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Nutrition:  Diet, Weight Loss, and Health

Wikipedia notes that "There are six main classes of nutrients that the body needs: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. It is important to consume these six nutrients on a daily basis to build and maintain healthy bodily function." For years, the U.S. Government has employed the "Food Pyramid" as a model of how to consume appropriate amounts of these nutrients. With increasing childhood obesity, it is more important than ever to attempt to eat a balanced diet.

There are a number of nutrients missing from our diets that canít be found in large enough quantities in our regular multi-vitamins. Iron, for example, is essential for the oxygenation of every single one of our cells; yet iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Have your nutrient blood levels checked and supplement as needed.

  • Hydrate well! Drink several glasses of water each day.
  • Weight loss can be achieved by eating the correct quantities of different food groups. Simply eating less is not necessarily the answer.
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U.S. Government Information on Nutrition

Balanced Diet, Nutrition, and Obesity

--- excerpts from an interview with food industry expert

Unhealthy eating and nutrition:   How would you define nutrition?
In general terms itís going to probably depend on the individual. One level nutrition doesnít work for everyone. We come from different backgrounds and different genealogical makeup or whatever you want to call it. You might find that works well for one individual may not work for another.

There is a set of guidelines that the government publishes for 20 or so different vitamins and minerals and nutrient and the carbohydrates and those values or based on population studies where they go out and look at the health and consider what people consume on a regular basis.

To generalize, I would say that good nutrition would be getting the right balance of nutrients necessary for good health.

What is the difference between nutrients and food stuffs?
Basically none. You can look at anything that provides nutrients to the body like carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins. They are the vitamins and minerals that everyone knows about and then there are the ones like micronutrients like selenium, chromium and zinc and some of those that arenít so talked about. But food in general is just a carrier for nutrients. You can take a loaf of bread itÖhas starch in it and protein and non-fat dry milk, the non-fat dry milk will contain lactose. It will contain a high amount of minerals usually. The non-fat dry milk will contain casing, which is a non-fat dry milk protein. You break down the constituents in the food and each one of those provides nutrients for the body.

How does one go about breaking years of bad eating habits?
What would be the start point for someone?

Eating healthy If there were an easy answer to the question we wouldn't have the problems we have today like obesity. Right now in the US 60% of the population has a weight problem. "Morbidly Obese" is clinically defined as being 100 pounds or more overweight. In our population, the number of people being morbidly obese is increasing year after year.

The number of people with this weight problem continues to increase every year. In our culture today there is an over abundance of food available. On every corner there is fast food and billboards and everywhere you turn there is an advertisement for fast food. You know starting almost from infancy where you have two working parents they get home from their job and they are more likely to park there kids in front of the TV.

One of the things that I have noticed is the amount and length of the ads seem to be increasing: More and more year after year the cable companies seem to be just filled with everything you can imagine and not very nutritious food. You get exposed to that and it gets ingrained in your thinking about food and, if you will do the research on it, many of those ads are geared toward influencing children. When they go back and do the research on the influence what mom and pop pick off the grocery shelf, they find that the children have a tremendous influence. So they target those ads at the children knowing that they are going to put the pressure on the parents to buy them.

Eating healthy What you can do to change a person's perception of food starts at an early age. You can show a person in black and white what foods are good for them and what isn't and it pretty much comes down to a conscious decision if they want to consume healthy foods or not.

And it certainly would be a value to have a mentor or life coach or fitness trainer or just a friend where there is some kind of relationship when it comes to dealing with eating healthy. The fact is that you need support and one of the reasons there are so many weight loss programs is that they do something a little different they have meetings and people get together and support each other.

Diet and Weight Loss Support Groups
You know I mentioned Optifast and there is Atkins and when you gauge how much weight people have lost and whether they keep it off, all of those people probably within a 5 year period have gained all that weight back because they have lost their support group. It speaks volumes to me that if people are going to lose weight and keep it off they need a support group. It has to be approached that you are not on a diet to lose weight you are trying to make a lifestyle change. It is going to be a new way of eating and new habits even your daily activities it is something that you are going to do for the rest of your life.

Generational obesity is a problem. Where you see overweight parents you are going to see overweight children. Why does this happen?
In a way it is endorsement to the children that their eating habits and lifestyle habits are acceptable. Just like any of us what better role models than your parents. If they snack and eat unhealthy then the children will as well.

It is that everyone is trying to answer the question, ďwhy are people getting fatter and fatter,Ē and even Jay Leno makes jokes about people getting fat. You know the notion out there is that it isn't something that people can change itís just that people are genetically predisposed to getting fat. And there is a genetic factor to it but you know that Dr. Phil responds to it like you may be predisposed to it but you don't have to succumb to it.

Do you think that much of those habits are linked to emotions?
Sure. Emotions and stress all those things get factored into it. Genetics will change in a thousand years but not in the last ten years. You can factor the genetic side of it almost entirely out of it. Everybody has times of emotional needs.

You know I am almost 60 years old and I work out several times a week and I can still keep up with people half my age. I am not bragging but I am saying that just knowing what to eat and how much to eat and what is healthy and maintaining enough sleep all factor into just having a healthy lifestyle.

Next: Diet, Nutrients, and Fat


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