Monthly Archives: October 2016

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.