Foods that are good in moderation
Posted on 28 January 2015
If we are what we eat, it’s probably a good idea to eat happy food! We asked dietician Ilsabè Spoelstra about what’s surprisingly good for you – in moderation, of course!
A cheat meal
All veteran dieters know that when you starve yourself, your body goes into survival mode, lowering your metabolism and actually stopping you from losing weight. An occasional cheat meal keeps your body guessing and your metabolism going. Keep an eye on your weight after your cheat meal – if your weight increases a few days later, you either had too much or included items that don’t agree with you, such as gluten, sugar or dairy.
How much? ‘Cheat every now and then,’ says Ilsabè. ‘It’s good to keep your body wondering if the famine is over and it’s time to burn more calories. But then you must return to doing what is good for you. If you cheat, don’t have so much that you feel uncomfortable. It can also be beneficial to eat normally for five days, and then for two days have minimal calories. Just before your body goes into starvation mode, you go back to eating normally. Consult a dietician about what the right quantities are for you.’
Some artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, are pretty nasty. But some natural alternatives, including xylitol, are actually good for you in moderation. Xylitol has a GI of 7 (honey has a GI of 62), and it prevents tooth decay by keeping your mouth pH neutral. Another good option is stevia.
How much? ‘About four teaspoons per day is okay,’ Ilsabè advises, depending on how much you weigh. ‘Remember that xylitol has about half the calories of sugar.’
We all know dairy contains lots of essential calcium – but did you know that it’s not only good for your bones? Full-fat dairy keeps you full for longer, and can therefore help with weight loss. It is also thought to help increase muscle mass in people who do strength training.
How much? ‘There’s a lot of controversy about this,’ says Ilsabè. ‘It depends on your individual risk factors, and also on whether the rest of your diet is healthy – in other words, rich in vegetables and fruit and other good fats such as avocado, nuts and oily fish.’
Remember, never eat until you feel you’ve had too much, instead enjoy your treats. Always eat consciously – otherwise you’ll just want more!
The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.