T.V. commercials, magazines, newspapers, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube. It seems like everywhere you look nowadays; you are bombarded with information about nutrition, diets, and how to lose weight fast. The often-contradicting information is everywhere for us to see but leaves us confused. A lot of this information can be sorted out if we start by looking at the basics of nutrition.  And America, we all need this reminder. Two out of three of us are either overweight or obese. Diabetes and high blood pressure are on the rise. Heart attacks, strokes, and cancer are distressingly common.

I’m sure we all remember some of the basics of nutrition from elementary school, but things have changed over the years as scientists continue to study nutrition and its effect on our health. Here is a review of the basics and some helpful advice:

Food Groups:  Foods can be grouped into three main categories: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Many diet programs will emphasize one or more of these categories to the exclusion of the others. However, a balanced approach is best for most people.

Healthy fats: All fats are not created equal. Unsaturated fats and oils are actually necessary for optimal health, so feel free to consume in moderation without guilt. It’s the saturated fats that you need to be cautious about. Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats as well as some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil.

Carbs: The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed which are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Food containing carbs that are unhealthier and should be avoided or eaten in moderation would be white bread, soda, pasta, pastries, and other highly processed foods.

Eat in color: The natural colors of fruits and vegetables indicate the presence of various nutrients, so the more color the better. Choose from among the familiar options and try some new varieties at your local farmer’s market or grocer as well.

Portion control is critical: Americans have some of the largest meal portion sizes, and 2 out of 3 of us are either overweight or obese. Simply monitoring the amount of food you eat is one of the best ways to control your weight. A healthy portion is one cupped handful of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and a protein portion is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. This measurement is easy to remember and proportional to your size and gender. Or you can also check out this MyPlate Plan from the U.S Department of Agriculture that gives you a great visual of what your plate should look like for meals based on your age, sex, weight, height, and physical activity.

Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine understand’s that it can be confusing to know what is best for your body and your health with all of the information that is being thrown at you, and the multitude of new fad diets claiming guaranteed weight loss. We help cut through all that fluff to get you the right information that you need for your overall health.

Because we care, we have a free cookbook with 15 easy recipes to help. This cookbook was developed by dietician Kirsten Thomas and our metabolic guru Katy Connley. To gain your copy of our free cookbook and help kickstart your weight-loss journey click on the button below!

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