By: Zeina Bachir
Food is more than just calories is a better way of looking after your health. Different foods do different things to us.
Foods that are highly processed are high in calories and lack important nutrients. Your body instinctively searches for the micronutrients you need and this leads to over-eating. When people switch to healthy habits such as consuming whole foods, they naturally tend to eat less because they feel fuller and get more nutrients. Having protein at each meal helps make you feel full and stops you eating too much, as well as providing good nutrients. The same is true for protein-rich snacks.
Fiber is particularly important for good gut health. Your gut microbes help release nutrients from the food, which are linked to hormonal health, which is related to weight loss and gain.
To boost your microbiome, eating at least 30 different plants over a week that includes a mixture of nuts, pulses, grains, seeds and herbs, as well as fruit and vegetables. You can also sprinkle seeds and nuts onto salads and breakfast yoghurt. Try frying chopped vegetables and add herbs for an omelet. Make salads with different leaves, raw vegetables, cooked grains, and finally eat fermented plant foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
One of the best tips is to eat from smaller plates. The size of the portions you consume on a regular basis is partly dependent on the plate or bowls you serve the food. We can also think about the amount of food we put in our shopping bags especially during the pandemic where we used to stock up on items due to temptations. If you have got multiples of food that you are trying to refrain from over-eating, it is much harder to do so when they are in the cupboard and easy to access.
Studies have shown that being overweight is highly connected to how we eat. Having your meals at a table and focusing on your food rather than being distracted in front of the TV. Moreover, eating slowly and chewing longer is highly advised. Variety can stimulate appetite, and a tapas- or mezze-style arrangement can lead people to eat more. Instead of having four types of sandwich on offer, stick to one.
In conclusion, we are all unique individuals when it comes to weight-loss and gain. Calorie counting can sometimes be misleading because we do not know how much energy we expend as we all have different metabolic rates as well as different levels of physical activity and our bodies react differently to different foods. Two people can eat the same foods and one will put on weight while the other will not. This is partly down to the individuality of our gut biomes, and underlines why it is important to eat a varied diet.
It is also important to be aware that people around the same table will have different nutritional desires. Some will want bread with their meal; others will want to avoid it, for example. You can eat the same meal with others, but serve yourself a smaller portion of a dish or some of the foods.
Diet and weight-loss advice, overall, do not take into account how different we are.
It is important to give out general guidance to people without forgetting that they live in different circumstances and have different needs. Bottom line, you have to work with the people to see what works and suits them in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and not focus on short terms quick results.