Sunday, 28 February 2016

Can Pickles Help You Lose Weight?

Pickle lovers will be disappointed to learn that eating pickles isn't likely to result in much weight loss. This doesn't mean pickles can't be part of a balanced diet, just that they aren't a weight-loss miracle food. For the best weight-loss results, you'll need to follow a nutritious reduced-calorie diet and increase your daily activity level.
Can Pickles Help You Lose Weight?

Calories in Pickles

Pickles are relatively easy to fit into a weight-loss diet because they're low in calories. A small sour pickle or a small dill pickle spear made from cucumber, each weighing about 35 grams, has just 4 calories. Sweet pickles, such as bread and butter pickles, are made with a sugary syrup, so they're higher in calories -- a 3-inch-long pickle provides about 32 calories.

Fermented Foods and Weight Loss

A traditionally made pickle, not typically available at the grocery store, is made by soaking a cucumber or another vegetable in brine and allowing it to ferment, resulting in a sour pickle. The fermentation process produces beneficial substances called probiotics. Pickles that have been pasteurized no longer contain probiotics, so you may need to make your own to get this type of pickle. The effect of fermented foods and probiotics on weight loss isn't clear. A review article published in "Nutrition Research" in July 2015 found that probiotics most likely aren't helpful for weight loss. A meta-analysis published in "Microbial Pathogenesis" in 2012, on the other hand, found that it depends on the type of probiotic, with some types leading to weight loss and others having no effect or increasing the likelihood of weight gain.

Glycemic Index and Weight Loss

The glycemic index measures how much a food is likely to affect your blood sugar level, with foods low on the index less likely to have a large effect than those high on the index. Foods that are acidic, such as pickles made with vinegar, tend to have a low glycemic index, as the acidity helps to slow down the transit of food through your digestive tract, thus limiting blood sugar spikes. Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index along with foods that are higher on the glycemic index lowers the overall glycemic index of the meal. For example, a study published in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2005 found that adding vinegar to a meal that included white bread, a high-GI food, helped reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal. Diets that are low on the glycemic index may be even better for weight loss than low-fat diets.

Sodium Considerations

Getting too much sodium could make you more likely to retain water, which would make you weigh more, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, pickles are relatively high in sodium. A fermented sour pickle provides about 19 percent of the daily value for sodium; a dill pickle provides about 12 percent of th DV; and a sweet pickle provides about 7 percent of the DV. So if you're trying to lose weight, you may want to go easy on the pickles.

Other Beneficial Weight-Loss Strategies

Instead of relying on any one food or beverage to bring about significant weight-loss results, focus on getting more exercise and eating a reduced-calorie diet consisting mainly of nutritious whole foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean protein. Each meal or snack should contain some protein and some fiber, because these two nutrients help increase satiety and make it easier for you to cut calories. Aim for 60 minutes of cardio exercise at least five days a week, and two resistance-training workouts per week to help you increase your caloric deficit and ensure that most of the weight you lose is from fat instead of muscle.
MORE >> 20 Ways to Ensure Workouts Happen Every Day



Friday, 26 February 2016

Can Eating Pickles Cause Weight Loss?

Weight loss is about burning more calories than you eat, so simply eating pickles won't melt away the pounds. But pickles are low in calories -- so they can fit into a weight loss, calorie-controlled diet -- and have some properties that might help with fat loss. But their high sodium content means you might gain water weight after eating them, which can impact the results you see on the scale.

A Low-Calorie Snack for Weight Loss

Including pickles in your diet as a healthy snack can help you shed pounds, thanks to their low calorie count. A cup of dill pickles -- regular or low sodium -- has just 17 calories. Even if you're following a very restricted diet of 1,200 calories per day, that's less than 2 percent of your daily calorie allowance. If you're craving dill pickle-flavored chips or popcorn, satisfy your craving with actual pickles to lose weight. Each 1 ounce serving of dill pickle chips has 160 calories -- if you swapped out the chips for real dill pickles three times a week for a year, you'd save enough calories to lose more than 6 pounds of fat. 

Make sure you stick with unsweetened pickles for your low-calorie snack, though. Sweetened pickles, like bread and butter pickles, are much higher in calories -- 146 calories per cup. Most of those calories come from the sugar use to sweeten the pickles, which means sweetened varieties aren't ideal for a weight loss diet.

Potential Benefits From Vinegar

Pickles' sour taste comes from the vinegar mixture that makes up the pickle brine. This vinegar contains acetic acid, which might play a role in weight loss. One animal study, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2015, reports that rats fed acetic acid were more resistant to obesity than rats that didn't get acetic acid. Vinegar might also keep food in your stomach for longer after a meal -- literally "filling" you up and boosting satisfaction after a meal -- according to a review published in Nutrition Reviews in 2014. The review also notes that vinegar might boost your calorie burn throughout the day, which makes it easier to burn more calories than you eat and lose weight. However, the review also notes that the evidence for vinegar and weight loss is preliminary; while these early results show promise for vinegar as a weight loss aid, more research is needed to know just how well it helps you shed pounds.

Sodium and Weight Loss

Pickles have one major drawback -- their sodium content. Sodium doesn't actually prevent you from losing fat, but it can make it harder to notice weight loss in your regular weigh-ins. That's because sodium makes your body retain water, so you might gain a few pounds from the added water weight. Regular dill pickles have 1,157 milligrams of sodium per cup -- that's 48 percent of the daily value -- while sweet pickles have 731 milligrams of sodium, or 30 percent of the daily value, per cup. For a healthier option that won't make you gain water weight, go for low-sodium pickles. This variety has a negligible 26 milligrams of sodium per cup.

Serving Pickles for Weight Loss

Use pickles -- the low-sodium variety, of course -- to add flavor to diet-friendly meals without adding much fat or calories. Chopped pickles work well on a leafy green salad, while pickle slices in turkey or chicken breast sandwiches give a flavor boost so you don't have to use fattier flavorings like mayo. Add chopped pickles to your tuna and chicken salads. Pickles are lower in calories than the other ingredients in these salads -- including the chicken, tuna and mayonnaise -- so adding pickles to the mix lets you eat a larger portion size for roughly the same number of calories. 

If you get bored with plain cucumber pickles, experiment with other low-sodium pickled veggies. Pickled beans, beets, cauliflower and even asparagus make low-calorie snacks, and they help you boost your vegetable intake while you satisfy your salt craving.
Are you a fan of pickles? Found any good recipes where pickles are included? Comment below, and share the knowledge.



Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Onions: Natural Weight-Loss Foods

Whether cooked or raw, onions add enormous flavor to a variety of healthy dishes, so they are a crucial ingredient to have around the house to make figure-friendly meals in your own kitchen every night.
The onion is a member of the allium family, which, as your nose will tell you, also includes garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives. Egyptians worshiped the onion's many layers as a symbol of eternity. Today, the onion can be one of the most useful and flavorful ingredients in creating low-calorie, healthful dishes.

Health Benefits
Dry onions are a surprising source of fiber and a rich source of healthy sulfur compounds, similar to those found in garlic. Research on onions has lagged behind garlic research, but onions appear to have similar cardiovascular benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, at least in the short term.
Onions also contain phytochemicals called flavonoids, which help vitamin C in its function, improving the integrity of blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. All this spells help for your cardiovascular system. One particular flavonoid, quercetin, may inhibit tumor growth and help keep colon cancer at bay.
In addition, a newly identified compound appears to rival the prescription drug Fosamax in inhibiting bone loss in menopausal women.
Onions also contain vitamin C and chromium. Chromium is a mineral that helps cells respond to insulin, ultimately assisting with blood glucose control. Green onions, because of their bright green tops, provide a wealth of vitamin A.

Selection and Storage

Dry onions are any common onion (yellow, white, or red) that does not require refrigeration. This distinguishes them from green onions, which will perish quickly when stored at room temperature.
Dry onions come in various shapes and colors, none of which is a reliable indicator of taste or strength. The white, or yellow globe, onion keeps its pungent flavor when cooked. All-purpose white or yellow onions are milder. Sweet onions, such as Bermuda, Spanish, and Italian, are the mildest.
Choose firm dry onions with shiny, tissue-thin skins. "Necks" should be tight and dry. If they look too dry or discolored or have soft, wet spots, don't buy them; they aren't fresh.
Dry onions keep three to four weeks if stored in a dry, dark, cool location. Don't store them next to potatoes, which give off a gas that'll cause onions to decay. Light turns onions bitter. A cut onion should be wrapped in plastic, refrigerated, and used within a day or two.
Green onions, also called "spring" onions because that's the time of the year when they are harvested, have small white bulbs and are topped by thin green stalks. Though they are often sold as scallions, true scallions are just straight green stalks with no bulb. Look for green onions with crisp, not wilted, tops. For pungent taste, choose fatter bulbs; for a sweeter taste, smaller bulbs are your best bet. Green onions must be refrigerated. They keep best in an open plastic bag in your refrigerator's crisper drawer.

Preparation and Serving Tips

To keep tears from flowing, try slicing onions under running water. Or chill onions for an hour before cutting. To get the onion smell off your hands, rub your fingers with lemon juice or vinegar.
Onions are the perfect seasoning for almost any cooked dish. Their flavor mellows when they are cooked because smelly sulfur compounds are converted to sugar when heated. Onions saute wonderfully, even without butter. Use a nonstick skillet and perhaps a teaspoon of olive oil. Keep heat low or they'll scorch and turn bitter.
Sweet onions are ideal raw, as rings in salads or as slices atop sandwiches. They add bite to a three-bean salad or a plate of homegrown tomatoes. Wash green onions, trimming roots and dry leaves. Chop up bulb, stalk, and all. They work well in stir-fry dishes, adding an understated bite. Green onions can also be served raw with low-fat dip as part of a crudite platter.
Whether it's a shallot, a scallion, or a regular yellow onion, be sure to have this food on hand to jazz up any healthy salad, stir-fry, or vegetarian casserole. This way, you'll never be bored with healthy eating for weight loss.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Appetite Suppressant Dangers


Physicians typically prescribe appetite suppressants on a short-term basis to jump start a longer-term weight loss program. Appetite suppressant products also are available over-the-counter or online. Certain dangers are associated with appetite suppressants, and people should be cautious about using them—even those advertised as "natural."


Appetite suppressant use is linked to a type of high blood pressure called secondary hypertension. Most people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension, which does not have an identifiable cause, while secondary hypertension is linked to other health conditions or to drug usage, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Taking appetite suppressants can result in high blood pressure, and taking an appetite suppressant within 14 days of taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) can cause dangerously high blood pressure. Pulmonary hypertension, a lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery becomes much higher than normal, has been linked to the appetite suppressants fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine, a combination of phentermine and fenfluramine (Phen-Fen), and phentermine alone.

Serious Symptoms

Some side effects from appetite suppressants call for immediate medical attention, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health. They may be signs of cardiovascular problems, an allergic reaction or other disorders. These symptoms include a decrease in exercise ability, fainting, chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeat, swelling of the feet or lower legs (edema), numbness, a rash or hives, severe headache, difficulty breathing, difficult or painful urination, sore throat with fever and unusual bleeding or bruising.

Psychological Changes

Psychological changes are associated with long-term or excessive use of appetite suppressants. They may include personality changes, insomnia and hyperactivity, according to the NIH. Some people even develop psychotic symptoms, such as thinking that another person can hear their thoughts or is controlling their behavior. Some users of appetite suppressants may develop audio or visual hallucinations.


Taking prescription appetite suppressants for a long time or in large doses may lead to psychological or physical dependence, according to the NIH. This can cause withdrawal symptoms when trying to discontinue the drug or even when going for a few more hours than usual without taking it. Withdrawal symptoms may include depression, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, trembling and unusual tiredness or weakness. People who take appetite suppressants for a long time frame also may need to continually increase their dosage to get the same effects, which can lead to overdose.

Dental Issues

Some appetite suppressants may cause mouth dryness, according to Vanderbilt University. Continual mouth dryness may increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and fungal infections such as thrush.

Heart Attack and Stroke

Ephedra, an herbal appetite suppressant, and its primary active component, ephedrine, have been associated with severe effects when used for weight loss, as noted by Appetite Suppressants Reviews. The FDA allows use of these substances for breathing disorders, but banned their use as an appetite suppressant in 2004 after reports of heart attacks, strokes, hepatitis, seizures, psychosis and fatalities. The over-the-counter drug phenylpropanolamine, containing a similar compound, norephedrine, also was linked to strokes and was removed from the market.



Saturday, 20 February 2016

Burning Fat With Flavonoids

Nuts appear to boost one’s metabolism, such that when we eat nuts we burn more of our own fat to compensate. People who don’t eat nuts tend to burn off around 20 grams of fat a day–about 5 pats worth of butter, but those eating walnuts averaged more like 31 grams–7 or 8 pats of butter. In Fat Burning Via Arginine, I explore one theory as to why this may happen (and where arginine can be found in our diet).

It may also be the flavonoids, phytonutrients found in nuts as well as citrus, berries, red onions, beans, green tea, grapes, and cocoa, that may boost our metabolism enough to significantly slim our waistline. Based on what kind of evidence? I showcase a study done on purple grape juice in my video Fat Burning Via Flavonoids.
Just like nuts are calorically dense yet don’t seem to cause much weight gain, Welch’s was hoping that the same would be found for their grape juice. They had people guzzle down 2 cups a day for three months. Keep in mind that Welch’s grape juice has more sugar than Coca Cola. Two cups of purple grape juice contain the equivalent of 20 spoonfuls of sugar. The control group was basically given grape Kool-Aid instead, with the same number of calories and same amount of sugar, but no detectable phytonutrients.

At two cups a day study subjects were getting hundreds of extra calories a day. Surely after 3 months they’d gain a couple pounds. Indeed that’s what happened in the grape-flavored sugar water group—how could they not with all that extra sugar in their diet? The grape juice group, on the other hand, did not. In fact, their waist circumference shrunk significantly. Drinking grape juice appeared to burn away significantly more tummy fat. So maybe there is something to the theory put forth by the nut and green tea researchers that flavonoid phytonutrients are capable of helping the body burn fat. If true, then it’s just one more reason to eat nuts and drink green tea—not grape juice. Instead of the juice, I’d recommend eating concord grapes, the source of purple grape juice that you may be able to find at a farmer’s market near you.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

How Do Monounsaturated Fats Help You to Lose Belly Fat?

Stubborn belly fat can make it hard to fit into your jeans and uncomfortable to carry around. Choosing to add monounsaturated fats into a balanced diet will help promote fat loss through your midsection. Include foods that are high in monounsaturated fats into your daily meal plan to help to burn unwanted fat.

Burn Belly Fat

Belly fat can be banished when you fill your diet with monounsaturated fats. The March 2007 issue of the "Journal For Diabetes Care" explained that eating a source of monounsaturated fatty acids with each meal of your day will help your body burn fat from the stomach area. Monounsaturated fats help to increase your basal metabolic rate allowing your body to burn fat quicker.


The "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published a study in April 2009 that found eating monounsaturated fats increase satiety unlike saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats will help keep you full and satisfied longer. This will help prevent over-eating, which will help you restrict your calories for weight loss. Add olive oils to your pasta or avocados to your sandwich to help you include extra monounsaturated fats to your meals.


Almonds are a healthy source of monounsaturated fats. The Almond Board of California explains that including about 1 oz. of almonds daily will help to keep your metabolism elevated. Olive oil and avocado are also foods filled with monounsaturated fats. These fats will help you burn belly fat when eaten in moderation. Portion sizing is key because these foods can be high in calories. Limit the amounts you consume to 10 almonds or 1/2 an avocado for fat burning results.


Stubborn belly fat can be decreased when you incorporate exercise to your healthy eating plan. Cardio training most days of the week for 30 minutes will help you melt off body fat. Weight training should be done three days a week to increase your lean muscle, which will help your body burn more calories during the day. Also target training your midsection will help to whittle away your waistline.
Do include monounsaturated fats into your weight loss diet? If you have any questions or information you'd like to share comment below.



Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Many readers have been asking about foods that they can incorporate into their daily diet that can help promote fat loss and create a feeling of fullness. Well you asked for it, now I am delivering!
In my opinion, the best fat loss foods are not just “healthy”, but must pass the following checklist:
(1) Not calorie dense (I have one exception)
(2) Help fill you up
(3) Create only a small release of insulin
(4) Easy to procure/prepare
So let’s get started…

Fat Loss Food #1: Egg Whites

This is a favorite of many natural body builders and fitness models because it’s 100% pure protein, containing 4 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs and fat, and only 16 total calories. Want 10 egg whites for breakfast? Sure why not, it’s only 160 calories and will fill you up. An egg white omelet with some veggies and low fat cheese makes for a great breakfast, while a few egg whites from a hardboiled egg can make for a great snack any time (add some high fiber fruit, like an apple, or blueberries for extra bonus points).

Fat Loss Food #2: Low Fat Yogurt

Low fat yogurt is a great way to get a compete protein source, a lot of calcium, and a nice tart flavor to help satisfy your cravings. There are a variety of yogurts, but I would go for those that are not too high in added sugars. For example, it’s better to get plain yogurt and add in the fruit yourself. You should also consider non-fat Greek yogurt, which contains a solid 22 grams of protein in only a 1 cup serving and a mere 120 calories.
Some studies have found that eating yogurt can help in fat loss. It may be due to the fact that calcium reduces a fat cells’ ability to store fat. Or, it may be due to the branched chain amino acids present in dairy products. Either way, low fat, or non fat yogurt deserves to be part of the Top 10 Fat Loss Foods.

Fat Loss Food #3: Low-Sodium Turkey

Turkey without the skin is among the lowest fat meats available on the market. To cap it off, it’s also pretty easy to eat on the go. Want to eat 8 ounces of turkey breast? Why not, it’s only about 240 calories and packs a protein punch. I recommend removing the skin, which is all fat, but if you have the skin, just eat in moderation.

Fat Loss Food #4: Apple

This is a favorite of mine, because it’s easy to carry around and eat on the go, but it’s also very nutritious and high in fiber, so it helps fill you up. An apple contains 24 grams of carbs, 3 of them being from fiber, and around 80 calories in a medium sized apple. I personally like the taste of green apples the most, but the various types of apples don’t make much of a difference in terms of calorie content.
I do, however, suggest you try to get organic apples when you can. I can’t handle tasting chemicals in the skins of apples that are not organic anymore. Blueberries came very close to making it on to the list because they are so high in fiber and antioxidants, but I think an apple is just easier to eat on the go.

Fat Loss Food #5: Lettuce

While lettuce is not that high in fiber, it requires more calories for your digestive system to digest than the lettuce contains. Pretty cool, huh? This is known as a negative calorie balance.
The main reason lettuce made this list is that you can put as much lettuce as you want in a big bowl, fill it up with veggies, lean meats, maybe some beans for some starch, and you’re good to go. The other great quality of lettuce is that it takes a long time to eat, which is a good thing. It takes up to 20 minutes for our brains to sense that we are full. Ideally, the darker green the lettuce, the more antioxidants and the more nutritious.

Fat Loss Food #6: Low-Sodium Chicken/Vegetable Soup

Similar to lettuce, drinking soup at a meal can slow you down, which helps your brain register that you are full. It also helps fill you up and is very low in calories because most broth based soups are low in fat, assuming they haven’t been doused in oil.
Like lettuce, you can throw in a lot of veggies and lean meats to make it more nutritious and filling. Healthy Valley has some pretty good low sodium soups, just be careful because some soups have outrageous amounts of sodium, like over 900mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which is 40% of the suggested daily intake of 2300mg.
Just be careful if you order soups at a restaurant they don’t have any cream added.

Fat Loss Food #7: Almonds

While very calorically dense, almonds snuck onto the list because healthy fats are great in moderation, and almonds are among the best healthy fats. An almond is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree and is a great source of vitamin E and manganese. While almonds are not a “complete” protein source, a quarter cup of almonds offers solid 6 grams of protein.
Some weight loss studies have shown that the calories from nuts like almonds don’t seem to add weight as compared to other foods with the same amount of calories. The theory is that our bodies do not absorb calories from nuts very efficiently.
Either way, be careful not to munch on almonds all day long, because calories can add up fast. Only a quarter cup of almonds contains 140 calories and 15 grams of fat, which means one cup is a solid 560 calories and 60 grams of fat! A handful (about a quarter cup), on the other hand, makes for a great snack.

Fat Loss Food #8: Oatmeal

I love oatmeal because it’s filling, but doesn’t provide many calories. My favorite oatmeal is Kashi Go Lean vanilla, which only has 160 calories per serving, but you’ll be amazed at how much it fills you up because it has 6 grams of fiber. For you hardcore types, McCann’s Steel Oats and Traditional Quaker Oats have almost no sugar, but provide natural carbohydrates that will help fuel your workouts, without spiking your insulin levels. One more thing, if eating enough protein at breakfast is a problem area for you, then consider mixing in some whey protein, use skim milk instead of water, or a cup of egg whites.

Fat Loss Food #9: Low-Sodium Tuna

There’s a joke that many natural bodybuilders smell like tuna fish, because they are always eating cans of tuna all day long. The tuna you get at the Deli that’s filled with mayo does NOT count. In fact, mayo is a fat loss disaster, because it’s so calorically dense. I chose tuna because it’s easy to carry around for a high protein snack on the go. Of course, a tuna steak, and most fish for the matter are great sources of protein and healthy fats as well.

Fat Loss Food #10 Broccoli

I never used to eat broccoli as a kid, but fortunately I started eating broccoli after college and I developed a taste for it (as long as it’s steamed, I can’t stand raw broccoli!). Feel free to add it to your salads, or as a side with your lean meat, but you can’t go wrong with broccoli. Well, actually, let me clarify that.

If you smother it with sodium/sugar filled teriyaki sauce and stir fry it, broccoli can lose its appeal. Sautéed broccoli is still a heck of a lot healthier than French fries, but steamed is ideal. In general, vegetables are phenomenal fat loss foods and more veggies could have easily made it on this fat loss list.
As you probably started to notice, you can mix and match these 10 fat loss foods to create a number of different healthy, low calorie, nutritious snacks and meals to help you reach your fitness goals.

If you think I should have included something that didn’t make the list, or you have anything to add, leave a comment!