So back in my "Nutrition 101" days of my Naturopathic medical education, I learned the commonly taught old school nutrition idea of:
"weight loss = more calories burnt than consumed"
So that's it, huh?
Eat less calories, burn more calories and weight loss will be a sure thing?
Well, most of us know it's just not that easy.
In fact, many find that they gain weight during and after dieting, even if they increase their activity level.
So what's going on?!
The fact of the matter is, only 1 in 6 dieters keeping the weight off (after a year).
So why can't we all just follow that easy formula and lose those extra pounds?!
...because it just isn't so simple.
We are a little more complex than calorie consuming and burning machines (but you probably knew that already).
An article published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association provides a little insight into some of those dieting and weight loss complexities.
The publishing authors looked at overweight research participant using three different diet and weight loss programs and measured their success.
The three diets were low-fat, low glycemic and low carbohydrate (high protein).
Under carefully monitored in-patient hospital settings, the low glycemic dieters burned an average of 200 calories per day more than the low fat. The low carbohydrate dieters lost 300 calories more per day than the low fat dieters but saw an increase in blood levels of inflammatory markers (cortisol and CRP).
So what does this all mean?!
Just follow the diet where people burned the most calories while being constantly monitored in the hospital?
Well, that doesn't sound like a very enjoyable diet program to me.
If you're considering a weight loss-focused diet and exercise program, think about getting an expert involved to guide your path to success.
If you haven't heard by now, my past 'slim down & happy up' program sessions have provided women (& men) with guided, individualized meal planning, diet guidelines and exercise recommendations.
Combined with unique natural formulas that I craft specifically to each participant, this really is my all-in-one tool to address weight loss and stress reduction for long-term success.
Registration for our next session opens Monday, August 19th, full details here.
Join us for 3 months, and just see what a profound impact you and I can have on your health and quality of life!
The Myth of the Healthy Grazer
Yep, I’m anti-grazing.
“I need to eat every 2 hours, or I just faint, get grouchy, become homicidal, start eating dirt, etc.”
I’ve heard it countless times. I used to say it myself.
But where did we ever get the idea that that was normal? Let alone healthy?
Feeling like you will pass out or go crazy if you don’t eat every two hours is not healthy. I don’t let that slide.
Why? Why do I care so much because you eat kale and grass-fed lamb and organic walnuts every two hours?
Because I care about you and your hormones. Yes, it’s back to hormones again. This time, those responsible for the endless grazing cycle loop are insulin and cortisol (and also a dozen other digestive hormones and other neurochemicals).
A major part of the grazing addiction is blood sugar instability. Blood sugar roller coasters, lead to off-the-wall insulin responses and set you up to need to graze constantly. A stable, healthier blood sugar response, on the other hand, allows for the best use of calories, including fat burning.
That means grazing (and their wacky blood sugar patterns) can actually lead to weight gain- the very thing that grazers often are trying to avoid!
As I explain it in ‘slim down & happy up’:
insulin excess + insulin spikes = belly fat
Guess what else happens when blood sugar responses go from crazy-roller-coaster to nice-and-smooth? Stress goes down because cortisol (the stress hormone) will decline naturally.
Wanna learn how to break the grazing cycle and reduce stress? An added bonus just might be losing a little belly fat in the process. Registration is now open for ‘slim down & happy up,’ my way to target weight loss through stress reduction (and get those pesky hormones under control for once!)- so sign up now while you still have time.
If you aren’t already on my contact list, sign up and receive a private discount code for this current session. We begin in a few weeks- don’t get left behind!
Here’s to helping you de-stress,
So many choices, so many half-truth health claims.
Boosts your immunity. Good for digestion. Improves attention. These are some of the common claims made by major food companies to market their "functional food."
This phenomena has been explained by a recent NY Times article (5/14/11).
But how healthful are they? Is there actually science behind these claims?
Usually there is at least one scientific study which the companies use as a marketing springboard for their "functional food" product. But as far as how healthy the food item may be, the "for your health" advertising is often misleading and incomplete.
One such example is American Heart Association-approved Welches Grape Juice. It is approved because it is fat free (as opposed to those lard-laden juices?). Welches Grape Juice earns the AHA red "Healthy Heart" logo on the front of the juice containers, even though it contains 36 grams of sugar per serving (eight ounces). This amount of sugar falls somewhere between a Mountain Dew and a Pepsi- not what I'd call healthy, and probably not the best for your cardiovascular system.
In another particularly egregious use of research to promote "functional foods," Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats was marketing their cereal as improving children's attentiveness. These results were obtained by comparing children's attentiveness in the morning before their breakfast and after three hours. The control group got water for breakfast. Only half of the Mini Wheats kids showed better attentiveness than the water-fasted kids.
So it doesn't appear that concerned parents should be loading their kids up on those sugar bombs just quite yet. After whole wheat, the three remaining primary ingredients in Frosted Mini Wheats are sugar, high fructose corn syrup and gelatin. I can think of just a few better ideas for improving a child's attention than those food items.
So, how to tell what's what when grocery store items are being branded and sponsored by national disease associations faster than NASCAR drivers? First take a look at the ingredients, and turn a discerning eye to those which are "enriched" or include ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring (like red # 40). If the food has a longer ingredient list than you have an attention span for reading, the processed nature probably outweighs the health benefits.
Lastly, if the brand is a billion-dollar international company, they're probably not too concerned for your digestive health. Just look to that food critic in you to sift the food that's actually good for you from the bright colors and cartoon figures promising health benefits.
Thanks for reading!
Sugar: the mouth and brain crave it, the guts do not.
I don't know where this phrase originated, but it sure contains a lot of wisdom:
"Sweet to the tongue, bitter to the stomach. Bitter to the tongue, sweet to the stomach."
The first part refers our society's love affair with all things sugary. Now, don't get me wrong, I like my sweets every now and then. But in the face of societal epidemics heavily relating to lifestyle choices, we could all benefit from realizing and acting upon the common knowledge that too much sugar in the diet wrecks our body in many ways. A few examples of this are blood sugar mishandling leading to diabetes, an overabundance of inflammatory reactions (see my earlier article on inflammation), insidious damage to the liver leading to many metabolic issues such as high blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) and a weakened immune system. Sweets just aren't that sweet to us.
Arugula is a good bitter appetizer.
Now there's a million and one ways to combat the amount of sugar in one's diet, most of that being through diet change. Along with a healthy exercise regimen, including botanical, vitamin and pharmaceutical intervention when necessary, we can do a lot to counter the effect of our diet being "bitter to the stomach."
So what does tasting bitterness have to do with helping the stomach? Well, when the tongue receives bitter signals (herbal bitters before meals, or with other botanical or food choices) this starts the digestive fire, and sends messages all over the body to expect a meal. The stomach then starts firing up, and all the other digestive organs (gall bladder, pancreas and the intestines further down the digestive tract) get clued into what's going and are then prepared for the digestive process.
This whole cascade of processes is greatly helped by preceding each meal with a small amount of bitters. This idea complements and builds upon my preceding article on being a food connoisseur. When the whole body, from brain to guts, has gotten the signal to be expecting a meal, then one's body is primed to optimally digest that meal- the way it was intended to function.
I welcome comments, questions and opinions through my Contact page.
Thank you for reading, I appreciate all my readers' feedback!