The Best Diet for Weight Loss

dash diet

source: the examiner

For the third year in a row, the overall best diet for weight loss is: The DASH diet.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease.” DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed by the National Institutes of Health to help folks manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Overall
Weight Loss Short-term
Weight Loss Long-term
Easy to Follow
Nutrition
Safety
For Diabetes
For Heart Health

While I believe in moderation and eating REAL food, there are a handful of things I don’t completely agree with when looking at the DASH diet. First of all, if you scroll through the short version of the diet explanation (6-pages, not the full length of 64), you’ll see that it is from 2006. We’ve made quite a few strides in the world of nutrition and I don’t think these are reflected in the PDF of guidelines. For example…

Fats
Fats get such a bad rap but really, they’re not the bad guy and we need them. Choosing low-fat, low-calorie products ALL the time isn’t doing us any good especially since many of us think “It’s low-fat. Now I can eat more of them.” Plus, the crap they use to replace the fat in food isn’t even food. Next time you’re in the store read the label of fat free dressing. True, we want to avoid consuming too much saturated fat but I still give you the green light to enjoy REAL butter, full fat dairy products, and other heart healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. Keep moderation in mind, though. Don’t think you should go chug a glass of coconut oil at breakfast because I say it’s good to use.

Cholesterol
The DASH diet suggests limiting yourself to no more than 4 egg yolks per week. There is growing evidence that dietary cholesterol does not significantly affect our blood cholesterol. It sounds backwards, but the real criminal is trans fat. Period. Trans fat raises our bad cholesterol and lowers our good cholesterol. It shows up in a lot of processed food and is made by pumping hydrogen molecules into a liquid substance to make it solid at room temperature. Have you ever wondered why your Nabisco Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, pie crusts, chips, stick margarine, pastries, and commercial donuts have an expiration date of 2030? Trans fat. Go ahead and eat a couple eggs a day, yolk and all.

What I do agree with
The DASH diet does a great job of promoting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, watching your sodium intake, and avoiding sugary drinks (I would add diet drinks to that list as well since evidence is showing that diet pop has it’s own array of negative consequences). The DASH diet doesn’t restrict food groups but emphasizes moderation and encourages physical activity. It all comes down to eating REAL food and doing it mindfully.

Other big stars in the diet world
Diets that also made the top ten list include:
2. The TLC diet (not tender loving care…it stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet
3. Weight Watchers
6. Flexitarian Diet (which I think is great from a health and financial standpoint!)
6. Volumetrics
8. Jenny Craig
9. Biggest Loser Diet
9. Ornish Diet

As you can see, many of the diets tied. If you want to view the rest of the list, check it out here. Keep in mind these diets were not rated solely on nutrition but also the ease of following, safety, etc.

Have you tried any of these diets before? How was your experience?

Michigan ranks 30th healthiest state in nation

Yeah! We’re #30! Hmm… it’s not that exciting when you put a zero after that three. According to the United Health Foundation’s 2011 America’s Health Rankings, Michigan is only the 30th healthiest state in the nation (we were 28th last year.) I’ll have to move to the East coast if I want to improve my score- the top five healthiest states are Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii and Massachusetts. So why did we score so low?

Obesity
Five years ago, 26.2% of the adult population was considered obese. Now, we’ve managed to jump to 31.7%.

Smoking
In the past 10 years we’ve decreases smoking from 24.1% to18.9% of the adult population. That’s a step in the right direction, but there are still over 1.4 million who still smoke in Michigan.

Diabetes
In the past year alone, the percent of adults with diabetes jumped from 9.3% to 10.1%. This means 761,000 adults in Michigan have diabetes

See your state’s results and the Overall Rankings -2011

If you fall under any of the three categories or want to avoid falling into them, now is your time to take action. The new year is coming up, right? What better time to start thinking about setting some SMART goals!