‘Eat rice’ and 9 other safe weight-loss tips

Posted at 08/06/2012 7:13 PM | Updated as of 08/07/2012 12:53 PM
Fish salpicao with rice and vegetables, a dish served by food delivery service Sexy Chef, contains only 350 calories. Photo: Handout

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos need not give up rice, the country’s staple food, to shed unwanted pounds, a nutritionist said.

Nadine Tengco, who was the resident nutritionist for the first season of reality show “Pinoy Biggest Loser,” believes that Filipinos who want to lose weight are better off eating rice instead of wheat bread and other starches.

“That’s the worst thing you can do as a Filipino because we metabolize rice so efficiently,” she told ABS-CBNnews.com, referring to the growing trend among Filipinos of skipping rice to lose weight. “In fact, the silliest thing is to eat bread and not eat rice, because we don’t metabolize wheat properly.”

“Genetically, we are made to break down rice efficiently and rice is a non-allergenic grain. It’s the only grain that does not produce gas and bloating,” she added.

Tengco, who also works for Vicki Belo’s weight loss clinic Sexy Solutions and the food delivery service Sexy Chef, stressed that the culprit is not rice itself, but the quantity of rice being consumed.

“Ang problema natin, kalahati ng plato natin kanin. Dapat ang kalahati gulay,” she explained.

The nutritionist then shared her experience with the “Pinoy Biggest Loser” contestants, who all wanted to give up rice as they blamed it for their obesity.

“Sa ‘Biggest Loser’ inaaway ko ‘yung contestants ko araw-araw, ayaw nilang kumain ng kanin, takot kasi. Si Larry (Martin, the Philippines’ first Biggest Loser) ate a kilo a day before going to the camp. Ang average nila was 16 cups a day,” she said.

Tengco’s newest diet programs, both available at Sexy Solutions and Sexy Chef, include the “Anti-plateau” (for those who need to lose the last remaining unwanted pounds), and the “Back to Balance” (a customized diet where one needs to be in the pink of health before losing weight).

Here are some of her quick tips on how one can lose weight safely and effectively:

1. When eating, your plate should contain one half vegetables, with the remaining half occupied by rice and protein.

2. Eat just one cup of rice per meal. Those who want to take it a step further can consume a cup containing 1/3 rice and 2/3 finely chopped vegetables. Choose carrots and celery over vegetables that cause bloating, such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

3. Salads can help you lose weight, but can make you bloated temporarily because of the high amount of fiber and gas. If you are going to attend a party or just want to have a flat tummy, skip raw vegetables for 48 hours, or just cook them before eating.

4. Never starve yourself. If you do, your body goes into a survival mechanism where it will refuse to let go of fat, which is a source of energy. Instead, eat food in proper amounts regularly.

5. It is best to consume only 350 calories worth of food per meal (thrice a day), and 100 to 200 calories for snacks (twice a day).

6. Some snack suggestions: taho (with only a small amount of syrup), hakaw, vegetable lumpia, yogurt cups, fruit with nuts (preferably walnuts, almonds, squash seeds or sunflower seeds).

7. It is okay to eat fast food once in a while, as long as the quantity is controlled. A regular-size burger is also a source of energy and protein.

8. Do not go into a diet program when stressed. Your body will not cooperate, which may lead to weight gain, pain or even illness. Get healthy first before trying to lose weight.

9. If you are undergoing a body contouring program, avoid food items that cause inflammation such as wheat, dairy, gluten, hormones in meat, and preservatives. Instead, go for drinks and dishes with ginger, turmeric and lemongrass.