Christmas is just around the corner and its time where many of us let loose and begin feasting to our hearts’ content. Did you know that according to a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine, an Australian gains on average ~1.5kg over the Christmas period? So if you’re looking to avoid making meaningless New Year’s resolutions involving your weight in 2016, here’s a quick ‘ABCD’ guide to help you make better food choices in the upcoming festive season!
A – Ample Fibre
Christmas parties at a buffet, or pot-lucking at a friend’s house are popular meal-time gatherings today. While we are always excited to meet up with friends and family, there is that little side of us that cannot wait to chow down on the amazing food splendour.
Here is where you begin to make wise choices. Foods that are high in fibre gives you an abundance of vitamins, and they keep you feeling full after your meals for a longer time. Oh wait, did we mention that fibres have 0 calories? Because digestive enzymes in our body do not digest fibre.
A high fibre diet not only keeps keeps your weight in check, but also improves your heart health! People who have a high fibre diet tend to have 40% lesser chances of heart attacks.
Fibre also helps to excrete yeast and fungus out of your body, so that they do not leave the body via the skin, causing rashes and acne.
B – Building Blocks (Proteins)
If you do not already know, proteins are essential building blocks in our body. Protein is absolutely important in our diet. It repairs and rejuvenates our cells, hence it is the very essence of muscle building and recovery. It also acts as antibodies that help to destroy bacteria and viruses in our body!
When protein contribution to your overall diet is ~ 25-30% of your total calorie intake, there is a boost in your metabolism by up to 80-100 kcals per day! Furthermore, protein keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, making it ideal for weight control.
Protein can be ingested through a variety of foods like meat, poultry, eggs and milk. Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and lentils too!
C – Complex Carbohydrates
Do you fear carbohydrates? Carbohydrates actually benefits the body in many ways. Carbohydrates provide our body with the basic energy that it needs. More importantly, our brain feasts on carbohydrates! A study from Tufts University found that we tend to have poor memory and reaction time on a very low carbohydrate diet. The key is not to avoid carbohydrates, but to choose your carbohydrates wisely!
I’m sure many of us already know what complex carbohydrates are, and that they are a much better alternative to simple carbohydrates. Yes, indeed, complex carbohydrates helps us feel fuller because they tend to be filled with lots of fibre.
Also, our body breaks down complex carbohydrates more evenly and slowly, resulting in less of a spike in glucose levels, allowing insulin to handle the influx of blood sugar adequately. This prevents excessive blood glucose generation and storage as fats.
Most complex carbohydrates come from whole plant based foods like whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice etc.
So when you’re face to face with a large buffet spread, do remember to choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates! A simple and effective way to remain slim and healthy!
D – Drink Healthily
Most sodas or soft drinks are artificially sweetened by sucrose or High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). A research from Princeton University proved that HFCS intake can lead to serious cases of obesity. The regular can of soda contains ~33g of sugar, with almost no nutritional value. This leaves the body still starving for nutrition, while gaining empty calories!
In fact, refined sugar is worse than nothing as it leeches the body of previous vitamins and minerals. Intake of refined sugars increases the demands of digestion, detoxification and elimination processes in the body system.
Sugar also causes a reduced intake and production of B vitamins in our body, an important vitamin that our brain needs to function. It was reported that heavy sugar intake causes sleepiness and weakened capabilities of calculating and memory.