People are bumping a whole lot into the term “diet”. But do you ever wonder if, diet programs are good or bad? Because when you say diet, it’s about restriction based plan that tells you exactly what you can and cannot eat. Agreed? Ok! In the beginning, you must have been on both sides of this good or bad argument. Every journey towards sustainable health and wellness began with a strict calorie counting protocol. Then after years of yo-yo dieting, the opposite end of the spectrum comes by saying, & Diets don’t work!
Mostly, people on diet label food under two main categories: Good: slimming & right foods and the second one are bad: fattening foods. The very nature of diets is to train us to think of the foods as good foods and bad foods because they supposedly make us gain weight or cause all sorts of health conditions.
Let’s take you to the pros and cons of 3 main elements of a diet so that you can choose your food and diet accordingly!
Good VS Bad Fats: Saturated and trans fats (bad fats) have negligible healthful benefits towards the body as compared to unsaturated fats (good fats). This means unsaturated fats are a wiser and healthy dietary choice. Saturated fats are animal fats and it is found in high-fat meats and dairy products such as beef, pork, and lamb, dark chicken meat and poultry skin, high-fat dairy foods (sour cream, milk, ice cream, butter and cheese). Eating too much-saturated fat increases harmful blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Trans fat generally appears in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
These are known as the worst fats for you and you might find it in fried foods (french fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods) vegetable shortening, bakery food items (cookies, cakes, pastries) and processed snacks (crackers, potato chips) whereas, the unsaturated fats contain one or more double or triple bonds between the molecules. These fats are liquid at room temperature. They are also found in solid foods.
This group is further classified into two categories called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats and found in avocados and avocado oil, olives and olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, chia seeds and sesame seeds.
Good VS Bad Carbs: Simple carbs (bad carbs) are consisting of just one of two sugar molecules. Simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar faster and usually higher than complex carbohydrates (good carbs). Simple carbohydrates are present in processed foods, such as table sugar, candy, syrups and sweet beverages like soda. Simple carbohydrates don’t have an additional component, like fibre, to slow digestion and they also lack in the nutritional value whereas, complex carbs are starches. They made up of long chains of sugar molecules and that makes them longer to digest. Since complex carbs take more to digest than simple carbohydrates, most sources do not increase blood sugars as quickly as simple carbohydrates.
Foods belong to this category are starches, such as legumes, grains, peas, and potatoes. The least processed or refined one is known as the healthiest type of complex carbohydrates.
Whole grains (rather than refined grains), starchy vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, and legumes are the best types of complex carbohydrates. Examples of such foods are brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur, oatmeal, other whole grains.
Good VS Bad Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is used by your body as a building block to produce hormones, Vitamin D, and digestive juices and that’s how it helps you break-down fats in your body. There are two types of cholesterol HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol).
HDL cholesterol protects the body against narrowing blood vessels whereas, LDL cholesterol makes arterial narrowing worse. There is a third type of cholesterol called VLDL (very-low-density lipoproteins), which is another type of bad cholesterol and generally produced in the liver.
LDL cholesterol caused by High-fat diet, Obesity, Sedentary lifestyle, Genetics, Alcoholism and smoking. Foods like Oatmeal, Whole grains, Barley, Beans, Fruits and vegetables, Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, lettuce and Avocado helps in lowering the LDL. Raising HDL by diet is very difficult. Try to eat food low in fat and high in fibre and lose weight, quit smoking and cut sugar out of your diet.
Over to you
Good VS Bad fight is never going to end but understanding the importance of good nutrients in diet will enable you to choose the best for health. Hence, choose what it takes you to be healthy and restrain from what harms your body!