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40% Of Cancers Diagnosed In U.S. Related To Obesity, CDC Says

Add cancer to the many good reasons to strive for a healthy weight

The rates of 12 obesity-related  cancers rose by 7 per cent from 2005 to 2014, an increase that is threatening to reverse progress in reducing the rate of cancer in the United States, U.S. health officials say.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 630,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with a cancer linked with being overweight or obese in 2014.

Obesity-related cancers accounted for about 40 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Although the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses has fallen since the 1990s,  rates of obesity-related cancers have been rising.

“Today’s report shows in some cancers we’re going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said on a conference call with reporters.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 13 cancers are associated with overweight and obesity.
They include:

  • Meningioma.
  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
  • Cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus and colon and rectum (colorectal).

In 2013-2014, about two out of three U.S. adults were considered overweight or obese. CDC researchers used the U.S. cancer statistics database to see how obesity was affecting cancer rates. Although cancer rates rose in 12 of these cancers from 2005 to 2012, colorectal cancer rates fell by 23 per cent, helped by increases in screening, which prevents new cases by finding growths before they turn into cancer.

Cancers not associated with overweight and obesity fell by 13 per cent.

About half of Americans are not aware of this link, according to Schuchat. The findings suggest that U.S. healthcare providers need to make clear to patients the link between obesity and cancer, and encourage patients to achieve a healthy weight.

“The trends we are reporting today are concerning,” Schuchat said. “There are many good reasons to strive for a healthy weight. Now you can add cancer to the list.”

She said the science linking cancer to obesity is still evolving, and it is not yet clear whether losing weight will help individuals once cancer has taken root.

What is clear is that obesity can raise an individual’s risk of cancer, and that risk may be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, Schuchat said Tuesday.

Oct 04, 2017
source: www.cbc.ca   Reuters
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Portion Size Versus Serving Size

Sometimes the portion size and serving size are the same, but sometimes they are not. Over the past few years portions have grown significantly in restaurants, as has the frequency of Americans eating out. Learn how much to put on your plate to help control how much you eat.

Big portion sizes can mean you’re getting more food than your body can stomach to maintain a healthy weight.

Do you know how much you’re really eating? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the portions we are eating are the right serving size for our nutritional needs.  Portion sizes have increased drastically over the years, contributing to the rising obesity rate.

So how did it get this way?

Consider these statistics from the American Heart Association and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation study “A Nation at Risk: Obesity in the United States”:

  1. Adults today consume an average of 300 more calories per day than they did in 1985.
  2. Portion sizes have grown dramatically over the last 40 years.
  3. North Americans eat out much more than they used to.

Understanding healthy portions can be hard. Here’s why:

  • Many of us don’t know what a healthy portion is.
  • Restaurants offer extras like breads, chips and other appetizers that add extra calories, sodium and fat but lack any nutritional benefit.
  • Some meals have portions that are enough for two or more people.
  • Many convenience foods and drinks are priced lower but packaged in larger sizes to sell more.
  • Clearing up the confusion.

 

Here are a couple of important definitions from the National Institutes of Health:

  • Portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package or in your own kitchen. A portion is 100 percent under our control. Many foods that come as a single portion actually contain multiple servings.
  • Serving Size is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts label. So all of the nutritional values you see on the label are for the serving size the manufacturer suggests on the package.

Once we understand the difference, it’s easier to determine how much to serve and easier to teach kids the difference between the two. Learn some suggested servings from each food groups you and your kids can eat at mealtime or between meals.

How can we eat and serve smaller portions?

  1. When cooking at home: Offer the proper “serving” to each member of the family, then put the extra food away. Save leftovers for another meal.
  2. When dining out:  Skip the appetizers and split a large salad or main dish with a friend.
  3. When ordering takeout at home: Eat one slice of pizza instead of two, and order a small instead of a medium to split among the family so the pieces are smaller.
  4. Watching movies at home or at the theatre:  Don’t eat while watching TV or a movie or when you’re on the computer. It’s harder to control how much you’re eating if you don’t pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth, and when. At the movies, share a box of popcorn, and avoid the free-refill tubs and skip the candy.
  5. At snack time: Never eat straight from the bag or box. Measure out snacks, including fruits and veggies, into appropriate portion sizes before giving them to your kids.
  6. All the time: Tracking your calories helps you monitor your weight. It helps to know what the appropriate serving size is so you can correctly estimate the calories in your portions, especially if you dine out a lot. Using a food diary can help you pay closer attention to what you’re eating, how much and how often.

You may be surprised to learn these are serving sizes:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup rice or pasta (cooked)
  • 1 small piece of fruit (super-large apples are 2+ servings)
  • 1 wedge of melon
  • ¾ cup fruit juice
  • =1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 2 oz. cheese (about the size of a domino)
  • 2-3 oz. meat, poultry or fish (this is about the size of a deck of cards)
 March 21, 2017


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Energy Dense Foods May Increase Cancer Risk Regardless Of Obesity Status

Link between high dietary energy density in food and obesity-related cancer in normal weight individuals

Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types of cancer, less is known about how the ratio of energy to food weight, otherwise known as dietary energy density (DED), contributes to cancer risk. To find out, researchers looked at DED in the diets of post-menopausal women and discovered that consuming high DED foods was tied to a 10% increase in obesity-related cancer among normal weight women. Their findings are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

DED is a measure of food quality and the relationship of calories to nutrients. The more calories per gram of weight a food has, the higher its DED. Whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and beans are considered low-DED foods because they provide a lot of nutrients using very few calories. Processed foods, like hamburgers and pizza, are considered high-DED foods because you need a larger amount to get necessary nutrients. Previous studies have shown that regular consumption of foods high in DED contributes to weight gain in adults.

In order to gain a better understanding of how DED alone relates to cancer risk, researchers used data on 90,000 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative including their diet and any diagnosis of cancer. The team found that women who consumed a diet higher in DED were 10% more likely to develop an obesity-related cancer, independent of body mass index. In fact, the study revealed that the increased risk appeared limited to women who were of a normal weight at enrollment in the program.

 

“The demonstrated effect in normal-weight women in relation to risk for obesity-related cancers is novel and contrary to our hypothesis,” explained lead investigator Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, Professor of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson, AZ. “This finding suggests that weight management alone may not protect against obesity-related cancers should women favor a diet pattern indicative of high energy density.”

Although restricting energy dense foods may play a role in weight management, investigators found that weight gain was not solely responsible for the rise in cancer risk among normal weight women in the study. They hypothesize that the higher DED in normal-weight women may cause metabolic dysregulation that is independent of body weight, which is a variable known to increase cancer risk.

While further study is needed to understand how DED may play a role in cancer risk for other populations such as young people and men, this information may help persuade postmenopausal women to choose low DED foods, even if they are already at a healthy body mass index.

“Among normal-weight women, higher DED may be a contributing factor for obesity-related cancers,” concluded Dr. Thomson. “Importantly, DED is a modifiable risk factor. Nutrition interventions targeting energy density as well as other diet-related cancer preventive approaches are warranted to reduce cancer burden among postmenopausal women.”

Story Source:
Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

Cynthia A. Thomson, Tracy E. Crane, David O. Garcia, Betsy C. Wertheim, Melanie Hingle, Linda Snetselaar, Mridul Datta, Thomas Rohan, Erin LeBlanc, Rowan T. Chlebowski, Lihong Qi. Association between Dietary Energy Density and Obesity-Associated Cancer: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.06.010

source: www.sciencedaily.com    August 17, 2017


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Eat slowly. Your body takes 20 minutes to recognize it’s full.

  • Those stars and colors you see when you rub your eyes are called phosphenes.

  • The male brain is 10% bigger than the female’s but the female brain works more efficiently.

  • Studies show those who don’t eat breakfast, or eat it only sometimes, are twice as likely to be overweight as those who eat two breakfasts.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact

 


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Foods That Can Suppress Appetite, Aid Weight Loss

Whether it’s turning to supplements, juices or new challenging workouts, it seems everyone is looking for the magic weight loss bullet. But sometimes, losing weight may just be a matter of tweaking your diet – and eating foods that work for you, not against you.

Though none of these foods will work magic by themselves, when they are included as part of a healthy weight-loss diet, they may give you an edge in controlling hunger and shedding unwanted pounds.

These satiety-boosting foods will keep you winning at weight loss.

Greek or Icelandic yogurt

Greek and Icelandic yogurt (both strained to remove the liquid whey) are thicker, creamier and richer in protein than their regular yogurt counterparts, making them one of the best snacks for curbing appetite.

It’s the protein that keeps us feeling full. A 5.3-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt contains 15 grams of protein; the same portion of plain nonfat Icelandic-style skyr yogurt provides 17 grams of protein. By comparison, a regular fat-free plain yogurt contains 7 grams of protein.

Research suggests that protein is even more satiating than fat or carbohydrates. Therefore, it can be a strategic nutrient player in terms of appetite control and weight loss.

In one study, when individuals were given the same number of calories (and the same percentage of carbohydrates), they reported feeling less hungry when the percentage of protein was increased from 15% to 30% of calories. Even more interesting is the fact that when they were allowed to eat as many calories as they wanted on the 30% protein diet, they ended up consuming a total of 441 fewer calories than when they started, and they lost an average of 11 pounds.

Other foods that pack protein include cottage cheese, milk, eggs, fish, lean poultry and meats, peanut butter, lentils and soybeans.

Avocados

You may know that avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats. And with 9 calories per gram – more than double the calories per gram of carbohydrates or protein — fat fills us up fast, which can be beneficial in controlling hunger.

Avocados are rich in a fat known as oleic acid, which offers an added benefit in terms of the fruit’s effects on appetite.

Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid also found in high quantities in olive and canola oils. In the body, it is converted into a compound known as OEA (oleoylethanolamide).

Weight loss can be tied to when, not just what, you eat

One recent study found that when individuals consumed high-oleic-acid vegetable oils with their meals, their levels of OEA increased, and this ultimately decreased hunger and reduced calorie intake at the next meal.

“Freshly formed OEA travels to the nerve fibers that lie beneath the gut lining and tells them to send a satiety signal to the brain,” said Daniele Piomelli, professor of anatomy and neurobiology, pharmacology and biological chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, who has studied OEA’s role in appetite reduction.

“OEA reduces appetite and lowers body weight in obese animals and possibly people,” she explained. “But obese people cannot make it, so it has to come from outside.”

Aside from avocados and certain oils, top sources of oleic acid include olives, nuts and seeds. Just be sure to watch portions of these high-fat foods.

Red chili peppers

Capsaicin is the plant compound in red chili peppers that gives them their “hot” sensation. But the burn can work both ways, as these heat-packed peppers can keep calories in check, which is key to weight loss.

Research suggests that capsaicin may help curb hunger. In one small study, when individuals consumed red pepper with their breakfast, they experienced a decrease in appetite before lunch and consumed less protein and fat during lunch. Another study found that adding red pepper to an appetizer significantly reduced the total amount of calories and carbohydrates consumed during lunch and during a snack served hours later.

On the other hand, the beneficial effects may be greatest when one first starts consuming red pepper, as its effects may decrease over time. Another study found that those who don’t consume red pepper regularly experienced a decrease in their desire to eat fatty and salty foods when they do.

How does it work? “Spicy red peppers turn on receptors in our mouths that cause us to feel burn. This gives a ‘kick’ to the system that triggers our bodies’ fight-or-flight response,” said study author Mary-Jon Ludy, associate professor of clinical nutrition at Bowling Green State University Activating the sympathetic nervous system in that way increases satiety and energy expenditure.

Interestingly, when you remove the taste response part (by swallowing the pepper in a capsule, for example), the weight management effects aren’t as big, Ludy explained.

If spicy foods seem a bit intimidating, start slowly. One of the easiest ways to incorporate red chili peppers into your diet is to add red pepper flakes to chicken dishes, pasta, pizza or other foods you may be inclined to overeat.

Barley

Though it’s rich in carbohydrates, barley is another natural appetite suppressant, as the grain contains a unique combination of dietary fibers that make it extra filling.

In one study, individuals ate bread made out of barley kernels for three days at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Researchers found that the participants experienced improved appetite control and a boost in metabolism for up to 14 hours after their last meal, along with a decrease in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Barley can be enjoyed in soup or as a hot cereal for breakfast. You can also use it in place of rice in risottos and pilafs.

Are potatoes healthy?

“Test subjects experienced higher satiety and less hunger and willingness to eat,” said study author Anne Nilsson, an associate professor in the Food for Health Science Centre at Lund University in Sweden.

According to Nilsson, when the fibers in barley – specifically betaglucans and arabinoxylans – reach the gut, they are metabolized by gut bacteria, and this increases levels of hormones that regulate appetite.

potatoes

Soup

When soup is eaten as appetizer, it can decrease hunger, increase fullness and reduce the total calories consumed for the entire meal.

In one study, participants got four soups with the same ingredients in different forms: separate broth and vegetables, chunky vegetable soup, chunky-pureed vegetable soup and pureed vegetable soup.
Researchers found that varying the form of soup did not significantly affect satiety or food intake: As long as soup was eaten before an entrée of cheese tortellini, individuals consumed 20% fewer calories for their entire lunch compared with when skipping soup.

What’s so special about soup? Thanks to its high water content, it’s got low energy (calorie) density. That means you can fill up on a big portion and feel full without consuming the heavy calorie load that typically comes with large portion sizes.

The new secret to losing weight? Water

“Binding water into foods slows down gastric emptying, which means your stomach stays fuller for longer,” said study co-author Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of the “Ultimate Volumetrics Diet.”

And as an ingredient, few that are more waistline-friendly than water. “The most effective way to reduce calories is to bulk up food with water. You get lots of volume without calories,” Rolls said.
Still, the total amount of calories in soup counts. A lobster bisque may sound delicious, but the calories add up quickly, so a smaller portion may be necessary to keep calories in check.

“If you’re filling up with soup first, you don’t want it to have many calories,” Rolls said. “A soup that is less than 150 calories works well.” Chicken vegetable, red lentil or chilled cucumber soup are all good choices.

Here’s more soup for thought: Research has suggested that eating soup as a snack can help keep hunger at bay. “If you choose soup rather than energy-dense snack foods like chips and crackers, you’ll do better with your weight management,” Rolls said. “Aim for 100 calories if you are just a little hungry or 200 calories if you have a big case of the munchies.”

Vegetable salad

Similar to soup, eating a salad before a meal has been associated with increased satiety and decreased calorie intake.

One study showed that when the first course of a meal is a large portion of a low-calorie salad – with iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, fat-free dressing and light mozzarella cheese – people are more satiated and eat fewer calories for the entire meal compared with when skipping the salad.

Is sushi healthy?

Specifically, when individuals ate three cups of salad before having their pasta, they ate 12%, or 107, fewer calories for the entire meal compared with when they skipped the salad.

Another study found that eating a low-calorie salad with a meal also helps reduce the amount of calories consumed – though people ate more vegetables when the salad was consumed before the meal.

Salads promote satiety because vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers have a high water content. Plus, you’re getting a healthy dose of fiber, which contributes to fullness. And though it may sound counterintuitive, fat-free dressing is not necessarily the best choice, as fat is necessary to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

“A salad should be primarily vegetables. … You can use regular salad dressing, but don’t have it swimming in it,” Rolls said.

To keep your salad calories in check, Rolls suggests avoiding fatty meats and instead sprinkling some nuts along with some beans to boost protein and fiber. You can also try topping your salad with popcorn in place of oily croutons.

Spinach

Spinach is a source of thylakoids, the chlorophyll-bearing parts of green leaves. But aside from their role in photosynthesis, research suggests that thylakoids may be helpful in reducing the amount of food we eat.

One study found that when individuals consumed a high-fat meal with the addition of thylakoids, their levels of the satiety hormone CCK increased, along with levels of leptin, the hormone that signals you to “stop” eating. They also experienced a decrease in levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite.

Fill your plate with superfoods

Another study found similar results when thylakoids were added to carbohydrate-rich meals.”They suppress the urge for sweets and the urge for snacking,” said study author Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, professor of appetite control at Lund University in Sweden.

Erlanson-Albertsson’s research has also shown that consuming thylakoid-rich spinach extract contributes to weight loss. “For those who got thylakoids, it was much easier to abstain from snacking, and they therefore lost more body weight,” she said.

The amount of thylakoids used in the study corresponds to 100 grams of spinach, or about three cups of raw spinach. For a more concentrated source of spinach, include the leafy green as smoothie ingredient, or puree it to make a blended spinach soup.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is rich in two natural appetite suppressants: omega-3 fats and fiber. One tablespoon of whole flaxseed has 3 grams of fiber and about 4 grams of healthful fat; one tablespoon of ground flaxseed has 2 grams of fiber and about 4 grams of beneficial fat.

Fiber from flaxseed can keep us satisfied and full without contributing any calories. One study found that when individuals consumed flaxseed fiber as part of a drink or as a tablet after an overnight fast, it significantly suppressed appetite and reduced calorie intake during lunch.

Fiber offers a “bulking” effect, which contributes to its effects on satiety. This may help explain why high fiber intakes are associated with lower body weights. Additionally, the fat in flaxseed can help slow the rise in blood sugar when flax is consumed with carbohydrate-rich foods. Unlike the hunger and irritability that can follow rapid blood sugar spikes and crashes, steady blood sugar levels can have beneficial effects on appetite.

For a fast way to include flax in your diet, try adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your morning cereal or smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of yogurt. You can also use ground flaxseed to replace some of the flour in waffle or pancake mixes.

Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, author and health journalist.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN     Fri July 21, 2017
 
source: www.cnn.com


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The Trendiest Diets Of 2017 And What Nutrition Experts Say About Them

It’s hard to cut through all the diet noise today.
Here, the experts weigh in on the trendiest diets of 2017 to determine what works and what doesn’t.

Canadians pay billions of dollars a year to the diet industry, with some estimates putting its revenue at $7 billion. And while names like Weight Watchers and Atkins have become immediately recognizable (and celebrated or vilified, depending on the results they’ve yielded), new diets pop up all the time with promises of offering life-long changes.

But how many of them are actually effective and sustainable?

“The problem today is that people are so concerned with losing weight quickly, they don’t care about sustaining it six months down the line,” says Abby Langer, registered dietitian and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto. “They want to be able to do something today and wear a bikini tomorrow, but you want to make changes that will last for the rest of your life.”

There seems to be a careful formula needed to create hype behind diets today — and that includes a doctor’s seal of approval, celebrity endorsement and health claims backed by self-serving science.

At the end of the day, Langer says, finding a diet that will work is as personal as finding the right swimsuit. What might work for one may not work for another.

We’ve examined the six most popular diets today and asked the experts to weigh in on their claims and effectiveness.

#1 The Whole30

What it is: A diet that claims to “re-set” your body, and rid you of any food, skin or seasonal allergies by eliminating foods that cause inflammation and cravings. It’s a hardcore program that needs to be followed for 30 days with no interruptions. “Just a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods could break the healing cycle,” the website states. “One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the ‘reset’ button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.” Bonus: the diet strongly advises people against weighing themselves to measure progress.

What you eat: Moderate portions of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, natural fats, herbs, spices and seasoning. (Coffee and tea allowed.)

What you eliminate: Real and added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and soy.

What the experts say: Langer calls this “basically a cleanse,” but says the rationale behind cutting out healthy foods like dairy and whole grains, is based on poorly done research, and its restrictions make it virtually impossible to follow if you follow a plant-based diet. In addition, it sends a problematic message.

“What’s very disturbing about it is the insulting and punitive way it treats people. The people who wrote the diet claim it ends your relationship with unhealthy food, but I think it will start a new unhealthy relationship with food. It’s unforgiving, and if you don’t follow it, you’ve failed,” she says.

#2 The Dukan Diet

What it is: Created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French neurologist and general practitioner, the diet consists of four phases that are meant to change your eating habits forever through a high protein, and low-fat and carbohydrate program. It boasts a list of 100 foods that are allowed on the diet and claims “no frustration and no starvation.” In phase one (“Attack” phase), you eat pure protein foods; phase two (“Cruise”) introduces non-starchy vegetables; phase three (“Consolidation”) gradually re-introduces starches; and phase four (“Stabilization”) allows all foods but requires consumption of three tablespoons of oat bran per day and one pure protein day per week.

What you eat: Lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetarian proteins (soy, tempeh, tofu), fat-free dairy, eggs and vegetables. (Coffee, tea, unsweetened drinks and no more than one can of diet soda is allowed. No alcohol.)

What you eliminate: At the beginning, you only eat pure protein and other foods are re-introduced slowly throughout the phases. Oat bran is required every day through the entire program to boost fibre intake.

What the experts say: Thrust into the spotlight after it was revealed that Kate and Pippa Middleton followed this diet leading up to the Duchess’s wedding (“it got popular thanks to Pippa’s butt,” Langer quips), the experts once again take issue with Dukan’s restrictiveness.

“To be balanced and healthy it needs to have more focus on plant-based foods,” says Andrea Hardy, a registered dietitian in Calgary and owner of Ignite Nutrition. “Eating all that meat means you’re missing an opportunity to get phytochemicals, antioxidants and nutrients from fruits and vegetables.”

She also points out that the absence of fibre means you’ll lack healthy gut bacteria, which can lead to long-term health problems like anemia, high cholesterol and osteoporosis.

#3  The Paleo Diet

What it is: Created to mimic the way our ancestors ate (like in the Paleolithic period), this diet claims to lead to weight loss, optimize health and minimize the risk of chronic disease. This is another high protein, low carb diet that emphasizes non-starchy fruits and vegetables that won’t spike your blood sugar, and promotes moderate to high consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It especially vilifies whole grains and dispels the notion that they are a rich source of fibre. In other words, if the hunter-gatherers before us didn’t eat it, neither should you — with the exception of the three non-Paleo meals per week that you’re allotted. (That’s when you can have wine.)

What you eat: Meat, poultry, fish, (non-starchy) fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils. (Moderate amounts of green tea allowed.)

What you eliminate: Grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed food, salt and refined vegetable oils, coffee.

What the experts say: Ultimately, Paleo is a sustainable diet for some people and is especially attractive to meat lovers. But, Hardy warns, a lot of people do Paleo wrong and fail to round out their protein-heavy meals with fruit and vegetables. In addition, its highly restrictive nature could end up driving people to consume unhealthy grains for a “cheat meal” which in turn muddies the relationship with healthy carbs.

“If it’s too restrictive, people will end up feeling like they’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ when they consume grains, and will, therefore, gravitate to something unhealthy like a doughnut because they’re ‘cheating,’ instead of choosing a wholesome grain product,” she says.

#4 The Mediterranean Diet

What it is: This predominantly plant-based diet draws from the traditional foods consumed by Mediterranean dwellers (like Italians, French and Greeks). It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol, and is associated with reduced incidences of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It promotes healthy fats as well as lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, some fish and very little red meat.

What you eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt should be eaten in moderation, and red meat should be eaten rarely. (Wine, coffee and tea are allowed.)

What you eliminate: Added sugar, refined grains, trans fats, processed meats, refined oils, highly processed foods.

What the experts say: This diet scored top marks for being sustainable, healthy, and well-researched to prove it lowers cholesterol and has anti-inflammatory effects.

“The idea is that you’re eating less animal protein, and less protein in general,” says Jessica Begg, registered dietitian and owner of Shift Nutrition in Calgary. “The protein powder industry has put so much emphasis on protein and we’re eating too much of it.”
She lauds the Mediterranean diet for focusing on sources of healthy fats and for not being restrictive.
“You’re not going to find a hack on Pinterest for a ‘Mediterranean chocolate cake,’ because it pushes a healthy balance of whole foods and allows almost everything,” Hardy says.

She says it’s not necessary to completely adopt it, either. People can slowly incorporate elements of the Mediterranean diet into their lives, like swapping out peanut oil for olive oil and eating pulses once a week, and they’ll still reap some benefits.

#5 The Alkaline Diet

What it is: The premise of this diet is that it will neutralize and balance the body’s natural pH by eliminating acidity. Our kidneys are responsible for maintaining our electrolyte levels, but chronic exposure to an acidic environment will cause those levels to deplete and result in acidosis. This acidity “robs” essential minerals from our bones, cells, organs and tissues, and accelerates the aging process, leads to a gradual loss of organ functions, and degenerates tissue and bone mass. By eating alkaline foods (like fresh fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed plant-based protein) you’ll stave off chronic health issues like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and low bone density. It also pushes organic foods because research says the type of soil plants and vegetables grow in can influence their vitamin and mineral content.

What you eat: Fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic and raw), plant proteins (including soy and tofu), limited quantities of meat (preferably organic), alkaline water, green drinks made from green vegetables and grasses, and some dairy (like probiotic yogurt and kefir).

What you eliminate: Processed foods, processed cereals, eggs, lentils, fish, oats and whole wheat products, milk, peanuts and walnuts, pasta, rice, bread, alcohol, caffeine.

What the experts say: This one is plain bunk, experts say.

“There’s absolutely no evidence to support that this is a thing,” Begg says. “The premise is that you’re trying to maintain an alkaline system but our pH levels are tightly controlled by our bodies.”
Langer echoes her sentiments and calls this diet “a mockery of basic physiology.”
“This diet claims that cancer grows in an acidic environment, but in actuality, cancer creates the acidic environment,” she says, therefore the research has it backwards.
Hardy agrees that there’s no scientific evidence to back up the diet’s claims of alkalinity — “your kidneys and lungs act as a buffer for you and help maintain your pH regardless of what you eat” — but appreciates its focus on fresh fruits and vegetables.

#6 Intermittent Fasting

What it is: The concept of this diet is to “feast” and then fast for an extended period of time. Its roots date back to the 1930s, when researchers were trying to determine the benefits of reducing calorie intake by skipping meals. During that time, a scientist noticed that significantly reducing calorie intake helped mice live longer. Since then, more studies were conducted (on monkeys, fruit flies and roundworms) and in all cases, a reduced calorie diet was linked to longevity and lowered risk of common diseases. It is credited with burning fat, since during the extended fasted phases, your body doesn’t have food to burn for energy so it will naturally burn your stores of fat. As a result, it will promote weight loss and build muscle.

What you eat: It’s not what you eat, but how you eat. The 16/8 method involves fasting for 16 hours and eating all your calories within an eight-hour window. The 5:2 plan involves eating normally for five days and consuming no more than 600 calories for two days. Eat-Stop-Eat involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week; alternate day fasting requires you to fast every other day, although some plans allow 500 calories on fasting days; the “Warrior” diet involves eating a small amount of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and a large meal at night; and spontaneous meal skipping allows you to decide which meals to skip and when. In all cases, it is recommended to eat a healthy, balanced diet of whole foods, and to avoid processed and junk foods as they aren’t filling.

What you eliminate: Food.

What the experts say: This diet sounds rigorous and outlandish, but it has “good scientific evidence” to back it up, Hardy says. The main issue is eating the right things during the “feasting” phase.

“I’ve had clients do this and end up gaining weight because they eat whatever they want within that time frame without honouring their hunger and fullness,” she says.

The other concern is that it could trigger an already tenuous relationship with the way a person eats.

“Emotionally it can be very triggering for a person who struggles with an eating disorder because it promotes starving and bingeing,” Langer says.

She says it could be beneficial for anyone who has “lost their hunger cues” due to over-dieting (this can happen to people who diet all the time and are accustomed to always being hungry) because it’ll become very clear what real hunger feels like.

“But if you aren’t able to control yourself when it’s time to eat because you’re so hungry, that’s a problem.”

By Marilisa Racco  National Online Journalist, Smart Living  Global News


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Want to Lose Weight? You Should Stop Counting Calories

No more meal math: Eating high-quality foods—including plenty of fat—is the new golden rule of weight loss.

Keri Rabe, a 41-year-old elementary school librarian in Austin, Texas, used to be a hard-core calorie counter. Each day for a year, she logged everything she ate, squeezing in caloric space for twice-baked potatoes and tater tot casseroles by making them with low-fat dairy, believing fat would make her fat. She studied the menu before eating out at restaurants, choosing a dish by how many calories she had left for the day. “I thought for sure that was the only way to consistently lose weight,” she says. “I thought I’d have to do it for the rest of my life.”

By one measure, it worked; Rabe lost 10 pounds that year. But even though she met her goal, she was frustrated. She hated doing math before and after every meal, and even though she got away with eating low-quality food while losing weight, she still didn’t feel good—and she wasn’t satisfied.

So one day, Rabe stopped logging and went searching for a better path, not just to lose weight but to keep it off. “I was looking for a way I could eat for the rest of my life,” she says.

Rabe was about to learn what experts are now discovering: The quality of calories is what matters most for staying healthy, losing weight, and maintaining those results.

“When you eat the right quality and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own,” says David Ludwig, MD, an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School, who wrote the 2016 weight-loss book Always Hungry? “You don’t have to count calories or go by the numbers.”

Outsmart your metabolism

The problem with foods that make people fat isn’t that they have too many calories, says Dr. Ludwig. It’s that they cause a cascade of reactions in the body that promote fat storage and make people overeat. Processed carbohydrates—foods like chips, soda, crackers, and even white rice—digest quickly into sugar and increase levels of the hormone insulin.

“Insulin is like Miracle-Gro for your fat cells,” explains Dr. Ludwig. It directs cells to snap up calories in the blood and store them as fat, leaving the body feeling hungry in a hurry. This is why it’s so easy to devour a big bag of chips and still feel famished.

Repeat this cycle too many times and your metabolism will start working against you. What’s more, “when humans try to reduce their calorie balance, the body fights back,” says Dr. Ludwig. This happens in two ways: Metabolism slows in order to keep calories around longer, and you begin to feel hungrier. “This combination of rising hunger and slowing metabolism is a battle that we’re destined to lose over the long term,” he adds. In a dramatic study last year, researchers followed 14 contestants who had all lost big (most about 100 pounds) on The Biggest Loser, and they found this to be the case. Within six years, all but one of them had regained much or all of the weight they had lost because their metabolism stalled and their levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin plummeted.

Put fat back on your plate

The best way to break this fattening cycle is to replace processed carbs with healthy fats, argues Dr. Ludwig: “Fats don’t raise insulin at all, so they can be a key ally for weight loss.”

That idea, of course, contradicts decades of dietary advice. Americans have long been warned about the dangers of fat, since the nutrient contains more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins. By the math alone, replacing fat with carbs seems like a good idea—but it’s not. Studies have shown that people on a low-fat diet tend to lose less weight than people on a low-carbohydrate diet.

In another twist, eating healthy fats—the types that actually support the heart, like the omega-3s in tuna and the monounsaturated fat in olive oil—does not seem to cause weight gain. A trial published last year in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fat for five years lost more weight than those who were told to eat low-fat. A related study showed that folks who followed a high-fat diet reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent, while those instructed to eat a low-fat diet did not.

“After hearing for 40 years how eating fat makes you fat and how we have to count calories to control our weight, people are afraid of foods that humans have enjoyed and viewed as healthy for hundreds of years, like olive oil, nuts, avocado, fatty fish, even dark chocolate,” says Dr. Ludwig. “These foods are among the most healthful foods in existence, even though they are loaded with calories.”

Real, natural foods with fiber, protein, and fat are so satisfying, you’ll naturally eat less of them, the new thinking goes. “If the meal contains all three, then the food will move more slowly through the GI tract,” says Mira Ilic, a clinical dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. When a food takes its time passing through the body, you feel fuller longer.

Instead of choosing a meal based on calories, Ilic advises picking foods from all three categories: one high in fiber, like a vegetable or whole grain; a protein source (think: chicken or salmon); and a healthy fat, like a salad with olive oil and chopped avocado.

Listen to your body’s cues

But it’s still possible to overdo it, even on healthy foods. The biggest temptations are typically peanut butter and almond butter—when you eat them by the spoonful—and whole avocados, says Ilic. She likes the “healthy plate” method of foolproof portion control: assembling half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables, which are automatically healthy; a quarter plate of protein; and a quarter plate of quality carbs, like whole grains or legumes. Foods with healthy fats will pop up in the protein and carb parts of the plate, and if you stick to that formula, you’ll be less likely to overeat them. After creating so well-rounded a meal, you’ll find it easier to keep the amount of good fat you add to it in check.

Another way to guard against overeating healthy-but-rich foods is to slow down at the table. “A lot of people are eating way too fast,” says Ilic. “It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to pick up on satiety, the fullness of the stomach, and you miss the cue of being full if you’re eating too quickly.”

Be present to shed pounds

Recent research found that when people did a short mindfulness exercise called a body scan meditation—in which you take stock of how you feel inside—they were better able to pick up on internal cues that signal hunger and fullness. People who are more mindful have also been shown to experience fewer weight fluctuations over time.

Even though eating quality calories will help you crave treats less, there’s still room for the occasional indulgence. Dr. Ludwig is a fan of dark chocolate, which has heart, brain, and satiety benefits. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can keep the occasional cookie in the mix. “After cleaning the metabolic slate and lowering their insulin, people may be able to enjoy pastries, pasta, etcetera in moderation,” says Dr. Ludwig. If you miss these foods, he recommends experimenting to see what you can handle before cravings are triggered. “For others whose metabolism doesn’t tolerate that as much, the benefits of being in control of hunger and not having to fight cravings will be much greater than the fleeting pleasures of those processed carbohydrates.”

As for Rabe, she ended her year of dodging calories by embarking on a new one in which she embraced fat and reduced sugar. She lost about as much weight while gaining leanness, strength, and a steadier stream of energy.

“I feel so much freer to not be restricted and obsessed over calories,” she says. “I’ve made some really major changes in the quality of my diet, and I feel I can sustain them.”

Best of all, ditching the meal math renewed her love for food, so much so that she started her own cooking blog.

Rabe says she’ll never go back to counting calories. “I’m internally motivated to eat the way I do, because I enjoy it,” she says. “I like the way I feel now.”

 

By Mandy Oaklander             May 26, 2017