Saturday, 9 April 2011

Why I'm dieting without diet food

After months in hibernation with plenty of pies and mash to keep me warm and not so s.a.d., I have no more excuses for not exercising and eating properly. I have honestly not been to the gym since September and other than walking to the shops, I don't get much exercise. Not good, I know! But now the sun is out (well, for now it is) I feel more energetic.

I have been yo-yo dieting most of my life. It's always the same. I diet during the summer then when the stooopid winter comes along, I get s.a.d. so I stay indoors and eat a lot basically. Thankfully (?), I got the flu last winter so I spent a few days not eating much and I lost some weight. My diets weren't very healthy and involved low fat processed food and drinks. It was only last year that I became more aware of what I put into my body and the dangers of the so-called diet foods.

So what is wrong with processed 'diet food'? Well once you remove sugar and fat from a product, it doesn't taste very nice and won't sell well. So what is a food manufacturing company to do? Put in whatever low calorie/ low fat ingredient they can to give the product a better taste and texture. Whether it's an artificial sweetener, flavouring or a thickener, if it gives the product taste and texture, they will put it in. I mean check out the ingredients in this low fat yogurt...

"Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Peaches, Modified Cornstarch, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Colored with Annatto Extract, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3."

Doesn't sound very appetising. Look, it even contains High Fructose Corn Syrup! Definitely not what you need to lose weight.

"...high fructose corn syrup, which can be found in every kind of food, from sodas to yogurt to pretzels, is an obesogen. The ubiquitous, viscous sweet stuff makes your liver insulin resistant and tampers with leptin to increase your hunger, setting up a vicious cycle where you crave more food that is then more easily turned into fat."

A much healthier and tastier option is simply natural yogurt with fresh fruit of your choice. Add a little drizzle of honey and throw in some chopped nuts too if you like.

Another problem with convenience diet food, especially ready made meals, is the containers. Many plastics contain BPA which can leach into food especially when it's heated. BPA is an obestrogen, which work by...

"increasing the fat cells you have,
decreasing the calories you burn,
altering the way your body manages hunger"

So those low fat/ low calorie ready meals are not so healthy at all. BPA is also used to line many cans such as for tuna and canned soup.

There is an interesting study that may suggest that not all calories are equal and that calories from processed food take longer to burn than from real natural food (read about it here). So those low calories snacks? You're probably better off with a small helping of tasty organic frozen yogurt worth a few more calories.

So what other reasons are there to eat real natural food instead of processed diet food? They are nutritious and much more filling. It might require planning and preparing meals but I personally think that is one of the great things about it. Not only will you save money but you would know exactly what is in your food.

So this is why I choose to lose weight the natural way. I'll keep you updated with more tips, recipes and also restaurant reviews to help you lose weight naturally too. But of course I won't be just improving my diet. I'll be exercising too so expect some fitness reads too.


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