If you’ve heard about the setpoint diet, you probably think it is designed just for weight loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the setpoint diet will not only help you lose weight permanently, but it can also help improve every area of your health.
The setpoint diet emphasizes whole foods that provide all the nutrients your body needs to survive and thrive. Your body must have the right balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers, essential fats, and other nutrients to grow and function properly. (Without proper nutrition, illness and disease will eventually develop.)
At the same time, the setpoint diet reduces or eliminates consumption of highly processed foods, added sugars, starchy carbs, and other poor-quality foods. Poor-quality nutrition is one of the leading causes of chronic disease and death in the United States. An estimated 678,000 deaths in the U.S. per year are attributed to nutrition-related diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
With the setpoint diet, you’ll increase the nutritive value of your diet, which will automatically improve your overall health. It will also reduce your risk of many nutrition-based illnesses and diseases.
Diseases with a Nutritional Basis that Setpoint Diet Can Help
Here are five common nutrition-based diseases.
Research shows the biggest cause of obesity is poor-quality diet, emphasis on quality. You see, weight gain and obesity are not caused by eating too much food as previously believed. Rather, studies now show the quality of the foods you eat matter much more than the quantity. High-quality foods, like the ones you’ll enjoy on the setpoint diet, are nutritious. They not only fill you up fast and keep you full for a long time, but they also eliminate sugar and carb cravings. This prevents overeating, helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. (Preventing obesity is another way the setpoint diet can improve your health.)
Type 2 Diabetes
This disease is characterized by high blood sugar and insulin resistance. The biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes is a poor-quality diet and obesity, both of which contribute to insulin resistance. Diabetes increases the risk for heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and infections.
Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels are considered cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. and worldwide. A major cause of all cardiovascular diseases is a poor-quality diet, though inactivity also plays a role.
Poor-quality diet contributes to the development of many types of cancer. For instance, research shows a poor-quality diet can contribute to cancers of the breast, kidney, and colorectum. Studies show increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.
It is a well-known fact that the foods you eat can affect the condition of your teeth. Studies show excess sugar consumption contributes to dental caries. Consuming acidic beverages and foods can also erode tooth enamel.
There is no doubt that the quality of the diet contributes to these and most other diseases. Specifically, regularly eating poor-quality foods that do not provide all the nutrients the body needs leads to disease.
America: Nutrient Deficiencies in the Land of Plenty?
You might think nutrient deficiencies only affect people in third-world countries. But that is incorrect. Yes, severe nutrient deficiencies are more common for those in undeveloped nations than for those living in developed, wealthy nations like the United States.
However, most Americans obtain only the bare minimum of the nutrients they need to prevent severe nutrient deficiencies. Their diets create minor nutrient deficiencies.
Here are symptoms of minor deficiencies of some essential nutrients.
- Vitamin D: Seasonal Affective Disorder; Bone pain; Muscle weakness
- Vitamin C: Bleeding, swollen gums; Tiny, red spots on skin; Fatigue; Frequent nose bleeds
- Magnesium: Muscle cramping/twitching
- Vitamin A: Night blindness; Dry, scaly skin; Dandruff
- Zinc: Frequent colds or infections; Decreased smell
Reasons for Nutritional Deficiencies
There are three main reasons for nutritional deficiencies: processed food consumption, Americans’ preference for sugary, fatty foods, and industrialized farming practices. We’ll discuss each of them in depth.
Processed Food Consumption
We live in a processed-food society. Processed foods aren’t always unhealthy or dangerous. In fact, almost all the foods you purchase are processed to a certain extent. Here are the 3 categories of processed foods.
- Minimally Processed: Foods that have had only minor things done to them, such as washing or peeling them. Examples of minimally processed foods include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole or chopped nuts and seeds, bagged salad, etc.
- Processed: Foods that have undergone a procedure that has changed their basic nutritional structure, such as pasteurization. Examples of processed foods include tomato sauce, canned tuna.
- Ultra-Processed: Foods that have undergone procedures that changed their basic structure, destroying most of their nutrients. They contain high amounts of sodium, processed fats, added sugars, preservatives, and other chemicals. They also contain little or no fiber. Ultra-processed foods are manufactured foods that studies show cause weight gain and negatively affect health. Examples of ultra-processed foods include breakfast cereals, convenience foods, chips, sodas.
A recent study found that more than half of the average American’s diet consists of ultra-processed foods. That, alone, is an indication of the many health problems this type of diet causes so many American. But there’s more. The same study showed that 90% of our added sugar intake comes from ultra-processed foods. Research shows excess sugar consumption contributes to many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Given this research, it makes sense that the most important thing you can do to improve your health is to reduce or eliminate your ultra-processed food consumptions. You will easily be able to accomplish this with the setpoint diet.
Americans’ Preference for Sugary, Fatty Foods
A lifetime of consuming low-quality foods have conditioned us to prefer sugary, fatty foods. In his book, The End to Overeating, former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler explains that when we eat something pleasing to us — or desire to eat something pleasing to us — our brains release dopamine. This brain chemical gives us the feeling of reward and the motivation to move toward that reward.
Dr. Kessler cites a study in which participants rated the foods they ate for pleasure. What foods do you think received the highest rating? Yep. Foods highest in fats and sugar won, hands down. The participants of the study also consumed significantly more foods with fat and sugar than they did any other foods.
It is not an accident that ultra-processed foods contain high amounts of sugars and fats, nor is it an accident that our spending on processed foods and sweets has almost doubled in 30 years. According to an article in Mother Earth News, 11.6% of Americans’ grocery budgets were spent on sweets and processed foods in 1982. By 2012, that figure had increased to 22.9%.
One of the best ways to improve your health is to reduce your consumption of sugary, fatty foods. Even though you’ve been conditioned to prefer these types of foods, the setpoint diet can help you change this preference.
Industrialized Farming Practices
Research shows fruits, vegetables, and grains do not contain nearly as many nutrients as they once did. Most experts attribute this to industrialized farming practices.
For more than 60 years, researchers have known the practices used to increase crop yields — such as irrigation and fertilization — also decreases the mineral content of those plants. The longer industrialized farming has been practiced, the more severe the mineral depletion has become.
The mineral depletion caused by industrialized farming practices affects all fruits and vegetables, even if you purchase fresh, minimally processed, or even organic ones. Despite such mineral depletion, you can obtain all the nutrients you need by following the setpoint diet recommendation to consume at least 10 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day.
How SANE Setpoint Diet Improves Health
The setpoint diet emphasizes whole foods that are as close to their natural states as possible. For instance, choose unprocessed or minimally processed vegetables, fresh or frozen. If frozen, make sure it does not contain any added sodium, sugars, and chemicals. If you are purchasing a cut of meat, choose one you could have hunted yourself, minimally processed. Grass-fed beef. Free-range chicken. Wild-caught fish.
At the same time, the setpoint diet reduces or eliminates ultra-processed foods, refined carbs, and added sugars. This, alone, will help improve your health. But there’s more. Research shows the food groups on the setpoint diet help heal hormones, trigger fat-burning hormones, lower setpoint weight, and provide the nutrients your cells need to function properly.
What to Eat on the SANE Setpoint Diet
Here the three main food groups on the setpoint diet.
10+ servings per day
Non-starchy vegetables contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that boost your metabolism, strengthen the immune system, and help your body perform all its functions.
One of the most important aspects of non-starchy vegetables is fiber. Though your body cannot digest dietary fiber, this type of carbohydrate is essential to proper digestive function. Fiber swells up in your stomach, filling you up fast and keeping you full for a long time. It also slows down the absorption of food, keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Proper blood glucose control is essential to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.
Because of the mineral depletion of today’s crops, it is important that you consume at least 10 servings per day of non-starchy vegetables. To ensure you obtain all servings each day, you can simply fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables at each main meal. Or, blend 2-3 servings of non-starchy veggies with kale and/or spinach, a serving of low-fructose fruit, and water for a SANE green smoothie.
Examples of non-starchy vegetables include:
3-5 servings per day, 30-55 grams per meal
Dietary protein is essential for building muscle, making hormones, repairing tissue, and more. Protein is made from amino acids, and although your body makes some amino acids, others must be provided by your diet. (These are called essential amino acids.) To ensure you obtain all the essential amino acids, it is important you consume a variety of nutrient-dense proteins.
Studies show protein takes more calories to digest than any other macronutrient, meaning that it increases your metabolism every time you eat it. It also signals short- and long-term satiety hormones, which is the reason why protein is so filling. Increasing your intake of protein also reduces or eliminates cravings for sugars and refined carbs — no willpower necessary!
Fill one-third of your plate with nutrient-dense protein at every main meal, and try to consume at least 30 grams at each sitting. It takes about 30 grams of protein to trigger muscle protein synthesis, which increases your metabolism and prevents muscle wasting.
Examples of nutrient-dense proteins include:
- Cottage Cheese
- Egg Whites
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt
3-6 servings per day
Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not make you fat. Your body needs a certain amount of dietary fat to function properly. Dietary fat is necessary to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, and E. It is also essential for giving your body energy, making hormones, keeping the body warm, and much more.
Like non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense proteins, whole-food fats are filling. But they can also be your body’s main energy source if you let them. You see, your body primarily runs on carbohydrates because that’s the only thing it knows. But if you replace sugars and refined carbs with whole-food fats, your body will start burning fat as its preferred fuel source. Next time it needs extra energy that isn’t coming in through your mouth, it will simply take it from your fat stores.
Fill the remainder of your plate with whole-food fats. Make sure you eat the whole food and not just its oil, however, as the whole food contains all the nutrients needed to improve your health.
Examples of whole-food fats include:
- Flax Seeds
Try to eat a serving from each of these food groups at every meal. Science shows these foods work together to lower setpoint weight and improve health.
For a snack or SANE dessert, feel free to enjoy up to 3 servings per day of low fructose fruits. Examples of low fructose fruits include cherries, goji berries, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, strawberries.
Improve Your Health With the SANE Setpoint Diet
Improving your health with the SANE setpoint diet is easy and even fun. There are no calories or points to count, no hunger, and no deprivation. So, what are you waiting for?
Next Step: Learn How the Setpoint Diet can Improve All Areas of Health with the SANE
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