If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the indulgences of the party season, forget the detox diets, and take a break with these simple suggestions.
Half the fun of the party season is enjoying the feast of rich meals, tasty snacks and delicious drinks. But all good things come to an end, and after a few weeks of indulgence, even the most committed foodies can sometimes find themselves longing for a simple salad.
If you’re feeling the need to get a bit of balance back in your life, you may be tempted by miraculous-sounding detox diets, which condemn whole food groups such as meat, dairy, wheat and even tea as ‘toxic’. But there’s no need to go to such extremes.
One simple rule of thumb can help you create a healthy diet that won’t drive you crazy. Simply re-duce the amount of sugar you eat and increase the amount of fibre.
The theory is that weight gain isn’t simply caused by the amount of calories you eat, but by foods which cause a rise in blood-sugar levels. That encourages the production of insulin, which has two negative effects from a dieter’s point of view. It causes the body to store that sugar as fat and it al-so blocks the hormone that tells you that you’re full – which is why it can be hard to stop snacking once you’ve started.
It’s relatively easy to stop this cycle, however, by reducing the consumption of sugar and low-fibre carbohydrates like potatoes. The fibre helps you feel fuller and slows down the release of energy into the bloodstream, keeping insulin levels steady.
You don’t need to cut out bread altogether, however. Simply replace white loaves with fibre-rich wholemeal slices, for slow-release energy that helps you hit the ground running with your New Year’s resolutions. You can make the same switch with white rice and brown.
This way you don’t need to cut out whole food groups and you can continue to eat a normal diet. Just try to make sure that about a third of your plate consists of vegetables, a third of meat (if you eat it), and a third is carbohydrates with high levels of fibre.
If you feel like something sweet – and you probably will if your body has got used to a diet of fes-tive treats – you can satisfy the craving with fresh fruit. The fibre inside the fruit counteracts the sugar and prevents a spike in insulin. Avoid fruit juices, however: without the fibre content, they’re as sugary as fizzy drinks.
Because most adults don’t usually eat enough fibre, it can be worth implementing these changes bit by bit to give your digestive system time to adapt. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it may prove to be one New Year’s resolution worth keeping.