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Weight Loss

Tips for planning a healthy diet

There is so much advice these days about how to eat healthy, but here are our top tips for planning a healthy diet for you and your family: A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going. Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet.  The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts. Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart.  Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different colour vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking.  As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet. Avoid fruit juices, which can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup. These can be diluted with water.Canned fruit is often in sugary syrup, and dried fruit, while an excellent source of fibre, can be high in calories. Avoid fried veggies and those with dressings or sauces, as these generally contain too much unhealthy fat and calories. Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly. 50-60% of the population is gluten sensitive or intolerant. I suggest trying an elimination diet where you eliminate all forms of gluten, seeds, and nuts from the diet. This allows one to easily begin to identify any  offending food because after the seven days is over, you begin introducing any potential offender one...

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Are almonds beneficial to weightloss?

A new study in America has found people who eat 1.5 ounces of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without increasing body weight. So are almonds beneficial to weight loss? Snacking has become a regular habit in the US with an estimated 97 per cent of Americans consuming at least one snack a day. This is a good statistic, but only if the snack is a healthy one. With the rise in obesity rates in the US, it is increasingly important to choose healthy snacks that do not cause weight gain. This latest study, which was led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on weight gain and appetite. The study involved 137 adults who were at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into five groups. The control group that avoided all nuts and seed, a breakfast meal group, and a lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds a day with their respective meals, and a morning snack and afternoon snack group that consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds between meals. The participants were not given any other instructions, other than to follow their usual eating habits and physical activity. The results found that monounsaturated fat (good fat) and vitamin E intake were significantly increased in all almond groups compared to baseline and the control group. The participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain any weight during the study, despite consuming approximately 250 more calories per day from almonds. The daylong ratings of hunger and the desire to eat were also significantly reduced in the almond group. “This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator. “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.” This...

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6 Easy Steps for Weight Loss

There are so many diets aroung these days, let us talk you through 6 easy steps for weight loss: 1. – Before you can start any diet program you need to be in the right frame of mind. If you do not feel good about yourself you probably will not want to choose healthy foods. You cannot expect the act of going on a diet to make you feel better about yourself. The only way you can choose to eat a healthy diet to lose weight is if you have a positive self-image.   2. – Eat whole foods that are as natural as possible. When you eat whole foods that are full of nutrients your body will know how much to eat and how much not to eat. You do not have to count calories because your body is a wonderful machine. If given the right nutrients you will be at the best weight for you, have plenty of energy and feel great. Eating highly processed empty calorie foods will cause your body to always be hungry because it’s trying to get the nutrients it needs.   3. – Drinking water is the best weight loss supplement known to man. Most people do not know the difference from being hungry for food or thirsty for water. A great deal of times people eat when they should drink. You will generally not feel as hungry if you are getting enough water. You will be satisfying the thirst, which is confused for hunger. Water also helps you digest food better. Drinking water before you eat will help fill you up.   4.   Always chew your food well. Chewing your food well will ensure that you get the most nutrients out of your food. Getting the most nutrients will satisfy your body therefore you will eat less. Another benefit of chewing well is that it helps aide indigestion.   5. – Eat small, frequent meals in a day. Large meals tax your digestion system, making it work harder. Taking too much time in between meals makes you hungrier for the next meal.   6. – Increase your physical activity. Most people are over-weight because of a lack of physical activity. Start...

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Top Tips for Weight Loss : Exercise

Top Tips for Weight Loss : Exercise

Exercise may sound like the obvious way to loose weight, but it often overlooked in favour of dieting alone. Exercise and dieting can be combined for optimal weight loss. If you are new to exercise or haven’t done anything in a while, this should be done under the supervision of a personal trainer. A combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise is the most effective way of losing weight.  To get the most out your workout, try and end your exercise session with a 10 minute run, as this will result in more fat burning. Weight training has the added benefit of helping to strengthen bones and can prevent osteoporosis in later life. Studies have found that weight training can actually burn more calories than cardiovascular exercise alone. If you are not a big fan of going to the gym or walking, why not take up a sport. Basically any activity that results in movement is an effective way to lose weight. Swimming is a very good form of exercise, as it provides a workout for your whole body. Sports such as tennis, badminton and squash or dancing are a good form of cardiovascular...

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How Good Bacteria Can Prevent Obesity

A new study has discovered that good bacteria can play an important role to prevent obesity and type -2 diabetes. These findings suggest that foods that stimulate the production of bacteria in the digestive system could help to facilitate faster weight loss than eating less and exercising more. The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the levels of bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila were much lower in mice who were obese and with type-2 diabetes. Feeding these mice oligofructose prebiotics increased the growth of good bacteria and re-balanced levels back to normal levels. This stimulated metabolism in the mice which caused weight loss. Other benefits were a reduction in inflammation and a reduction in insulin resistance. Prebiotics should not be confused with probiotics. Prebiotics do not replace bad bacteria in the gut, but they serve as food for friendly bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidus. Prebiotics help the probiotics to multiply which leads to a healthier digestive system and immune system. Prebiotics are found in many foods such as banana’s, chicory, onions, leeks, asparagus and artichokes. The researchers suggest that the bacteria, Akkermansiamuciniphila, could play an important role in reducing inflammation, weight loss and maintaining blood sugar balance. Professor Patrice Cani, of the Catholic University of Leuvenin Belgium, said: ‘This study demonstrated the abundance of A. muciniphila decreased in obese and type 2 diabetic mice. ‘In summary this study provides substantial insight into the intricate mechanisms of A. muciniphila regulation of the cross-talk between the host and gut microbiota. ‘These results also provide a rationale for the development of a treatment that uses this human mucus coloniser for the prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic...

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How to live a healthy life

How to live a healthy life

In the fast paced world that we live in it can be easy to neglect our health and wellness. We’re so busy racing through our day to day lives that we don’t take the time to look after ourselves. It’s no wonder that so many of us are tired and run down. The following simple tips can help you learn how to live a healthy life. Drink Drink Drink You’ve heard it a million times and you’ll probably hear it a million more   drink more water! Think about it: The human body is 72% water. A 5% drop in fluids creates a 25-30% loss in energy. Unfortunately most of us aren’t drinking enough water, and so aren’t hydrated enough to begin with before things like air pollution, bad food and stress take their toll on our health. It’s not really a difficult thing to remedy. Just drink one glass of water every half hour or so or 10-12 glasses of water per day and you’ll notice a huge jump in your energy levels. Living Food   Loving Life! A little known fact is that heating food above 47.7°C destroys much of the nutrient content. Considering that we already aren’t eating enough veggies, which is a fairly substantial problem. Nutritionists recommend five servings of fresh vegetables per day. How many of us are actually taking that advice? A great way to get the nutrients found in fresh veggies without spending all day at stove or eating raw celery sticks is to juice your veggies. Make sure that you own a good juicer (some juicers expose vegetables to heat created by friction during juicing, which breaks down important enzymes), grab some fresh vegetables and drink your way to good health. It takes a fraction of the time (there’s no cooking involved, for one thing) and it’s convenient. You can take your juice to work and even give some to the littlies for school lunches! Wheatgrass in particular is an excellent source of nutrition. It’s high in chlorophyll (sometimes described as ‘plant blood’ because it closely resembles human red blood cell molecules) and has over 100 elements that the body needs. Fresh grains are another excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Energy In  ...

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Can Green Tea Lower Blood Sugar Levels?

Can Green Tea Lower Blood Sugar Levels?

Foods scientists at Penn State University in Pennsylvania have found that green tea could help to reduce spikes in blood glucose. These new findings could have a positive impact on the diets for people who have type-2 diabetes, and for people who are pre-diabetic. This could also benefit people who are on a weight-loss programme. The researchers concentrated on an antioxidant that is found in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate(EGCG). They found a significant reduction in blood glucose levels in mice that were fed EGCG with corn starch, compared to the mice that did not receive the antioxidant compound. Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences said, “The spike in blood glucose level is about 50 percent lower than the increase in the blood glucose level of mice that were not fed EGCG.” The dose of EGCG that was fed to the mice is equivalent to one and half cups of green tea for a human. The researchers found that EGCG was more effective when it was fed to the mice with the corn starch. For humans this means that green tea is more effective at lowering blood glucose levels when taken with a starchy food such as breads, bagels or rice. The researchers found that green tea and the starch would need to be consumed simultaneously. Green tea should be drunk with, not after a starchy meal for optimum benefit. These results indicate that green tea could help to reduce blood glucose levels in the morning, when starchy foods are usually eaten. The researchers also found that this compound found in green tea did not have a major impact on blood sugar levels when given with glucose or maltose. This indicates that for green tea to reduce blood glucose levels, it should be taken without sugar. Lambert said that the reason that blood sugar spikes reduced when the mice ate starch, but not the sugars, may be because of the way the body breaks down starch to sugar. A possible mode of action has been suggested by the researchers. Starch is broken down in the mouth and pancreas by the enzyme, alpha-amylase, into glucose and maltose. EGCG may work by preventing the enzymes ability to break down...

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Does sugar cause weight gain?

  According to a new book the obesity epidemic that is gaining pace may not be a simple case of over eating and a lack of exercise. In his new new book, Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, suggests a new theory on weight gain. The number of obese people has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The way we eat, and the foods we eat, have also changed quite dramatically during this time. We eat more processed foods, ready meals, and sugar consumption has also drastically increased over the last 50 years. Professor Lustig argues that the urge to overeat is not a sign of weakness. He has linked hormonal and endocrine defects with weight gain and obesity. In his book, Fat Chance, the professor suggests that the rise in obesity is due to the high concentrations of insulin in the blood and a resistance to the hormone, leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tell the brain that you have enough energy and to decrease appetite. Scientists believe there are two “hunger hormones”, leptin, which reduces appetite and gherlin, which increases appetite. Recent studies have found that obese people have an abundance of leptin (appetite reduction hormone). In theory they should have a lower appetite as they have high levels of leptin, but the studies have found that obese people are resistant to the effects of leptin. This leads to a hugely inflated appetite as the brain does not recognise that you are full. This is the theory behind Professor Lustig’s hypothesis. Professor Lustig and his team have found that sugar is the cause of leptin resistance. High sugar intake leads to a surge in the levels of insulin, which is released by the pancreas, to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Regular high sugar intake can eventually lead to insulin resistance (and type-2 diabetes). The professor believes that insulin resistance causes leptin resistance.  He has found that reducing insulin resistance can improve the communication of leptin to the brain. Reducing the amount of sugar can be the start of your weight loss programme, as you may have the added advantage of reducing appetite and food cravings. If you...

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Does Fruit Cause Weight Gain?

A new study has found a possible link between fructose intake and weight gain. The study compared the effect of glucose and fructose on the parts of the brain that regulate appetite. The results indicate that the ingestion of glucose produced feelings of satisfaction and fullness, whereas fructose produced no such feelings. So can fruit cause weight gain? This indicates that fructose doesn’t tell our brains when we are full, leading to over eating and possibly obesity. The study was conducted at Yale University School of Medicine on 20 healthy adult volunteers. The volunteers were given drinks containing high concentrations of fructose and glucose and had MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) sessions before and after consumption. The researchers were looking for changes in blood flow in the hypothalamus. The researchers found that there was a greater reduction in the blood flow in the hypothalamus after the glucose drink than the fructose drink. This raises a common debate about the effect of fructose on weight gain. Many studies have found that fructose can lead to weight gain as well as tooth decay in young children. Fructose is a simple sugar that is found in fruit, honey and corn syrup. It was once thought to be a safer option to sucrose (sugar), but recent findings have questioned this claim. One reason for the safe concerns may be the amount of fructose that we consume. Corn syrup, which is a high source of fructose, is found in most cereals, chocolate bars, cereal bars, cakes and snack bars. Even some so-called “healthy” snacks contain corn syrup. This high consumption of fructose has been linked with increase triglyceride levels, which can contribute to heart disease. This does not mean that we should stop eating fruit and vegetables. These natural foods provide us with a wide range of vitamins, fibre, protein and carbohydrates. We should however avoid or cut down on corn syrup, which is found in processed foods. We hope you found our article about “can fruit cause weight gain” useful, please let us know by rating it...

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Eat to Lose Weight

This may sound too good to be true, but eating more has been found to result in weight loss according to a recent study conducted at Harvard School of Public Health. The research was based on 12,000 people over a 20 year period.  The results showed that eating larger portions of healthy food can be more effective than diets that cut down on calories in helping you lose weight. The basis of these results were backed by Aine O’Connor, nutritional scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), who said that weight-loss does diets don’t necessarily mean tiny portions. She added that it’s all about the energy density of your diet. This is the number of calories the food has per gram. Aine O’Connor gave an example of a spaghetti Bolognese recipe. She said that by reducing the meat content, using half fat cheese and adding plenty of vegetables can reduce the energy density by half which means that you can eat twice as much for the same calories. This study is good news for those of us who enjoy food, but also need to lose a few extra pounds. Although the key part of this study highlights that we should be eating good quality food. This is another example that consuming plenty of vegetables rather than animal fats has many health benefits.  ...

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Quality over Quantity for Successful Weight Loss

Scientists have discovered that the quality of food that you eat, rather than the quantity of food has the biggest impact on successful weight loss. They also found that diet has a bigger influence on weight loss than exercise or sleep. The study was led by Professor Frank Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He said that the findings of this study underline the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight loss and obesity. The team of scientists found that the key to weight loss was not just based on focusing on calories. They recommended focusing on the quality of foods, especially carbohydrates. Other recommendations were: Cut out: potatoes, sweetened drinks, refined grains such as white bread, white rice, processed foods and cereals low in fibre. Eat more: fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, yoghurt. The results of this study are based on the results from three large-scale studies of US health workers, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Professor Frank Hu said: ‘These findings underscore the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight gain and obesity”. He also said that idea that there are no good or bad foods is a false myth. The studies monitored the health of more than 100,000 individuals for up to 20 years. All of the participants were initially free of chronic disease and were not obese. The participants gained an average of 3.35lbs, resulting in nearly 17lbs over the 20 year period. The scientists found that increased daily consumption of certain foods were associated with the largest amount of weight gain. These “bad” foods include sugary drinks and crisps. Certain foods actually lowered weight gain with increased consumption. These include nuts, vegetables, whole grains and fruits. As you might expect exercise also reduced weight gain, whilst alcohol consumption increased weight gain. Co-author of the study Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, from the Harvard School of Public Health said that on average an adult gains around one pound every year. He continued, ‘Because the weight gain is so gradual and occurs over many years, it has been difficult for scientists and for individuals themselves to...

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Can Exercise Help Prevent Diabetes?

Researchers have claimed that just one minute of exercise a day can help prevent diabetes. The researchers claim that performing short cycle sprints three times a week could be enough to prevent and possibly treat type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is usually associated with an increase in body weight, and more specifically an increase in fat around the waist line. In tye-2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but a much smaller amount. This results in the body having much higher amounts of sugar in the blood. This can lead to serious illnesses of the kidneys, heart and eyes. Type-2 diabetes is initially treated with modifications in diet followed by drug treatment. Diabetes is one the most common diseases in the UK, and accounts for a large bulk of the NHS budget. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent weight gain, and ultimately illnesses such as diabetes. Unfortunately most of the population fail to exercise enough, and are prone to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The study was conducted at the University of Bath, where volunteers were asked to perform two 20 second cycle sprints on exercise bikes, three times a week. Including a gentle warm and cool down, each session only lasted 10 minutes. The researchers found that after six weeks, the volunteers had a 28 per cent improvement in their insulin function. Dr Niels Vollard is leading the study and he said that our muscles use glycogen, which is stored in our muscles, as an energy source during exercise. He continued, “To restock these after exercise, the muscle needs to take up sugar from the blood. Dr Vollard added, “In inactive people there is less need for the muscles to do this, which can lead to poor sensitivity to insulin, high blood sugar levels, and eventually type-2 diabetes. “We already knew that very intense sprint training can improve insulin sensitivity but we wanted to see if the exercise sessions could be made easier and shorter.” Dr Vollaard said: “We know of no quicker and easier way of getting the muscles to use glycogen than with the short sprints we used in our study. “These sprints break down as much glycogen in 20 seconds...

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