1. Avoiding saturated fats
Excessive intake of saturated fats – such as the fat on meat, the skin on chicken as well as many snack foods – can result in weight gain or difficulty shifting excess baggage. It can also cause increases in the levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood. Lowering your intake of these fats not only helps you lose weight it can also lower your cardiovascular risk and high blood cholesterol which is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately not all fats are bad. Moderate intake of foods containing healthy mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats – such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocado, olives, olive oil and canola oil – is important for a balanced diet.
2. Eating more prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics are found in a variety of foods which are highly nutritious while being low in calories. Yog hurt is a good source of probiotics, the good bacteria that enhance gut functioning and immunity. Prebiotics work symbiotically with probiotics, acting as food for them and allowing them to flourish. Foods that are rich in prebiotics include onions, leeks, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, bananas and whole grains. Foods that are rich in pre and probiotics may improve gastrointestinal health, digestion and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as bloating and constipation.
3. Increasing fibre intake
Increasing dietary fibre can help with weight loss since high fibre foodstend to be bulky (and therefore filling) while also being low in fat and calories. Additional benefits of fibre include decreased risk of colorectal cancer, benefits for constipation, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Aim to increase your fibre intake gradually (to minimise any flatulence and abdominal pain that may occur with sudden increases) to the recommended 25-30 grams per day and ensure you drink sufficient water along with the fibre.
4. Eating low GI foods
Eating foods with lower GI (glycemic index) can help both with regulatingblood sugar and decreasing fluctuations in blood sugar as well as improving satiety. Just remember you still need to watch the total quantity of carbohydrates eaten, as excessive quantities of even low GI foods will still cause weight gain, but swapping high GI or high sugar foods for lower GI options will help. For example you could switch from a high GI white bread to a low GI grainy wholemeal bread. Unprocessed oats, quinoa, lentils, beans, legumes, Basmati or Doongara rice are also good low GI carbohydrate sources.
5. Low fat dairy products
These are beneficial both for ensuring adequate dietary calcium intake (and thereby decreasing osteoporosis risk) as well as assisting in weight loss. Indeed studies have shown that increased intake of dairy proteins casein and whey can significantly improve satiety and appetite control. Consuming low fat or fat-free dairy products three to four times throughout the day can help boost protein intake as well as dietary calcium intake in addition to assisting in weight and appetite control.