All Posts In Diets & Weight Loss

Diet 101: The 5-Factor Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, April 2, 2013

5 factor diet
During the Grammys, Katy Perry was looking pretty va va voom. While I was in Grammy Twitterland, I found ooglers reporting that she’d been hitting the gym and following The 5-Factor Diet.

Overview
From John Mayer to Kim Kardashian, creator Harley Pasternak has built himself a sweet Hollywood client list. His plan promises to lower insulin levels, provide you with more energy, ignite metabolism, improve mood and reduce stress by using the magic number 5 (i.e. 5 meals a day, exercise 5 days a week).

Paternak is educated in and has experience in the field of nutrition and exercise. He earned his Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto, and an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. He has also worked as a nutritional scientist for the Canadian Department of National Defense.

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7 Signs You’re Getting Bad Nutrition Advice

by in Diets & Weight Loss, March 12, 2013

nutirition advice
There’s tons of nutrition information swirling around and oftentimes you’re left wondering what or who you should believe. Here are 7 signs that you’re receiving bad (and sometimes even dangerous) nutrition advice.

#1: Lack of Significant Research
Nutrition advice should be based on significant scientific research that was conducted in peer-reviewed journals over months or even better, years. The majority of the research will back up a specific theory with a few straggler studies that may point at the other side. If you’re being quoted a study, be sure what you are being told reflects all the research in that area. In addition, ask who sponsored the research as sponsored studies may be one sided. Oftentimes, this will raise a big red flag if someone hasn’t done their homework.

#2: Lots of Persuasive Anecdotes
You may find a diet or a diet expert with tons of followers who all swear that the diet plan or advice is THE BEST they ever followed. These folks will tell you how they lost hundreds of pounds—and that you will too.

Although it may sound like you MUST try it, it’s important to remember that every person is different and has individualized needs. Some diets or advice may be not be safe for folks on certain medications or with certain diseases (like Parkinson’s or diabetes), so you need to check with your doctor before trying anything new. It’s also important to make sure the science is also there to back the advice up — just relying on anecdotes just isn’t enough.

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Ask the Dietitian: Does Lemon Juice Speed Weight Loss?

by in Ask the Experts, Diets & Weight Loss, March 1, 2013

lemon juice
I’ve been approached with this question more times that I can remember. If you’re looking for a quick-fix weight-loss solution, this isn’t it.

Q: Does drinking lemon just help with or speed up weight loss?

A: If you’re looking to lose weight or speed up your efforts, it’s all about eating right and regular physical activity. Sipping on lemon juice or adding lemon juice to warm water isn’t the magic solution.

There are many myths surrounding lemon juice that just don’t have the scientific evidence to back them up. I’ve heard that lemon juice improves digestion and regulates sugar absorption — both don’t have enough scientific evidence to make strong claims. One of my favorite myths is squeezing lemon juice on chicken in order to melt the fat away– unfortunately, that’s an unfounded claim. Acidic ingredients like lemon juice, however, are used in marinades to help tenderize meat and poultry by breaking down collagen, a fibrous compound that aids in the formation of connective tissue.

A second myth that’s often discussed around the water cooler is that when lemon juice is mixed with cold or lukewarm water it’ll dissolve fat in your body. Again, this doesn’t happen metabolically, though drinking more water (cold or lukewarm) will help you stay hydrated.

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Gina Neely’s Slim-Down

by in Diets & Weight Loss, February 15, 2013

gina neely
Gina Neely, co-host (along with her husband, Pat) of Down Home with the Neelys, and co-owner of three barbecue restaurants, made a few lifestyle changes recently that helped her shed 20 pounds (in 12 weeks!). How did she do it? She stresses that she didn’t go on a diet (no one likes that word, especially Gina), but rather made easy, yet, important changes to her lifestyle. She loves burgers, but now chooses turkey burgers. She makes sure she doesn’t skip breakfast and starts her day with a hearty morning meal of maple oatmeal with raisins. And she added exercise to her daily routine — strength training and walking extra steps using a pedometer.

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Should You Follow An All-Fruit Diet?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, February 8, 2013

bananas
The all-fruit (AKA fruitarian) diet has gone viral ever since Ashton Kutcher ended up in the hospital after eating only fruit. The actor was throwing himself into his new role as Steve Jobs in the film about the early life of the Apple co-founder. Jobs was known to be an extreme dieter since his freshman year in college.

What’s A Fruitarian Diet?
The fruitarian diet is a variation on a vegan diet but it consists primarily of fruit. It’s an extreme type of plan where nuts and seeds are also on the menu, but fruit makes up about 90% of the food.

Steve Jobs was reported to have read Mucusless Healing System by Arnold Ehret, where the recommendations are to only eat fruit and starch-less veggies.

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Glycemic Index 101

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 27, 2013

cereal
You’ve most likely heard of it, but do you really know what it’s all about? Get some education about what the glycemic index is and if you can use it to help make better dietary choices.

What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index (GI) is an old-school tool in the nutrition world. Basically, it’s a scale used to measure how quickly blood sugar goes up after a particular food has been digested. The scale is organized from 0 to 100, with quickly digested foods scoring highest. The GI of a particular food can be affected by numerous factors including how much fiber it contains. Since foods with more fiber take longer to break down, they will have a lower GI.

The GI was established back in the early 1980s. Despite its age, it’s still used very commonly as the foundation for diets and meal planning for weight loss, heart heath and diabetes.

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Volumetrics: Take in Fewer Calories by Eating More

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 26, 2013

fruit on scale
Back in October 2012, I attended the biggest nutrition conference of the year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. One of the most interesting sessions I attended featured Dr. Barbara Rolls and Ellie Krieger. They discussed how you can take in fewer calories by eating MORE food—this concept is known as Volumetrics.

Volumetrics Basics
Penn State professor and researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, developed the concept after her research concluded that folks don’t like to starve themselves in order to lose weight (I agree). She has conducted extensive research exploring human eating behaviors and presents this plan as a way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Rolls suggests enjoying large portions of healthy, satisfying foods to fill up without overdoing the calories. As you might imagine there are lots of fruits and veggies involved. Broth-based soups, nonfat dairy, lean protein and high fiber grains are also on her hit list. Sweets, alcohol and other higher-calorie foods like pizza, they aren’t off limits, but are only to be enjoyed in strict moderation.

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7 Reasons You’re Gaining Weight

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 22, 2013

woman on scale
You’ve been trying so hard to shed pounds, but notice the scale tipping the other way. Before you toss your arms up in defeat, perhaps there are reasons why you’re gaining weight that you never thought of. My clients often tell me they’re sure they should be losing weight, but sometimes I point out the little things that really make a difference.

#1: Oil Overkill
Olive oil is a healthy fat—and so are some hyped-up expensive oils like grape seed and macadamia nut oil. Regardless of which type of oil you use, they all contain 120 calories per tablespoon. You need to be VERY careful about how much oil you’re cooking with or using in dressings and marinades.

Solve it: Aim for 1 to 2 teaspoons per person in one sitting to get your oil fix without going overboard.

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Weight Gain As You Age: Is It Inevitable?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, January 8, 2013

woman on scale
When I was youngster, I dreaded becoming “old” because I kept hearing that weight gain after 30 is unavoidable. As it turns out, I’m hitting 40 soon and weigh less than I did during my college days. The same can’t be said about some of my old college buds. So what gives?

Calorie Count
One of the things I typically hear from clients is that they’ve always eaten the same amount of food yet are still gaining weight. Oftentimes folks don’t realize that your metabolism can slow down as much as 5% each decade after 40. So if you’re eating at 40 or 50 the same way you did when you were 18 years old, of course you’re putting on weight!

Here’s a look at the caloric needs over time for an average-sized man who exercises moderately (30-60 minutes) each day:

  • At 18 years old = 2,800 calories
  • At 30 years old = 2,600 calories
  • At 50 years old = 2,400 calories
  • At 70 years old = 2,200 calories

If his activity level declines over time – which often happens once the kids are born or retirement hits, then calorie needs also decline.

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How to Detox Your Diet Safely

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 4, 2013

fruit
The holidays have come and gone. You’ve indulged in your favorite meals, guzzled down delicious cocktails and now feel the need to detoxify and start fresh. Instead of trying unsafe plans which drastically cut calories, promote enemas and diuretics, and make you feel sick—how about a simple (and safe) detox plan instead?

The Purpose of Detox
Detox plans promise to defeat inflammation, boost fat-burning and eliminate toxins from your body. There’s limited research behind many of these claims and most are dangerous — especially if followed for a prolonged period of time. The purpose of our organs like the skin, kidneys, intestines, liver and lymphatic system are to naturally detoxify your body. As such, there’s no need to drop lots of dough on potentially dangerous cleanses, pills or teas.

I recently had a conversation with friend who does a popular detox plan. He claimed (as many of my clients do), that he wasn’t sure it really detoxed his body but it was more of a mental and psychological overhaul for him. It’s a way to gain control of what you eat and perhaps even gain control over other aspects of your life. If you feel the need to detox, then do so safely.  Here are three suggestions:

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