It seems that we are constantly bombarded with commercials telling us that if we eat certain foods we will be healthier and lose weight. Unfortunately, these promises are rarely true and I see this misinformation prompting women to make three consistent missteps in their food choices.
Ava approached me seeking advice after attending a lecture of mine:
"Dr. Perricone, I wonder if I might ask you for your professional advice," Ava asked. "I realized listening to you that I have been doing everything wrong in the diet and nutrition department. My weight has yo-yoed up and down and now at 40, I am saddled not only with the original 10 pounds I wanted to lose, but another 10. Truthfully, I am mystified by my difficulty in taking off weight because I never eat fats or sweets of any kind," she added with a hint of desperation.
I then asked Ava to outline her typical day's meal plan:
Breakfast: "I usually have a glass of orange juice, a cup of black coffee and a toasted bagel with fat-free cream cheese."
Lunch: "Lunch is usually a baked potato topped with non-fat sour cream. I like to snack on rice or corn cakes in the afternoon because they only have 40 calories each."
Dinner: "I usually have a large salad with non-fat dressing and a skinless, boneless chicken breast."
3 Cardinal Sins of Dieting
This is not the best strategy by a long shot, as Ava had discovered, but unfortunately, Ava’s dilemma is not out of the ordinary. Many of my female patients have found themselves in the same difficult situation of struggling to lose weight while restricting calories. One of the worst aspects to this type of diet is the impact on the skin, which needs proper daily nutrition. A diet centered on these types of foods accelerates the aging process and is highly damaging to the skin resulting in premature lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness and muscle tone. I could see the protein deprivation in Ava’s face; she looked exhausted and older than her years. I explained to Ava that she was committing three cardinal sins:
- Failure to eat enough protein. Add high-quality protein to each meal. A typical woman should get 50-80 grams of protein per day depending on her activity level.
- Avoiding healthy fats. Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats to your diet. They will help you burn fat and keep your skin soft, supple and radiant.
- Choosing high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as cold cereals, bagels, potatoes, rice and corn cakes. Despite their low calorie count, these foods will lead to spikes in blood sugar and prevent you from losing weight.
Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats to your diet. They will help you burn fat and keep your skin soft, supple and radiant.
The sad truth is that we are continually bombarded with advertisements that promise that we will drastically lose weight and even fit into our teenage daughter’s jeans if we switch our diets to include daily servings of their newest processed foods.
5 "health foods" to avoid:
Skip: Fruit Yogurt. Often packed with sugar and other artificial flavors, these yogurt snacks should be avoided.
Try: Low-fat plain Greek Yogurt and add your own berries. Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and has an incredible texture.
Skip: Non-fat dressings.
Try: Dress salads with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice for a healthy source of monounsaturated fat. These healthy fats are essential not only for weight loss, but for supple skin.
Skip: Instant Oatmeal. Despite various new "healthy" packaging claims, these instant varieties elevate blood sugar rapidly.
Try: Old-fashioned, steel cut oatmeal topped with blood-sugar controlling cinnamon.
Skip: Baked Chips. While they contain fewer calories than regular potato chips, these are truly empty calories from a high-glycemic source.
Try: Kale Chips. This healthy green bakes to a delicious crisp consistency and is a healthy alternative to chips or crackers.
Skip: Meat alternatives such as processed soy burgers and hot dogs. Generally, these meat alternatives are very processed and packed with binding agents.
Try: Black bean burgers or less processed forms of soy such as tempeh or natto.