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The Flaws of Six Popular Diets

Posted: December 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

There are so many diets out there, and all of them claim to be based on good science and nutrition theory. Unfortunately, most of these diets don’t provide everything that a person needs to be healthy, or are too difficult to follow for the benefits that they offer. There are so many people in the United States that are overweight, and looking for a way to enhance and improve their health through the manipulation of their body composition, but many diets end up doing more harm than good in the long run, or are simply too difficult and unfeasible for all but the most tempered dieters.

The majority of the diets that are popular have something on the table that provides them with a sense of legitimacy, but often, they go too far with certain themes, or only follow certain aspects of what we know makes a healthy diet, while ignoring other important parts of good nutrition. On top of that, people tend to selectively follow their chosen diet, curbing or completely negating its effectiveness, or leading to issues related to poor nutrition, because they are missing out on certain important things that the body needs.

Of course, even the most scientifically flawed diet can be effective in many circumstances, because exercise and caloric restriction are two drastically important aspects of good diet, and a big part of most diets is eliminating foods that are proven to be bad for you, even though the recommendations regarding what to eat don’t provide real, scientifically-backed results.

The following are six weight loss philosophies that are based on some scientific ideas while ultimately giving way to weight loss myth.

What’s Wrong with the Low-Fat Diet?

There are three primary categories of energy that we take in through diet: Protein, Carbs, and Fats. We need some of all of these to function at our best. Many diets suggest significantly restricting the consumption of fats, based on science rooted in the Eighties and Nineties. It’s true that too much fat is very bad for you, but making a diet that revolves around not getting enough fat through the diet is a big problem as well.

During this era, margarine and carbohydrates were considered healthier than fats, and it was believed that saturated fat led to heart issues such as atherosclerosis and blocked arteries. In retrospect, the trans-fats that we were eating during this era were far more dangerous than saturated fats that are still recommended to be eaten in moderation.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Low-Fat Diets (aside from the dangerous abuse of trans-fats during the era in which it was most popular) is that the body has to get energy from somewhere, and if you don’t eat enough fat, than its more likely that you will eat more carbs, which our bodies can directly convert into fat. The field of nutrition today has evolved significantly from this era, but many still erringly turn to Low-Fat Dieting in order to lose weight, and end up putting their health in jeopardy as a direct result.

What’s Wrong with the Low-Carb Diet?

As the science evolved and the public learned more about the science of losing weight, carbohydrates entered the spot-light as the new Worst Food. By the turn of the century, the most popular diets were those that recommended severely cutting carbs of all kinds. Carbs were (and still are to a large extent) the keystone of the American diet, and there is no doubt that we consume too many carbohydrates. With these Low-Carb Diets, it was possible to lose weight quickly by limiting the consumption of a variety of carb-loaded foods, including beer, bread, potatoes, and pasta.

Unfortunately, in spite of the Low-Carb diet’s ability to encourage weight loss, and even rapid weight loss, it is not the body’s natural, preferred state, and cutting carbs too strictly often leads successful dieters to gain weight again quickly, sometimes weighing more than before! Carbohydrates are the body’s go-to source for quick energy, and forgoing carbs altogether leads to fatigue and slows metabolism, because the body is converting proteins and fats into energy.

The big issue with Carbohydrates is Simple Carbs, like refined sugar, white bread, and white rice. Complex carbohydrates take work to be digested and provide nutrients and a feeling of fullness, whereas simple carbohydrates encourage overeating and spiked blood-sugar levels. With regard to a healthy diet, it is important to split calories equally from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, while being smart and sourcing carbohydrates from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits, yoghurt, beans, and whole grains.

What’s Wrong with the Paleo Diet?

In recent years, the Paleo, or Paleolithic Diet has become incredibly popular across the United States. The theory behind this sort of diet is simple—by eating what our ancestors ate and had access to, it’s possible to lose weight and maintain a healthier body. Most people that are on the Paleo Diet eat a lot of fish, chicken, and meat, along with veggies, fruits, and nuts. On the other hand, they forgo processed foods, milk products, beans, and grains. After reading about the last couple of diets, you can obviously see that there are some things that this diet gets right, especially regarding getting rid of processed foods in one’s diet.

On the other hand, there are certain aspects of this diet that aren’t grounded in medical science. Most people that aren’t lactose intolerant can drink milk without issue, and beans are a perfectly healthy source of nutrient-dense, carbohydrates. Also, with the way that products like grains and dairy are fortified, there are few effective sources left to get Vitamin D, and calcium can be a struggle as well.

In the end, the big issue with the Paleo Diet isn’t that it’s an ineffective diet—for the most part, it shares a lot in common with the “ideal diet.” The problem with it is that it is overly strict and leaves out some perfectly useful and healthy staple foods such as whole grains, beans, and dairy.

What is Wrong with the Gluten-Free Diet?

Another diet that is growing in popularity today is the Gluten-Free Diet. There is a particular form of protein, known as Gluten, which is highly prevalent in grains such as rye, barley, and wheat. There are a small minority of people that can legitimately benefit from the Gluten-Free Diet—People with Celiac Disease—A condition in which the presence of Gluten in the diet leads to immune system malfunction and major symptoms which impede health and wellness.

For all other people, there isn’t a clinical reason to stop eating foods with gluten in them. Many magazines and websites purport that going Gluten-Free can help people lose weight fast, but there is no reason for this to be so, aside for the fact that it makes people more conscientious about carbohydrates in general, but that has nothing to do with the philosophy behind the diet. Foods that are advertised as Gluten-Free are actually usually worse for the dieter than if they had gotten the real things, this is because they often have both more calories and more sugar.

People often also go Gluten-Free without doing the proper research, and end up missing out on minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber that they would normally get from the foods they are cutting from their diet, because they don’t eat more meat, vegetables, and fruit to compensate.

Many people claim that they go Gluten-Free as a result of “Gluten Sensitivity,” which causes issues such as fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and gas, but research shows that this isn’t true, and the majority of people that have this issue that they believe is related to gluten are mistaken, and they a sensitivity to a carb group known as FODMAPs, which is present in wheat, but also in a wide variety of foods that they are still eating including many vegetables, fruits, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products.

If you feel that you have issues with Gluten, don’t simply turn to a Gluten-Free diet. There are tests that you can take that can reveal your underlying food sensitivities and help you discover what you actually should be avoiding, and they can only be performed through a licensed medical professional or dietician.

What is Wrong with the Raw Food Diet?

Another recent diet that has become more prevalent, somewhat related to the Paleo Diet in its theoretical principle, is the Raw Food Diet. In this diet, one completely eschews any food that must be cooked, and only eats foods that can be eaten raw. Sometimes, the diet is less strict, allowing 1/4th of food eaten to be cooked. The idea with this diet is that the cooking process reduces the caloric benefits of the foods that we eat, and by eating raw foods, we receive an improved nutritional balance from the foods that we eat.

Many people use the Raw-Food Diet as a vegetarian diet, while others will cook meats and eat other foods raw. There are some that will even eat a varity of raw meats and other animal products, though this obviously leaves a person wide-open for food poisoning and animal-borne illness. With regard to the rest of the diet, there is some science behind it—For example, boiling or overcooking foods does degrade the nutritional content in many foods—But it assumes too much in many cases. For example, tomatoes provide improved nutritional content when cooked. For that reason, the ideal diet would likely include significant amounts of both cooked and raw foods.

This diet provides all of the nutrients that a person needs, but is very difficult to follow. It involves preparing meals at home and escewing dining out almost completely. In the end, the benefits of raw vs. cooked isn’t really worth the time, but it can help people lose weight by being more conscientious and avoiding processed foods.

What is Wrong with the High Fat Diet?

There is a new fad diet on the horizon, based off of the good data that we have that Fats aren’t as bad for you as once believed and Carbohydrates are consumed at unhealthy rates nationwide—The High Fat Diet. Many dieters are beginning to hear advice that by making fat the staple part of one’s diet, it is possible to improve health and lose weight.

Often, these diets claim that you can eat whatever you want, as long as you limit carbs, but this is simply not true. People load up on fat and start packing on pounds, even though they have restricted their carbs. Again, it’s important to focus on caloric balance among food-classes, while limiting total calories. Overemphasizing one branch is one of the best ways to introduce nutritional deficiencies or overeating into your diet!

People on High Fat diets are also more likely to have issues with elevated Triglyceride Levels. It is true that combining reduced carbs with increased fat consumption can increase HDL (healthy) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, but eating too much fat leads to a surplus of triglycerides, which are even more dangerous than high LDL Levels. High fat consumption can also lead to unhealthy levels of inflammation that inhibit the health of the body. Finally, if your high-fat diet is combined with elevated glucose levels, this significantly increases the risk associated with atherosclerosis and plaque formation.

Could a Revolutionary Weight Loss Strategy Be on the Horizon?

Posted: October 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Brown Fat Metabolism-Boosting Method Discovered


Obesity is a national epidemic in the United States, and a growing problem across the world. As more and more countries are stabilizing their food supplies, they begin to have to deal with issues like overeating and obesity more often. According to the WHO, there are almost 1.5 billion men and women across the world that are clinically obese or overweight. On top of that, there are more than forty million boys and girls under five years old that are at least overweight.

Weight LossOur bodies simplyaren’t designed to withstand obesity, and it it incredibly detrimental to our long term health. For example, the eating habits associated with obesity significantly increase the risk of Adult-Onset Diabetes. Type-2 Diabetes is a form of Insulin Resistance, which reduces the ability of the body to transport energy, in the form of glucose, to target cells throughout the body.

Obesity can even lead to infertility or suppressed fertility. Adipose fat encourages the conversion of Testosterone into Estrogen, which can lead to low sperm counts and erectile dysfunction in men. Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease, because poor diet leads to elevated cholesterol levels which increase the incidence of dangerous plaques, and high blood pressure which increases the risk of conditions such as heart attack or stroke.

There is even growing evidence that the hormone inbalance associated with Obesity increases the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, as well as reducing overall cognitive health and function via fatigue and reduced blood supply. Obviously, obesity is a dangerous epidemic, which has led governments, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations to invest billions and billions of dollars into finding ways to help get this epidemic under control.

New research released in the academic journal, Nature, suggests that there may be a way to increase the rate at which a particular kind of fat metabolizes—known as brown fat—allowing it to be burned more quickly, leading to increased weight loss. Also, this research hypothesizes that it may be possible to even turn stored fat energy into brown fat, which can improve body composition and lead to a lower body weight. The lead investigator in this study was Thorsten Gnad, a German Researcher from the University of Bonn.

What Is the Difference Between White and Brown Fat?

There are two kinds of fat that are present in human beings and all mammals—white and brown fat, and both forms of fat perform significantly different functions and have very different metabolic profiles. White fat is the kind of fat that most people think of when they think about “fat.” White fat is distributed around the midsection and core of the body, and the body keeps this fat in case it needs an emergency source of energy. It’s also very difficult to burn this form of fat, because our bodies are designed to maintain it as a last resort.

Our bodies also have a second form of fat, however, known as brown fat. Brown fat is not stored for emergencies like white fat, but is burned constantly in order to keep body temperature stabilized and to keep us warm. In fact, the two categories of animals that have the most brown fat are babies which have just been born (including in humans) and mammals that go into hibernation.

Although human adults don’t carry as much brown fat around with them, they do still need and have some brown fat. Although human beings do carry around a lot of fat, the majority of this fat, by volume, is white fat. Women average around 25% bodyfat, whereas men average around 20%. Dependent upon the bodyfat composition of the individual, only between 3-7.5% of body weight is represented by brown fat.

The amount of brown fat that a person has is largely dependent upon their level of physical activity. People that exercise less don’t have as much brown fat as those that exercise regularly. This is because people that exercise regularly need more energy available to meet the needs of their activity level.

This is why it’s incredibly important to exercise in combination with a conscientious diet in order to both maximize weight loss and keep the weight off after you have reached your goal weight. It takes effort and exercise to convert white fat into brown fat, and dieting alone won’t accomplish that.

Is It Possible to Genetically Alter the Way That We Burn Fat?

Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

One of the authors of this study, Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, explains that there may be other mechanisms by which we can facilitate weight loss, using this knowledge of how brown and white fat work. He hypothesizes that if it were possible to “turn on” brown fat and increase its metabolism, or therapeutically convert white fat into brown fat, it would be possible to medically induce weight loss by inducing an “athletic” body fat state, even without exercise.

Of course, exercise would be an important part of any normal weight loss regimen, but by speeding up the body composition changes associated with exercise, or allowing those with limited mobility to benefit from increased brown fat, it would be possible to treat weight problems more quickly.

Some people, especially older people and people that are significantly overweight, could really benefit from this area of research because, they are the ones with the most issues engaging in healthy exercise. Dependent upon the safety of any medical treatment that facilitates these changes, they could become widely available to anyone in need of weight loss.

This is a relatively new field of research. Although scientists and health experts have long recognized that the human body houses both brown fat and white fat, it is only in recent years that they have recognized that the body has the ability to naturally convert stored white fat into active brown fat. It’s still years in the future, but current evidence suggests that we will one day have the capability to key into the body’s own conversion process and facilitate that change.

Adenosine and Caffeine Stimulate Metabolism in Brown Fat, but Not White Fat

Now, to the research at hand—Dr. Gnad and his associates have focused their efforts upon one particular receptor site in brown fat cells. This receptor is activated by Adenosine, and is referred to as A2A. Adenosine is a hormone that the body produces when it is under stress, to increase metabolism and and alertness. Most people are aware of an herbally derived analogue of Adenosine—Caffeine.

Many people use caffeine not only to increase alertness and ward off mental fogginess, but many people also use caffeine as a performance supplement. Caffeine increases metabolism and energy levels during exercise, and athletes, body builders, and fitness buffs often use caffeine before workouts to increase exercise capacity.

Even though bodybuilders have long used caffeine in their pre-exercise routines, we are still learning a lot of the mechanisms by which Adenosine and its analogues interact with the body. With regard to the A2A receptor, Adenosine facilitates increased fat-burning power.

Interestingly enough, white body fat does not have A2A Receptors, and this appears to be the primary reason why White Fat cells don’t burn energy nearly as fast as their brown counterparts. Dr. Gnad and his research associates performed animal research in which they introduced the A2A gene to White Body Fat Cells, and this led directly to increased metabolic activity in the White Fat. Essentially, the researchers proved that it is possible to directly convert white fat into brown fat simply by introducing these A2A Receptors to the cells.

There have been other studies which attempted similar results without success. Earlier studies monitored the impact of Adenosine upon hamsters and rats. In these mammals, Adenosine suppressed Brown Fat metabolism. Because of this, researchers hypothesized that the result would be the same in humans. Upon further study, however, it appears that rats and hamsters are designed differently, and that humans and mice respond in the opposite fashion to Adenosine, by stimulating metabolism.

This research is fascinating, and perhaps five or ten years down the road, this research will lead to real and amazing changes in our battle against weight loss. Of course, there are also other mechanisms by which this process can be stimulated. A2A is not the only means to stimulate brown fat metabolism that has been discovered.

Why Do Our Bodies Store White Fat So Readily?

Another study was released earlier this month in the academic journal, Cell, in which researchers discovered how to convince brains in mice to produce more brown fat and thereby increase metabolism. In this study, designed by representatives from Yale Medical School, researchers discovered that there is a hierarchy of “fears” which control how the brain optimizes metabolism. Two of the primary motivations which stimulate or suppress metabolism are the fear of freezing and the fear of starving. One reason why the body is so slow to convert white fat into brown fat is because the evolutionary mechanisms to prevent starvation are stronger than those to prevent freezing.

Of course, now that modern first world societies have effectively eradicated starvation for the vast majority of their populations, now it’s more important, at least in a first world context, to figure out ways to facilitate weight loss and increase brown fat in relationship to white fat.

Perhaps advances in stem cell research and hormone therapy will play a roll in this mechanism for weight loss. For now, there are steps you can take, like exercising regularly, which can increase the volume of brown fat, thereby increasing metabolism and improving weight loss gains. Perhaps in the near future, it will be possible to treat obesity as a disease, rather than as a lifestyle condition.

Doctor Mediated Weight Loss

The more that we learn about obesity, the more that it becomes clear that obesity is both a lifestyle issue and a disease, like many other conditions such as heart disease. By discovering new mechanisms to stimulate a healthier body composition while also encouraging individuals to make smarter lifestyle decisions, one day, Obesity may be a thing of the past.

DASH Diet Overview and Review

Posted: October 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

The Dash Diet is a balanced diet, designed to get an individual all of the nutrients that they need in a conscientious diet, with an emphasis on maintaining a reasonable and responsible salt intake. The Dash Diet is similar to a number of other diets including the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet, and the Vegetarian Diet. Specifically, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The ultimate goal of the DASH diet is to alleviate or prevent hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension is a dangerous circulatory state which significantly increases risks associated with heart and cardiovascular health.

The DASH Diet was developed in cooperation with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and its authors simultaneously claim that the diet can improve blood pressure while also making it easier to lose weight.

What is the Theory behind the DASH Diet?

The DASH Diet recognizes that there are certain nutrients that are vital to preserve healthy blood pressure, and builds a diet around responsibly providing the dieter with these nutrients. The four nutrients that are considered most important in promoting heart health are considered fiber, protein, calcium, and potassium.

Unlike many diets which encourage the dieter to keep track of nutrition and calorie counts regimen, this diet focuses primarily on moderation without excessive deliberation or calorie counting. These are the three aspects of the DASH Diet

Eat Foods That Encourage Hypertension Sparingly – The DASH Diet Recommends limiting the intake of Red Meat, Sweets, Processed Foods, and Calorie-Dense foods which provide little nutrition.

Eat Foods That Are Good For You and Your Heart – Foods such as lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy are encouraged. It’s important to note here that this is not a vegetarian diet.

Limit Salt Intake – Salt intake is strongly correlated with hypertension. Salt exacerbates existing high blood pressure, and may also contribute to the formation of such issues when used in excess.

You don’t have to track each one, though. Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), while shunning those we’ve grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!

The DASH Diet is an extensively researched diet plan, and there are two primary guides designed to show you how its done. Both are produced by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one is short and to the point, and the other is more elaborate and gets into the science and specifics of the diet.

First, the DASH Diet takes into account your activity level as well as your age in order to provide you with a rough gauge of how many calories that you need to consume daily. Second, the guide for the diet provides an extensive list of foods, and which meet your nutritional needs most effectively. Third, the diet simply encourages you to limit sodium consumption.

The DASH Diet is not a complicated diet, which likely will attract many dieters looking for a no-nonsense diet plan. On the other hand, other dieters that are looking for more direct meal-to-meal guidance may prefer a different diet plan, even if it is close to the current diet.

How Can I Lose Weight with the DASH Diet?

In order to lose weight with the DASH Diet, simply take the caloric recommendations for your age and drop them down by 300-500 calories per day. This builds a caloric deficit into your nutritional recommendations, which will help you lose weight while simultaneously meeting your body’s nutritional needs.

Of course, in order to maximize the weight-loss benefits of this diet, you’ll benefit greatly from increasing your activity level with a combination of Anaerobic and Aerobic activity.

Does the DASH Diet Improve Cardiovascular Health?

There is powerful evidence that the DASH Diet succeeds greatly in reducing the severity of hypertension, and that it can also prevent high blood pressure in at-risk patients. Hypertension is associated with a wide variety of dangerous cardiovascular conditions, including stroke, heart failure, and heart disease.

By following this diet protocol, you can expect to improve your blood pressure while also promoting healthier cholesterol balance, with a reduction in LDL Cholesterol associated with poor health outcomes and an increase in HDL Cholesterol, which is associated with improved heart health. Also, the DASH Diet reduces triglycerides in the blood stream, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

The ultimate goal of the creators of the DASH Diet was to quantify what is generally accepted in the medical community to be a diet healthy for the heart, which is a diet low in salt, sugar, and saturated fat which is high in vegetables and nutrient-dense fruits.

Can the DASH Diet reduce the risk of Diabetes

There is resounding evidence that the DASH Diet is fantastic for patients that are at risk for diabetes. The specifics of the DASH Diet share a lot in common with recommendations offered by the American Diabetes Association. That means that this diet is simultaneously good for patients that want to avoid hypertension as well as diabetes, and when pursued in combination with dietary restriction and increased activity level, the diet can also produce significant weight loss benefits.

Are There Any Risks Associated with the DASH Diet?

There are no health issues associated with following this diet, although there is a chance that patients that suffer specific health conditions may need to alter the diet to meet their needs or protect their health. Before starting even the safest diet, discuss it with your doctor if you have any health issues which have any potential to conflict with your regimen.

How Does the DASH Diet Relate to Currently Agreed Upon Dietary Recommendations?

Salt – The DASH Diet recommends salt consumption less then 2,300 milligrams per day, although patients that have kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension are recommended to intake no more than 1,500 milligrams per day, as well as all African Americans and men and women over the age of 50.

Fat – The DASH Diet is designed to reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat significantly, while keeping you in the 20-35% fat intake range that is ideal.

Protein – This diet focuses on lean meat, and provides plenty of protein to meet your daily needs.

Carbohydrates – It’s important to control both the amount of carbohydrates that you eat daily as well as their source. The DASH Diet strictly limits sweets and simple carbs, encouraging dieters to get their carbohydrates from more complex sources.

Vitamin B12 – The DASH Diet more than meets the minimum standards for this nutrient.

Calcium – As the DASH Diet places a premium upon cardiovascular health, it makes sense that the diet provides more than enough calcium to meet your daily needs.

Potassium – The DASH Diet is one of the only diets which successfully meet nutrition recommendations with regard to potassium. Ideally, you should be getting 4900 milligrams of potassium per day.

Fiber – Fiber is central to the success of the DASH diet, because the diet places a premium on satiety, and fiber is one of the best things that you can eat to feel full. Fiber also encourages healthy digestion.

Vitamin D – The DASH Diet includes no recommendations for Vitamin D, but it’s important to get at least 15 micrograms daily, whether through diet, sunlight, supplementation, or a combination of the three.

The Real Captain America: A Self Portrait

Posted: August 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm posted a photo:

The Real Captain America: A Self Portrait

I love the Russo Brother’s Captain America movies. I have a mounted, Captain America poster on the wall of my office. My daughters bought me a Captain America rug for said office. My wife bought a Captain America shirt. When I wear the shirt in public, however, I can’t help but think of myself as walking satire. The irony of a big, fat guy wearing a shirt with the symbol representing the strength of the American individual is not lost on me, as I’m sure the irony is not lost on others. I have a rich, family life. I have hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy. I work hard and am good at my job. But that all gets overshadowed by remembering that I am just a fat man representing fat Americans by just wearing my favorite shirt.

The Real Captain America: A Self Portrait

Lose 23 lbs in 23 days! Free video:

Posted: August 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

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Yuba Filling the Bed

Posted: August 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

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Yuba Filling the Bed

Yuba filling a cat bed – he’s quite fat and we worry about him and are trying to get him to lose weight but he refuses to do the requisite number of push-ups every morning.

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Yuba Filling the Bed

Summer Fun

Posted: August 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

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Summer Fun

Plus size mothers and daughters celebrating life.

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Summer Fun

Cancer warning: Obese people at risk of developing EIGHT more types of killer disease

Posted: August 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm

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Cancer warning: Obese people at risk of developing EIGHT more types of killer disease

OVERWEIGHT or obese people are more likely to be at risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke and cancer – but now experts have warned……

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Cancer warning: Obese people at risk of developing EIGHT more types of killer disease

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Posted: August 25, 2016 at 1:50 am

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Triple-digit weight loss opens new world to traveler –

Posted: August 24, 2016 at 1:43 am

The 41-year-old from Michigan loved to travel and dreamed of going to places like Glacier National Park in Montana, but he knew there were things his body just couldn’t do when he weighed 358 pounds.

Less than two years since losing 140 pounds, he reveled in making the once-unthinkable 8-mile hike up the glacier this month.

“It was as beautiful as I thought it would be,” McGraw said. “Some locations you go up there and it doesn’t live up to the hype. When I got up there, it was beyond it.”

“This has really opened up a new world — I can go beyond the places that I used to go,” McGraw said.

The travel involved with his day job didn’t help McGraw’s waistline.

He spent a lot of time in his car, picking up quick bites to eat. A fast-food diet of pizza, burgers and lots of carbs became the habit while on the road.

A recovering alcoholic for six years, McGraw also found a distraction in food.

“With dealing with alcoholism, you learn a lot about yourself and how to deal with yourself,” he said. “Food was an escape but it was something to do.”

He got to know new cities by visiting different restaurants, a practice that became a ritual.

While travel helped instill bad habits, it was also what inspired him to make a positive change in his life.

During a 2014 trip to Key West with his wife, his 358-pound frame ached after a day of walking. His ankles were swollen and his back hurt.

“I would try to do things with my friends and family. I would push myself but I would pay the toll later when I got home,” he said.

Returning home from the trip, McGraw realized he wanted to make a change.

His weight problem started in high school, when he weighed 220 pounds. Each year he gained 10 to 15 pounds. He spent his 30s dieting, exercising and yo-yoing between 318 and 410 pounds.

A lifetime of diets and exercise weren’t working, so he researched gastric bypass surgery.

Under the supervision of doctors, he lost 40 pounds to qualify for surgery and had the procedure in March 2015.

A combination of exercise and changing his diet — eating seven to eight small, protein-packed meals a day — helped him lose another 100 pounds since surgery. He’s down to 220 pounds, almost half of his peak weight.

Before his weight loss, planning a trip involved a lot of time spent scouting out photo opportunities from the road and finding places to see that weren’t too far to walk.

McGraw admits he missed out at times because of his size.

He always had to say “no” to horseback riding because there was a 250-pound weight limit. Another time, he planned a helicopter ride over Chicago only to find out he was too heavy for the aircraft.

But the trip to Glacier National Park in August provided a lot of firsts for McGraw and his wife, Diane. It was their first hiking trip, and they finally tried horseback riding.

Diane has seen several changes in her husband since his triple-digit weight loss.

“I told him on the first date we went on that he needs to stop living behind the camera and start experiencing life,” she told CNN.

“He has started to experience life a lot more. He really has discovered himself.”

She’s also seen more confidence in the way he shoots and edits photos. His travel photography reflects the difference.

But taking photos means more to McGraw than getting the perfect shot. It’s been a key part of his weight-loss journey.

“The photography has really helped motivate me. It’s helped with the weight loss as well,” he said. “Not only did I want to get to the top of Grinnell Glacier, but I wanted to capture images along the way.”

The feedback he receives on his photos on social media serves as another push to keep going.

“I love not only capturing it, but when other people see the beauty of where I’ve been and they make comments, that helps motivate me as well.”

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How to have a balanced diet – Healthy living – NHS Choices

Posted: August 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Eating a healthy, balanced dietis an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the five main food groups. Mostpeople in the UKeat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fishor fibre.

Read our page on understanding calories.

Fruit and vegetables area vital source of vitamins and minerals and should make up just over a third of the food we eat each day. It’s advised that we eat at leastfive portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

There’s evidence that people whoeat at leastfive portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Eatingfive portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion (80g). A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.

Having a sliced bananawith your morning cereal is a quick way to get one portion.Swap your mid-morning biscuit for a tangerine, and add a side salad to your lunch.Have a portion of vegetableswith dinner, and snack on fresh fruitwith natural plain yoghurt in the eveningto reach your five a day.

For more tips on getting your five portions of fruit and veg, check outour 5 A DAYpage.

Starchy foods should make upjust overone third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods.

Potatoes with the skins onarea great source of fibre and vitamins. For example, when having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, eat the skin too.

Tryto choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and brown, wholemeal or higher fibre whitebread. They contain more fibre, and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties.

Learn more from ourstarchy foodspage.

Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein.Theyalso contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy.

To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmedmilk, as well as lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt. Unsweetened, calcium-fortified dairy alternatives like soya milks, soya yoghurts and soya cheeses also count as part of this food group and can make good alternatives to dairy products.

Learn more aboutmilk and dairy foods.

These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.

Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and Bvitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly. Learn more by reading our page on meat.

Fishis another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, includingone portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but remember that cannedand smoked fish can oftenbe high in salt.

Eggs and pulses(including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fibre and agood alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation. Learn more from our pages oneggs and pulses and beans.

Some fat in the diet is essential, but should be limited to small amounts. It’s important to get most of our fat from unsaturated oils and spreads. Swapping to unsaturated fats can help to lower cholesterol.

Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease, while regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Find out moreabout why we need to cut down on saturated fat and sugarin our diet, which foodsthey occur inand how we can make healthier choicesin Eight tips for healthy eating.

Most adults in England are overweight or obese. Check whether you’re a healthy weight using the BMI calculator.

You can use the panelbelow to download the NHS weight loss guide, our free 12-week diet and exercise plan.

The plan, which has been downloaded more than 2 million times, is designed to help you lose weight safely and keep it off.

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How to have a balanced diet – Healthy living – NHS Choices

Take Control of Your Health With My Nutrition Plan

Posted: August 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm

If youre looking for the best strategy to dramatically improve your health, then youve come to the right place.

Many people today struggle with weight issues, diseases, and other health problems that impair their ability to enjoy life. Many resort to pharmaceutical drugs and other conventional methods to relieve their symptoms, but these are actually just Band-Aid solutions that typically result in more harm than good.

What they dont realize is that they can significantly improve their health by just changing their diet and eating habits. And this program will help you achieve exactly that.

Conventional physicians, nutritionists, and public health experts have long claimed that dietary fat promotes heart disease and obesity. This deception caused people to follow conventional low-fat, high-carb diets, which ruined the health of millions. Today, the general guideline for dietary fat intake is that it should only be 10 percent of your overall diet.

I believe that this is one of the most destructive health recommendations that have pervaded the U.S. food system, because you need at least 50 to 75 percent of your daily calorie intake in the form of healthy fats. This is one of the basic principles that I have incorporated in my Nutritional Plan.

So what is good fat and how can you distinguish it from unhealthy ones? Well discuss this more in detail as you go along this program.

Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources are an important component of this program, as they provide you with a number of important health benefits and help in the proper functioning of your:

Saturated fats also promote satiety, reducing your hunger pangs so you avoid binge eating and unhealthy food cravings. By following this high-fat, low-carb diet, you will be able to optimize your weight and avoid virtually all chronic degenerative diseases.

The original food pyramid created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promotes a diet that has grains, pasta, and bread at its base (meaning they make up the majority of your diet) and fats at the top, or the smallest portion. But this can spell trouble, as grains break down into sugar in your body, driving insulin and leptin resistance.

I strongly believe that for optimal health, you should follow the opposite: increase your intake of healthy saturated fats and limit your grain and sugar intake. Ive created my own Food Pyramid based on this ratio.

I also believe that you should always be conscious of what you eat this means avoiding all processed foods that are loaded with additives, harmful chemicals, and genetically engineered ingredients that could put your health at risk.

The reason why I am so passionate about sharing information about healthy eating and exercise, as well as other lifestyle changes like stress management, is it can help keep you OUT of the doctor’s office, or even worse, the hospital. Hospitals are actually notorious breeding grounds for medical errors and infections, and those with compromised immune systems can easily fall victim.

And if you think taking prescription medications and antibiotics is a viable solution, think again. These drugs not only expose you to harmful side effects, but they also lead to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant diseases.

To get a clearer picture of just how the modern American medical system has bumbled its way into becoming the leading cause of death and injury in the United States, watch the video below, Death by Medicine.

This Nutrition Plan is divided into Level 1 and 2. Level 1 is for beginners, such as those who are new to this website and are not yet fully familiar with my health recommendations.

However, if you are already implementing most of my health advice, then you can proceed to Level 2. This is also recommended for people with serious medical conditions who are looking for extensive measures to promote healing and health.

So how will you know if youre ready to move on from Level 1 to Level 2? Its simple: use these three health indicators. Once they are in their optimal ranges, you will feel comfortable and confident enough to move on to the next level.

Insulin Resistance

If you consume a diet consistently high in grains, sugar and non-fiber carbohydrates, then chances are very high that you are struggling with this insulin resistance. This condition happens when your body becomes sensitized to the rapid insulin production caused by excessively high sugar intake. When your body becomes used to this large surge of insulin, it eventually causes resistance, which can then lead to diabetes.

Before starting this program, have your fasting insulin level checked through a fasting blood insulin test. This is relatively inexpensive and can be done by any commercial laboratory. Knowing your insulin and leptin ranges can help you assess how well you are progressing in the program.

A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally, you should strive for below 3. Most labs will have reference ranges, but you can safely ignore these as they are based on normals of a population that has highly-disturbed insulin levels.

If your level is above 5, its good to significantly consider reducing most sugars and grains (even whole grains), until youve lowered your level. Once youve reached the normal level, you can reintroduce grains in your diet (but still keep your intake in moderation).

Waist Size

Your waist size gives a good indication of the amount of fat youre carrying, particularly around the stomach area, and is the best and simplest anthropometric measure of your total body fat. In fact, it is more efficient that body mass index (BMI), as it can factor in how muscular you are.

Your waist size can also determine how much intra-abdominal fat mass this is the dangerous type of fat that surrounds your internal organs, and is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and heart disease.

To find out your waist size, take a tape measure around your waist and comfortably measure the distance around the smallest area below the rib cage and above your belly button. Use these charts to find out if you have a healthy waist circumference:

For men, between 37 (94 cm) and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese.

For women, between 31.5 (80 cm) and 34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese.

Ideal Cholesterol Ratio

I first opened my medical practice in the mid 80s, and during that time, cholesterol (and the fear of having too high a level), was something that was rarely discussed unless of course your level was over 330 or so. But now, many people believe that they must keep their cholesterol levels as low as possible, otherwise your health will suffer.

In reality, you NEED cholesterol. Its crucial in the production of hormones, cell membranes, vitamin D, and bile acids that help digest fat. Cholesterol also plays an integral part in memory formation and neurological function.

So if you want to learn your risk for heart disease, take note of these indicators instead:

The simplest way to lower your high iron levels is to donate your blood. If that is not possible, a therapeutic phlebotomy can effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body.

Once you get started with this program, you will notice remarkable improvement in your health, anywhere between a few days to a few weeks. If you dont feel any noticeable change, your body may be telling you that you should consult a knowledgeable health care professional who can understand your insulin and fat biochemistry and fine-tune your individual program.

These recommendations are generally safe, but if any of these make you feel nauseous or sick in any way, then please stop immediately. Listening to what your body is telling you is the smartest way to gauge whether or not this plan is working for you.

Remember, there is no charge for this life-saving information in this Nutrition Plan. It is my gift to you and your family to help offset the massive confusion, misinformation, pain and suffering that the conventional medical system has likely given you.

See the original post here:
Take Control of Your Health With My Nutrition Plan

The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle …

Posted: August 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm

A healthy diet and lifestyle are yourbest weaponsto fight cardiovascular disease. Its not as hard as you may think! Remember, it’s the overall pattern of yourchoicesthat counts. Make the simple steps below part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart.

Regular physical activity can help you maintain your weight, keep off weight that you lose and help you reach physical and cardiovascular fitness. If its hard to schedule regular exercise sessions, try aiming for sessions of at last 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week.

You may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy.Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients but are lower in calories. Theymay help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

One of the diets that fits this pattern is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. Most healthy eating patterns can be adapted based on calorie requirements and personal and cultural food preferences.

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you’re trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. You could use your daily allotment of calories on a few high-calorie foods and beverages, but you probably wouldnt get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Limit foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium you eat. Read Nutrition Facts labels carefully the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the amount of healthy and unhealthy nutrients in a food or beverage.

For more information on theAmerican Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations:

Last reviewed 08/2015.

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The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle …

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