A diet for every health issue… bloating, cravings, weight loss, energy, mood


While we regularly talk about diets in the context of losing weight, let’s not forget that what we eat can influence a number of different systems in the body, ultimately impacting how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis.

With that in mind, here are some diet strategies that address a range of different health-related goals.

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Reduce the bloat

For those sensitive to particular fibre rich foods, or some of the sugars found in milk and grains, bloating can be experienced within minutes of consuming the offending food.

Reducing the overall fibre content of the diet will help to reduce the gas in the digestive tract while herbal tea and foods with especially high water contents including cucumbers and celery will help to draw excess fluid from the body.

Yoghurts and fermented drinks that contain probiotics too may help to reduce the bloat relatively quickly.

For individuals who experience the effects of bloating regularly, it will be a good investment to see a dietitian who specialises in gut health to identify which foods you are reacting to so you can actively avoid those foods long term.

READ MORE: What it means if you’re bloated at the end of the day

Stop your cravings

Food cravings can be both behavioural or nutritional, impacted by our daily dietary choices. For example, if you always reach for a sweet treat with a cup of tea, your body becomes used to this and the cravings becomes habitual. On the other hand, if you are consuming a lot of sugars, or eat too little carbohydrate overall, again you may find yourself craving sweet food.

So, if your cravings are habitual, the key is to break the habit — switch your tea to a soda water or do something else such as go for a walk or call a friend when you would usually have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

If you’re craving more and more sweet food, gradually reduce your sugar intake over time to reduce the cravings. Or if your cravings occur late afternoon, increase the size of your lunch meal and ensure you are eating a balanced snack or meal within a 3-4 hours window to keep your blood glucose levels and cravings under control.

Lose 1-2kg

Healthy pumpkin soup in a cup
A week of swapping concentrated carbs for liquid substitutes have be helpful for dropping that first kilo. (iStock)

The good news about wanting to lose just a kilo or two is that you can achieve this goal relatively quickly in just a week or two with a few simple steps.

While much of this weight will be fluid, if a number on the scales or dropping a little fluid helps you to get into that dress or outfit, then they are handy tricks to have.

First, swap any concentrated carbs in your diet for lighter, liquid options — think a shake or yoghurt for breakfast, a soup or salad for lunch or dinner, and herbal tea and water to drink.

Alternatively, many people achieve a ½ -1 kg weight loss immediately after a low-calorie (500-600cal) day of fasting in which you eat extremely lightly — think a small coffee for breakfast, vegetable omelette for lunch and a soup or salad for dinner.

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Lose 5kg

Unlike weight losses of 1-2kg which can be mostly fluid, a weight loss of 5kg will take at least 3-4 weeks. Here, you will not only need to eat roughly 400-500 calories less each day, but exercise daily as well. You can slash 400-500 calories by ditching your snacks, halving the size of your dinner or swapping a meal for a shake, soup or salad.

In addition, adding an extra 30-minute exercise session or walk each day will further support a ½ – 1 kg weight loss each week.

READ MORE: What to do if you hit a weight loss plateau

Boost your energy

Fatigue is extremely common in modern lives as we jam more and more into the diary each day, but the good news is that a strong nutritional platform can help to ensure your body is at its best to take on life’s challenges.

If you’re feeling tired, the first dietary check is to ensure you are getting enough iron. Meat eaters will require lean red meat 3-4 times each week. For non-meat eaters, including an iron-rich food such as eggs, legumes or wholegrains at each meal will help you to keep on top of your iron levels. Next, eating nutrient-rich meals every 3-4 hours will help to optimise blood glucose levels, while drinking at least two litres of water each day will help to prevent the fatigue that is associated with dehydration.

READ MORE: Computer brain-training could program you to resist junk food, study says

Improve your mood

Of all the diets associated with positive mood, the Mediterranean diet constantly comes up trumps. Here, the combination of 7-10 serves of fresh fruit and veggies (each day!), 2-3 serves of extra virgin olive oil, loads of oily fish and snacks on nuts and seeds will give your body access to the range of nutrients associated with a reduction in inflammation and optimal mood. A good daily dose of sunlight too will help to ensure you have adequate vitamin D, which is too closely related to mood.

Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

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