Top 5 Weight Loss Infomercials Of All Time!

Maybe the entire world is gullible and fast to part with their money. That’s certainly the impression you get when you watch ANY of those infomercials on television which try to sell you products. But when it comes to weight loss products, the market just seems to be saturated with them. 

But, I must admit that I really love turning on the television late at night and settling in for an hour or two of watching the infomercial channel.

Luckily for most of us, those crazy fad diets and their required equipment come and go. And mostly go. If you’ve ever sat up late at night and watched infomercial television, you’ve no doubt come across some of these crazy weight loss infomercials. Here is a short overview of some of my personal favorites. Let’s compare notes, shall we, and see who’s list is the funniest!

The Sauna Suit

sauna-beltThis one just made me laugh myself silly. The commercial shows one girl modeling a sauna suit. She is talking to a friend in a faux southern accent and trying to sell her friend into buying one by telling her that it helps you to shed water weight. “The sauna suit really changed my life,” she goes on to say. “And it comes with a free gym membership!” she exclaims as she pulls a card out of the suit’s right hand pocket. She then goes on to tell her friend that she just has to do four, count ‘em four push ups to burn off her lunch which consisted of four oreos and a Big Mac. Wow! They go on to take some phone calls. Hysterical. You’ll love it!

Keep Fit Pills

This has to be my second all time favorite. It was filmed in Spanish though but even if you don’t speak Spanish you will still enjoy it, I can almost guarantee it. One of the texts which appears at the bottom of an image of a grossly obese man jiggling his belly fat from side to side is “Never lose your car keys in you belly rolls again!” Oh, my goodness. I haven’t actually ever had that problem but if I ever do, I know how to alleviate it. I’ll just go online and order a bottle of Keep Fit diet pills.

The Neck Slimmer

neckline-slimmerHave you ever seen the infomercial for The Neck Slimmer? If not, then, girl you haven’t lived yet. That’s the gospel truth. The commercial shows a woman standing in her kitchen holding a small device up to her chin. She is pushing this device down over and over again in an effort to work the muscles in her neck to reduce the fat which has collected in her double-chin. You never get to see any before or after pictures but there is a telephone number flashed on the screen repeatedly so you know who to call to order one. And, if you call in the next ten minutes, you can get two, that’s TWO neck slimmers for the price of one. Just pay separate shipping and handling. And, of course, that’s billed to your Visa or Mastercard. With this product, you will be able to “develop the world’s most impressive nod with one simple motion!” Guaranteed. But if you want to send it back and get your money back? Well, that might be a bit more complicated.

The Perfect Plate

The Perfect Plate is a prefab plate designed with small portions for food. It is sold both online and through it’s televised infomercial. The infomercial is so funny, though, because it shows a woman literally shoving food into her mouth as fast as she can. The website has a number of before and after photos of people who have used the plate successfully. Most of the shots were taken “one week apart” and show dramatic results. The manufacturers of the plate say that you are able to consume the same amount of baked ziti that a family of eight would be able to eat without gaining a single ounce.

The Tabletop Boxer

I love this one because it has the capability of victimizing two vulnerable groups of people: the overweight/obese and the physically challenged. The commercial itself shows a man in a wheelchair pulled up to a table where he sits and boxes with a stand up foam human image. He has a look of absolute glee on his face. If it weren’t so pitiful, it would be hysterically funny, I think  but it actually just really makes me feel anger toward the manufacturers of a product such as this. I guess it might have some merit for a person who is confined to a wheelchair insofar as it has the potential to raise their heart rate and give them some kind of cardiovascular workout but other than that, it just seems highly exploitative of both populations. That alone is enough to make me give it a huge thumbs down.

Infomercials can be laugh out loud funny. Just be very careful that you don’t end up succumbing to any of the marketing techniques and phone in your order. If you do, you’ll likely find yourself opening a package about 3 to 4 weeks later and being completely disappointed in what you have purchased with very little recourse for having your money returned to you. ‘Nuff said.

Exotic Kopi Luwak Coffee for Weight Loss?

Kopi-luwak-dietCoffee lovers the world over rejoice the first time they drink a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee. This coffee has an unbelievably rich and strong taste with an aroma that will make you think you are in heaven. This coffee made its North American debut on the Oprah Winfrey show and since then the demand for it (despite its enormous price tag) has been staggering.

So What is All the Buzz about Kopi Luwak coffee?

Some people think that the allure of Kopi Luwak coffee is the process that is used when roasting the beans. Others are convinced that it is so desirable because of its price. You can never underestimate the magic of marketing. Still  others believe that it the taste of this delicious drink that makes it so popular.

What exactly is Kopi Luwak Coffee?

what-is-kopi-luwakThis delicious beverage comes all the way from Sumatra where it is harvested on one of Indonesia’s more than 13,000 islands. Kopi is the local Indonesian word for coffee. The word Luwak makes reference to the mammal responsible for its production, the civet.

This coffee is very smooth and the beans that make it can only be roasted very lightly. There are a few different types of of Kopi Luwak blends. These include Liberica and Arabica. The type of blend you get is largely dependent on the type of cherries the civets have eaten. Though the taste may vary from batch to batch, the magnificent aroma and the coffee’s general lack of a bitter taste remains stable across all the blends.

But the thing that most coffee lovers rave about the most is the taste of Kopi Luwak coffee. When you drink it for the first time, you are immediately surprised by the flavour of caramel and chocolate  you are tasting. These are not added tastes, however. They come naturally from the coffee beans themselves. This is not like any other coffee you have tasted before. Yes, you can buy lots of coffee with those flavours added to them. But this is an unnatural process. Kopi Luwak comes with these flavours completely naturally. In fact, many Kopi Luwak lovers say that the coffee is so smooth and naturally sweet that they can drink it without any added sweeteners at all.

How did a coffee hailing from Indonesia become so famous?

civet-kopi-luwakThe reason this coffee has shot to such fame most likely has to do with the way it is processed. The procedure is very complex. The first thing that occurs is that the civet, a small mammal that resembles a rat which is indigenous to Indonesia, eats some of the ripest coffee berries it can find. the berries then pass along the digestive tract of the civet and go through a variety of chemical processes for a day or two. During this time, the beans are fermented by the stomach acids and enzymes found in the civet’s stomach. Scientists believe that it is this process which is responsible for removing the bitterness from the end result — the coffee beans.

After the civet has finished eating its fill of coffee cherries, it defecates and what it leaves behind are beans which still contain layers of juice from those very coffee cherries.

These are then gathered, washed and put into the sun to dry just like all other coffee beans are when they are being processed. It may be hard for people to believe but this what Kopi Luwak goes through before it ends up on your kitchen table.

Is Kopi Luwak Really That Expensive?

Most people are completely shocked when they find out how much a pound of Kopi Luwak costs. It is widely agreed to be the most expensive coffee in the world. These beans sell for, on average, about $600.00 per pound. In Vietnam, a small weasel produces a coffee that costs up to $3,000.00 per pound. In cities like New York, one cup can cost between $30 and $90 per cup. One of the reasons why this coffee is so expensive is because the crop is only produced once per year. All of the work is done manually by Indonesian laborers.

So Does Kopi Luwak Coffee Help You Lose Weight?

But in terms of losing weight, Kopi Luwak will not help you lose weight any faster than green coffee bean extract which is found in most diet pill supplements. Because the coffee itself has a fairly low level of caffeine, it will not rev you up like other caffeinated beverages. I would not place a lot of value on Kopi Luwak if you are looking purely for weight loss benefits. You will get more of a kick from drinking just regular caffeinated coffee each morning with your breakfast. If you are looking for something to help you lose weight, save your money and don’t bother with Kopi Luwak coffee. It is too expensive and you will probably not see any tangible weight loss from drinking it.

Whole Fruit v/s Fruit Juice – Which One Should You Choose?

If you’ve looked at a lot of healthy eating websites you’ve probably noticed that almost all of them promote eating whole fruits but very few of them recommend fruit juices. You might be wondering why this is the case. The reason for this is fairly simple. It doesn’t matter what kind of fruit you are juicing, the way to get the most nutrients from any kind of fruit is by eating the whole fruit.

The great nutritional benefits of the skin of fruit.

fruits-basketThere are some fruits that are just hands-down extremely healthy to eat. These include fruits such as blueberries, figs, apricots, apples, grapes, raspberries, pears and strawberries. Each one of these fruits gives you an enormous amount of biological benefits every time you eat them. But the thing that gives you the most bang for your buck is the skin of the fruit.  This the place where the fruit interacts with the rays of the sun as it is growing and this is where it stores most of its nutrients. The pigments which are the things which give the fruit its wonderful color are great sources of things like carotenoids and flavonoids which have been scientifically proven to help decrease the risk for developing cancer. Grapes are also noteworthy for helping give protect

ion against ultraviolet light. But when these fruits are turned into juice, it is not always possible to save the skin in the process.

How do you choose between the two?

Fruit-Juices

You will find choices between whole fruit and juice in almost every dining establishment you go to. You might reasonably think that drinking a glass of juice is a great idea. But when compared side by side, juice has more calories per serving than a piece of whole fruit. It has less fiber and water-soluble vitamins per serving and it often contains added sugars. If it is not labelled 100% fruit juice then it is safe to assume that it contains other additives, usually high-fructose corn syrup which is loaded with calories. So, one 8 ounce glass of orange juice will likely have about 120 calories when compared to just an orange alone which will have only about 60 calories. Because of the extra fiber contained in pieces of whole fruit, you will feel fuller for a longer period after you’ve eaten this than you would if you had just opted for the glass of fruit juice.

The dietary fiber contained in whole fruit will also help keep your digestive system ticking along at a good rate and stay in balance and will help to lower your cholesterol naturally. Eating a piece of whole fruit will also help control your blood glucose levels whereas drinking a glass of fruit juice will most likely cause your blood glucose levels to rise dramatically.

It is true that fruit juice can definitely soothe a craving for something sweet but this is likely because the juice itself contains a lot of added sugar.

But if you must drink fruit juice here are a few tips to help you cut down on the calories in them.

  • Just fill your glass ⅓ or ½ full. If you have to go back for seconds, take a glass of water.

  • Give a glass of chocolate milk a try instead of a glass of fruit juice. You will get some sweetness from the chocolate used in the milk without a lot of those extra calories and you will get the benefit of having a glass of milk.

In an interesting study conducted at Harvard University researchers found that people who drank fruit juice were more susceptible to developing Type II diabetes. They also discovered that eating whole fruits lowered people’s risk of developing Type II diabetes.

The study which was published in the British Medical Journal in 2013 looked at data which were gathered from 1984 through 2008 and included about 13,000 participants.

The scientists paid close attention to the overall fruit consumption taken in by each of the participants as well as monitoring consumption of specific types of fruit and other fruit juices in particular.

The participants who ate at least two servings of whole fruits per week were shown to reduce their overall risk for developing Type II diabetes by as much as 23%. This was a dramatic difference from those participants who ate fewer than one serving of whole fruits each month. The opposite effect was seen in those participants who drank more than one serving of fruit juice each day. The team of scientists discovered that just swapping out 3 servings of fruit juice per week for a piece of whole fruit helped people to reduce their risk of developing Type II diabetes by about 7%.

Based on this study alone, it’s easy to see that the benefits of eating whole fruit so dramatically override the benefits derived from drinking fruit juice that one would almost say there is no contest. This is a very piece of valuable information for anyone who has a weight problem who has been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. My personal take on this is that if you have received a diagnosis of being pre-diabetic you should do everything humanly possible to keep yourself from moving into the diabetic category. Diabetes is a very serious illness and many people erroneously think that if they have Type II diabetes that it’s not “as serious” as the disease that people who have to “take shots” is. But, Type II diabetes is even more dangerous for precisely this reason in my opinion. Many people who have Type II diabetes do not take it seriously enough. They don’t monitor their blood glucose levels enough or follow their diets closely enough and it is precisely this group of people who go on to develop serious diabetes complications such as liver failure or blindness.

Green Coffee Extract For Weight Loss – Is It a Miracle Fat Burning Bean?

green-coffee-for-weight-lossIf you keep up with weight loss news and different trends that are going on in the world of weight loss on a regular basis, you have probably heard about the studies being conducted on green unroasted coffee beans and how they relate to weight loss. In one recent study, individuals who were significantly overweight were able to lose quite a bit of weight by taking green coffee bean supplements each day. That’s a pretty exciting bit of data if you ask me. This study was carried out at the University of Pennsylvania at their Scranton campus. The data were presented to the American Chemical Society. The study followed 16 individuals who were classified as either overweight or obese. Each study participant was given capsules which contained green coffee bean extract for the next 22 weeks. Another group of participants were provided with placebos. All were instructed to take their capsules 30 minutes prior to eating a meal at all three meals of the day.

Study participants did not alter their eating habits or how or how much they exercised. The average weight loss for the participants who were taking the green coffee bean extract supplements was about 17 pounds. Even more interesting to the scientists who were conducting the study was that the participants achieved a startling 16% decrease in their overall body fat. The reason this was so astonishing to the scientists is because each participant was consuming approximately 2,400 calories per day but only burning approximately 400 calories through exercise. They attributed it to the green bean coffee extract supplements the participants were taking  three times per day.

Why is green bean coffee bean extract such a potent fat burner?

green-coffee-supplement-fact-sheetAsk any scientist who studies weight loss products and they will almost certainly all tell you that they do not believe it is the caffeine found in this product. No, rather they believe that the beneficial effects derived from green coffee beans is from the chlorogenic acid they contain. Chlorogenic acid is present in all coffee beans but during the roasting process it is broken down and so it is no longer found in roasted coffee beans. The only way to get your hands on green coffee bean extract is through a supplement.

In study after study, chlorogenic acid has repeatedly been shown to inhibit the absorption of an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphatase. It is exactly this enzyme which is responsible for forming sugar (or glucose) inside the liver. And this is the process that is so prevalent in people who are obese or overweight. Additionally, other studies have concluded that chlorogenic acid slows the process whereby the liver converts fat and speeds up the process whereby it metabolizes fat. Two key components to maintaining a healthy body weight. It is unfortunate the drinking brewed coffee alone will not have this effect on the body. Roasting coffee beans in order to turn them into coffee removes most of the cholorogenic acid but also makes coffee much more palatable for human consumption.

Side Effects of Green Coffee

green-coffee-Side-EffectsThe scientists did not attribute any negative side effects to any participants who took the green coffee bean extract supplement capsules. So, you would think from reading this that you should run out and buy all the green coffee bean extract you can find and that you will see your extra pounds simply melt away, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as all that. It is important when you look at new and emerging scientific research results that you look at the whole body of research associated with the product you are considering. You can not take the results of one, single study as gospel truth.

In the case of this study which has lead to some groundbreaking data, it is important to remember that the study itself was limited in some regards. The study only monitored the results of 16 participants and the amount of time devoted to gathering these results was relatively short. As well, these study participants all took the product in the form of a supplement which in no way is the same as consuming the product in its more natural state.

The scientific research about green coffee beans is so new and young and much more time needs to be devoted to it before any strong conclusions can be drawn. Still, the results which were found mean that further study is warranted and should contain many more study participants. Ideally, this kind of study would be carried out under the aegis of the Food and Drug Association which is in a better position to make recommendations about the benefits or side effects of something like green coffee bean extract.

Where to Purchase an Effective Green Coffee Bean Extract?

As with most other supplements, you should exercise caution if you are purchasing them over the Internet. Many supplement products which are purchased over the Internet are not pure and come from suspicious sources. You should purchase your green coffee bean extract supplements from a reputable health food near where you live or at a large drugstore or grocery store chain.

What is a Good Nutritional Diet Plan For Women?

If you’re a fan of the Food Network, you might feel overwhelmed with the thought of trying to embark on any kind of a nutritional diet plan. Especially if you’re a woman.

I’ve been trying out different diets for years, trying one “fad” diet after the other and never getting very far at all until the past few years. What changed for me? I decided to go back to the basics and eat very simple but easy to prepare food. I also took another look at the American Diabetic Association’s food guide. So, though when you look at television and even flip some diet cookbooks, try to remember that healthy eating can honestly be relatively easy and uncomplicated.

You can actually base your diet around starchy foods like pasta, potatoes and rice. As long as you add lots of fresh fruit and plenty of veggies you will be okay. Don’t forget your protein at lunch at dinner. In my opinion, protein is the building block of any healthy food plan. It’s what allows your body to build lean muscle and lean muscle is what burns fat. Your diet will also need to incorporate dairy products such as milk and cheese but there are lots of low-fat cheeses to choose from and 1% fat milk is always your best friend. It will fill you up without piling on lots of extra calories.

Consuming a healthy diet is all about balance and portion size. This means that you will have to choose from a wide variety of different foods and drink lots of fresh water. If you live in either England or the United States where the average person is either overweight or clinically obese, you may find yourself doubly challenged. This can be difficult especially if you eat a lot of fast food or processed food. If you are spending long hours at the pub each week tossing back lots of ale, then you’re also going to have a hard time consuming a good nutritional diet plan.

The Different Food Groups

Nutritious foods are divided into five different categories and they are:

  • vegetables and fruit

  • grain products

  • milk and dairy products

  • protein (meat and fish)

  • oils and fats

But I don’t want to eat fats and oils, I’m on a diet! you might be saying to yourself. Oils and and other healthy fats are very important to your body. Your body must have a certain amount of fat in it if it wants to process other foods well. You don’t need a lot of fat or healthy oils, but you do need some. Don’t entirely limit fat and oil from any weight loss diet.

Fruit and Vegetables:

Fruits-and-VegetablesBecause fruit and veggies are such a vital source of minerals and vitamins, a health nutritional plan will include about five servings of each per day. Research has shown that people who do consume this amount of fruit and vegetables significantly lower their risk for both heart disease and stroke. A portion of a fruit might be as small as just one medium sized banana. Alternatively, just one slice of fresh pineapple can count as one serving. So, you don’t have to be eating oodles and oodles of fruit and veggies every day if that’s not your thing. It’s certainly not mine. I actually don’t like fruit or veggies very much but I eat them now. You will find that if you start to incorporate small bits of fruits and veggies into your diet that you will be able to work  yourself up to the five servings per day with minimal fuss. If you swap out your morning donut for a small tangerine, you’ve added one serving already!

Starchy foods

starchy-food-in-your-dietAbout ⅓ of our daily diet should be made up of starchy foods. That means it is fine to go ahead and base your meals around starchy foods like potatoes and pasta. Potatoes are also rich in fiber if you don’t remove the skin. So when you bake a potato, go ahead and leave the skin on and eat it. It’s good for you and if your potato has been baked in an oven rather than a microwave, it will taste delicious.

If you’re going to eat pasta, switch from white grain pasta to whole wheat pasta. This will bump up your protein level enormously and remember what I said about protein? It is the building block of every balanced nutritional plan.

Meat, fish, eggs and beans

nutritional-diet-for-womenMeat, fish, eggs and beans are all excellent sources of protein. In addition, they also provide a hefty amount of vitamins and minerals your body needs. Meat contains iron and zinc and B vitamins. In fact, meat is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 — no need to take a B12 vitamin if you’re eating at least one serving of red meat per week, well-cooked, of course.

Fish is also very high in protein but even more importantly, if you are eating “oily fish” such as sardines or salmon, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You should try to have fish about twice a week.

Milk and dairy foods

milk-dairy-productsMilk and other dairy products are also excellent sources of protein. Dairy products also contain calcium which is needed to strengthen and keep bones healthy. You will definitely want to enjoy reaping all the benefits of dairy products in your diet without the added calories it can bring. So choose either 1% milk or skim milk. Cheeses like cottage cheese and 0% fat yogurt (Greek yogurt) are also high in protein without the extra fat content.

Fats

In general, most people who live in western countries consume way too much fat and sugar. Processed foods are saturated with both of these things. The more processed food you can avoid, the more successful your diet plan will be in the long run. That being said, fat is an essential component for every single diet and every person needs to consume a certain amount of fat each day if they want to remain healthy. But do you know that there are different kinds of fat?

Saturated fats, the kind found in things like cakes, sausages and pie (think solid when chilled) are high in cholesterol and ultimately clog your arteries leading to heart disease. These should be avoided at all cost, if possible.

Unsaturated fats such as olive oil, the type of oils found in nuts and avocados are good for you. You can use and eat these liberally without worrying too much about what they are doing to your body. When you are dieting, though, it is best to measure them.

Diet in Review: The Retrofit Diet

retrofit-logoPeople who subscribe to the latest in weight loss technology, the Retrofit Diet, are in for a very pleasant surprise. This diet plan is most assuredly different from almost all those I’ve ever come across. It gives subscribers access to a whole team of health experts and utilizes the very latest in technology to help people not only reach their goal weight but keep it off. The program is designed to take a year to work through as it guides you to a total weight loss of about 10 to 15%. But the most important thing about the program is that it teaches you the tools you need to know in order to keep the weight off once you’ve finished the program.

To accomplish this, each participant is assigned to a registered dietitian, a behavior coach and a physiologist. These professionals work with the subscriber and with each other to make the most of the subscriber’s experience and help them achieve their ultimate goal which is sustainable weight loss.

The subscriber accesses the program via video conferences which are scheduled for their convenience. These video conferences are specifically designed to help keep the subscriber on track and motivated to work through the program. There are also regular follow-ups done via email.

The program has been designed to make the most of the newest technology. Each participant receives a FitBit which is a wireless device which tracks your activity levels through the day. They are also given a Withings Wi-Fi scale which can calculate the participant’s body composition. All of this data is used by your coaches to calculate your body composition and help you succeed. These are the tools which help you and your coaches evaluate what is working in your program and what is not so that tweaks can be made along the way.

Advantages Of Retrofit Diet:

The biggest advantage is the extremely highly personalized service that each participant receives. Participants also engage in weekly meetings which helps them feel accountable. The program also offers an extended maintenance phase so that clients will not regain all the weight they have so arduously just shed. The program has been created by a team of highly respected medical professionals and each coaching team consists of highly educated and well-trained experts. The program addresses the various challenges both physically and mentally when it comes to weight loss recognizing that these two facets are integrally linked with each other. Experts are also available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to address any questions or concerns that a participant might have. The program is highly regarded because it teaches clients how to set reasonable goals which are attainable. Additionally, if you do not reach your target weight in one year, the company will provide you with a second year’s subscription at no additional cost. The video conferences are carried out via reputable companies such as Skype.

Disadvantages of Retrofit Diet:

This program is not ideal for people who only want/need to lose a minimal amount of weight. It is not ideal for people who are unfamiliar with video conferencing technology such as Skype. Also, it is a bit pricey in my opinion.

What is the diet and exercise program like?

One of the first steps that new clients will take is adjusting their diet so that it includes only the optimal number of calories on a daily basis. Clients will be taught how to measure and weigh their food properly so that they are eating the proper portion sizes. Each client will take a 50 question intake quiz so that their eating habits can be assessed as well as their likes and dislikes. This will help their dietitian and the client come up with a food plan that the client will be able to follow and enjoy. Among the questions the client is asked by their dietitian is to name their biggest nutrition challenges and suggest some ways of dealing with them. The next step will be to change one or two small things each week so that the client does not become overwhelmed with too many changes at once. Each participant also receives a cookbook which is loaded with healthy recipes. Because no clients are allowed to begin the program without first completing the 50 question intake quiz, count on that as the first step of the process.

The second most important component of the program is for the client to understand why they eat what they eat. This work will be done with your behavior coach as the client begins to identify the different stressors in their life which act as the triggers for overeating. They will also work with their coach to come up with tangible ways to cope with those stressors and stressful situations. The personalized meal plan which is developed with take all of those stressors and stressful situations into account. So, for example, if you normally eat large portions you will be asked to purchase a set of smaller dinner plates or will be taught how to use your own hands as a way to gauge portion sizes.

Each participant is taught that exercise is an integral component to an effective weight loss plan. In this regard, each client is also asked to take a quiz with regard to their exercise habits. Using the FitBit which is provided, the client will determine their baseline activity level. Once this information has been gathered, the client will work with their physiologist to learn ways to increase their fitness levels by about 10%.

For a person who is extremely sedentary, this might mean they have to increased the number of steps they take in a day. Once that has been achieved moderate aerobic exercise will be introduced usually in the form of walking each day. While these changes may seem small, every change adds up in the long run.

Conclusion

The Retrofit Diet plan is the most comprehensive and personalized diet program available today. It offers the same services as any online program or weight loss clinics which are medically supervised. Having access to a team of wellness and fitness experts will help each client address all the confusing aspects of weight loss. This goes far beyond just the issues of diet and exercise. But the most important aspect is that the diet is designed to help clients succeed in not only losing their weight but keeping it off for a lifetime.

10 Myths You Hear At The Gym

If you’ve ever eavesdropped on fellow gym members while you’re working out or when you’re standing in line at the juice bar and heard their conversations about what to do and when to do it and how, you might find yourself wondering what is true and what is myth. In this article, we will list the ten most common myths you hear at the gym and either verify them or debunk them.

Myth 1: If you drink a lot of water, it will help you lose weight

drinking-water-workoutFact: Although this is one of the most common myths believed by the vast majority of people, there is virtually no science to back it up. People will tell you that if you drink a lot of water you will have very healthy skin or you will flush most of the toxins out of your body.  But when you get right down to it, there is no science behind this belief to make it true. Scientists and physicians from the University of Pennsylvania will tell you that these kind of benefits from drinking a lot of water just are not true. The myth that drinking a lot of water will help ease your hunger pangs and make you less hungry is also, unfortunately, just not true. Drinking a lot of water may help you eat less because you’re running back and forth to the bathroom all day long but that’s about the only benefit you will get from ingesting large amounts of water. And more to the point, the people who tell you that you need to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water each day? They are also wrong. Human beings only need to drink water when they are thirsty and this means about 4 to 6 glasses a day will be plenty.

Myth 2: You must stretch before you work out to avoid injury

stretching-before-workoutFact: It is extremely beneficial to stretch after you’ve had a workout but stretching before you work out will not make you more flexible or increase your range of motion. Some physicians believe that if you stretch prior to working out that doing so will destabilize your muscles thus making you more prone to injuring yourself. They suggest that doing a short warm-up is adequate enough because it will get your blood pumping and prime you for your exercise.

Myth 3: People who eat a vegetarian diet are healthier

cook-vegetariansFact: The only thing that makes eating a vegetarian diet healthier is that they generally, by the very nature of what they’re called, include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most dietitians would tell you, however, that removing an entire food group — meat — even accounting for its higher levels of saturated fat is not such a good idea. Meat provides a great deal of iron to the human body when it is eaten and that keeps your energy levels stable and helps you to think more clearly. Meat also helps the body produce certain enzymes which help to fight infection. Scientists have also discovered that women who do not consume meat in their diet are at higher risk for developing postpartum depression following the birth of a baby.

Most vegetarians will try to get their iron by eating legumes like lentils or other beans, tofu or cereals which have been fortified with iron.

Myth 4: If you lift weights your body will take on a bulky appearance

weight_liftingFact: The truth is that using free weights will not turn you into the Incredible Hulk. If you really want to increase your muscle size, the only way you will be able to do that is by taking testosterone. If you’re a woman, it simply can’t and won’t happen. The reason men tend to bulk up is because they have between 20 to 30 times more testosterone in their bodies than women do. If you secretly want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger you would have to a tremendous amount of weight lifting, much more than the average woman would be able to sustain. The truth of the matter is that strength training will help you lose weight because it will help you build lean muscle and lean muscle burns fat. This means that you should spend a little less time on the elliptical machine and a little bit more time doing bicep curls when you work out three times a week.

Myth 5: If you want to prevent painful bouncing, wear a sports bra

sports-braFact: Wearing a sports bra will do more than just prevent painful bouncing. It will also help keep your breasts from developing permanent sagginess. You may think that your breasts will sag just because you’re getting older and gravity is doing its work. But high-impact exercises such as aerobics can also cause your breasts to sag. This is because doing high-impact exercises will affect the connective tissue in your breasts that helps to keep them firm. If you’re going to choose a sports bra, look for some kind of compression bra if you’re a small breasted woman. Women with breasts larger than a size C should choose an encapsulation bra which will provide support to each breast independently. You should always replace your workout bra every six months.

Myth 6: Taking a hot bath will keep your muscles from getting sore

hot-bath-post-workoutFact: Surprisingly the exact opposite is true. If you settle into a tub of chilled water, it has an effect similar to an ice pack on your entire body. The process of exercising opens your blood vessels and they will remain opened like that for about an hour after you have finished your workout. The soreness happens because lactic acid enters your muscles through your dilated vessels. Chilled water will cause your blood vessels to constrict cawhich will limit how much lactic acid can get into your muscles.

Myth 7: Running will not help your strength training

running-strength-trainingFact: This could not be farther from the truth. If you are hoping to increase your muscle mass on a dramatic level, this might be true. But running helps develop lean muscle mass and that helps keep your bones healthy. This does not mean that you can completely substitute running for your strength-training program. You will need to continue doing your lower-body strength training so continue with your squats and lunges and push-ups.

Myth 8: Keeping some weights in your hand during cardio exercise will increase your calorie burn

This is one of the myths we all really, really want to believe. And the answer is that it is true but it doesn’t help enough to make it worthwhile. It is true that keeping some weights in your hands while you’re doing cardio does help the calorie burn but only slightly. But doing any kind of uncontrolled movements can cause damage to your joints and can actually cause muscle injury. The better and more effective option is to either increase your speed or your resistance level. You’ll get better results if you do either one of those.

Myth 9: Eating fresh fruit is much better for you than eating frozen fruit

frozen-fruitsFact: Do you have any idea how long fresh fruit sits around once its been harvested before it ends up in your grocery store? While it’s hanging around waiting to be shipped it can and does lose a lot of its vitamin nutrients especially its vitamin C. Frozen fruit, on the other hand, is picked and fast frozen while it is at its peak of freshness.

Myth 10: If you want to get rid of your belly fat you have to do crunches

Fact: Some people can do belly crunches until the cows come home and never sport a six-pack. Seems crazy, but it’s true. This is what will happen if your abs are covered with a lot of fat because it is impossible to “spot train”. If this were not the case, wouldn’t it make sense that everyone would be showing off their gorgeously sculpted thighs and abdominal muscles? If you want to get rid of your belly fat you first have to get rid of most of your overall body fat. The best way to do this is through cardio exercises and strength training.

 

50 Cups of Coffee a Day Change Your DNA? (Or Exercising…)

DNAThere is almost no question in anyone’s mind anymore about the benefits which can be derived by exercising. We know it burns calories, reduces the risk or having a stroke and developing heart disease as well as reducing the risk of developing Type II diabetes. What most people don’t know, though, is that exercise can also help change your DNA. Yes, that’s right. What is even more astounding than this is that this process happens after a single 20 minute workout. The changes that occur are unlike those which occur from external stimuli such as toxic air or exposure to other carcinogens. Exercise literally changes your DNA from the inside out.

In a study carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, a team of scientists monitored the muscle changes which occurred because of the body’s adaptation to exercise. They enrolled 14 young women and men into their study and had them exercise on a bike which measured their maximum levels of activity. The difference in this study from others which were similar is that participants were also required to have some of their muscle cells biopsied both before and after participating in the survey.

change-your-dna-with-exercisingWhen comparing the biopsy samples, the scientists discovered that more genes had been turned on after the exercise on the bike. In addition, the DNA of the participants when compared to the control group was able to turn on certain genes. This is usually accomplished by the body placing limits on how much methylation occurs in certain cells. This is the way that your body knows how to engineer a liver, for example, from stem cells that might be programmed to produce a kidney.

The process of methylation also helps cells pump the nutrients they need and the enzymes required while you are working out. Each time you exercise, the more intense your workout is, the more methyl is pumped out. One way this happens is because your muscles adapt to what you are doing. This means, essentially, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

In order to confirm the way the genes were expressing themselves, the scientists next explored the effect that calcium had on the entire body’s system. Why? Because when people perform intense exercise, the body naturally releases calcium and this triggers the muscles to contract. When the amount of calcium released is blocked the muscles will still contract but not as efficiently or effectively. After the scientists added caffeine to their lab dishes, they were able to restore the contractions. This proved that the caffeine could enhance the way methyl triggered contraction and thus activated the genes that helped the muscles contract.

caffeine-to-change-your-dnaAll that being said, however, the researchers definitely do not recommend that people drink caffeinated drinks instead of exercising. Anyone who wanted to replicate these results simply by drinking caffeine would have to consume a lethal dose of about 50 cups of coffee in one day. What this does mean, though, is that exercise is  form of medicine and that a means of altering your DNA in a way that is beneficial may just be a job or bike ride away.

So even though we all know that a zebra can’t change it’s stripes, we now know that humans can change their own DNA something that was unthinkable just a few years ago.  The key is to just get off the couch and do something — go for a run, walk on the treadmill, climb some stairs. It scarcely even matters just as long as you do it for a minimum of twenty minutes.

The study in Stockholm was confirmed by another study carried out in Great Britain in which study participants were told to attend three classes of either aerobics exercise or spinning per week. The study participants were all healthy young men and women averaging about 24 years of age. Additionally, participants were told NOT to make any changes to either their diet or their normal daily activity levels.

The researchers carefully monitored the methyl groups in the fat cells of the male participants. All cells in the body contain DNA because this is where all the basic genetic information is housed.

exercisingEpigenetics is what the study of changes in gene expression on a cellular level is called. During this study, epigeneticists were able to literally track the changes that normal cells and fat cells underwent after exercise. They were able to detect changes in approximately 7,000 different genes, or about 35% of the participant’s genetic makeup.

They also paid close attention to the genes which are linked to obesity and Type II diabetes and were able to detect changes in those genes as well. Because of this study, scientists were able to make a genetic map of the DNA methylome contained in fat cells.

While the long-lasting effects or normal, regular exercise are not understood fully, these studies conclusively show that there are more benefits to exercising on a regular basis than simply losing weight. This along with lifestyle changes can help people lose weight with much more confidence than they might have had in the past.

Epigenetics better explained in this video below:

Safflower Oil For Weight Loss – Is it Just a Placebo Effect?

What is Safflower?

Safflower is a plant indigenous to India, North Africa and Iran. It usually grows to be about 1 meter (3 feet) tall. The flower is crowned by a globular flower head which is usually either yellow, red or orange. This plant has well-developed taproots which make it easy for the plant to find water even when growing in dry climates.

How is safflower used?

Safflower-weight-lossSafflower is traditionally  harvested for its seeds which are then used to make dyes, medicines and for the flavoring of food products. At one time, safflower was primarily used as a dye for silk and cotton products. In some places, safflower is used in cooking as a replacement for saffron. Because of its color, it gives rice the usual orange that is normally derived from saffron.

Other cultures such as the Indian culture also use safflower to treat a variety of other ailments such as menstrual problems, cardiovascular disease, swelling, treating high blood pressure and treating pain. It is also commonly given to address problems caused by sciatica, concussion, acne and sterility.

Safflower is also grown so that its oil can be extracted from the seeds.

What is safflower oil? How is it Extracted? Ingredients?

Safflower oil is flavorless and colorless oil which is derived from safflower seeds. This is a very stable oil which does not change even when heated to very high temperatures. Safflower oil is known for having the highest level of polyunsaturated and saturated ratios of all the other oils available today. It has nutritional levels which are similar to those found in olive oil but is much less expensive than olive oil, hence it becomes a reasonable substitution for olive oil. It is rich in omega 6 fatty acids, oleic acid as well as vitamin E.

Safflower oil can be extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant through either mechanical processes or chemical processes.  When this process is accomplished via mechanical means, it is down via something called a natural expeller. By utilizing a natural expeller, all the natural ingredients of the safflower oil are preserved. When the chemical method is used to extract the safflower oil, a great deal of contamination can occur which harms the end product, the oil. This is why it is a good reason to always closely inspect the labeling of any safflower product you may wish to purchase.

How is safflower oil used?

safflower-oil-for-belly-fatSafflower oil is traditionally used in paint products, alkyd resins, cosmetics and cooking oils. This oil is considered to be hypoallergenic which is one of the main reasons it is used so commonly in the production of cosmetics. Because it is so rich in oleic acid, it is used in cooking oils  because it helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

What are the benefits of safflower oil?

Choosing safflower oil offers many potential health benefits especially for people who suffer from cardiovascular issues or Type II diabetes. Because it is high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats it has the potential to lower bad cholesterol. Other scientific studies have indicated that the high levels of linoleic acid found in safflower oil  activates brown fat which aids in the weight loss process. This is because once safflower oil is ingested the body changes the linoleic acid into something called gamma linoleic acid which acts as a fat burner.

What conclusions can be drawn from this information?

The different scientific studies which have been conducted on safflower oil clearly point to the prevention of cardiovascular disease when using safflower oil. This benefit is derived from using as little as 1 ⅔ teaspoons of safflower oil a day.

Despite the fact that safflower oil was promoted by Dr. Mehmet Oz on his television show, some skeptics see the benefits of safflower oil as purely a placebo effect. These skeptics claim that there has not been enough scientific research conducted on the humble safflower plant to reach conclusions about whether or not it will help a person lose weight. This lack of scientific research has not stopped the craze for safflower oil around the world. Many people believe that consuming small amounts of this oil every day will be the answer to their prayers when it comes to weight loss. Though there is some anecdotal evidence that using safflower oil can help a person lose visceral fat, again, this effect has not been conclusively studied or proven to exist. Still it is worth a try to see if it will have any effect on your weight loss process. The issue that is certain is that it will not harm you in any way.

There is no question that eating healthy fats is good for you. Me? I’m not convinced about safflower oil. I’m not yet ready to relinquish my bottles of olive oil that live in my kitchen cupboards. I’ll wait for the conclusive scientific evidence that says this is indeed a bona fide replacement for something we already know works: olive oil.

The 10 Most Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told!

Gym-MythsIf you follow mainstream nutrition guidelines you will almost certainly have come into contact with some nutrition lies over time. I thought I would write a short blog piece about the most destructive nutrition lies ever told. But, in my experience, these lies are only the beginning.

1. Eggs are not good for you

One of my biggest pet peeves is the way that certain nutrition professionals have demonized foods which are incredibly good for you. The worst example of this which comes to mind has to do with eggs. Because eggs contain cholesterol, at some point in time, nutritionists thought it was best to tell people not to eat them in order to decrease their risk for developing heart disease.

eggs-harmful-effectsRecently, however, research has shown that eggs’ cholesterol really does not raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol in human beings. In fact, new research shows that eggs raise the HDL (good) cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is highly linked to reduced risk for developing heart disease.

So, when you really consider eggs, you soon discover that they are one of the best nutritious foods you can eat. They contain many, many nutrients along with some unique antioxidants which help protect the human eye. Recent studies have also shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast lose considerably more weight than those who eat a bagel for breakfast.

2. Saturated Fat is terrible for you

Several decades ago, some folks made a decision that the apparent epidemic rates of heart disease which had cropped up was being caused by people eating too much fat, especially saturated fats. This conclusion was reached based on studies which had been carried out which were, in fact, highly flawed. The decision was also based on political decisions which have since been proved to be entirely wrong.

In 2010, a comprehensive review was conducted which took a second look at 21 epidemiological studies which included almost 350,000 participants. They found no link between the ingestion of saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. None.

So, we are now left with the idea that saturated fat elevated a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease which has somehow evolved into conventional thought and “wisdom”. In actuality, consuming saturated fat raises the body’s HDL (good) cholesterol and causes changes to occur in the body’s LDL (bad)  cholesterol taking it from being small, dense bits to larger bits of cholesterol which are much more easily passed through the circulatory system.

3. Everyone should eat grains

grains-weight-lossWhy would it make sense to anyone that everyone should eat diets based primarily on grains? Agriculture has been a fairly recent addition to human evolution. Prior to the development of an agrarian society, humankind relied solely on protein. Our genes have not evolved that quickly.

When compared to other foods such as vegetables, grains do not contain many nutrients. They are also rich in something called phytic acid which attaches to minerals in the human gut and prevents the body from absorbing them.

In western diets, the most prevalent grain consumed in western diets is wheat. Modern wheat now contains copious protein known as gluten which has recently come under fire for causing a host of sensitivity in many, many people.

If you are gluten-sensitive or even gluten intolerant, eating wheat can cause many problems such as loose stools, bloating, pain and tiredness.

4. Eating extra protein harms your skeletal system and kidneys

High protein diets have been blamed for causing kidney disease and osteoporosis.

While it is true that eating great amounts of protein can increase the excretion of calcium from the bones, this is only a short-term effect. In studies that followed participants consuming high protein diets over a longer period of time, the effect was exactly the opposite. Over the long-term, protein was shown to improve skeletal health and decrease a person’s risk for fracture. Other studies have not found an association of kidney disease being caused by high protein diets either in people who are otherwise healthy.

5. Low-fat foods are what you should eat

low-fat-food_pyramidHave you ever eaten anything from which all the fat was entirely removed? Probably not. If you have, then you would know that it tastes just like cardboard. Not that I’m a regular consumer of cardboard. But trust me, when I say that no one would ever want to eat food after all the fat  has been removed. Food manufacturers have known this for a long time and so when they remove the fat from the food they are making, they replace it with other things to compensate for the loss in taste. These other things include sweeteners. This is usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup  or an artificial sweetener such as aspartame.

And although one would think that if you’re dieting, eating a food which contains aspartame is better for you than one that contains natural, refined sugars. But the evidence is beginning to mount which says that aspartame is NOT good for you. In fact, quite the opposite. It has been linked to obesity, depression, metabolic disorders such as Type II diabetes, heart disease and premature death. So unless you are a Type I diabetes, the kind of person who should not use sugar at all, you should decrease your intake of aspartame and replace it with sugar, just in smaller amounts.

6. Carbs should be your largest source of calories

In mainstream thought, dieticians and nutritionists say that everybody should follow a low-fat diet and consume about 50-60% of their daily food intake in the form of carbohydrates. This type of diet will serve up a lot of grains and sugar but include very few fatty foods such as eggs or meat. This is an excellent diet plan for people who are naturally thin. But what about us larger girls?

For anyone who has any kind of metabolic disorder such as Type II diabetes, a diet like this can be dangerous. This debate has been studied conclusively many times in randomized controlled diets. Each study has reached the same conclusion insofar that a low-carbohydrate, high fat diet is the best one to follow.

7. Vegetable and high omega-6 oils are best for you

Many people have touted polyunsaturated fats for a long time claiming that they decrease the risk for the development of heart disease. But in this case, it is important to point out that not all polyunsaturated fats are created equally. There is a big difference between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are very anti-inflammatory and will decrease your risk for developing many of the diseases which are associated with inflammation. As well, human being need to consume these fatty acid oils in certain ratios. If the ratios are off, problems may ensue.

The best source for omega-6 fats are found in processed seed and/or vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil. Prior to recent times, humans did not really have much access to omega-6 fats. Only modernization and processing has made that possible. But recent research which has looked at omega-6 fats when compared to polyunsaturated fats, has found that it has a direct link to heart disease. Lesson learned? Eat your omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, cod and sardines. Cut back on your omega-6 fats found in a variety of different oils.

8. Low carbohydrate diets are bad for you

Low-Carbohydrate-DietPersonally, i believe that if everyone switched to a low-carbohydrate diet many of the common health problems seen, certainly in the western world, would eventually go away. Following a low-fat diet in cases like this with Type II diabetes and heart disease simply will not help. But low-carbohydrate diets have repeatedly shown better results.

Every time a low-carbohydrate diet has been studied with controls, the data have shown that these diets reduce fat more quickly than diets which are low in fat and calorie restricted even when the participants are allowed to eat as much as they wish. Low-carbohydrate diets also lower blood pressure quickly and significantly. They also improve A1C readings in people with Type II diabetes quickly and significantly. They increase the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in a very short period of time. They also lower triglyceride levels significantly. And even more significantly, the studies showed that the diets were easier for people to stick with over a longer period of time because the participants were not hungry all the time. More participants were able to make to the end of each of the studies.

9. Sugar is bad for you because it only contains empty calories

sugarThis is definitely true. Sugar has very little nutrient content and contains mostly empty calories. But that’s not why it’s bad for you. Sugar affects your metabolism in ways that set you up to gain weight rapidly and develop metabolic diseases like Type II diabetes. This is because it has a very high fructose content. Fructose is metabolized in the liver which turns it into fat and then secretes it into the blood. This eventually leads to high triglyceride levels and higher cholesterol. It also causes a resistance to the natural hormones which are insulin and leptin. Resistance to these hormones are natural stepping stones toward developing obesity and Type II diabetes. Eating sugar will set off a vicious cycle in which you crave more sugar and then eat more and then crave more and so on.

10. Eating high fat foods makes you fat

While it just seems logical that if you eat foods which are high in fat, you will get fat yourself, the bottom line is that the process is not as simple as all that. Although fat contains more calories per gram than a carbohydrate does, high fat diets do not, in and of themselves, make people fat. People who eat diets high in fat and high in carbohydrates get fat but not because of the fat they are eating. In fact, it has been shown scientifically that people who follow diets which are high in fat but low in carbohydrates lose more fat than people who follow low-fat diets alone.