Categorized as: Fat Loss Facts

THE EVIDENCE IS BUILDING … ARE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS MAKING US FAT?

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After a recent trip to Los Angeles – the mecca of Diet Sodas – I have never observed so many overweight and obese people consuming bottomless buckets of Diet Coke. In every cafe, the selection of sweetener sachets presents a virtual rainbow of choice. The demand is higher than I’ve ever seen and I believe the consequences are becoming increasingly obvious.

Over the years, a large majority of people I’ve met who are constantly battling with their weight are ‘addicted’ to diet soft drinks and other forms of artificial sweetener and ‘diet’ foods. This association has been building in my mind over recent years, but it appears now the evidence is beginning to materialise.

We now know that gut flora plays a significant role in our overall health as well as weight control. Individuals with poor gut flora actually absorb more calories from food than those with a good balance of healthy flora.

Recently, Israeli researchers have demonstrated, in animals and humans, that the effect of artificial sweeteners on changing the gut bacteria has a profound role in changing metabolism, especially the metabolism of sugar. These researchers have been able to induce diabetes in lab animals, simply by feeding them artificially sweetened foods. They then were able to characterise the changes in the gut bacteria. Even more profound was their research that demonstrated that by taking fecal specimens from the animal that had been exposed to artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and transplanting these fecal specimens into laboratory animals that did not have gut bacteria, the risk for diabetes was also increased.

Over coming years we’re likely to see more and more advertising for artificially sweetened beverages as the news related to the dangers of sugar sweetened beverages gets more traction. This should in no way be interpreted as giving the green light for artificially sweetened beverages as we now see science demonstrating that risk of some of our most devastating medical conditions is actually increased with their consumption.

 

To green juice or not to green juice?

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While juicing has been around for eons, the latest craze has now gravitated towards the even ‘healthier’ pressed, whole juice. The concept makes some sense – stop extracting the pure sugar from your favourite plant foods (forsaking fibre and flooding your system with sugar) and opt for a pureed version of the whole food … complete with all the ‘goodies’.
Pressed (whole) juice is now the beverage of the moment. Celebrities drink it. So do fitness fanatics, yoga disciples and vegans. They’re guzzling raw vegetable drinks to “cleanse” their bodies, consume more veggies and shed unwanted kilos. On the surface, it seems that firing up your Nutribullet is the easiest way to consume copious amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit. It makes for a fast breakfast, lunch on-the-run or snack, and it’s healthy. Right?

Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the facts…

Problem #1

One of the major issues with any form of juicing (whole or otherwise), is that you are condensing the volume of fibrous plant foods, allowing consumption in quantities beyond your natural capacity. If you piled the hefty contents of your Nutribullet onto a plate prior to blending, it’s unlikely you’d manage to consume it all in its whole state before your stomach sent a signal to your brain that you’ve had your fill. With the absence of chewing your food and the consequent gradual release of saliva and associated enzymes, much of the digestive process, which nature has perfected, is lost.

Digestion of carbohydrates (including all veggies & fruit) begins in your mouth when mixed with saliva. If you do not chew your food, saliva doesn’t have an opportunity to do its job. Saliva contains special enzymes and antibacterial properties. Saliva contains the enzyme amylase, which breaks down starch into simpler, digestible sugars such as maltose and dextrin.  About 30 percent of starch digestion takes place in your mouth and these enzymes also play a role in protecting teeth from decay. Saliva also contains a potent form of the enzyme lipase which is essential for fat digestion.

Problem #2
The high vitamin K content in a spinach/kale smoothie, for example, can be life-threatening if you take blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin. Such anticoagulants often are prescribed after a stroke, deep vein thrombosis or other circulatory conditions. Kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard and parsley contain enough vitamin K per cup to lower the drugs’ anti-clotting activity.

If you’re one of the many millions of people taking cholesterol-lowering statins, stay away from grapefruit. The citrus fruit blocks an intestinal enzyme that controls absorption of some statin drugs. You’ll also face a higher risk of muscle and joint pain, muscle breakdown, liver damage and kidney failure if you drink grapefruit juice, or eat the fruit, while taking statins. Grapefruit also can interfere with drugs for high blood pressure, anxiety, allergies and other ailments.
If you have kidney problems, beware of fruit and vegetable juices with high amounts of potassium, such as bananas and kale. Four cups of chopped kale can be lethal if your kidneys are weak due to high blood pressure, severe infection, an enlarged prostate, certain drugs or pregnancy complications.

Green juice & thyroid function:
Kale, bok choy, cauliflower, collards and spinach are rich in the substance thiocyanate, which in very high concentrations, can interfere with adequate iodine nutrition. The thyroid needs iodine to produce thyroid hormone, and thus exposure to very high amounts of thiocyanate can potentially result in hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and compensatory growth of the thyroid (goiter). Your thyroid function is responsible for your metabolism, so a reduced production can result in numerous health issues, including excess fat gain. The risks may be exacerbated in individuals who are already iodine deficient, and these may include those with restricted diets, such as vegetarians and vegans.

Australia is known to have very low levels of iodine in our soil, hence the reason much of our salt is now ‘iodised’ and ‘iodised salt’ is now compulsory in commercial bread production.  Adequate iodine nutrition is particularly important in women of child-bearing age and their children, given the importance of iodine and normal thyroid function on the developing brain in young infants.

Eating whole greens in their usual amounts will not be a significant contributor toward thyroid disorders.
Problem #3

Juice cleanses don’t work!
We clean out our houses, our lint filters and cars. So why not our insides? That’s the reasoning behind juice cleanses, which are intended to rid your body of ‘toxins’. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – FORGET IT! The practice is a waste of your time and money, not to mention potentially detrimental to your health. Your body is not like the filter in your clothes dryer. It doesn’t need ‘cleansing.’ Our bodies have their own elaborate, complex and very efficient detoxification system, known as the liver, intestines and kidneys.  It’s physiologically incorrect to think the body can’t detox on its own … or that an elaborate regime of starvation plus juice will do the job for you!

In the process of ‘detoxing’, you’re actually starving your body of essential nutrients, potentially causing loss of bone, tooth decay from the sugary juices and loss of valuable lean muscle tissue, not to mention the additional stress of being hungry and the headaches (often touted as the effect of rampant toxins!) caused by the blood sugar rollercoaster. Which, by the way, stimulates further fat storage!

Problem #4
Juices can be calorie bombs!
If you’re downing up to 2 litres of juice a day to lose weight – which many fasts recommend – stop! Juicing for days to lose weight can be potentially harmful. That’s because you’re losing out on important nutrients.  And don’t expect to get slimmer. In fact, you might gain weight, because you’re consuming more calories than you realise – mostly from naturally occurring sugar in the fruits and vegetables. Some juices and smoothies are more caloric than a meal. Consume too many, and you can end up with a few thousand calories of juice a day and still be unsatisfied.
Problem #5

You’re depriving yourself of protein.
Juice (pressed or otherwise) is not a meal replacement. A 70kg person needs a minimum of 70 grams of protein daily to repair cells and create new ones. Protein also preserves and builds lean body mass, stabilises blood sugar and create satiety, which supports health and even burns calories. Fruits and vegetables [alone] are not a great source.

Diet soft drinks – Friend or Foe?

soft drink photoDiet soft drinks began way back in 1952, when a New York-based company launched a sugar-free ginger ale called No-Cal. This was created with Diabetics in mind, not dieters. Over the next few decades, several other companies began to compete in this arena and, in 1963, the Coca-Cola Company joined in with the launch of the cyclamate and saccharin sweetened ‘Tab’. In 1982 our very own Elle Macpherson strutted her stuff on the very famous TV commercial. This was closely followed by the release of Diet Pepsi in the 1960’s. Over the years there have been numerous reformulations of these diet drinks due to the banning of certain sweetening agents and their links to ill health and disease (in the case of cyclamates, the FDA banned them on evidence they caused cancer in lab rats). These days most are still sweetened with aspartame (Nutrasweet) or a combination of several different artificial sweeteners.

It’s interesting … while there have been rumblings about the potential health risks of diet soft drinks for many years now (regular drinkers have a 43% increased risk of stroke and heart attack and other vascular problems), it’s not until you hear that your risk of gaining weight is increased by 54.5% with just 1-2 cans a day that the majority of the soda drinking population prick their ears up! Let’s explore this further…

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Forget Weight – What’s your body composition?

Why is it useful to measure your body composition?

Body composition describes the different components that make up our total body weight. It’s the ratio between our stored body fat and lean body weight (muscle, bone, organs … everything other than fat). Our Lean Body Weight (LBW) is metabolically active and fat (adipose) tissue is not. Our body composition determines our health, tone, shape, performance, strength, metabolic rate and overall appearance.

Bathroom scales provide a measure of total weight, but don’t determine what that weight is composed of. Based only on scale weight, a 90 kilo athlete with less than 10% body fat may be considered obese by a typical weight chart. This also includes Body Mass Index (BMI) measures for the same reason. While BMI combined with waist circumference gives some indication of our physical condition, it is not as accurate as body composition.

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If you want to lose a kilo a day…read on!

It’s the nature of our fast-paced lifestyle. We all want to lose weight and we’d like it to happen yesterday. This burning desire is what keeps weight loss books, products and pills thriving.

Now I know you were all excited when you read the headline on this blog. You, like millions of others, are still looking for the magic carpet ride to a better body.

The good news is that you will get amazing results in a timely manner if you follow my program. The bad news is that while it’s possible to lose ‘weight’ quickly, it is not possible to lose ‘body fat’ quickly. Burning body fat requires a physiological process, which means you have to be in debt 7,700 calories to shed one kilogram of stored body fat. To put this into perspective, you burn around 300 calories in an hour of walking.

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Metabolic Suicide – The Recovery Mission

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Reality television shows are earning top ratings by flaunting the dramatic weight loss of individuals desperate enough to endure punishing diet and exercise regimes.

Next time you hear someone moaning about a super restrictive diet, understand that it isn’t just a hissy fit. It’s real. The emotional and physical torment of deprivation challenges the very core of human nature and its inherent survival instincts.

Each time you jump from low carbs to low fat to low calories to high protein you are harming yourself. No-one wants to be fat and it’s great to become pro-active about getting in shape but we have to wise up about how it’s done. It won’t happen with fads, starvation or anything that even resembles torture but by re-booting your metabolism, it will happen and the best news is that it can stay that way. Diets which restrict calories too far may cause a reduction in weight but it almost always causes a reduction in metabolism. Once you begin on this downhill spiral, you are entering a destructive cycle where it is virtually impossible to lose fat without starving and over-exercising.

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Muscle: Your Most Valuable Asset

Are you one of the thousands of Australians enthusiastically pounding the pavement to work off some of that extra winter-flab? Before you take another step, you need to know

Why we need muscles for fat loss

There has been an urban legend floating around for decades now that we must start a fat-loss regime with plenty of aerobic exercise to strip off the excess lard before tackling the weight-training for tone and shape. After all, muscle builds ‘bulk’ and your goal is to reduce your size, right?  But like many urban legends, this too is utter twaddle!

While aerobic exercise burns calories during execution, our participation is commonly restricted by both time and energy. Even if you were able to walk or run daily for an hour, what about the other twenty-three hours in your day? This is where strength training comes in.

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Understanding Dieting Methods and Fat Loss

[extract: ‘Fat or Fiction’]

Use your intellect and you won’t need willpower!

How to detect a ‘rip off’ weight loss plan

If a weight loss program prescribes a reduction in calories below your BMR as well as:314

  • no exercise or physical effort
  • unrealistic promises of fast weight loss or
  • sales of the latest cream, pill or potion,

you can be confident that it is a scam! Such ‘magical’ programs will not only disappoint you through lack of promised results, but they may also harm your health, not to mention burning a hole in your pocket.

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