The american dietetic association (ADA) and most dietitians will tell you that there are no good or bad foods. There are no magic foods that will make you skinny and no food that is horrible and you should totally avoid. It's about balancing your diet and being mindful of your portion sizes. Instead of worrying about specific foods when going for weight loss, I hope anyone with that goal will strive for balance and a general nutrition knowledge of food. However, there are a lot of benefits of specific foods that are beneficial and fun to learn about as well- but not for strictly wt loss purposes. For example, vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect against cancer. The more colors and the richer the colors, the better.
Please check out www.mypyramid.gov to see the newest food guide pyramid. There are also links there that you can click on for personalized plans and also to help you analyze your current intake. You may also find useful info on www.eatright.org the official website for ADA.
Of course we don't expect you to count out all your calories every day either, but here is some info just to give you an idea of what foods contain, and better understand them.
The three basic macronutrients:
fat= 9 calories (kcals)/ gram
You can see fat provides the most calories per gram, while carbs and protein provide the same amount. Carbs ARE IMPORTANT to your body. They create glucose which is the source of energy for your brain. I hate to see people listening to those fad diets and all that low carb craze. The problem is that our nation consumes too many SIMPLE carbs (sugary snacks, sodas) and not enough complex carbs. Fruit, breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, milk, peas, beans, are ALL sources of carbohydrate, and are ALL good for you. It's just in the choices you make- fresh fruits, whole grain breads, brown rice, skim milk, etc... Just watch your portion sizes- read your labels. Beans, peas, whole grains, fruits, are also high in fiber which aids in digestion and lowering cholesterol (but with increased fiber you must consume more water- or else you get constipation, gas, bloating).
Yes, you'll probably lose weight by following a fad diet- but you can't see your insides- what's going on with your kidneys, your heart, your arteries and veins. Also going "on" a diet implies you'll eventually end up going "off." Instead, take small steps to making lifestyle changes.
Back to calories- we've all heard about the 2000 calorie thing- but actually most of us need less than that. It's very individualized, however 1200 calories is considered a very low calorie diet for most people. 1500-1800 would be more realistic. There are ways to estimate your individual needs and then figure out how much you need to reduce by. 3500kcals= 1 pound, so cutting 500 kcals per day from what you normally eat would be optimal for losing 1lb per week. The healthy standard for wt loss is 1-2lbs per week.
p.s.- I know some of this was covered before and i'm not trying to steal it from anybody or ... what's the word... contradict anyone. I just feel an ethical obligation to share what I know and what I've learned that the research says/shows. I just want to be helpful, and I hope this is... if not, just tell me in a nice way :) Also, any questions or concerns, let me know.
Does anyone here want to know more about reading labels? I just think it's important, and I'm thinking about making a post about it later.. if it's ok. I know everyone out there is smart and knows how to inform themselves, so you might already know about it, but there's so much misinformation out there.