Obesity and Fat Loss: Cause and Cure

February 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

image Obesity and Fat Loss

Did you know that there are now 500 million people worldwide, including 41 million children, who are obese. A person is classified as obese if their Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 30.0.

The obesity epidemic marches on unchallenged.

Even more disturbing is that research has found that only 0.5% of obese men and 0.8% of women have been able to attain a normal body weight.

Such an abysmal recovery rate is shattering for people who have to accept that, once obese, it is extremely difficult to burn the excess body fat and return to normal body weight.

Are you one of the people who feel trapped carrying excess body weight?

If you have followed the media on this subject you have probably seen dozens of articles describing a variety of causes and possible cures for this debilitating fate. None of them helped as evidenced by the terrible recovery rate.

But…there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

Genetic mutation causes obesity

Research published in Aug/Sep last year at first looks like a huge hoax. It is only when you take note of the reputation and eminent qualifications of the researchers involved that you have to sit up and take notice.

Researchers from Harvard and MIT have published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine following research collaboration between institutions like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Cambridge. Their proceedings were also published by the National Academy of Science, so the credibility of what has become known as the “Baby Boomer Gene” is impeccable.

Here’s what the researchers have to say. Following the end of World War II, more precisely in 1946, a human genetic mutation, apparently caused by environmental conditions, occurred. As a consequence, this genetic evolution affects people up to the age of 70 or less.

Researchers knew as early as 2007 that a gene called FTO (Fat and Obesity) was associated with obesity but not in which specific way. It is now known that people affected by this genetic mutation were born with a dangerous fat causing gene. It causes energy from food to be stored as fat instead of being released into the bloodstream as energy.

We can now understand the cause of the obesity epidemic as the research has found that people with this gene mutation are 250% more likely to become obese and stay that way. To repeat, people born after 1946 are 250% more likely to become obese. With this gene active, your chances of staying skinny are close to zero, the researchers found.

That is the bad news. The good news is that this fat causing gene and its function can be turned off. In other words, you can re-program the body to burn fat instead of storing fat.

The researchers found a new way to control metabolism so that fat cells either stores fat or burns fat. YOU have the ability to turn these genes off so that fatty acids are released and burn off as energy. The metabolic process associated is called thermogenesis which, when activated, causes fat cells to dissipate energy as heat, instead of storing it as fat.

The metabolic processes involved in re-programming the gene mutation are fairly complex. However, you can read more about it here and here.

It was also revealed that the gene mutation was found in 44% of Europeans, but only 5% of black people and other genes cause obesity in with some people in some parts of the world.

Regrettably, there is no immediate therapeutic procedure available to re-program the gene. Researchers are currently working with academic and industry to transform their findings into therapeutic solutions for obesity.

While there is no immediate cure for switching off the fat burning gene, there are definitely slower but effective methods available to burn off excess body fat.

Weight loss in perspective

Each individual diet program comes with its own unique guidelines about nutrition and exercise; what to eat, when to eat it, how often to eat, how and what exercises to perform. Their common failure and, in my humble opinion, the profound lack of success people achieve, comes down to the fact that they do not convey KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING on HOW the body burns off excess fat permanently. The fundamental principles are in fact quite simple and  straight-forward. Success in weight loss rests on four core principles: NUTRITION, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, COMMITMENT, AND KNOWLEDGE. You must force your metabolic process to release and burn stored fat as energy. This cannot happen while your body digests foods you have just eaten, and before “reserve” energy stored in your liver as glycogen has been depleted. Once this has happened, the body has no choice but to find and burn energy from your stored fat cells. These fat cells – triglycerides – are formed when you consume more food than the body needs for energy and when the liver can no longer convert and store additional calories as glycogen. Beyond this, extra calories are stored in fat cells for later use. They are difficult to dislodge but it is quite possible. I argue that you simply cannot and will not succeed unless you acquire knowledge and understanding on how your body, your metabolism and your hormones react to your lifestyle choices in terms of nutrition, physical activity, and commitment to weight loss.

You may also like the following posts on this website:

Nutrition Guidelines: New Science and Problems with Real Foods

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

The Uncomfortable Truth About Sugars

Nutrition Facts About Sugar

Nutrition Guidelines: Why so Freakin’ Confusing

January 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

By Alex Beckis, 11 Jan 2016


How far have we really come in pursuit of scientific dietary guidelines?

Secondly, why do weight and fat loss programs have such an abysmal failure rate? After all, there are hundreds of them, and Amazon sells more than a thousand different books about diet, nutrition, fat and weight loss. Still, available statistics about effective weight loss are dreadful to say the least.

  • The obesity epidemic marches on and, with a few national exceptions, now affects 30-40% of people worldwide. Researchers have found that only 0.5% of obese men and 0.8% of women have been able to attain a normal body weight. Once overweight, it is very difficult to return to a normal body weight, they concluded.
  • The most common outcome with weight loss programs is that people give up and regain whatever weight they managed to lose. The vast majority of diet programs do not give you the knowledge you need to lose weight and keep if off.
  • The Internet is full of misleading, incomplete and conflicting information. In the words of Dr. S. Sisskind, in a special report, makes the claim that “The misinformation is staggering.”

To make matters worse, a new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science  in Israel, recently published, has concluded that there is no one diet program that fits everybody. They claim that people have different glycemic responses to the same food. Dr. Elan Elinav, a co-author of the published research, stated as follows in an interview: “If my and yours response to the same food are opposite, then by definition a similar diet cannot be effective for both of us.

The study claims that  two people who follow the same weight-loss diet may end up with diametrically different results. Because of their different  responses to the same foods, one may lose weight while the other fails. The difference is supposedly the extent to which each person’s blood sugar level peaks after eating a particular food.

Where does this leave common diet programs?

Just how are people going to figure out what diet program might suit their particular metabolism? How would you accomplish this? Who would you consult and to what extent could you rely on whatever “microbione analysis” you might receive?

If conflicting information has caused people to fail with their weight loss programs and given up, the need for an individual diet routine it is simply going to add more confusion.

It has not taken fortune-seekers and spin-doctors long to profit from this research. The program I examined argued that I would need to determine my metabolic type. Fine, no problem with this. I was asked to complete a 30-second online interview in which I answered a few basic question about my eating habits. The test determined that my metabolic type was that of a muscle burner, and I was told to add snacks in between regular meals. Needless to say, the recommendation was accompanied with a paid offer that would explain the need to also change my exercise routine.

I have successfully lost 10 kg of body weight in less than one month and stabilised my weight at this level. Based on my own research and success in losing weight, my classification as a muscle burner could not be further from the truth. Beware of these scammers who attempt to profit from new research.

A healthy eating plan

Listening to the experts would be a good start. We also need to recognise that a healthy dietary plan and the pursuit of weight loss are two separate issues.

The most current news comes from the recent Finding Common Ground summit in Boston, attended by 75 nutritional experts and scientists from the U.S., Canada and Europe. The objective of this summit, organised by Oldways, a non-profit food and nutrition organisation, was to find common ground about healthy eating. Apart from scientists from leading universities and research organisations, speakers included proponents of major diet programs like the Paleolithic, Mediterranean, vegan, and low-fat diets.

The consensus to which the summit agreed was that healthy diets consist of abundant fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes and minimal amounts of refined starch, sugar, and red meat, especially processed red meats.

The thing to remember is that this was the consensus from 75 nutritional experts. Like any communique produced by a convention, committee, or an assembly of experts, the end result will be a compromise of different opinions. There will inevitably be generalisations.

Controversy still surrounds issues like saturated fats, read meat and whole grains and your convictions will depend on which particular diet program you may support.

The recent release of the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines has more serious problems and has been the subject of negative critique by prominent scientists. If you are interested in what expert scientists has to say about these dietary guidelines, read the TIME article titled “Here’s What 10 Experts Think Of the Government’s New Diet Advice“.

In the main, controversy still surrounds issues like saturated fats, red meat and grains, especially whole grains vs. refined grains.

What we have to accept is that scientific conclusions are very demanding and require evidence-based research and trials. Such trials and surveys are extremely difficult to organise and control. Disagreements and controversy exist because such evidence has yet to be produced.

Also, a lot of research is funded by the food industry with predictable results.

You are welcome to peruse this blog for nutritional issues that are supported by current research.

How do you make intelligent decisions about your food choices? Let’s address that question next.

What is real food?

To maintain good health, we are supposed to eat real food. But what is real food?

Real food is natural food. The soil in which the food is grown should be rich in nutrients which become absorbed into the vegetables and into our bodies.

  • Animals including poultry should be pasture-raised, organic, and contain no hormones or antibiotics.
  • Fish and seafood should be wild and not raised in fish farms.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be grown in protein rich soils and free from pesticides. This means organic produce.
  • Cooking oils should not have an excess level of Omega-6 fats which is common with hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Beyond this, we should lower or eliminate the consumption of packaged foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, colourings as well as sugar-laden soft drinks.

The inevitable compromises

With some exceptions, depending on where you live, it is almost impossible to procure and prepare real food in our modern, industralised society.

So compromise is inevitable. However, you cannot compromise unless you first know what it is your are compromising, can you?

The Adulteration of our food supplies

The sad truth is that commercial industry controls a substantial part of our food production.

  • Livestock raised in “concentrated animal feeding lots” (CAFOs) and fed corn and soy, very likely GMO varieties, to which are added antibiotic supplements.
  • Fruit orchards and agricultural fields sprayed with pesticides, Unless banned in your country, these pesticides could well contain glyphosate, a known carcinogen.
  • High fructose corn syrup is used in almost every conceivable food and drink and it is not a healthy sweetener.

Add to this sugary beverages, sodium, chemicals, preservatives, and colourings added to package food products.

The next issue is the fast-food restaurants and takeaways. What ingredients and cooking oils do they use?

The bottom line is that chemicals, preservatives, sugar and incomplete carbohydrates cause havoc with our immune system. It produces anti-bodies which destroy the good gut bacteria. Sugar and sweets proliferate, destroy good bacteria and produce bad bacteria which thrive in the environment of a destructive digestive system. The end result is excessive body inflammation which gradually gives rise to our modern-day diseases.

A depressing picture, isn’t it?

With some exceptions, depending on where you live, it is almost impossible to procure and prepare real food in our modern, industralised society.

So compromise is inevitable.



15 Benefits of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

September 16, 2015 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

By Alex Beckis 15 Sep 2015

In ancient civilizations, people found natural remedies for common ailments. These remedies mostly came from nature or from natural products produced within ancient societies. In our modern society, such remedies are either forgotten or rejected in favour of pharmaceutical products.

One such natural healing elixir is apple cider vinegar. It has unique healing and preventative properties for a large variety of common ailments.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) was discovered 5,000 years B.C. and was well known in the ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. It was used as a natural antibiotic and antiseptic in 400 B.C.

How to make or buy high quality apple cider vinegar

Organic apple cider vinegar is produced with a long and slow fermentation process using apples or cider as the core ingredient.

You can find instructions online on how to make it yourself. An example is the site apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com.

The alternative is to buy the vinegar, preferably through a health store. The ACV stored by supermarket chains is most commonly a filtered variety (clear) whereas the preferred vinegar should be a “murky” liquid. The murky texture of organic ACV is caused by the formation of what is called “mother of vinegar”, an amino acid substance. Its sour taste comes from beneficial substances like acetic and malic acids. The major health benefit of ACV is its alkaline properties which is the opposite environment to that in which most diseases thrive.

Health benefits of ACV

image apple cedar vinegar

ACV contains potassium, magnesium, iron, enzymes, malic and acetic acid, calcium, vitamins A, B and E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and beta-carotene.

Here is a list of the major health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Much like coconut oil, different sources attribute more than 50 benefits to this vinegar.

  1. Reduces the risk of cancer by making the acidity and pH level of body fluids alkaline, Cancer cells do not grow in an alkaline environment.
  2. Limits the growth of prostrate cancel cells.
  3. Improves the metabolism so that you can burn more excess body fat. Also improves digestion.
  4. Enhances the skin and stops skin itches. ACV contains alpha hydroxyl acids just like expensive skin creams.
  5. Kills flu bacteria and cures sore throats.
  6. Regulates the body’s pH balance.
  7. Improves the level of energy in the body.
  8. Reduces blood sugar levels because it is anti-glycemic.
  9. Lowers cholesterol levels because of the presence of acetic acid in the vinegar.
  10. Increases satiety to prevent over eating.

In addition to these health benefits, ACV is a v very effective household liquid. Use it as:

  1. As an effective deodorant.
  2. A household cleaner because ACV contains organic acids which kill bacteria.
  3. An effective aftershave.
  4. An effective treatment for nail fungus.
  5. By mixing 10% of vinegar with 90% of water, you can soak fruits and vegetables briefly in order to kill bacteria.

Embrace this ancient and magic liquid and incorporate it into your daily nutrition plan. It is inexpensive and very easy to digest and use.

Nutrition Plan That Burns Belly Fat

September 3, 2014 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

If you really want to reduce fat fast, then you need to take your nutrition seriously. This is not particularly easy, but it is necessary. Here’s a quick overview: You need to eat both fat and carbohydrates to maintain mental and body strength. The key to losing body fat is to know which foods accelerate fat burning in your body and which foods prevent fat burning. Healthy foods improve your metabolism which is the underlying reason why people talk about fat burning foods. Workout routines that improve you lean body mass (muscle vs. fat ratio) also cause your metabolism to burn more calories.

The first nutrition recommendation is to consume 90% of your carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables and reduce the intake of processed foods like breakfast cereals, soft drinks, bread, biscuits and artificial sweeteners because they contain a high level of sugar and harmful chemicals. This one recommendation will give you lots of mental energy. Good carbs include whole grain breads, brown rice, millet and sweet potatoes. The best fruits include blueberries, grapes, kiwi fruit, apples and apricots. You should also drink at least 6-8 glass of plain water every day.

You augment your carbohydrates with protein and fat foods, some of which we were once told were bad for us. Eat real butter, whole eggs, olive oil, avocados and raw nuts like almonds and cashews. Foods to avoid are hydrogenated oils, canola oil, margarine and substitute butters.

From there you can go in almost any direction you want because you will get most of your calories from those basics. You can add meat, grains and dairy like yoghurt but if you don’t lose your belly fat you need to reduce these latter foods. Just find out what works for you. Just to give you an idea about the type of foods you should consume, I’ll include a food classification matrix in which foods are categorized as A+, A, B, C etc.

A+ Grade carbohydrates. Spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, red peppers, yams and sweet potatoes, beans, basmati rice, lentils.

A+ Grade proteins. Salmon, rainbow trout, herring.

A+ Grade fats. Flaxseed oil, fish fat (salmon, trout, herring, sardines).

A Grade foods in the same categories,  Potatoes, carrots, quick oatmeal, all fresh fruits. Chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, shell fish, egg whites, non fat cottage cheese, whey protein.

60 Years of Bad Nutrition: “Tips for Healthy Weight Loss”

May 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

My name is Alex Beckis but, you may well ask, who am I to write with authority about health and fitness, nutrition, or tips for weight loss? My only claim to fame is that I am a published author and an accomplished researcher. I have a number of books and an author page on Amazon.com. I have a blog and a Facebook page where I publish articles about healthy nutrition and the best way to lose weight. Most recently, I have found a passion in writing about the dreadful practices that now prevail in our industrialized food supply chain and how these practices have caused an obesity epidemic and the unnecessary rise of all our modern day diseases.

Home cooking has, during the last 60 years, largely been replaced by industrialized cooking and made “unfashionable” by clever advertising campaigns. The end result is the unhealthy packaged foods that fill our supermarket shelves and fast-food outlets using equally bad ingredients.

I am currently researching and writing a book that most likely will be titled The Adulteration of Our Food Supplies: “The Ugly Side of Profiteering”.

The answer to these maladies, incumbent on those of us interested in preserving our health and well being, is a healthy eating plan coupled with some physical activity.

The fastest growing eating plan is without doubt the Paleo Diet. The biggest problem with Paleo is the unfortunate names assigned to it. References to a Caveman Diet or Stone Age Diet are at best misleading. Nobody wants to turn the clock back to our Stone Age. Paleo is better known as the paleolithic nutrition and is scientifically based. It represents the food choices to which our human digestive system is genetically based. For example, a large majority of people today get no less than 67% of their food intake from wheat, corn and soy products. Our Paleolithic humans, on the other hand, only obtained 1-2% of their food from wild grains. Agricultural based nutrition has only existed for a duration less than 5% of human existence and human biochemistry and physiology has simply not had time to adjust to modern day agriculture.

But it gets worse, a lot worse. Combined with excessive consumption of unhealthy sugar (fructose), industrialized cooking practices that use chemicals, preservatives and toxic substances, has given rise to an unprecedented rise in diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and eventually the dreaded Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases. The can all be avoided by simply choosing a healthy eating plan.

Which is the Best Diet?

May 3, 2014 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

The average person would undoubtedly find that question very difficult to answer? After all, there are hundreds of different diets all claiming their virtues. If you take a look at amazon.com you will also find several thousand books all about diets and dieting. It’s a goldmine for confusion.

In terms of popularity, I would think the Atkins diet has had a good run whereas the current most popular diet may be the Paleo Diet.  Another favorite of mine, less known, is the Dukan diet. I have used it with considerable success in losing weight.

So, to answer the question as to which is the best diet, what do the experts have to say? Two medical scientists at Yale University, Dr. David L. Katz and his colleague Stephanie Miller, took it on themselves the task of answering this question: “Which diet is best?”

They examined the available medical evidence available for the mainstream diets and published their findings in the journal The Atlantic. Should we be surprised to learn that they found that no single diet was the best?

However, their findings clearly point to what constitutes healthy eating.  They concluded that the diets that recommend “minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants” are best associated with health and disease prevention.

Minimally processed foods, I would think, are those free of artificial sugars and sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives. Close to nature points to organically grown produce. Predominantly plants may be debatable although vegetables and fruits should undoubtedly be part of a healthy diet. It does, however, not clearly answer the question of the most suitable ratio of carbohydrates vs. healthy fats in a diet.

The best education is to follow nutritional experts who are up to date with the latest research. Regrettably, I find a lot of nutritional advice, even from qualified nutritionists, that promote out-of-date scientific findings.

Personally, I follow 3-4 different experts who have earned my trust and these are:

  • Dr. Joseph Mercola at a natural health expert
  • Isobel del Ros who promotes her Beyond Diet eating plan and distributes a newsletter about healthy eating for weight loss.
  • Mike Geary of the well-known “The Truth About Six Pack Abs” program, who has recently turned his attention and expertise to nutritional science.

As a disclaimer, the Beyond Diet and The Truth About Six Pack ABS links have my affiliate links embedded. However, I am a fan of both these programs.

How To Lose Tummy Fat At 40+

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

Do you struggle with your weight and body shape? Do you have a slow metabolism, and are you yearning for a leaner, well-toned body, without endless dieting and struggle? If all has failed so far, let me share a smarter approach with you. Experience real success, and see how you, too, can be looking good with less effort.

Is fat loss the same as weight loss? No, it is certainly not. You may be losing weight with a diet program but the likelihood is that it is doing little or nothing about permanent fat loss.

Diets do NOT work and there is a sound physiological reason why this is so. Still, there are more than 50,000 books about different diets available at Amazon and a respected medical reference site lists more than 85 diets. You’d be well advised to look elsewhere for a solution.

Let us talk about permanent fat loss which is really what you want to achieve. The reasons why we accumulate body fat and why obesity has become a worldwide epidemic are very plain. The reasons are poor nutrition, frequently in combination with a sedentary lifestyle with an inadequate level of physical exercise. Nutrition is the real culprit. It is no exaggeration to state that the multi-billion dollar food, farm, agri and fish industries have progressively poisoned an entire generation. And it’s been done with the full knowledge and co-operation of the regulatory bodies that as supposed to protect our health.

Lets’ start with nutrition

  • I bet you have a fair bit of knowledge about the variety of physical assets that you own; items like your computer, car, washing machine and fridge. You basically know how to avoid neglecting these assets, don’t you? How about you own body which is, after all, the most complex asset you possess?
  • I also bet that you seek consumer data and recommendations before you purchase major assets like a car, fridge, TV, washing machine and similar high cost items. This is common sense and gives you the knowledge to make wise decisions.
  • Now, consider this question. What precise knowledge do you apply when you select the food items you buy at the supermarket and the foods you order from a restaurant menu or as a take-away?

Stop and think! Do you just buy/order what tastes nice, or buy items that your family or children like? Do you order on the basis of what is quick and easy to prepare?

The naked truth is that we do NOT use basic common sense and knowledge to safeguard and feed our bodies the nutrients it needs. We do the very opposite. We buy convenience products that are full of harmful chemicals, sugars and fat instead of the nutrients that our bodies really need. Why is this so? We don’t set out to poison our physical products, so why do we neglect the most precious asset we have? This is why obesity is now a worldwide epidemic, complete with the 30+ serious health risks that it invites.

The problem lies firmly entrenched in our modern lifestyle. One significant manifestation of this lifestyle is the countless supermarket shelves stocked with plastic wrapped processed foods that are anything but healthy. The other convenience we have accepted is the fast-food industry that serves us junk food that we often wash down with soft drinks that are full of sugar. We are also the victims of misleading advertising campaigns that have been going on for decades.

If you really want to reduce fat fast, then stop this rot and start learning the simple, essential steps to permanent fat loss. It involves nutritional changes, the acceptance that exercise and/or physical activity is required and finally some commitment on your part. You need a PLAN and you need to measure your progress. "If you don’t measure what you are doing, then you don’t know what you’re doing!"

Regardless of what various health and fitness magazines tell you in their advertisements, there are NO quick and easy solutions like pills and food supplements. You just have to take the hard decision to start eating healthy foods and do some exercises to build up your lean body mass in order to boost your metabolism so that you body can burn fat faster.

Fat Burning Foods

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

Is there really something like fat burning foods, a term commonly used in the fitness industry. If you search for this term on the Internet, you will certainly get an affirmative response and a wide variety of information that detail fat burning foods. However, I think the concept of foods that burn fat needs some explanation.

What makes more sense is the fact that certain foods boost your metabolism, a set of chemical processes in which organic compounds are broken down to provide heat and energy (catabolism). The overall speed at which the metabolic processes occur is termed its metabolic rate and herein lies the fact that certain foods boost your metabolism. The higher your lean body mass (muscle vs. fat ratio), the higher your metabolic rate and the more calories you burn.

You need to eat healthy foods to lose weight and also build up your lean body mass so that your body burns fat. Muscle is your metabolic furnace and the more muscle you have, the more calories your burn, even while you sleep.

In previous posts, I have emphasized the need to combine good workouts with a diet that focuses on fat burning foods that boost your metabolism. Here are six simple steps you can take. Make one change per week to make it easier on yourself but make it permanent.

Eliminate Dessert Food for Breakfast
Do people really eat dessert style foods for breakfast? How about muffins, sugary cereals, and bagels? These foods can readily be classified as sweet deserts. Avoid these if you want to lose fat fast.

Eat Sensible Portions through the Day
Stop binge eating late at night. A pint of ice cream and a bag of potato chips while watching late night TV will make you fat. Avoid this and have a bigger late afternoon healthy snack and a healthy dinner later in the evening.

Leave the Junk Foods on the Supermarket Shelves
Avoid buying what we call “sweet treats” and replace them with bowls of fresh fruit. I guarantee that you will quite quickly lose your craving for sugar. If your household demands sweet foods, make healthy foods visible and hide the junk in the back.

Substitute Processed Foods with Natural Foods
This is what the processed food industry does not want you to know. Processed foods are all “modified” foods including bread, biscuits, cereals, chips, fruits canned in syrup and much more. Replace these foods with fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. You probably need a few examples so try eating an apple with your eggs in place of nutrient-free white bread, combine your steak with some broccoli in place of french fries and eat some raw nuts with your morning coffee in place of sugared cereals.

Cut the Sugar from Your Sport Drinks
Most sports drinks that supposedly boost your energy are laden with sugar. Read the drink label. You don’t need a sugar injection either during or after exercising or playing some sport. Drink water and add one or two pieces of fresh fruit. You definitely do not need to force sugar into your body during or after exercising. What your body really needs at the end of your exercise is carbohydrates.

Find a Nutritional Plan That Works and Measure Your Progress
Calorie counting is not only difficult but is essentially a complete waste of time. As Isobel del Ros, the founder of the nutrition plan I recommend, correctly says: “Don’t count calories because calories don’t count”. It is the type of calories you consume that is important.

  • Combine your eating plan with regular physical exercise. A brisk 45-minute walk 3 times a week, in combination with healthy eating, will bring rapid results.
  • Measure your body weight regularly to measure progress.

The truth is that your body burns fat continuously, even while your sleep. When we talk about fat burning foods, they are foods that improve your body’s metabolism which, in turn, causes you to burn fat.

Why 26 Million People in the US Suffer Diabetes

October 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

This is curated content supplied from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website mercola.com. I am sharing this content, adding my own interpretation, because it is, to say the very least, absolutely shocking.

Diabetes has increased by 700% in the last 50 years and now affects some 26 million people in the U.S. This has happened because these people chose to consume unhealthy food products foisted upon them by the unscrupulous practices of the multi-billion dollar food industry.

Our food culture, supported by government subsidies and riddled with unhealthy chemicals and substances is the primary driver of diabetes and disease rather than the driver of health.

First, let’s make sure we understand the true meaning of Type 2 diabetes. It is NOT a disease of blood sugar, but a disorder of insulin resistance and leptin signaling.

Before I comment on the functions that insulin and leptin serve, I’d like to share comments made by Dr. Mercola as to why tainted foods supplied by agribusinesses cause diabetes.

The excessive consumption of fructose in the typical western diet is a major factor in the rise of diabetes. .

Your body uses glucose as energy whereas fructose breaks down into a variety of toxins that can devastate your health.

Dr. Mercola quotes from a book titled The Fat Switch, written by Dr. Johnson, who identifies the bodily damage cause by fructose:

  • It elevates uric acid.
  • It leads to insulin resistance.
  • It tricks your body into gaining weight by deceiving your metabolism.
  • It causes what is known as the metabolic syndrome (weight gain and abdominal obesity), as well as decreased HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased LDL (the bad cholesterol), elevated triglycerides (blood sugar content), and high blood pressure.
  • It metabolizes like ethanol (similar to alcohol) which causes fatty liver diseases.

Unhealthy foods, like corn, soybeans and wheat, are heavily subsidized, all of which have been identified as underlying causes of diabetes.

The corn industry produces High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), apparently the number one source of calories in the U.S. It appears in anything from processed foods. diet foods, infant formulas to soft drinks (sodas).

To make things worse, the diet most commonly recommended for sufferers of diabetes is the exact opposite to what actually works.

The common recommendation emphasizes high complex carbohydrate and low saturated fat. The truth is that, except for legumes, diabetics should eliminate grains and sugars for foods like, protein, green veggies, and healthy fats. The most important change is to eliminate fructose from the diet.

So, if you are still here, what is it that our common, modern diet does to cause diabetics?

  • Fructose is the major underlying cause of diabetes. It triggers a powerful biological switch that causes weight gain.
  • Insulin decreases the level of glucose in your blood stream. When blood sugar becomes elevated, insulin is meant to store the extra energy for future consumption. It’s supposed to direct the extra energy for storage. A small amount is stored in the liver as glycogen, while the majority is stored as fat, your main energy supply.
  • Leptin regulates our appetite and body weight. It essentially tells us when to eat, how much to eat, and when to stop eating.
  • Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance and poor leptin signaling. This is caused by substances like fructose.

What is the Solution?

According to Dr. J. Mercola, diabetes is very much reversible. The key is a change in diet.



The Real Secret to Reduce Fat Fast

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

The secret on how to reduce fat fast centers on nutrition and an exercise program that improves your lean body mass so that your metabolism can burn more calories. There just aren’t any “miracle” cures; they are a fantasy.

I keep saying it over and over. You can flatten your stomach only when you implement the following requirements:

  • Planning, goal setting and commitment.
  • Good nutrition.
  • Regular exercise.

Goals are the means by which you do what you know as apart from knowing what to do. The goals you set for yourself should be the result of proper planning. You then need commitment to start and stick with your program. Do not take water over your head by making radical changes to your lifestyle all at once; you will not be able to handle the many issues that come with changing ingrained habits. Implement a single change per week but make it a permanent change.

The most effective approach to commitment is to write your goals as if you have already achieved them and then to create images in you sub-conscious mind of how you look and feel with your acquired achievements. Create “live” images and visualize them every single day until they are firmly entrenched in your mind. This is the secret method by which you can program yourself to get rid of stomach fat. You will, for example, have a vivid image in your mind that tells you not to eat junk food. When tempted, your sub-conscious mind will kick in and cause you to act in accordance with your mental images. “I don’t eat junk food”. Believe me; this is effective as long as you continually visualize your goals and the images you have created about yourself.

If you have tried and failed with various diet programs, you may as well accept that it is physiologically impossible to permanently reduce stomach fat by starving yourself. Your body has an inbuilt defense mechanism that kicks in automatically when you start a conventional diet program based solely on a reduced calorie intake. You will lose muscle as well as fat and your body metabolism will slow down as your body tries to conserve its energy. When this happens, fat loss ceases abruptly.

If you react by reducing your calorie intake further, your metabolism will slow down further. It is a battle you cannot win and you will give up and put your body weight back on again. Slashing your calorie intake without doing some exercises simply slows your metabolism, deceases your lean body mass (muscle vs. fat ratio) and triggers you body’s starvation response.

Fat loss and weight loss are NOT the same. The only solution to permanent fat loss is to combine proper nutrition with exercises that improve your lean body mass. An increased muscle to fat ratio will boost your metabolism which, in turn, will burn fat. The more muscle you acquire, the more calories your body will burn. With this combination, you can easily establish the calorie deficit that IS needed in order to burn your belly fat.

To get rid of stomach fat, you must reduce your intake of saturated fat and refined sugars and eat a variety of natural, unprocessed foods with plenty of fiber. Eat small but frequent meals and drink plenty of water. The fluid in which all metabolic processes occur is plain water.

How To Lose Tummy Fat in Our Modern Society

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

As you advance in age, you probably come to a stage when you look at yourself in a mirror and quietly ask: “What happened?” You have trouble getting comfortable when sitting down and when lying down to sleep. You get flustered as soon as you have to walk uphill and you are having trouble with your shoe laces. We can smile and accept these minor inconveniences but there is a far darker side to the issue of excessive body fat. It is now a recognized fact that obesity is a worldwide epidemic. It has spread from America to Europe and now into Asia. It is caused by a convenience lifestyle characterized by lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. Sadly, it is accompanied by some 30+ health issues that include diabetes, cancer, coronary heart problems, osteoporosis and many other “modern” diseases.

We have lost just about every aspect of living in a “traditional” society where physical labor and the growth and consumption of natural foods were the foundations of daily life. Modern industrial societies produce stress and time conflicts between work and family and we succumb to the need for relaxation and “quick fixes”. Need I mention anything more than the typical evening in front of a TV set with junk foods like ice cream, potato chips and unhealthy soft drinks?

Fast food outlets like McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Donut King, Swenson and many others have spread worldwide and into Asia. They are obviously not the sole suppliers of unhealthy foods; the processed food industry that stock our typical supermarket shelves with plastic wrapped processed foods are a major cause for the prevalence of obesity. We don’t exercise and we simply eat the wrong things. However, let’s be honest and not blame them. They don’t force us to eat their food products.

Starting regular exercises to lose weight may seem impossible, so you may have tried diet programs or slimming supplements. The sad truth is that neither diet programs, nor slimming supplements work. You need to improve your lean body mass (muscle o fat ratio) in order to boost your metabolic rate so it can burn more excess fat. If you don’t believe this, then consider that a weight loss program based solely on a calorie deficit triggers what is called a “starvation mechanism” in your body that will stop your weight loss progress dead in the tracks. Your body will simply try to preserve energy by burning less fat.

Many of us come to the stage where we feel the need to pursue fat loss in order to lose weight.
It is never too late to get started with fat loss. Getting started is the only essential step in finishing something. You need to plan and acquire some knowledge about nutrition and exercise. Most importantly, you MUST commit yourself to action. There is no need to embark on some life changing program that is going to turn your entire life upside down. Make small changes, make them permanent and progress slowly. You have the rest of your life to accomplish what you want; the main thing is that you make this something a commitment.

Forget diets, there are sound reasons why they don’t work and you can find these reasons my post titled The Real Secret to Reduce Fat FastChange your nutrition as a step-by-step progression, start some form of exercise that will build up your lean body mass so that your metabolism is restored to the stage where it will burn belly fat. Explore this blog and find the secret to reprogramming your sub-conscious mind with images that naturally and effortlessly guide you towards success. Accept permanent fat loss as a challenge and make the journey a fun one.

There are a variety of resources on this website that can help. Check out the table of post for a full list of my articles on nutrition, fat loss and exercise. resources.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

In this article, I want to identify what type of fats you should include in your diet and the fats that you should endeavor to avoid if you want to burn fat faster. I also want to clear some commonly held misconceptions about fats in general.

Let’s start with some basics. The three macro-nutrient pillars are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The proportion in which they occur within a certain portion of food determines not only the amount of calories you consume but also the fat burning effects of the foods you consume. A complete “spec sheet” would list calories, carbs, protein, fats and fiber contained within a certain weight or volume of a particular food item. You should be aware that calories are more concentrated in fats than they are in carbs or protein. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, twice the amount normally contained in carbohydrates.

Your body needs about 20 grams of saturated fats per day in order to function properly and this includes the normal functioning of the brain cells and the production, maintenance and repair of body cells. They also enable the body to metabolize vitamins so they can be absorbed by our body cells. In addition, fats help our sugar and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to weight loss and weight maintenance.

This essential need includes fats the body itself cannot produce so it must come from the foods we consume. The fats found in plants and animals are known as dietary fats, hence the importance of what you eat as the body produces its own fat when you consume more calories than the body needs. A good nutritional plan should include a moderate, measured amount of saturated fats to cure hunger cravings and place more emphasis on poly and monounsaturated fats which increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol while also preventing certain types of cancer. Trans fatty acids, which occur in abundance with fried take-away food and processed foods products, should be avoided at all costs. It is worth noting that trans fats were declared illegal in the U.S. in mid-2015.

The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats and avoid trans fats as far as is possible.

Commonly held misconceptions

Nutrition advice fed to us over the last few decades have made us believe that the more fat you eat, the more weight and body fat you will acquire. This is just not true and the advice is misguided. After decades of misleading information telling us that saturated fat causes coronary heart disease, current research has proven that this is not true. There is NO connection between cholesterol in foods and the level of cholesterol in a person’s blood stream.

Before I discuss the fats in more detail, I should also point out how misguided diet information fed to us for decades have caused a great deal of harm. We were told to lower our total fat intake and increase our intake of carbohydrates – cereals, vegetables and fruits.  It is now a well established fact that, while people in general have lowered the amount of calories they get from fat, obesity and its accompanying diseases have increased sharply since the 1960s. Why is this so?  You need look no further than our excessive consumption of unnatural, processed sugars and bad fats.

Composition of fats

Basic biology tells us that all fats have the same amount of calories, but they vary in their chemical compositions. Fats are made of chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms.  The saturation refers to whether all the available spaces on the carbon chain are bonded to hydrogen atoms, or if there are any hydrogen atoms missing. Based on these compositions, fats are classified as saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

  • Saturated fats have all of their carbon atoms filled (saturated) with hydrogen.
  • Monounsaturated fats have one space missing a hydrogen atom, instead containing a double bond between two adjacent carbon atoms.
  • Polyunsaturated fats have more than one hydrogen atom missing in the carbon chain and therefore contain more than one double bond.
  • Omega-3 fats are named because of the existence of a double bond in the 3rd space from the end of the carbon chain.
  • Omega-6 fats derive the name from their molecular structure which has a double bond in the 6th space from the end of the carbon chain.

The bad fats

Trans fats (hydrogenated fats).  We need to distinguish between healthy trans fats that occur in animals and artificially, man-made hydrogenated fats.

The healthy animal fats occur in cattle, sheep and goats. However, be aware that the quantities of healthy trans fats in the meat and dairy products that come from these animals are greatly reduced when the animals are raised on grain and soy products. A healthier amount exists only in grass fed animals.

The bad trans fats are those that occur in abundance in products like margarine, sweets, cookies, cakes, cake icing, doughnuts and potato chips and in the partially hydrogenated oils that exist in most processed foods, junk foods and deep fried foods. These fats are known to increase unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol and lower the level of good HDL cholesterol, as well as causing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

These fats are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. This process uses harsh chemical solvents like hexane (a component of gasoline), high heat and pressure. The process also adds a metal catalyst before the liquid is deodorized and bleached. The purpose is to produce vegetable oils and shortenings that are economical and less likely to spoil in storage. You can detect the presence of trans fat in food products from the inclusion of the words partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated on the food label.

These hydrogenated oils cause inflammation inside your body which, in turn, causes deposition of cholesterol as a healing agent on artery walls.  The end result is clogged arteries, a major cause of heart disease.

The good fats

Saturated fats. These fats occur in meat cuts, cheese, whole milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream, poultry with skin and also in coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. However, as I mentioned earlier, you body needs about 20g of saturated fat on a daily basis in order to function properly.

Monounsaturated fat (MUFA). This type of fat is found olive, peanut and canola oils and in foods such as nut butters, peanuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts as well as avocados, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). The two major categories of polyunsaturated fats are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It is very important to distinguish between the two.

Omega-3  fats. These fats are very healthy. The body uses Omega-3 fats to produce hormone like substances that are anti-inflammatory. They reduce the risk of death by heart attack and also lower triglycerides in the blood. These fats occur naturally in fatty cold water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herrings and in canola, flaxseed and soybean oils as well as walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, chia seeds (Flavia) and flax seeds.

Omega-6 fats. These fatty acids can be found in most seed oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower oils as well as peanuts and avocados.

The Omega-6 fats may reduce the total level of good and bad cholesterol, but they also occur in hormone-like substances that promote inflammation. From a nutritional viewpoint, it is important to consume Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats close to the recommended ratio of 4:1. Regrettably, our typical western diet provides a ratio as high as 15:1 or 20:1, an Omega-6 consumption that is far too high. This is known to increase inflammation in the body which is the underlying cause of many diseases. In addition, too much Omega-6 fats block the crucial Omega-3 fats.


Good nutrition does not mean that you need to eliminate all bad fats but to find a healthy balance between what is good and bad. Your fat burning foods should include healthy fats, a limited amount saturated fat and preferably no trans fat.

For more information on this subject, read an accompanying post titled Fats and Cholesterol.

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