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Healthy Eating Facts

Events That Led to The Obesity Crisis

The obesity crisis was not caused by a single factor. Unfortunately, like the perfect storm, many events come together in sequence to result in this  health emergency tidal wave;  Such is the #ObesityCrisis.

To date, the obesity crisis and our lack of understanding has destroyed the quality of life of millions of Americans.  The lack of:

  • Nutrition education – What the body needs and gets from different foods – energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients
  • Biological functions – How the body works to achieve homeostasis – energy balance.

This lack of knowledge makes it difficult to achieve a healthy weight for the long term.  Don’t take my word for it, review the scientific evidence of @KevinHall, PhD. Kevin is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK).  What is significant about Kevin is he is the Section Chief of Integrative Physiology Section, Laboratory of Biological Modeling.   @BonnieLiebman, MS is an author, and Director of Nutrition at the #CenterForScienceInThePublicInterest (CSPI).  Bonnie interviewed Kevin and published in the #NutritionActionHealthLetter (a publication of CSPI) – How Did We Get Here? July/August 2018 Volume 45 No. 6; pg. 3 – 5 print.

The Basic Science of Human Weight Management

Normally, 2 key hormones work against each other to control our weight:

  • Leptin (the starvation hormone) – Main function is long-term regulation of the body’s energy supply. Leptin signals the brain to stimulate or suppress appetite and alter the burn rate of stored energy. When we lose body, fat leptin stimulates appetite and reduces stored energy burn rate. Weight gain triggers the opposite series of events (eat less burn more).
  • Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) – signals the brain when to start and when to stop eating. It is released by the stomach, and other glands.  #LeptinVsGhrelin

The Calm Before the Storm (Before 1970):

  • Leptin and ghrelin went about their business of cooperating to control our body weight
  • Families ate at home more than at restaurants and at other eateries; additionally high food prices and family size prevented excessive eating
  • Families were more physically active (work & play – virtually no access to computers)

The Storm is Energized by Key Players (1970):

  • President Nixon became aware of complaints about the rising cost of food. Consequently, he directed the USDA to fix the problem.
  • The USDA initiated policy to subsidize farming to stimulate yield of basic foods like corn and soybeans.
  • The farmers subsequently increased the production of corn, soybean, and other crops. This caused a drop in the price of basic foods that became major ingredients in the processed food supply.
  • The manufacturers of processed foods employed food scientists, and engineers to develop ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup to enhance “Ultra-Processed” food products that were:
    • Great tasting – Food scientists are better cooks than mom and granny; they mastered the ideal combination of salt, sugar, fat, and flavor additives to increase flavor, (and unfortunately calories). This development triggered a super-normal appetite.  #BlissPoint
    • More Stable – The addition of extra salt, high-fructose corn syrup and other technologies helped foods last longer in unrefrigerated settings like store shelves and homes.
    • Cheaper – Consumers enjoyed more food at lower prices, and consequently began to eat more meals away from home.
    • More Convenient – Less cooking required. Heat and serve made busy lives more manageable.

 

  • Powerful Food Advertising That Target Children – Drove consumption of unhealthy foods high in carbs/sugar, salt, and fats resulting in consumers:
    • Eating the foods that are most profitable”. #WeightOfTheNation
    • Eating more at restaurants, and dining halls
    • Buying more heat and serve food products.
    • Snacking more on delicious high calorie food products
  • Physical activity continues to be inadequate in burn off the significant increase of calories consumed.

The Abyss of Overweight and Obesity

Overweight, and obesity  significantly increases the risk for preventable  illness, disability, and premature death:

  • 34 million people of all ages (9.4%) had diabetes in 2015
  • 1 million people (33.9%) were estimated to have prediabetes
  • 2 million suffered from cardiovascular disease – coronary heart disease, Stroke, heart attack, etc. in 2015. (CDC)
  • 40% of all cancers diagnosed are associated with overweight and obesity. (CDC)

What About Dieting, Exercising, and Wishing?

The casual observer may interpret Kevin Hall’s weight loss research as leptin and ghrelin appearing to have gone rogue. But, in actuality, these two hormones have not deviated from their mission:  To prevent our bodies from quickly losing weight. However, the super tasty and fragrant food products have given rise to our super-appetites.  To counter the weight gain brought on by our super-appetites, we continue trying a variety of weight loss programs.  Unfortunately, as we work to lose extra fat pounds, leptin and ghrelin work against our goals.  So, as our fat level drops, leptin level drops and ghrelin level rises. Also, leptin helps to decrease the rate at which we lose weight (burn fat;, pausing at the dreaded ‘plateau’Spoiler alert: Hunger is a tough sensation to ignore.

Kevin Hall’s experimentation and modeling revealed that, “when people were losing body fat weight, their appetites increased by about 45 calories per day (above baseline) for every pound of weight that they lost”. To make weight loss more difficult, leptin reduces the rate at which a person burns fat weight.

Again, Kevin cites that, “the number of calories that they were burning went down by between 10 and 15 calories per day for every pound of weight they lost”.  This means if you lost 10 pounds, the average person would burn 100 to 150 less calories per day. Keep in mind that burning 3500 calories equals 1 pound lost. It is going to take time to lose weight. Prepare your mind for this reality.

Climbing Out From the Abyss

Currently, there are no miracles for achieving persistent weight loss. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult for most mortals.  There are many suggestions, products, and practices on the internet that promise to help us easily lose weight.  Sadly, many of these plans are not based on scientific evidence. Consequently, most are doomed to failure, and may harm the individual. Search the WEB for ‘fen-Phen’ heart valve crisis.

Some uncontrollable factors that drive weight gain and obesity.

  • Genetics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Prescribed medications

But, for those of us who are lucky enough to carry excess fat weight that we can shed; must work at it (plan-do-measure-repeat). We must learn to eat differently for a lifetime.  We must sacrifice a little or a lot due to our eating traditions, habits, and the uncontrollable factors. Some of us must suffer to some degree, depending on our level of obesity.

Sustained self-managed weight loss requires persistent commitment that ranges from eating differently to experiencing gastric by-pass surgery and its potential complications. And, even then post-surgery patients must eat differently before and after the surgery or suffer consequences. We must understand that healthy eating requires that we provide our bodies all the macro and micronutrients it needs to function properly. #PortionControl #PrecisePortions.com

Failure to persist in losing excess weight [based on body mass index (BMI)] and keeping it off increases the risk of developing debilitating diseases like:

  • Type 2 diabetes (leading to cardiovascular disease)
  • High blood pressure (leading to stroke)
  • Types of cancers

To fight obesity, all of us who are committed to community health have a crucial role to play in empowering consumers to follow effective and sustainable weight loss strategies.  At the same time, consumers need to hold themselves responsible to attempt only evidence-based strategies to achieve self-managed weight control.

Let us all continue the conversation to help:

  • Alert public awareness to the forces driving #overeating and #obesity
  • Reduce the increasing rate of obesity in the USA, and the world

The Surprising Way Lighting Can Affect What You Eat

In the modern day, it’s no secret that eating out makes sticking to a diet harder. Despite the enormous portions served in restaurants, new research has now discovered that ambient lighting can in fact trick individuals, by paving the way to consume more.

The aforementioned study, published in The Journal of Marketing Research, was initiated by examining orders of 160 diners at 4 chain restaurants. It was found that nearly half the diners were seated in rooms which were dimly lit, while the other half was seated in well-lit surroundings. Researchers also found that the diners with low light ordered 39% more calories, whereas individuals in brighter surroundings were 16 – 24% more likely to pick healthy items from the menu such as grilled fish, white meat & veggies). The researchers replicated the aforementioned results with hundreds of college students in follow up experiments.

“The thing about brightness which paved the way to eat smarter is that people feel more alert in brighter rooms, which therefore leads to making more forward-thinking, healthful decisions”, explained Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D., lead author, in a press release.

Researchers also concluded that when a coffee placebo is offered or when individuals were simply requested to be more alert in diners in dimly lit rooms, people were as likely as their counterparts in well-lit rooms to make healthy food choices.

It was proposed that making healthy choices often relied on the brightness of one’s mental state than simply the brightness of the room, of course advising not to swear off candlelit dinners as yet.

The director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, co-author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., states that the best way to avoid overindulging is to make one’s self-feel more alert.

The aforementioned would mean taking a brisk walk before dinner time or for to receive an instant boost of energy, simply splashing water on face. As Wansink pointed out, mood lighting is not all bad and strategies like these might actually be desirable. Prior research conducted of his has discovered that individuals who have meals in darkened rooms enjoy food more, eat slower & overall consume less.

8 Powerful Habits to Naturally Slim Down!

Discover healthy tips your whole family can benefit from!

If you’re like a lot of Americans, there’s probably something about your diet that you’d like to change or improve. It could be late night snacking, or you miss breakfast too often, or fresh fruits and vegetables are like a foreign language. No matter how you’d like to eat healthier, it is possible with the healthy eating habits listed below.

We won’t be getting into all of the things not to do (as we know that you know the drill: reduce sugar, eat-this-not-that, add specific nutrients, and so on), but instead, you’ll be able to incorporate these fun, easy tips into your current diet, and they’re great for your whole family. Overtime, the healthier choices you make will far outnumber the treats you can still enjoy, helping you lose weight naturally.

1. Variety is Key.
Enjoy a vast array of foods throughout the day from the recommended food groups. And you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to ONLY eat these foods. Just start by adding one or two healthy choices a day, or a week, and that will pick up momentum to help you continue adding more and more.

2. Swap the Proteins.
Numerous studies have been performed and found that our bodies do benefit from protein. But, with that said, it’s best if you regularly change the types of protein you consume. Some nights choose lean meats, other nights enjoy fish. Not to mention nuts and nut butters on your morning toast will offer protein and fill you up!

3. Color Your Meals.
Make healthy eating for your kid’s fun by adding a rainbow of vegetables and fruits to most, if not all, of your meals and snacks throughout your day. A great way to add flavor, nutrients, and healthy carbohydrates.

4. Don’t Eliminate Anything!
Forget the diets of eliminating carbohydrates, fats, or whatever else it’s emphasizing. Enjoy regular foods but, simply watch your portions. Portion control can be a wonderful tool to losing weight andthen maintaining a healthy weight without losing foods you enjoy.

5. Eat Often.
Don’t skip any meal. Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day and this will help your metabolism regulate and become much more efficient. By enjoying regular-timed meals can also reduce those afternoon sugarcravings!

6. Get Hydrated.
Drink water often throughout your day. This helps your body rid itself of toxins, hydrates your entire body from the inside-out, and is also a great way to trick your body into thinking that it’s full if you’re trying to lose those few pesky pounds!

7. Increase Your Fiber.
Adding healthy fiber is vital to anyone’s health regime. Fiber helps regulate your body and even reduces risks of some diseases. Try adding more vegetables, such as potatoes, and wholegrains.

8. Make Any Change Slowly!
Diving into anything can set you up for instant failure. Instead, if you want to be successful at incorporating new eating habits, make one change per day, or even per week! Gradual changes are always easier to commit to so why not make it easy for you “win”? Add one fruit or vegetable a day could be a great place to start.

No matter if you’re trying to lose weight naturally, or boost your family’s health, or encourage your kids to eat healthier choices, remember that balance can also be a key factor. Cutting back on “junk”, or unhealthy high-fat or sugary-laden foods will offer you more room to begin adding healthier choices to your palette. You’ll benefit from better health and plenty of new-found energy!

And don’t forget to get your body moving! Do exercises you enjoy and you’re more likely to continue with it and see results. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, resistance training, and yoga are all terrific methods to get your body fitter and slimmer.

Melt Body Fat While You Reduce Inflammation!

Raw Turmeric

Discover the natural supplement that can really boost your health!

This superior supplement is probably inside your pantry right now. It targets your fat storage system to increase your body’s natural fat-burning abilities! And, if you’re one of the 50 million American’s that suffer from arthritis or inflammation of any degree, this spice can reduce your symptoms so you can get back to living a better quality life.

The do-it-all spice we’re talking about is turmeric. It’s in all the health and weight loss articles lately, and it’s no wonder: not only can it promote weight loss, but it also aids your body with loads of other health benefits like eliminating inflammation, improves memory, boosts energy, and even ramps up your sex drive!

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Dr. Mercola, a well-known best-selling author, has noted that studies have found this supplement to be an effective method of treatment for arthritis, swelling, and joint pain. He has also said that turmeric, “…is effective even in small quantities.”

Slim Down Naturally.

It has been found to have more than 650 active compounds, beneficial for your health, and over two dozen of them directly target inflammation. This yellow spice has a key nutrient, called curcumin which is a powerful fighter for inflammation which can also contribute to weight gain and other health issues including an irregular appetite, cravings, aches and stiffness, heart and blood sugar issues, poor memory, sleep issues, and so much more.

Researchers have found that by using curcumin regularly, can reduce the formation of fatty tissue, which basically means your body won’t be open to adding excess fat like it used to. They noted, “Our results clearly demonstrate that curcumin at the cellular and whole organism levels displays remarkable potential health benefits for prevention of obesity and associated metabolic disorders.”

It helps your fat cells respond properly to insulin, reducing insulin resistance that your body may have created over the years of consuming too many delicious carbs. And when your body utilizes insulin, it can digest food properly while maintaining healthier blood sugar levels, which are key to weight loss and a healthy weight maintenance.

Relieve Inflammation Caused by Diabetes.

If you, or someone you love, lives with diabetes, then you probably have experience the sometimes painful inflammation that can occur. The inflammation can have negative effects on diabetes management, as well as causing insulin resistance which is the primary reason of Type 2 diabetes.

As experts have found, turmeric is very powerful for relieving inflammation. It can be added to many meals, and when taking the time to pay attention to what you’re eating and how much, then your body will really respond faster!

Raw Turmeric

An easy method of controlling your healthy food intake is to utilize the popular diet plates for portion control. Now, you don’t have to have these special plates that help you eat proper portions as a “diet.” Even if you don’t have to slim down, they are superior for boosting your overall health from the inside-out by simply stabilizing your blood sugar levels, helping your body easily digest the food, and spike your energy levels so you can feel better all day long.

If you have diabetes, then you know that measuring your food consumption is vital to your success with managing symptoms. So diabetics can benefit from portion control plates as well with proven results of healthier eating, reducing health issues and symptoms, and boosting overall vitality.

Your Daily Dose.

Now, you are probably wondering exactly how much turmeric should you take in order to reap the fat-burning, anti-inflammatory benefits? Health professionals recommend taking 1,200-2,000mg, split into three times per day. You will also feel and see more benefits if you choose fewer carbs and more veggies. And of course, doing some form of regular exercise!

Here’s what turmeric can do for you:

  • Promote easy fat loss
  • Maintain lean muscle mass
  • Controls your appetite
  • Reduces water weight
  • Ease pain from inflammation and achy muscles
  • Diminish ageing signs like wrinkles
  • Improve cognitive functions
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improves sexual hormones
  • Ramp up your metabolism
  • Help support lean muscle
  • Increase your health, happiness, and confidence

Benefits of Tumeric

Image from Met First Living

In addition to a healthy diet and portion control plates for optimum benefits, by taking a daily dose of turmeric, whether you add it to your meals or in capsule form, you can expect to start feeling results within 2-3 weeks.

Stay healthy now!

9 healthy habits to have a great week

We spend long hours in traffic, at least 40 hours a week at work, many others taking charge of others. After leaving work we run to the grocery store and most of the time finding time for ourselves is practically impossible.
If it was a possibility to find time for yourself every day and at the same time strengthen healthy habits will you try?
To make your life easier we prepared this list of 9 healthy habits to have a great week:
1. Explore different ways to drink water throughout the day
Fill a bottle with water and add slices of the fruits you like, our favorites are strawberries, grapefruit, and cucumber. If you do it in the morning you will enjoy a light fruity flavor during the day will keep you hydrated. You will save money by not having to buy bottled water and avoid temptations to drink sugary drinks that are bad for your health.
2. Choose your snacks wisely
It is OK to have a couple of small snacks during the day, unfortunately, refreshments offered in schools and offices are usually high in sugar, refined flour, and saturated fats. Make smart choices instead choose a handful of nuts, a cheese stick or a piece of fruits that is easy to eat like an apple or banana.
3. Find local options
Look for farmer markets around you, they offer fresh choices, and you will a wide variety of options at reasonable prices. Fresh fruits, nuts, a small cup of freshly squeezed juice and many other options. Do not forget to practice moderation!
4. Use the stairs every day
Always use the stairs! If you think the benefit that you can provide is very small remember this the greatest benefit is obtained by the sum of all the small changes you make every day.
5. Exercise a bit during your downtime
If you are in line at the grocery store try to stand on your toes, squeeze your buttocks and hold the position for a second, repeat the exercise until your turn comes. If you’re stuck in traffic make circular motions with your wrists, stretch your neck muscles and align your spine.
6. Follow the rule not healthy, healthy
It is very simple, if you had a heavy lunch eat a very healthy dinner, if you ate sweet at breakfast balance your next meal. Each meal is a new beginning and if for some reason your lunch was a disaster there is always a new opportunity to eat healthy at the next meal.
7. Try something new
If haven’t try yoga take a class, if you feel that your coordination is poor go to Zumba. Try different activities, perhaps a painting class can help you reduce stress. Taking a walk to the park can boost your energy levels.
8. Watch the amount of sugar you eat
Limit your sugar intake, if you crave something sweet during the afternoon is probably because your body needs exercise. Set a realistic goal and improve it over time. If you can’t avoid eating something sweet eat a small portion and combine it with something healthy like a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds or a glass of skim milk.

9. Sleep better
Try to sleep at least seven hours a day. If you have trouble falling asleep drink a cup of herbal tea (free of caffeine and sugar) before going to bed. Scents like lavender oil can help too. Finally, AVOID USING YOUR SMARTPHONE 30 minutes before bedtime, this practice will help you relax.

Tools for Healthy Eating

A healthy lifestyle helps us fulfill our goals and objectives by successfully implementing our plans and coping with difficulties. Good health maintains strength which allows us to live a long and joyful life.

You must use every possible thing which might help you achieving or maintaining a good health. The present era is the era of science and technology. Getting the acquired information has never been so much easy. You can use various applications for this purpose. One of the most common mean is using the mobile applications for this purpose. A variety of fitness bracelets, “smart” watches and ordinary smart phones can help you calculating the calories and maintaining a diet plan that suits you. These applications also allow you to monitor your physical activity, nutrition and sleep.

There are various free as well as paid android applications which can be found on “Google Play Store” easily. A few good ones are

WebMD

Its useful tips on the basis of medical information are very useful.

There is an option of Healthy Target, a health program which helps maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It can be connected to WebMD fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, blood pressure monitor, blood glucose meter and other medical devices with a wireless interface.

In this case, WebMD will give advice in the context of the available data.

This application has built in health journal, healthy lifestyle tips, fun facts, motivational articles, quizzes and slideshows. In addition, there are handy guides for medical emergencies, from insect bites to fractures, tips on treatment, which can be read even without an internet connection.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is one of the most feature-rich applications to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It has a simple and easy calorie counter with a very large database of products, containing more than 4 million items. It has a very successful input system. MyFitnessPal is great for monitoring and guiding your nutrition and physical activity. The application can track the distance traveled, and calories burned.

FatSecret

It is a very advanced calorie counter with a lot of products with their calories. It has its own book of recipes and you can calculate the number of calories burned during training. It is an excellent app for weight loss.

Yummly

It contains recipes for proper nutrition. It is simple, beautiful and intuitive and a good assistant for healthy eating.

Lifesum

It is another calorie counter. Lifesum tells you how to take your daily diet and physical activity. This application will help you choosing the right food and getting rid of bad habits. It is a good choice for those who want to lose weight by controlling the diet with the help of high tech calorie counter.

Portioning Macronutrients: Fat

 

The critical importance of portioning macronutrients for overall health

Macronutrients – or “macros” for short – are the three critical energy sources in our food: carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. These three energy sources are digested and expended differently in our bodies, and understanding how to leverage the proper portions of these nutrients is critical to dietary success.

A macro that gets a very bad rap is fat. Some people believe that eating fat will make them fat; a logical conclusion given the name! Fortunately eating fat does not directly make you fat, and in fact it is critical for certain body processes, like brain development, hair, skin, and nail health, blood clotting, and inflammation prevention.

To determine the appropriate amount of fat for you, you should take stock of your overall caloric intake goals, as well as your activity level. A good guideline is 20 grams of fat per meal – or about 60 grams of fat per day. To make sure you’re getting the proper amount, use your thumb. For men, we recommend two thumb-sized portions of fat at each meal, and for women we recommend one thumb-sized portion per meal.

The most important thing to remember when consuming fats is what type of fat you’re eating. Fat, like carbohydrates, has some forms that are better than others. Non-animal fats are healthy, like olive or vegetable oil, soybeans, hummus, nuts, and seeds and are recommended for at least two of your fat portions daily. Another very beneficial fat comes from fatty fish – like salmon – and fish oil supplementation. It is important to limit your consumption of animal fats, particularly those in red meats, and saturated fat, like the fats found in lard, butter, cream, whole milk, cheese, and ice cream, as these fats can increase your risk for heart disease when consumed in excess.

March National Health Month

March National Health Month

 

This month has been a busy month for health awareness. As March is National Healthy Month, we have seen events such as the recently attended Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit in Washington D.C. featuring the First Lady, Michelle Obama and several other keynote speakers. If you happened to be in New York City’s Time Square on March 3rd, you would’ve seen a special reminder to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” in neon lights on an electronic billboard. American Diabetes Alert Day was also recognized this month, as a nation takes a stand against the ever growing epidemic of Adult and Childhood Diabetes.

Many organizations are reaching out to the public to offer healthy resources to make lifestyle changes and maintain a positive outlook to food and wellness. The Partnership for a Healthier America has invested a great amount of energy into rallying organizations to change the tides of obesity and diabetes. Other notable companies like Del Monte, Dannon, Birds Eye and others have helped support this nationwide campaign of health. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietics has launched a massive campaign to support a nutritional filled lifestyle.

What does this mean to you? There can be much chatter about a trending topic or popular issue, but that doesn’t necessarily mean actions follow. Through all of these organizations and campaigns, the heart is that the tides of imbalance and obesity would change. There are resources, ideas, tools, training and guides that are available- regardless of what class, weight, age, gender or location you are currently at/in. We want to stand with you in moving towards a healthy future, for our adults and children in America!

Here are some helpful tools and links to get you started;

Healthy Shopping

THE THING TO DO?

Learn to read labels.  Below is a sample of a food label.  It is not always as precise as this as each company varies as much as not every item can accommodate big labels.  But if you already learned how to use labels, especially the Nutrition Facts, with just the values you would know already without explanation.