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Foods to toss when starting a new diet

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Cleaning out the kitchen to make space for a new approach to food is a great place to start when it comes to a new diet.

This time, it’ll be different. How many times have you said that to yourself when starting a new diet? If it’s been more than once, then you already know that starting out on the right foot when launching a new diet can help propel you into longer-term improvements in health habits. Cleaning out the kitchen to make space for a new approach to food is a great place to start.

First, it’s important to assess exactly why you’re starting a new diet and whether it’s liable to be sustainable and successful in the long run.

A quick fix will only set you up for disappointment later, says Janette Wong, a registered dietitian with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. “Once you’ve decided that you want to make positive changes to your eating habits, you must take these new changes as your new lifestyle, and not just a fad diet to lose weight or to fit into an outfit for an occasion.”

If you’re serious this time, starting with a clean slate can help, adds Kristine Dilley, a staff dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Comprehensive Weight Management Clinic in Columbus. “Anytime you start working on improving your dietary habits, it’s a good idea to start with a clean and organized kitchen. Taking just a little bit of time to clean out and restock the pantry “in a manner that will make meal planning and preparation more efficient” can help you start off on the right foot when shifting your eating habits. “If it’s easier to find things, you’re more likely to stick with your new plan.”

[READ: 11 Healthy Food Swaps to Lose Weight. ]

What to Toss

— Expired foods.

— Highly processed foods

— Sugary or salty snack foods.

But where should you focus your energy when readying the kitchen for your new lifestyle? “Start by getting rid of anything that is expired, damaged or nearly empty,” Dilley says.

Cesar Sauza, a registered dietitian and nutrition manager with AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles, says that dumping most highly processed foods is a good place to start because “the majority have added sugar and/or added fats. Any processed foods or cheat foods should be purchased in small quantities instead of bulk,” and don’t keep them in the house. “Remember, out of sight, out of mind.”

dr Andrew Freeman, director of clinical cardiology and director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness with National Jewish Health in Denver, agrees that zeroing in on highly processed, starchy, sugary or salty snack foods like chips, cookies and crackers. “They really don’t do anything good for you, so when you cut them out, people lose weight.”

As you take stock of what’s left after that purge, Dilley recommends asking yourself a few questions:

— Do I enjoy eating this?

— Do I know how to make a meal with this?

— Will this food help me reach my nutrition goals?

“If you can’t answer yes to these questions, that item should probably go into a donation pile for the local food bank. Keeping food items around because you think you should be eating them will just lead to clutter,” Dilley says.

Some foods that might not fit well with your goals if you’re looking to shed some weight include:

— High fat or breaded meats.

— Any kind of fried food.

— High-fat dairy foods. Freeman recommends dumping “cheese and cheese products” because these often have high fat and cholesterol levels that could contribute to the development of heart disease.

— Canned fruits in syrups. Canned fruit can work, so long as it’s packaged in water or fruit juice, rather than high-fructose corn syrup, which adds lots of sugar and calories.

— Canned meats in oil. While an item like tuna fish packed in olive oil isn’t necessarily unhealthy, the added oil does increase the fat and calorie content of the fish. So, if you’re watching your weight, look for lean meats packed in water instead.

— Condiments that are high in fat or sugar, such as heavy salad dressings, barbecue sauces or syrups.

— Refined carbohydrate sources such as cookies, snack cakes or cereal or bars that are high in added sugars. “I’d recommend tossing out most candies, cookies and pastries because it’s typically easy to overeat sweets, such as milk chocolates, candy bars and sweet breads,” Wong says. If you decide to have a sweet treat, make sure to do it when you are not hungry, and have a small portion (one serving or less).”

— Foods high in sodium and fat. “Examples include popcorn with added salt and butter, potato chips, instant noodles, hot dogs and deli meats, such as ham, salami, bologna and bacon,” Wong says. “Frequently having high-sodium and/or high-fat foods in large quantities can gradually elevate your blood pressure and may lead to hypertension.”

— Sugary beverages. Soda, artificially-flavored drinks and energy drinks are all high in sugar and can be detrimental to your new diet, Wong says, as these sugary beverages can lead to weight gain.

[See: Healthy Staples You Should Always Have in Your House.]

What to Restock

When it comes to restocking after a clean out, Dilley says “the overall goal should be to work toward filling your refrigerator and pantry with as many whole foods as possible and keeping processed items limited.”

To do that, Freeman recommends “shopping predominantly in the produce section of the grocery store” and limiting what you purchase in the packaged goods sections of the stores.

But you will want to have some dried goods and faster-prep items on hand when you’re in a pinch, Wong adds. “It’s a good idea to have dry foods and canned foods in your pantry in case you need to prepare something quickly.

For example:

— Replace buttered popcorn with plain popcorn.

— Choose whole wheat pasta or buckwheat noodles instead of instant noodles.

— Swap the deli meat for canned fish or chicken packed in water, not oil.

— When selecting these pantry staples, always opt for those that are lower in sodium and fat.

As you remove the less healthy foods from your kitchen and your diet, Wong recommends gradually adding foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sodium.

Examples include:

— Whole-wheat products, such as whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta and whole grains such as brown rice, beans, barley and oats.

— Fruits that are either fresh, dried, frozen without added sugar or canned in their own juice (not in syrup).

— Vegetables that are either fresh, frozen or canned without cream or cheese sauce.

— Skim or low-fat dairy products, such as fat-free milk 0% plain Greek yogurt or low fat/part-skim cheeses like ricotta, cottage or mozzarella.

[SEE: Easy Recipes Using Staple Ingredients.]

set goals

When starting a new diet, it’s important to “learn to set goals,” Dilley says. “Goals help you break down what can seem like an overwhelming task.” This is why setting a nebulous goal to “eat healthier” can be hard to define and can lead to frustration.

To make your goals more useful, “focus on small, short-term goals that you can achieve and be specific. Identify one to two areas that you struggle with, and use those to guide your goals,” Dilley says.

Examples of small, specific goals include:

— Don’t eat out more than two times a week.

— Eat at least two vegetables per day.

— Have a vegetarian dinner at least once a week.

— Serve a salad with dinner.

— Include fruit with breakfast each morning.

“Track your progress and note when you’re consistently achieving your goals. This success will help keep you motivated to make more changes.”

Dilley also recommends using online resources from the MyPlate website or downloading the Start Simple with MyPlate tracker app.

“The MyPlate method is a tool that’s based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans; it creates a visual picture of how different food portions should look on your plate to balance your meals. The Start Simple tracker also assists you with goal setting and tracking your progress.”

Be patient

Making long-lasting lifestyle changes isn’t easy, and it’s not always a linear process; you may encounter some setbacks along the way. When this inevitably happens, “be kind to yourself,” Wong says. “It’s okay to indulge once in a while with small portions of your favorite foods, but remember not to lose focus of your goal. You’re creating a new eating habit, not a temporary change, and this is a lifelong journey.

Sauza encourages you to “avoid thinking about it as a ‘diet’ but rather think about it as a change in lifestyle. Our diets are simply a combination of habits that have been formed since childhood or for many years. The key to eating healthy is to make changes consistently to form new habits.”

This is important because “over 95% of diets fail. I recommend you stop approaching healthy eating through temporary diets and focus on consistent changes,” Sauza says. And those changes extend to getting plenty of high-quality sleep and drinking plenty of water, as both can influence weight management efforts.

More from US News

10 tips to keep your diet on track

Foods to Help Conquer Your Cravings

Foods to Help Conquer Your Cravings

Foods to Toss When Starting a New Diet originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 03/24/22: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Whole Grains Health

Protein Variety and Heart Health Are Linked, Study Finds

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We’ve all found ourselves in the habit of eating the same three things over and over (…and over) again. When life gets busy, falling back on simple dishes that satisfy your tastebuds is the natural thing to do. But if you’re cooking up the same couple proteins on the regular, a new study published in the the journal Hypertension suggests that it may be time to introduce a few new varieties into your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

The study pulled existing data from over 12,000 participants who took part in a minimum of two rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Researchers sought to explore the relationship between hypertension—or high blood pressure—and the variety and quantity of proteins from eight major dietary sources consumed by participants. (Study participants were an average age of 41 years old.)

Researchers measured protein intake by looking at three consecutive days of eating, scoring each round based on the number of protein varieties consumed (including legumes, fish, eggs, whole grains, refined grains, processed and unprocessed red meat, and poultry).

The results? “Among ‘just the right amount’ consumers of protein, those eating the greatest variety of protein had a the lowest blood pressure,” explains John Higgins, MD, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. Notably, those who ate the least and the most amount of protein were at the greatest risk for developing high blood pressure, while those who ate the greatest variety of protein were 66 percent less likely to end up developing hypertension between the rounds of the survey .

“The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure.” — Xianhui Qin, MD, study author

Although the survey results sound complicated—and, hey, they were—the takeaway is simple: “The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure,” Xianhui Qin, MD, the study author, said in a press release. In other words: Mix it up! Spin the protein wheel of fortune and try something new.

Related Stories

If you’re not quite sure where to start with upping your protein game, Dr. Higgins recommends looking at your consumption on a daily basis. “The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than about 5.5 ounces of protein daily, about one to two servings, from healthy sources such as plants, seafood, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and some lean meats and poultry,” he says. “The best proteins are lean proteins including beans, soy or tofu, fish, skinless chicken, very lean meat, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid proteins that say ‘hydrogenated’ on label or contain high levels of trans fats or saturated fats. “

Of course, there’s always room in your eating plan for less nutritional proteins, too—just try to incorporate these lean sources when you can, and ask your doctor if you have questions about what dietary habits are right for your particular health status and family history .

A delicious way to eat more varied proteins? This delicious quiche recipe:

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Whole Grains Health

The 10 Best Diet Books in 2022

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Staff, Courtesy of Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

The word “diet” has earned itself an undeniably negative reputation, often leading people to think of unsustainable restriction and unhealthy fads. However, if you’re looking to adjust your way of eating, whether you want to feel better, lose weight, or hit a new personal record, there are tons of great diet books out there that can help educate you on ways to improve your nutrition and get you feeling better than ever.

While the diets of the past have focused on restriction, newer ways of eating encouragement consuming more good-for-you foods to crowd out less healthy choices, leaving you feeling satisfied, not deprived. These diet books are also super educational, teaching you why you should eat certain foods, what they can do for your health, and the best ways to make them delicious. To help you on your nutrition journey, we’ve gathered the best diet books and healthy cookbooks available today.

Best Diet Books

    How to Choose a Diet Book

    If you’re looking to switch up your diet, the first thing you should ask yourself is why. What exactly do you want out of a diet?

    Second, consider your lifestyle. Do you need meals that are quick and easy? Do you like to take an hour or two to cook for yourself every night? How often can you grocery shop for fresh ingredients?

    Finally, consider whether you’re looking specifically for a cookbook or one that will provide you education on a particular way of eating without necessarily giving you recipes. While many cookbooks will have some content that discusses the origins of food and their nutritional benefits, these books are unlikely to go as in-depth regarding nutrition as less recipe-focused ones.

    How We Selected

    To find the best diet books among the many options on the market, we researched the most popular books available and considered their content, credibility, design, digestibility, and organization. We then looked at both expert reviews and more than 105,000 customer ratings, written by people who’ve bought these books on Amazon, to settle on the diet books you’ll find below.

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    1

    Best vegetarian

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    This is a great all-around cookbook, but it’s an especially great buy if you’re trying to lay off meat. This book contains everything from specific meal recipes to instructions for steaming veggies, truly teaching you how to cook from start to finish. There are recipes for every meal, as well as snacks and desserts, and it includes instructions for so many different dishes you could easily cook from only this book for an entire year and not get bored.

    2

    Best for Longevity

    The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

    This cookbook highlights recipes from specific areas across the globe—called blue zones—where people live the longest. While some of their longevity surely comes from other lifestyle factors, there’s no discounting the role diet plays in their long-lasting health and wellbeing. These recipes not only focus on ingredients, but the ways in which foods are prepared and how that relates to their overall nutritional value.

    The goal of the book is to increase longevity and quality of life while creating delicious recipes that you’ll want to eat time and time again.

    3

    Best Mediterranean

    The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

    The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It’s full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and tons of vegetables, providing a well-rounded, nutritious way of eating.

    This cookbook not only has 500 great Mediterranean recipes, but it also helps you learn which ingredients you should make staples in your grocery list. It also uses only ingredients that you can easily find at standard grocery stores, which makes the Mediterranean diet more accessible.

    4

    Best for Runners

    run fast eat slow

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”—and to some degree, the same holds true for personal records. While nutritious food won’t necessarily knock 30 seconds off your mile time, it can help you fuel your workouts so you get the most out of your training.

    This book was designed by Olympian Shalane Flanagan and is packed with recipes designed to help runners fuel their toughest workouts and recover after. As a bonus, the recipes included in this book just so happen to be delicious, too.

    5

    Best Vegan

    The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook

    When first going vegan, it can be difficult to figure out how to make food that is both delicious and nutritious. This book has 500 recipes ranging from meals to snacks to desserts that use entirely plant-based ingredients. These recipes also offer alternate ingredient options, like eggs and dairy, which is great if you want to add more plant-based recipes into your diet, but aren’t ready to dive headfirst into veganism.

    6

    Best for a full reset

    The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    If you’ve been diet-hopping in hopes of finding a meal plan that can help you commit to a healthier lifestyle and enjoy some weight loss, Whole 30 is a great choice. It has you cut out sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and some other specific foods for 30 days. The idea behind the diet is that it helps jumpstart weight loss while simultaneously getting you to reassess how you think about what you are eating to reach a place of freedom with your food.

    7

    Best for weight loss

    The Obesity Code – Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

    If weight loss is your goal, and you have struggled to find lasting success, this book could be a game-changer. It dives into the science of weight loss, helping you understand hormones, insulin resistance, and other reasons for weight gain. The book recommends intermittent fasting and a low-carb diet, and guides you on how to do them correctly, efficiently, and in the long term.

    8th

    Best for Learning about Food

    How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

    A lot of eating plans focus on what you should eliminate from your diet, but this book places more importance on what you should be adding to your diet and why.

    It discusses foods that are scientifically proven to help you live a longer, healthier life, and the many ways in which food can help prevent disease. It focuses on whole body health—including both mental and physical health—and teaches you to focus on more than just weight and physical appearance when it comes to your food.

    9

    Best for Anti-Dieters

    Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. ChangeYourLife.

    The rise of anti-diet culture gave inspiration to this book, which helps you improve your relationship with food, tackle weight loss, and debunk fad diets to find a simple and easy way to lose weight and create habits that will keep the pounds from coming back. This book will help you build skills that enable you to live a happier, healthier life without focusing too closely on calories or numbers on a scale.

    10

    Best for fasting

    Complete Guide to Fasting

    Fasting has gained popularity over the last decade and can be a great way to boost your metabolism, clear your mind, and promote weight loss. There are, however, rules you should follow while fasting so that you improve your health rather than endangering it. This book will guide you through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting to ensure you choose the style that will work best for you and do it correctly.


    Before joining Runner’s World as an Editor in 2019, Gabrielle Hondorp spent 6 years in running retail (she has tested top gear from shoes, to watches, to rain jackets which has expanded her expertise—and her closets); she specializes in health and wellness, and is an expert on running gear from head-to-toe.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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Eating different kinds of protein protects against hypertension: New study

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Despite all this talk that more Australians are toying with vegetarianism, and despite the endless drum-beating about red meat giving you cancer and a dodgy heart, we continue to have one of the world’s highest levels of meat consumption.

Analysis published in December found Australians eat about 95 kilograms of meat per capita every year. The global average is 35 kilograms.

The article, ‘The Evolution of Urban Australian Meat-Eating Practices’, argues our meat-eating habits are driven by a blocky culture, an association with social status, a perception that plant-based diets are inadequate and lame, and ignorance about cooking legumes and tofu.

On the other hand, the authors point to a survey that found almost 20 per cent of those sampled “identified as meat-reducers”.

Furthermore, the authors say, 87 percent “of the meat reducer segment reported consuming a meat-free dish as their main meal at least once a week”.

They point to another survey that found almost 20 per cent described themselves as “flexitarian”, which is cool.

But it may not translate to more lentils, nuts, whole grains, fish and dairy hitting the dinner table as new favorite sources of protein.

A new study found why we need variety

Chinese researchers found that “eating protein from a greater variety of sources is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure”.

Good to know because blood pressure is literally out of control in Australia.

One in three adults – more than six million Australians – has high blood pressure.

Of those afflicted, only 32 per cent have their hypertension under control. That leaves about four million Australians as ticking time bombs.

In December, in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Alta Schutte, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UNSW Sydney, called for a national taskforce to tackle the issue.

By improving the control of hypertension, the risks of coronary heart disease, dementia and cerebrovascular disease will be substantially reduced.

The Chinese study suggests changing your diet will go some way to solving the problem.

the study

“Nutrition may be an easily accessible and effective measure to fight against hypertension. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients,” said study author Dr Xianhui Qin, of the National Clinical Research Center for Kidney Disease at Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

The study authors analyzed health information for nearly 12,200 adults (average age 41), who had taken part in multiple rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 to 2015.

Over three days in the same week, participants shared what they had eaten.

They were given a protein “variety score” based on the different sources of protein they’d eaten: whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, egg and legumes.

One point was given for each source of protein, with a maximum variety score of 8. The researchers then evaluated the association for new onset hypertension in relation to the protein variety score.

New-onset hypertension was defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg, the use of blood pressure-lowering medicine, or self-reporting that a physician had diagnosed high blood pressure.

The average follow-up time was six years.

The results

More than 35 per cent of the participants developed new-onset high hypertension during the follow-up.

Compared to participants with the lowest variety score for protein intake (1), those with the highest variety score (4 or higher) had a 66 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

The amount of protein eaten was also a factor. Consumption was divided into five categories, from least to most intake.

The researchers found that “people who ate the least amount of total protein and those who ate most protein had the highest risk for new onset of hypertension”.

The researchers didn’t ask why a variety of proteins was more healthy. But nutritionists, doctors and health writers have banged on about it for years.

Lean red meat is high in quality protein but provides no fiber or healthy fats. Processed meats are high in saturated fats and salt and are the worst.

Fish is high in long-chain fatty acids, which are good for the brain. Lentils and whole grains are high in fibre.

Hand on heart, a bit of each during the week might stop you from carking it in the street. Which is just undignified and unmanly.

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