Category Archives: Flat-Belly Foods

How to lose belly fat and maintain a healthy weight with honey


by Carolanne Wright 

(NaturalNews) Believe it or not, the holiday season is almost upon us – and with it, the usual overindulgence and weight gain. But we can take action to offset the damage. Armed with a simple daily detox drink and metabolism-boosting remedies, we can keep our waistlines in check and ensure all the festivities won’t dampen health.

Effortless weight management

Honey lemon detox

Many have heard of the famous detox with lemon juice and honey that is making the rounds over the Internet. There’s a good reason the recipe is such a phenomenal success: it’s easy and it works. Even using a scaled-down version of the cleanse is beneficial for enhancing metabolism. Each morning upon waking, drink eight ounces of warm water with two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. With this daily ritual, the liver is given a supportive, cleansing boost. And when the liver is functioning properly, we can sustain a healthy weight more easily.

Cinnamon with honey

As simple as it may sound, drinking a mug of warm cinnamon tea with honey is one of the best ways to balance blood sugar, spur metabolism and shed excess weight. Since abdominal fat is sensitive to the compounds in cinnamon, it’s an ideal choice if you need to slim down in this region. To make the tea, dissolve half a teaspoon of organic, ground cinnamon in a cup of boiling water. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Next, stir in one teaspoon of honey and enjoy immediately. For optimal results, practice this habit first thing in the morning and away from food.

Hibernation Diet

Who would have guessed that consuming honey before bedtime could melt away body fat while you sleep? According to British pharmacist Mike McInnes and his son Stuart, a nutritionist, the Hibernation Diet does just that. The duo believe that, when the liver is properly fueled with glycogen in the evening, recovery hormones can do their job during sleep – thereby speeding up metabolism and reducing fat-encouraging stress hormones. Woman’s Day magazine notes that, if you suffer from any of the following symptoms, your liver may not be properly primed with glycogen:

  • Acid reflux
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Waking to urinate
  • Dry throat in the morning
  • Night cramps and/or sweats
  • Early morning nausea and weakness
  • Exhausted upon waking


The Hibernation Diet recommends ingesting a spoonful or two of pure honey before bedtime to rev up fat utilization, soothe stress response and support nighttime muscle and tissue regeneration.

Gingered honey

Ginger tea in itself is a tremendous metabolism booster, but when combined with honey, it offers a potent elixir for efficient digestion. Drinking a glass of the tea with a teaspoon of honey twenty minutes before a meal will encourage stable blood sugar, optimum digestion and, in turn, favorable calorie utilization and fat burning. To make the tea, peel and grate a one inch chunk of fresh, organic ginger and simmer (covered) in two cups of water. Transfer to a mug and let cool until just warm. Dissolve one teaspoon of honey into the brew and drink promptly. Make sure to consume the grated ginger too for utmost benefit.

Although honey is an astoundingly versatile and beneficial food, it’s important to use discrimination when purchasing. Use only the highest quality honey – namely, one that is organic and raw with honeycomb, royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis included. Manuka honey is another excellent option, as it boasts remarkable healing properties.

Sources:

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://wakeup-world.com

http://womansday.ninemsn.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.mindbodygreen.com

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

by Yanjun 


(NaturalNews) Diabetes is a disorder wherein the body cannot control its level of blood glucose or sugar. While many of the foods today contain high levels of diabetes-inducing sugar, there are ten amazingly healthy foods that can actually prevent diabetes from developing. Not only do these foods control blood sugar levels, but they are also packed with other nutrients and minerals that even those who do not have diabetes will benefit greatly from.

Preventing Diabetes through Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle of exercise to maintain a normal weight is a sure-fire way to prevent diabetes type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This is according to research as well as diabetes educators from the Healthcare and Education for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Christine Tobin, the president of Healthcare and Education for the ADA, said that, while there are a whole list of foods that can be considered as “superfoods” in terms of diabetes-prevention, her association recognizes the top ten of these foods that can help those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These foods contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. These foods are also rich in fiber, which helps in suppressing cravings by keeping the blood sugar and the glycemic index low for longer periods. On top of that, these foods also control blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, keeping them at healthy levels.

These are all very important to those with diabetes, but even normal people can benefit from these foods too:

  • Beans

Black, pinto, navy, kidney or other beans might be high in calories, but they are also rich in fiber and other nutrients. Rich in fiber means that they will help people feel full for longer periods.

  • Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, kale and others are not only high in nutrients but also low in carbohydrates. Greens are also very low in calories, so people can eat as much of them as they as want!

  • Citruses

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are good for the heart because of their high content of vitamin C. Whole fruits are better than juices, since the fruit contains the fiber, which slows down the body’s absorption of sugar.

  • Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are better than other types of potatoes, because they have a low glycemic index. This means that sweet potatoes will not cause blood sugar levels to spike. They are also high in vitamin A.

  • Berries

Fresh, whole strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and any other variants are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Add fresh berries into salads or cereal, or make into smoothies.

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are low in calories too. They can be served in a variety of ways, as side dishes, mixed in salads and soups or as a base sauce for casseroles or stews. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins E and C and iron.

  • Fish

Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring and halibut are all rich in omega-3, a kind of fatty acid that strengthens the heart and prevents diabetes. The best way to enjoy these fishes and their benefits is to serve them broiled or in soups. Frying them in batter and breading defeats the purpose.

  • Whole Grains

Oatmeal, pearled barley and other whole grain products, like bread and pasta, all contain high amounts of fiber. They also contain essential nutrients like chromium, magnesium, omega-3 and folate.

  • Nuts

Nuts are high in omega-3 and other good fatty acids. These kinds of fats protect and help the heart rather than burden it. However, one should not eat too much, as they are high in calories. A small handful, or roughly 1.5 ounces, is enough for a healthy snack.

  • Fat-Free Yogurt and Milk

Both are rich in calcium and vitamin D and are also good choices to help keep cravings under control.

It is quite easy to lose control and to splurge on food, but a good choice would be to splurge on these ten healthy foods rather than on sweets like chocolate.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.helpguide.org

http://health.usnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

20 foods for a flat stomach

by Yanjun 

(NaturalNews) A flat stomach is a quest that has remained elusive for many people all over the world. Dieters often shy away from food to keep their slim figures. Food experts, however, have discovered several foods that actually help flatten the stomach.

These 20 foods help burn the fat away to reveal a sexy, flat tummy:

  • Green Tea

Green tea stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. Drinking it daily aids in weight loss.

  • Olive Oil

Olive oil has many benefits, but the main benefit is that it lowers LDL cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol – and raises HDL cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol. It is also rich in phenol, an antioxidant that protects the walls of the arteries from cholesterol or fatty buildup.

  • Lemon

Weight-watchers should reduce their intake of sugar, and that means soda pop, alcohol and most bottled or canned fruit drinks. Try drinking lemon water instead. It is refreshing and bursting with vitamin C as well.

  • Chicken

This white meat is more meat and less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon can prevent diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. While it is packed with antioxidants, cinnamon can also prevent bloating.

  • Green Chai Tea

Chai tea is full of flavor from the spices but without the guilty calories. Homemade chai will also give healthier milk choices, and the addition of green tea will speed up the body’s metabolic rate.

  • Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a great refreshing and crunchy snack. They are satisfying and low in calories.

  • Bran

Cereal is high in calories. Replacing it with bran will not only cut the excess calories but will also increase the body’s supply of fiber.

  • Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in protein, with three quarters of a cup serving 9 grams of it. Not only that, but yogurt is also rich in B vitamins and bone-strengthening calcium.

  • Legumes

Legumes are a generally nutritious food packed with protein, B vitamins, potassium, iron and other trace minerals. Legumes are also a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps control optimum blood cholesterol levels. Legumes are ideal for dieters, since it is heavy on the stomach and controls cravings by controlling the body’s levels of blood glucose.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties.

  • Quinoa

This whole grain is a wonderful alternative to other grains. Rich in protein, fiber, copper, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese.

  • Pears

Pears are incredibly rich in fiber, so much that a medium-sized pear can give 20% of a person’s daily need. The juicy flesh contains soluble fiber and pectin, which lowers the “bad” cholesterol previously mentioned.

  • Dark Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate more frequently results in a lower body mass index, according to studies. As an added bonus, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, too.

  • Berries

Juicy, succulent berries are rich in fiber and vitamins. They are also home to some of the most powerful antioxidants in foods, which helps protect the heart and eyes and helps fight off cancer.

  • Leeks

Leeks are rich in manganese, which is an essential mineral that was found to prevent mood swings and menstrual cramps in women who took high amounts of it regularly. Not only that, leeks also help prevent and relieve bloating.

  • Salmon

Salmons of all kinds are rich in heart-friendly omega-3, as well as vitamin D. Bones in canned or processed salmon are also rich in calcium.

  • Miso

Miso has probiotics that aid in digestion and keep the colon and intestinal walls healthy.

  • Eggs

Research by the Rochester Center for Obesity found that those who regularly eat eggs for breakfast tend to take in less calories throughout the day – by around 400 or more. This translates to at least three pounds less in weight in a month.

  • Greens

Leafy green vegetables contain carotenoids, which prevent degenerative eye disease. Spinach alone is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Greens are also rich in magnesium, potassium and folate, which lowers blood pressure.

These foods are great, not just because they aid in weight loss and burning fat, but also because they strengthen the body in many ways.

Sources for this article include:


http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.self.com

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Six foods for a happy belly

by PF Louis 

(NaturalNews) What is a happy belly? Well, an unhappy belly will produce flatulence, bloating, nausea, cramps, and so called heartburn. You should be able to digest foods without any hassles, providing you don’t overeat. That’s a happy belly.

Considering that digestion begins in the mouth, it’s wise to chew your food thoroughly. In addition to reducing the food into smaller, easier to digest pieces, the saliva from chewing produces more digestive enzymes early in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

It’s also important to take your time and relax while eating. Rushed eating while stressed or hassled in any way will result in digestive stress that can create a very unhappy belly while depriving you of the food’s nutritional value.

Foods and beverages to help your belly’s happiness

As usual, organic food sources are the best choices. If you can purchase reliably clean raw milk for milk kefir, do so. Always use purified fluoride-free water.

Reverse osmosis is the best accessible system. Stations are available for filling containers in larger food markets. Make sure to re-mineralize with sea salt or some other mineral solution.

(1) Fermented foods provide probiotics that aid digestion and more. Having an intestinal flora microbial balance of 80 percent to 20 percent healthy bacteria to pathogenic bacteria is vital for even more than good digestion. It’s an important part of our immune system.

Without a well balanced intestinal flora stocked heavily with an abundance of healthy bacteria, Candida overgrowth is given a nice breeding ground. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

Fermented foods include sauerkraut, yogurt (unflavored and unsweetened) kimchi, miso, pickles, and tempeh or fermented soy, which is the only soy that’s consumable without digestive issues.

You can always add good honey or maple syrup to plain yogurts. Yes, you can make your own sauerkraut. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034788_sauerkraut_probiotics_recipes.html)

If you can get a good sourdough bread baked with sprouted grains without using bromide, that’s good for making your belly happy too. Sourdough is fermented. Sprouted grains reduce gluten’s harmful effects. Bromides block the enzyme that helps your thyroid produce adequate hormones for metabolism.

(2) Probiotic beverages can be as potent as some probiotic supplements, and a lot cheaper. Kombucha is a popular item that offers the same probiotic potential as fermented foods. Even more powerful are water and milk kefirs. You need starter grains specific to either purified water or milk, best to find raw milk.

Then you can make your own. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036419_probiotics_immunity_bacteria.html)

A woman who cured her really bad case of colitis with milk kefir showed this author how to make it. She didn’t even use raw milk, which is recommended. Here’s a good source for milk kefir starter grains with excellent instructions. (http://kefirlady.com/)

There are also several DIY kefir YouTube videos online.

(3) Prebiotic foods are essential for helping the healthy bacteria from probiotics flourish. They don’t contain healthy probiotic bacteria, but they provide the food energy to help probiotics maintain a GI tract stronghold.

Bananas, berries, artichokes, garlic, honey, legumes (beans) and whole grains such as brown rice are good prebiotic food sources.

(4) Apple cider vinegar is regarded as an excellent digestive aid by many alternative practitioners and nutritionists, but not so much by MDs and mainstream dieticians.

Us an apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized or filtered for best results. Before each meal, one or two tablespoons downed in a half glass of water can be beneficial. Water with meals should be room temperature for optimum digestion.

(5) When your stomach becomes unhappy, stay away from the Tums and try something healthier. Ginger root is one such choice. Only a few dare chew on a ginger root. It’s usually converted into a tea by peeling the root and cutting it into thin slices.

Make enough thin slices to cover the bottom of a pan, fill the pan with good non-fluoridated water from reverse osmosis. Simmer for 30 minutes after boiling. It can be refrigerated for several days. Ginger has been known to remedy queasy or cramping stomachs, and it’s good for general inflammation as well.

(6)The king of natural GI tract and stomach disorders is Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice needs to be shopped wisely. The cheap adulterated ones with preservatives or pasteurized stuff won’t cut it. Get only pure, whole unpasteurized aloe vera juice. Yes it’s pricier, but worth it.

Stomach ulcer sufferers swear by it. There have been many, many reports of Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease sufferers curing themselves with aloe vera juice, as well as some experiencing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

With a disease as intense as Celiac, Crohn’s or IBS, it takes several days to a few weeks of daily use to get results. (http://www.naturalnews.com/021858_aloe_vera_gel.html#ixzz25fIbagIM)

Pure aloe vera juice has many, many other curative capabilities and health benefits. It has been clinically tested successfully on AIDS and cancer patients. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034738_aloe_vera_cancer_AIDS.html)

Foods that are good–and bad–for your heart

By Robert Davis, Published: February 6

If you’re trying to eat a heart-healthy diet, figuring out what to believe can be overwhelming. The advice we get on everything from eggs to olive oil is often confusing and maddeningly contradictory.
Ironically, this growing confusion comes at a time when scientists who study nutrition know more than ever. Too often, though, we hear about only the latest study (which may be poorly designed) or research that’s cherry-picked to support an agenda. That’s like seeing one or two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and trying to determine what the entire picture is.
To know what the science really shows, it pays to look at all the evidence, assigning greater weight to studies that are more rigorous. In many cases, this can give us a reliable indication of what’s really good or bad. Based on a thorough review of research, here’s what’s believable — and what’s not — regarding some familiar claims about heart health.
Nuts are good for your heart
True. Once regarded as high-fat nutritional villains to be avoided at all costs, nuts are now touted as a health food that can ward off heart disease. And perhaps rightly so. Several large cohort studies (the type in which people are asked about their dietary habits and then followed for years or decades) have consistently found lower odds of heart disease and heart-related deaths among nut eaters, regardless of sex, age, location or occupation.
These findings are bolstered by results from clinical trials demonstrating that nuts lower LDL cholesterol levels, the kind associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Nuts also appear to decrease inflammation in arteries, which may contribute to heart attacks.
So which nuts are best for you? If you listen to producers of walnuts, almonds or peanuts (which, technically, aren’t nuts but legumes), each will tell you that its nut is superior because of some ingredient it contains. The truth is that it’s impossible to say which is best because no one has done a head-to-head comparison.
All nuts are relatively high in unsaturated fats, which are thought to be good for the heart. And all nuts are relatively high in calories, so it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes. About a handful a day is enough to reap health benefits. It may even promote weight loss by helping you feel full. But going nuts and overindulging can lead to extra pounds.
Oats lower cholesterol
TRUE. Oats contain a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which is also found in barley. It’s thought to lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body. Bile acids are made from cholesterol, so when the body has to deploy more of its cholesterol to help replace the eliminated bile acids, there’s less of it in the blood.
The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that assesses the evidence for various treatments, conducted an analysis in which it pooled results from eight randomized studies involving people with elevated cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. Subjects assigned to eat oat cereal every day lowered their total and LDL cholesterol levels seven or eight points more than those on a diet of refined grains. The studies lasted only four to eight weeks, so we don’t know about long-term effects.
To see a benefit, you need three grams of beta-glucan a day, which you can get from 1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal, three cups of instant oatmeal or three cups of Cheerios. Unfortunately, oatmeal cookies don’t count.
Fish oil protects your heart
True. Decades ago, scientists discovered that Greenland Eskimos rarely died from heart disease despite a diet high in fat from fish. Researchers theorized that the fish fat was somehow protective, an idea that subsequent research has largely supported.
Several cohort studies show that people who regularly eat fish are less likely to die of heart disease than those who don’t eat fish. Randomized trials involving heart attack survivors have found that subjects given fish oil supplements were less likely to die of heart disease than those who didn’t take the capsules. And in a randomized study of people with high cholesterol, participants who took fish oil had fewer heart attacks and deaths from heart disease.
The key ingredients appear to be the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are found in most fish but especially in oily ones such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and tuna. Studies suggest that these fats may help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, prevent abnormal rhythms and lower blood fats known as triglycerides.
While the evidence of benefits is strong for people who have heart disease or are at high risk for it, it’s less clear whether fish oil wards off heart attacks in those at low risk. Still, it seems reasonable to follow the American Heart Association’s recommendation and eat oily fish at least twice a week. People with heart disease are advised to get twice as much, or 1,000 milligrams per day of EPA and DHA combined.
Eggs cause heart disease
False. Researchers have conducted a number of long-term cohort studies on eggs and heart disease, which have collectively followed several hundred thousand people. In general, the research has exonerated eggs: Eating up to six a week was not associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart attacks and strokes).
So how can this be if egg yolks are high in cholesterol? Most of our cholesterol is made by the liver, which ramps up production when we eat saturated and trans fats. But cholesterol from food appears to have little impact on most people’s cholesterol levels. And in people it does affect — so- called hyper-responders — studies show there can be an increase in good (HDL) cholesterol along with the bad kind, which helps offset any increased risk. Further, dietary cholestrerol may also result in larger LDL particles, which are thought to pose less of a threat than smaller ones.
Eggs are relatively low in saturated fat, and they contain unsaturated fats, which may be beneficial. Plus, they’re a good source of protein and several vitamins and minerals. They can be a healthful and more filling alternative to high-calorie muffins, bagels and sugary cereals.
Olive oil is the most healthful oil
False. Olive oil is often singled out as an especially heart-healthy vegetable oil because it’s high in monounsaturated fat. But it’s also lower in polyunsaturated fat than other oils. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered good fats that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Which of these fats is better for us is unclear. Some research suggests that polyunsaturated fats may have an edge when it comes to lowering LDL cholesterol, while monounsaturated fats may result in higher HDL cholesterol. One analysis called it a draw, concluding that replacing saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat has an equally beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Another found that substituting monounsaturated for saturated fat was associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, while polyunsaturated fat was linked to lower odds.
While these results aren’t necessarily an indictment of olive oil, they poke holes in the notion that its high levels of monounsaturated fat make olive oil more healthful.
Another theory is that olive oil antioxidants known as polyphenols make it more healthful than its rivals. Research suggests that virgin and extra-virgin oils, which are high in polyphenols, may be more heart-healthy than refined olive oil. But the evidence is preliminary and doesn’t shed much light on how virgin olive oils stack up against non-olive oils. The upshot is that other oils, such as canola, may be just as healthful as olive oil, possibly more so.
Coffee is bad
False. Cohort studies, which followed tens of thousands of people for many years, have found that coffee drinkers have no greater risk of heart attacks or strokes than those who abstain; indeed, they appear to have a slightly lower risk. Though coffee can temporarily increase blood pressure, there’s little evidence that it causes hypertension. Coffee drinkers appear to live just as long as abstainers, maybe even slightly longer.
One possible reason for the apparent benefits is that coffee is rich in antioxidants. Though some studies have found that as many as six cups a day are associated with benefits, that’s more than health authorities recommend because of the potential side effects of caffeine, which include insomnia, jitters and stomach upset. For many people, the biggest health risk from coffee is weight gain. Though a cup of black coffee has only two calories, that number can rise dramatically if you add cream and sugar or drink blended beverages, which can have several hundred calories.
Margarine is better than butter
Half-true. Margarine, which is made from vegetable oils, is lower in saturated fat than butter. But the process of converting those oils into solids can result in trans fats, which may be even more hazardous to the heart than the saturated kind.
Cohort studies have found that people who eat the most margarine have a higher risk of heart disease than those who use it only rarely. In other studies, researchers had subjects eat various types of spreads and then measured the effects on cholesterol levels. Compared with butter, margarine lowered LDL cholesterol, but it also reduced HDL, the good kind. The big loser in this face-off was stick margarine, which fared worse than butter. Semiliquid margarine, on the other hand, proved to have a more beneficial effect on cholesterol levels than butter.
Manufacturers have introduced some margarines that are low in saturated fat and virtually free of trans fat. That makes them a better option than butter. Still, margarine isn’t exactly a health food. Nor is butter. Your best bet is to minimize your use of both margarine and butter, going instead with healthful vegetable oils whenever possible.
Chocolate is good for your heart
Half-true. Cocoa, a main ingredient in chocolate, is high in antioxidants known as flavanols, which are also found in red wine, tea and certain fruits. Though the evidence overall is mixed, some cohort studies have linked high flavanol intake with lower rates of heart-related deaths. Generally, dark chocolate is higher than milk chocolate in flavanols.
Small, short-term experiments — many of them funded by the chocolate industry — show that chocolate (especially the dark variety) can lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function, reduce inflammation in arteries and make blood less likely to clot. Even though it’s relatively high in saturated fat, studies show that chocolate doesn’t raise LDL cholesterol and may even lower it. One reason may be that some of the fat is a type known as stearic acid, which doesn’t adversely affect cholesterol levels.
Several European cohort studies of elderly men, middle-aged adults and heart attack survivors have linked greater chocolate and cocoa intake to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and premature death. But since the chocolate consumed in Europe tends to contain higher levels of cocoa than the chocolate typically eaten in the United States, it’s unclear whether the findings apply to American chocolate eaters.
Many chocolate trials have fed subjects 31 / ounces a day. To get that amount, you’d need to eat two or more standard-size candy bars, which add as many as 500 calories and lots of extra pounds. That’s hardly a formula for better health. Nor is consuming the large amounts of sugar that are typically added to chocolate. Look for products that list cocoa or chocolate liquor — and not sugar — as the first ingredient.


Reprinted from “Coffee Is Good for You” by Robert J. Davis, PhD, by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright 2012 by Robert J. Davis, PhD, MPH. Davis teaches health communications at Emory Unversity’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Wikio

Magnificent Magnesium

Magnificent Magnesium

Magnificent Magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral for those looking to build a better body.
Now that’s one heck of an understatement. It’s not unlike saying that the quarterback is an important position on a football team or that Lindsay Lohan isn’t an ideal role model for young women.
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, many of which are directly related to muscle function and protein synthesis. Yet most Americans don’t get anywhere near enough magnesium, and the problem is amplified in hard training athletes and muscleheads.
To make matters worse, magnesium is slowly disappearing from the modern diet. Industrial agriculture and food processing methods literally strip magnesium and other valuable minerals right from our food supply, making it harder to consume enough nutrients from even a seemingly “healthy,” varied diet.
So what can we do about it? First, let’s take a closer look at why magnesium is so critically important.

Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D…And Atherosclerosis?

As stated, magnesium has many essential roles in human biochemistry. For one, magnesium deficiency is associated with hypoparathyroidism and low vitamin D production.
Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to disrupted bone metabolism. However, in several animal trials, supplementing with magnesium even inhibited the development of atherosclerosis!

Insulin Sensitivity

Magnificent Magnesium
Magnesium is known as the mineral of glucose control as it’s closely associated with insulin sensitivity, and a low intake has been linked with the development of type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, rat studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can mostly prevent diabetes.
Interestingly, high blood glucose and insulin levels seem to reduce magnesium status even more. It seemingly creates a vicious cycle where low magnesium levels lead to poor glucose control and insulin sensitivity, which again lowers magnesium status.
In healthy volunteers, those following a low-magnesium diet for only four weeks reduced their insulin sensitivity by 25%, suggesting that magnesium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance.
Magnesium supplementation in particular has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects, both diabetics and non-diabetic alike. Let’s take a look at a few of these studies.

  • A 16-week trial with type 2 diabetics found that magnesium supplementation improved fasting glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and HbA1c levels (a form of hemoglobin which is measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time). HbA1c levels were improved by 22%, which is an incredible number. That would take a diabetic with an HbA1c level of 8% (not good) down to 6.2% (very good) in only four months.
  • A recent study showed that magnesium supplementation, even when levels are normal, could have positive benefits. Six months of magnesium supplementation in obese people who were insulin sensitive and had normal blood levels of magnesium led to further improved insulin sensitivity, as well as a 7% improvement in fasting glucose levels.
  • A study on magnesium supplementation in insulin resistant but non-diabetic volunteers who had low blood levels of magnesium showed incredible results after only 16 weeks. Participants reduced their insulin resistance by 43% and fasting insulin by 32%, suggesting that their magnesium deficiency may have been one of the main reasons why they were insulin resistant in the first place.

Magnesium supplementation also improved subjects’ blood lipids. Total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides were all decreased, while HDL increased. The triglyceride improvement (of 39%!) makes the most sense, as improved glucose control will keep the liver from cranking out more TG’s, but the rest of the improvement is remarkable, too.

What About Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease?

Recent reviews have concluded that magnesium deficiency can lead to increased LDL levels, endothelial dysfunction, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, and constriction of coronary arteries (decreasing oxygen and nutrients to the heart). Well, that doesn’t sound all that appealing.
Magnesium supplementation and repletion has been shown to decrease LDL levels (as well as improve the other blood lipids), restore endothelial dysfunction in people with coronary artery disease, and decrease inflammation.

Enough Already! Where Do I Get Me Some Magnesium?

Magnificent Magnesium
The best sources of magnesium are fish, nuts, seeds, beans, leafy greens, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables. In particular, salmon, halibut, spinach, almonds, cashews, potatoes, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and brown rice are all good whole sources of this precious mineral.
It’s important to note that magnesium content is dependent on soil quality, so buying most of these foods from organic or sustainable farms might provide you with greater levels of dietary magnesium. While this argument is still considered speculative, there is no dispute that conventionally grown foods are being raised in depleted soils. You can’t expect to grow nutrient-rich food from nutrient-stripped soil, so it might be worth the cost to go organic or sustainable.
It should also be noted that foods like whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are also rich sources of phytic acid. Phytic acid may provide some independent health benefits, but it’s also an anti-nutrient that binds to magnesium (among other nutrients), preventing its absorption.
Historically, healthy non-industrial cultures that consumed significant amounts of grains also soaked or fermented them. This process would greatly decrease the phytic acid content while increasing nutrient bioavailability and improving digestibility. They might not have known why it worked; they just knew it did work.
For this reason, I recommend most of your grains be sprouted (like Ezekiel products) to reduce (but not eliminate) phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. It would also be a good idea to soak your beans for at least 24 hours, as well as roasting or buying roasted nuts, as these preparation methods may reduce phytic acid as well.
Finally, a very simple, convenient, not to mention effective option is simply to buy a high quality magnesium supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Minerals. One serving of EliteproTM contains 400mg of highly absorbable magnesium glycinate chelate, along with zinc, selenium, chromium, and vanadium, key minerals for blood sugar management, protein synthesis, and hormonal status.
Taking EliteproTM once a day along with choosing as many organic magnesium-rich whole foods as you can comfortably afford would be a near foolproof strategy.

Conclusion

Magnesium is, well, kind of a big deal. It’s vital for proper bone metabolism, vitamin D metabolism, parathyroid function, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance as well as proper blood lipid levels and prevention of atherosclerosis, not to mention cardiovascular disease. It even helps you chill out after a stressful day and sleep like a baby.
But we also know that most Americans don’t consume enough magnesium, and that the industrialization of our food production has further decreased levels of this critical mineral. While consuming a diet based on real, whole, minimally processed foods should provide you with adequate levels, a high-quality mineral supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Mineral Support makes things a whole lot easier.
Consuming foods rich in magnesium along with proper supplementation will ensure adequate levels and provide you with more health benefits than you could possibly remember.
Or maybe you could? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was discovered that magnesium assisted in memory and cognitive function.

References

Ford E, Mokdad A. Dietary Magnesium Intake in a National Sample of U.S. Adults. J. Nutr. 133:2879-2882, September 2003
Zofková I, Kancheva RL. The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar;8(1):77-84.
B T Altura, et al. Magnesium dietary intake modulates blood lipid levels and atherogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 March; 87(5): 1840–1844.
Cohen H, et al. Atherogenesis inhibition induced by magnesium-chloride fortification of drinking water. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002 Winter;90(1-3):251-9.
Bo Ma, et al. Dairy, Magnesium, and Calcium Intake in Relation to Insulin Sensitivity: Approaches to Modeling a Dose-dependent Association. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2006 Sept;164(5):449-458
Huerta MG, et al. Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance in obese children. Diabetes Care. 2005 May;28(5):1175-81.
Song Y, et al. Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):59-65.
Lopez-Ridaura R, et al. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):134-40.
Balon TW, et al. Magnesium supplementation reduces development of diabetes in a rat model of spontaneous NIDDM. Am J Physiol. 1995 Oct;269(4 Pt 1):E745-52.
Nadler JL, et al. Magnesium deficiency produces insulin resistance and increased thromboxane synthesis. Hypertension. 1993 Jun;21(6 Pt 2):1024-9.
Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1147-52.
Mooren FC, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects – a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2011 Mar;13(3):281-4.
Guerrero-Romero F, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Diabetes Metab. 2004 Jun;30(3):253-8.
Chakraborti S, et al. Protective role of magnesium in cardiovascular diseases: a review. Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):163-79.
Maier JA. Low magnesium and atherosclerosis: an evidence-based link. Mol Aspects Med. 2003 Feb-Jun;24(1-3):137-46.
Bohn T, et al. Phytic acid added to white-wheat bread inhibits fractional apparent magnesium absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Mar;79(3):418-23.

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>Train More or Eat Less?

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What’s the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

The Decision

If your goal is fat loss, then there’s going to come a time when you have to make a decision: How much more am I going to diet? How much cardio or extra exercise am I going to do? Which is better?
Typically, there are four basic strategies when it comes to getting ripped:

Strategy #1: Drugs

Most of us aren’t going to go this route, nor do we need to, but I have to mention it because it’s a method commonly used by professional bodybuilders.
I was reading an old bodybuilding interview from the Tom Platz era where the competitor said, “Oh, you really don’t need a lot of cardio.” I’m thinking, well, you didn’t, dude!
But if you’re not artificially elevating your basal metabolic rate, jacking around with lots of thyroid meds, clenbuterol etc., then at some point you have to bring cardio into the equation.

Strategy #2: Cardio

There are two basic types here: the non-panting, semi-fasted variety that I’ve written about before and high-intensity work like sprints and intervals. These can be used in conjunction with each other or independently depending on your state of training.

Strategy #3: Food Restriction

Sure, this is obviously part of any diet plan, but you can only push it so far.
There’s a miniature literature review here on the site that outlines how far one can go while avoiding “starvation mode” (metabolic slow-down) by sticking to just moderate kcal restrictions.

Strategy #4: More Weight Training

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Although we don’t think about it often, a longer weight-training workout does lead to extra calorie expenditure, some derived from fat oxidation.
We shouldn’t forget that hitting the iron itself increases subcutaneous abdominal fat breakdown and “burning.” (Ormsbee, et al. 2009) If you’re going to try to avoid cardio, your only other options are more volume, finishing work, or accessory work during your regular training session.
Of these four strategies, two get the most attention: cardio and diet. So let’s take a look at each and establish some guidelines.

Calories: How Low is Too Low?

You’ve heard this applied to other topics, and it’s true for calorie intake as well: “You can only go so far to the left before you’ve got to go back to the right.”
How many calories can you get away with before your metabolism really slows down and you go into starvation mode?
Starvation mode is something you have to avoid at all costs. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is about 65 or 70% of all the calories you put out every day. So when you slow that down, even a cardio workout that burns 400 calories may just be making up for a depressed BMR.
In the classic underfeeding studies in the 60’s and 70’s, college-aged men were fed 3500 calories per day, then dropped to only 450 per day. These poor guys experienced up to a 45% drop in BMR in a single month. (Bray, G., 1969)
That’s true starvation mode: their bodies were trying to keep from dying, their metabolisms were “panicking” and slowing down because it was assumed they were in the middle of a famine.
When you do a literature review, the magnitude of reduction becomes fairly clear: somewhere around 600 or 700 calories intake is about as far as I’d want to initially go.
What’s maintenance intake? It’s about 3000 kcal per day in a typical (non-lifter) college male. (Borel, M., et al 1984)
Okay, so if the average college male needs 3000 calories per day, the first step might be to drop to 2400. That’s definitely below maintenance for any adult male who’s lifting weights.
That may be the first stage. I don’t think it’s a good idea to jump right into a very aggressive diet. You probably aren’t relying on lots of drugs, so you really have tiptoe here – or at least show some respect. Ease calories down in a more controlled manner rather than going from a full-on mass phase to a crazy-strict 1600 calorie diet.
Hormones change fairly quickly in response to eating patterns. As my old endocrine professor said, “When it comes to hormones, you have to nudge the body.” You don’t force it, because then homeostatic mechanisms kick in and make you pay the price tenfold.
It’s not that painful to get down to a 2400 calorie intake. If you do something practical like cut the carbs out of your dinner and stop drinking calories (other than protein shakes and peri-workout drinks), you can get there easily. Just cut out the obvious junk food and 2400 is an easy mark to hit.
Do that for the first month or so. After the first month, you’re used to eating clean: no more junk, a lower carb dinner, etc. Then, in a month or two, continue the negative calorie balance with some cardio rather than dropping calorie intake again right way.
I like the non-panting morning variety (walking on a treadmill) because it doesn’t overtrain you. You’re not crossing any stress hormone thresholds. That said, you could do some high-intensity interval work after your weight-training workout if that’s your preference. I’ve been known to switch to this when I really needed the extra hour of sleep the prior morning (making pre-breakfast cardio impossible).
But frankly, I usually don’t have anything left in me after the weights. When I hear people say they do “lots of interval work” after their regular workouts, I worry that they’re not going to achieve their best muscular gains. That can be easily overdone: you’re dividing your body’s resources – half into the weights and half into the constant aerobics training. Not good.
Although controversial due to methodological differences, sub-optimal training responses have been well-documented in spaceflight, military, and other studies. (Carrithers, J. et al. 2007; Docherty & Sporer 2000; Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; Dudley & Djamil, 1985; Santtila, M., et al. 2009.)
Now, at bodybuilding shows, I hear my fellow competitors talk about how they quickly reduce calories to very low levels, then stay there for 12 weeks. Well, in open competitions, when the competitor is on lots of “gas,” he can do that. I can’t, so I try to coax the body fat off with a 20-week diet that starts “easy” and gets more aggressive toward the end. This is not only metabolically smarter, it’s psychologically better – for me at any rate. It builds momentum.
During the first month, I just cut down the calories moderately. (Sometimes I’ll do some very limited interval work on the bike just to set the stage for the following month.) The second month I add in regular non-panting cardio, keeping calories the same. With the pre-breakfast style cardio that I do, I usually drain off 400 more calories.
So if you’re eating 2400 kcal per day, you’re now down to 2000 in a sense because you’re “bleeding off” another 400 with the extra work. Now you’re in a calorie deficit through a combination of dietary manipulation and cardio.
If it doesn’t ask you, it’s going to assume you’re a 150-pound dude. If you’re not, then you’re burning far more calories than it tells you.
That’s still no guarantee that it’s accurate. Those consoles on the cardio machines are just glorified calculators, not portable metabolic carts, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

The Exercise Factor

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Remember, exercise is not just anti-eating. Exercise builds structures like capillaries and mitochondria. In other words, exercise builds your fat-burning machinery.
Let’s say your maintenance level is 3000 calories per day. After a month or so of easing calories down, you drop 600 calories, then spend another 400 calories on cardio several days a week. Now you’re 1000 calories sub-maintenance.
Now is when you have to start making decisions based on your results and individual needs. You’re eating less and doing more cardio – you’re pushing it pretty hard. At this point, I’d suggest a couple of things:
First, if you feel like the diet is really easy, maybe you can restrict down again food-wise. You take it down to 2000 calories of food per day if you’re not already there.
Second, if you’re already having a tough time with diet, the flipside is to add more calorie output in some way with physical activity. If you’re already doing the fasted morning stuff, maybe you try some HIIT after a weight-training workout, or vice-versa. If you can’t do both because of your schedule, you can start adding sets in the gym.
Once you’re 1000 calories below maintenance, you really have to decide whether you’re fresh enough to do this physically or dietarily. It’s a subjective call. If this is coming at the end of month two or during month three of your cutting phase, and you find yourself having a tough time sleeping, getting head colds, upper respiratory tract infections, or cold sores, you’re probably overtraining.
There’s a clear link between your immune system taking a hit and overreaching. Your body could be saying, “Listen, I’m struggling here. Enough with the extra exercise volume!”
Use this to decide where you’re going next. If my motivation to train was humming along at 6’s and 7’s and now it’s routinely a 3 or a 4, I’m burning myself out. Now I know not to add any more cardio or sets in the weight room.
I do the same thing with hunger. This is where experience plays a roll: Is it “munchies” calling, or is it truedepletion? There’s being “empty and weak” and then there’s “wishing you had a bag of chips.” The latter is just your love handles calling. The former may be your muscles calling, so go ahead and feed them a little.

The 1200 to 1600 Calorie Rule

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

As a rule of thumb, most authorities will tell you – rightly – to never go below 1200 calories a day. But frankly, that’s usually for smaller women or for those who aren’t physically active. Why 1200? Because you can’t possibly get all the nutrients you need from a variety of foods with a ceiling below that!
For college men, I’d never go below 1600 calories per day, and then only temporarily. That’s ridiculously low, especially if you’re already doing cardio as part of your plan.
Right now I’m two weeks from a bodybuilding show, in strict contest prep mode, and I’m sitting at 1600-1800 cals. Let me tell you, it’s not even fun right now! I’m just trying to hold myself together. The little nagging injuries are starting to accumulate. (Then again, I’m 42, with lots of mileage on this chassis.)
In any case, if you’re strung out and under-eating, you may start cramping and getting little injuries that just don’t go away. This is especially obvious to the older, more experienced lifter. That’s because you’re eating so little that your tissues just aren’t turning over.
Let’s say you’re well into a diet, say month four (weeks 13-16 out of 20). You’re at a rock-bottom 1600 kcal per day and doing cardio. First, realize that this isn’t sustainable. You should have a target date where the diet is “finished.” Now, consider NEPA.

The NEPA Factor

One of then things I have people do is buy a pedometer that measures steps taken per day. First, get some baseline data of how many steps you take when you’re eating well – your normal diet. Let’s say you’re walking around getting a good 8000 steps per day.
But now, months deep into your diet, you look down and you’re getting 4000 or 5000 steps per day. You’re moving around less in part because you have less thyroid and leptin. You’re less energized. You’re sluggish. Your body is trying to conserve energy.
This decreased NEPA (Non-Exercise Physical Activity) is yet another factor to keep in mind. It’s one more thing you can “ballpark” measure.
I don’t think people really understand NEPA. Most of us are closer to sedentary than we think, even if we go to the gym and do our cardio. To achieve “very active” status in one of those formulas that determines your calorie needs, you have to have a manual labor job, then go work out, then go dancing all night!
Most of us fall into the middle of the NEPA category: light to sedentary work but with intense recreational exertion. Overall, this may be considered “moderately active” in one of those dietary software programs. That’s where I fall as a bodybuilding college professor.

The Supplement Edge

If you’re afraid that your BMR is slowing, consider supplements. Caffeine will boost it by about 10%, and so will Spike® Energy Drink or Hot-Rox® Extreme. Plus, good ol’ water helps with thermogeniesis. (Boschmann, M., et al. 2003) So you may want to swig down your supplements with plentiful, cold H20.

So What Have We Learned?

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Exercise results in a small magnitude of body weight change, but it’s long in duration (lasting). In other words, for those who start to exercise but don’t touch their diets, they’ll have modest results, but those results will last forever if they keep exercising.
Diet is the opposite. Dietary changes tend to be dramatic. You can lose 10, 20, 30 pounds, but it’s not long term, especially if it’s not accompanied by training. The long term success rate of restrictive stand-alone diets is dismal (perhaps about 5%) over eight years.
This illustrates why it’s important to do both: exercise and eat right. You can take small steps and increase one but not the other, or you can do both at the same time, intelligently, for faster results.
How much exercise is too much? If you experience lack of motivation and are getting sick or injured, you’ve already gone too far. As a best guess for most people, two hours a day is the top-end. That could be an hour in the morning and an hour at night.
Ectomorphic people, who tend to be thinner and more angular, may only be able to get away with 90 to 120 minutes per day.
Very robust endomorphs or mesomorphs, those who genetically carry more fat and muscle, may be able to get away with 2.5 hours of exercise per day.
For calorie restriction, 1600 calories is rock-bottom for the average T NATION reader. My advice is to take your time getting to that level, then have a targeted end date. I like 20-week diets.
Remember, you can’t keep cranking the diet knob and lowering calories forever. Instead, switch gears: do extra sets, add cardio, or add supplements.

References and Further Reading

1. Borel M., et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1984 Dec;40(6):1264-72.
2. Boschmann, M., et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015-9.
3. Bray, G. Lancet 1969; 2:397.
4. Carrithers, J., et al Aviat Space Environ Med. 2007 May;78(5):457-62.
5. Docherty, D. and Sporer, B. Sports Med. 2000 Dec;30(6):385-94.
6. Dolezal, B. and Potteiger, J. J Appl Physiol. 1998 Aug;85(2):695-700
7. Dudley, G. and Djamil, R. J Appl Physiol. 1985 Nov;59(5):1446-51.
8. Ormsbee, M., et al. J Appl Physiol. 2009 May;106(5):1529-37.
9. Santtila, M., et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jul;23(4):1300-8.

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>Lean Belly Countdown: Men’s Health.com

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Countdown to a Lean BellyBy: Travis Stork, M.D.
How did they do it? That’s the first question anyone asks when they see a friend or colleague who’s lost a lot of weight, or remade their body into a healthier, leaner version. How did they do it?

Well, it’s no mystery. In fact, one of the most important and intriguing studies ever conducted was put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 2006. This is our tax dollars at work, and I’d say we got our money’s worth.

The pages of the study—its catchy title is “Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Adults Successful at Weight Loss Maintenance”—take all the world’s weight-loss theories and compare them to what works for real people in the real world. It looked at people who won the fat war by losing at least 30 pounds and then keeping the weight off using strategies that will work for you, too.

Keep in mind: It wasn’t a 100 percent success story. The CDC studied 2,124 people, and only 587 of them actually lost the weight and kept it off. But those who succeeded used many of the same strategies, the strategies outlined here.

And for even more ways to revolutionize your diet and get lean for good, check out The Lean Belly Prescription by Dr. Travis Stork. It’s filled with simple strategies that will help you lose weight the same way you gained it: By making easy lifestyle choices that will transform your life—for the better.

Lean-Belly Strategy #1
Pay Attention to What You Eat
Mindless eating is excessive eating. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts discovered that people who watched TV while they ate consumed nearly 300 more calories than those who dined without an eye on the tube. You need to pay attention to the messages your stomach is sending to your brain; if the TV is blaring, you won’t see the “slow” and “stop” signs.

Lean-Belly Strategy #2
Slow Down
Fast eaters become fat people. If you consciously stop to take a breath between bites, you can cut your food (and calorie) intake by 10 percent, according to researchers at the University of Rhode Island. Special bonus: You can do this in social situations—Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Marge’s—and nobody will even notice. That is, until you show up next year minus 20 pounds of flab.

Lean-Belly Strategy #3
I Said Slow Down!
It takes 20 minutes for the news that you’ve had enough to eat to travel from your gut to your brain. The reason: Hormones that trigger the “I’m full—stop!” sensation are at the end of your digestive tract, and it takes a while for digested food to reach there. If your mouth is filled with conversation, it won’t be so full of food. Talk more between bites, and weigh less when the conversation/meal is over.

Lean-Belly Strategy #4
Beware the “Healthy” Menu
If you order the stuff that’s supposed to be good for you, you’re likely to underestimate a meal’s calorie total by more than a third, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The restaurants know that; now you do, too. So be especially aware when ordering “healthy,” and make sure you have a “to go” box handy to carry leftovers home.

Lean-Belly Strategy #5
Beware the Community Chest
Always serve snacks in a bowl or dish, and put away the packages. Never eat from the bag or container. That way you won’t ever eat an entire bag of something in a single sitting.

Lean-Belly Strategy #6
Beat Hunger with Your Mind
Have a craving even though you ate just an hour ago? Before you indulge your mystery hunger, here’s how to test whether your appetite is real or not: Imagine sitting down to a large, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will sound good, and you should eat. If the steak isn’t appetizing, it means your body isn’t actually hungry. You might be bored, or thirsty, or just tempted by something you don’t need. Try a change of scenery: Researchers at Flanders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings.

Lean-Belly Strategy #7
Redecorate, Repack, Remember
If you don’t have a countertop fruit bowl, buy one so you can grab a peach, banana, pear, or other piece of fruit on your way out the door in the morning, to munch on during your commute. (Plus, it’s fun to throw the core out the window.) Plan a 10 a.m. apple-a-day break. Toss an orange in your briefcase to help you past the mid-afternoon lull (otherwise known as Temptation Time). Make fruit part of your entourage, and it will beat up lesser foods.

Lean-Belly Strategy #8
If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Drink Them Instead
That’s right, you could have had a V8—as long as it was the low-sodium variety. It has pureed tomatoes, beets, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and watercress, and 8 ounces supplies two of your five recommended daily servings of vegetables. It also heats up nicely as a base for soups.

Lean-Belly Strategy #9
If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Hide Them in Your Pasta Sauce
And no, neither you nor the kids will notice. Using a fine grater on your food processor, grate 2 cups total of onions, garlic, carrots, beets, and zucchini (or any combo thereof), then sauté the microscopic vegetable bits in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 cups of basic marinara sauce and simmer to an anonymous tomato flavor.

Lean-Belly Strategy #10
If You’re Not Yet Drinking Smoothies, Why Not?
Have you read the label of your fruit juice? Lots of sugar (however “natural” it is) and not much fiber, which means it’s a carb bomb when it hits your bloodstream. Not so with a blended smoothie, because ingredient number one is whole fruit, making the sugar content drop and the fiber climb.

Two tips: Use frozen fruit; buy it by the bag in your store’s freezer section. And buy a wand mixer and a small pitcher so you can mix your smoothie in the same container you drink it from; it’s much easier than washing out a blender. Almost any fruit-and-berry combo will do, but you can start with this recipe: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana (peeled ones freeze well), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons whey powder (it’s in the supplements aisle in the grocery store), 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup water.

Lean-Belly Strategy #11
Buy Smaller Dishes
According to the food scientists at Cornell University, people tend to eat as much food as will fit on their plates. That’s where “duh!” overlaps with dangerous. Over the past 100 years, our plates have grown, decade by decade. And we also know that the nation’s obesity rates have grown exponentially in that time as well. No, it’s not a coincidence. If you dine off of smaller plates, you’ll grow smaller, too. Shoot for 9 inches in diameter, and you’ll be on your way.

Lean-Belly Strategy #12
Drink out of Skinny Glasses
As have gone dinner plates, so have gone drinking glasses. And if you fill the newly cavernous ones with any kind of sweetened beverage, you’ll overindulge in calories. But here’s a smart tip: We tend to gauge our drink sizes by how tall, not how stout, our drinking glasses are. So if you buy tall, skinny ones, you’ll think you’re drinking more even though you’re drinking less.

Lean-Belly Strategy #13
Never Eat from the Box, Carton, or Bag
Those same clever food scientists at Cornell did an experiment in which they gave one set of moviegoers giant boxes of stale popcorn and another set smaller boxes of stale popcorn. The big-box people ate more than the small-box people. The theory: You gauge the amount that’s “reasonable” to eat by the size of the container it’s in. Put two cookies on a plate, put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl, or lay out a small handful of potato chips on your plate, then put the container away; you’ll eat far less of the treat.

Lean-Belly Strategy #14
Limit the Fried Stuff
Fun fact: Fast-food burgers and chicken from KFC and McDonald’s are the most frequently requested meals on death row. It kinda makes sense. The inmates won’t be around to suffer the aftermath. Fried foods are packed with calories and salt, and that crunchy, oily coating beats down any nutritional qualities that whatever is entombed inside might have.

That said, eating one piece of fried chicken won’t be, um, a death sentence, if it’s surrounded on the plate by generous helpings of vegetables and you follow with fruit—not more fat—for dessert. What’s more, the fat in the chicken will help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the veggies.

Lean-Belly Strategy #15
Eat the Good Stuff
Make sure your diet is filled with healthy fats in the forms of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), fatty fruits (avocados), extra-virgin olive oil, eggs (among the healthiest foods known to humankind), and healthy-fat snacks (nuts are nutritional powerhouses and keep you feeling full). I even give bacon in moderation a green light; at only 70 calories per strip, it carries big flavor and belly-filling capabilities.

Lean-Belly Strategy #16
Wear Your Milk Mustache with Pride
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheeses all contain slow-to-digest protein and healthy fat, so they can be excellent belly fillers. And studies have suggested that the calcium in dairy products may aid weight loss. Make them part of your diet and you’ll find the cow elbowing aside lesser members of the food kingdom.

Lean-Belly Strategy #17
Eliminate Sweetened Beverages
If you’re going to follow only one piece of advice in this article, make it this one. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Drinks with added sugar account for nearly 450 calories per day in the average American’s diet. That’s more than twice as much as we were drinking 30 years ago. If you’re looking for a way to cut unnecessary daily calories to help you lose a pound a week, wean yourself from the overload of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages.

No, artificially sweetened sodas are not okay. Even if they have few calories or no calories, they maintain or increase your taste for highly sweetened foods, so you seek out the calorie payload elsewhere. Worse yet, they crowd out the healthy beverages. My prescription: Out with the bad, in with the great—in taste and nutrition.

Lean-Belly Strategy #19
Reduce Your Intake of Food Prepared Away From Home
When you let somebody else prepare your food—especially if it’s a teenager in a paper hat—you lose control over what you eat. And the fast-food companies, being what they are, encourage all of your worst eating habits by stuffing their products with crave-inducing ingredients like unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt. If you can stay out of the drive-thru, you can shrink your calorie intake every day.

Lean-Belly Strategy #20
Keep a Food Diary
Clearly, this weight-loss technique isn’t for everybody. It’s a hassle to write down every little thing you eat, day after day. But it’s strikingly effective for those who do it. My advice: Try it for a week so you can get a handle on how many sodas you drink and under what circumstances, when you’re most likely to veg out with a bowl of chips in front of the TV, and when your dessert cravings strike. That will help you identify your dietary danger zones and lead you to strategies that save pounds.

But it wasn’t just dietary changes that helped all those folks lose all that weight. Becoming active was another enormous factor in leading the successful losers into the promised land of the lean (but not hungry): exercising for 30 or more minutes per day, and adding physical activity to daily routines. Clearly, these are Lean Belly Prescription kind of people. And that provides a great segue to talking about the activities that these “successful losers” used to shed fat and keep it off .

Here’s why it’s so important to keep both healthy eating and exercise going as your one-two punch against belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that when people chose healthier foods and combined that benefi t with exercise, they torched 98 percent of their weight directly from their fat stores. People who changed their diets alone were much more likely to break down muscle for fuel, and that’s a big problem. Muscle is one of your prime metabolism boosters, so it will help you burn fat for up to 24 hours after a workout. So let’s tackle the activity list, and give you strategies to make the most of it.
Lean-Belly Strategy #21
Walk for Exercise
I consider that great news. Is there a simpler exercise than walking? Is there a better way to incorporate talking with friends and loved ones into your fitness plan? Is there anything else that gets you out among your neighbors at a pace that lets you say hello? And is there anything that makes your dog happier than your saying the magic word walk?

A study from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada (a lovely place for a walk, mind you) found that largely sedentary people who wore a pedometer for 12 weeks increased their total steps by 3,451 a day, to about 10,500. By walking more, they also lowered their resting heart rates, BMIs, and waist measurements. Once you start paying attention to footsteps, you’ll find ways to bank the extra strides. Thirty here, 300 there, 1,000 after dinner, and suddenly you’re walking away from your old weight. Why not start right now? The closer you pay attention, the more you’ll walk. And the more you walk, the greater the temptation will be to mix in an even bigger calorie burner: running.

Lean-Belly Strategy #22
Lift Weights
I suspect that for 81 percent of you, the picture that just flashed in your mind was of a no-neck Bulgarian weight lifter straining as he hoisted a steel beam over his head in the last Olympics. I know that isn’t you.

But you should still be taking advantage of the weight lifter’s advantage: Muscle is the all-night convenience store of fat burning—it never shuts down. Not only do you burn a ton of calories while you’re actually exercising, but there’s also a big afterburn effect that kicks in. Your body has to expend energy to cool you down and repair the small tears in muscle fibers that happen when you lift. (Don’t freak out. If you lift reasonable-size weights, you won’t tear muscles, you’ll just push the muscle fibers hard enough to make them grow.)
Lean-Belly Strategy #23
Exercise Regularly
Believe it or not, “none of the above” is a legitimate option when it comes to physical activity, because there’s nothing magical about running or weight lifting or even walking. They’re just the most common activities people choose in order to add more activity to their days. The only one that’s important to you is one that a) you enjoy, b) fits into your life well enough that you can do it most days, and c) allows you to up your energy expenditure.

You can do that by adding three 15-minute walks to your day or by scheduling 2-hour bike rides on weekends. Or simply by walking more, standing more, lifting more, and sitting less.

Just look at your whole day as an opportunity to make the smart choices that will help you lose weight and feel better. Achieve that, and where might you be next month? Or next year? Some place far better than where you are today!

Wikio

>15 Fired-Up Foods that Burn Away Pounds

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By: Brian Good
The shortcut to losing weight? Fast food. Not the kind the clown and the King try to shove down our throats, but rather, edible amphetamines-foods that act like speed for the fat-melting motor known as our metabolism. Eat these foods and you’re guaranteed to burn more calories…just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest.

Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle,” says Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech. But look at it this way: If you have a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, you will lose weight.

And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop listening to your stomach serenading you and actually begin exercising, too? The blubber-busting possibilities are endless. So grab a fork; it’s time to add fuel to the fire.

And for more great ways to and lose weight and stay slim for good, pick up a copy of The Men’s Health Diet today! It combines the latest findings in exercise and nutrition with practical how-to-advice that will transform your body into a fat-burning machine.
Milk, Whole Grain Cereal, Oats
Secret Ingredients: Calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber

How they work: Complex carbohydrates and fiber pump up metabolism by keeping insulin levels low after you eat. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. And in order to stockpile fat, your body has to slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, says Margaret McNurlan, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels, she says.

Besides helping to keep insulin production down, eating breakfast can also help stoke your daily calorie burn. When the U.S. Navy studied the metabolisms and eating habits of a group of its personnel, it found that eating breakfast helped raise the men’s metabolisms by as much as 10 percent. “By skipping meals, you slow down your metabolism and prime your body to store fat,” says McNurlan.

The calcium in milk is a metabolic trigger as well. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium.

Jalapenos, Habaneros, Cayennes
Secret Ingredient: Capsaicin—the chemical in peppers that gives them their bite

How it works: By speeding up your heart rate.

A study from the late ’80s found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, with the spike in calorie burning lasting for up to 3 hours after you finish eating. More recently, a study from Laval University in Quebec found that men who consumed coffee plus red pepper-packed snacks and meals were able to burn nearly 1,000 more calories a day than a control group.

Small snacks can also help keep your body from running out of fuel-preventing those 3 p.m. office blahs. “When you restrict the number of calories your body has for fuel, your metabolic rate can drop temporarily,” says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., chief of the energy-metabolism laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. That makes it easier to pack on the pounds and harder to burn them off again.

Green Tea, Coffee
Secret Ingredients: Caffeine and a chemical in the tea called EGCG

How they work: Caffeine helps speed up your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn. EGCG works in a similar way, but instead of revving up your heart, it causes your brain and nervous system to run more quickly-again helping you burn more calories.

In studies, researchers found that a combination of caffeine and a 90-mg dose of EGCG taken three times a day can help you burn an extra 80 calories a day. And that’s just when your body’s at rest. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of-guess what-your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during your workout.

Lean Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Secret Ingredient: Protein

How it works: It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat, according to Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, a nationally recognized pharmaceutical-research facility. “That means that the more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it, and the more calories you’ll burn in the process,” he says.

When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs. Even better, researchers in Denmark found that men who substituted protein for 20 percent of the carbs in their diets were able to boost their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.

Salmon, Tuna, Sardines
Secret Ingredient: Omega-3 fatty acids

How they work: By altering levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat more quickly than animals with higher leptin levels. The best way to lower your leptin? Eat fish.

Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes-one of which frequently ate fish and one of which didn’t-found that fish eaters had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the levels found in tribes that primarily ate vegetables.

The good news, if you don’t like fish: Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the stuff with scales. French researchers found that men who replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil were able to boost their metabolisms and lose an average of 2 pounds in just 12 weeks.

Wikio

6 Power Foods You Should Be Eating

By: Carolyn Kylstra
Some foods just aren’t taken seriously.

Consider celery, for example—forever the garnish, never the main meal. You might even downgrade it to bar fare, since the only stalks most guys eat are served alongside hot wings or immersed in Bloody Marys.

All of which is a shame, really. Besides being a perfect vehicle for peanut butter, this vegetable contains bone-beneficial silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids. And those aren’t even what makes celery so good for you.

You see, celery is just one of six underappreciated and undereaten foods that can instantly improve your diet. Make a place for them on your plate, and you’ll gain a new respect for the health benefits they bestow—from lowering blood pressure to fighting belly fat. And the best part? You’ll discover just how delicious health food can be.

Celery
This water-loaded vegetable has a rep for being all crunch and no nutrition. But ditch that mindset: Celery contains stealth nutrients that heal.

Why it’s healthy: “My patients who eat four sticks of celery a day have seen modest reductions in their blood pressure—about 6 points systolic and 3 points diastolic,” says Mark Houston, M. D., director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital, in Nashville. It’s possible that phytochemicals in celery, called phthalides, are responsible for this health boon. These compounds relax muscle tissue in artery walls and increase bloodflow, according to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. And beyond the benefits to your BP, celery also fills you up—with hardly any calories.

How to eat it: Try this low-carbohydrate, protein-packed recipe for a perfect snack any time of day.

In a bowl, mix a 4.5-ounce can of low-sodium tuna (rinsed and drained), 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup of finely chopped apple, 2 tablespoons of fat-free mayonnaise, and some fresh ground pepper. Then spoon the mixture into celery stalks. (Think tuna salad on a log.) Makes 2 servings

Per serving: 114 calories, 15 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber), 1 gram fat

Seaweed
While this algae is a popular health food in Japan, it rarely makes it into U. S. homes.

Why it’s healthy: There are four classes of seaweeds—green, brown, red, and blue-green—and they’re all packed with healthful nutrients. “Seaweeds are a great plant source of calcium,” says nutritionist Alan Aragon, M.S. They’re also loaded with potassium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood-pressure levels. “Low potassium and high sodium intake can cause high blood pressure,” Bowden says. “Most people know to limit sodium, but another way to combat the problem is to take in more potassium.”

How to eat it: In sushi, of course. You can also buy sheets of dried seaweed at Asian groceries, specialty health stores, or online at edenfoods.com. Use a coffee grinder to grind the sheets into a powder. Then use the powder as a healthy salt substitute that’s great for seasoning salads and soups.

Hemp Seeds
Despite the Cannabis classification, these seeds aren’t for smoking. But they may provide medicinal benefits.

Why they’re healthy: “Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph. D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut. What’s more, a 1-ounce serving of the seeds provides 11 grams of protein—but not the kind of incomplete protein found in most plant sources. Hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids, meaning the protein they contain is comparable to that found in meat, eggs, and dairy.

How to eat them: Toss 2 tablespoons of the seeds into your oatmeal or stir-fry. Or add them to your postworkout shake for an extra dose of muscle-building protein.

Scallops
Perhaps these mollusks are considered guilty by association, since they often appear in decadent restaurant meals that are overloaded with calories. (But then again, so does asparagus.)

Why they’re healthy: Scallops are more than 80 percent protein. “One 3-ounce serving provides 20 grams of protein and just 95 calories,” says Bowden. They’re also a good source of both magnesium and potassium. (Clams and oysters provide similar benefits.)

How to eat them: Sear the scallops: It’s a fast and easy way to prepare this seafood.

Purchase fresh, dry-packed scallops (not the “wet-packed” kind) and place them on a large plate or cookie sheet. While you preheat a skillet on medium high, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season the exposed sides with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. When the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil to it. Being careful not to overcrowd, lay the scallops in the skillet, seasoned-side down, and then season the top sides.

Sear the scallops until the bottoms are caramelized (about 2 minutes), and then flip them to sear for another 1 to 2 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Now they’re ready to eat. Pair the scallops with sauteed vegetables, or place them on a bed of brown rice.

Dark Meat
Sure, dark meat has more fat than white meat does, but have you ever considered what the actual difference is? Once you do, Thanksgiving won’t be the only time you “call the drumstick.”

Why it’s healthy: “The extra fat in dark turkey or chicken meat raises your levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel fuller, longer,” says Aragon. The benefit: You’ll be less likely to overeat in the hours that follow your meal. What about your cholesterol? Only a third of the fat in a turkey drumstick is the saturated kind, according to the USDA food database. (The other two-thirds are heart-healthy unsaturated fats.) What’s more, 86 percent of that saturated fat either has no impact on cholesterol, or raises HDL (good) cholesterol more than LDL (bad) cholesterol—a result that actually lowers your heart-disease risk.

As for calories, an ounce of dark turkey meat contains just 8 more calories than an ounce of white meat.

How to eat it: Just enjoy, but be conscious of your total portion sizes. A good rule of thumb: Limit yourself to 8 ounces or less at any one sitting, which provides up to 423 calories. Eat that with a big serving of vegetables, and you’ll have a flavorful fat-loss meal.

Lentils
It’s no surprise that these hearty legumes are good for you. But when was the last time you ate any?

Why they’re healthy: Boiled lentils have about 16 grams of belly-filling fiber in every cup. Cooked lentils also contain 27 percent more folate per cup than cooked spinach does. And if you eat colored lentils—black, orange, red—there are compounds in the seed hulls that contain disease-fighting antioxidants, says Raymond Glahn, Ph. D., a research physiologist with Cornell University.

How to eat them: Use lentils as a bed for chicken, fish, or beef—they make a great substitute for rice or pasta.

Pour 4 cups of chicken stock into a large pot. Add 1 cup of red or brown lentils and a half cup each of onion and carrot chunks, along with 3 teaspoons of minced garlic. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the lentils until they’re tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the lentils from the heat, add a splash of red-wine vinegar, and serve.

Wikio

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