people’s calorie intake on a given day.
Healthy person A consumes 2,000 calories, eating 3 meals plus a snack. All the food consumed by person A was all-natural and minimally-processed at most. Lunch and dinner were loaded with fresh vegetables.
Not-so-healthy person B only consumed 1,500 calories but lunch and dinner consisted of fast-food burgers and fries.
You can see how easily flawed counting calories is. Diet programs like Weight Watchers fails to compare an apples to an orange (Julius).
Why did Weight Watchers take so long in changing their points system? The company was far too profitable--almost $3 billion per year--to make any changes, until the recession starting biting into their margins.
Don’t count calories, just eat nutrient-dense foods
Instead of counting calories--or points--your main concern should be eating three nutritiously-dense meals a day.
"What," you may ask, "is nutrient density?" Let’s take an orange versus orange juice. An orange is far more nutrient dense. It contains antioxidants and other micronutrients as well as fiber, which helps keep you full.
Orange juice, by comparison, might contain a lot of Vitamin C, but it also contains over 20 grams of sugar per cup compared to just a handful of grams of fructose in an orange. Orange juice also contains no fiber, thereby raising blood sugars very quickly, ultimately leading one to feel hungry shortly after consuming the juice.
It’s only nutrient dense if it’s been around for a very long time
The best way to eat three nutrient dense meals per day is to eat real food as often as you can. Remember these two rules: if it did not come from a plant or the ground, or if it did not run, swim or fly, it’s not a natural food. Also, if a particular food did not exist 200 years ago, say, for example, an energy bar or drink, then avoid it.
Include fresh vegetables for lunch and dinner. It’s easy to include them with breakfast as well by making a spinach-tomato omelet. Enjoy natural fats at every meal. With your omelet, include a quarter of an avocado. For your lunch, have a spinach salad with wild salmon. For dinner, have a Miracle Noodle veggie stir fry with coconut oil. It’s always good to include natural fats at every meal, not only to keep you feeling full longer, but also because natural fat aids in the absorption of phytonutrients in the veggies.
Just make sure you are consuming natural fats that have existed for thousands of years; nachos covered with bacon weren’t exactly around during the Roman Empire.
Have high blood sugar and want to lose weight? Don’t eat non-food foods
To reiterate, counting calories is unnecessary and will ultimately set you up for failure. Points systems don’t work for long-term weight loss because it allows for non-nutrient dense foods in the diet, albeit at less amounts. Still, eating three small chocolate chip cookies and feeling good about it because it fits within a points system will not help you if you have diabetes or other metabolic disorders.
Hopefully the dietary bargain of not having to count calories and being able to enjoy some of your favorite foods that have fat and protein, albeit healthy ones like grass-fed beef, makes it worth eliminating from your diet as much as possible, non-nutrient dense foods like baked goods.
Miracle Noodle: Zero-Calorie, High-Fiber Pasta Substitute
Perhaps you read a previous blog I wrote entitled, “What’s the best oil to cook with?”
But just in case you missed it, here’s a quick primer:
--cooking with vegetable oils: bad
--cooking with pure tropical fruit oils (coconut, palm): good
--cooking with olive oil: good (as long as it’s low heat)
--cooking with non-oxidized saturated fat (butter, lard, coconut oil): very good
When it comes to cooking with flour, the most important thing to take into account is the glycemic load of the flour, meaning, how much will your blood sugar level rise after eating a certain amount of whatever flour is used in the cooking process.
All foods, even cooking flours, begin breaking down as soon as they enter the mouth. Saliva contains digestive enzymes. The healthiest flours to cook with are not broken down quickly by the time they enter the small intestine (roughly half-way through the digestion process). The healthiest foods and flours to cook with break down slowly so that you can use the energy for a greater duration of time.
Wheat flour is probably the least healthiest to cook with. It breaks down rapidly into simple sugars and can raise blood sugar levels. When this happens, your pancreas releases insulin, the hormone that provides an escort for sugar in the blood to the cells.
But when you eat a lot of products that contain wheat flour, it’s possible that your cells become saturated with sugar and don’t want to accept any more it. Your cells become more resistant to insulin. Then your pancreas has to work harder and harder to pump more of it.
Toxic overload, system-wide inflammation can occur and a diagnosis of diabetes and a lifetime of monitoring blood sugar levels can result.
Care to avoid this scenario?
Choose healthier flours to cook with
Not all flours are created equal. Some flours have relatively low glycemic responses, meaning, they do not rapidly break down into simple sugars.
Love to bake but want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels?
Opt for some of the following flours instead of wheat flour:
--buckwheat flour (especially good for those with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity)
--teff flour (an ancient grain, healthier than modern wheat)
Perhaps the two most ubiquitous, easy-to-find healthier flours listed above are almond and coconut.
And here’s one very healthy flour you may have never heard of…
Miracle Noodle sells a Japanese flour called ‘konjac glucomannan.’ Why is konjac healthy? It contains only 20 calories per serving. It has five grams of carbohydrates but also five grams of soluble fiber, which means ‘zero net carbs.’
Rather than using, say, 10 teaspoons of high-glycemic cornstarch to thicken something you are baking, you can use two teaspoons of konjac flour instead to cut down on calories and blood-sugar raising carbohydrates.
If you’re still baking with wheat and can’t give up your usual batch of cookies, add some konjac flour to the mix so you can cut down on the potentially belly-bloating gluten proteins found in wheat.
Konjac flour contains no sugar. It can even be dissolved in water as a fiber supplement to keep your digestive system regular. Order konjac flour here.
Are you carb crazy? Does one serving of pasta never satisfy? Do you frequently crave high-carbohydrate meals, even though you frequently crash after eating them?
You’re certainly not alone. Many of us love high-carb foods, but it’s not only because of the taste. Think about it: when you eat spaghetti or any other noodle or rice dish plain, it doesn’t taste that good, right?
If it’s not the taste of the food by itself, what is it about high-carb foods like noodles and rice that quickly convert into sugar?
[Click here for all-natural, zero-carb noodles
Picture this perfect, simple Italian meal: angel hair pasta cooked al-dente with chopped fresh grape tomatoes, a subtle but pungent mix of freshly crushed garlic, a satisfying squirt of lemon juice, and a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Salivating yet? Maybe it’s the fresh ingredients--most of which are usually healthy vegetables, herbs and spices--added to rice and noodles that make these tasty morsels impossible to turn down?
Substitute high-carb dishes with calorie-free and carb-free noodles
It’s not only the fixings we add to noodle and rice dishes that make them so mouth-watering. After all, it’s possible to enjoy Italian, Asian and Indian-style dishes with low-carb noodles and rice, thanks to noodles that contain a Japanese flour called 'konjac', which can be found in health-food stores. I recommend MiracleNoodle.com
for all-natural zero-calorie konjac noodles. Kelp noodles are another example of very low-carb noodles.
If you’re still drooling, thinking about the angel hair pasta dish from above, one example of how you can enjoy a noodle-rich meal without the guilt of adding hundreds of extra love-handle packing calories to your diet, and spiking your blood sugar in the process, is by substituting regular pasta with konjac flour or kelp noodle products.
The secret to low-carb recipes is that the low-calorie, low-carb noodle and rice offerings must easily soak up the texture and taste of whatever sauces, spices, herbs or other accents you’re cooking with. For the average American pressed for time, meals have to be prepared quickly.
Both konjac and kelp noodles meets both criteria. In fact, how does not having to cook sound? Simply remove the product from the eco-friendly packaging, rinse, drain and add to a stir-fry.
Both konjac and kelp noodles are loaded with soluble fiber, helping keep you regular and feeling full.
When your belly expands
Another secret to low-carb noodles and rice is that they should, after being consumed, slightly expand in your belly. This is not to be confused with bloating. Many people typically feel lethargic and bloated after eating a high-carb meal.
This will not happen after eating konjac or kelp noodles (as long as you’re not eating any other high-carb foods or allergenic foods along with it); the fiber in these noodles will ever-so-slightly expand in your stomach, leaving you feeling full without feeling stuffed.
The highly addictive nature of high-carb foods
Although rice and pasta and other noodles don’t physically resemble the bottle of white sugar you would pour into a cup of coffee, these foods are all broken down by the digestive process as simple sugars much like table sugar.
What does this do to the body? It’s like pouring gasoline refined and intended for use in a million-dollar race car into a clunker sedan. The fuel gets burned up way too fast and ruins the engine. Eating high-carb foods ruins your engine as well. The fuel burns up too quickly and in a couple hours we feel the need to refuel, and we often refuel with the same high-carb foods that caused us to feel tired, bloated, or in the aggregate, perhaps led to diabetes.
Why the love, then, for high-carb foods if they are generally bad for our health? It’s because high-carb foods are scientifically proven to be highly addictive. Numerous studies, such as this meta-analysis
published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, (a review of dozens of studies) provide ample evidence of sugar’s addictive nature.
The meta-study concludes, “Access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse.... According to the evidence…access to sugar...is capable of producing a ‘dependency’.”
It’s not necessarily the running-on-empty sensation that causes us to binge on high-carb meals; trytophan, the same amino acid responsible for making you feel sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal, is elevated in your bloodstream after a high-carb meal, producing a tranquilizing, sedative effect.
Maybe when we’re stressed, that’s why we reach for a high-carb option: we want to be tranquilized. The next time you’re tempted with a high-carb option, do two things: look at the high-carb option the same way you would an illegal drug and avoid at all costs. And switch from high-carb noodles and rice dishes to Miracle Noodle
Reduce your calorie intake by the thousands every week
One cup of pasta contains at least 200 calories. And how many of us stick to one serving? Very few of us, right? Supposing you ate a conservative estimate of two cups of noodles or another high-carb dish every day, that would be 400 calories per day or 2800 per week. Ditching the high-carb fare and instead saving time and calories with konjac or kelp noodles will improve your health and perhaps decrease your physiological dependency on high-carb foods.