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 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

Fat Burning Foods

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could eat and the foods you eat help you burn fat?  What a concept…but there are foods that help you lose weight.  Some foods either help you build muscle, some promote fat burning, and some simply use energy (burn calories) just to digest them!  Keep in mind that that muscle tissue is metabolically active so the more muscle you have, the more you burn fat as it increases your resting metabolism.  In other words, because muscle needs a lot of energy to maintain, the more muscle you have, the more you are burning fat at rest.  This is why it is vital that you get enough protein in your diet so you don’t waste your muscles away.  Let’s have a look at some of them and how they work:

  1. Whey Protein: builds muscle; burns fat
  2. Eggs: builds muscle; burns fat
  3. Lean meats: build muscle; burns fat
  4. Almonds and other nuts: builds muscle; reduces cravings; burns fat
  5. Low fat dairy; builds bones; increases metabolism
  6. Coconut Oil/MCT oil; burns fat
  7. Avocados: burns fat; reduces cravings
  8. Berries; improves satiety; prevents cravings (also powerful antioxidant)
  9. Celery; takes more energy to metabolize than what you have ingested
  10. Peanut butter; boosts testosterone which builds muscle and burns fat
  11. Dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao): encourages fat burning; reduces cravings
  12. Fatty fish (herrings, mackerel, salmon, tuna); builds muscle; burns fat
  13. Green tea; increases metabolism; burns fat (also great for immune system)
  14. Grapefruit: burns fat; regulates blood sugar and metabolism
  15. Chili peppers; boosts metabolism
  16. Beans and legumes; builds muscle; burns fat; helps digestion
  17. Apple cider vinegar: burns carbs; burns fat; levels blood sugar
  18. Lemon water: burns fat; makes you feel full
  19. Oysters: Regulates appetite

So try to add as many of these foods in your diet and let’s burn some fat!!!  What can it hurt?

What Exactly is Ketosis and is it Good or Bad For Me?

When you eat carbohydrates, they break down into glucose which is the main source of fuel for your bodies.  If however you eat very few carbs and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to blood sugar), your body will look for alternate ways to get energy from and it starts to produce ketones.  Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel in the body, including the brain. This is important because the brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day.  It’s a common misconception that the brain needs carbs. The truth is that the brain happily burns carbs when you eat them. But if you don’t eat too many carbs, the brain is happy to burn ketones instead.  Your body cannot run on fat alone, it can only run on glucose…or ketones.

On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat.  Insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off.  This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, and studies show that ketogenic diets lead to more weight loss.  Being in ketosis also reduces hunger and cravings so you lose weight effortlessly and even reverse type 2 diabetes.  Also, by giving your body and brain an almost unlimited supply of energy, you can increase your physical and mental endurance.

Some people think that ketosis is extremely dangerous.  However, they might be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is completely different.  While ketoacidosis is a serious condition caused by uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a natural metabolic state.  In fact, ketosis and ketogenic diets have been studied extensively and shown to be very safe for long periods of time.

So how do you get your body into ketosis?  Cut the carbs!  Remember that everything, with the exception of meat and fat, is a carb which breaks down into glucose.  So how many carbs per day can you eat and still get into ketosis?  Approximately 20-50 NET carbs.  NET carbs are not the same as TOTAL carbs.  For example, fiber is a carb but the human body doesn’t absorb and it requires no insulin to metabolize and thus it has no glycemic response, so we subtract it from the total carb.  So if your bread has 30g total carbs but 5g of fiber, the net carb is only 25g.  You would be amazed at how many carbs you are eating if you are not counting or cutting them.  Other carbs that have no glycemic effect are sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol etc) which are used as a calorie free sugar substitute.

It is important to check your ketone levels by using Ketone sticks or “ketostix”.  You can get them in the drug stores.  You pee on the stick and it turns a color.  Basically the more ketones that are in the burning, the darker red-purple the stick will turn.  There is a chart on the bottle so you see if you are burning negative, small, medium or large.  If you are negative, you are not in ketosis and are not burning fat this way.  This is the best way to know if you are eating too many carbs or not eating enough good fats.  I find when I add MCT oil, I burn larger, faster.  You can put the MCT oil (which comes from coconut oil) in your shakes, drizzle it on steamed veggies or use it for your salad dressing with vinegar and spices.

So, get into ketosis…it’s good for you!

What Vitamins Should I Take While Following a Low Carb Diet?

As far as vitamins when cutting out carbs, I will always recommend a good quality multi vitamin.  This assures you will get all of the vitamins and minerals that the body needs.  There are many multi vitamins that are gender specific as you should be taking women’s multi if you are a woman and men’s multi if you are a man.  Also, if you are over 40 you should be taking a vitamin geared to your age group as well as they will have added ingredients to protect you from age related issues like hormonal imbalances, heart protection, cancer prevention etc.

Fish oil is my second recommendation and this will take care of both at the same time.  When following a low carb diet it is important to add more good fats.  I personally take MCT oil daily.  This oil comes from coconut and body builders and dieters use it to help them burn fat and stay in ketosis.  In case you are unaware, ketosis means the body is using fat for energy instead of sugar (carbs).  You can read more about both ketosis and MCT oil on my previous blogs.  You can use MCT oil in your shakes, salad dressings or just take a shot of it with your meals.

Other fats that you should include in your diet are coconut oil, olive oil, butter and avocado’s.  Smoothies as a snack is a great way to get in more MCT oil and dense nutrients.  My smoothies include a protein powder, MCT oil, a greens powder and berries powder.  I also add liquid fish oils.  You couldn’t possibly eat all day long and get the amount of nutrients in this shake.  Also, I never use fresh or frozen fruit as they are too high in carbs.  I literally put water in my shaker cup, add the protein, oils, and powders, shake and go.  It’s low carb and easy to make.

The Rules of a Low Carb Lifestyle

I think following any diet that consists of low carb, HIGH good fats and moderate protein is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I promise if you follow what I am telling you, you will start to lose weight right away and your energy will increase and most importantly, you will lose all cravings for sugar/carbs. Please see the rules below. This program works by starving your body of sugar forcing it to burn fat for energy. The #1 fuel that your body can and does easily use is sugar. When you keep your sugars/carbs below 30 NET carbs, it has NO CHOICE but to burn its reserve energy which is fat! See below for checking how much fat you are burning.

#1 RULE to remember…EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING with the exception of meat and fat is a carbohydrate and all carbohydrates are sugar! This includes fruit, vegetables, grains…everything except meat and fat breaks down into sugar.

RULE #2: You are only allowed 30 NET carbs per day or less. What is a NET carb? Not all carbs are created equal and some behave differently than others. For example, fiber (which is a carbohydrate) and sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol etc) cannot be absorbed by the human body so they go through the system unabsorbed and more importantly, they do not have a glycemic response. This means they do not require insulin to be metabolized. So to determine your NET carbs, here is the math:
Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = NET carbs. (Note: Atkins products uses glycerine in their bars and some other products which cannot be absorbed but he never lists the amount of glycerine so the math never works)
Example: Total carbs = 30 Fiber = 15 Sugar Alcohols 11. So 30-15-11= 4 NET carbs. The carbs left over after subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols (and glycerine) have a glycemic response and require insulin to be metabolized and these are what you are counting. Remember only 30 NET carbs per day. You will be surprised how many carbs are in an apple or a cup of broccoli. Here is the link for the Atkins carb counter site. Use it for reference all the time:
http://files.atkins.com/1501_CarbCounter_Online.pdf

RULE #3: No potatoes, NO pasta, NO rice, NO bread and NO fruit (for now). I have a deadly recipe for low carb, gluten free bread made with almond flour and psyllium husk but you cannot have this for at least 2-3 weeks until you break old eating habits.

RULE #4: You MUST increase your good fats. These include coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil and MCT oil. I use MCT oil for my salad dressings, coconut oil for EVERYTHING including cooking (it is very stable under high heat conditions) and take a shot of MCT oil mid-afternoon and/or prior to my meals.

RULE #5: You MUST check your ketones. This is non-negotiable! When you are burning fat (it usually takes 2-3 days to convert your body) a by-product of fat burning is ketones. This means that once you start burning fat for energy, ketones will be in your urine. Go to the drug store and ask for ketone stix. You can even get ketone/diastix which will show fat burning and blood sugar levels, should you have blood sugar issues. The ketone stix go from a beige color all the way up to deep purple. The darker the color, the more fat you’re burning! If you are not burning ketones, you are NOT burning fat, simple as that. This means that you are still eating too many carbs or more importantly not eating enough fat. There is no cheating on carbs on this program. Your body will happily use sugar way faster than fat for energy as it is the easiest. It’s actually exciting to pee on that damn stick to see the dark color knowing that I am burning fat! I have noticed that if I don’t eat enough fat, my ketones are just showing trace. Once I started taking more MCT oil (shots in the afternoon and as a salad dressing) my ketones went large! You will see the difference right away.

Glycemic index and glycemic load: It is important to note the glycemic index in your food choices. The low glycemic foods do not require as much insulin to metabolize. You can download lists of food and their glycemic index from Google.

So what are you eating?

Protein (eggs, cheese, meat, bacon, protein isolate shakes for snacks etc). The ONE bars ad Quest bars are low carb but I would stay away from them for the first few weeks to wean off of sugar taste. Also, they may take you out of ketosis but you will know by checking it.

Vegetables but not the root/starchy ones. Good choices are all lettuce(s), cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, celery etc. CHECK the Atkins carb counter for amount of carbs in these vegetables. We have been programmed to count calories but calories do not count on this diet. You MUST however count carbs (NET carbs).

I strongly suggest that you have a dozen boiled eggs in your fridge at all times, as well as cooked chicken and cut up vegetables and lettuce. Sometimes we get lazy cooking and so having stuff prepared makes it much easier. I also have a home-made soup in the fridge at all times. My soups have chicken and vegetables (the ones allowed above). Be careful not to eat too many vegetables though as they are carbs.