Dieters Beware!

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Quick and Easy Weight Loss…Not so Fast

According to recent data (MarketResearch.com 2014), approximately a third of the U.S. population, over 100 million Americans are on a weight-loss “diet” at any given time. Americans spend billions of dollars each year desperately trying to lose weight, yet the ability to maintain results remains a mystery for most. One of the several reasons diets fail in the long run is due to an exponential explosion in advertising deception. Marketing campaigns professing their program (product or diet) is the “weight loss solution” for America. These claims are simply false, misleading and ambiguous. Not surprisingly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that over fifty percent of weight-loss advertisements make claims that lack scientific data supporting lasting results. As a consumer, you deserve to be aware of the marketing strategies being used against you before embarking on a program or investing in a product that may prove to be deceptive in the long run.

Deciphering Dubious Claims

Most weight loss “diets” have specific rules. Unfortunately, they vary from program to program. Do you cut calories, eliminate fat, reduce carbohydrates, eliminate dairy, increase protein, or select gluten free? Exercise at a high intensity, low intensity, lift weights or perform whole body training? It’s very confusing and the options are endless! To evaluate a nutritional product, exercise program or diet, look at the claims. If it transmits to one of these words or phrases, remain skeptical.

New Discovery                  Mysterious               Easy

Breakthrough                      Magical                    Exotic

Exclusive                              Miraculous               Effortless

Ancient Research             Amazing                   One of a Kind

Money Back                        No Risk                      Quick Start

 

Intro To The Schwarzbein Principle for Weight Loss

Sometime ago, I read a book by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville entitled “The Schwarzbein Principle – The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger.”  From my perspective, I found their material quite interesting and factual.  Much appreciated was an approach that did not suggest fad dieting, miracle pills, potions or weight loss gimmicks.  Just clean, healthy eating with real foods designed to decrease the metabolic aging process, balance hormonal response and improve overall sense of well-being.  Fast forward to 2013 and I have sense read many, many books advocating the basic guidelines presented by Dr. Schwarzbein and Nancy Deville in 1999.   The following are key elements to consider:

  1. To maintain hormonal balance, particularly insulin, and hunger control,  you don’t want to skip meals.  When you skip meals, a number of things can happen.  You can become mentally unfocused, tired, and blood sugar levels can drop. When they drop too low, a person may start to get light headed, dizzy, sick to their stomach and feel the urge to eat even more at their next meal.
  2. Try to eliminate the consumption of man-made, artificial, processed and packaged foods.  These items contain food substitutes, chemical compounds and preservatives that are not good for our bodies.
  3. Try to eat real foods in their most natural state (fresh fish, tofu, pasteurized milk, whole cottage cheese and yogurt, nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality protein, lean meats, eggs, flax seed oil, olive oil, 100% all natural nut butter or peanut butter, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables).  Real foods spell healthy food.  They provide our bodies with good nutrition for healthy living.
  4. Eat a variety of good fats, real foods, non-starchy vegetables and protein at each meal.  Note the phrase “at each meal.”  The combination will not only provide you with essential nutrients and productive enzymes, it will help to satisfy hunger between feeding.
  5. Avoid taking too many over-the-counter medications, drugs, excess stimulants and refined alcohol.  Many of these contain by-products which are filtered through the liver (hopefully) and stored as toxins in our fat cells.
  6. Exercise on a regular basis.  Regular varies from individual to individual.  For myself, I try to stay active on most days of the week.  Five to six is my personal exercise goal.  Two to three days/week is beneficial.  One to two days/week is better than no exercise at all.

Believe me, these simple steps can have a major impact on your health and well-being! If you live a fast-paced and busy lifestyle (eat most of your meals out side the home) try following the 80/20 rule.  Follow the steps eighty percent of the time, give yourself a break twenty percent of the time.  Enjoy life and be good to your body!

Understanding Food Labels

Understanding how to read a food label will help keep you abreast of wise food selections for yourself and your family.  For  consumers, it breaks down to an applicable knowledge on product packaging.  Digging deeper and looking at the nitty gritty of ingredients going into our bodies.  Mainly, the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and artificial flavorings that are hidden in products you buy.

For example, did you know that the label on a Kid Cuisine Fried Chicken Dinner says it is “88% fat free” but the actual fat amount is close to 50% of the fat a child should eat for the entire day?  Some labels list the percentage of fat in the product by weight rather than calories of fat per serving.  To find the calories of fat per serving, simply multiply the total grams of fat by 9.  Look at the total number of calories per serving compared to the total number of calories from fat.  If it is over 30%, buyer beware!

Real Fruit Additions.  Did you ever notice that the package on Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars say “made with real fruit” but the actual amount of fruit per bar is only 1/50 of an apple?  Any inclusion of fruit, no matter how much or how little, allows the manufacture to say it is “made with real fruit.”  I would rather buy something without fruit and add my own later.

Wheat and Whole Wheat.  Did you know that the words “wheat” or “whole wheat” on a label don’t guarantee the flour is whole grain?  Nabisco Whole Wheat Premium Plus Saltines, Nabisco Wheatsworth, Pepperidge Farm Hearty Wheat and similar “whole wheat” crackers all have more white flour than wheat flour.

Oat Bran.  Did you know that you would have to eat almost 28 bowls (over 3,000 calories) of Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal to get as much oat bran as you would in one bowl of hot, oat bran cereal?  The packaged name of a product does not necessarily justify the ingredients that are in the product.  Real oats are much healthier and less expensive than some of the top-brand, packaged cereals.

Beef Franks and Fat-Free Hot Dogs.  Did you know that a standard beef frank labeled 73% fat free has over 12 grams of fat and 130 calories per serving?  As a consumer, you might notice the label and automatically think “this beef frank must be ok – it’s low in fat”, right?  Once again, remember to look at the number of fat grams per serving.  In this case, 12 grams.  12 x 9 calories/gram = 108 fat calories in one beef frank with 130 calories.  The hot dog is really 83% fat.

If you would like additional help in understanding the new food labels, please call or email our office.  We’ll take you on a tour of the shopping isles and teach you what to put in and leave out of your cart!

Fitness and Nutrition / Facts and Myths (Part I)

As a personal trainer and fitness coach, I am continually presented with questions about diet, exercise and nutrition.  Most are related to fact or fiction.  Something they have been told, heard of or read about in the media network.  To clear up some of the confusion, I decided to present a two-part series on the Top 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions I receive from my clients, family and friends.  To make it interesting, you’ll get a first hand chance to answer the questions before the truths revealed.

  1. True or False:  When the body stops exercising regularly, muscle turns to fat.
  2. True or False:  Exercising specific parts of the body will reduce fat in those areas.
  3. True or False:  Low cholesterol foods are also low in saturated fat.
  4. True or False:  A person can safely lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
  5. True or False:  “Sugar Free” means there is not sugar in the product.

Answers:

  1. False:  Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue.  Smooth muscle tissue is found in the vascular system, cardiac muscle in the heart and skeletal muscle tissue around the bones and connective tissue.  Skeletal muscle can contract, extend, maintain tone, grow in size (hypertrophy), become stronger with use, or deteriorate in size, strength and tone with disuse (atrophy).  Muscle fibers, however, cannot turn into a fat cell.  The distribution of muscle fibers and fat cells we have is genetically determined.
  2. False:  Exercising specific parts of the body can strengthen and tone the muscles in those areas, but it cannot reduce the number of fat cells located in a target area.  Fat cells can and do shrink with a proper combination of diet and exercise, but the cell itself will not disappear from the genetically positioned spot.
  3. False:  A product that is low is cholesterol doesn’t mean it is also low in fat or low in saturated fats which, if consumed in abundance, can contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels.  Although it sounds confusing, I distinguish cholesterol from fat with a word association.  Cholesterol is a sterol, fat (technically referred to as a lipid) is composed of fatty acids.  All fats contain three types of fatty acids – monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated.  Butter, Coconut Oil, Lard, Palm Oil (things that are solid at room temperature) are high in saturated fatty acids.  These are the food items that can contribute to increased blood cholesterol.  Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Safflower, Sesame, Soybean and Sunflower Oil are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids which can help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  4. False:  A person who tells you they have safely lost 20 pounds in two weeks simply isn’t telling you the whole truth.  Physiologically, if someone has lost that much weight, it is most likely a combination of water and intestinal junk that has accumulated in the system.  They could be dehydrated, starving or on a detox diet.  The weight lost is not body fat.  To safely lose one pound of body fat, a person needs to burn or expend 3,500 calories.  To lose 1.5 pounds of body fat, they would need to burn 5,250 calories.  Now imagine 20 pounds in two weeks.  That is 70,000 calories expended in 14 days.  Highly unlikely and very unsafe.
  5. False:  Beware of labels that contain the words sugar free.  It only means there is no sucrose in the product.  Other forms of sweeteners include: honey, maltose, fructose, corn syrup, molasses, dextrose and sorbitol.  These substitutes are not necessarily better than sugar.  They are all carbohydrates which contain 4 calories per gram and offer the same insulin spike as regular sugar.  If you are trying to cut back on sugar for health issues or weight loss, make sure you carefully read the food label first.
Food Journaling for Weight Loss

Food Journaling for Weight Loss

It’s not exactly a new strategy for aiding weight loss, but if you aren’t currently using food journals to try to shed pounds, recent research suggests that perhaps you should be.

Scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center summarized the following from their study, which appeared in the July 16 online edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: women who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal and should avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants—especially at lunch.

“When it comes to weight loss, evidence from randomized, controlled trials comparing different diets finds that restricting total calories is more important than diet composition such as low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Therefore, the specific aim of our study was to identify behaviors that supported the global goal of calorie reduction,” said lead researcher Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD.  McTiernan et al. found:

  • Women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 more pounds than those who did not.
  • Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not.
  • Women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently.

“For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals. It is difficult to make changes to your diet when you are not paying close attention to what you are eating,” said McTiernan, director of the Hutchinson Center’s Prevention Center and a member of its Public Health Sciences Division.

As you start to keep a food journal, use the following tips, drawn directly from those provided to study participants:

1. Be honest. Record everything you eat.

2. Be accurate. Measure portions and read labels.

3. Be complete. Include details such as how the food was prepared and which toppings or condiments you added.

4. Be consistent. Always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smartphone.

“While the study provided a printed booklet for the women to record their food and beverage consumption, a food journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy,” McTiernan said. “Any notebook or pad of paper that is easily carried or an online program that can be accessed any time through a smart phone or tablet should work fine.”

 

Complements of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

The Lowdown On Artificial Sweeteners

Compliments of IDEA Health & Fitness Association

www.SusanIverson@IDEAFitnessConnect.com

With all the artificial sweeteners available, you may find it challenging to separate fact from fiction. In fact, so many new sweeteners have made their way to market that the American Dietetic Association (ADA) released a Position Paper in 2004 to help nutrition experts educate consumers on the health implications of these products!

With all this sweet talk, it’s no wonder that you may be confused about which sweeteners to use. Below are responses to health and safety concerns about sweeteners from Jenna A. Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, LD, assistant professor in medical dietetics at Ohio State University and Susan Hanselman, a medical dietetics student at Ohio State University in pursuit of becoming a registered dietitian.

Artificial Sweeteners vs. Sugar

Are foods that contain artificial sweeteners in some ways healthier than those that use natural sugar? Consuming products that contain artificial sweeteners instead of pure sugar can help lower calorie and sugar intake for people with diabetes. Artificial sweeteners enhance the taste of foods and beverages without adding the calories that sugar would provide. However, you do need to use artificial sweeteners judiciously. Many artificially sweetened products, such as hot cocoa mixes, frozen desserts and baked goods, contain empty calories without offering the additional nutritional benefit of pure sugar. Therefore, low or no calories from sugar doesn’t automatically mean that a product is more nutritious. Read food labels to evaluate the overall nutritional value of a food, regardless of whether the sweetener used is natural or artificial.

The Safety of Artificial Sweeteners

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a list of acceptable food additives, which it calls “generally recognized as safe.” See “Sweet Options” for the artificial sweeteners that meet this standard. The ADA’s 2004 Position Paper on artificial sweeteners concluded that you can safely enjoy products with these sweeteners in combination with a well-balanced diet. That said, you need to understand that the key is moderation when it comes to any sweetener. The goal should be to eat a varied and balanced diet that includes whole, unprocessed foods. This cannot be achieved if you are focusing solely on foods that contain artificial sweeteners.

Sweet Options

sweet options