FRUITS: ARE THEY REALLY GOOD FOR YOU?

Do not be fooled. Sugar by any other name is sugar. Compound sugars are one small step away from simple sugar. The body reacts almost exactly the same to compound sugar as it does to simple sugar. There is no such thing as healthy sugar. All foods are broken down in glucose. Beyond a few pieces of in-season, non- hybridized*, grown in its own root system** – fruit per day, you do not need any extra sugar. It is hype, advertising, and false beliefs instilled by the mass marketers.
*Definition.
The process of hybridization has been in use since the 1960s. To better suit American tastes, growers breed fruits so they contain twice the sugar and half the fiber as their ancestors.
**Definition
Most fruit is not grown in their own root system, but hydroponically. This means the fruit is not absorbing the nutrients from the soil as they did for millennia. Unless it’s organically grown in its own root system, you are eating a sugar ball with little nutrients. When you eat a food devoid of nutrients, your body must use its store of nutrients to break down the food, thereby not having those nutrients available for other vital needs.
Sugars are generally classified as either simple or compound. Simple sugars have one molecule called a monosaccharide. Compound sugars consist of more than one molecule.
Composition of simple sugars
1 ) Disaccharides have two molecules.
2) Trisaccharides have three molecules
3) Oligosaccharides have up to 6 monosaccharide molecules.
Oligosaccharides are found mainly in breast milk and plants. These coat the mucus membranes and are present in saliva. By linking monosaccharide molecules together, sometimes in the hundreds and thousands, a very large molecule is formed called a polysaccharide.
Compound sugars include:
1 ) Lactose (glucose and galactose) is also known as “milk sugar.”
2) Lactulose (galactose and fructose) is not found in nature, but is manufactured.
3) Maltose (two molecules of glucose) is also known as malt sugar found in malt, grains, and fruits.
4) Sucrose (glucose and fructose) is found in sugar cane, sugar beets, and maple syrup.
Starch and glycogen are polysaccharide molecules stored in the liver to be used as fuel when the need arises. Cellulose is another polysaccharide molecule that cannot be digested by humans because they do not have the necessary enzyme to do so.
Simple sugars save the body the extra step of breaking down a compound sugar. Some simple sugars can be found in the following:
I ) Galactose comes from plants.
2) Glucose is the type measured in the blood and commonly called dextrose on labels. It is found in fruits and honey.
3) Mannose comes from the manna ash tree and is always converted into mannitol, a sugar alcohol, by the body before use.
4) Acesulfame – an artificial sweetener
5) Alitarne – an artificial sweetener
6) Aspartame – an artificial sweetener
7) Classification of Carbohydrates – a listing of the classification of carbohydrates
8) Fructose – the sugar formed in fruit
9) Lactose – the sugar formed in milk
10) Molasses – definition and types
11) Stevia – describes a natural sweetener that has been available for centuries
12) Sugar Alcohols – the characteristics and the problems of these sweeteners
13) Tagatose – an artificial sweetener

THE DARK SIDE OF MILK

New research by Dr. Alan Hirsch, M.D., a neurologist and founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, in Chicago. Dr. Hirsch has uncovered some amazing facts. He explains that the taste and smell of the foods we eat can effectively turn off or on the appetite center in the brain. His research showed that certain smells caused overweight people to reduce their cravings, and therefore eat less. He found that foods cooked with aromatic ingredients like garlic, onions, herbs and spices satisfy the appetite more completely.
So, you ask, how does that apply to milk? According to Dr. Hirsch, milk is so bland that the satiety center in the brain doesn’t respond to it the same way it does other foods. As a result, people tend to drink excessive amounts of milk. Just a single cup of whole milk contains 150 calories. A glass of milk contains at least two cups: that’s 300 calories a glass, the equivalent of a small meal that won’t even register on your appetite center. Further, milk is one of the most allergy-producing substances on earth. Everyone has a lactose intolerance – the only variance is the degree of intolerance – because, as we age, we produce less of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest lactose – the type of sugar in milk. 80% of the people in the world has a lactose intolerance. Lactose, is a from of sugar in milk that triggers an insulin reaction.
Fact: through eight million years of evolution, man did not consume milk. Milk only became available with the domestication of cattle 10,000 years ago. But no other mammal drinks the milk of a different species. The milk of herbivores (cows and goats) is designed for an entirely different digestive system than ours. Drinking low fat or skim milk does not help. It is the sugars and foreign proteins in milk that are the real danger. The fat actually inhibits the absorption of these sugars and proteins.
We must be aware there are good and bad sources of calcium. Milk is among the top three foods causing allergies (the others being grains such as wheat and corn, and peanuts). Dr. Neal Barnard. Problems in children: can cause diabetes and anemia. Problems in adults: Potential for arthritis, anemia, infertility in women and cancer. Skim or non-fat milk contains sugar in the form of lactose, which causes an insulin spike, setting off the appetite control center in the brain. The more milk you drink, the greater the risk. Milk drinkers are prone to osteoporosis. This is because excess consumption of calcium from milk causes a deficiency of magnesium in the body, resulting in a loss of bone density later in life. This does not occur when gaining calcium from leafy green vegetables because the vegetables have a much higher ratio of magnesium to calcium Solution: Soymilk. Soymilk contains no dairy, but is high in calcium and protein and low in saturated fat.

FATS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY

The media always likes to put things in simplistic terms. They believe that sensationalism sells, and that the public isn’t capable of decreeing the sometimes nuances between things that are sometimes good for us, and other times bad. The case in point; fats. Fats are divided into four categories: saturated, polyunsaturated fats monosaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The fats our ancestors ate were predominately omega-3 fatty acids from algae and fish, and monosaturated fat from seeds and nuts. The brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function. The omega-3 fatty acids from fish are a rich source of peptides that cause the hormone leptin to be secreted. Leptin in the blood signals the brain that we are full and initiates a more rapid burning of calorie.
About 150,000 years ago, the weather turned colder, forcing the last remnants of man off the African savanna and into the Rift valley. There, he discovered a new source of food: shellfish found along the shores of the lakes. These shellfish consumed algae, which gave them a high concentration of algae-rich fats – what we now know as omega-3 fatty acids. These fats accelerated the growth of the frontal cortex, the site of higher thinking in the brain. In just 10,000 years the size of man’s brain in creased by 50%. It was this development that led to modern man conquering the rest of the known world.
New research finds that the healthy omega-3s in shellfish actually block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Plus, omega-3s keep blood vessel walls flexible, prevent dangerous blood clots and lower the production of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. Eating any shellfish twice each week can lower the risk of heart disease by 29%.
Monosaturated Fats: found in nuts, avocado, and olive oil, cause the release of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which tells the brain to stop eating
Povunsaturated fats. For decades it was assumed that these fats were good for us; considered the opposite of saturated fats. But, according to Dirk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Life Extension, polyunsaturated fats are susceptible to auto-oxidation (conversion to a peroxidized, immune-suppressive, clot-promoting, carcinogenic form). They go on to say, “While the cardiovascular disease rate has been increasing in the United States, it has been accompanied by a 37% rise in polyunsaturated fat consumption and only a 7% increase in saturated fat consumption.”
Saturated Fats: The fats we eat are mostly saturated fats that rigger an endorphin release that prolongs the eating process. We normally equate saturated fat with red meat from farm-raised, grain feed cattle. But the lipid profile of free-ranging, organically grown animals is closer to olive oil than it is to penned animals. There are also higher levels of monosaturated fats than saturated or polyunsaturated fats in free-ranging animals.
There are two families of unsaturated fats – the omega 6 fats found mainly in plant-based oils, and the omega-3 fats found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds – were in relative balance a century ago. The modern diet now emphasizes omega-6 fats by as much as 25-1. Omega-6 fats encourage inflammation, while omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory. Some fatty acids are essential fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential omga-3 fatty acid, while linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid. But he western diet already includes excessive omega-6 fats. The key to correct the distorted ratio is to in crease the consumption of omega-3 fats from walnuts, seeds, fish, fish oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soy, and dark green leaves such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and seaweed.
Trans Fats: Vegetable oil infused with hydrogen is used in thousands of highly processed commercial foods but puts people at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even muscle wasting. Take nachos, French fries, and cinnamon rolls off the menu. Trans fats are the worst of all. Not only are they poison for your heart but trans fats also add inches to your waste line. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition covering 16,500 men over a period of 9 years, researchers found that for every 2% increase in trans fat intake, men added one-third inch to their waists. Mono and polyunsaturated fats had no effect. Saturated fats seemed to affect total weight, but not the waist. Trans fats also reduce insulin sensitivity, which may contribute to abdominal obesity.
Modern methods of manufacturing cooking oils, margarines, and shortening also create harmful by-products and distorted forms of fat molecules that did not exist in human diets when our digestive processes evolved. The effects of these pathological forms of fat are worsened by frying foods at high temperatures.
But to those who say cut out all or most fats from your diet, a warning. Some fats are essential to our health and well-being. Beneficial fats help in the body’s creation of hormones, phospholipids (used to create the membranes that surround our cells), and prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that control a wide variety of functions, such as platelet stickiness and blood pressure). A major study conducted by Harvard found that nurses who ate at least one ounce of nuts per day had 75% less heart disease that those who did not eat nuts.

HOW LOW IS TOO LOW A CARB DIET?

I learned a very Important lesson when studying the stock market for many years. When everyone in the public sector starts talking about a specific topic, they’re usually wrong. When everyone was talking about the stock market a few years back, I knew it was time to get out. That was when the NASDQ was at 5000!
When everyone jumped on the low-carb bandwagon after just a few initial studies, I was very skeptical, so I kept my eye out for new information to see whether it confirmed or refuted the initial claims. Here is some of what I found.
Rachel Husky, a sixteen-year-old girl, died due to fatally low levels of electrolytes like calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium in her system. Electrolyte depletion is evidence of a state known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body has burned all its available blood sugar and begins consuming itself – vitamins, minerals, and vial fats -which are expelled in the urine. This puts the kidneys under stress and frequency of urination increases, furthering the deadly cycle.
Electrolyte depletion causes an irregular heartbeat, which doctors believe killed the young girl. Also, a diet too low in carbs – a lack of fruit or starchy vegetables – will increase your risk of certain cancers such as colon, stomach, and esophageal cancers. Carbohydrates play two very important roles in the body. One, they help prevent a rapid decline in thyroid hormones, which would otherwise lower your resting metabolic rate. And two, carbs release insulin, an anabolic hormone that supports muscle mass.
Glycogen (stored glucose from carbohydrates) inside your muscle tissue and liver are compromised when your carb intake is too low. And with low stores of glycogen, it’s difficult for your muscles to exert the sustained effort required to do high-intensity exercise.
Further, the kidneys are placed under increased stress on a super low carb diet, and age more rapidly. Some high-protein, low carb diets have resulted in a sharp rise in kidney stones – a condition that can be life threatening, not just uncomfortable.
And now a new concern: some low-carb sweets rely on sugar alcohols, which are slowly digested carbs that have no impact on insulin levels but can, in excess, wreak havoc on the digestive tract.
When in doubt, follow the best possible examples available to us. In my book, Why We eat… and why we keep eating, I share with you the dietary habits of the healthiest people to ever roam the face of the earth. They were the Paleolithic people. They had the lowest body fat ratios of any people. They were amazingly fit and had powerful muscle tone. The men averaged 5’10”, the women 5’6″. Their physiology was the equivalent of elite athletes of today, and they evolved as such through the following regime: All you have to do is divide your plate up as follows: 30% protein (super lean meat, fish, poultry, and low-fat tofu), 40% complex carbs (whole grains, veggies), and 30% fat (from nuts, seeds, avocados and healthy oils such as olive and canola).

THE POWER OF PROTEIN

So many people have a vested interest in high or low protein diets that it’s difficult to know where the truth lies. Well, we looked at a dozen different studies done of the past few years to find the pros and cons of protein. So, let’s list here the benefits of protein using all the available studies:
1) Protein is superior to other foods as a satiator. Protein stimulated the release of, CCK, the hormone which signals the brain to shut down the appetite center.
2) It takes more energy to digest protein (obligatory thermogensis) so that fewer calories are available to the body than with a meal of similar caloric value consisting of fat or carbohydrates.
3) Protein stimulates the metabolic rate (facultative thermogensis) so that even 2,5 hours after ingesting a high protein, the metabolic rate is two-fold higher compared with a high carb meal.
4) Diets high in protein spare muscle mass and produce a lower glucose and insulin response.
5) A diet high in protein has been shown to decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
6) Dietary protein increases circulating IGF-1, a growth factor that plays an important role in bone formation. In a test where doctors supplemented the diets of patients with 20 grams of protein per day for 6 months, patients responded with reduced rates of bone loss in the hip during the year after the fracture.
7) It has been found that a diet high in protein is of even greater importance in those trying to lose weight since it helps to maintain muscle mass. (Reduced calories should be at the expense of fats and carbs).
8) Wild animals that range freely, and eat what nature intended, have fat that is far more healthful than grain-feed, penned animals. Less of their fat is saturated, and more of it is the monosaturated form like olive oil.
9) On the downside, too much protein overwhelms the liver’s waste-disposal system, leading to protein poisoning – nausea, diarrhea, and wasting. Protein should account for no more than 40% of one’s diet.
A human being living 50,000 years ago had the exact same physiology as man today. What has changed is our diets. Our ancestors, the healthiest people to ever roam the face of the earth, ate a diet that contained five times as much fiber, 3 times the monosaturated fats, 8 times the omega-3 fats, and 3 to 4 times the protein (but 60-70 percent less saturated fats).
So, how much protein should we be eating? Between 1.5 -2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. The upper level is recommended if energy restriction is substantial (little exercise) because this may assist in the maintenance of lean body mass and promote satiety.

Protein Kills Hunger
The benefits of a high-protein, lower carb diets are substantial. Not only does eating this way help you gain more lean muscle, but it helps you burn more fat – and numerous research studies support these claims. Accumulated studies find these diets to be safe and effective. Now there is a new study from researchers in London which finds another reason why high-protein diets help you get and stay lean. It introduces a hormone called peptide YY (PYY), produced by gut cells that are released into the blood stream, where it travels to the brain to decrease hunger and increase satiety.
Researchers had ten healthy, normal weight men and ten obsess men eat three different meals: high protein, high carb, or high fat. Each consisted of roughly 1000 calories. The high protein meal was 65% protein, the high carb meal 65% carb, and the high fat meal 65% fat. Blood samples were taken immediately before eating the meals and at 30 minute intervals for up to three hours after eating. Researchers concluded that the high protein meals produced the greatest reduction in hunger and the largest increase in PYY in both normal and obese groups. Three hours after eating the meals, the normal weight subjects were three times more satiated by the high-protein meal than he high barb meal, and almost two times more satiated than the high-fat meal. At that same time, the blood levels of PYY were 45% and 30% higher when normal-weight subjects ate the high protein meals than when they ate the high carb and high fat meals, respectively. Conclusion: Harness the appetite -decreasing power of PYY by simply boosting dietary protein. Get 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

How much is too much?
With respect to animal protein intake, no existing data has linked levels of protein independently to increased risk of cancer. In fact, insofar as intake of lean protein does not lead to insulin resistance and the associated metabolic consequences of high circulating levels of insulin and IGF-1, high protein intake may, in fact, represent a protective influence over the typical Western diet. In the most comprehensive study to date (more than 75,000 subjects) comparing mortality rates from cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, stomach, and lung, no differences were found between meat eaters and vegetarians

HOW JUNK FOOD REEKS HAVOC WITH YOUR DIET

Live enzymes are needed to digest our foods and allow vitamins, minerals, and hormones to do their work. However, all enzymes are destroyed by cooking. When we ingest the wrong combinations of foods or eat foods laced with chemical food additives that are not easily digested, they may coat the lining of the stomach and inhibit the secretion of digestive juices. The result: one or more uncomfortable conditions including gas, heartburn, bloating, indigestion.
When indigestion does occur, there are products available that offer some relief. Antacids contain aluminum compounds, which have been shown to deplete calcium in the body when used continually. And it is calcium that regulates aluminum uptake in the body and brain. Some effective natural alternatives available include: Herbal Bitters – widely used in Europe for stomach problems. Bitter herbs have been used since the time of the ancient Greeks to support digestion, liver, and gall bladder functioning. Bitter herbs have the physiological effect of activating digestive fluids in the salivary glands and stomach, which can relieve congestion and flatulence, and helps avoid that full feeling after rich meals.
Peppermint relieves gastric distress by causing the stomach to empty earlier than usual. Enzymes include papain and prolase from papaya for protein digestion, bromelain from pineapple for protein digestion, diastaste from barley malt for carbohydrate digestion, and amylase from Aspergillus oryzae for digestive starches.
Aloe Vera is another herb that is capable of bringing some relief from stomach discomfort. The colon’s main functions are the absorption, storage, and transportation of waste. Poor quality foods of low fiber content along with poor exercise and eating habits result in a slower movement of waste through the colon. When the bowel is overworked or not functioning properly, the body will try to find other avenues of elimination, and may cause skin problems, frequent congestion, colds, virus, and headaches. Often when constipation occurs, our first impulse is to take a laxative.
There is a natural laxative herb called cascara sagrada that appears not only to have laxative action, but to tone and strengthen the bowels as well. Psyllium husks, a high-fiber supplement that’s made from the dried seed coat of the Plantago ovata plant, will usually help in mild cases of constipation without your having to resort to a laxative. Psyllium husks are rich in mucilage, which increases bulk in the intestines by retaining water.

THE LATEST NEW CRAZE: NET CARBS. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

First, the definition of net carbs is to only count cabs that affect blood sugar. To figure net carbs, start with total carbs and subtract dietary fiber, alcohols, hydrogenated starch, hydrolyzed glycerne. The number that results from the subtractions is total net carbs. But there is a danger that has been recently brought to light. Some low-carb sweets rely on sugar alcohols, which are slowly digested carbs that have no impact on insulin levels but can, in excess, wreak havoc on the digestive tract.
Now, food manufactures are substituting sugar with sugar alcohol maltitol and claim it’s not a carbohydrate because it doesn’t increase blood sugar rapidly. But it is a carb and does contribute to your total energy intake.
Good carbs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans are rich in fiber and can lower cholesterol. According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale school of Public health, “Diets rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, found in fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains, have been shown to be associated with longevity, lasting weight control, reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disease.” In other words, he goes on, “Steeply cutting carbs is a step in the opposite direction from healthy eating.
Serotonin is brain chemical linked to mood and appetite control. The brain needs carbohydrates to make serotonin. People on very low carbs diets do not produce enough serotonin to maintain a healthy mood. The primary source of fuel for the brain is glucose (blood sugar), but it can also run on ketones – produced from the incomplete breakdown of fats. However high ketone levels in the brain suppress serotonin levels, which can cause mood swings and hunger. Women are particularly prone to depression from a high protein diet because they naturally produce less serotonin than men.
Complex carbs are high in water and fiber and low in calories. They take up a lot of room in the gut so you don’t get hungry as fast.
The problem arises when individuals substitute simple carbs for complex carbs – when cakes, baked goods, and simple carbs equate with whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. We take a middle ground stance here – with 40% of calories coming from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Here’s an example of how bad a product can be when it tries to take advantage of the net-carb craze. Regular potato chips are bad enough when they contain the following: Potatoes, vegetable oil and canola, corn, or cottonseed oil and salt. Now here is a list of ingredients on a package of potato chips with low net carbs: Soy protein blend (soy protein isolates and concentrates), corn, vegetable oil, soybean or sunflower oil, oat fiber, salt, whey, maltodextrin, buttermilk solids, monosodiumgultamate, whey protein concentrate, onion powder, tomato powder, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn starch, lactose, disodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, garlic powder, dextrose, spices, lactic acid, sodium caseinate, red and green bell pepper powder, sugar, citric acid, artificial color including yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, and nonfat milk solids. Need we say more?

FISH: SHOULD IT BE A PART OF YOUR DIET?

As fish became more popular, much of it is now raised in fish farms. Now comes the largest study yet. The results are that farmed fish often have dangerous levels of poisons like PCBs and dioxin (the same chemical that poisoned the Ukrainian opposition leader: Yurichenko. It disfigured his face badly). Scientists examined 700 farmed and wild fish from North America, South America, and Europe looking for 14 organchlorines thought to cause cancer and birth defects. All fourteen were present in North American, European, and South American farmed fish, and in higher amounts than in wild fish.
The source of the toxins appears to be the fish food. Organchlorines are fat soluble, so trivial amounts of toxins in small plant-nibbling fish become concentrated in the fatty tissue of larger fish. Comparing the safety of wild fish to farmed fish, the EPA suggests that it is safe to eat wild fish eight times a month, but farmed fish only once or twice a month. And fish from farms in Scotland and Northern Ireland (among others) are so contaminated that they should not be eaten more than three times a year.
Fish is an essential part of our diet, just as it was for our ancestors. Be proactive in seeking out the healthiest types. Some stores now sell fish raised organically in fish farms. When in doubt, ask you local meat and fish counters to get those brands; many store co-operate. More than one-third of U.S. lakes and nearly one-quarter of its rivers are under advisories for mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and other pollutants. The EPA advises people to not eat fish taken from these sources.

SIXTEEN EXERCISES YOU CAN DO WITHOUT EVER SETTING FOOT IN A GYM

You’re probably one of those people who think that the only way you can lose weight and get in shape is to join a gym. We’re not going to lie to you. Of course you’ll lose weight faster and get in shape quicker, but it’s not the only way. We’re going to give you lots of alternatives to getting fit without ever setting foot in a gym.
Other forms of exercise include calisthenics, dancing, isometrics, stretching, and yoga. Regardless of the activity or activities, you must make exercise a priority in your life – as important as your work or sedentary hobby. It must be something you can do five days a week. Having a partner will give you a greater sense of responsibility – since you’d let them down if you did not show up. Simply by increasing your current daily activities you can gain the same benefits as taking on a new exercise regime. And it’s easier to increase an existing activity than integrating a new one. If you find something that brings you joy it will be that much easier to continue.
Following is a list of activities that burn significant calories. Figures show calories burned in one hour:
Running (10 mph) 640
Stair-stepping 600
Skiing 594
Swimming 530
Horseback riding 480
Hand mowing 462
Farm work 438
Tennis 420
Carpentry 408
Roller-skating 350
Volleyball 350
Dancing 320
Golf 300
Swimming (slow) 300
Gardening 220
Bicycling (slow) 210

HOW TO BEAT YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS

You can beat cravings by giving your brain what it really needs, rather than succumbing to your initial hankering…
When you’re sad you reach for sugar candies. Better bet – high fiber fruits and a graham cracker. When you eat sugar, your body releases the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin boosts the availability of the amino acid Tryptophan in the brain, where it’s used to manufacture the neurotransmitter serotonin, which improves your mood. Serotonin is so vital to emotional balance that many antidepressants work by preventing its readsorption. The effect, however, is extremely short-lived, and sweets rarely provide you with any additional nutrients besides calories. High-fiber fruits like berries, apricots and grapefruit along with a graham cracker or other low-cal carbohydrate will satisfy your sweet tooth for far fewer calories. The additional fiber slows digestion, prolonging the serotonin boost from the graham cracker. Recent research also indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help relieve symptoms of depression; they’re found in walnuts, flaxseed, and fatty fish such as salmon.
When you’re anxious or angry you reach for pastries, doughnuts and other high-fat sweets. Better bet: celery sticks, pretzels, carrots. When you’re anxious, your stress response system kicks in. Your adrenal glands release certain hormones that increase levels of galanin, a brain chemical that stimulates your appetite for calorie-packed foods. The same thing happens when you’re feeling anger, although there’s one important difference. Anxiety inspires eating right away. But people won’t reach for food until after anger peaks. In other words, it’s the post-argument stewing you have to worry about, in terms of your waistline. In lab animals, the more galanin that’s produced, the greater the weight gain. In humans, stress-induced pounds are often concentrated in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the stress-response system is ingrained; the only way to turn it off is to reduce your anxiety or your anger level. Whether that involves taking a 15-minute break, breathing deeply, or heading off to the gym is up to you. If you absolutely must grab something to eat, choose hard, crunchy, low-cal snack foods. Apples, jicama, pretzels are all good choices. The act of chewing helps relieve tension in your facial muscles.
When you’re bored you reach for whatever’s available. Better bet: a balanced snack. Typically, boredom is just mild depression in disguise. What you’re feeling is a lack of connection with yourself or others.
Sugary snacks don’t provide the long-lasting energy you need to perk yourself up. Instead, snack on a complex carbohydrate such as whole-grain crackers and a protein such as turkey, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. The combination will stabilize blood sugar but still satisfy your serotonin needs.
When you’re happy you reach for pizza. Better bet: low-fat cheese and whole-grain toast. A recent study showed that pizza is a top pick for people in happy moods. But that’s not just because it’s a perennial party favorite. It contains the proteins gluten and casein, which research shows stimulate the production of endorphins. And it is the endorphins that fuel feelings of euphoria.
However, pizza is not the only source of these two endorphin-promoting compounds. Gluten is found in breads that contain wheat flour, and casein is found in dairy foods. Choose high-fiber whole-grain breads instead of refined-flour products to increase your intake of fiber; the added bulk will help you feel fuller faster. Low-fat dairy foods such as reduced-fat cheeśe are diet-friendly casein-packed picks.
Knowledge is king. When you know the source of your cravings, and prepare in advance by having healthy alternatives handy, you’re more than half way home. And remember, science says that if you eliminate a specific food or food group from you diet, you’ll lose your desire for that food in just 12 days. I know you can hang on that long. If you need support and inspiration, look to my book, The Perfect Day.