What you eat does matter!

whole wheat pasta and vegetablesHuh, this post title sounds different than what you emphasized in your last two weight-loss posts Dr. Sam?

I thought you said it was all about the calories.”

If that’s what you thought, go read those posts (The Hacker’s Diet and How to Lose Weight) again, a little more closely.

What I was emphasizing with those posts was that when it comes to losing weight (fat), it’s primarily all about the calories you consume.

I don’t want this message however to be misinterpreted as saying something along the lines of “As long as the calories are where they need to be, eat whatever the heck you want.”

That is most definately NOT my message.

This is one area where I think I differ in opinion with the computer hacker who’s diet I linked to in the last post.

I don’t think he would necessarily advocate running out and eating pure junk food either, but he does several times make statements along the lines of “You’re an omnivore, so eat what you like. Your omnivore body will sort it all out.”

While there may be some grain of truth to what he says there, it’s not entirely acurate.

His main message, which is identical to mine, which is calories consumed is where you need to focus on weight control, is a good one.

But please folks, WHAT YOU EAT DOES STILL MATTER.

There is more to staying healthy than just weight loss.

Please, control your calories to control your weight, but do it with healthy foods ,which (if you read the first post in the “How to stay healthy” category) are the foods you already know you should be eating, if you’re being honest with yourself. A typical 5 year old knows which foods are healthy (whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.) and which foods are not so healthy (Sugar filled soda pop and “fruit juice”, fatty fried foods, candy, pastries, etc.).

Yes, Mr. Walker, we are omnivores and will survive on such foods, but will we thrive? Not so much.

I’m not trying to slam on our Hacker friend. I’m think he ultimately does understand this stuff. Within the limited scope of weight (fat) loss, I think he is right on the money. For overall health however, limit your calories to appropriate levels, but do so by filling your diet with the healthy stuff.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now and leave you with a link to a recent study abstract that sort of illustrates the point above. It is a study in the Jan 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutririon. Basically, they took two groups of overweight folks and put both groups on calorie restricted diets. In one group, they advised the patients to avoid whole grains and instead have a diet heavy in the highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, white flower products etc). In the other group they did the opposite, telling the patients to avoid the processed carbs and focus their eating on whole grains.

As expected from my two previous posts, since both groups experienced a similar calorie deficit, both lost a similar amount of weight (fat). How they lost that fat however was somewhat different.

The Whole grain group lost more fat around the middle (which is fat more closely linked with high cardiovascular risk) and also had a big decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (CRP is a marker of inflammation and is an emerging marker of increased cardiovascular risk).

Anyway, have a look at the study for yourself, then go get healthy!

1 Response to “What you eat does matter!”


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