Archive for Weight Loss

Is your Beer Style packing on the pounds?


It doesn’t take a zymologist, one who studies the art of brewing, to appreciate the tremendous variety now available in craft brews. These lovingly hand wrought beverages can be light and fruity or thick and frothy which often leaves clues to their caloric density. While One Fat Tire ale is like eating 2 Oreos, a stout brew can have as many calories as a Starbucks Iced Carmel Macchiato, which has 330 calories to be exact. Toss back 2-3 of these beauties and you may grow a ‘spare tire’!

What’s a craft-beer-phile to do? Make healthier food choices and make sure alcohol represents no more than 10% of your calories. Above this, alcohol becomes a challenge for the body to process, first slowing your metabolism, and then going on to increase blood sugar, inflammation and cholesterol output. A few more fat cells are usually in that mix as well.

10% of 2000 calories = 200 calories from alcohol devised a handy calculator to estimate calories of your favorite brews. Just multiply the ABV of each beer by 2.5 to determine calories. Heavy brews like stout or barleywine have more residual sugar so multiply ABV by 3.3 for these brews.

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What do you really want?

When you think about your life, what do you really want? This is a good video on dialing in what you really want to experience in your life. How does it relate to nutrition? How you approach a fundamental part of your health like the food you eat is a direct reflection of how you are currently living your life. Take a good look at what you eat in a 24 hour period. Write it down. Look at when and what you eat and how it could be better. Then take 1 action to to make that happen today. Studies show by changing one single habit to a healthier habit, it can have broad implications for improving many other aspects of your life as well. Would you like to be more thoughtful about your life? Start with what you eat. What do you really want?

Controlling your inner screaming toddler

Ever wonder where cravings come from? Or question why you ate that cake in the afternoon, or drank an extra glass of wine and ordered dessert at dinner? Then you have met your screaming toddler, also known as the reward center of the brain. When this reward center is over stimulated, it responds much like a toddler who throws a tantrum to get what it wants. The human body needs to be fed about every 3 hours, at which point, energy provided by the last meal has been utilized. The body then tells you its time to refuel with feelings of hunger. If the previous meal was a healthy one and its only been about 3 hours, hunger is usually manageable. But if too much time elapses or you allowed your blood sugar to spike and then
crash, enter the screaming toddler. When blood sugar dips, so does serotonin and other brain chemicals that balance the mood. To get what it needs, the toddler increases your desire for carbohydrate which is a
fast way to raise serotonin levels. If you give in and reinforce this with less healthy foods, you condition your reward center to be more and more demanding. If you make healthy choices at meals: whole grains, veggies, fresh fruit, healthy fats and lean protein, you reinforce the reward center with lower but longer lasting levels of
blood sugar and healthy brain chemistry. Additionally, the more frequently you make healthy choices, the better controlled blood sugar becomes. This in turn, reduces weight gain, plaque formation in the arteries, the risk of cancer and diabetes. Brain health improves making moods more stable, increasing the ability to focus on tasks, and improving cognition.
By focusing on improving or including an afternoon snack, you can improve blood sugar management and keep that screaming toddler at bay. You will be a little less hungry for dinner, and that can mean big calorie savings and a happier, leaner you!

Obesity: diet drugs or DIY?

Two new diet drugs recently recieved FDA approval, Belviq and Quenesta.  Being that 60% of the U.S. population are overweight or obese, it stands to reason there are a few people pretty happy about this.  But what many fail to realize is that obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers are LIFESTYLE diseases, meaning they are largely caused by the way people choose to live their lives.  They are asymptom of an underlying problem.  All of these diseases are preventable to a large degree and we have the research to back that up.  People who exercise and eat healthfully, get less heart disease and diabetes.  They don’t gain weight as easily, and tend to be happier.  Those who don’t smoke, have lower blood pressure, less heart and lung disease and fewer cancers.  So another pill, be it diet, blood pressure lowering or cholesterol erasing, is nothing more than a bandaid for the choice to sit instead of walk, eat something green instead of white, and feel tired and depressed rather than engaged and relaxed.   I know people are tired of hearing ‘just exercise and eat healthy’, but it’s hard to make a healthy body without that mantra. Don’t think you have time to lose weight, eat healthy or exercise?  My advice?  Start slow: eat a real breakfast for a change, try a packaged salad at lunch or committ to cooking dinner two times this week.  Start with what is easiest for you and take the first step to transforming your life into one you actually want to live. The alternative is a bandaid approach, masking symptoms, or forcing a metabolic pathway to conform at the risk of damaging other parts like your liver or your memory. These diet drugs may see like the best thing since Phen-phen, but they aren’t without risk and only boast a 10% of your body weight success rate.  Not too good if you have a lot of weight to lose.  Meaning diet pill or not, at some point you’ll have to d0-it-yourself for permanent results.

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Can you eat sunscreen?



We are all familiar with the sting of sunburn, but did you know that UV radiation, affects the immune system? Ultraviolet radiation, especially UVB, creates inflammation which leads to reactive oxygen species, which most of us know as free radicals. These free radicals play a central role in accelerating aging, causing loss of firmness and elasticity of our cells. These scavengers leave skin appearing rough, leathery, wrinkled, with uneven pigmentation and at worst skin cancer.

Enter antioxidants. Plentiful in whole, unprocessed foods, antioxidants are believed to protect the skin in multiple ways. Eating tomato paste, which is high in lutein increases tolerance to UV radiation thus reducing sunburn. When Vitamin E is combined with Vitamin C, these nutrients provide protection by increasing sunburn threshold. Polyphenols are found in cocoa, tea, and citrus fruits. They act as enzyme inhibitors, reducing inflammation that may enhance skin cancers. Over a decade ago, Wang et al reported that rats fed green tea polyphenols, experienced fewer UVB related skin tumors (Carcinogenesis 1991, 12:1527-30.)

Having a diet high in the wrong kind of fat may also encourage skin cancers. Diets high in omega 6 fatty acids have been associated with higher rates of squamous cell carcinoma. In a study by Rhodes, et al, receiving high doses of the essential omega 3 fatty acid, EPA (ecosapentaenoic acid) doubled the time before skin became burned (Carcinogenesis, 2003; 24:919-25). Unfortunately, our diets are largely out of balance when it comes to healthy fats. Our modern diets provide a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 of 10:1. To achieve a healthy 4:1 ratio, reduce the amount of snack and prepared foods that contain canola, soy, sunflower, corn, and safflower oils which are high in omega 6 fats. Replace them with foods high in omega 3 such as nuts, fish, olive oil and avocado and use only use grape seed and olive oils in the kitchen.

Unfortunately you can’t get this phyto-protection overnight. Your diet must be rich in these nutrients for at least eight to ten weeks to receive the benefits, and of course, diet alone is not your best defense. A topical sunscreen is imperative to adequate sun protection, and some contain green tea or beta carotene which benefits the skin topically as well as inside the body. But for the time when sunscreen fails, or you just push the sun time a bit longer than you should, it’s nice knowing you have the backup of an antioxidant rich diet providing powerful damage control.