All over the place, you hear from medical professionals that you need to eat a variety of healthy foods. More variety equals better nutrition and health, right? Not necessarily.
New research indicates that all that food variety may be what’s keeping you from maintaining a healthy weight and keeping blood glucose levels under control. Take a look at how reducing food variety can stabilize your diabetes.
Why less variety is better
Research shows that when faced with more variety, we eat more foods. For example, if you go out to a party and see five appetizers that all look delicious, you are likely tempted to try each of them. Additionally, when we only eat a particular food once in a great while, we are much more likely to overeat that food. By contrast, when our food choices are somewhat limited day in and day out, we know we will eat that food again tomorrow, or the next day, and we don’t feel the need to overindulge. This suggests that a more minimalist diet selection can help us to control our appetites.[trendingtopicsre;ated]
What’s the catch?
If you’re ready to take a more minimalist approach to your diet, you need to know a few health guidelines first. Eating less foods means you have to make the best possible choices about what those foods are. You can’t stabilize your weight and blood sugar on a diet of refined grains and processed oils. Choose at least one food from each of these groups to get the most of your minimalist diet.
Dark leafy greens are a food that everyone should be eating at least a few times a week, if not daily. They provide a ton of nutrition, including vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium. They’re also low in calories and good for your digestion. Many options are available, including romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and several seaweeds. Choose a couple you like and make them a diet staple.
You can’t beat greens as a top veggie choice. But other vegetables will help to fill you up and round out your nutrition. Consider sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and cauliflower. Vegetables are the best source of carbohydrates in your diet.
Getting enough protein every day is necessary for your body to repair itself, maintain lean muscle mass, and prevent blood sugar spikes. You want to vary your protein source, especially if you eat a lot of seafood, which can contain mercury. Fish, mussels, lean beef, chicken, and beans all provide lean protein. Eggs are also a healthy protein source.
This is a really important one for helping you feel full and stabilize weight and blood sugar. Avoiding fat is a mistake. If you get your fat from whole plant-based foods, such as nuts, peanut butter, olives, coconut, and avocados, you will be doing wonders for your body. It’s processed fats like the ones found in fried foods and packaged snacks that are bad for you.
If there’s a group you weren’t expecting, fermented foods may be it. But the healthy bacteria in fermented foods actually helps you to digest food better and keep your blood sugar balanced. You should eat at least one fermented food regularly. Try yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or sourdough bread.
Low-glycemic fruits refer both to sweet fruits that are less likely to spike blood glucose levels, such as oranges, grapefruit, melon, and berries, and to non-sweet fruits often grouped in with vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumbers. Since they can be eaten raw, these all make easy snacks and side dishes.
If you take away one point from this article, make it this: a monotonous diet of healthy foods is better for you than a diverse diet with many unhealthy choices. Just pick 1-3 foods that you enjoy eating from each group, and you will be getting all the nutrition you need without the hassle of constantly preparing new meals.
Special thanks to Diedra Taylor for writing this article.