No-Diet Tip for Enlightened Eating

Eat healthily. Lose weight.

Posted Feb 24, 2011

San Franscisco State University professor emeritus and health educator, Dr. Susan Tapper, shares her best tip for dieting:

"Eat healthy foods and eat more. These are the foods that deliver important nutrients to support all your body functions and that help keep your weight healthy and level.  

"That's right, you can eat more!  Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and you will be able to eat much more and feel satisfied by doing so. Let's look at one way to make enlightened eating choices.

"Compare a cup of pinto beans to a five-ounce steak.  The cup gives you 265 calories. The steak is 300 calories.  That is a 35 calorie difference.  That's a small caloric difference. The beans give 15 grams of protein to the steak's 44.  "Oh," you say, "let's go with the steak."  Before you rush to your local butcher for that filet, let's zoom in on this issue.

"With three cups of beans you get 45 grams of protein. You've equalized the protein count of the steak. You do this without adding to your dreaded cholesterol count. The steak delivers 120 milligrams of cholesterol and 12 grams of fat.  The steak provides other nutrients as well, but doesn't stack up against the bean's complex carbohydrates advantage.   Your beans give you 26 grams of complex carbohydrates, 15 grams of dietary fiber, one gram of fat, plus other nutrients.  Eating foods that are lower in calories (lower energy dense foods) is normally healthy. Moreover, the beans will give you a sensation of satiety. Feeling full helps take away biological urges to eat more. Bottom of Form

"It's a dream of every dieter to lose weight, level off, and keep it off.  That takes an awareness of the quality of the foods you eat, as well as the quantity. Taking it off, leveling off, and keeping it off is as much a numbers game as one of self-discipline.  The bean-steak comparison suggests one angle for making enlightened eating decisions.  But you still have calories to keep in mind.  It helps to make that calculation.  

"Complications can arise at the self-discipline side of the ledger.  Knowledge and numbers won't help  when you thwart your weight loss goal  by automatically and mindlessly eating even when you are not hungry, eating to dodge stress, eating to feel comfortable, and procrastinating on starting and sticking with your no-diet weight-loss plan.

"Can you cook a steak every now and then?  Most will.  However, by studying the nutrient content of what you eat, and following a life plan for healthy eating, you may find more energy and time to enjoy your life.

" For starting your no-diet program, see No-Diet Weight Loss

"If you are procrastinating on starting or sustaining your no-diet program, see Dallying With Dieting

"The Volumentrics Weight-Control Plan by Barbara Rolls and Robert Barnett gives examples of healthy foods. The authors make suggestions for selecting the least energy dense foods (lower calorie) that also provide a sense of fullness." 

(c) Dr. Susan Tapper