Wondering what a balanced diet looks like? Looking for a good weight-loss diet? Or desperate to find nutritious menu plans?
Then The Ultimate Diet Solution, written by registered dietician Anne Till, should be on your reading list. The author has been working with South Africans for years, which means that she’s tuned in to the specific needs of people living in this country.
Anne emphasises that The Ultimate Diet Solution isn’t a diet, but a change in lifestyle that includes following a well-balanced diet and doing physical activity. This approach doesn’t promise instant results, but will transform your health and well-being in the long run.
Navigating the food groups
The book kicks off with a chapter on how foods are classified and what dieticians mean when they refer to 'food groups'.
If you’ve ever wondered which foods fall into the carbohydrate, protein or fat group, this chapter will provide the answers. Anyone who reads through it will be able to identify which foods within each group are better choices and which ones are most likely to promote health and ideal weight.
Conversely, you will also be able to spot which foods are likely to cause disease and weight gain. All those questions such as 'Are legumes starches or proteins?' and 'What are trans fats and which foods contain them?' are answered in a user-friendly manner.
The kilojoule debate
The third chapter on Kilojoules do count! is a valuable guide to understanding why people gain weight when they exceed their daily energy requirement.
Anne explains the difference between calories and kilojoules (a favourite reader question) and takes a look at the factors that determine how much energy individuals need on a daily basis.
Special emphasis is placed on portion control, illustrating that even when we’re eating healthy foods, disregard of portion size can lead to excess energy intake and, ultimately, overweight.
The metabolic syndrome
In Chapters 4 and 5, which are entitled The metabolic results of modern living and Insulin resistance, Anne discusses the effects of our modern lifestyle on the processes that can lead to development of the metabolic syndrome.
This syndrome is characterised by an imbalance in insulin and glucose metabolism (so-called insulin resistance) and manifests itself in a variety of different conditions (obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and polycystic ovary syndrome).
Understanding carbs and fats
The chapters on Carb know-how and Fat – To eat or not to eat? provide in-depth insight into these two important food groups.
Anne discusses the glycaemic index and points out that the GI needs to be used carefully and with understanding. Just because a food has a low GI doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not capable of causing overweight or other problems.
Conversely, the GI may create the impression that certain good-quality foods, such as certain fruits and vegetables, are 'bad'.
The chapter on fats helps to clarify many misconceptions and concepts that readers often query. It is for example, not necessary or good to cut out all fats, even when you’re on a slimming diet.
In this chapter, Anne mentions that proteins usually aren’t blamed for health problems.
However, because of changes to the type and amount of protein we consume, there are certain food choices in the protein group that are better than others in terms of weight loss and disease prevention.
The fact that proteins derived from domestic animals tend to contain relatively high quantities of saturated fat and cholesterol needs to guide our choices.
In Diet and lifestyle - The know and the how, Anne addresses important topics such as controlling kilojoule intake, controlling portion sizes, kilojoule-controlled diets, and how to use the food groups.
This book contains particularly useful tables of foods classified according to the fat-rich, protein-rich and carbohydrate-rich food groups with examples of portion sizes for each listed food.
This chapter also contains The Ultimate Diet Solution Plate Model, which shows readers by means of a plate divided into sections how much of each of the above-mentioned food groups constitute a balanced meal.
The emphasis is on vegetables (50%), with equal quantities of protein and carb foods, and a smaller amount of unsaturated fat.
One of the most frequent queries on the DietDoc Forum relates to daily menus for slimmers.
Chapter 10 of The Ultimate Diet Solution provides menu plans for both men and women, where guidance is given on what and how much one can eat while slimming.
Contact Anne Till on (011) 463-4663 or send her an e-mail if you’re interested in buying this book. The book is also available from Kalahari.net, Struik Publishers and leading bookshops.
Text copyright: Dr I.V. van Heerden, DietDoc
27 August 2007