What, How Much, and When


     The American diet is poor. We all know that. Most people do make attempts to eat more healthy foods.  What we eat is extremely important to our health. It's only one of the components of eating well.
     We should all be eating more vegetables. When eating meats we should be eating leaner cuts and certainly more fish in our diet is a plus.  When cooking, we should bake, broil, or grill rather than fry. We should eat fruits but be mindful that they are a source of sugar and can be overdone.  Before refrigeration, our ancestors ate fruit only seasonally and used it as a means to put on body fat in preparation for the food limited winter.  Now we can have fruit year round and if we eat too much it gets converted to fat. Probably the ideal food for us humans is fish and plants.
How Much?
     Though what we eat is important, how much we eat is also key.  I have many patients that eat a very healthy diet and are dramatically overweight.  How much we eat determines how much body fat we produce.  If we eat more calories than we utilize then any excess is converted to storage fat. The typical American diet is a one or two meal plan.  These limited number of meals provide more calories than will be utilized and the extra fuel is placed in storage in the body.  Many people believe that by eating less often they will keep the weight off. That only works if the total calories eaten are equal to the total consumed.  Also, because we eat one or two larger meals, the fat is built within hours of the meal as our body is overwhelmed with excess fuel.  Eating multiple small meals throughout the day will allow your body to utilize all the fuel and avoid fat production.
     The third factor in weight gain and trouble losing weight relates to when we eat.  Again most Americans skip breakfast ( and a Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino is not breakfast...its 670 calories though ).  They grab a quick fast food lunch and then eat a large calorie laden dinner. This is a recipe for weight gain. Because people avoid proper food during the day, they tend to eat too much at night - Netflix and snacks.  Sumo wrestlers become so large because they eat two meals a day.  The meals they eat are late in the day.  Their caloric intake is 10,000 calories at each meal.  That's how a person gets to 400 pounds.  Consume the bulk of your calories earlier in the day.  As the old saying goes:  "Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Supper like a Pauper".
     To lose weight and keep it off, we must eat leaner and healthier foods.  Eat smaller portions 4-6 times a day, and get 70 to 80% of your daily calories before 6:00pm. Now there's a recipe for LEAN.

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