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"50 Foods You Should Never Eat" Review

After seeing this food list, I had to seriously reconsider the groceries I buy each week. Whether you're trying to live healthy or lose weight, you may want to revamp your grocery list, too. Check out the 20 guilty foods I think you should forget about immediately (from the recent article "50 Foods You Should Never Eat" on MSN.com).

WHOLE WHEAT BREAD


William Davis, MD, creator of Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox

The Problem: Modern wheat is nothing like the grain your mother or grandmother consumed. Today, wheat barely resembles its original form, thanks to extensive genetic manipulations during the 1960s and 1970s to increase the grain's yields. "You cannot change the basic characteristics of a plant without changing its genetics, biochemistry, and its effects on humans who consume it," Dr. Davis notes.

Dr. Davis makes the case that modern-day wheat is triggering all sorts of health problems, everything from digestive diseases like celiac and inflammatory bowel disease to acid reflux, obesity, asthma, and skin disorders. "If there is a food that yields extravagant, extraordinary, and unexpected benefits when avoided, it is bread," says Dr. Davis. "And I don’t mean white bread, I mean all bread: white, whole wheat, whole grain, sprouted, organic, French, Italian, fresh, day-old…all of it."

The Solution: Try eliminating wheat altogether from your diet for a few weeks to see if you note health improvements. But be prepared for the wheat withdrawal syndrome of nausea, headache, fatigue and depression, and a host of other strange side effects of going grain-free during your first wheat-free week, since there are opiates that develop from the gliadin protein of wheat. Once you are through this process, you'll feel better, maybe better than you have ever before.

NON-DAIRY COFFEE CREAMER


Will Clower, PhD, author of Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight

The Problem: The health benefits of coffee are pretty impressive (Note: Too much caffeine is not...read here to find out why), so don't go throwing them away by splashing non-dairy creamer in your morning joe. Fake creamers are full of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, including liver-damaging high-fructose corn syrup, inflammatory hydrogenated oils that would never exist in nature, and artificial flavors.

The Solution: Drink your coffee black, or if you want to add cream, opt for organic from grass-fed cows or organic unsweetened coconut milk without the food additive carrageenan.

GRAPE JELLY


Ellen Gustafson, author of We the Eaters

The Problem: Concord grapes are delicious (and are one of the few fruits native to North America), but the way most of us taste them is in the form of high-fructose-laden grape jelly. "Even though it's given away for free like ketchup in little plastic packets, it's basically a jelly-textured candy loaded with various forms of sugar, artificial colors, and flavors," Gustafson says.

The Solution: Gustafson suggests opting for real fruit, honey, or apple butter on your PB&(F, H, or AB) sandwich. If you do reach for jelly in the store, look for low-sugar, organic versions—organic bans the use of artificial colors and flavors and requires that the grapes be grown without the use of chemical pesticides. (Nonorganic grapes are one of the most pesticide-laden fruits.)

DIET SODA


Isaac Eliaz, MD, founder of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center

The Problem: Dr. Eliaz stays away from any diet soda (here's how) and foods, sugar-free candies, and gum containing artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame, among others. "The safety data on these sweeteners is shrouded in controversy and conflicts of interest with the manufacturers of these chemical compounds," Dr. Eliaz warns. "Independent research strongly suggests that when metabolized in the body, these sweeteners can cause health-related issues and problems related to metabolism and weight gain, neurological diseases, joint pain, digestive problems, headaches, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, chemical toxicity, and cancer, among others."

The Solution: From its weight gain effects to the overload of artificial sweeteners, the disturbing side effects of soda are enough to break the fizzy habit. If you're craving a soda but want to avoid the shady sweeteners, fake food dyes, and preservatives found in popular brands, try making one of these naturally flavored water recipes, or brew your own kombucha, a naturally bubbly fermented tea that's easy to make at home.

CANNED TOMATOES


Frederick vom Saal, PhD, professor of biological sciences, University of Missouri at Columbia

The Problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Studies show that the BPA in most people's bodies exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 micrograms of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."

The Solution: To avoid negative BPA health effects, choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Eden Organic and Bionaturae. You can also look for tomatoes in Tetra Pak boxes instead of cans.

SPROUTS


Douglas Powell, PhD, food safety consultant, barfblog.com

The Problem: Sprouts have been the source of so many major food recalls that they're really not worth the risk, Powell says. Be they bean or broccoli, alfalfa or pea, sprouts have been at the center of at least 55 outbreaks of foodborne illness, affecting more than 15,000 people over the last 20 years. Often, sprouts harbor salmonella, E. coli, or listeria; they're vulnerable to contamination because the seeds require moist, warm conditions in order to sprout—ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive and multiply in.

The Solution: Get the crunch of sprouts—without the added bacteria—by shredding cabbage or carrots onto your sandwiches. If you really enjoy the flavor of sprouts, cook them first, but watch out for cross-contamination.

CHICKEN WINGS


Tasneem Bhatia, MD, author of What Doctors Eat

The Problem: A single chicken wing has 81 calories and 5 grams of fat. Given that most people don't eat just one, a lone feast of chicken wings could easily lead to 1,000 extra calories and 50 grams of fat—nearly two or three days worth of artery-clogging fat! "Since 500 extra calories per day leads to two pounds per week, chicken wings are a recipe for weight gain," Dr. Bhatia says.

The Solution: If you like chicken, try baked or grilled versions to avoid a calorie overload. Since conventional chicken feed often contains antibiotics to stimulate faster growth (and sometimes even arsenic), choose organic whenever you can. If you want to go the veggie route, try this delicious vegan Buffalo wings alternative.

BUTTER-FLAVORED POPCORN


Alexandra Scranton, director of science and research at Women’s Voices for the Earth

The Problem: Diacetyl is used in a lot of fake butter flavorings, despite the fact that the chemical is so harmful to factory workers that it's known to cause an occupational disease called "popcorn lung," Scranton says. After news of the chemical got out to the popcorn-eating public, companies started replacing diacetyl with another additive—which can actually turn into diacetyl under certain conditions, she adds. Neither chemical is disclosed on microwave-popcorn bags because the exact formulations of flavorings are considered trade secrets. "It's a classic example of the need for better chemical regulation and improved transparency on the chemicals used in our food and other household products," she says.

The Solution: Pop it on the stovetop in a pot and season or go an easier homemade popcorn route: Put a small handful of kernels into a brown paper lunch bag and stick the bag in the microwave. The kernels will pop just like those fake-butter-flavored kernels in standard microwave popcorn bags. When they're done, pour seasoning over them. "Makes pretty good popcorn at a fraction of the cost!" Scranton says.

FARMED SALMON


Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, author of A World Without Cancer

The Problem: "Fish is naturally low in saturated fat, and some types, like salmon, are also high in omega-3 fat, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack and inflammation throughout the body. While Americans need to eat more seafood and less red meat, some fish such as farmed salmon are contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides (including dieldrin and toxaphene) and antibiotics," she says. And unlike wild salmon, farmed salmon are fed a mixture of other fish ground into fishmeal and fish oil, and they concentrate more toxins in their fat tissue than do other fish, Dr. Cuomo notes.

The Solution: "Fish is an important part of my family's diet, and I am very careful to choose wild salmon, rather than farmed salmon, which contains many carcinogens," Dr. Cuomo says.

GUMMY VITAMINS


Mark Moyad, MD, MPH

The Problem: Vitamins in the form of candy? Sounds like a dream to the parents of picky eaters. Too bad it's too good to be true. Each serving is about 15 calories a day and, while 2 or 3 grams of sugar a day (often as corn syrup) doesn't seem like much, Dr. Moyad points out that this translates to nearly 6 cups of sugar a year. Not to mention, gummies contain artificial food dyes and can contain a laundry list of other problematic ingredients: "Many contain gluten, and some also contain corn syrup, carmine, and pregelatinized cornstarch," he says.

The Solution: "Always go to food for nutrition first," says Dr. Moyad. "Don't teach kids to rely on pills at such a young age."

ANYTHING FROM MCDONALD'S


Joel Salatin, sustainable farmer The Problem: McDonald’s isn't just about food, it's about food mentality, according to Salatin. "It represents the pinnacle of factoryfarming and industrial food," he says. "The economic model is utterly dependent on stockholders looking for dividends without regards to farm profitability or soil development."Fast food typically is loaded with all sorts of the ingredients mentioned elsewhere in our list: genetically engineered corn, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, and other bad actors in the food supply. The type of farming that supports this type of food business relies on harmful chemicals that not only threaten human health, but also soil health.

The Solution: Learn to cook! You might be surprised to find that paying extra up front for a pasture-raised chicken can be cheaper than buying prepared fast-food chicken. For instance, cooking a chicken and then boiling down the bones for a rich, disease-fighting stock can yield up to three meals for a family! (Here's how to make homemade stock.) Find sustainable farmers at LocalHarvest.org.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS


Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale, Inc. and author of Organic Manifesto

The Problem: Ironically, there's a lot of evidence that suggests using artificial sweeteners, which have zero calories, is just as bad for your waistline as using regular, high-calorie sugar. For instance, research from the University of Texas has found that mice fed the artificial sweetener aspartame had higher blood sugar levels (which can cause you to overeat) than mice on an aspartame-free diet. Not only are they bad for your health, but scientists have also detected artificial sweeteners in treated wastewater, posing unknown risks to fish and other marine life. Plus, as Rodale says, "They're unnatural, nonorganic, taste horrible, and lead to all sorts of bad health consequences, false expectations, and short-term strategic thinking."

The Solution: Refined white sugar isn't any healthier, but you can replace it with small amounts of nutritious sweeteners, including honey, blackstrap molasses, and maple syrup, all of which have high levels of vitamins and minerals, or make homemade healthy sweeteners that are far better for your diet.

PROCESSED HONEY


Gerard E. Mullin, MD, author of The Gut Balance Revolution

The Problem: "Refined honey is among the most insidious sweeteners of all time," says Dr. Mullin. The pasteurization process eliminates the health properties of honey, essentially turning it into just another form of sugar. To make things more confusing, research has shown that more than 75 percent of honey has been processed to the point where it isn't even considered honey anymore. Some honey is even blended with high-fructose corn syrup, additives, and other flavorings.

The Solution: In moderation, raw honey from your local farmer's market has the opposite effect on your health. "Good data show that a teaspoon or less per day of raw honey has positive effects on gut microbimone health," Dr. Mullin says. Raw honey may have an antimicrobial effect against harmful pathogens in your gut, including E. coli. At the same time, this superfood can help promote the growth of healthy bacteria. "Honey also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune-regulating, and anti-tumor properties," he points out. It can also improve many aspects of your health, including allergies, bone health, diabetes, and wound healing.

AGAVE


Robert Lustig, MD, author of Fat Chance

The Problem: Don't trust the health halo claims associated with the natural sweetener agave. While it is technically a low-glycemic food, it actually drives up blood fructose, which is way worse, Dr. Lustig explains. "Fructose causes seven times more cell damage than glucose because it binds to cellular proteins seven times faster and releases 100 times the number of oxygen radicals (like hydrogen peroxide, which damages cells)," he notes.In addition, fructose is turned into fat in the liver, which contributes to the development of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. "Glycemic index is irrelevant; fructose damages your body unrelated to glycemic index. Agave nectar should have a skull and crossbones," Dr. Lustig says.

The Solution: Retrain your tastebuds to not want excessively sweet foods.

TABLE SALT


Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, and founder of DrAxe.com

The Problem: Table salt starts out as a healthy sea salt, but the extreme processing that happens next makes this one of the worst things you can put in your body. Manufacturers strip it of all its minerals and heat it to around 1,200 degrees, completely changing its chemical structure. Then, the naturally-occurring iodine that was destroyed is replaced with potassium iodide, and the salt is stabilized with dextrose, which turns it purple. Finally, it is bleached white.

The Solution: For an all-natural, unprocessed way to add flavor to food, choose Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. You'll also get a heavy dose of health benefits, including bone support, improved cognitive function and pH balancing.

CHARRED MEAT


Natasha Turner, ND, author of The Supercharged Hormone Diet

The Problem: While everyone loves a good barbecue, grilling meats can produce carcinogens if you aren’t careful. The two most associated with charring are HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). HCAs form when meat is cooked at high temperatures; PAHs are created when the flames touch the meat or when fat drips into the flames and produces smoke, which then rises and coats the food.

The Solution: To grill more healthfully, lower the heat on your gas grill or increase the distance between the fire and the meat if using a charcoal grill. Choose smaller cuts of meat, flip them often, and use a meat thermometer when cooking at lower temperatures so you can check to be sure the meat is fully cooked. Homemade grilling marinades, particularly ones containing rosemary, can reduce the risk of HCAs by up to 99 percent.

FAST FOOD FRENCH FRIES


Jillian Michaels, fitness expert

The Problem: Heart disease has become the number one killer in America. One main culprit, Michaels says: Trans fats, aka hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils that have been "reconfigured" to extend their shelf life (but that ultimately harm your cholesterol levels). A medium fry from a fast-food restaurant could contain as much as a whopping 14.5 grams of this fat. That's significant because there are no safe levels of trans fats, according to many public health experts. In fact, if only 3 percent of your daily calorie intake is from trans fats, your risk of heart disease goes up by 23 percent, Michaels notes. "Although fast-food fries are a main culprit, I highly recommend reading your food labels and avoiding this toxic preservative wherever and whenever possible," she says.

The Solution: Bake your fries at home using this simple recipe: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Cut a potato into wedges. (Soak potatoes to reduce harmful acrylamide levels.) Mix together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Coat the potato wedges with the oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

INFLAMMATORY VEGETABLE OILS


Jayson Calton, PhD, and Mira Calton, CN, authors of The Micronutrient Miracle

The Problem: Don't ruin your healthy salad by dumping inflammatory oils all over it. "Most salad dressings on the market today use canola or soybean oil—two major GMO-laden, pro-inflammatory no-nos," says Jayson Calton. Mira points out that even organic versions still contribute to the unhealthy, pro-inflammatory omega-6/omega-3 imbalance. "Due to the adverse processing methods for corn, soybean, canola, safflower, or cottonseed oils, you are essentially ingesting oxidized molecules that wreak immediate havoc on healthy cellular function," she says. "The bottom line is that these oils are not healthy and should be avoided at all costs."

The Solution: Make your own salad dressing with fresh healthy oils and organic vinegar—it's super easy. Olive oil is OK, say the Caltons, but it can be high in inflammatory omega-6s (if you do go with olive oil, always opt for cold-pressed, extra-virgin). Safer oils include peanut, sesame, avocado, macadamia, flaxseed, and fish oils. Simply combine the oil of your choice with your favorite herbs, garlic, red wine vinegar, and voilà—homemade Italian dressing!

FRUIT JUICE


Dawna Stone, author of The Healthy You Diet

The Problem: Fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients—but fruit juice does not provide the same health benefits. "Even if you are label conscious and purchase 100 percent real fruit juice or make your own fresh squeezed juice at home, you need to beware of the high sugar content," Stone warns. A glass of fruit juice can have as much sugar as a can of soda, not to mention it's void of one of fruit's main health benefits—its high fiber content.

The Solution: Next time you think about grabbing a tumbler of juice, consider opting for a splash of real fruit juice to a glass of still or sparkling water. Not enough juice to satisfy your craving? Combine whole fruit and ice in a blender for a refreshing and satisfying smoothie. Even better, opt for a green vegetable juice and add the juice of a half a green apple. "I find just ½ an apple or other fruit gives my nutrient-dense green juice just the right amount of sweetness," Stone says.

SWORDFISH


Philip Landrigan, MD, professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics, Mount Sinai

The Problem: One of Dr. Landrigan's No. 1 warnings to women who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant? "Make avoiding mercury in fish a priority," he says. Swordfish is notoriously high in the heavy metal, a potent neurotoxin that can damage developing children and even trigger heart attacks in adults. Aside from obvious health concerns, swordfish is often overfished and some of the gear commonly used to wrangle in swordfish often kills turtles, seabirds, and sharks.

The Solution: For a healthy omega-3 brain boost, look for fish that are low in contaminants and have stable populations, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, or pole- or troll-caught Pacific albacore tuna. Got a more adventurous palate? Try snakehead fish to satisfy your fish craving and improve the environment.

The invasive species lives on land and water, where it wipes out important frogs, birds, and other critters. Snakehead fish is popping up on some restaurant menus, and the taste and texture are about identical to swordfish.

What other foods do you think we should avoid?

Picture Credit: sweets.seriouseats.com - Jelly may consist of fruit but it doesn't mean it's healthy for you or with your weight loss goals.


Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article 50 Foods You Should Never Eat Review on MSN.com
"50 Foods You Should Never Eat" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

6 Surprising Foods and Drinks You Should Never Eat Together

Some foods play really well together. Their chemical compounds merge to create a turbo-charged nutritional symbiosis. It's a beautiful and tasty thing. Other foods, however, don't play so nice together—we're talking combos that leave you bloated, send blood sugar levels soaring, and dampen the absorption of important nutrients. Here, six pairings to avoid if you want to feel your best:

1. Tea + milk


"Black tea is rich in antioxidants that work to decrease inflammation that's linked to many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes," says Rumsey. However, splashing even a little milk (cow or soy) into your cup short-circuits those benefits: "Milk proteins bind to antioxidants in tea and prevent them from being absorbed," she explains.

What's more, milk doesn't even offer a calcium boost in this situation. "The caffeine in tea can decrease calcium absorption," says Rachel Meltzer Warren, RDN, author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian. "If you really want to add something good to your tea, squeeze some lemon in there instead. It'll actually increase the amount of antioxidants that your body can absorb."

2. White bread + jam


"Simple carbohydrates spike blood sugar the most," says Liz Weinandy, RD, MPH, a dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Put two or more together—think white bread and jam or soda and French fries—and you've got a recipe for disaster. "Your blood sugar goes up fast, and your body has to work very hard to bring it down by releasing insulin from the pancreas," explains Weinandy. Once that inevitable drop happens, your energy and mood can bottom out, leaving you tired and irritated.

"In the long term, this process can eventually wear the pancreas down and create insulin resistance and diabetes," adds Weinandy. A smarter idea: Swap out those refined carbs for fiber-rich beans or legumes, which help to slow down digestion and keep you off the blood sugar roller coaster.

3. Salad + nonfat dressing


"When you avoid fat on your salad, you put up a roadblock to your absorption of nutrients," says Meltzer Warren. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that carotenoids—plant pigments linked to a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration—are more readily absorbed when paired with full-fat dressing as opposed to low-fat or fat-free varieties. But you don't need a heavy pour of ranch to reap the benefits—splash greens with olive oil and vinegar and you're good to go.

4. Alcohol + caffeine


You know the drill: You're drinking wine at dinner, start to yarn after a few glasses, and perk yourself up with a post-meal cappuccino. Bad idea. Why? The energy boost you get from caffeine can mask intoxication, so you underestimate how drunk you are. The same goes for directly mixing caffeine + booze (think vodka and Red Bull or coffee and Kahlua). Research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that people who combine caffeine and alcohol are at a greater risk of being in an accident than those who steer clear of the combo.

5. Lentils + red wine


Red wines contain compounds called tannins. When tannins intermingle with plant-based sources of iron, like those found in lentils and soybeans, it seriously hinders your body's ability to absorb the mineral. This issue is particularly relevant to vegans and vegetarians, notes Rumsey: "Plant-based iron is already more difficult to absorb than meat-based iron," she says. "Add tannins to the mix and it's that much harder to get the iron you need."

6. Burgers + beer


"Both are processed by the liver, and your body naturally prioritizes breaking down the alcohol first, since it recognizes alcohol as a toxin," says Rumsey. This leaves fat floating in your blood stream, where it can then be stored in fat tissue. Moreover, you'll feel especially gross afterward. "Fat causes food to digest more slowly, which is why a high-fat meal can leave you feeling stuffed and bloated long after you eat it," says Rumsey.

Picture Credit: MSN.com/© istock/getty images


Article Credit:
Author: Holly Pevzner from Eat Clean
6 Surprising Foods and Drinks You Should Never Eat Together (Adapted)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

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Self Improvement Book from Chicago Personal Trainer Michael Moody

Self Improvement Book from Chicago Personal Trainer Michael Moody

 

"20 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Fast Food" Review

Eating fast food affects you from head to toe. Here's what you can expect from a diet high in McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and others. I've chose the top 10 from the article on http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/20-things-that-happen-to-your-body-when-you-eat-fast-food/ss-BBnaBb2#image=1.

YOU’LL INCREASE YOUR OBESITY RISK




YOU’LL HEIGHTEN YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE




MEMORY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION WILL DECLINE




YOU’LL BE CONSTIPATED




YOU’LL BLOAT




YOUR TEETH WILL DECAY




YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WILL SPIKE




YOUR CHOLESTEROL COULD SKYROCKET




Picture Credit: Eat This, Not That-How will this food affect your body?


Article Credit:
Author: Excerpt from Eat This, Not That (Adapted)
"20 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Fast Food" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

4 Weird Reasons Why You're Gaining Weight

Yes, the most likely culprits behind extra weight gain includes your couch and the snack shelf. But some new studies suggest there are less obvious factors that could lead to mid-section spread. Here are four subtle and weird ways you could be adding pounds—and how to stop it.

1. Couple trouble


Want a compelling reason to immediately resolve your marital woes? Letting your fights get too hot might make you more susceptible to weight gain . A recent study found that couples whose arguments were tinged with hostility had higher levels of a hunger hormone—and were more likely to make poor food choices—than couples who were kinder to each other.

Researchers at the University of Delaware tracked hormone levels in 43 couples as they ate a meal and then discussed their differences. Observers rated the discussions—which often boiled into arguments—on the use of hostile language. Couples who ranked high in the use of hostile language also had the highest circulating levels of ghrelin, a hunger-related hormone that encourages eating. When the researchers asked the couples to fill out food surveys, hostile couples were more likely to report eating foods high in sodium and unhealthy fats compared to those whose interactions were more civil.

"The findings suggest marital distress may be an important risk factor for weight gain," says study author Lisa Jaremka, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Delaware, though she is quick to add that the effect was missing in people already overweight. In other words, don't wait too long to get couples counseling.

2. Overdoing it on iron


If you were thinking about cutting back on red meat to help control calories, here's one more reason that could be a sound plan: A new study suggests the amount of iron in red meat might alter hunger hormones in your body, slowing metabolism and encouraging you to eat more.

Donald McClain, director of the Center on Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine fed mice diets that contained high or low levels of iron while tracking their levels of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone. After two months, McClain discovered that leptin levels had dropped by as much as 42% in the high-iron mice. To test whether low leptin led to over-eating, he let both groups of mice eat as much as they wanted: Sure enough, the high-iron group downed more calories than mice on the low-iron diet. Finally, McClain checked iron and leptin levels in 76 people and discovered that the higher their iron, the lower their leptin levels were. People with the highest iron had one-third the leptin of those with the lowest amounts of iron. (Everyone's iron levels fell within the normal range.)

McClain's findings suggest iron recommendations—18 mg a day for women 18 to 50 and 8 mg a day for women 51 and older—may be too high, he says. Eating more than a pound of red meat per week could be enough to raise leptin to levels he observed in his research, warns McClain. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you'll want to limit the amount of iron you get from meat and supplements, says McClain. But don't be too concerned about iron sources such as nuts, beans, spinach, tomatoes: You don't absorb as much from these food sources as you do from red meat.

3. Blaming your DNA


Some day, science may be able to link certain genes to a tendency to gain weight—but we're not there yet. And a recent study suggests that believing weight problems are genetic practically guarantees you'll pack on the pounds.

Tapping into a survey of nearly 9,000 women and men, Michael C. Parent, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at Texas Tech University and colleagues analyzed the people's beliefs regarding the genetics of being fat. When Parent followed up three years later, he discovered that the more strongly people believed genetics played a significant role in fatness, the more likely they were to have gained weight. This group was also less likely to exercise and eat right.

Mind is definitely influencing matter here, since Parent's findings also revealed that people who believed their weight was under their control were more likely to eat well, exercise regularly, and have a lower BMI. "There is no direct genetic cause for obesity," says Parent. He recommends you avoid playing the genetic blame game; instead, embrace the idea that you are in control of your weight.

4. It's just harder than it used to be


This is truly frustrating news: Recent findings published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice indicate that we're getting fatter on fewer calories than our parents did. Although we're eating about the same amount of food—and we're equally active—the current generation is gaining more weight than people did 40 years ago.

The researchers analyzed info on more than 36,000 people between 1971 and 2008, comparing diet, activity, and weight. Study author Jennifer Kuk, professor of health and sciences at York University in Toronto found that given the same amount of calories, an adult in 2008 is about 10% heavier than she would be in 1971. "Again, we're finding that weight management is much more complex than just energy in versus energy out," says Kuk. The solution isn't complex, however: We have to move more and be more careful about what we eat. Sigh—see you at the personal trainer's studio in Chicago.

Picture Credit: thelongeststraw.com


Article Credit:
Author: Prevention
4 Weird Reasons Why You're Gaining Weight
Reasons why you may be gaining weight while personal training in Chicago.
 

Steer Clear of These 25 Weight-Loss Mistakes

Are you guilty of these weight loss mistakes while reshaping yourself for the holidays? You'll want to read this list and find out.

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YOU DON'T DRINK WATER


Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking water on the regular, according to recent studies, can aid with weight loss. Filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control, and eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster, causing you to eat less. A small study even found that drinking cool water can discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that's a reason to stay hydrated.

YOU THINK WALKING YOUR DOG IS ENOUGH


A 15-minute stroll is better than nothing, but don't expect to see dramatic weight-loss results. You've got to kick it up a notch - big time - and do at least 30 minutes a day of heart-pumping exercise. Big calorie and fat burners include running, spin class, interval training, hiking, and circuit training.

YOU OVEREAT HEALTHY FOODS


Nuts, avocado, olive oil, and dark chocolate are all natural and healthy, but they aren't void of calories. You still need to watch how much you eat of the good stuff. For example, avocado offers a ton of health benefits, but an entire fruit is over 200 calories.

YOU ONLY DO CARDIO


If you live on the treadmill but never lift a pound, then you're missing out on one of the most important pieces of the fitness puzzle. Not only does weight training prevent injury by strengthening the joints, but it also builds muscle mass and increases metabolic rate. Bonus: thanks to a revved-up metabolism, you'll keep burning calories long after you've slipped off your sneakers.

YOU EXERCISE WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH


If you regularly exercise without eating first, you should reconsider: when you work out on an empty stomach, research shows that the calories burned come from muscle, not fat. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Not only will fueling your body help you avoid losing muscle, but also, you'll have more energy to push yourself through your workout.

YOUR PARTNER ISN'T ON THE SAME HEALTHY ROAD


A partner who's on a similar path can be a huge help to your weight-loss goals, but if your partner is not on board, then your relationship may be making you fat. You can't expect to lose weight if your husband constantly suggests ordering takeout, wants to go out for ice cream, or encourages you to sleep in instead of hitting the gym! Communicating that you need his support in losing weight is a great first step in finding compromises - for both of you. For starters, the next time you have dinner out, offer to split an appetizer or skip dessert.

YOU LEAVE OUT ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS


Giving up entire food groups can lead to a nutritional deficiency - not to mention trigger major cravings for whatever food has been cut. Rather than, say, eliminating all carbohydrates, focus on whole grains and remember to monitor portion control. Usually it's the extra servings that add to your waistline, not the pasta itself.

YOU DON'T SLEEP ENOUGH


Making time for your workouts can mean less time for sleep, but it's important to get enough z's if you're trying to lose weight. You need extra energy to keep up with your exercise routine, and skimping on sleep can affect your body's ability to control its appetite: not enough shut-eye increases appetite-stimulating hormones.

YOU DON'T GET ENOUGH VEGGIES


Eating five to seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is important for everyone, but dieters who go heavy on the produce are more likely to lose and keep the weight off, since a diet full of plant-based foods offers a greater variety of nutrients with fewer calories - and all that fiber keeps the body feeling fuller longer.

YOU EAT WHILE STANDING UP


Standing at the fridge or the counter to chow down isn't saving time or energy and can lead to mindless eating. It's best to designate time for snacking and meals that's set apart from other activities.

YOU WEAR CLOTHES THAT ARE TOO BIG


Loose clothes are comfy, but they cover up the body and allow you to forget what you look like, which can work against your fitness motivation. Instead, opt for clothes that have a more fitted silhouette to help give you a sense of your body image. Or better yet, start the day in your gym outfit to inspire you to do something active.

YOU'RE ON A DIET. WELL, SORT OF . . .


Whether you're on Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or your own diet-and-exercise plan, you can't do it halfheartedly and expect to see results. Stay committed to your plan, or you'll see the pounds stay on your tush instead of dropping from the scale.

YOU'RE ADDICTED TO CONDIMENTS AND TOPPINGS


A salad is one of the healthiest meals you can have, but when you top it with bacon bits, goat cheese, nuts, dried fruits, and ranch dressing, you can double the calorie amount in a flash. Be aware of how many calories your favorite salad extras add on. For instance, 10 croutons is an easy 100 calories.

YOU DON'T EAT BREAKFAST


Skipping breakfast may seem like a great way to save calories, but your body will actually hold on to fat because it thinks it's being starved. Keep in mind thatpeople who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight, so make sure to eat breakfast each morning to jump-start your metabolism. Don't just grab anything: include protein to give yourself sustainable energy and fiber to fill you up for hours.

YOU DON'T PRACTICE PORTION CONTROL


When it comes to a balanced diet, we know that portion control is one of the keys to success. Keep measuring cups and spoons on hand to make sure your serving sizes are appropriate, and learn how to give your body the "I'm full" signal in order to help you drop the fork when the time is right and move on with your day.

YOU EAT WITHOUT THINKING


Aligning mealtime with a screen like your computer or the TV can hurt your weight-loss goals. Designating a special time for meals without distractions will help you connect to your food and, as a result, eat less. Sometimes you don't even realize how much you're scarfing when your mind is somewhere else.

YOU DON'T CUT YOUR FOOD


Something as simple as slicing up your dinner can be helpful for your overeating woes. Cutting food into tiny pieces may seem slightly childish, but studies show that humans find smaller portions more satisfying and, as a result, are satisfied with less.

YOU STILL DRINK SODA


Soda offers literally no nutritional benefits, and continuing to drink the beverage is sabotaging your weight-loss goals - even if you only drink diet. Studies have shown that individuals who drink two diet sodas a day or more had waistlines that were 500 percent larger than the nondrinkers. Since quitting soda is no joke, check out this plan for breaking a cola habit.

YOU DON'T EAT ENOUGH


Don't starve yourself to save calories for later. It'll not only mess up your metabolism, and by dinnertime, that famished feeling will likely cause you to eat more than you would if you weren't starving. Not only is starving yourself not sustainable for continued weight loss, but also, limiting yourself to too-small portions can lead to excess snacking between mealtimes.

YOU DON'T LEAVE TIME FOR FUN


Since stress is shown to cause weight gain by triggering the body to eat more - especially foods high in sugar and fat - make sure you give yourself time to relax and unwind. And it's an added bonus that so many fun activities (like dancing, hiking, and shopping) are already natural calorie-burners!

YOU OVERINDULGE IN LOW-FAT FOODS


Going for foods with a lower calorie count can be deceiving, since many times they're filled with extra sodium, sugar, or chemical additives to make up for the ingredients the company has removed or decreased. Not only are these light versions less nutritious, but they also end up tasting "lighter," leading you to eat more. You'll probably end up consuming more calories than you would if you just ate a regular-sized portion of the real thing.

YOU DON'T KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL


Writing down what you eat is an essential way to monitor daily caloric intake. Don't think it's worth the effort? A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight monitored their food intake by keeping a journal.

YOU'RE ALWAYS DINING OUT


Hitting your favorite restaurant is a great way to unwind, but you're more likely to indulge in a huge meal complete with appetizers, drinks, fried foods, and dessert. Calorie counts are also a mystery, since many foods aren't labeled. If you don't want to give up your nights out, then split a meal with a friend, order healthy options like salads and grilled chicken, and sip water instead of wine.

YOU NEVER INDULGE


In an otherwise healthy diet, eating a few french fries or a piece of chocolate cake isn't going to ruin your weight-loss goals. A study found that it isn't necessary to up workout intensity the day after a piece of cake and that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories won't reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run.

Picture Credit: marketwatch.com


Article Credit:
Author: Lizzie Fuhr at PopSugar
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