Just Out…New study: is low carb sustainable in the long run?

Recently Diet Doctor posted this article on a new study of whether or not staying on a low carb diet is healthy in the long run.  “One of the big criticisms of low-carbohydrate diets is the claim that they are unsustainable long term, so it’s great to see teams of researchers carrying out studies to find out about the effects of following a low-carbohydrate diet over longer periods of time.”  Here is the article and the links if you want to read the details.

“A team of researchers in Japan has been studying low carbohydrate diets. In a study published in January 2014, the researchers had already found that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than calorie restriction for improving lipid profile and blood sugar control in type-2 diabetics.

Now, in a new study, the team set out to find out whether eating a moderate low-carb diet is sustainable, effective and safe long term.

The researchers followed 200 patients with type 2 diabetes over a period of three years. They found that a moderate carbohydrate restriction (70–130 g/day) was enough to have a positive effect on the patients’ health markers, and that the diet is “highly effective, safe and sustainable”. They added that:

Over 36 months, the [moderate low carb] intervention showed sustained effectiveness (without safety concerns) in improving HbA1c, lipid profile, and liver enzymes in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Nutrients: Efficacy of a Moderately Low Carbohydrate Diet in a 36-Month Observational Study of Japanese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

 

Artificial vs. Natural Sweeteners

Have you ever read the back of a package of sweeteners found on the dining table in restaurants and coffee shops?  These are the little blue, pink and yellow packages?  Some of them have warning labels that say “This product contains 28% sodium cyclamate.  Cyclamates should be used only on the advice of a physician.”  Some others say “Use under medical supervision.”  Have you ever read that?  I have to wonder why they would put these warnings on the packages.  How do we know which sweeteners are safe and which ones aren’t?  People are often surprised at how often dangerous artificial sweeteners are included in prepared foods, medications and beverages.  Here are a few surprising examples of where to check for the dangerous sweeteners: chewing gum, cough syrup, no-calorie drinks, breakfast cereals, yogurt, frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts, candies, baked goods, toothpaste and mouthwash and medications, to name a few.  If you want to learn more about any one of these sweeteners, you will have to research them individually.  There are tons of information on each one listed below.  I will also help you decide which ones are the safest to take, in my humble opinion.  Let’s look at some of them briefly but before we do, know that there are plenty of natural, healthy sweeteners available that provide essential nutrients and taste great which I will also list below.

Aspartame:  Aspartame is currently used in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, and over 500 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.  Some health professionals say this is the most dangerous sweetener on the market.  Some of the technical names for aspartame are NutraSweet and Equal.   Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.  Aspartame is comprised of approximately 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol.  Aspartic Acid (Aspartate) which acts as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.  Some side effects of aspartame include headaches/migraines, anxiety, dizziness, rashes, heart palpitations, joint pain, vision problems, seizures and much more.

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K):  This is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, nausea, emotional imbalances, and damage to the liver and kidneys.  Acesulfame-K has been shown to produce breast tumors, lung tumors, and other types of tumors, leukemia, and chronic respiratory disease in rodents.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low):  In the 1970s, saccharin and other sulfa-based sweeteners were believed to possibly cause bladder cancer, and it was required to carry the following warning label: “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”   The FDA removed this warning, but many studies continue to link saccharin to serious health conditions. Sadly, it’s the primary sweetener for children’s medications, including chewable aspirin, cough syrup, and other over-the-counter and prescription medications. It’s believed that saccharin contributes to photosensitivity, nausea, digestive upset, tachycardia and some types of cancer.

Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose, derived from sugar, was originally introduced as a natural sugar substitute. However, in reality, it’s a chlorinated sucrose derivative. Yes, chlorine, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. Sucralose was originally found through the development of a new insecticide compound and wasn’t originally intended to be consumed.  It’s uncertain as to why the FDA approved sucralose knowing the nature of chlorine. You should know too that it was approved even though the pre-approval research revealed possible toxicity of the substance.  Some of the side effects some people experience with sucralose include migraines, intestinal cramping, rashes, dizziness, bloating, acne and chest pain to name a few.

Agave: Agave is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of the agave plant. This sweetener has more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup and has been shown to alter liver function, promote obesity, and increase insulin resistance for both diabetics and non-diabetics.

There are many more sweeteners that are possibly dangerous…too many to mention but know that there are also some sweeteners that are ok to have.  Here are some of them:

Stevia:  Stevia is not an artificial sweetener but actually a plant which happens to taste 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.  It has been used for hundreds of years in South America to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss.  Today, stevia is available in liquid drops, packets, dissolvable tablets and baking blends. It has zero calories, zero carbohydrates and none of the nasty side effects of artificial sweeteners, making it an ideal natural sweetener.  You can even buy diet pop which is sweetened with stevia called Zevia.  I buy it myself and they have some great flavors to choose from and taste great.

Raw Honey:  Raw honey is a true superfood.   It’s packed with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help to neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on the glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table.  Look for local raw honey at farmer markets and directly from local beekeepers.   Also, the darker the honey, the richer the flavor and the greater the health benefits.

Sugar alcohols:  Sugar alcohols like xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and mannitol have been around for decades without safety problems. But some people do experience stomach discomfort or diarrhea after eating sugar alcohols. If they give you trouble, try sticking with only erythritol, which research shows is not fermented by gut bacteria, meaning it may cause fewer digestive woes.

Coconut Sugar:  Most people have heard about the benefits of coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour and, of course, fresh coconut.  Now, more and more people are using coconut sugar as their natural sweetener of choice because of its low glycemic load and rich mineral content.  Packed with polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous and other phytonutrients, coconut sugar is versatile and now readily available. Coconut sugar is extracted sap from the blooms of the coconut and then heated. Next, through evaporation, we get coconut sugar.

There are other natural sweeteners available but the ones listed above are my personal favorites.  Give some of them a try and see how you like them too!

Coconut Oil Debate

I was watching Dr. Oz last week and he had on 2 doctors debating about whether coconut oil is good for us or bad for us.  He was urged to do this show because of the latest article from the American Heart Association (AHA) saying that saturated fat is bad for you and will cause heart disease.  If you weren’t confused before watching the show, you would be now.  One doctor says it is bad due to the saturated fat and even put on a demonstration with the amounts of saturated fat in lard, butter and coconut oil (coconut oil dominating the other 2).  So butter has less saturated fat than coconut oil but it is still high in saturated fats.  Haven’t we been told lately that butter is actually good for you?  I mean it’s certainly better than plasticized margarine (hydrogenated fats).

The other doctor talked about why coconut oil is not so bad due to the MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which behave completely different than other saturated fats. He went on to say how it protects our brain from amyloid deposits which cause Alzheimer’s disease among other advantages like anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

So what the heck is one to think?  At the end of the show, Dr. Oz said that you can have a little coconut oil but not to over do it.  This is where you all need to make up your own mind whether you choose to believe it is good for you or not.  As always, it is best to do your own research from all different professionals, medical and natural.  Personally I choose to believe it is good for me and only use coconut oil for cooking, baking and putting on steamed veggies etc.  I use MCT oil with Balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings and in my smoothies and yet I still use some olive oil due to it’s health benefits as well.  I eat avocados which are high in fat but again it’s a good fat.

Bottom line…we should not be afraid of eating a lot of good fats as they have health promoting properties and pretty much every cell needs them.  We should however be afraid of eating the bad fats especially hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and trans-fats which you will find in processed foods.  Stick to fresh foods and natural fats.  Seems a little obvious but it is what it is.  If you want more information on coconut oil and MCT oil, you will find it in my earlier blogs.

Have You Heard of Caralluma Fimbriata for Weight Loss?

Do you have a voracious appetite?  Do you find yourself munching and you’re not even hungry?  I just watched this video from a bariatric doctor who talked about Caralluma Fimbriata which is a natural cactus plant extract which comes from India, and it’s supposed to decrease appetite and support weight loss.  The plant has been eaten in India for centuries.   Although it has been around for centuries, it gained popularity as a diet pill in the last few years.

So what is its mechanism?  Caralluma apparently works by blocking a specific enzyme (called citrate lyase) , which is necessary for the formation of acetyl CoA, a basic ingredient of essential fatty acids that become stored in the body as fat.  Caralluma blocks the formation of an enzyme (called Malonyl CoA).  Caralluma manufacturers claim that blocking these enzymes necessary to form fat will prevent the body from storing fat. This, combined with a purported interference with the brain’s hunger signals will cause you to eat less, and your body will burn stored fat for fuel.

Other health benefits of this cactus include:

Anti-Inflammation: Disease is often caused by inflammation within our bodies. Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of omega-9 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. It’s also been linked to healthier blood glucose levels, reduced cholesterol, and more regular blood pressure.

Reduce Fatigue: As mentioned above, Caralluma fimbriata can activate stored fat, turning it into lean muscle mass and burning the rest as energy. This makes you feel more energetic while also enhancing results at the gym.

Anti-Aging: Like many plants, Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants target free radicals within the body, which reduces aging in the brain and the body. That means fewer wrinkles and better overall cognitive and physical health.

Having said all of this, the studies are still new.  This supplement has only been available for a few years and studies on it are on-going so ones that are released now are still preliminary.   You never know…this could turn out to be the most promising weight loss aid in the near future.  Keep your eyes out for more studies and weight loss results!

 

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

Have you heard that sugar is bad for you?  There is a lot of science now to back up what happens when you have too much sugar.  Let’s start off by talking about how the body deals with sugar.

When I am referring to sugar, I am not just talking about the white powder so let’s define exactly what I am referring to.  Everything that you eat breaks down into glucose (sugar) with the exception of meat or fat.  This includes foods like baked goods, crackers, fruit and fruit juice, cereals, vegetables, bread and so on.  It’s quite surprising how much sugar is in some foods that you wouldn’t think is high sugar like BBQ sauce and ketchup.   Soda pop is a killer for sugar.  It is 95% sugar!  In fact, one can of pop has about 16 teaspoons of sugar in it!  Candy is pure sugar as is some dried fruit.  And don’t be fooled by fruit.  Yes it is healthy for you and has lots of great immune boosting properties but it is still sugar so this is a case where it is appropriate to say the phrase that ‘too much of a good thing is bad’.  Juice is worse.  How much juice do you get when you squeeze one orange?  Not much.  So a full glass of orange juice is not only pure sugar but because you aren’t eating the whole fruit, you are losing the fiber which makes it much higher on the glycemic index.  It gets absorbed immediately in the blood stream and spikes your insulin very quickly.

Glucose is the number one source of energy for our bodies however overconsumption of glucose can wreak havoc.  Your insulin spikes to regulate your blood sugar.  Once you eat glucose, your body releases insulin, a hormone from your pancreas.  The insulin’s job is to absorb the excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels.  Today on average people are eating around 32 teaspoons of sugar every day.  A little sugar in your coffee, cereal for breakfast with a glass of juice, a sandwich for lunch and potatoes for dinner and you have over consumed sugar for the day.  This doesn’t include the dessert you ate or the mid-day or evening snacks.  It’s really not that hard to do.  For one day, count how many grams of sugar you eat.  You will be surprised how much you eat because most of us don’t think of the bread or potatoes as sugar.

What’s even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This highly processed form of sugar is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, which is why many food and beverage manufacturers decided to use it for their products, as it would allow them to save money in the long run.  The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar. It is actually a “hepatotoxin” and is metabolized directly into fat!

Some other devastating effects of too much sugar, particularly fructose in your diet include: liver damage (more so than alcohol), fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system, causes metabolic dysfunction, increases uric acid levels, causes diabetes and heart issues.

Sugar is addicting too.  The more sugar you eat the more you crave.  It takes only 48-72 hours to eliminate your cravings for sugar once you cut it out and you will gain a huge amount of energy.  I strongly recommend that you follow my low carb regime and not only will you lose weight, you will protect yourself from all of the damage that excess sugar will cause and you will feel so much better.

Have you Heard of Forskolin for Weight Loss?

Dr. Oz has talked about it and many celebrities have made claims that it has helped them lose a lot of weight, but does it really work?  Many of us will try anything for weight loss and most of us want that quick fix.  Firstly, let me say that I have never tried a single pill without any dietary changes and lost weight and believe me I have tried them all.  However, some of them show much promise for weight loss but only alongside a healthful diet.  If I had a magic pill, I would be rich and retired, sipping Mai Tai’s on a beach in my skimpy bikini (sigh) but there is no such thing.

We have sold Forskolin in our stores (nutrition house) for many years and many of our customers have said that it helps them to lose weight.  It is added into many body building products as it helps to increase testosterone (up to 30%) and build muscle as well as burn fat.  Forskolin has shown marked ability to affect muscle/fat ratios in the body and regulate blood lipid levels.  As well it helps promote healthy hormone levels which in turn will help you lose weight.

Forskolin is a natural compound found in the root of Coleus Forskohlii, which is a purple-flowering botanical herb. It has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurveda medicine as a means to treat digestive issues, hypertension, chest pains, allergies, eczema, obesity, IBS, urinary tract infections, ‘advanced’ cancer, and even erectile dysfunction in men and it has been shown to help heal the heart.

It has very few reported side effects and is generally considered safe for use by nearly everyone.

If you want to try Forskolin, go for it!  Just remember that if you want to lose weight, you still need to keep your carbs low, your protein moderate and your good fats high.  Add MCT oil to your daily diet as a salad dressing, added to your protein shake or drizzled over your steamed veggies and you will lose weight even faster!

 

26 Weight Loss Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based

  1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals: It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss, and this is true.  Drinking water can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories.  One study showed that drinking a half liter (17 oz) of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight
  2. Eat Eggs For Breakfast: Eating whole eggs can have all sorts of benefits, including helping you lose weight.  Studies show that replacing a grain-based breakfast with eggs can help you eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours, and lose more weight and more body fat.  If you can’t eat eggs for some reason, then that’s fine.   Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick.
  3. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black): Coffee has been unfairly demonized. Quality coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and can have numerous health benefits.  Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3-11%, and increase fat burning by up to 10-29%.  Just make sure NOT to add a bunch of sugar or other high-calorie ingredients to it. That will completely negate any benefit you get from the coffee.
  4. Drink Green Tea: Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.  Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, but it is also loaded with powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are also believed to work synergistically with the caffeine to enhance fat burning.  Although the evidence is mixed, there are many studies showing that green tea (either as a beverage or a green tea extract supplement) can help you lose weight
  5. Cook With Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is very healthy. It is high in special fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than other fats.  These fats have been shown to boost metabolism by 120 calories per day, and also reduce your appetite so that you eat up to 256 fewer calories per day.  Keep in mind that this is not about adding coconut oil on top of what you’re already eating, it is about replacing some of your current cooking fats with coconut oil.
  6. Take a Glucomannan Supplement: A fiber called glucomannan has been shown to cause weight loss in several studies.  This is a type of fiber that absorbs water and “sits” in your gut for a while, making you feel more full and helping you eat fewer calories.  Studies have shown that people who supplement with glucomannan lose a bit more weight than those who don’t.
  7. Cut Back on Added Sugar: Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, and most people are eating  way too much of it.  Studies show that sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, as well as diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and others.  If you want to lose weight, you should be cutting back on added sugars. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.
  8. Eat Less Refined Carbs: Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (includes white bread and pasta).  Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity.  If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber.
  9. Go on a Low Carb Diet: If you want to get all the benefits of carb restriction, then consider taking this all the way and going on a low carb diet.  Numerous studies  show that such a diet (or “way of eating”) can help you lose 2-3 times as much weight as a standard low-fat diet, while improving your health at the same time.
  10. Use Smaller Plates: Using smaller plates has been shown to help people automatically eat fewer calories in some studies. Weird trick, but it seems to work.
  11. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories: Portion control (eating less) or counting calories can be very useful, for obvious reasons.  There are also studies showing that keeping a food diary and writing down what you eat, or taking pictures of all your meals, can help you lose weight.  Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be useful.
  12. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry: Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry.  A few snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare include whole fruits, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and a hardboiled egg (or two).
  13. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner: Although I’m not aware of any studies on this, many people recommend brushing your teeth and/or flossing right after dinner. Then you won’t be as tempted to have a late-night snack.
  14. Eat Spicy Foods: Spicy foods like Cayenne pepper contain Capsaicin, a compound that can boost metabolism and reduce your appetite.
  15. Do Aerobic Exercise: Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.  It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease.
  16. Lift Weights: One of the worst side effects of dieting is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode.  The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass.  Of course, it’s not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good. Doing some sort of resistance exercise is critical for that.
  17. Eat More Fiber: Fiber is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber (especially viscous fiber) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term.
  18. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits: Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss.  They contain few calories, but a lot of fiber. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling.  Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less. These foods are also super healthy and nutritious, so eating them is important for all sorts of reasons.
  19. Chew More Slowly: It can take a while for the brain to “register” that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss.
  20. Get Good Sleep: Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.  Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
  21. Beat Your Food Addiction: A recent 2014 study of 196,211 individuals found that 19.9% of people fulfil the criteria for food addiction.  If you suffer from overpowering cravings and can’t seem to get your eating under control no matter how hard you try, then you may be a food addict.  In this case, get help. Trying to lose weight without dealing with this problem first is next to impossible.
  22. Eat More Protein: Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight.  Eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.  One study also showed that protein at 25% of calories reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, while cutting the desire for late night snacking in half.  This is the single most important tip in the article.  Simply adding protein to your diet (without restricting anything) is one of the easiest, most effective and most delicious ways to lose weight.
  23. Supplement With Whey Protein: If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement can help.  One study showed that replacing part of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds, while increasing lean muscle mass.
  24. Don’t Drink Calories, Including Sugary Soda and Fruit Juices: Sugar is bad, but sugar in liquid   form is even worse. Studies show that liquid sugar calories may be the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet.  For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving.  Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like coke. Eat whole fruit, but use fruit juice with caution (or avoid it altogether).
  25. Eat Whole, Single Ingredient Foods (Real Food): If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single ingredient foods.  These foods are naturally filling, and it’s very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based around them.  Keep in mind that real food doesn’t need a long list of ingredients, because real food IS the ingredient.
  26. Don’t “Diet”, Eat Healthy Instead: One of the biggest problems with “diets,” is that they almost never work in the long term.  If anything, people who “diet” tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain.  Instead of going on a diet, make it your goal to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it.  Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect.

Information taken from Health Line.com