6. What kind of foods should be on my weight loss diet?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It doesn’t have to be difficult either. Just follow these nine diet tips to get started.
- Eat the right number of calories, depending on how much weight you are looking to lose. See above for my weight loss calculation.
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
- Eat Lots of fruit and veggies. It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit?
- Eat more fish – Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned: but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
- Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar: We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and pies. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
- For a healthier choice, when you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. Most people in around the world are currently eating and drinking too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy, and will contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
- Cut out sugary fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk. Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
- Eat less salt – Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less.
- Don’t get thirsty – We need to drink a minimum of 1.2 litres of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water is the most healthy.
- Don’t skip breakfast – Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.
7. Are there any supplements that can help me lose weight?
NO. Diet supplements are often advertised as ‘extreme fat burners’ or ‘craving quashers’. But evidence used to support these claims simply doesn’t add up, a leading U.S nutrition expert has warned. Professor Melinda Manore from Oregon State University analysed the research used to support hundreds of diet pill claims, and she found no evidence that any single product was a ‘wonder pill’ causing significant weight loss and found some even had detrimental health effects.