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Jul 27, 2017

Healthy Dieting, Healthy Living

The truth about fad diets and super foods. Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise. Some fad diets claim that they make you lose fat, but it’s really water weight you’re losing.  In tonight’s Healthy Living segment, we look at the promises of quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Fad diets are defined as diets that claim to make you drop a large amount of weight in an unnaturally fast period. Nutritionist Doris Sutherland, says in her practice, she finds more and more Belizeans buying into the false promises of fad diets.


Doris Sutherland

Doris Sutherland, Nutritionist, Belize Healthcare

“There are many trends and what we call fad diets that people would jump in as an easy solution for weight loss. We have patients who go completely who go completely flour free or gluten free and some who would completely eliminate fats or consume other foods that they would think are very healthy but then they are just doing the complete opposite.”


Similarly, there is a growing interest in superfoods. Superfoods have no medical definition but it is commonly used to describe foods that are believed to be of great nutritional benefits and believed to help with certain medical conditions. Because of these beliefs, they are often consumed in large quantities which actually is bad for your health.  One of the latest health food trends that many may misunderstand is the use of the healthy fats in the diet. The popularity of coconut oil, avocado and nuts are just a few examples.


Doris Sutherland

“Our body does need a certain amount of fat. The amount would depend on the person’s weight and activity level. However, there are different types of fats some are bad fats and some are good fats. We find the bad fats in saturated fats and also in trans fats. These would normally be in red meats, in processed meats and in coconut oil. Lately it has been published that coconut oil for example can help reduce for example cholesterol or heart disease but if we look at the label; it is up to eighty-four percent saturated fat. When we talk about healthy fats, we’re talking about nuts, avocado and different vegetable oils.”


But, here’s the catch, before you start loading up on the guacamole and almonds, it is important to know that there are recommended portions for even these healthy fats.


Doris Sutherland

“When it comes to nuts a person can have up to one or two portions for a day. We can use our hands a measurement. When we have nuts, we say you can have a handful but it’s not a handful, it’s what can fit in the center of palm of your hand and usually that’s about ten to fifteen nuts. If you’re not at risk of heart disease then you can incorporate coconut oil but not every day. If you’re a person with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then maybe coconut oil is not an option.  Avocado, we would recommend a one-third of a whole avocado for the entire day.”


Another food group that many are mistakenly making poor choices is in their choice of carbohydrates. So how healthy is it to go gluten free? Or what about switching to wheat products? Should you use natural sugar or artificial sweetners? Sutherland weighs in.


Doris Sutherland

“When it comes to wheat we know wheat is always better than having one hundred percent full flour because wheat has fiber. Fiber not only helps to regulate digestion but it also helps to keep you full for a longer time. Normally the only people that should go on a gluten free diet are those that are intolerant to the wheat. Let’s say they’ll diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Then it is recommended that they do a gluten test and then go gluten free. However, there’s no recommendation for having a gluten free diet for weight loss. If you go gluten free you consume less fiber, less nutrients, less magnesium, iron which are found in wheat. When it comes to sweeteners or sugars we can divide these into white sugar, brown sugar or substitute sugars. The substitute sugars a we can finds them in splenda, equal, sweet and low, stevia, and many others. There is no difference between white sugar or brown sugar. However, there is a difference between sweeteners and natural whole sugars. For example sweeteners have no calories what has been found with these sweeteners is that in a diet coke for example, it has been found to increase your appetite. So you have to be careful when choosing sweeteners and having them in moderation. The suggested portion would be one tablespoon for the day.”


Marleni Cuellar

“The entire day?”


Doris Sutherland

“The entire day.”


Doris explains that if you want to eat healthy, you can continue to have your usual favorites, but with the right portion sizes and with addition of fruits and vegetables.


Doris Sutherland

“It is very possible to continue to eat our regular foods. It’s just knowing the amounts that we should have throughout the day. We can compare handful, which is the recommended of fruits and vegetables. Normally it would be three servings of vegetables and two fruit or three fruit and two vegetables.  Also when we have rice, pasta or potato, what is recommend is one fits or one cup. When we have cheese for example we should compare it to our two fingers. When we have oils, we can have the tip of our finger that’s how much oil to have. We cannot just choose one meal that will make us be healthy, there is no super food that will help us to lose weight or that will control our blood sugar. We need to have a variety of meals and that is the only we would obtain all the nutrients that we need.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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