Are you looking to lose weight, feel great, look your best and live a long healthy life? If improving your health and feeling your ultimate best is your goal for 2013 and beyond, but you’ve had problems eliminating junk food from your diet, you’ve come to the right place. “AARP New American Diet: Lose Weight, Live Longer” author and Discovery Channel Chief Medical Expert, Dr. John Whyte joined me this week to dish on how simple dietary changes and even chewing gum can make a significant improvement in your health and help you to lose weight once and for all.
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the recent survey that took place and some of the surprising results?
Dr. John Whyte: “The AARP NIH Diet and Health Study is actually the largest study. Over a half a million people have been studied for 25 years and we examine the relationship between what they eat and what diseases they may get, specifically cancer, heart disease, diabetes. And what we’ve learned is that it’s as important what you include, as well as what you exclude. So we know that we should be eating more fish, we should be eating more fruits, more vegetables, more low fat dairy, more whole grains and more nuts. And we should be excluding all the refined sugars, all the processed foods, all the saturated fat. If we made those changes we’d lose weight and we’d live longer.”
Candace Rose: And for many of us, losing weight is about looking better. Tell us how losing weight can help us live longer?
Dr. John Whyte: “Looking better is important but it’s also about something deeper. We definitely want to include foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that we know are going to prevent disease and help us live longer. I’m sure you know there’s an obesity epidemic and what we do know is obesity leads to heart disease, it leads to diabetes, it leads to cancer. So the more that we can do to lose those pounds are going to help us live longer, have more vitality, have more energy, help us keep our smarts as we grow older, and that’s really the goal of the diet; not just losing weight but living longer and having those lives full of quality.”
Candace Rose: Your book combines the best of many popular diets. What’s the best way to achieve healthy lasting weight loss?
Dr. John Whyte: “The best way to actually, to think about diet as a noun and not as a verb. And what do I mean by that? Too often we say ‘I’m going to go on a diet, I’m dieting and I need to lose 10 pounds for an upcoming wedding our perhaps a high school reunion.’ And really, the smartest diet is actually no diet at all. It’s a diet in consumption of food that’s focused on what we can live on, rather than what we can go on.
Again, it goes to those basic principles- a lot more fish, a lot more low fat dairy, the whole grains- that’s what’s going to help us lose the weight, live longer and better maintain it over time.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for someone trying to eliminate junk food and eat healthier, but has been unsuccessful in the past?
Dr. John Whyte: “It can be challenging. It is about doing small steps in moderation over time, so what I often tell people early on, you know maybe it’s just something you’re going to do and start to eliminate soda and all beverages other than water and coffee from your diet, because we consume a lot of calories through liquids. So if we just started by eliminating everything we drink except water and coffee, we would lose weight.
And then I also tell people it’s about eating smaller meals more often, and sometimes that’s a big change for folks, but what we know is that if we eat more often we actually keep our insulin levels steady. And by doing that we’ll reduce the fat being deposited into our cells. So you’re right it’s hard to make these changes but that process over time, there’s going to be ups and downs, and that’s life. But it’s about continuing to move forward and make those changes and arming yourself with good information, and that’s what the diet book is about.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. John Whyte: “Some other simple tips that I tell people- and it may sound silly at first, is I tell people they should chew gum. And the reason why is that chewing gum actually reduces some hormones that tells us our body is full. We also know that it takes 20 to 20 minutes our brains can register that we’re full when we eat a meal, so I tell people to definitely chew their food.
And then it’s all about drinking water, so to get those eight glasses of water a day, that’s actually going to help us lose weight because it’s going to stretch our stomachs a bit and make us feel full. I always have water before a meal and while I’m eating a meal.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Dr. John Whyte: “I always encourage folks to go to AARP.com/NewAmericanDiet, they can download a seven day plan, they can download some of the recipes, check them out, and see what they enjoy. I think once they get started on it they’ll think this is a diet that they can maintain over time.