Obesity is a growing public health issue that affects millions of people. And the World Health Organization estimates that 2.8 million people are expected to die each year based on health-related conditions linked to obesity such as hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that men (75%) and women (65%) who were 25 years and older were either overweight or obese. Interestingly, 20 years ago, a similar study found that 63 percent of individuals within the same age group were either overweight or obese — the scale (literally) has tipped in favor of weight gain.
In a society obsessed with weight loss, it’s quite surprising that so many Americans continue to struggle to lose those extra pounds and to keep the weight off. So what’s the problem? Although the problem is multifaceted, a big part of the issue is the American diet, which is packed with refined sugar and flour.
When people eat processed foods, the body experiences a temporary jolt of energy and sugar spike. So rather than grab a candy bar as a snack or choose a burger and fries for dinner, choose healthful foods that keep you feeling fuller longer like nuts and seeds. You can eat them as a snack or add them to dishes like rice or salads.
In particular, almonds have been shown, in studies, to promote weight loss. In the Journal of Obesity, researchers looked at the differences between obese people who were on a low-calorie diet that was enriched with either almonds or high-complex carbohydrates. Researchers found that obese people shed more weight when they were on a low-calorie diet enriched with almonds.
In a one-ounce serving (about 20 almonds), you’re consuming about as much protein as lean meat. And if you’re worried about the fat content in almonds, you should know almonds have many benefits (one of which is its healthy fat content).
- Almonds are high in healthy fats and contain a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which helps to lower cholesterol.
- They contain loads of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
- Almonds are especially rich in vitamin E, which is a good source of antioxidants. Since antioxidants help to protect the body from tissue damage and disease, eating about 20 almonds daily will provide you with approximately 40 percent of the body’s required amount of vitamin E.
- They contain loads of fiber that helps the digestive system by pulling all those extra calories and fats along your intestines to prevent them from being absorbed into the body.
- Almonds curb cravings by promoting satiety, which help to keep your caloric intake and weight down.
In my book, The Gene Therapy Plan, you’ll find plenty of tips to regulate weight. One of these tips is the Rule of Thirds — consume one-third carbohydrate, one-third fat, and one-third protein to promote balanced nutrition and prevent the overconsumption of a specific nutrient (e.g., carbs).
While almonds are a healthy snack that curbs the frequency of hunger pangs and regulates blood sugar levels, eating fruits and vegetables is another wholesome way to boost your satiety between meals. Eat a variety of fruits and veggies daily; organic is better. If organic produce isn’t always available to you, be sure to wash them thoroughly.
Also, supplements have been shown to help regulate metabolism and caloric intake. Glucomannan is one of the supplements that I recommend because it slows down stomach emptying and regulates carbohydrate absorption, which is important for blood glucose regulation. As I mention in the book, before you begin taking any supplements seek the guidance of a licensed medical professional.
Engage in physical activity because it helps to burn calories and prevent obesity. If you spend most of your time at work sitting at your desk, take breaks and walk around. While the weather is nice, use the extra daylight to commit yourself to walking before dinner. Besides walking find activities that you enjoy doing like swimming, hiking, bike riding, jogging, yoga, and dancing. When you engage in activities that you love, you’re more likely to continue doing them.
Remember: Both a healthy diet and a physically active lifestyle will help to shed pounds — and to keep them off. In my book, The Gene Therapy Plan, I discuss obesity and provide dietary and lifestyle tips on how to maintain a healthy weight.