If you are an occasional dieter or a perennial dieter, whether you want to lose a few pounds or maybe a lot more than a few you have probably heard about low carb diets. You have also probably heard that very low carb diets are the fastest way to lose weight. While this is true - are they right for you and if so which one is best? You have many low carb diets to choose from such as the rock star Atkins, the Keto Diet, new kid on the block Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet and the barely low carb Zone Diet.
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It’s crazy to imagine winter is just about upon us again. Is it just me or does every year seem shorter than the previous one? It doesn’t feel like I took down my holiday decorations all that long ago and now it’s about time to put them up again. So, yes the season is changing and with that change our lifestyles also change and not necessarily for the better.
Winter weight gain is an accepted truth. What isn’t accepted is how much on average that weight gain is. Depending on the study that amount can be anywhere from 1 – 5 pounds. Clearly 5 lbs. would be significant, but even 1 lb. if not lost soon adds up. Ten seasons in you’re 10 lbs. heavier and that my friends is not a good thing. In colder climates this gain tends to be worse.
If you are like me and well frankly like most people I know you probably have an occasional and maybe, not so occasional craving for carbs. Who doesn’t enjoy the texture, the flavor and the sheer joy of eating a plate of pasta, or bread or potatoes, I definitely do. It’s unfortunate that those same delicious comfort foods are also leading us to higher levels of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. If you are on a low carbohydrate diet, for better or worse, you probably already swore these off. Well, what if I was to tell you that you can still enjoy these foods and not only would they improve immune function and digestive health, but also help you lose weight. Yes, carbs helping you lose weight. There is a catch though, all be it a doable one, you have to change the way you eat them.
I was watching Hawaii Five–O the other day when in a scene one of the stars (character name Steve McGarrett) cut a large piece of butter and plopped it into his coffee. When asked by the squeamish character Danny what the heck he’s doing he explains it as a Navy SEAL trick to boost cognitive function, alertness and energy. This practice with historical origins in Ethiopia and Tibet using tea with yak butter is now being brought to you by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey.
If you watch Dr. Oz, The View, or any of a zillion different websites you have likely heard of Caralluma Fimbriata along with all the claims about its amazing weight loss properties. Caralluma Fimbriata is a succulent plant (type of cactus) that grows in India and Sri Lanka and into North Africa. It has been eaten for centuries in these countries. The buzz around this plant stems from the historical use of it by hunters and tribesmen to control hunger and thirst while on the hunt. The effects are claimed to last an entire day and all with increased endurance.
It the answer that you seek lays before you, would you recognize it?
When is the last time you went to a bookstore or looked online for a diet book? Do so and you quickly find hundreds even thousands all claiming to have the answer you seek. Diet obsession has become a quest for the unattainable; a metaphorical Holy Grail.
Recently, I was at a house party at a client’s home. The house was filled with smart and interesting people that I quickly discovered were largely physicians from various fields of medicine. As I made my way around the room and was introduced as the home owner’s personal trainer and weight loss guy I began to have several party goers engage me in conversation. First came their opinions that two of their colleagues’, (both my clients) were probably too thin now and might need to eat a little more. A few jokes in that regard followed. Of course opinions are only your opinion if you really believe them.
Okay, so we have all heard not all carbs are created equal. So, are there carbs we should stay away from, eat occasionally or is the hype just that, hype?
Carbohydrates make up most of the organic matter on earth. However, pertaining to diet we refer to simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides, and disaccharides) such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose, and complex carbohydrates (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides) such as vegetables and grains.
Have you ever seen a fat sprinter in the Olympics? The fact is that sprinters, whether it is a runner, swimmer or cyclist, tend to have the best muscle to fat ratio in sports. Short duration high intensity exercise not only burns fat, but also builds muscle and increases bone density.
Generally, when most people want to lose weight they cut back on calories and begin a cardio program usually in the form of prolonged low-moderate intensity exercise such as a 45 minute walk or 3 mile jog, etc. Now where this practice would improve cardiovascular health and burn a number of calories while performed, you get virtually no significant bump to metabolism after stopping. In fact without resistance exercise large amounts of cardio can actually lead to a loss of lean body mass thus lowering metabolism.
For anyone who exercises or diets and especially athletes the conversation eventually gets around to protein. How much, when to take, what type and what does it do for me?
Generally most dieticians recommend about 70 grams of protein a day from all food sources to sustain good health. For the average person this may be adequate, but lets say you are an athlete who trains intensely and therefore your body is constantly at a higher demand to recover and rebuild, or maybe you are trying to build more lean body mass. Even someone who is dieting to lose weight (body fat) will benefit from additional protein intake. A good rule of thumb and one I recommend is 1 gram of protein for every pound of weight.