Monday, February 2, 2009

Graze Your Way to Better Health and Weight Loss

MOST OF US WILL READILY ADMIT our dietary habits could be improved, but knowing how to do that is the hard part. There are more people with more disparate opinions telling us what, how, when and where to eat. As we enter the stress, and food-filled, bacchanalia of the holidays, how and what we eat takes on added importance.

Most of the information about nutrition and weight loss information we are presented with comes from commercial sources -- rather than unbiased, scientific studies, which are far more inaccessible to the mass market. In our confusion and frustration, many of us have understandably thrown our hands in the air and given up.

However, the "grazing" method of eating—consuming small, frequent meals or snacks throughout the day—is a very simple and proven way to improve your eating habits. Best of all, it’s free.

“Grazing is one of the most healthful ways to eat,’ says Cheryl Platzman Weinstock, a freelance writer specializing in health and science, based in Chappaqua, New York and a regular contributor to the New York Times. “It has been shown to decrease bodyfat, lower cholesterol and boost energy levels. It also simplifies your life, saves you time and it doesn’t cost a dime,” she says.

The notion of “grazing” on five to six smaller meals a day may seem counterintuitive, since most of us have been raised on the three-squares-a-day approach. But there are four reasons to look into this new way of eating:

DROP A COUPLE POUNDS

By spacing your daily intake of food more evenly throughout the day, you may lose bodyfat. "There is some evidence that people who snack in a wise sort of way may find weight control easier. This is because if you wait too long in between meals, you're more likely to be really hungry and over eat or eat too fast, both of which can increase bodyfat storage," says David J.A. Jenkins, professor of medicine and nutritional science at the University of Toronto.

LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
On November 30, 2001, The British Medical Journal found that eating more frequently throughout the day may help lower cholesterol levels. The results showed low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels – the so-called “bad cholesterol” that clogs arteries -- were about five-percent lower in both men and women who ate six or more times a day, compared to folks who ate only twice or three times a day. The finding held true, researchers said, despite the fact that frequent-eaters had higher intakes of calories, including fat.

BOOST YOUR ENERGY

When you eat a large meal, your blood sugar rises dramatically. To remove the excess blood sugar, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Oftentimes, however, too much insulin is released and too much blood sugar is removed. This leaves you feeling tired and sluggish after big meals. By eating smaller portions, your body releases less insulin, and that translates into steadier energy levels.

SAVE TIME

"Since most of us are rushing around in a hurry these days, there's often less time to prepare big, elaborate meals. So grazing on mini-meals becomes important, because it can save you the time associated with preparing larger meals," says Marilyn Stephenson, a registered dietitian and assistant to the director, office of nutrition and food science, Food and Drug Administration. Healthy “on-the-go” food is difficult to find. Organic Food Bar provides a delicious, whole food, nutrient-dense, 100% certified organic snack that is delicious and will sustain you for hours.

ANY DOWNSIDE?

There are two important caveats to grazing. Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston and vice-chairwoman of the American Heart Associations’ nutrition committee, offers this cautionary advice: “It is important to keep in mind that the calories from small, frequent snacks and meals can quickly add up, and grazing can easily get out of hand. Fifty extra calories a day can add up to five pounds per year if those extra calories are not countered with extra exercise,” she says.

Given the fact a growing number of Americans are currently overweight or obese, those extra calories, Lichtenstein says, are "not insignificant." In other words, you still have to be vigilant in watching the total number of calories you eat each day.

WHAT TO GRAZE ON?

For many of us, the word “graze” conjures up images of gnawing dejectedly on celery sticks and other flavorless plant-life. Not the case. You can and should still eat foods you enjoy – just eat them in smaller portions throughout the day.

You should also try to focus more on high-quality proteins and fats, such as fish, chicken and, yes, even peanut butter. For example, rather than eating two bagels, have half a bagel with salmon or peanut butter. Why? Because the latter option satisfies you for longer periods of time, which means you’ll end up eating less overall calories throughout the day.

As for specific suggestions, we have created an ideal day of grazing for you. Below is a sample well-balanced eating plan for an active person on a 2000 calorie-per-day diet -- based on the principles of grazing. Please keep in mind that this is only a sample diet for this caloric intake and that there are many different possibilities and changes that can and should be made to meet your individual needs and food preferences. In other words, use this as a guide, but trust yourself and your body above all else.

The idea here, is that by eating smaller, higher-quality portions throughout the day, you may experience an increase an energy, lower stored bodyfat, lower cholesterol and a more consistent feeling of satiety. We suggest that you experiment with this method of eating for a week, and see how it makes you feel.

For more information on your individual needs, contact a local Registered Dietician.

(Following the plan below may make you feel like you're eating more food, but this meal-plan is roughly 2000 calories -- which is the equivalent of three medium to large-sized meals. It's just more evenly-spaced throughout the day.)

YOUR DAILY GRAZE

Breakfast:
- 3/4 cup of oatmeal with pat of putter
- 4 ounces nonfat milk
- 1 slice whole wheat toast
- 1 teaspoon jam or jelly
- 8 ounces coffee
Nutritional breakdown: 274 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 478 mg sodium, 59 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber and 11 grams protein.
Mid-Morning:
- 1 Organic Food Bar, Active Greens (the healthiest of the healthy!)
- 1 slice whole wheat bread with 1 tsp of peanut butter
- 6 ounces orange juice
Nutritional breakdown: 365 calories, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 283 mg sodium, 76 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber and 15 grams protein.
Lunch:
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 ounces lean luncheon meat (roast beef, turkey breast, etc.)
- 1 ounce reduced fat cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts or 1 leaf romaine lettuce
- 1 slice tomato
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1/2 cup raw broccoli florets*
- 4 carrot sticks*
*Don't like plain raw veggies? Try squeezing lemon or lime juice on them with a few shakes of chili powder!
Nutritional breakdown: 381 calories, 13 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 606 mg sodium, 42 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber and 27 grams protein.
Mid-Afternoon:
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1 RAW Organic Food Bar
- 1 cup grapes (try freezing them for a cold treat on a hot day)
- 1 reduced fat oatmeal cookie
- 8 ounces nonfat milk
Nutritional breakdown: 329 calories, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 27 mg cholesterol, 455 mg sodium, 46 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber and 24 grams protein.
Dinner:
- 3 ounce chicken breast
- 1 cup cooked rice (add herbs to the cooking water for flavor without calories)
- 3/4 cup cooked carrots
- 1 cup tossed salad greens
- 1 tablespoon reduced fat salad dressing
Nutritional breakdown: 399 calories, 3 grams fat,1 grams saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 215 mg sodium, 64 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber and 27 grams protein.
Evening:
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn with pat of butter
- 1 medium apple
Nutritional breakdown: 222 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat,6 mg cholesterol, 211 mg sodium, 40 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber and 10 grams protein.
Total Daily Nutritional Breakdown:
Calories: 1970
Fat: 36 grams (16% of calories)
Saturated fat: 11 grams
Cholesterol: 129 grams
Sodium: 2248 mg
Carbohydrate: 327 grams (62% of calories)
Fiber: 39 grams
Protein: 114 grams (22% of calories)

By simplifying your diet and nutrition, and grazing throughout the day, you may be able to drop a few pounds, lower your cholesterol, boost your energy levels and perhaps most importantly, liberate yourself from all the confusing information around nutrition – so that you can finally enjoy eating again!

For more healthy living and eating tips, visit: www.organicfoodbar.com/lifestyle.

3 comments:

Acai Berry said...

Even though the post is a long time, it sure worths the time spent reading it. My personal opinion is that people should start eating more vegetables and fruits rather than going for canned or processed stuff.

Acai berry said...

I have just started to use this Acai berry actually, and already see some changes ( well at least I think) as somehow my body seems to work like ''better'' , If I will be able to lose 20pounds with this till summer that would be AWESOME!

acai berry said...

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