The Typical American Diet And Lifestyle is Getting Worse

More Americans are behaving badly when it comes to health. A recent national poll of randomly selected adults living in the U.S. shows that American’s health habits… the typical American diet and being active aren’t getting better, but worse.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) Report for May 2011 offers up a score of 63.8 for May 2011, down from 65.2 for the same period the year before. Troubling too that health habits have been worse than last year in each of the three months of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.

This Index is the first daily assessment of American’s health and well being, and is built around the interviews by phone of at least 1,000 adults conducted each and every day, 350 days a year.

The participants are asked a series of over 50 questions related to health and well-being that include smoking status as well as diet and exercise habits. The Well-Being Index is an average of six other figures… Life Evaluation, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Healthy Behavior, Work Environment and Basic Access.

The examination of Healthy Behavior measures lifestyle factors that experts know relate to health. Things like smoking, eating a balanced diet including weekly consumption of fruits and veggies, and engaging in regular exercise.

According to the most recent numbers, fewer Americans are eating the way they should, with the index for healthy eating going down two full points, from 68.2 in 2010, to 66.2 in May 2011.

We’re not eating the same amount of fruits and veggies we did in 2010… the numbers eating five or more servings a day at least four days a week dropped from 57.8% to 55.9%. Fewer of us across demographic groups are eating these foods a lot; the consumption of produce is down among lots of groups, young adults, women, Hispanics, and seniors than in 2010.

In fact, 4.5 million fewer Americans ate healthy in May than at this time last year.

It may be that increases in the price of gas as well as other economic hardships have forced people to spend less on food, with the less healthy options typically the more affordable ones. But there are other factors that are taking the numbers in the wrong direction. These include…

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Poll: Eating Habits Of Americans Worse Than Ever… Continued…
– More Americans are smoking, the survey found that 20.8% of people asked in May 2011 reported they smoked, and that’s up from 20.2% last year.

- The number of respondents who exercise for 30 minutes or more at least three days of the week went down 53.6% to 52.9%.

- The findings are so troubling because the month of May tends to kick off the strongest months in terms of healthy eating.

The findings are designed to represent virtually 98% of the adult population of the country, so the Well-Being Index is a fairly accurate, real time look at just where we stand. And while making changes, to what we eat or how active we are, isn’t easy, it’s a smart step in order to keep yourself healthy and free of disease.

Making changes to the the typical American diet and lifestyle, what you eat and how active (or inactive) you are isn’t easy, but it can be done. Start by being aware of the bad habits you want to change and learn why these habits exist in the first place. Then make plans for the slow, simple changes to your bad eating (or exercise) habits. Take things one step at a time… slow but steady and you’ll be amazed how soon you’re living healthier, feeling better.

Too Little Sleep and Excess Stress Can Impact Blood Pressure

When the one-two punch of getting too little sleep and high levels of stress are combined, a new study finds that blood pressure goes up – by as much as 10 points. Earlier studies have shown us all the value of sleep to the body, and that not getting enough can impact blood pressure. We also know that stress can do the same, but there’s been little work that looks at what happens when the two things that are all too common today, being sleepy and under pressure, combine.

For most of us, stress is a constant companion, and as a result both mind and body pay a heavy price.

Thing is… the body can’t tell the difference between a genuinely stressful event and the kind of internal, psychological stress we create for ourselves, and reacts exactly the same to both. This leaves your emergency stress response on all the time. The more you activate this system, the easier it is to set off, and the harder to shut off.

Chronic stress disrupts almost every system of the body – raising blood pressure, suppressing the immune system, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke, playing a part in infertility and aging.

Constant stress also contributes to sleep deprivation, which cuts your ability to perform… to be alert, as well as impacts memory, adds stress to relationships and hurts your quality of life. Not getting the sleep you need makes it more likely you’ll be hurt on the job or on the road.

Over the long term, experts know that sleep deprivation has many health consequences, high blood pressure, heart attack or failure, stroke, obesity, psychiatric issues like depression, ADD, mental impairment and more.

To conduct the research into sleep, stress and the body, the research team recruited 20 young adults who were healthy and measured blood pressure at rest, and then after they’d completed a stressful task – defending themselves against a wrongful accusation of running a stop sign or stealing a wallet. A week afterward the subjects stayed up all night and then reported to the lab to take the test yet again.

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These Common Problems Bad For Blood Pressure… Continued…

Their systolic (top) blood pressure went up almost 10 points when the tired subjects were defending themselves via speeches than it had when they were doing the very same task but with enough rest beforehand. Researcher Peter L. Franzen, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh’s Sleep Medicine Institute believes that not getting the sleep your body needs can be involved in developing heart disease.

Those ten points might not sound like much, but those who study blood pressure point out, this difference is important… clinically relevant.

The CDC puts the number of Americans with high blood pressure at one in three, and one in five have blood pressure that’s uncontrolled – either not responding to medications or it remains unknown. High blood pressure is a serious condition rightfully called the “silent killer” because it damages the body silently, with few outward symptoms.

If you have trouble with blood pressure control, it makes sense to pay particular attention to how much good quality sleep you’re getting on a regular basis. Make too little sleep a thing of the past by practicing good sleep habits to be sure your body is getting the rest it needs.

Six Foods To Improve Mood And Three That Don’t

Feeling down? Always irritable? Maybe there’s a cause for your black moods that you hadn’t suspected… what you’re eating and drinking, as in case you weren’t aware it’s possible for foods to improve mood.

What you eat can help you feel better, both in the short term, and over the long haul. Making healthy food choices not only helps avoid those highs and lows of blood sugar, but putting good foods in keeps your gastrointestinal tract working smoothly. This alone will have you feeling better, sleeping better too, and that’s bound to improve your mood. Not to mention your health.

A heart healthy eating plan that includes plenty of fiber and is low in saturated fats is a smart starting point according to Diane M. Becker, MPH, ScD, the director of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Center for Health Promotion.

To have yourself feeling better, here are six suggestions to add to your diet

1. Eat foods rich in folate (also known as folic acid) and vitamin B12... chili with kidney beans and lean beef… a chicken Caesar salad made with skinless breast of chicken along with romaine lettuce… grilled salmon with a serving of crunchy, delicious broccoli… all great tasting and good for you too. What’s more, these two nutrients seem to help prevent central nervous system disorders, mood disorders and dementias according to Edward Reynolds, MD from Kings College, London. Higher intakes of folate rich foods have also been linked to a lower incidence of depressive symptoms. The effect appears across cultures and most recently was confirmed in Japanese men.

2. Eat lots (and lots) of fruits and vegetables, as they’re loaded with important nutrients and antioxidants that directly contribute to your health. In one piece of research, eating just 2 more servings of either fruits or veggies was linked to an 11% higher likelihood of good health. Those who ate more fruits and veggies felt better about their health too.

3. Eat a selenium rich food daily. The mineral selenium becomes an antioxidant once inside the body. Research has shown that oxidative stress in the brain is associated with mild to moderate cases of depression in the elderly. And having antioxidants around could prove helpful. A recent study examined the depression scores of elderly subjects who took 200 micrograms of selenium (or a placebo) in a supplement form, with those who took the selenium having significant drops in their depressive symptoms, though more studies are needed to confirm the findings, and see if they apply beyond the elderly population. The recommended daily allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms per day, so try and get at least that from natural sources if you can. Whole grains are an excellent source… things like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread give you 70 micrograms. Other great sources include beans and legumes, lean meat (beef or pork, skinless turkey or chicken), low fat dairy, nuts (especially Brazil nuts) and seeds and seafood like oysters, clams, sardines, crab and fish.

4. Have fish a few times a week, as more than one recent study has suggested that there’s a lower risk for men and women of symptoms of depression if you eat a lot of fish… especially fatty fish like salmon, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. According to Jay Whelan, Ph.D. head of the University of Tennessee’s nutrition department, omega-3s have positive impacts on clinically defined mood swings like in postpartum depression. The fish you’ll want to try include herring, rainbow trout, salmon, sardines and tuna.

5. Get your daily dose of vitamin D by spending a little time in the sun, allowing your body to naturally synthesize and regulate this important nutrient. Four new studies have shown a connection between low serum levels of this vitamin and increased incidence of four different mood disorders, major depressive disorder, nonspecified mood disorder, PMS and seasonal affective disorder. You’ll want to try for between 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IU) per day. That’s a lot more than the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation of 600 IUs a day for anyone up to age 70, 800 IU for those over 70. Vitamin D isn’t found naturally in many foods (we’re supposed to get it from the sun), but you can find it in foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel and tuna), beef liver, cheese and egg yolks, and fortified products like breads, juices, milk and breakfast cereals.

6. Pamper yourself with a bit of chocolate – meaning only a small amount, a single ounce daily, and it must be dark chocolate. It appears that this type of chocolate has an effect on the levels of endorphins (feel good chemicals) in the brain as well as an anti clogging effect on the blood vessels that’s oh so good for the heart. In a study from the Netherlands, those who ate 1/3 of a chocolate bar daily had lower blood pressure and rates of heart disease, not to mention a boosted sense of well being.

Just as there are foods will to help you feel better, there are those that only make things worse. Eating a high fat, high glycemic load diet, as too many of us are doing, can have you dealing with digestive upsets and fatigue. Here are the three worst offenders in terms of mood…

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Six Foods That Can Boost Mood. Plus Three Others To Avoid… Continued…

1. Foods high in saturated fat, the well known bad guy of the nutrient world, are thought to encourage heart disease and even some forms of cancer, and may well play a role in depression. The link appeared in some research known as the Coronary Health Improvement Project, finding that decreasing saturated fat over a six-week period also brought a decrease in depressive symptoms.

2. Enjoy alcohol in moderation, if at all. We know alcohol is a depressant to the brain and impacts all nerve cells, so while you might feel great after that first drink, the feeling quickly fades and depending on how much alcohol you end up drinking you can go from feeling great to over the top emotions and impaired coordination. It’s not a coincidence that depressive conditions appear along with substance abuse, one of the main forms in the U.S. being alcohol.

3. Limit caffeine as this can make you more irritable in a few ways. If you take in caffeine later in the day, and it disrupts your nighttime sleep, this makes you more apt to be cranky and out of sorts until you make up that sleep. After the caffeine burst of energy invariably comes a spiral into fatigue. Some are more sensitive to the affects of caffeine than others. If you want to test this for yourself… limit the amount of sodas, tea and coffee you drink, particularly later on in the day, and see what happens when you avoid foods to improve mood.

Elevated Calcium Levels Of No Benefit Study Finds

Big news on calcium and bone health. A Swedish study has found that while getting the right amount of bone building calcium is essential, having elevated calcium levels doesn’t bring any additional benefit.

As we age our bones naturally begin to lose calcium, and this is why older people, particularly women, are at risk for both fractures and bone disease like osteoporosis. As the most common disease of the bones, osteoporosis brings symptomless decreases in bone density that make bones more fragile and prone to painful breaks that come from seemingly minor injury.

Researchers believe that almost 1 of every 5 American women over 50 years old might have osteoporosis. What’s more, about half of women over 50 will experience a break of the hip, the wrist or vertebra.

The research involved data on 61,433 women who were participants in the Swedish Mammography Cohort Study back in 1987. The subjects supplied information about what they ate and any use of calcium supplements or multivitamins. The researchers were able to adjust for risk like weight and height, smoking status, education level and any use of estrogen replacement therapy.

During an astonishing 19-year follow up, 24% of the subjects had a first fracture – 6% of the hip. An analysis of 5,022 subjects that were part of a study subgroup found that 20% of them had developed mobility robbing osteoporosis.

Study lead Eva Warensjo, a researcher from Uppsala University, and her team saw that those who took in almost 750 mg of calcium per day had the least fracture risk. But those who consumed over that 750 mg a day mark had no further drop in their risk for either fracture or osteoporosis. In fact, the hazard ratio of 1.19 showed a higher risk of fracture in these women.

The costs (in terms of both dollars and patient suffering) of broken bones are high.

For the present, experts continue to debate how much daily calcium intake is right for anyone over 50, and the recommendations are varied, depending on where you live. In the United States, 1,200 mg of calcium per day for women 50 and older is recommended, while in the U.K., the number is nearly half that, at just 700 mg a day. Scandinavia is 800 mg per day, and Australia suggests 1,300 mg of calcium daily.

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When It Comes To Calcium, More Isn’t Better… Continued…

Wherever you live, women should be aware of the issue and how much calcium they should be getting. If you have a low intake of calcium, do what you can to increase it. For those who are getting enough, make no change in terms of calcium intake.

President of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Dr. Robert R. Recker, agrees that the benefit of daily calcium does level off at some point. He suggests that 1,000 to 1,200 mg each day is a good place to start, as this accounts for daily variations of intake. Look to your diet for as much calcium as you can, and only consider supplements if you’re not getting enough from what you eat.

When it comes to supplements understand that the body can only absorb calcium under certain circumstances. They must be taken with food as this increases the body’s ability to absorb the nutrient by about 10%.

You’ll want to spread your calcium intake (from diet or supplements) throughout the day, in smaller 500 mg increments as smaller amounts are better absorbed than one or two larger ones.

Lastly, be aware of your vitamin D levels, as this nutrient plays a key role in how much calcium your bones truly absorb, and try to keep to 400 to 800 international units per day. The findings of the study call for more work on elevated calcium levels, and are observational rather than pointing out cause-and-effect. The report appears in the online edition of BMJ.

Silent Stroke Risk Reduced By Moderate Intensity Exercise

New research finds that those who keep up moderate intensity exercise as they get older may be less likely to develop the tiny brain lesions that are also known as “silent” strokes. These strokes are so named because at the time they happen, no one knows it, the patient just doesn’t have the symptoms of a major stroke. There’s no severe headache, speech problems, dizziness or paralysis.

Though unseen, doctors know that these strokes are dangerous – they’ve been associated with an increased risk for falls, impaired mobility, memory problems and even dementia itself, as well as upping the risk for a bigger, more visible stroke.

Regular exercise has been found to offer some protection against the more clinically evident stroke, the one we all would recognize, but the role of being active when it comes to “silent” stroke has not been well researched. Until now.

This most recent study included almost 1,200 older subjects taken from the Northern Manhattan Study who had no stroke history, and were 55 and older when they entered the program. They all filled out a detailed questionnaire on how often and how intensely they exercised, using the two weeks just past as a guide.

Six years later the participants (average age now 70) underwent an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain. The scans found that 197 of the subjects (16%) had the tiny brain lesions that indicate they’d had a “silent” stroke.

Those who said they’d engaged in moderate to intense exercise were found to be 40% less likely to have dangerous brain lesions than those who didn’t do any exercise at all. This held true even after the team of researchers from Columbia University and the University of Miami accounted for other risk factors for stroke – things like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

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Cut Risk of “Silent” Stroke With This… Continued…

Doing light exercise on a regular basis… golf, bowling, dancing or walking didn’t have an impact on “silent” stroke risk, a surprising finding even for study author Joshua Willey of Columbia. Of course that’s not to say these activities don’t bring a health benefit, they most certainly do. And they add pleasure to life, which is no less important. It may simply be that to get the full benefit in terms of “silent” stroke, a certain level of intensity must be achieved.

Also, since a small 36% of the study subjects reported doing light activity, the sample size may simply be too tiny to draw accurate conclusions. It’s important to note too that the study is not suggesting that exercise keeps a “silent” stroke from happening, only that those who exercised vigorously had a lower risk of these events. What’s more, the exercise levels were self-reported, and the brain scans came several years later. There may be other factors that contribute to the overall picture, things we’ve yet to uncover or understand.

The American Heart Association suggests that healthy, able adults do a minimum of 150 minutes each week of moderate intensity exercise. If the workout is more intense and rigorous, 75 minutes a week is fine. Activities that count include anything from a brisk walk, working in the garden, doing housework, swimming, outdoor activities like jogging, hiking and biking, or sports like tennis. If you’re older, and you haven’t been active in a while, don’t just jump in, but talk to your doctor about an appropriate, medically supervised exercise program to get you started. Doctors know that being active helps the body for many reasons… both seen and unseen, including reducing the risk of silent stroke.

Can A Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

An important finding on the Alzheimer’s front. Eating a low fat, low glycemic diet, if adopted early on in life, might just help prevent Alzheimer’s disease according to new research.

Unfortunately, starting to eat this way after symptoms appear does not appear to help patients retain their brain function. The research appears online in the journal Archives of Neurology.

It’s not the first time that studies have shown that doing things at midlife (or even earlier) truly have an impact on your health as the years pass.

According to Dr. Marc L. Gordon, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, doctors know that midlife obesity is linked epidemiologically with a raised risk of dementia in later life. There may be periods of life where we are particularly vulnerable to problems, and these come at different times over a lifetime.

Your chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s go up quite a bit after age 70, and the condition could affect almost half of those over 85 years old. Still, experts insist that this disease is not a normal part of aging. It begins in a part of the brain that affects recent memory, then spreads over time to other parts of the brain. Treatment can slow the progression, and assist in managing symptoms, but for now there is no cure.

This latest research on diet and Alzheimer’s looked at the effects of different eating plans on biomarkers that are known to be associated with the disease. Things like blood sugar level, cholesterol and lipid levels.

Subjects underwent memory testing after following diets assigned to them. A total of 49 subjects (20 healthy adults; 29 with mild memory issues that predict Alzheimer’s) followed either a high fat, high simple carb eating plan (HIGH) or a plan lower in fat and simple carbs, called, LOW.

After a month, the healthy subjects on the LOW diet showed changes in the Alzheimer’s biomarkers, even insulin and lipid blood levels, that were moving in the right direction to keep the brain dementia free. In those who had some mild cognitive issues, the LOW diet had the opposite effect.

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Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease With Diet..? Continued…

We still don’t have hard-and-fast proof, despite plentiful research on the connection between lifestyle and thinking ability, that diet, or anything else for that matter, can prevent Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia in the elderly. A National Institutes of Health conference held last spring concluded that advancing age is the leading risk for Alzheimer’s, though a gene variation is also known to be associated with higher risk as well.

Until we know more, the best protection against life altering Alzheimer’s disease is to live an overall healthy lifestyle. Eat right to bring down your risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and perhaps Alzheimer’s. Limit processed foods and be as active as you can, as often as you can.

Do what you can to keep other risk factors in check – work with your doctor to treat diseases like heart disease, and manage high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels so that you keep your body in the best shape possible.

Another study that looked at ways to prevent alzheimer’s disease in the same issue of the Archives of Neurology found that biomarkers at different levels were tied to different measures of function related to Alzheimer’s. This might help doctors get better at diagnosis, which is now done mostly on the basis of clinical observations. While a true diagnosis of Alzheimer’s cannot be made until after death when an autopsy is performed, doctors rely today on a medical process of elimination if a patient has suspicious symptoms.

Little Known Ways To Keep Healthy Skin

We all know that being active is beneficial to your body – your heart, your lungs, your circulation and muscle tone. It’s also a simple, side effect free mood booster. But now new research has uncovered another reason for getting up and getting moving – it’s one of the great ways to keep healthy skin looking and feeling fantastic.

As the largest organ in the body, a combination of water, protein, other minerals and chemicals, the skin’s job is a protective one, keeping organs safe and organisms out.

Those who have skin problems like acne, rosacea or psoriasis need to take special care to protect their skin during any strenuous activity, including exercise, but that’s no reason to avoid being active.

Your biggest worry in terms of workouts and your skin is sun exposure, as this not only increases your skin cancer risk, but also ages the skin rather rapidly. Avoid outside workouts between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, since overexposure to the sun erases any benefits you get from a workout. If you can’t avoid these hours, be sure to use sunscreen that’s water and sweat proof – Ph-balanced products are a good choice. Gel or oil free options are also good, as is the latest suncare solution powder mixed with SPF protection. Once you’re sweating, it takes 40% less UV rays to get a burn, so consider using clothing that covers as much skin as you can and a hat to shade your face.

Once you protect yourself from too much sun, there are many benefits to the skin from being active on a regular basis. Doctors know that by increasing blood flow, exercise works to nourish skin cells, keeping them vital and fresh looking. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin, while also carrying waste products (including those nasty free radicals) away from the working cells of the body.

It’s not that exercise detoxifies the skin; this job belongs rightfully to the liver. But by upping the blood flow, you help flush cellular debris out of the body… like cleaning out from the inside.

Exercise also eases stress, and thus some problems that are exacerbated by stress improve. This is especially true of acne and eczema. While investigations are continuing, some research shows that stress hormones also impact the sebaceous glands that manufacture oil in the skin.

Some skin problems, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis can be made worse by the heat of a workout. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active, because the benefits far outweigh any temporary problems.

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Simple Way To Get Healthy, Great Looking Skin… Continued…

Rosacea patients can beat the flares that come from being at a higher body temperature and flushed from the workout by choosing a cooler place, or time of day to exercise. You can apply cool compresses to the skin right after your workout, or try swimming since the water keeps the skin cool, even when your body temperature rises as part of the workout.

Flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis can also come with any strenuous activity, the salt from perspiration the source of the problem. Use a moisturizer on arms, legs, and any area with skin creases (groin and underarms) before your workout to protect the skin from sweat. Choose to workout in a cooler environment to cut down on sweating and the need to shower right afterward.

Another skin problem that can come as a result of exercise is chafing, and this can cause awful, uncomfortable rashes on the skin. For those prone to acne, the sweat and irritation from tight fitting workout clothing might bring on a skin condition called acne mechanica. To protect yourself, choose moisture wicking, or loose fitting style clothing, and be sure to shower right after your workout, to keep skin clean and dry.

Even with flares and skin discomforts, regular exercise is so valuable to body, mind and and as one of the most effective ways to keep healthy skin that it is worth finding time for.

Is Late Night Eating A Cause Of Weight Gain?

How many of us struggle with late night eating? A new study suggests that being aware of the time you’re eating may be just as important as paying attention to what you’re eating when it comes identifying the cause of weight gain.

The research found that those who ate after 8:00pm at night had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who didn’t – even when the two groups ate just about the same amount of daily calories.

Earlier work in animals has shown that even when calorie intake is held steady, the timing of meals, sleep and exposure to light impacts metabolism and body mass. This latest bit of research explores this relationship in human subjects.

The team at Northwestern University in Chicago enlisted the help of 52 adults, both younger and of middle age who wore sensors to record movement and sleep through the day for a full week. They also kept food diaries so the researchers could see what, when and just how much they ate during the study.

Night owls slept later, with the midpoint of their sleep cycle happening after 5:30 a.m., those who slept later also logged less sleep than those who slept on a more normal schedule.

Since late sleepers started their day later, the pattern pushed back the times they ate all day long. They had higher BMIs than the so-called normal sleepers, ate fewer fruits and veggies, and took in more calories after 8:00 p.m.

The number of calories eaten didn’t vary all that much between the normal sleepers and the late sleepers. And while it is true that if you stay within the number of calories needed to keep your current weight, you won’t gain, those who eat late in the evening tend to make unhealthier, more calorie dense food choices – it’s arguably the hardest time of day for many dieters.

The researchers accounted for other things that up your risk of weight gain -factors like sleep duration, sleep timing and age. The only thing that remained as a factor after this was the timing of eating, after eight o’clock showed itself to be trouble.

Continues below…


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The “secret” to losing belly fat…

You’ve been lied to. Lied to by the fitness magazines, lied to by the government and lied to by the food industry.

Lies such as…

-> You need to eat “low calorie” to lose fat
-> You should do long, slow cardio to put your body in the “fat burning zone”
-> You should eat plenty of whole grains to stay healthy and lean
-> Losing fat is a slow & steady process

Well Vic Magary who is one of the go to fat loss experts just put up a video exposing all of these myths…

Vic is a former Army soldier and he knows what works and what doesn’t – and spills all of his biggest secrets in the video…

Click through now and check out this free video and discover the secret to losing stubborn belly fat…
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The Truth About Eating Late And Gaining Weight… Continued…

Think about this. Anyone who has trouble falling off to sleep tends to go for a longer stretch of time from dinner to bed than those who fall right off. This can cause problems, as these people are likely to be up longer, get hungry later and then eat. This means they’re less likely to begin the day with a healthy breakfast the next day. It becomes a vicious cycle that promotes weight gain.

There are still many questions as to why late night eating might impact weight gain. There are places in Europe where its customary to eat dinner at a far later hour, yet this doesn’t appear to contribute to rises in obesity rates in these nations.

If you’re trying to lose weight, your best bet is to curb the urge to eat at night, though you can break the rule for special occasions, of course. While it makes sense to eat more when you’re being more active, you need to be sensible- eating a snack at 10:00 p.m. (even a healthy one) is going to encourage weight gain.

Bear in mind too that many of us think we’re eating a whole lot better than we actually are, so hold yourself accountable when it comes to the real food choices you’re making as it could be a cause of weight gain… and try to be mindful of any late night eating habits and nip them in the bud.

Watching TV Too Much Can Lead To You Dying Early

Did you know that the average American passes almost 5 hours each day in front of the TV? Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a new analysis of earlier research to come up with the number. Five hours is more time than we devote to any other daily activity, except for working and sleeping. As a result of watching TV too much, the risk of health problems that come from of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle (type 2 diabetes, heart disease) are on the rise as well.

TV has been a part of American life for decades, and for almost as long researchers have been conducting studies to assess its effects. Today millions of Americans are so caught up in TV watching that they’d fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the literature.

Wondering where you fall? Ask yourself…

- Do you use TV as a sedative?

- Do you watch indiscriminately… watching anything that’s on?

- Do you feel a loss of control while watching TV?

- Are you angry with yourself for watching too much TV?

- Can you stop watching TV?

- Do you feel miserable when you don’t watch TV?

The analysis of TV watching included eight fairly large studies that had been conducted over the past 40 years involving the impact of TV on diabetes, vascular disease and heart disease, as well as early death.

The participants in the research were followed for a long time, from 7 to 10 years. Based on the incidence of disease in the U.S., the team estimate that each added two hours of TV time brings 100 deaths for every 100,000 adults in the U.S. each year.

The researchers found that watching over 2 hours of TV a day upped the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Over three hours in front of the tube was linked with a higher risk of dying early according to Harvard professor Frank B. Hu, MD, Ph.D. Europeans, for the record, watch about 3 hours of TV each day.

Compare Americans five hours of TV watching, and the researchers saw that TV time was tied to a 20% increase in type 2 diabetes, a 15% higher risk of heart disease, and a 13% raised risk of early death.

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Early Death And Excess Time Spent On This Activity Linked… Continued…

Experts have known for some time that too much TV watching was a significant risk factor for life altering diseases and early death. The most recent analysis shows us that the relationship is linear (goes up together) and substantial.

Not a surprise that all that time in front of the TV takes away from time you have to do other things, including being active. The thing is, watching television is worse for you because your hands are not busy, and thus you’re likely to eat more, or eat absently. Junk foods and sugar-laden beverages are the norm, heavily advertised to the TV watching public.

If we want to make serious efforts toward cutting TV viewing time, the effort needs to start with the young. Kids, on average, watch 4 to 5 hours of TV a day, when no more than two is recommended, and none at all for the little ones under two years old. Sure the television is an all too convenient babysitter… a safe pastime for your children while you get things done… until you realize that the average child will witness 8,000 murders on TV before they are out of elementary school.

If that’s not bad enough, watching TV too much has also been tied to obesity in children, as well as Metabolic Syndrome. Conditions like these might just set these kids up for a lifetime of bad habits and poor health. Maybe even leading to them dying early.

Stroke Risk Factors Reduced With Olive Oil Benefits

A new study out of France’s University of Bordeaux tells us that one of the many olive oil benefits might just be the reduction in stroke risk factors. Older folks who used olive oil intensively, regularly cooking with it and using it as dressing for salads, were 41% less likely to suffer a stroke than those people who did not consume it with such relish.

The study lasted six full years, and though no one knows why the olive oil proved so helpful, the researchers believe that by replacing less healthy fats with the monounsaturated kind, we do our bodies good. Eating lots of saturated fats, meat and butter for example, have been tied to strokes.

The oleic acid or polyphenols in the oil itself could also be a factor. Experts know that polyphenols are antioxidants that are able to bring down inflammation in the vascular system.

Strokes often come to a vascular system that’s in poor shape, and the American Heart Association points out these events are the third leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke comes from vascular bleeding, or a blockage of the flow of blood to the brain, whose cells require a constant flow of oxygen and glucose to function.

Earlier research in this area has confirmed the anti-inflammatory effect of olive oil. The most recent study appears in the online edition of the journal Neurology.

The study was led by Cecilia Samieri, a post doctoral member of the faculty in the department of nutritional epidemiology, and included 7,625 French subjects over 65 who routinely used extra virgin olive oil. The work controlled for stroke risk factors like alcohol use, smoking, high blood pressure and exercise.

After six years, 148 strokes happened, but those who used the most olive oil had a far lower risk, 41% lower, compared to those who didn’t use any olive oil (23% of the study sample). The overall number for stroke rate was 1.5 for those who used olive oil, 2.6 for the rest.

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Adding This To Your Diet Might Cut Stroke Risk… Continued…

Curiously, a second sample from the study brought some different findings. Oleic acid was measured, via blood sample, of 1,245 subjects. In this group, 27 strokes happened during the study, with a 73% lower risk of stroke in those with high levels of oleic acid. What’s strange is that this higher level is linked to higher intake of butter and fat from goose or duck. Getting a handle on the level of oleic acid in the body is an area that calls for further study.

Nutrition experts caution that despite the olive oil benefits, it is a high calorie fat, and shouldn’t be over-used in an effort to protect against any health issue, including stroke risk factors. The research shows that a diet high in olive oil does do something in terms of protection, but more work needs to be done in terms of just how much is good, while still keeping to a low-fat diet. According experts, the American diet is hardly lacking in fats. Fat is essential for healthy skin and hair, and the processing of some vitamins, so its not all bad. The trouble comes from the type of fats, and just how much of them, we are taking in to our bodies.