Category Archives: Diet

How Important are Vitamins When Dieting?

vitamins

It is very easy to get stressed out when you’re trying to alter your regular habits and become more disciplined so that you can start your new diet. So it is important for you to supply your body with all the necessary nutrients which keeps it running smoothly and healthy. If you are changing your eating habits all the time, it is very likely that you will need extra supplementation so that you are able to avoid vitamin deficiency. Your choices will be much easier if you’re able to know which vitamins you should take.

B Vitamins

These vitamins comprise B-1, B-2, B-6, B-12, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and biotin, available through a B Complex. They help your body to create energy and release it inside your body when it’s required. B vitamins also help your body to create red blood cells. The red blood cells allow oxygen to move across the human body. Some sources of B vitamins are whole grains, green leafy vegetables, seafood, eggs, and yogurt.

Vitamin C

Vitamin Cis very important when your body starts becoming stressed out. Such stresses may develop from variety of reasons, like calorie reduction, cravings and food deprivation. All these factors make your body work harder than it normally does. Consuming vitamin C helps your body to repair any damage that may have resulted due to stress, while the antioxidants make sure that your cells remain well. Some major sources of vitamin C are citrus fruit, tomatoes and orange juice.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is extremely crucial for the health of human eyes. Vitamin A helps your eyes to focus in a much better way in dark conditions, like driving during night time. It also helps your eyes to see dark as well as bright colors with greater vibrancy. Vitamin A is also responsible for maintaining the health of your skin. Food sources of vitamin A include dark green leafy veggies, carrots, fortified milk, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin E

It assists in maintaining the tissues inside your body like your skin, eyes and liver. Vitamin Ealso helps prevent air pollution from causing harm to your lungs. Food sources of  vitamin E include egg yolks, wheat germ, nuts, seeds and sardines.

Image courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Best Nutritional Supplements for Dieting

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines dietary supplements as products “intended for ingestion that contain a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.” Common nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and concentrates, metabolites and extracts.
Should you be taking a nutritional supplement? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) emphasize that a balanced diet should (ideally) provide individuals with all of the nutrients necessary for optimal health. However, nutritional supplements can fill in gaps in your diet and can aid in weight loss when used properly.

nutritional supplements

                  What nutritional supplements are best for people trying to drop weight?

Before beginning any supplement routine, talk with your health care provider to determine whether a nutritional supplement is right – or necessary – for you. Then, choose a nutritional supplement that can assist in weight loss – including (but not limited to) fibers, omega-3 fatty acids or creatine.

Fiber

                 Taking a fiber supplement may help you shed pounds by making you feel fuller, leading to fewer calories consumed. A 2001 Tufts University study found that participants who increased fiber consumption (through supplements and naturally, through foods) ate 10% less calories than they did prior to beginning the study. The American Heart Association recommends that people intake 25-30g of fiber per day, but most Americans are getting about half of that total. Increase your fiber intake by eating fiber rich foods or through fiber pills(sold at most stores that carry vitamins).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                  Omega-3s help weight loss – the fatty acids actually activate fat-burning properties in cells. In a 2012 article published by Women’s Health, the benefits of omega-3s in supporting weight loss are discussed. Omega-3s “also help to boost mood, which may help reduce emotional eating. And omega-3s might improve leptin signaling in the brain, causing the brain to turn up fat burning and turn down appetite.” If you aren’t getting enough naturally from fatty fish like salmon and nuts and seeds, you can consider taking an omega-3 supplement.

Creatine

                  Creatine, a supplement popular in the body-building community, is an acid naturally produced in the liver that helps to supply energy to cells throughout the body. Creatine is known to help increase metabolic rate and speed up fat loss. Not a bodybuilder? Creatine is best for people who work out frequently – not those who are trying to lose weight through dieting alone. However, if you are an individual who exercises frequently and is looking to shed fat, creatinemight be an excellent addition to your diet.

It is critical that you discuss nutritional supplements with your doctor or health care provider before buying them. If you are not sure whether the supplement will help improve your diet and enable you to meet your weight-loss goals, do your research to identify the benefits of the supplement, and recognize any potential side effects.

Should you eat a tapeworm to lose weight?

You may have thought to yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a tapeworm? Then I could eat all I wanted.’ However, according to a doctor who did an experiment on himself with a tapeworm, the answer is a definite ‘No, you should never consider getting a tapeworm.’

It turned out that after ingesting the tapeworm, the doctor actually gained weight instead of losing weight. In addition, having a tapeworm can have many very bad side effects, such as brain damage.

Tapeworm

What Vitamins Should I Take When Dieting?

 

vitamins and nutritional supplements

                 Ideally, a balanced meal plan will provide the nutrients essential to healthy bodily function. So, are vitamins necessary when dieting, and what vitamins – if any – should be taken? The answer depends on your personal diet and fitness goals and level of overall health.  Dieters should always talk with health care providers before taking a supplement.

That being said, there are a number of vitamins known to be especially beneficial to individuals losing weight. Three vitamins linked with weight loss – calcium, choline and vitamin D – are discussed below.

  1. Calcium – In a 15-week weight loss program and study conducted with obese women, the Universite Laval found that women who supplemented their diet with calcium vitamins lost about 13 pounds over the course of the study, while women who took the placebo pill lost 2.2 pounds on average. Talk to your doctor to determine whether a calcium supplement will be beneficial to you and your goals, and to determine the amount that is healthy for you.
  2. Choline– Choline, a nutrient found in beef, soybeans and milk, has been identified as a natural weight loss supplement. Choline may lead to lower weights and overall improved health.  The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 425mg of choline for females per day, and 550mg for men.
  3. Vitamin D – According to an article published in the September 2012 issue of Women’s Health Magazine, vitamin D helps melt fat.  Essentially, insulin’s job is to help glucose (sugar) get into body cells, which burn the glucose for energy. To find out if you need Vitamin D supplements and to determine how much is necessary, speak with your doctor.

Of course, a daily multivitamin supplement is always a great idea. Remember, to determine whether one of these vitamins (or any vitamin) is necessary  and to define the dosage ideal for you, speak with your health care provider.

Can I Lose Weight with an Online Weight-Loss Coaching Program?

Apple and tape measureIn a 2012 comparative study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compared weight-loss results between obese people enrolled in an in-person weight-loss program and those registered in telephone/web-based weight-loss interventions. Each group was enrolled in a program that differed only in its format – in-person or telephone/web-based. Both groups provided support on diet and exercise and had accountability components (i.e., food journals/trackers).  At the end of the multi-year study, the doctors found that the people registered in online programs lost a statistically similar amount of weight as those enrolled in an in-person group.

Other research suggests that the answer isn’t so clear – in a review of recent research, Columbia University physicians analyzed studies involving 4,100 participants, finding that while using a web-based program to virtually track weight-loss is more effective than reading and using weight-loss pamphlets to inform eating habits, dieters who worked with a live support group lost more weight over time than those enrolled solely in computer-based programs.
So, can you lose weight with an online weight-loss program or not? While it remains up for debate whether online programs are more effective in enabling weight loss than programs with a live component, the research suggests that the bottom line answer is yes – using an online program will help you shed undesired pounds. How, then, do you decide which to use? There are implications to using an online program that must be considered when determining which type – online or in-person – is best for you.
Thinking in a metacognitive fashion about what works for you as an individual is crucial in determining whether an online weight-loss program is for you. Are you the sort of person who needs a friend to check in with them to stay on top of your projects or meeting your goals? Perhaps a weight-loss program that offers an in-person element and a group of people to support you is necessary. Conversely, are you the type of person who absorbs and loves data, putting everything involving numbers into an Excel spreadsheet? If you find that entering your daily food intake, exercise and weight-loss progress into an online database is enough for you, then the online route might be the one to follow.
What if you’re just not sure? Try a hybrid program (a program that offers both online and in-person services). If you find that having a live support group helps you, stick with it. If not, switch to strictly online. One benefit to online programs to consider is cost – there are a few sites that offer journaling services and weight-loss free of cost, while the majority of programs that meet in person have monthly fees. Online coaching programs usually have a fee associated with them, but allow you more flexibility with scheduling sessions and conferences. Ultimately, the decision lies with you and what works best with your dieting style – but, whether the weight-loss system is online or not, you can and will lose weight if you adhere to the program’s guidelines and keep yourself accountable.

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What Foods Can I Eat as Much as I Want and Still Lose Weight?

carrots and vegetables                In April 2012, Shape Magazine published an article titled “Healthy Snacks: 6 Foods You Can’t Overdo,” purporting that there are a few snack foods out there that you can eat as much as you want without worrying about sabotaging your diet plan. The Chicago nutritionist interviewed for the article, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Ph.D., argued that vegetables are the only food group that you can eat without thinking about the portion. She named several snack ideas for vegetables: cucumbers with rice vinegar, zucchini with lemon and pepper, artichokes and baked kale chips.
It’s common knowledge that vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants – so eating endless amounts of spinach won’t hurt you. The problem with vegetables is that eating them by themselves often does not produce the feeling of being full that cues your body that it does not need more food. So while vegetables are one of the only foods you can eat as much of as you want and still lose weight, the catch is finding ways to prepare and eat vegetables in a manner that promotes the full feeling your body needs. So, eat as many vegetables as you want, but follow these tips to make them interesting and satisfying.

  1. Fill your plate with raw, crunchy vegetables – Replace heavy starches like potatoes and carb-rich sides like rice with raw, crunchy vegetables (think: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and peppers).  Finding vegetables that you can munch on – and are inherently yummy – is important. The crunch of these vegetables makes you feel fuller when eating and are in no way detrimental to your diet.
  2. Find delicious foods made out of vegetables – There are non-vegetables that are made out of vegetables. Noodles, typically made with grains, are a food not associated with vegetables. Kelp noodles, however, are made out of sea kelp and are rich in water.
  3. Employ condiments to make vegetables more satisfying – Add flavor to vegetables with little to no-calorie condiments like white wine vinegar or hot sauce. Both have few to no calories and add flavor and spice to otherwise boring veggies. Adding Texas Pete’s to celery, or steaming broccoli with white wine vinegar and garlic powder does not dramatically alter the calorie content of the vegetable, but may make you feel more satisfied when snacking.

Find vegetables that you enjoy and bountifully add them to your meals – finding the right kinds of vegetables and preparing them in unique ways will make you feel fuller, preventing you from overeating less healthy, carb-laden snacks.

What are the best beverages for dieting?

Cup of White Tea

When constructing a diet plan, the focus is often placed on developing meals that healthfully balance carbohydrates, protein and fat. But – frequently overlooked are the beverages that accompany these meals.

If you find yourself saying, “I’m not worried. I drink no-calorie diet soda!” you may need to reevaluate your verdict. A recent study published by the University of Texas suggests that guzzling multiple Diet Cokes each day may be linked with weight gain. Despite how counter-intuitive that may seem, researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners common in diet beverages may cause the body to crave the additional calories it tastes, but is actually missing.

So, if Diet Coke doesn’t cut it – what ARE the best beverages for dieting?

Water

Hands down, the best drink for dieting is water. Why? Water makes up approximately 60% of our body weight. Water aids almost all bodily functions – from cleansing your body of toxins built up in the kidneys to aiding the transmission of neurons in the brain. Not only does water help our body function – it just might help you lose weight. A study published in Obesity suggests that overweight women who escalate their consumption of water experience an increase in metabolism and weight loss.  There is not an official consensus on the effects of drinking water on weight loss. However, recent research implies that drinking water makes you feel full, consequently causing you to ingest fewer calories. There is no known harm in drinking water – so drink as much as you need to feel full and energized before exercising.

Sparkling Water

Do you know how beneficial water is, but still find yourself craving the bubbles that only carbonation can provide? Despite rumors surrounding the negative effects of sparkling water, sparkling water is just that – water that sparkles! Nutrition experts agree – the positive effects of drinking sparkling water are identical to those of regular water. Basically, sparkling water is regular water, with carbonation. Carbonation is not known to affect weight – so if you want the benefits of drinking water, swig all of the sparkling water you want!

Green Tea

First brewed over 4,000 years ago, green tea has been long been a staple in Eastern culture. While drinking green tea has voluminous benefits, one major advantage is its effect on weight loss. Containing a combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea increases metabolism. A randomized placebo-controlled study found that moderately overweight adults who sipped 1,900mg of green tea daily lost an average of 2.64 pounds in 90 days (without working out). Drink a cup of hot green tea each day – or swallow it cold – to help lose weight!

One-Percent Reduced-Fat Milk

Drinking a glass of milk isn’t as bad as people might think. One cup of one-percent reduced-fat milk carries similar nutrition contents as a small, healthy meal. An average glass has about 110 calories, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A study published in the “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” (2010) found that increased consumption of one-percent reduced-fat milk may aid weight loss in overweight women. Having a glass as a snack may make you fuller longer, while still giving you the energy you need to exercise and feel great.

Making the Right Choices

When creating your healthy eating plan, don’t forget to assess the beverages that you consume. You may be thwarting your weight loss efforts with unhealthy drinks. Before drinking, ask yourself: Does this drink have calories or artificial sweeteners that might negate my diet? Rather, does it have nutrients or elements that might help accelerate weight loss? Allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite drinks is important, but make sure that your overall beverage consumption does not repudiate your weight loss.

 

Omega 3 Fish Oil for Dieting and Weight Loss

Omega 3 Fish OilOmega 3 fish oil has been called the ‘magic’ weight loss supplement for many years now, but why? Well, honestly, the exact reasons are still unproven, though the studies performed with this particular supplement in overweight people have been very successful. In some studies, the only change made in a person’s diet and exercise was the addition of omega 3; and yet those taking the supplement still lost weight, even without any other changes in their everyday lives. That fact alone is truly remarkable. Omega 3 is an all-around wonderful addition to anybody’s daily routine. Now let’s discuss why.

Well, for starters, omega 3 is said to have many beneficial attributes and not just for losing weight. Omega 3 is used for both brain and heart health, which are at the very least, indirect factors with weight loss. On top of that, there are at least four known possible direct benefits for losing weight that this supplement can produce.
The first is that omega 3 has been said to help both lose fat and build muscle simultaneously.

The second is a loss of appetite. Our stomachs can deceive us into believe we are hunger even when we are not, and omega 3 can eliminate that issue by the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which can affect your mood and appetite, positively.

The third weight loss benefit may just be a theory; however, it is worth a shot whether works or not. Omega 3 is supposed to help you maintain both a proper diet and effective exercise regime. Even though it is not scientifically proven, as of yet, the studies still show what can only be described as more motivation to follow a routine with patients taking the omega 3 supplement.

The last known, possible advantage of taking omega 3 while trying to shed those unwanted pounds is a reduction in your body’s ability to store fat. The omega 3 supplement has been claimed to actually keep your body from storing the food you eat as fat cells. It basically keeps the food moving through you, without staying, so to speak. Who wouldn’t want that?

Now that you are aware of the practically endless advantages with adding omega 3 to your daily diet, let’s go over the potentially negative effects of choosing the wrong supplement. Unfortunately, as with most things, there are different types or brands available that are less effective than others. For example you need to make sure the omega 3 fish oil that you buy is not chalk full of impurities. By that, we are referring to high contents of metal or pesticides.

You also need to check the concentration level of your selected omega 3. You want it to have, at bare minimum, 750 mg of EPA and DPA. You may also want to check the ratio of these two ingredients. It should be at least close to three parts EPA to two parts DPA.

Omega 3 will be a wonderful addition to your daily routine, as long as you take the precautions discussed into consideration when purchasing your supplement. Now get out there and start looking. It is never too late to be healthier, and the ease of simply taking a pill can’t really be topped.


Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 1,000 mg Fish Oil, 180 Soft Gels

by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Does Vitamin D Melt Fat and Help You Lose Weight?

vitamins and nutritional supplementsVitamin D is very important for many things. Your body needs it to strengthen your bones, improve your overall mood, and help your immune system. Now many researchers and studies have said that vitamin D can even be helpful with weight loss and not for just one reason either. Many experts now believe that vitamin D can help burn fat and reduce hunger cravings. So how exactly does this vitamin help with that common struggle many of us face today?
It’s simple. The vitamin that more than half the population is lacking in is like a fuel for, literally, every cell in your body. Yes, that means even our fat cells need vitamin D to function. Now you may be wondering why you would want your fat cells in good working condition. Well, that too is very simple. Your body uses its fat cells in two ways. It can either burn them or store them, and vitamin D can actually trigger the fat burning receptors within each of us. That is the basic explanation of why people now say that vitamin D can actually help ‘melt away’ the fat. They are referring to the way the vitamin can get your body burning fat as opposed to storing it. Now doesn’t that just sound awesome?

If those benefits aren’t enough to have us all seeking out sources for vitamin D then maybe these will change your mind about it. This vitamin has been said to not only provide your body with the aforementioned, it also can help you absorb other nutrients vital in weight loss, like calcium. We also mentioned that it can improve your mood, which may not be directly related to losing weight; however, it is certainly an indirect factor. We all have our bad mood food, and it is rarely diet friendly.
So now that you know why you need vitamin D, let’s talk a little bit about how or where to get it. For starters vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that your body produces naturally through sunlight exposure. Many people say that sunlight is the best source. I, personally, would have to disagree; since the sun can often do more damage than good, I would suggest seeking an alternative for getting more vitamin D to your body. I always advocate the natural ways. Here are a few naturally, vitamin D rich food sources: wild salmon, tuna, eggs, certain mushrooms, and of course, milk. That’s just to name a few. There are so many ways to get vitamin D in your daily diet that there is really no excuse for a deficiency.
In the end, we should all decide our preferred sources and make sure to get the daily suggested amounts. It is clear from the many studies done on the vitamin that the benefits are undeniable, as well as the necessity. Introducing more vitamin D into your body and diet is sure to help you become a healthier and even happier person. It is too easy to pass up, just give it a try and soon maybe that dreaded scale will become your good friend.

by Ashleigh Nicole