Spring diet: how and when to eat to lose weight and deal with the change of season

Spring diet: how and when to eat to lose weight and deal with the change of season

Desire for lightness: as nature awakens and the days get longer, we all feel more ready to make some sacrifices at the table to eliminate the kilos accumulated during the winter and detoxify. After all, seasonal fruit and vegetables are an explosion of colors and flavors that encourage us to eat in a healthier way also because, as temperatures rise, we discover ourselves more and more and if we are not feeling well with our body we could feel uncomfortable. However, do-it-yourself or, worse, advice circulating on social media is prohibited because dietary errors are anything but harmless.

Diet? A healthy lifestyle is better

With Easter also behind us, with more hours of light and the sun making the days warm, spring really seems like the ideal season to go on a diet. “In reality, choosing to cut bad habits is always a good idea and if spring gives us a boost we can take advantage of it,” he explains Anna Tagliabuepresident of the Italian Society of Human Nutrition (Sinu).

“However, enjoying the benefits that seasonal products offer is something we can do all year round, there is no right diet in spring and wrong in winter, but there is a need for everyone to follow a healthy diet. The concept of ‘going on a diet’ is old and should be overcome, but unfortunately it persists in the mentality of many people. Following medical nutritional therapy is necessary for those who suffer from a specific pathology and requires a preliminary medical assessment. For healthy people, perhaps with some extra kilo, it would be preferable to take advantage of the good weather to stay outdoors longer and increase physical activity.”

Personalized choices

The thought of ‘going on a diet’ inevitably brings with it an idea of ​​deprivation and sacrifice, but, in reality, if we do not have allergies or intolerances diagnosed with certified tests or diseases that require special diets, there are no prohibitions, but choices between different foods and, obviously, moderation in consumption.

“Scientific evidence – continues Tagliabue – has shown that there is no optimal dietary approach for everyone, but it is necessary to adapt weight loss strategies to individual needs, considering preferences, habits, cultural level and social context. The others are equally important. aspects of lifestyle such as daily physical activity, adequate duration of rest, and following the physiological rhythms of our body, respecting meal and sleep times”.

Which foods to favor

Even though social media has now accustomed us to the imaginative trends of influencers, in reality eating healthily only requires common sense. “Fortunately – reiterates Tagliabue – the healthiest foods such as seasonal vegetables and fruit, which must always be present on our table, are also the least caloric foods in themselves and therefore help to reduce the caloric density of meals. The key remains therefore, a choice of Mediterranean-type foods such as whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish, white meats”.

In short, the dear, ‘old’ Mediterranean diet which continues to boast numerous scientific evidences that clearly demonstrate its countless benefits, not only in weight control, but also in the prevention of the main chronic-degenerative diseases.

“Unfortunately – adds the president of Sinu – a very recent study, which examined the eating habits of over 10,000 people in Italy in the period from 2019 to 2022, revealed a decrease in adherence to this model, with excessive consumption of red meat and a low intake of vegetables, legumes, fish and dairy products. This data highlights the importance of taking into consideration the value and fundamental principles of the Mediterranean diet in our daily diet”.

The role of chrono-nutrition

To lend a hand to those who want to lose weight is chrono-nutrition, a recent branch of nutrition, which highlights the importance of following individual circadian rhythms for weight management and the body’s metabolic response.

“These rhythms – explains the president of Sinu – influence the way in which our body uses nutrients, with peaks in metabolic and digestive activity that vary during the day. For this reason it is crucial to maintain regularity in meals and not skip breakfast , essential for providing energy to the body after the night-time fasting period. It is also recommended to consume a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon, especially when many hours pass between main meals”.

Wrong to eat too late

Are there times to choose or avoid to sit at the table? “Recent studies – he replies Monica Dinu, researcher at the Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of the University of Florence and coordinator of the Sinu Youth Group – have highlighted that consuming lunch after 3.00 pm can slow down and hinder weight loss, while consuming dinner at late, when our body enters the rest phase, it can determine an alteration of the glycemic and lipid profile, predisposing to an increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is advisable to bring forward the times of consumption of the main meals, avoiding consuming significant amounts of calories at dinner and after dinner”. A session of the next Sinu National Congress which will be held in Piacenza from 4 to 6 will also be dedicated to this topic. June 2024.

The false myth of slow metabolism

It often happens that you hear a person complain that a friend or acquaintance eats twice as much, but remains thin and this leads them to think they have a slow metabolism. Is that so? “In reality – replies the president of Sinu – everyone has their own metabolism which is conditioned by age, by our body size and also by our usual diet. Scientific evidence shows, in fact, that the less we eat, the more the body adapts to consume less. Therefore, it is much better to avoid going on a cyclical diet and completely avoid restricting calories without a precise medical indication. Rather, it is more useful to help the body consume energy with an active life.”

How not to go hungry

One of the hardest things when going on a diet is getting used to eating less without going hungry. “Hunger and satiety – underlines Tagliabue – are sensations that should help us eat the right amount, but we have long since lost the habit of following these sensations. Our food choices are dictated by something else, namely by habits, taste, social occasions, advertising Hunger is not always real, but often the desire for food arises from an emotional drive such as boredom or frustration, so it is necessary to shift attention from food to something else that can nourish us and which is not food but, for example , hobbies. However, a balanced Mediterranean-type diet rich in foods of plant origin and dietary fiber can help the feeling of satiety. It is also important to allow yourself adequate time to consume the meal, it has become a luxury, but it helps you enjoy it more foods, as well as avoiding eating while carrying out other activities such as watching the PC or television”.

Hydration: how much and what to drink?

Not only on a diet, but always drinking the right amount of fluids is essential. The ideal drink iswaterfall, both from the tap and in the bottle, and it is important to keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day, supporting, or even better anticipating, the sense of thirst both during meals and outside. “Drinking frequently, in small sips, is recommended to reach the recommended volume of daily water which is approximately 2 liters or 6-8 glasses. Consume a glass of water at breakfast, two at lunch, two at dinner and at least half a liter away from meals is a reasonable division”, suggests Tagliabue.

“If drinking before meals can contribute to a feeling of satiety, moderate water consumption during meals can facilitate swallowing and digestion.”

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