Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is The Mayo Clinic Weight Loss Diet Something For You?

Is The Mayo Clinic Weight Loss Diet Something For You? by Gary Holdon


There have been rumors going around for years that the Mayo Clinic's get-thin-quick weight loss routine says it's okay to eat all the vegetables, fruits, meat and fat you want. The real Mayo Clinic has made statements repeatedly for years that they have nothing to do with the "Mayo Clinic Diet," and they do not in any way endorse it. They have even issued statements saying that it may be unhealthy for many people.

The Mayo Clinic website is the real deal. On it you will find information for the REAL clinic, with tips and guidelines for healthy eating and diet information.

The Basics

When you lose weight, you are using up more calories than you are taking in. You have to take in less calories than you use everyday in order to lose weight. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that suits your particular lifestyle, and being physically active everyday, is the only way to lose weight.

A diet has to be individualized to your particular lifestyle in order to be effective. There is no one-size-fits-all, standardized diet. In fact, your dietary needs will change over your lifetime. You need different things at different times, and you have to always pay attention to what is happening with your body and adjust your diet accordingly.

7 Rules of Dieting

1. Try to have more fruit in your diet than vegetables. 2. Avoid or decrease intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. 3. Watch your intake of salt and sweets. 4. If you drink, be moderate and don't drink too much. 5. Think about food portion size and make sure meals aren't too big. 6. Keep an eye on your calories. 7. Make sure to get some kind of physical exercise everyday.

Carbohydrates

These provide most of the energy for your body. Foods such as whole grains, legumes and many types of beans are called "complex carbohydrates." Foods containing these complex carbohydrates are common in the Mediterranean where the incidence of obesity, heart disease and diabetes is rare.

You should get 45-65% of your calories everyday from carbohydrates. If you want to keep those carbs balanced, get lots of fruit, milk and complex carbohydrates, and watch your intake of sugar and white flour.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol actually has a vital function in our body: the function of building and maintaining cells. Cholesterol makes it easier for the cells to do this. However, our bodies make pretty much all the cholesterol we need which means that all the cholesterol from meat, eggs and dairy end up lining the sides of our arteries.

It's best to take in no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol every day.

Fat

Fat is also useful for the body. It contains energy concentrated, providing more than protein or carbs. Fat is used in the body to metabolize certain vitamins. It also contributes to healthy cells and neural pathways in the brain. But, some fats are more damaging than beneficial. Red meat, for example, contains trans and saturated fats, which have lots of cholesterol and can cause heart trouble.

Try to get only 20-35% of your calories from fat everyday, and try to get them from nuts, vegetable oil, fish oil and other non-animal sources.

Fiber

The tough part of vegetables is fiber. There is both soluble and insoluble fiber, and you need both. We get fiber from wheat, green vegetables, fruits, bran and oats.

Women should get 21-25 grams of fiber everyday. For men, it's 30-38 grams.

The real Mayo Clinic recommends a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, vegetables and moderate servings of meat. It recommends you watch what kind of fat you eat. It is stressful to lose weight suddenly and can cause health complications. The Mayo Clinic recommends losing weight over a longer period of time, so your body has time to adjust to the changes. Diet plans that sell quick weight loss plans should be avoided. Here are some guidelines according to the Mayo Clinic's Nutrition Center:

Protein

Protein is important for nearly every part of the body's system. It's in your muscles, bones, skin, organs, blood, enzymes and hormones. You get protein from a variety of sources like meat, poultry, legumes, seafood, nuts and seeds.

You should get 10-15% of your daily calories from sources rich in protein.

Find Your Own, Personalized Diet

As we said earlier, the Mayo Clinic emphasizes that you must individualize your weight loss plan. Everyone is different, and your own personal diet should match you perfectly. On their website, they provide the Daily Calorie Calculator. You can use this to help you plan an appropriate weight loss plan.

For example, this is what a typical plan might look like:

Subject: Female, 225 lbs, 5' 6" Recommendations (these are daily amounts): Sweets and candy: no more than 75 calories Fats: 3 servings Protein/ Dairy: 3 servings Carbohydrates: 4 servings Fruits: at least 3 servings (more is okay) Vegetables: at least 4 servings (more is okay) Vegetables: 4 or more servings

On the site, you can also find sample menus that include number of calories and special ideas to help you lose weight. Here is an example of the type of tips you will see:

Eat more vegetables and fruits with all your meals Try out some foods you are not used to and also try different combinations of your favorites Eat a salad or soup before your main meals Open a health food cooking book and grab some healthy cooking ideas By the way, have you ever heard about energy density?

What Is Energy Density?

This is rate the Mayo Clinic uses to determine how much energy a given food will provide. It is a comparison of the number of calories in a food and food portion size. If, for example, you consider a sugary desert like chocolate cake, it is high in energy density, so a small amount of cake will give you lots of energy. However, it takes more cake than other, less energy dense foods, to make you feel food. Broccoli, on the other hand, has very low energy density, so you eat much less broccoli and feel full.

The ideas of the Mayo Clinic are really nothing new, but they are based on sound dietary concepts. They emphasize eating a balanced diet and shedding pounds slowly and steady over time. Beware of imposters who use the Clinic's good name to sell their get-thin-quick diet scams!

About the Author

Gary Holdon is a writer and internet publisher who likes to publish Weight Loss and diet articles. You can go to Weight Loss Plan for more.

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