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Can Past Nutritional Sins Affect Your Health?

If you've made nutrition mistakes in the past, your body may still forgive you if you change - now!

Skimping on Carbs continued...

"Skimping on carbs can throw the body out of balance because something it needs isn't showing up for work," says Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, a Florida-based dietitian.

Too few carbs may lead to increased appetite and insatiable cravings. And severely restricting carbohydrates can cause you to eat too much fat -- think a whole jar of nuts in one sitting.

If eating a low-carb diet equals eating lots of saturated fat and cholesterol-heavy foods, these can increase your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer, Sass tells WebMD.

It could also up your risk of diverticulitis, an infection in the pouches within the colon, because of the lack of dietary fiber typical on low-carb plans.

The quick fix is to jump on the veggie bandwagon ASAP. Strive for five to nine servings of produce per day to boost intake of disease fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. This will also increase fiber, as a typical serving of fruit or vegetables contains 2-3 grams of fiber.

Read labels to keep saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, and cholesterol to the USDA Dietary Guidelines limits, which is 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day from food, 10% of total calories from saturated fat (about 22 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet), and as little hydrogenated fat as possible. Hydrogenated fats come from liquid vegetables oils, which are converted into solid form during manufacturing. They are used mostly in processed baked goods, such as cookies and cakes, and can help increase the shelf life of many products. But these fats have a negative effect on cholesterol, increasing "bad" LDL cholesterol while lowering "good" HDL cholesterol.

Breakfast Skipper

Whether you were too busy sleeping in, just not hungry or truly thought this was a good way to keep your weight in check, former breakfast skippers may have wreaked havoc on their metabolisms, too. Research shows skipping the morning meal slows resting metabolism and keeps our bodies from burning calories until lunchtime. A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows breakfast skippers have a higher body mass index (BMI).

Other research shows people who eat breakfast daily may be less likely to succumb to obesity and diabetes.

"You need breakfast to get your brain and body functioning," says Glassman. If you don't feed your body, it will only hold onto the fuel it has stored and will never budge a pound.

People who skip breakfast are also the type of people who tend to go without eating in general, Glassman tells WebMD. They're the same ones who go until 3 p.m. without lunch or tend to forget to eat all day and then feast on a large dinner.

These behaviors can destroy of the metabolism over time. Also, when you eat fewer foods throughout the day, you eat fewer types of foods and may miss out on vital nutrients, says Glassman. Skipping breakfast may result in a lack of an adequate store of vitamins and minerals as well as missing out on certain phytochemicals and antioxidants that help ward off disease.

Avoid the metabolism roller coaster by regularly downing a healthy breakfast. If you can't eat first thing in the morning, wait an hour or two for your stomach to settle, and then try half an English muffin with peanut butter or a container of yogurt.

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