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  1. Drink water
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Walk after eating
  4. Floss your teeth
  5. Use the stairs
  6. Play a sport
  7. Take vitamins
  8. Go dancing
  9. One less cookie
 10. Stretch daily

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Nutrition:  Balanced Diet of Nutrients, Water & Fats

--- excerpts from an interview with food industry expert

Most diets fail. Lifestyle change is needed.
95% of diets fail and what it really comes down to if you want to lose weight it has to be something that you decide to make as a lifestyle change. You know, a diet is only temporary. You go on it and what are you going to do eventually? You are going to go off it. In my definition that is not a lifestyle change that is a temporary fix. You know that is human nature. You go on the diet and eventually you are going to go off it and revert back to you old eating habits and gain the weight back.

It all comes down to understanding a little bit more to understanding the foods that you are eating and a choice to make a lifestyle change. Also almost all of these diet plans introduce a new way of eating, a way that is abnormal to the way that you are used to eating and we are creatures of habit and we like the foods that we are used to.

And because we are creatures of habit we donít adapt very well to changes like that. We can go on it for a while and because it is so abnormal it just doesnít fit. If you are a busy mom and you are rushing your kids back and forth to school you then all of the sudden you have to prepare these kinds of foods and eat these certain foods it basically forces you off the diet. It all comes down to the fact that you have to make a decision that you are going to change the way you eat and it doesnítí have to be an abrupt change you just need to understand more about what you are eating and what the energy value is and the nutrient value is of the foods you are consuming.

Keeping track of what you eat
I know the nutritional value of the foods I am eating. I keep a running tabulation in my mind of the foods I have eaten and what I am going to eat today and how I am going to balance it out. I know that if I have been naughty in eating too many chocolate chip cookies then the next day I am going to watch what I eat.

Our eating habits are so ingrained. How can we change them? If you are doing something healthy for yourself, it can be easier to put aside the unhealthy habits.

When you do something like walk 15 minutes and then you are standing in front of the chocolate chip cookies you are more likely to start thinking, "Should I eat those cookies or shouldnít I?" It becomes a little more easier to make healthy choices. The more healthy choices you make the easier it is to incorporate more.

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Exercise Burns Calories

Make healthy choices
Itís almost like the unhealthy choices donít fit anymore. They are incompatible with the healthy choices. As I kick around health and nutrition with people that are into it like I am, I find that if you do exercise and have more muscle mass you burn more calories when you are at rest. Lean muscle mass has a higher metabolic requirement. When you are just sitting around and your body has more lean muscle mass you are going to burn more calories than if your body contains fatty tissue.

Itís kind of a cruel injustice but the fitter you get even at rest you are burning more calories. The basil metabolic requirement on a daily basis may be a very small percent of your total energy needs as compared to other ways you burn energy. The basil metabolic requirement is just how much energy you need to sustain your basic metabolic processes, like breathing, heartbeat and digestion and those things.

Just what is a well balanced diet?
Following the food pyramid is a good place to start and maybe itís a good place to end for some people. If you take all the food somebody eats at the end of the week and then add them all up and how much variety there was, you will find that there really wasnít that much variety.

People generally have a dozen foods they like to eat and they will end up eating the same foods day after day for most of their life and that are where you run into problems. You get stuck in a rut and fail to incorporate a vast variety into your diet and fail to get the nutritional balance that you should be getting. If you know nothing about food but incorporate a lot of variety into your diet the chances of your being malnourished because you donít get the right nutrients goes down hill.

Fruits and Vegetables
My wife does the grocery shopping and she and I like fresh fruit and vegetables. We will just take a big salad bowl and fill it like the diet out there called the Rainbow diet. Itís based on all the different colors of fruits and vegetables. So I will take purple grapes and onions and garlic and sprinkle some lettuce and if we have fresh strawberries I will add those cantaloupe and really your imagination is your only limitation. You know, just basically add all your favorite fruits and vegetables and throw in a couple of tablespoons of your favorite dressing and season it to taste. Mix it all up and you have an incorporation of all of that variety. You get all of the vitamins and the nutrients and the minerals that you need in just one meal instead of just ingesting one kind of food.

More variety = Better diet
My point is the more variety you can get in your diet the greater the possibility that if you are lacking in something that you are going to get it. I am an advocate of getting variety in your diet. It all comes down to looking at your budget and having some knowledge of getting what you need and looking at the food labels.

Even the restaurants and the fast food chains are starting to offer more nutritious choices, like salads. Subway is one that has really jumped on the bandwagon. You know the one with Jared standing there saying this deep fat fried sandwich contains 45 plus grams of fat I wonder how they got all that fat in there to begin with and compare it to the subway sandwich.

I saw an interview where they were talking with the producer of Sesame Street and they were talking about the cookie monster and how it was presented in a way to get kids to eat more junk food and more cookies. Now they have repositioned that whole program to where they are starting to teach kids more about nutrition. I am hoping that one of the things that are happening is that there is awareness about nutrition and this obesity epidemic. Some people are just succumbing to obesity and the things that come with it like cancer and heart disease and diabetes. Itís good to see some positive changes taking place.

Why do we sometimes crave certain foods? Can it be that your body is sending you a message?
You know that in some developing cultures there is a craving that some people have and I believe it is called Pica. It is where a person will have a craving to eat a particular food item and it doesnít always have to be a food item, it can be dirt or something that isnít a food at all. The theory is that people will have a craving for certain things that will provide a nutrient that is lacking.

In our culture I donít think it is metabolic for food cravings. You know if you are used to consuming sugary sweets and that is all you eat, your metabolism adapts and guides you to the foods you are used to consuming.

An example of that would be someone who has gone on a vegetarian diet and eliminate meat from their diet temporarily. Then they start to reintroduce meat and their stomach is upset. Their stomach is not used to digesting that kind of food. They have adapted to digesting just non-meat items. There are food digestive adaptations to the kinds of food that you eat. One would have to believe that those are the kinds of foods that you get used to.

Do we become hungry because our stomach is empty or is it because of something else?
That is a tricky question. There are people who have studied this and can boil it right down to all kinds of enzymes and mechanisms that kick into play that stimulate appetite or depress appetite. Individual metabolism is so significant individually that I am sure that you can feel that on a general basis.

One thing that I can say is when I go exercise and I get back and sit down I need to replenish my water intake. The next thing that I find is that if I find a combination of fruits to eat it will suppress my hunger because fruits are primarily water and sugar and carbohydrates. But the digestive process is pretty rapid when it comes to breaking down sugars into glucose and the glucose is stored in your body. So digestion of fruits in particular is pretty rapid. I can consume a lot of fresh fruits and it doesnít satisfy my hunger.

Exercise and appetite
I will still have hunger pains because the digestion is completed so rapidly as opposed to protein, which takes longer. It almost seems like exercise can suppress appetite but I think you have to balance that whole idea with how much exercise you are doing and how many calories your body needs to replace and what kinds of food you are going to consume when you are done.

It is complex to think about why people are gaining weight. Many groups are studying this and trying to help people lose weight. Each of these communities have their own theories and their own recommendations. They all study it in a different way - some try to understand the psychology and some try to understand the nutritional aspects of it. If it was better understood, we probably wouldnít be having the problems we are having today.

Nutrients decrease the risk of some diseases. Are there certain foods containing these nutrients that lend themselves to good health?
The bottom line is there is no magic pill. It wasnít until the 1940ís that we as a country started to put together nutritional requirements in relation to disease and when we started to establish the different recommendations.

If you take that historical perspective and go back you find that in the early years there were just a few nutrients for which the recommended daily allowances were established and through the years, through the studies and the whole process of understanding we have continued to add to the list of things that are required. It hasnít been until quite recently that we have learned about trace nutrients like selenium and things like that, that have recently been added to the list. Those levels continue to change as we learn more. One of the things that interest me is the addition to the list; it is almost a never-ending process. I always come back to the concept of nutrition and variety and not getting locked into a few fixed food items.

Just to clarify, in the most basic form what are the basic nutrients?
The level of protein in your diet and a certain amount of carbohydrates to provide energy and a certain amount of fat. Those are the main building blocks and the body requires certain enzymes and vitamins and minerals. A good quality protein contains certain amino acids and then you break it down into smaller blocks called peptides. Basically it just comes down to protein, fat and vitamins and minerals to keep metabolic process continued.

What is a non-nutrient?
Basically it would be something that didnít contain any calories or a source of protein, carbohydrates or vitamins and minerals. Water would be non-caloric. It is a non-nutrient, but very important.

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