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Newsletter 06, March 2007

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. How do you decide which diet is best for you?
  2. Insurance - are you paying too much to cover your medical condition?
  3. Hot tips for healthy eating
  4. Latest recipes released in the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook
  5. Did you know?
  6. Your successes, requests and questions
  7. Tell us what you think
  8. Visit our newsletter archive

1) How do you decide which diet is best for you?

Diets seem to come and go - the egg diet, the cabbage soup diet, WeightWatchers, the grapefruit diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the GI Diet to name but a few. But what does it all mean? Do diets go out of fashion because we get bored with the food choices? Or do we find they don't work for us and move on to the next diet, each time believing that this is the one which will miraculously shift those extra pounds? Is there any reason why one diet might work better than the next? Does it matter what sort of foods we eat, or is it not all just about calories?

One thing is for sure. There are many different diets, and deciding which one to try can be very difficult. Most of us probably end up trying the one our friends or relations are doing! But bearing in mind that the statistics say that most people who lose weight gain it back again, go on another diet and thus become caught in a metabolism-lowering vicious circle of yo-yo dieting, is this the best policy? Perhaps we ought to be a little more scientific about it?

Certainly, low calorie/low fat diets have been accepted for many years as the right way to lose weight. But the escalating rates of obesity are an indication that reducing calories and fat is not the whole story, and in fact, research is now telling us that these diets are not the best way to lose weight for most people.

So what is the best diet for losing weight? Studies on the latest diets which restrict carbohydrates instead of fat or calories such as the Atkins and other low carb diets are providing a steady stream of evidence that these work better for many of us. This is because low carb diets and the closely related low GI (glycemic index) and low GL (glycemic load) diets recognize how hormones such as insulin can affect our weight loss efforts. If we really want to find a diet which works for us on a permanent basis, we need to understand what these new diets are all about.

But where to start? There are so many different diet books we could choose to read. How do we know whether a low carb or a low GI or low GL type of diet is best for us? And once we've made that choice, how do we decide which specific diet to follow?

Well, making the choice has just become much easier! The 'Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI & Low GL Diets' provides impartial, clear, concise and easy to read information about these diets, how they work, their safety, how to decide which one is best for you, where to get easy to follow diet and meal plans and tips for getting started. The 'Easy Guide' is also free at the moment with every purchase of the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook.

2) Insurance - are you paying too much to cover your medical condition?

Obtaining life insurance, travel insurance, critical illness insurance, mortgage protection, permanent health or medical insurance can be a real headache if you suffer from a health condition of any kind.

For instance, many people who are overweight or diabetic find that they are asked to pay higher premiums for their insurance, or their 'pre-existing condition' is excluded from the cover, or they may even be refused the insurance altogether.

Obesity and diabetes are just two of the most common conditions which can send insurance premiums sky high. But don't think that all insurance companies will 'load' your premiums by the same amount. On the contrary, premium loadings vary tremendously from one company to another.

If you are overweight, diabetic or have other pre existing medical conditions, then requesting quotes through a specialized broker is likely to find you a much better deal than going to the standard insurers direct. Specialist brokers will not only be able to get quotes from many different insurers, they also have access to specialist companies and techniques that may offer cover where the main insurers cannot.

They can also tell you about other areas of insurance that may be to your advantage. For instance, retirement annuities can take your medical condition into account, giving you a higher monthly income - but many people don't realize they qualify!

Insurance is an essential part of our modern lives. Unfortunately, our state of health can affect how much we have to pay for it, and can sometimes even prevent us from being able to get insurance at all. If you have medical conditions that affect your insurance, specialist brokers such as The Insurance Surgery can help you ensure you are getting the best deal on your insurance.

3) Hot tips for healthy eating

Fish is good for you for many reasons. Oily fish are especially healthy on account of the very important omega-3 essential fatty acids that they provide. Oily fish include: trout, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, kippers, eel, whitebait, fresh tuna, anchovies and swordfish.

Unfortunately many people are not keen on eating fish. Here are some ideas for making it more palatable:

  • Try disguising fish in fishcakes - mix cooked flaked fish with potato and a little beaten egg, form it into a patty and shallow fry. (Use sweet potato or swede/rutabaga instead of the potato if you are on a low carb or low GI diet).
  • Mix tinned tuna with corn (maize) kernels and tinned kidney beans for a tasty main course salad.
  • When using tinned fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon for a sandwich filling, try adding vinegar or tomato sauce (catsup). And don't pick out the bones and discard them - they are a valuable source of calcium, so just mash them in and the family won't notice!
  • If you really can't bear to eat oily fish at least once a week, and you don't eat walnuts or flax seeds or their oils either, then you are probably low in omega-3s. Make sure you take a good omega-3 fish oil supplement to make up any deficiency.

4) Latest recipes released in the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook

For those of our readers who are subscribers to the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook, two new recipes have now been released: Jerusalem Artichoke Mash and Baked Chicken in Mustard Sauce. You will find these recipes already in your Cookbook next time you log in.

5) Did you know?

Did you know that ...

  • ... 'Live' yoghurt is good for everyone on account of the 'good' bacteria it contains. But it's even better for low carbers - the sugar in the milk is partially consumed by the bacteria, reducing the carb count for plain yoghurt by around two thirds. Look for lactobacillus, bifido or acidophilus on the label but remember that freezing kills the good bacteria.
  • ... Low GI dieters know that potatoes are pretty high on the glycemic index. But the way you cook them makes a surprising difference. For instance: crisps (potato chips) are 55 on the GI scale while new potatoes boiled are 57; fresh mashed are 73; french fries are 75; and instant mashed are 83. But the biggest surprise of all is the 'dieter's friend', the baked potato, at a whopping 90 on the scale! Compare that with white bread which is 95 and glucose which is 100 on the GI scale! It's all to do with the fact that the longer a food is processed and the higher the temperature it undergoes, the more the carbohydrate content is broken down and the more quickly it is absorbed, with resultant effect on your blood sugar.

6) Your successes, requests and questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

  • Q I have been on the Atkins diet for a week. I read that in the first two weeks during Induction it is usual to lose 5-10 pounds. I haven't lost anything. Does this mean the Atkins diet won't work for me?
  • A The large weight loss some people experience in the first two weeks of the Atkins Diet is mostly water (the same is true of any weight loss diet). As you force your body to use your stored energy (which of course is what you need to do to lose bodyfat), your intermediate energy stores (glycogen) are broken down first, and then your long term fat stores. The energy in your glycogen stores is dissolved in water, which gets released through your kidneys when the energy is used. Hence the large initial weight loss. It is certainly not fat loss - most authorities say it is physiologically impossible to lose more than 1 - 2 pounds of fat per week.

    You say you work out at least two hours per day, and it may be that you have 'missed out' on this water loss because your glycogen stores were not full when you started.

    Anyway, one week certainly gives no indication of whether a diet will work for you or not. The Atkins Diet works best for people who are 'carbohydrate sensitive', ie their blood sugar/insulin control system cannot handle much carbohydrate. (Up to 60 per cent of western populations are believed to be carb sensitive in this way). But if you are not particularly carb sensitive, or if your previous way of eating did not involve many carby foods anyway, then you may not lose much weight on the Atkins Diet.

7) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

8) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director, Good Diet Good

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