Our heart is an amazing muscle. It supplies nutrients and oxygen to all our vital organs and body parts. It beats on average 100,000 times a day and pumps the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of blood each day. With all the work our hearts do it seems only logical we should take care of it as well as it takes care of us. Yet in most of the country, the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death is coronary heart disease also known as coronary artery disease (CAD). This occurs when a substance made up of cholesterol deposits called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, pretty much the same as what happens to our home plumbing pipes. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, this is called atherosclerosis. A heart attack occurs when plaque totally blocks an artery carrying blood to the heart.
We eat foods high in saturated fats, like fast food instead of natural home cooked meals. We drink soft drinks or sports drinks instead of water. We pass over the veggies for starchy foods or end up slathering them in high fat dip. We eat until our stomachs feel like they are going to burst or continue to eat 3 or more helpings in the buffet line. We even choose candy bars and other sweets instead of reaching for fruits to satisfy our cravings. In moderation and with limitations these “treats” are not necessarily bad for us; but the amounts we consume on a normal basis are usually larger portions than we need. It is also contributing to one of the unhealthiest societies where teenage obesity is up along with childhood diabetes.
We can change how and what we eat; we can choose the healthier foods and smaller portions sizes. We can cut back on alcohol and get reasonable amounts of exercise. Quitting smoking and eating a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fish, non-fat or low-fat dairy products and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can also make a significant difference. Some things we cannot change; such as, older age, male gender, and a family history of CVD (cardiovascular disease) but we may be able to impact these areas in beneficial ways.
Studies have shown the maintaining of normal cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and including vitamin D, CoQ10, garlic, magnesium, fiber and Omega fatty acids in our diets promote cardiovascular health. Important helpers are magnesium and vitamin D. Why are these supplements important?
- CoQ10 – Helps produce energy in each cell, particularly those in the heart and other major organs. Since it has powerful antioxidant properties, it helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation. Although the human body can synthesize CoQ10, in some situations the body’s capacity to produce CoQ10 isn’t sufficient to meet its needs. CoQ10 levels reach their peak in the human body by age 20 and fall slowly thereafter.
- Garlic – Studies show that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally when used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to be responsible for many beneficial actions, including the support for the maintenance of healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms.
- Fiber – There are two types of fiber in foods and we need both. Insoluble fiber, found in the outer layer of grains such as wheat bran, promote a healthy digestive system and colon health. Heart health benefits come from soluble fiber, the type of fiber found in oats and apples. Increasing soluble fiber intake helps naturally lower blood cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.
- Omega fatty acids – Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Research also shows that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health and help retain normal blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Omega-3s also support healthy brain, vision, and joint function.
- Magnesium – A major helper in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular activity, temperature regulation, detoxification reactions, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium also increases oxygenation of the heart muscle by improving how it contracts and moves and is involved in energy production and the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
- Vitamin D – Researchers have linked low vitamin D intakes to osteoporosis or brittle bones, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and certain cancers. As such, the scientific community is advocating higher intake of vitamin D to address the suboptimal vitamin D blood levels found in many Americans.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends adding 2,000mg of PHYTOSTEROLS to your diet each day to lower cholesterol levels naturally. Plant phytosterols have been clinically proven by more than 80 studies to lower LDL cholesterol. Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines, leaving cholesterol behind. This means the more Phytosterols you have; the less cholesterol is absorbed by the body and the better your chances for lowering your LDL cholesterol.
Shaklee PHYTOCOL-ST is a proprietary formulation with clinically proven ingredients that help block the absorption of cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. It made with a powerful blend of phytosterols, which are found naturally in plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains. It delivers 2,000 mg of plant phytosterols daily or 100% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendation for phytosterols. It has no added preservatives, colors, flavors or sweeteners.
Being healthy isn’t something that just happens; we have to work at it. Finding the right kind of help can make all the difference in how we live and feel. Reducing cholesterol naturally by watching what we put into our bodies will go a long way in our overall level of health.
Garlic has been used by people for centuries. From Mesopotamia to ancient Egypt to Babylon, the Greeks to Medieval times and up through our modern era its benefits have been observed and scientifically proven. Medical history records the medicinal effects of garlic have been consistent and in use as medicine as a diuretic, digestive aid, antibiotic, anti-paracitic, anti-congestant, to soothe continuous coughing, clearing arteries, treat asthma, colds, edema, and cancer prevention among other uses.
References to garlic can be found throughout history but in 1562 the first valid work on herbs by William Turner, herbalist to Queen Elizabeth I, was published as William Turner’s New Herbal. In 1812 garlic was used extensively by doctors in England and can be found in Jonathan Stoke’s, A Botanical Materia Medica. It lists comments on garlic from over forty medical books of the time. If garlic did not work well, it would have fallen out of the historical record some time ago. Instead, it has cemented itself in medical and human history, truly withstanding the test of time.
Since around the time of the Industrial Revolution the search for the chemical constituents of plant medicines began to appear. We got morphine from the opium poppy, quinine from chichona bark and aspirin from the willow. This is also the time work on garlic started.
Scientists wanted to know why it worked and what made the distinct smell of garlic when it was cut or crushed. They found in the garlic bulb there is alliin and alliinase in a non-reactive state. When the bulb is crushed or cut the components combine to form allicin which has health enhancing properties.
Allicin can then break down into ajoene and the some 70 sulfur-containing garlic oils, most of which can help our health in a different way than allicin. These eventually break down into a mixture of polysulfides which have no health or medical value. This means in a few weeks or months extracts will lose all their power unless protected in some way. Fresh garlic contains the most health benefits. Boiling garlic completely removes all benefits.
These compounds make up a tiny fraction, only 0.1% to 0.36% of the total weight of a garlic bulb. Other compounds include: water, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins 1,2 and 3, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, manganese, germanium, selenium, copper, iron, adenosine (a nucleic acid).
A few points on these compounds: B1 is bound to the allicin, very rare in the plant kingdom. The combination called allithiamine is extremely easy to absorb and is used in Japan in nutritional supplements. Adenosine is a nucleic acid, a building block of DNA and RNA which contributes to garlic’s beneficial effects on the blood; plus garlic contains more of this substance than any other plant food.
Germanium and selenium minerals are both present in significant amounts which have been discussed in literature as being anticancer substances. The carbohydrates consist of at least 10 different sugars. One of these, scordinin, is regarded by the Japanese as a basic health enhancer.
The Evidence Mounts
With more than two decades of use as a supplement, you can imagine that the tiny herb and cooking spice has been studied constantly. Its power over cholesterol seems to hold up over and over again!
A study took 220 individuals, divided into two groups. One group took 800 milligrams of powered garlic for a period of four months. The other group took an inert placebo.
The group with the active garlic supplement experienced a 12 percent drop in their lipid levels. The group that took the placebo, by the way, experienced no significant change in their lipid levels.
Interestingly, garlic is so effective at reducing cholesterol that it’s considered a licensed medicine in Germany for the treatment of atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries.
In a German study, a group of individuals were placed on a low-fat diet. Their cholesterol count fell by 10 percent before it stabilized. The researchers then added a garlic supplement to their daily habits. This prompted another 10 percent drop in their cholesterol.
In another study, this one conducted at Tulane University of Medicine in New Orleans, 42 individuals were divided into 2 groups. Each group had elevated cholesterol levels. One received 900 mg of garlic extract — divided among three capsules daily. The second group received a placebo.
At the end of 12 weeks, those who took the garlic had a six percent drop in total cholesterol. On average, total lipid counts went from a high of 262 mg/dL to 247 mg/dL. Specifically, the bad cholesterol dropped about 11 percent, from 188 to 168 mg/dL.
This compared with those participants who took the placebo, whose total cholesterol fell no more than three percent. If you decide to take a garlic supplement, you can expect to experience a drop of close to 10 percent in your total cholesterol.
Because of garlic’s recognized importance as a fantastic aid to health through all of history and its newly discovered significance for our generation, garlic’s chemistry has been well researched. Literally hundreds of compounds interact within garlic to make it one of the best health foods of history and modern times. The sulfur compounds work to interfere with many bad compounds that cause viral and bacterial infections, cancers, cholesterol, blood clots etc.
Eating raw garlic is the best way to get the benefits but garlic breath can cause the loss of friends, relatives and others close to you. Some people can get a temporary upset tummy from consuming raw garlic while others can get a rash from handling raw garlic. The garlic in the stores is not fresh, it is usually harvested between July and November, the freshest garlic is the best for you. To get consistent potency and a measured delivery of the beneficial materials garlic should be consumed in a food supplement form.
Look for a pure, natural and pesticide free garlic product, preferably one that uses the cool-dry process. This will preserve as much of the active ingredients as possible. The label should state how much dried and fresh garlic is in each capsule or tablet. It should also tell you how many pills equal one clove of garlic; 1-2 cloves is usual for prevention of circulatory problems, 3 cloves is minimum for therapeutic effects such as antibacterial. It is also vital that the garlic you use has the distinct smell of garlic; the smell should be apparent when you break open a pill or capsule and/or put it into water.
Shaklee’s Garlic Complex combines the health benefits of garlic with the antioxidant properties of spearmint and rosemary. This supplement helps with cholesterol and healthy levels of microorganisms among other benefits.
Studies show that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally when used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to be responsible for many beneficial actions, including the support for the maintenance of healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms.
- Helps retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels*
- Promotes cardiovascular health*
- Helps maintain healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms*
- Unique Shaklee formulation
- Combines the health benefits of garlic with the antioxidant properties of spearmint and rosemary*
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Our bodies were designed to eat natural foods. Today we get most of our foods from boxes, bags, or drive through. Most of what we eat looks the same and tastes the same, plus we can get it in the freezer and canned section of the grocery store any day of the week; which is a testament to the processed nature of our foods. Doesn’t it seem strange that most of the food we eat is made in a lab by scientists instead of by nature? What does this mean for our bodies and our future?
In 1903 the hydrogenated process was invented. Since then most if not all foods have been processed to death stripping all good nutrients from our food in order to make it always taste the same and look the same and be the same.
A few tips to know and understand whether or not your food is actual food or processed food. If it is made after 1903, wrapped in cardboard, tinfoil, or layers of plastic, if it is heavily advertised to get you to eat it, if it is manufactured, convenient, keeps forever, artificially flavored, always the same, bland and/or gives you instant results, it’s probably not real food your body can process.
Trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and artificial flavorings are other things that have contributed to the epidemic degenerative diseases that occur in today’s world.
Here are some tips to look for when searching for “real” food. Real food is grown, has variable quality, goes bad fast, requires preparation, has vibrant colors, is authentically flavorful, rich in textures and is messy not neat like processed food.
Carlos Monteiro, a professor at the University of São Paulo, believes that “the big issue is ultra-processing.” That is to say, the most important factor when considering food and nutrition is neither nutrients nor foods — it’s what is done to foodstuffs and the nutrients contained in them before they are purchased and consumed.
Monteiro makes it clear that most foods and drinks are currently processed to some extent — even fresh apples are washed and sometimes waxed, and drinking water is filtered. But ultra-processed foods are all too common, and they are depleted of nutrients and provide little beyond calories.
According to the Atlantic:“The purpose of … ultra-processing is to create: durable, accessible, convenient, attractive, ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat products … Monteiro argues: ‘the rapid rise in consumption of ultra-processed food and drink products, especially since the 1980s, is the main dietary cause of the concurrent rapid rise in obesity and related diseases throughout the world.‘”
The most important factor now, when considering food, nutrition and public health, is not nutrients, and is not foods, so much as what is done to foodstuffs and the nutrients originally contained in them, before they are purchased and consumed.” Americans currently spend upwards of 90 percent of their food budgets purchasing processed foods, which offer very little in terms of nutritional value and instead typically contain ingredients that will actually cause you harm.
What makes processed foods, or as Monteiro calls them “ultra-processed foods,” so devastating to your health?
Lots of Calories for Little Nutrition
If you eat a fast-food burger, you can easily take in close to half of your daily caloric requirements. Add in fries and a soda and you may be nearing an entire day’s worth of required calories.
But in that one meal, which is designed to be eaten quickly, on-the-go, you have not received the vitamins and minerals, the live enzymes and micronutrients, the healthy fats or high-quality protein that your body needs to function, let alone thrive.
When these types of foods are consumed day in and day out, for months and years on end, what you end up with is a calorie-dense diet that is not giving you the nutrients you need to stay healthy. On a diet like this, you will likely gain excess weight while your body is still literally starving for healthy nutrients.
Processed Foods are Addictive
Fast food is available just about everywhere, including in hospitals and schools, and processed foods make up the majority of foods at your supermarket. They are marketed aggressively to kids and adults alike, and are manufactured using specific synthetic ingredients and other tricks to get you to eat more, crave more, and keep coming back for more.
As Monteiro wrote:“Ultra-processed products are characteristically formulated from ‘refined’ and ‘purified’ ingredients freed from the fibrous watery matrix of their original raw materials.
They are formulated to be sensually appealing, hyper-palatable, and habit-forming, by the use of sophisticated mixtures of cosmetic and other additives, and state-of-the-craft packaging and marketing. Further, ultra-processed products are ‘convenient’ – meaning, ready-to-eat (or drink) or ready-to-heat.
The leading branded ultra-processed foods and drinks are manufactured by transnational companies most able to purchase substrates for their products at rock-bottom or even subsidized prices. They penetrate new markets in lower-income countries, with massive marketing and advertising budgets, and may undercut local industries, drive them out of business, or take them over.”
It is interesting that most people know that fast food and processed foods are “not good for you,” yet most still choose to eat it. This is in large part due to the intensive advertising campaigns coupled with the habit-forming nature of these foods.
On average, just one serving of a typical children’s breakfast cereal equates to more than 90 percent of the daily sugar intake for sedentary girls aged 9 to 13. Even infant formulas and jarred baby food contains excessive amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup — hooking babies on the unnatural taste of processed foods as soon as they’re out of the womb!
In one study of rats fed a diet containing 25 percent sugar, they became anxious when the sugar was removed — displaying symptoms similar to people going through drug withdrawals, such as chattering teeth and the shakes.
The researchers conducting the study found a link between opioids, your brain’s ‘pleasure chemicals,’ and a craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. It is thought that high-fat foods stimulate the opioids, as when researchers stimulated rats’ brains with a synthetic version of the natural opioid enkephalin, the rats ate up to six times their normal intake of fat.
Further, long lasting changes in rats’ brain chemistry, similar to those caused by morphine or heroin use, were also noted. According to researchers, this means that even simple exposure to pleasurable foods is enough to change gene expression, which suggests an addiction to the food.
Dangerous Food Additives
Eating processed foods is in no way the same as eating pure, unprocessed foods, in taste, nutritional value or the way they interact with your cells on a biological level.
Processed foods often have little nutritional value and are chemically altered to increase the appeal to your taste buds, so they can override your body’s signals that would otherwise tell you it’s time to stop eating and try something else. They are also loaded with additives that are harmful in their own right, such as
Now the number one source of calories in the US, fructose diminishes your feelings of fullness because it does not stimulate a rise in leptin, one of the most powerful hunger- and fat storage regulators in your body. Fructose also reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier by raising triglycerides. Leptin resistance, in turn, is perhaps one of the most significant factors underlying human disease. For example, it plays a significant if not primary role in the development of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself. Additionally, whereas glucose suppresses ghrelin (also known as “the hunger hormone,” which makes you want more food), fructose, again, does not. Fructose also increases your insulin levels, interfering with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus, so your pleasure signals aren’t extinguished. Your brain keeps sensing that you’re starving, and prompts you to eat more. For the sake of your health, it is strongly advise keeping your fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, but this is virtually impossible if you eat a lot of processed foods.
Some 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients, which are being increasingly linked to serious health problems. Just last year the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reviewed the available research and issued a memorandum recommending that all doctors prescribe non-GMO diets to all patients because they are causally linked in animal feeding studies to:
- Immune system problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Organ damage
- Dysfunctional regulation of cholesterol and insulin
- Accelerated aging
One of the first steps to avoiding GM ingredients is to cut back on processed foods in your diet
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, is added to thousands of processed (canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners, chips and much more) and restaurant foods.MSG is so popular because it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny. However, it is also an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees — and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — added to foods. While each of these substances are legal to use, whether or not they are entirely safe for long-term consumption — by themselves or in combination — is a different story altogether. Many of them, such as sodium nitrate, BHA, BHT, aspartame, Blue 1, 2, and potassium bromate, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Others are estrogen-mimicking xenoestrogens that have been linked to a range of human health effects, including reduced sperm counts in men and increased risk of breast cancer in women. Studies have also shown that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate — found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings — cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible.
Meanwhile, E-numbered food dyes (such as tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) do as much damage to children’s brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ. Fortunately, when you avoid processed foods you’ll also automatically avoid virtually every one of these toxic food additives.
It is wise to get as much raw food in your diet as possible, including raw eggs and humanely raised organic animal products that have not been factory farmed. And there are a number of reasons for this.
For starters, processing foods at high temperatures destroys naturally occurring enzymes. Enzymes are proteins — catalysts to speed up and facilitate reactions in your body. In fact, some biochemical reactions will not even occur without these enzymes (you have about 1,300 of them).
Processed foods are also devoid of bio-photons, the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms — including your body. Vital sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these bio-photons.
They contain important information that controls complex vital processes in your body. The bio-photons have the power to order and regulate, and, in doing so, to elevate the organism – in this case, your physical body — to a higher oscillation or order.
The more light a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is. Naturally grown fresh vegetables, for example, and sun-ripened fruits, are rich in light energy. The capacity to store bio-photons is therefore a measure of the quality of your food — and processed foods contain zero light energy.
Ditching Processed Foods Can be Easy
Eating fresh, whole foods is the “secret” to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food, but many believe it’s next to impossible to eat nowadays without processed foods.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that cooking from scratch is an extremely complicated affair that takes lots of time and costs more than they could possibly afford. More often than not, this is simply not true.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. Of course, you’ll be far more satisfied when you eat your home-cooked meal, both physically and mentally.
Finding the time, and the financial resources, to make healthy meals for your family can be challenging, but please don’t use these as excuses to exist on processed food. Your health — your energy levels, your appearance, your mood and so many other factors — will improve when you eat the foods your body was designed for. Returning to a diet of locally grown, fresh whole foods is really the only way to reach optimal health. A major leap forward would be to strive for a diet of 90 percent non-processed food and only 10 percent from other sources.
Final Words of Wisdom
Please remember that someone has to spend some time in the kitchen to prepare your meals, whether it is you, your spouse, a relative, friend, or a chef. If you ignore this basic principle you can be strongly assured your health will suffer.
The other point to consider is that if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. It is no mystery that when noon comes around you will likely want lunch. So why not figure out what that will be the night before you go to sleep. Seek to make a habit of knowing what you will eat the next day so you can be prepared and won’t have to rely on fast food or junk food.
Exercise Leads to Better Food Choices
There is a part of our brain that helps control our cravings. Exercise helps our brain get what it needs to give us the strength we need to overcome cravings for junk food and choose healthy foods instead. It even helps your gut hormones stay in balance. A healthy gut helps your body absorb nutrients from food, fight off infections and much more.
New research shows exercise helps to enhance your brain’s executive functions like inhibitory control, making it easier for you to resist unhealthy food and instead choose healthy options that will help you realize your weight loss goals
Exercise also makes your brain more sensitive to signs of fullness, offering both short-term physiologic benefits and long-term behavior-oriented benefits for weight loss
Exercise is already known to increase sensitivity to leptin, the “satiety hormone” involved in appetite regulation, providing even more reason why it’s crucial for long-term successful weight loss.
Exercise is important and crucial for weight loss, but not only because it helps you to burn calories. About 80 percent of your ability to achieve an ideal body weight is related to your food choices, and new research shows that exercise may make it easier for you to make healthy food choices.
Exercise Boosts Your Will Power to Resist Unhealthy Food
One of your brain’s many responsibilities, or “executive functions,” is referred to as “inhibitory control.”
This is what helps you to keep inappropriate or unhealthy behaviors under control, such as making you think twice before eating a gallon of ice cream for breakfast. Since we are all inundated with temptations around the clock, this function is under constant strain. Plus, it has only limited capacity and will grow fatigued with overuse, similar to your muscles. The end result is reduced will power to control impulsive behaviors, such as binging on junk food.
Exercise, it turns out, helps to enhance your brain’s resources for executive functions like inhibitory control, making it easier for you to resist unhealthy food and instead choose healthy options that will further your weight loss goals.
Exercise Enhances Your Brain’s “Inhibitory Control” Making it Easier to Eat Healthy
Often regular exercise and a healthy diet go hand-in-hand, and this may not be a coincidence. Researchers have revealed that regular exercise enhances your brain’s resources that facilitate inhibitory control, helping to compensate for the onslaught of temptations that encourage unhealthy eating (junk food advertisements, fast-food restaurants on every block, and so on).
Exercise also appears to make your brain more sensitive to signs that you are full, offering a short-term benefit on top of the long-term, behavior-oriented benefits noted above.
Exercise Even Alters Your Gut Hormones, Helping to Regulate Food Intake
Adding to the brain benefits, separate research presented at the 2011 meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) revealed another way that exercise may help control your body weight: by altering the hormones released by your gut after a meal.
In rats that exercised, increased levels of an inhibitory feeding hormone, amylin, were released when a meal was eaten, and a more rapid rebound of ghrelin occurred after the meal. Further, exercised rats treated with a gut hormone called CCK, which limits meal size, decreased their food intake more so than sedentary rats.
Exercise is already known to increase sensitivity to Leptin, the “satiety hormone” involved in appetite regulation, providing even more reason to make physical activity a regular part of your life. And as mentioned, there is far more to exercise and weight loss than simply burning calories! Not to mention, aside from the weight loss connection, exercise also offers profound benefits to your brain health, including helping to preserve your brain function as you age.
What is the Best Type of Exercise for Weight Loss?
One of the reasons why people continue to struggle with their weight despite engaging in regular exercise, aside from dietary mistakes, is because they’re not doing the right kind of exercise! Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising less intensely for longer periods. So, if you want to lose weight, cancel your hour-long treadmill session and replace it with 20-minute, high-intensity interval training like Peak Fitness instead!
An added bonus: you can cut the duration of your exercise session in half. Yes, one 2007 study showed you can burn more fat exercising for 20 minutes than for 40 minutes!
In their trial, women either exercised for 20 minutes, alternating 8 seconds of sprinting on a bike with 12 seconds of exercising lightly, or exercised at a regular pace for 40 minutes. After exercising three times a week for 15 weeks, those who did the 20-minute, alternating routine lost three times as much fat as the other women.
The researchers believe this type of exercise works because it produces a unique metabolic response. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss.
Further, high-intensity exercises engage a certain group of muscle fibers that you cannot engage through aerobic cardio, and engaging these muscle fibers causes a cascade of positive health benefits, including improved fat burning and also boosting your body’s natural production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is a vital hormone that is key for physical strength, health and longevity.
For an in-depth explanation of the Peak Fitness program, which is a comprehensive exercise plan that also includes strength training, core exercises and stretching, please review this recent article.
Eating THIS May Sabotage Your Workout Efforts
Exercise may make it easier for you to eat healthy, but it’s also important that you arm yourself with the knowledge of what’s truly healthy and what is not. It’s very easy to sabotage yourself with sugary foods and beverages, especially those that contain fructose, after a workout, and this includes so-called “healthy” beverages like “vitamin water,” energy drinks, and similar types of sports and recovery drinks.
Fructose, which is hidden in virtually every processed food, tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your body’s appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.
Fructose also rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure — i.e., classic metabolic syndrome. And, as HGH Magazine explains, consuming fructose, including that from fruit juices, within two hours of your workout will decimate your natural HGH production, so it should definitely be avoided for optimal benefits.
What Should You Eat After a Workout, and the Rest of the Time?
What you do eat after your workout is crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the recycling process toward repair and growth. If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. A product like Shaklee’s Performance Drink is perfect for after workout rebuilding.
So ideally you should EAT within 30 minutes after your workout, and your meal should include fast-assimilating proteins, such as high-quality whey protein. Doing the right kind of exercises for 11 to 20 minutes a day will help you lose weight faster and keep it off. Remember this is in addition to eating good food.Cut out sugar and processed foods and increase your raw food and healthy fat intake. Avoid waters that add things which are not necessary, popular sports drinks, energy drinks and similar drinks like the plague. Water is best in its pure form.
Sugar is everywhere and in just about everything. Take a look at the packaged foods you buy. What are the ingredients? The first one is more than likely high fructose corn syrup or some other form of sugar. If it’s not the first ingredient sugar, or some form of it, is in the first 5. Low fat means higher sugar or salt content. In order for the “food’ to taste good they have to add in sugar or salt, or both.
Sugar permeates every facet of our lives. Everything from packaged foods, salad dressing, fruit juice, cereal, pretzels, soup, and packaged dips… the list goes on. An overload of sugar, along with the over 80,000 chemicals used in our society today, can be linked to everything from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer… just about every disease or allergy out there can be linked in one way or another to a toxic overload of sugar and chemicals from the standard diet and/or current farming practices.
What is it about sugar?
What is so powerful about sugar? Why do we crave it? Our brains react to sugar the same way it does for cocaine. Is it any wonder it’s used in almost every product out there? Sugar in and of itself isn’t so bad, the problem comes in consuming way too much. High sugar intake can be linked to just about every disease out there from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and so on.
Glucose and fructose are different types of simple sugars. After they are separated apart and broken down in your body they are metabolized using completely separate pathways. Glucose is utilized by every cell in your body, but fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products that are bad for your body. When talking about high fructose corn syrup, it gets metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. Another waste product is uric acid which drives up your blood pressure.
Refined sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. A study involving rats had them choose between sugar-water and cocaine. 94% of the rats chose the sugar-water; even those who were previously addicted to cocaine wasted no time changing their selection. Plus the rats were more willing to work for the sugar reward than the cocaine reward.
The worst type of sugar you can ingest is fructose, which may surprise you because it is derived from fruit. Since the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, this can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment of 15 grams. It is no accident that childhood obesity is at a record high and life expectancy for the youngest generation is, for the first time, lower than that of their parents.
Marion Nestle, who wrote What to Eat, is also a professor of nutrition at NYU suggests that any food that contains more than 15 grams of sugar per serving is closer to dessert than anything else. She looked up the sugar content of a few common foods and menu items. Here is what she found in March of 2010:
Sugar Content of Common Food Products
- Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut 10 g
- Luna Bar berry almond 11 g
- Froot Loops breakfast cereal 3/4 cup 12 g
- Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream 16 g
- Starbucks caffè latte grande 16 oz 17 g
- Godiva 2 truffles 17 g
- Subway 6″ sweet onion teriyaki chicken sandwich 17 g
- Tropicana 100% orange juice 8 oz 25 g
- Yoplait original yogurt 27 g
- Craisins dried cranberries 1/3 cup 29 g
- Vitamin Water 20 oz bottle 33 g
- Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz can 39 g
- Sprinkles Cupcake red velvet 45 g
- Starbucks caffe vanilla frappuccino grande 16 oz 58 g
Keep your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day!
Fructose consumption clearly causes insulin resistance, whereas straight glucose does not. Insulin resistance can eventually lead to full blown diabetes.
Interestingly, glucose actually accelerates fructose absorption. So when you mix glucose and fructose together, you absorb more fructose than if you consumed fructose alone. This is an important piece of information if you are struggling to control your weight.
Remember, sucrose, or table sugar, is fructose plus glucose. If you are craving something sweet, your best bet is to reach for an apple or a pear. And if you give yourself a sugar holiday for even a couple of weeks, you will be amazed at how much those cravings will decrease.
Because you are sure to consume plenty of “hidden” fructose in the other foods you will be eating, keep your total fructose from fruit below 15 grams per day. The table below can help with the fruit you choose.
Sugar’s Link to Obesity, Heart Disease and Diabetes
Obesity rates have paralleled sugar consumption trends in Western civilization. Although the obesity epidemic is relatively recent, obesity is not a new phenomenon. In 1860, the prevalence of a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher (which defines obesity) was 1.6 percent among 50 year-old men. By 1900, it had tripled, and it has sharply increased over the past century.
Did you know cardiology is a relatively NEW field? Prior to 1940, there was no such thing as a cardiologist because there was no need for them; and that was only 70 years ago! The first report of angina was in 1929. In 1950, there were 500 cardiologists in the United States. Now there are 35,000. Guess what, they perform more than one million heart surgeries annually.
What is driving this eruption of cardiovascular disease? One key factor: the explosion of sugar in our diet.
The book, Pure, White and Deadly, was written by a British nutritionist John Yudkin in 1972 and is said to be a culmination of decades of research. He surmised that, “…the evidence that the over-consumption of sugar was leading to a greatly increased incidence of coronary thrombosis, and that in addition it was certainly involved in dental caries, probably involved in obesity, diabetes and liver disease, and possibly involved in gout, dyspepsia and some cancers.” as stated by Wikipedia. Needless to say the Sugar Industry did not take kindly to this bit of news and did what they could to silence and discredit Yudkin, his book, research and what it revealed.
So What Can We Do?
How much sugar is safe? Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day while men should consume no more than 9. The reality is most people eat an average of 26 teaspoons per day! Kids who have just one soda pop per day ingest the equivalent of eating 50 pounds of sugar per year. No wonder there is a growing number of children and adults with diabetes and other health problems.
The keys to getting excess sugar out of our diets are actually pretty simple. First start with reading the labels on everything you buy and avoid sugar laden foods. Better yet, secondly, instead of buying prepackaged foods, start cooking meals from natural (preferably organic and non-GMO) whole foods and vegetables. You can find several recipes online of knock off recipes that you can reproduce with better ingredients. Third, instead of drinking several soda pops a day, either diet or regular, opt for non-fluoridated water instead. Fourth, get plenty of good sleep and add fermented and high probiotic foods or supplements to help stop cravings for the sweet stuff and allow yourself to make better decisions.
If time is the problem and reason it’s hard to cook homemade meals, find one day during the week when you can spend some time pre-cutting veggies to be used in recipes during the week. Crowd out the fake higher sugar content foods by adding greens and other veggies to your dinner. Try eating veggies like carrots which have a higher natural content of sugar to help you feel satisfied. Drinking a glass of water when a craving hits is also a good way to end the craving; many cravings are due to dehydration.
Taming the Sweet Cravings
If you feel like you need that sugar fix, don’t stress and deny yourself a little. You don’t want to set yourself up for a binge and failure. First just make sure you avoid ALL artificial sweeteners! They are not the same or better than sugar; they have been processed.
If you can find pure glucose, which is dextrose, on the internet do it. It’s not as sweet so you may end up using more; but health-wise it is the better option. Limit all other types of sugar as much as possible.
When all else fails, EXERCISE! If you are going to consume fructose it is BEST to do so immediately before, during or after intense exercise as your body will tend to use it directly as fuel and not convert it to fat. It will also increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help modulate the negative effects of fructose, help to blunt your appetite and control your sweet tooth.
High sugar intake is one of the reasons we have such a high percentage of our money going to health care. The sugar industries along with the companies that make our processed foods don’t want to admit that their products are the cause for such overwhelming changes in our nation’s health. But is it totally their fault? Shouldn’t we be more engaged and aware of what we put into our bodies?
By changing the way we cook, eat, drink, sleep, relate to others and ourselves, cravings for sugar will decline and better health will come naturally. You don’t have to go cold turkey. Begin by reading labels, crowding out the bad with a few good choices that you can handle. Getting your taste buds used to eating healthy and increasing your gut health will eventually kill your cravings for high sugar foods.