Tag Archives: natural health remedies

What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

Beachbody-blog-probiotics
What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

The short answer:
Your gut is filled with bacteria, good and bad. Good bacteria aids digestion, boosts immunity, and combats a number of gut-related illnesses. Emerging research shows it may also impact weight loss and influence mood. Bad bacteria hampers good bacteria and can make you sick in an assortment of ways, oftentimes involving repeated trips to the bathroom.

The two fight constantly.

Probiotics contain good bacteria. You’ll find them either in supplement form or through real foods like yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. By taking them, you’re fortifying the troops. While they’re generally an excellent idea, they’re particularly important after you’ve had an infection or you’ve taken a round of antibiotics, because these things tend to wipe out the populations in your gut.

The long answer:
The therapeutic use of probiotics is an excellent example of ancient wisdom existing long before Western science could pull its head out. There are references to curdled milk in the Bible (Genesis 18:8 and Isaiah 7:15 if you’re keeping score), but the party really got started around the start of the 20th century when Nobel Prize–winning scientist Dr. Elias Metchnikoff reported that Bulgarian shepherds tended to live almost twice as long as urban Parisians where he was living. He pinned this on the formers’ intake of fermented milk, which he felt contained “good” and “anti-putrefactive” microorganisms.

It’s unclear how Metchnikoff made the connection between these two rather disparate groups, but it gave birth to the modern investigation of probiotics, so let’s not complain. For the last hundred plus years, science continues to discover more and more good things about the bugs living in our intestines.

The 100 trillion (give or take a trillion) bacteria that live in your gut can be divided into over 500 types. Many of the important ones fall into one of two genera, Lactobacillus andBifidobacterium. Under that, there are several species, many of which have specific benefits. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to be especially effective in combating lactose intolerance and Montezuma’s Revenge (or “traveler’s diarrhea” if you want to be boring about it). However, unless you have a specific issue that you’re trying to address, you probably don’t need to stress about all the species.

Fun fact one: the bad bacteria you’re working to keep in check include Helicobacter pylori,Escherichia coli (E. coli), and salmonella.

Fun fact two: we’re born without bacteria in our guts, but the populating begins when we pass through the birth canal. Our first gasps of air provide yet more bacteria, as does breast milk, which is especially rich in probiotics.

It’s well-established that probiotic consumption helps with almost any intestinal issue you can think of, including constipation, lactose intolerance, GI infections, gas, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and IBD. It’s been shown to be effective in treating vaginal and urinary tract infections and atopic eczema. There’s also research showing probiotics may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

There are a few theories as to how this all happens. One is that good bacteria simply take up the space in the gut that the bad bacteria would take over. There’s also the fact that some good bacteria stimulate the immune system by promoting the release of various white blood cells that kill pathogens. A third idea is that many bacteria use the same fuel sources. For example, Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea and inflames the colon, is dependent on sugar—but so are many good bacteria. It all comes down to balance. If you have plenty of good bacteria in your gut, they’re going to dominate the monosaccharide buffet.

Look beyond GI issues, and current science on gut bacteria and probiotics gets even more amazing. A Washington University study on identical twins—one overweight and one thin—showed that they had entirely different gut microbiota, suggesting certain bacteria in your system promotes weight gain. (A separate UC Berkeley study suggests the evolutionary reason for this is that people in northern climates need more body fat, so their gut bacteria actually shifts to promote weight gain.)

But if you think popping the right probiotics will soon be the key to dropping pounds, don’t get too excited. Yet another study on mice shows that “weight loss bacteria” doesn’t seem to thrive on a high in saturated fat, low-fiber diet. However, they tend to propagate when fed a diet filled with fruits and veggies.

Researchers are also looking seriously into the gut-brain axis. In other words, those little bugs in your belly might actually have a say in your decision-making process. For instance, gut bacteria produce 95% of your serotonin, a powerful “feel-good” neurotransmitter.

And a Texas Tech University study on mice found that feeding mice the bad bacteriumCampylobacter jejuni drove up their anxiety levels.

So, yes, you should consume probiotics. How many depends on your situation. Antibiotics wipe out the microbes in your gut, so a supplement is an excellent idea after a round of those. Beyond that, if you have a gut-related issue, it’s worth researching which probiotic might help and supplement thusly.

Quality probiotic supplements can be pricey though. For most people, a solid diet filled with probiotic foods should do the trick. (For the record, Shakeology contains Bacillus coagulans, an especially hearty probiotic that can survive at room temperature when many probiotics require refrigeration.)

Yogurt is also a great source. However, it’s important to read the label. The bacteria that make the flavor and texture that Western society considers yogurt can’t survive the voyage through our GI tract, so manufacturers enhance the stuff with other strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Kombucha, or fermented tea, is another great probiotic food that’s especially trendy right now. It may take a while to learn to appreciate its tangy taste, but it’s worth it. Another benefit of kombucha is that it’s incredibly simple to make.

Beyond that, there are tons of other foods out there that are technically probiotic, including tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and various cheeses. Unfortunately, these foods are often heated or pasteurized in such a way that kills the bacteria, so check on the label to verify if the probiotics are still active. Another option is to seek out a boutique producer who deliberately maintains the bacteria in their foods. Or you might want to make them yourself.Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Fermentation is an excellent resource for your bacterial DIY needs.

On a final note, remember that fruit and veggie thing a few paragraphs up? Well, it applies to all the benefits of probiotics. Gut bacteria thrives on certain foods called prebiotics, so it’s crucial to make them part of your diet. Foods especially high in prebiotics include asparagus, onion, leek, garlic, artichokes, oats, and bananas. Yacon root, which you’ll find in Shakeology, also contains prebiotics.

So make prebiotics and probiotics a cornerstone of your diet because if you’re good to all those little bugs in your gut, they’ll return the favor tenfold.

Ready to try adding some amazing probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and whole-food nutrition to your diet? CLICK HERE!

Microfibers…what are they?

4 Folded Microfiber cloths, assorted colors

What is it?

At only 1/200th the size of a strand of human hair, Norwex Microfiber is one of the most innovative products in the cleaning industry today. When combined with the unique Norwex knitting process, Norwex Microfiber becomes a highly effective cleaning agent and can hold up to seven times its weight in matter. Unlike cotton cloths that will simply spread the dirt, grease and other particles around, Norwex BacLock® * Microfiber lifts these particles up into the cloth and away from the surface. Once inside the cloth, the Norwex micro silver in the cloth goes to work with self-purification properties against mold, fungi and bacterial odor within 24 hours, so that it is ready to use again.

Get your own MICROFIBER here!

When a traditional cotton cloth is used to wipe your surface, dirt and moisture are pushed around and into the surface crevices, leaving it moist and unclean. Norwex Microfiber attracts dirt, grease, and moisture, leaving the surface clean and dry. Once these particles are inside the wet cloth, the micro silver in the cloth goes to work with the self purification properties against the mold, fungi and bacterial odor within 24 hours, so that is is ready to use again.

How to use it:

Work with eight clean sides

  1. Fold the cloth in half.
  2. Fold it again. You now have a total of eight clean sides to work with. For the Window Cloth and Car Cloth, fold it again and you have 16 sides.
  3. Place your whole hand on the cloth and wipe with even strokes. The cloth should be flat against the surface being cleaned.

Use it Wet to Clean

Dampen your cloth with water to loosen dirt and debris, leaving surface free from everything.  Used wet, the microfibers work together to provide superior cleaning results. Simply wet the cloth, wring, and wipe away dirt and debris from all washable surfaces. For spot cleaning use the Norwex Spray Bottle to apply water to the surface before cleaning.

Use it Dry for Dusting

Use dry to pick up and hold dust.  Used dry, the Norwex Microfiber produces an electrostatic charge that attracts and holds dust particles. The electrostatic effect created enhances the cloths’ ability to attract dirt and dust particles. As you lightly wipe the surface the microfiber attracts and draws up even the smallest particles of dust, trapping them in the fibers until the cloths are rinsed or laundered.

How to take care of it:

    • Wash slightly dirty microfiber cloths with Norwex Dishwashing Liquid under warm, running water. Rinse thoroughly, hang to dry or drop into the dryer.
    • Launder microfiber cloths separately or with other lint-free laundry. Dry completely.
    • Use Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent for best results.
    • For deep, stubborn stains or odors, microfiber can be boiled for 10 minutes to allow fibers to swell and release the debris.
    • Between launderings, use our Rubber Brush to remove dirt from dry Mop Pads and Entry Mat.
    • Do not use bleach, fabric softeners or dryer sheets when laundering microfiber as these additives coat the fibers and reduce their ability to clean effectively.
    • Do not use microfiber (except Norwex Optic Scarf ) on anti-glare surfaces.

Microfiber Warranty:

At Norwex we are proud of our unique, high quality microfiber and want you to be as thrilled as we are with the product.  We are happy to assist you with any item that did not meet your expectations. Our two-year microfiber warranty covers any problem you may encounter outside of normal wear and tear. If you are not pleased with how a microfiber product has worn or performed you may contact your Consultant to have the item replaced, at no additional charge, through Norwex Customer Service Returns.

Products with BacLock® 

BacLock regThis graphic is noted throughout the catalog to differentiate those products that contain an antibacterial agent for self-cleansing purposes only. The agent is solely designed to inhibit bacterial odor, mold and/or mildew growth within the product.

 

CLICK HERE to try a cloth out.  

Chemicals of Concern Quiz:

 

 

Our Global Challenge:

We realized early on that household pollutants negatively impact our health and our environment. Most of the chemicals in products in our homes have never been assessed for their impact on human health. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five highest ranking environmental health problems in America with chemical levels up to 70 times higher than outside. Research and information on the health effects of manufactured chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use.

  • In the last 50 years, the global production and use of manufactured chemicals has increased substantially. More than 80,000 new chemicals have been created.
  • Indoor air pollution is one of the top five highest-ranking environmental health problems in America.
  • Evidence shows homes have chemical levels up to 70 times higher than outside.
  • Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to every day have never been assessed for their impact on human health.
  • Parabens utilized in personal care for decades have been shown to have potential harmful effects.

What we do know is the harm chemicals have on humans is extensive. Most concerning are the growing links to chemicals that surround us in everyday life. They are linked to serious diseases such as birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. Many today believe the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to many of our ‘modern’ diseases such as allergies and asthma.

Our Mission at Norwex is to improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes. In addition, the Norwex products make cleaning faster and more cost effective than traditional cleaning products.

Beautiful Globe (Earth) resting on a vibrant green leafThe Norwex Solution

  • With Norwex Microfiber System, you will not breathe, touch or ingest chemicals – you simply create a cleaner, healthier indoor environment.
  • Naturally Timeless personal care products offer cutting-edge technology coupled with organic and natural ingredients – without harmful parabens or preservatives.
  • SAVE Time – the Norwex Cleaning System decreases cleaning time by 75% or more.
  • SAVE Money – An average household spends $600-$800 a year on chemical cleaning products and supplies. By using Norwex products you can realize up to a 90% savings!
  • Norwex helps make cleaning fast,fun and easy and teaches your family how to improve their health and environment!

At Norwex, our Purpose is simple but powerful: The idea that working together, with trust, integrity and honesty as our Core Values and radically reducing chemicals in our homes as our Mission, we can improve the world around us. The Norwex Purpose touches many facets of life with the end result being the ability to collectively make a powerful and positive difference in the world we live in and the lives we touch.

Go get yourself some great toxin-free cleaning supplies for your home and body – and for those you LOVE. Click HERE!

Will alcohol keep me from reaching my fitness goals?

 

Ready to start on YOUR fitness journey? CLICK HERE.

 

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Ask the Expert: Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

By Steve Edwards

When it comes to getting fit and healthy, alcohol is one of the first things you’re told to eliminate from your diet. Yet studies regularly show that those who drink live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. So, what’s the deal? Is alcohol a magic potion for a long and healthy life, or is your fitness the only thing it’s going to take the edge off?


Woman Sunning Near a pool with a Glass of Wine


The consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the first caveman left some fruit in the sun too long, causing it to ferment (what a crazy night around the fire that was). Since we’ve always had it and, if history is any indication, we always will, we should have a strategy about how to use it.

What is alcohol?

Alcohol starts out healthy enough, as a plant, where it’s the byproduct of the decaying process (fermentation). Although it’s technically a depressant, its effect on the human body manifests as making you feel giddy, powerful, and awesome on the dance floor. And because it’s natural, you know, like tobacco and opium, it’s got to be good, right? Oh, wait. Maybe not.

And just like other natural things, the food industry has found unnatural ways to create alcohol that tend to be cheaper and even less healthy. But, I’m nitpicking because ultimately alcohol is alcohol. You’re going to get hammered whether you drink Night Train or single-malt Scotch—although all the chemicals in the rotgut might give you a worse hangover.

Glass of LiquidAnd for you out there who think you’re beating the system with your Diet Coke® and rum, alcohol has calories. A lot of them. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. (Plus, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine,1 drinking diet soda with alcohol could get you drunk faster.)

More importantly, these calories have no food value. That’s right. Nada. Zilch. You’re adding calories to your diet, the only performance enhancing quality of which is to help you brag about yourself down at the pub.

The big question people usually ask me is whether or not they should drink alcohol while doing P90X®, INSANITY®, or one of our other boot camp–style programs. When you’re trying to change your body, the crux is making the nutritional switch from high-calorie/low-nutrient foods to low-calorie/high-nutrient foods. Since alcohol is a very high-calorie/no-nutrient food, you can see why it never ranks very high onMichi’s Ladder.

Keep in mind that we’re not telling you to abstain from alcohol forever. We’re advising you cut down on it—or completely cut it out—while you’re trying to transform your body.

What about all the studies showing alcohol is good for you?

The lifestyle studies that show up on the wires almost ubiquitously champion alcohol consumption because moderate drinkers always outlive everyone else. In fact, one major study showed that even excessive drinkers lived longer than teetotalers. There is no scientific surface explanation as to why this would be the case, so most experts chalk it up to lifestyle. Those who drink tend to be less stressed about life, in general, and stress is intricately linked to shorter life spans.

This is why our nutrition guides also generally give parameters for moderate drinking. If it makes you happy then, by all means, don’t quit. Just learn to be a healthy drinker.

But as I said above, when you’re doing one of our programs, the rules of nutrition shift slightly. You’re pushing your body harder, so it behooves you to keep nutrition tiptop. Furthermore, if you can’t go 90 days without a drink, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive substance.

The Dark Side of Drinking

And on that topic, alcohol has a dark side beyond calories. It can easily lead to an excessive path. If you’re a clever writer, you might make a nefarious career out of being a boozer, but it wreaks havoc on most of us.

Behavioral issues aside, let’s take a quick look at how alcohol can add up from a dietary perspective. A 12-ounce beer is about 150 or so calories. Ditto a 5-ounce glass of wine. One shot (1.5 oz) of the straight stuff has between 85 and 115 calories, depending on what proof it is.

Man Lying on the Floor next to a Glass of LiquidUnfortunately we tend to have more than that one serving. Often a lot more. Those longevity studies give the best numbers to folk who have 1–2 drinks a day, not those taking the Silver Bullet Express to every sporting event on TV.

When you pound a twelver during a weekend double-header, you’ve done serious dietary damage. Factor in that in our tendency to offset a drunken state-of-grace with greasy indulgences and it’s easy to see how Monday Night Football® at Cheers might result in unnecessary roughness. And despite the advice you’ll get on Good Morning America®, a quick jog the next day is not going to fight the beer belly you’ll get from those binges.

So the short answer here to whether it’s okay to drink when you’re working out is, “Sure. In moderation.” If you don’t already drink, I don’t think you need to start, but if you’re already a drinker, limit your intake and take the occasional time off, especially if you’re into a serious training cycle.

Do that, and I’ll raise a glass to you!

 

Want to clean up your eating? Click HERE for a FREE 14 day meal planner.

Leptin, Hormones, Hypothalamus, and Resetting Your System

 

What is Leptin?

So…this might be a lot for you all to take in: Leptin, hormones, hypothalamus, immune system, thyroid, weight loss / gain, energy levels, nutrition, health, fitness. Yes, it’s all intertwined.  I believe that most people know this to be true, yet few are willing to do much about it.

I’m taking part in a 6 Day Reset – where I am addressing my health at a hormonal level.  It’s more than just being healthy on the outside (weight, muscles, endurance and such). It’s also about being healthy on the inside (energy, mental state, and brain function).

Click HERE to get more information on the 6 day reset.

leptin, hormones, energy, hypothalamus, brain function, weight loss, hormones, thyroid

What is Leptin?

The short answer is: it’s a hormone that comes from your hypothalamus.  If you remember, the hypothalamus is something that I’ve been researching and teaching about for over two years now.  It’s what regulates your hunger, thirst, mood, relationships, and sleep.  That’s sums up who we are, doesn’t it? The hypothalamus is regulated by glucose and sends out hormones to the rest of our system.  Leptin is created there…in the hypothalamus.  Read more about my findings and beliefs concerning the hypothalamus here.

Read more about Leptin herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptin I’ve spent most of my day researching this for you. Basically – it’s the hunger hormone. It tells us when we are full.  It regulates appetite to achieve energy homeostasis. In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores.

The purpose of Day 2 of the 6 Day Reset is to fix this imbalance or decreased sensitivity.  We need to reset our brain…don’t think “I have no will-power” or “I just can’t seem to put the fork down,” think “what’s going on in my brain that is making me keep eating?”  The thing is, it’s an addiction.  It has to do with dopemine and our nutrition.

What peripheral systems (non-Hypothalamus) does Leptin effect?

Circulatory, reproduction, bone, brain (hippocampus), and the immune systems are affected by Leptin in a variety of ways. Wikipedia says, “…, chronically elevated leptin levels are associated with obesity, overeating, and inflammation-related diseases, including hypertensionmetabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.”  

Thyroid, gut, heart, brain…what else is there? This stuff is for real, and it’s important to not develop a decreased sensitivity to Leptin…and if you already have, there’s a chance to reset!

You need to RESET your relationship with FOOD

How? If you specifically fight belly fat, it very well could be something as simple as too much fructose in your diet.  Fructose? That’s the stuff in FRUIT.  That’s what makes fruit sweet.  Can you get too much? Yes and no. The interesting thing I just discovered is that about 60% of adults have difficulty processing sugar from fruits: FRUCTOSE.  And the thing is, it’s added to a lot of processed food.  First: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Yes, that’s right. That’s why people were taught to believe that HFCS was “good” for you – the sugar comes from fruit, so it can’t be all that bad, right?  Well, if you’re not burning off that extra fructose, or if you have trouble processing it on your own, it WILL turn to fat.

Here’s how to reset your sensitivity to Leptin:

  1. Stop eating fruit for three days.  No sugar, no fruits, no added fructose, no sweets.  Try to keep your fructose levels to less than 20 grams per day.  Some veggies (true veggies, not tomatoes) will still have some fructose.  That’s okay.  But stick to true veggies.  True veggies are foods without seeds (this is debatable, but just for now, humor me).
  2. Eat protein with your first meal.  Eggs, meat, tofu, etc.  Give it a go.  If you need ideas of high-protein foods, just Google it!
  3. Eat at least one pound of vegetables eat day…for three days. Again, real vegetables are key here.
  4. Increase the good fats: coconut oil, fish, avocados, olives.
  5. Eliminate alcohol for three days.

You can always look into Leptin food lists, hormones in the body, and fructose intolerance.  The findings are interesting.  You can get lost in the research, but if you believe that you have these issues…it’s worth the look.

It is important to know that everyone is different. While some will respond very well to this reset, some will need an extra boost.  Ask me for more information on Leptin, the hypothalamus, and how nutrition can reset your entire system.

Here are some new ways to get rid of toxins in your body and environment: CLICK HERE!

Check out our free program to help you reach your goals:

GOAL TRACKER

 

Self-Sabotage

 

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Self-sabotage.

What is it? Seriously, what does that even mean? Does it really mean that people would actually stop themselves from being the best they can be?  How does something like that even get a name?

If we were created to be amazing, awesome, and fabulous…why would WE be the ones to stop ourselves from reaching that potential? Why do we self-destruct? How are we so good at procrastination when it comes to our hopes and dreams? Our goals?

I would think (hope) that no one would intentionally self-sabotage, that no one would consciously make that choice. But, what IS it? What causes those habits and inner voices to take over our will-power and natural instincts to be great?

self-sabotage, self-destruct, procrastination

How is self-sabotage creeping in?

Mostly, self-sabotage comes in the form of procrastination and talking yourself out of reaching goals. It undermines our potential. We believe these acts to be helpful – to be saving us from some disaster, but in the long-run, these acts lead to us wanting more, being discouraged, and losing ourselves.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

You imagine yourself being healthier. Not even losing weight or body-building…but just being healthier because it’s good for you. It’s the right thing to do. Perhaps you would like to stop eating sugars, or maybe it’s processed food that you want to cut out. Dairy? Alcohol? Something as simple as chips?

Of course there is always one more event, one more birthday party, one more holiday that’s just around the corner.  For me, every Wednesday at work is treat day. Every. Single. Wednesday.   There are doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, Chex Mix, bagels and cream cheese, more cookies, pita chips, hummus, dips, crackers, banana bread…oh – and the occasional fruit and veggie tray (and those all come with dips and sauces).  But seriously, it’s every Wednesday. Then, there are the staff birthdays.  It seems like we might go a month or two with no birthdays, but then (like April) there are five in a row…almost every other day we are having special treats.

And, it’s not just healthy habits that I’m talking about.  I am talking about finding the perfect relationships (just when you find a good one, you do something stupid that causes it to end before it ever really starts). Or maybe it’s your job…you know, staying where you are even when a GREAT offer comes along; it must be too good to be true, you’re comfortable where you are, you’ve made such good friends, it’s close to your favorite bar…

self-sabotage, self-destruct, procrastination

Here’s what I’ve learned about Self-Sabotage and Self-Destructing behaviors:

1. The first step is to recognize it. Spot it.  Call it out: why am I thinking this way? Is there really a lot of risk involved, or am I just being a chicken? Why am I procrastinating? What are the effects of procrastination?

2. Try to understand the message. What is your conscience trying to tell you? Is it throwing up a red flag of “OMG, you better stop right now!!!”  or is it just a yellow “hey, use a little caution here, friend” type of flag?

3. Perhaps you are experiencing the “upper limit problem.”  Are you getting comfortable with your current level of success? Are you afraid of failing? Are the risks not worth the possible outcome?

Once you figure out the why of that negative self-talk…it’s easier to start on the why not?!

I encourage you to Google images for self-sabotage.  I keep trying to think of words to describe all of the Google images that come up – but that’s just it…a picture is worth a thousand words. Just go Google it.

This website is an amazing source of information. Check it out!

Here is another great article about self-sabotage and how it can ruin a perfectly good plan.  Click here.

If you are looking to better yourself, reach your goals, be the amazing person you were meant to be…follow this blog, friend me on Facebook, comment below. I’m here to be your encourager!

Low Fat Diet

 

Click here for your free Clean Eating Meal Plan. 

I’ve written about Low Fat Diet trends before, but I think this topic warrants a second visit.

When did the low fat diet become trendy?

For many decades now, the health authorities have told everyone to eat a low-fat diet. Doctors, nutritionists, dietitians…they claim that a diet low in fat will keep people from getting fat.

At the time the low-fat dietary guidelines were conceived (1977), people thought that saturated fat was a significant cause of heart disease. Saturated fats are the fats that are solid at room temperature (yes, like coconut…THE health trend of this decade). Here is some great information about saturated (and other) fats…that may or may not be interesting to you. I guess it depends on your family history and current health / medical recommendations.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp

Basically, low fat has been the cornerstone of healthy eating for several years.

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Why are we getting fat while eating low fat?

With the recommendation of staying away from fats, many people and organizations have also moved away from meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy products (high fat) and moved towards grains, legumes, fruits (low fat, high carb)…and vegetables (always a good choice).

These low-fat  guidelines were based on weak evidence, and many respected scientists objected. They believed that moving to a low-fat diet could have unforeseen consequences.

Recently, the “science” behind these ideas have been disproven.  Many high quality research studies show that there is, in fact, no association between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. If you REALLY want to see the science behind these studies, this is a good place to start:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

Here’s another study summary:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635993

Chances are, you won’t read (or even click) those links, but yes, they are official studies that say…there isn’t much correlation between fats and heart disease.

AND…of course, there are still studies and such that claim that saturated fats ARE harmful.  Here’s one that leans toward limiting fats: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp 

 

So…what does that mean for you?

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Low fat or high fat diet?

I’ve seen pictures of my family in 1977: there were some heavy people.  There were some “big” people. However, it was nowhere near what we see today.  When did the obesity epidemic start? Around 1977.

Here’s the bottom line:

When you stop eating “fats”, you often stop eating proteins. Proteins are important. More on that next time.

When you eat low-fat foods, they are made to taste better with sugars and artificial flavors.

If you stop eating animal fats, you often replace that with vegetable oils…these are thought to be much worse for your overall health. Processed seed- and vegetable oils ar unhealthy, loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats that can contribute to disease. And, they are often GMO…also not good.

Moderation is key!

I know that you know that already.  Eating pounds of butter is terrible. Eating pounds of grapes is also terrible. Eating a diet that you can’t maintain is terrible.  Eating Fettuccine Alfredo (2 cups) and a slice of garlic bread at 54 grams of fat isn’t going to kill you.  Eating that every day is terrible.   Taco Bell’s Supreme Chicken Fajita and Bell Grande Nachos: 64 grams of fat.  That might be too much even on a good day. Terrible. But, we still do it.

Eat vegetables, eat some fruit, eat some whole grains…everything in moderation!

Side note: Trans fats resemble saturated fat in consistency and shelf life, but the chemical composition is still very different. While saturated fats are possibly harmless, trans fats are highly toxic and should be avoided.

Here is some more information (mostly the same, but a little different…)

 

Do I Need to Avoid the Sugar in Fruit?

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Is Fruit Sugar Bad?

The Short Answer:

No, you don’t need to avoid sugar in fruit , even if you are going for a sugar-free diet.  Fresh fruits that come from the produce section opposed to the bagged or canned section should be a major part of most healthy diets. Fruits will generally provide more calories than vegetables, but there are essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found primarily in fruits that mean those calories are going to good use. Yes, fruits contain a lot of sugar – but they are also high in fiber content. Fiber helps slow the absorption of the sugars so there isn’t as much of a spike in blood glucose. So, no, you don’t need to worry about fruit sugar.

That being said…if you are a binge eater, it won’t matter what you eat, too much is too much.

The American Diabetes Association recommends, “Having a piece of fresh fruit or fruit salad for dessert is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get the extra nutrition you’re looking for.” If you are looking for ways to avoid sugar – fruit is not a good place to start.

 

The Long Answer: Is Fruit Sugar Bad?

Some say that when first starting a healthy diet – you will need to stop eating all sugars. This will boost your fat-burning process (using stored energy / fat since there is no new input of fast energy / sugar).  Also, some believe that in order to cut out bad sugars (processed and added sugar) that cutting out all sugars and sweet tastes will curb your appetite for more.  There is a lot of merit to these beliefs.  And, I have to say that I agree – for some, cutting out all sweets, including fruits, might be a good boost to your new, healthy eating plan.  But, you need the nutrition found in fruits and shouldn’t go without for long periods of time. Vitamin C, electrolytes, anti-oxidants, fiber, Vitamin A, iron, folate,  potassium…fruits are important to our overall wellness.  Even fruit sugar is needed to operate our body – so to cut it out completely for long periods of time wouldn’t promote a healthy lifestyle.

 

And, don’t forget about phytonutrients.  Nutritional science discovers something amazing about phytonutrients every day. One thing we know, though, is that they tend to be more effective when they are allowed to function synergistically with the other compounds in fruits and veggies. As Cornell University Professor of Food Science Rui Hai Lui points out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Food provides not only essential nutrients needed for life but also other bioactive compounds for health promotion and disease prevention… Consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as grains, has been strongly associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and age-related functional decline”

 

But, if you’re looking for ways to avoid sugar…

Currently, nutrition and fitness experts are touting the evils of sugar. Since fruit has sugar – people are assuming that fruit also needs to be avoided.  All sugar isn’t terrible for you.  This brings us back to binge eating and our sweet tooth.  When you are wanting a sweet – go for an apple…not a candy bar.  You don’t need to avoid fruit sugar, you need to avoid added sugar.

If the ingredient lists sugar, raw sugar, honey, molasses, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, malt, lactose…there are at least 57 other names for added sugar – that is what you need to avoid.

How Your Body Processes Carbs and Fruit Sugar

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Our body really likes carbohydrates as a fuel source. When we consume carbs, enzymes in our digestive system break them down into their simplest possible form: sugar.  Starches, or complex carbs, take some time to break down. Sugars, or simple carbs, are easy to break down, if they need breaking down at all. Either way, the carbs you eat all become sugars called glucose and fructose.  At this point, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which does a few things with this blood sugar. If you’ve eaten fruit or complex carbs, insulin delivers sugar to the liver and muscles for use as fuel. If you’ve eaten simple carbs…or straight sugar, insulin converts the sugar to adipose tissue (body fat) to be broken down for energy at a future time.

If you continue to abuse this system – and consistently consume more sugar than your body can handle, insulin will not be able to do its job properly.  Insulin resistance might occur – your body could start creating more insulin – but, eventually, your system will begin to fail.  This leads to Type 2 Diabetes.  Cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and obesity can develop.

Fats and proteins will help avoid blood sugar spikes, but the most effective way to temper your carb intake is with fiber.  Fiber is extremely complicated and can’t be digested – so carb digestion is also slowed.

Fruits are generally rich in fiber – which makes the sugar content irrelevant.  An apple has 25 grams of carbs – 19 of those are sugar.  But – it also has 4.4 grams of fiber, which will drastically slow the sugar absorption down to a trickle.

Something else to consider – this works both ways.  Even something with low sugar content – like a slice of bread that also has low fiber content – will result in a spike in blood sugar levels much higher than with an apple.

Fruit Sugar and Weight Loss

Obviously, you can overeat fruit.  Eating six bananas or an entire bunch of grapes isn’t a good idea.  But, you can overeat (or over drink) all kinds of healthy items: water, seeds, fish, watermelon.

Like most things in life, moderation is the key.  The only exception to that rule is veggies…real veggies. Leafy greens.  It would be extremely difficult to over-eat kale or spinach.  But, I guess anything is possible.  I believe that for the most part, we way under-estimate the serving size of veggies, much like we over-estimate the serving size of sugary / processed foods. For the average person, 2-3 servings of fruit per day is perfect. If you’re highly active, that number might double. Keep in mind, that variety is also key.  Eating a well-rounded offering of fruits will bring you the most benefits.

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Ways to Avoid Sugar

Basically – you  should stay away from anything with sugar listed as an ingredient.  Here is a link that lists all the different names that sugar is called…they are getting creative.

Click here for ways to avoid sugar hidden in your foods.

Click here to have access to our clean-eating menus and grocery lists. IT’S FREE!

So, the bottom line is: no, you don’t need to avoid sugar in fruit.

 

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14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!
14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

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