Saturday, September 25, 2010

12 Superfoods for Faster Weight Loss

Eat up and slim down with these fat-fighting foods.

Our old American diet has cost us dearly: One in three of us is now overweight or obese, and a third of American children will develop diabetes in their lifetimes. But the answer isn’t eating less food—it’s eating more of the right foods: 12 of them in particular, called the New American Diet Superfoods. Read on for the list of 12, and for more secrets on how to lose weight and keep it off for good, order your copy of The New American Diet.

Nuts are New American Diet smart bombs. They’re packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, those good-for-you fats that lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and, according to new research, help you control your appetite.
Researchers from Georgia Southern University found that eating a high-protein, high-fat snack, such as almonds, increases your calorie burn for up to 3 1/2 hours. And just 1 ounce of almonds boosts vitamin E levels, increasing memory and cognitive performance, according to researchers at New York Presbyterian Hospital. In another study, people who ate pistachios for 3 months lost 10 to 12 pounds, on average. Follow these 10 strategies for successful weight loss and you're guaranteed to reach your goal.

Whole Grains
It's not a magic disappearing act, but it's close: When Harvard University researchers analyzed the diets of more than 27,000 people over 8 years, they discovered that those who ate whole grains daily weighed 2.5 pounds less than those who ate only refined-grain foods.
Another study from Penn State University found that whole-grain eaters lost 2.4 times more belly fat than those who ate refined grains. Whole grains more favorably affect blood-glucose levels, which means they don’t cause wild swings in blood sugar and ratchet up cravings after you eat them. Plus, the antioxidants in whole grains help control inflammation and insulin (a hormone that tells your body to store belly fat). Whole grains also strengthen your heart, helping you live longer. Add even more years to your life by eating these 40 age-erasing superfoods.

Avocados and Other Healthy Fats
Just because a food has plenty of fat and calories doesn’t mean it’s fattening. See, certain foods cause you to gain weight because they provoke hormonal changes that trigger cravings, or “rebound hunger.” One hunger-control hormone, leptin, becomes blunted by starchy, sweet, fatty, and refined-carbohydrate foods. That's why a bagel is fattening: It's a high-calorie load of refined carbohydrates that double-crosses your natural satisfaction response. Avocados, on the other hand, aren't fattening, because they’re loaded with healthy fat and fiber and don't cause wild swings in insulin levels. So enjoy the fat in avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Research shows that diets containing upward of 50 percent fat are just as effective for weight loss as those that are low in fat. Discover the New Laws of Leanness.

Meats (Pasture-Raised and Free-Range)
Grass-fed beef, chicken, and pork are leaner and healthier than conventional livestock—and can help trim away pounds. A 3.5-ounce serving of grass-fed beef has only 2.4 grams of fat, compared with 16.3 grams for conventionally raised beef. In fact, grass-fed beef is so much more nutritious than commodity beef that it's almost a different food.
Grass-fed beef contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat while building lean muscle. It also has more omega-3s and less omega-6s than corn-fed beef. It’s the same with chickens. According to a recent study in the journal Poultry Science, free-range chickens have significantly more omega-3s than grain-fed chickens do, and less harmful fat and fewer calories than grain-fed varieties. This is important because omega-3s improve your mood, boost your metabolism, sharpen your brain, and help you lose weight. Click here to learn the truth about packaged meat.

Environmentally Sustainable Fish
Choosing seafood these days isn't easy. Some species (swordfish, farmed salmon) contain obesity-promoting pollutants (dioxins, PCBs). Others are fattened with soy, which lowers their levels of healthy omega-3s. In fact, the American Heart Association recently urged people who are concerned about heart disease to avoid eating tilapia for just that reason. Wow. That goes against conventional wisdom, doesn’t it?
So what kind of fish should you eat, and how can the New American Diet help? Generally, small, oily ocean fish (herring, mackerel, sardines) are low in toxins and score highest in omega-3s. Wild Alaskan salmon, Pacific halibut, rainbow trout, and yellowfin tuna are generally low in toxins and high in nutrients. And then there are fish that we should avoid at all times: farmed (or “Atlantic”) salmon, farmed tilapia, Atlantic cod, Chilean sea bass, and farmed shrimp. (Follow this simple guide to prepare perfect fish every time.)

Raspberries and Other Berries
A recent study by researchers at Yale University school of medicine discovered that after eating a high-carb, high-sugar meal, free radicals (rogue molecules produced when your body breaks down food) attack the neurons that tell us when we’re full. The result: It’s hard to judge when hunger is satisfied. Escape the cycle of overindulgence by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants. And berries top the charts.
The berries that give you the most antioxidant bang per bite, in order: cranberries, black currents, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates. For a delicious way to add berries to your diet, try these smoothie recipes.

Instant Oats
Fiber is the secret to losing weight without going hungry. One U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that those who increased their daily fiber intake from 12 grams to 24 absorbed 90 fewer calories per day than those who ate the same amount of food but less fiber.
Instant oats are one of the easiest ways to get more real fiber into your diet. (Click to learn all the facts about fiber.) Plus, new research indicates that oats can also cut your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, and even reduce your risk of weight gain. Oats also have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving, so they deliver steady muscle-building energy. Choose oatmeal that contains whole oats and low sodium, like Uncle Sam Instant Oatmeal, which also has whole-grain wheat flakes and flaxseed.

Cruciferous Vegetables and Other Folate-Rich Greens
The more folate you have in your diet, the lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s and depression. And a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those with the highest folate levels lose 8.5 times more weight when dieting. And cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and bok choy, are not only rich in folate, they’re also rich in potassium. Researchers at the Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University, found that foods rich in potassium help preserve lean muscle mass. Another stunner: New research shows that folate helps protect against damage from estrogenic chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), which have been linked to obesity. Use this guide to discover which foods pack the most nutritional benefit.

Apples and Other Fruits
What makes the apple so potent? In part, it’s because most of us eat the peel: It’s a great way to add fiber and nutrients to your diet. But there’s a downside: The peel is where the fruit tends to absorb and retain most of the pesticides they are exposed to, apples and peaches being the worst offenders. That’s why, for maximum weight-loss potential, we strongly recommend you buy organic versions of apples, pears, peaches, and other eat-the-peel fruits.
You’ll experience a terrific payoff if you do: In a UCLA study, normal-weight people reported eating, on average, two servings of fruit and 12 grams of fiber a day; those who were overweight had just one serving and 9 g. Credit that extra 3 g of fiber—the amount in one single apple or orange—as the difference maker. Use these tips to pick the freshest, most nutrient-dense produce.

Navy Beans and Other Legumes
Study after study reveals that bean eaters live longer and weigh less. One study showed that people who eat 3/4 cup of beans daily weigh 6.6 pounds less than those who don't eat beans. Another study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who eat one and a half servings of beans a day (3/4 cup) have lower blood pressure and smaller waist sizes than those who skip beans in favor of other proteins. Imagine each bean you eat is a perfect little weight-loss pill. Gobble ’em up! Follow these 7 strategies to lose weight without ever feeling hungry.

Dark Chocolate
A new study from Denmark found that those who eat dark chocolate consume 15 percent fewer calories at their next meal and are less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods. And research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which are associated with improved mood and greater concentration; it's rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are noted cognitive boosters; it contains small amounts of caffeine, which helps with short-term concentration; and it contains theobromine, a stimulant that delivers a different kind of buzz, sans the jitters. Dark chocolate is also one of the best foods for better sex.

Ice Cream and Other Healthy Desserts
Calcium-rich desserts like ice cream bind to fatty acids in the digestive tract, blocking their absorption. In one study, participants who ate 1,735 mg of calcium from low-fat dairy products (about as much as in five 8-ounce glasses of milk) blocked the equivalent of 85 calories a day. Plus, half a cup of vanilla ice cream gives you 19 milligrams of choline, which translates to protection from cancer, heart attack, stroke, and dementia. We’re not suggesting you have a bowlful of ice cream every night. But a scoop (the size of a tennis ball) every few days isn’t the diet saboteur it’s made out to be.
For even more tips that will transform your body—and your health—check out this food prescription from The New American Diet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gluttony, Sloth and Not Counting Calories: How to Avoid Common Weight Loss Errors

by Kathleen Donnelly for MSN Health & Fitness

High on any list of weight loss mistakes you'd expect to find one of the original seven deadly sins: gluttony. And if gluttony means regularly consuming portion sizes that might be best measured in bushels, many of us are going to have more than one problem when it comes to fitting through the Pearly Gates.

"It's not the food, it's how much you're eating," says Jane Kirby, a registered dietitian and author of the recently revised guide, "Dieting for Dummies" (John Wiley & Sons, 2003). "People on a low-carb diet might think, 'I can eat all the ham and Swiss cheese rollups dipped in mayonnaise that I want.'" She sighs. "No, you can't. It's portion, portion, portion."

We've known about at least one deadly sin of weight loss for a long, long time: Eating too much too often is not a winning strategy. It doesn't matter that ham and cheese is low in carbohydrates, or, for that matter, that bagels are fat-free. You cannot eat more calories than you expend day after day and expect to have a happy experience on the scale.

This brings us to a second big mistake many dieters make:

Trusting in a miracle diet. We all want weight loss to be quick and easy, and if it means six weeks of eating nothing but somebody's secret recipe for slimming soup, we'll do it. Unfortunately, it's not taking off the pounds that bedevils many dieters, it's keeping them off. That's why many weight loss researchers prefer the term "weight management" to "dieting." Staying fit and healthy – and at a reasonable weight – is not something you do for six weeks. It's a lifelong commitment. And no one can eat that much soup.

Not counting calories. At its most basic, losing weight is a matter of taking in fewer calories than you expend. So as tedious as it sounds, Kirby says calories do count, and counting them can help you stay on track. For example, ignoring the nibbles and sips you take each day can foil your weight loss plans. An energy bar and a sugary sports drink – even if you consume them at the gym – both count toward your daily calorie total.

Eating too little. If eating too much is bad, shouldn't sealing your lips to everything but leafy greens and an all-purpose vitamin work? Not necessarily. Eating too few calories may slow your metabolism, the process your cells use to burn food and create energy. Researchers vary on how few calories it takes before you slip into starvation mode and begin conserving calories, and the number depends on your own body and activity level. But as a general rule, Kirby says, going below about 800 calories a day may be counterproductive.

Expecting too much. How much weight do you want to lose, and how fast do you want to lose it? If the answer gets you back to your junior high weight in a week or two, it's probably not a reasonable goal. Keep in mind, says Kirby, that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight – that's 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds – can provide health benefits as well as make you feel like a winner.* Once you attain that goal, you can always set another.

Skipping exercise (also known as sloth). Let's revisit the calories in vs. calories out concept: Exercise burns calories. Therefore, add exercise to your routine and the "calories out" part of your equation jumps up. But just as important, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise, is what exercise does for your resting metabolism. It takes more energy to maintain lean tissue than it does to maintain fat. So, by building your lean tissue, exercise helps you burn calories even when you are not moving. Because of this, Bryant adds, research shows that people who are physically active are more likely to keep weight off once they lose it.

Neglecting your exit strategy. No matter how you choose to lose weight – especially if you opt for a "miracle diet" – make a plan for keeping the weight off. You've come too far to go back to your old eating and exercise habits, which led to weight gain in the first place.

"One big deadly mistake is thinking that you are going on a diet, and when it's over, that's it," says Kirby. "If people can think more about doing something good for themselves, as opposed to denying themselves, I think they'll find it a more successful strategy."

Correction, September 16, 2005: This article originally stated that losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight would equate to "10 to 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds" which is inaccurate. This error has been corrected. Return to the corrected sentence.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Could Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?

People who drank two glasses prior to eating dropped more prounds, study found
By Jenifer GoodwinHealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay News) -- Close the diet books and skip the pills. The latest weight-loss trick may be as simple as gulping a couple of glasses of water before you eat.

A new study found that middle-aged and older adults who drank two cups of water before each meal consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who skipped drinking water.

Researchers divided two groups of overweight and obese men and women aged 55 to 75 into two groups: one group was told to follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet; the other group was told to follow the same diet and to drink two cups of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After 12 weeks, those who drank water before meals had lost 15.5 pounds, compared to 11 pounds for the non-water drinkers, a nearly 30 percent difference.

The researchers got the idea for the weight-loss program from their prior research, which found that when middle-aged and older adults drank water before meals, they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories at the meal.

What they weren't sure about, however, was if water drinkers would compensate by eating more throughout the rest of the day, said senior study author Brenda Davy, an associate professor in the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech. But after 12 weeks of dieting, that didn't happen.

"Drinking more water is a pretty simple strategy that may be helpful to people trying to lose weight," Davy said. "We're not saying, 'Drink more water and the body fat will melt away'. But for people who are trying to lose weight and trying to follow a low-cal diet, it's something they can do as part of that."

The research was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

One of the most vexing issues with dieting is how difficult it is to keep the weight off long-term, Davy said. After the 12 weeks were up, Davy and her colleagues have continued to follow the participants.

After one year, preliminary data shows that those who continued to drink water before meals not only kept those pounds off, but have even continued to lose a bit more -- about 1.5 pounds on average.

Yet pre-meal water chugging comes with one caveat: it may only work if you're middle-aged or older, Davy said.

Prior research has shown that in those aged 18 to 35, drinking water before the meal did not cause them to eat fewer calories at the meal, Davy said.

In older people, it takes longer for the stomach to empty, which may be why the water helps them feel fuller and less hungry, while in younger people, water begins leaving the stomach almost immediately, Davy said.

Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina Nutrition Obesity Research Center, called the findings "promising." His research has shown people who drinks lots of water drink fewer sugary beverages, eat more fruits and vegetables and overall consume fewer calories throughout the day.

One culprit in the obesity epidemic is that Americans consume some 300 calories more a day in sugary beverages than they did 30 years ago, Popkin added. That includes soda, punch and fruit juices with added sugar, sports drinks and sweetened tea.

"If you drink some more water right before a meal and fill up a little bit right before, there is the potential you may reduce your food intake," Popkin said. "But what we're concerned with is encouraging people to drink water to replace all the caloric beverages we're drinking."

Another challenge to the water-before-meals weight-loss strategy is getting people to do it, said Carla Wolper, an assistant professor in the Eating Disorders Center at Columbia University and a research faculty member at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City.

"The question is, do people continue to drink the water in a non-study situation?" Wolper said. "We know there are a lot of simple things people could do to lose weight. Clinical trials have shown if people write down what they eat, they lost twice as much weight. Yet it's very hard to get people to write down what they eat. Or, if people would reduce portions just a little bit, they would lose weight. But people don't do it."

The same goes for drinking more water. Even seemingly small changes require commitment. "Changing a pattern of behavior is complicated, and requires time and energy," Wolper said.

Still, it could be worth a try, she added. "Unless people overload on water, it's harmless, inexpensive. And if over the course of the entire day, it reduces the amount of food people take in, then of course it's a good idea," Wolper said.

Dieticians often will suggest a non-caloric drink such as club soda with lemon, diet soda or tea to help resist the urge to snack after dinner, Wolper said.

More information

The Harvard School of Public Health has more on eating a healthy diet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Best Foods for Focus

Odd as it sounds, the workplace can be entirely counterproductive to getting work done. Consider: As soon as you sit down in the morning, your phone lights up, your e-mail account nags, and the morning headlines cry for your attention. Even when you actually start working, your mind might be in 10 other places, causing to you slog through the day with minimal progress. Face it—our daily lives are chock-full of distractions, much more so than they ever used to be.
But there’s still hope for productivity: You can counteract that wandering mind by monitoring how you fuel it. In fact, studies show that you can be up to 200 percent more productive if you make the right eating choices. Here are seven super foods to help you battle the brain drain.

To Calm Your Nerves
Low-Fat Yogurt or Mixed Nuts
Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids—lysine and arginine—or a placebo, and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid-fortified guys were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine; nuts pack loads of arginine.
Bonus tip: Eating healthily doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, if you are consistently eating well, you may be less apt to splurge on food cravings. Just make sure to avoid these 30 “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t.

For Long-Term Memory
Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage, which could decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and improve cognitive processing. Wild blueberries, if you can find them—check the freezer section—have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the cultivated variety.
Bonus tip: Blueberries might seem like a splurge, but buy them frozen and you’ll still reap the benefits. They make a healthy and tasty mid-afternoon snack or even appetizer. Sign up for a free e-mail newsletter.

For Short-Term Memory
Fresh-brewed joe is the ultimate brain fuel. Caffeine has been shown to retard the aging process and enhance short-term memory performance. In one study, British researchers found that people consuming the caffeine equivalent of one cup of coffee experienced improved attention and problem-solving skills. Need more convincing? Besides boosting alertness for up to 90 minutes, that morning cup is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet and can help decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 60 percent.
Bonus tip: By coffee, we mean the black stuff—before the addition of syrups, sprinkles and whipped cream, which do a body no good. Check out our list of other nutritionally lethal concoctions—the Worst Beverages in the Supermarket.

For Sharper Senses
1 Tablespoon of Ground Flaxseed Daily
Flax is the best source of alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA)—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information, including that of pleasure. To meet your quota, sprinkle flaxseed on salads or mix it into a smoothie or shake.
Bonus tip: Flax will help you craft a powerfully healthy salad, but some restaurants haven’t quite mastered the formula yet. Instead of loading their salad plates with healthy options, they’re overloading the dishes with toppings and sauces that weigh the greenery down. For some jaw-dropping examples, see the 15 Most Atrocious Salads in America.

For an Energy Boost
A Handful of Trail Mix
Raisins provide potassium, which your body uses to convert sugar into energy. Nuts stock your body with magnesium, which is important in metabolism, nerve function, and muscle function. When magnesium levels are low, your body produces more lactic acid—the same fatigue-inducing substance that you feel at the end of a long workout. Ever notice how hard it is to concentrate when you’re feeling sluggish?
Bonus tip: It’s easier than you think to fuel your body properly. With discipline, it can even become second nature. Download Eat This, Not That! to your iPhone!

For Focus
Peppermint Tea

Researchers found that it took a mere whiff of peppermint to increase subjects’ concentration and performance on tedious tasks, and a professor in West Virginia claimed that he used the magical herb to improve athletes’ performance.
Bonus tip: Think that all tea is created equal? Think again. In today’s sugar-laden environment, it’s easy to consume an overwhelming percentage of your daily calories in liquid form—some researchers estimate that we consume about a quarter of our day’s calories through beverages. Swapping sugar-saturated drinks for smarter choices is an easy way to take pounds off—click here to see the shocking list of the 30 Worst Drinks in America.

For Extra Brainpower
Salmon or Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are one of the primary building blocks of brain tissue, so they’re essential to boosting brainpower. Salmon is also rich in niacin, which wards off Alzheimer’s disease and slows the rate of cognitive decline.
Bonus tip: Want an easy way to hit your 1-2 servings of fish a week? Throw some on a sandwich. Just make sure you pay attention to the nutritional content—it’s easy to get caught up in fixin’s and not realize that you’re piling on the calories. Need proof? Check out our list of the 30 Worst Sandwiches in America.

8 Secret-Weapon Foods to Power Up Your Diet

Superfoods that fill you up out.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.,

It’s that time of year when I’m looking for an extra edge to stay slim and get in better shape. I’m already exercising regularly and eating well. So in the interest of further powering up my efforts, I went looking for foods that do a little of the work for me. Here they are: 8 health-food superstars.

If you’re not quite at the point where you’re looking for an extra edge, don’t despair, this list is still for you. Consider it a diet cheat sheet of sorts with 8 secret food weapons to recharge your dieting efforts.

Apples: For a mere 95 calories, a medium-sized apple contains 4 grams of fiber. And recent research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggests that boosting your fiber intake may help you to prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss.

Oatmeal: Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, 3 hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: in the study, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.

Soup: Research, published in the journal Appetite, has shown that people who start a meal with vegetable soup eat 20 percent fewer calories over the course of their meal.

Low-Cal Desserts: OK, so this isn’t exactly a “health food,” but it really is welcome news that it may be easier to stick to your diet if it includes a little sweet treat. According to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, banning sugary foods could lead to overeating. One reason may be that removing access to sweet foods stimulates the release of a molecule in your brain called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), produced when you’re afraid, anxious or stressed, says Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., lead study author. And increased stress levels may lower your motivation to eat more nutritious foods, making it more likely that you’ll binge on junk food.

Mushrooms: Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they’d eaten those same dishes made with beef—though they’d taken in a fraction of the calories and fat.

Eggs: In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt full for longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. Think beyond breakfast, too: eggs boost a salad’s staying power and make for a satisfying snack.

Hot Chile Peppers: In one study, consuming a little hot pepper (in tomato juice or in capsules) 30 minutes before a meal helped study participants feel less hungry and eat about 10 percent less.

Almonds: Chew more to curb hunger. That’s what researchers concluded in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which they asked participants to chew a 2-ounce serving of almonds 10, 25 or 40 times. Participants got maximum satisfaction—they felt fuller longer—from the nuts when they chewed 40 times. Chewing more may cause a greater release of fat from the almonds, which triggers hormones that curb hunger, speculates Rick Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, study author and an EatingWell advisor.

Brierley Wright, MS. RD. is an associate editor at EatingWell.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr. Oz's 6 Worst Meals in America

With the help of Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor for Bon Appetit magazine, Dr. Oz identified the 6 most diet-busting meals in America. But you can enjoy healthier versions of your favorite unhealthy dishes with's good-for-you alternatives.
By merrit watts

Ice cream with mix-ins (candy, brownie bits, sprinkles and sauce)
This sweet treat was caught with 1,344 grams of sugar, thanks to the added toppings. Dr. Oz's advice: If you want to indulge a bit, just stick to a plain scoop or order gelato or sorbet instead, which are often lower in sugar; also trade candy mix-ins for fresh fruit.
Or, try these frozen faves that both slim and satisfy: Sharon's Sorbet, Mixed Berry (110 calories, 0 g fat per 1/2 cup); Edy's Light Slow Churned Neapolitan (100 calories, 3 g fat per 1/2 cup); and Yoláto Frozen Yogurt Gelato Bars Swirled With Pomegranate Sorbet ((80 calories, 0 g fat per pop).

Breakfast Sandwich
This diner sandwich consisting of pancake-wrapped egg, sausage and cheese has 973 milligrams of cholesterol. The average amount of cholesterol recommended per day? 300 milligrams.
"Eggs, sausage and cheese stuffed in any kind of bread—even whole-grain—is not a healthy combo. But wrapped in a pancake? That's a serious offense," Dr. Oz says.

Pasta with breaded shrimp
Pasta with breaded shrimp has 196 grams of carbs, nearly an entire day's worth. Huge portions of inexpensive carbs like pasta or fries are common offerings at restaurants. Such ingredients are both cheap and make the customer feel stuffed, as if they've gotten a great deal, Dr. Oz warns.
But there's no need to skip the carbs altogether. Research shows high-fiber varieties are so satisfying, they'll curb cravings to keep you slim and may help ward off cancer and heart disease.
You can definitely put pasta on your plate, but keep servings modest (one cup of cooked pasta has about 220 calories) and pair it with other healthy foods like vegetables and protein to round out your meal. Substitute a whole-grain variety in any recipe, which is naturally higher in fiber, protein and iron than the white stuff. Swap rich cream and butter toppings for marinara and other vegetable-based sauces.

Pepperoni and meatball pizza
The average slice of pepperoni and meatball pizza has 25 grams of fat, about half a day's worth. But one of America's favorite pastimes—going out for pizza—doesn't have to be a caloric catastrophe if you stick with the basic and stop at two slices. Steer clear of cheese-filled crusts; they can add 10 grams of fat per slice.
Dr. Oz advises ordering "Neapolitan-style" pizza with a thin crust and classic, beautiful ingredients like tomato sauce, fresh cheese and basil. (Want to make 100% sure your slice is healthy? Prepare it at home.)

Fish encrusted with parmesan cheese, served with spicy rice
You think you're making a healthy choice by ordering the fish, but not if it's served encrusted with salty breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and seasoned rice on the side, Dr. Oz warns. (Eaten in moderation, however, parmesan is also a top weight loss food.) This salt-laden dish has 3,300 milligrams of sodium; the average maximum daily intake should be 2,300 milligrams. Not only will taking in too much sodium prompt your body to hang on to water weight, which causes bloat, but it's also harmful to your health. When cooking at home, add flavor with hot peppers and onions instead of salt.

Chicken burrito and chips
This lunch special has 1,700 calories—almost an entire day's worth! High-calorie ingredients like refried beans, white rice, cheddar cheese and sour cream make this dish a diet don't.
But cheese doesn't have to be a no-no. Women who had one serving of whole milk or cheese daily were less likely to gain weight over time, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. Whole dairy may have more conjugated linoleic acid, which might help your body burn fat.
Love avocado? It's actually a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety. Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, however, so it's best to watch your portions.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wake Up With More Energy!

Escape snooze-button hell with these easy tips, and soon you'll be bounding out of bed.
By Loren Chidoni, Women's Health.xncxjvhxncjv

Even if you log a full eight hours of shut-eye at night, you might not be getting the deep sleep you require. That's right—just like crunches and sex, when it comes to snagging Z's, quality counts as much as quantity. "Time in bed doesn't necessarily translate into good, restful sleep," says Joseph Ojile, M.D., founder and CEO of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis.

Think of it this way: Your body refuels with sleep; in order to wake up revved, you need premium octane. Along with making sure you have enough energy to power through the day, getting solid slumber can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and depression; make you more alert; and help you process information faster. Follow these tips to treat your body to restorative sleep.

Skip the nightcap

Just because your Uncle Ed always nods off after a few glasses of spiked eggnog doesn't mean that booze is a liquid lullaby. "Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but once your body begins to remove it from your system, it acts as a stimulant," says Donna Arand, Ph.D., clinical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio.

"Four or five hours after your last drink, you'll wake up, and it will be hard to fall back to sleep." So instead of reaching for a glass of pinot noir, start a nighttime ritual that actually promotes sleep: Take a warm shower (when you step out, your body begins to cool off, a process it goes through before sleep) or sip a cup of decaf chamomile tea.

Stop relying on late-night infomercials to zonk you out. Get your Z's on with these 15 other tips for a better night's sleep.

Breathe easier

If you're one of the 12 million Americans with sleep apnea, you're about 80 percent more likely to feel sluggish during the day, no matter how many hours you sleep, Ojile says. The condition occurs when the soft tissue at the back of your throat blocks your airway during sleep, stopping your breathing and waking you up as many as hundreds of times a night. "Imagine how exhausted you'd feel if someone were constantly poking you awake," Ojile says. "Apnea deprives your brain of oxygen, increases your heart rate, and saps your energy levels."

Two common signs of apnea: loud snoring and, more seriously, waking up to the feeling that you're choking. If you experience either of these symptoms, visit your doctor and start sleeping on your side instead of your back with your head propped up on two or three pillows. "If you rest your upper body at a 30-degree or greater incline, it may make a more direct path for air to move in and out of the lungs," Arand says.

Jump Your Way to Slim

Jumping rope isn't that tough, which is why kids love it so much. Boxers use it routinely to build cardiovascular endurance and stamina needed to make it to the last round. It also helps improve footwork, coordination, and balance. Muhammad Ali said that he loved skipping rope as part of his training. It helped perfect what he called his "prancing and dancing" in the ring.

It's best to start out slow and steady, so you don't get tripped up—especially if you haven't jumped rope since your elementary school days. However, since our workout calls for quite a bit of jumping rope, building to 12-minute sessions, you'll need to mix it by learning some footwork and arm moves. Before trying any tricks, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Keep it simple, relax, and find your rhythm.
  • Jump with both feet and land on the balls of your feet.
  • Lift your feet off the floor just high enough for the rope to pass quickly. Avoid jumping too high or landing too hard.
  • Wear sneakers with plenty of padding to absorb the shock of your body weight. (Lightweight cross-trainers or running shoes are best.) Always wear socks to prevent blisters.
  • Bend your knees slightly, rather than locking them. This will help absorb the force of your body weight.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and your hands at your sides and turn with your wrists—not with your arms.
  • Be patient. Start out slowly, and then increase your speed once you become more comfortable.

The right rope

There are many different kinds of jump ropes. When choosing the right one for you, make sure the length is correct. Hold the rope and stand with your feet on the middle. If the length is just right, the handles should just reach your armpits. The handles should be thick and comfortable.

Once you've gotten the hang of jumping, try running in place while turning the rope for variety and an additional challenge. Turn the rope and step over it with one foot. On the next turn, step over the rope with the other foot. You should feel like you're jogging in place while jumping rope.

Coach's corner

Jumping rope improves footwork and balance. Skipping from foot to foot involved in jumping rope is great practice for shifting your weight into your punches.

"I used to hate jumping rope and not be able to do it. But after three months of getting laughed at, I now can jump for 20 minutes at a time!” —Alexis, age 23

How fast to go

It's important to gauge how hard your body is working, based on how you feel, not how you think you're supposed to feel. (For some people, walking up one flight of stairs is all it takes to get short of breath. For others, it'll take running up 10 flights to get that same response.)

That's why, when it comes to your rope skipping, we're not going to tell you how fast to turn the rope or how many jumps to squeeze in per minute. Instead, pace yourself based on your perceived level of exertion, using this one-to-10 scale:

1-2: Just barely moving

You're moving, but you're certainly not putting yourself out at all. Think window shopping or strolling through the park.

3-4: Easy

This is your brisk, warm-up pace. Your blood is pumping, and your muscles warm, but you're still breathing at or close to normal.

5-6: Moderate

Now, you're starting to work hard. You should feel your heart pounding and sweat forming on your forehead. You should also be breathing faster than normal, but not so hard that you can't hold a conversation without gasping for air between sentences.

7-8: Intense

You can feel your heart beating. You're breathing so heavily that you can't talk without pausing for air between phrases. In the ring, this is how you'll feel when you're going all out during the last 30 seconds of the last round.

9-10: All out

You are performing at your body's maximum capacity, which you can only sustain for a very, very short period of time. (If ever you're working this hard, there is probably a hungry bear running toward you.)

You should start out jumping at an easy pace, then move to a moderate level followed by an intense level. Because it's difficult to go "all out" for very long, that level is too intense. And if you're barely moving, you'll need to push harder to reap full benefit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

8 Surprising Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Certain foods have been shown to decrease heart disease risk by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. And while you probably know about the cholesterol-busting powers of oatmeal, beans, and olive oil, you may be surprised to discover that some of your favorite foods can also make an improvement in your cholesterol profile. Here, the authors of The New American Diet lay out the science behind some surprising foods that can help protect your heart.
The antioxidants in pasta help control inflammation and insulin, which in turn helps reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. When Harvard University researchers analyzed the diets of more than 27,000 people over 8 years, they discovered that those who ate whole grains daily weighed 2.5 pounds less than those who ate refined grains. Barilla, a major manufacturer of pasta products, recently released a line of whole-grain pastas that are almost identical to the average supermarket brand, and you can buy them in bulk at discount stores!

Scrambled Eggs
A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating eggs increases good (HDL) cholesterol but not bad (LDL) cholesterol. So eggs actually help your arteries stay clear! In another study, overweight participants ate a 340-calorie breakfast of either two eggs or a single bagel 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Those who ate eggs (including the yolk) reported higher energy levels and lost 65 percent more weight—with no effect on their total cholesterol levels.

Hamburger (from Grass-Fed Beef)
The perfect heart-healthy diet is balanced in its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. While conventionally farmed beef is about 1:20 in its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, grass-fed beef is more like 1:3—close to the ratio found in most fish. And grass-fed beef has twice the vitamin E and only about 15 percent as much fat as conventionally raised beef. Grass-fed beef is available through a variety of Internet sources or at most farmers’ markets.
And if you must grab a burger on the go, be sure you don't pick up any of the 15 worst burgers in America.

Egg McMuffins
It might not be perfect, but a fast-food breakfast is better than none, and the Egg McMuffin’s nice balance of protein, carbs, and fats with just 450 calories make it one of the best go-to options in fast-food land. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II revealed that serum cholesterol levels are highest among those who skip breakfast. According to Harvard researchers, eating breakfast makes for smaller rises in blood sugar levels throughout the day. And regulating blood sugar helps reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

When researchers at Purdue University had people eat 2 ounces of almonds a day for 23 weeks, they found that not only did they not gain any weight, but they decreased their caloric intake from other unhealthy food sources while improving cardiovascular risk factors like lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels.
Almonds are also great muscle-builders, which in turn revs up your metabolism. Check out this list for more foods that pack on lean muscle.

Chipotle Grill’s Carnitas Bowl
A fast-food pork dish can improve your cholesterol profile? Yes. Chipotle Grill uses naturally farmed pork that’s high in stearic acid—the same kind of heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. By skipping the carbohydrate-laden wrap and adding black beans, you’ll get a healthy dose of protein and fiber as well.
If Chipotle isn't your choice for eating out, try one of these other surprisingly healthy restaurant foods.

Dark Chocolate
Research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain.
Choose the best dark chocolate and other packaged foods with the Men's Health list of the 125 best foods in your supermarket.

Anchovy Pizza
The magic of the anchovy pizza comes from its combination of fish and garlic. Fish is loaded with minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, iodine, and selenium that work as cofactors to improve the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering fish oils. Adding garlic to the mix lowers total cholesterol better than eating those fillets or cloves alone. Any fish/garlic combination will work, but few others will show up at your door in 30 minutes or less. Just be sure you don't order any of the worst pizzas in America.
Here are three 'healthy' foods that won't help:
You might think ordering the fish is always the best idea, but a 2008 report from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association stated that eating farmed fish such as tilapia may actually do harm to people suffering from heart disease. The reason: Tilapia is naturally low in omega-3s and high in omega-6s, and often served breaded and fried, making it no better or possibly even worse for your heart than fried chicken.
What you think is good for you sometimes isn't.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but when you strip away the apple’s fiber-dense skin and add sweetners, as most applesauce makers do, you create a processed food that’s high in sugar and low in fiber—a perfect recipe for blood-sugar swings that raise cholesterol levels. Conventionally grown apples also tend to be high in pesticides, which have been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Isn’t soy supposed to lower cholesterol? A study in the journal Circulation found that you’d need to eat 2 pounds of tofu every single day to lower your LDL cholesterol by a measly 3 percent. As a result, the American Heart Association no longer recommends soy as a heart-healthy food. Still, Americans eat enormous amounts of soy already, and recent studies show that soy makes it harder to retain muscle and easier to store fat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

5 Ways to Be Happier and Less Stressed

Try these simple tweaks to boost your mood.

Experts attribute about 50 percent of a person’s happiness to genes and another 10 percent to circumstances—where we live, how much money we make, how healthy we are. That leaves 40 percent of our happiness in our control. Fortunately, science has much to say about how we can make the most of that 40 percent. Even small improvements in mood can have cascading effects. The trick is to pay attention to what strategies work best for you. Try these for starters.

Savor mystery

In a culture obsessed with the power of information, the fact that most of us are a little unnerved by uncertainty is hardly surprising. Yet research suggests that a dash of mystery can make positive experiences last longer. In one study, University of Virginia psychologist Timothy Wilson, Ph.D., and colleagues found that students who were given a $1 coin with little explanation reported feeling happier a few minutes later than those who were given either the same amount of money for a clear reason or no money at all. Next time you're nearing the end of an engrossing book, save the final pages for a few days later. Or shop from catalogs so you won't know exactly when your purchases will arrive—if you're lucky, when they do you may have forgotten what you've ordered.

10 secrets of happy people

Diversify your good deeds

Being kind and helpful makes most everyone feel good. But just as the novelty of a new car or electronic gadget inevitably wears off, so does the warm glow that comes from doing the same good deed over and over. People who performed various small acts of kindness every week for 10 weeks—shoveling a friend’s sidewalk, giving pets a special treat, sending a birthday card—grew happier with each passing week, and the benefit lasted for at least another month, found a study by University of California, Riverside psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., and colleagues.

Hope for small changes, not big ones

Research shows that even major life events, such as winning the lottery, hardly nudge people’s overall sense of satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve your well-being. Recent research finds that the little things we do regularly, like exercising or attending religious services, can have a major impact on our happiness. In one study, Yale University psychologist Daniel Mochon, Ph.D., and colleagues at Harvard and Duke universities discovered that people leaving religious services felt slightly happier than those going in—and the more regularly people attended religious services, the happier they felt overall.

Small changes for major health benefits

Invest in experiences, not stuff

Doing things, not buying things, gives you the most bang for your buck. Why? For one thing, says University of Colorado at Boulder social psychologist Leaf Van Boven, Ph.D., it’s easier to reinterpret experiences than to retool material purchases. If your new smart phone disappoints, you have to either shell out for a better one or lower your expectations. But if it rains on a hiking trip, you can recast the drenching experience in your memory as a character-building challenge.

Why a to-do list keeps you healthy

Shift your focus

From work to relationships to health, we have choices about where to concentrate our attention. When a snowstorm keeps you from getting to the office, do you choose to focus on how behind you’ll be by tomorrow or on the eight-hour gift of time you’ve just been given? The answer to such questions has a big influence on your well-being, writes Winifred Gallagher, author of Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life. Studies show that focusing on positive emotions—curiosity instead of fear, compassion instead of anger—leads to broader, more flexible thinking, more playfulness and exploration, and richer social connections.

Monday, April 19, 2010

7 Reasons You're Still Hungry

Do you sometimes feel ravenous, even though you just polished off a tasty lunch, a full dinner, or a midnight snack? Some food ingredients can trick our bodies into not recognizing when we’re full, causing “rebound hunger” that can add inches to our waistlines. But these simple tweaks from the authors of The New American Diet can help quiet your cravings.

Craving culprit: You’re bored
Researchers at Flinders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings. To test yourself, envision a huge, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will seem appealing. But if that doesn’t seem tempting, chances are you’re in need of a distraction, not another meal.

Craving culprit: You’re not staying fluid
Dehydration often mimics the feeling of hunger. If you’ve just eaten and still feel hungry, drink a glass of water before eating more, and see if your desires don’t diminish.
If you're sick of H2O, but need to replenish fluids, reach for one of these 10 surprising water alternatives.

Craving culprit: You don’t stop for tea time
According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, people who drank one cup of black tea after eating high-carb foods decreased their blood-sugar levels by 10 percent for 2.5 hours after the meal, which means they stayed full longer and had fewer food cravings. Researchers credit the polyphenolic compounds in black tea for suppressing rebound hunger.

Craving culprit: You skipped the salad
Most Americans don’t eat enough leafy greens, which are rich in the essential B-vitamin folate and help protect against depression, fatigue, and weight gain. In one study, dieters with the highest levels of folate in their bodies lost 8.5 times as much weight as those with the lowest levels. Leafy greens are also high in vitamin K, another insulin-regulating nutrient that helps quash cravings. Best sources: Romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, radicchio.
Also include these 15 new superfoods in your meals for delicious ways to flatten your belly.

Craving culprit: Your breakfast wasn’t big enough
After following 6,764 healthy people for almost four years, researchers found that those who ate just 300 calories for breakfast gained almost twice as much weight as those who ate 500 calories or more for breakfast. The reason: Eating a big breakfast makes for smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, meaning fewer sudden food cravings.

Craving culprit: Your dinner came out of a can
Many canned foods are high in the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, which the Food and Drug Administration recently stated was a chemical “of some concern.” Exposure to BPA can cause abnormal surges in leptin that, according to Harvard University researchers, leads to food cravings and obesity.

Craving culprit: You drink too much soda.
Sodas, iced teas, and other sweetened beverages are our biggest source of high-fructose corn syrup—accounting for about two-thirds of our annual intake. New research from the University of California at San Francisco indicates that fructose can trick our brains into craving more food, even when we’re full. It works by impeding the body’s ability to use leptin, the “satiation hormone” that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat.
To prevent your waistline from expanding when you sip, avoid the 20 worst drinks in America.
Order your copy of The New American Diet and lose up to 15 pounds in 6 weeks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thin on the Outside, Obese on the Inside

fitting into size 2 ins't all it's cracked up to be if you're really fat inside.
By Martica Heaner, Ph.D.

To the world, they’re picture-perfect: enviably thin and free of the health problems associated with being overweight, and they can fit into the skinniest of jeans. But to researchers like Jimmy Bell, Ph.D., a professor of molecular imaging at the Imperial College at the University of London, skinny people—even supermodel types—can be superfat: “Everyone expects an overweight person to have lots of fat, but it can be a shock when a thin person has as much internal body fat as an obese, or even morbidly obese person.”

Normal-weight obesity is a term used for thin people who are really fat because, despite weighing light on a scale or having a “normal” body mass index of 24.9 or below, they have high levels of body fat.

Researchers have long used the BMI, derived from height and weight, as a surrogate measure of fat and the health risks associated with it, although BMI does not actually measure body fat. A BMI of 25 or above is classified as overweight, since this is the point where health risks start to rise. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese, because risk factors increase exponentially at that point.

While classifying people by BMI is convenient, the measure is not without limitations. BMI can convey a false sense of risk to people who are heavier but fit—either because they are cardiovascularly trained from regular exercise, or because they have more muscle and less fat.

But as it turns out, presumably healthy BMIs can be misleading, too. People with a normal BMI may have a high level of risk if they have a high level of body fat. And as many as 30 million Americans may fall into this normal-weight but obese category, according to a 2009 study in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers looked at the BMI and body fat of more than 6,000 U.S. adults. When BMIs were compared with body fat percentages, a surprising number of people who were normal-weight according to BMI were actually obese judging by body fat levels. Worse, this study found that many of these thin-but-fat people had cardiovascular disease (heart attacks or strokes) and/or signs of metabolic syndrome such as abnormal cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The skinny-but-fat had four times the prevalence of metabolic syndrome as those with less body fat, and normal-weight women with a high level of body fat had more than twice the risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with those with a low level of body fat.

“People get so obsessed with how much they weigh and what they look like, and they think that if they are thin, then they are healthy,” Bell said. “But you can’t judge by how you look, because you can’t tell what’s on the inside by looking on the outside.”

And where your fat is turns out to be as important as—or more important than—how much of it you have. Today’s high-tech lab equipment is allowing glimpses of body fat like never before. Bell has centered much of his research on quantifying the amounts and locations of fat within the body using magnetic resonance imaging machines. This, and similar technology, has revealed that not only do people of all shapes and sizes have the pinchable or jiggly fat known as subcutaneous fat, or fat that is just under the skin, but that fat is also stored internally throughout the body.

Internal fat can be in the intra-abdominal area, from the top of your hips to the top of your liver. Within this area is a depot of visceral fat, deep within the belly. Fat can be ectopic—hidden in and around organs such as the liver and pancreas. It can also be stored in and around muscles. “The more internal body fat a person has, the more they are setting themselves up for health problems later, because internal fat is correlated with more health risks than external fat. A thin but overfat person without health problems may eventually reach a tipping point where suddenly they develop high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes,” Bell says.

So how can you gauge whether you are too fat?

“Pinching an inch or more at the waist is a wonderful wake-up call that you may have too much fat,” says Len Kravitz, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at the University of New Mexico.

Measuring waist circumference can be an indicator of the amount of fat in the torso. (Higher health risks have been shown in women with waists that are 35 inches or more and in men with waists at or larger than 40 inches.)

But a little bit of flab around the middle won’t tell your overall body fat percentage or how much internal fat you may have. “Getting measured with skin fold calipers from a trained professional in a health club, university or clinical setting is the easiest way to get an estimate of total body fat and lean mass,” Kravitz says. More precise body-composition measures include the Bod Pod, an underwater-weighing scale, or the DEXA (or DXA) scan, but they are hard to find and expensive.

The only way to get an idea of your fat distribution, or how much internal fat you have and where it is deposited, is to get an MRI, CT or DXA scan. These expensive machines aren’t usually available for those who are simply curious about their body fat. But check your local university or research hospital; you may be able to enroll in a study and get a scan performed as part of your participation.

How can you lose the internal fat?

You don’t really need to know how much internal body fat you have to reduce it. To lose it, you just need to start exercising, if you’re not already. Bell conducted a study in the journal Lipids on 17 normal-weight women, having them perform aerobic exercise three days a week for at least 30 minutes. The women did not diet. After six months, MRIs showed significant fat losses—an average 17 percent reduction in the internal fat and a 25 percent decrease in visceral fat. “Some women lost up to 60 percent of their internal fat, showing a great improvement in metabolic health,” Bell says, “yet they were all disappointed because they did not lose weight on the scale.” Bell and colleagues also measured fat in slim men who were fit and in men who were slim, but unfit and inactive. Their 2009 study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed that the fit men had lower levels of visceral and liver fat than the unfit men.

“Your main exercise thrust should be to do a combination of cardio exercise on most days of the week with resistance exercise on two to three days a week,” Kravitz says. And don’t get too obsessed with how much you weigh, since the scale can’t reveal the true picture of what shape your body is in.

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