I’ve long had many people ask me what I think they should eat to help them lose weight. The short answer is, it is different for everyone, as (no surprises here), we are all so different! Varying weight, height, ethnicity, amount of exercise and medical history can all effect our dietary requirements. So there is never one prescription.
There are however, new Australian Dietary Guidelines which outline the five core food groups and propose a sensible selection of food, based on a bucket load of evidence from Nutrition experts. I am always inclined to base my suggestions on research rather than hearsay, as there is clinical research to support it.
The new food plate is depicted below.
As you can see, the food plate is made up of the five core food groups that our diet should be based on. You can see that the breads and cereal section takes up about a third of this plate (which may put fear in those of you with a carb phobia). Here is an outline of the number of serves we need each day to function and our best:
Men (19-50 years) need 6 serves/day, men (51-70 years) need 5.5 serves/day.
Women (19-50 years and 51-70 years) need 5 serves/day.
Now, what does a serve look like I hear you ask?
Hear are some examples:
- 1 slice of bread
- 1/2 cup of cooked pasta
- 2/3 cup of cereal or
- 1/2 cup cooked rice, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, quinoa or polenta
- 1/4 cup muesli
- 1/2 cup cooked porridge
- 1 crumpet
- 1 small English muffin
- 3 crispbreads
Now whole grain options are always going to be better for you as they contain more fibre which will keep you fuller for longer and give you sustained energy. This particular food group provide most of our carbohydrates, which is the body’s only source of glucose, or energy. If you deprive the body of (or severely restrict) carbohydrates, you are likely to be irritable and faint as the brain needs glucose to function. Unlike muscles and the liver, our brain CANNOT store glucose, so it needs it to function. It’s a no brainer really :). The body has alternate ways of finding glucose by breaking down fat or muscles, but the by products of these pathways are quite toxic to the body, and can really cause damage, as well as stunt what is a basic physiological process.
Sooo, the bottom line is, eat carbs as you need them for energy, particularly if you are exercising, working or even breathing (which I hope is all of us). Do not fear them as they can actually be your friend, and assist in weight loss when chosen correctly (think whole grain, wholemeal).
Maybe try something new to shake up your eating repertoire. There are loads of alternate grains available these days, so maybe keep that in mind next time you are at the supermarket.
Thanks for stopping by!
For more information, pop on over to the revised website http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au