Archive for October, 2010

7 SIMPLE Ways to Upgrade Your Diet

Anytime a person thinks about losing fat, it’s always about everything they have to "give up."

I’m losing fat, so pizza is out the window.  So is cake, cookies, candy, ice cream, carbs, fat, cereal, alcohol, and so on.

Truth is — let’s look at everything you CAN keep up versus focusing on the negative.

And, better yet, how about 7 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Diet.

It’s not only about calories.  Yes, calories matter.  But they’re not the ONLY thing!

Check out these 7 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Diet

  1. Add cinnamon to your yogurt, oats, smoothie, cottage cheese, or whatever else you eat.  It adds zero calories, is loaded with antioxidants, and may actually help control blood sugar…what a bonus!
  2. Switch to 100% grass fed beef.  If you eat meat, this is the way to go.  Cattle should eat grass and grass only.  Not grains.  The ratio of healthier fats — like CLA and omega-3′s — are much better than traditional grain fed beef, which has more omega-6′s because of their feed.  You can usually find this at most Farmer’s Markets
  3. Eat quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) instead of rice.  It’s a great source of fiber, higher in protein, and adds a unique flavor to the standard rice that so many are used to.
  4. Switch from Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce to Spinach.  This dark leafy green is a much better based for salads.  You can also add it to pesto (buy prepared pesto and blend in 2-3 cups of fresh spinach) or simply saute it quickly and easily with garlic, pepper and  pinch of Kosher salt.
  5. Go Wild!  Wild fish are better options than their farm raised counterparts.  Choose these whenever you can for more omega-3′s and less contaminants.
  6. Choose nuts over chips.  Nuts are an incredible snack — high in fiber, protein, and omega-3′s.  Eating 1-2 handfuls daily can boost weight loss.
  7. Swap out portabello mushrooms for buns or pizza crusts.  You save on calories, get more hard to get nutrients like selenium and magnesium, and you also get more flavor!  Give it a try

Mohr Results Bottom Line: Improving your diet doesn’t mean an entire overhall of your lifestyle.  Simple upgrades like those above will go a long way in terms of boosting fat loss and improving your health.

Green Tea – Fat Loss Belly Burner or Belly Fat Burning Hype?

With all the hype and ads trying to pitch "fat burners" it’s no wonder people are consumed.

We’re at the park last night with Ella — our daily routine — and as we’re playing with her, we overheard a conversation between two moms.  What was it about?  Losing their "baby weight" even though they both joked because their youngest were now 5.

Our ears immediately perked up when they then brought up how they saw in a magazine that drinking tea burns fat, so she’s recently started doing that everyday. 

Let’s take a look at this.

Tea is known for it’s health benefits.  Some data suggests it may reduce heart disease, other data suggests it can improve mental focus, and several studies have also suggested drinking green tea may boost fat loss.

And, actually, although a lot of the data and marketing has suggested green tea to be the magic bullet, there has been some other data suggesting all tea is beneficial.  "All tea" meaning green, black, or white teas, which are from the same Camellia sinensis plant. 

Herbal teas, on the other hand, don’t have the same powerful health benefits that actual tea does have.  

Let’s explore this fat loss thing a bit more, though.

While the research suggesting drinking tea can burn belly fat has never been too strong, there was some early on to at least give a bit of hope.  And we always suggested that even if that fat loss benefit doesn’t pan out, tea is still great for you, so drinking it daily is smart.  It’s also a calorie free drink that gives an alternative to plain water.  So while tea itself may not be a magical fat loss supplement, according the latest data, it’s a fantastic option.

Let’s take a look at the study published this month in the esteemed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis — January 2010).

This meta-analysis (an analysis of the results of multiple studies) looked at the overall effects of green tea catechins on body mass index, body weight, waist to hip ratio, and waist circumference.

As an aside, catechins are the antioxidants that are particularly high in green tea.  They are responsible for many of the health benefits and supposedly for the fat burning properties of tea.

Here’s the summary of this analysis:

  • Researchers reviewed 15 Green Tea studies.
  • Green Tea catechins helped reduce body weight an average of 3 pounds in the studies, but only when combined with caffeine (the studies without caffeine showed NO fat loss benefits)

But:
 
Although statistically significant, the researchers concluded the clinical significance of the fat loss benefits is modest at best (read: useless).

In my opinion, the final word on this after looking at this entire study is:

Green tea (and all tea) is super healthy and definitely suggested.  If you’re looking to tea to shed extra body fat, however, you’re not going to have much luck.  If you instead replace other higher calorie beverages with unsweetened, real brewed green tea, you’re making a great decision!

What do you think?

 

Is Your Diet Too Complex?

It’s kind of hard to make permanent lifestyle changes if the changes you’re trying to make are too complex, right?

Well what if the plan you’re trying so diligently to follow is “too complex” – meaning there are too many food rules?

A study out just this month in the journal Appetite, compared two diet programs (one with more “rules” and one with less) to see if one plan produced better results and long term success.

The two programs used were Weight Watchers and something called Brigitte.  The study was performed in Germany, where Brigitte is popular.  Most are familiar with Weight Watchers, which assigns point values to foods and then instructs members to eat within a certain number of points each day.

You can “earn” more points with exercise and save up points if there’s a special occasion where you’re likely to eat more than normal.

Brigitte is a “recipe-based weight management program” that provides recipes and shopping lists for every meal, meaning participants simply following along with the given meal plans.

In this instance, Weight Watchers was the more complex program with the various point calculations and such, whereas Brigitte is a straightforward “here is your plan, shop, cook, and eat these foods.”

For those in the US, simply think of Brigitte as following along with given meal plans from a weight loss expert.

The goal of the study wasn’t to measure weight loss, but rather to see if weight loss programs fail because of their complexity.

Their conclusions? 

The researchers found that “perceived rule complexity” was the strongest factor associated with increased risk of quitting.  The people in the programs perceived the respective programs to be too complicated.

That means one thing to me: Ever hear the acronym K.I.S.S.?

Keep It Super Simple (yes, it’s cleaned up a bit for our blog).

Does that mean IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT that the “diet didn’t work?”  Hmmmmm. 

Chime in – what do you think?

(Source: Appetite, 54 (2010) 37-43. When weight management lasts. Lower perceived rule complexity increases adherence.)

 

3 Secrets to Lose Weight Permanently

It’s estimated that around 80% of those who have lost weight in the past … gain it all back (and more) after 2 years.

Losing weight is actually easy.

Maintaining that loss is the hard part.

So how can you lose and maintain your weight loss permanently??

When looking at data from the National Weight Control Registry — a registry of 1000′s of people who have lost and maintained a 60 lb loss for 5+ years, they have many common traits.

  1. People who have successfully lost and maintained their weight loss keep food records.
  2. They exercise about 60 minutes/day, 5 days/week.  That means less sitting during the day and more movement, along with structured exercise. 
  3. They eat breakfast, daily. 

So, yeah, those 3 things sound insanely basic … but with around 80% of the population gaining and losing repeatedly, it’s apparently not as commonplace as it should be.

 

Are You Addicted to Food?

We’ll be the first to say that you need to take responsibility for you … your body, your health, and the foods you choose that can change both of those.

But, what if food was addicting, like drugs or alcohol?

Is it possible that for some people, food is so addicting they can’t stop eating?

It’s been suggested that certain ingredients — salt, sugar, fat and other "secret" components in many packaged foods and particularly many fast foods — have addicting components in them.

In fact, research out of Princeton University has shown that when rats are given a diet with 25% of calories from sugar, they’re actually in a state of anxiety when the sugar is removed and show similar reactions to that of heroin addicts when the drug is removed — teeth shattering and the shakes. 

Do humans act the same way, though, with a sugar withdrawal?

From other research that’s been conducted, it does appear that food triggers levels of something called dopamine — a neurotransmitter that’s involved in motivation and reward — plays a role in food intake..  And other research has demonstrated that foods like sugar and fat trigger dopamine the same as certain drugs do.

So can food truly have a drug like reaction in the body — causing dopamine levels to rise and fall upon eating certain ingredients? 

It may in fact be one piece to the overall puzzle.

But it’s still important to take responsibility for overall food intake and exercise and not use this solely as a "scapegoat" for lack of a better term.

Here’s a simple test we always tell people if thinking they’re hungry.

Think about picking up an apple.  Will an apple satisfy your craving?  If so, you’re physiologically hungry.  If not, you’re more than likely psychologically hungry (which often means bored, tired, or stressed).

 

 

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