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Newsletter 15, March 2008

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. Fast weight loss - or long term health?
  2. Did you know?
  3. Your successes, requests and questions
  4. Tell us what you think
  5. Visit our newsletter archive
  6. Free resources

1) Fast Weight Loss - Or Long Term Health?

When our thoughts turn to losing some weight we often focus on how fast we can lose it. Any diet will do, as long as we lose those extra pounds fast. Unfortunately, not many of us stop to think about the long term health consequences of the diet we choose. Losing the weight is the only thing that matters, isn't it? And losing weight is a simple matter of going on a low calorie/low fat diet, is it not?

But supposing there's more to it than that? What if we've overlooked a crucial aspect of why we become overweight? Supposing whether or not we put on surplus weight is heavily determined by the way we as individuals respond hormonally to the highly processed foods we now eat? And, if there are hormonal reasons for putting the excess weight on in the first place, wouldn't it be more effective and healthy to follow a diet that takes these into account?

At this point we should be clear that when we talk about hormonal reasons for putting on weight, we're not just talking about those of us of the female persuasion. The hormones we're referring to here are just as much an issue for the male of the species.

The main hormone concerned is insulin. Insulin controls fat storage. High insulin levels mean our bodies are more efficient at storing than burning energy. Insulin acts as the gatekeeper in the other direction too, preventing the release of our stored fat. In other words, we may reduce calories in our attempts to lose weight, but if insulin is too high, the desired release of stored energy from our fat cells can't happen. A double whammy.

So which are the foods which cause high levels of insulin? It's carbohydrates, particularly the highly processed sort, deficient in fibre and nutrients, which have become our staple foods today. For instance, sugar, white flour, white rice, pasta, pizza, sugary drinks, sweets and candy, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pastries, sugary desserts and many savoury foods too, such as corn or potato snacks.

Researchers and clinicians have been saying for years that the low calorie/low fat approach doesn't work long term for many people. The millions of 'yo-yo' or serial dieters who keep the low calorie/low fat-focused multibillion dollar diet and diet food industry in business are testament to this. In recent years many clinical studies have been done which demonstrate that diets which keep insulin in balance are indeed more effective at weight loss for many people than the traditional low calorie/low fat diet. Diets which work on this principle include low carb and low GI (glycemic index) diets.

However, that's not all that recent research has discovered. Controlling the passage of fat in and out of our fat cells isn't insulin's only role. Insulin has other, far-reaching effects in our bodies and it is now increasingly recognised that the long term damage that leads to type 2 diabetes and heart disease is down to high insulin levels, too. In other words, low carb and low GI diets are likely to be better for our long term health than the standard low calorie/low fat diet generally promoted as 'healthy eating'.

Unfortunately, most dieters (and, sadly, most medical professionals) are unaware of the latest research and understanding of the part hormones such as insulin play not only in weight regulation but also in conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. I think it is so important for everyone who is interested in their long term health to know about this that I've written an e-book about it, and I'm making it available completely free. My e-book is called "Why You Should Consider a Low Carb or Low GI Diet".

2) Did You Know?

  • The amount of sun the plant or tree gets controls the sugar content of its fruits, so fruits naturally produced at sunnier times of year are higher in carbs.
  • Best fruits for low carbers include rhubarb, grapefruit, melon, strawberries, raspberries, lemons, gooseberries, blueberries, limes, blackberries
  • Higher carb fruits include plums, apples, pears, cherries, oranges, grapes
  • Despite the orange's reputation for being high in Vitamin C (53.2mg per 100g), strawberries contain even more (58.8mg)
  • But did you know that you don't need fruits to get your Vitamin C though - take broccoli (89.2mg per 100g), kale (120mg) or sweet red peppers (127.7mg).

3) Your Successes, Requests And Questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

  • Q The Carb Values on the recipes in the Low Carb/Low GI Cookbook don't match up with other values I have - I am concerned that I am now eating more than the 20g a day recommended.
  • A The recipes in the Low Carb/Low GI Cookbook show all carb values as 'net' carbs. When doing Atkins or other low carb diets, you don't need to count the carbs from fibre because the body can't digest them. The 20g a day limit you mention is net carbs.

    Many countries including the UK show the net carb and fibre content of a product separately on the nutrition label. However, in the US, nutrition labels include the fibre count within the total carb count. For this reason, when you're looking up carb counts on product labels, in books or in online databases, you have to be careful to check whether the counts are shown as carbs-including-fibre or net carbs.

    The Low Carb/Low GI Cookbook is designed to cope with whichever way you want to deal with the carb values. The carb values given are net carbs, but if you prefer to count carbs-including-fibre, you can adjust the carb count of each ingredient in the recipes and it will automatically retotal them for the recipe for you.

4) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

5) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

6) Free Resources

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director,

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