Don’t believe the LIES about Garcinia Cambogia

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Since the late 1990’s Garcinia Cambogia has been included in various weight loss products, but exploded in popularity in 2012 when Dr Julie Chen talked about it on the Dr Oz TV show.

Unfortunately, there is an avalanche of faulty information about Garcinia Cambogia on the web that we attempt to clean up below.

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

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Several studies on rats have demonstrated significant weight loss, belly fat reduction, and lowered blood glucose levels (456).

We looked at all the randomized, double-blind clinical studies on humans. Some we excluded were either too short (2 weeks), used too small a dose, or had other flaws such as a low fat, high carb diet which researchers believe had a negative impact on the results.


This chart shows the results from the most relevant clinical studies on Garcinia Cambogia, encompassing 307 participants (7,8,9,10).

All of these were Double Blind,Randomized Controlled Trials, with subjects given Garcinia Cambogia or Placebo over 8-12 weeks.

The average for these 4 studies was 4.1 pounds lost vs 1.7 for those taking Placebo.

It should be noted that studies #3 and 4 used the highest dosages of 2800 mg daily, and showed the greatest amount of weight loss compared to placebo.

Studies #1 and 2 showed the least amount of weight loss benefit, and also used the lowest amount of Garcinia Cambogia, at 1200 mg per day.

[box]Conclusion: The average for the 4 relevant clinical studies on humans showed weight loss of 3 pounds more than placebo. Studies that used higher doses of HCA recorded more weight loss. [/box]

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What brand of Garcinia Cambogia should you Buy

You really need to read the label. Many brands are pushing inferior products. If they don’t show you the label, chances are they are trying to push you some crappy, useless stuff and don’t want you to realize it until you take it and don’t get any results.

Always Look for the HCA!

HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is the active ingredient. You need to make sure it has at LEAST 60% HCA in it – Higher is better. Also check to make sure they don’t use a lot of added ingredients – especially if they’re hard to read, nearly impossible to pronounce ingredients.
wwrecommend
We’ve looked at all the leading brands sold on Amazon. There are several that are good, and dozens that are garbage.
The best quality we found that also has a good price is NewLifeBotanical’s Garcinia Cambogia.
If you find it more convenient, you can get it on Amazon

[product_category category=”garcinia-cambogia-2″ columns=”3″ per_page=”6″ orderby=”menu_id” order=”desc”]

Reasons why we recommend it:

  • Has 90% HCA!
  • No filler ingredients – all natural only
  • 600mg per capsule
  • Has been PROVEN to be effective
  • Has NO additives, fillers and other low-quality ingredients

 

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES HATE GARCINIA CAMBOGIA

According to this article in Washington Post, it cost between $800 million and $2.6 BILLION to bring a new prescription drug to market.

Once they start clinical trials, the pharmaceutical company only has 20 years of patent protection to recoup that cost, so they have to charge exorbitant prices to make that back and pay their shareholders a good return on their investment.

Of course they don’t want potential customers to think a natural product that cost a tiny fraction of what they charge can be effective at all.

Hence pharmaceutical manufacturers often fund research studies they hope will cast the competition in a bad light. A few million dollars to fund a study on a competitor is nothing compared to the billions it cost to develop a drug.

For example, this meta-review that examines existing clinical studies on Garcinia Cambogia is funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the prescription weight loss pill Orlistat, marketed under the name Alli.

For reference, Alli cost $60 for 120 capsules! The literature claims it can block 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed.

Not surprisingly, the research they pay for often finds mixed results, with some studies showing positive effects for Garcinia Cambogia and some not.

The academic editor for that meta review was also the lead author for a few of the studies that found Garcinia to be ineffective. He also was the lead author for several studies that showed positive results for Orlistat (1,2,3).

[box] Conclusion: Big Pharma spends hundreds of millions of $$$ funding research to cast doubt on the effectiveness of natural weight loss products like Garcinia Cambogia.
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HOW DOES IT HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?

Garcinia Cambogia is somewhat unique in that there are 2 pathways the HCA utilizes to help with weight loss

1. It May Help Reduce Hunger

too hungry

Studies with rats have shown those given Garcinia Cambogia tend to eat less than those in the control group(11, 12).

How it works isn’t fully known, but those studies seem to indicate it increases levels of serotonin in the brain. (13, 14).

Likewise, some clinical studies with humans has shown it tends promote feeling of satiety (fullness), so you eat less. (15, 16, 17, 18, 19).

Serotonin is the “feel good” hormone that promotes feelings of satisfaction and is well known to be an appetite suppressant. (20).

Those studies are in contrast to some others that found no benefit for suppressing appetite vs those given placebo. (21, 22, 23, 24). Its not clear why studies have shown such a difference and more study is needed.

Conclusion: Some studies have shown garcinia cambogia increases serotonin to suppress appetite, but there have been other studies that could not replicate this effect.

2. It May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat

The effect HCA has on fatty acids in the bloodstream is the most important factor in its ability to aid weight loss.

Human and animal studies has shown HCA helps lower levels of triglycerides in the blood, reducing the oxidative stress throughout the body. (25, 26, 27, 28, 28).

It is even more attractive as a weight loss aid as it helps reduce belly. (29).

Another study gave moderately obese individuals 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks (30).
After completion, participants had dramatically lower markers of metabolic disease such as:

  • 6.3% LOWER Total cholesterol levels
  • 12.3% LOWER LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol levels
  • 10.7% HIGHER HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels
  • 8.6% LOWER Blood triglycerides

This is due to the inhibition of the enzyme citrate lyase, which signals the production of fat in the body (32, 33, 34, 35, 36).

By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow down or block fat production in the body. This may reduce blood fats and lower the risk of weight gain, two major disease risk factors (37).

Conclusion: Garcinia cambogia blocks the production of new fats in the body, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides in overweight people.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS

Animal and test-tube studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have some anti-diabetic effects, including (38, 39, 40):

  • Decreasing insulin levels
  • Decreasing leptin levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity

Garcinia cambogia may also have benefits for the digestive system. Animal studies have suggested it helps protect against stomach ulcers and reduce damage to the inner lining of the digestive tract (41, 42).

However, these effects need to be studied further before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Conclusion:Garcinia Cambogia may help lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity to combat diabetes

 

SIDE EFFECTS

Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)
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Garcinia Cambogia is recognized as GRAS by the FDA, meaning it has “been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use”.

There have been several studies to test the effectiveness of these products and in these controlled quantities there were no significant side effects.

This meta-analysis examined all published research on Garcinia Cambogia, and found garcinia to be free from any major side effects when taken at dosages up to 2800 mgs per day (with 60% HCA)

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WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE GARCINIA CAMBOGIA

garcinia warning

It  IS safe for most people. But there are a few cases where you wouldn’t want to take it:

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Alzheimers or dementia

Garcinia Cambogia boosts serotonin levels in the brain (which triggers the satisfied, full feeling that helps suppress appetite).

For this reason, it is not advised for patients with neurological disorders such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, or other forms of dementia.

DOSAGE AND WHEN TO TAKE IT

Dr Harry Preuss is  a researcher and pathologist at Georgetown University past president of the American College of Nutrition who has led 2 of the studies on HCA that showed the best results (43,44)  He says:

“YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE RIGHT DOSE OF THE RIGHT PRODUCT, AND YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT PROPERLY.”

The 4 studies that were included in the meta-analysis referenced above noted that 1 to 2.8 grams daily were used in testing, and that 2.8 grams seemed more effective (45)

Different studies that have been performed to focus on side effects found no major side effects at dosages up to 2.8 grams daily (46).

Dosage recommendations from those studies are:

  • 500 to 1000mg capsules
  • 70% or higher HCA
  • 3 times a day
  • 30-60 minutes before meals
  • taken with 8 ounces of water

70% HCA means that the manufacturer has standardized the extract to be 70% Hydroxycitric Acid by volume.

50-60% was the highest purity commercially available until recently, so has been the standard used for testing.

The higher percentage provides more total HCA per capsule, but is not more effective otherwise.

In other words, the higher HCA % is not “better”,  you just need less of it.

For proper dosage, you should lower the quantity if you use a product with HCA % higher than the 60% used in studies.

For example, the maximum recommended dosage of 3 grams per day of a 60% HCA product would yield 1800 mg of pure HCA – the same as 2 grams of 90% HCA.

[box]**** DAILY MAXIMUM RECOMMENDED DOSAGE ****

3,000 mg  x 60% HCA =   1800mg  pure HCA
2,000 mg  x 90% HCA = 1800mg  pure HCA[/box]

BUYING ON AMAZON – BEWARE THE SCAMS

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With any popular diet product, there are lots of scams that sell crappy product at ridiculous prices, and some that disappear with your money.

You might want to review some guidelines by the FTC in spotting the crooks.

It is becoming more common now with Garcinia, so beware, and read some of our reviews of brands like Ultra, Extreme, Purely Inspired, Miracle, Whole Body, Natural, and Pure Garcinia Cambogia.

Amazon is super convenient, and great at making sure you get what you order. But they don’t do anything to ensure the quality of a product.

Any brand that just popped up yesterday and will be gone tomorrow is NOT concerned with quality.

DR OZ WARNS ABOUT FAKE PRODUCTS

There are now dozens of new “Brands” of Garcinia Cambogia sold on Amazon that just make up a name and throw a label on some garbage product. And, they LIE about what is in the bottle!

The following quote is directly from the Dr Oz website where they warn about such deceptive marketing.

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This doesn’t mean all products sold on Amazon are bad. It just warns that products sold ONLY on Amazon are a much higher risk for being very poor quality.

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Conclusion: Beware any Brand or Product that is sold exclusively online and not in a brick in mortar store. Those that exist only on Amazon and do not even have a website of their own are very likely to sell a very poor quality product.
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WHAT WE RECOMMEND

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CONCLUSION

For Weight Loss, we are convinced that:

The Ketogenic Diet(47,48), preferably combined with Intermittent Fasting is the most effective way to lose weight.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can greatly increase your metabolism to make weight loss easier and faster.

As for Garcinia Cambogia, the evidence shows that:

  • Garcinia Cambogia is NOT A MAGIC PILL that will melt the fat off
  • Garcinia Cambogia CAN HELP you lose a few more pounds a month

Steps to Lower your Blood Sugar levels and live longer

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

There’s more than a 3-in-4 chance that your blood sugar is too high, and this can lead to a number of chronic health issues, even shorten your life. Learn how to measure and fix your blood sugar. The Apple Watch, FitBit Ionic and Epic Health lead the way.

fix your blood sugar

 

THERE’S A race to perfect technologies that can continuously monitor blood sugar levels without the need to prick your finger for a blood sample to be “read” by a glucose monitor. This is great news for health freaks, people with pre-diabetes or full blown diabetes my have to do up to 3,000 times a year.

Ouch!

You can imagine the flood of business that a company could attract if it could create a non-invasive, less bloody way of testing for blood sugar. Many are trying.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Apple’s effort to make its Smart Watch seamless track blood sugar through an innovative sensor, and now I’m going to add Fitbit’s smartwatch and Epic Health’s phone app to the mix.

I don’t have to go too far out on a limb to suggest that monitoring your blood sugar is a very good idea simply because:

  1. It’s very likely that yours is too high; and
  2. High blood sugar is very unhealthy.

I can make the first assertion because, as you’ll soon see, studies show that more than three-quarters of us have blood sugar levels that are too high.

I can make the second assertion because medical science has proven that sustained high blood sugar levels is bad for metabolic health, brain health and a long, healthy lifespan.

So, let’s take a peek at the new Fitbit and Epic Health technologies, then get a sense of how you can assess if you have a blood sugar problem without any measuring device, and finally what you can do to fix your blood sugar; meaning, lower it to a healthy mark.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • Two new blood sugar testing technologies;
  • The ideal fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels;
  • A subjective test to indicate that your blood sugar is too high; and
  • How to fix your blood sugar.

Let’s dive in…

Two New Blood Sugar Testing Technologies

As will see below, it’s not absolutely necessary to be able to measure in order to fix your blood sugar, assuming it’s too high, but it sure takes the guess work out of the equation.

Of the two new blood sugar testing technologies I want to tell you about, one’s a smart phone + app that may be available in months; the other is a smart watch available real soon (pre-orders solicited).

The Epic Health App

Epic Health blood monitoring app

A new app called Epic Health is well on the way to perfect a new way to control blood sugar without the need for painful monitoring via glucose monitors. The objective is to monitor glucose levels in healthy and type 2 diabetic patients is just as accurate as traditional, invasive methods that use the finger prick test to draw blood. It’s designed to make blood glucose monitoring less intrusive and more engaging, encouraging users to understand how certain foods affect their body.

The app, which works by the user place a fingertip over the camera lens of their smartphone, has held its first few weeks of pre-clinical trials in Hereford, England, which are being conducted to ensure that the app can accurately measure glucose when compared to methods when blood is drawn.

So far, testing results show that a mobile phone application can accurately estimate blood glucose levels of healthy, diagnosed and borderline type 2 users. The application has also proven that healthy subjects can use it to monitor their blood glucose variations after drinking, eating or even exercising, which will encourage keeping a healthy lifestyle.

Keep up with this technology and when it may become available here.

The Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch

 

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch introduces a blood oxygen sensor

You probably have heard of Fitbit. As the BBC reports, until recently, Fitbit was ranked the world’s bestselling wearable tech brand, but nothing lasts forever — market research firm IDC reported in June that it had been overtaken by both Xiaomi and Apple in terms of shipments over the first three months of the year.

It could be, however, that Fitbit is going to regain its former glory with its new, Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch introduces a blood oxygen sensor that estimates the amount of oxygenated hemoglobin in blood.

Fitbit has started accepting pre-orders, it has said shipments will not start until late September.

 

The Blood Sugar Sweet Spot

Apple, FitBit and Epic Health, among others, are racing to perfect a non-invasive way to measure blood sugar simply because keeping your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can be a lifesaver. Tight control can prevent or slow the progress of many complications of diabetes, giving you extra years of healthy, active life, says Diabetes.org.

The question is what is “normal”?

The following two graphs tell me what I want my normal to be, and that’s less than 85 mg/dL for fasting blood sugar.

The graphs indicate how blood sugar rises with age and how lifespan is related to blood sugar levels. Notice how the groups that live longer have lower blood sugar at the same age than their shorter-lived peers. Even more interestingly, notice how in males that live at least 70 years, you can predict death more reliably by blood sugar level than you can by age.

 

 Lifespan (LS) Predicted By Blood Sugar, MalesLongevity Predicted By Blood Sugar, Males
Lifespan (LS) Predicted By Blood Sugar, Females

Longevity Predicted By Blood Sugar, Females

Not only can maintaining low blood sugar increase lifespan, but can help ensure your brain keeps pace.

New research has found blood glucose levels even at the normal range can have a significant impact on brain atrophy in aging.

As reported in Neuro Science News, the impacts of blood glucose on the brain is not limited to people with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Erin Walsh from the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at Australia International University, said:

People without diabetes can still have high enough blood glucose levels to have a negative health impact, [and those] with diabetes can have lower blood glucose levels than you might expect due to successful glycaemic [sic] management with medication, diet and exercise…

It helps to keep unhealthy highly processed and sugary foods to a minimum. Also, regular physical activity every day can help, even if it is just a going for walk.

My question for Dr. Walsh is what fasting and post-meal (“postprandial”) blood glucose number should we aim at maintaining?

Since the answer to that question wasn’t in Neuro Science article, let’s turn to the Life Extension Foundation for the answer. In Are We All Pre-diabetic, health journalist Kirk Stokel writes that people living in industrialized nations are experiencing an “epidemic of elevated blood sugar”:

The percentage of adults who suffer chronic high blood sugar is staggering! One report evaluated 46,000 middle-age individuals and found more than 80% had fasting blood sugar of 85 mg/dL or greater.

Another study involving 11,000 middle-age and older individuals showed more than 85% had fasting blood sugar of 85 mg/dL or greater.

Since incidence of disease starts to increase when fasting blood sugar rises above these levels, this means the vast majority of aging humans today endure chronic cellular damage associated with elevated blood sugar.

This epidemic of elevated blood sugar will accelerate age-related disease until the medical profession realizes that their test values for defining “normal” blood sugar are horrifically defective.

Notice that 85 mg/dL fasting blood sugar mark mentioned above? This is the mark that the Life Extension Foundation believes should be your maximum fasting blood sugar. If you want to fix your blood sugar, get it down to 85 or even a bit lower.

Scroll back up and look at the two blood sugar age charts again and notice that 85 mg/dL is pretty much as high as you want to be at age 50, and yet more than 80 to 85% of us have fasting blood sugar higher than that.

Nonetheless, mainstream medicine continues to accept as “normal” fasting blood sugar that’s well above optimum, which is between 70 and 85 mg/dL, says Kirk Stokel. Instead, your doctor is likely to believe that you are not “diabetic” unless fasting blood glucose exceeds 125 mg/dL, and that the range between 100 and 125 mg/dL is considered “pre-diabetic.” Having a blood sugar reading of 99 mg/dL, therefore, is likely to be acceptable by your doctor despite the potential dangers lurking within your body.

Not only does conventional medical wisdom get it wrong regarding ideal fasting blood sugar, doctors typically do not convey to their patients the risks of after-meal (postprandial) blood sugar spikes. If sufficiently high or sustained, these sudden surges in blood sugar that can occur after meals (particularly high carb meals) can damage delicate blood vessels in your brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes, as well as accelerate the aging of cells and tissues throughout your body.

Utilizing only fasting blood glucose readings does not detect perilous after-meal glucose spikes that present an increased risk of death. This is important to know, given that scientific research shows that after-meal spikes in blood sugar are potentially more damaging than elevations of fasting blood sugar.

In his article, Kirk Stokel annotates the research that indicates:

  • For people with “normal” blood sugars and “normal” glucose tolerance tests, the risk of a heart attack increases by 58% for each 21 mg/dL increase in after-mealblood sugar.
  • “Normal” after-meal glucose elevation can increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 26%, which underscores the need for control of after-meal glucose spikes, particularly as it relates to cardiovascular complications.
  • An isolated fasting glucose reading fails to provide information on glucose control throughout the day; therefore, a fasting glucose reading of, say, 95 mg/dL, this may be an artificially low number that does not reflect real world, all-day glucose status that may be considerably higher.

The bottom line is:

Without controlling fasting and postprandial sugar spikes, the stage is set for accelerated aging and a series of degenerative diseases.

OK, so now we know that sustained, high blood sugar is antithetical to good health and a long, robust healthspan, how can you tell if your blood sugar is too high, assuming you don’t have a FitBit Ionic Smartwatch, nor are pricking yourself throughout the day for drops of blood to be assessed by a glucose monitor?

Dr. William Cole has a few suggestions.

 

You Can Tell If Your Blood Sugar’s Too High

Before you can fix your blood sugar, it’s helpful to know it your fasting or blood sugar, fasting or postprandial is too high (or too low for that matter). To do that reliably, you need a way to measure it, which requires a glucose monitor or some other device, such as the forthcoming blood sugar monitoring Apple Watch or one of the two new technologies I address below.

But if your diet is dominated by one particular macronutrient, you may already have a sense if your blood sugar is too high, which brings us to Dr. William Cole’s article about “how to know if your blood sugar is out of whack”.

As a functional medicine expert, Dr. Cole’s focus is to discover the root cause(s) of health issues. If you crave and/or eat a lot of sugary food (think carbs) on a daily basis, it’s a pretty good indication that your blood sugar is too high. (Note that this isn’t true for everyone, as this Weizmann Institute study showed.)

What follow is Dr. Cole’s answers to four questions put to him about sugar consumption and blood sugar. My intention is for you to pick up on some tips to determine if your blood sugar levels may be too high simply by carefully considering how much sugary foods you regularly consume.

1. How many daily grams of sugar per day are healthy to consume? (Including naturally occurring fruit sugars & milk sugars)?

The answer basically depends on the sugar source and your individual tolerance to sugar.

Advice that is useful to most people includes:

  • Dramatically reduce or eliminate sugar from candy, pasta, white bread, and ice cream. Natural sugars in foods like sweet potato, berries or whole-milk yogurt are better tolerated because these foods contain other nutrients to balance out the glucose-spiking affect of sugar.
  • Try to eat carbohydrate foods that contain insoluble fiber, as it can’t be absorbed by the body and thus has minimal effect on blood sugar, perhaps even lowering it.
  • Be mindful of how your body reacts to carbs and note if you feel sluggish or sleepy after eating a carb-rich meal or snack
  • Stay below 50 grams per day of net carbs (total carbs minus insoluble fiber) of both added and naturally occurring sugars.

2. How does sugar affect hormonal balance?

When you eat sugar (and remember this includes all simple, non-fibrous carbs), your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that is needed to regulate blood sugar and bring the post-food spike down back to normal after ingesting any type of sugar, whether it’s added or naturally occurring.

In its normal-functioning state, the release of insulin is a healthy, necessary response—it’s when you eat too much sugar and flood your body with insulin that things get out of whack and your blood sugar begins to have trouble regulating itself.

If you have normal, healthy insulin function, all is well; however, if your blood sugar is chronically unbalanced, it can directly affect the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which controls your body’s release of cortisol and leads to adrenal fatigue.

Cortisol and blood sugar are positively correlated; meaning, when your blood sugar is high, cortisol is also high and vice versa. This is one of the top contributors to adrenal fatigue. Excess sugar is also inflammatory, which further feeds hormonal imbalance.

3. There is a lot of controversy about “natural” sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave, and stevia. Are these sweeteners safe?

Dr. Cole says that honey, maple syrup, molasses, dates, and fresh fruit juice are among the best sweeteners you can use in limited amounts, and that stevia, xylitol, and monk fruit are also fine low-carb options, but can cause some digestive symptoms like bloating if eaten in excess. The key with all sweeteners, he says, is moderation!

It’s hard to argue with moderation, but my advice is to gradually wean yourself from added sweeteners. Our taste buds are malleable and trainable, and you can sensitize them to sweetness. Simply reduce the amount of sweeteners you take, say by 25% per week and in one month you’ll no longer miss the stuff.

4. How do you know if your blood sugar levels are out of whack? What impact does sugar consumption have on this, and how can you fix it?

There are quite a few symptoms that can point to a blood sugar imbalance such as:

  • Insatiable sugar cravings that just don’t go away even after consuming sweets
  • Missing a meal makes you hungry, lightheaded, and jittery
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Often thirsty
  • Urinate a lot
  • Blurry vision
  • Brain fog is experienced on a regular basis

Excess sugar consumption can amp up any of the above mentioned symptoms because of it can lead to insulin resistance and the inability for your body to use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar.

If you do have unbalanced blood sugar, you can do a number of things to fix it, from supplementing with magnesium, vitamin D, and chromium to increasing your probiotic intake to reducing your stress levels. And this is the topic of the next section

 

How To Fix Your Blood Sugar

At this point you know that their are some novel technologies underway that eventually will come to market and allow us to seamlessly and continuously monitor our blood sugar so we’ll be able to tell which foods have a modest affect on it, and which spike our blood sugar to unhealthy levels.

You’ve also been provided some tips to get a pretty good idea if your food choices are likely to amp up your blood sugar.

Now, let’s get into how to balance our blood sugar, again, courtesy of Dr. Cole who suggests the following natural ways to fix your blood glucose.

Get a lab test to find your baseline

These are the results Dr. Cole would like to see:

  • Serum insulin: Optimal Range: < 3 ulU/mL
  • C-peptide: Optimal Range: 0.8 to 3.1 ng/mL
  • Fasting blood sugar: Optimal Range: 75 to 90 mg/dL
  • Hgb A1C: Optimal Range: < 5.3 percent
  • Triglycerides: Optimal Range: <100 mg/dL
  • HDL: Optimal Range: 59 to 100 mg/dL
Drink Macha tea

The EGCG compound in green tea has demonstrated a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels. Drinking the whole green tea leaf in the form of matcha powder will provide plenty of ECGC in your diet.

Take alpha-lipoid acid

In several studies, alpha-lipoic acid was helpful in balancing out blood sugar levels and improving insulin resistance. This antioxidant also strengthens immunity, improves energy in cells, protects brain cells against excitotoxicity, and removes excess toxic metals. Suggested dose for blood sugar control is 200 milligrams three times a day

Bump up magnesium

Research published in the medical journal Circulation followed nearly 5,000 people for 15 years, and found that people who took higher levels of magnesium had a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome. Another similar study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed more than 1,000 healthy adults for five years and saw that greater magnesium intake improved insulin sensitivity. Other studies have shown that magnesium improved triglycerides and high blood pressure—two other hallmarks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Boost chromium

When chromium levels are low, HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels fall, insulin resistance develops and triglycerides rise. Chromium supplementation has been shown to improve receptor function. The best food sources of chromium include onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and sea vegetables.

Increase Nrf-2

The protein Nrf-2 plays a role in regulating antioxidant gene induction. Nrf-2 actually turns on genes that are responsible for antioxidant and detox pathways. Inflammation is calmed when Nrf-2 is activated and tends to get worse when there are low levels of Nrf-2. Many dietary antioxidants have been found to activate Nrf-2, including:

  • EGCG from green tea
  • Quercetin from apples
  • Curcumin from turmeric
  • Resveratrol from grapes
  • Rosmarinic acid from rosemary
  • L-sulforaphane from broccoli
  • Thiosulfonateallicin from garlic
Add tocopherols

Fat-soluble tocopherol (also known as vitamin E) has been shown to support insulin sensitivity. Standard doses range between 600 and 900 milligrams.

Spice up

A bioflavonoid found in cinnamon called proanthocyanidin may alter the insulin-signaling activity in fat cells and help with diabetes. The spice has also been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.

Heal your gut

You gut health and blood sugar balance are connected. Metabolic disease can negatively affect your gastrointestinal system, and poor gut health can mess up your blood sugar. One study found that transplanting the microbiome of diabetic mice into healthy mice made them diabetic as well. Be aware that advanced glycation end products (AGE) are harmful compounds that have the potential to cause leaky gut, and read up on candida overgrowth, which is also linked to blood sugar problems.

Absorb the sunshine vitamin

In one study, supplementing with vitamin D for 12 weeks decreased body fat by 7%. Low levels are also linked to metabolic syndrome. The optimal range to aim for is 60 to 80 ng/mL.

Increase healthy fats

One study found that higher blood sugar in non-diabetics decreased function in areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This is one reason why Alzheimer’s is often referred to in the medical literature as “type 3 diabetes.” On the other hand, a ketogenic diet—where fat, not sugar, is your primary source of energy—has been shown to do some remarkable things for your brain health.

Healthy fats provide a slow, sustainable form of energy. For our brain to work properly, it requires lots of energy. And from a biological and evolutionary perspective, the most sustainable form of energy for optimal brain health is good, healthy fats.

Support methylation

Methylation is needed for healthy blood sugar balance. Activated B vitamins—like B9 L-Methylfolate (L-5-MTHF) and B6 Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate (P5P)—are a great way to support methylation pathways. Food that supports methylation include spinach, okra, and turnip greens, and meats like chicken liver or grass-fed beef liver, which have the highest levels of bioavailable B vitamins.

Activate PPARs

PPARs are “peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors” and studies suggest they may help improve inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis, asthma, colitis, MS, and other autoimmune conditions. Some PPAR activators for you to bring into your life: wild-caught fish, green tea, astragalus, ginger, and sea buckthorn.

More omega

The ability of omega-3 fatty acids to lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks is well-known. Less known is that omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil convert the potentially harmful very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which are linked to diabetes, into less dangerous low-density lipoproteins (LDL). For more on this, Why Your LDL Cholesterol Particle Size Determines Your Heart Disease Risk and What To Do About It.

Give yourself some adaptogenic love

Adaptogens are adept at balancing hormones and inflammation. A study found the adaptogen American ginseng berry juice could significantly improve glucose tolerance and normal blood sugar levels after just 10 days!

That said, my research on the matter compels me to tell you about two other adaptogens that are potent blood sugar moderators, Berberine and Amla.  You can get the deep dive on these and more in my article, You Absolutely Need To Lower Your Blood Sugar, but suffice to say:

 

Your Takeaway

Remember these four points:

  1. Although your doctor might be satisfied if you’re fasting blood sugar is 100 ng/dL, medical experts who wade deep into the data say that it needs to be much lower if you’re to enjoy a long and strong life. Go for 85 ng/dL or lower.
  2. There will soon be various devices that will be able to continuously monitor your blood sugar without needing your blood. Right now Fitbit Iconic Smartwatch may fit the bill.  I suggest that before you buy it, do some research into third-party analysis of its effectiveness.
  3. Even without some objective device to track your blood sugar, you can get a pretty good idea of how well you fare by taking an inventory of the amount of sugary foods regularly consumed, and how you feel after eating them.
  4. Finally, there’s much you can do to fix your blood sugar, both fasting and post-meal levels. Scroll back up and choose a few foods and supplements that you’d be willing to try and then include them one by one into your diet.

If you know anyone that eats too much sugary foods — and you just flashed on two people — do them a favor and share this article with them.

 

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Low Carb Best for health and weight loss

High-Fat Diet Doesn’t Cause Obesity

I wrote the other day about the less-than-optimal control animals and humans used in fasting and calorie-restriction studies. Partly this is due to the bad food that most people eat, as well as the substandard lab food that rats and mice eat. A similar problem exists in other diet experiments on lab animals. Here I’ll show that a high-fat diet doesn’t cause obesity – in lab animals anyway.

High-fat lab diets

If you read much of the scientific literature, you’ll come across lots of studies using lab rats and mice that were fed “high-fat” diets. Usually they produce ghastly results, like obesity, diabetes, cancer, cognitive deficits, and so on. Then the mainstream media trumpets these as meaning that you are going to get sick and die if you eat a high-fat diet.

Just to pull one more or less at random, “High-Fat Diet Disrupts Behavioral and Molecular Circadian Rhythms in Mice“. Control mice ate the Harlan Teklad 7012 diet of standard lab chow. It’s 25% protein, 17% fat, and 58% carbohydrate. Importantly, it contains no sugar and has high-quality, natural ingredients.

The high-fat group ate Research Diet 12451. Here are the ingredients:

This diet is 35% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 45% fat. It contains sucrose – table sugar – as 17% of calories, as well as soybean oil, maltodextrin, and casein.

High fat? It’s more like dessert for rodents.

That amount of sugar is comparable to what the typical obese and heart-disease-prone American eats. Soybean oil has a high omega-6 content. Maltodextrin is a simple carbohydrate that turns to maltose and then glucose when absorbed, spiking blood sugar and insulin. Casein supplies all the protein, whereas the standard lab chow has no animal protein.

Yes, of course animals eating this garbage get sick.

Healthy high-fat diets

In contrast, look at another paper: A high-fat, ketogenic diet induces a unique metabolic state in mice. The animals on the ketogenic diet had lower body weight, lower glucose and insulin, and higher AMPK activity, a pro-longevity mechanism. When animals were switched to this diet, they lost weight. All very healthy, yet it was a high-fat diet, with 95% fat, 5% protein, and 0% carbohydrate. A very high-fat diet.

One of the experimental arms in this experiment was on the Research Diet 12451, as illustrated above. They got fat and sick.

Conclusion: Don’t believe everything you read

The animals on the “high-fat” diet in the first study were in reality eating a high-sugar, moderate-fat diet. Very misleading, if you ask me.

The animals in the second study ate a very high fat, no carb and sugar diet, and were healthy.

So next time you read about a high-fat diet making animals sick, diabetic, obese, or whatever, you can’t take it at face value.

Are carbohydrates needed to build muscle?


Lots of bodybuilders, most of them I would say, emphasize the need for a substantial amount of dietary carbohydrates to build muscle. The argument takes one or both of two forms; 1) that you need carbs to perform more intense exercise in the gym; and 2) carbs are needed to raise insulin and stimulate muscle growth. I’ve never found the arguments all that compelling, but then I’m just an average gym rat, not a bodybuilder extraordinaire. So how much truth is there in these statements?

First, as for intensity of workouts. A study was recently published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition  – which looked at elite level gymnasts. After 30 days on a ketogenic diet, i.e one with a very low carbohydrate content, probably under 50 grams a day, the athletes’ strength and power had not diminished. However, even these elite athletes, who one would presume were already in terrific shape, lost about 2 kg of fat, with a “non-significant” increase in muscle. This shows that if anything, at least for gymnasts, who require a high level of strength, the ketogenic diet was better than their regular diets. The authors conclude:

Despite concerns of coaches and doctors about the possible detrimental effects of low carbohydrate diets on athletic performance and the well known importance of carbohydrates there are no data about VLCKD and strength performance. The undeniable and sudden effect of VLCKD on fat loss may be useful for those athletes who compete in sports based on weight class. We have demonstrated that using VLCKD for a relatively short time period (i.e. 30 days) can decrease body weight and body fat without negative effects on strength performance in high level athletes.

Assuming that the same holds for bodybuilders, let’s move on to muscle hypertrophy. Another recent study found that carbohydrate does not augment exercise-induced protein accretion versus protein alone. In this study there were two conditions: young men performed resistance training followed by ingestion of either 25 grams of whey protein, or 25 grams of whey plus 50 grams of carbohydrate (maltodextrin). Despite the fact that the extra carbohydrate raised blood glucose levels 17.5 times higher and insulin levels 5 times higher (that is, area under the curve) than protein alone, no difference was found in either muscle protein synthesis or muscle protein breakdown.

So as long as you get adequate protein, you’ve maximized the amount of hypertrophy you can get out of resistance training. Protein raises insulin, which is required for hypertrophy, but raising insulin further does nothing.

Finally there’s an interesting new study, one the co-authors of which is Jeff Volek, who’s done so much great work in this area. The effects of ketogenic dieting on skeletal muscle and fat mass. One reason why it’s interesting is that the men in the study were already resistance-trained. Normally in studies like this they like to use newbies, as you see greater results in them; if already trained subjects are used, and there’s a difference between groups, then you know it really worked well.

Twenty-six college aged resistance trained men volunteered to participate in this study and were divided into VLCKD (5 % CHO, 75 % Fat, 20 % Pro) or a traditional western diet (55 % CHO, 25 % fat, 20 % pro). All subjects participated in a periodized resistance-training program three times per week….

Results: the ketogenic diet group gained 4.3 kg lean mass (muscle) compared to only 2.2 kg for the traditional diet group; the ketogenic group lost 2.2 kg of fat, compared to 1.5 kg in the traditional group.

I’d say this last study puts to rest any argument for lots of carbohydrates in weightlifting. The very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet was superior to a diet with 55% carbohydrate. Note that protein percent was the same for both groups.

Finally, there’s a very good book I recommend by the above-mentioned Jeff Volek and co-author Stephen Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.

So, no, carbohydrates are not needed to build muscle, and in fact muscle building might be even better without them.

 

 

Low-Carbohydrate Diet Beats Others for Weight Loss

 

 

Low-carbohydrate food pyramid.

Low-carbohydrate food pyramid.

Weight loss and the myth of saturated fat

 

What’s the best diet for weight loss? Much controversy swirls around this question because although diets like the low-carb Atkins diet have had great success, we don’t know whether they’re more effective, and besides we’ve been told for years that too much saturated fat in the diet may be bad for our health.

The “fact” that saturated fat may cause heart disease and be bad for our health generally has finally, and I believe definitively, been shown to be a myth. A meta-analysis from a few years ago, one of whose co-authors was Dr. Ronald Krauss, than whom it would be impossible to be more mainstream, showed that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [cardiovascular disease].” The myth of dietary fat and health risks has been expounded upon at length in the recent book by Nina Teicholz, The Big Fat Surprise, which I highly recommend.

As the myth of saturated fat has been debunked, we’re left with which diets are better for weight loss. One factor in that analysis is compliance, that is, to what extent dieters will stay on a diet. In compliance, there are basically two things to consider: 1) whether the food taste good; and 2) whether hunger can be kept under control.

Diets must control hunger

 

Food doesn’t just supply us with nutrients; it’s pleasant and the occasion for social interaction, and a diet depriving people of these will generally make them unhappy and unwilling to continue.

And if dieters are hungry, they are much more likely to break their diets and revert to their old, weight-gaining ways.

Low-fat diets, the kind prescribed over the past few decades, generally deprive dieters of foods that humans find naturally satisfying and that taste good, fatty foods like steak and all kinds of meats, butter, cream, cheese, eggs, even olive oil. Many or most people find that they feel deprived on such a diet – I would anyway.

On the other hand, low-carbohydrate diets deprive dieters of or severely limit sugar, bread, rolls, pasta, tortillas, candy, pastries, and any number of other things. However, on a calorically restricted low-fat diet, you can’t really eat your fill of these foods either.

So, as far as taste goes, a low-carbohydrate diet would seem to offer a better choice, being able to eat one’s fill of “main meal” type, satisfying foods, while limiting anything made with flour or sugar. Low-fat diets, if calorically restricted, limit these foods anyway.

What about hunger? Most people report less hunger on a low-carbohydrate diet, so they’re more likely to stay on it. But the kicker is that most low-carbohydrate diets do not restrict calories, while low-fat or conventional diets do. So even if low-carbohydrate, high-fat foods didn’t satisfy hunger more, the fact that one can just eat more of them would seem to make up for it. But all the evidence points to low-carb, high-fat foods as better able to eliminate hunger – in fact, that’s part of the mechanism that makes them work.

 

A head-to-head comparison of low-carbohydrate, low-fat, and Mediterranean diets

 

A study from a few years ago directly compared three different diets for weight loss: Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. (New England Journal of Medicine.)

The low-fat diet was calorically restricted, with a target 1800 calories a day for men, 1500 for women. (Editorial comment: I’d be hungry on that amount of calories.) It was 30% of calories from fat, and “participants were counseled to consume low-fat grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes and to limit their consumption of additional fats, sweets, and high-fat snacks”. (Editorial comment: even on this diet, sweets are limited.)

The Mediterranean diet’s target calorie intake was the same as for the low-fat, but with a goal of 35% calories from fat, “the main sources of added fat were 30 to 45 g of olive oil and a handful of nuts (five to seven nuts, that’s it).

The low-carbohydrate diet was not restricted in calories; it was all you can eat. (Now we’re talking.) It provided “20 g of carbohydrates per day for the 2-month induction phase…, with a gradual increase to a maximum of 120 g per day to maintain the weight loss. The intakes of total calories, protein, and fat were not limited. However, the participants were counseled to choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein and to avoid trans fat. The diet was based on the Atkins diet.” Unfortunately, we see the fear of saturated fat loom here, with “vegetarian sources of fat and protein”. At the beginning, the diet amounts to a ketogenic diet; it’s unclear why they felt the need to increase carbohydrates from the original to 120 grams. Possibly they think better compliance would result.

The study lasted for 2 years; all participants were either overweight (BMI ≥27), or with diabetes or coronary heart disease.

So, what happened? Drum roll, please…

Weight loss on low-carbohydrate, low-fat, and Mediterranean diets. Low-carb for the win.

 

Low-carbohydrate diet resulted in more weight loss

 

For participants who completed the entire 24-month program, weight loss was 3.3 kg (7.3 lbs.) on low-fat, 4.6 kg (10.1 lbs.) on the Mediterranean diet, and 5.5 kg (12.1 lbs.) on the low-carbohydrate diet. Low-carb was the clear winner.

Note from the above graph that with all diets, most weight loss occurred in the first 6 months, with either a plateau (Mediterranean) or a gradual weight regain. This pattern is often seen in diet studies and, no doubt, in real-world dieters.

The reasons for that are at least two or three. One is that dieters lose their initial enthusiasm and start to cheat. Another is a decrease in metabolism that follows weight loss; although this occurs with all weight loss, the low-carbohydrate diet appears to have a better record of maintaining metabolism, one reason being that it’s not calorically restricted. Finally, the low-carb diet had “cheating” built into it, with a beginning carbohydrate allocation of 20 grams a day, but rising to 120 grams a day later. That alone could easily account for weight regain.

The low-carbohydrate diet reduced disease risk more

 

The researchers wanted to know how each of these diets affected heart disease risk, and thus looked at lipid profiles. Results below.

The low-carbohydrate diet had the best lipid profile results.

We know that in lipid profiles, triglycerides (lower is better), HDL cholesterol (higher is better), and the ratio between the two have the most significance for heart disease risk. The low-carbohydrate diet trounced the others in this category.

Fasting glucose (chart not shown) remained about the same for all groups, although in diabetics, the Mediterranean diet group showed the greatest improvement.

Also in non-diabetics, the low-carbohydrate group showed the greatest decrease in fasting insulin levels. Since insulin is a pro-growth, anabolic hormone, and is implicated in aging, this gives further backing to the fact that a low-carbohydrate diet is an anti-aging diet. Of great interest, the level of C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation, dropped the most on the low-carb diet. Again, since increasing inflammation is associated with aging, the low-carb diet can potentially slow the aging process.

The results show that the low-carbohydrate diet was the clear winner for weight loss. (Diabetics had somewhat better results with the Mediterranean diet, although not for weight loss.)

The better results on low-carb were likely due to two things, in my opinion. One is that insulin levels dropped. Insulin helps drive fat into cells, and lower insulin levels allow fat cells to release fat to be burned. The other reason is probably better compliance. This low-carbohydrate diet was unrestricted in calories, i.e. all-you-can-eat, therefore the participants on this diet were unlikely to get hungry and grab the nearest food available. The participants on the other, calorically restricted diets may have been much more likely to get hungry and cheat.

If weight loss is your goal, the choice seems clear enough. The addition of weight training and adequate protein intake to a low-carb diet will make the retention and even gaining of muscle possible, even while losing fat. (Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.)

A couple of books that I like that thoroughly explain the low-carbohydrate diet, both by the same authors, Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, are The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and for athletes, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.

 

 

Why a Low-Carb Diet Is Best for Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, you have a number of choices. The most popular is to cut calories and eat a low-fat diet. A way that’s becoming more popular, because it works much better, is to cut carbohydrates. Here we’ll take a look at scientific proof that a low-carb diet is best for weight loss.

No calorie counting

The biggest impediment to losing weight on a low-calorie diet is hunger. If you voluntarily reduce calories while eating the same foods, you get hungry, as is to be expected. Your body defends its weight, i.e. it has a set point, and makes you hungry if your weight moves away from the set point.

On a low-carbohydrate diet, you merely cut the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, and in most studies looking at low-carb diets, the dieters ate as much as they wanted. Only carbohydrates were restricted. Cutting carbohydrates lowers levels of the hormone insulin, which signals the body to store fat, and which is responsible for setting the body weight set point. The result is nearly effortless weight loss.

In the first study we’ll look at, a group of obese women were randomized to either a low-fat, low-calorie diet, or a low-carbohydrate diet that was not restricted in calories, and followed for 6 months. Weight loss result in the chart below.

low carb weight loss

The low-carb group ate 20 g of carbohydrate daily, but were allowed to increase this to 40 to 60 g after 2 weeks, so long as they remained in ketosis as shown by urinary testing. The low-fat group was restricted in calories by 30% and ate about 55% of their calories as carbohydrates.

Despite the fact that the low-carb group could eat as much as they wanted, they spontaneously reduced their calorie intake to about the same as the low-fat group. That shows the power of low-carb in reducing hunger and changing the body’s weight set point. And they still lost more weight, an average of 7.6 kg, than the low-fat group, at an average of 4.2 kg.

You can even eat more calories and still lose weight

The second study concerns weight loss in obese teenagers. A group of adolescents, average age 14, were assigned to either a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet.

The low-carb group was instructed to keep carbohydrates at less than 20 g a day for the first 2 weeks, but increasing to 40 g a day in weeks 3 through 12. They could eat as musch as they wanted.

The low-fat group was instructed to keep fat at <40 g a day. They also could eat as much as they wanted.

Here are the results.

low carb weight loss 2

The low-carb teenagers averaged 9.9 kg of weight loss, compared to 4.9 kg in the low fat group. (That’s 22 pounds vs 11 pounds.) That was despite the fact that the low-carb group ate over 1800 calories a day, while the low-fat group ate 1100 calories a day. That’s the power of lowering carbohydrate intake. Also it’s guaranteed that the low-carb group was less hungry.

You don’t even need to reduce carbohydrates much

The third study compared a low-carbohydrate to a low-fat diet in severe obesity. These people had a high prevalence diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

The low-carbohydrate group was instructed to keep carbs at <30 g a day. However, they didn’t. They could eat as much as they wanted.

The low-fat group was instructed to keep fat  at <30% of calories, and to reduce their calorie intake by 30%.

low carb weight loss 3

The low-carb group lost 5.8 kg after 6 months, the low-fat group 1.9 kg. (13 pounds vs 4 pounds.) The low-carb group spontaneously reduced their calorie intake, so that the 2 groups ate about the same number of calories, again showing the power of reducing hunger and body weight set point.

Notably, the low-carb group wasn’t very compliant, and they only reduced their carb intake to 37% of calories at 6 months, vs 51% for the low-fat group. Yet they still lost more weight.

Low-carb vs low fat and Mediterranean diets

The fourth study was a three-way comparison between a low-carb, low-fat, and Mediterranean diets. The low-fat and Mediterranean diets were restricted in calories, with limits of 1500 calories daily for women, and 1800 for men.

The low-carb dieters could eat as much as they wanted, so long as they restricted carbohydrates to 20 grams daily initially, but increasing to a maximum of 120 grams.

Here’s what happened:

low carb weight loss 4

Once again, low-carb is a clear winner. Low-fat lost 2.9 kg, Mediterranean 4.4 kg, and low-carb 4.7 kg. The low-carb group still ate a whopping 40% of calories as carbohydrates, although that was down from 51% at baseline, representing a drop of 120 grams of carbs daily.

Noteworthy is the increase in weight after the first few months of weight loss, which was greatest in the low-carb group. That group actually increased its carb intake slightly. Another explanation might be a lower metabolic rate and/or less exercise. the low-carb group did decrease the amount of exercise between 6 and 24 months; the low-fat group increased exercise.

Reviews of low-carb diets

We’ve seen above that several studies have found that low-carbohydrate diets are superior for weight loss. have I cherry-picked the studies? Nope.

Several meta-analyses (reviews of studies) have found that low-carb diets beat calorie-restricted low-fat diets.

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

This trial-level meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing LoCHO diets with LoFAT diets in strictly adherent populations demonstrates that each diet was associated with significant weight loss and reduction in predicted risk of ASCVD events. However, LoCHO diet was associated with modest but significantly greater improvements in weight loss and predicted ASCVD risk in studies from 8 weeks to 24 months in duration. These results suggest that future evaluations of dietary guidelines should consider low carbohydrate diets as effective and safe intervention for weight management in the overweight and obese, although long-term effects require further investigation.

Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. This study concluded:

Compared with participants on LF diets, participants on LC diets experienced a greater reduction in body weight.

What to eat on a low-carb diet

Low-carb diets vary in the degree of carbohydrate restriction. One scheme that I used in my book Stop the Clock was the following:

  • moderately low-carb: <130 grams of carbohydrate daily
  • low-carb: 50 to <130 grams daily
  • very low-carb ketogenic: <50 grams daily.

As we saw in this article, virtually any degree of carbohydrate restriction is beneficial. But, the more you restrict carbs, the better your weight loss is likely to be.

Timothy Noakes, M.D., a noted advocate of low-carb diets, recently published an article, Evidence that supports the prescription of low-carbohydrate high-fat diets: a narrative review. In it, he listed the following foods as being “green-lighted” for a low-carbohydrate diet:

low-carb-food-list

This list is meant for people who are insulin-resistant. If trying to lose weight, it would be a good idea to go easy on the added oils and nuts.

You should omit the following foods entirely:

  • anything made with flour: bread, pasta, tortillas, pastries
  • anything with added sugar: soft drinks, fruit juice, candy, cookies
  • starch: potatoes, sweet potatoes

Did I miss anything? It’s easy, just eat plenty of meat, eggs, vegetables, cheese. Don’t go hungry.

For what it’s worth, I eat this way all the time. Most days my carb intake is probably 20 to 60 grams, some days rising to 100.

Turmeric Tea for Weight Loss and Arthritis

Turmeric tea is quite a popular brew that not only soothes, but also improves a person’s life. Turmeric is a superfood that contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. Its most powerful compound is curcumin and is probably the main reason how turmeric tea is able to do so much for the human body.

Because of its bright shade of orange-yellow, many people refer to turmeric tea as liquid gold. It contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibactarial, and anti-viral properties.

Turmeric Tea Nutrition Content

So what exactly is in turmeric tea that can help with a lot of issues in the human body? First, it has a high content of dietary fiber. It also provides the body with healthy carbohydrates, healthy fat, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, energy, and protein. However, it does not contain any amount of cholesterol.

For its vitamin content, it has vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, as well as folates, niacin, and riboflavin. It has electrolytes potassium and sodium. It also has minerals iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium.

Out of all these nutrients, the most potent one is curcumin, which is a polyphenolic compound. This superfood drink also contains beneficial essential oils, like cineole, p-cymene, turmerone, and curcumene.

The use of this amazing superfood has been around for a very long time. Ancient traditional Chinese medicine as well as Ayurvedic medicine avail of turmeric tea’s benefits. It’s been known to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-flatulent, and carminative properties.

Turmeric Tea for Weight Loss

We all don’t want to be overweight or obese, right? Gaining too much weight can lead to many other deadly complications. These include hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, and many more.

That’s why there are plenty of ways and means to make sure to prevent these. And one of the most effective ways to fight against overweight and obesity is turmeric tea.

Prevents Fat Accumulation

There are plenty of ways turmeric can help win making sure you don’t gain too much fat. For one, it’s very effective in preventing fat accumulation. The major fat accumulation area in the body is the white adipose tissue. When new blood cells form in the white adipose tissues, this can lead to weight gain. The curcumin in turmeric prevents these unwanted fats from staying. Studies also show that curcumin decreases the size of adipose tissue, thus lowering fat accumulation.

Helps Diets Achieve Weight Loss

Having the right kind of diet can indeed help a person lose weight. Paired with the right diet plan, regularly taking in turmeric tea assists diet-induced weight loss.

The dietary fibers in turmeric play a part here. Also, the carbohydrates found in turmeric are not absorbed by the body.

According to a study, a number of overweight individuals were put on diets. Some were given turmeric tea while some were not.  Those who took in turmeric showed a significant increase in fat reduction. Their body mass index (BMI) also declined.

Possesses Thermogenic Properties

Thermogenesis is a metabolic process that burns off calories in the body and transforms it to energy. This particular process promotes healthy weight loss.

Turmeric contains compounds that increase the body’s metabolic rate. The more fat you burn, the more unwanted weight will be gone.

Turmeric Tea for Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions that exist. It is described as having swollen and painful joints. The usual symptoms of this disease are muscle aches and pains, fatigue, loss of flexibility, stiffness of joints, and inability to use certain limbs.

The most common forms of arthritis are gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and infectious arthritis. This condition can affect children as well, not just adults.

Incorporating turmeric tea into your daily diet can help ease, soothe, and get rid of arthritis. Check below for the numerous ways it can help you deal with this disease.

Helps with Inflammation

Inflammation is one of the primary symptoms of arthritis. This will then cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Fortunately, the curcumin in turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It inhibits the action of pro-inflammatory enzymes. It helps control inflammation in arthritis and prevents it from spreading. Also, it protects joints and synovial fluid from inflammation.

Helps Protect Bones

In osteoarthritis, the degradation of bone tissues is observed. Curcumin protects certain bone cells from inflammation. It protects bones and joints from erosion in arthritis and also prevents the thickening of synovial fluid, which lubricates joints.

Curcumin also slows down the progression of osteoarthritis by preventing the loss of bone tissue. It also reduces the activity of the bone cells that absorb bone tissue. Also, it maintains the function of cells that lay down bone tissue.

Prevents the Progression of Arthritis

No matter what type of arthritis you have, drinking turmeric tea regularly will eventually help halt its progress. There are certain cells in the body that are immune to cell death. They go by the name of fibroblasts. They are on the lining of joints, and they ensure smooth movements and flexibility.

However, due to inflammation, these cells start to grow and resist cell death. This contributes to inflammation and the destruction of joints.

Fortunately, the curcumin in turmeric targets these cells specifically. Curcumin prevents them from producing inflammatory agents. Eventually, curcumin is able to destroy these so-called indestructible fibroblasts, thus preventing the advancement of arthritis.

Soothes Pain Brought On by Arthritis

The daily intake of turmeric tea can help in reducing the tenderness and swelling of joints. Curcumin also inhibits the activity of certain enzymes that bring about inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.

There are many studies that show  turmeric, specifically its compound curcumin, work as better painkillers and are more effective than certain drugs in treating arthritis. And unlike prescription drugs, they do not have any side effects.

Some Tips on Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is the practice of abstaining or reducing consumption of food, drink, or both, for a specific period of time. Everyone fasts for at least some part of the day, generally the eight or so hours that one spends sleeping every night. Physiologically, fasting can refer to a person’s metabolic status after not eating overnight, or even the metabolic state after the complete digestion of a meal. Once you’ve gone eight to 12 hours without eating, the body enters a state of “fasting.”

The practice of fasting can lead to a number of metabolic changes within the body. These changes typically begin approximately three to five hours after eating, when the body enters a “post-absorptive” state – rather than the state on ongoing digestion, where eating frequent meals means the body is always involved in some sort of digestive activity.

Intermittent Fasting

Whether you practice more long-term fasting for health reasons or for spiritual reasons, most people will have to fast at some point for medical reasons. Patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures that require a general anaesthetic will usually fast prior to the treatment, but fasting is also practiced before a number of other medical tests, including cholesterol testing, blood glucose measuring, or a lipid panel. This enables doctors to achieve accurate results and establish a solid baseline to inform future testing, if necessary.

Here are 15 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting.

One: weight loss

Instead of running on fuel from the food you just ate, fasting allows your body to tap into reserves – fat, which accumulates on the body to be burned whenever food supply grows scarce. This results in a slow, steady weight loss that can be a huge benefit.

Since fasting is often incorporated as a lifestyle change instead of a temporary fix, this type of diet is much more sustainable than many other “crash diets.” In fact, many studies support the practice as a valuable, reliable tool for weight loss and weight maintenance. Initially, you’ll see a marked weight loss as a result of losing water weight, but according to the author of Eat Stop Eat, each day you fast will show a loss of 0.5 pounds of true body fat.

Two: improved tolerance of glucose

For diabetics, fasting can be a fantastic way to normalize glucose and even improve glucose variability. Anyone looking for a natural way to increase insulin sensitivity should attempt an intermittent fast, as the effects of fasting can make a huge difference in how your body processes glucose.

Generally, insulin resistance is the result of accumulation of glucose in tissues that aren’t built for fat storage. As the body burns through stored fuel in the form of body fat, that excess accumulation becomes smaller and smaller, allowing the cells in your muscles and liver to grow increasingly responsive to insulin – great news for anyone looking to be less dependent on medications to assist these processes.

Three: boosts metabolism

Part of the reason intermittent fasting helps practitioners lose weight is because the restriction of food, followed by regular eating, can help stimulate your metabolism. While long-term fasting can actually cause a drop in your metabolism, the shorter fasts promoted by intermittent fasting have proven to increase metabolism – by up to 14 per cent, reported by one study.

This is also a more effective tool than long-term calorie restriction, which can often wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism. Weight loss often goes hand in hand with muscle loss – and since muscle tissue is what burns through calories, having less muscle leads to a drop in your body’s ability to metabolize food. Intermittent fasting, though, keeps your metabolism running smoothly by helping you maintain your muscle tissue as much as possible.

Four: longevity

Research from University of Chicago scientists revealed that intermittent fasting can “delay the development of the disorders that lead to death” – meaning that regular practitioners can enjoy a longer, healthier life than people who eat a regular three meals a day or follow a traditional restricted-calorie diet.

A theory on this, according to head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory Mark Mattson, is that the mild stress that intermittent fasting puts on the body provides a constant threat – increasing the body’s powerful cellular defenses against potential molecular damage. Intermittent fasting also stimulates the body to maintain and repair tissues and has anti-aging benefits, keeping every organ and cell functioning effectively and efficiently.

Five: understanding hunger

It’s important to learn how to accurately decipher the signals your body gives you, and intermittent fasting is a great way to understand the cycle of hunger. Before true hunger sets in and the body, if not fed, enters starvation mode, you’ll feel pangs of “hunger” that can generally be attributed to psychological cravings. This emotional desire is confused with hunger all the time, but fasting will give practitioners the opportunity to experience real “hunger pains” in the stomach, and even withdrawal and detox symptoms associated with our usual consumption of processed foods.

You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation of food – if you’ve ever eaten after a period of “true hunger,” you’ll know what eating is supposed to feel like. Each bite tastes more delicious than the last, and you’ll experience a sensation of deep contentment and pleasure. It’s absolutely worth the hunger you endured to get here.

Six: establishes routine

Unless you’re following a random fast type of diet, having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a solid routine. You’ll be able to recognize your own hunger cycles, you’ll sleep more regularly and soundly, and you’ll start scheduling appointments during convenient hours. It can be difficult to establish this routine at first, especially if you have a family or an inflexible work schedule, but once you’ve developed a consistent plan, you’ll soon start to see all the ways a set routine can benefit your life – and your health.

Seven: stimulates brain function

A study, discussed at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in 2015, revealed that intermittent fasting offers “enormous implications for brain health.” According to the study, which was undertaken on both humans and animals, stimulates the brain in a number of different ways: promotes the growth of neurons, aids in recovery following a stroke or other brain injury, and enhances memory performance. Not only does intermittent fasting help decrease a practitioner’s risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, there is evidence to show that it may actually even improve both cognitive function and quality of life for people living with those conditions already.

Eight: boosts immune system

According to scientists at the University of Southern California, fasting has the power to “regenerate the entire immune system” by boosting the body’s production of new white blood cells, which is how your body fights off infection. Fasting in cycles, like practitioners of intermittent fasting will do on a daily or weekly basis, enables your body to purge the damaged, old, or inefficient parts of the immune system, and replace them with newly generated immune system cells.

Studies showed that a 72 hour fast was even enough to help protect cancer patients from the harmful and toxic effects of chemotherapy treatments – which generally causes significant damage to the patient’s immune system. Further clinical trials are needed, but many researchers are confident that intermittent fasting could be incredibly helpful for immunocompromised individuals and the elderly.

Nine: rejuvenates skin

Acne sufferers know that one of the best ways to control bothersome skin conditions is through diet – eating only unprocessed foods and limiting consumption of dairy products. It’s no surprise, then, that regular intermittent fasting can offer impressive benefits that can be seen all over a practitioner’s glowing, radiant face. Many of these conditions are caused from food sensitivities, which can lead to inflammatory conditions and acne. After a fast, introduce foods one at a time and note any changes to your skin, to accurately pinpoint which foods should be avoided.

Intermittent fasting also has a positive effect on your hair and nails, helping them grow healthy and strong. Not only will you feel good after incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, you’ll look great, too.

Ten: improves spiritual well-being

Fasting is practiced by almost every religion around the world – it’s no surprise, then, that a lifestyle that includes intermittent fasting could lead to a deepened sense of spirituality.

Regular practitioners have reported feeling at peace during their fasts, and studies have proven that fasting can help regulate mood by reducing levels of anxiety and stress. In fact, fasting is recommended as a natural treatment for a variety of emotional and sexual problems.

Whether or not you fast for religious reasons, intermittent fasting will help you feel more connected to nature and the world around you, and you’ll benefit from having a clear mind and a positive outlook.

Eleven: reduces oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in the body’s production of reactive oxygen and its antioxidative defenses, and may lead to chronic diseases and cancers. Unstable molecules, known as free radicals, can react with important molecules like DNA and protein – damaging these molecules and creating an imbalance.

The weight reduction brought on by regular intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in the body’s level of oxidative stress, helping prevent the development of these unpleasant conditions. A greater antioxidant capability is a huge benefit that comes with intermittent fasting, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking to pursue improved health and well-being.

Twelve: improves heart function

A lower body fat percentage has wide-reaching benefits through the entire body, but possibly none more important than cardiac function. Consistently, studies have shown that Mormon populations show lower cardiac mortality – generally attributed to the fact that the people who follow the religion don’t smoke, drink, or eat large amounts of meat. In addition, Mormons practice intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels – particularly triglycerides, which the body uses to create energy. Having less body fat also takes some strain off the kidneys, lowering blood pressure and increasing the body’s production of growth hormones. Combined, these wonderful benefits can mean a significant improvement in heart function.

Thirteen: helps prevent cancer

Intermittent fasting’s impressive ability to stimulate growth hormone production is also important for reducing a practitioner’s risk of developing a number of types of cancer. Regular eating triggers the body to produce more and more new cells – which can inadvertently speed up the growth of certain cancer cells. Fasting, however, gives your body a bit of a rest from this activity, and lessens the possibility of new cells becoming cancerous.

In addition, studies have indicated that when combined with chemotherapy, a “fast-like diet” can help tear down the protection that prevents the immune system from attacking breast cancer and skin cancer cells.

Fourteen: speeds healing and recovery

Exercise while on a fast can be tricky, but there are some powerful benefits to be gained by combining the two – especially when you can get a solid workout in at the end of your period of not eating. Some studies have reported that after three weeks of regular overnight fasting, endurance cyclists noted a more rapid post-workout recovery – with no decrease in performance. Studies examining weight training in a fasted state showed an increase to the subject’s “intramyocellular anabolic response” to the post-workout meal, indicating that the period of fasting upped some of the body’s physiological indicators of muscular growth.

Even if these studies aren’t entirely conclusive, the healing power fasting and the improvements to your sleep and eating habits definitely aids the body in recovering from a workout, no matter how intense it is.

Fifteen: triggers autophagy

During a fast, the body’s cells begin to undertake a process called autophagy. Over time, dysfunctional or damaged proteins can build up within cells, and this waste removal process helps the body filter out this excess material. This process is an important part of the body’s ability to repair and detoxify, and some researchers assert that increased autophagy offers a boost in protection from a number of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

Suggested meals

Generally, intermittent fasting means you can eat whatever foods you like – within specific feeding windows, and as long as you are getting the nutrients you need. If your goal is to achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting, you won’t get there by indulging on fast food and candy. Use these meal ideas to help come up with some nutritious ways to fuel and nourish your body during your specific eating windows or periods of partial fasting.

Under 300 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of oatmeal: approximately 250 calories
  • roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon: approximately 260 calories
  • pesto salmon with kale: approximately 290 calories
  • sausage with roasted ratatouille: approximately 260 calories
  • prawn and squash curry: approximately 290 calories

Under 200 calorie suggestions:

  • light salad with spinach, feta cheese, lemon, and beetroot: approximately 150 calories
  • sliced apple with 1 tbsp of nut butter: approximately 145 calories
  • 100g serving of low-fat yogurt, 1sp of raw honey, 2 sliced plums: approximately 150 calories
  • omelette with spinach: approximately 160 calories
  • 40g of hummus and a bowl of raw vegetables: approximately 175 calories

Under 100 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of miso soup: approximately 40 calories
  • one soft boiled egg: approximately 70 calories
  • lightly salted edamame beans: approximately 85 calories
  • handful of almonds: approximately 90 calories
  • one chopped and peeled kiwi: approximately 45 calories

These meals can be combined and altered to suit your taste, but it’s a good idea to try and keep each meal small and easy for your body to process. Focus on eating raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, organic lean protein, plenty of fibre, and lots of healthy fats to ensure that during your scheduled eating windows, you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your energy level up and satisfy you through your periods of partial or complete fasting.

Types of fasts

People practice fasting for a wide range of reasons, so there are a number of types of fasts to accommodate this variety of needs. Most will offer similar benefits, so there is really no type of fasting that is necessarily superior to others – it comes down to what works for an individual’s lifestyle, faith, or general well-being.

Dry Fasting

This type of fasting is done without food or water. A soft dry fast allows the individual to shower and brush their teeth, but an absolute dry fast, or a black fast, requires no contact with water whatsoever. This type of fasting is the most extreme, and is typically practiced as a spiritual act rather than for health reasons.

Liquid Fasting

While fully abstaining from solid food, a liquid fast allows individuals to consume water or juice – and has become quite trendy since the “Master Cleanse” or Lemonade Diet was introduced in the 1970s. This type of fast is typically short-lived, lasting between one to three days, and can include the use of laxatives and enemas to ensure full cleansing of the body’s lower digestive tract.

Partial Fasting

Also referred to as “selective fasting,” this type of fasting is incorporated into many cleanse diets or mono-diets. This means either limiting the amount of solid food consumed, or limiting consumption to specific types of food, like eating only brown rice, grapefruit, or apples.

Intermittent Fasting

This type of fasting involves sticking to a diet that cycles frequently between a period of fasting and a period of non-fasting. There are various ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle – alternate day fasting, one day per week fasting, or 24-hour plans – but all provide similar benefits.

Planning an intermittent fast

Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to see the benefits of fasting without making huge lifestyle adjustments – but it certainly takes a bit of planning. Luckily, there are tons of recommended schedules to help you figure out when to eat and when not to eat, which means that there is an intermittent fast plan that can accommodate pretty much any schedule or lifestyle. Before embarking on a specific plan, consider what you want from the fast – are you looking to lose weight? Support a training plan? Make it a part of your regular healthy lifestyle? These factors will all play a role in helping you choose an intermittent fast schedule that will work for you.

16/8 Fast (also known as Leangains)

Fitness expert Martin Berkhan popularized this method of fasting, requiring practitioners to fast for 14 to 16 hours each day, with a restricted eating period of only eight to 10 hours – typically, you’d finish dinner at around 8 p.m. and then not eat again until noon the following day. Women sometimes have a more difficult time with longer fasts, so many women adjust this schedule to include a fast period of 14 to 15 hours, instead of the recommended 16.

For people who don’t eat breakfast, this type of fast will feel incredibly natural, but big breakfast eaters will have a harder time waiting all morning before eating their first meal. However, during your feeding window, practitioners are encouraged to fit in 2 to 3 healthy meals. Water, coffee, and other calorie-free beverages are allowed during fast periods, to help curb excessive hunger.

Possible 16/8 Fast (Leangains) Schedule

Sunday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Sunday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Monday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Monday morning, until 12pm: continue fasting, drinking only calorie-free beverages

Monday, noon: Fast time – 16 hours!

Monday afternoon, until 8pm: enjoy one or more meals, sticking to healthy choices

Monday night, 8pm: restart 16 hour fast

5:2 Fast

This would be considered more of a partial fast, as practitioners never truly abstain from solid foods – the diet encourages normal eating for five days of the week, with two days of restricted calorie intake, generally between 500-600 calories per day.

Popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, this diet allows for an easier adjustment for people who have never counted calories before – but in order to achieve the benefits of the fast, it’s important to eat healthy, nutritious foods both during the fast days and on regular diet days, as well.

Possible 5:2 Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: follow reduced calorie diet – throughout the day, consume only 500-600 calories

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: reduce calories again, staying between a daily total of 500-600 calories

Friday: eat normally

Saturday: eat normally – continue to fuel your body with nutritious foods

24-hour Fast

Whether you decide to begin fasting after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, under this diet plan, you wouldn’t eat again until the same meal the next day – after 24 hours of straight fasting. This method has been quite popular for the last few years, after being touted by fitness expert Brad Pilon.

It’s important to ensure that your diet remains healthy, and that you’re not overeating during your feeding periods – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. It can be difficult to adjust to this type of fast, so experts recommend starting with 14 to 16 hours and working your way up to a full 24-hour fast. One day per week is challenging enough, and those who plan to attempt to 24-hour fasting periods each week should take care to get enough rest and limit physical activity during the fasts.

Again, during the 24-hour fasting period, non-caloric beverages like water or coffee are permitted.

Possible 24-hour Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Sunday, all day, until 8pm: continue fasting, using non-caloric beverages to curb hunger

Sunday night, 8pm: Fast time – 24 hours! Enjoy a healthy meal, you’ve earned it

Alternate-Day Fast

This is a rather extreme type of fast, which can be undertaken in varying degrees of intensity. Some practitioners don’t eat at all during the fasting period, while others do a partial fast with a drastically reduced intake of calories, around 500 for the day.

Since this type of fasting is difficult, it’s not recommended for beginners or people who are looking to introduce a sustainable lifestyle change. However, it has proven to be very effective in helping practitioners gain a wide range of health benefits.

Possible Alternate Day Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: eat sparingly, sticking to a 500-600 calorie limit

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: partial fast, consume no more than 500-600 calories

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: limit intake to 500-600 calories for the day

Saturday: eat normally – focus on nutrition

Warrior Diet

After fasting or eating small amounts of raw produce throughout the day, practitioners of this type of partial fast end the day with a huge meal in the evening, within a four-hour feeding window. This style of fasting rose to notoriety in recent years thanks to fitness guru Ori Hofmekler, and was one of the first popular diets to incorporate intermittent fasting.

The Warrior Diet is based on the theory that “ancient warriors” ate lightly during the day, if at all – and feasted in the evening after bringing home their “hunt.” With this diet, your food intake will consist primarily of one evening meal, and won’t require any calorie counting.

Possible Warrior Diet Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 6pm: finish eating last meal

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up

Sunday, 7am to 5pm: enjoy calorie-free beverages, snacks of raw fruits and vegetables

Sunday, 5pm: enjoy a large, healthy dinner

Random Fast

This type of fasting is something we all do from time to time – skipping a meal on occasion, when you’re not hungry enough to eat or when you’re too busy to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down to eat it. There is a misconception out there that if you don’t eat every few hours, your body will go into “starvation mode” and start burning muscle, but this kind of eating is actually fairly typical of how our ancestors lived.

Before we learned how to preserve foods for later consumption, meals were eaten whenever food was available. Following this kind of eating schedule can provide similar benefits to any other type of fasting, but is much easier to accommodate into a busy lifestyle. A Paleo type diet is recommended when practicing a spontaneous type of fasting, and can be a challenge for people who need structure and routine.

Possible Random Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: skip breakfast, eat a healthy lunch and healthy dinner

Tuesday: reduce calorie intake to 500-600 for the day

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: skip breakfast and lunch before eating a large, healthy dinner

Saturday: snack throughout the day, limit to 500-600 calories

If none of these types of fasts can work with your lifestyle, don’t lose hope. Fasting doesn’t have to follow strict rules or schedules – find a fasting style that works for you. Experts recommend making one small change at a time and maintaining that adjustment for at least two weeks, to give yourself a chance to evaluate whether the change works for you or not. Then, continue to introduce further small changes as needed, until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of schedule you decide to follow for your intermittent fasting, you should never go more than 36 hours without eating. When you do eat, make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals – not enjoying “cheat days” by bingeing on junk food. Fasting isn’t just about not eating, it’s about helping your body function in a more effective, efficient way, and filling it with empty calories and various chemicals isn’t conducive to the process.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Since food provides your body with the fuel necessary to get through a tough workout, it is beneficial to exercise during your fast – as long as you do it correctly. Your body generally uses stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power you through your workout. During a fast, when your glycogen reserves are depleted, your body will be forced to turn to other energy sources for fuel – like fat. However, experts recommend that if you’re fasting, keep your workouts short.

“When glycogen is in short supply, your body also reverts to breaking down protein – your muscles’ building blocks – for fuel,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University and a board-certified sports dietetics specialist.

This means that even though you will likely burn more fat if you’re exercising on an empty stomach, you could also start burning protein if you work out too hard without fueling your body with carbs – leading to a loss of muscle mass, in addition to fat.

Without food, you’ll also feel the weakening effects of lowered levels of glycogen and blood sugar. As your body adjusts to regular intermittent fasting, you’ll be able to handle this energy loss a bit better, but initially, overdoing it with your workouts could be detrimental. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to compensate for your lowered energy level before you attempt to get on the bike or start pounding the pavement.

Challenges to expect during a fast

Fasting can be a difficult practice to incorporate into a busy lifestyle, especially for individuals who have never monitored meals or counted calories in the past. For people who are newly adopting a healthy diet and exercise program, it’s a good idea to develop a routine and let your body adjust before attempting to bring in an intermittent fast plan.

Working your scheduled fast periods around your family, job, and other commitments can also be a struggle. If you have the support of your workplace and your loved ones as you incorporate fasting into your life, it will be a lot easier to stick to your eating routine. Since you will likely face a brief period of lowered energy and some mood swings initially, it can be beneficial to arrange for your first fasts to fall on weekends, or days with less scheduled activity. Be prepared to feel a bit rundown as your body adjusts to a new eating schedule.

People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past can find that fasting may trigger relapses – particularly binge eaters. The hunger that can develop during a period of fasting could lead you to overeat during your feeding days, but this is generally not a problem for people who have a healthy attitude toward food and eating. If you’ve experienced food-related mental health issues, a diet that incorporates any period of fasting for longer than eight to 12 hours might not be appropriate.

Finally, fasting is generally not a good idea if you’re pregnant. When your body is growing another human inside it, you’ll need to fuel it frequently and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need in regular doses – however, there is no research to show that fasting is a harmful practice for pregnant women. Some Muslim women do choose to practice fasting during Ramadan even throughout a pregnancy, but all pregnant women are encouraged to discuss drastic dietary changes with their doctor to ensure it will be safe for the baby.

Fasting throughout history

For thousands of years, fasting has been promoted as a spiritual healing practice, employed by religions around the world. The widely recognized “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates of Cos, wrote, “to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness.” Hippocrates regularly prescribed fasting as a way to speed healing from a variety of ailments.

The practice was also adopted by Greek writers and philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch, who wrote, “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” Ancient Greeks much preferred using natural healing methods – and since humans, like animals, lose their appetite when suffering from an illness, this universal human instinct is embraced through the practice of fasting.

Even more modern thinkers have recognized the value of fasting as a way to encourage the body’s natural healing process – including Philip Paracelsus and Benjamin Franklin. However, the practice has been primarily utilized by religious groups. Virtually every religion in the world promotes fasting as for spiritual reasons, since the practice has been touted in the scriptures of Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the prophet Muhammed. Cleansing, or purification, has been embraced by a wide variety of religions and cultures throughout history.

Buddhists will often eat first thing in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day – going without solid food until the next morning, when they wake up. Water fasts are also regularly practiced by Buddhists, sometimes lasting for days or weeks. Traditional fasting is frequently practiced by Greek Orthodox Christians, for up to 180 to 200 days of each year. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan requires nightly fasting from sunrise to sunset, and weekly fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also recommended by Muhammad. Judaism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, and even South and North American Indian traditions also incorporate various forms of fasting.

While modern western medicine is somewhat reluctant to accept the traditional, natural remedies of the past, the practice of fasting has managed to continue to this day. In the 1970s, the idea of “cleanse diets” emerged as a solution to help people lose weight and detoxify their bodies, and the popularity of yoga has encouraged more modern practitioners to embrace fasting as an Ayurvedic healing therapy. As more people recognize the power of the mind-body connection, the more important these self-healing practices will become – and the fact that many groups and individuals continue to fast to this day proves this ancient practice has earned a place in the modern world.

Cayenne Pepper for health and weight loss

Cayenne pepper is a powerhouse of capsaicin and belongs to the genus Capsicum. So cayenne pepper is a part of the herb family, boasting of many healthy nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and its other antioxidant compounds. Being low in both fat and calories, cayenne pepper is a fat-burning herb to cure obesity, weight gain, and diabetes.

You might have heard that cayenne pepper works wonders for digestion in both its natural herb or powdered form. Cayenne pepper, spicy as it may be, works as a natural remedy for stomach pain, ulcers, intestinal gas, and stomach cramps. Cayenne pepper also helps soothe toothache, nausea, malaria, and fever. It offers positive health benefits for arthritis and is an effective remedy for chronic headaches and migraines.

1. Eating Cayenne Pepper Daily Can Curb Your Appetite

If you’re new to cayenne pepper or haven’t used it as a spice before in your meals, you will be pleased to know that adding this spice to your daily meals can help curb your appetite. It reduces strong cravings, burns more calories, and you feel full for a longer time.

Incorporating cayenne pepper into your daily diet, studies suggest, can encourage healthy eating and aid weight management.

The study conducted on the effects of red pepper and weight management showed that half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can increase body temperature and burn more calories. It was conducted on 25 non-overweight people out of which 13 ate spicy food and the remaining didn’t. (1)

It also showed that people who consumed cayenne pepper on a daily basis had no weight loss effects. So people who are new to this spice might notice a slight change in weight and appetite than those who consume this pepper everyday.

Key Takeaway: The study associated a direct link between consuming cayenne pepper and appetite control in non-overweight people. Daily consumption of cayenne pepper, that is 1/2 a tsp, can help curb cravings and make you feel full for longer.

2. Cayenne Pepper Has Powerful Metabolism-Boosting Properties

This hot chili pepper is added to most dishes to increase spiciness, but there’s another key reason why more and more people are incorporating this spice in their meals.

It’s because cayenne pepper contains good amounts of capsaicin which is an active compound. This compound plays an important role in increasing metabolism and inducing weight loss in both unhealthy and healthy people. (2)

It has a direct effect on thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is responsible for converting cell energy into heat which in-turn increases body temperature and boosts metabolism rate.

Another report studied the positive effects of spiced food on metabolic rate. This study proved that the ingestion of spicy foods, such as cayenne pepper, induces oxygen consumption which has a direct effect on our metabolic rate. (3)

Good amounts of cayenne pepper in a person’s diet activated the digestive system while enhancing the calorie-burning processes in the body. (4)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a powerful herb containing capsaicin, which plays a major role in fat-burning and metabolism-boosting. Once digested, cayenne pepper activates certain cell processes that help induce a faster metabolic rate for better digestion and weight management.

3. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Suppresses Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the formation of cancer cells in cellular membranes of the breasts. It is very common in women than it is in men. People with breast cancer often go through chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or surgery for an effective treatment.

That said, new research has shed light on the positive anti-cancer properties of cayenne pepper on breast cancer. This study focused on cayenne pepper’s capsaicin that helps destroy breast cancer cells effectively.

With chemotherapy the only effective treatment for breast cancer, a study was conducted on mice to check for any changes in tumors as a method of cancer treatment.

Capsaicin activates a certain type of receptor in the body, it is the Transient Receptor Potential Channels or TRPV1. This receptor helps healthy cells survive for longer by slowly killing cancer cells in breast tumors. Treating capsaicin compound with this receptor can reduce the proliferation of tumors in the body while killing of cancer cells faster. (5)

Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps boost healthy cell proliferation which built up a resisting environment for cancer cells and tumors. It has a positive effect on breast tumors in both men and women.

4. Cayenne Pepper Is Good For The Liver

Interestingly, cayenne pepper may reduce liver damage, inducing better digestion. A new study conducted on the liver-enhancing effects of cayenne pepper showed that the active compound present in cayenne pepper, capsaicin alleviates liver damage.

Consumption of capsaicin-activated a special compound called hepatic stellate cells which are present in huge amounts in the liver. This group of cells helps improve scar tissue response caused by liver damage.

Capsaicin reduces the inflammatory and oxidative damage caused by the liver which affects liver fibrosis. That’s when these group of cells, hepatic stellate cells, get activated. (6)

Another study reviewed the powerful anti-inflammatory and oxidative capacity of capsaicin on liver health. It proved the capsaicin plays a major role in lowering chances of metabolic diseases including liver disease. This also includes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The phytochemicals present in cayenne pepper activate and increase the count of antioxidant enzymes in the body. (7)

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies showed that increasing cayenne pepper consumption for its powerful capsaicin content has positive liver-enhancing benefits. It cuts the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and other factors affecting the liver.

5. Eating Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Sensations Of Pain

You can trick your brain into feeling no pain. It seems impossible, but it can happen with the right kind of foods. Cayenne pepper, on the one hand, can alleviate pain by increasing burning sensations.

When you consume cayenne pepper, it increases heat in your body which causes a burning sensation. This burning sensation is considered to, ironically, reduce pain in humans. (8)

When consumed, cayenne pepper’s capsaicin activates the TRPV1 receptors in the nerves and cells. And continued exposure to this pepper cause the pain nerve cells to get exhausted, ultimately causing no pain. This is because the pain nerve cells deplete all their chemical stores when activated for a long time.

When cayenne pepper extracts are applied to the skin, it induces another set of cells called PIP2 in the cell membrane. These cells release calcium in the bloodstream which causes loss of sensitivity in the skin cell membranes. (9)

Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper may help induce pain relief when applied to the skin. It induces better chemical depletion in the pain nerve cells which drastically reduces sensitivity to pain.

6. Cayenne Pepper Is A Good Source Of Vitamin E

Vitamin-E rich foods, such as cayenne pepper, aid various body processes such as the heart, respiratory system, blood pressure, and skin. (10)

Many studies show that vitamin E deficiency in the body can induce variety of chronic and inflammatory-induced diseases. A daily intake of 4 mg vitamin E (for women) and 3 mg vitamin E (for men) can help curb vitamin E deficiency. (11)

Vitamin E helps balance high LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Especially for people affected with lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, high-fat diets, and lack of exercise. It does this by reducing free radical induced damage in the blood cells which act as an antioxidant to help fight high cholesterol levels.

It also shows that vitamin E is good for preventing age-related disease development in the skin, bones, and immune system. It helps increase immunity in older adults. The vitamin E extract chilli peppers, such as cayenne pepper, acts as a powerful antioxidant for DNA repair and muscle cell respiration. (12)

Key Takeaway: Daily consumption of cayenne pepper can reduce vitamin E deficiency in children, adults, and older adults. Multiple studies reported that vitamin E is good for the heart, respiratory system, and fights free radicals to enhance antioxidant capacity in the body.

7. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Congestion

Nasal congestion is common in people with allergies and other environmental-sensitivities. If left untreated, it can cause headaches, nausea, facial pain, and even a sore throat. This type of congestion can be treated with a nasal spray rich in capsaicin, that is present in cayenne pepper.

You can even take capsaicin orally with the help of cayenne pepper to reduce effects of congestion in the nasal area. It helps clear up any sinus infection, cold, and allergic reaction. (13)

It also showed that a single teaspoon of cayenne with hot water can help dilate blood vessels. This also helps drain out sinuses more effectively than other traditional methods.

Due to its concentration of capsaicin, cayenne pepper can help calm your senses and reduce inflammation in the nasal regions to avoid proliferation of any infection. (14,15)

Not to mention, the release of cayenne pepper in the body can also help release the nasal passage of liquids that otherwise don’t come out quickly. But it’s important to remember, too much of anything can have its side-effects. Too much of cayenne pepper exposure to the nasal region may cause skin irritation or nose burning.

Key Takeaway: The anti-inflammatory properties of cayenne pepper has its positive effect on reducing nasal congestion and sinus infections.

8. The Powerful Nutrients Present In Cayenne Pepper Can Cure Migraines

Migraine is a major health concern worldwide. But you might be able to reduce the severe effects of migraines with the help of cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper and its powerful nutrients such as vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and of course capsaicin signal for protection against chronic headaches and migraines.

One study showed that a higher consumption of spicy foods can significantly decrease the endurance of headaches and migraines. People with frequent headache attacks has a lower consumption of spicy foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Ths randomised study proved that an increase in cayenne pepper consumption can trigger brain cells to fight against the inflammation that leads to a migraine attack. (16)

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity, is able to suppress migraine and headache attacks.

9. Cayenne Pepper Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Cayenne pepper has very powerful blood pressure-lowering properties when digested. Cayenne pepper, like most other chilli peppers, contain high amounts of capsaicin. This active ingredient helps relax blood vessels and tissues to reduce hypertension.

A study conducted on hypertensive rats showed that a long-term consumption of capsaicin through spicy foods such as cayenne pepper can lower blood pressure better than other traditional methods.

It helps in the activation of TRPV1 which increased nitric oxide production to protect blood vessel from chronic inflammation. (17)

This same study also suggested that people who don’t like spicy food are greatly affected by its hypertension-reducing properties.

One study showed that consuming cayenne pepper creates a positive energy balance in the body to lower blood pressure and promote fat metabolism in the body. (18)

Any kind of energy imbalance in the body can cause serious health concerns including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart diseases. Hence, consuming sufficient amounts of cayenne pepper can be beneficial for normal energy expenditure.

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies have found that cayenne pepper does stimulate normal blood pressure levels. It inhibits hypertension by balancing energy levels, lowering inflammation in the blood vessels, and promoting proper artery flow.

10. A Sufficient Cayenne Pepper Diet Can Decrease Inflammation

Cayenne pepper contains many antioxidants such as vitamins and capsaicin that have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it very effective in easing inflammation-induced infections, diseases, and symptoms.

Inflammation in the human body can cause cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and many types of metabolic diseases. A specific study conducted on inflammation-induced obesity showed that proinflammatory diseases including diabetes and atherosclerosis have a direct influence on the liver, pancreas, and muscle cells. (19)

The solution to all this is an increased consumption of cayenne pepper for its capsaicin compounds. The study that targets the effects of this active ingredient showed that the action of capsaicin reduces oxidant enzyme levels in the body. It doesn’t eliminate the oxidative capacity, but limits it to healthy levels. (20)

Key Takeaway: Hence, it can be believed that cayenne pepper is a promising agent to suppress proinflammatory diseases and abnormalities in the human body.

11. Cayenne Pepper Acts As An Anti-Irritant To Curb Gastric Ulcers

Cayenne pepper encourages the inhibition of acid secretion in the body, contrary to popular beliefs. It stimulates mucosal blood flow in the body to help heal inflammatory stomach ulcers and bacteria.

Helicobacter Pylori is a common bacteria that causes different types of infections in the stomach. This has also been one of the leading causes of gastric ulcers in humans. Capsaicin is a leading inhibitor of ulcer formation than a participant. It helps prevent and heal gastric ulcers by initiating a healthy gastric mucosal blood flow level in the body. (21)

Another study proved that capsaicin promotes a healthy gut by suppressing harmful cell proliferation in the body. This also plays a factor in lowering chances of developing colorectal tumors. (22)

Key Takeaway: Scientists discovered that cayenne pepper has a direct positive effect on suppressing acid secretion and inflammatory blood cells that cause gastric ulcers and colorectal tumors in the body.

12. Cayenne Peppers Are Rich With Vitamins With Skin-Enhancing Properties

New studies suggest that cayenne pepper plays a major role protecting skin from aging, wrinkles, acne, and other skin abnormalities. Cayenne peppers is packed with healthy vitamins such as A, B6, and C. These vitamins work together to prevent skin infections and diseases.

One study showed that vitamin A when treated aged skin, skin ulcer formation, and help accelerate the healing process of skin injuries. (23)

Another study proved that vitamin A has a direct influence on skin exposed to UV radiation and harmful chemicals in the environment. Chronic sun exposure can cause cancer, heat boils, dehydrated skin, and other symptoms. Vitamin A promotes better nutrient absorption in the skin cells that blanket the skin cells from excessive sun exposure and UV radiation. (24)

The role of vitamin C on skin health encourages better regeneration and protect the skin against genetic and environmental factors. (25)

Extreme sun exposure can cause DNA damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. The skin cells, being the most sensitive to this reaction, deplete in large numbers causing cancer, skin disease, and pigmentation.

Another nutrient present in cayenne pepper, that is vitamin B6, has protective effects for skin health. It reduces skin sensitivity by inhibiting the severe effects of testosterone in the DNA. This is one of the leading causes of acne in young adults. (26)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamin C, A, and B6. They help in the prevention of skin injuries and infections. Also, they accelerate skin healing by providing plenty of antioxidants to the skin cells.

13. Cayenne Pepper Has Anti-Fungal Properties

The many benefit of cayenne pepper also includes its powerful anti-fungal properties. It supports the immune system with the help of CAY-1 which is naturally occurring enzyme found in cayenne pepper.

This compound, once digested in the system, affects cell cytotoxicity. It disrupts the cell toxicity levels in the membrane by reducing the number of fungal and infections-inducing cells in the body. (27)

Cayenne pepper must be a part of your anti-fungal diet because it boosts your immune system to destroy fungal cells faster. It even restricts the proliferation of toxic fungal pathogens against 16 fungal strains found in the body.

This prevents the development of candida, digestive diseases, hormonal imbalance, and much more. It even inhibits the formation of different types of yeast in the body. (28)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper suppresses the growth of 16 types of fungus in the body including candida. It has anti-fungal compounds such as capsaicin and CAY-1 that kill fungal cells in the bloodstream caused by genetic factors.

14. Cayenne Pepper Is Low-Carb Which Is Good For Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a very common and severe health concern affecting many people worldwide. That said, factors such as healthy eating and physical exercise can keep you away from this diabetes.

One of the most effective remedies of diabetes, as well as its prevention, is a low-carb diet. Since cayenne pepper contains very little calories and fats, it’s a good source of antioxidants to do away with abnormal insulin and blood sugar levels.

According to a recent study, a low-carb diet is essential for both diabetes prevention and management. This study show a 2.2% reduction in glycated haemoglobin levels with a low-carb diet. The long-term effects of eating low-carb foods such as cayenne pepper are also associated with reducing the psychological stress that tags along with diabetes. (29)

Key Takeaway: People suffering from diabetes have abnormal blood sugar and insulin levels. This also invites psychological stress which has a direct influence of dietary intake. All these symptoms can be treated with a low-carb diet including cayenne pepper.

15. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a severe skin condition that is characterized by rapidly growing skin cells. This causes swelling and white coloration of the skin. The main agent of psoriasis is increased inflammation and scaling of the skin cells.

The symptoms of this disease include dandruff, discolored skin, patchy and swollen skin, skin lesions, and painful bleeding of the nails.

To prevent the development of psoriasis or heal the severe symptoms of it, a regular diet of cayenne pepper is essential. A continued supplementation of capsaicin on moderate to severe cases of psoriasis showed a positive improvement in redness of skin, itching, and white patches. (30)

To overcome psoriasis, a daily diet focusing on capsaicin found in cayenne pepper is very essential. It helps in the healing process as well as lowers your chances of developing this chronic skin disease.

Key Takeaway: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the skin caused due to a poor diet, vitamin deficiency, and other factors. Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can be a promising agent in the prevention and treatment of this skin disease.

5 Amazing Dishes With Cayenne Pepper

It’s like magic; the taste and flavor of cayenne pepper. Even a tiny amount of cayenne pepper has the ability to transform all kinds of dishes. And the options are endless. You can use cayenne pepper to spruce up morning eggs. And you can even add cayenne pepper if you want to spice up your favorite chocolate dessert. The best part about it is that you don’t need too much of it. Just a pinch of cayenne pepper can take your dish from boring or simple to hot and super hot!

What you see below are 5 recipes that show you how you can use cayenne pepper in different ways. So do you think you can handle the spice?

1. Honey and Sesame Fish Tacos

Tacos are better when they offer a spicy and sweet punch. This means a combination of honey and cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

1 tsp – molasses

2 tbsp – soy sauce

1/4 tsp – garlic powder

4 tbsp – honey

2 tbsp – sesame oil

1/4 tsp – chilli powder

1/4 tsp – red cayenne pepper

7 oz – greek yogurt

8 oz – Mexican cheese, shredded

8 tortillas

1 lime

1/4 shredded red cabbage

12 oz – cod

Method:

  1. The first step is to combine all the sauce ingredients. You can use a pan for this. Place it over medium heat and make sure that you pour the sesame oil on top of the cayenne pepper.
  2. Now it’s time to add the thawed fish.
  3. Cook the dish for at least 15 minutes. Once the fish turns white, you know it’s done. This is when you chop the fish so that it’s covered in sauce completely.
  4. Then take a small sized bowl to bring together lime juice and greek yogurt.
  5. And that’s about it. You can now place the cooked fish with tortillas, cheese, red cabbage, and let’s not forget, the yogurt sauce.

2. Cayenne Pepper Truffles

Chocolate with cayenne pepper can be a delicious aphrodisiac to spice up anyone’s love life. And they come in the form little truffles.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of cocoa powder (unsweetened)

5 cayenne peppers

8 oz of bittersweet or dark chocolate

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Method:

  1. Add cream and crushed cayenne pepper in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer. Then reduce the heat and let the thing steep for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cut up the chocolate into tiny pieces. There are two ways to go about this. Chop up the chocolate using the knife or place the chopped chocolate in a blender or food processor until it gets crushed into fine pieces. But don’t forget to cover the opening to prevent chocolate dust from flying everywhere. Then transfer the chocolate into another bowl.
  3. You can re-heat the cayenne pepper cream paste before straining it into the bowlful of chocolate. Let that rest for 5 minutes, then stir the mixture until it turns glossy and smooth. If needed, you can melt the chocolate further in your microwave for not more than 15 seconds.
  4. Cover the dish with a plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge. Let it cool in there for half an hour.
  5. Now it’s time to scoop up the truffles from the chocolate. Roll these truffles using your palms. The goal is to make them into smooth balls.
  6. Following which you can roll them in cocoa powder for a nice, thick coating. And then place them all in the fridge once again.
  7. And there you go! All you need to do now is heat them slightly before serving.

3. Peppered Shrimp in Alfredo Sauce

You know what’s easy to prepare? Delicious shrimp tossed in Alfredo sauce and topped with cayenne pepper and mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1 bell pepper, diced

1 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

2 tbsp of olive oil, extra virgin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Romano cheese, grated

1/2 pound of diced mushrooms

1/2 cup of cream

Salt and pepper

1 diced onion

1 pound of shrimp, peeled as well as deveined

1 jar of Alfredo sauce

12 ounces of penne pasta

Method:

  1. Boil salted water in a large sized pot. Add penne pasta to this and cook the whole thing for 10 minutes. Then drain all the water.
  2. In the meantime, melt the butter with olive oil on a saucepan on medium flame. Bring in the onion and cook it until it turns translucent and soft. Then add mushroom, red pepper, and garlic. Let this cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Now it’s time to add shrimp. Cook the shrimp until it becomes pink and firm. Once that happens, pour the Alfredo sauce, cream, and Romano cheese. Soon the dish will start to simmer. But make sure that you keep stirring it to thicken the paste. This process should not take more than 5 minutes.
  4. At the end of which you can add all the seasoning, including cayenne pepper.
  5. Now, all you have to do is stir pasta into the mix and serve the dish with the chopped parsley.

4. Caribbean Spice Roast Chicken

The tropical flavors of the dish get heightened with cayenne pepper to make the chicken look more sumptuous and taste even more delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of ground clove

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

1 tbsp of brown sugar

1-1/2 tbsp of lime juice, fresh

1 tbsp of vegetable oil

1 whole chicken

2 ounces of rum

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of thyme leaves, dried

1 tsp of black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your microwave to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring together rum, brown sugar, and lime juice in a small sized bowl. Then keep it aside.
  3. Next ingredients to add are thyme leaves, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and cayenne pepper. After that, brush the whole chicken using oil before coating it with the mixture.
  4. Then place the chicken in a pan and bake the thing for 90 minutes. During this time, the juices will start to flow. You need to make it a point to baste this chicken with sauce every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process.
  5. Once done, let it cool for not more than 10 minutes before you carve it for serving.

5. Peppered Poached Egg Hash Brown

When you can use smoked salmon as well as potatoes leftovers to cook up a quick and yummy festive brunch with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard

2 eggs, only yolk

A bay leaf

6 peppercorns

110g of clarified, warmed butter

A sprig tarragon

A pinch of cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

50ml of vinegar, white wine

For the hash brown:

2 tbsp of chopped dill

400g of salmon fillet, cooked

150g of creme fraiche

75g of unsalted butter

150g of smoked salmon, cut into pieces

1kg of partially mashed potato, cooked

For poached eggs:

4 eggs

1 tbsp of vinegar, white wine

Salt

Method:

  1. First we prepare the sauce. For that, heat the bay leaf, peppercorns, and tarragon with vinegar and 50 ml of water. Cook this until the quantity of the liquid reduces considerably. Then strain it using the sieve.
  2. Then bring together the yolks and liquid in your blender or food processor. During the blending process, add butter until you achieve a smooth texture. Then add cayenne pepper, mustard, and lemon juice. After blending, set it aside.
  3. Now it’s time to prepare the hash brown. Combine salmon, potato, smoked salmon, dill, and creme fraiche in a big bowl. Mix the ingredients together. Then heat a pan before adding butter.
  4. Use any metal ring to shape up every hash brown that you place on the pan. Cook them for at least 3 minutes on both the sides. Once they turn crisp and golden brown, you know they’re done.
  5. The next step is to make poached eggs. Boil salted water on a pan before adding vinegar. Then whisk the liquid well enough. Once the whirlpool settles, it’s time to crack one egg in. Simmer this for 3 minutes. Then use the slotted spoon to remove the egg. You can repeat this process for all the other eggs.
  6. Time to serve the whole dish. Top the hash brown with eggs and sauce, and dive right into the yolks for that first morning bite.

Wrapping It Up

With so many health benefits to look forward to, cayenne pepper is recommended to everyone living an active and healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to drink lots of water and exercise, including certain superfoods and herbs in the diet are also equally essential.

That said, natural treatment of any condition should be taken into consideration along with conventional treatments including medicines and herbal supplementations. Nutrients play an important role in the stimulation of healthy cells while strengthening the immune system against chronic diseases. You can reduce anxiety, digestive problems, and inflammation with a regular cayenne pepper diet.

So by the looks of it, I think you’re ready to incorporate cayenne pepper in nutritious ways for a complete nourished and healthy body.

Starvation Mode: When You Eat Less, Your Body Burns Less

Besides storing fat, the body has several methods to survive periods of food shortage and starvation.

One of them is called adaptive thermogenesis, sometimes referred to as “starvation mode”.

It involves a reduction in the amount of calories your body burns, resulting in slower weight loss and faster weight regain.

It is defined as a decrease in resting energy expenditure during calorie restriction, beyond what can be explained by reduced mass of muscles, organs and fat.

Adaptive thermogenesis is seen when people continuously restrict calories by dieting and/or exercising. It may also be caused by weight loss drugs or surgery.

Although adaptive thermogenesis is well-known, how it works remains unclear.

STARVATION MODE: WHEN YOU EAT LESS, YOUR BODY BURNS LESS

ARTICLE REVIEWED

German researchers set out to investigate the causes and dynamics of adaptive thermogenesis (starvation mode).

They wanted to find out how body composition affects adaptive thermogenesis, whether it causes changes in hormones, and what effect it has on weight regain.

Muller et al. Metabolic Adaptation to Caloric Restriction and Subsequent Re-feeding: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment Revisited. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015.

STUDY DESIGN

The article describes the results of two related studies from Christian Albrechts University, in Germany.

The design was similar to the famous Minnesota Starvation Experiment from 1950, one of the most important early studies on the effects of starvation in humans (4).

STUDY 1

This 6-week intervention study included 32 healthy, non-obese men, between 20 and 37 years of age.

Before the intervention started, participants spent 10 weeks at the university’s metabolic ward where their energy needs were calculated.

The intervention was divided into three parts:

  1. Overfeeding: For one week, the participants were overfed so that their calorie intake exceeded their energy needs by 50%.
  2. Calorie restriction: For three weeks, the participants were semi-starved so that their calorie intake was 50% lower than their energy needs.
  3. Re-feeding: For two weeks, the participants were again overfed so that their calorie intake exceeded their needs by 50%.

All participants spent every day, from 8 AM to 6 PM, at the university’s metabolic ward, where they were measured and monitored.

Dietary intake was strictly controlled. All foods were weighed and all meals supervised.

Additionally, participants were encouraged to avoid any physical activity and to remain sedentary.

Compliance was ensured by using continuous 24-h glucose monitors, pedometers and dietary records.

Body composition was measured using various techniques. These included quantitative magnetic resonance and whole-body MRI.

The levels of various hormones and other relevant body processes were also analyzed throughout the study.

 

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STUDY 2

A smaller follow-up study was done 1.5 years later than the original study.

This study included only eight of the participants that took part in the first study.

Its purpose was to estimate the effects of short-term calorie restriction on adaptive thermogenesis.

Additionally, it examined whether the results of the earlier study were reproducible.

It was divided into two parts:

  1. Overfeeding: Participants were overfed for one week.
  2. Calorie restriction: Participants were calorie restricted for one week.

Otherwise, the methods were similar to the first study.

 

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RESULTS

This chart below shows the changes in body composition over the course of the study (click to enlarge):

The top graph shows change in body weight, the middle graph shows a change in fat mass, and the bottom graph shows nitrogen balance, which indicates changes in lean mass (mostly muscles and organs).

After three weeks of calorie restriction, body weight decreased by 6 kg (13.2 lbs – 7.5%) and resting energy expenditure dropped by 266 calories per day, on average.

Adaptive thermogenesis was detected in 60% of participants in the early stages of calorie restriction. It became significant on the third day.

It was partly responsible for the decrease in energy expenditure, accounting for 108 calories/day.

Of these 108 calories per day, 36 were explained by changes in the composition of fat-free mass, leaving 72 calories for “true” adaptive thermogenesis.

Factors that were associated with adaptive thermogenesis included reduced insulin levels, heart rate, kidney function and body fluid balance. Increased formation of glucose in the liver also appeared to play a role.

Adaptive thermogenesis was not associated with changes in sympathetic nervous system activity, total body fat, belly fat, liver fat, organ mass, nitrogen and sodium balances.

It was also not linked to hormonal changes, such as in leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin and thyroid hormone levels (T3).

Lastly, adaptive thermogenesis appears to have no long-term effects on weight or fat regain after short-term calorie restriction. The effect was reversed within two weeks of re-feeding.

Here you can see how energy expenditure changes from adaptive thermogenesis developed during the course of the study:

As you can see, the increase during the re-feeding phase completely reversed the decrease seen during the calorie restriction phase.

Several other parameters changed significantly during 3 weeks of severe calorie restriction:

  • Fat mass: Decreased by 114 grams per day.
  • Lean mass: Decreased by 159 grams per day (muscles and organs combined, see below).
  • Muscle mass: Decreased by 5%.
  • Liver mass: Decreased by 13%.
  • Kidney mass: Decreased by 8%.
  • Heart rate: Went down by 14%.
  • Blood pressure: Went down by 7%.
  • Creatinine clearance: Went down by 12%.
  • Energy cost of walking: Decreased by 22%.
  • Sympathetic nervous system activity: Decreased by 38%.
  • Leptin levels: Decreased by 44%.
  • Insulin levels: Decreased by 54%.
  • Adiponectin levels: Decreased by 49%.
  • Triiodothyronine (T3): Decreased by 39%.
  • Testosterone: Decreased by 11%.

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MAIN CONCLUSIONS

The main conclusions of the study were as follows:

  • Adaptive thermogenesis is modest and kicks in during the early stages of starvation, shortly after calorie restriction starts. It is maintained as long as you keep restricting calories.
  • Adaptive thermogenesis appears to have no long-term effects on weight or fat regain after short-term calorie restriction.
  • Adaptive thermogenesis was partially explained by reductions in heart rate and kidney function, and increased formation of glucose in the liver.
  • In early calorie restriction, adaptive thermogenesis is also associated with a drop in insulin levels.

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LIMITATIONS

The study has no apparent limitations. It was tightly controlled and had highly significant results.

However, since the participants were limited to healthy, sedentary, non-obese men, the results may not be generalized to all people.

For example, it is possible that the dynamics of of adaptive thermogenesis are vastly different in people with obesity.

WHAT DO OTHER STUDIES SAY?

In general, adaptive thermogenesis (AT) is considered to be an automatic response to food shortage.

In the Minnesota Starvation Experiment from 1950, resting energy expenditure declined by 39% (600 calories/day). About 35% of this decline was not caused by changes in body composition, which indicates that AT also played a role.

Additionally, studies in obese patients have detected adaptive thermogenesis amounting to 504 calories/day.

Reduced levels of leptin and thyroid hormone (T3) have often been considered as major determinants of AT.

Although the current study showed reductions in both leptin and T3, it did not support a causal relationship between AT and changes in these hormones.

This is supported by studies on obese patients after weight loss. They found no significant associations between AT and reductions in leptin and T3.

Some studies indicate that AT may contribute to increased weight regain after calorie restriction.

This effect has been referred to as the “fat overshooting” phenomenon.

According to the current study, this effect is reversed within 2 weeks of re-feeding.

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SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, adaptive thermogenesis (AT) is one of the main reasons your body starts burning fewer calories when you lose weight.

It is a part of the reason why weight loss tends to slow down over time, and is often referred to as “starvation mode.

In the current study, significant adaptive thermogenesis was detected as early as on the third day of calorie restriction.

Unfortunately, there is no known way to completely prevent this from happening.

However, two effective ways to partly reduce muscle loss and metabolic slowdown during weight loss include strength training and keeping your protein intake high.

Additionally, by exercising more and staying active throughout the day, you can negate some of the reduction in energy expenditure.

Review: Health Benefits of Sustained Weight Loss

There is much more to weight loss than meets the eye. In fact, weight loss is associated with multiple health benefits, and may be the single most important thing you can do to improve your health (if you are overweight).

Health Benefits Of Weight Loss

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A recent review article in the magazine Annual Review of Nutrition provided a comprehensive overview of the health benefits of maintaining weight loss in the long term.

Rueda-Clausen et al. Health Benefits of Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance. Annual Reviews of Nutrition, 2015.

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AIMS

The main aim of the review was to summarize the evidence for the risks and benefits of sustained weight loss.

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HOW IS SUSTAINED WEIGHT LOSS DEFINED?

Before discussing weight loss maintenance, it is important to explain or define what that means exactly.

Several researchers have come up with their own definitions.

Wing and Hill defined sustained weight loss in the following way:

Sustained weight loss is an intentional weight loss that has been maintained for at least a year. Additionally, it is equivalent to at least 10% of the initial body weight before deciding to lose weight.

The 10% cut-off value was based on the fact that previous studies had shown metabolic benefits from weight loss of that magnitude.

Further weight loss may have additional benefits.

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IT IS DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF WEIGHT LOSS

It can be very hard to determine the independent effects of weight loss on health.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Dietary changes: Weight loss is usually accompanied with changes in diet. Dietary changes may have very strong effects on health.
  • Increased exercise: Weight loss is often associated with increased exercise. On its own, exercise may have immense health benefits.
  • Calorie restriction: Negative energy balance, the main reason for weight loss, also has huge health benefits.

As a result, it very difficult (or impossible) to isolate the health benefits of the weight loss itself.

This is also the reason why weight loss strategies may have powerful effects on health outcomes, even though the weight loss itself is minimal.

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF WEIGHT LOSS MAINTENANCE

According to this review, losing weight and keeping it off may improve:

  • Blood pressure: Losing weight may significantly improve blood pressure.
  • Heart health: Weight loss has been associated with improved heart health and a reduction in risk factors.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In people with insulin resistance (impaired glucose tolerance), weight loss may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes or slow its progression.
  • Blood sugar control: In people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss leads to better blood sugar control.
  • Blood lipid profile: Weight loss causes improvements in the levels of blood lipids, reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol.
  • Osteoarthritis: Weight loss may reduce symptoms in people with osteoarthritis.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Although weight loss rarely resolves obstructive sleep apnea completely, it may significantly improve symptoms.
  • Obesity hyperventilation syndrome: Substantial weight loss can improve symptoms in people with obesity hyperventilation syndrome.
  • Asthma: Weight loss maintenance may significantly improve asthma symptoms.
  • Cancer: There is some evidence to indicate reduced risk of cancer with sustained weight loss.
  • Quality of life: Health-related quality of life is significantly improved with weight loss.
  • All-cause mortality: Studies suggest that weight loss may be linked to reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

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DOES SHORT-TERM WEIGHT LOSS HAVE ANY BENEFITS?

Short-term weight loss has many benefits, similar to sustained weight loss.

The difference is that the health benefits of short-term weight loss are limited to the actual weight loss period. When people start regaining weight, health status may start worsening accordingly.

However, some studies indicate that short-term weight loss may have health benefits in the long term. This phenomenon is called the “legacy effect” or the “metabolic memory effect”.

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HEALTH RISKS OF WEIGHT LOSS

When it comes to health and nutrition, very few things are perfect.

There are usually some downsides, but many of them may depend on the individual or be limited to specific situations.

In addition, the weight loss method affects the potential health benefits and risks considerably.

Weight loss methods can be divided into three main categories:

  1. Behavioral: This group of weight loss methods includes diets and exercise programs.
  2. Pharmacological: This category includes weight loss methods that involve medications and supplements.
  3. Surgical: When other methods fail, liposuction and other surgical methods, such as gastric bypass, are occasionally used to treat obesity.

In general, behavioral weight loss methods are considered the safest approach, whereas pharmacological and surgical procedures are more risky.

Apart from potential complications associated with surgical methods and medications, weight loss may worsen symptoms in the following diseases:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: In people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, fast weight loss may worsen liver health.
  • Gallbladder disease: Weight loss may increase the risk and severity of gallbladder disease.

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TAKE HOME MESSAGE

It is clear that intentional, sustained weight loss may have significant beneficial effects on various health outcomes.

However, it is difficult to isolate weight loss from other lifestyle factors that are unavoidably associated with weight loss. These include increased exercise, changes in diet and calorie restriction.

In certain individuals, weight loss may worsen liver health and gallbladder disease. However, other health benefits far outweigh possible adverse health effects.

In short, if you are obese and want to improve your health, losing weight may be the single most effective way to do that.

Does Eating or Skipping Breakfast Affect Weight Loss?

The importance of eating breakfast is frequently highlighted in public health recommendations.

However, the supporting evidence is limited and mainly based on observational studies and short-term clinical trials.

Skipping Breakfast

STUDY REVIEWED

A recent study investigated whether dietary recommendations were more effective at promoting weight loss when coupled with the advice to either eat or skip breakfast.

Dhurandhar et al. The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014.

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MATERIALS AND METHODS

This 16-week randomized controlled trial took place in multiple locations in Europe and the USA.

A total of 309 overweight or obese men and women between the ages of 20 and 65 were recruited in the study.

At the start of the study, all participants got dietary recommendations from the USDA in the form of a pamphlet.

Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  1. Breakfast: Advice to eat breakfast before 10 AM every day.
  2. No breakfast: Advice to eat nothing before 11 AM every day.
  3. Control: No advice regarding breakfast.

The randomization procedure was stratified, meaning that the initial breakfast skippers and eaters were randomized separately. This was done to minimize bias.

To increase compliance, the participants got phone call reminders on weeks 4, 8 and 12.

Compliance was also checked with daily diaries in which the participants indicated whether they were able to follow the breakfast recommendations or not.

Body weight and height were measured at the start of the study. Weight was measured again at the end.

The main outcome measure was weight change during the course of the study. The weight change was then compared between groups.

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RESULTS

The study did find that the recommendations were effective at changing people’s breakfast habits.

In other words, those who were asked to skip breakfast managed to do so, and those who were asked to eat breakfast did so as well.

However, there was no significant difference in weight loss between groups.

This chart shows the weight loss among the study groups, divided into two parts depending on the participants’ eating habits before the study.

eating-breakfast

As you can see, the difference between groups is small and insignificant. All groups lost a bit of weight, but the difference between groups was less than half a pound.

A total of 283 participants finished the study, but 26 dropped out for various reasons.

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MAIN CONCLUSION

The main conclusion is that recommendations to skip or eat breakfast do not have any significant effects on weight loss in overweight/obese men and women.

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LIMITATIONS

The study does not have any major limitations.

However, it would have been useful if the study had measured body composition or other metabolic variables instead of just body weight.

In addition, the study was only 16 weeks. It is possible that the study was too short to detect long-term effects.

As pointed out by the researchers, the study indicates that breakfast recommendations do not influence weight loss in a free-living setting.

However, it does not rule out the possibility that breakfast habits can affect weight loss in a controlled setting.

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STRENGTHS

So far, this is the largest randomized controlled trial on the effect of breakfast recommendations on weight loss.

The large number of participants and multiple study sites ensure adequate statistical power and allow the results to be generalized.

WHAT DO OTHER STUDIES SAY?

Observational studies indicate that eating breakfast is linked with lower body weight.

However, observational studies can only provide suggestive evidence. There may be other beneficial factors in people’s lifestyles that are also associated with the habit of eating breakfast.

Several short-term clinical studies have investigated the issue. They indicate that breakfast may promote weight loss.

Unlike the current study, these studies aimed at explaining potential mechanisms in a controlled setting. They were also of much shorter duration.

One 12-week study investigated the effect of skipping breakfast in 52 moderately obese women.

Supporting the results of the current study, there were no significant differences between groups. However, there was a non-significant trend towards greater weight loss in those who had breakfast.

Recently, several scientists have pointed out that the evidence regarding the effect of breakfast habits on obesity is severely limited.

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SUMMARY

In short, this study suggests that advising people to either skip or eat breakfast has no effects on weight loss.

Although it doesn’t rule out that breakfast habits may have metabolic consequences, it strongly suggests that breakfast recommendations do not have a significant impact when people are trying to lose weight.

Do All Fruits and Vegetables Help You Lose Weight?

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables has been associated with improved health and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans even recommend them for weight loss.

However, not all fruits and vegetables are equal when it comes to weight loss or maintenance. They may have different metabolic effects, depending on their nutrient composition.

glycemic loadBody weight may be affected by glycemic load and amount of fiber, as well as polyphenols and sugar content.

STUDY REVIEWED

A team of researchers hypothesized that fruits and vegetables with a high fiber content or a low glycemic load would be more strongly associated with weight loss.

To prove or disprove this hypothesis, they did a meta-analysis of three observational studies that spanned up to 24 years.

Bertoia et al. Changes in Intake of Fruits and Vegetables and Weight Change in United States Men and Women Followed for Up to 24 Years: Analysis from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLOS Medicine 2015.

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AIMS

The purpose of the study was to investigate the association of increased fruit and vegetable intake and changes in weight over time.

Additionally, the researchers wanted to find out if fiber-rich, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables were more strongly associated with weight loss and weight maintenance than their fiber-poor and high-glycemic counterparts.

STUDY DESIGN

The study combined data from three large observational studies, using a method known as random effects meta-analysis.

These three observational studies were the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

They included a total of 133,468 health professionals from the US, and spanned 24 years, from 1986 to 2010.

With 4-year intervals, dietary and lifestyle habits were estimated using questionnaires. Similarly, body weight was self-reported.

The study used a so-called “change-on-change” analysis. In other words, it examined the effect of changes in the consumption fruit and vegetables and compared them with changes in body weight.

A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to assess food intake. It included more than 70 fruits and vegetables.

The foods were classified as either high- or low-fiber, and as high- or low-glycemic, based on their glycemic load. Glycemic load was calculated by multiplying the serving size with the glycemic index of the food.

When analyzing the dietary data, other lifestyle factors and diseases were taken into account. These included other dietary aspects, physical activity, alcohol and smoking status.

Additionally, the calculations were only based on whole foods. Processed foods, such as fruit juice, french fries and potato chips, were excluded.

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RESULTS

This chart shows the weight loss for different classes of fruits and vegetables, based on one serving size:

fruits

The numbers show the pooled weight loss over four years, for each serving. As you can see, eating berries was most strongly associated with weight loss.

Several individual fruits and vegetables were also associated with weight loss. These included apples, pears, blueberries, raisins, grapes, prunes, grapefruit, soy, tofu, cauliflower, peppers and carrots.

In contrast, a few starchy vegetables appeared to promote weight gain.

Vegetables

As you can see, potatoes, corn and peas were all associated with weight gain in the current study.

However, this only applied to servings that exceeded one serving per day.

Overall, these results indicate that eating fruits and (most) vegetables may help with weight loss and weight maintenance.

On the other hand, starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, peas and corn, may promote weight gain when eaten in excess.

All of these effects were stronger among overweight individuals than normal-weight individuals.

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FRUITS: EFFECT OF FIBER AND GLYCEMIC LOAD

When fruits were examined, no association with weight change was found for fiber content or glycemic load.

VEGETABLES: EFFECT OF FIBER AND GLYCEMIC LOAD

Low-fiber vegetables were associated with weight loss. Similarly, high-fiber vegetables were linked to weight loss, but only when potatoes were excluded.

Additionally, eating more than one serving of low-GL vegetables per day was linked to weight loss, but the significance was only marginal.

The results changed when high-fiber and low-GL vegetables were grouped together and compared with low-fiber, high-GL vegetables.

The difference was highly significant. High-fiber and low-GL vegetables were clearly better at promoting weight loss.

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MAIN CONCLUSIONS

  • Increased vegetable and fruit consumption is linked to weight loss over time, especially among overweight individuals.
  • Fruits, especially berries, are more effective at promoting weight loss than vegetables.
  • Starchy, high-glycemic vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and peas, are associated with weight gain.

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LIMITATIONS

This was an observational study (as opposed to a randomized controlled trial), and observational studies have many potential limitations.

They only provide hints, indicating a possible causal relationship, but cannot prove anything.

Even though the study showed strong associations, their cause remains unclear.

Additionally, the interpretation of observational studies is often difficult due to a type of bias known as confounding.

This means that factors, other than those that are being investigated, may be responsible for the observed relationship.

These factors are called confounders. In this study, the most important confounders — physical activity, smoking, and foods — were taken into account.

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There are several other potential limitations.

  • The study used a validated food frequency questionnaire to estimate food intake (5). These questionnaires are prone to errors that may reduce the chance of finding significant associations.
  • It is possible that those individuals who were eating more fruit and vegetables for health reasons were also making other healthy lifestyle changes that were not completely captured by the study’s questionnaires.
  • Since the study mainly included white adults with graduate degrees, the results may not be generalizable to all people. However, the effects are unlikely to be different in other populations.

That being said, this study appears to be about as good as observational studies get.

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WHAT DO OTHER STUDIES SAY?

Supporting the current study, other observational studies have found that increased fruit and vegetable intake is linked to weight loss.

One observational study found a similar association that only applied to fruit, but not vegetables.

In contrast, another observational study did not detect any significant association of fruit and vegetable intake and weight change. However, it did not do a change-on-change analysis like the current study.

Clinical trials have also provided mixed results.

In 103 overweight individuals with sleep-related eating disorders, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables caused weight loss over 3 months.

Conversely, increasing vegetable and fruit intake did not have any significant effects on weight in 690 healthy individuals over a 6-month period.

Trials that have focused on eating specific fruits and vegetables support that some of them may benefit weight loss. Among these are apples, pears and grapefruit.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

Overall, the findings of the study support the dietary recommendations of eating fruits and vegetables for healthy weight.

However, not all vegetables are made equal.

The study indicates that excessive consumption of certain starchy vegetables may promote weight gain. These include potatoes, peas and corn.

In short, if you are overweight, consider eating more whole fruit and vegetables, but limit your intake of starchy vegetables.

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