Category: Exercise and Health
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.
How much sex is equivalent to a slice of cheese? And how hard is it to make up for a donut? How much exercise is needed to offset your favourite snacks?
The gym bunny’s equation is simple enough: calories in versus calories out. After you’ve worked up a sweat in the gym, you should have gained the licence to treat yourself to a snack afterwards.
In practice, the maths is difficult to get right: it’s all too easy to overestimate how much we’ve burnt in a session, and underestimate the calories in a snack. The depressing result is that many people (up to 68%, in one study) hoping to shed pounds actually put on weight during their exercise regime.
Fortunately, BBC Future has scoured Harvard Medical School’s comprehensive table of the calories burned during everything from sex to long-distance cycling. Using this information, we equated exactly what it would take to burn off your favourite snacks. (The exact figures will vary from person to person – all the data here assumes an 11-stone, or 70kg, frame.)
Compared to sleeping (which itself burns some calories), even something as simple as sitting at a computer, chewing gum or reading a book is equivalent to eating some modest nibbles. You may be surprised, however, by just how little you have earned during seemingly energetic everyday activities, such as sex – or how far you have to travel before you have burnt off a burger and chips. Exercise offers many benefits besides weight loss, of course. But if you are aspiring to a trimmer, more toned figure (or simply want to remain a stable weight), it’s worth knowing the facts before you hit the gym or raid the pantry.
You’ve committed to squeezing in a workout between your commute and your desk job, but before you embark on this new regimen, you want to know: When’s the best time to exercise to ensure you’re getting the most out of it?
Research covered by Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times suggests that working out early in the morning — before you’ve eaten breakfast — helps speed weight loss and boost energy levels by priming the body for an all-day fat burn.
The No-snooze Payoff
One of the reasons working out first thing in the morning helps us lose weight — or at least protects us from gaining it — is that it pushes the body to tap into its fat reserves for fuel, as opposed to simply “burning off” our most recent snack or meal.
In one recent study, 28 young, healthy men spent six weeks eating a hefty diet of 30% more calories and 50% more fat than they had been eating before. But while some of them spent the six weeks stuffing themselves and barely exercising, the others started working out every day. Of those who worked out, half did so first thing in the morning; the other half hit the gym (and did the same workout) after a high-carb breakfast. The fasting exercisers ate the same breakfast; they just did so after working out.
At the end of the volunteers’ month-and-a-half eating fest, the ones who hadn’t worked out at all had, unsurprisingly, packed on the weight — about 6 pounds each. The ones who had been exercising after breakfast gained weight, too, but only about half as much.
In comparison, the people who worked out daily but hit the gym before breakfast hadn’t gained any weight at all. They had been able to eat a lot of extra food — just as much as their fellow volunteers — without paying the price in additional pounds.
The study was small, short term, used a specific eating plan, and involved only men close to age 21, so it’s hard to extrapolate much from the results. And the fasting exercisers didn’t lose weight; they just didn’t gain weight. Still, the experiment provided some of the first evidence that “early morning exercise in the fasted state is more potent than an identical amount of exercise in the fed state,” the authors write.
Another smaller study helps point out why timing could be so important. In it, two groups of men ran on treadmills until they burned 400 calories (about the equivalent of a small meal, or three to four slices of toast). While one group ran on an empty stomach, the other ate a 400-calorie oatmeal breakfast about an hour before their workout.
All of the runners burned fat during their workouts and remained in a heightened fat-burning state after they had gotten off their treadmills. But both results were more intense for the runners who had skipped the oatmeal. In other words, exercising after a long period of not eating could be setting us up for a longer, more intense fat burn.
Set Your Clocks
Another component of the early-morning workout regimen can help with weight loss: daylight. Aligning our internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, with the natural world helps give our metabolisms a boost. One recent study showed that people who basked in bright sunlight within two hours after waking tended to be thinner and better able to manage their weight than people who didn’t get any natural light, regardless of what they ate throughout the day.
So next time you think about hitting snooze, remember this: An early-morning workout might not just help you meet your fitness goals, but it could even give you more energy than those few extra minutes of shut-eye.
Alcohol use can be a slippery slope. Moderate drinking can offer some health benefits. But heavy drinking can have serious consequences.
It sounds like a mixed message: Drinking alcohol may offer some health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart.
So which is it? When it comes to drinking alcohol, the key is doing so only in moderation. Certainly, you don’t have to drink any alcohol, and if you currently don’t drink, don’t start drinking for the possible health benefits. In some cases, it’s safest to avoid alcohol entirely — the possible benefits don’t outweigh the risks. Here’s a closer look at the connection between alcohol and your health.
Health benefits of moderate alcohol use
Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits. It may:
— Reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease
— Possibly reduce your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow)
— Possibly reduce your risk of diabetes
Even so, the evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol isn’t certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.
Guidelines for moderate alcohol use
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Examples of one drink include:
Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit if you’re an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease. If you’re a middle-aged or younger adult, some evidence shows that even moderate alcohol use may cause more harm than good. You can take other steps to benefit your cardiovascular health besides drinking — eating a healthy diet and exercising, for example.
Myth: Energy drinks have “high” or “dangerous” amounts of caffeine.
Fact: The vast majority of energy drinks consumed in the United States – including Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar, AMP, Full Throttle and NOS – have similar or lower levels of caffeine than home-brewed coffee which many Americans enjoy on a daily basis. And many contain about half the caffeine of a similarly-sized coffeehouse coffee. A 16 fluid ounce energy drink typically contains between 160 and 240 milligrams of caffeine, while the same size coffeehouse coffee contains around 300 to 330 milligrams. Moreover, caffeine has been safely consumed around the world for hundreds of years.
Myth: With the recent growth of the energy drink category, Americans are getting dangerous amounts of caffeine in their diet.
Fact: The FDA commissioned an in-depth analysis of caffeine consumption among the U.S. population in 2009, which was then updated in 2010. This report concludes that, despite the growth of energy drinks in the marketplace, the average amount of caffeine consumed by the adult U.S. population remains consistent with past FDA estimates – at approximately 300 milligrams of caffeine daily.
The report also found that coffee and tea remain the primary source of caffeine in the American diet. Furthermore, that same report indicated that teens and young adults ages 14 to 21 years consume, on average, approximately one-third the amount of caffeine as people over 21 – about 100 milligrams per day – and that most of their caffeine consumption is from beverages other than energy drinks.
Myth: Energy drinks aren’t regulated.
Fact: Energy drinks, their ingredients and labeling are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)— even those that are labeled as a dietary supplement using a Supplement Facts panel, instead of a conventional food using a Nutrition Facts panel. And, as with most consumer products, energy drink advertising is subject to oversight from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Myth: Youth are major consumers of energy drinks.
Fact: A report on caffeine consumption among the U.S. population commissioned by FDA in 2009, and then updated in 2010 and again in 2012, indicated that teens and young adults ages 14 to 21 years consume, on average, approximately one-third the amount of caffeine as people over 21 – about 100 milligrams per day – and that most of their caffeine consumption is from beverages other than energy drinks (Somogyi 2012). Importantly, the 2012 report also showed that the average amount of caffeine consumed has remained constant.
Myth: There’s no way for a consumer to know how much caffeine is in an energy drink.
Fact: There are several ways to find out exactly how much caffeine is in an energy drink. Most mainstream energy drinks voluntarily list the total amount of caffeine from all sources right on the label. In addition, this information is readily available on company or product websites, as well as through their toll-free numbers.
Myth: Taurine is a stimulant.
Fact: Taurine is an amino acid that is naturally found in the human body, as well as in common food items such as seafood, scallops and poultry. Because taurine exists naturally in breast milk, it also is used as an additive in infant formula, one of the most researched products sold.
Myth: Guarana is a dangerous drug.
Fact: Guarana, another ingredient found in some energy drinks, is a nut-like seed from plants native to South America and is a natural source of caffeine. Guarana contributes caffeine to beverages – just as coffee, tea, cocoa, yerba mate or other natural sources of caffeine do.
Myth: Energy drinks are a new product about which too little is known.
Fact: Energy drinks have been enjoyed safely by millions of people around the world for more than 25 years, and in the United States for more than 15 years.
Myth: Energy drink companies target children.
Fact: Energy drinks are not intended for children. The leading energy drink makers have voluntarily pledged not to market these products to children or sell them in K-12 schools. In addition, these companies voluntarily display an advisory statement on energy drink packaging, stating that the product is not intended (or recommended) for children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons sensitive to caffeine.
Myth: Because of the caffeine content, combining energy drinks with alcohol is more dangerous than consuming alcohol alone.
Fact: The United Kingdom’s Committee on Toxicology (COT), an independent committee of experts that provides advice to agencies such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA), was asked by FSA to conduct an in-depth review of alcohol and caffeine. In December 2012, COT published a report which concluded that “the current balance of evidence does not support a harmful toxicological or behavioral interaction between caffeine and alcohol.” Nevertheless, leading energy drink makers have voluntarily pledged not to make claims that consuming alcohol with energy drinks counteracts the effects of alcohol.
Myth: Energy drinks are driving an increase in emergency room visits.
Fact: Although a recent government report showed that of the more than 136.1 million visits made to emergency room facilities, 20,783 involved energy drinks – either as the alleged reason or a contributing factor for the visit – in fact, as the FDA itself acknowledged, no conclusion about causation can be drawn from these reports.
This statistic is of concern as our industry is committed, first and foremost, to the safety and integrity of its beverages. Unfortunately, it is difficult to draw hard conclusions about the role of energy drinks in these hospital visits because the report did not provide information on the general health of the people involved or other circumstances which may have contributed to their hospital visit.
Nonetheless, our industry takes this information seriously and will continue to safeguard consumers through voluntary steps such as listing caffeine content on our product labels and displaying an advisory statement reminding consumers that energy drinks are not intended for children or recommended for pregnant or nursing women or other people sensitive to caffeine.
Caffeine is a safe ingredient. In fact, caffeine is safely consumed every day, in a wide variety of foods and beverages. It has been consumed by BILLIONS of people around the world – and has been for HUNDREDS of years.
Most energy drinks contain significantly less caffeine than a similarly-sized coffeehouse coffee. In fact, many contain about half. A 16 fluid ounce energy drink typically contains between 160 and 240 milligrams of caffeine, while the same size coffeehouse coffee contains around 300 to 330 milligrams.
Energy drink products first appeared in Europe and Asia in the 1970s, and became available in the United States in the late 1990s.
While energy drinks are a growing category they remain a niche product accounting for just under 2 percent of the total U.S. non-alcoholic beverages market (Beverage Marketing Corporation)
A report on caffeine consumption among the U.S. population commissioned by FDA in 2009, and then updated in 2010 and again in 2012, indicated that teens and young adults ages 14 to 21 years consume, on average, approximately one-third the amount of caffeine as people over 21 – about 100 milligrams per day – and that most of their caffeine consumption is from beverages other than energy drinks. Importantly, the 2012 report also showed that the average amount of caffeine consumed has remained constant.
Energy drinks, their ingredients and labeling are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, as with most consumer products, their advertising is subject to oversight by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Many of the common ingredients found in energy drinks occur naturally in other foods that we enjoy regularly such as seafood, poultry and grains, as well as plants.
Taurine, a common ingredient in energy drinks, is an amino acid that is naturally found in the human body, as well as in food items such as seafood, scallops and poultry. Because taurine exists naturally in breast milk, it is also used as an additive in infant formula, one of the most researched products sold.
Guarana, another ingredient found in some energy drinks, is a nut-like seed from plants native to South America and is a natural source of caffeine.
Leading energy drink makers voluntarily:
display total caffeine amounts – from all sources – on their packages;
display an advisory statement on their packages indicating that the product is not intended (or recommended) for children, pregnant or nursing women, or persons sensitive to caffeine; and
do not market energy drinks to children or sell or market them in K-12 schools.
These labeling and marketing guidelines, among others, are included in the American Beverage Association’s Guidance for the Responsible Labeling and Marketing of Energy Drinks.
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.
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.
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:
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.
By now, it feels like we made our health and fitness New Year’s resolutions about a lifetime ago. While we may have slipped up and splurged on the occasional heaven-sent macaron, or ditched our workout for a Netflix marathon, we’re still committed to making 2014 our fittest year yet. Just like we have inspiration boards both on Pinterest and in real life, we’ve also taken to creating FIT-spiration ones to keep us on track.
Part of a good workout is having a good time, and some of our favorite celebrities know the most fun ways to keep in shape. Below, we’ve rounded up three celebrities who’ve revealed their fitness secrets so that we can all get a little more fun into our routines. Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Biel and Mila Kunis reveals fitness and workout secrets in achieving a stunning physique.
While many actresses follow a strict diet, Amanda confesses that she eats whatever she wants. But how does she maintain a healthy physique? She prefers to workout 45 minutes daily and her exercise includes pilates, cardio exercises and yoga. She is also fond of doing her workout doors like jogging,cycling and dancing.
For celebrities and Hollywood stars, it is not easy to get in shape especially in their busy schedule but they still managed to find time to get their body to work. Just like them, it is not impossible for you to achieve a gorgeous body. Make this celebrity fitness routines an inspiration and you can have an amazing body if you work hard enough and follow proper fitness training.
Jessica Biel is very strict when it comes to her fitness routine. When it comes in maintaining her gorgeous physique, she loves to do it outdoors where there is minimal equipment. Whether it is an outdoor run or walking her dog, Jessica make sure that her outdoor activities can help her stay fit. She is also fond of doing circuit training and to find balance she makes sure she does yoga for at least twice a week.
Mila Kunis fitness routine is much talked about. This 31-year old mom is known for its very extreme Black Swan fitness routine and diet to get her into her professional dancer shape. This famous routine led her to lose 20 pounds but it wasn’t without sacrifice. She was constantly exercising and dancing. That’s seven days a week and five hours a day. Now that she has a baby, she is balancing her life between her fiance, Ashton Kutcher, her baby and herself. She never forgets to have a time to relax, exercise and eat right.
Today, let’s learn to do the impossible. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to lead a healthy lifestyle while in college. You can even get a head start on this process by creating this healthy lifestyle now, before you move.
Firstly you have to reach your full potential! By taking care of your body, you will feel better and be more apt to get other things done. Here are a few pointers to jump-start the healthy living college lifestyle.
This seems basic and elementary. Clearly, everybody knows that water is essential to the body. What I’m saying is to switch out one of those Dr. Pepper’s (AKA sweet nectar from Heaven) for a bottle of water every now and then. The sugary drinks that we all enjoy will inevitably result in sugar crashes, making it harder to focus on your assignments. Also, dehydration can cause a number of problems that will get in the way of your academics. Keep your body cleansed, hydrated and refreshed with something as simple as drinking those 64 oz. per day.
2. Scope out your options and choose wisely.
Most campus cafeterias have a large variety of food for each meal, and they also offer ways to access the nutritional information of the food they are serving. Be mindful of the choices you make every day. I’m not saying don’t ever indulge in that delicious piece of chocolate cake, but living a healthy lifestyle is literally at your fingertips. Don’t take it for granted! Instead of heading straight for the pizza bar every day, check out your school’s salad bar or produce section. You will be surprised at how much better you can feel by eating well!
3. Realize that 30 minute workouts are possible.
This is an easy step that is often skipped because of the classic “lack of time” excuse. Give up one episode of KUWTK to hit the gym, and you will be amazed at what 30 minutes of exercise can do. A half hour of activity can be effective in more ways that most realize.
Not only will you gain more energy, but you will also be refreshing your mind. A study break filled with productive physical activity can recharge your mind and help you regain focus when it’s time to get back to work. You don’t have time to make it to the gym? Not a problem! There are tons of workouts available online that you can do at home.
Start living the healthy lifestyle now and you won’t regret it. Carrying these healthy habits into your college life will help you feel better and perform better. Get up and get going! You’ve got this!