How Does Calorie Control Help Your Waistline and Your Pocket?

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Published: 16th October 2012
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Food prices around the world are increasing at a rate higher than ever before. Consequently, this is forcing individuals and families into one of two options. · Giving up existing “luxuries” in order to continue eating the foods they most enjoy, regardless of cost. · Eating less, or cutting out the more expensive foods from their diet, such as certain meat products.

Of course, many people would consider themselves fortunate to at least have the choice between those two. Millions of people around the world are already starving, while the rising cost of food will push many more people towards falling into food poverty. At the same time, does the current escalation in food prices open the door for new attitudes to emerge with regards to diet, which could ultimately lead to a generally improved level of global health?

The Role of Science As with most things in life, scientific research has played a key role in the emergence of new healthy eating trends. In a lot of cases, however, the science has come along to look into things after they have already been tried and tested by human beings. Despite a lot of misplaced belief that living a healthy lifestyle costs a lot more money, there is mounting evidence of alternative health benefits that can be had without the need to break the bank. Many relatively new attitudes towards calorie controlled diets are allowing people to live healthier for longer, and there is not a health magazine or cupboard full of vitamin tablets in sight. We took a look at some of the most popular and emerging methods of achieving great health through diet, and how they can also save you a great deal of money.

CRON Dieting This method was developed in the early 1990’s initially, and although there has since been several books and papers looking at this calorie restricted method, it is still relatively unknown around the world. CRON – standing for calorie restricted optimal nutrition is a straightforward enough nutrition plan to follow.

The purpose, as is given away somewhat by the name, is for individuals to eat a reduced number of calories while maintaining their intake of optimal nutrients to maintain healthy bodily functions. Generally, following this eating plan will see individuals eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, and combining this with seeds and other natural ingredients that are rich in nutrients.

In order to meet the body’s needs in terms of specific nutrients, “superfoods” such as wheat germ and shiitake mushrooms are popular staples that can be added to many recipes. One way that many people to choose to follow this eating plan is to stick carefully to recommended daily allowances, and calculating meals in this manner.

Although following CRON can save a great deal of money for both individuals and families, many people are put off by the level of planning that goes into such a dietary habit. That aside, there is scientific evidence that there are great benefits to be had from following this plan, including a lower body fat percentage, and less susceptibility to conditions associated with ageing, in particular heart disease and several cancers.

An alternative to following CRON eating habits stringently is to simply eat less, such as half portion sizes or children’s portions. Intermittent Fasting Another popular way, although surprisingly less restricted, of boosting health on a budget is to follow the principles of intermittent fasting.

Again, the name of the “diet” does not leave much to the imagination, and the very sight of the word “fasting” is often enough for people to write off any possibility of doing it at all. As with CRON, however, there is significant evidence that intermittent fasting can have huge health benefits. These range from the cosmetic that everyone will relate to, such as losing weight, to internal benefits such as lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

One of the biggest plus points of intermittent fasting, as well as being a great way to live healthily on a budget, is that there are many ways to go about it. One way to embrace intermittent fasting is to break up each day. For example, an intermittent faster may only eat between 8am and noon, while having nothing other than water for the remaining 20 hours of the day.

This is among the most popular approaches to intermittent fasting, while another is to have one small meal on a “fasting” day, and eat whatever you want to on a non-fasting day. Others take this to the farthest extreme, and on fasting days choose to exist only on water, or cups of herbal tea. Intermittent fasting has proven popular as individuals can get many health benefits even by eating whatever they want on their non-fasting days.

So long as the pattern of fasting and eating is strictly followed, even people who have chosen to eat what we would consider unhealthy foods, such as takeaway foods and those with high fat content, have been shown to enjoy weight loss, lower levels of blood sugar, and all of the advantages we talked about previously.

Which is Best? Ultimately, the decision will come down to what is best for everyone on an individual basis. The thought of calorie restriction or fasting, despite the clear health benefits and money saving potential, will not be for everyone, who will stick to a punishing exercise regime so they can continue to eat what they wish.

With food costs continuing to rise as mentioned at the top, however, expect to see these “new age” methods of health on a budget gain traction and popularity in the very near future.

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