Not ALL Fats Are Bad For You: These Fats Fight Flab

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It sounds counterintuitive, but not believe it or not, not all fats found in food actually contribute to more fat in your body when consumed in moderation. A lot of what we have been led to believe about supposedly “bad for you” foods is downright false. Saturated fat, especially, has become a red flag in the diet world because it has been linked to heart disease and belly fat. While it’s true that many saturated fats pose a health risk, nutrition studies have found that the saturated fats found in coconut oil and organic, grass-fed butter actually reduce bad cholesterol levels and stomach fat compared to polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Butter

One of the biggest culprits in this saturated fat mix-up is butter. Yes, butter. We’ve all been led to believe that regular old butter, although it tastes great in our favorite comfort food dishes, is not so great for you. Manufacturers try to market margarines and vegetable oil spreads as the healthier choice, but don’t be fooled: real butter is your best bet. Organic butter contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to improve brain function and skin health. Both these fatty acids are essential because the body does not produce them on its own. Butter also contains many vitamins and minerals, and the antioxidant selenium.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains the good kind of saturated fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol to promote heart health. The medium-chain fatty acids it contains are easily digested by the body and not readily stored as fat; they also improve brain and memory function. Lastly, coconut oil provides antioxidants that serve as an anti-inflammatory to help with arthritis.

In a study conducted with 40 women between the ages of 20 and 40, half the group received two tablespoons of soybean oil while the other half had two tablespoons of coconut oil. Over the course of 12 weeks, the women were instructed to follow a reduced calorie eating plan and walk for 50 minutes each day. By the end of the study, the women consuming the coconut oil increased their good cholesterol, decreased their bad cholesterol, and eliminated belly fat. The soybean oil group, however, experienced the opposite effects.

Macadamia Nut Oil

Many nut oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for any diet because the body does not produce them on its own.

Avocados

Avocados are a trendy food right now, and the good news is that you don’t need to feel guilty about adding some avocado to your salad or having a deep appreciation for guacamole. Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume, because they’re heavy in monounsaturated fats that increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol. They’re also rich in vitamin E which boosts immunity, keeps skin looking young and healthy, and helps protect against cellular damage.

The next time you’re about to dismiss a food because it’s “fatty,” do your research first and find out what kinds of fat it contains, because you just may be missing out on a nutritious staple for your diet.

My Arch Nemesis: Belly Fat

Belly fat is stubborn, unsightly, and unwanted. We all want to be rid of it, but it’s always there, lurking, sagging, dragging us and our self-esteem down with it. Lucky for you, I have the knowledge, skills, and experience to eliminate your pouch and bring you out from beneath your belly fat’s shadow. Just take a look at these quick tips and be the person you always knew you could be:

Flaunt what you got!

One study suggests those who have a fruit bowl in their house weigh on average eight pounds less than those who don’t. While correlation may not mean causation, it does stand to reason those with more fruit on hand are more likely to snack on fruit as opposed to something unhealthy. Pro tip: keep two kinds of fruit on hand. That way, you don’t get sick of eating the same thing all the time!

Out of sight, out of mind.

The opposite of the above, hide unhealthy temptation. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” A separate study found individuals who had chips or cookies (junk food) immediately visible weighed about 10lbs more than those who didn’t. What’s even more surprising?

Those with cereal boxes visible generally weighed 21lbs more than those without such sugary snacks in eyesight. Soft drinks visible? Try 25lbs more!

Smaller plates.

Really, it’s honestly that simple. Use smaller plates and you’re bound to eat smaller portions, which means less food, and less food, as you can likely guess, means a smaller waistline. Clearly, food just being in front of us makes us far more likely to eat it. So with smaller plates, not only can we physically not serve larger portions, but we will be comfortable with the smaller meals in front of us.

9-10 inch plates are recommended. If you are currently using 12 inch plates, research suggests you will reduce portion size by an immense 22%. That’s nearly a quarter of your daily diet, just with plates! Take advantage.

Follow these tips and you’ll be strutting the along the sand in your newfound beach body in no time! Till next time!

The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Sodium. We all know about it and we’ve all heard we eat too much of it; but what, really, is sodium? And why does it matter if we eat too much of it? Well, for one, sodium, plain and simple, is necessary for the body to function to properly. It plays a vital role in water balance, nerve function, and a whole array of various physiological functions that are of the utmost significance to our health. That said, we really only need a small amount—500 mg, in fact. To put that into perspective, you can get your daily amount of sodium from a serving of chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, cheeses, pretzels, or even salted nuts. Even condiments like ketchup and salad dressings are packed to the brim with sodium.

Considering we get our daily intake from something as simple as a bag of pretzels, it is easy to see how so many Americans are consuming far too much sodium (like 4 to 5k on a daily basis); and we only need 500mg! Even being conservative, that means the majority of American adults are processing 8 times more sodium than they should be. Even the American Medical Association is speaking up and is trying to persuade the FDA to revoke their categorization of salt as a supposedly ‘safe’ additive. You can see why.

What’s really intriguing about all of this is the fact that salt is actually an incredibly addictive substance. So it makes sense that big food manufacturers would pump the stuff into their products. They want you to keep coming back. They don’t care about your expanding waistline, only their expanding pocketbook. To show you what I mean, there has been clinical research conducted that illustrates the fact that salt actually shares many of the same attributes of addictive substances (i.e. morphine, cocaine, and heroin). When we ingest these addictive substances, our brains release hormones that we perceive as pleasurable sensations. Thus, we keep coming back for more.

Additionally, a Finnish study that was published in 2006 concluded that there is a clear-cut link correlation salt intake and obesity. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, Americans’ salt intake increased tremendously by more than 50%. Here’s why this fact really is such terrible news: a diet that with too much sodium is the leading cause of high blood pressure, which in turn leads to heart disease and stroke (which, shocker, are two diseases that go hand-in-hand with obesity).

When a man or woman has a high blood pressure reading of 140/85, their blood begins coagulating into a sort of salty sludge. Then, in reaction, their body will start dumping extra water into their bloodstream which results in the expansion of blood vessels—indicating any number of potentially fatal problems. Well, now that I’ve established too much sodium is awful for you, here’s what you can do to mitigate the effects:

-Consumer fewer processed foods

-Choose fresh or frozen veggies, not canned

-Purchase fresh meats, not canned, cured or smoked

-Ask about unsalted meals at restaurants

-Opt for low sodium versions of soups and snacks

-Choose foods that don’t list salt or sodium in the first five ingredients

-Use a salt-free herbal blend instead of a traditional salt shaker

Good luck, Godspeed, and stay healthy! Cheers!

 

Fat-Causing Condiments

Sweet N’ Low. Trans Fats. MSG. They’re making you fat. Of course, they are on nearly anything and everything that’s edible, and so they can be difficult to get away from; not to mention, their nutritious value (or lack thereof) is largely neglected as a whole in the mainstream media, making them easy to neglect and forget. Yet, theses additives are there and are taking their toll, primarily in three different ways:

  1.  Two of these additives hinder the release of a hormone, leptin, which is responsible for telling your brain when you are full.
  2.  Other obesity additives actually increase your fat content by transforming how our bodies absorb and utilize calories. How do they do this? Insulin. When these additives increase insulin, a fat-storing insulin, your calories are converted to fat rather than as energy for you muscles.
  3. Additional additives, believe it or not, change chemicals in our brain known as “neurotransmitters” to make us addicted to them, just like a serious drug.

In light of the harm these additives can cause to your weight loss and fitness journey, I have elected to put together a list of the absolute worse additives that you should remove immediately from your diet:

Stripped Carbohydrates: Basically sugar, flour, enriched white flour, white flour, glucose, high fructose corn syrup (aka HFCS), and sucrose among others.

Artificial Sweeteners: NutraSweet (aspartame), Sunette (acesulfame K), & Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin)

Added caffeine: Soda or energy drinks like Red Bull. Of course, a few cups of green tea or coffee are nothing to worry about.

Trans Fats: As I’m sure you’ve heard, trans fats are not good for you. They should be cut immediately, and are generally listed “partially hydrogenated oils”

MSG: MSG also falls under this umbrella of undesirable additives. It is often described as “monosodium glutamate”.

Extra Alcohol: If you need to, limit it to one or two drinks a week.

Extra Salt: Often found in chips, crackers, canned food, pickles, different cheeses, pretzels, condiments, and salted nuts, extra salt is a silent killer you should try to avoid at all costs.

Well, now that I’ve told you what you can’t eat, let me tell what you can eat:

Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup is a great option over other more traditional ketchup options. Why? It doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.
Curley’s Famous Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce is awesome because it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or MSG.
Newman’s Own is a fantastic salad dressing line since many of its options lack excess sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Lucini’s Hearty Artichoke Tomato Sauce has a measly 230 mg of sodium in each serving and less than a gram of sugar, which is literally less than 1/10th that of the more popular Prego’s Italian Sauce Traditional.
McCormick’s Original Taco Seasoning is a great option for adding some flavor to those shelled pieces of deliciousness because it has no trans fats, otherwise know as hydrogenated oils.

These are just a few options you can use to better your diet, make the transformation you dream of, and lose the weight you want gone. For even more information, go to this article. That’s it for now. All the best!

Repair Your Broken Metabolism

Often times, I find myself repeatedly talking about the different the dangers related to chronic dieting or what other’s like to call yo-yo dieting. One of those dangers is the fact that constant dieting can break your metabolism. In other words, it can slow down your metabolism to the point where it’s extremely difficult to lose weight! As dire as this may all sound, there’s always a solution. You can repair your metabolism after years of chronic dieting. Here’s how.

The best metabolism-repairing solution I can offer is increasing something known as the “G-flux.” The G-flux involves a very simple formula: eat more, exercise more. Eating more may sound like the opposite of what you need to be doing, but let me explain. When you pair up increased calorie intake with increased exercise you increase your metabolism. Like everything in life, the trick is to learn how to balance the calorie intake with the exercise so you manage creating a negative calorie balance.

What usually happens is that when people decide to go on a diet, they either don’t exercise at all or reduce their calorie intake. This is a problem. First, not exercising or remaining sedentary will slow down your metabolism significantly. What ends up happening is that people don’t really teach their bodies to burn additional calories, hence your metabolism simply stops working in your favor. Second, when you under-eat (as many diets ask you to do) your metabolism adopts a starvation protection mechanism. Since your body doesn’t know when you will feed it again, it slows down in order to preserve whatever the little energy and nutrients you have consumed.

As you can see, as contrary as it may sound, eating and exercising more will boost and repair your metabolism. So for example, if your basal metabolic rate allows you to burn 2000 do not choose to only consume 1500 calories and leave those 500 calories to waste. This will unequivocally lead you to having a sluggish metabolism. What you should do is eat 300 more calories, so 2300 in total. Then make sure you exercise and burn 800 more calories than usual, so 2800. According to the G-flux formula, this will put you at a 500 calorie deficit, but the difference is that you have triggered and sped up your metabolism. That’s the power of the G-flux!

 

Four GOOD Carbs

Four Good Carbs

Nowadays, you start a diet and the first thing people tell you is, “stay away from bad carbs!” This means no white bread, no sugar, no desserts, no nothing, right? Well, not exactly. There are still carbs you can keep in your diet. In fact, the carbs I’m talking about can leave you feeling full and satisfied and can actually help you burn fat fast. Don’t believe me? Check these awesome carbs out:

1. Who said you can’t have bread?

Perhaps it’s best you stay away from white bread, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sprouted grain bread. One of the most popular brands you can choose from is called Ezekial 4:9 bread, and it’s amazing. It’s organic, sprouted, and 100% whole grain flourless bread. Two slices contain 8 grams of complete protein and 6 grams. It’s the best way for you to incorporate bread into your diet without having to deal with the dietary issues associated with white breads and whole wheat breads.

2. Who said you can’t have dessert?

Make a dessert bowl with berries (think blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) and cherries and indulge in some good carbs. These kinds of fruit are packed with antioxidants, they’re high in fiber, and they score low on the glycemic index. So don’t deprive yourself from dessert. Any good meal deserves to be finished off the right way, just make sure you choose the right kind of dessert!

3. Who said you can’t have rice?

Okay, maybe you shouldn’t have rice. But there’s something better than rice – quinoa! Quinoa is better than brown rice because it’s a gluten-free grain that just so happens to have double the protein of brown rice. It also has more fiber and lower glycemic levels. Now what makes quinoa even more amazing is that it’s the only grain that contains complete protein and the full spectrum of amino acids. So whether you’re craving a rice bowl or an oatmeal bowl, substitute it with quinoa and you’ll make sure to stay on a healthy, fat-burning dietary track.

4. Who said you can’t have beans?

You should actually consume beans, lentils, and other legumes. They’re all healthy carbs, packed with tons of fiber and protein. The best thing about these is their variety. You can keep your diet fun and exciting with black beans, red beans, white beans, chickpeas, black eyed peas – the possibilities are endless! Because they’re so versatile, you can make sure you include at least one kind of legume into at least one of your daily meals.

Now that we’ve debunked this terrible rumor about carbs, go ahead and treat yourself to a complete meal today. Just keep in mind – choose good carbs and stay way from bad carbs.

 

#1 Reason You Are Overweight

Bathroom Scale

Believe it or not, the number one reason for people to reach for unhealthy foods is not low income. It’s also not lack of education. According to findings from the National Center of Health Statistics and from the Centers for Disease Control, the number one reason why people continue to ingest unhealthy fast food is (drum roll please) because of convenience!

Apparently most people think they just simply don’t have the time to prep, cook, and clean their kitchen once they’re done cooking. So instead, they would rather opt for terrible food choices that pose serious risks towards their health and towards their waistlines. It’s incredible, but certainly a fact – in the recent poll average fast food consumers are well aware of the poor food choices they’re making. Moreover, the same survey reveals the average income of fast food consumers is 130% over the poverty line. In other words, no one is looking at the dollar menu because they have no other choice, financially speaking! In total, 92% of people in the study explained that the number one reason they don’t eat healthy is lack of time.

Quite frankly, lack of time and convenience is a perfectly acceptable excuse. Who has time to cook nowadays, much less cook something healthy? No one – most people live a busy lifestyle, where cooking is the last thing on their minds.  But the truth of the matter is that there are ways! You can eliminate convenience as the number one reason why you’re overweight. For example, you can prep meals in advance. Pick one or two days during the week to prep your lunch and dinners for the next few days. Then, when you get home from work and are in no mood to start cooking, you don’t have to! Just pop your healthy meal in the oven or the microwave, and call it a night. Another way you can fight the temptation of fast food convenience while you’re out on the road running errands and such, is to pack up some snacks. Always make sure you have a piece of fruit, granola, dried fruit, peanuts – healthy snacks that will beat down temptation, but most importantly will keep you full and satisfied until you are able to sit down for a proper meal. There’s tons of other ways you can avoid the number one reason for being overweight. It’s just a matter of figuring you what the best system for you.

 

Never Refrigerate These Foods

Never Refrigerate These Foods

Refrigeration is not meant for every piece of food item you have in your household. People tend to think that keeping things in the fridge will magically make all foods last longer. But the reality is that in some cases refrigeration can actually cause some foods to spoil faster. I’ve compiled a list of seven common items most people store in the fridge, but shouldn’t.

Fruits

1.Apples

Apples will actually lose their texture and flavor when refrigerated. If you prefer to eat your apples cold, just place them inside the fridge 30 minutes before eating.

2. Bananas

The fridge can easily disrupt the ripening process of bananas. Actually, once a banana is refrigerated a banana may never be able to resume its ripening even after being placed at room temperature again.

3. Tomatoes

Sure, you think refrigerating your tomatoes will keep them tasting like fresh. No! Similar to apples, tomatoes will lose their flavor and texture when refrigerated.

Vegetables

4. Sweet Potatoes

When you expose sweet potatoes to cold temperatures, the starches found inside the potatoes will turn into sugar. So not only will the sugar content inside the sweet potatoes increase, but their flavor and texture will also be disrupted. Unfortunately, you will end up with sweet potatoes that taste like nothing but will cause you to gain weight!

5. Onions

The number one reason why should not store onions in the refrigerator is because they will make anything and everything smell like onions! Also, refrigeration will turn your onions soggy. The best way to store onions is to place them in a paper bag in a dark, cool place in your kitchen; this will help them last longer.

6. Avocados

Similar to bananas, refrigeration interrupts the ripening enzymes in an avocado. This may work to your favor if you don’t want to eat the avocado right away. But if, for example, you want to make guacamole today, then storing your avocados in the fridge will not be a good move.

Grains

7. Coffee

Unlike what the majority of people thing, you should not store coffee in your fridge. Room temperature is actually necessary for coffee because it allows the natural oils in the coffee beans to release its aromatic scent. The only time you put coffee in the fridge is if you want to get rid of any odors inside your fridge (since coffee is known for absorbing other food odors). But unless you want to drink coffee that smells like nothing, don’t store it in the fridge!

Your New Best Friend, Lipoprotein Lipase

So here’s the deal, there’s this great, little-known enzyme, called lipoprotein lipase, that we all have. The awesome thing about this enzyme is that it helps the body process and burn fat. Yes I know –  lipoprotein lipase just became your best friend! But here’s the catch, similar to many other enzymes, lipoprotein lipase is only generated when muscles are being used and active. Research done on lab rats shows that lipoprotein lipase was only produced in leg muscles when the rats were active, standing, or scurrying around. Therefore, if you want to get these enzymes to work, you need to get in motion and burn some energy. Besides, living a sedentary life is not good for your physical and mental health. Spending most of your time sitting around and being inactive can lead to a series of health problems like weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and even cancer!

The key to get lipoprotein lipase to work is to spend as little time as possible inert. If you do some exercise, but remain most of the time sitting in that office chair, forget about it. You have to implement activity throughout the whole day, and the evidence is there for you to see for yourself. In a study involving males who tend to walk a lot, they were asked to decrease the amount of time they spend on their feet. For example, they were asked to drive instead of walking, take the elevator instead of using the stairs, etc. In just 2 weeks, the study was able to prove that these men had in fact altered their metabolism, which naturally distorted their bodies’ fat distribution, and they even appeared plumper around their midsections!

In today’s day and age, I know it’s extremely hard not to spend the majority of the time in front of a computer, but even so, there are ways for you to remain active. Here’s a list of simple things you can do to avoid remaining inactive and jumpstart your BFF lipoprotein lipase:

-Get up from your desk every 40 minutes or so. You don’t have to do anything grand. Just take a quick walk to the restroom, stretch, light jog, etc.

-Leave the car. Walk or bike to work.

-Walk and talk. Whenever possible, implement walking to your work duties. For example, handle a call standing up rather than sitting down.

-Ditch the office chair and use an exercise ball while working on your desk.  The ball will automatically make you use muscles in order to find balance.

-When you get home, don’t run to the couch or the bed. Distract yourself with activities like gardening, running a few errands (literally).

-Watch TV while doing exercise. A  great example of this is to hop on an exercise bike while watching your favorite show or game.

So get excited and start to develop a relationship with lipoprotein lipase! It will help you lead much healthier lifestyle.

 

Additional Top 5 Fat Loss Commandments

I know, I know. I’ve already shared with you a blog on 5 fat-loss commandments that will most certainly guide you in your weight loss journey and overall healthier lifestyle. But I am so passionate about this subject that I just had to share 5 more fat-loss commandments you need to live by.

1.Have an amazing plan in place.

In order to come up with a solid plan you must do the obvious, plan! It’s hard to believe, but a lot of people skip this step. They just dive into a weight loss program without thinking about objectives, goals, timelines, etc. So first thing is first, evaluate yourself today. You must have a realistic and clear perspective when doing so. Then make a solid plan that will be challenging, but at the same time obtainable.

2.A.B.P: Always Be Progressing.

Don’t follow a plan; follow a feeling. This may sound contradicting, but let me explain. Have a plan in place, yes. But what must motivate you is a feeling to get better, not a piece of paper that dictates what exercises of foods you can have today. You need to find that feeling that will always keep you driven to go to the gym even when the weather is crappy. A feeling that makes you want to push yourself every time you workout. As you follow that feeling, document it as well. Use a “Progression Plan” chart, for example, so you can remind yourself of how far you’ve come and what areas you can still work on.

3.Balance your body.

Balance is key to all aspects of life, especially when you are trying to lose some fat. A balanced body will improve the electrical communication to muscles, thus getting you stronger, faster, and better in a short amount of time. Having a balanced body also helps activate more muscles and engage your metabolism.

4.Train your nervous system, not your musculoskeletal.

Remember that your nerves control muscles in terms of when they contract. If you prioritize your nervous system into your workouts you will improve nerve signaling and communication to muscles all over your body. The better your nervous system gets, the more muscular strength and endurance you will develop.

5.Rid your body of inflammation.

When a part of your body becomes inflamed, that’s your body letting you know something is not right. Inflammation can happen in the form of a bump, bruise, etc. During inflammation, white blood cells rush to the affected area and begin to restore it. There’s inflammation as well in your guts and arterial walls. Consuming foods with preservatives, trans-fats can lead to inflammation. Moreover, toxic environments with smog, for example, can cause inflammation. So make an effort and allow your body to reduce the trauma of inflammation and begin to lose some fat!