Big, Well-Balanced Breakfast Aids Weight Loss

Saturday, 21 June 2008 08:45

Starting your day with a large meal packed with both carbohydrates and lean protein, and even a small piece of chocolate, can help lessen cravings and hunger the rest of the day, which can lead to significant weight loss, new research suggests.
Presented at this week's Endocrine Society annual meeting, in San Francisco, the new research found that sedentary, obese women lost almost five times as much weight on the "big breakfast" diet as did women following a traditional, restrictive low-carbohydrate diet.

"We treat obese people by telling them to eat less and exercise more, but that does not take into account feelings of carb cravings and hunger. We have to change our approach and find a diet that can control cravings and hunger," said the study's lead author, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, a clinical professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and an endocrinologist at the Hospital de Clinicas Caracas in Venezuela.

Jakubowicz explained that when you wake in the morning, your body is primed to look for food. Your metabolism is revved up, and levels of cortisol and adrenaline are at their highest. Your brain needs energy right away, and if you don't eat or you eat too little, the brain needs to find another fuel source. To do this, it activates an emergency system that pulls energy from muscle, destroying muscle tissue in the process. Then when you eat later, the body and brain are still in high-alert mode, so the body saves energy from the food as fat, she said.

Compounding the problem, your levels of the brain chemical serotonin are highest in the morning, which means your craving levels are at the lowest when you first wake up, and you may not feel much like eating, Jakubowicz said. But, as the day wears on, serotonin levels dip, and you get cravings for chocolate or cookies, and the like. If you eat these foods, your serotonin levels rise, and your body begins to associate good feelings with them, creating an addictive cycle, she said.

To combat both the addiction cycle and the hunger that inevitably seems to come with calorie reduction, Jakubowicz and her colleagues designed the "big breakfast" diet. In this eating plan, your breakfast accounts for roughly half of your daily calories, and breakfast includes milk, 3 ounces of lean meat, two slices of cheese, two whole grain servings, one fat serving and one ounce of milk chocolate or candy.

The high protein, carbohydrate mix gives the body the initial energy boost it needs in the morning. Throughout the rest of the day, the meals are made up of protein and complex carbohydrates, like vegetables. Because protein is digested slowly, Jakubowicz said, you won't feel hungry.

And, she said, by having a small piece of chocolate or candy when serotonin levels are high, it won't taste as good, and the brain won't feel the same serotonin boost, which will eventually help cut down on cravings.

In the study of 94 obese, sedentary women with metabolic syndrome, half were told to eat the big breakfast diet containing about 1,240 calories, while the other half ate a 1,085 calorie high-protein, low carbohydrate diet for eight months.

At the end of the eight months, those on the more restrictive low-carb diet lost an average of almost 9 pounds. But those on the big breakfast diet lost nearly 40 pounds. That translated to an average body mass loss of 4.5 percent for those on the low-carb diet and a 21.3 percent average loss for those on the big breakfast plan.

Additionally, those on the big breakfast plan reported feeling less hungry and had fewer carbohydrate cravings.

Nutritionist Geri Brewster, a wellness consultant at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said she already recommends a large, well-balanced breakfast to all of her clients, because it helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.

She said if you eat a traditional breakfast, something like cereal or a doughnut, your blood sugar and insulin levels spike. Once that blood sugar is used up, you'll still have excess insulin circulating, which makes you hungry and makes you crave carbohydrates.

A second study presented at the meeting reinforced the idea that biological changes occur when you carry excess weight, Brewster said. This study found that women who are overweight don't experience a drop in leptin levels after exercise like lean women do.

Leptin is a hormone that plays a role in appetite regulation and metabolism. Brewster said she wasn't surprised by these findings, because once the body is overweight, it tries to maintain that size. "Fat cells become mini-endocrine systems themselves to maintain obesity," she said, and keeping leptin levels elevated is likely one way the body does that.

copy from

Read More......

10 Essential Health Tips

Tuesday, 10 June 2008 01:33

(The Basics to Practice Every Day)

1. Move More
Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your kids; toss balls with friends, mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it's a stress buster. Think 'move' in small increments of time. It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym or a 45-minute aerobic dance class or tai chi or kickboxing. But that's great when you're up to it. Meanwhile, move more. Thought for the day: Cha, Cha, Cha…. Then do it! Be Healthy !

2. Cut Fat
Avoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Most are available in lower fat versions such as substitute butter, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise. Thought for the day: Lean, mean, fat-burning machine…. Then be one! Be Healthy !

3. Quit Smoking
The jury is definitely in on this verdict. Ever since 1960 when the Surgeon General announced that smoking was harmful to your health, Americans have been reducing their use of tobacco products that kill. Just recently, we've seen a surge in smoking in adolescents and teens. Could it be the Hollywood influence? It seems the stars in every movie of late smoke cigarettes. Beware. Warn your children of the false romance or 'tough guy' stance of Hollywood smokers. Thought for the day: Give up just one cigarette…. the next one. Be Healthy !

4. Reduce Stress
Easier said than done, stress busters come in many forms. Some techniques recommended by experts are to think positive thoughts. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. (i.e.,Soak in a hot tub; walk on the beach or in a park; read a good book; visit a friend; play with your dog; listen to soothing music; watch a funny movie. Get a massage, a facial or a haircut. Meditate. Count to ten before losing your temper or getting aggravated. Avoid difficult people when possible. Thought for the day: When seeing red, think pink clouds….then float on them. Be Healthy !

5. Protect Yourself from Pollution
If you can't live in a smog-free environment, at least avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, breathing in highway fumes and exercising near busy thoroughfares. Exercise outside when the smog rating is low. Exercise indoors in air conditioning when air quality is good. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. It's a good pollution and dirt from the street deterrent. Thought for the day: 'Smoke gets in your eyes'…and your mouth, and your nose and your lungs as do pollutants….hum the tune daily. Be Healthy !

6. Wear Your Seat Belt
Statistics show that seat belts add to longevity and help alleviate potential injuries in car crashes. Thought for the day: Buckle down and buckle up. Be Healthy !

7. Floss Your Teeth
Recent studies make a direct connection between longevity and teeth flossing. Nobody knows exactly why. Perhaps it's because people who floss tend to be more health conscious than people who don't? Thought for the day: Floss and be your body's boss. Be Healthy !

8. Avoid Excessive Drinking
While recent studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer. Thought for the day: A jug of wine should last a long time. Be Healthy !

9. Keep a Positive Mental Outlook
There's a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. Thought for the day: You can't be unhappy when you're smiling or singing. Be Healthy !

10. Choose Your Parents Well
The link between genetics and health is a powerful one. But just because one or both of your parents died young in ill health doesn't mean you cannot counteract the genetic pool handed you. Thought for the day: Follow these basic tips for healthy living and you can better control your own destiny. Be Healthy !

Read More......

Health and Safety Tips for the Holidays

Wednesday, 28 May 2008 08:52

Give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday health tips. Sing along to these tips in The 12 Ways to Health Holiday Song, listen to them in a holiday health podcast, and send the song to your friends and family in a holiday health e-card.

1. Wash hands often to keep yourself from spreading germs and getting sick.

2. Bundle up and stay dry to keep warm.

3. Manage stress. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending.

4. Don't drink and drive. Don't let anyone else drink and drive.

5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.

6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to the child's height, weight, and age.

7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams and tests you need to help find diseases and conditions early or before they start.

8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives.

9. Monitor the children. Keep dangerous toys, food, and household items out of their reach. Make sure toys are used properly.

10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended.

11. Prepare food safely. Remember four simple steps: wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.

12. Eat healthy, and get moving. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat and sugar. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.

Read More......

7 Common Sense Health Guidelines

Friday, 23 May 2008 09:46

Healthy living leads to looking and feeling great. If you're confused about how to go about it, here are 7 simple healthy living common sense guidelines.

Looking and feeling great is the result of healthy living. Do you believe that?

Maybe, like most people, you're confused about how to take care of your health. Ads, commercials and constantly being bombarded with medical advice can make us forget simple healthy living common sense guidelines. Here's the problem.

We're victims of a common destructive belief system.

The common belief today is to use caffeine for energy, mood drugs and junk food to feel good, doctors and insurance for health care and plastic surgery to look good.
What ever happened to healthy living?

Are you tired of being controlled by this crazy common belief system? If you've had it with all this nonsense, you're ready for common sense health.

Here are 7 guidelines that will help you look and feel your best – naturally.

1. Eat healthy. Natural good quality food is the perfect fuel for the human body. But that's not what the vast majority are eating. Coke, fries and fast food cheeseburgers make up the most common lunch in America. And it's destroying us. Avoid the garbage and begin eating healthier. Your body will thank you in many ways.

2. Drink water. There are many popular drinks that act like poison to your body. Colas, coffee and alcohol have no useful purpose in a healthy diet. Your body is 60% water that has to be replenished daily. Drink more pure simple water – it's your fountain of youth.

3. Get daily exercise. It's natural for humans to exercise. But our modern lifestyle doesn't support physical activity. Most people sit or stand all day at a job, then sit in the car to drive home, to sit all night in front of the TV or computer. It's essential to find a way to squeeze at least a half-hour a day of exercise into your busy schedule.

4. Reduce stress. A certain amount of stress is good – as in exercise. Actually, exercise is stress that relieves stress. But most of the self-imposed stress in your life makes you feel overwhelmed, upset, used and abused. Relax. Let some of it go.

5. Be responsible for your health. Nobody cares as much about your well being as you. No matter what the "health-care" slogans say, doctors are trained in cutting and poisoning out sickness, not in nutrition and prevention. So don't "ask your doctor" unless absolutely necessary. If you want to be healthy, take responsibility for your own health.

6. Manage your thoughts. The human mind is a power tool. But we use it mainly against ourselves, wasting our thoughts on worry, fear, blame, shame and resentment. Start using the infinite power of your mind to envision and support a healthier you.

7. Enjoy your life right now. Living longer would be great – if you're happy and healthy. If not, why bother. Your own health and happiness is your responsibility. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." So make up your mind to be happy. And go for it!

Read More......

How to Obtain Optimal Health

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 03:27

By: Monique Hawkins
You should already know that nutrition is very important to your quality of life. If you want to have a healthy life and lifestyle, you will need to have a healthy diet with proper nutrition. You might hear all the time that your nutrition greatly affects the way you live and your quality of life but have you ever really thought about why? Do you really understand why it is so important?

If you really want to take the steps to live the long life that you deserve and to be as healthy as possible and enjoy those years, than you need to learn all you can about the importance of optimal nutrition. What you eat really affects your body and health.

1. What is optimal nutrition?
2. What nutrients do you need to be healthy?
3. What foods give you these nutrients?

Importance of Optimal Nutrition
Optimal nutrition is very important to your overall health and fitness. Studies have shown that people can actually live longer if they have healthy nutrition. It is proven that there is a link between optimal nutrition and long life and long term health.

If you take a look at society, you will notice an increasingly large number of people that are overweight and obese. You will also see problems such as poor teeth and acne, dry, brittle skin, dry hair and other problems. You will find many people on medications for headache, stomach problems, acid reflux, constipation, heart disease, high blood pressure and more. What may be more alarming than the high amount of medications is the fact that most people receive very little information about what is actually causing their disease or condition. Instead, they get a pill.

What many people never know is that what they are eating (or not eating) can be causing these health problems. You also need to understand that you will have to make changes and adjustments to your intake over the years and stages of your life. Just like toddlers need a different diet from teenagers, you also need to alter your diet as you continue through all of life's stages. Understanding what is best for you through each stage of your life is the best way to remain in optimal health.

Micro and Macronutrients
Many people hear that they need proper nutrition but just what does that mean exactly? What nutrients do you need to be healthy? Optimal nutrition will include a variety of different micronutrients and macronutrients. Micronutrients include certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats that make up the foods you eat.

There is too often a lot of myth surrounding the nutrients, our bodies and how we use these nutrients. This is why it is very important that you get all the facts when planning to change your lifestyle and diet. Many people are suffering from malnutrition and may not even know it. Many overweight individuals may be suffering from malnutrition. Just because you are eating does not mean you are eating the right things.

Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to be healthy. The specific ones and amounts of each will depend on your body, sex, age and other factors. Every person is different so there is not one set plan that works for everyone. You need to learn what works for you. As you change, grow older, etc. this will change again and you will continue to have to adjust this.

Macronutrients are the carbs, proteins and fats that you get from foods. The amounts of these that you need will vary as well. This is where many myths come in about what you should or should not eat. The facts are that too much of anyone can be bad and not enough can be bad. It's all about finding a balance. This means those "All-Carb" or "No Carb" diets that are so popular on the market are really not the best thing for you.

What you choose to ingest in your body has a big impact on your overall health and your general well-being. People now eat more fast foods and frozen dinners and other quick meals that are not very nutritious at all. Some of these foods even have additives in them that can make them addictive so that you want more and more. People typically eat out of hunger and many of these foods do not work to satisfy your hunger leaving you wanting more or something else. Yet, they still have many calories and fat and other things that your body does not need.

Make the Committment
If you are serious in obtaining optimal health to the best of your ability, then take a look at your lifestyle in general. Are you eating the right foods? Are you exercising? Are you getting plenty of fresh air on a daily basis? Do you have positive relationships? If you find yourself answering "no" to these questions, then make the commitment to change. Talk with your family, friends, or a nutritionist. Check to see if there are support groups in your area related to health and lifestyle changes. Look into joining your local gym. Do your research and then purchase the right nutritional supplements that will help you achieve your goals.

If you at least try to make a change in one area, more are sure to follow! You are now on your way to optimal health.
Author Bio
Monique Hawkins is an Associate with USANA Health Sciences. One of her passions is encouraging and supporting others to obtain optimal health and wellness. Visit her USANA website at and her new music box website at

Read More......

Healthy Life

Monday, 19 May 2008 06:10

One of the most important aspects of healthy life and prosperous life is understanding "risk." By this I mean knowing how to understand and analyze situations in life that affect health. Being able to accurately weigh benefits and risks when making health decisions is very important! Too often decisions are based on incomplete or inaccurate information and this is a huge mistake with significant consequences!
Failure to accurately assess risk keeps people locked in all kinds of unhealthy situations including poor eating and exercise habits (lifestyle), relationships and jobs. Sometimes people are just afraid to step out and make a change. They see "risk" in making a change when the REAL risk comes from NOT making a change. From my perspective, living with the stress, unhappiness and frustration of indecision and poor health is the greatest risk of all, and one that is definitely not worth taking!

Accessing "risk" is nothing more than collecting information, weighing the alternatives and then making appropriate decisions based on the information.
Some risks to our health are more "real" than others. For example, it is common knowledge that obesity is associated with a wide variety of health problems. On the other hand, there are some health risks that are so remote we rarely think about them. On a practical level, eating highly processed foods and avoiding a daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables is rarely considered serious. But, as too many have already discovered, the long range consequences of this practice are real and devastating.
Failure to accurately assess risk limits us in many ways. We imagine the "risk" of talking with our children about drugs, dating or sex and we put off having the "talk," even though the risks of NOT talking are infinitely greater. Fear of flying and public speaking are two more "risks" affecting millions of people. But practically speaking, these fears are unfounded. People ride in cars every day, even though cars are far more dangerous than commercial aircraft! It's a failure to accurately assess risk, and it limits our health, prosperity and pleasure in life.
The goods news is that failure to accurately access risk is reversible! The effects of those decisions to eat inappropriately or NOT to exercise are, as the common expression goes, "do-overs." We can effect positive change in our lives by following a few simple steps to accurately access risk:
1. Accurately define your present situation and access your health "risks". Are you eating a healthy diet? Are you getting enough exercise and good quality sleep? What are the consequences if you DON'T change? Weigh the benefits of healthier living vs the potential risks such as increased cost, inconvenience or discomfort.
2. What do you stand to gain if you change your present circumstances? Assess the "up-side" potential. Too often we look only at the "downside" risk and forget the benefits. What good things might happen if you take the risk and win?
3. Limit the "down-side" if you happen to make a wrong decision. Don't continue down a path if it does not produce results. This is especially important when following weight loss programs. If the pounds are not coming off or if the weight loss is only temporary, find a new program! You not only want to lose weight, but want to sustain the weight loss for as long as possible. Take steps to ensure this will happen. Clear, concise, realistic objectives will definitely help.
4. Reduce your risk by being smart! Understand the situation and seek the advice of experts in the field of health and nutrition. This includes finding and forming partnerships to receive support and get good advice.
5. Have a fall-back position. If the decision you make fails to produce the desired results, be prepared to take a long, hard look at the circumstances and be prepared to change what you are doing.
Everything in life involves some element of risk. Driving your car, meeting someone new, crossing the street...but we do them every day. Winners in life are willing to accept the risk and continue on their way! Get involved, be smart about how you play the game, come prepared for a few failures along the way, but don't quite. You will reap the benefits for your effort and live a happier and healthier life. I like to remember the words of the great Winston Churchill when he said, "Never, never, never give up!"

Read More......