Prepare to forget everything you know about healthy eating...
Meet Kimberly Snyder the nutritionist who has Hollywood queuing up for her advice on healthy living and an all-natural diet. We asked for the top 5 diet rules she lives by
1. ‘RETHINK YOU PROTEIN QUOTA’
Women love high-protein diets; the assumption is that you can’t consume too much lean protein and that it’s necessary at every meal. The truth is you can have too much and the result can be nausea, diarrhea and constipation; the liver simply can’t keep up with turning the excess nitrogen to urea so that it can effectively leave the body. The toxicity level in your body increases the more animal protein you consume and, ultimately it’s ageing you.
Animal protein often comes with a lot of saturated fat, and if you’re eating a diet high in protein and neglecting fibre and carbohydrates, you run the risk of increasing your cholesterol levels and putting your cardiovascular health on the line. You also exacerbate your chances of colon disease.
Kimberly Snyder recommends: If you want to consume animal protein, reduce it to one meal a day, and limit the portion size to one serving – one salmon fillet, three ounces of chicken breast or two eggs. More than this can tax digestion and make the body overly acidic. (The Recommended Daily Amount is 0.76g of protein per kilo of body weight. So, for example a 63kg woman would need about 48g of protein.) It is easy to obtain all your protein from whole plant foods alone if you choose, as I do. Most people don’t realise that you can get your allowance from seeds and nuts (will give you 33g of protein) and green vegetables come from amino acids to form protein in you body). Calorie for calorie, broccoli is actually more dense in protein than steak (though you do, of course have to eat more broccoli to get the numbers in).
2. ‘LEARN THE RIGHT WAY TO EAT FRUIT’
Fruit is the most natural food on the planet. People who deny themselves fruit (for example, because they are following diets that claim it is high in sugar and causes sugar spikes) end up eating less favourable sweet flavours, such as desserts, artificial sweeteners and juices, which are high in concentrated sugars. The problem is that modern diets are high in fats and slow-digesting proteins, which can interfere with efficient fruit digestion. Fruit is best eaten alone or with greens, as it then provides immediate fuel and acts as the strongest cleanser of toxins in the body. Fruit has only a small amount of fructose and because it contains water, vitamins, mineral, amino acids, fatty acids and fibre, it’s a complete nutritional package and the most natural form of energy.
Kimberly Snyder recommends: Try fruit with greens, such as spinach, kale, chard, rocket and/or romaine lettuce. Ideally leave three hours after a meal before having fruit and 30-40 minutes afterwards before eating again. Grapefruit, green apples, cranberries and blackberries are lower in sugar. I eat lots of fruit every day, and cut down on oils (which are not a whole food). To get the maximum benefit from fruit its best if you reduce fats and cut out refined sugars and processed foods.
3. ‘GREEK YOGURT – NOT A GOOD WAY TO START THE DAY’
My biggest health tip is this: eat as close to nature as you can. Would you suckle from a cow? Of course not. So why eat a product from cows milk? It’s time to accept a harsh reality: in my opinion dairy is not meant for human consumption and is difficult for many to digest. We grow up with the notion that milk and cheese are natural and good. But milk is acid-forming (which leads to accelerated ageing), as well as mucus-forming – and it can clog up digestion. Our bodies can’t efficiently digest dairy because we stop creating adequate levels of lactase, the enzyme necessary to break down the sugars in milk, early on (around the age of three). Foods that are difficult to digest make weight loss more difficult. So what about calcium in diary itself, it doesn’t mean it is all absorbed. This is because when you eat the yogurt, which is acid forming, your body tries to neutralize it by pulling the mineral calcium, which is alkaline, out of your bones. So ironically the net effect of eating acid-forming dairy is a calcium loss.
Kimberly Snyder recommends: Choose a probiotic supplement over yogurt or get your healthy bacteria from fermented foods, such as raw sauerkraut (I try to eat half a cup every night).
4. ‘SUGAR VS SWEETENERS – DISCOVER THE TRUTH’
Although they have all been approved ‘safe’ for human consumption, there are potential health risks associated with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. Aspartame is a molecule made up of an excitotoxin (a module that, high concentrations, may stimulate nerve cells so much that they are damaged or killed) called aspartic acid and methyl ester (which breaks down to formaldehyde and formic acid). These are not meant to be ingested; they’re also acid-forming.
Despite the fact it has no calories, studies have shown that aspartame can induce weight gain. Some researchers believe the main ingredients – phenylalanine and aspartic acid –stimulate the release of insulin and leptin, hormones that instruct our bodies to store fat. Another study showed that when we ingest a large amount of phenylalanine, it can reduce our serotonin levels – the nuerotransmitter that tells us when we’re full; a low level can prompt good cravings. Saccharin, found in many low – sugar snacks and sweeteners is no better. A study at Purdue University’s Ingestive Behaviour Research Centre concluded that consuming foods sweetened with saccharin would lead to a greater weight gain and body fat than eating the same foods and sweetened with sugar.
Meanwhile, researchers from the Duke University Medical Centre published a study in Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health that showed sucralose lowered good bacteria in the intestines by 50 per cent and contributed to weight gain in lab studies.
Kimberly Snyder recommends: avoid artificial sweeteners and instead opt for small amounts of natural sugar, such as raw honey in tea and coffee, sweet fruit such as bananas or dark chocolate.
5. ‘KNOW YOUR GOOD FROM BAD SHORTCUTS’
It’s a myth that protein or energy bars are a good substitute for breakfast or other meals if you are on the go. These so-called ‘health’ bars are anything but. When you look at the packaging of the most common culprits, the labels boast they have 15-20g of protein, no sugar and are gluten free. But flip the pack over and you’ll see where that protein comes from – why protein isolate and soy protein isolate, both highly processed. Such fractioned ingredients do not belong in a healthy body. When foods are separated into unnatural forms and consumed in large amounts, they’re difficult to digest. In addition, soy can be genetically modified and, unless organic, often sprayed with pesticides. Then there’s sugar. Many bars contain artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, such as brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, cane syrup, glucose syrup, sugar, and fructose.
Kimberly Snyder recommends: Shun ‘energy’ bars. Stick to clean, unprocessed whole foods that will increase your energy. A handful of almonds, sunflower seeds or a piece of fruit are cheaper, healthier and portable, and give you the natural energy boost you need while out and about.