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Mind “The Low Fat” Labels…

The idea that eating less fat can keep you healthy, a notion very popular with the medical establishment in the mid 1980s, seemed to make sense. Experts were working with the data available at the time – they saw saturated fat had more calories and raised the bad (LDL) cholesterol. Today fat is still often the diet bad guy and you’re still likely to see “low fat” and “fat free” on many of food labels.

While our cholesterol levels, and total intake of saturated fats has gone down, the numbers of obese people in this country has continued to rise. How can we be eating less fat but getting fatter? One potential reason is the unintended effect when you eat something labeled “low fat”; people tend to eat more of it – up to 50% more according to Cornell researchers.

Those who are overweight are particularly at risk to falling for the deceptive “low fat” and “fat free” labels. These people tended to take in 60 more calories than do those who are thinner.

More recent work in this area has found that if you take saturated fat from the diet it needs to be replaced with something that’s better for you. Now we understand that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are actually good for you. Also, nutritionists know that fat satisfies appetite longer, so you end up eating less. Most people don’t make the healthy switch when it comes to fats.

In 2010 an important meta-analysis looked at the association between saturated fat and the risk of heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease. The analysis included 21 different studies. The conclusion was that there is not enough evidence to say that saturated fat raises the risk for stroke, heart and cardiovascular disease. More research needs to be done to tell us about the risks for specific age and sex groups.

The findings may stem from the fact that people replaced the saturated fat with carbs. When you up the carbs in your diet it can cause other problems and raise your risk for cardiovascular disease. This research points out the mistake it was to try and lower saturated fats by replacing them with processed carbs – this didn’t do any of us any favors. It would be better to replace saturated fats with healthier polyunsaturated ones, but there’s still a lot to learn before we have a complete picture of how fats operate in the body.

Continues below…

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Mind “The Low Fat” Labels… Continued…

In 2013 another study, known as the Sydney Diet Heart Study, found that the benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids have not been established. The work found that in those with higher amounts of omega-3 compared to omega-6 got beneficial results, where research that had the omega-6 content higher didn’t show any benefit. You can see the challenge this message is to deliver to people.

Total fat intake isn’t a good reflection of your health. Your best bet is to stay away from refined grains, too many sugars, starches, sugar laden drinks, processed meats and foods that have lots of trans fats or are loaded with salt. Replace these foods with healthy vegetable fats, oils, fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grains, fish, yogurt and modest amounts of cheese. Eat healthy and forget keeping track of fat.

To your good health,

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The Top 7 Diet Mistakes To Avoid

Trying to lose weight is tough, calling for consistent effort, patience and a good measure of plain old willpower. What makes weight loss even more of a challenge is that there’s so much advice out there, it’s hard to know what to follow, what to ignore.

Experts insist that the foundation of successful weight loss is a healthy, calorie controlled eating plan combined with regular exercise. There’s nothing fancy… no “secret”. To lose weight you need to make permanent changes in the way you eat, the way you live and care for your body in order to succeed in getting (and keeping) the pounds off.

Here are seven common diet mistakes to avoid…

MISTAKE 1: Banishing your favorite foods. By eliminating your favorite things, you make them even more powerful, more tempting. You need to allow an indulgence once in a while, limiting your portions, taking time to really taste and enjoy what you’re eating, you can short circuit the “cheating” idea.

MISTAKE 2: Banishing whole categories of food. Your body needs some of everything, carbs, fats and protein to be balanced and healthy. Any plan that has you completely eliminate one of these groups can cause you trouble long term. Remember when fats were bad? That spawned many sugar filled, refined carbs and we all gained weight in record numbers. Balance is key.

MISTAKE 3: Expecting too much, too soon. The experts agree that healthy, lasting weight loss should be no more than a pound or two each week. If you’re expecting more than this, you’ll get discouraged at the healthy results you’re getting. When it comes to weight loss, slow but steady wins the race.

MISTAKE 4: Skipping meals. This sounds like a great way to cut out some calories, but it ends up causing you to eat more later on. Try to eat when you’re hungry, but not totally ravenous, to keep your hunger, and the portions you consume, in line.

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The Top 7 Diet Mistakes To Avoid Continued…

MISTAKE 5: Eating too few calories. It’s tempting, when going for rapid weight loss, to skimp on the calories, but this isn’t a good strategy. Diets that have too few calories, also offer too few nutrients. Keep your calories to 1,200 a day for healthy weight management.

MISTAKE 6: Eating because your diet plan says so. If the diet plan you choose has you eating every two or three hours, and you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat. Forcing yourself isn’t a good thing. You need to learn to recognize your own internal signal of hunger and respond. If you’re hungry, eat sensibly, if you’re not, don’t.

MISTAKE 7: Expecting exercise to give you an “eat all you want” pass. Workouts and watching calories go together when it comes to weight loss, but to see a drop in pounds from exercise you need to step up the intensity a lot. It’s easy to over estimate what you burn and then eat more than you should to balance that out. Unless you worked out (hard) for an hour or more, the most you need to replenish yourself with is water.

Steer clear of these common diet blunders and you’ll be less frustrated… less likely to give up your efforts. Before long you’ll be seeing the results you’ve always wanted, feeling better than you ever dreamed.

To your good health,

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The 20 Best Foods For Top Health

A trip to your local grocery store puts literally hundreds of food choices before you. Some you can tell are healthy; others are labeled that way, but may not measure up to those healthy claims when you get right down to it.

To help you choose more wisely, here are 20, in alphabetical order, of the best foods you can get.

1. Almonds are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. They may also lower cholesterol.

2. Asparagus is loaded with anti inflammatory nutrients and high amounts of folic acid, and has even been shown to halt the formation of cancerous tumors.

3. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats, known to be good for your heart. They are also exceptional carriers of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Eating them helps you heart stay healthy, and regulates blood sugar and may even have anti cancer benefits.

4. Berries, no matter the color, are naturally chock full of antioxidants that help your brain and eyes. Recent studies have found that strawberries, raspberries and blueberries have properties that help to bring down the risk of both breast and cervical cancers.

5. Bell peppers are a natural source of antioxidants (the vitamins A, C and E) and may help the body in neutralizing free radicals, cutting your chances of disease.

6. Black beans have all the same beneficial compounds you find in berries, tea and red wine, lots of protein and fiber. They’re an affordable way to keep your heart healthy, your body cancer free.

7. Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C and K, plus the phytochemical indoles and sulforaphane thought to be cancer-fighting nutrients. This crunchy veggie has also been shown to be good for the cardiovascular system.

8. Brussels sprouts are another of the cruciferous veggies that are a natural source of nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C, E and K and the mineral selenium that’s known to help the body fight free radicals.

9. Butternut squash is full of vitamin C, and low calorie too. Plus it has beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, nutrients that have been shown to lower risk of developing lung cancers.

10. Chicken breast is a fantastic source of lean protein as well as the coenzyme Q10, essential for the turnover of skin cells. It’s a great muscle food.

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The 20 Best Foods For Top Health Continued…

11. Edamame is a Japanese soybean that’s loaded with vitamins B and C, and is one of the only natural sources of vitamin E. These beans are also a natural protein source and are loaded with antioxidants and isoflavones.

12. Eggs are high in protein, always available and affordable too. Research has linked the intake of eggs with better brain health, lower inflammation and improved heart health. There’s even a finding that eating eggs can help your cholesterol levels, and that’s good for your heart.

13. Flaxseed can be sprinkled over your morning cereal or blended into a smoothie to give you an abundant source of calcium, magnesium and fiber. The seeds also boast high levels of lignans and have been associated with the prevention of many health conditions, including heart disease.

14. Garlic is known to cut your cholesterol and triglyceride levels while also protecting blood cells and vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress. The natural compounds in this herb might also protect against the cellular changes that lead to cancerous tumors or help them grow.

15. Onions are naturally loaded with sulfur-containing substances so they aren’t great for your breath, but they do wonders for the rest of you. More than one study has found that eating onions can have benefits to your heart as in protection against heart attack when eaten as part of an overall heart healthy diet.

16. Spinach is a leafy green that is one of the most nutrient dense items you can buy. Add to a salad or steam it as a lunch or dinner side dish and you’ll get your daily dose of vitamin K and so much more, perhaps even protection from an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

17. Salmon is a fantastic choice with lots of lean protein and omega-3 heart healthy fatty acids that have been shown to lower the risk of death due to heart disease. Wild caught salmon is the most nutritionally pure and doesn’t have the food coloring and antibiotics of farm bred.

18. Sweet potatoes are full of complex carbs and phytochemicals and are a fabulous source of many vitamins, beta-carotene and fiber. Multiple studies have found a parallel between eating this tasty sweet veggie and having healthy eyes.

19. Tomatoes are a natural source of antioxidants and are low in calories too. They have lots of lycopene, a substance that might bring cardiovascular benefits and may also protect your skin from damage by the sun. Regular tomato consumption in men might even help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

20. Yogurt is one of the top ways to eat dairy and still drop a few pounds. Many studies have linked the consumption of yogurt to better digestive health and an overall lower amount of body fat. Some yogurts can have lots of sugar, so you might want to try Greek yogurt for a more natural alternative.

To your good health,

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How To Get Back On Track After Overeating

Over the holidays the temptations to overeat are huge, from Halloween to New Year’s there are delicious goodies all around, in easy reach. It can get hard after a while to resist, to keep up those healthy eating habits, the daily exercise routine. The thing to keep in mind is that while overeating on some days happens to everyone, a single day’s slip isn’t going to turn you obese overnight.

It’s the decisions you make over time that will keep your weight under control.

Experts suggest that one thing you can do before heading out to a holiday event is to think about what’s behind the reasons you tend to overeat at this time of year… the emotions or memories that are at the heart of the urge to eat, eat, eat. This time of year bring up many feelings, some good, some not so good. By reflecting on what triggers you to overeat, you can take steps to keep indulging from over indulging.

Before you head out…

-Remind yourself why you’re trying to lose weight: use flashcards or anything that works to show the reasons you want to eat healthy, lose weight.

-Be flexible in your eating plans for each holiday event… sometimes you can limit the number of deserts you’ll eat, another time you might have to limit things by courses.

-Give yourself permission to have three foods you truly love, and enjoy them, guilt free.

At the event…

-Be mindful: keep yourself in the moment, the here and now. Pay attention to what you’re holding, the sights and smells around you. When you eat, take time to focus on chewing, enjoy each and every bite.

-Watch out for food pushers: well meaning family, friends or people at work who refuse to take “no” for an answer when it comes to offering something fattening.
It’s an insult to refuse. The best bet, according to experts is to keep up the “no”, polite but firm, as eventually they will get the message.

The day after overeating…

You’ve got to get back on track right away. No skipping meals to “make up” for what you ate. And don’t let yourself fall victim to the idea that one mistake means you can blow off your long-term goal of healthy eating and losing weight. That’s the thinking that get’s you nowhere.

Here’s what to do that next day…

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How To Get Back On Track After Overeating Continued…

- Eat breakfast: even if you wake feeling full, make yourself start the next day off with a good, healthy breakfast. Not only will this reseat your metabolism, it will also help you get back into the eating healthy mindset.

-Drink lots of water: as staying hydrated will also help you feel full the day after a binge, and keep you from feeling as tempted to continue overeating.

-Stick to your scheduled workout: even if you only manage a light workout, it’s better than no exercise at all. Getting up and moving will have you feeling so much better, and will also reinforce your commitment to those weight management goals.

-Have a salad for lunch: the water in the veggies in a typical salad will also help hydrate your body and ease that groggy, sluggish, ate too much feeling.
A healthy, balanced lunch also reinforces your decision to get back on track and eat right.

-Eat an afternoon snack: you’ll need to keep your metabolism going so you don’t “crash” and trigger another overeating binge. Try a handful of nuts and a piece of fresh fruit for something delicious and nutritious.

-Don’t eat out: if you cook dinner at home you can control what you eat and how it’s prepared. Try for broiled fish with roasted veggies with a whole grain such as quinoa or barley. This gives you nutrients without all the processing and super large portion sizes that are part of eating out.

To your good health,

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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down

In today’s technology obsessed world it’s no surprise that weight loss apps are so popular, but according to new research, the old school pencil and paper work just as well when it comes to losing weight. Food journals are an important, but often overlooked, tool in your weight loss battle that can really have an impact on your results. The power of journaling has most recently been supported by data coming out of the long-term Look AHEAD obesity project, an 11-year study that was funded by the National Institute of Health.

Among the 550 participants in the study who kept records of what they ate, those who wrote at least 34 words a day lost the most amount of weight. On average, these subjects dropped 12% of the weight they started at over the year they were tracked. The key is to use lots of words. When the level of detail in the journal went under 33 words, the average weight loss dropped to as low as 9% of starting weight.

Some smart tips on food journaling…

Write every single thing you eat or drink down, right away.

Include what you’re doing while you’re eating.

Describe how you felt while eating.

Be honest because no one has to see it but you.

At the end of each day, look at how your emotions impacted your eating.

When it comes to your food journal, details really count. So instead of listing cereal, milk and banana for breakfast, write the brand name of the cereal, the amount you’re having, the kind of milk and the amount and even the size of the banana. Include the amount of calories of each. It might sound like a lot of work, but as you do it more, you’ll get faster at recording all you’re eating and drinking.

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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down Continued…

As you see, food journaling ups your awareness of what, how much, and why you eat. This helps you cut out that mindless eating, and show you areas where you might make changes. Food journals also identify triggers to overeating that you can modify (like stress) or avoid (like idle time in front of the TV). You might be surprised to find some surprising sources of calories, what you’re drinking or snacking on. The good news is that food journals help you see this and thus make changes that truly impact the calories you take in per day, and thus your weight.

The time and effort you put into food journaling is worth it in terms of weight loss, many well done weight loss studies support this idea. Keeping a food journal will help you monitor (and stay accountable) for everything you put into your mouth. You’ll get into the habit, rather quickly, of writing everything you eat or drink in your journal. For some, the act of just writing things down is enough. Many decide not to eat something because they don’t want to write it down.

Another great journaling tip, that’s also totally low-tech, is pairing up with a buddy who is trying to lose weight. This kind of support really helps. You can share your daily food journal entries with each other; you might even text after every meal and then talk by phone (or in person) each day.

To your good health,