ears ago, we were told that the best way to lower cholesterol and protect the heart was to cut out fat altogether. But now we know that certain types of fats, called unsaturated fats, actually increase HDL cholesterol levels — the good cholesterol that has a protective effect on the heart. What we need less of are saturated fats and trans fats — think doughnuts, French fries, and T-bone steaks.
The Difference Between HDL and LDL Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol because this type of cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. LDL cholesterol can build up inside your arteries, mixing with other substances to form a tough, rigid lining called plaque. This plaque makes the artery narrow inside, meaning that less blood can flow through to your heart, in turn putting you at increased risk for heart attacks.
“A diet high in saturated and trans fats elevates the LDL cholesterol,” says Lisa R. Young, PhD, dietitian and adjunct professor in the department of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. A heart-healthy diet avoids fats that promote LDL cholesterol, but includes HDL cholesterol-boosting fats.
High-density lipoprotein or HDL
The right snacks can contribute to a healthy diet and lifestyle by supplying your body with energy and even restoring concentration between meals. Too often, though, it seems easier to snack on candy, chips, and soda, which negatively impact our health.
Healthy Snacks: How to Choose Wisely
To ensure between-meal munchies have a positive effect on your diet, keep a variety of healthy items on hand. Nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese, and dried fruits are easy-to-grab, healthful snack options.
But snacking shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director and senior scientist, Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. “What matters is total caloric intake,” she says. Striking the appropriate caloric balance and getting the recommended amount of energy and nutrition is the biggest challenge most of us have, Dr. Lichtenstein explains.
“What’s really important is whether we’re getting our daily requirements,” explains Lichtenstein, adding that many people don’t get the recommended amount of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables on a regular basis.
That’s where snacking can help. If your meals generally provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, but not enough fiber or protein, for instance, try
Can’t curb your sugar cravings? New research might give you the push you need to stifle that sweet tooth.
Reducing sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your total calories can have a small but significant effect on your body weight — enough that this guideline could help stop the international obesity epidemic, conclude the authors of a meta-analysis of 71 studies published in theBritish Medical Journal.
Too much sugar has been linked to obesity, clinical depression, and chronic disease, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Previously, the World Health Organization suggested reducing “free sugar” intake to less than 10 percent of total calories, but researchers wanted to confirm that guideline — and ascertain how the benchmark affects total-body health.
Free sugars are sugars added to foods, and include the naturally occurring sugar in honey, syrups, and fruit juices, but not sugar contained in whole fruit.
In studies that required participants to cut sugar intake, participants lost about two pounds, regardless if weight loss was the purpose of the study. The amount of weight loss is small because of the many other causes of obesity, researchers say. But this reduction in sugar intake is enough
When obesity, or even just a few extra pounds, rears its ugly head, the best path one can take is that of natural weight loss. You’ll find all kinds of information regarding so-called “diet tips” that recommend you take various types of pharmaceutical drugs to enhance weight loss, but many of those can compound health problems with unwanted side effects. There are even some who choose surgical options such as gastric bypass or liposuction. Again, the risks associated with these types of procedures usually make them a far distant choice to using natural weight loss methods.
Natural Weight Loss Is Effective
While the results may not be seen as quickly as with some other approaches, there is a big difference. Natural weight loss actually works, and it sticks with you over the long term. As you change your eating and exercising habits, you actually change your lifestyle. Your body responds because it was created to do things like eat healthy foods and get moderate exercise.
Those who give you diet tips that include taking drugs are overlooking the fact that those medications are creating unnatural experiences in the body. Perhaps one type of diet drug speeds up the metabolism to burn more calories.
So you’ve decided to follow the zone diet? Good for you! And good luck on your weight loss quest.
However many have found that staying in “the zone” requires a lot of patience and will power. So I thought knowing a few handy tips can make it easier for you. Actually here are seven Zone Dieting tips to get you started.
As way of background, the Zone diet program, as advocated by Dr. Barry Sears, is a more moderate plan when compared to other diets like say Atkins.
Generally the reviews too are favorable. Which is to say this plan is likely to work for you if you work it.
But just so you know, there’s a flip side. Whenever you eat a diet high on protein you’re exposing yourself to kidney overload, calcium leaching and there have been some reports of renal failure for those who take it to extremes.
For that reason be on the safe side. Always consult a doctor before starting this plan. Or any weight loss for that matter.
Anyway on with the tips.
Tip #1: Maintain Balance
Now Zoners have a delicate balancing act to maintain. For instance you may noticed curious things like 40:30:30 mentioned when it comes to this diet
An unstable immune system can have a significant impact both on your health and your weight. An immune system that is constantly overworked and activated, never being allowed to rest, will inevitably result in long-term inflammation and an over production of stress hormones, and if you’re trying to lose weight and improve your health, these factors can hinder that process and could actually result in you gaining weight and seeing a decline in your health. Likewise, a suppressed immune system can allow bacterial and viral infections to take hold in a person’s body, which will also be a major stress on the body and can potentially lead to weight gain, in addition to long-term health problems, if not addressed quickly.
In this article I’ll be focusing on the latter, suppressed immune activity, and what can be done to give it a helping hand.
During the winter months our bodies are more susceptible to colds and the flu as a result of cold temperatures, which dampen our immune activity and decrease the number of immune cells. By eating a careful selection of herb, spices, and foods, we can help reverse this immune dampening effect and bring about stronger immune activity in our body.
You have replaced your taste bud-appeasing crispy fries, onion rings, sugary sodas and hamburgers with leafy greens and gallons of water. Yet, when you step on the scale, it hardly budges.
Try as you may, you are unable to put your finger on exactly what is keeping you from shedding those pounds.
Like many people, you might think eating less would help. However, it does not. It ends up zapping your energy and your weight stays exactly where it was.
Eventually, most people become highly demotivated and decide to give up. If you can’t lose weight, might as well eat whatever you want, right?
Alternatively, you could persevere in your cause and try to find out why this is happening, so you can address the problem and move toward reaching your goal.
1. Eating “Diet Foods”
Many popular “diet foods” contain abundant fats and hidden calories. Furthermore, they cause sugar cravings, reduce your energy level and lead to weight gain over time.
Foods like breakfast cereals (made from refined grains), low-fat yogurt, gluten-free foods, agave nectar and fat-free salad dressings are often loaded with added sugar and fructose. These cause a sugar overload in your body that is stored on your hips, thighs and abdomen as fat
Whether or not you believe in Santa Claus, most of us will still be (secretly) wishing for a miraculous weight-reduction for Christmas this year!
Packing on the pounds during the holidays is common. The festive season brings with it plenty of parties and potlucks that put your diet efforts on the backburner.
Sometimes, even with a rigorous adherence to a weight-loss plan, the results you seek take their own sweet time to show. This can be frustrating, and often, highly demotivating.
While expecting rapid results is unrealistic, it just so happens that people often do not pay attention to the little things that might aid their weight-loss efforts in major ways.
Adopting some new habits can head off the weight-loss inhibiting activities you might be unknowingly engaging in, boost the calorie-burning process and keep the nutrients flowing into your body.
1. Keep Yourself Hydrated
You won’t lose weight just by drinking water. However, if you follow a strict diet but deprive yourself of adequate water, you are likely to lose less weight and take longer to lose it, too.
Water induces body thermogenesis – a process that revs up the metabolism and aids the calorie-burning process.
Drinking 500 ml (a little more than 2 cups) of warm
Mistake 1: Getting Rid of Fat
Totally getting rid of fat from your diet or eating a low fat diet is a common error that people tend to make due to food marketing. Eliminating fat from your diet in the body may seem like a good idea, but when you understand the role of fat for your body, you realize that getting too little of it is a bad idea and can actually raise you BMI. Of course, removing Trans fats from your diet is essential because they will make you fat and could kill you.
Mistake 2: Being Stressed Out
It is important that you minimize your amount of stress in order to lower your cortisol levels. It has been well documented that having high cortisol levels will results in fat gain, in particular around your waist. Elevated cortisol levels make the body insensitive to insulin. This means that no matter how much you workout and no matter how well you eat, you won’t lose weight.
Mistake 3: Skipping Breakfast
Skipping breakfast and missing meals will make it considerably harder to lose weight. Eating breakfast is one of the easiest changes you can do to feel great and have more energy throughout the day.
As we enjoy our thrifty retirement, we want to remain healthy and active for many years. To do that, we need to eat right, exercise, and be certain we get enough vitamins and minerals. Sounds like what your teachers used to tell you in school, right? Vitamins and minerals? The unfortunate truth is that as we age, our bodies become less efficient at both absorbing and producing the vital nutrients that keep us healthy and help our bodies to function at optimal levels. To compound matters, a slowing metabolism reduces our need for calories as we age, even if we stay active. We must make extra sure we eat the best foods we can and take supplements when it makes sense.
We might begin with how we prepare our foods. Most of us have always observed good habits in the kitchen: cleaning our counters, cutting boards, and implements well. The difference now is that many more germs and viruses are around than in the past. The cute little e-mails that circulate and talk about how much simpler our lives were as we were growing up tend to ignore the global connections that are so common today. Our food comes from different
Start your day with oatmeal.
Oatmeal is as easy to make as a Pop-Tart, and it’s one of the best ways to rev up for an active day. Isaac Caldiero, the first American Ninja Warrior champion pictured above, powered through his training for the show using oatmeal (well, oat bran, technically). “I cook up oat bran with almond milk, molasses, cinnamon, blueberries, and a tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken it,” he says. “All the good morning nutrients you need, and I could keep working without lunch.” Similarly, rock-climber extraordinaire Alex Honnold eats oat-heavy muesli before he scales cliffs. It keeps him full, longer.
Put everything in a smoothie.
Eating is such a chore, right? You have to get all the things together, eat them one at a time, and just sit there not doing anything else. But smoothies and shakes let you mash all the key ingredients you need into one cup when you’re on the go. Fencer-slash-model Miles Chamley-Watson loads up on protein-, fruit-, and nutrient-packed smoothies, and even professional eater Matt Stonie drinks protein shakes when he’s recuperating from eating 20 pounds of curry in one sitting. A good blender helps.
Fish is the perfect all-purpose protein.
A balanced diet, with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to increase calcium absorption, should provide all the nutrients necessary to build strong teeth and keep gums and mouth tissues healthy. Young people can get adequate calcium from 3 or 4 daily servings of dairy foods, as well as from many other sources (eg, calcium-processed tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, green vegetables such as broccoli).
The Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride reduces dental decay by making the enamel harder, reducing the ability of bacteria to produce acid that erodes enamel, and by replacing minerals in the teeth after they have been lost. In areas where the natural fluoride content of the water is low and water supplies are not fluoridated, or if your household uses bottled or reverse osmosis filtered water, pediatricians and dentists may advise fluoride supplements, fluoride toothpaste, or fluoride treatments to strengthen children’s tooth enamel against decay. Most bottled water does not contain adequate amounts of fluoride. Home water treatment systems like reverse osmosis and distillation units remove much of the fluoride from tap water. However, carbon or charcoal water filtration systems generally do not remove substantial amounts of fluoride.
Too Much Fluoride & Fluorosis
One of the complications of too much fluoride
Buyer beware: Just because a food’s labeled “healthy,” “smart,” or “all-natural” does not mean it’s the best choice for someone who’s trying tolose weight. For example, honey, vegetable chips, and granola are just a few of the supermarket staples that have tricked dieters into believing they’re healthy choices, when in fact, they are as equally loaded with calories, fat, sodium, and glucose as their more vilified counterparts of table sugar, potato chips, and sweet cereals.
In an effort to help dieters keep it straight, obesity researchers at Otago University in New Zealand have identified a list of 49 foods that they say are extremely calorie-dense, but are almost totally lacking in nutritional benefit. Published in the current issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, researchers say the list was primarily developed to help overweight and obese people easily identify which foods they should avoid. Lead researcher Jane Elmsile says it’s important to note that the list represents not only high-calorie foods, but also foods that are almost totally lacking in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Here’s the list, in alphabetical order:
1. Alcoholic drinks
3. Butter, lard, dripping or similar fat (used as a spread or in baking/cooking etc.)
5. Candy, including lollipops
Weight loss veterans know that losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment, yet even savvy dieters can occasionally be tempted by the quickweight loss promised by fad diets. As each new “lose weight fast” gimmick comes along, some people forget about the negatives associated with most fad diets — from a lack of nutritional value to food restrictions that are hard to live with — while others might not know if the weight-loss plan they’re considering is a fad or a program that could be helpful over the long haul. Here’s how to tell a flash-in-the-pan plan from an effective one.
Beware Magical Claims and Passing Promises
“It seems to be human nature to be attracted to fad diets, which promise quick and easy results,” says Allen Knehans, PhD, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma University Health Sciences University in Oklahoma City. Weeding out fad diets takes a bit of effort because, Knehans acknowledges, “there is no standard definition of a fad diet.” Here are some of the red flags that indicate a weight-loss plan is an ineffective fad diet:
- The diet promises that you will lose weight fast or at an unrealistic pace. The claims sound
New research into diet and colon cancer has exonerated some foods that were once thought to increase the risk of the disease. At the same time, research has confirmed that some food favorites — such as processed meats — do indeed increase the risk.
Diet and Colon Cancer: Processed Meat Alert
In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined. As with many cancers, the most serious risk posed by food is simply eating too much of it. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, particularly among men.
Avoiding red and processed meat in your diet continues to be the mantra for colon cancer prevention. Over 10 years, high consumption of red meat increases the risk of cancer in the lower colon and rectum by 30 to 40 percent. For men, high consumption is three ounces of red meat daily; for women, it’s just two ounces.
The connection between colorectal cancer and processed meats is even stronger. Over 10 years, high consumption — one ounce five to six times per week for men and one ounce two to three times per week for women — increased the risk of cancer in the
Weight-loss surgery is very effective for losing a lot of weight and improving or even reversing health conditions like diabetes, but as its name implies, it is surgery. Wouldn’t it be nice to get its benefits without having to undergo as serious or invasive a procedure?
Two weight-loss techniques being performed in other countries — gastric stimulation and stomach balloon — promise the benefits of weight-loss surgery without the complications of an operation. But before you hop on a plane to have one done, studies show these alternative approaches may not provide the solution you’re hoping for.
Weight-Loss Surgery Alternatives: Do They Work?
These procedures are less invasive than the two most common weight-loss surgeries — gastric bypass surgery and adjustable gastric band surgery — but studies haven’t found that they’re very effective, says Thomas H. Magnuson, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery in Baltimore.
What’s more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved either of the procedures, so you can’t get them in the United States unless they’re being done as part of an investigational study, Dr. Magnuson says.
Here’s an overview of what they are and what risks they may carry.
The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:
- Diet and lifestyle changes
- Prescription medicines
- Weight-loss surgery
For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:
- Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
- Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
- Once you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.
Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications
Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:
- Stress or anxiety
- Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
- Eating too fast
- Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you’re eating
- Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
- Trying to follow a too-strict diet
- Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry
Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
- Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before, during, and after you eat
- Following a healthy diet that provides enough calories
Some people lose their appetites when they’re under stress. More often than not, though, the opposite is true: Stressful situations trigger emotional eating for a lot of people, whether it’s because food provides a source of comfort or because they feel extra hungry when they’re under stress. So it’s hardly surprising that “stress is the number-one predictor of gaining or regaining weight,” says John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of behavioral medicine research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “When people are under stress, to get rid of the negative feelings they tend to revert to eating high-fat or high-calorie foods they liked in childhood.”
Indeed, recent research from the University of California, San Francisco suggests that we’re actually biologically wired for this behavior. Scientists have found that consuming food that’s laden with sugar, fat and calories appears to literally calm down the body’s response to stress, causing a slowdown in the release of stress hormones. While this can be a good thing in the short-term, some experts are concerned that our increasingly stressful way of life may be contributing to thegrowing obesity epidemic by continuously triggering hormonal surges that, in turn, stimulate appetite.
But this doesn’t mean you have to be at
Losing weight and keeping it off is a matter of cutting back what you eat and increasing your amount of exercise. “The simplest equation in the world, calories in and calories out, determines your weight loss,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, of Sarasota, Fla., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
But if that’s all you do, you may find yourself ultimately regaining the weight you worked so hard to lose. The reason: Weight loss is a matter of lifestyle and, if you don’t adopt the healthy habits necessary to sustain your weight loss, you could backslide into overweight and obesity.
Here are some tips aimed at helping you create a healthy lifestyle that will improve your chances for successful weight loss. They might seem like common sense, but many people committed to losing weight neglect these healthy habits and end up struggling to succeed.
1. Watch Your Portions
Portion control is a key challenge to Americans pursuing weight loss. “The best way to control the calories is to go with portion control,” says Dr. Gerbstadt. Piling food onto your plate can make you feel pressured to eat it all. Start with smallportions, and go back for (a little) more if you’re still hungry. Keep
It probably doesn’t surprise you that most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. The American Dietary Guidelines suggest that each person eat four and a half cups, or nine servings, of fruits or vegetables each day. Many people find this difficult to manage, but with a little creativity and the right information, it’s as easy as (apple) pie!
Healthy Eating: Why You Need Produce
What can a diet rich in produce do for you? Besides being a delicious part of your meals, fruits and vegetables have amazing health benefits. People who eat a variety of fruits and vegetables generally have a lower incidence of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
Fruits and vegetables offer a spectacular variety of flavor, texture, and nutrition that is just waiting to be taken advantage of. Here are some tips to help you maximize the health benefits of eating produce:
- Choose a produce rainbow. Richly colored fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients compared to paler ones. Jessica Begg, RD, of Flourish Wellness & Nutrition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, suggests dark-colored spinach as a healthy alternative to pale iceberg lettuce. Brightly colored produce like tomatoes, carrots, pink grapefruit, mangoes, and guava are