Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You Eating the Right Foods?

How Sweet It Is (to Lose Weight)
By Nancy Gottesman

You've tried everything—low fat, high protein—but the pounds won't budge. One possibility: You're eating all the wrong foods. We explore the science (and stunning results) of a low-glycemic diet.

When LeeAnn Henn turned 12, extra pounds almost magically appeared on her frame. "I was always a little chunky," she says, "but right around puberty I put on a lot more." When she left her hometown of Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin, to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, her weight problems went from bad to worse. Though she tried to cut calories and fat on a number of different diets over the years, the numbers on the scale just kept going up. "I'd eat less, exercise more, get frustrated, then quit," recalls Henn, now 28. "I could never lose much, and over time, I just got heavier."

By 2004, 5'10" Henn had reached 285 pounds. Obese and desperate for a solution, she responded to an ad about a weight loss study being conducted by the Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital Boston. "I thought, 'It's a respectable, local hospital, and I'm not getting anywhere myself,'" she says. Henn's choice may have been made out of convenience, but it could not have been better for her particular weight problem.

The study was being run by David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at the hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He's one of a handful of researchers trying to prove that all calories are not, in fact, equal; some of us are genetically programmed to pile on pounds much faster when we eat the wrong type of food, even foods we think of as healthy.

For several decades, the science on weight loss has been a one-size-fits-all message that can be boiled down to this: Losing pounds is a matter of calories in versus calories out; you have to burn more energy than you take in. This resulted in the low-fat craze, since fat is far more calorically dense than protein or carbohydrates. But as the percentage of fat calories in the American diet declined, the obesity epidemic took off. "When you look at low-fat-diet studies," says Ludwig, "at best they show a modest short-term weight loss, with near total regain by a year's time."

Some people have found success with a low-fat approach. But in recent years, dieters have turned to low-carb, high-protein plans, which did work better than low-fat ones—for about six months. "Ultimately, there was weight regain," says Ludwig. He decided it was time to study an entirely new approach to weight loss—one that didn't single out fat, carbs, or protein but, rather, emphasized the proper combination of these nutrients.

To Find Out More…
If you want to learn about healthy ways to snack, whether a certain food is low or high glycemic, or what type of pasta to buy, check out these sources:
This Web site is managed by the Human Nutrition Unit in the School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences at the University of Sydney. You can use the free database to find the GI value of any food they've tested.

Coach Sherrie Says: I have to admit, I did go back to eating low-fat and started back on my Omega 3 capsules. After more than 6 months, I had not lost a single pound so it didn't make sense to contunue. I AM including more protein in my diet and continue to stay away from wheat products. That means using products that are NOT made with whole wheat flour either, but choosing the whole grain variety (many of these you will find in the freezer section as they have no additives or preservatives). I am also eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and I must admit I am LOVING IT! Food tastes wonderful these days!

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Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?