I really do not know what I should be eating to be healthier or lose weight.
There is so much nutrition information out there that it can be overwhelming to decipher what is true or untrue, important or unimportant. Find resources that are reliable and trustworthy where you can get good information. The Science of Dieting will be putting together a “Trusted Resources” page to help you find people that we trust on social media (Facebook and Twitter). Do not waste your time or energy following people that use fear, overly simplistic solutions, a magical metabolic advantage, eliminate food groups or contend that their way is the “best” or the “only” way to be healthy or lose weight.
Nutrition is as simple or complicated as you make it. You do not have to spend hours counting grams of carbs, fat, and protein or follow complicated nutrition rules (although self-monitoring and self-weighing are both very important). Following the nutrition plan we laid out on our homepage (Phase I and Phase II weight loss, meal planning with recipes that don’t suck, utilizing a recipe manager) is a good place to start.
Healthy diets can be 80% meat and 20% plant or 20% meat and 80% plant. Although it is oftentimes argued that the Mediterranean diet is the “best” diet there are hundreds of other dietary patterns that are just as good. In a nutshell, there are a few universal principles that can take you a long way:
EAT MORE MINIMALLY PROCESSED FOODS:
Experiment with different types of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. One week maybe you are in the mood for apples, the next week maybe you decide that you have not had any pears in a while so why not give them a shot. If you do not have the food available to you, you are not going to be able to eat it and you will be tempted by a less healthy (but available) option.
EAT LESS HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS:
Saturated fat — (fats that are solid at room temperature)
Trans fats — (look in the ingredient list for “partially hydrogenated” to identify)
High fat meats
This does not mean that you cannot eat cheese (saturated fat), peanut butter (trans fat), sodium and refined sugar (pretty much everywhere) or high fat meats (anything other than fish, chicken breast, 90/10 ground beef). That would be lunacy. Highly processed foods taste great and should be part of our modern life (we are not and should not be food Puritans), but we need to plan out the who, what, when, where, how, and why we eat these foods rather than passively consuming them. Passive, unplanned consumption will get us in trouble.