Health is Not Our Field
Even though physicians today are highly trained to treat disease, one doctor remarked: Health, strangely enough, is not our field. Health is the responsibility of each person. We must take responsibility for our health and diet. What makes up a healthful diet?
The ingredients in a healthful diet simply involve making good choices from the foods that are available. For help in making good choices, use the four-tiered food guide pyramid.
At the bottom of the pyramid are complex carbohydrates, which include grain foods, such as pasta, cereal, bread, and rice. These foods are the basis of a healthful diet. On the second level are two equal sections; one is fruits, and the other is vegetables. These foods are also complex carbohydrates. Most of your daily diet should be taken from these three food groups.
The third level has two smaller sections. One section has such foods as cheese, yogurt, and milk; and the other includes fish, dry beans, meat, poultry, nuts and eggs. Only moderate amounts of portions should be taken from these groups. Why? Because most of these foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase the risk of cancer and coronary disease.
At the top of the pyramid is a little area that includes sweets, fats, and oils. These foods provide little in nutrients and should be eaten sparingly. Less foods should be chosen from the top of the pyramid, and more from the bottom.
Instead of sticking to the same food items from each section toward the bottom of the pyramid, it is a good idea to experiment with a variety of foods from within those sections. This is because each food has a different combination of fiber and nutrients. For example, some fruits and vegetables, are good sources of vitamins A and C, while others are high in calcium, iron and folic acid.
Without a doubt vegetarian diets are becoming more popular. Dietitian Johanna Dwyer says, “Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, . . . constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism.
When Eating Out
Fast-food restaurants are fast weight gainers. These foods are usually high in calories and saturated fat. A double hamburger, for example, contains between 525 and 980 calories many of them from fat. All too often, fast foods are fried and greasy, they are served with very fattening cheeses and toppings. If you live in an area where restaurants serve large meals, you may need to show due diligence and keep an eye on the amount of food that you eat. Eating too big of meals will likely take its toll on your weight and health.
Substitution is the Key
A major factor in dieting is keeping saturated fat below 10 percent and dietary-fat intake below 30 percent of your total calories. You can do this without sacrificing your enjoyment of eating. How?
Dr. Peter O. Kwiterovich says: Substitution is the key. You should consider substituting foods that are low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for foods that may be high in these fats. In place of animal fat use vegetable oil and soft margarine. Avoid the use of vegetable oils that are high in saturated fats, such as palm oil and coconut oil. Drastically reduce your consumption of store bought bakery products cookies, pies, doughnuts, and cakes, since they usually contain saturated fats.
Another way to decrease cholesterol in your diet is to reduce your consumption of egg yolks to one or two per week; use egg substitutes or egg whites in baking and cooking. In addition, substitute low-fat or skim (1 percent) milk for whole milk, margarine for butter, and low-fat cheeses for regular cheeses. Also, substitute ice cream with sherbet, ice milk, or low-fat frozen yogurt.
Meat is listed in the same level as poultry and fish. However, turkey, fish, and chicken, often have less fat per serving than such meats as pork, lamb, and beef, depending on method of preparation and the cuts used. Regular hot dogs, hamburger, sausage and bacon, are usually very high in saturated fat. Many dietitians recommend limiting the amount of fish, lean meat, and poultry consumed per day to no more than six ounces [170 g]. Although meat derived from organs, such as liver, may have some dietary benefits, it should not be forgotten that they are often high in cholesterol.
Many people enjoy eating snacks between regular meals. These snacks often consist of cookies, potato chips, cashews, candy bars, and so forth. Those of us who have understanding in the value of a healthful diet will seek to replace these unhealthy foods with low-fat snacks which include homemade popcorn without the added butter or salt, fresh vegetables like celery, broccoli, carrots, and fresh fruit.
Keep Counting the Calories
If you eat complex carbohydrates instead of high-fat foods, there are positive benefits. You may even lose some weight. The more vegetables, beans and grains that you can substitute for meat the less fat you will be storing in your body.