Refined sugar gets a bad rap for a reason.
By Carin Gorrell, From the July 2009 Issue
Unless you're prepping for a colonoscopy, we don't advise shunning food in favor of downing copious amounts of gross liquids. That said, there are health benefits to "eating clean," says SELF contributing editor Joy Bauer, R.D. She means opting for foods that are naturally free of man-made stuff but full of good-for-you nutrients that keep your body systems humming along. Follow her healthy one-week diet, and you may even drop some weight along the way. Get started with these simple steps, then try an enticing one-week menu.
Skip added sugars"White sugar, brown sugar, honey-all sugar pumps calories into your diet and spikes your blood sugar," Bauer says. Consuming too much of it also promotes inflammation, which can increase your risk for heart disease and certain cancers and make you feel foggy and fatigued. So stay away from foods that list sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or dextrose on the ingredients label.
Avoid bad fatsSaturated and trans fats can clog your arteries and promote inflammation. Nix trans fats by sidestepping fried foods and anything made with hydrogenated vegetable oils (check labels). And limit saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your total daily calories by wiping out high-fat marbled meats and choosing skim or 1-percent-fat dairy products instead of full-fat ones.
7 days to slim: A healthy plan for losing pounds quickly
Pump up proteinsLean proteins from sources such as chicken and wild salmon preserve your lean body mass, and having some at every meal stabilizes blood sugar levels and helps you feel fuller longer. Divide your body weight in pounds by 2-that's how many grams of protein you should aim to get each day, Bauer says.
Be a teatotaler"Alcohol is taxing on your liver, plus it lowers your inhibitions, making it harder to resist unhealthy foods," Bauer says. Stick to water, seltzer, tea and coffee.
Check out these 30 healthy snacks!
Reach for fiberSoluble fiber in oats and beans is filling, and it helps pull cholesterol out of the bloodstream, moving it through the digestive tract.
Chew, swallow, repeatTaking in calories at regular intervals keeps your blood sugar stabilized and metabolism revved. Have breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up, Bauer says, and aim to eat about every four hours.
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