How to make smart dietary changes to turn your health around.
By Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., AARP The Magazine
As a nation, we're a bit fat. OK, more than a bit. After age 60, it doesn't get any easier. How come?
- We eat too much. For over 30 years, we have been trained to eat 20 percent more. And now we are almost 20 percent overweight. Bingo!
- We're apt to move less. So we don't burn as many calories.
- Half or more of what we eat is "dead" food. Dead food has no nutrients. We call it dead because refining takes out almost all of its vitamins, minerals and fiber. It's super-tasty, super-digestible and you can eat a mountain of it without feeling full. But it's dead, and it's making us sick and fat.
How? Stored body fat causes inflammation, the prime source of strokes, cancers, diabetes — all the bad boys. Plus, it makes you look funny and feel bad about yourself. Makes you old.
What Is Dead Food?
Filler: This is everything we're taught to love: bread, white rice, white pasta, sugar, chips, soft drinks.
Processed food: Prepared items top this list: frozen meals, snacks, desserts. And weird stuff like ketchup.
Fast food: Think of your beloved french fries, cheeseburgers, milk shakes, griddle cakes and anything else that can be fried.
An Eating Strategy for Life
Build the perfect plate
Your plate should be 50 percent veggies and fruit, 25 percent whole grains, and 25 percent meat, poultry or fish.
Quit the Clean Plate Club
Your sainted mother was wrong — it's bad to clean your plate. The iron rule: Exercise more; eat less.
Don't drink your calories
Sugar-laden colas, milk shakes and sports drinks are awash in calories but don't make you feel full.
Limit the booze
Having one or two glasses of wine a night is fine. Having 17 is not.
If you have diabetes ... eat right
Your body needs insulin to digest carbs. But eat the wrong kinds of carbs and your insulin system can go haywire.
Here's why: Your gut turns all carbs into sugar. When that sugar hits your bloodstream, insulin is released and your muscles use the sugar for energy. Great. The problem is that dead food has no fiber, so it goes through your digestive tract quickly. Your body sends out an ocean of insulin to mop up all the sugar. Phew! But now there's no sugar in your system and you're hungry again. An hour or two after eating a mountain of slop, you're ravenous. The result? The insulin system breaks down and you end up with diabetes, amputations, blindness, heart attacks. Awful.
Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge are the authors of the Younger Next Year series of best-selling books and seminars that have changed millions of lives by sharing the secrets to living longer, stronger, and healthier.