Nutritionists Reveal The One Small Dietary Change That Will Make You Healthier In 2017

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13/01/2017 16:39 GMT

Reports estimate that by 2025, one fifth of adults worldwide will be obese.

And with it comes a series of potentially life-threatening conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer and stroke. 

The thing about obesity, however, is that it’s largely preventable. 

In a bid to encourage healthier eating in 2017, we spoke to a handful of nutritionists about the one dietary change they’d advise people to make this year. 

From upgrading your carbs to ditching dairy, here’s what they had to say.

  • 1. Stop buying into the 'low-fat' trend
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    "I would recommend people move away from the idea that a low-fat diet will give you low body fat," says Lorraine Cunningham, fitness and nutrition expert.

    "The idea of having low fat, no fat or reducing saturated fat from our diets has been such a huge trend but it does not result in the body transformation that people are looking for.

    "Fat is an essential part of our diets. There are three types - hydrogenated fat, saturated fat and essential fat. The only fat which is not good for us is hydrogenated fat, which we find in convenience foods.

    "My philosophy is we need to eat more fat - and what I mean by this is more essential fat - to burn body fat."
  • 2. Introduce a mineral rich supplement to your diet
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    "As food is becoming more mineral deficient (due to a lack of it in soil, being stored for periods of time, etc.), I would recommend introducing a mineral rich supplement that is easily absorbed such as bee pollen, kelp (seaweed) or marine phytoplankton," says Julie Silver, qualified nutritional therapist and author of 'Food Awakening'.
  • 3. Reduce the fructose in your diet
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    "The less fructose you consume, the better," says Matt Plowman, nutrition adviser at Cardiff Sports Nutrition.

    "Sugar alternatives like Agave Nectar rank low on the glycemic index because they have a high content of fructose. And fructose does not readily raise blood sugar (glucose) levels because the body doesn’t metabolise it well.

    "But new research suggests that excessive fructose consumption deranges liver function and promotes obesity. Therefore I'd avoid it."
  • 4. Don't diet
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    "Often dieting just leads to a cycle of weight loss and weight gain that ultimately leaves us unhappy and disheartened," says registered nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed.

    "Instead, work on small personal goals that you can build on week by week - always making sure they are personal to the elements you need to change about your health."
  • 5. Upgrade your carbs
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    "Most grains eaten in the UK are white (/refined) and our intake of wholegrains is very low," says dietitian and BDA spokesperson, Lucy Jones.

    "Surveys show that 95% of adults don’t eat enough wholegrains and nearly one in three of us get none at all. Despite the bad reputation they often face, carbs can be a fantastic part of our diets, particularly when wholegrain. These can contain up to 75% more nutrients than refined grains; providing fibre, proteins, B vitamins and essential minerals like selenium and copper.

    "Evidence is growing that eating wholegrains regularly helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and Type 2 diabetes by 30%. Risks of certain cancers like bowel cancer are also lower in people who eat wholegrains.

    "Upgrade your refined white carbs like bread, pasta and rice for brown and wholegrain versions and be mindful of portion sizes."
  • 6. Eat snacks
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    "Don’t go hours upon hours without food or your metabolism will slow down to a snail’s pace," says Ant Nyman, qualified PT, nutritionist and Multipower ambassador.

    "Snack on a small handful of raw nuts in between lunch and dinner to keep the furnace burning and give you that essential kick of protein. If I’m out for the day I’ll always make sure to pack a protein bar to keep me going."
  • 7. Eat a rainbow
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    "Let 2017 be the year when you see that you can eat healthily and feel great, without spending a fortune on obscure faddish 'health foods' and ingredients," says Dr Michelle Braude, medical doctor, nutritionist and founder of The Food Effect.

    "Whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned, try to increase and vary your intake of fruit and vegetables. You’ll feel so much better and your body will benefit from all the added vitamins, nutrients, anti-oxidants and fibre.

    "Diets rich in fruit and vegetables have been proven to decrease the risk of heart attacks, stroke and a variety of cancers. Healthy glowing skin is also achieved by eating a colourful, varied diet."
  • 8. Eat mindfully
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    "Practice mindfulness," says Azmina Govindji, a dietitian and BDA spokesperson.

    "Avoid watching TV while eating as you tend to eat more when you're distracted from your food, eat on a smaller plate, chew your food more and savour the flavour."
  • 9. Swap cereal for protein
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    "Ditch the cereal and include protein for breakfast," says Karen Austin, fitness and nutritional expert. 

    "Protein will help balance your blood sugar levels to keep you fuller for longer preventing energy slumps and cravings mid morning. It will also balance and prevent the spike of the hormone cortisol, to help set the body up for the day to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar."
  • 10. Don’t be too hard on yourself
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    "An occasional slip up where our plans go off track is completely normal and it’s important to try not to see this as a disaster and move past it," says Carolyn Pallister, a dietitian and BDA spokesperson.

    "Get straight back on track and don’t let this make you lose sight of your overall goals and how far you have come, instead try to learn from it by identifying what happened and make a plan for how to deal with it next time."