Functional nutrition: the diet to lose weight

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Louise Hay
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lose weight and keep fit you do not have to give up some foods in favor of others: this is confirmed by various scientific researches. A study by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School (published in The Lancet) showed, for example, that totally eliminating lipids from your diet does not help you lose weight.

While another work, conducted by a group of American researchers and published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that following menus without pasta and bread, but rich in protein, increases the risk of getting sick tumor and other pathologies.




A new way of thinking about meals

«There are no foods that make you fat», Comments Dr. Sara Farnetti, specialist in internal medicine and expert in functional nutrition and metabolism. «The focus must be shifted from the single food to its combination with others. It's an innovative way of thinking about diet and health, talking about meals not in terms of calories but of synergy of nutrients present in the various dishes.

The purpose is to identify the right mixes, capable of positively influencing the work of our organs and the release of hormones, which are the basis of the accumulation of grasso in different areas of the body and the onset of numerous problems and dysfunctions: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, metabolic disorders, cancer, degenerative diseases and more ».


Because the extra pounds come

Each menu must be regarded as a project which can make you gain or lose pounds and health. “Hormones are molecules that can turn genes on or off, making you fat either lose weight»Explains our expert. "For example, an excessive release of insulin, due to an exaggerated consumption of foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates, leads to a weight gain and raises the risk of diabetes.



This hormone, in fact, has the task of maintaining a constant level of "sweetness" in the blood. And to do this, it transforms excess glucose into storage fat, which is crammed into the liver ». Result: not only the waistline it weighs down, but the growth of fat cells leads to the release of inflammatory substances and hormones, such as leptin and adiponectin, which predispose to metabolic syndrome, hypertension, high triglycerides and low good cholesterol and increased risk of arteriosclerosis.


Cooking also has its weight

"Correctly combining carbohydrates, proteins and fats based on the nutrients they contain is not enough", points out the expert. "The type of cooking also plays a fundamental role". For example, review in extra virgin olive oil vegetables combined with pasta is useful for reducing cholesterol: on the one hand it activates the biliary function that "dissolves" this type of fat taken with food, on the other it helps to modulate the hormones, first of all insulin, which affect on its endogenous production.

«The classic rules for treating hypercholesterolemia suggest limiting the saturated lipids contained in meat, whole milk, cheese and butter and limiting the consumption of eggs. In fact, it would be better to reduce the negative effect of sugars as well carbohydrates refined by eating them along with good fats and fibers»Explains the specialist.


Never carbohydrates + fruit

To keep insulin secretion under control (responsible for so many weight and health problems it is better do not take several foods that contain sugars in the same meal. «For example, eating a plate of rice, oil and Parmesan cheese and an apple makes you gain weight, cause constipation and sleepiness. The same rice, sautéed together with radicchio and paired with a salad, will have a different effect: it will not raise blood sugar and will keep hunger attacks better under control », explains Dr. Farnetti.



The other tricks for not having power drops? Start the day with a low-carb breakfast. And between one meal and another focus on delicious snacks: dried fruit, oil seeds, dark chocolate.


At lunch yes to vegetables + fish

At noon starts with a plate of salads such as radicchio, escarole, rocket: it improves digestion and, in particular, the secretion of bile. «It also has a satiating power: it provides fibers capable of slowing down the absorption of sugars. More, favors the development of bacterial flora beneficial for the intestine, stimulates digestive processes and provides essential substances for the proper functioning of the metabolism ”, explains our expert in functional nutrition.

Yes then to proteins: "They help speed up metabolic processes by stimulating the liver and thyroid and support nervous tone, promoting attention and concentration in the rest of the day". Choose between White meat (such as turkey, chicken, rabbit), fish, eggs or low-fat cheeses.

Instead, limit the consumption of red meat, because its metabolism produces the greatest amount of nitrogenous waste that the kidneys and liver have to manage and eliminate. «Then end the meal with grilled vegetables: they are rich in substances useful to counteract the waste substances released during the digestion of all proteins (including vegetable ones) which, as just mentioned, risk tiring the kidney functions », explains Dr. Farnetti.


At dinner ok with vegetables + pasta

Yes to an evening meal with a prevalence of carbohydrates. «It is more digestible and lighter and it facilitates rest, conciliating sleep», Always specifies the expert. Start dinner with a mix of raw vegetables, for example lettuce, followed by a plate of pasta, rice or cereals seasoned with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. «The latter is rich in healthy fats that limit the body's absorption of sugars and insulin secretion and help the liver to work better. So the glycemic load of the meal is lowered, does not contribute to weight gain and does not risk damaging health. Finally, dinner ends with cooked vegetables, preferably in season, boiled or stewed in a pan to preserve more nutrients or grilled and seasoned with oil and vinegar or oil and lemon ».



The supply of fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugars. "More, the richness in water and potassium, facilitates the work of the kidneys and the elimination of excess fluids, responsible for water retention », Sara Farnetti concludes.


You also need fried food

Functional nutrition does not demonize them French fries, vegetables and battered fish, stir-fried spaghetti ... These foods stimulate liver function and lower blood sugar levels making them less assimilable by the body.

But on one condition: "Always and only extra virgin olive oil should be used which, unlike that of seeds, resists without altering to high temperatures and is rich in healthy fats and polyphenols capable of lowering the glycemic load, thus making it safe and healthy.

For proper frying the temperature must not then exceed 180 ° C and it is important to cut the food into small pieces, adding spices and salt (which promote oxidation) only at the end of cooking, after drying the food with paper straw », explains Dr. Sara Farnetti. "The ideal is then to eat the fried food after a portion of raw mixed vegetables, which help the liver work, facilitate the functions of the kidneys and lower the glycemic index of the meal".

1. Toast + c90% chocolate

The carbohydrates of toast, combined with the good fats of chocolate, they give energy constantly, without glycemic peaks.

2. Grilled radicchio + Arrabbiata pasta 

Grilled bitter vegetables reduce the absorption of carbohydrates from pasta, lowering the blood sugar level. Furthermore stimulate the work of the liver, relieving that of the kidneys and intestines.

3. Tomato + raw onion + 7/8 olives + basil + rocket + steamed prawns

This mix supports kidney activity because rocket and onion are diuretic. Fish protein recharges you instead of iodine, mineral that accelerates metabolism (ie makes you burn more calories) by acting on the thyroid.

4. Salad mixed + fried potatoes with bucccia + grilled belgian + grilled radicchio

The fibers of raw vegetables and those cooked on the grill slow down the absorption of sugars present in potatoes, the type of cooking of which in turn inhibits the production of insulin: frying has a lower glycemic index than boiling.

5. Oat flakes + chocolate flakes + pine nuts

The low glycemic index carbohydrates of oat flakes and chocolate, associated with the healthy fats of pine nuts, slow down the digestion of sugars and they keep insulin secretion under control.

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