Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eat 3 Meals a Day to Fuel Weight Loss

(Article first published as 3 High Protein Meals a Day Can Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Our body is acutely sensitive to the frequency, quantity and type of foods we eat at each meal. As our body races to digest and breakdown the different fats, proteins and carbohydrates to filter all essential vitamins and minerals we need to live, metabolic activity surges based on the exact composition of the meal. When we overeat, or eat too frequently our body never has the chance to return to an optimal metabolic state, blood sugar remains high and the stage is set for weight gain and disease.

Eating Three Meals a Day to Encourage Weight Loss
It’s not difficult to understand that eating too many calories will lead to excess weight, but many people don’t realize that eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day will cause blood sugar to remain elevated and lead to metabolic dysfunction. This can open the door to diabetes and heart disease and encourages elevated triglycerides that translate to belly fat.

The results of a study conducted at Purdue University and published in the journal Obesity confirm that overweight and obese men placed on a low calorie, higher protein diet felt satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six smaller meals. There is as a popular misconception that eating many smaller meals each day is beneficial to health and weight loss goals, but this study provides evidence to the contrary.

Properly Balanced Nutrition Leads to Weight Loss
This type of study underscores the importance of eating a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and leafy greens as the primary carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates from vegetables are closely bound with fiber and don’t cause a blood sugar surge when they’re released as glucose in the blood. This keeps blood sugar levels constant, reducing the risk of metabolic disorder while encouraging fat to be released instead of stored.

Protein is an important food source when trying to lose weight. Protein from lean meat, nuts and seeds requires more time and energy to digest which means you remain satisfied longer while using more energy for assimilation. This is the reason the study participants were able to lose more weight by eating half as many meals each day. Sugar and refined carbohydrates were restricted which helped to control the desire to eat between meals.

Meal Timing Boosts the Fat Burn Cycle
When eating with a weight loss goal in mind, it’s important to properly space meals to allow your metabolism and blood sugar to stabilize before eating again. Study participants eating three meals a day spaced meals five hours apart to allow blood sugar levels to normalize. Although this study didn’t specify when the last meal of the day was eaten, it’s important to finish eating for the day at least three hours before retiring for the night. This allows digestion to complete so the body can burn stored fat for fuel during the critical overnight hours.

The path to successful weight loss is much more than counting calories and exercising. While these are important parts of the program, it’s necessary to balance the type of foods on your menu with proper meal timing. Avoid between meal snacks and limit food to just three times a day with five hours between each meal, and stop eating after dinner to stimulate the natural release of fat. This will help to drive metabolism toward your healthy weight loss goal.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention with Natural Lifestyle


No other disease stirs more fear than Alzheimer’s disease. This mind robbing affliction is presently the sixth leading cause of death in the US and rising at an alarming rate. Estimates are that by the year 2030 nearly 1 in 4 adults will be affected by this cruel form of dementia. At present there are no drugs or procedures which can treat or even effectively slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s possible to significantly lower your risk of developing this insidious disease by understanding the underlying causes and following a natural lifestyle with targeted nutritional supplementation.

Extreme Lifestyle Changes Trigger Dementia
Modern medicine has no explanation for the explosion of Alzheimer’s cases over the past half century. Before 1950, cases of senile dementia as it was called were virtually unknown. Something significantly changed since that time to alter the course of this disease, and many researchers point to diet, chemical and environmental toxic exposure and a sedentary lifestyle.

We weigh considerably more than we did just 20 years ago, our diet is pumped with artificial food substitutes, sugar and hydrogenated fats and we’re exposed to a never ending assault of chemical toxins in our air, household chemicals and cosmetics.

The Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease
Our body has an amazing capacity to adapt to the changing world around us, but we’ve challenged our ability to cope with toxic overload. The brain remains well protected from the outside world, but eventually our poor lifestyle penetrates the blood-brain barrier as our metabolism breaks down and blood sugar and insulin swing out of control.

Messenger chemicals used by our body to protect us become our enemy, causing proteins to clump together in the brain and inhibiting normal electrical signaling. Memory capacity is slowly reduced and the stage is set for Alzheimer’s’ disease.

Alzheimer’s Treatment Through Prevention and Targeted Supplementation
The only way to combat Alzheimer’s disease is to adopt a natural lifestyle which is free of foods which promote metabolic dysfunction and chemicals which slowly accumulate in the body until they initiate disease. Food manufacturers remove most of the nutrients in the processed foods we eat, leading to a critical shortage of vitamins and minerals that are required to perform the billions of cellular functions needed for life.

Information reported in Reuters from an Oxford University study provides amazing results which confirm the power of natural nutrients to our health. The study found that B vitamins were able to prevent brain shrinking by up to 50%, allowing participants to retain cognitive function compared to a second group receiving a placebo. B vitamins are known to be essential to proper brain function with folic acid, niacinamide and vitamins B6 and B12 proving critical to memory retention and brain volume.

Diet and Nutrition for Brain Health
Our brain is a complicated network of neurons which must fire in perfect order to allow us to learn, form memories and function optimally. It is particularly sensitive to blood sugar swings and insulin which has become resistant, both controllable by eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from the diet. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds and organic meats which are supplied in their natural form, free of manmade contaminants and toxins known to deteriorate brain health.
Supplement with a high dose B vitamin complex specifically developed to support brain function, and don’t rely on inexpensive multi vitamins which provide little or no bio-available nutrients. Additional support is provided by the Omega-3 fat DHA, resveratrol, curcumin and grape seed extract. Lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by adopting a natural lifestyle and include targeted nutritional supplementation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Establishing Weight Loss Goals

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)
Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude
Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal
Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.

Monitoring Your Progress
Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.

The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.

Write Your Plan on Paper
Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eliminate Junk Food to Assist Weight Loss

(Article first published as Cut Junk Food Diet to Fuel Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
Our diet has changed significantly over the past half century as the main staples of our diet have quickly shifted from health promoting vegetables and foods eaten in their natural form toward a wide variety of processed foods impregnated with chemicals and created in a food laboratory. Most people eat a diet which consists almost exclusively of refined foods which are nutritionally deficient and packed with sugar, fructose and deadly trans fats which are known to contribute to excess weight.

Packaging Carrots as Junk Food
Junk food has become so prevalent in our diet that the baby carrot industry has begun to package and market their product as junk food in an attempt to increase market share. The industry is spending 25 million dollars to transform their image to a market which thrives on junk food and buys snacks and entire meals from a vending machine.

The industry is packaging baby carrots with artificial preservatives and other unnatural chemical enhancements so they can be sold in school vending machines. While nutritional information is not yet available for prepackaged carrots, calories and nutritional content will likely be similar to eating a candy bar with the same devastating effect on health and body weight.

Healthy Vegetable Consumption Flat the Past Decade
It’s no secret that a diet high in fresh vegetables and leafy greens promotes good health and assists in weight loss. The anemic and outdated USDA food pyramid recommends that we eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and many nutrition and weight loss experts say those numbers should be doubled. In addition to providing a wide variety of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, vegetables fill you up quickly with plenty of fiber and minimal calories.

According to the results of a comprehensive nationwide behavioral study issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vegetable and fruit consumption over the past decade, only 26% of adults ate vegetables three or more times per day. The number had not changed over the past ten years, indicating the marketing efforts of the CDC were ineffective compared to the billions spent by fast food and processed junk food companies to promote their unhealthy fare.

Including Vegetables and Natural Foods to Promote Weight Loss
Vegetables are packed with vital nutrients which are known to influence our cells on a genetic level to reduce the risk from many diseases while promoting natural weight loss. Junk food has the opposite effect as the synthetic chemicals which have been used to manufacture these foods are released into the body creating a toxic overload every time you eat.

Chemicals in processed foods are broken down by the body and must be stored in our body fat to prevent the risk of immediate disease. Over the course of many years these chemicals accumulate to dangerous levels and can initiate an array of potentially deadly conditions including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Chemical overload from excessive junk food consumption also provokes metabolic dysfunction leading to uncontrollable blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and weight gain.

Packaged food represents a significant health hazard to the millions of unsuspecting consumers who eat these foods several times each day. They are a significant factor in the explosion of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorder and obesity. Plan your menu to include at least ten servings of fresh vegetables and healthy greens daily, while minimizing or eliminating processed foods, sugar and refined carbs from your diet. Natural weight loss, optimal health and longevity will be your reward.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changing Diet and Behavior to Drive Weight Loss

(Article first published as Changing Diet and Behavior to Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)
The reasons we gain weight and the path to successful weight loss are extremely complicated, as factors beyond diet and exercise can exert a significant influence on our body composition, hormones and the environment which surrounds us. Some of these factors are within our control while others are not. The key to permanent weight loss is to understand those events and behaviors which we can modify and learning to live within the confines of our external environment. Fortunately there are important steps we can follow each day to tip the scales toward weight loss success.

Friends and Family Influence Our Weight
Sustainable weight loss is not possible until we’re able to successfully control our lifelong habits and behavior which are responsible for the excess pounds. In many ways, these factors can be much more difficult to identify and change as they become part of the fabric of our day to day life. Friends and family can also have a significant influence on when we eat as well as the type of foods eaten.

The results of a study released by the University of Michigan examined the effect of peer pressure and behavior modification on female college freshman roommates. They found that roommates with a partner who weighed more than average were much less likely to gain weight over the course of their first year. On average, dorm mates with a heavier counterpart gained only one-half pound during the year while the typical gain was two and a half pounds for those with slimmer roommates.

Understanding the Social Impact on Weight Loss
Researchers suggest that the heavier roommate was much more likely to be on a reduced calorie diet or exercise routine and these positive weight reduction behaviors were adopted by the slimmer partner. Each roommate became more aware of the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent the dreaded ‘freshman 15’ and altered their lifestyle habits toward weight maintenance and reduction. There are a number of important behaviors you can adopt to assist your weight loss goal.

Set a Goal You Can Live With
The top reason people fail to achieve their target weight goal is they set an unrealistic number to reach. It’s much more important to focus on the lifestyle changes you need to make to drop weight rather than reaching for a number which is out of reach. Set an intermediate weight goal which may be mid way between your current weight and ultimate target. Successful weight loss is accomplished in steps as you allow your body time to metabolically adjust to each new weight plateau.

Reward Your Success
Since our childhood, we’ve been rewarded when we perform well and marching toward our weight loss goal is no exception. Treat yourself to a movie, or put some money aside for a larger purchase each time you mark a milestone. Make sure your reward is not food based so you don’t halt your forward progress. Small rewards along the way provide positive reinforcement to keep you on track to your ultimate achievement.

Get Help From Your Peers
Behavior which encourages healthy weight loss is socially contagious. We are subconsciously aware of the beneficial and negative habits of our friends, family members and peers. When our immediate circle of friends engages in activities which promote weight gain, we’re much more likely to follow suit and the pounds suddenly appear. Become a team leader and modify your diet and lifestyle habits toward healthy weight loss and others around you will follow.

Our behavior is constantly changing based on the influence of people around us along with environmental factors. Find friends with a common weight loss goal to provide yourself the opportunity to develop a healthy weight loss lifestyle. Take the initiative to lead your friends, family and peers toward a life which promotes sustainable weight loss.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Using Diet and Exercise to Fuel Weight Loss

(Article first published as Controlling Diet and Exercise to Drive Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Many people begin a weight loss program with the best intentions. They reduce calories, exercise regularly and slowly begin to drop weight. After losing for a few weeks or months they hit a plateau which can have a psychologically devastating effect on their desire and ability to stay on track. Many people have difficulty making the proper food choices which will help them achieve their weight loss goal, and believe that because they exercise they can eat larger portions to compensate.

Altering Our Food Perception to Lose Weight
There are a variety of factors which influence the way we view food when trying to lose weight. Most people understand that burgers, fries and ice cream are all bad options individually, but when a healthy food item is added, dieters tend to believe that the total calorie count was somehow magically lowered. Adding a side of broccoli to a piece of fried steak makes it appear more acceptable even though the calories have increased.

Understanding ‘The Dieter’s Paradox’
Researchers call this misperception of mixing healthy and unhealthy foods ‘The Dieter’s Paradox’. The results of a study published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology explains the mindset behind combining foods which promote weight loss with calorie laden choices in participants trying to drop weight. People were shown a high calorie food and asked to estimate the calories. They were then shown the same food with a traditional diet food, such as steamed vegetables or a salad and asked to determine the calorie count.

When presented with the second option, they estimated 5 to 10% lower calories, even though there were clearly more total calories with the additional item. This type of research clearly shows there’s a disconnect occurring in our brain when making the correct choices for a healthy meal to promote weight loss. We see less food calories when even the smallest amount of healthy food is added to the meal.

Eating to Lose Weight
You can combat the natural tendency to underestimate food calories by planning your meals in advance, employ nutritional tracking software and maintaining a food diary. Weigh and measure every food item you prepare and keep track of daily calories and physical activity in your journal. You’ll quickly understand which foods contribute to your weight loss plateau. It’s important to understand that everybody will hit a plateau which can last a few days up to a month or more. This is normal, as your body adjusts to each new weight level. Be patient and your good efforts will be rewarded.

Regular Exercise Leads to Excess Calories Consumed
Everyone knows that regular exercise is vitally important to our health and assists in the weight loss process. The problem is we overestimate the number of calories actually burned through exercise and compensate by eating more food than we need. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when pursuing a weight loss lifestyle.

The best way to avoid eating too much when exercising is to fully understand how many calories you’re burning for each type of exercise. Walking is one of the most popular forms of physical activity, and you’ll burn around 125 calories in a moderately paced 30 minute period. While the exercise is great for your heart and muscles, you don’t need to take in any more calories to compensate. The best rule is to monitor your food diary, and avoid extra calories as a result of your physical activity.

When trying to lose weight, we’re faced with difficult decisions about proper food choices at every meal. Psychologically we perceive the addition of a healthy food item to our plate as a way to include fattening foods, as if they’ll calorically offset one another. We overestimate the number of calories burned through exercise and eat to make up the difference. The only way to avoid these mistakes and achieve your weight loss goal involves judicious tracking of all food eaten each day in a journal, being careful not to rely on exercise as an excuse to overeat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lifestyle Changes That Motivate Weight Loss

(Article first published as How to Motivate Your Weight Loss Lifestyle on Technorati.)
It’s a fact that nearly three-quarters of adults and an alarming number of children fall into the overweight or obese category with potentially devastating effects to their health and psychological well being. The vast majority of these people have tried valiantly to lose weight but have failed despite their best efforts. A big part of the problem is that sustainable weight loss must become a seamless part of your lifestyle, with proper planning and food portion control central to your success.

Planning to Lose Weight
You’ve tried to lose weight before and came close to hitting your ideal weight, but just couldn’t seem to maintain your diet and exercise routine for long term results. This happens because you haven’t properly planned to lose weight, and your powerful survival instinct takes charge causing you to eat all the bad foods that caused your weight gain initially. The only way you can overcome this is to develop a plan you can live with for the remainder of your life and incorporate it into your permanent lifestyle.

Don’t Estimate Serving Sizes
When we’re hungry, we tend to make very poor decisions on the proper foods to eat as well as the serving sizes we consume. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, participants were less likely to correctly identify the number of calories in a food item if they were presented with a high calorie choice before a lower calorie option. The results show that estimated calories were 38% lower, a significant discrepancy which can sabotage your weight loss plans.

Make Healthy Weight Loss a Lifestyle Priority
Making even the smallest lifestyle change will be a difficult task and require much discipline and effort. Altering your diet to promote weight loss may be one of the most difficult tasks you will undertake, but the results are so rewarding and worthwhile. 

Before beginning, you must make a commitment to yourself to see your actions through to the end. Before completing your goal, you’ll need to incorporate these changes as part of a new lifestyle and never look back. You’re in this for the long term, so speed is not an issue, and an occasional dietary slip is inevitable and won’t knock you off course.

Get a Food Scale, Accurate Measuring Cup and Progress Journal
You should attack weight loss in the same way you would take on any critical project – assemble all the right tools to ensure your success. Purchase an accurate food scale and assemble all your measuring cups, tablespoons and teaspoons. These will be your keys to success, as you cannot accurately estimate food portions and weights. 

Start a food journal where you chart every food item eaten, portion size and calories. Be sure to include any between meal snacks, as these can really drive up your daily calorie totals. Also keep track of your weight, exercise and any other pertinent activities.

The sobering fact is that only 1 out of 20 people is able to lose more than 10% of their body weight and keep it off for at least a year. This is because many people don’t begin their weight loss journey with the commitment to make permanent lifestyle changes. Once you have made the decision to drop those excess pounds for good, incorporate the proper tools which will lead to sustainable weight loss.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Choosing the Ideal Diet for Health and Weight Loss Goals

(Article first published as Meat vs. Vegetarian Diet: Your Best Choice for Weight Loss and Health on Technorati.)
Very few topics will spark as much heated debate as those centered on whether it’s best to restrict meat or indulge in that juicy steak for optimal health and weight maintenance. While the question may not be conclusively answered anytime soon, there are distinct differences between the two dietary styles which can have a significant impact on health and weight loss goals.

Man Has Evolved to Eat Meat
Our evolutionary ancestors have eaten meat for hundreds and thousands of generations, and scientists believe that the size of our brain and capacity to think, learn and speak are all due to increased consumption of meat. Unfortunately the meat we eat today is very different from the grass fed free range animals we hunted thousands of years ago. Meat was consumed raw, and we evolved to eat all parts of the animal which were enriched with omega-3 fats and other essential nutrients.

Excess Meat Linked with Weight Gain
Today’s meat bears little resemblance to the natural source of protein eaten by our predecessors. Many animals have been force fed with grains and injected with artificial hormones to make them fatter, reducing the healthy Omega-3 fat ratio in the meat. The hormones end up in our body, wreaking havoc with our own metabolic balance leading to weight gain. The results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that meat consumption is associated with weight management issues due to the excess calories eaten.

Some Meat Necessary for Good Health
Some people restrict meat for ethical reasons, which is certainly their choice. For the vast majority of others looking to improve their health, small quantities of meat are necessary as prescribed by our evolutionary past. In addition to being a prime source of Vitamin B12, meat supplies other essential nutrients which are not present in a vegan style diet. The appropriate question is how much meat to eat, what type and how should it be cooked? 

Meat Preparation and Cooking is Important
Meat should account for no more than 10% of your total daily calories. Fill up on a limitless supply of fresh vegetables and greens and minimize the calories from meat and carbohydrates. When meat is grilled, fried or overcooked, the chemical properties of the flesh are altered and the charred portion becomes carcinogenic and dangerous to your health. Meats should be minimally cooked to avoid this problem.

Whenever possible it’s best to choose organically raised white meat chicken, turkey or grass fed beef which has been roasted or cooked at low temperature. If grilled or seared, cut off any visible charring to avoid the excess toxins. Processed meats such as sausage, bacon and bologna should be avoided entirely, as these have been impregnated with nitrates which are known to cause cancer.

Planning the Proper Ratio of Meat to Vegetables
Each person has evolved with a slightly different metabolism, and will require differing amounts of protein, carbs and fat. Some may need more protein for ideal health, while others are best served on a vegan style menu. Experiment by making small changes to your diet and maintain for a week until you find the best dietary ratio for you.

Many choose a vegan diet thinking that may be best for weight loss and optimal health. A diet centered on plenty of vegetables and greens, nuts, seeds and Omega-3 fats will be ideal for the majority of individuals. It’s important to include a small amount of meat which hasn’t been overcooked or processed to satisfy our evolved genetics and achieve an ideal weight with vibrant health.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vitamin D Cuts Cancer Risk by 50%

(Article first published as Reduce Risk of Cancer and Diabetes by 50% with Vitamin D on Technorati.)
Who ever thought that taking an inexpensive nutritional supplement could dramatically lower your risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease? Vitamin D has been shown to directly influence more than 3000 genes by regulating their ability to prevent and control many deadly diseases. Extensive scientific evidence finds that checking your Vitamin D blood level and supplementing as necessary is one of the best things you can do to ensure your health and longevity.

Vitamin D Works at the Genetic Level
Every cell in our body has evolved with a receptor for Vitamin D. If insufficient amounts of the vitamin (actually a prohormone) are in circulation, these receptors aren’t filled entirely and viruses can take command of the cell, injecting their viral payload.

According to a study published in Genome Research, optimizing Vitamin D levels can reduce the risk from many forms of cancer and diabetes by more than 50% and lower the incidence of heart disease by 43%. That’s quite an accomplishment for a single nutrient.

Vitamin D Fights the Flu and Common Cold
People who supplement with Vitamin D are amazed that they never seem to develop a cold or come down with the flu, even when everyone around them is sneezing and coughing. Vitamin D functions in two ways to prevent these common ailments, first by blocking the pathway that pathogens use to infect the cells, and further by regulating genes which promote the release of a natural antibiotic produced by the body. A proper Vitamin D level boosts our natural immunity, reduces systemic inflammation and is critical to warding off a host of deadly diseases.

Vitamin D and the Fight against Cancer
Vitamin D researchers indicate that 30% of cancer death could be averted each year by ensuring optimal blood levels. Vitamin D works against cancer by inhibiting each of the four stages necessary for cancer development and growth.

Many cancers are caused by a genetic mutation that occurs during cellular replication. Vitamin D provides the blueprint required by each cell to accurately divide, and when the vitamin isn’t present at a sufficient level, the cell uses a less efficient method which can lead to DNA damage.

Make Sure You Aren’t Vitamin D Deficient
By some estimates, 85% of the population is Vitamin D deficient. Millions are placing themselves at risk for disease and early death by ignoring this vital nutrient. The problem is that sun exposure may not provide you with optimal levels as you age, and multi vitamins provide too little and use a form which isn’t well absorbed by our cells.

Don’t risk your health thinking your multi vitamin and sun exposure are enough to protect you. The only way to know for sure is to have a simple blood test performed (25 (OH)D) by your doctor or independent lab, and ensure your level is above 50 ng/ml. This indicates that all your cells are properly saturated and you have maximum protection. If you need to supplement, choose an oil-based Vitamin D gelcap which is much better absorbed than a dry powder capsule.

Volumes of scientific evidence demonstrate that Vitamin D is essential to your health and can increase lifespan. This critical prohormone has been shown to the lower risk of many inflammatory and immune based diseases, including cancer by up to 50%. Don’t take a chance with your health – get your blood tested and supplement accordingly to reap the many life extending health benefits of Vitamin D.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Diet or Exercise Best for Weight Loss?

(Article first published as Your Best Weight Loss Strategy: Diet or Exercise? on Technorati.)
We’ve been conditioned over the years to believe that the best way to lose weight is to sweat it off with rigorous exercise at the gym, and be mindful of what we eat. If that were entirely correct, we wouldn’t be tipping the scales of obesity as 45 million people spend more than $19 billion annually on gym memberships, a number that’s doubled over the past 20 years. The problem lies with the fact that human metabolism is highly efficient, and any excess calories are immediately stored as fat.

More Exercise Leads to More Eating
Despite our best intentions, we eat far more calories than we need at any given time to fuel our muscles and cells. Exercise does burn additional calories, but for many people it pales in comparison to the quantity of food they consume. As you exercise, your body sends the signal to eat more so you’ll have enough energy reserved for the next workout. Your next meal or high carb snack will be larger than necessary to compensate, and the excess calories are efficiently stored for future use.

Exercise is Not an Efficient Weight Loss Tool
Research generated by the Mayo Clinic and reported in Time Magazine concludes that exercise is a very inefficient way to drop excess pounds. Researchers found that intense exercise may actually cause weight gain, as test participants consumed more calories after exercise than they burned, resulting in leftover calories which the body typically stores as abdominal fat. It’s important to understand that exercise is still an essential part of human health, but should not be your primary weight loss tool.

Calorie Restricted Diet Delivers Weight Loss Results
The best strategy to drop weight is to eat a calorie restricted diet with 25% fewer calories than you presently consume each day. For many, this type of restriction will seem severe, so you’ll need to slowly work up to that level by eliminating 100 calories each day for a week. The next week, cut out another 100 calories until you hit the 25% reduction level. Most moderately active women should eat 1200 to 1500 calories per day, and men should target 1500 to 1800 calories to see significant weight loss results.

Exercise is Still Important
Regular physical activity is still vitally important, as multiple studies confirm that those who sit for 8 hours a day are most likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer and die early from any cause. Stay active, and if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for long periods, get up and move around at least once every half hour. Establish a set amount of time for exercise into your daily schedule, at least 30 minutes on most days. Walking is a great activity which keeps your heart pumping and your muscles moving, but don’t plan to eat more afterward to compensate.

People begin exercising or sign up for a gym membership as a way to burn off excess fat, and subconsciously believe this will allow them to continue eating more calories than they need. For most individuals, the calories burned through moderate exercise don’t compensate for the super sized appetites experienced after a workout. While regular physical activity and stress reduction are required for optimal health, calorie restriction is by far the most effective weight loss tool.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Changing Bad Habits Assists Weight Loss Efforts

(Article first published as Top Weight Loss Habits That Burn Belly Fat on Technorati.)
If you’re one of the millions who are overweight or obese, losing at least 5% of your body weight can have a significant impact on longevity while reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and dementia. As many who have tried and failed can confirm, this can be a daunting accomplishment as successful weight loss is much more than simply eating less and exercising more.

Weight Loss Achieved by Changing Habits
Many people pack on the pounds as a result of decades of poor dietary and lifestyle habits which are learned through childhood and into the early adult years. We’re conditioned to eat on the run, rather than sitting down to a well balanced nutritious meal, and many people mistake fast food for a healthy meal.

Bad habits can be difficult to alter, but the results of a study published in the International Journal of Obesity confirm that it is possible to change the habits which are responsible for weight gain. Study participants were provided with a list of habits which promote weight loss, and followed for 8 weeks. During that period, 54% were able to lose more than 5% of their body weight just by making lifestyle changes, compared to a control group who lost no weight. Along with diet and exercise, including these healthy tips will help you to change bad habits and assist your weight loss efforts.

Tip 1: Stop between Meal Snacks
Many people have no idea the number of calories they eat when snacking between meals, and some estimates put the number anywhere between 25 and 50% of daily requirements. An even larger problem is that most snacks are high carb, high calorie disasters which cause rapid blood sugar spikes, leading to insulin resistance and excess abdominal fat.

This one bad habit can be the reason you’re unable to lose weight, despite you best efforts. Track every bite of food using a food dairy to see just how much you eat outside of traditional meal time, and make a conscious effort to nip this bad habit.

Tip 2: Go Grocery Shopping on a Full Stomach
Food shopping when you’re hungry is a bad habit which will test your willpower and usually result in a few extra junk food items in your cart. Always shop after eating and significantly lower the tendency to make the wrong food choices. Plan your menu ahead of time and create a shopping list of exactly what you’ll need for those meals. You’ll find it much easier to stick to the list when your stomach isn’t growling for attention.

Tip 3: Eat Sitting Down From a Plate
Eating on the run is a guarantee of weight loss failure. This bad habit has become much more commonplace over the last decade, as families eat between 4 and 7 meals each week at a fast food restaurant. Fast foods are packed with trans fats, salt, fast releasing carbs and calories. Further, they provide little or no nutrition, so you remain hungry and more apt to snack. Set your schedule to eat at least 2 nutritious meals a day at home, and always avoid eating out of a bag or cardboard box.

Almost from birth, we’re conditioned to make poor dietary and lifestyle choices which become the bad habits that lead to excess weight and disease. Controlling calories and exercise are important components required to lose weight, but taming our habits learned over the years can provide much needed help in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight for life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Top Mistakes That Prevent Weight Loss

(Article first published as Top Weight Loss Diet Mistakes on Technorati.)
Many people who are desperate to lose weight are misguided by the false promises made by marketers of fad diets, pills and weight loss surgery. Not only do many of these schemes lead to weight loss failure, but some can lead to serious health problems and even death. The only way to achieve your natural weight loss goal is to disregard the promotional hype, and realize that the more outrageous a claim sounds, the more likely it will not benefit you.

Genetic Predisposition to Obesity Can Be Lowered
Some people are genetically predisposed to become obese. This doesn’t mean that they’re destined to gain excess weight, but that following a poor diet and lifestyle will dramatically increase their risk for obesity. These individuals are especially prone to making weight loss mistakes which compound their problem, making it even more difficult to make the proper food and exercise choices.

The results of research published in the PLoS Medicine journal found that increased physical activity reduced the genetic predisposition for obesity by 40%. This clearly demonstrates that exercise as well as a properly balanced diet has a significant impact on the genes which control our metabolism and assist in weight reduction. Avoid the most common mistakes people make which lead to weight loss failure.

Avoid Single Food Diets
Over the years there have been a number of crazy fad diets which are based on eating a single food item or eliminating a category of food for weeks or months. Not only will this type of plan fail, but it can be dangerous as you miss important nutrients required for cellular function. While single food diets may help you lose weight initially, they aren’t sustainable and you’ll eventually regain any lost weight as you begin to eat freely again.

Don’t Become Exclusively Vegetarian
Many people become vegetarian with the misguided intention that it will drive weight loss. The problem is they replace meat with excess amounts of refined carbohydrates, sugar and starches which are all loaded with calories and pack on the pounds. Additionally, lean meat sources such as turkey and chicken provide important nutrients which you miss as a vegetarian. The best strategy is to fill up on plenty of fresh veggies, include foods from all nutritional categories, and restrict daily calories.

Fat Free Doesn’t Mean Calorie Free
The fat free craze has been around for the past 20 years and is a significant factor in the obesity epidemic and declining health rates. When you cut essential fats from your diet, you fill the void with carbohydrates, and excess carbs turn to fat which are then stored on your belly. It will likely take the next 20 years to reeducate people that eating the proper type of fats are good for your health and don’t lead to weight gain.

As the number of people tipping the scales of overweight and obesity approaches 75%, many look for a quick fix to shed excess pounds and make very common weight loss mistakes along the way. Even if you’re genetically predisposed to gain weight, you can make dietary and lifestyle modifications which will deliver weight loss results. Successful weight loss is achieved by avoiding the most commonly promoted mistakes and following a reduced calorie plan which provides well balanced nutrition from all food groups.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reading Nutrition Labels to Assist Weight Loss

(Article first published as Reading Nutrition Labels Assists Weight Loss, Improves Health on Technorati.)
The information you need to avoid foods which will encourage weight gain or promote poor health is required reading on every nutrition label. The problem is many people are unable to decode the gibberish and misleading terms used to disguise the worst food ingredients. It seems as though there should be a special encyclopedia to help the consumer avoid the most dangerous health degrading components of their favorite processed food staples.

Finding the Proper Tools to Assist Weight Loss
Of course, the best rule of thumb would be to eat food in their natural form, easily avoiding all the deadly sugar and processed carbs and chemicals hiding in most foods. Foods which will help you drop weight and promote health don’t have an ingredient list or use names which are difficult to pronounce. The reality is that foods manufactured in a food laboratory are a part of our diet, and we need to become savvy about what is in the foods we eat to preserve health and lose weight.

The results of a study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, found that people who want to lose weight are much more likely to read nutrition labels, and note that this may have an even larger impact on weight loss than regular exercise. There is still much confusion about serving size, sugar and carbohydrate content and ingredient listing for many who try to decipher the typical nutrition label. Understanding the buzz words to watch for will help you to drop weight and naturally promote health.

Tip 1: Watch Calories per Serving
Food manufacturers use very subtle deception to make you think their food is lower in calories at a quick glance. They post unrealistic serving sizes to make the calories appear less, with the knowledge that most people will eat much more than the paltry serving size listed.

Look carefully when purchasing at the store and be certain you understand that often the calories listed in bold are most likely half of what you will end up eating. Once you realize how quickly most processed foods add on the calories, you’ll want to substitute fruit, vegetables, or a reduced calorie option to hit your daily target.

Tip 2: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
The fat category creates much confusion for many consumers. We have been so conditioned by pharmaceutical ads to avoid cholesterol that we end up choosing high carb, low fat foods which ruin health. Saturated fats and cholesterol from foods are not the problem, and do not contribute to poor health or excess weight as long as they are eaten uncooked and accounted for as part of your daily caloric goal. Trans fats should be avoided entirely, and be sure to watch for hydrogenated fats on the label. There is no safe level of these deadly fats which increase your risk of heart disease by 25%.

Tip 3: Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Sugar
Many people with an interest in their health are avoiding added sugar and high fructose corn syrup when they read nutritional labels, understanding that these additives cause metabolic imbalance and lead to weight gain. Manufacturers know this and now want to be able to call high fructose corn syrup simply corn sugar on nutritional labels. This is yet another example of the deceitful marketing tactics which are permitted to continue, making it difficult to avoid dangerous chemicals in our food supply.

Reading nutritional labels is becoming an important tool used my many weight and health conscious consumers. Look at every label before you purchase, with a watchful eye for serving size, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup and learn the variety of names these ingredients lurk behind. By eliminating poor food choices, you’ll be able to reach your weight loss target quicker and avoid the health pitfalls of eating a diet high in artificial chemicals.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cut Sugar to Boost Your Immune System

(Article first published as Cut Sugar and Carbs to Live Longer, Drop Weight Faster on Technorati.)
The Standard American Diet is dangerous to your health. We consume far too much sugar and processed high carbohydrate junk foods which are literally destroying our immune system and leading to an early death. While this may sound overly dramatic, research provides solid proof that what we eat slowly erodes our natural defenses to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Sugar Knocks Out Our Immune Response
Normally, our immune system remains at high alert, waiting to detect a potential threat or rogue cancer cell. This system that we rely on for our good health and longevity can be compromised by eating a diet high in sugar and junk carbs. Not only do these foods threaten our survival, but they also cripple our metabolism causing us to gain weight.

The results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that a diet high in sugar and fast-releasing carbohydrates increases the risk of death from inflammatory disease by three-fold. Many of the top killer diseases are inflammatory in nature, including coronary artery disease and many forms of cancer.

The study found that higher than normal levels of sugar in the blood were bound to white blood cells which prevented them from identifying and attacking pathogens. Fortunately there are several steps you can follow to dramatically lower your risk of developing an inflammatory illness and reverse your systemic sugar burden.

Step 1: Slowly Cut Sugar and Carbs
While this may sound like a simple concept, research shows that less than 5% of people who set out to make a dietary modification are able to see it through and benefit from the change. Any dietary alteration is difficult and must be done slowly. You know that you need to wean yourself off sugary treats, refined carbs and fast junk food, but don’t try to do it cold turkey.

Slowly drop one item from each meal and substitute with a healthy alternative. Continue eliminating sugar and processed carbs for two weeks, and then drop them altogether. After 30 days of dietary purging and substituting, you’ll find that you feel great and don’t miss the health destroying foods at all. Natural foods will taste good, and you’ll lose weight without much effort.

Step 2: Foods That Boost Your Immune System
Some of the foods you will want to use as sugar alternatives include all members of the berry family. They’re naturally sweet and are packed with antioxidants and chemical messengers which stimulate the immune system into action. Fresh leafy greens and especially cabbage, spinach and broccoli are vegetable choices which will fill you up quickly and pack a big nutritional punch. Almonds and flax seeds have been shown to regulate your immune response and also assist in natural weight loss.

Step 3: Immune Boosting Supplements
The top nutrient for powering your immune system is Vitamin D. This pro-hormone has been shown to directly influence over 200 genes which respond to natural threats to your health. Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system as it is required for building new white blood cells. Rounding out the list are Vitamins E, zinc, selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Compliment your sugar-free diet and lifestyle by adding these critical supplements to your disease-fighting arsenal.

When our immune system is functioning properly, we’re able to maintain optimal health. Anything which compromises this intricate system will result in illness. Many people consume one-third to a half of their calories in the form of sugar and refined carbohydrates, placing them at significant risk for disease, as well as contributing to the obesity epidemic. Slowly substitute immune fighting foods for health eroding sugar and carbs, and you’ll be on the road to natural weight loss and vibrant health.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eat Fat, Lose Weight

(Article first published as Eat Fat to Boost Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Fat has been vilified over the past half century, as many people have been led to believe it promotes poor health and leads to abdominal weight gain. Fats are one of the three macronutrients required for normal cellular functioning within the body and are necessary for optimal health, as well as being a contributor to healthy weight loss and weight maintenance. You can use fat to your advantage as you make the necessary dietary modifications to lose weight, as long as you make the proper fat choices.

Fat Metabolism Controlled by Hormones
Weight gain or loss is largely under the control of a very intricate system of hormonal balance, and is very sensitive to wild swings in blood sugar which leads to insulin resistance. Once insulin becomes metabolically inactive, it is unable to usher sugar from the blood into the cells and muscles where it’s required to provide energy to your cells. This is the beginning of metabolic syndrome and can lead to diabetes, heart disease and an early death.

Sugar, Not Fat Leads to Weight Gain
Sugar and refined carbs cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise and drop, making you want another sugar fix to start the process all over again. As this process is repeated multiple times each day, insulin becomes less able to flush excess sugar from the blood after each meal, and the sugar remains in circulation. In an attempt to prevent further damage, the body converts the excess sugar to triglycerides which are stored as fat for future use. Dietary fats have no effect on blood sugar or insulin, and don’t directly lead to weight gain.

Healthy Fat Diet Shown to Decrease Waistline
Information from a study published in the International Journal of Obesity illustrates the effect of fat consumption on weight loss in two groups of obese participants. One group ate a reduced calorie diet with 18% of calories coming from fat, while the second consumed the same number of calories, except 39% of their calories were supplied by an almond-enriched fat diet.

After 6 months, the group eating the higher fat diet had a 62% greater reduction in body mass index (BMI), combined with a 50% reduction in waist size and 56% lower body fat when compared with the low fat group. The low fat group ate a high carbohydrate diet which converted to excess blood sugar and hampered their weight loss success, while the healthy higher fat group was able to lose much more fat eating the same number of calories.

Adding the Correct Fat to Your Diet
The results of this study underscore the importance of including the right fats in your diet to meet your weight loss target. Choose monounsaturated fats from natural food sources such as almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and olive oil, while avoiding vegetable oils and fats cooked at high temperatures. Overcooking oil causes hydrogenation and unhealthy trans fats which not only will pack on the pounds, but also leads to increased risk from heart disease and cancer.

Changing the way you think about dietary fat is an important first step toward improved health and natural weight loss. It’s easy to think of fat as a source of artery clogging plaque, but the body is much more sophisticated, and readily converts the fat you eat into cellular components needed for replication and not into stored fat. Eat monounsaturated fats in moderation, eliminate sugar and processed carbs from your diet and be rewarded with improved health and natural weight loss.