The conversation about your health and nutrition can be deep and complicated. And, one-size-fits-all solutions should be viewed with a wary eye. But, there are few simple things you can do right now to improve your diet, from world renowned pediatric endocrinologist and obesity expert, Robert Lustig, MD.
1. Increase your intake of real, natural fiber. Fiber that comes from whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, not the kind that comes in a pill or jar.
2. Eat nutrient-dense foods rich in micronutrients. Micronutrients, commonly known as vitamins and minerals, are necessary for certain structural and functional needs of the body, like building strong bones and maintaining fluid balance. (For more on these check out MyFitnessPal’s Nutrition 101: Vitamins and Minerals infographic.)
3. Increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in nuts, seeds, fish (think: anchovies, salmon, herring and mackerel), as well as avocados.
4. Reduce consumption of foods with omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in processed and fast foods and polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, safflower, soy and cottonseed oils.
5. Eliminate trans fat. These synthetic fats are not metabolized for energy by the body which in turn increases your risk of heart disease.
6. Restrict branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs) found in abundance in corn-fed animals, as these have been associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
7. Avoid drinking your calories. Not just calories from sugar, either. Excess alcohol turns into liver fat which also contributes to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
8. Eliminate or significantly reduce added sugar in your diet. Added sugar offers no nutritional benefits, only extra calories which have a negative impact on blood sugar and your metabolic health. (For tips on how to cut back on added sugar, check out these great articles from MyFitnessPal: So You Want to Stop Eating Added Sugar and 15 Simple Hacks for Eating Less Sugar.)