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Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7677
Loc: Seattle, WA
While health foods may seem expensive, healthy diets save money in the long run
      03/08/04 06:50 PM

While health foods may seem expensive, healthy diets save money in the long run

By Ann Betkowski


Everyone is looking for the lose-weight quick solution. Adding to this is the fact that nutritionists are frequently changing their minds on what is good and what is bad for us. If even the experts cannot agree, how are we to make the right choices?

According to Dr. David Katz, author of "The Way to Eat," the nutrition community is nearly universal in its support in a diet rich in grains, fruits and vegetables and restricted in saturated fat and processed foods. Therefore make your commitment strong and stay with it.

"It is easy to say why not just eat whatever I want since the experts cannot agree," Katz said, "but everyone generally agrees that including five fruits and vegetables a day in your diet is best."

Katz reminds us that "in general, if something you hear seems too good to be true, it likely is."

Here are some answers to some common questions regarding healthy eating.

Why are healthy foods more expensive?

Most people believe that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food. However, when the costs of the entire diet are considered, eating well costs less than eating poorly.

According to Katz, many healthy foods can be expensive. Many specialty products are made in smaller quantities and so they can be more expensive. Organically grown produce can also be more expensive, but you get what you pay for. These fruits and vegetables tend to be more flavorful and do not include chemicals and pesticides.

However, compared to meat and animal products, plant-based foods are generally less expensive.

"Each time you substitute beans, lentils or tofu for meat, the fiber and nutrient content of the diet goes up, while the fat content and cost go down," Katz said.

"Whole grains are generally inexpensive as well," said Katz. "By increasing the amount of whole grain oats, rice, wheat, couscous and/or barley, you also improve your diet as well as your wallet. The same is true for butter, cream and soda."

Revising your diet to a healthier one can actually be cost-effective.

What is the real word on breakfast?

Breakfast is important but different people are hungry at different times of the day therefore the time to eat breakfast can be different for everyone. According to Katz, let hunger be your guide. If you wake up at 6 or 7 a.m. and are not hungry until 9 or 10 a.m., wait and have your breakfast then instead of having two meals in the morning.

"If you are not hungry first thing in the morning, and have breakfast later when you are, there can be several benefits," Katz said. If you eat breakfast later it could reduce your appetite for lunch. You may then eat less for lunch and have a healthy mid-afternoon snack. That snack may give you the energy you need to exercise and then enjoy a smaller dinner. In other words, having breakfast when you are ready for it can be the most beneficial.

Of course, Katz said, if you are hungry first thing in the morning, then that is when you should eat. However, try to include foods high in fiber, such as whole grain cereals. These tend to maintain energy levels longer than processed foods.

So what does "healthy food" really mean?

Food, in general, tends to be categorized into healthy and unhealthy groups. However, there can be big differences in sugar, fat and calories depending on their particular content. For example, a salad made up of mostly bacon bits, croutons, cold cuts and cheese includes a lot of fat and calories.

He suggests you do not think of food in categories but as the actual foods that you eat. "If you take in too many calories, your weight will go up. If you eat too much saturated fat, your cholesterol will rise," he said.

Therefore, Katz suggests that it is very important to read the labels on all the foods you are eating.

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She’s the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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