Staying in shape is important, but the dieting world is full of confusing advice and contradictory evidence. While one fad tells you to nix the carbs, another cautions against meat. If you’re feeling panicked at the thought of hitting the grocery store, you’re not alone. To achieve long-term health, you need to take a balanced approach with plenty of common sense amid the diet trends of the day. Here are some nerve-wracking diet tips that you can now safely ignore.
You Must Avoid Fats
Despite their intimidating name, fats are not the enemy and they will not necessarily make you fat if you choose the right ones. Unfortunately, the easiest fats to consume are indeed bad for you. High-fat snack foods are a disaster. Not only do they contain unhealthy fats, they’re usually packed with bad cholesterol and sugar as well.
There are many fats that are good for you, though. In fact, healthy adults should get 20 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat. Make sure you get these in the form of healthy fats, like:
- Corn, safflower, canola, olive, and peanut oils
- Fatty fish
Just Count Calories
All calories are not created equal. While it’s true that the key to weight loss is to consume a reasonable amount of calories, you won’t really be healthy unless these calories are high quality. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Look for calories that also provide valuable vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Avoid empty calories, like those in snack foods and desserts, that don’t carry any real value.
Steer Clear of Carbs
The debate over carbs has raged for years. Carbs are high in calories, so limiting them can lead to weight loss, but there are many healthy carbs that offer a wealth of benefits. Whole grains, legumes, and even some vegetables offer healthy carbohydrates. Consuming these good carbs can lower your glycemic load and insulin demand, reducing your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Just aim for whole grains and plant-based carbohydrates in place of refined bread products and sugary treats.
Unless you suffer from celiac disease or are truly gluten intolerant, you don’t need to worry about products with gluten in them. If you suspect you have one of these conditions, consult with a doctor before radically changing your diet. A site like curely.co can help you connect with a doctor quickly online.
Cholesterol is Bad
There are two types of cholesterol—LDL and HDL. LDL is also known as “bad cholesterol” and should be avoided. However, HDL is “good cholesterol” and a healthy part of any diet. HDL actually removes harmful LDL from your system. Raise your HDL by eating plenty of nuts, seafood, olive oil, oatmeal, and avocado. Many of these options are high in fat, so consume mindfully but don’t be afraid to include them in your diet.
Slogging your way through the latest diet trends to find reliable information is always a challenge, but it’s worth the effort to achieve lasting results and good health with a well-rounded diet.