Tag archive for » metabolism «

Eat your Favorite Foods to Lose 10-Pounds?

Wednesday, 14. March 2012 12:24

I loved this clip from NBC’s Today Show highlighting the Doctor Mehmet Oz  Eat What You Love diet plan featured in April’s issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

The key idea is to pick HEALTHY foods that you enjoy to include in your diet and follow a 1450 nutrient-rich calorie plan each day. (That total includes two 125-calorie snacks of your choice.) If you choose to eat things you love, it will be much easier to stick with the plan.  Also, watch your stress level.  According to Oz, because many of us respond to stress by overeating, it’s the number one cause of obesity in America.   Here are the four tips he shared in the segment:

  1. Manage portion size.  Use the size of your palm as a gauge for meat portions.  Be liberal with servings of vegetables and fresh fruits.  Manage pasta potions using the “okay” method as follows: Make the okay sign by putting your index finger at the joint of your thumb and measure an amount of pasta that fits in that circle.
  2. Don’t skip a meal.  Starving yourself never works.  Missing a meal will likely lead to bingeing later, so don’t do it.
  3. Get sufficient sleep.  If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will crave more food – and vice versa.
  4. Take a walk.  Getting even 20 minutes of exercise can improve your metabolism.  If that’s not a good enough reason, remember that exercise is also a good way to reduce stress and can be an excellent distraction when an unwanted food craving strikes.

In the magazine article, Dr. Oz shares a menu plan, sample snacks and other tips for weight loss. Click here to read the “Eat What You Love” plan online in Good Housekeeping and/or, enjoy the segment clip from the Today show.  Apologies about the ad –   I can’t remove it.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Category:Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

Foods that Help Burn Pounds

Sunday, 13. March 2011 12:05

Everywhere I turn, I read about fat burning foods and tips for speeding up your metabolism.  Terrific!  I get lots of questions on this when I am wellness coaching, so I’m sharing  a particularly good article  from Men’s Health Magazine: 15 Fired-Up Foods that Burn Away Pounds by Brian Good. The information seems complete and  practical.  Good points out that even though these foods help in the short term,  the boost is temporary.  He quotes Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech., saying, “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle.”  So Good also suggests that if  you eat  a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, and add some exercise,  you will lose weight.    

Here’s the list of foods from his article in its entirety.

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.

For a “good” read, visit the original article on MensHealth on line.

Category:Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

Demystifying Omega-3 and Omega-6

Thursday, 4. November 2010 19:26

If you’re confused about the details of getting enough omega 3, I’ve compiled information from several sources including an online article from the University of Maryland to help us out.  Apparently, our bodies’ require a proper balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to achieve good health. However, we can’t produce them; we have to get them through food or supplements. These so-called “essential fatty acids” play a crucial role in brain function, normal growth and development, aid in the stimulation of skin and hair growth, bone health, metabolism, and maintenance of our reproductive system.

Balance is critical.  While these fatty acids work together, they function differently. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, while some omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation (an important component of the immune response) necessary for blood clotting and cell proliferation.

The University of Maryland article suggests that for general health, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should range between 2:1 – 4:1. Unfortunately, several sources agree that the typical American diet delivers 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids!  Yikes!

According to an article in SUPERMARKET GURU Food and Health News, the excess omega-6 results from over-consumption of refined nut and seed oils used in fast foods and certain snack foods like sweets and  crackers. On the other hand, a diet consisting primarily of fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grass-fed meats delivers more Omega-3.

Because the average diet provides sufficient omega-6 fatty acids, supplementation is not usually necessary, but check with your doctor.  There are a variety of conditions that omega-6 may treat, such as eczema or psoriasis.  Checking with your physician is best in all cases, as supplementation can interact with other medications you may be taking.

Getting back to omega-3, JoAnn Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H. of Brigham and Women’s Hospital did a great little write up in the Harvard Healthbeat Newsletter.  She says that not all omega-3s are created equal.  There are three main types; the first two, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found mainly in fish, so they’re often called marine omega-3s. The third is alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA, found in plant-based foods, such as flaxseed, walnuts, and canola and soybean oils).

Additionally, there is currently more evidence that marine omega-3s (EPA and DHA) offer more health benefits than plant-based ALA. Studies show that EPA and DHA help protect against heart attacks and strokes and that they have anti-inflammatory effects, often useful in preventing or treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Manson says there are some studies of ALA under way, but right now there just isn’t enough data to be sure that ALA has the same effects as marine-based omega-3s for heart health.

She adds that the American Heart Association recommends adults eat two servings of omega-3-rich fish (salmon, for example) per week, which works out to about 400 to 500 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA per day. People with heart disease are advised to double that, so their daily intake is 1,000 mg. Taking fish oil capsules is often the most practical way to get that amount of omega-3s. If you choose to take fish oil capsules, note that the amount of EPA and DHA provided is often only about a third of that listed on the front of the bottle. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the back for the actual amount.

An article in June’s Eating Well Magazine  also mentions that it may be helpful to pay attention to toxins (like mercury) in fish and supplements. Generally, according to the article, omega-3 supplements are very low in toxins associated with some fish.

“The health risks of [omega-3] deficiencies are much greater than the minimal increase in health risk from exposure to the low levels of PCBs and methylmercury,” says Joe Hibbeln, M.D., Acting Chief, Section on Nutritional Neurosciences at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  and an authority on omega fatty acids and mental health. Quoted in the Eating Well article, he says you can minimize exposure by choosing supplements made from smaller fish, such as sardines, or algae and use brands that rate well in independent testing: fishoilsafety.com or ConsumerLab.com.

An article in the March 2010 print edition of Eating Well also mentions that wild, oilier, cold water fish usually have higher levels of omega-3s than other types of fish.  For more information on toxins in fish, visit the FDA site  on mercury or the EPA site for more details. 

Hope that helps! Be healthy, be well.

Category:Wellness | Comments (1) | Autor:

Eat, Pray, Love? Enough Already!

Monday, 6. September 2010 13:40

While I admire Elizabeth Gilbert’s courage and success, I am not a fan of her bestseller, “Eat, Pray, Love”.  I enjoyed the movie (lots of eye candy for everyone), but I’m not a fan of Gilbert’s writing.  Sorry, that’s how I really feel.  Anyway, the motivation for this post is to suggest that   “Be Mindful, Be Loving and Drink Enough Water” is a more helpful slogan for self-care than EAT, PRAY, LOVE.  After all, EAT is generic and easy enough to do.  PRAY has good intentions, but may be too limiting, and LOVE, well, no problem there, but to my thinking, it should get a higher billing.  I know my saying is not as catchy, but that’s not the point. The point is that “Be Mindful, Be Loving and Drink Enough Water” has been very helpful to me in creating a more joyful life, and in case it’s of assistance to you, I’d like to share why:

Be Mindful:  If you are searching for your best life, start here. The first step to feeling well is awareness, or mindfulness.  If you can answer, “What is going in this moment for me?” you are much closer to also knowing, “What do I need in this moment?” Do I need to establish a boundary with someone?  Do I need a nap?  Do I need a hug?  Awareness of your present state is fundamental to taking good and joyful care of you.  Meditation is one terrific way to mindfulness, and there are other practices that can lead you there as well, including silence, going slowly, breathing deeply, and praying, to name a few.  The joy of being and feeling stillness was for me, the first critical step to finding my most joyful life. As Ram Dass  put it, “Be here now.” 

Be Loving – Fear (not hate) is the opposite of love.  If you can be loving toward yourself, truly kind and nurturing, (no negative self talk please) chances are you are managing your fears and worries which will allow you to create more joy in your life.  Guess what? When I’m not stressed out and afraid, life is more fun, and it is easier to take good care of myself and eat well and get what I need.  Being loving to oneself enables you to truly love others.  Therefore, in my book, “Be Loving” needs higher billing than third place in a saying worth remembering!

Drink Lots of Water – I am constantly surprised by how many people do not drink enough water (the recommendation is typically eight eight ounce glasses a day; or half your body weight in ounces) to maintain good health.  I find water extremely important for better digestion and for feeling more energetic.

But don’t take my word for it. According to the Mayo Clinic Website, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.  Lack of water can lead to dehydration, that’s when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

Furthermore, an eHow.com article  says,

  • Water is critical to digestion. Dehydration slows digestion and can make bowel movements difficult and painful.
  • Water aids weight loss. Without enough water, the body cannot flush out broken-down fats.
  • Water boosts the body’s metabolism, a necessary component to feeling energetic and active, which in turn will help to burn more fat.
  • Drinking more water can help manage appetite.  You may confuse being thirsty with being hungry.
  • Drinking sufficient water can help increase the elasticity of your skin.

So there it is, from a self-care coach: Be mindful, love yourself, and drink enough water for good health.  If you want to relax, read a terrific book or catch a fun movie once in awhile, even if it’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

Category:Self Actualization, Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

Eat More to Lose Weight?

Wednesday, 27. January 2010 3:34

While in most cases, you need to cut calories to lose weight, if you’ve been yo-yo dieting, you might actually need to eat more to lose weight!  Why? Eating too little food can cause your metabolism to slow down – and sure enough, you will stop losing weight.  How frustrating is that?

Several sources substantiate that when you eat fewer calories than you need for basic biological function (estimated at something less than 1,200  calories/day for most people), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism.  Lynne Smiley, PhD at the University of Arizona wrote a terrific explanation of this in November 2009.  She says that humans have the physiological ability to adapt their metabolism to low-calorie diets, (a biological response that was very helpful in the old days when we were trying to survive famines). When calories are not available, the body reduces the calories it needs to function and conserves more fat to survive the famine. 

Each time the body experiences a famine (or a very low-calorie diet masquerading as a famine) the body improves its ability to conserve fat.  Therefore, after a prolonged very low-calorie diet, if you resume eating a little more, weight gain begins – and at the same time, your metabolism has slowed!  So each time you follow a very low-calorie diet, you will lose less weight but then gain more fat as your body continues to get better at adapting to fewer calories.  YIKES!

An article in Prevention Magazine featuring Dr. Dan Benardot, sports nutritionist and author, agrees. Benardot adds that extremely low-calorie diets break down calorie-burning muscle tissue to use as energy.  To remedy this, he suggests that you eat just enough so you’re not hungry–a 150-calorie snack midmorning and mid-afternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) – to keep your metabolism humming.

Additionally, a 1950 study known as the Minnesota Starvation Experiment by Ancel Keys confirms that a reduction in metabolic rate results from undernourishment.  The study also shows that prolonged semi-starvation produces significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondria.  That means that extremely restricted diets may not just mess with your metabolism – but with your head as well; not a good thing!

Life Coach Martha Beck cites the Minnesota study in her weight loss book, The 4-Day Win and adds more bad news: that overeating and putting on fat is the normal psychological response just to the expectation of being hungry.  She calls this “famine brain.”

So what can you do if you’ve been yo-yo dieting with super low calories?  The answer for most people, according to Smiley and to Benardot, is to eat more appropriately. Smiley says it may take a couple of months of normal eating until your body recognizes that the “Feast or Famine Cycle” has stopped and will not start again.(Yes, you may gain some weight during that time – but you can lose it!) Then, you can start reducing your daily calorie intake SLOWLY, by only 200 or 300 calories.  At the same time, you should increase your daily activity to only burn 200 – 300 calories more.  Smiley suggests that this is a safe calorie reduction method that won’t trigger your body to adapt its metabolism downward, and can result in permanent weight loss of one half to one pound of fat per week.  

What if eating too few calories is NOT your weight loss issue?  Stay tuned….more to come in a future post.

Need more specifics from the Smiley article? Article by Lynne Smiley, Phd

To read more of the Prevention article:  http://www.prevention.com/health/news-voices/in-the-magazine/high-metabolism-diet/article/8ce5ba3c05da7110VgnVCM10000013281eac____

Category:Wellness | Comments (2) | Autor: