Intermittent Fasting has many health benefits

Why has intermittent fasting (IF) become so popular in the past few years?

One of the main reasons is simplicity. There are a million and one diets that involve specific foods or nutrients, but IF skirts all those details. Let’s see what the main types of IF are, and what the evidence shows about weight loss and other health effects.

IF variants

Also known as time-restricted feeding,[1] IF alternates periods of normal food intake with extended periods (usually 16–48 h) of low-to-no food intake. This approach lends itself to different variants, including those:

  • Alternate-Day Fasting (also known as Alternate-Day Modified Fasting). This diet can take different forms: you can eat over 12 hours then fast for 36 hours; you can eat over 24 hours then fast for 24 hours; or you can eat normally over 24 hours then eat very little (about 500 kcal) over the next 24 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat. You fast or severely restrict calories for 24 hours, either at regular intervals (two days per week in the 5:2 Diet) or just from time to time.
  • Random Meal Skipping. You skip meals at random throughout the week.
  • Feeding Window. You can only eat during a set period of time every day (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, for instance).

Should you decide to try intermittent fasting, pick a variant you think you can stick with for at least a few weeks.

Effects on Weight

Yes, IF can lead to weight loss,[2] but all variants may not be equally efficacious. For instance, simply skipping breakfast led to weight loss in one study[3] but not in another.[4] In both studies, the control groups were provided with a standard breakfast, such as oatmeal, but neither group was restricted in what they could eat the rest of the day.

It’s also possible that people with more weight to lose may benefit more from an IF approach, but one thing is sure: if you compensate for the meals you skipped by eating more later in the day, or the next day, or the next, you won’t lose weight. The weight-loss equation is simple: you need to ingest less calories than you burn. IF is just one way to make this happen, but it is a way that some people find easier than the more common “eat smaller meals” approach.

To lose weight, you need to burn more than you eat — or, conversely, to eat less than you burn. Some people find this goal easier to reach through intermittent fasting than through the traditional “smaller meals” approach.

Effects on Health

The body of evidence on IF is still relatively small, but a growing number of studies have reported improvements in various health markers aside from weight, notably lipids.[1] Further, those studies suggest that IF may provide unique metabolic benefits over the “eat smaller meals” approach.

The most intriguing of those benefits, but also the most debated, is a longer life. Fasting can kick-start some regenerative processes in the body,[5] and extended lifespans from caloric restriction have been reported in many animal models[6] (but not all[7]). Keep in mind, however, that those animals were either fed low-calorie diets or rotated through periods of fasting for most of their lives. It is unknown if IF can extend the lifespan of human beings, and if it can, which variant is best and how many weeks, months, or years are required to make a difference.

Assessing the potential metabolic benefits of IF is a long-term endeavor. As a systematic review of the literature noted in 2015,[8] preliminary evidence looks promising, but solid research is still sparse, so that “further research in humans is needed before the use of fasting as a health intervention can be recommended”.

Low-Fat vs Low-Carb Diet: Which is More Effective?

A low-calorie, low-fat diet is frequently recommended for weight loss.

However, strong evidence suggests that low-carb diets may be more effective (12).

Recently, scientists set out to examine this issue further. They conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared low-fat diets to low-carb diets.

Here, we provide a detailed summary of the main results.

Red Knife Slicing Bread Cheese

Background

Low-fat diets have traditionally been recommended for weight loss.

There are two reasons for this.

First off, fat is the most energy-dense macronutrient. Second, saturated fat used to be believed to increase the risk of heart disease (3).

However, many studies do not support the idea that low-fat diets are very effective for weight loss (456).

In fact, strong evidence points toward low-carb diets being more effective. These diets typically limit carbohydrate intake to less than 20–30% of total calorie intake, and are higher in protein and fat (78).

Study Reviewed

A group of US researchers compared the effectiveness of low-carb and low-fat diets on causing weight loss and improving risk factors for heart disease.

Dietary Intervention for Overweight and Obese Adults: Comparison of Low- Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets. A Meta-Analysis.

Basic Study Design

This was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared the effectiveness of two weight loss diets: low-carb and low-fat.

The researchers selected 17 randomized controlled trials that included a total of 1797 overweight and obese participants.

These trials had a few things in common:

  • They ranged from 8 to 24 months in duration.
  • The low-carb diet contained less than 120 grams of carbs per day.
  • The low-fat diet contained less than 30% of calories from fat per day.

This analysis compared the effects of low-fat and low-carb diets on changes in body weight, lower blood sugar and blood pressure.

Bottom Line: This was a meta-analysis that combined the results of 17 randomized trials. These trials compared the effects of low-carb and low-fat diets on weight loss and risk factors for heart disease.

Finding 1: Low-Carb Diets Cause More Weight Loss

While both low-carb and low-fat diets may cause significant weight loss, low-carb diets seem to be more effective.

In fact, the probability of greater weight loss on a low-carb diet, compared to a low-fat diet, was more than 99%.

Tip: Most people on high carb diets tend to consume higher glycemic index foods which studies show are bad for weight loss and many health problems.

Avoid high glycemic foods like applesauce, and add more fiber to slow absorption to lower glycemic index. White Kidney Bean Extract and Konjac root are two excellent choices.

The chart below shows the difference in weight loss between groups.

Low Carb Low Fat on Weight and BMI

These findings are supported by previous studies on low-carb diets (8).

Part of the reason for this may be that low-carb diets also tend to be higher in protein than low-fat diets. Protein can have beneficial effects on body weight.

Bottom Line: Both low-fat and low-carb diets can help you lose weight, but people tend to lose more weight on low-carb diets.

Finding 2: Low-Carb Diets Are Better For Heart Health

Both diets reduced risk factors for heart disease.

Low-carb diets caused greater improvements in HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while low-fat diets affected total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol more favorably.

The chart below shows the changes in blood lipids in both groups.

Low Carb Low Fat Changes

Additionally, improvements in systolic blood pressure were slightly better in the low-carb group, with a difference of 1.7 mmHg between groups.

The probability of a low-carb diet causing a greater reduction in heart disease risk was calculated as 98%.

Overall, these results are consistent with previous studies on low-carb diets (89).

Bottom Line: Low-carb diets caused greater improvements in several heart disease risk factors. The differences were modest, but statistically significant.

Limitations

This study appears to have been well-designed and followed a precise protocol.

However, there were a few limitations to the trials included in the analysis.

First, patient-level data was not available for all of the studies. This limited the researchers’ ability to fully evaluate the quality of the studies they used.

Second, a substantial amount of the studies’ participants dropped out, and the drop-out rate differed significantly between studies. However, according to analyses, this should not have affected the overall results.

Finally, the scores calculated for heart disease risk were based on assumptions that were not verifiable.

The study was supported by a grant from Atkins Nutritionals, a company that produces low-carb products. This does not invalidate the findings, but should be mentioned.

Bottom Line: This study was well-designed and followed a strict protocol. The limitations appear to be minimal.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this study found low-carb diets to be more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets.

Additionally, low-carb diets appeared to be slightly better at improving blood lipids and blood pressure.

All that being said, the best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run. A low-carb diet can work very well, but only if you stick to it.

Tip: Garcinia Cambogia can help lower hunger and burn fat on any diet but is more effective on low fat diets. For those on high fat diets might respond better with Alli, as it blocks absorption of fat. Likewise, Lactobacillus Gasseri also blocks fat absorption which has been shown to help with losing weight and belly fat.

Keto diet proven effective for diabetics

ketogenic-dietMany nutritionalists and dietitians are joining the chorus of fans of ketogenic diet. And certainly it is more effective that even the best diet pills like Garcinia Cambodia.

However, there are some health professionals concerned about the use of ketogenic diets for diabetics.

Addressing this concern, a recent randomized controlled trial investigated the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of a 4-month, very low-calorie ketogenic diet in 89 obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Here is a detailed summary of its findings, in addition to some background information.

 

Background

low-carb-snacks-1200x509The ketogenic diet contains minimal amounts of carbs.

This forces the body to burn fat and leads to ketosis, which is characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. The ketone bodies partially replace glucose (blood sugar) as fuel for cells.

Reducing sugar intake has multiple health benefits, especially for diabetics.

Additionally, eating sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, may promote overeating. Sugar may also be addictive for some people, making them susceptible to cravings and overeating.

For these reasons, high sugar intake is probably one of the main causes of weight gain and obesity.

A ketogenic diet eliminates most dietary sugar, as well as the health problems associated with it. However, eliminating dietary carbs means that you have to eat more fat or protein instead.

Increasing fat intake doesn’t seem to be a problem if the diet is also calorie-reduced. Studies indicate that high-fat diets are more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets. This is probably because high-fat diets contain much fewer carbs (1).

Additionally, limiting carbs is more beneficial for weight loss and blood sugar control, compared to a low-fat diet or high-carb diet (23).

Yet, some researchers are concerned that a high protein intake on a very low-carb diet may adversely affect diabetic people with kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy) (45).

Others have pointed out that very low-carb or high-protein diets may not be feasible in a real-life setting (6).

In 2008, the American Diabetes Association even concluded that very low-carb diets were of limited use for people with diabetes and should only be considered as part of a structured weight loss program (7).

However, few studies have examined the safety and effectiveness of a calorie-reduced, very low-carb ketogenic diet, compared to a standard weight loss diet.

Article Reviewed

This study examined the safety and effectiveness of a low-calorie ketogenic diet in obese diabetics.

Short-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet interventional weight loss program versus hypocaloric diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-8-43-58-am

Study Design

This randomized controlled trial evaluated the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of a low-calorie ketogenic diet in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

A total of 89 men and women, aged 30–65, participated in the study. They followed a 4-month weight loss program, which included lifestyle and behavioral modification support.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

1. Very Low-Calorie, Ketogenic Diet (VLCK)

This was a commercial weight loss program (DiaproKal Method) based on specific protein supplements provided by Pronokal Protein Supplies in Spain.

The program consisted of three stages:

  1. Active phase: Very low-calorie diet (600–800 calories per day) containing less than 50 grams of carbs from vegetables and 10 grams of olive oil. Protein intake ranged between 0.36–0.55 grams per pound of body weight (0.8–1.2 g per kg).
  2. Metabolic stabilization: When the participants had reached a pre-specified weight loss target, they began a low-calorie diet and gradually started to incorporate different food groups.
  3. Maintenance phase: Finally, the participants went on a weight maintenance diet that was balanced in carbs, protein and fat and ranged between 1,500–2,250 calories per day.

2. Standard Low-Calorie Diet (Control)

This was a standard weight loss diet based on the American Diabetes Association Guidelines (8).

It aimed at reducing calorie intake by 500–1,000 calories per day, depending on the participants’ basal metabolic rate.

The diet provided 10–20% of calories from protein, 45–60% from carbs and less than 30% of calories from fat.


In both groups, the participants attended nine individual support sessions with a dietitian and were contacted by telephone twice a month.

The researchers measured the participants and took blood samples on four occasions: 1) at the start of the study, 2) after 2 weeks, 3) after 2 months, and 4) at the end of the study (after 4 months).

They measured the following parameters:

  • Renal function: Biomarkers of kidney function were measured in blood samples.
  • Liver function: Biomarkers of liver function were measured in blood samples.
  • Ketones: Levels of ketone bodies in blood samples were measured to confirm that those in the VLCK reached ketosis.
  • Body weight, body mass index and waist circumference.
  • Blood sugar control: Fasting blood sugar, insulin and HbA1c were measured in blood samples. Insulin resistance was calculated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA).
  • Blood lipids: Fasting triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
  • Dietary adherence: Assessed using the Eating Self-Efficacy Scale.

Conclusion: This was a randomized controlled trial examining the safety and effectiveness of a calorie-reduced, very low-carb ketogenic diet in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Finding 1: The Ketogenic Diet Caused Greater Weight Loss

The participants in the VLCK group lost an additional 22 lbs (10 kg) of body weight, compared to the control group.

Specifically, they lost 32 lbs (15 kg) in the VLCK group and 11 lbs (5 kg) in the control group.

They also experienced a greater decrease in waist circumference, as shown in the chart below.

keto-diet-chart

Some researchers have speculated that the ketogenic diet helps people lose weight only because it’s much higher in protein than the standard weight loss diet.

Eating high amounts of protein is known to reduce appetite and increase the amount of calories burned.

One study suggests that going on a ketogenic diet without increasing protein intake has no lasting effect on the amount of calories burned and doesn’t lead to additional weight loss, compared to a standard, high-carb weight loss diet.

Conclusion: The ketogenic diet led to significantly greater weight loss than the standard low-calorie diet.

Finding 2: The Ketogenic Diet Led to Greater Improvements in Blood Sugar Control

Insulin resistance decreased significantly more in the VLCK group, compared to the control, as shown in the chart below.

keto-diet-insulin-charg

Fasting blood sugar levels reduced similarly in both groups.

However, the decrease in HbA1c was significant only in the VLCK group. HbA1c is a marker of blood sugar control that represents the previous 3-month average of blood sugar levels.

These findings are supported by previous studies showing that very low-carb diets improve blood sugar control in diabetics (910).

Conclusion: The ketogenic diet significantly improved blood sugar control, compared to a standard weight loss diet.

Finding 3: Self-Reported Adverse Effects Were More Common on the Ketogenic Diet

The researchers detected no significant differences in safety parameters between groups. However, self-reported adverse effects were more common in the VLCK group.

Mild adverse effects were reported by 80% of the participants in the VLCK group but only 41% of those in the control group. These included headache, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Additionally, constipation and low blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension) were more common in the VLCK group at the end of the study. No serious adverse effects were reported.

Adverse effects became less frequent as the study progressed. The authors concluded that the ketogenic diet is a safe, well-tolerated weight loss method for people with type 2 diabetes.

The adverse effects reported in this study are similar to those generally associated with very low-carb diets (11).

Conclusion: Blood analyses revealed no significant differences in biomarkers of liver and kidney function between groups. However, self-reported adverse effects were more common in the VLCK group.

Limitations

Participants in the VLCK group received protein supplements provided by Pronokal Protein Supplies in Spain.

Additionally, five of the nine authors received research grants and advisory board fees from the company, creating a conflict of interest.

Otherwise, the study appears to have been well designed.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In conclusion, a weight loss program based on the ketogenic diet was significantly more effective than a standard weight loss program.

It appeared safe and reasonably well tolerated by people with type 2 diabetes and caused greater weight loss and improvements in blood sugar control.

Alternate day fasting is effective weight loss plan


Following a standard weight loss diet is difficult for most people who too often depend on the fad weight loss pills like Garcinia Cambogia extract.

Recently different methods such as intermittent fasting are gaining popularity.

A randomized controlled trial compared the safety and effectiveness of alternate-day fasting to a traditional, calorie-reduced diet. Here is a detailed summary of its findings.

Background

When people diet, they eat less than they normally would.

Typically, an effective weight loss diet involves a 20–30% calorie deficit, relative to the amount of calories needed to maintain weight. It generally leads to a moderate 5–10% weight loss over a 6-month period (12).

However, sticking to a calorie-reduced diet for a long period is extremely difficult for most people (3).

For this reason, alternative strategies are growing in popularity. One such strategy is intermittent fasting, which involves eating little or nothing for specified periods and normally the rest of the time.

One common intermittent fasting approach is alternate-day fasting (ADF), which involves eating little or nothing every other day.

Like most other weight loss methods, ADF reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It may also cause beneficial changes in appetite hormones (456).

Studies in overweight or obese adults indicate that ADF may cause 3–8% weight loss over a period of 2–12 weeks (78).

Yet, it’s still unclear whether ADF is an effective weight loss strategy. Until now, no studies have compared ADF to a traditional weight loss diet (9).

Article Reviewed

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-41-04-pmThis was a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of alternate-day fasting to a standard weight loss diet.

A randomized pilot study comparing zero-calorie alternate-day fasting to daily caloric restriction in adults with obesity.

Study Design

This was a small, 2-month randomized controlled trial examining the safety and effectiveness of alternate-day fasting, compared to a traditional weight loss diet.

A total of 26 obese adults participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  • Alternate-day fasting (ADF): Participants fasted every other day. On non-fasting days, they could eat as much as they wanted. On fasting days, they were only allowed to consume water, calorie-free beverages and stocks or broths.
  • Traditional weight loss diet (TWD): Participants followed a calorie-restricted diet (a deficit of 400 calories per day) for two months.

In both groups, all food was provided by the study kitchen, and food intake was closely monitored. Additionally, the participants’ macronutrient intakes were standardized with 55% of calories from carbs, 15% from protein and 30% from fat.

At the start and end of the study, the researchers measured the following:

  • Body weight.
  • Body composition: Measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
  • Blood lipids: Total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL were measured in fasting blood samples.
  • Blood sugar control: Evaluated with a glucose tolerance test.
  • Resting metabolic rate: Assessed in the morning using standard indirect calorimetry.
  • Appetite hormones: Leptin and ghrelin were measured in fasting blood samples.
  • Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).

When the study was over, the participants received standard weight maintenance advice. The above measurements were repeated after a 6-month unsupervised follow-up.

Summary: This was a randomized controlled trial comparing the safety and effectiveness of alternate-day fasting to a traditional weight loss diet.

Finding 1: Alternate-Day Fasting and Standard Dieting Caused Similar Weight Loss

Alternate-day fasting (ADF) and the traditional weight loss diet (TWD) caused similar weight loss.

Specifically, those who fasted every other day lost 18.1 pounds (8.2 kg), on average, whereas those who dieted every day lost 15.7 pounds (7.1 kg), as shown in the chart below.

Weight Loss ADF TWD

Although the weight loss was slightly higher among those who fasted every other day, the difference was not statistically significant. However, the relative weight loss (percentage of body weight) was nearly significant.

Further studies with a greater number of participants and more statistical power are needed to determine whether this difference is real or just a chance occurrence.

Summary: Alternate-day fasting led to weight loss similar to that of a standard weight loss diet with a moderate calorie deficit.

Finding 2: Alternate-Day Fasting Led to a Greater Calorie Deficit

Participants who fasted every other day achieved a greater calorie deficit.

They consumed 376 fewer calories per day, on average, compared to those who were on the traditional weight loss diet.

The chart below shows the differences in calorie deficit between groups.

Calorie Deficit ADF TWD

This is a large reduction in calories that should lead to considerable weight loss over two months.

However, this extra calorie deficit didn’t seem to significantly affect weight loss, as shown in the previous section.

Possible explanations include the underreporting of food intake in the ADF group or a reduction in the number of calories burned.

Summary: Alternate-day fasting seemed to cause a greater calorie deficit, on average, compared to a traditional weight loss diet.

Finding 3: Alternative-Fasting Had Favorable Effects on Body Composition

After the intervention part of the study had ended, the researchers followed the participants for an additional six months.

During these six months, there were no significant changes in weight regain between groups.

However, when the researchers compared values from the start of the intervention, changes in percent fat mass (FM) and lean mass (LM) were significantly more favorable among those who fasted every other day.

These findings are presented in the chart below.

Change FM Trunk FM LM

These findings should be interpreted with caution since there were some between-group differences in body weight at the start of the study.

Summary: Alternate-day fasting appeared to beneficially affect body composition, compared to a traditional weight loss diet.

Finding 4: Resting Metabolic Rate Decreased in Both Groups

Both alternate-day fasting and traditional dieting caused a drop in the number of calories burned at rest (resting metabolic rate).

This effect is known as metabolic adaptation or starvation mode — the body’s response to a calorie deficit.

When the decrease in resting metabolic rate (RMR) was adjusted for fat mass and lean mass, the difference between groups became marginally significant. The findings are presented in the chart below.

Change In Resting Metabolic Rate

Summary: Both alternate-day fasting and a calorie-reduced diet caused a decrease in resting metabolic rate.

Finding 5: Alternate-Day Fasting Caused an Increase in BDNF

Previous studies suggest that fasting may improve mental performance, possibly due to changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF may also be involved in the regulation of energy balance (10111213).

In the current study, there were no differences in BDNF levels between groups.

However, at the end of the follow-up period, the researchers discovered that levels of BDNF had increased significantly among those in the ADF group, compared to the TWD group, as shown in the chart below.

Change In BDNF ADF TWD

These findings suggest that ADF may lead to long-term changes in the formation of BDNF, which might promote weight loss maintenance. This needs to be studied further.

Summary: Alternate-day fasting led to an increase in brain-derived neurotropic factor. The health relevance of this is unclear.

Finding 6: Effects of Alternate-Day Fasting on Appetite Hormones

Previous studies indicate that alternate-day fasting increases fullness after meals, as well as levels of the satiety hormone peptide YY (14).

In the present study, the researchers measured leptin (a satiety hormone) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) at the start and end of the study. The findings are presented in the chart below.

Change Leptin Ghrelin ADF TWD

There were no significant differences in hormone changes between groups.

ADF also led to improvements in blood lipids. Once again, there were no significant between-group differences.

Summary: Alternate-day fasting and a traditional weight loss diet similarly affected the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Limitations

The main limitation of the study was its small size. The low statistical power may explain the lack of significant differences in some of the outcomes.

Second, physical activity levels weren’t monitored. This might have affected the results.

Third, the researchers didn’t know how many of the participants continued following the ADF or TWD during the follow-up period.

Finally, food intake was strictly controlled, and the findings may not be generalized to a free-living population.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this study suggests that alternate-day fasting is safe and at least as effective as a moderate, calorie-reduced diet.

It did not raise the risk of weight regain during the first six months after the weight loss program finished.

Although weight loss wasn’t significantly different between groups, there were some signs that alternate-day fasting may be more beneficial than continuous dieting. These findings need to be confirmed by larger studies.

High-Protein Breakfasts Burn Calories and Reduce Hunger

Obesity is a serious health concern.

In both children and adults, it may increase the risk of several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

For successful weight loss, multiple strategies are usually required. One effective approach may be to eat more protein  (1).

For this reason, researchers set out to see if high-protein breakfasts could help burn calories and reduce appetite in overweight and normal-weight children.

High Protein Egg Breakfast with Toast

Background

“Calories burned” refers to the rate at which the body uses energy.

In more scientific terms, it is known as energy expenditure. When energy expenditure rises after a meal, it is referred to as the thermic effect of food.

Compared to fat and carbs, protein has a greater thermic effect and is considered very weight-loss friendly (2).

Protein contains many fewer calories than fat, by weight. And, although its calorie content is equal to that of carbs, eating more protein appears to speed up our metabolism. This temporarily increases the amount of calories burned (34).

Article Reviewed

Researchers at the University of Arkansas set out to examine whether a high-protein breakfast could help burn calories and reduce appetite, when compared to a high-carb breakfast.

The results were recently published in the Journal of Nutrition:

Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age.

Basic Study Design

The study was a randomized, crossover study in normal-weight and overweight children, aged 8–12.

A total of 35 girls and boys participated, but only 29 completed the study.

The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  1. High-protein breakfast: This breakfast contained 21% protein (18 g), 52% carbs and 27% fat. The calorie content was 344 kcal. It consisted of an egg, egg whites, butter, orange juice and two slices of white bread.
  2. High-carb breakfast: This breakfast contained 4% protein (3 g), 67% carbs, and 29% fat. The calorie content was 327 kcal. It consisted of a frozen waffle, butter, maple syrup and orange juice.

Since the study had a crossover design, all participants had both types of breakfast on separate occasions.

The two breakfasts had a similar calorie content. The fiber and fat content was also controlled.

Immediately after eating breakfast, energy expenditure, fat and carb oxidation, appetite and blood sugar were measured over a 4-hour period.

Additionally, food intake was estimated at the end of the testing period by providing participants with a free lunch buffet and recording how much they ate.

Bottom Line: The study was a randomized, crossover trial in overweight and normal-weight children. The study compared the effects of high-protein and high-carb breakfasts on appetite and calories burned.

Finding 1: High-Protein Breakfasts Help Burn More Calories

The high-protein breakfast increased the amount of calories burned in both the normal-weight and overweight children.

Here is an overview of the main results:

  • Fat oxidation was 16% higher after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast.
  • Carb oxidation was 32% higher 4 hours after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast.

The effect of protein on calories burned is well known. Many studies have shown that high-protein meals increase the amount of calories burned, compared to meals that are high in carbs (25).

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast increased the amount of calories burned after the meal more than the high-carb breakfast did. This is supported by previous studies.

Finding 2: Protein is More Filling Than Carbs

All participants were less hungry and felt more full after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast (stay away from applesauce ?).

Here are the results:

  • Hunger was 14% less after the high-protein breakfast.
  • Fullness was 32% greater after the high-protein breakfast.
  • Desire to eat was 30% less after the high-protein breakfast.

All of these differences were independent of body weight.

These results are supported by previous studies showing that eating high-protein meals may increase fullness and reduce hunger (56).

However, in the present study there was no significant difference in food intake between groups at the lunch buffet.

This is supported by one study in children who had a low-glycemic breakfast. While they remained full for a longer time, there was no effect on food intake at lunch (7).

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast was more filling than the high-carb breakfast, resulting in decreased hunger and increased fullness.

Finding 3: Protein Helps Burn More Calories in Overweight Children

In overweight children, the high-protein breakfast appeared to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure to a greater extent than in normal-weight children.

After the high-protein breakfast, the energy expenditure was 4.09 and 3.68 kcal/240 min among the overweight and normal-weight children, respectively.

This indicates that protein may have stronger effects on burning calories in overweight children.

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast helped burn more calories in overweight children than it did in normal-weight children.

Finding 4: High-Protein Breakfasts May Help Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Both breakfasts resulted in similar increases in blood sugar.

However, there were some differences:

  • Blood sugar levels were 10% higher 30 minutes after the high-carb breakfast, but only among normal-weight children.
  • Blood sugar levels were 6.3% higher 240 minutes after the high-protein breakfast.

These results indicate that the high-protein meal helps lower blood sugar levels and preventing large fluctuations.

This is supported by previous studies showing that diets high in protein may improve blood sugar control (8910).

Bottom Line: There were only small differences in blood sugar levels between groups. However, there were some indications that a high-protein breakfast may be better at stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Limitations

The study had a few limitations:

  • The effects of high-protein and high-carb breakfasts were examined with only one test meal for each.
  • The participants were children. It is unclear if the results can be generalized to adults.
  • The study had few participants. A greater number of participants might have given different results.
  • The overweight and normal-weight participants had breakfasts with a similar calorie content. Since overweight children presumably have higher calorie intakes, this might have affected the results.
  • The high-protein breakfast contained only 22% protein. A higher protein content could have given different results.

Summary

In short, the study shows that high-protein breakfasts can help burn calories and reduce hunger.

They temporarily cause more calories to be burned, when compared to high-carb breakfasts. Additionally, they may help reduce appetite for a few hours.

At the end of the day, adding protein to your meals may be a valuable long-term strategy against weight gain and obesity.

14 Best Foods for Weight Loss

We chose 14 fairly common foods that research proves can be helpful for weight loss.

Some, like Eggs, Greens, Salmon and Almonds are recommended for nearly all diets.

Others like Oats, Apples, or Chia seeds are great choices for many people, but are fairly high in carbs so don’t fit well in Low CarbPaleoMediterraneanNordicAtkins, or Keto diets.

Anyways, here’s our list and some of the science behind how they can help you  lose weight fast without depending on fad diet pills like Garcinia Cambogia.

I hope this gives you some good ideas.

1. Eggs

girl eating eggsGovernment guidelines that once slammed the cholesterol in eggs now admit they were wrong.

Dietary cholesterol does NOT raise your cholesterol levels, and in fact are very nutritious. (12).

In fact, eggs are one of the very best foods for weight loss.

A large egg is about 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6 protein, and no carbs (3).

The balanced protein and saturated fats  them very filling, and are nearly perfect for low carb dieters.

With no carbs, the score a zero on the glycemic index, so won’t raise blood sugar levels.

Simply eating eggs instead of bagels resulted in  significant weight loss for participants in this eight week study (4).

Another study showed that eating eggs instead of bagels increased feeling of fullness (satiety), and resulted in less calories consumed  later in the day (5).

[box] Conclusion: Eggs are a very nutritious high protein food that are also very filling and can result in fewer calories consumed throughout the day. [/box]

2. Kefir

KefirDepending on the type of milk used, 6 ounces of milk kefir  contains approximately

  • Calories – 100
  • Protein – 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 7-8 grams
  • Fat – 3-6 grams

(http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-liberty-kefir-plain-i84981)

After the fermentation process, Kefir is much lower in Carbs and Glycemic Index than milk.

It contains more than 20  different strains of friendly bacteria, including many lactobacillus and bifodobacteriam strains which are  beneficial (6).

Kefir also has beneficial yeasts which combat intestinal parasites like E. coli.

The fatty acids in Kefir are between  80-95% CLA – Conjugated Linoleum Acid  (7).

CLA helps glucose fill muscles cells more effectively,  preventing glucose from being converted to fat.

A review of 18 different clinical studies have shown CLA helps reduce body fat (8)

[box]Conclusion: Kefir is well balanced in Proteins, Carbs, and Saturated Fats, high in many beneficial probiotics, and CLAs which have been shown to aid weight loss.[/box]

3. Avocados

avocadoLike eggs, Avocados have gotten a bad rap from (faulty) mainstream nutritionists until just recently.

Now that we know that “eating fat doesn’t make you fat”,  attitudes are changing and Avocados are recognized as a very healthy diet choice.

A medium Avocado has:

  • Calories – 322
  • Carbohydrate – 17 grams
  • Fiber – 13 grams
  • Sugars – 1 gram
  • Fat – 29 grams
  • Protein – 4 grams
  • Glycemic Index – not measured

(http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2)

Avocados are very high  in a particular kind of fat – monounsaturated oleic acid.

Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer (11121314).

Oleic acid is converted in the body to CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), which  we mentioned for Kefir that CLA  has been shown to help reduce body fat (15)guacamole-variations-06

With only 1 gram of carbohydrates as sugar and the rest being fiber which slows the absorption tremendously.

In fact, the glycemic index of Avocados is so low that the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition doesn’t even bother to calculate it (16).

High fats and fiber give Avocados a high satiety index, which was proven by research.

A study found that compared with other foods, subjects given Avocados  were  23% more satisfied and were 28% less likely to  eat for the next 5 hours (17).

They also contain nearly 20% of the RDA for potassium – an important mineral that  most people need a lot more of (18).

[box] Conclusion: Packed with beneficial fats and fibers, Avocados are very filling and hunger satiating.  For Keto dieters, a perfect compliment for Eggs in the morning. [/box]

4. Greens

leafy greens1Leafy greens such as spinach, chard, collard greens and Kale are very nutrient dense, but low in calories for volume and high in fiber.

Most leafy greens have fewer than 10 calories per cup  which make them one of the very best foods for weight control.

Research proves that  including very low in energy density foods result in fewer overall calories consumed and  has been proven in many  (19).

Full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that combat  diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer (20),

[box] Conclusion: Low in calories and high in nutrients make leafy greens another no-brainer for weight loss.  Nearly all diet plans recommend eating as much leafy greens as you wish [/box]

5. Wild Salmon

salmonFish are very high in protein, so are recommended by nearly all diet plans.

But some fish are more healthy than others, with Salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and other oily fish being at the top of the list.

Salmon in particular is  high in  Omega-3 fat which has numerous health benefits besides combating metabolic disease (2122).

One study found eating farmed Salmon 2 times a week resulted in 50% higher levels in the blood of the important Omega 3 fat DHA (23).

Nutrients in Fresh vs Farmed Salmon

There are noticable differences in Wild vs Farm-raised Salmon, as this table shows.

According to the  USDA, wild Salmon has 130 less calories than farm raised Salmon per serving.

These calories are mostly from fat, but not the good Omega 3 fats that we need more of (24).

Unfortunately, farm raised Salmon are much higher in Omega-6 fats.

They also have 3 times as much saturated fat.  Not terrible, but not as beneficial as Omega 3 fats.

Those on a Ketogenic diet might actually prefer the higher fat content of farm raised Salmon.  Others would probably prefer the lower calories of Wild Salmon.

[box] Conclusion: All fish are excellent sources of protein, but the Omega 6 fats in Salmon put it at the top of the list for weight loss. [/box]

6. Grapefruit

Pink-GrapefruitA medium sized red grapefruit has:

  • Calories – 97
  • Fiber – 4 grams
  • Protein –  2 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 26 grams
  • Fat – 0 grams
  • Glycemic Index – 29
  • Vitamin A (79% RDA)
  • Vitamin C (107% RDA)
  • Vitamin A (79% RDA)
  • Pantothenic acid (14.% RDA)

As fruit go, they are fairly low in calories,  with an excellent Glycemic Index, but it isn’t obvious why Grapefruit has been so popular with dieters for decades now.

The answer rests on AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that  helps muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy.

AMPK activity  is increased by exercise, but can also be activated by certain food substances such as Polyphenols and Capsacin.

Another such substance is Nootkatone,   a component found in grapefruit has been shown to significantly increase AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity (25).

Researchers found that study participants given 1/2 a  grapefruit  or the same quantity of juice before meals lost an average of  3.5 pounds over 12 weeks (26).

3.5 pounds isn’t huge, but that was from eating just 1/2 a grapefruit with no other changes.  Participants also had lower blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.

[box] Conclusion: Eating Grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals helps your body store more calories in muscle, leaving less for fat storage and results in modest weight loss [/box]

7. Apples 

applesA medium Apple has:

  • Calories – 95
  • Carbohydrate – 25 grams
  • Fiber – 4 grams
  • Fat – 0 grams
  • Protein – 0 grams
  • Glycemic Index – 29

http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/glycemic-index

Apples are all carbs, with no fat or protein, which normally isn’t great for weight loss.

However, the do have a very low Glycemic Index, are very high in Antioxidants, dietary fiber, flavonoids, and often make most lists of Top Healthy Foods

The antioxidants and nutrients may help reduce risks of hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (27).

For weight loss, a 12 week study showed women that added  one and a half large apples daily to their diet lost  on average about 3 pounds (28).

The  fiber in apples is Pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to  increase satiety, improve metabolic health, and decrease caloric intake, weight gain, adiposity (30,)

This low energy density,  glycemic index, and soluble fiber make it an excellent food for weight loss for most people, although the 25 grams of carbohydrate is problematic for those on Low Carb or Ketogenic diets.

[box]Conclusion: Apples are a great portable, nutritions snack food that can alleviate a craving for sweets, while giving a little boost to your  weight loss efforts.[/box]

8. Oatmeal

oatmeal_bellyfillingA cup of rolled oats contains:

  • Calories – 300
  • Fats – 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 56 grams
  • Fiber – 8 grams
  • Protein – 11 grams
  • Glycemic Index – 55

Oatmeal is fairly high in calories and carbs.  But they do have a fairly low glycemic index of 55 so the calories are absorbed fairly slowly.

They contain the soluble fiber beta gluten, which has been shown to increase feelings of satiation, and fight insulin resistance and hypertension (31).

Studies show that compared with standard breakfast cereals of the same calorie count, oatmeal provides more protein and fiber, less sugar, and induced greater satiety (32).

In another study published in 2013, subjects who consumed oatmeal for breakfast over 12 weeks had reduced weight, BMI, and waist to hip ratio.

A 2013 issue of Plant Foods and Human Nutrition published a study that showed oat cereal consumed for 12 weeks did associate with reduced body weight, body mass index, body fat and waist-to-hip ratio (33)

** Before I went Keto and had to cut the oatmeal, one of my favorite tricks was mixing it with Cottage Cheese.  Tastes yummy and gives you a nice balance of carbs and proteins.

[box] Conclusion:  Studies confirm what every oatmeal eater knows – they are very filling and slowly absorbed to keep hunger at bay for many hours.  While they are too high in carbs for some diets, they can aid weight loss, especially when eaten in place of commercial cereals.  [/box]

9. Beef

Grilled New York strip steak
Grilled New York strip steak

We could list Chicken and Pork here as well, but are focusing on Beef to also address what we feel is some unfair criticisms Beef suffers from.

Research shows that eating red meat does not increase risks of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease  (3435).

Other studies  show no increase in cancer risks for women from consuming red meats, and only a very minute increase in risk for men  (3637).

Studies show there are many benefits for eating beef, as a high protein diet can increase metabolism to burn up to 100 calories more each day (3839).

Other research demonstrates that increasing  protein to 30% of total calories can cut hunger and result in weight loss of a pound a week  (4041).

[box] Conclusion: Sufficient protein is key to weight loss.  Adding whole, unprocessed beef to you diet can result in significant weight loss [/box]

10. Coconut Oil

coconut-oilCoconut oil is composed almost entirely of Saturated Fats, which faulty advice has caused many people to fear unjustly.

This very healthy oil is unique in that it is nearly all  Medium Chain Fatty Acids (42).

Unlike all other fats, Medium Chain Fatty Acids  bypass the digestive system and go straight to the liver to be used for energy or  ketone bodies.

Studies show that consuming coconut oil increases metabolism  compared to equal calories of other fats (4344).

Another study showed taking 2 tablespoons of MCT  fats per day increased energy consumption (fat burning) by 120 calories per day  (45).

Coconut oil also helps suppress appetite.

Studies show that eating MCT fats cut hunger and participants consumed less calories throughout the day – up to 250 less in one study  (4647).

[box] Conclusion: Right behind Olive Oil in overall health benefits, Coconut oil can also aid weight loss when used in place of other fats for cooking or baking recipes [/box]

11. Goji Berries

goji-berries

One ounce of dried Goji Berry contain:

  • Fiber – 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 6 grams
  • Protein – 3 grams
  • Calories – 23
  • Fat – 0
  • Glycemic Index – 29

(http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/280160/1)

Goji Berries are harvested from the Lycium Barbarum plant, from the box thorn family.

They are native to southern Europe and Asia, but most commercially produced Goji is from China, where it is also known as Chinese Boxthorn or Wolfberry.

Goji have a very good nutritional profile that includes high level of antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin (48)

  • 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
  • 6 Vitamins
  • 18 amino acids
  • beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
  • 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin

They have a lot of protein, high dietary fiber and  low glycemic index which makes them filling without raising blood sugar levels.

Goji berry is an adaptogen that is claimed to reduce stress levels and lowers cortisol levels which promote weight gain (49).

The ORAC value of Goji Berry, which measures antioxidant levels, is about 10x higher than other fruits like Oranges or Blueberries, and is comparable to Acai (50).

A 2011 double blind study with Rodents given Lycium Barbarum extract showed increased metabolic rate and reduced waist size compared to placebo (51).

In 2008, a 14 day study of adults given Lycium Barbarum showed improved Energy Level, athletic performance, quality of sleep, and gastrointestinal function (52).

One downside of Goji Berries is the cost – they are fairly pricey.

[box] Conclusion: Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, with low glycemic index, Goji Berries make a handy and healthy snack for a little weight loss boost [/box]

12. Almonds

almonds-master_0One ounce of Almonds  contains:

  • Calories – 160
  • Fat – 14 grams
  • Carbs – 2.5 grams
  • Fiber –  3.5 grams.
  • Protein – 6 grams.
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3667

Almonds are high in protein and  fiber which  has been shown to promote satiety and result in lower overall calorie consumption (53).

The also have a very low glycemic index which means those calories are absorbed very slowly, making them an approved food source for diabetics (5455).

Nearly all of the fats in Almonds are  mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to have positive effects on heart disease (56).

Research has shown consuming almonds can lead to improved metabolism, lower blood sugar levels and weight loss (575859)

Almonds are fairly high in calories, so should not be consumed in massive quantities, but rather serve as a handy snack between meals to alleviate hunger.

[box] Conclusion: High in protein and fiber, and low in carbs, Almonds make a great between meal snack, especially for Low Carb dieters. [/box]

13. Chia Seeds

Chia-Seed-Diet

One ounce of Chia seeds  contains:

  • Calories – 137
  • Fat – 9 grams
  • Carbs – 12 grams
  • Fiber –  11 grams.
  • Protein – 4 grams.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Chia seeds contain 12 grams of carbohydrate per ounce, which is fairly high, but 11 of those grams are  soluble fiber.

This makes chia seeds a low-carb friendly food, and one of the best sources of fiber in the world

This soluble fiber makes Chia seed much like Glucomannan, in that they absorb more than 10x their weight in water, and turn into a gel in your stomach (61).

Not only is this very filling, but the soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic for the beneficial bacteria in your gut – the Probacteria that have weight loss benefits  as well  (626364656667).

The 9 grams of fat is mostly Omega 3 fats, which have tremendous  benefits for heart health.

Chia seeds are also high in  Vitamins A, B, E, and D,  iron, magnesium, iodine, niacin, thiamine, and many antioxidants (68).

Studies show consumption of  chia seeds suppress  appetite, but so far they are inconclusive at proving weight loss (6970).

[box] Conclusion: Packed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, protein, Omega 3  fats, and fiber make Chia seeds one of the most nutritious foods on earth.  Although short term weight loss benefits are unproven, they are filling and do suppress appetite.  [/box]

14. Chili Pepper

chili peppersThe “hot” in chili peppers is from a substance called capsaicin,

Numerous research studies and clinical trials  have shown capsaicin  gives a boost to metabolism to  increase fat burning, and also helps suppress appetite (717273).

However, one study shows that the increased fat burning and hunger suppression is more effective for those who are not used to consuming capsaicin, and the effects diminish over time (74).

Besides weight loss, Capsaicin is believed to have these additional health benefits

  • Aid digestion
  • Reduce pain from Migraine headaches
  • Sooth aching joints
  • Support Detox

Amazon has over 1500 products that include capsaicin in the form of Cayenne (a type of chile pepper)

[box] Conclusion: Adding Cayenne or other chili peppers to your food wherever you can is a simple way to add some pep to your weight loss efforts. [/box]

Final Thoughts

None of these are miracle foods that you can use to reach your weight loss goals all by themselves.

But they are all healthy choices and do have modest benefits for weight loss, proven by research.

Incorporate as many of these foods as you can into your diet in place of less healthy alternatives and you will see results.

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The Super Fiber For Weight Loss is Konjac Root (Glucomannan)

glucomannan1Most of the weight loss supplements we review work for a small percentage of the people that use them.

But the one I am going to talk about today really stands out for the wide range of people it helps.

It is called Glucomannan, or Konjac Root, and is a type of soluble fiber.

What is Glucomannan?

40% of the the elephant yam (Konjac Root) is Glucomannan.

In southeast Asia it has been used for centuries in herbal mixtures and traditional foods like tofu and konjac jelly.

ShiratakiIt is also the only ingredient in shirataki noodles, which accounts for the numerous health benefits ascribed to this japanese favorite (1).

Besides being used as a supplement for diet, It is used in production of foods as a thickener or emulsifier (2).

Glucomannan is one of the most absorbant dietary fibers and will aborb 50 times its weight in water.

If you open a single capsule of glucomannan into a large glass of water, it will turn into a mass of gel.

This incredible viscosity and absorption capacity is key in its ability to promote health and weight loss (3).

Bottom line: Glucomannan is a water soluble fiber with unequaled absorption capacity. It is rapidly becoming a key addition to many weight-loss products.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble-fiber-foodsGlucomannan is a soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is not digestible by our bodies, but do get digested by the “good” bacteria (Probiotics) in our guts (4).

In the stomach and intestine, it absorbs water, kind of like a sponge, and gives you a feeling of fullness (5).

It also slows absorption of other nutrients, reducing the rapid spike in blood sugar that tends to happen after (carb-heavy) meals (6).

The combined effect of increased fullness and slowed absorption of nutrients helps decrease appetite level and cause an automatic reduction in food intake (7,8).

How-to-Feed-Your-MicrobiomeAfter the stomach, soluble fibers travel to the large intestine, where they becomes food for the healthy bacteria.

The healthy bacteria break it down, use it for fuel and turn some of it into short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which  prevents fat gain in animal studies (910).

Although the mechanisms aren’t entirely understood yet, feeding the friendly bacteria (prebiotics)  has been shown to aid in weight loss (1112).

As with other Soluble fibers, Glucomannan has the following benefits for weight loss:

  • Very low calories
  • It promotes a feeling of fullness (satiety), so you eat less (13).
  • Reduces the amount of fat and proteins absorbed  (14).

Conclusion:  Glucomannan aborbs 50x its weight in water to form a gel which promotes fullness.  Your body cant digest it, but the “good” bacteria in your gut do

An Excellent Prebiotic

lactobacillus-feed-meIn addition to the effect Glucomannan has for weight loss and health by itself, it is also an excellent Prebiotic(15).

Prebiotics are foods that our bodies cannot digest by themselves, but are digestible by the beneficial bacteria (Probiotics) in our guts and serve as a food source to stimulate their growth (16).

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in our guts that strengthen our immune systems and improve many aspects of our health (17).

Not only do Probiotics have a huge impact on our overall health, research is showing the improvement in our gut health can result in significant weight loss (18,19,20,21).

In particular, researchers are focusing on Lactobacillus Gasseri as the Probiotic that has the most impact on weight loss (22232425 ,26).

Soluble fibers have weight loss benefits by themselves, and are doubly effective to combine them with a weight loss specific Probiotic like Lactobacillus Gasseri.

Conclusion: Soluble Fibers such as Glucomannan serve as food sources (Prebiotics), for Probiotics such as Lactobacillus Gasseri. Depending on the individual, taking Glucomannan with Lactobacillus may increase its effectiveness.

Research on Weight Loss

glucomanna-graphA study was performed in 20 obese individuals. They were instructed to take either a glucomannan supplement or placebo (27).

The glucomannan group took 1g of glucomannan, three times per day, 1 hour before each meal.

They lost 5.5lbs (2,5kg) in a period of 8 weeks.

Another study with 200 overweight or obese individuals found that glucomannan led to weight loss of 12 pounds (4,5kg) in a period of 16 weeks (28).

I should also point out that both groups drastically reduced their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and their triglycerides.

There have been a few other studies that show similar results, where taking Glucomannan results in significant weight loss for overweight individuals. (293031).

Since it is a soluble fiber that absorbs water, it makes your stool “bulkier” and makes your food travel faster through the intestine (32, 33).

Conclusion: Like other soluble fibers, glucomannan absorbs water in the stomach and contributes to satiety. It may also promote reduced calorie intake and weight loss via several other mechanisms.

Other Health Benefits

constipationA meta analysis of 14 other studies showed that Glucomannan appears to improve body weight, blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (34):

  • Lowers blood sugar by 7.4 mg/dL
  • Lowers total cholesterol by 19 mg/dL
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol by 16 mg/dL
  • Lowers triglycerides by 11 mg/dL

There are also studies showing that Glucomannan can significantly help with constipation (35,36)

Bottom line: These studies indicate that glucomannan could help lower your weight, risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease – 3 of the biggest health risks americans face today.

Dosage and  Side Effects

In general, Glucomannan is considered safe with no side effects other than possible minor stomach discomfort, flatulence, or diarrhea. These are not common.

Old-woman-passing-gas-w-660x330Since Glucomannan expands to 50x its volume, it is suggested to use smaller quantities than with other soluble fibers.

1 gram taken 2-3 times per day before meals is the recommended quantity (37).

One area of concern – the Canadian Health board requires companies to label Glucomannan products with a warning to take it with 8 full ounces of water to avoid the possibility of choking if it gets stuck in the throat (38).

It is important to take before meals, otherwise it is not effective (3940).

Glucomannan can also interfere with the effectiveness of some drugs like  sulfonylurea. This is not an issue if it is taken an hour before ingesting Glucomannan.

Conclusion: Glucomannan is dietary fiber, not a drug. Possible side effects are minor stomach upset.

Where to Buy

glucomannan bottle, natures wayThere are many different choices of  Glucomannan on Amazon.

Unlike with Probiotics, where the “live” bacteria are actually dead, or Garcinia Cambogia, where the claimed 80% HCA is actually 5-10%, with Glucomannan, there is very little difference in the quality of products.

The different products are also all priced about the same, so its a lot simpler to purchase Glucomannan and not be worried about getting ripped off.

We also sell the Nature’s Way brand in our store for the same price as you find on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Besides exercise, we always recommend a low carb or Ketogenic diet as the most important step  for weight loss.

But if you  are at  a weight loss plateau, or want a little extra boost in your weight loss efforts, you might give Glucomannan a try.

You also might want to try  Glucommanan as a Prebiotic in combination with the Probiotic Lactobacillus Gasseri.

 

 

 

 

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Lactobacillus Gasseri – the Weight Loss Probiotic?

GUTBACTERIACover1
There are millions of bacteria that inhabit our guts.  Most are beneficial, and are referred to as Probiotics.

A healthy and diverse population of these good bacteria are key to proper functioning of our digestive and immune systems, greatly impacting our physical and mental health. (1234).

We can improve the population of good bacteria in our guts thru proper nutrition, and by taking Probiotic supplements.

Research has shown this can relieve many chronic health problems.  While not as strong as Garcinia Cambogia, some Probiotics may also help us lose weight and belly fat.

Probiotic Strains that may help lose weight and belly fat

650x600_lactobacillus_finalStudies have found that certain strains of the Lactobacillus family can help you lose weight and belly fat.

In one study, eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus reduced body fat by 3–4% over a 6-week period (21).

Another study of 125 overweight dieters investigated the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements on weight loss and weight maintenance (22).

During a 3-month study period, the women taking the probiotics lost 50% more weight compared to the group taking a dummy pill (placebo). They also continued to lose weight during the weight maintenance phase of the study.

Note that in these 2 studies mentioned above subjects were provided with Prebiotics along with the LG (Yoghurt and Inulin) which is thought to improve the effectiveness.

Lactobacillus Gasseri

Lactobacillus gasseri is generating the most excitement and further research for its  effects on weight loss.

There have been several mouse studies that showed positive results for weight control (25262728).

Human studies are also promising.  Most recently,  a 2 week study of 30 healthy men in 2015.

Subject were given a glass of fermented milk to drink every day, with half including Lactobacillus gasseri in their drink and the other half not.

Testing of fecal samples before and after the study showed those receiving Lactobacillus gasser had a higher amount of fat in the feces after the 2 weeks, while the control group did not (29).

lactobacillus gasseri and weight loss

Effect of intake of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus gasseri on fecal fat excretion in humans.

This proved that not only does the Lactobacillus gasseri survive the digestive process, but that it had an effect on the metabolism, resulting in less fat being absorbed.

This study demonstrates the mechanism for how Lactobacillus gasseri can effect the system.

An earlier Japanese study showed Lactobacillus gasseri can effectively reduce waist size, BMI and the dangerous visceral fat that accumulates around the organs (30).

A Korean company has patented a form of LG derived from mothers milk they call Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17, and been granted a certificate of Functional Ingredient for Body Fat reduction  (31)

Some strains of the Lactobacillus family have been shown to reduce weight and belly fat. Lactobacillus gasseri appears to be the most effective.

Natural Food Sources of Lactobacillus Gasseri

probiotic foodsLactobacillus bacteria is the most commonly used for fermentation.

Most fermented foods naturally contain Lactobacillus gasseri bacteria.

Kombucha, Kefir, yoghurt and pickled vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut are good sources of a wide variety of Lactobacillus strains.

Some fermented meats like salami and chorizo also contain lactobacillus bacteria.

You can also ferment foods yourself at home, but be sure to do it properly. I recommend starting with these recipes for kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut.

Lactobacillus gasseri is also found naturally in breast milk, which is thought to help the development of an infant’s immune system.

Where to buy Lactobacillus Gasseri

amazon cartLactobacillus Gasseri is the most effective probiotic strain for weight loss identified so far.

There are several brands on Amazon that include some L Gasseri in combination with 10 or more other strains.

These are the only 2 we have been able to find that primarily use L Gasseri.

Swanson  – A single strain – Lactobacillus Gasseri –  3 billion CFUs.

Phillips Colon Health  – 3 different strains including Lactobacillus Gasseri –  1.5 billion CFUs.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are bacteria (biotic)  we eat that are beneficial (pro) to our bodies.

We humans carry around 10 times as many microorganisms with us as we have cells in our body.  (5).

what are probiotics
They are most prominent in  the stomach and intestinal tract where they aid nutrient absorption and  immune system and are referred to as our gut flora or gut microbiome.

There are hundreds  of strains   of these friendly bacteria that aid digestion and produce important nutrients, including B and K vitamins.

Antibiotics we sometimes use can  kill or inhibit the growth of the “good”  bacteria in our gut as well as the the “bad” bacteria which can seriously impact our health (6).

By adding more probiotic foods into your diet, you could reap the following health benefits:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Healing leaky gut syndrome and IBS
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss
  • Healthier skin

 Damage to our Digestive Systems

Probiotics-vs-Antibiotics-1Modern agricultural practices including  rampant use of pesticides, chlorine soaking,  preservatives and refrigeration   leave our foods have very little probiotics today.

In fact, some foods now have dangerous antibiotics that destroy the bacteria in our digestive system.

In addition to the problems with our foods, we also encounter many toxins in our environment that harm our digestive system, resulting in chronic inflammation that is the root cause of many diseases and chronic health issues
Damaged from:

  • Antibiotics
  • Processed Grains
  • Sugar
  • Emotional Stress
  • Chemicals and medications

Too many of us are subjected  to many of these everyday.  If they’re not addressed, the population of good bacteria is decimated  and you gut can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, parasites, yeast and fungi.

Our foods, environment, stresses and medicines can all damage the biology in our guts and wreak havoc on our health.

How does Gut Bacteria affect weight

woman-eating-yogurt-with-berries-flaxThe biology of our guts is not static, and can be changed by diet and outside environmental factors(12).

Bacteroidetes and firmicutes are the 2 main families of bacteria that are important for regulating bodyweight by digesting  fatty acids and dietary polysaccharides.

Imbalance of these ratios (gut dysbiosis)  affect weight loss or gain.
The functions of the hundreds of different strains of bacteria are complex and not entirely understood, with some disagreement among researchers (78).

Some bacteria help digest  fiber into beneficial fatty acids  butyrate (9).

Prevotella  is a enterotype, or  family of bacteria strain that help digest carbohydrates and are more prevalent in people who consume a lot of carbohydrates.

Bacteroides are another family of bacteria that is more prevalent in people who consume significant amounts of animal protein.

Increasing the population of certain strains of bacteria is now thought to effect how our bodies process and store food, which can affect weight.

weight-loss-research-scientists-mouseAn early sign of this was a study where gut bacteria from obese mice that are transplanted into the guts of normal weight mice result in those mice soon becoming obese (13).

Minimising low-grade inflammation, one of the main drivers behind metabolic disease, is the primary suspect (141516).

In people, studies show that those who are overweight  have much different populations of bacteria  than people of normal weight (1718).

This lead to further studies to see which strains of bacteria were different.

Those studies show normal weight people have more bacteroidetes, and fewer firmicutes than overweight people. (1920).

Several studies have demonstrated regular use can increase number and diversity of bacteria microbiota, and provide relief from colitis, diarrhea, and improve immune system response (32,33,34,35,36,37)

These results opened up some very exciting possibilities for weight loss to see how much we can alter our gut bacteria to help cure obesity.

There is wide variation in the population of bacteria in each persons gut. Research shows it is influenced by out diet, and these bacteria play a powerful role in controlling weight

Final Thoughts

Besides weight loss, a healthy microbiome can have improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular risk factors and even help fight depression and anxiety.

Proper diet is the best way to improve your gut flora.

Probiotic Supplements can also increase the number and diversity of your gut flora.

Research indicates probiotics can help some people lose belly fat and weight.

The effects are minor though, along the lines of what you might expect from using Cumin
or Niagen.

On the plus side though, Probiotics do not have the side effects
of strong diet supplements.

As always, we recommend a low carb diet and more exercise as the most effective way to lose weight.

Protein at breakfast increases Weight Loss

girl eating eggsProtein is a crucial part of a weight-loss plan.

In fact, increasing your protein intake is more effective than taking Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss.

Research demonstrates that eating protein keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time, preventing you from consuming extra calories (123).

Because of that, adding protein to the first meal of the day can help you lose weight.

Is Breakfast Really Necessary?

People often think that skipping breakfast will make them gain weight.

While current research shows that eating breakfast doesn’t affect your weight (1), it may be important for improving mental clarity in some people (45).

Of course, the foods that you eat for breakfast are key.

Eating a conventional sugary cereal may taste good and fill you up, but consuming a high-protein meal may help you lose weight.

Researchers say not to worry about skipping breakfast when it comes to weight loss. However, they may not be factoring in the weight-reducing benefits of a high-protein meal.

How You Can Lose Weight by Eating Protein

High-Protein-ContentOne of the best things you can do to lose weight is eat protein.

Your body burns more calories to process protein than it does to metabolize fat or carbohydrates (6).

Eating protein also prevents you from getting hungry soon after you’ve eaten.(7)

Studies show that eating protein can help reduce total calorie consumption and late-night snacking (8).

One study with had women increase their protein intake from 50-30% of their total calories for a 12 week period.  This resulted  in them consuming 441 few calories, and losing 11 pounds on average (9).

Consuming protein can also help you keep the weight off once you have lost it.  This study found that dieters regain 50% less weight just by increasing protein up to  18% of calories  (10).

Increasing your protein intake is very likely to help you lose weight and keep it off

Eat More Protein in the Morning to Eat Less in the Afternoon

hormones-appetite-hunger-humanMany researchers are investigating the ways in which eating protein early in the day influences calorie intake later on.

Some results indicate that eating more protein for breakfast helps people eat less up to 135 fewer calories later in the day  (11)

Eating a high-protein breakfast can actually alter the motivation and reward signals in the brain, making people less likely to be driven to eat in order to feel better (12).

Consuming protein also triggers signals that control hunger, making people feel more satiated and be less inclined to snack or overeat (13).

Many studies have proven that increasing protein intake at breakfast can cause a drop in hunger  hormone ghrelin and an increase in  hormone peptide YY that signal fullness   (14).

Studies show that a high protein breakfast can influence these hormones all through the day (1516).

Protein for  breakfast has a great influence on the appetite hormones, and leads to less calories consumed throughout the day.

How You Can Lose Belly Fat by Increasing Your Protein at Breakfast

Woman's fingers measuring her belly fat
Woman’s fingers measuring her belly fat

Eating more protein, especially at breakfast, leads to decreased hunger throughout the day, and  you can lose belly fat .

Increased consumption of healthy protein is inversely related  to lower belly fat percentages  (1718).

In one study, obese teenagers lost 4% of their bodyweight over three months by eating fewer grains and more eggs during the first meal of the day compared with .2% for teens who continued to eat a carbohydrate-based breakfast (19).

Another study demonstrated that a group of participants that ate eggs for breakfast  lost  61%  more BMI  than those eating the same number of calories, but bagels instead of eggs (20).

Consuming a high-protein breakfast can play a big role in reducing body fat, especially for obese individuals

You Can Get a Metabolism Boost From Protein

Fast-metabolism1A faster metabolism helps you burn extra calories and lose weight more rapidly.

When you eat carbs or fat, your body doesn’t have to burn as many calories in order to metabolize those nutrients. You burn up to 30 percent more calories when your body is processing protein (21).

You can increase your calorie burn by up to 100 calories per day by eating more protein. You  boost your metabolism by cutting out some carbs and fat and replacing those calories with  protein. (2223).

A high protein diet can also help prevent muscle loss during calorie restriction, and partly prevent the reduction in metabolism that often comes with weight loss, often referred to as “starvation mode” (242526).

One problem with extreme calorie restriction diet is reduction in metabolism – as you eat less, your metabolism slows and you burn fewer calories(2728,)

High protein intake helps prevent muscle loss and slower metabolism that results, so you can continue to burn more calories per day (293031)

Eating more protein can preserve muscle mass and improve a sluggish metabolism when you’re eating fewer calories in an attempt to lose weight.

What Breakfast Foods are High in Protein?

omeletteIn addition to being extremely nourishing, eggs contain high levels of protein.

People who replace toast, oatmeal or cereal with eggs typically consume less over the next day and lower their BMI. (323334).

Some other great protein sources are fish, seafood, beef, chicken and some dairy products.

Some ideas that can get you started with a high-protein breakfast are:
• Scramble eggs in a healthy oil such as coconut or olive oil, and add a hearty helping of vegetables. Peppers, mushrooms, spinach and onions are nutritious and tasty options.
• Make an omelet, adding vegetables and cream or cottage cheese.
• Break up soft tofu and sauté it with spinach and kale. Add nutritional yeast and dairy-free cheese.
• Scoop Greek yogurt into a bowl with fresh or frozen berries, wheat germ, hemp hearts, chia seeds and almonds.
• Make a shake or smoothie with a frozen banana, strawberries or blueberries, and almond milk. Add a scoop of whey protein to make it a filling meal.
• Whip up some protein pancakes.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate more protein in your breakfast is to eat eggs. Other high-protein options can add variety.

Final Thoughts: Eat More Protein at Breakfast

Most people are better off eating breakfast rather than trying to skip it to save calories.

If you eat breakfast to start the day, make sure that it includes protein.

In the studies that demonstrate the benefits of eating protein for breakfast, participants ate at least 20 grams of protein during the meal.

Why Eggs are GREAT weight loss food

girl-holding-an-eggYou may have heard that researchers and  nutritionists have admitted they were wrong about Eggs and now say that Eggs do NOT contribute to Cardiovascular Disease and are in fact good for your health.

In fact Eggs are one of the best choices for a healthy weight loss.

They are rich in healthy fats, muscle-building protein, and are chock-full of minerals and vitamins. Eggs help you lose weight in the healthiest way.

Read more below about how eggs aid weight loss.

Low in Calories

eggsEveryone knows that reducing daily calories is the best way to slim down.  The trick is to eat foods that fill you up without too many calories

Most snack foods begin in the 100-calorie range, but a large egg is only around 80 calories. Eggs are healthier than packaged snacks; in fact, egg yolks are surprisingly nutritious (1).

Since a meal containing eggs usually made up of three eggs, you’ll be consuming a little over 240 calories, maybe 300 of you add a heaping serving of vegetables.

However, keep in mind that frying eggs in butter or oil can add around 50 calories per teaspoon.

One large egg equals 80 calories, and a complete meal of 3 boiled eggs and vegetables is only around 300!

Feel Fuller Longer

Eating-Right-SatietyBecause of high protein content, eggs are not only filled with nutrients, but they will help you feel fuller longer as well (2).

Foods that are high-protein rank highly on the Satiety Index, a scakle that evaultatues how full one feels after eating a meal (3). This means they suppress appetite and make you feel less inclined to snack.

Foods with a lower protein content often don’t leave you feeling as satisfied. In fact, several studies have showed that people eating meals with the same calorie content as egg meals report feeling less full than those who consumed a high-protein food, such as eggs ( 45).

This reduces daily thoughts about snacking by up to 60 percent, and cuts the desire for night snacking by fifty percent (67).

Eggs rank high on the Satiety Index scale and may help those who consume them feel fuller for a longer period. High-protein foods such as eggs might also banish the urge to snack less.

Speed up Your Metabolism

speed metabolism

Because eggs contain the ideal ratios of essential amino acids, your body can efficiently use egg protein for metabolic rate and body maintenance.

In fact, due to the thermic effect of food, which is the energy your body requires to break down food, eating high-protein foods can raise metabolism to the effect of 80-100 calories a day (89).

Thermic effect is higher for protein and lower for fats and carbohydrates (1011). Therefore, eggs can make you burn more calories than foods with a lower protein content.

A high-protein diet including eggs might raise your metabolism by up to 80–100 calories per day. This is because more calories are utilized to metabolism food protein.

Start Your Day the Right Way

Healthy-Egg-Breakfast-Muffins-RecipeBreakfasts including eggs are the best choice for those trying to lose weight, and studies of overweight women have shown that breakfasts including eggs aid weight loss more than other breakfasts, including those that contain the same amount of calories.

Women who consumed eggs instead of bagels felt fuller and ate less calories over the next day and a half.

A study including men showed similar results, reducing calorie intake for the 24 hours following an egg breakfast (12).In fact, eggs breakfasts can result in 65 percent more weight loss over a two-month period (1314).

Egg breakfasts also resulted in more stable blood glucose levels and the body’s insulin response. Eggs were also shown to suppress the hunger hormone known as ghrelin(15).

Yet another study, this one including 30 healthy, fit young men compared the effects of three common breakfasts types.

These three breakfasts were eggs with toast, cereal with milk and toast, and a croissant with orange juice. All breakfasts were tested during different times of the day as well.

Not surprisingly, the breakfast containing eggs led to a greater feeling of fullness, greater meal satiety, and less hunger overall.

Additionally, men who had consumed eggs for breakfast ate 270-470 calories less for lunch and dinner (16).

The reduction in calorie intake was unintentional by the men involved in the study.

Eating eggs for breakfast may subconsciously lead to healthier food choices for up to 36 hours.

Affordable and Easy

50-egg-dishesIt is easy to add eggs into your daily diet.

Eggs are sold at the vast majority of grocery stores, are inexpensive, and only take minutes to prepare.

Eggs are easy to fry, bake, boil, or prepare as an omelette, and taste great any way you make them.

In fact, a two-egg breakfast omelette containing vegetables may make for one of the best ways to enjoy a breakfast conducive to weight loss.

There are hundreds of  great egg recipes to try.

Eggs are affordable, readily available, and are easy to prepare.

Final Thoughts

  • Eating eggs is easy if you’re trying to slim down a little.
  • Eggs make you feel fuller longer and keep you from eating too many calories a day.
  • Eggs are a great source of key vitamins and minerals.
  • Eating eggs for breakfast may be the key to your weight loss.