By now it’s common knowledge that the key to good health is a diet rich in nutrients and low in empty calories.(1) One of the biggest challenges to people living on the standard American diet is the fact that we are inundated with high calorie, low nutrient foods. This is a recipe for weight gain. Unfortunately, it’s become so much the norm that people have difficulty understanding why common foods like bread are practically designed to make you gain weight.
The essence of the problem is the fact that when you consume low nutrient foods, the body’s fullness indicators are not triggered. That’s why a person can eat enormous portions, feel full, and not feel satisfied.(2) We’ve all had the experience of eating Chinese takeout and being hungry thirty minutes later. Eating low nutrient foods causes the body to stay in conservation mode. This is a state where the body knows it isn’t getting what it needs, so it stores what it's getting away for a rainy day- hence you gain weight.
The way we tried to explain it to our children when they were smaller was to compare eating to going camping. If you fill your backpack with toys instead of camping equipment, your backpack will feel heavy, but you will not have what you need to build a fire and pitch a tent. Unfortunately, that didn’t dial back their interest in candy very much- but what can you do?
For years now “super foods” have been all the rage.(3) This is because we had finally discovered the fact that the more nutrient dense a food is, the more satisfying it is- which means you can eat less of it and feel satisfied. It also became a matter of general knowledge that a diet rich in a variety of vital nutrients can prevent numerous medical conditions that we had been relying on doctors to troubleshoot for us.
Of course, our propensity for adhering to fads has caused us to take our superfood obsession into the weeds somewhat. Where we go wrong is we tend to choose our favorite super food and stick with it alone as our favorite- kind of like a teenager choosing her favorite Top 40 artist- it becomes something we identify with.
Super Foods & Your Weight Loss Program
So, superfoods offer a multitude of ways to enhance our diets, improve our health, be more energetic, and- of course- lose weight. But there are two things we have to take onboard before we can supercharge our diets with superfoods. The first is the fact that no one superfood is going to be enough. You will need a rich variety of these superfoods for an effective, personalized super weight loss program. The second thing we need to learn is that every superfood comes with its own myths- and its own proper place in your diet.
The following is a short list of some of our favorite superfoods, the myths that surround them, and how to properly incorporate them into your weight loss program.
Full Fat Yogurt
Recent diet science is telling us that fats are not the enemy.(4) Full fat yogurt is a good way to get those healthy fats, as well as proteins. Plus, it helps replenish your beneficial gut bacteria that are so important to our health.
There’s a reason eggs are where chickens come from. They are extremely rich in proteins and healthy fats. As long as you’re using more calories than you consume, eggs are a great way to stay satisfied.
Nuts are a wonderful problem solver when it comes to feeling full and satisfied while staying on track with your weight loss program. If you’re feeling snacky, having nuts around is a great way to redirect the urge in a healthy direction.
Good old potatoes have got a bad rep over the years. When eaten in moderation, they are a great way to get lots of potassium, and they are very filling- a key to resisting temptation.
You’ve probably heard that grapefruit burns calories. This is wrong, unfortunately. No food burns calories. But it is an excellent source of vitamin A and C and a great addition to any salad.
They’re fun, bright, sweet, and delicious. Berries are super-charged with vitamin C and A. They can be made into healthy desserts and are a wonderful addition to salads and breakfast foods.
Eastern diets have taught us a lot about the benefits of fermented foods.(5) These replenish your gut bacteria which is so important for your digestive health. They are also a great way to keep those Asian food recipes healthy and balanced.
Avocados are another great, savory superfood that is loaded with the healthy fats that guard against heart disease, protect our nervous systems, and so much more. They are also very satisfying, making temptations less intense.