GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A lot of people seem to have a never ending battle with weight gain, as they try different diet and exercise programs to help shed pounds. That's especially true in Mississippi which continues to be the fattest state in the country. But a new diet trend may be just what the doctor ordered.
It takes people back to basics. It lets you eat anything you want in moderation; as long as it's natural, unprocessed and preservative free. It's a diet that's great for your health and one that should also help your waist line.
It's the latest craze, but unlike pop diets of the past, this one has health experts smiling.
"It's just no different than what we as dietitians and nutrition experts have been saying for years and years. It's healthy eating," registered dietitian Julie Schwartz said.
The diet allows plenty of foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, whole grains, and dairy products. Schwartz said they're all okay, as long as they're natural and not processed.
"We wouldn't think about putting oil in the gasoline section of the car. Yet we kind of, when we're eating, we're often putting sludge where it should be efficient burning gasoline."
You can find natural foods in your grocery store, farmers' markets or in specialty health food stores. Mickey Banks owns Health Nuts, a health food store on Cowan-Lorraine Road in Gulfport. She said she's seeing more customers coming in and choosing healthier lifestyles.
"People are coming into the health food store looking for natural alternatives; foods that aren't processed, don't have artificial flavors and artificial colors, hydrogenated fats. We're finding out all these things are bad, toxic for our bodies."
Mickey said she has learned that most people who eat natural foods rather than a lot of processed foods are generally healthier and thinner.
"They'll come back in after eating healthy for a month or longer and say they feel so much better and they're losing weight. I say, 'That's because you're eating real food.'"
Mickey said real food is ultimately more satisfying; and people eat less of it than they would if it were junk food or processed food.
"We can sit down and eat bags and bags of processed foods that are non nutritional; they're just like air. You're not getting nutrients from your food. You're eating all these calories, but your body is starving because you're not eating real food."
Schwartz suggests when you're at the grocery store, stay primarily on the perimeter of the store to avoid processed foods. She said when in doubt, read nutrition labels to make sure your food is natural.
"Think of it as a curiosity to empower you with more information. So when you look at a label, you're seeing that food. You're seeing beans, for instance. Period. Nothing else. So anytime we're seeing something else, we don't really need that in the food."