Posts Tagged healthy eating

Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM

So glad I quit this stuff!!

Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Your metabolism will play a major role in your success or failure to lose weight. Elevating your metabolism causes your body to expend more calories, making it simpler for you to control your body weight. If this is a feat you are determined to accomplish, abstain from behaviors that may derail your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. That may include limiting some of your favorite food and beverage items like diet sodas.

About Metabolism

Metabolism is the rate that your body expends calories. Everyone has a BMR, or basal metabolic rate, and an AMR, or active metabolic rate. The key to any successful dieting program involves increasing your BMR. Depending on the intensity, engaging in cardio exercise can boost your metabolism for up to 24 hours, according to a study published in 1999 by the American Council on Exercise.

Diet Sodas and Metabolism

Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, such as aspartame and sucralose, cause your metabolic rate to slow by confusing your body. Normally when you consume foods or beverages that have a caloric value, your body responds by speeding its metabolism via the feedback loop involving the stomach, brain and hormones. The sweet taste of the diet soda tricks your body into thinking it is ingesting calories when it isn’t. If it becomes a regular occurrence, your body will compensate for the calories it isn’t getting by slowing its metabolism to preserve its energy stores.

Weight Gain

Many dieters choose diet sodas over other beverages because they assume that it will not impact their efforts to lose weight but according to researchers, it may cause you to gain weight. In August 2008, “Obesity” published a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center that evaluated the effects of artificially sweetened beverages on long-term weight gain. The findings indicated the more diet soda the subjects consumed, the more weight they gained.

Calorie Deficit

The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. That is, you must expend more calories than you consume. Over time you may notice that your dieting efforts have reached a plateau. This occurs because your body reconfigures its caloric needs to match its caloric allowance and compensate for the calories you are no longer providing. Engaging in moderate intensity exercise for 150 minutes per week accompanied by a healthy diet that limits diet soda consumption will boost your metabolism and help you shed pounds.


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Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?

Very Interesting!  Perhaps Saturated Fats are not so bad after all… My husband will be pleased… Of course, you still need to be vigilant about the calorie content (Fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein.)  Protein should also be moderated if you have liver or kidney issues.  Avoiding highly processed carbohydrates is the new recommendation since it has been shown to be damaging to blood lipids.  Low Glycemic Index foods are still favored. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating more meat, just eating less refined carbs and not worrying quite as much about the gristle in your steak…  What are your thoughts?

Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?.

In my home state of Arizona, a restaurant named “Heart Attack Grill” does brisk business in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. Waitresses in nurse-themed uniforms with miniskirts deliver single, double, triple and quadruple “bypass burgers” (featuring one, two, three and four hefty patties, respectively) dripping with cheese, to patrons who wear hospital gowns that double as bibs. The motto: “Taste Worth Dying For!”

Now, there is much for a medical doctor (as opposed to “Dr. Jon,” the stethoscope-wearing, burger-flipping owner) to dislike in this establishment. If you visit, I implore you to steer clear of the white-flour buns, the sugary sodas and the piles of “flatliner fries” that accompany the burgers in the restaurant’s signature bedpan plates. This is precisely the sort of processed-carbohydrate-intensive meal that, via this and other fast-food establishments, is propelling the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in America.

But the Grill’s essential, in-your-face concept is that the saturated fat in beef clogs arteries, and hamburger meat is consequently among the most heart-damaging foods a human being can consume. As the Grill literature puts it, “The menu names imply coronary bypass surgery, and refer to the danger of developing atherosclerosis from the food’s high proportion of saturated fat…” Aimed at a certain crowd, this is clever, edgy marketing. Some people enjoy flirting with death.

The problem? It’s not true. The saturated fat lauded in this menu won’t kill you. It may even be the safest element of the meal.

Saturated fat is made of fatty acid chains that cannot incorporate additional hydrogen atoms. It is often of animal origin, and is typically solid at room temperature. Its relative safety has been a theme in nutrition science for at least the last decade, but in my view, a significant exoneration took place in March of this year. An analysis that combined the results of 21 studies, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk” of coronary heart disease, stroke or coronary vascular disease.

Although this was not a true study, it was a big analysis. It aggregated information from nearly 348,000 participants, most of whom were healthy at the start of the studies. They were surveyed about their dietary habits and followed for five to 23 years. In that time, 11,000 developed heart disease or had a stroke. Researcher Ronald M. Krauss of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Center in California found that there was no difference in the risk of heart disease or stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.

This contradicts nutritional dogma we’ve heard repeated since 1970, when a physiologist named Ancel Keys published his “Seven Countries” study that showed animal fat consumption strongly predicted heart attack risk. His conclusions influenced US dietary guidelines for decades to come, but other researchers pointed out that if 21 other countries had been included in that study, the association that Keys observed would have been seen as extremely weak.

Meanwhile, in the years since, there has been increasing evidence that added sweeteners in foods may contribute to heart disease. Sweeteners appear to lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the higher your HDL, the better) and raise triglycerides (the lower the better). That’s according to a study of more than 6,000 adults by Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and published in April inThe Journal of the American Medical Association.

People who received at least 25 percent of their daily calories from any type of sweetener had more than triple the normal risk of having low HDL levels than those who consumed less than five percent of their calories from sweeteners. Beyond that, those whose sugar intake made up 17.5 percent or more of daily calories were 20 to 30 percent more likely to have high triglycerides.

Science writer Gary Taubes has done more than anyone else to deconstruct the Keys mythos and replace it with a more sensible view, informed by better science. I recommend his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. It presents more than 600 pages of evidence that lead to these conclusions:

    1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
    1. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis — the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
    1. Sugars — sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically — are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
  1. Through their direct effects on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases of modern civilization.

My point here is not to promote meat consumption. I’ve written here previously about humanitarian and ecological reasons to avoid a meat-centric diet, especially if the meat comes from factory-farmed animals. Instead, my purpose is to emphasize that we would be much healthier as a nation if we stopped worrying so much about fats, and instead made a concerted effort to avoid processed, quick-digesting carbohydrates — especially added sugars. The average American consumes almost 22 teaspoons of sugars that are added to foods each day. This obscene amount is the principal driver of the “diabesity” epidemic, sharply increases coronary risks and promises to make this generation of children the first in American history that will die sooner than their parents.

My Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid emphasizes whole or minimally processed foods — especially vegetables — with low glycemic loads. That means consuming these foods keeps blood sugar levels relatively stable, which in turn lowers both fat deposition and heart-disease risk. If you make a concerted effort to eat such foods and avoid sugar, you’ll soon lose your taste for it. The natural sugars in fruits and vegetables will provide all the sweetness you desire.

While saturated fat appears to have no effect on heart health, eating too much can crowd out vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for optimal health. So I recommend sticking to a “saturated fat budget” which can be “spent” on an occasional steak (from organic, grass-fed, grass-finished cattle, see LocalHarvest for sources), some butter, or, as I do, high quality, natural cheese a few times a week.

Andrew Weil, M.D., invites you to join the conversation: become a fan on Facebook, follow him onTwitter, and check out his Daily Health Tips BlogDr. Weil is the founder and director of theArizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the editorial director of

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What I am learning about Flax Seed….

Is flaxseed the new wonder food? Preliminary studies show that flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer.

King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it.  –   WHAAAT?? Wow!

Cancer- Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. (and likely endometrial cancer)

Cardiovascular – “Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%,”

Cholesterol – Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterol levels, too. Small particles of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Inflammation – Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents

How to use it – “Ground flaxseed, in general, is a great first choice but there may be specific situations where flax oil or the lignans (taken in amounts naturally found in flaxseed) might be as good,”

How much? – 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is currently the suggested dose

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Tumblr Took Over! – Update!

Tumblr!!  Oh I am ashamed… Well, not really.  But, yes, it’s true.  I have been tumbling!  “Micro-blogging” is so easy!  I’ve been very busy with my pharmacy school rotations and DRIVING to rotations (or taking the bus- which is the best thing that ever happened to my downtown commute.)  But, that means I have been neglecting my “main” blog here on WP – because I feel that this deserves more valuable posts… a little more thoughtful and a little lengthier.  And, they take a little more time.  So, if you want daily updates please follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. 🙂

So, where am I with my fitness?

Well – looking back over my Beachbody SuperGym Workout Calendar I could be doing better.  I definitely had more time in January and so my workouts were much more consistent.  I am still exercising regularly- probably 3-4 days a week instead of 5-6.  But, my Turbo Fire schedule has been all thrown off.  😦  I started going to Fit Club- which is fun but we’ve done things besides Turbo Fire, of course.  And, I’ve been going to Boxing Class at the gym once in a while.

I have such early mornings- I have to leave the house at 5:40am!!!  There’s no way to workout before that!  I get home around 5:45-6:00 and have to do my workouts pretty much right when I get home or they don’t happen.  If I haven’t made plans for dinner or have something else going on it makes it very difficult to get them in.  So lesson?  Have dinner plans already made and ready to go!!


I’ve been having Shakeology once a day for around a month now. I usually have it in the morning for breakfast but sometimes for lunch or dinner or as a snack.  I have honestly been enjoying it and miss it if I don’t get it!  Yesterday, actually, I was planning to have it as a snack on my way home from work but left it in the fridge!  I was so sad!  All the way home… Plus, it messed up my evening routine because I was hungry when I got home and so had to delay my workout which is a problem because sometimes it doesn’t happen if I put it off…

So my current thoughts on Shakeo:

I enjoy the shakes- both chocolate & tropical.  My GI system LOVES it!  Evidently I didn’t know what ‘regularity’ was before this… and I wasn’t a horrible eater!  I ate plenty of fiber, fruits, veggies, roughage… so it shouldn’t have been an issue.  Just that makes me feel much better.  Since starting it I haven’t wanted soda or ‘needed’ caffeine.  I haven’t had Starbucks at all and used to have it nearly every day!  It’s $3-4/serving which seems expensive at $120 a month.  Well… I spend at least $5 on lunch everyday if I don’t pack something ahead of time (then I still spend $2-3 depending on what I pack.)  So, having it for lunch is more cost effective than having it for breakfast (I could have oatmeal or fruit w/ yogurt for $0.20..)

BUT – If it is truly giving me everything it says that it is… a full day’s worth of fruits & veggies, antioxidants, pro & prebiotics (there is a difference), digestive enzymes etc… then it is worth it to me.  Could you get these things in other ways with other supplements and a balanced diet?  Probably.  There are Fruit & Veg supplements and pre/probiotic supplements etc.  They can add up too and would probably cost between $1-3/day themselves.  And doing that you aren’t replacing a meal so you are still spending $ on food.  And, a balanced diet is kind of like the loch ness monster- I’m not sure it’s possible with this kind of hectic life!

The closest alternative I have found is Vega meal replacements.  I intend to try them just to compare- but they are still around $3/serving so you aren’t saving a ton of money.  The convenience factor of Shakes can’t be overstated!  This is SO EASY to do everyday- it makes a great to-go breakfast, lunch or snack.  I don’t have to THINK, PLAN, SHOP for what I am going to eat for that meal.  This saves me TIME in my schedule to worry about other pressing things.  I don’t have to buy multiple products to achieve the same effect.  What about the quality of the products?  I trust Beachbody.  I don’t necessarily have the same faith in GNC if you know what I mean… I know the story behind Shakeo and am thrilled that they support local farmers- helping communities around the world.  Okay, okay, enough about shakeo- I’ll write another post later.  I’m really not trying to sell it.  I am a resource if people are interested in it but right now I’m really just interested in finding out what it can do for me.  (And, I am making a lab rat of my husband- he has high cholesterol so I’m having him try it for 30 days to see if it will help bring it down!)  It’s not magic!  It’s not a weight-loss shake like Body by Vi or Medifast but it can help with weight loss.  It is a nutritional supplement intended to help your HEALTH not just your scale!

Other Meals- 

They haven’t been fantastic but haven’t been horrible.  Mostly this has to do with my lack of planning.  I’ve been eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria- usually a salad, sometimes chicken wings with veggies… I try to pick a protein and veggies with a small carb side.  Dinner has been challenging!  We had fish the other night but then burgers (I only had 1/2), chicken wings, chicken noodle soup.. It’s just kind of been all over the place!  Again- it’s not that I don’t WANT healthy food- I’ve just been lazy to plan for it!  😦  I will do better!!

Beachbody Coaching

This seems to be coming along, actually!  My mom signed up as a coach (I’m not sure if she’s really interested or just did it for me…)  But, she’s also doing Insanity and Shakeo!  I am SO EXCITED to see her results!  I will be just THRILLED if she is successful!  I love being her accountability partner- she texts me everyday when she’s finished her workout and logs them in the SuperGym.  I am SO PROUD of her!  So, with ‘Emerald’ status Beachbody gives me clients- they  all have different needs.  Some purchased programs and are not interested in the site while others are very involved in the message boards, use the meal planner etc.  I’ve been able to get several people started with various fitness programs and a few are trying Shakeology.  So far it’s a fun hobby.  I LOVE going to Coach events!  I love the atmosphere, excitement and enthusiasm everyone has for fitness!!

My weight loss/ results?  Well, I have continued to lose- slowly.  I believe if I am able to get my diet under better control and my workouts back up to 5 days/week I’ll see results more quickly.  Since January I’ve lost around 10 lbs, 1″ from my hips, 1″ from my thighs, 1 1/2″ from my waist, 1 1/2″ from my chest and some other inches… about 10″ all over… slowly shrinking. 🙂  I’ll post some photos probably next week.

“Ain’t No Fool” April 2nd Challenge Group! – 1 Spot Left!

This will be my first challenge group! 🙂  I’m excited!  We have 4 people so far so we have 1 spot left!  If you are interested let me know.  I am super excited because I will be doing a P90X/ Turbo Fire Hybrid!!!  I haven’t done P90X- have always been too intimidated but now I am READY to do this!  (Will probably have to skip out on Fit Club- cut back to once a week so I can keep on track!)  I promise to plan my meals!!

That’s all I’ve got for now and sorry that it was so scattered!  I have many things on my mind and will try to write some more topic-specific posts soon! 🙂

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