The Two-Step Formula to a Diet 180

The Two-Step Formula to a Diet 180

By Stephen Brenn, Pn1

The Two-Step Formula to a Diet 180

What if I told you there was a two-step formula to vastly improve your diet, significantly decrease your risk of numerous health concerns, AND catapult you toward your ideal body?

What if I also told you this formula is backed by mountains of research, and has nothing to do with any trending diets, supplements, or goofy "detoxes" or "resets"?

Lastly, what if I told you this formula is available to anyone, at any time, and likely won't cost you much more than the groceries you're already buying?

*Dramatic pause, cue drumroll*

Introducing, the miracle formula that could solve 90% of your nutrition challenges at any given time:

Eat More Protein + Eat More Fiber = "Superhuman" You

Ta da! Not quite as exciting as you were hoping for, huh? However, what this formula lacks in glamor it more than makes up for in potential results. It's easy to remember, and relatively easy to implement with a little bit of guidance.

Of course, executing the formula takes some intentional planning and strategizing, but let's first examine how this two-step process can address several critical factors for weight management and maintaining general health.

  1. Appetite Control

Everyone has heard the adage to "eat less and move more" if you're looking to lose weight or body fat. For many people, the "eat less" portion of the equation is a consistent challenge, often for reasons they aren't fully aware of. Cravings are viewed as mysterious, or random hormone-driven episodes that we have little control over. 

While it's absolutely true that hormones affect our appetite and hunger signals, we have more ability to manipulate them in our favor than some may think.

One of the most key factors in controlling appetite is the stabilization of blood sugar. Hunger is one of the first ways the body signals that blood sugar may be dropping, and that we need to eat in order to increase blood glucose and provide our cells with energy. However, a common issue many individuals face is feeling hungry all the time, even if they've eaten recently. Why is that?

After speaking with hundreds of individuals 1-on-1 about what their daily diet consists of, I've noticed a common theme: Many people's diets are heavily skewed toward non-fibrous carbohydrates, and are generally lacking adequate protein. 

Diets high in simple or processed carbs can lead to frequent blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day, resulting in food cravings as the body desperately attempts to regulate blood sugar.

Both protein and fiber act to slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream from the food we eat. This is beneficial for weight management in a couple of ways. For one, slowing overall digestion speed helps us feel full for a longer time period, decreasing the likelihood of snacking between meals. 

Secondly, slowing the absorption rate of glucose leads to a less pronounced blood sugar spike following a meal, and less of a subsequent blood sugar "crash" in the following few hours.

Ever find yourself absolutely starving by the time dinner rolls around, even if you had plenty to eat for lunch? It's likely that lunch was low in protein and fiber, resulting in an afternoon drop in blood sugar (and energy) that your body is looking to correct with more food. 

The result? Overeating at dinnertime, and busting your caloric budget for the day. 

  1. Cardiovascular Health

According to CDC data, almost 700,000 Americans died from heart disease in 2021-- that's 1 in every 5 deaths. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., yet it's often preventable with diet and lifestyle interventions

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that individuals diagnosed with diabetes are at a 2 to 4 times greater risk of developing some form of heart disease. In the section above we addressed the positive effect protein and fiber consumption have on blood glucose, so it's easy to see how a consistent dietary focus on the duo decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

But what about another leading risk factor for heart disease, poor lipid (cholesterol) numbers? High cholesterol may contribute to the development of coronary artery disease, and the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs continues to rise in the U.S.. However, many Americans need to look no further than the fiber content of their diets for a non-pharmaceutical solution to their lipid issues.

That's because soluble fiber becomes a gel-like substance in the intestines, and traps cholesterol in the digestive tract, preventing its reabsorption into the bloodstream. Instead, the excess cholesterol is chained to a soluble fiber bus that's headed straight to your toilet bowl. 

Eating excess cholesterol is seldom the primary cause of high serum cholesterol. The real culprit is a diet devoid of fiber, resulting in the poor metabolism of dietary fats.

Finally, by controlling appetite, improving gut health and digestion, and promoting improvements in muscle mass and body composition, the combination of protein and fiber is excellent for weight management. It’s no secret that obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to avoid numerous health concerns. 

  1. Aesthetic Goals

This one is pretty obvious on the protein side of things. It’s well-known that increasing lean mass is highly dependent on adequate protein consumption. The more muscle mass a person has, the more efficiently they tend to burn calories, which directly benefits their ability to shed body fat. If you want to look good naked, you’re probably going to need to eat more protein. 

Muscles are not the only aesthetic benefit of protein consumption, however. Our hair, skin, and nails are all made of protein, so consistently getting all the constituent amino acids necessary to build these proteins will only improve their strength and appearance. 

But where does fiber come into play? By aiding digestion and promoting a healthy gut environment, fiber consumption will improve your body’s ability to efficiently excrete waste, thereby reducing bloat and increasing muscle definition around the midsection. 

This is an overlooked benefit to a fiber rich diet, and some individuals may see an immediate improvement in the fit of their clothes and what they see in the mirror thanks to better digestion and elimination. 

I could carry on about the multitude of downstream benefits of this simple two-step formula, but you get the idea. In a modern world filled with confusing, complex, and conflicting information about health and nutrition, keeping a set of easy-to-remember principles in mind will be a huge ally. When in doubt, gravitate towards high protein and high fiber foods. Animal-based or plant-based, leafy vegetables, whole grains, or fruits, you really can’t go wrong.