It seems like we’re constantly being bombarded with commercials telling us that if we eat certain foods, we’ll be healthier and lose more weight. Unfortunately, these promises are rarely true and prompt us to make three consistent missteps in our food choices.
A great example of this comes from a woman named Ava, who approached Dr. Perricone for advice after attending one of his lectures.
After listening to what Dr. Perricone had to say, Ava realized that she had been doing everything wrong when it came to diet and nutrition. Her weight yo-yoed up and down for years, and now at the age of 40, she was saddled not only with the original 10 pounds she wanted to lose originally, but another 10 pounds as well.
Understandably, Ava was mystified by her difficulty in taking off weight considering that she never ate fats or sweets of any kind.
But when Dr. Perricone asked her to outline her typical day’s meal plan, the cause of this weight gain became clear.
For breakfast, Ava usually had a glass of orange juice, a cup of black coffee and a toasted bagel with fat-free cream cheese. For lunch, a baked potato topped with nonfat sour cream, and the occasional rice or corn cake snake in the afternoon. And for dinner, typically had a large salad with nonfat dressing and a skinless, boneless chicken breast.
Seems like the right strategy, right? …Not so much.
Three Cardinal Sins of Dieting
What Ava discovered—and Dr. Perricone confirmed—is that this wasn’t the best diet and nutrition strategy by a long shot.
Unfortunately, her dilemma isn’t out of the ordinary.
Many people have found themselves in the same difficult situation of struggling to lose weight while restricting calories. One of the worst aspects to this type of diet is its impact on the skin, which needs proper daily nutrition. A diet centered on these types of foods can accelerate the aging process and is highly damaging to the skin, resulting in premature lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness and muscle tone.
In Ava’s case, Dr. Perricone noticed the protein deprivation almost immediately—she looked exhausted and older than her years. She was guilty of committing the three cardinal sins of dieting:
- Failure to eat enough protein. Add high-quality protein to each meal; a typical woman should get 50-80 grams of protein per day depending on her activity level.
- Avoiding healthy fats. Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats to your diet! They’ll not only help you burn fat, but will also help keep your skin soft, supple and radiant.
- Choosing high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as cold cereals, bagels, potatoes, rice and corn cakes. Despite their low calorie counts, these foods can lead to spikes in blood sugar and prevent you from losing weight.
Day after day, we’re flooded with advertisements that promise drastic weight loss if we switch our diets to include daily servings of their newest processed foods.
But the sad truth is this—these foods aren’t always what they’re promised to be.
Five “Health Foods” to Avoid
Skip: Fruit yogurt (often packed with sugar and other artificial flavors, these yogurt snacks should be avoided)
Try: Low-fat plain Greek yogurt and add your own berries. Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and has an incredible texture.
Skip: Nonfat dressings
Try: Dress salads with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice for a healthy source of monounsaturated fat, since these healthy fats are essential for both weight loss and supple skin.
Skip: Instant oatmeal (despite various new “healthy” packaging claims, these instant varieties can elevate blood sugar rapidly)
Try: Old-fashioned, steel cut oatmeal topped with blood-sugar controlling cinnamon.
Skip: Baked chips (while they contain fewer calories than regular potato chips, these are empty calories from a high-glycemic source)
Try: Kale chips. This healthy green bakes to a delicious crisp consistency and is a healthy alternative to chips or crackers.
Skip: Meat alternatives such as processed soy burgers and hot dogs (these are generally very processed and packed with binding agents)
Try: Black bean burgers or less processed forms of soy, such as tempeh or natto.
They say knowledge is power, and when it comes to diet and nutrition, that couldn’t be more true. By understanding the truth behind nourishing your skin and body, you’ll be better equipped to reach your health goals and maintain that youthful-looking, healthy appearance for many years to come.