One of the biggest obstacles for clients trying to lose weight is the perceived restrictiveness of “dieting”. When starting to think about a more healthful diet, the list of no-no’s seems endless in comparison to what you should focus on consuming. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Clients and friends always seem to be touting the new thing they are giving up on their quest to get the body they have always dreamed of…but what we want to know is why? The first rule of “dieting” should really be to NOT give anything up completely, but to focus on that 90/10 plan we have talked about before. So things like alcohol, pizza, burgers go into 10% of the time column…which leads us to the second rule. The second rule should be to make a longer list of all of the things you can and should enjoy regularly.
In honor of THAT list, here are three delicious items that we have heard friends/clients trying to “quit” unnecessarily.
1. Potatoes: Potatoes get a bad rap because of the form they usually come in – greasy french fries, potato chips, or the healthy baked potato brought down by butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits. Take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a baked potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer. They are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals.
So why the bad press lately? Mostly because potatoes fall in the nightshades (Solanaceae) family, which includes eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. Anecdotal case histories link improvement in arthritis symptoms with removal of these foods; however, no case-controlled scientific studies confirm these observations. For more on nightshades, check out this article: “What are nightshades and in which foods are they found?”
2. Coffee: Unless you are pregnant (in which case consult your doctor) or particularly sensitive to caffeine, drink up. The list of benefits linked to coffee seems to increase with each new study. To date, studies have shown that coffee is a potent source of healthful antioxidants, may provide a helpful short term memory boost, may protect against cognitive decline, may lessen your risk of developing Type II diabetes, and can even enhance your workout!
Even more impressive: Coffee is healthy for your heart! A landmark Dutch study, which analyzed data from more than 37,000 people over a period of 13 years, found that moderate coffee drinkers (who consumed between two to four cups daily) had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease as compared to heavy or light coffee drinkers, and nondrinkers.
And coffee may even help curb certain cancers! Men who drink coffee may be at a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. In addition, new research from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that drinking four or more cups of coffee daily decreased the risk of endometrial cancer in women by 25 percent as compared to women who drank less than one cup a day. Researchers have also found ties between regular coffee drinking and lower rates of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers.
Step away from the sugary frappes and put down the splenda and other fake sugar substitutes, but otherwise drink up in moderation!
3. Eggs: If you’ve been avoiding eggs because you heard that they contain too much cholesterol, you may be surprised to hear that recent research has found that saturated fat — and not dietary cholesterol — is the primary contributor to poor heart health. Eggs have been wrongly accused of being unhealthy due to the foods they’re often served with, namely high-fat sausage or crispy bacon. A 2013 study showed that high protein egg breakfasts helped control participants’ appetites better than high carb breakfasts such as cold cereal. Don’t skip the yolks! In addition to 3g of protein, egg yolks are packed with vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, choline, and selenium. Eggs (with those yolks) are considered to be one of the best sources of protein around!