The Truth About Calories, Fat and Fiber


You need fat to burn fat (another metabolic response to the "information" contained in healthy fat calories).  We're not talking MacDonald's cheeseburgers and trans-fat laden baked goods here.

More: Eat More to Lose Weight

Action: Good fats come from whole foods sources like avocado, olive and coconut oils, cold water fish like salmon and halibut, and nuts and seeds. Make sure you include one to two servings of healthy fat at every meal and snack. 

One serving = 4 oz cold water fish, 1 tablespoon of oil or nut butter,  5-10 nuts, ? avocado, or ? cup of coconut milk.

Boost Your Fiber Intake

Fiber can lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, promote healthy bowel movements, and decrease your appetite so you're not tempted to make a detour for a 1,500-calorie Cold Stone Creamery treat.

More: 3 Tips to Add Real Fiber to Your Diet

A study in the journal Nutrition Reviews showed that 14 grams of fiber a day, with no other dietary restrictions, helped people lose an average of 4 pounds over four months.

Action:  To get all of fiber's benefits, shoot for at least 30 grams each day. Lentils, raspberries, avocado, and nuts like almonds all pack a fiber wallop. Flaxseed, chia, and/ or a fiber powder (look for a soluble/ insoluble blend) in your morning smoothie also helps meet your quota.

The Balancing Act

Your always-on-a-diet best friend fears carbs, your vegan sister constantly tells you protein is overrated, and you're still terrified of fat since you first bought those Snackwells Devil's Food cookies back in 1989.

Like most things in life, balance creates the healthiest dietary approach. The right carbs -- fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other whole foods -- come packed with nutrients. Likewise, protein and fat help build muscle, support fat burning, and keep you satiated.

More: Balance Carbohydrates for Better Performance

A study in the journal JAMA concluded that a Mediterranean diet reduced all causes of mortality -- including cardiovascular disease and cancer -- over 50 percent among people 70 to 90 years old.

Action: Model your meals after the Mediterranean diet, with its array of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and olive oil.

At mealtime, fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies, one quarter with lean, clean protein, and one quarter with a high-fiber, whole food, low-glycemic starchy carbohydrate.  Make sure to include one to servings of fat. 

That's all the measuring necessary to keep your weight stable, your belly happy, and your cravings at bay.

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