Torres column: Good food is the basis of any health or weight loss program |

Torres column: Good food is the basis of any health or weight loss program

Sandro Torres

What keeps someone motivated to stay healthy?

Many people, especially older people, want healthy bodies and minds because they want to be able to enjoy their grandchildren. They picture themselves having the energy and stamina to play with them. What could be better motivation? Other people have other fitness goals, including wanting to have an attractive body to find a mate or to enjoy adventure by rock-climbing, kayaking, skiing or boarding.

The bottom line is that in order to believe in the importance of being healthy, people need to find a good motivation. What’s yours?

If you have been following me for a while now, you’ve probably read much of the research I have done about processed foods. I’ve presented research — both my own and that of others — that links disease and weight gain to processed foods.

Have you watched “Fed Up”?

It is a movie full of information, with really nothing new, but it will be eye-opening for those who struggle with their health.

The movie makes various points, but one of the messages is that government regulation, and the lack of it, has much to do with the food we eat, which is true. The film also pointed out that corporations advertise to us from childhood to eat harmful and addicting foods. I also believe that this is true.

The movie had lots of good topics, but for today, I’ll focus on only two — otherwise I would be writing a book here!

Shocking soda statistics

We all know that soda is full of sugar though perhaps you did not know that soda has as many calories if not more than a complete meal but has no nutritional value. To burn a can of soda a person needs to exercise more than an hour, according to “Fed Up.” To burn three sodas, it’s close to four hours.

And don’t think you are safe because you drink diet soda. I won’t go into the unhealthy chemicals used in diet soda since I have talked about them in other articles.

Dangerous consequences

Processed foods have empty calories and no nutrients, just like soda.

Research has shown that when animals are fed processed foods, they develop cancerous tumors, diabetes and osteoporosis and gain weight. Human beings need to eat for one reason: nutrients — the stuff that keeps us alive and gives us energy.

Without nutrients, the body can’t fight diseases and lacks the building blocks to keep our systems working. Therefore, good food is the basis of any health or weight loss program.

Made purely for profit

Processed foods are a big factor in why people these days are often overweight, and sometimes develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other modern ailments. Even if it’s accurate to say that our government should do something to improve how foods are managed, the reality is that we ourselves hold the power.

If you avoid processed foods, you have done the hardest step. It’s the best decision you can make for your health. The rest is easier. Soon you’ll see improvements in your health and start losing weight, too, if that’s your goal.

Also, if we want to make a collective impact, remember that our “vote” counts. Every time we buy processed foods we are voting and making these foods more popular and powerful. If we stop asking for these harmful foods, corporations will do the right thing and sell us real foods.

The power of your brain

One more comment: It’s been a while since I’ve told you about the power of your brain. It’s like a computer and can be programmed with positive or negative thoughts.

As human beings, we are affected every day by our environment. Television, for example, is full of advertisements for processed foods. Even if you think you’re not interested, if you watch food advertisements, you are encouraged to eat what you know is not good to you.

Do yourself a favor: Limit your TV time and find other ways to invest in yourself, using your time to read, meditate, cook, or other positive activities.

Do you really want to be healthier, lose weight and avoid diseases? Follow these recommendations and you will see the difference. Keep in mind, however, that you want to change for life, not change only for few weeks.

Never eat processed foods.

Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale, author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently” and a Watch Fit columnist. His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.

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