Don’t fall for those ’shortcut’ diets

by Holly Robinson Peete, Shine staff

You’ve heard about them in email forwards and late-night infomercials, but these five “miracle diets” just plain don’t work. From straight-up starvation to a steady diet of boiled cabbage, here are diets to steer clear of:

#1 The Grapefruit Diet

The claim is that eating grapefruit with protein triggers a “magical” fat burning process. We’re always wary of the word “magic” in regards to a diet, and this one is no exception. While grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C and fiber and is a great way to start your morning, there’s no evidence to support its reputation as a “fat-burner.”

#2 Juice Diets

While a liquid diet has the potential to starve your body into shedding excess pounds, a super low-calorie diet like this one kicks your metabolism into survival mode. Unsure where the next meal is coming from, your body hangs on to the nutrients it has, slowing your metabolism, and burning fewer calories overall. The minute you switch back to solid foods, there’s a good chance those pounds will “magically” reappear. [Read more...]

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Gaining muscle rather than fat

From DrMirkin.com

If you think you’re too thin and want to gain weight, don’t just sit on the couch and stuff yourself with food. Weight gain should always be in the form of muscle, not fat.

To build muscle, start a weight-bearing exercise program. Go to a gym and learn how to do the weight training circuit. Build up those arms and legs! As you exercise, your appetite will respond to meet your needs. It only takes 15 extra grams of protein a day to build a pound of muscle a week — so you really won’t need to eat a lot more.

(Remember that muscle weighs more than fat and also burns calories while fat simply stores calories. Think of a car engine versus a car trunk — Lori)

It’s never too late to start a weight training program. Underweight older people look and feel frail because they have lost most of their muscles, not because of lack of fat.

If you are inactive, you lose muscle mass to the point where you are unable to carry out daily activities — climbing stairs, getting up out of a chair — because your muscles are not strong enough to move the weight of your own body. [Read more...]

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Do the math, prevent the gain

Here is a simple article to help you balance your bread intake with your weight management goals. You don’t need a genius IQ to manage this topic. Just some self-discipline since good bread is SO good to the taste.

Johns Hopkins University

By Margaret Furtado, M.S., R.D. 

Those super-heavy, “all-natural” loaves of bread may look and sound like they’re healthy, but their density signals that they probably contain more calories than most other loaves. Plus, they’re typically made with simple sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and maltose that will add even more calories.

If you’re watching your weight and wondering, “Can I eat bread?”–don’t despair. I’m here to tell you that you really can have your bread and eat it too without automatically putting on weight. There’s a simple rule–the weight and starch connection–that will help you choose a loaf wisely.

What’s the weight and starch connection?  [Read more...]

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Diabetes rate to double, costs to triple

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The number of Americans with diabetes will nearly double over the next 25 years, rising from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034, according to a study by the University of Chicago.

In the same period, medical costs associated with treating the disease will triple from 113 billion dollars to 336 billion dollars, even without a rise in the incidence of obesity, according to the study published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

“If we don’t change our diet and exercise habits or find new, more effective and less expensive ways to prevent and treat diabetes, we will find ourselves in a lot of trouble as a population,” said lead author Elbert Huang.

The study said its projections, despite being significantly higher than other recent estimates, may be too conservative because they assume the rate of diabetes and obesity, a risk factor for the disease, will remain stable. [Read more...]

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Junk food alters gut bacteria in one day

What type of microbacteria are lurking in your gut? The following article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin of www.DrMirkin.com demonstrates amazing evidence that a diet consisting of high sugar, high fat and processed foods significantly affects our bacterial gut health. This could be one of the pieces of the puzzle in explaining the mystery of why many seekers of weight loss struggle to lose the pounds even when they eat less.

After just one day of switching from a plant-based diet to a high-fat-and-sugar diet, mice with human intestinal bacteria developed bacteria associated with obesity in humans, and soon became grossly obese (Science Translational Medicine, November 11, 2009)

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St Louis first showed that certain types of bacteria in the human intestinal tract can break down food more efficiently and help you absorb a greater percentage of calories from the food that you eat. He also showed that humans whose intestinal tracts are dominated by these bacteria tend to be overweight. [Read more...]

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Living lazy = living large

Teen Obesity: Lack of Exercise May Not Be to Blame
By Alice Park of TIME magazine

You don’t have to spend much time with teenagers to know that the average adolescent would rather devote an afternoon to sitting in front of the TV, computer or video-game console than working out in a gym. And in recent years, as physical-education classes have been progressively cut from cash-strapped public-school curriculums, teens have had even more time to lounge, slouch, hang out or do anything but break a sweat.

It’s no surprise, then, that obesity rates among U.S. youngsters have skyrocketed, tripling from 1976 to 2004. Public-health experts and obesity researchers attribute the trend in part to kids’ increasingly sedentary lifestyles. As teens spend more and more time anchored before a screen — burning fewer and fewer calories each day — they’re storing more of that unused energy as fat. Hence, the ballooning rates of obesity. (See TIME’s video “Obesity and Social Networks.”) [Read more...]

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Sleep more, weigh less?

Want to lose weight?   Perhaps you should get more sleep.

Researchers from Case Western University in Ohio monitored 70,000 women for over a 15-year period and determined that those getting five hours or less of sleep each night 30 percent more likely to gain weight than were those getting seven hours or more of sleep.

Light sleepers also have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese, according to the study supervised by Dr. S. Patel of the university.

What surprised the researchers was that sleeping patterns had a much greater influence on women’s long-term weight than eating habits or physical activity.

At the start of the study, the women who slept up to five hours a night weighed 5.4 pounds more than those who got 7 hours or more. They also put on 1.6 pounds more each year than the good sleepers. [Read more...]

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Key health care reform? Cut obesity

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 — A diverse alliance of payer, provider and consumer organizations, girded by two former U.S. Surgeons General, on Wednesday urged policymakers to address the nation’s obesity epidemic as part of federal health care reform legislation.

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, whose 2001 report on obesity recognized the problem as an “epidemic,” emphasized the need to invest in health promotion and disease prevention, particularly for the health of the nation’s youth.

“We are in essence addicting our children to sedentary lifestyles; we’re addicting them to high-salt, high-sweet, high-fat diets,” he said, “and then we pay for it later on when they come to us with cancer, heart disease, [and] diabetes.” [Read more...]

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‘Supersize me!’ – a major wake-up call

Few movies have opened as many eyes about health habits as has the movie Supersize me! I’ve encouraged many people to watch this frightening account of a young man who ate nothing but fast food for 30 days and nearly died.

I continue to be shocked at the number of people who eat poor-quality fast food, seemingly oblivious to the fact that years of life expectancy are likely melting away as they consume grease-laden, salt-permeated and synthetics-laced food.

You can watch the movie in the YouTube window below. Please encourage others to watch this movie. Perhaps some will change their eating habits and enjoy longer lives as a result.
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Study: weight gain shrinks brain

A new Livescience.com article reports that obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said.

Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by eight years.

The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent “severe brain degeneration,” said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.

“That’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain,” said Thompson. “But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control.” [Read more...]

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