The Four Main Elements of an Unhealthy Diet
For anyone trying to lose weight, it might seem like there is a huge, difficult-to-cross gap between an unhealthy diet that causes weight gain, and a healthy diet that makes it easier to lose weight.
But when you look at the basic elements of an unhealthy diet, you’ll see that the gap isn’t that big and, with determination, you can cross it:
- Too Much Fat, or not Enough: Despite its villainous reputation. Fat is only a problem if you have too much of it. Or too little. Fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet. But if you get too much, the excess is stored as unhealthy body fat. If you get too little, your body may not get the nutrition it needs, which can cause it to fight against your weight loss efforts. Use the following guidelines to determine how much fat you should consume each day:
- Total Fat – You should get between 20% and 35% of you daily calories from fat. That’s about 600 calories for women and 750 calories for men.
- Saturated Fat – Including the fat you get from meat and dairy products, should not comprise more than 7% of your daily calorie intake, or 140 calories per day of saturated fat for women and 175 calories for men.
- Trans-Fat – If there is a ‘bad’ fat, this is it. Your body produces almost all of the trans-fat it needs. You should consume a little trans-fat as possible.
- Unsaturated Fat – The remaining fat in your diet should come from unsaturated fats, which are generally those you get from nuts, grains and vegetables. In women, that’s 440 calories from unsaturated fat and 550 calories for men.
- Way too Much Salt – Salt (sodium) is an essential nutrient that we need to get from our diet every day if we want to stay healthy. Without salt, our muscles would not work properly, including our heart.The good news is that we only need a very small amount of salt a day, less than half a teaspoon.
The bad news is the average Canadian gets more than double the amount of salt they need (about a teaspoon a day). Too much salt can contribute to:
- An Enlarged Heart
- Kidney Ailments
- Dehydration & Swelling
- Digestion Problems
- Hormone Imbalances
- … and most of these issues affect your weight management
- Too Many Processed Foods – At least those that are high in fats, sugars (carbohydrates) and salt. It’s where getting to know and understand nutrition labels can be a valuable part of your weight management program.Food manufacturers add sugars, fats and salt to processed food as flavour enhancers. Salt is a preservative too. While they all make food taste great, your body ends up with too much of them and it can’t burn off the extra calories, and they end up as body fat.
- Not Enough Fruits and Vegetables – One of the easiest ways to convert to a healthy diet is to substitute most of the processed, high-salt and high-fat foods you eat with the right fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains. You would still get all the sugars, salt and fat you need, but the fats would mainly be healthier unsaturated fats, the sugars would be slower-to-digest complex carbs, and there would be far less danger of getting too much salt.
Weight management isn’t all about cutting calories and eating less. It’s more about eating proper portions of the right foods, like those found in a healthy, balanced diet. Your local Herbal One nutrition professional can help you get into a balanced diet plan that gives you the nutrition your body needs to help you lose weight and keep it off without feeling hungry.