Friday, November 17, 2006

Which Diet Philosophy Is Best for Weight Loss?

On the last post I mentioned that a low fat diet may not necessarily be more efficient than a calorie reduced diet. Which then, is the perfect diet strategy?

Essentially, the key to successful dieting is the idea of moderation and variety with respect to your eating habits.

If you’re going to take the low carb approach make sure to choose low fat proteins and carbs that contain high fiber contents. Keep in mind that researchers have warned that high protein diets, especially those with high saturated fat content, may be harmful to health.

Diet variety is also very important in attaining balanced nutrition. Make sure your diet consists of foods from all food groups. In other words, don’t concentrate on just a couple of food groups - it is not only boring, but may also be ineffective for weight loss, studies say.

A big factor responsible for obesity and chronic disease in America today is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. This ratio is too high!

In other words, the proportion of foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids is dangerously higher than those containing omega-3s.

In order to improve this ratio we must increase intakes of omega-3 foods at the expense of those containing omega 6s. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is from 3:1 to 5:1.

Let’s identify the foods that belong to each category.

Omega-6 Food Sources

- Most vegetable oils except for flax seed oil.
- Cereals and whole grain breads.
- Eggs and poultry.

Omega-3 Food Sources

- Cold water – oily fish such as mackerel and salmon.
- Flax seed oil
- Botanical sources such as Flax seed, purslane, lingonberry and sea buckthorn.

Also, it’s important to note that eggs from chickens fed with greens and insects have higher omega-3 and lower omega-6 contents than those fed corn and soybean diets. Similarly, meat from grass-fed animals contains more omega-3s than grain-fed animals.

The high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is probably the biggest and most under-stated dietary factor responsible for chronic disease such as heart disease as well as various cancers, in the Western world today.

We all must make efforts to lower it by increasing omega-3 containing foods in our diet (at the expense of omega-6s). This will strengthen the immune system while improving weight management at the same time.

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