Thursday January 17, 2019

The Role Carbs Play in Our Diet

To help people lose weight, Li examines her patients' eating and physical activity routines to identify improvements people will be able to live with.

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Diet
A dish of steak and cheese pasta is ready to eat in Concord, N.H., June 9, 2014. Two major studies in 2018 provided more fuel for the debate around carbs and fats, yet failed to offer a resolution to the polarizing matter of the best way to lose weight. VOA

Bacon and black coffee for breakfast, or oatmeal and bananas?

If you’re planning to try to lose weight in 2019, you’re sure to find a fierce debate online and among friends and family about how best to do it. It seems like everyone has an opinion, and new fads emerge every year.

Two major studies last year provided more fuel for a particularly polarizing topic — the role carbs play in making us fat. The studies gave scientists some clues, but, like other nutrition studies, they can’t say which diet — if any — is best for everyone.

That’s not going to satisfy people who want black-and-white answers, but nutrition research is extremely difficult and even the most respected studies come with big caveats. People are so different that it’s all but impossible to conduct studies that show what really works over long periods of time.

Before embarking on a weight loss plan for the new year, here’s a look at some of what was learned last year.

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There’s no better time to start diet than during the dark, gloomy days of winter. Flickr

Fewer carbs, fewer pounds?

It’s no longer called the Atkins Diet, but the low-carb school of dieting has been enjoying a comeback. The idea is that the refined carbohydrates in foods like white bread are quickly converted into sugar in our bodies, leading to energy swings and hunger.

By cutting carbs, the claim is that weight loss will be easier because your body will instead burn fat for fuel while feeling less hungry. A recent study seems to offer more support for low-carb proponents. But, like many studies, it tried to understand just one sliver of how the body works.

The study, co-led by an author of books promoting low-carb diets, looked at whether varying carb levels might affect how the body uses energy. Among 164 participants, it found those on low-carb diets burned more total calories than those on high-carb diets.

The study did not say people lost more weight on a low-carb diet — and didn’t try to measure that. Meals and snacks were tightly controlled and continually adjusted so everyone’s weights stayed stable.

David Ludwig, a lead author of the paper and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, said it suggests limiting carbs could make it easier for people to keep weight off once they’ve lost it. He said the approach might work best for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

fibre, bipolar, diet
Foods rich in fibre was found to reduce this adverse effects of stress in mice. Pixabay

Ludwig noted the study wasn’t intended to test long-term health effects or real-world scenarios where people make their own food. The findings also need to be replicated to be validated, he said.

Caroline Apovian of Boston University’s School of Medicine said the findings are interesting fodder for the scientific community, but that they shouldn’t be taken as advice for the average person looking to lose weight.

Do I avoid fat to be skinny?

For years people were advised to curb fats, which are found in foods including meat, nuts, eggs, butter and oil. Cutting fat was seen as a way to control weight, since a gram of fat has twice as many calories than the same amount of carbs or protein.

Many say the advice had the opposite effect by inadvertently giving us license to gobble up fat-free cookies, cakes and other foods that were instead full of the refined carbs and sugars now blamed for our wider waistlines.

Nutrition experts gradually moved away from blanket recommendations to limit fats for weight loss. Fats are necessary for absorbing important nutrients and can help us feel full. That doesn’t mean you have to subsist on steak drizzled in butter to be healthy.

Diet
Eat more fruit and vegetables to lower blood pressure. Pixabay

Bruce Y. Lee, a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins, said the lessons learned from the anti-fat fad should be applied to the anti-carb fad: Don’t oversimplify advice.

“There’s a constant look for an easy way out,” Lee said.

Which is better?

Another big study this past year found low-carb diets and low-fat diets were about equally as effective for weight loss. Results varied by individual, but after a year, people in both groups shed an average of 12 to 13 pounds.

The author noted the findings don’t contradict Ludwig’s low-carb study. Instead, they suggest there may be some flexibility in the ways we can lose weight. Participants in both groups were encouraged to focus on minimally processed foods like produce and meat prepared at home. Everyone was advised to limit added sugar and refined flour.

“If you got that foundation right, for many, that would be an enormous change,” said Christopher Gardner of Stanford University and one of the study’s authors.

Limiting processed foods could improve most diets by cutting down overall calories, while still leaving wiggle room for people’s preferences. That’s important, because for a diet to be effective, a person has to be able to stick to it. A breakfast of fruit and oatmeal may be filling for one person, but leave another hungry soon after.

Diet
Junk Food is highly rich in Cholesterol, pixabay

Gardner notes the study had its limitations, too. Participants’ diets weren’t controlled. People were instead instructed on how to achieve eating a low-carb or low-fat in regular meetings with dietitians, which may have provided a support network most dieters don’t have.

What works?

In the short term you can probably lose weight by eating only raw foods, or going vegan, or cutting out gluten, or following another diet plan that catches your eye. But what will work for you over the long term is a different question.

Also Read: Improve Your Food Delivery Service this Crazy Winter Season

Zhaoping Li, director of clinical nutrition division at the University of California, Los Angeles, says there is no single set of guidelines that help everyone lose weight and keep it off. It’s why diets often fail — they don’t account for the many factors that drive us to eat what we do.

To help people lose weight, Li examines her patients’ eating and physical activity routines to identify improvements people will be able to live with.

“What sticks is what matters,” Li said. (VOA)

Next Story

Improve Your Food Delivery Service this Crazy Winter Season

Offer discounts exclusive to mobile users to encourage them to hit the order button and buy from you right away.

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food, delivery
There is no use preparing for an influx of food delivery orders if you don’t let people know that you are offering food delivery. Pixabay

Many restaurants see a winter sales slump right after the hectic holiday rush. The cold, harsh weather makes it hard to get people keen on getting out of the house to eat out. it’s also that time of the year when people want to take a break after all the stress and excitement of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But just because people aren’t dining out doesn’t mean your restaurant has to suffer a revenue dip.

The foodservice industry has seen a rise in delivery orders these past few years thanks to the emergence of delivery services such as GrubHub and UberEats. And there’s no better time to start offering steaming hot, fresh food delivered straight to customers’ doorsteps than during the dark, gloomy days of winter.

Food Waste, food, delivery
It helps to entice customers with special deals and discounts for their first orders as well. VOA

 

There are quite a few preparations you need to make, though. Aside from the obvious, such as preparing your restaurants equipments and investing in a new walk in freezer or walk in cooler to accommodate extra items, the following are things to keep in mind before offering food delivery.

  1. Serve the right food items for delivery.

A survey conducted by GrubHub shows that people’s appetites change according to the season. In winter, people order more warm, filling foods such as tom yum soup, chimichanga, and turkey sandwich. Also, there are less orders of comfort foods, such as pizza and mac ‘n cheese, because people are more concerned about eating immunity-boosting foods, such as chicken soup and vegetable soup.

 

Food , delivery
There’s no better time to start offering steaming hot, food delivered than during the dark, gloomy days of winter. Flickr

 

  1. Don’t forget the drinks.

If people can’t come to your Happy Hour, then why don’t you bring Happy Hour straight to their homes? Hot drinks such as mulled wine, hot toddy, or hot chocolate are more popular for obvious reasons in wintertime. It goes without saying that you should invest in the right logistics to ensure the temperature and flavor of your hot drinks remain the same.

  1. Use insulated food bags.

Insulation ensures your food and drink items are kept at the ideal serving temperatures. There are plenty of insulated food bags on the market, which can be used for a variety of items. Nylon and vinyl bags are the best for winter because these are made from water-resistant material that are perfect for cold, snowy, or rainy days. Nylon bags are breathable and have an advantage over vinyl bags by letting out steam to ensure items such as pizza crusts remain crisp inside the bag.

 

Food Delivery
Share photos of hot, steamy foods on your social media pages and tell customers you’re accepting food delivery right now.

 

  1. Ramp up your marketing.

There is no use preparing for an influx of food delivery orders if you don’t let people know that you are offering food delivery. Use all channels to inform customers about your new service. Train staff to let customers know that you’re accepting delivery orders. Post about it on all your social media pages and send out mass emails to your subscribers. It helps to entice customers with special deals and discounts for their first orders as well.

Also Read: Swiggy Raises $1bn From Venture Funds

  1. Go mobile.

It’s wintertime. Many people are very likely lounging on the couch scrolling down their Facebook news feeds on their phones. Take advantage of this by upping your social media game. Share photos of hot, steamy foods on your social media pages and tell customers you’re accepting food delivery right now. Offer discounts exclusive to mobile users to encourage them to hit the order button and buy from you right away.