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Posts Tagged "weight loss"

5:2 Fasting diet – It’s not just for weight loss

5:2 Fasting diet – It’s not just for weight loss

The 5:2 fasting diet is nothing new, but the mechanism of how this can benefit us has not always been clear, but new research has found that fasting diets may help people with diabetes and heart disease. The added benefit is weight loss. The diet is based on eating little or no food a few days a week, and has been found to be as beneficial as exercise or surgery for heart disease.  The fasting diet has also been found to improve blood pressure and research has indicated that it may even reverse type 2 diabetes. James Brown from Aston University led a team of researchers that evaluated various approaches to intermittent fasting in medical literature. They specifically looked for the effects of fasting on the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting involves alternating fasting or restricted calorie days, alternating with normal diet days. The fasting days can either be on alternate days or a few days each week.  Research has found that intermittent fasting days have been found to be more effective than calorie counting to lose weight. Clinical trials have found that 5:2 fasting can reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Fasting has also been found to improve sugar and fat levels in circulation. This diet is thought to be as effective as bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery), and it also improves pancreatic function. These findings are certainly not ground breaking or new. Intermittent fasting has been known to result in weight loss and reduce the incidence of diabetes in lab animals since the 1940’s. Recent studies have found that restricting calorie intake could reverse type 2 diabetes. “Intermittent fasting might achieve much of the benefit seen with bariatric surgery, but without the costs, restriction on numbers and risks associated with surgery,” according to lead author, James Brown. “Whether intermittent fasting can be used as a tool to prevent diabetes in those individuals at high risk or to prevent progression in those recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes remains a tantalising notion and we are currently in preparation for clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of this form of lifestyle intervention in various patient groups.” Animal studies have found that intermittent fasting has similar effects...

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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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Exercise Tips for Optimal Weight Loss

Lift heavier weights. What I suggest is that the weights workout should be vigorous, with the number of repetitions kept at the low tomedium end of the scale between 8 and 12 RM. To remind you, the RM is the repetition maximum, which means the most weight you can lift forthis number of reps before fatigue. The 8-12 is within a range thatshould provide strength and bigger muscle growth, which is calledhypertrophy. If you go higher than this, say 15 to 20 repetitions to a set, or more, you are getting into the range where you would probably be better off doing cardio because the return on effort, the energy burn, is better spent jogging, cycling, stepping or rowing. At that number of repetitions you won’t build much muscle either, so very high-repetition training with weights has minimum value in my view. Do aerobic exercise. Considering how much energy you would use in an hour of either type of exercise, weights or cardio, you must do some consistent aerobic or cardio work to burn fat. Try high-intensity cardio. High-intensity exercise, even if only in short bursts, may rev up the metabolism and get that fat mobilized in the post-exercise period. Do some high intensity as well, but don’t overdo it, because burning the fat is a long-term project and you don’t want to get ‘burnt out’. A group exercise program such as a solid cycle spin class might match this requirement. In fact, I highly recommend group cycle spin classes where you are encouraged to go fast, yet with the option to slow down if you need...

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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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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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Weight Loss Supplements: Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body turn fat into energy. This amino acid helps to move fat that lives outside the cells inside the cells, where it is used for burning to produce energy. Due to this property, it is not surprising that carnitine has become a popular weight loss and sports supplement. Carnitine is required to carry long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (part of the cell which is required for energy production), so that they can be metabolised into energy. Carnitine is an important supplement for the heart as this organ uses fatty acids as a source of energy. This amino acid is not considered to be essential, as it is produced in the body, although a number of conditions can lead to a deficiency. A deficiency in carnitine can occur when there is a lack of the amino acids lysine and methionine in the diet. People who are lacking in vitamin B6, C and iron are also likely to be deficient in carnintine. Recent studies have found that carnitine is important in converting stored body fat into energy, reducing angina attacks, improving heart health, lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining liver health. Carnitine deficiency has been related to a number of heart conditions including angina, arrhythmia and heart failure. This amino acid may also benefit general heart health by reducing the build up of fatty acids. These fats build up within the cell and bloodstream as triglycerides and cholesterol. Supplementing with carnitine can greatly reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, while improving the ratio between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels is an important factor in preventing heart disease. Carnitine also promotes the antioxidant action of vitamins C and E. It can therefore be used as part of an anti-ageing programme alongside these vitamins.  Carnitine can be obtained from food, but mainly from meats, and other animal sources. It is not found in vegetable protein. Vegetarians are therefore likely to be deficient in this amino acid. The typical daily dose of carnitine (available as l-carnitine) is between 500-1000mg. This should be taken on an empty stomach for maximum benefit. Please consult your doctor if you are...

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Weight Loss Supplements: Chromium

Chromium is a naturally occurring trace mineral that has gained popularity as a slimming and sports supplement. This mineral is essential for the break-down of carbohydrates and fats. Chromium is also thought to work by increasing the action of insulin, which helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Many vitamin companies promote chromium as a weight loss supplement, by claiming it can suppress appetite, increase metabolism and burn body fat. These claims have been tested in many trials, and the results have been mixed. Some studies have reported significant weight loss, whereas other studies have reported no change in body weight. A sensible approach would be to combine supplementation with a good diet and regular exercise. An area where chromium may be of benefit is in supporting the pancreas and prevention of type 2 diabetes. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas usually produces enough insulin, but the body cannot use the insulin effectively. Insulin is important for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. If there is insufficient insulin in the body, the blood sugar levels rise, and can lead to diabetes. Chromium may prevent this by supporting the pancreas and allowing the body to use insulin more effectively. This mineral may also help to break down fats and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. These claims have not been confirmed as more evidence is required. Chromium is found naturally in many foods: Whole grain cereals Whole grain bread Potatoes Brewers Yeast Broccoli Nuts Seafood Chromium supplements are usually available in 200mcg capsules. This is the recommended dose for a weight-loss programme or to improve the utilisation of insulin. This dose will require a supplement as this amount will be hard to achieve through diet alone. Chromium should be taken with or after food, as this helps its absorption.  This mineral is also better absorbed when taken with Vitamin C (or a glass of orange juice). Calcium supplement s can reduce the absorption of chromium, so should not be taken together. We hope you found our article on Chromium as a weight loss supplement useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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