If you’re overweight, slim down. „Carrying around 10 or 20 pounds of excess weight in the form of body fat is like dragging an anchor,“ says Wayne Askew, PhD, professor of nutrition and director of the division of foods and nutrition at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. „The best way to feel energetic is to maintain a proper body weight for your height and frame size.“
Forget crash-dieting. It’s pretty hard not to get enough calories in our food-privileged country, but lots of women go out of their way to do just that. Low-calorie diets—fewer than 1,200 calories a day, depending on your size—can sap your energy. For one thing, it’s more challenging to get the nutrients you need once you go below 1,800 calories a day. And, though every woman has different calorie needs, consuming fewer than 10 calories per pound of body weight is clearly too low, Grandjean says. „The body compensates by going into a lower gear.“
The Power Duo
Vitamins and minerals don’t provide energy directly, but they’re big-time players in processing energy. So if you don’t get enough of them, you may find yourself waking up tired and staying that way. Lots of variety in fruits and vegetables is the best way to get the whole array of micronutrients, from vitamin A to zinc. But for energy, try these two strategies:
Drink lots of fresh orange juice. Believe it or not, perhaps one out of three women isn’t getting enough vitamin C, says Carol Johnston, PhD, assistant professor of food and nutrition in the family resources department at Arizona State University in Tempe. Vitamin C helps produce carnitine, a molecule that helps your body burn fat for energy. „People likely have up to a 50% drop in muscle carnitine levels when they’re vitamin C-depleted,“ she says. Johnston thinks 200 to 300 mg daily is enough for you to feel more energy, assuming that you were short on C. You can get that much without supplementing if you drink orange juice (one 8-ounce glass a day) and eat a diet high in vitamin C-rich foods, including kiwifruit (70 mg per fruit), raw red or green bell pepper (142 mg and 60 mg per 1/2 cup, respectively), broccoli (51 mg per 1/2 cup cooked), strawberries (49 mg per 1/2 cup), and brussels sprouts (48 mg per 1/2 cup cooked).
Be sure to get enough iron. Iron is a must mineral for energy because of its role in transporting oxygen via red blood cells to wherever it’s needed in the body. Too little iron creates a cascade of problems that end up lowering your metabolic rate—and your energy levels. A lot of women aren’t getting the 18 mg a day of iron they need in their diets. A half-cup of soybeans contains 9 mg of iron; a half-cup of baked beans, 8 mg; a half-cup of spinach, 6 mg; 3 oz. of beef, 5 mg; and 3 oz of fried oysters, 6 mg. If you think you’re anemic or have significantly low iron levels, see your primary-care physician before taking iron supplements.
„When you wake up in the morning, you’ve gone 6 to 8 hours without taking in any calories,“ Wein points out. „That is the time to wake up your body by providing it with the right kind of calories to burn for energy.“
So if you skimp on breakfast, you run the risk of a lackluster morning, since your blood sugar will probably be low and stay low, depriving your brain of the glucose it needs. Here’s how to eat a true power breakfast:
Hold the pancake syrup. Sweet breakfasts are an energy disaster, since nothing plummets your blood sugar faster (after an initial boost) than concentrated forms of simple carbohydrates like corn or maple syrup. Pouring one of them over refined carbohydrates like white flour pancakes or waffles exaggerates the effect. Whittle warns that any sweet topping with corn syrup in it—like the typical maple-flavored syrup or a lot of jellies—is an especially good bet to spike-and-dip your blood sugar to lethargic levels. So try some healthier and more energizing alternatives, she suggests. Go for French toast made with whole grain bread and egg substitute, or use a whole grain flour like buckwheat in your pancake or waffle mix. Top them off with your favorite fruit instead of syrup.
Reach for some protein. While fruit and whole grain cereal are fine morning choices, your breakfast carbohydrates still need to be balanced with some protein foods for more enduring energy, Whittle says. The fat-free milk or low-fat yogurt you add to the cereal will work. Or go for eggs or egg substitutes with an English muffin or a slice of whole grain toast.
Shoot for 3 g of fiber per serving. Whole grains, unlike refined flour products, deliver energy laced with fiber, which slows down the digestion so that the energy is released over a longer period of time. That’s why whole grain, high-fiber cereals are an excellent breakfast selection for all-morning energy. „Look for one with at least 3 g of fiber per serving,“ Wein says. „Some have 8 g or more. Eat it with fat-free milk, and you have a perfect balance.“
Stock up on oatmeal. A fiber-packed whole grain cereal, oatmeal is your best breakfast choice for long-lasting energy, says William Evans, PhD, director of the nutrition, metabolism, and exercise laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Little Rock. Evans credits oatmeal’s energy-boosting ability with its soluble fiber content. Much more than the insoluble fiber in, say, wheat bran, the soluble fiber in oatmeal slows down carbohydrate absorption, thus keeping your blood sugar levels more constant. Both oat bran and rolled oats are high in soluble fiber, so on mornings when you don’t feel like eating oatmeal, try oat bran muffins.
You don’t need a PhD in biochemistry to know that food is fuel and that it affects our energy levels. But you have to be smart if you’re eating for energy. „Certain eating strategies will definitely help you ward off fatigue,“ says Stacey Whittle, RD, a registered dietitian at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Ironically, the very food we so often rely on for quick energy—concentrated sources of sugar, like candy bars or soda—are the very foods that you should avoid if you want enduring energy, say experts.
Here’s why: Your body uses food for energy by turning it into blood sugar, or glucose. Carbohydrates convert most easily into this ready-to-burn fuel, making them your macronutrient of choice for energy eating. The problem is that some simple carbohydrates, like sugar, tend to break down so fast that, after providing a short-lived burst of energy, they leave your blood sugar levels low, your energy inadequate, and your plans for the day unaccomplished. Complex carbohydrates, like grains, replace this spike-and-dip act with a steady energy supply that keeps you going at full throttle.
Striking The Optimal Energy Balance
You don’t have to radically change your diet to include nothing but high energy foods to ratchet up your energy levels. Chances are, you’re already eating many of the foods best suited for daylong energy. It’s simply a matter of eating them at the right time, in the right amounts, and in the right combinations.
What’s the ideal mix? High (but not exclusively) carbohydrates, moderate protein, low (but not no) fat. Think of a turkey sandwich with low-fat mayo, a small serving of spaghetti and meatballs, or a bowl of chili.
Distribute your calories equally among breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A skimpy breakfast, a hurried lunch, and a huge evening feast is about the least energy-efficient eating schedule imaginable. „What do you need all those calories for if you’re going to bed?“ says Debra Wein, RD, cofounder of Sensible Nutrition Connection in Hingham, Massachusetts.
„Anybody who’s ever done justice to a Thanksgiving dinner knows that you get tired when you overstuff,“ says Ann Grandjean, EdD, director of the International Center for Sports Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska.
Never, ever skip a meal. „Many women skip breakfast,“ Wein says. „And some may even skip lunch because they think it will help them lose weight.“ But by skipping breakfast or lunch—or both—not only are you depriving your body of calories just when it needs them the most, you’re also likely to compensate with a lethargy-inducing pig-out when you do eat. So much for weight loss! „And if you keep skipping meals, the result over time is a general malaise,“ Wein says.
Eat five meals a day. The experts favor adding a midmorning and midafternoon snack to your daily meal schedule, and downgrading your other three meals accordingly to keep your total calories where you want them. This mini-meal plan is a super energy booster because you’re getting energy into your body right when you need it, you won’t be going too long between meals, and you’re less likely to overeat or undereat. „If you watch your portion size and take time for that midmorning and midafternoon snack, you’ll be surprised at how positively your energy levels are affected,“ Whittle says.
Wein suggests the following energizing calorie allotments: If you’re a fairly typical weight-watching woman, your calorie count per day will probably fall between 1,400 and 2,000. If you’re at the higher number, shoot for 500 calories at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with midmorning and midafternoon snacks at 250. If you’re down at 1,400 total calories, your meals should be 400 calories each, with two 100-calorie snacks.
Bioflavonoids, also sometimes referred to as “vitamin P,” are super-antioxidants found in many natural foods. Scientists have found that bioflavonoids have specific capabilities to increase bodily health in many different ways. They support strong cell formations and, according to some medical services, even suppress poor cellular growth in order to deliver an anti-carcinogenic effect. Bioflavonoids contribute to good heart health, and combat atherosclerosis, as well as conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Bioflavonoids are found in many of the same foods that contain vitamin C, an essential nutrient for the daily diet, and these super antioxidants complement vitamin C, enhancing its effect on the body.
Foods Rich in Bioflavonoids
Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally the top choices for getting plenty of bioflavonoids in a diet. Here are some of the most popular ways to get the most of these helpful nutritional elements.
- Red Bell Peppers or Sweet Peppers – Red peppers contain three times more vitamin C than orange juice, according to some medical sources. Scientists agree that raw bell peppers are an effective way to get bioflavonoids into the system.
- Strawberries – These luscious red berries are a great source of bioflavonoids. Other berry types are similarly rich in these kinds of antioxidants. This leads to specific claims of health benefits for berry-made wines and derivative foods.
- Citrus Fruits – Oranges are a significant source of bioflavonoids. Lemons and limes, as well as peaches, nectarines and other fruits all contain vitamin C and bioflavonoid superoxidants.
- Broccoli – This green vegetable has a lot of vitamin C, as well as some other essential vitamins for a healthy diet. As with other foods, use broccoli raw for best results.
- Brussels Sprouts – For a hearty meal, include these cabbage type sprouts. Rich in antioxidants, they are also packed with their own unique taste for a delicious way to get bioflavonoids and vitamins.
- Tropical Fruits – Exotic fruits, like mangoes and papayas, have a lot of bioflavonoids and other nutritional elements packed under their skins. These are becoming more accessible at supermarkets everywhere. Don’t miss out on what they have to offer.
- Garlic – By most accounts, garlic is a superfood. Our food culture has long been aware of its anti-inflammatory properties, but now scientists are counting it as among the natural foods rich in bioflavonoids, and therefore able to deliver the antioxidant values we associate with “healing foods.”
- Spinach – Popeye wasn’t kidding: this stuff has all of the qualities you would associate with a green vegetable rich in antioxidants. Spinach is a good all-purpose nutrient – try it in place of lettuce for a salad that’s bursting with nutrition.
- Teas – Green tea and other teas are known to have a lot of powerful chemical elements that contribute to longevity and good health. Lots of health minded caffeine drinkers are switching from coffee to tea to get the effects of essential vitamins in their morning drinks.
Raw vs. Processed
These are just some of the top producing fruits and vegetables that deliver bioflavonoids and vitamin C to the table. Vitamin rich foods are always more effective in their raw form, so be aware of the difference between buying and using fresh produce, and eating these foods canned, cooked or processed. Overall, look for colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables to benefit from a diet that will contribute to your health in many ways.
Eating and exercise go hand in hand. When and what you eat can be important to how you feel when you exercise, whether it’s a casual workout or training for a competition. Consider these eating and exercise tips.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast
If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Most of the energy you got from dinner the previous night is used up by morning, and your blood sugar might be low. If you don’t eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.
If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a light breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink. Emphasize carbohydrates for maximum energy.
Good breakfast options include:
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- Low-fat milk
- A waffle or pancake
And remember, if you normally have coffee in the mornings, a cup before your workout is probably OK. Also know that anytime you try a food or drink for the first time before a workout, you risk an upset stomach.
2. Size matters
Be careful not to overdo it when it comes to how much you eat before exercise. The general guideline:
- Large meals. Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising.
- Small meals. Eat these two to three hours before exercising.
- Small snacks. Eat these an hour before exercising.
Eating too much before you exercise can leave you feeling sluggish. Eating too little might not give you the energy to keep you feeling strong throughout your workout.
3. Snack well
Most people can eat small snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you. Snacks eaten soon before exercise probably won’t give you added energy, but they can help keep up your blood sugar and prevent distracting hunger pangs. Good snack options include:
- Energy bars
- Bananas or other fresh fruit
- Fruit smoothies
- Whole-grain bagel or crackers
- Low-fat granola bars
- Peanut butter sandwiches
A healthy snack is especially important if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.
Berries are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients, which have been shown to protect against heart disease and some cancers. Try adding a cup of fresh or unsweetened frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to your morning cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
While cold cereal has been vilified in recent years for its sugar content, there are nutritious options out there. Check the ingredient lists and nutrition-facts labels and look for cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams or less of sugar per serving. Also, choose cereals that are made with whole grains and that have sugar low on the list.
High in protein and calcium, cottage cheese is an excellent choice in the morning. To limit saturated fat, choose 1 or 2 percent milk-fat varieties. If you don’t like the texture, says Blatner, “puree it smooth and it becomes a great spread on toast with sliced apple on top and cinnamon.”
Rich in protein, eggs eaten as part of a balanced breakfast will keep you full all morning long and supply more than a dozen essential nutrients. For those concerned about cholesterol, Blatner says not to fret: “If someone is worried about blood cholesterol levels, they should be primarily concerned with keeping saturated fat low and making sure fiber in the diet is high.”
Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins, which have been shown to prevent cell damage to the body. Blatner suggests steeping green tea 4 to 5 minutes to release the catechins. Another benefit is that green tea has about two-thirds less caffeine than coffee does. “You can still get a little pick-me-up without all the caffeine,” she says.
Oatmeal is packed with soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels, and which can keep you satiated for hours. Avoid high-sugar instant packets and opt for the plain ones, or try rolled (old-fashioned), quick, or steel-cut oatmeal prepared with low-fat milk or water. “Two ideas for oatmeal that I usually give people are natural peanut butter stirred in with some chopped-up bananas or mixing chopped apples with uncooked rolled oats and milk to make a muesli,” says Blatner.
Natural peanut butter is a good source of monounsaturated fat, which may help lower bad cholesterol in the blood. (Look for a brand that contains peanuts and not much else.) It’s also a good source of protein and can help you feel satisfied without becoming stuffed. Moderation is key, so limit your portion to 1 to 2 tablespoons per sitting.
Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to meet the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Start with a protein-rich base of low-fat milk or plain yogurt, then add unsweetened frozen fruit, such as berries or bananas. If you’re feeling adventurous, throw in some flaxseed for its omega-3 fatty acids or a handful of kale.
Compared with refined white bread, whole-grain varieties are a better source of fiber and many nutrients, including iron, B vitamins, and vitamin E. They’ve also been shown to lower the risk of a number of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For breakfast, try a whole-wheat English muffin or toast.
Yogurt is packed with filling protein and bone-building calcium. Blatner suggests buying plain yogurt and adding your own sweetener. “The fruit-flavored ones have a lot of sugar that’s added. It would be better to get plain and then add a teaspoon of honey,” she says.
As people age, their diets may need to change, especially if their diets are not well-balanced. Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for elders, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health. According to Ruth Frechman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, in addition to eating a healthful variety of foods, there are specific things a caregiver can incorporate into their parent’s diet to boost his or her health.
Prepare meals rich in these nutrients
Omega 3 fatty acids
The acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They can be found in many different types of fish and in flaxseed oil. Your parent should have foods rich in this nutrient twice per week. If this is impossible, check with their doctor to see if an Omega 3 supplement would be beneficial.
Calcium and Vitamin D
The need for calcium and vitamin D increases as people age. This is primarily to preserve bone health. One added benefit of calcium is that it helps to lower blood pressure. Adults over the age of 50 need at least 1200 milligrams per day of the nutrient – equal to about four cups of milk per day. Many people find it challenging to consume this much calcium per day by eating and drinking, so check with your parent’s doctor to see if he or she should take a calcium supplement.
Limit sodium content
Most elders have hypertension – high blood pressure. One of the most important things caregivers can do to help reduce a parent’s hypertension is to prepare foods with low sodium. Most people are surprised to know that table salt accounts for only a small percent of sodium content in food. Avoid giving your parent frozen, processed or restaurant food, as these are extremely high in sodium. The foods with the lowest sodium content are fruits and vegetables, so try and incorporate them as much as possible in their diet.
As people age, they do not get thirsty very often, even though their bodies still need the same amount of liquids. If you notice that your parent is not drinking liquids very often, make sure that you provide them with it. If they do not feel thirsty, chances are they may not think about drinking a glass of water.
If you are concerned that your parent may not be properly hydrated, check his or her urine. Urine is the surest sign of hydration or lack of it. If the urine is clear and light, then your parent is most likely properly hydrated. If, however, urine is dark and/or cloudy, your parent will need to start drinking more liquids.
Making dietary changes can be difficult for anybody. It can be especially difficult for elders, though, because people get stuck in habits. If your mom or dad needs to make dietary changes to increase their health and well-being, there are specific things that you, the caregiver, can do to help with the change. Frechman recommends three important areas in which caregivers can help.
Incorporate changes gradually
Older people are usually skeptical of change. They need to make small changes gradually. As the caregiver, you should reinforce this and make sure that your parent is incorporating the new foods into their diet.
For example, if your parent is diabetic and needs to adjust their carbohydrate intake consistency, incorporate oatmeal as breakfast once or twice per week. As they get used to it, oatmeal can be added to three to four times per week. If your parent normally eats white bread, give them a wheat bread sandwich a couple times per week, and gradually increase it so that white bread is completely cut out of their diet.
Set an example
When an elder has to change their diet for health reasons, they can feel singled out. Eating is a social activity and it is important to eat meals with your parent. It is equally important that when you eat with them, you eat the same foods as them. When sitting down for a family meal, don’t make a special meal for your parent and something different for everybody else. By eating with them and eating the same foods as them, the dietary changes being made won’t seem so drastic.
Sometimes older adults simply refuse to make necessary nutritional changes, even if they are doctor recommended. People with dementia, especially, may refuse to eat certain things. Be creative. If your parent needs protein, try making them a smoothie with wheat germ – this is not a supplement that may interact with your parent’s medications, but an actual food with very high amounts of protein. Sometimes, foods can be blended into a smoothie to ensure that your elderly parent consumes the necessary nutrients.
Lack of research and regulation in energy drinks, as well as their high consumption and the fact that there are reported cases of toxicity are a serious health risk for children, adolescents and young people.
According to the authors from the University of Miami, 30-50% of the young population consume energy drinks are consumed regularly. In the U.S. these drinks are categorized as food supplements and by that they avoid the FDA limit on caffeine content of 71 mg per 12 ounces (about 355 ml) in soft drinks. Furthermore, safety tests and leaflets (which are mandatory for all kind of medicament) are also avoided. As a result, there are energy drinks that contain up to 400 mg of caffeine and that is only the stated caffeine. There are also unstated amounts of stimulants made from ingredients such as guarana, seeds of Cola (cola nuts), cocoa and yerba mate.
46% of 5448 reported cases of caffeine overdose in 2007 in the U.S., are from people under 19 years of age. The authors recommend a maximum caffeine intake of 2.5 mg / kg for children and 100 mg / kg for adolescents. A study from New Zealand (also included in the survey) claims that the consumption of only 1 energy drink leads to the exceeding of the recommended intake of 2.5 mg / kg.
The toxic effects of energy drinks are being monitored in countries like Germany, Australia and New Zealand. There is a significant number of reported cases of adverse effects associated with consumption of energy drinks: liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, confusion, seizures, psychotic states, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, cardiac dysrhythmia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure and death.
The long-term health effects of the regular consumption of energy drinks in children and teenagers are still unclear, but all gathered information indicates that these drinks can have many harmful, even potentially fatal effects.
The marketing of energy drinks is primarly aimed at men which are pre-adolescents, adolescents and young adults, says Dr. Higgins of the University of Texas. The bare fact that a child can enter the supermarket and buy and consume such beverage is frightening.
Don`t think that just because you started going to the gym and doing weight-loss wxercises, you will automatically start losing weight.
For a period of 16 months researchers from the University of Kansas observed a group of young people who where doing exercises. Exercising was held regularly and was observed. The diet was not specified by the scientists and each participant was eating at his/her own discretion. It turned out that young people didn`t make any changes in the ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates in their food. Women in particular were making the following mistake: they thought that increasing their physical activity allows them to eat everyting that they want. So then everybody was weighted, it turned out that men lost an average of 10 lbs. and the women didn`t lose any weight. There were even women who gained weight.
When discussing the food the participants were consuming during the experiment, it become clear that women didn`t think about the number of calories in the food they were eating and consumed around 700 calories more tha usual, while men did much better by consuming just 200 calories more.
According to the scientists, this experiment is a proff that despite the increased physical activity, wrong diet will always prevent you from losing weight. This is why the experts think that planning is very important as to the people who want to want to lose weight, as well us to the ones who want to gain muscle mass. As boring as counting calories is, it important to know how many calories you are taking with your daily meals and how many calories you are losing while exercising or performing other activities. Think about it – the difference of 500 calories a day between the both sexes is the reason why the women in the experiment didn`t lose any weight while the men did better (but no by much).
Phytases belong to the class and subclass of hydrolases phosphatases that catalyze the hydrolysis of monoesters of phosphoric acid. Phytase performed stepwise cleavage of orthophosphate ions of phytic acid to form as intermediates in the penta-, tetra-, tri-, di-, and inositol monophosphates (Nayani NR, Markakis P., 1986).
In accordance with the International Nomenclature of enzymes IUPAC-IUBMB three types of phytases: 3-phytase, 5-phytase and 4/6-phytase. Phytase types begin the transformation of phytic acid hydrolysis of an ester bond at different carbon atoms inositol ring, resulting in the formation of various isomers lower inozitolphospate. Phytate hydrolysis mechanism and the structure of the protein molecules of the same type phytases may vary. Phytase of the same type can be attributed to the acidic, neutral or alkaline phosphatase, according to the optimal pH level.
Phytase (myo-inositol-1,2,3,4,5,6-geksakisfosfat-fosfogidrolazy) – a group of enzymes belonging to the subclass of phosphatases carrying release of at least one phosphate ion from the molecule of phytic acid. Hydrolysis of phytic acid formed the lower, ie containing less than six residues of phosphoric acid, inozitolfosfaty, inositol and inorganic phosphate, as well as associated with phytates released cations.
First phytase activity was found in rice bran (Suzuki U. et. Al., 1907) and calf blood (McCollum EV, Hart EB, 1908), ie, in the variety of living organisms. Later phytase were found in bacteria and fungi, including yeast. Consider that in the digestive secretions monogastric animals, including humans, no phytase and phytate hydrolysis is carried out under the influence of enzymes and microflora acidic environment of the stomach. Today we know a lot of enzymes with phytase activity, a growing number (Haefner S. et. Al. , 2005; Oh BC et. Al., 2004; Vats P., Banerjee UC, 2004)
Most (about two thirds) of the total phosphorus in plant feed is presented in the form of salts of phytic acid – phytates (Simons PCM et. Al., 1990). Phytase carries both synthesis and hydrolysis of phytic acid. Due to the inability of livestock and poultry produce endogenous phytase, phosphorus, calcium, protein and other related phytic acid nutrients become less available. For the management of potential nutrient feed and more cost-effective and environmentally friendly production of meat and poultry should be used microbial phytase. Enrichment of the diet of microbial phytase makes more available phosphorus, calcium, zinc and copper, improves digestibility and stimulate weight gain. Effective use of microbial phytase dose-dependent, the ratio in the diet of calcium and phosphorus (Ca: P), vitamin D3, composition of the diet, age, and genetic features of animals and birds. 
Some foods have such a low energy content that you can eat large quantities of them without risking weight gain. Here’s how to use these foods to your advantage.
Slimmers are always on the lookout for quick fixes to help them in their desperate quest to lose weight. A popular subject is the use of ‘negative-energy foods’ or so-called ‘free foods’.
As the latter name implies, these are foods with such a low energy content that you can eat large quantities of them without risking weight gain. Sounds like magic, but when you see the list of foods, you’ll realise that you can’t survive on these foods alone.
Diabetics and other people who have to control their food intake carefully will be acquainted with so-called ‘free foods’. According to Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy (Mahan & Escott-Stump), a ‘free food’ is defined as “any food or drink that contains less than 20 calories [84 kJ] or less than 5g of carbohydrate per serving”.
Vegetables (serving = 1 cup)
Fruit (serving = 1 cup)
Rhubarb cooked with artificial sweetener
(All raw or cooked and sweetened with artificial sweetener)
Very-low-energy foods (use as desired)
Fat-free foods (3 servings spread out over the day)
Cottage cheese, fat-free: 1 Tablespoon
Mayonnaise, fat-free: 1 Tablespoon
Non-stick cooking spray
Salad dressing, fat-free: 1 Tablespoon
Salsa: 1/4 cup
Sugar-free or low-sugar foods
Boiled sweets: one sweet
Chewing gum, sugar-free
Jam, low-sugar or lite: 2 Tablespoons
Need for other foods
Clearly, no person can exist and do a day’s work if he or she only eats the foods listed above.
For example, to obtain just 4200kJ or 1000cal from eating strawberries only, you would have to eat 3.3kg of these berries.
Even when you’re slimming, it’s important to eat a varied, balanced diet and to obtain enough energy from your diet to sustain your basic energy needs. This will prevent your body from going into starvation mode and will also make it possible for you to do some physical exercise to stimulate weight loss.
How to use free foods
These negative-energy foods can be used to give variety to your diet, to increase nutrient intake (most of the fruits and vegetables listed above are rich sources of vitamins and antioxidants) and to fill out meals.
Free foods are also excellent for preventing cravings, so use them as low-energy snacks whenever you feel peckish.