CA, a 16 year old girl, asks:

I'm Interested in getting healthy and in shape, reducing sugar cravings, boosting energy level, any suggestions?

Answer: First discuss your diet plans with your parents. Also, check with your pediatrician/adolescent medicine doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to make a diet change, and learn whether my suggestions are right for you. 

Many adolescents and adults are afraid to eat fat, thinking they will just get fatter. This is not true. To quash sugar cravings humans must eat enough protein (meat, fish, eggs, poultry) and fat, including saturated fat, with every meal. 

I recommend saturated fats from healthy sources such as pasture fed or grass fed animals (meats, poultry, eggs, high fat dairy such as butter, sour cream, whipping cream, cheese; if dairy not tolerated try butter oil or ghee) and coconut oil. Fatty fish at least twice a week is recommended, another rich source of healthful fatty acids.  Your diet should consist of at least 50% of calories from fat, with adequate protein at every meal. There are a number of books on the market to help you achieve a healthy weight loss diet. Take a look at Primal and Low(er) Carbohydrate/High Fat approaches to your diet (carbohydrate = sugars & starches, fruit juice, sugary sodas, chips, dried fruits, etc). Vegetables that grow above ground are a good source of carbohydrates and highly nutritious. Learn which are best for you. Getting rid of junk food and eating healthy vegetables will help you achieve healthy weight loss goals. For better nutrition, top cooked vegetables with butter or ghee.   

Be sure to adjust the carbohydrates you eat to your activity; if you have low activity eat a little less carbohydrates and a little more fat; if you are athletic eat a little more carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, carrots and other below ground vegetables, e.g.), with a little less fat. And hardly ever eat carbohydrates from grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, etc). Caution: If you decide to stop wheat or gluten, and many people find weight loss and health success when they do this, it may cause problems at first. Some people call this the "low carb flu". You may experience body aches, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. It usually passes within a couple of weeks. But if it happens to you it is a likely sign you should avoid gluten, or at least wheat, from now on. 

Whatever dietary approach you take, choose one you can stick to for life and adjust to your lifestyle rather than eating a special diet until you lose the weight, then going back to your old eating habits. The process of dieting, then gaining, then dieting again is called "yo yo dieting”. Yo yo dieting can make you heavier and unhealthier in the long run. I suggest you check with a nutritionist who understands Paleo, Primal and Low Carbohydrate diets in adolescents for guidance. Bon Apetit!