By Emily Wood – Contributing Writer
If you are like 30 percent of Americans, your New Year's Resolution is to lose weight – but with so many diets out there, how do you know which one to choose?
There are so many it would make anyone’s head spin. Most of these diets seem to emphasize protein as the main component in helping to aid weight loss, claiming it increases satiety and shifts energy burning. And forget about carbs! They are your number one enemy! (Not true of course).
Wouldn’t it be so nice if those of us who wanted to lose weight, could just wake up the next morning and have had the pounds melted away overnight? Most fad diets promote rapid weight loss, but many fall short when it comes to keeping the weight off long term.
Research has shown that high-protein diets do result in short-term weight loss, but in the long run are not as promising, which leaves you right back in the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. So, if high-protein diets aren’t the answer, then what is?
Many health experts agree that increasing your consumption of whole plant-based foods is the answer to losing weight and staying healthy in the long run. By swapping out meat and other animal products for more beans, veggies, and fruit, you are not only shrinking your waistline, but decreasing your risk of chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
By decreasing your intake of animal products, you are also decreasing your intake of saturated fats. Although recent research has been controversial, intake of high amounts of saturated fat remains a high-risk factor for heart disease and other health issues.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PROTEIN
At this point you’re probably thinking, “If I cut out animal products, then where do I get my protein?”
It is very important to consume adequate amounts of protein, but most Americans consume way above what their body requires. That is not necessarily a good thing.
Many of us are unaware of protein requirements. Generally speaking, we only need about 10 percent of our total daily calorie from protein. Protein needs are influenced by activity level and several other factors, so it is always best to meet with a registered dietitian to determine your specific protein needs.
Some great plant protein sources include beans, nuts, soy, and lentils. There are many others, but these top the list.
If you’re wondering about soy, stay tuned for future articles where I will clear up the big soy mystery.
The great thing about plant proteins is that they offer the protein, with fiber, and without saturated fat. The majority of us could all use more fiber and less saturated fat in our diet
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY DIET IN THE NEW YEAR
– Start working toward making at least 90 percent or your food intake plant-based
– Eat vegetables with at least two meals per day
– Look for a meal plan that is sustainable in the long run
– A diet that sounds too good to be true likely is
– Be happy and stay positive