Archive for the ‘Diets’ Category

By Liz Coughlin

If you need a hand whipping your body into shape quickly, there are few better people to turn to than Jillian Michaels, one half of the dynamic duo from “The Biggest Loser.”

[Check out the 5 things Jillian Michaels wants us to learn from “Losing It” on Shine.]

We recently spoke with the fitness trainer about a common struggle: managing belly fat (it is summer, after all). Here are her top five tips, in her own words:

  1. A big part of ab definition is managing water weight. This means that you should reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day and up your water intake to 80 ounces a day. The more water you drink, the less water you will hold.
  2. Eat foods that are high in potassium (like watermelon). This will help you reduce bloat, giving definition to your abs. Other things to try: cranberry juice mixed with water, dandelion tea, asparagus, and try taking a couple teaspoons a day of apple cider vinegar. This vinegar helps to maintain healthy levels of potassium in your body.
  3. You can spot-reduce belly fat, but you have to engage in a regimen that burns body fat. This means counting calories so that you are burning excess body fat.
  4. When you hit the gym, go hard. Work at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for optimal fat-shedding results. Try workouts that are core-based and use multiple muscle groups, like mixed martial arts or Yoga flow.
  5. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, and lack of sleep. Those three things increase cortisol levels, which is one of the hormones believed responsible for storing belly fat.

    Jillian’s on her own this summer, starring in a new show, “Losing It With Jillian.” The premise is simple: Jillian travels across the United States, helping families who are desperately in need of health and wellness improvement. Sure, she is dominant and occasionally yells (it’s her signature method for motivation), but she is also kind, encouraging, and very insightful. Just like its sister show, this one is sure to inspire America.

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    Consuming large amounts of olive oil suppresses genes which cause inflammation and can lead to problems like heart disease, they found.

    The diet has long been linked to good health.

    It typically includes plenty of olive oil, fish and fruit and vegetables, as well as small amounts of red meat and dairy products.

    Scientists have found that eating food cooked or soaked in olive oil represses several genes which trigger inflammation in the body.

    Francisco Perez-Jimenez, from the University of Cordoba, in Spain, who led the study, said: “These findings strengthen the relationship between inflammation … and diet and provide evidence at the most basic level of healthy effects derived from virgin olive oil consumption in humans.”

    He added: “Several of the repressed genes are known to be involved in pro-inflammatory processes, suggesting that the diet can switch the activity of immune system cells to a less (harmful) profile.”

    The research looked at the effects of a diet rich in olive oil on 20 patients.

    Inflammation can trigger conditions such as atherosclerosis, or furring of the arteries.

    As well as reducing heart problems, studies have also suggested that adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression.

    The findings are published in the journal BMC Genomics.

    June Davison, cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research suggests an interesting reason why olive oil may be helpful in protecting the heart.

    “This study found that phenols – a micronutrient of olive oil – ‘dampened down’ genes that can cause inflammation. That’s important as inflammation is linked to the development of cardiovascular disease.

    “It supports current advice that it’s better to use unsaturated fats such as olive and rapeseed oil, over saturated fats such as butter, lard and ghee. However any oil you use should still be used sparingly as it is high in calories.”

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    Lose a pound a week. Maybe two. That’s the best pace to shed body fat; gradual weight loss may help smooth out lumps and bumps. Stay in the slow lane–and keep fueling your cellulite-smoothing workouts–by following these five body fat-blasting strategies.

    Cue your portions

    Learn what healthy serving sizes look like–or you can use your hand: Your palm is about the size of a 3-ounce serving of meat, and your fist is good for a half cup, perfect for pasta. Your thumb is about an ounce (cheese is 1 1/2 thumbs), and the tip measures 1 teaspoon, which counts for one serving of oil.

    Graze, don’t gorge

    Plan on three small meals and two or three snacks a day, spaced no more than 4 hours apart for best weight loss results. Women who follow this mini-meal plan are leaner and have less body fat than women who eat the same number of calories packed into two or three big meals, found researchers at the University of Michigan. Eating small portions often also helps keep your metabolism revved and stomach full so you don’t overeat.

    Cut 100 calories per meal

    It’s a lot easier than you may think, and it adds up fast: With 300 to 500 calories cut plus 400 more burned with our exercise plan (p. 162), you’ll lose slow and steady. Skip the croutons in your salad and use 1 less tablespoon of butter on bread; both are good for saving 100. For more weight loss ideas, visit 100 Ways to Cut 100 Calories

    Choose extrafilling foods

    That means those that are high in fiber and water, such as broth-based soups and raw veggies, which are particularly talented at quelling appetite, so you’ll want to stop eating sooner. A study of 150 overweight people found that those who ate soup every day for a year had 50% more weight loss than people who didn’t. And munching on a salad with fat-free dressing before your meal may cut your calorie intake by 12%, according to another study.

    Pass on processed junk

    Cookies, crackers, chips–they’re all packed with a lot of calories and not nearly enough nutrients per ounce as healthier options. A recent CDC survey of more than 7,000 adults confirmed that women who ate a calorie-dense diet had a higher BMI and weighed more.

    Foods That Fight Fat

    Add these items to your shopping list to curb your appetite, burn fat, and put you on the road to body fat and weight loss.

    Oatmeal: A 2006 study found that the fiber in the rolled grain curbs your appetite without a truckload of calories–the perfect combo to help you eat less and lose weight

    Vegetable juice: Consider this a calorie-cutting cocktail: One glass of it before mealtime, and you’ll eat up to 135 fewer calories later, according to scientists at Pennsylvania State University.

    Nuts: Add a few small servings of your favorite variety to your diet–the fiber and good fat in nuts makes them very filling, so your weight stays steady, say researchers at Loma Linda University.

    Fat-free milk: Several studies have shown a link between calcium and body fat: As calcium intake increases, body fat decreases. And one study showed that two servings of dairy every day may reduce the risk of gaining weight by as much as 70%.

    Green tea: Compounds in this type of tea may help boost your body’s metabolism and fat-burning abilities, according to recent double-blind, controlled clinical studies.

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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    If you are currently a vegan or are considering veganism as a life choice, you may hear medical professionals and nutritionists warn against a lack of B12 as part of a vegan diet.  B12, as described below, is a vitamin that, to put it simply, we as humans typically get by eating animal products.  Everyone’s B12 levels are different, but for the most part, B12 is stored in our bodies and can be “used” as a nutrient after we stop consuming animal products.   However, lifetime vegans and those who haven’t had animal products in a long time probably do not have enough B12 in their bodies.

    B12 is a serious vitamin – without it, your body can suffer greatly, especially the nervous system.  That’s why most medical professionals recommend that vegans take a daily B12 supplement.  Kaeng Raeng contains more than 100% of your recommend daily vitamin needs of B12 per serving.

    About B12

    Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is commonly found in a variety of foods such as fish, shellfish, meat, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in a vitamin B complex formulation. It helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach releases B12 from protein during digestion. Once released, B12 combines with a substance called intrinsic factor (IF) before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

    Vitamin B12 is needed for cell division and blood formation. Neither plants nor animals make vitamin B12. Bacteria are responsible for producing vitamin B12. Animals get their vitamin B12 from eating foods contaminated with vitamin B12 and then the animal becomes a source of vitamin B12. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms or have vitamin B12 added to them. Thus, vegans need to look to fortified foods or supplements to get vitamin B12 in their diet. Although recommendations for vitamin B12 are very small, a vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious problem leading ultimately to anemia and irreversible nerve damage. Prudent vegans will include sources of vitamin B12 in their diets. Vitamin B12 is especially important in pregnancy and lactation and for infants and children.

    Where do we get B12?

    There are no reliable, unfortified plant sources of vitamin B12; therefore fortified foods and/or supplements are necessary for the optimal health of vegans and even vegetarians in many cases.

    Tempeh, miso, sea vegetables, and other plant foods are sometimes reported to contain vitamin B12. These products, however, are not reliable sources of the vitamin. The standard method for measuring vitamin B12 in foods measures both active and inactive forms of vitamin B12. The inactive form (also called analogues) actually interferes with normal vitamin B12 absorption and metabolism. When only active vitamin B12 is measured, plant foods including fermented soyfoods and sea vegetables do not contain significant amounts of active vitamin B12.

    Very small amounts of vitamin B12 have been found in plants grown in soil treated with manure. It is not clear whether this vitamin B12 is the active form or the inactive analogue. In any case, the amounts are so small that more than 23 cups of organically grown spinach would have to be eaten every day in order to meet the adult RDA for vitamin B12.

    What’s a B12 deficiency?

    There are two types of B12 deficiency: overt and mild.

    Overt vitamin B12 deficiency:

    B12 protects the nervous system. Without it, permanent damage can result (e.g., blindness, deafness, dementia). Fatigue, and tingling in the hands or feet, can be early signs of deficiency. B12 also keeps the digestive system healthy and an overt deficiency can cause digestive problems.

    Mild vitamin B12 deficiency:

    By lowering homocysteine levels, B12 reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. Vegans and near-vegans who do not supplement with vitamin B12 have consistently shown elevated homocysteine levels.

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    Here at Kaeng Raeng, we’re proud to promote a product packed with nutrients including full servings of fruit, vegetables, fiber, and protein, and a program that encourages healthy eating and removing processed, fake, chemical-based foods from your diet.  Kaeng Raeng is NOT a juice fast and will keep you feeling full during a detox or cleanse.

    Not all products, programs, or recipes are as safe.  Here are some diets to watch out for.


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

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

    #3 The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
    We love apple cider in a vinaigrette for a salad, but the recommended 3 tablespoons of it before meals in this diet is so high in acidity, it might actually damage your stomach lining. Other than possibly making you too nauseated to eat, we couldn’t find any evidence that it aids in weight loss.

    #4 The Cabbage Soup Diet
    This diet claims you can lose 10 or more pounds by eating just cabbage soup, but this is largely just water weight. Those pounds will likely reappear the minute you return to eating a normal, balanced diet that includes solid food. To add insult to injury, followers of this diet reported light-headedness, weakness, and trouble concentrating. In other words, you need more than a bowlful of cabbage soup to power you through your busy life.

    #5 The Maple Syrup Diet

    While we think maple syrup is a miracle food when it comes to pancakes and waffles, it’s not what you would call a weight-loss miracle. That infamous cocktail of maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper reportedly melts the pounds right off your body, but this is little more than a starvation diet. With almost no protein, this diet will likely cause you to lose metabolism-driving lean muscle, resulting in a slowed calorie-burning capacity. And that’s not a miracle any of us is interested it.

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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    In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” by Michael Pollan.

    Mr. Pollan is not a biochemist or a nutritionist but rather a professor of science journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. You may recognize his name as the author of two highly praised books on food and nutrition, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” (All three books are from Penguin.)

    If you don’t have the time and inclination to read the first two, you can do yourself and your family no better service than to invest $11 and one hour to whip through the 139 pages of “Food Rules” and adapt its guidance to your shopping and eating habits.

    Chances are you’ve heard any number of the rules before. I, for one, have been writing and speaking about them for decades. And chances are you’ve yet to put most of them into practice. But I suspect that this little book, which is based on research but not annotated, can do more than the most authoritative text to get you motivated to make some important, lasting, health-promoting and planet-saving changes in what and how you eat.

    Reasons to Change

    Two fundamental facts provide the impetus Americans and other Westerners need to make dietary changes. One, as Mr. Pollan points out, is that populations who rely on the so-called Western diet — lots of processed foods, meat, added fat, sugar and refined grains — “invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Indeed, 4 of the top 10 killers of Americans are linked to this diet.

    As people in Asian and Mediterranean countries have become more Westernized (affluent, citified and exposed to the fast foods exported from the United States), they have become increasingly prone to the same afflictions.

    The second fact is that people who consume traditional diets, free of the ersatz foods that line our supermarket shelves, experience these diseases at much lower rates. And those who, for reasons of ill health or dietary philosophy, have abandoned Western eating habits often experience a rapid and significant improvement in their health indicators.

    I will add a third reason: our economy cannot afford to continue to patch up the millions of people who each year develop a diet-related ailment, and our planetary resources simply cannot sustain our eating style and continue to support its ever-growing population.

    In his last book, Mr. Pollan summarized his approach in just seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The new book provides the practical steps, starting with advice to avoid “processed concoctions,” no matter what the label may claim (“no trans fats,” “low cholesterol,” “less sugar,” “reduced sodium,” “high in antioxidants” and so forth).

    As Mr. Pollan puts it, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”

    Do you already avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup? Good, but keep in mind, sugar is sugar, and if it is being added to a food that is not normally sweetened, avoid it as well. Note, too, that refined flour is hardly different from sugar once it gets into the body.

    Also avoid foods advertised on television, imitation foods and food products that make health claims. No natural food is simply a collection of nutrients, and a processed food stripped of its natural goodness to which nutrients are then added is no bargain for your body.

    Those who sell the most healthful foods — vegetables, fruits and whole grains — rarely have a budget to support national advertising. If you shop in a supermarket (and Mr. Pollan suggests that wherever possible, you buy fresh food at farmers’ markets), shop the periphery of the store and avoid the center aisles laden with processed foods. Note, however, that now even the dairy case has been invaded by products like gunked-up yogurts.

    Follow this advice, and you will have to follow another of Mr. Pollan’s rules: “Cook.”

    “Cooking for yourself,” he writes, “is the only sure way to take back control of your diet from the food scientists and food processors.” Home cooking need not be arduous or very time-consuming, and you can make up time spent at the stove with time saved not visiting doctors or shopping for new clothes to accommodate an expanding girth.

    Although the most wholesome eating pattern consists of three leisurely meals a day, and preferably a light meal at night, if you must have snacks, stick to fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and nuts, which are naturally loaded with healthful nutrients. I keep a dish of raisins and walnuts handy to satisfy the urge to nibble between meals. I also take them along for long car trips. Feel free to use the gas-station restroom, but never “get your fuel from the same place your car does,” Mr. Pollan writes.

    Treating Treats as Treats

    Perhaps the most important rules to put into effect as soon as possible are those aimed at the ever-expanding American waistline. If you eat less, you can afford to pay more for better foods, like plants grown in organically enriched soil and animals that are range-fed.

    He recommends that you do all your eating at a table, not at a desk, while working, watching television or driving. If you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating, you’re likely to eat more than you realize.

    But my favorite tip, one that helped me keep my weight down for decades, is a mealtime adage, “Stop eating before you’re full” — advice that has long been practiced by societies as diverse as Japan and France. (There is no French paradox, by the way: the French who stay slim eat smaller portions, leisurely meals and no snacks.)

    Practice portion control and eat slowly to the point of satiation, not fullness. The food scientists Barbara J. Rolls of Penn State and Brian Wansink of Cornell, among others, have demonstrated that people eat less when served smaller portions on smaller plates. “There is nothing wrong with special occasion foods, as long as every day is not a special occasion,” Mr. Pollan writes. “Special occasion foods offer some of the great pleasures of life, so we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of them, but the sense of occasion needs to be restored.”

    Here is where I can make an improvement. Ice cream has been a lifelong passion, and even though I stick to a brand lower in fat and calories than most, and limit my portion to the half-cup serving size described on the container, I indulge in this treat almost nightly. Perhaps I’ll try the so-called S policy Mr. Pollan says some people follow: “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets — except on days that begin with the letter S.”

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    By Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief, Prevention

    Weight loss requires two things: burning calories through exercise and cutting them through smart food choices and portion control. In theory, you could create a calorie deficit by spending hours at the gym, but that’s not realistic-or much fun. And who wants to live on lettuce leaves? Instead, try these seven everyday moves to drop pounds effortlessly.

    1. Fidget

    James Levine, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, has spent a decade studying the role that everyday movement, or

    NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis), plays in metabolism. His discovery: People who tap their feet, prefer standing to sitting, and generally move around a lot burn up to 350 more calories a day than those who sit still. That adds up to nearly 37 pounds a year!

    2. Keep most meals under 400 calories

    Study after study recommends spacing out your meals at regular intervals and keeping them all about the same size. Eating meals at regular intervals has been linked to greater calorie burning after eating, better response to insulin, and lower fasting blood cholesterol levels.

    When you eat regular meals throughout the day, you’re less likely to become ravenous and overeat.

    3. Take yourself off cruise control

    Increase the intensity of your everyday tasks, from vacuuming to walking the dog, recommends Douglas Brooks, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer in Northern California. “Turn on some music, add in some vigorous bursts, and enjoy the movement,” he says.

    4. Drink 8 glasses of water per day

    Water is not just a thirst quencher–it may speed the body’s metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of cold water increased their subjects’ metabolic rate by 30%, and the effect persisted for 90 minutes. One-third of the boost came from the body’s efforts to warm the water, but the rest was due to the work the body did to absorb it. “When drinking water, no calories are ingested but calories are used, unlike when drinking sodas, where additional calories are ingested and possibly stored,” explains the lead researcher, Michael Boschmann, MD, of University Medicine Berlin. Increasing

    water consumption to eight glasses per day may help you lose about 8 pounds in a year, he says, so try drinking a glass before meals and snacks and before consuming sweetened drinks or juices.

    5. Step it up–and down

    Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity. In addition to taking the stairs at every opportunity, try stepping up and down on the curb while you’re waiting for the bus or filling your gas tank, says Brooks.

    6. Use grocery bags as dumbbells

    Letting someone else load your groceries or carry your suitcase is an opportunity missed for strengthening and calorie burning, says certified coach Beth Rothenberg, who teaches a class for fitness professionals at UCLA. “Carry your groceries, balanced with a bag in each hand, even if you have to make several trips,” she says. “And pack two smaller suitcases instead of one big one, so you can carry them yourself.”

    7. Eat 4 g of fiber at every meal

    A high-fiber diet can lower your caloric intake without making you feel deprived. In a Tufts University study, women who ate 13 g of fiber or less per day were five times as likely to be overweight as those who ate more fiber. Experts see a number of mechanisms through which fiber promotes weight loss: It may slow down eating because it requires more chewing, speed the passage of food through the digestive tract, and boost satiety hormones. To get 25 g of fiber a day, make sure you eat six meals or snacks, each of which contains about 4 g of fiber. For to-go snacks, buy fruit; it’s handier than vegetables, so it’s an easy way to up your fiber intake. One large apple has just as much fiber (5 g) as a cup of raw broccoli.

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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