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Dieting dos and don'ts

There is a lot of stigma surrounding the word 'diet', with many people seeing it as a bad thing to avoid certain food groups or watch what you eat.

However, some people need to follow a specific eating plan for health reasons such as diabetes or high cholesterol, while others may be trying to improve their fitness and lose a few kilos.

Sometimes making changes to your diet and cutting out high amounts of fat and sugar can be incredibly beneficial, and leave you feeling healthy and fit.

That said, it's important to be careful and to diet in a way that is sustainable and nutritional. Here are a few dieting dos and don'ts that may make the experience more enjoyable.

Don't miss meals

Skipping meals may help you lose a few kilos in the short term, but in the long run you are more likely to put them back on. This habit also wreaks havoc on your energy levels and can leave you feeling weak or fatigued.

Do eat properly and regularly

According to Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher from the Department of Health at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, people need to focus on eating healthily and regularly as opposed to skipping meals.

"Society needs to move away from a focus on weight, and instead needs to emphasise healthy eating habits, such as eating regular and varied meals and eating breakfast," Mr Cuypers says.

Don't give up everything you love

Diets are often unsustainable because people cut out every single food that they enjoy, and turn eating into a bit of a chore.

Snacking on dry crackers and lettuce leaves may help you lose some weight, but after a few weeks you will probably crack and reach for the nearest packet of chocolate biscuits and pile the calories back on.

Do find foods that are both healthy and delicious

Instead of cutting out everything you love, look for healthy alternatives to your favourite treats.

If you don't think you can live without salt and vinegar chips, see if you can find salt and vinegar rice crackers.

Or if you adore baked goods, put in the extra effort and make your own cakes and muffins, only using low-fat options and wholemeal flour.

You can even cut out the sugar in most recipes by using a replacement such as Stevia or Xylitol.

These healthy sugars can also be added to hot drinks, cool beverages and cooking!


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