MY DIVA DIET has comprised Five Factors Affecting Body Fat and Health and Factor # 1 is your liquid consumption. There are 8 main categories within this factor to be aware of if you are interested in losing weight and being healthy.
Water is essential for life—it makes up about two-thirds of a person’s body weight and is the second most important nutrient next to oxygen. We can live without food for weeks, but only a few days without water. Drinking plenty of water stands alone as the best thing you can do for your body.
Water is critical to good health.
- Water is necessary for nearly every bodily function, including circulation,
- digestion, absorption, excretion, and nutrient distribution to all cells.
- Adequate amounts of water are vital to lung function; mitigate high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, diabetes, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, hiatal hernias, headaches, angina, allergies, and constipation; prevent kidney stones; and slow aging.
- Most of us retain water because we do not drink enough water.
- We mistake thirst for hunger, so we eat instead of drinking water.
- Dehydration not only has health consequences but also affects our mood and can make us lethargic, making it impossible to exercise and eat correctly.
- Thirst cannot always be relied on as the best indicator of water requirements. If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated.
- Supply your body with enough water each day and you will reap the rewards of health, vitality, energy, great skin, appetite control, reduced fat and bloating, and much more.
- Drink an average of eight to ten cups of water or more each day (depending on your body weight).
- You may need more water if you are exercising, drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks, taking medications, and/or drinking alcohol.
- You will get some water from your consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and some liquids you consume each day.
- It’s best to drink room-temperature water—iced water can delay digestion if consumed with a meal.
- Drinking bottled water is probably better than drinking tap water, unless you do enough research to be confident that your tap water is being properly treated and is safe.
- Another option is a tap-water filtering system, which is much less expensive than bottled water.
#2. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
If you think that just because you don’t drink coffee or you drink decaf that you aren’t consuming any caffeine, think again. Under current federal regulations a product labeled “decaffeinated” can still contain 2.5% of the original amount of caffeine, and caffeine is also found in tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, candy, medications, and diet pills.
- Coffee itself is not the problem so much as is consuming too much caffeine.
- Caffeine acts as a stimulant and can cause your heart to pump faster and your breathing to quicken.
- Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which increases the body’s need for more water.
- Caffeine is also a drug that can be addictive, so people who consume caffeine every day will usually need to continue to consume the same amount of caffeine just to feel normal.
- Coffee is okay in moderation, especially without sugar and cream.
- A little honey or agave nectar is good for sweetening coffee, as is low-fat milk because of its lactose (milk sugar) content.
- Skip dry creamers—they contain hydrogenated oil as well as sugar and other unwholesome ingredients—try a little low-fat soy milk or rice milk instead.
- Watch out for those fancy coffee drinks—they are full of fat and sugar.
- Tea is a good substitute for coffee—it’s low in caffeine and has other beneficial qualities.
- Avoid soda—not just because of the caffeine but for other reasons as well (see Soda, #4).
- Be cautious of so-called “energy drinks”, as they usually contain high amounts of caffeine and other harmful ingredients.
- Chocolate is okay on occasion, but choose dark chocolate instead of milk or white.
- Be aware of caffeine in medications you are taking.
- Stay away from diet pills!
After water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, offering many health benefits if you skip the cream and sugar. The average amount of caffeine in tea is 40 milligrams per cup, compared to coffee, which contains around 100 milligrams per cup.
- Teas such as green, black, and red contain polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants that help protect our bodies from free radical damage and may reduce the risk of gastric, esophageal, and skin cancers.
- Polyphenols also help prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol levels, and may lower the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Herbal teas are infusions made with herbs, flowers, spices, roots. and other plant parts but do not have the same health-promoting properties as green, red, and black teas.
- Herbal teas are consumed for their physical or medicinal effects, especially for their digestive, immunity, cleansing, relaxant, and wellness properties.
- Drink a couple of cups of tea daily to help boost your water intake and add other health benefits. With such a wide variety of flavors you’re bound to find one or more you love.
- Don’t drink grocery store or convenience store bottled teas that aren’t 100% tea. These teas usually contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sugar derivatives, all of which are definite no-no’s.
- Try pre-made unsweetened Tejava tea (www.tejava.com), found at Trader Joe’s.
- Some coffee bistros offer a variety of tea choices—just make sure they are plain teas—no sugar, cream, artificial sweeteners, etc..
Americans are drinking more soda today than ever before—soft drinks account for more than 25% of all drinks consumed.
- Drinking soda contributes to four major health issues: obesity, tooth decay, weakened bones, and caffeine dependence.
- Soda and other soft drinks are not healthy for you, even when they are labeled “decaffeinated” or “diet.”
- MY DIVA DIET recommends avoiding soda because its lack of nutritional value, adverse health effects, addictive quality, and contribution to weight gain.
- If you’ve analyzed one soda, you’ve analyzed most of them.
- Regular sodas are made up of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid or phosphoric acid, and other natural flavors.
- Many diet sodas contain carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid, and caffeine.
#5. Other drinks (sports drinks, powdered soft drinks, juice boxes, and other sugary drinks)
Sports drinks are made up of water, sugar, and maybe a few vitamins. Most juices and drinks labeled “juice” are mainly water, sugar, and a splash of juice.
- Powdered soft drinks and juice boxes are packed with either sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Most, if not all, of these drinks are primarily water and sugar (high fructose corn syrup, sucrose syrup, and glucose-fructose syrup), plus other ingredients.
- Just like soda, the drinks in this category labeled “diet” contain artificially made sweeteners.
- These are unnecessary calories and potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals added to your daily diet.
- Sugar is easily converted into body fat.
- If you are an athlete or if you exercise vigorously, then sports drinks may be of use to you if they have been properly evaluated and are being monitored.
- Sports drinks, powdered soft drinks, juice boxes, and other sugary drinks are not recommended on MY DIva DIeT.
- Sports drinks and vitamin waters may be the exception, as some contain vitamins and minerals.
- Water remains the best fluid to put in your body.
- If you need flavor in your water, try adding fresh fruit like lemon, strawberries, or pineapple.
#6. Juice (fruit and vegetable): fresh vs. concentrated
Drinking juice (unless it is fresh and from real fruits and vegetables in their natural form) is another way we unknowingly add excessive calories to our diet.
Most commercial juices:
- Contain large amounts of sugar
- Contain very little of the fruit or vegetable they are supposedly derived from
- Contain little, if any, nutritional value
- Are very high in calories and low in fiber—the opposite of most fruits and vegetables in their natural complete states
- The entire fruit or vegetable is not used. The outer layers of fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients, and these are usually not used in juicing.
- In order to make one cup of a fruit or vegetable juice, you probably have to use at least five to ten pieces of that particular fruit or vegetable. This means five or more times the total calories.
- The only way fruit and vegetable juices are of any benefit is if they are fresh and all parts (including the skin when possible) are used. You can ensure this by using a proper juicer (Jack LaLanne makes a very good one).
- If you do buy juice, always read the labels and look for 100% juice, not juice from concentrate.
- Fresh juice without preservatives usually has a short shelf life—check expiration dates.
- Try plain cranberry juice diluted in water!
#7. Meal replacement drinks (protein shakes, smoothies, and green drinks)
In today’s society we gravitate toward anything that is quick and easy, and this also holds true for replacing healthful meals with quick drinks.
- The billion-dollar fitness industry makes its money off quick-fix scams and false promises. Next time you pick up a so-called “diet shake,” “protein shake,” “energy drink,” or “vegetable drink,” take a look at the ingredients.
- Most of these drinks (if they are pre-made) contain large amounts of sugar as well as preservatives and additives.
- The protein used is questionable, as are some of the claims being made.
- Meal replacement drinks can be an acceptable way to get nutrients on the run.
- If they are of good quality, these types of drinks are okay to use as a meal, especially if you are pressed for time. They are much better solutions than skipping a meal or grabbing a high-fat donut or muffin.
- Meal replacement drinks can also be used as supplements to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need each day for optimal health & fitness.
- The best advice in this area is to know what is in a pre-made protein shake, smoothie, or green (or other vegetable) drink.
- Best of all, you can make these drinks yourself using real foods without added ingredients.
- When making your own protein shake, smoothie, or green drink at home, use real juice, fruits, nuts, flaxseed, bran, yogurt, etc.
- For protein shakes, use a protein powder blend that has low amounts of sugar and no additives. There are many good ones to choose from , and they are a good way to ensure you get enough protein without sacrificing quality.
- Many health food stores, fitness centers, and other places include these drinks on their menus—just ask questions.
- Try your local juice bar, like Jamba Juice (www.jambajuice.com).
Here are some different types of protein powders and basic information about each:
- Whey protein is the most commonly used type of protein. It contains high levels of essential amino acids.
- Casein protein powder is the richest in glutamine, an amino acid that aids in recovery.
- Egg white protein is a lactose- and dairy-free protein.
- Soy protein contains all the amino acids and is a good alternative for vegetarians (just don't consume too much-not good).
- Hemp protein contains essential amino acids and is another good vegetarian alternative.
Here are some excellent products for making a quick and healthful green drink:
- Living Fuel (www.livingfuel.com)
- Garden of Life Perfect Food (www.gardenoflife.com)
- Energy First Green Energy Super Food (www.energyfirst.com)
- Bolthouse Farms—a pre-made green drink you can find in your grocery or health food store (www.bolthouse.com)
The behavioral problems that can result from alcohol use and abuse are well documented. However, alcohol consumption also has a direct impact on your health as well as your body-fat level.
- Alcohol has short-term effects on health and body fat.
- Alcohol is easily converted to fat, has empty calories, can cause dehydration, and creates electrolyte imbalances.
- While your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, it is unable to metabolize fat.
- Alcohol has more severe long-term effects on health and body fat.
- Excessive alcohol use can result in dependency, nutrition deficiency (mainly B-complex and iron), liver dysfunction, brain cell damage, increased cancer risk, increased heart disease risk, digestive system dysfunction, reproductive problems, and mental health effects (like depression).
- If you are serious about losing fat and upgrading your health, alcohol has to be off limits during the Diva Reduction Phase of MY DIVA DIET.
- When you are in the Diva Maintenance Phase, you can have alcohol in moderation, but you will need to monitor it so that the fat does not come back and your health won’t suffer.
Factor #1: Monitor liquid consumption.
Consume plenty of water each day and proper amounts of other liquids
Factor #2: Calculate the quantity and distribution of calories.
Eat according to your metabolism, goals, and activity level.
Factor #3: Determine the quality and purity of calories.
Eat pure and wholesome foods.
Factor #4: Eliminate restrictive and unbalanced dieting forever.
Factor #5: Introduce a balanced exercise regimen.
"What you are drinking can make or break your diet! It truly affects your body fat and health."
Liquid Intake to Lose Weight and Be Healthy
- Water should be consumed all day every day.
- In order to avoid adding too many extra calories to your day, keep your liquid consumption to tea and coffee (plain, which has no calories).
- Milk (whether dairy, soy or rice) does contain calories, so keep these items to a minimum.
- Fresh juice (fruit or vegetable) and meal replacement drinks have quite a few calories. Monitor these so your daily totals won’t go too high.
- Lastly, if you decide to keep drinking liquids that are not conducive to getting lean and healthy—like high-fat, high-sugar coffees and teas, soda (diet or not), sugary drinks, non-fresh juice, poor-quality meal replacement drinks, and alcohol—you can expect poor results.
MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book (copyright, 2007)