Healthy Foods to Lose Weight and Stop Sugar Cravings
Around 45 million Americans are dieting each year and according to the CDC, More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.
These numbers tell me it’s obviously the majority of adults who are not happy with their weight. I see this in my medical practice all the time. One big problem is that people just plain don’t know what to eat and what not to eat. Who can blame them?
For more than 20 years, fat has been the enemy and we were told to eat “carbs”. Snackwell cookies took over Oreo’s coveted #1 cookie spot! And now, are you on one of the various diet plans- “paleo”, raw, vegan, high fat, low fat, high carb, or low carb diet? It can be confusing. But, don’t worry, I have known exactly what we should eat for health and ideal weight for 20 years and so has every other well trained board certified Anti-aging M.D.
What other doctors may NOT know how to do is something I specialize in- making weight loss easy. There are many things which influence your ability to lose weight from your GI tract balance (no kidding!) to your sleeping habits.
All of these topics are covered in these weight loss articles or my blog. And as you will read about later in this article the real “secret sauce” is to control non-hunger eating. Have you ever found yourself in front of the fridge, door open, peering in and thought “WHAT am I doing here?” Don’t worry, if so, I hear that all the time and then we have a good laugh. So when you discover YOUR non-hunger eating patterns, have a laugh if you can, and then let’s fix the issue! How? By using safe, natural supplements to boost the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters you are low on which is triggering the eating pattern you want to abolish!
In fact, if you want to identify YOUR eating patterns and get the entire “correct eating plan” then don’t forget to get your free copy of my best selling weight loss book after you are done with this article.
How to Choose Food to eat to lose weight
What you eat is the most vital part of reducing inflammation in the body.
Processed foods, junk food and fast food trigger inflammation. Sugar is known to damage DNA, and with that DNA damage comes inflammation. Processed foods are also loaded with chemicals, pesticides, food dyes and colors, artificial ingredients and other harmful compounds that your body doesn’t need. Many of these compounds have been linked to disease. And many of these artificial ingredients slow down weight loss! Avoiding processed food is one of the single best steps you can take towards reducing inflammation in the body and safeguard your health while you improve your weight loss efforts.
It is really important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and I describe what this is in many many blogs and the entire diet can be found in the free weight loss book. If someone just switches to anti-inflammatory eating they will lose weight, no calorie counting needed and I don’t have patients or members needing to count calories.
As far as foods to lose weight……..it’s about choosing whole, non-processed filling foods:
If someone is used to liking a really full feeling after eating then they need to eat foods that will be a great calorie bang for the buck to make them feel full= high fiber. When we discuss grains we always say sprouted (un-sprouted are processed like sugar) so foods to lose weight would be high density foods like salads and sprouted whole grains combined with healthy fats. Basically – foods that will cause satiety.
The solution for effective weight loss is to focus on eating healthy whole foods, doing the “right” muscle building exercises and eating foods that are proven to boost your metabolism. Once you boost your metabolism, you can experience rapid weight loss or a steady pace of weight loss. Either way, choose healthy whole foods to lead the way.
There are four food items that will directly impact your metabolism, in a good way:
- Foods with a kick (hot peppers, wasabi, vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, garlic, salsa) and as a bonus these same foods boost your immune system!
- Any exotic food or ingredient with a similar effect, green tea (aids in weight loss, boosts metabolism, prevents diseases, and increases mood)
- Caffeine (anything like coffee, dark chocolate, and black tea creates a metabolism boost)
- Water (natural appetite suppressant, aids in digestion,ice water does speed up metabolism a bit.).
Have you repeated the question “What can I eat to lose weight?” but received no complete and honest answer. Don’t worry, I can help.
Start with making sure you have a hot beverage like herbal tea at breakfast and/or clear hot soup like miso or bouillon at each meal to signal the hypothalamus that you are getting full. Hot, herbal tea is a good addition to any meal and is a good beverage with light snacks.
Being overweight is an inflammatory condition and inflammation in and of itself slows weight loss! Yep. Our diet provides an abundance of micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants), while having a moderate calorie intake without being hungry. Aim for 30% protein/30% fat/ 40% carb (which is the ZONE diet). Stick to organic foods as much as possible and avoid GMO’s (Genetically Modified foods).
Of any health intervention, eating healthy is of most importance.
Here is the condensed version of the weight loss producing anti-inflammatory diet:
- Lean meats as much as desired: turkey, fish (only wild caught), chicken, shrimp, soy (organic & GMO free) and lean beef (only 2-3 times per week).
- Vegetables- minimum of 12 servings per day (avoid vegetables that are high density carbs)
- Nuts: 1-2 servings per day (particularly almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and brazil nuts)
- Full fat dairy, meaning greek yogurt (2-3 servings per week)
- Oils: Olive oil (dishes) & Coconut oil (cooking)
- Starches: 1-3 servings daily: only sprouted GF bread, Quinoa, and sprouted brown rice.
- Fruit: 1-3 servings daily with only whole, fresh fruit.
- Coffee: 3 cups per day max. Unlimited decaf herbal tea.
- Sweetener: Stevia- NO other sweeteners.
- Alcohol: 1 glass of red wine daily is optimal, small amounts of “hops” in beer.
- AVOID: sugar, fruit juice, refined carbs, foods labeled as “low fat”, high starch vegetables, white potatoes, corn, and all processed meats and processed foods.
- Foods Specifically for Anti-Inflammatory: Organic and non-GMO: broccoli, chick peas, tomato juice and lots of ginger!
How to stop food cravings and start today – wean off of all the other stuff that your body treats as sugar-fructose, starchy carbs, unsprouted grains…
First let’s discuss non-hunger eating a bit. Over 95% of those people looking to lose weight are doing non-hunger eating. Cravings are largely caused by excess cortisol which is produced when we are stressed or anxious. The first step towards helping curb cravings is to reduce stress and anxiety- something I will cover shortly.
Here are some things you can do which will help alleviate your cravings:
- Chew xylitol or sorbitol sweetened gum- this increases the hunger and sugar cravings a bit by elevating the brain chemical serotonin.
- Use a “precursor-nutritional-supplement”
- Sometimes the hormone oxytocin is effective (prescribed)
- Use the Ketogenic version of the anti-inflammatory diet (found in the book) to ease cravings as well.
Food cravings, if it is “generic” and someone just craves food or “feels hungry all the time”, are often fixed with increasing dopamine levels. I do this by using the amino acid L-tyrosine and a modified amino acid called SAMe.
Hunger pangs can in fact be suppressed naturally and safely. Before leaving your doctor with a prescription for a pharmaceutical weight loss medication, be aware of some of the dangers… most are stimulants, and that means not good for your health. Stimulants cause excess cortisol release which ends up impeding weight loss and almost every time someone uses a drug for weight loss, they gain the weight back! There are much better ways to lose weight..
For general food cravings which usually translates to “always hungry”, chromium nicotinate and 5-OH tryptophan are the best natural appetite suppressants.. Do NOT use 5-HTP if you are on anti-depressants or have manic depressive illness. And do not use chromium nicotinate if you are hypoglycemic or a diabetic with blood sugars which are not under control.
How to stop sugar cravings
People are told this is psychological and nope- it’s physical. It is related to low serotonin and low dopamine and a LOT of people in recovery, especially alcoholics have really high sugar cravings…..in fact you might enjoy Jay’s story from the “Motivation to lose weight” article.
Do you want to real answer on how to stop craving sweets? Wean off of sugar, do NOT use aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. These just make you crave sugar more.
And DO finish this before you go back and read that blog ,OK? And also wean off of all the other stuff that your body treats as sugar-fructose, starchy carbs, unsprouted grains…
And meanwhile yes we can stop sugar cravings:
We can increase your neurotransmitter called dopamine with l-tyrosine and SAMe and increase serotonin with 5-OH tryptophan done very carefully. (It can cause drowsiness and diarrhea if not done right.) Sometimes we need “fancy things” like oxytocin, the bonding chemical. Here’s how to amp up your oxytocin naturally-lots of hugs with your loved one, happy “bonding thoughts” and stare into your dogs’ eyes. (More about that in “Motivation to lose weight”).
But the very first thing to stop sugar cravings is to follow the basic anti-inflammatory diet but cut carbs, which causes ketosis. Ketosis works wonders for curbing sugar cravings…..which is why I always start people out with this method. This weight loss program helps you learn how to curb sugar cravings, as well as all cravings.
The first phase of the anti-aging anti-inflammatory diet is the Ketogenic diet phase where you will focus on eating protein rich foods for 2-3 days. Do not eat any fruit, veggies, cereals, dairy product, alcohol, and any caffeine – NO CARBS.
The second phase is the anti-aging-anti-inflammatory diet phase where you can start to add in vegetables and low sugar fruit for the next 2-3 days. After this phase, you enter the switching phase. This is where you transition back to the Ketogenic phase for another 2-3 days, than back to the anti-aging-anti-inflammatory diet phase for 2-3 days, and back and forth. Keep doing this until you reach your goal weight! Again-these eating plans will be yours when you finish this article and get your instant-free-PDF copy of my best selling ebook!
Exercise routines to lose weight
The most important thing to know is muscle burns calories way more efficiently than fat.
It burns 50-75 cal/lb/day and fat burns only 2 cal/lb/day. If someone is overweight they will typically have a reversal of fat to muscle ratio, so building muscle will increase metabolic rate. A not so well-known fact is that there is an “afterburn” calorie burn which is more with weight training than with cardio (4-6 hrs. with weight training and 2-3 hrs. with cardio.)
To have the best shot at sticking to a “cardio” routine is to pick something you LIKE to do and not only lose weight but improve health, immune system and brain health to name a few things. It has to go beyond the number on the scale.
Better fitness really is within reach with an easy strength workout, a couple of short stretch sessions weekly, plus doing SOMETHING “cardio.” Want a workout buddy for that home fitness program? Pair up with a spouse, friend or family member friend. Dogs are also great for your emotional and physical health. Not only has it been proven to reduce stress but dogs are great cardio partners for that walk or light jog. Don’t have one? Borrow your neighbor’s dog: both neighbor and dog may be very appreciative! You can also visit your local Humane Society to find that perfect fit for your home and your lifestyle. Then you just have to walk your dog for your cardio and you’re all set!
Final note-just do a short in-and-out of home or gym “one set-total body” weight training session so you will find the time, and not get bored. And as stated above, find cardio, or heart rate raising exercise you enjoy-there is something.