Written by Erin Marty
If you’re attempting to lose weight, you’re not the only one; according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, more than 30 billion dollars is spent annually on weight loss solutions, and much of this is spent on fad diets. Unfortunately, fad diets are usually unsuccessful and can be harmful to your general health.
Do not get “going on a diet” confused with “sticking to a balanced diet.” These are two totally different strategies. Though it does not apply to everyone, diets – particularly fad diets – do not typically work long-term and are generally not as healthy as they lead people to believe.
The general idea of a fad diet is that if you are loyal to your diet, then like magic the fat is supposed to melt off, easy and fast. Unfortunately, regimes like these are typically unhealthy in that they call for the exclusion of whole food groups that you should otherwise consume daily as part of a balanced diet. For example, the Atkins diet demands that you let go of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, unfortunately, are needed not only for successful weight loss, but are significant in general, as they are necessary for your overall health and survival. Other fad diets exclude different foods such as “good” fats, proteins, or other important nutrients. Saying goodbye to any group of essential food that your body calls for can yield negative results on your health.
Another reason why fad diets fail in the world of successful weight loss, is that it is nearly impossible to keep your weight off for too long. Though you can lose weight fast with a fad diet, you are more likely to gain back the weight that you had originally lost – and then some! And despite false claims that certain foods will magically melt away fat, this is untrue; food does not actually burn fat. If anything, you are likely to lose weight fast on a fad diet due to decreasing your water weight or even muscle mass. But with water, eventually your body will rehydrate itself again thus the weight comes back; as for the muscles, this is an unfortunate loss as you need strong muscles to get into shape and stay fit and healthy for years to come.
Participating in a fad diet means you’re likely to suffer through what some people refer to as “yo-yo dieting” or “yo-yo weight loss.” Imagine your weight fluctuating up and down constantly – that is “yo-yo dieting.” This does not only negatively impact your mind and confidence when trying to whip yourself into shape, but it can lead to health issues as well. The Weight-Control Information Network explains that your risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure are both increased if you are frequently losing and gaining weight.
There are numerous ways to try and burn that stubborn fat from your body. Which option you choose depends on your personal needs and where you are at on a physical level. But probably the most successful way to lose weight for the majority of people, is to stick to a healthy eating plan and to exercise daily. Fad diets, not only unsuccessful, but harmful to your health, should be avoided.
Written by Erin Marty
Tea, a popular drink around the globe, offers many health benefits, including that it could be a possible weight loss aid. Yes, it may lend a helping hand when it comes to losing stubborn, unwanted fat.
In 2005, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reported an experiment involving 35 overweight men and women. The patients ended up with reduced BMIs – body weight indexes – and decreased body weight when they consumed 690 mg catechins of oolong tea combined with green tea extract every day for 12 weeks straight.
Needles to say, those are very promising results for people looking to melt that unwanted fat away.
So is tea really a possible weight loss aid? If so, how? Also, which teas will offer this helping hand?
To start off, teas from the Camellia sinensis plant (black, white, oolong and green teas) naturally contain caffeine. This is significant when it comes to weight loss; as it sates on the United States Department of Agriculture website: “it is universally accepted that caffeinated tea raises metabolic rate because caffeine is a stimulant.” Also in 2005, a study was published by the “Alternative Medicine Review”, explaining that the caffeine in black tea extract helped curb appetite, it offered a burst of energy – this is wonderful for working out – and it increased metabolism in patients during the experiment.
Beyond caffeine, Dr. Eric Braverman explained in 2009 on The Huffington Post, that green tea works to restrict insulin levels. To put this in plain English, this means that when you drink green tea, fat is forced to migrate to your muscles and immediately be burned off instead of being stored in your cells. Braverman stated, “Green tea may reduce the absorption of dietary fats by approximately 40%.”
If you’re still not convinced that tea can help you lose weight, at least consider that thanks to its high amount of potent polyphenols, tea can improve your general health, which is a plus for those working out and trying to stay healthy in their attempt to lose weight. This is because polyphenols are loaded with strong antioxidant properties.
One last attribute not to overlook is the fact that most teas are essentially, healthy. When you’re drinking tea, it’s not like you’re sucking down all that sugar that other drinks are loaded with like sodas and juices. In fact, as long as you don’t add milk, sugar or other flavors, black, white, green or oolong teas contain zero calories! Yup, tea is certainly, a wonderful drink, and a possible weight loss aid.
Written by Erin Marty
There are many people who jump the stereotypical conclusion that all fats yield negative consequences on your health, like high blood cholesterol. Well, when considering fish and fish oil, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, this could not be further from the truth.
Along with other health benefits such as lending a helping hand with rheumatoid arthritis and possibly lowering blood pressure, omega 3 fatty acids contain ant-inflammatory abilities that may also aid in the reduction of triglyceride – fats in your blood that are typically associated with high cholesterol.
The oil in fish, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, is ranked on their scale as “effective” for reducing high amounts of triglycerides. This is significant, as high triglycerides have been linked with high cholesterol, which in turn, is linked with other health conditions such as heart disease. No wonder this miracle fat is often times referred to as “good” fat.
Researchers, according to the Medline Plus website, believe that though fish oil is not as effective as some medications, it can help to lower triglycerides by twenty to fifty percent. Omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil are also listed on Mayo Clinic’s “Top 5 Food to Lower Your Numbers.” This is mainly because these good fats have been known to help decrease LDL levels, also known as low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol.
Because we cannot produce it ourselves, as humans we have to consume foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids, not just for their benefits, but also because we depend on them for survival. Nuts, canola oil and flax seeds are also wonderful foods when it comes to omega 3 fatty acids. As stated before, these fatty acids are also rich in fish. Mayo Clinic lists the following fish as being the richest in omega 3 fatty acids: mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and halibut.
To actually benefit from omega 3 fish oil, the American Heart Association recommends that you consume at least two servings of fish every week. Be wary of certain fish high in harsh metals such as swordfish and king mackerel. Not a big fish eater? Fish oil supplements are also available over-the-counter.
Let’s face it, though; just eating fish alone isn’t going to to lower your cholesterol. Physicians advise not only the consumption of omega 3 fish oil and fish, but to alter your current lifestyle by adding plenty of exercise and a healthy diet to your daily routine.
Written by: Fruzsina Molnar
The way that the AIs work is by preventing “the conversion of androgens to estrogen,” and they “occur naturally in grapes, grape juice, and red, but not white wine,” said the article. Other alcohols have been previously determined to raise estrogen levels in women, which is a key risk factor for breast cancer.
But these good results do come with a warning from Dr. Braunstein himself, who wrote in a Huffington Post article about the importance of taking your wine with a grain of salt, so to speak. He cautioned, “The choice to drink moderately will depend on who you are. A fit 25-year-old marathon runner with no family history or cardiac disease and no additional risk factors who doesn’t drink now probably won’t gain anything by joining a wine of the month club. Meanwhile, a man well into his AARP membership with little risk of cancer and some concerns about heart disease, may as well keep his nightly glass of wine with dinner if that’s his lifelong custom.”
The most recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control note that in the U.S. in 2007, over 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, with over 40,000 of those women died of the disease. “Except for skin cancer,” writes the CDC website, “breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.”
The Journal of Women’s Health study’s co-authors include Chrisandra Shufelt, M.D., M.S.; C. Noel Vairey Merz, M.D.; YuChing Yang, Ph.D.; Joan Kirschner, M.S.N., N.P., Donna Polk, M.D., Frank Stanczyk, Ph.D., and the late Maura Paul-Labrador, M.P.H.
Are Apples Safe for Children?
By: Barbara J. Ross
The number one fruit eaten by children is our country is – the apple!!! Even for picky eaters it seems that this mainstay of the American diet is the one fruit that almost every child will eat. That begs the question – just how safe is the apple? We should also wonder – just how safe is the most popular fruit juice for children – apple juice?
I went out to seek information about the fruit that Johnny Appleseed turned intoAmerica’s most popular food. Consulting sources such as The President’s Cancer Panel, I researched the environmental hazard created when fruit is sprayed with pesticides. Well parents, this news requires action – now! Protect you children from contaminants. Research provides evidence that pesticide indeed has harmful effects:
- According to the Environmental Working Group of Washington, 92% of all non-organic apples contain 2 or more pesticides. Healthychild.com reports that this same group “called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner to immediately halt the use of one highly toxic insecticide that poses short-term risks to small children. The group said an emergency cancellation of the bug killer methyl parathion is needed because hundreds of thousands of preschoolers are exceeding government-established safety limits for the pesticide every day, mostly through consumption of apples and peaches.”
- The University of California-Berkeley participated in a study about the intelligence of children as tested for an IQ score. The research conducted included an excess of 400 children, using records before birth and through ages of 6 to 9. Berkeley’s findings were that children with the greatest exposure scored on an average 7 points lower on standardized IQ tests compared with children with the lowest pesticide exposures.
- A research article by S H Zahm for the National Institutes of Health reports that “Malignancies linked to pesticides in case reports or case-control studies include leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma,Ewing’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum, and testes.” Zahm continues with the suggestion “that children may be particularly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of pesticides.”
One cannot ignore the phenomenal nutritional value that the apple gives to those who eat it, especially children since they seem to love apples so much. What can we do to minimize the effects of all these chemicals on our children? How can we make this beloved fruit safe for children?
The very first thing we should all do is write to government leaders and let them know about our concerns and even our anger. We should not and cannot accept the continued pesticide exposure to children through this inexpensive and readily available popular diet mainstay.
Families can certainly take extra steps to wash all fruit with soap and water. Never, never, serve your children this fruit without a good scrubbing.
Of course the very best solution is to buy organic. If a family can afford just one organic food, the evidence above suggests that it should be that popular American staple – the apple. Happy crunching!
Written by: Damian Roache
On Friday the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement about a newly created version of bird flu that it considers a very dangerous liability. Their opinion comes a week after the U.S. National Institutes of Health requested that research on the new flu not be published due to the sensitive nature of the work.
In their statement, WHO said, “Recent media reports have noted that, if published, details of the research could provide bio-terrorists with crucial information on how to mutate the virus into a deadlier, human-to-human transmissible form.”
The problem with doing this research, according to WHO, is the potential for such discoveries to be used improperly.
The bird flu, known as H5N1, is a virus that does not often affect humans. For those few unlucky enough to get it, the flu is very unforgiving: it is fatal in 60% of cases.
New research was being done by scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison that led to the creation of a new type of H5N1. This strain of the virus is more communicable to humans, making it far deadlier than previous known versions.
The World Health Organization stressed that any more research done with the virus should only continue, “after all important public health risks and benefits have been identified and reviewed.”
Despite the volatile nature of the research, WHO understands that further work with the H5N1 could lead to valuable information.
WHO is a leader among those interested in studying and preventing outbreaks of bird flu. In 2005, WHO created the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. The main goal of the Framework is to foster cooperation between researchers across the globe in order to help prevent a pandemic.
The guidelines set up by WHO allow for total transparency regarding the virus. By sharing information and research on the flu, scientists are able to combine their efforts.
The risks inherent in researching the deadly virus are unavoidable, but WHO wants to ensure that new information about H5N1 is available to those capable of using the findings in the international fight against the flu.
Scientists in Asia are especially anxious to be allowed access to the new research. The H5N1 virus originated in Asia’s local bird populations and has since spread across the world.
Now all that remains is a delicate balancing act between further research to determine the nature of H5N1 and a cautious approach to handling the information. In the right hands this research could help prevent a deadly pandemic, but if used for more malicious purposes the new flu could prove a most deadly weapon.
Written by: Damian Roache
For most people, the sight of dead birds raining down from the sky would be one of the strangest sights ever. In Beebe, Arkansas it is almost starting to be expected.
Last year residents of Beebe woke to find the dead birds, blackbirds to be specific, littering their lawns and covering their roofs. A loud fireworks display on New Year’s Eve reportedly caused the birds to fly around in confusion and fatally injure themselves as a result.
The event drew a whole host of media attention, and because of that the town was prepared for the same this year.
Saturday the blackbirds began falling again, prompting police to ban the use of fireworks. Police say that the first reports of dead birds started to come in around 7 PM. Working with the local animal control officials, police started to clean up the birds and attempted to get a count of the deaths.
While it is unclear exactly how many birds fell on Saturday, it is reported to be far less than a year ago when the dead birds numbered in the thousands.
A great deal of effort went into cleaning up the town in the aftermath. While the national media ran with the story and set off a debate on what caused the birds to fall, the people of Beebe were forced to deal with the consequences. Dead birds are not typically a hazard under normal circumstances, but with the number of birds being so high the health risks involved were obvious. What was for some people an amusing news story or a sign of end times ended up being a large and expensive mess for Beebe.
Following the huge amount of media attention from last year’s event, speculation about the bird deaths was rampant. Before fireworks were blamed for the deaths, some wild theories began to emerge about the birds and their cause of death.
The rain of birds proved to be the perfect magnet for people searching for signs of the coming apocalypse. Given the sudden nature of the deaths and the gruesome scene it left, many made parallels between what happened in Beebe and the famous Biblical plagues.
Speculation about the event was only made worse by another that took place last year. Thousands of dead fish washed up on the shore of the Arkansas River. Even though the two events were not connected, their proximity was seen by some as further evidence that something strange was happening in Arkansas.
Now, a year later, this is guaranteed to rekindle some of the apocalyptic talk as the New Year begins.
Written by: Vanessa Formato
The New Year can is a time for celebration for many, but for many more it is a time of intense anxiety. In the final days of each December, people contemplate what they will strive to accomplish in the upcoming year, and for millions of women the goals center on losing weight. But is this obsession with appearance damaging? There is a growing movement pushing back against diet resolutions, and the charge is being led by the Fatosphere, a tight-knit network of Fat Acceptance bloggers and activists.
Big Fat Blog promoted a new kind of weight resolution on New Year’s Eve, 2011. The blog encouraged readers to, instead of taking up a weight loss-based resolution, participate in a “ReVolution” of self-love and healthy living. The website directed readers to another blog that features supplemental reading suggestions, links to plus-size fashion blogs and “Action Items:” tasks that participants can perform to spread their message. Actions include changing one’s Facebook profile picture to reflect positive sentiments about one’s body and circulating a press release by Marilyn Wann, author of “FAT!SO?”
“Let’s kick off the New Year… by Ditching Dieting and move toward eating ‘happily ever after,’” wrote Sharon Haywood on acclaimed body image blog Adios, Barbie. Calls to action on my blogs included the promotion of the Health at Every Size lifestyle.
Health at Every Size (HAES) is an increasingly popular approach to health and weight management that emphasizes healthy habits, like eating intuitively and engaging in pleasurable physical activity, over actively attempting to lose weight. Essential tenets of HAES include the beliefs that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that happiness and self-love play a large role in the ability to treat those bodies properly. Fat Acceptance activists have embraced the holistic philosophy as a way to combat the misconception that weight and health are inextricably linked. Sometimes the HAES approach will result in losing weight and something it won’t, but what it will do is lead to a healthier lifestyle.
“We need to get the HAES message out there to counteract the torrent of disinformation being put out there by a 60 billion dollar per annum industry which is BUILT upon the knowledge that diets don’t work,” said AndyJo of Big Fat Blog in her call to arms.
There are increasingly many studies that suggest that diets are fundamentally ineffectual, as many dieters would guess. Yo-yo dieting—in which a person loses weight and subsequently gains it back, perhaps plus a number of pounds— may be more of a biological inevitability than it was once thought. In addition, science is casting doubt upon the idea that being “overweight” alone negatively impacts health. Instead, lifestyle factors are more important.
Pushback against the diet industry from today’s adults could spell a friendlier future for young people growing up in an image-obsessed culture. The stigmatization of fat does more harm than good for children according to leading psychologists and weight experts like Dr. Rebecca Puhl and Paul Ernsberger, a nutrition professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine in Cleveland.
“To declare we’re going to eliminate childhood obesity – that’s actually a very stigmatizing thing to say,” Ernsberger told the Seattle Times. “The overweight child hears that and thinks, ‘They wish I wasn’t here.’”
Parents of children introduced to a healthy eating program in a Canadian school found that some children quickly began displaying behavior indicative of eating disorders, such as sneaking food.
“In an effort to get kids to eat healthier, the school was inadvertently sending some very dangerous messages that were resulting in very dangerous behaviors,” wrote blogger Fitvsfiction of the incidents. “I began to hear from several parents who were noticing changes in how their kids were behaving around food and how stressful mealtimes were becoming. Where dinner used to be a time for families to catch up on events of the day, they were now sources of stress and fear over every calorie and fat gram being ingested.”
According statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association, 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of becoming fat, while 42 percent of first through third grade children say that they wish that they were thinner. More than half (51 percent) of nine- and 10-year-old girls say that they feel better about themselves when they are on diets.
When people resist the pressure to make another weight loss resolution this year, they are sending crucial messages to both their peers and the next generation, and this idea gets at the heart of the Fatosphere’s intent with their revolution. If more people resolved to love their bodies– to treat those bodies well– instead of just lose weight, we might not only be healthier, but happier, too.
Written by: Mike Demertzis
Hunger is the way the body continues to function by sending a message to the brain that it is running low on fuel, which in turn compels you to eat and start the process of digestion which converts the solid matter you are stuffing in your mouth to energy.
I know, a bit of a callus way to state an otherwise simple process but lets be real, if you ever watched a person chew and swallow, there is no elegance to it regardless of the surroundings or what you are eating.
Which brings me to an interesting point, you are basically made up of what you eat. In order to understand this you have to start at the beginning. The body is a complex and versatile machine that runs and regenerates itself by turning plants and animals (sorry PETA) into fuel that enables it to perform complex actions.
Although this may sound simple it is actually difficult due to something called taste buds on the back of your tongue, which interpret what you are eating as sweet, sour, tasty, and so on. The problem here is, the way a food is prepared dictates how your taste buds react. Which allows us into believing eating freeze dried noodles otherwise known as Ramen are good, when in fact they are loaded with bad fuel. The operative word being bad.
Since your body is using this fuel to regenerate itself it should be obvious that bogus material creates a weak structure. The key here is to listen to your body since it knows what you are eating, not your mouth. It is safe to believe anything that is grown in soil in the country or organic environment is going to be good for you. Plants and vegetables are loaded with good fuel such as minerals, vitamins and proteins that your body uses to perform the afore mentioned actions. Items like sugary colorful cereal, soft white bread, sweet carbonated drinks or other smartly packaged items found in vending machines are processed and made to taste good but are not good for you.
So the next time you find yourself having to run to an elevator before the doors close or walk up a couple of flights of steps to the upper deck of the stadium to get to your seat and find yourself tired and out of breath, ask yourself a simple question. What have I been using for fuel?