Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 45 Intermittent fasting HOW THEY WORK: Instead of focusing on what you can eat (and can't) every day, intermittent fasting involves drastically restricting calories (often to under 500 calories a day) for relatively short periods. Some programs call for dramatic calorie reduction two days a week; others suggest going 16 hours without food, say, by eating an early dinner and then a very late breakfast; still others call for total fasting for 24 hours twice a week. You get the idea. "e strategy has shown some promising results, not just for weight loss and reducing insulin levels, but also for decreasing the incidence of certain cancers," says Lemond. "e premise is that when your body doesn't have to digest food at night, it can focus on doing other things, like cell repair." WHAT EXPERTS LIKE ABOUT IT: "Many of my patients tell me that skipping meals for one or two days is easier than counting calories—that they can do anything for two days a week," says Dr. Kumar. It can also be a good way to jump-start weight loss if you're struggling to break through a diet plateau. WHAT THEY LIKE LESS: It's easy to make up for a day of fasting by overdoing it for the next two days. "Most people have a hard time doing a total fast without compensating for it," says Lemond. IF YOU WANT TO TRY IT: "Start with a more moderate type of fast, like not eating after 7 pm at night, then postponing breakfast until 8 or 9 am the next day," says Lemond. DW Vegan HOW THEY WORK: A vegan diet is completely devoid of animal products, both the obvious ones (meat, fish) and the less obvious (dairy, eggs, even honey). Everything else is on the table, including plant-based foods and vegan versions of sweets (yes, there are vegan Oreos) and even Bacon bits. WHAT THE EXPERTS LIKE: "For the most part, a vegan diet empha- sizes power foods that are high in nutritional value and low in calo- ries," says Lemond. "Everyone ben- efits from that." Most people lose weight on a vegan diet. Veganism is also environmentally friendly, leaving a smaller carbon footprint than other ways of eating. WHAT THEY LIKE LESS: If you don't absolutely love fruits and vegetables, veganism will definite- ly feel too punishing. "While cut- ting animal products out of your diet reduces your risk of certain diseases, it could also put you at risk for developing a vitamin B 12 deficiency," says Dr. Kumar. "And when you cut several food groups out of your diet completely, it's likely that you'll overdo another group—like carbs." It's also easy to overeat vegan desserts and snacks that aren't necessarily low calorie. "I've definitely seen over- weight vegans," says Lemond. IF YOU DECIDE TO TRY IT: "I recommend that people get some guidance from a nutritionist, to make sure you're not missing out on important nutrients, like B 12 ," says Lemond. Adds Dr. Kumar: "Considering how varied our diets need to be to get all the requisite micro- and macronutrients, you really have to pay attention to what you're eating to make sure your body isn't missing out. Very low carb such as Keto and Atkins HOW THEY WORK: Low-carb diets put the kibosh on carbohy- drates—not just grains but also most fruits and starchy vegetables. at leaves meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, though some low-carb plans allow limited fruits and nonstarchy vegetables. While the typical American diet comprises 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, the keto diet reduces that percentage to as low as 5 percent of daily food intake, and Atkins to 10 to 20 percent, to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. "Eating a meal high in simple and refined carbs can spike insulin, leading to more rapid hunger, whereas a meal higher in protein leaves you satisfied for longer," Dr. Kumar explains. WHAT EXPERTS LIKE ABOUT THEM: A low-carb plan can help you drop weight fairly quickly, and can lower risk factors associated with diabetes, including high blood sugar and blood pressure. "Most of us are eating way too many carbs," says Lemond. WHAT THEY LIKE LESS: Besides being too high in saturated fats, the most extreme low- and no-carb diets can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including constipation, headaches, and electrolyte problems. Plus, a diet without carbs of any kind is tough to stick to. "While a low-carb plan is an effective way to lose weight, you have to be careful," says Lemond. "Take it too far and you may begin craving sweets at night." IF YOU DECIDE TO TRY THEM: Take a more moderate approach to low-carb eating— specifically, with a plan that gives the green light to complex carbs such as whole grains, steel-cut oats, and sweet potatoes, as well as fruits that don't spike blood sugar exces- sively, like berries and melon. "Carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet and a good source of B vitamins and folic acid," says Lemond. "ey shouldn't be vilified." Paula Derrow is a writer and editor in New York City specializing in health, psy- chology and the personal essay. She has written widely for national publica- tions. Find out more about her at pauladerrow.com. DW Life >

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