Archive for April, 2010

Answer from Michele Stanten, Prevention‘s Fitness Director

Yes, but don’t expect any fat-melting miracles. When you exercise, your body burns both fat and carbohydrate calories. Recent studies show that working out on an empty stomach might burn a few more fat calories than when you work out an hour or two after eating–but total calorie burn is about the same.

And, based on research so far, that’s what really counts when it comes to fitting into a smaller size. What scientists don’t yet know is whether an increase in fat burn alone could help you lose weight faster or shed more pounds over time. So the choice about when to eat is yours.

I’ve found I can do my 30- to 45-minute walks on an empty stomach no problem, but I need to fuel up before longer bike rides with my husband. To determine what’s right for you, try this experiment: Eat a snack of about 200 calories–like a banana with peanut butter, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, or an energy bar–1 to 2 hours before you exercise, then note how you perform.

How long can you go before you feel tired? Can you pick up the intensity? The next day, work out without eating and note any differences. Exercising on an empty stomach can backfire by decreasing your calorie burn if you’re too tired to complete your workout or slack off during it.

Good luck, healthy girl!

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By Lindsay Reinsmith

Brought to you by Kaeng Raeng, be healthy. be strong.

Conducting a detox or cleanse is certainly a frightening notion to several people, as this conjures up images of fainting, drinking spicy lemonade, and starving yourself.  While there are several juice fasts out there that guarantee to help you drop pounds (since you’re consuming so few calories), putting your body through a detox does not have to be a scary ordeal.  First, you have to know the benefits of a detox and what to look for in a safe, healthy program that won’t have you fainting or starving.

Why should you detox?

Everyday we consume millions of toxins, chemicals, additives, and preservatives in the air and in our food.  Our bodies were never meant to absorb these toxins.  During the digestive process, your stomach cannot healthfully separate the clean from the bad portions of the food you’re eating.  Once in our system, these toxins can hurt our digestive and immune systems and cause such symptoms as:

-bloating, constipation, and flatulence

-poor skin and hair health

-fatigue and loss of energy

-weight gain

-insomnia or poor sleep

-cravings for salt, sugar, and processed foods


-recurring illness/sickness

How does a detox get rid of these symptoms?

Many of the symptoms of a detox are related and build off of each other.  You may feel sluggish and hungry all of the time but not have any of the other symptoms.  Typically the way you feel is directly related to what you’ve been eating.  If you’ve ever lost control of your healthy lifestyle and binged on crappy food, you may have felt awful afterward.  This feeling can be attributed to the significant toxin buildup in your system.

Detox programs help to “flush” these toxins out of your system using all natural ingredients and plenty of water.  By putting only natural foods into your system, your digestive system has a chance to “reset” and use less energy.  This gives your body more energy and stability to help enhance sleep, alertness, functional energy, and provide strength for your immune system, which improves hair, skin, and overall health quality.

The Importance of the Colon

The colon is the most important part of your digestive system.  In it, there can be years of toxic buildup inhibiting your body from experiencing its most healthy state.  A detox works to push this colonic buildup out of your system by flushing it with plenty of fiber and water, cleansing your body and ridding it of the toxins and chemicals you’ve consumed over your lifetime.

Once this elimination part of the program is over, many detox participants experience weight loss, water weight loss, and a reduction in cravings for salty and sugary foods.  Since you’ve abstained from these foods through the duration of your detox, your body no longer believes these ingredients to be necessary.

How do I detox?

There are plenty of do-it-yourself detox programs that involve several trips to an all natural foods store (like Whole Foods), but these programs can be incredibly time consuming and expensive.  Organic fruits and vegetables may also be unavailable or prohibitively costly in many parts of the country, especially during the winter months. If you want to do a fruit-based detox program, one of the best is a raw vegan diet, whereby you only consume non animal foods that have never been heated above 118 degrees.  This basically leaves you with fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Again, this can be expensive and isn’t for everyone.

There are, however, several detox programs of all types sold online and in nutrition stores.  Some of these programs are better than others, so if you decide to go with a supplement detox program, choose wisely.

What should I look for?

It is a good general rule that if you intend to cleanse, and you want to do it a nutritional, safe, healthy way, make sure your cleanse program has the following qualities:

1. Nutrition.  Unless you intend to do a fast, which is completely separate from a nutritional cleanse, you’ll want to go with a detox program that values nutrition and contains daily vitamins, protein, fruits and vegetables, and other healthy foods.  Many detox programs are simply diet pills that you take in addition to your normal diet (or they’re meant to be your ONLY source of nutrition).  These are dangerous and do not provide the benefits your body needs to sustain a detox healthfully.  Make sure to pick a product that helps you stay full so that you’re less likely to cheat and break your detox.

2. All Natural.  Unfortunately, the regulations concerning what constitutes “all natural” is incredibly vague.  Many companies, especially those with products made outside of the United States, claim that their products are all natural but they may still use trace amounts of artificial ingredients.  All natural in its most simple form means any product without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.  If it’s got citric acid, it’s not all natural.  If it’s sweetened with Splenda, it’s not all natural.  Basically if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, then it’s not all natural.  If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize an ingredient, then it’s not all natural.   In general, try to use a detox program that only contains REAL ingredients from the earth, not a lab.  If a product contains soy, make sure it is non-genetically modified (non-GMO) and the product uses soybeans instead of a soy isolate.

3. Vegan.  This should go without saying, but animal products, whether meat or dairy, in general, are packed with fat, hormones, chemicals, cholesterol, salt, and other things that contradict weight loss and a healthy detox.  One of the biggest benefits of a detox is reduction of bloating.   Animals products directly cause bloating since they have salt, fats, and lactose that can fill your stomach with gas.  The types of products that are NOT vegan include those with whey protein, eggs, honey, milk, or meat.  Also, it’s important to support companies that use animal free ingredients since it is more sustainable and better for the environment.  Several companies, such as Kaeng Raeng, support animal rights organizations by donating a portion of every sale of an animal free product.

4.  Gluten Free.  Those with Celiac Disease suffer from a gluten allergy, but they aren’t the only ones who should avoid gluten.  Gluten can raise insulin levels, cause abdominal cramping and water weight gain, and is usually associated with sugary processed simple carbohydrates that contain the very toxins you’re trying to get rid of.  Make sure to choose a detox program that is gluten free, which means yeast and wheat free.

5.  Stimulant Free. Products that promote “weight loss” are often caffeine pills masquerading as detox pills.  These stimulants increase your heart rate, can lead to insomnia and loss of concentration, and really contradict the purpose of getting your body back to a natural chemical-free state.  Another type of stimulant is a laxative.  Laxatives are often used in colon cleanse products to help speed up the elimination portion of the detox.  Yes, there are natural laxatives that occur in nature like Senna and other stimulants, mostly in the form of herbal laxative tea.  These products, however, can cause severe cramping and can be aggressive and disruptive to your normal daily life.  If you want to detox in a safe, easy way, avoid laxatives.

6.  Local Ingredients.  If a product has a bunch of ingredients you can’t pronounce and most of them are from outside of the United States, be aware that those ingredients 1. are not regulated by as many US agencies as those ingredients made within the USA, 2. had to travel a long way to get to you, which makes the product worse for the environment, 3. does not support the efforts of local farmers and suppliers.  If you want to support American businesses, stay local.  Many nutritional cleanses are made in Japan or China, while others are made in California, New York, or Florida.

7. Taste.  There are plenty of detox/cleanse juices and powders out there that use all natural ingredients and unconventional sources of protein like hemp, flax, rice, or nuts.  These products can taste like grass or sand.  Hey, if that’s what you like, then go right ahead!  But most of us want to drink something that we can keep down. If you can’t stand the taste of a product then you WON’T stick with your detox, so you might as well not try at all. If you want a fruit-based cleanse, make sure to choose one that has actual fruit in the ingredient list, not fruit puree concentrate or fruit flavors.

8. Probiotics. Probiotics literally mean “for life.”  As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), a probiotic is a living microorganism that, when administered in adequate amounts, confers a health benefit on its host. Probiotic live cultures are friendly bacteria that help to regulate and speed up digestion through the intestines and colon.  Probiotic cultures, specifically L. Acidophillus blend, have been linked to better digestive health and stronger immune systems.  Probiotics are typically found in yogurt and other cultured dairy products, but are also available in freeze-dried powder form.

9. Convenience. There are several detox programs that involve blending smoothies with your own fruit and vegetables.  These programs are usually fairly expensive and can be incredibly inconvenient.  Make sure to read customer reviews regarding how simple the program was to follow and how easy it is to make the various meals/drinks.  Kaeng Raeng, for example, comes in freeze dried powder form and can be taken just about anywhere.

10. Price.  The truth is, there are good companies and shady companies in this business.  The shady ones will typically offer a “free trial” and then bill your credit card ridiculous amounts for subsequent months.  Other, more honest businesses, will charge reasonable rates based off of the cost of the product.  These businesses care about their reputation and customer service.  In general, detox programs that charge more than $30 per day are ripping you off, and those that charge less than $10 per day are offering a low quality product.

When should I do a cleanse or detox?

As soon as you start to feel like crap!  Happy detoxers typically conduct a 3 or 6 day cleanse every 1-3 months.

Which one is the best?

Kaeng Raeng brings together the convenience and affordability of a value product with the quality and health benefits of a luxury brand.

Good luck, healthy girl!

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Looking to lose a little weight? Portion size and exercise are crucial. But don’t forget about a good night’s rest.

Scientists have known for years that skimping on sleep is associated with weight gain. A good example was a study published in 2005, which looked at 8,000 adults over several years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night corresponded with a greater risk of weight gain and obesity, and the risk increased for every hour of lost sleep.

More recent studies have taken a much closer look.

One published this year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took a small group of men and measured their food intake across two 48-hour periods, one in which they slept eight hours and another in which they slept only four. After the night of abbreviated sleep, the men consumed more than 500 extra calories (roughly 22 percent more) than they did after eight hours of sleep. A University of Chicago study last year had similar findings in both men and women: subjects took in significantly more calories from snacks and carbohydrates after five and a half hours of sleep than after eight and a half hours.

Some studies pin the blame on hormones, arguing that decreased sleep creates a spike in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, and a reduction in leptin, which signals satiety. But more study is needed.


Losing sleep may increase appetite and, as a result, weight.

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I love black beans generally and black bean soup in particular. Filling and inexpensive, beans are high in dietary fiber, low in unhealthful fats, and hospitable to garlic, onion, red pepper, and spices. If you were having lunch at a restaurant, black bean soup could be the healthiest thing on the menu.

Or, it could be a bowl of stroke du jour.

If you’re at all skeptical of whether the federal government should regulate the amount of sodium in processed or restaurant food, consider Chili’s. A bowl of black bean soup at Chili’s contains 1,480 milligrams of sodium. For fully 70 percent of the adult population– including those of us over 40, African-Americans, and people with high blood pressure–that’s basically all the sodium they should eat in an entire day.

Chili’s Jalapeno Smokehouse Burger, with Jalapeno Ranch dressing and a side of fries, certainly doesn’t have the same kind of healthy halo that black bean soup has. Everyone knows that plate will have too many calories and too much saturated fat. But seriously: Would anyone expect a burger and fries to have 6,460 mg of sodium, or more than four days’ worth?

A weekly meal of that sort at Chili’s–plus similar horror stories at restaurants or at home– is likely to set even healthy people on the path to hypertension. And for an elderly person, a meal with thousands of milligrams of sodium could be enough to trigger congestive heart failure.

Chains like Chili’s are basically vandalizing the food supply.

Happily, a long-awaited report from the Institute of Medicine has alighted on the desks of top officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ordered up by Congress at the behest of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the report confirmed what many in the medical community have been saying for years: Americans are eating too much salt, which raises blood pressure and promotes heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. And the first recommendation made by the IOM is that the FDA “expeditiously initiate a process to set mandatory standards”–in other words, limits–“for the sodium content of foods.”

Limiting salt in packaged and restaurant foods is perhaps the single most important dietary improvement that the Food and Drug Administration could bring about. Cutting sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods in half is predicted to save 100,000 lives and tens of billions of dollars in health-care expenses each year.

The IOM recommends that reductions be phased in stepwise, giving Americans’ palates, now accustomed to overly salty foods, a chance to readjust to safely seasoned foods. Though an unnamed FDA source speculated that such a transition could take 10 years, some foods have two or three times as much as competing products, suggesting that there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that should permit faster action.

In anticipation of the IOM report, companies such as Kraft, Campbell’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo have all issued press releases in recent months indicating that they will take steps to reduce the sodium in their products by various percentages. I’m glad they’re doing that. And I hope more companies follow suit, particularly restaurant chains. But it won’t be enough. As the IOM report unambiguously points out, 40 years of voluntary action by manufacturers and restaurants to reduce salt intake has been a dismal failure.

As if on cue, the Salt Institute, the industry trade association, said that reductions would be “immoral,” based on poor science, and that high-sodium diets actually benefit some people. And the Tea Party crowd huffed that the prospect of limits on salt is “the nanny state gone wild.” But those of us who really care about culinary liberty know that limits on salt actually restore power to consumers, who could be set free to add as much or as little salt to their black bean soup as they want.

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By David Servan-Schreiber

We’ve known for many years that consuming copious amounts of certain specific fruits and vegetables reduces our risk of developing various types of cancer. But a recent study reminds us that this protective effect is not linked to all fruit and vegetables. Some foods contain larger amounts of anticancer molecules. Thus we need to be attentive to our choices.

Lifestyle and Cancer:
Cancer is not a disease whose origin is principally genetic, as many people continue to believe. It is a pathology that is closely linked to a range of lifestyle factors, particularly smoking and obesity (which stems from our sedentary habits and our dietary choices). Several studies have shown a direct link between the regular consumption of certain fruits and vegetables and a reduction in risk of developing various types of cancer.

Protective studies showing links between consumption of specific foods and the incidence of cancer in human populations:

Source: Beliveau, Gingras, Blaslyk, Eating Well, Living Well: An Everyday Guide for Optimum Health

It’s particularly important to specifically include these in our diet, because not all fruits and vegetables share the same potential for active prevention against cancer. There are major differences in their levels of anticancer components. In some cases the phytochemical components that provide the greatest cancer-preventing activity are present only in a few, very specific fruits and vegetables. For example, the isoflavones of soy, the resveratrol of grapes, the curcumin of turmeric, the isothiocyanates and indoles of broccoli and the catechins of green tea are all anticancer molecules whose distribution among plants is extremely restricted.

In other words, even though all fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a balanced diet, only some of them can truly influence the risk of cancer.

Quality, Not Quantity
The importance of including these foods in our diet is fully illustrated by results of studies that examine the global risk of cancer according to the total quantity of fruit and vegetables consumed, without regard for specific types. For example, a study of more than 100,000 American health professions did not establish that total consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer (1). However, within this same population researchers have observed a significant reduction in the risk of bladder cancer in men who consumed large amounts of cruciferous vegetables (2), and a significant reduction in the risk of prostate cancer following regular consumption of tomato-based products (3). A European study of 400,000 people has just produced similar results. Total consumption of fruit and vegetables is not associated with a significant reduction in the total risk of cancer (4). However, results previously obtained from this same population show that certain fruits (particularly citrus fruit) considerably reduce the risk of stomach cancer (5).

These observations indicate that the development of various types of cancer is modulated differently by the specifics of the fruits and vegetables consumed, rather than by the quantity of overall consumption. This is very important, because in the United States fully half the fruit and vegetables consumed are relatively poor in protective impact (potatoes, iceberg lettuce, canned tomatoes), while the per capita consumption of plants rich in anticancer molecules — such as cruciferous vegetables — is barely 1 %. Increased consumption of foods that contain high amounts of anticancer molecules (cabbage family, garlic family, green tea, small fruit, citrus fruit, tomatoes and carrots), and which are thus able to target several distinct processes essential to the growth of cancer cells, is absolutely essential in order to reduce significantly the risk of certain cancers.

All fruits and vegetables are excellent for overall health. They protect, for example, against cardio-vascular disease. But in the case of cancer, we continue to emphasize that their protective effects are specific to certain fruits and vegetables.

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It seems allergy season has hit Gwyneth hard. She writes in her latest GOOP newsletter:

This week, Adele Reising shares thoughts on spring from a Chinese medical perspective and provides tips for those of us who are suffering from allergies.

Love, Gwyneth

Here are a few of Adele’s tips for starting spring detoxed and full of energy:

– Try getting up just before dawn, when the black night sky slowly turns to blue. The sun rises in the East, and the blue color of dawn opens to our eyes and we experience the new day. Spring is like this.
– If you are an allergy sufferer, I recommend avoiding mucus producing foods, such as dairy, wheat, sugar, and cold raw foods and also taking a probiotic.
– Go to my website and check out the yeast free diet. If you follow it for about 6 weeks, you will lose a little unwanted winter weight, avoid the misery of allergy season and also detox naturally and be ready to bloom in the summer months. This diet cleans out the lymphatic system and calms down the immune system naturally.
– Licorice and mung bean do detox well, especially the mung bean, which is used to purge toxins in liver. Doing this kind of simple detox several times a week, one’s immune system will become much stronger and in so doing prevent one from getting the spring cold.

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The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a gradual but potentially far-reaching effort to reduce the amount of salt Americans consume in a bid to combat high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and other health problems that have soared to near-epidemic proportions.

The FDA’s efforts will begin by seeking voluntary cutbacks by the food industry. But ultimately, the agency may resort to regulating acceptable levels of sodium in food and beverages.

“Nothing is off the table,” said FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott. “Everyone’s in agreement that something needs to be done….We just don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

The FDA’s decision was applauded by public health advocacy groups and scientists, who have long pointed up the link between high salt intake and a host of serious – and costly – medical problems.

But it was also criticized by some industry groups, and some conservative political leaders denounced it as another government assault on personal freedom.

The deliberate pace sketched by the FDA, and the absence of any immediate plans to issue regulations, were in contrast to a strongly worded report concurrently released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

The institute declared that expeditious “regulatory action is necessary” because efforts to educate the public about the perils of excessive dietary salt and voluntary sodium-cutting efforts by industry have failed, although the institute called for such regulations to take effect gradually.

On a daily basis, Americans consume almost 50% more than the roughly one teaspoon of salt recommended as a maximum by the federal government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, according to the institute’s report.

Sodium intake is “simply too high to be safe,” said Dr. Jane E. Henney, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and chairwoman of the institute committee that produced the report. “Clearly, salt is essential.… We need it. But the level we’re taking in right now is far beyond the maximal levels we need.”

The 14-member panel’s findings, more than a year in the making, come on the heels of a welter of studies tallying the health and economic costs of excessive salt intake.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health predicted that, if dietary sodium consumption declined to the levels recommended in the 2005 federal guidelines, some 90,000 deaths could be averted yearly.

A Rand Corp. study published in September estimated that reducing American sodium intake to recommended levels could save $18 billion yearly in treatment for hypertension, stroke, renal disease and heart failure associated with excessive salt consumption.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that we must treat sodium reduction as a critical public health priority,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Harvard School of Public Health’s department of nutrition.

Willett, who was a key figure in the recent federal initiative to drive trans fats from the U.S. food supply, noted how quickly the U.S. food industry adapted to those new rules, and called for that industry’s “best creative minds to bring similar leadership” to the bid to reduce sodium.

But the head of the salt lobby blasted efforts to curb salt consumption as unwarranted and overly broad.

“It’s not scientifically sound,” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. “They’re talking about some very drastic reductions. They could be harming people.”

Another key industry trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., took a more measured approach.

It said in a statement that food makers already offer low- or no-sodium versions of many items. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop a national sodium reduction strategy that will help the consumer,” the group said.

The FDA’s decision to press food makers to reduce salt caps a 30-year campaign by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The center sued the FDA in 2005 to try to force the agency to reclassify salt as a food additive subject to regulation.

Salt currently is categorized as a substance “generally recognized as safe,” hence not regulated in food products.

Center director Michael Jacobson urged the FDA to adopt mandatory limits on salt swiftly, and then phase them in slowly. A gradual phase-in is considered crucial so that consumers do not notice a taste difference in foods with diminished amounts of salt.

While public health advocates like Jacobson hailed the clampdown, libertarian skeptics of government viewed it as another sign of a nanny state run amok.

“It’s another encroachment on people’s personal freedom,” said Gary Howard, spokesman for Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian advocacy group formed in the wake of Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“They’ve already gotten into people’s medical care,” Howard said. “Where will they go next? Will they mandate exercise?”

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