There is a secret to weight loss that everyone should know about. Inevitably, whenever I forget this secret I start to put on weight. In the book EAT TO LIVE by Dr. Furhman he explains this very clearly. Simply put, here is his formula:
HEALTH = Nutrients/ Calories
which he refers to the nutrient-density of our diet.
Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories. Calories come from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients come from noncaloric factors including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. "Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients to calories."
Our stomachs can only hold about a liter of food. The secret is to fill that stomach with calories that are packed with the most nutrients. Lets take olive oil for example. To fill your stomach with olive oil would give yourself very few nutrients yet pack it with calories. You want to do the opposite. Fill your stomach with nutrients that come from foods with fewer calories. These are referred to as nutrient-dense foods. It is pretty clear which foods will let you feel full with the least amount of calories - FRUITS and VEGETABLES.
In EAT TO LIVE, Dr. Furhman gives food a nutrient-density score based on total vitamin and mineral content, identified phytochemicals, and anitoxidant activity. 100 being the highest nutrient density score and 0 being the lowest.
100 Raw leafy green vegetables (darker green has more nutrients) - romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale, collards, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley
97 Solid green vegetables (raw, steamed, or frozen) - artichokes, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, kohlrabi, okra, peas, peppers, snow peas, string beans, zucchini
50 Non-green, non- starchy vegetables - beets, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cauliflower
48 Beans/legumes (cooked, canned, or sprouted) - red kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, cowpeas, navy beans, cannellini beans, soybeans, lentils, white beans, lima beans, pigeon peas, black-eyed peas, black beans.
45 Fresh fruits - apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, cantaloupes, grapefruits, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, all melons, oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, plums, raspberries. strawberries, tangerines.
35 Starchy Vegetables - white potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, winter squash, parsnips, pumpkins, turnips, corn, carrots, chestnuts.
22 Whole Grains - barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa.
20 Raw nuts and seeds - almonds, cashews, filberts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
13 Fat-free dairy
11 Wild meats and fowl
8 Red meat
4 Full-fat dairy
2 Refined grains (white flour)
1 Refined oils
0 Refined sweets
Dr. Furhmans message is very clear. To keep weight off, we need to eat the foods with the most nutrients...plain and simple. Okay not always simple to do, but very simple to understand! Even if you are necessarily interested in weight-loss, this is by far the best way to maitnain overall health.