Category: Diet Advices and Tips

The Truth About Avocado and Weight Loss

The Truth About Avocado and Weight Loss

Avocados manage to be both timeless and trendy. The green fruit (yup, it’s a fruit) is used in classics like guacamole and Cobb salad and it’s currently popping up in countless restaurant dishes. But, could the ubiquitous avocado also be good for your weight loss game?

The most common claim that avocados are good for dropping pounds comes from their high content of healthy fats, which are known to suppress appetite, leading to weight loss.

Also, studies show that high-fiber foods, like avocados, boost feelings of fullness. Those feelings of satisfaction mean you’re less likely to overeat which can lead to weight loss.

There’s even evidence that healthy (or unsaturated) fats help prevent blood-sugar spikes, which tell your body to store excess calories as fat in your midsection. That means avocados may be good for controlling belly fat.

Healthy fats and dietary fiber are linked to satiety. Satiety can result in a reduction of excess eating. Eating less often leads to weight loss. But those attributes aren’t exactly unique to avocados.

While avocados can be a healthy addition to your diet, it’s important to be aware of the fact that they are fairly calorie dense. A small avocado (about four ounces) has around 180 calories and 17g fat. And there absolutely is such a thing as too much fat — even the healthy kind.

Just because avocados are healthy and satisfying doesn’t mean you should eat them with complete abandon.

Not only could that prevent weight loss, it could actually lead to weight gain. Definitely enjoy them — just in moderation!

When in Doubt, Weigh It Out

For the most accurate info, weigh out your avocado portion with a food scale. Each ounce has around 45 calories, 4g fat, 2.5g carbs, 2g fiber, and 0.5g protein.

Kitchen scales are inexpensive and they’re great tools for weight management. If you’re not able to weigh out your avocado, here are some shortcut estimates:

1-ounce avocado is equal to:

about 2 tbsp. mashed avocado
about 2 tbsp. chopped avocado
about 1/4th of a small avocado

Tips on Adding Avocado to Your Diet

Spice and spread. You can mash and season them to make a spread for whole-grain toast, high-fiber crackers, sandwiches, or even apple slices. One of my favorite little snacks is high-fiber, flatbread-style crackers topped with seasoned mashed avocado and sun-dried tomatoes.

Egg Addition. A little chopped avocado brings so much flavor to an egg scramble. Mashed avocado is also surprisingly tasty in hard-boiled egg white halves. Top it with chopped lean bacon for a tremendously satisfying snack.

As a salad topper. A bit of avocado on your salad will make it more filling and more delicious. You can even blend up some avocado with fat-free yogurt for a flavor-packed dressing.

Creamy guac dip. Guacamole is delicious, but it’s way too easy to overdo it with the traditional dense dip. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with the same amount of mashed avocado. Toss in 1/8 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and chili powder and you’ve got a guac fix with a seriously slashed calorie count.

For more guilt-free recipes, food finds, tips ‘n tricks, and more, visit Fitness and Weight Loss.

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All That Dieting – And No Results

All That Dieting - And No Results

Clearly, a healthy person of ordinary common sense will not choose to deplete his vitality, lower his resistance to infection, and court anaemia among other complex ailments merely in order to face himself more cheerfully in a full-length mirror. Well, there are serious reasons to worry about overweight. Its health hazards are well enough known to cause that same sensible person to take thought when his scale starts inching upward.

But-you’re overweight. You have taken thought. You’ve tried starving, calorie-counting, exercise. In each case the results were the same–either there were none, or a few pounds slipped off only to be immediately replaced the moment you returned to anything like a normal diet. In addition you almost lost both your job and your marriage as it became impossible for any individual, however well adjusted, to get along with you. Yet still you waken to each new day aware that for another twenty-four hours you are going to ask your heart to service a plant that may be five, ten, or with really bad luck even twenty pounds heavier than it is efficiently equipped to manage. What to do?

First, if you haven’t already done so, check with your doctor. Second (and contingent upon the outcome of that interview) read the rest of this book. The low carbohydrate diet may be your answer.

Suppose that you are fortunate enough to have a doctor whose concern for your health outweighs his verbal tact.

He gives you a thoughtful look, puts down his pen and says, ‘My friend, we are speaking not of overweight, but of obesity.’ In that case, forget this book, or give it to a friend.

Obesity-gross overweight-is a medical classification, not a cosmetic one. If you are truly obese, neither this diet nor any other should be self-applied. You belong entirely in your doctor’s hands, a slave to the letter of any regimen which he, after careful tests, tailors for you. It is possible that you are one of those individuals whose bodies, for reasons not yet fully understood, do not deal in the normal way with food.

The oldest cliches in the folklore of dieting are type A, who cannot look at a slice of beef without gaining four pounds, and type B, who remains underweight on a steady intake of heavy cream, French toast, and chocolate cake.

The next time you overhear a luncheon conversation in which these two unfortunates are exchanging complaints, don’t assume that A has been sneaking down to midnight feasts of fried pork chops and sweet potatoes, or that B is merely trying to endow herself with a touch of the piquantly peculiar. It is entirely possible that they are telling the truth. Any doctor numbers among his patients some who accumulate weight on very reasonable diets, and others who cannot cover their bones no matter how hard they try.

The answer may be metabolic, psychological, glandular, or a complex combination of some or all of these; it may lie along biochemical lines yet to be explored. The one certainty is that in individuals at these extremes, body chemistry does not perform in the predictable manner.

Raleked: View more Healhty Life, Diet and Fitness Secrets

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The new, diet-friendly fast food items for hungry girls

The new, diet-friendly fast food items for hungry girls

There have been so many healthy developments at fast-food restaurants, it can be hard to keep track of ’em all! I’m making it easy with this list of new additions that make it worth hitting the drive-thru…

Chick-fil-A’s Superfood Side with Kale

Just 140 calories for this blend of broccolini, kale, dried cherries, roasted nuts, and maple vinaigrette. Ummm… Yummm! This actually replaced the extra-fatty coleslaw on the menu. (No word on how the coleslaw-loving regulars feel about this switcheroo.) And the latest from Chick-fil-A? The chain is test-marketing gluten-free buns. Nice!

McDonald’s Breakfast Bowls (Southern California Only)

Mickey D’s is currently testing out two b-fast bowls. One is made with eggs, chorizo, cheese, and hash browns; skip it. But check out the egg white & turkey sausage bowl: It features spinach, kale, Parmesan cheese, and a slim 250-calorie price tag. Here’s hoping this baby goes nationwide soon. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy an Egg White Delight McMuffin (250 calories).

The new, diet-friendly fast food items for hungry girls

Chipotle’s Getting Into the Burger Game

The company behind the mix-n-match Mexican chain is looking to enter the burger market. The brand recently filed a trademark application for the name “Better Burger,” which gives a pretty good idea as to what angle they’re working — and I’m all for it. Plus, if they offer a nutritional calculator as helpful as the one on the Chipotle website, that’ll be a huge bonus!

Taco Bell Revamps Dollar Menu: Now Featuring Breakfast!

Fast-food breakfast and dollar menus are both places where you need to beware of fat traps. But Taco Bell actually has a few solid Dollar Cravings b-fast items! The Mini Skillet Bowl has just 180 calories; You get egg, potatoes, cheese, and pico de gallo. Think of it as an on-the-go version of my egg-mug recipes! And the Breakfast Grilled Taco isn’t a bad choice, either – order it without cheese, and it clocks in at 210 calories.

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What is the cabbage soup, can it help to lose weight?

What is the cabbage soup, can it help to lose weight?

The cabbage soup diet is generally considered a fad diet. As the name suggests, the diet requires that you eat large amounts of cabbage soup for a week. During that time, you can also eat certain fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken and brown rice, according to a set schedule.

Proponents of the cabbage soup diet say it’s a good way to quickly lose a few pounds. You may lose weight on the diet because it drastically limits calories. But it may not be fat that you’re losing. It might be water weight or even lean tissue, since it’s hard to burn that many fat calories in such a short period.

Because the cabbage soup diet is low in complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, you shouldn’t stay on it for more than a week at a time.

The cabbage soup diet has other disadvantages. Depending on the recipe for cabbage soup, the diet can be high in sodium. The large amounts of cabbage also can make you more prone to flatulence. Because you’re not getting proper nutrition, you may feel weak or tired while on the diet. And once you stop the diet, it’s easy to regain any weight that you lost.

Fad diets like this one may be tempting, but keep in mind that long-term weight loss depends on making lasting healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits.

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All about high-protein diets safe for weight loss

All about high-protein diets safe for weight loss

For most healthy people, a high-protein diet generally isn’t harmful, particularly when followed for a short time. Such diets may help with weight loss by making you feel fuller.

However, the risks of using a high-protein diet with carbohydrate restriction for the long term are still being studied. Several health problems may result if a high-protein diet is followed for an extended time:

— Some high-protein diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that they can result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber, which can cause problems such as bad breath, headache and constipation.

— Some high-protein diets include foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, which may increase your risk of heart disease.

— A high-protein diet may worsen kidney function in people with kidney disease because your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.

If you want to follow a high-protein diet, choose your protein wisely. Good choices include soy protein, beans, nuts, fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, pork and low-fat dairy products. Avoid processed meats.

The quality of the carbohydrates (carbs) you eat is important too. Cut processed carbs from your diet, and choose carbs that are high in fiber and nutrient-dense, such as whole grains and vegetables and fruit.

It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a weight-loss diet. And that’s especially important in this case if you have kidney disease, diabetes or other chronic health condition.

Finally, keep in mind that weight loss may be temporary, especially if you return to your previous way of eating. The best eating plan is one that you can stick to long-term.

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Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight?

Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight?

Could a low-carb diet give you an edge in losing weight? Help you keep weight off permanently? Here’s what you need to know about the low-carb diet.

A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates — such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat. Many types of low-carb diets exist. Each diet has varying restrictions on the types and amounts of carbohydrates you can eat.

A low-carb diet is generally used for losing weight. Some low-carb diets may have health benefits beyond weight loss, such as reducing risk factors associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Why you might follow a low-carb diet

You might choose to follow a low-carb diet because you:

Want a diet that restricts certain carbs to help you lose weight
Want to change your overall eating habits
Enjoy the types and amounts of foods featured in low-carb diets
Check with your doctor or health care provider before starting any weight-loss diet, especially if you have any health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight?

Diet details

As the name says, a low-carb diet restricts the type and amount of carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates are a type of calorie-providing macronutrient found in many foods and beverages.

Many carbohydrates occur naturally in plant-based foods, such as grains. In natural form, carbohydrates can be thought of as complex and fibrous such as the carbohydrates found in whole grains and legumes, or they can be less complex such as those found in milk and fruit. Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include:

Grains
Fruits
Vegetables
Milk
Nuts
Seeds
Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)

Food manufacturers also add refined carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of flour or sugar. These are generally known as simple carbohydrates. Examples of foods that contain simple carbohydrates are white breads and pasta, cookies, cake, candy, and sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks.

Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They’re then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they’re known as blood sugar (glucose). Fiber-containing carbohydrates resist digestion, and although they have less effect on blood sugar, complex carbohydrates provide bulk and serve other body functions beyond fuel.

Rising levels of blood sugar trigger the body to release insulin. Insulin helps glucose enter your body’s cells. Some glucose is used by your body for energy, fueling all of your activities, whether it’s going for a jog or simply breathing. Extra glucose is usually stored in your liver, muscles and other cells for later use or is converted to fat.

The idea behind the low-carb diet is that decreasing carbs lower insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy and ultimately leads to weight loss.

Typical foods for a low-carb diet

In general, a low-carb diet focuses on proteins, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and some nonstarchy vegetables. A low-carb diet generally excludes or limits most grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. Some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

A daily limit of 60 to 130 grams of carbohydrates is typical with a low-carb diet. These amounts of carbohydrates provide 240 to 520 calories.

Some low-carb diets greatly restrict carbs during the initial phase of the diet and then gradually increase the number of allowed carbs. Very low-carb diets restrict carbohydrates to 60 grams or less a day.

In contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calorie intake. So if you consume 2,000 calories a day, you would need to eat between 900 and 1,300 calories a day from carbohydrates or between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

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9 foods that destroys weight loss goals

9 foods that destroys weight loss goals

Quinoa Chips

This new-to-the-scene snack food features all the buzzwords that make it sound like the ultimate healthy snack: It’s a superfood! And gluten-free! There’s protein and fiber! The problem: They’re basically corn chips with a little quinoa thrown in, says Kelly Schmidt, a nutritionist and blogger at Paleo Infused Nutrition.

And the quinoa itself has been so highly processed that it’s lost the nutritional boost that made it healthy in the first place. Need proof? Just compare the stats of one cup of cooked quinoa (8g protein, 5g fiber) to one serving of quinoa chips (1g protein, less than 1g fiber)—and then listen to your stomach make noise because it’s still going to be hungry.

Microwaveable Popcorn

Nutritionists always say popcorn is a healthy snack, and it is, so long as it’s made right. “The microwaveable kind has cancer-causing chemicals in them,” explains Palanisamy. One is called PFOA, which the EPA says is likely a cancerous carcinogen that’s found in the plastic of the bag. The other is in the butter flavor, and it’s known as diactyl, an organic compound that’s been linked with breathing issues and lung disease, thus making “popcorn lung” a real—and serious—health concern.

Fat-Free Cheese or Greek Yogurt

The obsession with low- and no-fat products we had in the ’90s still lingers, but reaching for them isn’t better than grabbing the full-fat kind. Researchers found that people who ate full-fat dairy tend to have lower body weight, less weight gain, and a lower risk of obesity compared to those who continued the fad.

They think it’s likely because when you remove fat from dairy, you also strip away beneficial fatty acids that can help you feel full, so you end up eating more in the long run. Plus, a lot of people opt for flavored yogurt, which has tons of sugar that, once again, put your blood sugar on a crazy roller coaster ride.

Pretzels

These salty bites may sound like a smart snack since they’re lower in fat and calories than potato chips, but they actually won’t do your waistline any favors. “They don’t contain any nutrients,” says Palanisamy. “They’re basically all carbs and loaded with sodium,” so they’ll put your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride, spiking your levels sky-high only to make you hungry as soon as it drops back down.

Vegetable Chips

Chips made with sweet potato, beets, or parsnip—those ought to be healthy, what with vegetables being the primary ingredient and all. But Palanisamy says they’re pretty high in fat—around 9g per serving—and it’s not the good kind. The oils used range from canola to sunflower or safflower, all of which contain omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation that’s been linked with autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, insulin resistance, and weight gain. Plus, the whole reason you’re eating them—because you want those good-for-you nutrients from the veggies—is a farce. Palanisamy says the chips have been stripped of those benefits, and they provide no protein and little-to-no fiber.

Rice Cakes

These have the perpetual stigma of being a smart, low-cal “diet food,” and sure, they’re not the worst idea in the world. “Rice cakes can make a good snack for people who are transitioning toward a gluten-free diet if it’s a smart health decision for them to do so,” says Schmidt. But since they’re high in carbs, they’re high on the glycemic index, and a recent study found a potential link between high-glycemic foods and lung cancer. Not to mention high-glycemic foods tend to cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, which makes you hungry all over again shortly after you snack.

Cereal

The breakfast staple usually plays a major role in taming mid-afternoon hunger because it’s fast, convenient, and you can eat it straight from the bag. But therein lies the danger—it’s super easy to eat a reasonable portion, and then some more, and more after that.

Then you’ve blown over 200 calories on an unsatisfying snack, because most of the time it’s made from refined grains that aren’t rich in nutrients, says Palanisamy. Another problem: Boxes tout being “high in fiber,” but it’s usually insoluble fiber that’s been shown to cause irritation in the gut, bloating, and other GI issues, he adds. Healthier, soluble fiber is what you find in foods like barley or beans.

Popped Chips

Sadly, “popping” chips instead of baking or frying them doesn’t make much of a nutritional difference, says Palanisamy. Yes, they slash the fat content in half compared to regular potato chips, but they don’t offer any micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and their paltry fiber and protein quotas (1g of each)—not to mention calorie count—is comparable to what you find in a serving of the regular stuff.

100-Calorie Snacks

Seems like a genius idea: Grab a bag and you have a pre-portioned, calorie-conscious snack at your convenience for those times you’re craving dessert. But you’re better off grabbing a more caloric snack that has tons of nutrients to actually keep you full. “When you’re eating a small 100-calorie bag of cookies or crackers, you’re not really getting what you want,” says Schmidt. And that makes you much more likely to reach for another, and another, and another.

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Dietary Mistakes: What Not To Do

Dietary Mistakes: What Not To Do

What sportsman, whether in competition or otherwise, has not suffered at one time or another from cramps, hunger pangs, exhaustion, digestive problems, stitches, a sharp decline in muscular tonus, or desperate thirst?

All these problems can be prevented by a balanced, suitable intake of food, either before, during or after the competition. In fact, good eating habits should be adopted a long time in advance. They play a large part in bringing the athlete gradually up to top form. The opposite is also true-a freak diet during the competition or pre-competition period frequently results in poor performance during exertion.

Among athletes, there are two extremes: some over-sacrifice dietary rules to gastronomy, while some do quite the opposite, building dietetics up into an infallible and miraculous means of helping them win victories. According to the latter, success depends on a so-called “wonder” foodstuff or even nutrient, whether it be raw meat, vitamins, potassium, sugar or glucose, etc. In both cases, the nutritional mistakes or beliefs are numerous. We shall therefore look at the most common dietary mistakes and beliefs which are encountered in the sporting environment.

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Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, and avoid stressful jobs are ingredients for a healthy heart.

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, avoid stressful jobs, and pedal hard when biking are all ingredients in the recipe for a healthy heart, according to experts meeting in Paris this week.

Whether one is afflicted by a heart attack, high blood pressure or constricted arteries depends in large measure on a host of lifestyle choices. But the ideal formula for avoiding heart problems remains elusive: it is hard to tease apart the factors that impact cardiovascular health, and the right mix of things to do — or not do — can vary from person to person. Even commonsense measures such as exercise or a balanced diet must be fine-tuned.

It is not, for example, how long one rides a bike but the intensity of one’s effort that matters most, according to research presented Monday at a five-day gathering, ending Wednesday, of the European Society of Cardiology.

The study, led by Danish cardiologist Peter Schnohr, showed that men who regularly cycled at a fast clip survive 5.3 years longer than men who pedalled at a much slower pace. Exerting “average intensity” was enough to earn an extra 2.9 years.

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

For women, the gap was less striking but still significant: 2.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively, compared to slowpokes. “A greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individual’s own perception of intensity,” Schnohr said in a statement.

The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” was proven true by another study which found that a good dose of humour helps blood vessels.

Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had already shown in earlier research spanning a decade that men and women with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to see typical life events in a humorous light.

In the new study, he asked volunteers to first watch a stressful movie such as Steven Spielberg 1998 World War II film “Saving Private Ryan.” During harrowing battle scenes, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow.

But when the same subjects later saw a funny, heart-warming movie the blood vessel linings expanded. Over all, there was “a 30-to-50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between laughter and mental stress phases,” Miller said.

Acutely stressful working conditions, both physical and mental, have long been associated with poor health. But new research unveiled Monday shows that a mix of intense pressure to produce results coupled with conditions making it hard to meet those demands is a recipe for heart disease, and even early mortality.

Finnish researchers led by Tea Lallukka of the University of Helsinki, in a review of recent academic literature, concluded that “job strain and overtime are associated with unhealthy behaviours, weight gain and obesity,” according to a press release.

At the same time, they noted, “employed people are generally better off.” Perhaps the most painless path to better cardiovascular health is one that comes all-too-naturally to many people: eating chocolate.

Earlier research had established a link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow, often attributed to antioxidants, but the scale of the impact remained obscure.

Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge reviewed half-a-dozen studies covering 100,000 patients, with and without heart disease, comparing the group that consumed the most and the least chocolate in each.

They found that the highest level of chocolate intake was associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent drop in strokes, when compared with the chocolate-averse cohort.

No significant reduction was reported in the incidence of heart attack. The findings, alas, come with an important caveat: the healthful molecules are found in the bitter cacao, not in the sugar and fat with which they are routinely combined.

“Commercially available chocolate is very calorific and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

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Weight Loss: Exercise can do wonders

Weight Loss: Exercise can do wonders

People keep asking me me, “How do you do it? You make pictures, you do television, you give concerts, you record albums, smoke cigars, drink martinis, you go out with pretty girls-how do you do it?” It’s very simple. For instance, a martini. You fill the glass with ice, then you pour in some gin and a touch of vermouth, add an olive, and you’ve got yourself a martini.

I also do exercises and walk a lot. And walking is even easier than making a martini. I take one foot and put it in front of the other foot, then I take the other foot and put it in front of the other foot, and before I know it I’m walking. And you don’t even need an olive.

Most people agree that walking is good for your health. And yet where I live in Beverly Hills nobody walks. If they have to go three blocks, they drive.

Some people even have two, three, or four cars. I’ve got one neighbor who has a little car to drive to his big car.

Now me, every morning I get up and go out in my backyard, and rain or shine I walk for a mile and a half. Well, that’s not quite true-I’m exaggerating. If it rains, I let Gene Kelly do the walking. But I don’t let him sing. Around my house I do the singing.

I’ve got a regular routine. I walk through the yard, around the pool, through the trees and back to where I started. And I do this forty times. That covers the mile and a half. Oh, I must tell you one morning when I was filming the Oh God! movie, I got carried away with the part I played.

Instead of going around the pool I tried to walk across it. Swimming is a good exercise, too.

My advice is to walk whenever you can. It’s free, costs nothing, and it not only makes you live longer and feel better, but it also keeps you looking trim. To me that’s important. I’ve always been very conscious of my body. I’m conscious of the fact that it doesn’t look like Burt Reynolds’s. And he’s probably conscious of the fad that his doesn’t look like mine. But that’s his problem. If he wants to look better, let him get out there in the rain with Gene Kelly.

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