Thursday, March 29, 2012

Say What?:Lettuce

So I know its been a lot of dieting posts, but I felt like since its the start of a new year, a lot of people's focus is on health. Plus swimsuit season is coming fast so this is applicable.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad from Red Rock

Get it? Anyways, a lot of people when they start dieting or changing habits albeit probably from worse ones think that they should only eat salads with as few calories as possible. I.e. salads that are only lettuce. However, its important to bring the fact to light that this can actually be more destructive than people realize.

You ever had the experience where you want to make the healthy choice so you have just a plain salad for dinner or lunch? And then less then two or three hours (sometimes even less) you are starving again? This obviously can lead to serious overeating because you will feel the desire to eat something more filling which can often be an unhealthy choice for ex. fast food or sugar. Either way you intake more calories than you wanted too. 

But what causes it? Is it just because you're not eating enough calories from the salad or is it because the majority of what you're eating is water? 

It actually has to do with the chemicals that your body produces. The hunger signal is produced by the secretion of a hormone ghrelin. When you eat a balanced meal with high carbohydrates the hormone stops being secreted and goes away. Then when you need to eat again the hormone is produced again. When you eat just salad you are not taking in enough carbohydrates to stop the secretion of ghrelin, therefore the hormone continues to secrete and you feel the desire to eat more causing you to eat more calories. 

The key is when you eat a salad (which is the healthy choice) make sure it has nuts, seeds, some kind of protein, berries, or even low-fat cheese on it. Or eat it with a small carb food such as a small sandwhich, soup, or pasta. My favorite salad is the warm goat cheese salad from Red Rock pictured above-try it. 

Just keep making simple healthy choices and it will pay off. Most importantly find healthy things that you do like so that you can make it a habit to like eating healthy things.

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