Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, www.meijerhealthyliving.com
A new diet study recently published in JAMA challenges the diet premise that calorie intake vs. calories burned is the bottom line when it comes to maintaining weight loss. Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Cara Ebbeling of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital studied the impact of three different diets on energy expenditure following weight loss and found that diet composition was more important than total calories. The diets studied were:
- Low-fat, balanced diet
- Low-glycemic index diet, with minimally processed grains
- Low-carbohydrate diet (modeled after Atkins diet, high fat and high protein)
The low-fat diet was least effective at maintaining weight loss. The low-carbohydrate high fat diet was effective at maintaining weight loss, but was difficult to adhere to and increased stress hormones and inflammation. The low-glycemic diet was effective at maintaining weight loss without undesirable hormonal effects, supporting the theory that the nutritional quality of food is most important in promoting weight loss and preventing weight re-gain.
A low-glycemic diet emphasizes whole, minimally processed grains, vegetables and fruit, lean protein, legumes, nuts and modest amounts of healthy fats. A low-glycemic-index diet not only helps keep weight off — it can also improve cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other studies have shown that low glycemic foods can prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar levels. And some studies suggest that adding certain foods to meals, like almonds, can reduce the overall glycemic impact of a meal (Dr. David Jenkins, University of Toronto).
Ludwig and Ebbeling of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center say that a low-glycemic diet is easy for the entire family to follow, advising to “Choose foods that your grandmother used to eat—ones that resemble things in nature, and don’t come with long lists of ingredients.”
The guiding principles of a low-glycemic diet include:
1.Eat fiber-rich, whole-grain carbohydrates like non-starchy vegetables, fruits and legumes along with protein and healthy fat (like nuts, avocado or olive oil).
2. Eat grain products in their least-processed state possible, like stone ground whole grain bread rather than white bread. (The NuVal™ nutrition scoring system, used at Meijer, includes evaluation of the glycemic load of foods in the overall NuVal™ nutrition score—choose foods with higher NuVal™ scores which will tend to have a lower glycemic index).
3. When you have a sugary treat, do so only in moderation and after a balanced meal.
4. Limit fruit juice, avoid sugary soda and drink mostly water.
Low GI Recipes
Greek Spinach Salad
1 (10 oz.) bag flat leaf spinach, washed, trimmed and crisped
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 grape tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
24 Greek olives, or as desired
3/4 cup whole natural almonds, toasted
1 cup (1/4 lb.) crumbled feta cheese
Three Herb Dressing (recipe below)
Three Herb Dressing:
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. thyme
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Toss all ingredients except feta cheese with Three Herb Dressing. Arrange on serving platter. Top with crumbled cheese to serve.
Three Herb Dressing: Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
Variation: Top with grilled chicken breast, salmon, or lean grilled sirloin steak.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 165, Fat 12g, Cholesterol 17 mg, Sodium 396 mg, Carbohydrate 9g, Fiber 4g, Protein 7g.
Recipe source: Almond Board of California, www.almondboard.com
Spiced Salmon Filets with Avocado Salsa
4 (4-oz.) salmon fillets
1/2 tsp. McCormick® Ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp. McCormick® Ground Cumin, divided
1 lime, juiced, divided
1 Fresh California Avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small Homegrown Vine Ripe Tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp. McCormick® Cayenne
Additional chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil; lightly coat foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Season fillets with coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin, half of the lime juice, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Place fillets skin side down on the foil. Bake 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Meanwhile, for the salsa, in a medium bowl combine avocado, tomato, onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, cayenne, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and remaining lime juice. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Spoon salsa over fillets, sprinkles with additional cilantro, and serve.
Serve with steamed, sliced zucchini and brown rice.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 210, Fat 11g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 55mg, Carbohydrates 7g, Fiber 4g, Protein 22g
Recipe source: www.meijermealbox.com, Try Foods International