Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eliminate Toxic Chemicals to Assist Weight Loss

(Article first published as Environmental Toxins May Hinder Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
Our body operates on a very delicate metabolic balance and is sensitive to the type of food we eat as well as the environment that surrounds us. Most of the processed foods in the typical diet are packed with artificial chemical enhancers that are viewed as toxins when they enter our digestion. In an effort to thwart toxic overload, we have evolved a highly sophisticated process of identifying and packaging these foreign particles for storage in our fat cells.

While this may help us to avert immediate damage, it leaves our metabolically active fat cells unable to send the proper signals to the brain that it’s time to stop eating. After many years of toxic storage our fat cells become resistant to our best weight loss efforts and the pounds pack on. Fortunately you can reverse the effects of chemical overload by improving your diet and avoiding common household and environmental substances.

The Path to Obesity Starts at an Early Age
Children who are raised on a refined and processed food diet void of natural vegetables and raw foods are at increased risk of becoming overweight and obese at an early age. Infants and young children are particularly sensitive to unnatural chemicals in food as well as household toxins in bath products, toothpaste and water. They begin to store excess toxins early in life and are much more susceptible to fat storage as they mature.

The results of a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives demonstrated that toxins ingested or absorbed by the mother are enough to induce excess fat storage in the baby even before birth. The infant children were shown to form fat as a defense mechanism against being poisoned by toxins. Most people understand the importance of nutrition on a developing fetus, but few consider the impact of supposedly harmless chemicals in our food and household that are considered ‘generally regarded as safe’ by the USDA.

Flushing Food Additives and Chemicals from Food and Water
Our food supply is riddled with chemicals that are used to enhance flavor, provide texture and preserve freshness. A growing number of food items are genetically modified to generate higher yield or for disease resistance. All of these factors result in a food supply that is not natural and erodes health along with our ability to lose weight.

As a toxic environment develops in a person, they become increasingly resistant to weight loss. Adopt a whole food diet consisting of fresh vegetables (uncooked to preserve the essential nutrients and enzymes), nuts, seeds and monounsaturated fats. Read all ingredient labels if you choose processed foods and avoid anything that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Filter your water, especially from city sources to eliminate chlorine sanitizing agents.

Avoid Household Chemicals and Cosmetics
Household cleaners, bath products and cosmetics are all laced with toxic chemicals that we breathe or absorb from contact with the skin. These chemicals are immediately detected by our immune system and sent to the liver for disposal. Eventually the liver is overloaded and a secondary system ensues to pack the chemicals up with triglycerides and shuttle them to storage as body fat. Always choose organic based household cleaners and cosmetics that contain no artificial enhancers, coloring or emulsifiers.

Research has shown this it is possible to slowly lose weight so that toxins stored in your fat aren’t released too quickly. Nutrients such as chlorella latch onto the toxins as they’re released and usher them safely out of the body. Before beginning a weight loss regimen, first eliminate synthetic chemicals from your food and environment. This will make your road to weight loss much easier as you slowly improve you health and quality of life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Multi-Vitamins Slash Heart Attack Risk by 41%

(Article first published as Multi-Vitamin Use Shown to Dramatically Lower Heart Attack Risk on Technorati.)
Your mother was right when she told you to eat your vegetables and take your vitamins. It just sounds like good advice, yet millions of people fail to eat the minimum servings of fresh vegetables and fruit and don’t supplement their poor diet with the essential vitamins and minerals needed to prevent chronic illness.

Our body has many survival mechanisms that provide for short term nutritional shortfalls. After a period of years and decades the lack of vitamins and minerals cause our body to age and set the stage for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer. Fortunately there are important steps we can take to fight cellular aging and dramatically lower disease risk.

We Need a Continual Supply of Nutrients to Promote Health
The heart is a very metabolically active organ that requires a constant supply of energy and nutrients to function optimally. Vitamin C is critical to the structural integrity of arteries that supply blood to the heart and magnesium helps maintain electrical activity and lower blood pressure so the muscle can beat efficiently. When we are deficient in these nutrients over time, heart function begins to decline and risk of a heart attack increase quickly.

Daily Multi Vitamin Use Shown to Slash Heart Attack Risk
The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provide evidence that taking a multi vitamin can have a critical impact on heart disease risk. Women who took a high potency multi vitamin over a 5 year period were found to lower their risk of a heart attack by 41% compared to women who didn’t supplement. These results demonstrate the importance of proper nutrition to our health.

It’s important to note that the study participants were all in good health at the beginning of the study, indicating that multi vitamins are effective in maintaining health status. People with existing health concerns need to be much more vigilant about their nutrition and would want to follow a more potent and targeted supplemental regimen.

Nutrients Best Supplied by Natural Diet
The results of this study highlight the importance of vitamins and minerals to our health. A potent multi vitamin is a good way to ensure you get the minimum requirements for the vitamins and minerals that are commonly available in a single tablet. Nature provides a bounty of additional nutrients in whole foods that simply aren’t available in a pill. Many of the nutrients that exist in natural foods have yet to be discovered and undoubtedly have a major impact on our health when eaten as part of a whole food diet.

To ensure you benefit from the full matrix of nutrients, eat a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Cut the processed foods, sugar and hydrogenated fats that are known to promote disease. Find a multi vitamin that is made from organic whole foods for maximum health benefit, and stay away from synthetic varieties that are full of chemicals and toxins. Take control of your health with a natural diet of whole foods and supplement daily with a quality whole food based multi vitamin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Diet Soda Doesn't Help Weight Loss Efforts

(Article first published as Diet Soda Shown to Hinder Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
With millions of Americans crossing from the overweight to obese classification each year, it’s no wonder that so many people are looking for an aid to ensure their weight loss success. In addition to diet pills, formulas and bariatric surgery, one of the most popular tools that people use are artificially sweetened beverages.

At first glance this makes sense. After all, a 12 ounce serving of the typical sugary soft drink tips the scales around 150 calories. And most people drink more than one each day. When doing the math, sweetened beverage calories can really have a significant impact on your ability to lose weight. But are diet drinks really the answer?

Diet Drinks Lead to Calorie Misconceptions
The mind is a powerful tool to harness in your quest for weight loss success. It can also lead to failure, especially when using weight loss substitutes such as diet drinks. The problem arises when you consciously make the effort to replace a day’s worth of sweetened beverage calories with a diet alternative. Many people underestimate the number of calories they cut and eat more food thinking they can make up some of the difference.

In reality, research has shown that people take in up to 20% more calories than they eliminate from sweetened drinks. In theory, cutting calories from sugared drinks makes sense, but in reality our brain is accustomed to the extra calories and will ultimately coax you into subconsciously making up the difference. People with rock solid will power may be able to make drink substitution work, but there may still be another problem related to our body’s metabolism of sweets.

Artificial Sweeteners Trick the Brain
Humans have evolved an affinity toward eating sweet foods. From a survival perspective, sweet foods were usually a good source of high energy and helped our early ancestors thrive in an environment void of quick food sources. Today we live in a much different world with easy access to high calorie foods. Our genes are still programmed toward sweet tasting foods and manufacturers are more than willing to infuse our food and drink with massive amounts of sugar.

Artificially sweetened items have been shown to trick our body into thinking other sweet foods don’t have many calories and we are much more inclined to overeat as a consequence. The results of a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and reported on WebMD shows that when subjects are given artificially sweetened drinks over a period of 10 days, they are much more likely to overeat to compensate. Participants allowed to drink sweetened drinks registered the calories and did not overeat as a result.

Make the Switch to Black and Green Tea
Diet drinks are a popular tool used by many people trying to lose weight. Research has shown that they may be ineffective and can actually lead to weight gain. The best plan would be to substitute sugared and artificially sweetened drinks with health promoting tea. Both black and green teas are naturally low in calories and have a direct impact on lowering disease risk. Sweeten with stevia extract for a beverage that increases resting metabolism and can deliver successful weight loss results.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magnesium Essential to Heart Health, Lowers Blood Sugar

(Article first published as Magnesium Slashes Heart Attack Risk, Helps Prevent Diabetes on Technorati.)
Magnesium is one of the most common elemental minerals in the human body yet experts believe that more than 90% of adults are deficient, placing them at extreme risk of sudden death from a heart attack and developing diabetes. Hundreds of biochemical functions that drive energy metabolism and DNA repair are fueled by magnesium.

We rely on eating vegetables and other natural foods grown in magnesium rich soils as our source of this vital mineral. Most people don’t eat enough fresh vegetables to supply adequate magnesium while poor farming practices have depleted the mineral from most commercially grown crops. You can ensure that you receive magnesium though diet and supplementation to stave off heart disease and metabolic dysfunction.

Magnesium Deficiency Linked with Diabetes
Magnesium is used by hundreds of enzymes in our body to regulate blood sugar metabolism. The mineral is known to dampen the flames of inflammation that interferes with healthy blood sugar and can lead to insulin resistance. The results of a study published in the journal Biologic Trace Elements Research shows that as magnesium levels in the blood increase, the risk of Type II diabetes declines in a corresponding fashion. By boosting levels of fat storage hormones such as adiponectin, magnesium plays a critical role in protecting metabolic function and lowering risk of diabetes.

Magnesium Protects Against Sudden Cardiac Death
Sudden cardiac death is a leading cause of heart-related deaths among those 40 and older. More than 250,000 people die each year for this preventable condition. Research that was part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study demonstrates that those individuals with the highest magnesium in blood circulation had a 40% lower risk of dying from a heart attack as those with the lowest levels.

Magnesium is necessary to relax blood vessels and arteries while maintaining normal blood pressure. Further research has demonstrated the effect of magnesium on dangerous plaque formation. Low levels of magnesium are associated with the development of foamy plaque on the inner lining of the coronary arteries as well as thickening of the artery walls. High levels of magnesium were shown to decrease arterial wall thickness by 42%.

Magnesium from Diet or Supplements
The typical diet of refined foods does not supply sufficient amounts of magnesium to counteract disease. Manufacturers process out most of the nutrients necessary for health and are a poor choice to optimize health. Good sources of magnesium are nuts, seeds and beans in their natural state as well as organically grown vegetables and leafy greens. Most people will need to supplements to reach the daily intake of 400 mg recommended by experts.

Magnesium levels are grossly deficient due to mineral depletion from soils and a diet of synthetically produced foods. It`s no coincidence that humans have evolved to be reliant on a natural mineral to prevent heart disease and metabolic dysfunction. Magnesium has been plentiful in our food for generations and must be consumed as part of a natural diet or through supplementation to ensure optimal health.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is There a Genetic Link to Weight Loss Success?

(Article first published as Best Weight Loss Diet Determined by Genes? on Technorati.)
From an evolutionary perspective we are diverse, as many people can trace their lineage to different parts of the globe where their ancestors endured a distinct lifestyle, environment and diet. All of these factors play a part in determining the genetic makeup that we carry today. It’s not difficult to imagine that each of us has evolved to function optimally on a different type of diet based on the lives led by our ancestors over countless generations. Modern gene testing may provide answers as to which type of diet is best to help us achieve our weight loss goal.

Follow Your Genes to Weight Loss Success
The long standing question as to whether a low fat or low carbohydrate diet is best for weight loss may finally have been answered. The results of a study conducted at Stanford University show that dietary balance is important in the battle to lose weight. Two groups were placed on a calorie restricted diet consisting of either low fat or low carb foods, and DNA testing was performed to establish a compatibility profile. Researchers found that dieters eating a matched type diet were able to lose 13 pounds over the course of a year, compared with only 3 pounds for the mismatched group.

Genetic Destiny: Low Carb Diet
The results of this study are not without controversy, as some scientists argue that no test can determine the success of a weight loss strategy. To be certain, there are many factors that influence weight loss including diet, physical activity, lifestyle, stress, mindset and environment. And extensive research over the years has shown that a diet that excludes refined carbs is most likely to produce significant weight loss results, regardless of genetic composition. Protein and healthy fats are also important as they are more difficult to break down and increase resting metabolic rate.

Best Diet For Health
Another critical factor to consider is which type of diet is most healthy. The standard low fat diet prescribed by the medical profession is notoriously high in carbohydrates and deficient in Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats that are necessary for heart and brain health. High carb foods cause blood sugar rushes that raise oxidative stress and free radical production. This leads to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and accelerated aging. A diet consisting of 80% raw vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and only 20% cooked foods provides the necessary nutrients and enzymes needed to promote health and fight disease.

The idea of genetic testing to determine who may benefit most from different foods in an effort to encourage weight loss is an interesting concept that requires more research before it can used to reliably predict success. Everybody is coded with a different genetic build and some people may be able to better metabolize carbs, fats and protein based on evolved heritage. The fact remains that the vast majority of people will achieve optimal health and successful weight loss by following a whole diet that includes plenty of foods eaten in their natural state.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Protect Yourself From Diabetes

(Article first published as New Diabetes Cases Projected to Triple by 2050 on Technorati.)
Information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that diabetes will continue to grow to epidemic proportions over the next 40 years. Presently 1 in 10 US adults suffers from the disease, yet a quarter of those people are unaware their metabolism is no longer able to counteract the damaging effects of all the processed foods and sugar they consume each day. The disease is caused by poor diet and lifestyle and is considered to be one of the ten most preventable diseases.

Disabling the Health Care System
People diagnosed with diabetes have medical costs that are more than twice that of those who don’t have the disease. According to a study published in the journal Population Health Metrics, the number of diabetes cases will triple by 2050, affecting between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 depending on population statistics and how long people will live after developing the disease. Diabetes will become the leading underlying cause of mortality as it more than doubles the risk of heart disease and sudden death from a heart attack.

The Real Cause of Type II Diabetes
With small exception, Type II diabetes is caused by a diet that is packed with processed foods stripped of any nutrients and loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates. This diet accounts for the majority of calories consumed by many people each day. With every meal, blood sugar levels are pushed higher, followed by a severe crash.

These wild swings eventually overpower insulin’s ability to mop up excess sugar in the blood and usher it to muscles and our cells to be used as a source of energy. Ultimately insulin becomes resistant to the increased blood sugar levels and is unable to efficiently remove excess glucose from our blood. Sugar is then allowed to remain in the blood where it damages organs and causes serious complications to our kidneys, heart, eyes and nervous system.

Prevent Diabetes in Your Future with Diet
Research has shown that you can effectively prevent and treat diabetes through a stringent plan involving dietary modification and blood sugar monitoring. Any food that dramatically raises blood sugar must be systematically eliminated from your diet. Begin by cutting all processed carbohydrates such as chips, crackers and all junk food treats. The vast majority of people are also very sensitive to wheat and cornstarch so they must eliminate all breads (including multi-grain varieties), pasta and potato-based foods.

Check Your Blood Sugar After Eating
The second part of the plan involves checking blood sugar after eating, as this is when glucose becomes elevated and is known to be most dangerous. Begin by reading all nutrition labels for carbohydrate content. Any food that lists more than 5 grams per serving should be avoided. Using an inexpensive blood glucose meter, check your blood sugar at 1 and 2 hour intervals to be sure you don’t exceed 140 mg/Dl at any time. Extensive research has shown that blood glucose levels above 140 mg/Dl result in diabetic complications and are a strong indicator that you are either diabetic or will become diabetic within the next 6 to 12 months.

The important news is that you can either prevent or treat diabetes before it has a chance to deteriorate your health. By controlling blood sugar with a healthy low carbohydrate diet and strict monitoring of blood glucose levels, you can halt this disease in its tracks and dramatically lower the risk of many deadly complications.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Appetite Hormones Assist Natural Weight Loss

(Article first published as Control Leptin and Ghrelin to Achieve Natural Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Our body has evolved to use a very efficient pair of hormones which signal the brain when it`s time to eat, or when we’ve had enough food. Leptin and ghrelin are the hormonal messengers responsible for our desire to eat, our craving for certain foods and whether we store excess calories as body fat or use it for energy. To prevent these hormones from becoming resistant and ineffective communicators, we need to follow a natural diet and lifestyle as our evolution prescribes.

Appetite Hormones Control Weight Regain After Dieting
The vast majority of children and adults alike eat and live in a manner which is much different than our Paleolithic ancestors. The large number of calories we consume from processed food sources causes metabolic disruption and impacts fat metabolism before and after weight loss. The results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows the importance of leptin and ghrelin in the risk for weight regain in people who lose weight by dieting. Specifically, the study demonstrated that hormonal imbalance and leptin resistance were significant factors leading to weight regain.

Controlling Leptin and Ghrelin with Natural Diet and Lifestyle
After years of dietary abuse and poor lifestyle habits, our appetite hormones become resistant to the effects of excess food, and fail to properly transmit signals to the brain. While researchers are still working to unravel the precise mechanism behind leptin and ghrelin, they do know that supplementing in pill form has no effect on weight loss or blood levels of the hormones. You can master your appetite hormones by following a diet rich in foods found in their natural form and observing proper meal timing.

Stop Eating 3 Hours before Bed
Finish your last meal at least 3 hours before retiring for the night to allow digestion to complete. The body performs critical repair functions at night which can only occur on an empty stomach. Further, during the night hours your metabolism releases fat at the direction of your appetite hormones which only takes place when there are no readily available calories from a recent meal.

Eat 3 Properly Spaced Meals Each Day
Plan 3 well balanced meals a day and be sure to allow at least 5 to 6 hours in between. The timing between meals is important as it allow digestion to complete and blood sugar and lipid levels to return to normal. Avoid snacks of any type as this halts the release of stored fat and encourages weight gain.

Restrict Calories at Meals
Plan nutritionally balanced meals of 400 to 500 calories each, depending on your activity level. We haven`t evolved to properly digest large amounts of food at a single sitting, and this leads to malfunction of our appetite signaling mechanism. Eat slowly and chew each bite for 30 seconds to allow leptin to send the satiety signal to your brain.

Eliminate Sugar and Processed Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates and sugar laden foods wreak havoc on your blood sugar causing wild spikes which lead to metabolic dysfunction. Eventually this also disrupts the normal function of leptin and ghrelin as the hormones become less responsive to food intake. This is the beginning of the process which results in fat storage and obesity. Try eliminating all sugar and processed junk food for 2 weeks and find out how much better you`ll feel as you restore normal appetite control.

Leptin and ghrelin have evolved as a highly effective mechanism to keep us from starving to death in times of famine. Poor diet and lifestyle lead to the ultimate failure of this delicate signaling system, making weight loss an impossible task. Master your appetite hormones by following a naturally evolved diet and observe proper meal timing to reap the benefits of restored health and permanent weight loss.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Light During Sleep Hinders Weight Loss Efforts

(Article first published as Light Exposure While Sleeping May Effect Body Weight on Technorati.)
The human body is acutely sensitive to all forms of stimulation we receive from the environment around us, and this can have a profound effect on how we metabolize and store body fat. In addition to our surroundings, the type of food we eat and the timing of when we eat affect our natural circadian rhythms that also impact our ability to lose weight. You can control many environmental and dietary factors to assist in your weight loss efforts.

Light at Night Affects Hormonal Balance
We are creatures of evolution, and rely on the function of hormones in our body to survive. Metabolism is controlled by a delicate balance that is influenced by environmental cues and gives us the ability to adapt to different stimuli. Melatonin is the hormone that our body uses to signal when we’re tired and when it’s time to wake up. Any light when we’re trying to sleep will disrupt the release of melatonin and affect our sleep. This in turn influences the way fat is metabolized overnight and can halt natural weight management.

Study Demonstrates Negative Effects of Light During Sleep
The results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that by increasing the amount of light exposure during the overnight hours, changes in body mass could be measured after just a week. More importantly, it was noted that after 30 days of light exposure during sleep the test subjects were found to be glucose intolerant, a known risk factor for diabetes and weight gain. An author of the study performed at Ohio State University concluded, "Light at night is an environmental factor that may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in ways that people don't expect".

Meal Timing Critical to Fat Metabolism
The timing and size of meals is important when considering a weight loss goal. Circadian rhythms are in control of our metabolic rate and change during the day to meet our energy needs. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that food eaten earlier in the day generated more energy than food eaten later in the day. This information provides evidence that our metabolic rate is much higher when we first rise and calories are used for energy to fuel our body. Larger meals eaten during evening hours are much more likely to be converted to stored body fat.

Use Darkness to Your Weight Loss Advantage
The results of this study as well as many others confirm that natural weight loss and maintenance is much more than simply reducing calories and exercising more. It’s important to control the environment around you as this influences the hormonal balance that improves fat metabolism. Be certain that your room is totally dark when sleeping. Cover any light sources such as alarm clocks, cell phones or cable boxes. Working with your body’s natural circadian rhythms and eating your largest meal earlier in the day will set the stage to achieve your weight loss objective.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

B Vitamins Help Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

(Article first published as Can B Vitamins Help to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? on Technorati.)
Alzheimer’s disease robs a person of their memories, thoughts and individuality. When surveyed, people indicate that of all diseases, this form of dementia is the most dreaded and misunderstood. Medical science can offer little more than palliative care and ineffective pharmaceuticals to those suffering from Alzheimer’s as the number of people afflicted continues to grow at an alarming rate. While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease once it has begun its progression toward darkness, new research is beginning to shine a light on a super nutrient that could help compliment a healthy lifestyle toward prevention.

High Homocysteine Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid commonly seen in excess due to a diet high in meat and protein sources. High blood levels are known to be a risk factor for heart disease as the amino acid damages the delicate inner lining of the coronary arteries. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that elevated homocysteine levels double the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 dramatically lower levels of homocysteine in the blood as they help to convert excess amounts of the amino acid for excretion.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Linked with Alzheimer’s Disease
Evidence is mounting to suggest that a vitamin B12 deficiency may be connected to increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The results of a study released in the journal Neurology studied the level of homocysteine and vitamin B12 in elderly subjects. They found that for every single unit increase in the blood level of homocysteine, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease jumped by 16%. Similarly, risk decreased by 2% for each unit increase in blood concentration of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known to become dangerously low with age, and represents a significant factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease that requires more research.

Brain Shrinkage Cut in Half with B Vitamins
The normal shrinking of the brain with age has been viewed as normal, but scientists have been able to show that shrinkage can be halted and reduced with high doses of B vitamins. While smaller brain size is not directly linked with dementia, it does represent a major risk factor for progression to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Oxford University supplemented test participants with full spectrum B vitamins for a period of 2 years and found that they were able to reduce brain shrinkage in half as compared to a group receiving a placebo. The study authors conclude, "It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer's in many people who suffer from mild memory problems."

Lowering the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease with Diet
More than enough evidence is mounting to show that poor diet and lack of B vitamins represent independent risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease that are within our control. Additional research has pointed to abnormal glycation of proteins and fats as a trigger for the deadly disease. Some have even gone so far as to call the condition Type III diabetes as high blood sugar and insulin resistance wreak damage on the electrical signaling circuits of the brain. You can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by eating a diet low in animal protein to restrict production of homocysteine. Eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates that raise blood sugar and lead to insulin dysfunction.

From the research presented, it’s clear that supplementing with B vitamins in excess of the recommended daily allowance is essential. While the entire family of B vitamins can promote brain health, most studies concentrate on B6 and B12 taken in quantities that are 300 to 500% higher than the RDA values. Lower your risks of Alzheimer’s by taking the necessary dietary and supplemental steps and avoid joining the growing ranks that continue to spiral out of control.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

High Sugar Diet Halts Weight Loss Efforts

(Article first published as Study Shows Source of Calories Important to Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
Is it true that a calorie is just a calorie, regardless of whether it comes from a fat, protein or carbohydrate source? A basic physics class will demonstrate that in a laboratory setting, all calories require the same amount of energy to burn regardless of type.

Our body uses a highly evolved energy management system that takes cues from the total number of calories consumed, as well as the calorie source to adjust our metabolic rate and determine fat storage patterns. A successful weight loss plan must include the right balance of nutrients to ensure weight loss success.

All Calories Are Not Created Equal
Our body regulates our genes based on the food we eat. Long standing research has shown that the quantity of foods we consume influences special genes that regulate longevity and the onset of disease. In the same fashion, the type of food we eat affects our metabolism and the effectiveness of insulin to control blood sugar. A diet high in refined carbohydrates that quickly convert to glucose results in insulin resistance and a host of metabolically mediated diseases.

Excess Carb Calories Stored as Fat
In his book Living Low Carb, nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden explains the results of a Swedish study where volunteers were given 20 extra calories from candy or peanuts each day for each half pound of body weight. That amounts to an extra 18,200 calories for a 150 pound individual over the course of 2 weeks or slightly over 5 pounds of additional weight from a simple calorie conversion. The group eating high protein peanuts gained a slight amount of weight, but the candy eating subjects packed on 3 times as much weight from the extra sugar calories.

Simple Carbs Raise Blood Sugar, Fuel Fat Storage
Calories from processed carbohydrate foods including candy, bread, pasta and baked goods cause blood sugar levels to surge after every meal. Eventually this leads to insulin resistance as glucose is not efficiently used for energy and remains in the blood. The body responds by converting the sugar into triglycerides or blood fats which are then easily stored in your fat cells.

Eating Protein Increases Base Metabolism
Protein has a much different effect on metabolism than simple carbohydrates. Proteins such as lean meats, nuts, seeds and whey do not stimulate blood sugar and help to maintain ideal insulin levels. Protein calories are converted to energy as long as total calories from all sources are not extreme. The body is much less likely store calories as fat since triglycerides are not formed in excess and insulin remains effective in managing blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that protein consumption increases metabolic rate at rest which burns more calories throughout the day.

Successful weight loss remains out of reach for the vast number of people who begin the journey. Many more people would be able to achieve their goal by eliminating refined carbohydrates and substituting healthy protein choices in addition to calorie restriction. By working to control blood sugar levels, you’ll improve your health and ensure your weight loss success.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prevent Cancer Naturally

(Article first published as Lower the Chance of Cancer with Diet and Lifestyle Strategies on Technorati.)
The second leading cause of death in the US is largely preventable by correcting diet, environment and lifestyle. That is a bold statement considering that mainstream medicine offers very few concrete suggestions that explain the explosion in new cancer cases and natural ways to prevent this insidious killer. Cancer incidence has been on the rise over the past century as our diet and environment have shifted dramatically to the detriment of our health. Fortunately you can make the necessary changes that will dramatically lower your risk of cancer.

Cancer Will Affect Half of Americans During Their Life
According to the American Cancer Society your risk of developing an invasive cancer during your lifetime is 1 in 2, and your risk of dying from the disease is 1 in 4. Those are sobering statistics considering that many forms of cancer are the result of poor food choices over the course of our life and the never ending assault of household chemicals and toxins that we ingest, breathe or absorb through contact with the skin.

Cancer Progresses Due to Immune System Failure
As we age, our innate immune system begins to decline and cancer cells that were easily detected and destroyed earlier in life now avoid detection and begin to proliferate. We are exposed to a vast array of toxins that accumulate in our fat tissues over time and eventually reach a point where our immune system is no longer able to combat the overload and disease is allowed to progress. A lifestyle that minimizes chemical and toxic exposure from foods, household cleaners, polluted air and electromagnetic emissions is known to dramatically reduce cancer initiation.

Cancer Rates Not Always As High
Researchers have found that cancer has not always been as prevalent as it is today. The results of a study published in the journal Nature examined cancer prevalence back to the time of the ancient Egyptians and found that the disease was extremely rare. The study carried out medical examinations on the mummified remains of several hundred specimens and found that only two cases of cancer existed. You would expect many more incidences if cancer prevalence were similar to current trends.

Eat Fresh Vegetables, Limit Meat Consumption
More than any other factor, diet plays a determining role in the formation of many deadly cancers. Our modern diet derives more than a third of calories from meat consumption. Studies show that the risk of cancer in vegetarian populations is half that of those who eat meat on a regular basis. When meat is cooked, the fats come to the surface and are transformed into heterocyclic amines that give the meat a browned or blackened appearance. Heterocyclic amines are dangerous carcinogenic agents and raise the risk of many digestive cancers.

Fresh, organically grown vegetables and greens are packed with thousands of nutrients and phytochemicals which our body has evolved to use for protection against disease. A diet high in processed foods has been stripped of most of these critical compounds and provides only excess calories. Research demonstrates that plants are high in antioxidants that protect DNA from damage that lead to malignant transformation. Further, it’s been shown that plants contain nutrients that halt the formation of new blood supplies necessary for cancer cells to divide and grow.

Use Natural Household Cleaners, Avoid Cosmetics
Household chemicals present a significant threat to our health and promote cancer after decades of use. Many people believe that the chemicals in most cleaners and cosmetics are safe, or they wouldn’t be available for sale. Many of these components are considered ‘generally regarded as safe’ (GRAS) by the FDA, although most haven’t gone through the rigorous testing required to ensure safety. Read all labels and if you don’t recognize an ingredient or can’t pronounce it, chances are good it is detrimental to your health. Choose organically certified options and limit use as much as possible.

Cancer is a condition which proliferates largely due to poor diet and lifestyle habits. Research has shown that the disease was virtually nonexistent during the time of the Egyptians, and has increased dramatically over the last century due to the introduction of processed foods and environmental toxins. The risk of developing cancer can be slashed by adopting a natural, organic diet and eliminating household chemicals and hazards that jeopardize your health.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Keys to Successful Weight Loss

(Article first published as Successful Weight Loss Requires More Than Counting Calories on Technorati.)
You’ve made the big decision to lose weight and this time you want your achievement to be permanent. Traditional weight loss wisdom indicates that you need to cut 3500 calories through calorie restriction or exercise to burn a pound of fat. While the physics of this conversion are correct, the body is an adaptive metabolic machine that has evolved sophisticated means to utilize energy to ensure our survival in times of famine. Researchers have discovered that an occasional increase or decrease in calories has little effect on day to day body weight and doesn’t hamper our weight loss efforts.

An Occasional High Calorie Splurge is Normal
Many people will indulge occasionally when beginning a new weight loss program. This is natural and emerging evidence confirms that it not a cause for alarm as our body does not calculate calories consumed on a daily basis, but rather averages intake over a longer term. The key to weight loss success is to manage calories over a period of days and weeks, rather than monitoring day by day.

Averaging Calories Eaten Over Time
The result of studies performed at the National Institutes of Health show that eating as much as 600 additional calories each day had little effect on body weight over the long term, as long as the average calories remained even during any given period. This is good news for people who get an irresistible urge to overeat one day, as long as you compensate with reduced calories on a future day. The study authors were careful to note that this research doesn’t mean you should splurge often, as increasing average food intake over time leads to weight gain.

You Still Need a Calorie Goal
While the results of this research may be encouraging for those trying to lose weight that occasionally have difficulty maintaining a strict daily calorie goal, the bottom line is you still need to monitor total calories consumed over a longer period of time. Women should target 1200 to 1500 calories average per day, while men need 1500 to 1800 calories, depending on physical activity. 

If you exceed your goal one day, you should make a conscious effort to limit calories another day during the next week. The best way to keep track is to maintain a food journal or you’ll quickly lose track of the over and under calorie days and your weight will slowly creep up. The NIH study was clear that overconsumption should be an occasional occurrence, probably limited to one day a week.

Food Balance is Still Important
A common mistake made by many people attempting to lose weight is to believe that all calories have a similar effect on how our body processes calories for energy. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and hydrogenated fats tips our metabolism toward fat storage as it increases blood sugar levels, triglycerides and leads to insulin resistance. Even when consumed as part of a reduced calorie diet, this evil trio commonly found in most junk food will encourage fat storage. Weight loss is best achieved with a diet consisting of plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy unheated fats.

Over the long run, it still takes a net loss of 3500 calories to burn a pound of excess weight. Our body doesn’t monitor calories as we eat, but rather views a much longer timeframe to determine whether fat should be stored or burned for energy. It’s still important to monitor calorie consumption and eat a well balanced menu void of processed foods. Our body relies on a complex metabolic mechanism to ensure our survival and we can use this to our advantage to achieve our permanent weight loss goal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lifestyle Changes That Deliver Weight Loss Results

(Article first published as Lifestyle Changes Can Aid in Weight Loss on Technorati.)
There are a number of lifestyle modifications that can help people lose weight to improve health and live a longer and healthier life. Permanent weight loss involves much more than simply reducing calories and exercising more. While these are necessary elements in the weight loss battle, there are many other compounding factors which must be addressed before starting a weight reduction program. Stress, mindset and support play an important role in determining the success of your best weight loss efforts.

Lifestyle Changes Shown Effective for Obesity
Obesity continues to be one of the most pressing health issues which threaten the longevity of millions of people, and the numbers continue to grow unabated each year. While many overweight and obese people understand they are carrying too much weight, the majority doesn’t realize the extent of their weight problem and can benefit from a structured program which centers on lifestyle changes.

he Obesity Society and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that obese individuals who were provided prepackaged meal replacements and placed on a 5 day per week exercise schedule were able to achieve successful and permanent weight reduction. The participants were monitored with regular telephone calls, support and encouragement, and after 12 months lost a total of 27 pounds. This study highlights the importance of structure and positive mindset in addition to calorie reduction and physical activity when beginning a weight loss program.

The Beginning: Making a Weight Loss Plan
While not everyone who needs to lose weight will be able to participate in a structured study to accomplish their goal, it is possible to develop a plan which will help you achieve the same results. The most important first step is to make sure you have a positive mindset. Don’t begin a weight loss journey if you aren’t fully committed to the idea. Permanent weight loss is one of the most difficult tasks many people will ever undertake and the only way you’ll succeed is to be mentally prepared.

Next Step: Planning for Results
Next you will need to develop a charting system which you faithfully maintain each day. It’s important to keep track of every food and drink item you eat as well as daily exercise, and include a section for your emotional state or other comments which help or hinder your progress. The best strategy is to plan and complete your food diary for each day a week ahead of time. Enter each food and drink item along with the amount eaten into your log at the beginning of the week and shop accordingly. You have now removed the thought and emotional aspects of eating. This is part of the reason commercial diet plans such as Jenny Craig are so successful.

Diet Basics: Eating to Boost Fat Loss
The type of foods you eat are just as important as the number of calories in your diet. Foods that are highly processed break down into glucose quickly and encourage the buildup of fat around the abdomen. Additionally, refined carbohydrates offer your body very little in the way of nutrition which means you remain hungry and more apt to eat as you are subconsciously driven to find essential vitamins and minerals required by your body. To lose weight, eliminate all wheat, bread, pasta and sugary treats and drinks. Substitute with fresh vegetables, nutritious nuts, seeds, lean protein sources, healthy monounsaturated fats and drink green tea.

For many individuals, weight loss is a significant challenge. Less than 1 in 20 people are able to achieve and maintain their goal because they don’t properly plan and prepare to lose excess fat. Once you have developed the correct mindset and charted your daily meal plan, natural weight loss will be within your reach.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pomegranate and Super Nutrients Assist Weight Loss

(Article first published as Pomegranate and Natural Nutrients Can Help Prevent Weight Gain on Technorati.)
As the rate of overweight and obese individuals continues to rise with no end in sight, there’s good news emerging about the power of natural nutrients such as pomegranate that act on a genetic level to halt the accumulation of abdominal fat. Many people are aware that they need to lose weight but can’t seem to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary adjustments that will help them achieve their goal. Pomegranate and other natural nutrients may provide the key as they can be used to compliment healthy diet and physical activity toward your weight loss goal.

Pomegranate Shown to Reduce Belly Fat
Pomegranate is truly a super nutrient as it has been shown to clear dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides before they are converted to a form of fat which can be stored in our fat cells. This is important because lowered triglycerides have been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease and death from a heart attack.

Excess triglycerides form in the blood in response to a diet high in refined, processed carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats. The results of a study performed at the University of Edinburgh and reported by the Daily Mail confirms that pomegranate consumption for a period of 30 days was sufficient to lower the risk of developing fatty cells around the abdomen. Researchers note that this type of fat accumulation is the most dangerous type as it causes the release of stress hormones which fuel inflammation and promote heart disease.

Resveratrol Mimics Calorie Restriction
Resveratrol has gained acclaim as a super nutrient that has been shown to function at the genetic level by influencing genes known as SIRT’s which we have evolved through a sophisticated mechanism designed to keep us alive during times of famine. Our survival genes have the opposite effect when we overeat, as they fuel the aging process and no longer effectively protect us from disease.

Resveratrol is one of the few nutrients which can directly regulate the SIRT genes and mimic calorie restriction without having to eat less. This powerful compound found in the skin of red grapes switches the genes that control the release of dangerous chemical messengers from our fat cells in response to excess weight, and naturally promotes weight loss when combined with a reduced calorie diet.

Quercetin Lowers Systemic Inflammation
The fat cells of overweight and obese individuals is metabolically active and releases a steady stream of chemical messengers known as cytokines which circulate throughout the body and lead to chronically elevated levels of inflammation. This dangerous condition makes weight loss much more difficult and also is a known risk factor for heart disease and cancer.

Quercetin is a natural agent found in many fruits and vegetables that has a demonstrated ability to lower inflammatory cytokines by acting directly on the genes that produce these damaging compounds. By damping the flames of inflammation, quercetin is able to reduce the risk of many deadly diseases and assists natural weight loss by creating an environment which encourages fat metabolism.

Nature has provided a host of natural nutrients which we can combine with healthy diet and physical activity to improve health and achieve our weight loss goals. Pomegranate is the latest addition to the list of powerful nutrients that have been shown to regulate our genes and influence our ability to burn stored fat.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reverse Aging with Diet and Lifestyle Changes

(Article first published as Reverse the Effects of Aging with Natural Diet and Lifestyle on Technorati.)
Medical researchers have made great strides over the past decade toward understanding the intricate process we know as aging. In an article published in U.S. News and World Report, nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden identifies the four main causes of aging in the human body as free radicals, inflammation, glycation and stress.

While DNA and genetics play a minor role, poor diet and lifestyle directly contribute to the leading causes of mortality, coronary artery disease, cancer, stroke, and dementia. Fortunately we can steer our destiny toward optimal health even after years of dietary and lifestyle abuse by addressing each identified aging factor.

Neutralizing the Effects of Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable electrons produced during the normal course of metabolism, causing damage to the delicate cell nucleus and mitochondria. Free radicals can wreak havoc with DNA, altering its structure and causing mutations during cell replication. While free radicals are unavoidable, there are a number of changes you can make to offset the dangerous effects.

Consuming a natural food diet packed with organically grown fresh vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds is the best way to combat free radicals. These foods are loaded with antioxidants which act to neutralize the free radicals before they penetrate our cells. Choose from a wide variety of brightly colored vegetables to benefit from an assortment of antioxidants.

Damping Systemic Inflammation
Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are all linked with inflammation, a condition where the body’s immune system begins to target healthy cells and tissue for attack. In an effort to stabilize inflammation, the body releases hormones such as cortisol and raises the core temperature in an effort to combat this invisible invader.

Following a Mediterranean-style diet of whole grains, olive oil, fatty fish, vegetables, and minimally cooked meats has been shown to dramatically lower the effects of inflammation. It’s important to limit refined carbohydrates and sugar with this diet, as these cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar and lead to insulin resistance that are known to promote inflammation.

Prevent Damaging Glycation
Sugar mixes with proteins in our body to create non-functional structures call advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) which accelerate the aging process. AGE’s enter our body either pre-formed from over cooked, browned foods or as a result of chemical reactions in the blood. Regardless of how they form, AGE’s result in cellular damage and cause disease.

You can fight the effects of glycation with a two-step approach. Steam vegetables instead of stir frying and avoid grilling or blackening foods. Limit or eliminate sugar in your diet to prevent the cross-links which bind proteins and fats, making useless molecular garbage which inhibits normal cellular function.

Lower Your Stress Level
Continual stress forces the release of stress hormones in the body which help us cope under pressure. Stress which remains unresolved leads to excess cortisol circulating throughout the body, and is linked with shrinking of the hippocampus and accumulation of belly fat. Combat stress by identifying and removing the root cause, and try practicing meditation or yoga which are known to reduce stress. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to further lower stress hormone production.

Alternative health practitioners have come to understand that aging is a disease that is accelerated by poor diet and lifestyle. Each of the identified factors which promote poor health and disease are preventable by following a natural diet of fresh vegetables, healthy uncooked fats, nuts, seeds and protein sources. The body has an amazing capacity to reverse the aging process caused by decades of dietary abuse by following the path to life extending, natural health.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sleep Linked to Weight Loss Efforts

(Article first published as Good Night’s Sleep Essential to Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
The importance of a good night’s sleep on overall health and weight loss efforts cannot be underestimated. Humans have evolved over countless generations to sleep at least 8 hours each day as our body requires a daily rhythmic cycle involving sleep to perform many essential repair and maintenance functions. When this rhythm is disturbed by eating late at night or when we don’t sleep enough, hormonal balance is disturbed and fat is stored rather than burned during the nighttime hours.

Sleep More to Burn More Fat
The results of a study performed by the University of Chicago Medical Center and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrates that a sound sleep of 7 to 8 hours helps to burn twice as much fat compared with 5 to 6 hours of sleep. The study participants were on a reduced calorie diet with a goal of losing weight by reducing body fat.

In the normal sleep group, 55% of the weight loss was found to be body fat while only a quarter of the weight lost in the deprived sleep subjects was due to fat loss. In addition to a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise, you can compliment your weight loss efforts by making essential lifestyle changes that work in concert with your body’s natural rhythms.

Sleep Controls Your Appetite Hormones
Leptin and ghrelin are the hormones your body uses to switch the hunger sensation on or off. Ghrelin is secreted in the digestive tract to signal hunger, and leptin is produced in your fat cells and alerts the brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Insufficient sleep lowers levels of leptin so you don’t feel satisfied after eating and are much more apt to overeat. Poor sleep also raises ghrelin secretion, making you feel hungry upon waking.

Inadequate sleep also causes leptin resistance, where the hormone is present but not effectively read by the brain and eating becomes uncontrolled. Leptin resistant people have been shown to increase their desire for calorie-laden, high carbohydrate foods by 45%. Studies confirm that 7 to 9 hours of sleep are required to keep our hunger hormones properly balanced and functional.

Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Sleep
We require about 3 hours to complete the initial stages of digestion after eating. During this time, our body expends a considerable amount of energy processing our food and extracting the nutrients and calories we need to live. The body is in a state of burning calories for energy and storing the excess for future use. We want our body to release fat to fuel our metabolic engine as we sleep, and this natural process is disrupted when eating too close to bedtime. Fat is stored instead of being burned as a result and weight loss efforts are diminished.

We normally take sleep for granted and don’t think to consider how improper sleep patterns can affect our health and weight loss efforts. Restful sleep influences our appetite signaling hormones and has been shown to burn more stored fat during the overnight hours. In addition to a low calorie diet with healthy physical activity, a good night’s sleep should be a priority to drive your weight loss efforts.