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What is the Best Diet? A Guide to Healthy Eating.

Oct/3 By

Healthy eating is a huge subject, and a complex topic. The best way to begin is by asking what it is that you want from your diet. Do you want to slim down? Stop overeating? Have a longer, healthier life?

Let’s begin with the most common concern people have about eating: What is the best diet to lose weight? It’s no surprise that so many are confused. If you’re anything like the majority of people, you have no doubt seen numerous advertisements from the diet market, like detox diets, or super-food diets.

Besides that, Hollywood celebs frequently promote the latest trend diet plans. There is no research that reveals any one commercial diet is best, yet our society still goes back and forth in between dieting and diets looking for a magic formula. However, the secret does not lie so much in the diet plan itself. Rather, it’s more about how dedicated you are to following it.

A Cochrane meta-analysis in 2015 looked  at what promoted the success of business weight-loss diet plans. It revealed that it wasn’t less carbohydrates or fat – it was due more to structure and more in-person social assistance. The truth is, diets are simply food rules that affect our eating patterns, or what an economist might call a “commitment device”.

What self-aware people do is enhance their management of spontaneous and impulsive behaviors. So instead of going on auto-pilot, you follow food rules that push you toward specific eating decisions – primarily less overeating. Each fad diet plan has their own magic formula of macronutrients. This could be low-carb, high protein, low-fat, low sugar, or whatever. They will also normally have a gimmick that goes with it. You can eat like a caveman, or utilize a scoring system, or have your meals prepackaged, or it’s endorsed by well-known doctors, etc.

As far as macronutrients go, I believe we spend too much time and energy concentrating on them, and it’s actually more about quality than amount.

Low-Carb Diets

Carbohydrates can be healthy in their complex forms (fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains) but not that healthy in their simple forms (like refined sugars and starches). Let’s be honest, carbohydrates taste amazing, and our society as a whole tends to overindulge in them. Therefore, people who restrict their intake in carbs tend to lose weight. However, when we study relative weight loss results we see something else.

In 2014, researchers took a look at weight and cardiovascular markers of at-risk individuals on low-carbohydrate diets. The participants were followed for approximately 2 years and showed no distinction with those on well-balanced weight-loss diet plans.

Low Sugar Diets

So what about lowering sugar? Well, if I had to choose one word to explain sugar in industrialized societies, it would be “deceptive”.

Large quantities of sugar have gradually made their way into our diets. For instance, lots of beverages will have the equivalent of 8 or more teaspoons of sugar. The typical American consumes approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar a day – and it’s even much more than that with teenagers.

Sugar is obviously found in sweet foods, but it’s also even found in foods we would normally consider healthy, such as cereals, granola bars, and fruit juices. Hidden sugars contribute to excess calories, and that’s where we can get ourselves into trouble.

One interesting side note is that when clients are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, the first thing they do is eliminate sugar from their diet. Nevertheless, when we look at the diabetes prevention studies, it shows that success is less about limiting sugar and more about an overall healthy lifestyle.

A lifestyle change involving exercising 20-30 minutes a day, achieving a 5-7% weight loss, consuming less hydrogenated fats, and getting more fiber can decrease the risk of progression to diabetes by 58%.

Low Fat

Now to low-fat diet plans. In the last few years the fat story has gone from being all bad to not-so-bad. There’s trans-fat (as in fried, fast-foods and packaged baked products) which falls mainly in the not-so-good category. We generally want to eat less trans-fats.

Then there’s hydrogenated fats, which are mostly found in dairy and red meats, and plants, like coconut or palm oil. These aren’t healthy to eat in large amounts, but are fine in moderation.

Then we have monounsaturated fats, or MUFA (mono unsaturated fats). The Mediterranean diet, as an example, is quite high in MUFA. It consists of things like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and dark chocolate. This type of fat shows health advantages.

Finally, we have PUFA’s, or poly-unsaturated fats. These are the longer-chain fats found in oily fish. Initial research showed some decrease in cardiac events, but more current studies are not so conclusive. Results still show a little benefit, so the idea is to get at least 2 servings a week. Most individuals appear to do much better when they replace saturated fats with MUFA and PUFA fats.

High Protein Diets

How about diets that are high in protein? Once more, quality is more important than quantity. Protein can come in various forms that impact your health in different ways. For example, comparing processed high-sodium ham to a fresh piece of salmon vs. lentils vs. peanuts. Most research indicates that if you consume healthy proteins (such as lean meat, legumes, nuts, and fish) you’ll be better off, especially if it’s spread out over the course of the day, with breakfast perhaps being the most important time.

Other Types of Diets

For Treating Medical Conditions

There are also some diets that show promising results for people with disease. For example, the DASH diet has been shown to significantly reduce high blood pressure.

The low glycemic index diet gradually decreases the A1C blood sugar measurement in people with diabetes by 0.5%. Many individuals have high cholesterol, and studies have shown that the portfolio diet can reduce cholesterol by as much as 35%.

Vegetarianism

The research for vegetarianism shows that people who follow it do better. It’s difficult to argue that a diet rich in plant-based, unprocessed foods isn’t a good idea. Naturally, many people take the valid position that vegetarian, vegan, or local diets help reduce the burden on our planet.

Conclusion – The Best Diet

So is there a magic formula or totally effective diet? The answer is yes, because diet is really more about culture and basic habits than other factors.

An effective diet doesn’t focus on losing weight, but instead on the health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other conditions, and increasing life expectancy.

Looking at all of the evidence, the best overall diet is the Mediterranean diet. Rather than adhering to a lot of rules, it’s more about moderation – eating more vegetables and less meat, having fruits for dessert, etc. This type of diet is more focused on fresh foods, and shopping on the outside aisles at the grocery store.

It’s called the Mediterranean diet, but it’s really a lifestyle. People who live in that region are physically active, and their meals are enjoyed in moderation. Importantly, they also have good social support among them.

 

9 Simple Nutrition Tips

9 Simple Nutrition Tips You Should Know

Dec/24 By

We’ve all heard of the saying “you are what you eat,” but I think it’s more than that. You are what you absorb.

In this post I’m going to share some nutrition hacks to boost absorption and get the most out of the foods you eat. So let’s get started!

1. Grind Flax Seeds Before Eating Them

The first trick is to grind flax seeds before you eat them. When you eat flax seeds whole they pretty much come out the same way they went in. To be able to get the most nutrition out of them, it’s a good idea to grind them up, to break down that hard exterior.

You don’t need a fancy grinder, anything simple will do, such as a magic bullet or your regular coffee grinder.

2. Eat Iron and Vitamin C Together

Eat iron and vitamin C together if you’re anemic, or if you’re struggling to get enough iron in your diet. This tip is for you to boost absorption from plant foods. Pair them with vitamin C rich foods. When you pair vitamin C and iron together, you get a big boost in absorption – roughly three times as much.

An example would be something like dark chocolate with an orange. The dark chocolate has iron and the vitamin C comes from the orange.

3. Cook Your Carrots

I’m a big believer in having both raw and cooked foods, but when it comes to carrots, cooked is better. It’s because it can be very hard to absorb the vitamin A (the beta carotene) in the carrots without cooking. When you cook them, you boost the absorption significantly. So just cook the carrots if you want to get a big boost in absorption.

4. Have Some Fat With Your Vegetables

Number four is to eat veggies with enough fat. I’m not saying lots of fats, just enough fat. When you eat vegetables without fat it can be hard to absorb some of the vitamins. Vitamins such as vitamins A, E, and K are fat soluble and need to be eaten in the presence of fat for you to absorb them.

That’s why it’s a good idea is to eat your veggies with a little fat. You can choose things like nuts, seeds, nut or seed butter, avocado, and other whole food sources of fat.

5. Avoid Drinking Coffee or Tea With Your Meals

Avoid coffee and tea with mealtimes. Both coffee and tea block the absorption of iron, so if you’re struggling to get enough iron in your diet, it’s a good idea to avoid them during your meals.

The stronger the coffee or tea is, the less iron you absorb from your meal, so stick to herbal teas such as rooibos, or try to have your coffee or tea before your meals.

6. Eat Turmeric With Black Pepper and Fat

Turmeric can be really hard to absorb. An easy way to boost turmeric absorption is to add some black pepper and some fat to it.

Black pepper can actually boost absorption by over 2,000 percent! It’s quite significant, so even a pinch of black pepper will make a difference.

7. Eat Your Oatmeal Cold to Get More Digestive Benefits

Now when you cool down starchy foods, such as oatmeal and potatoes, some of that starch becomes something called “resistant starch”.  Basically, you can’t absorb it, but it becomes food for your good gut bacteria.

Now resistant starch can help weight loss, benefit heart health, and improve your digestive health. So how do you get resistant starch? All you need to do is cool your oatmeal after you’ve cooked it. Let it cool overnight and then enjoy it the next morning.

8. Cook tomatoes to absorb more of the antioxidants

One of the most well known antioxidants in tomatoes is lycopene. You probably heard about it already, but did you know that when you eat tomatoes raw you don’t really absorb much of the lycopene?

So if you’re trying to get more lycopene in your diet, a good idea is to cook your tomatoes before you eat them. N

9. Soak Beans In Water Before Cooking

Not only do unsoaked beans cause gas they can be hard to absorb as well. It’s really hard to absorb those minerals, so soak your beans overnight in water, throw the water out, and then cook them.

This reduces the gas causing offenders and makes it a lot easier to absorb the minerals from the beans.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and you learned something new give it, be sure to share it with your friends and family.

Innovation Challenge at CBOF

Dec/8 By

 

Kraft Foods’ Supplier Diversity team launched the Innovation Challenge at CBOF (Chicago Business Opportunity Fair) in April and invites all certified minority and women-owned businesses to participate. This was an industry-first launch to create unique opportunities specifically for MWBEs to showcase their creative ideas and expertise in front of Kraft Foods’ key stakeholders and procurement decision-makers. Kraft Foods believes that the minority and women-owned businesses can provide market-driven innovations which will delight and meet the needs of our increasingly diverse consumer base. This recently-launched Innovation Challenge is a testimony of Kraft Foods’ commitment to make our supplier base as diverse as the products we offer and the consumers we serve. The categories in this Innovation Challenge are aligned to our Corporate strategic objectives of sustainability and health & wellness initiatives where we look for ideas on reaching and retaining our growing consumer markets, recommendations that help meet our sustainability objectives, and solutions to achieve productivity.

For more information, please visit the Innovation Challenge section on our Supplier Diversity Website or submit your questions to [email protected]

Savoy Magazine Interview

Nov/8 By

Jim Norman, the Vice President of Diversity and Talent Acquisition at Kraft Foods was interviewed by Savoy Magazine in February where he discussed the importance of having both a diverse workforce and a diverse supplier base for a global corporation like Kraft Foods; Jim also talked about Kraft’s partnership with Chicago United’s Five Forward Program, an initiative that enlists the commitment of large-size corporations in the Chicago metropolitan area to establish and expand business relationships with five minority-owned companies. Kraft Foods’ was among the first corporations to participate in this initiative, a testimony of Kraft’s commitment to help the city build a stronger regional economy and the scale of minority businesses through its Supplier Diversity effort.

WBENC National Conference and Business Fair

Nov/7 By

 

The Supplier Diversity team at Kraft Foods is participating in the WBENC 2011 National Conference and Business Fair in Las Vegas between June 21-23, held by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses.

During the two and a half day annual event, workshops, general sessions, MatchMaker Meetings, and networking events are organized for business owners and corporate buyers. For more details about this event, please visit www.wbenc.org/wbencconf.

On Wednesday, June 22, WBENC conference will host its annual Business Fair to connect women-owned businesses and top corporations. The Supplier Diversity team and buyers from Kraft Foods will be at booth #905. Please come visit us and learn about the opportunities to partner with Kraft Foods.