The type of food you eat

Researchers have found that fat and thin people can eat roughly the same number of calories, but it seems that the type of food they are eating is different.

There is a very popular theory that goes something like: too much fat makes you fat. This may be right in principle (large amounts of saturated fat in the diet are not healthy), but it’s important to remember that some fats are absolutely essential, hence their name: essential fatty acids.

The result of this theory is that women go on low-fat and no-fat diets, which are dangerous. Furthermore, no-fat and low-fat food tends to be high in sugar and salt, which is required to make it palatable. This is the type of thing that makes you fat. In fact, it’s sugar and other foods that are ‘fast-releasing’ that will encourage weight gain, and here’s why:

The speed with which a food increases blood sugar (in other words, whether it is ‘fast-releasing’ or ‘slow-releasing’) determines whether or not it will cause you to gain weight. If your blood sugar levels rise very quickly your body has to secrete more insulin in order to control it.

Every time you eat, your body has a choice: it can either burn that food as energy or store it as fat. Researchers have found that high insulin levels cause you not only to change your food into fat, but they also prevent your body from breaking down previously stored fat.

These fast-releasing foods include anything that contains sugar and refined flour, such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, and other ‘treats’.

If you crave sweet or starchy foods, feel tired during the afternoon, light-headed, dizzy or shaky if you miss a meal or wake up feeling tired after a full night’s sleep, then your blood sugar levels are probably fluctuating too much.

Underactive thyroid

An underactive thyroid can be at the root of gradual weight gain, and it should be checked by your doctor.

Nutritional deficiencies

Food can be converted into fat or energy. You can either store what you eat, which means you will probably put on weight, or you can use it for energy. Whether food is burned or stored is determined by a number of chemical reactions that take place in your body. These are activated by enzymes, which are, in turn, dependent upon vitamins and minerals. Therefore, if you are deficient by even a small amount in certain vitamins and minerals, you will gain weight. Fortunately there are now some very good tests that can check for these deficiencies. Click Tests to see which tests are available to you.

What does your BMI mean?

Under 20: underweight
20-25 normal
25-30 overweight
30-40 obese
Over 40: dangerously obese

One of the best and most convenient ways to measure body fat is to use an electronic machine that uses bioelectrical impedance. Sound confusing? It’s simple to understand. An electric current is passed though the body and the machine measures how long it takes for the current to come out, providing you with a measurement of your total body fat. Lean tissue is a much better conductor of electricity than fatty tissue, so that machine is able to measure the percentage of fat in the body.

These are available for use in the home, look just like ordinary scales and can also be used to weigh yourself normally.

The causes of weight gain

There are many reasons why you may gain weight and the cause may not be one factor but a combination of a number of different ones.

Dieting

Yes, one of the main causes of weight gain is dieting. Dieting makes you fat. As you reduce your food intake to lose weight, your body put itself on ‘famine alert’. It gets the impression that food is scarce and therefore it slows down your metabolism to get the best use of the small amount of food it is receiving.

When you say you want to lose weight, what you actually want to lose is fat. If you lose weight rapidly, almost 25 percent of that weight loss can be made up of water, muscle and other lean tissue.

The reason for this is that your body is actually programmed to hold on to fat. So in times of what your body considers to be a ‘famine’, it will actually go as far as breaking down muscle and losing water in order to hold on to its fat reserves. Faddy diets suggest that you can lose up to 10 pounds in a week, but remember this: it is physically impossible to lose more than 900g (2lb) of body fat in a week.

Furthermore, if you lose weight quickly by restricting your intake and then go back to eating normally, a much higher percentage of the food you eat is laid down as fat. Why? Because your body wants to build up extra fat stores, in case this type of famine occurs again. There’s also the question of metabolism. When you crash diet, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy and make the most out of the small amounts you are eating. What happens when you go back to eating normally? Well, everything you eat is being dealt with at a much slower rate and more fat is stored.

Too much food and not enough exercise

This is the obvious reason, because if you eat more than you burn off then you are going to gain weight. The idea has been that if the number of calories going into your body is less than the calories being used up by bodily activity and exercise, then you will lose weight. Nowadays, we know that the type of calories is also an important factor in this equation. In other words, you need to consider what type of calories you are eating – whether they come in the form of fat, carbohydrates or protein.

How to lose weight naturally

Women form the majority of people dieting, joining a slimming club, trying the next ‘quick-fix’ solution to weight problems and they are the main purchasers of low-calorie and low-fat foods. It’s also a fact that four times as many women as men will be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which can affect your weight.

Your ideal weight

How do you know what your ideal weight should be? According to the height and weight tables formulated for insurance companies, you’d think that everyone of the same height should weigh the same. Obviously this isn’t the case!

All of us are built differently, and our body shape can make a big difference to the amount of weight we can carry healthily. Furthermore, fit women will always look slimmer and weigh more, largely because muscle weighs so much more than fat. It’s even possible to be a normal weight but with unacceptably high levels of body fat.

It became clear that another method of assessing weight needed to be developed, and this is where the body mass index comes in.

Body Mass Index

If you want a rough idea of your ‘ideal’ weight then the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best indicator. It tries to identify the percentage of body tissue that is actually fat. It does have disadvantages in that it cannot allow for variations in fat, bone, organs and muscle, but it provides a broader range for what is considered to be normal.

Your BMI is the ratio of your height to your weight and is calculated as follows:

BMI = your weight in kg divided by the square of your height in metres.

For example if my weight is 63.5 kg (10 stone) and my height is 1.68m (5ft 6in), my BMI is 63.5 – 1.68 x 1.68 = 22.5

Vegetarian diet

The vegetarian diet is often implemented because of an individual’s religious observance or personal political statement. The vegetarian diet foregoes all forms of animal flesh, but it is often suggested that those interested in “converting” to vegetarianism give up meat gradually, which allows them (and their bodies) to steadily adjust. People who are worried about not getting enough protein will be glad to know that there is plenty of plant protein out there to keep you well nourished.

One of the biggest sources of plant protein comes from seeds. One cup of pumpkin seeds alone has 78 grams of protein. Soy products are also a great source of protein. In fact, soy products are traditionally viewed as an adequate counterpart to meat products in general, so you don’t have to worry about not getting the right kinds of protein. Rice chick peas and oats round up some other delicious meat alternatives. Those who participate in this diet should get a cook book to get ideas for new, interesting, and tasty recipes. This will help to increase the variety of foods you eat and help to keep you from getting bored on the diet.

It is very easy to leave out essential nutrients if you’re not aware of what your body needs and what you are giving it, which could be detrimental to your health. Participants are advised to consult a doctor or chart in order to educate themselves on the necessary proteins that they must consume. You may also want to take supplements in order to ensure that they get all of their vitamins.

Weight gain diet

While most people have weight to lose, there are some who need to gain weight. Being underweight can be just as unhealthy as being overweight. Hence this diet revolves around consuming 500 additional calories a day, which experts agree is optimum for controlled weight gain. If eating an extra 500 calories a day doesn’t seem to be doing the trick after a couple of weeks, you can experiment with 700 additional calories.

Most doctors agree that to gain weight in a healthy fashion requires eating calorie dense yet nutritious food. An example of a breakfast while on the weight gain diet includes granola, chopped nuts, a banana, milk and juice. A lunch would involve 1/2 an avocado, a can of tuna in oil, 2 sliced tomatoes, a handful of olives, mixed salad leaves, 2 tsp of olive oil and a tbsp of sesame seeds, and whole grain crackers. You are also allowed snacks spaced mid-way between meals, and must eat a sensible dinner. The key to formulating any meal for weight gain is to concentrate on a sensible blend of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. When attempting to gain weight, it is often beneficial to eat multiple small meals per day, rather than a few large meals. Especially when coupled with exercise, eating multiple small meals encourages your body to use the calories to build lean tissue (muscle).

In order to gain weight some might indulge in fattening fast foods, but this is definitely the wrong route to take if you want to remain healthy. The focus should be on eating nutritious foods from a variety of sources. Some programs recommend expensive weight gain powders or vitamins, but these supplements are not necessary so long as you are eating a well-balanced diet that includes more calories per day than you burn. People usually gain about one pound per week when they appropriately follow the weight gain diet.

Menopause Diet

Eating right can definitely ease the various discomforts of menopause including hot flashes, bloating and mood swings. The menopause diet is all about achieving a balance by eating certain types of food while foregoing others. The right balance can alleviate most symptoms and make the individual simply feel better.

Fruits such as melons and citrus are highly recommended; they are high in potassium and balance sodium and water retention. People should also include dried fruit like apricots and figs. Vegetables including yams, collard greens, and broccoli may also make menopause more pleasant. Soy products, seaweed, and oily fish like tuna and salmon are some other beneficial foods that can help make this diet successful. For a complete chart, people should consult a physician.

The lack of fattening foods and complex carbs is obvious. Like many diets, people are encouraged to minimize the consumption of such foods and food groups. Doing so will provide your body with a more chemically appealing balance and, hopefully, alleviate some of the symptoms typically associated with menopause.

Gluten Free Diet

Most people who choose to go on this diet suffer from celiac (a stomach disease) or dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin disease). Gluten itself is a protein that is found in cereals and was proven to harm the gut and cause complications that can lead to disease. The actual diet involves the complete avoidance of wheat, rye and oats.

People who go on this diet should see a doctor beforehand so that they can have specific guidelines to better cover what they can and cannot eat. Basically, you won’t be able to eat bread or pasta, so people on this diet tend to fill up on meat, and dairy products. However, some yogurts also contain gluten and should be avoided. Dieters won’t be able to drink most alcoholic drinks either, since they are generally brewed from products very high in gluten.

Although possible, it is not recommended for vegetarians to subscribe to this diet because they already have a very strict diet to begin with, and if they rule out gluten, they may be depriving themselves of vital proteins and nutrients. The Gluten Free Diet is similar to a protein diet because it avoids most complex carbs and essentially requires that you get the majority of your nutrients from meat

Diabetic Diet

Most nutritionists will deny that there is a single, specific plan that qualifies for the term “diabetic diet”. However, there are important nutritional guidelines that people with diabetes need to follow in order to manage their condition. The so-called “diabetic diet” isn’t exclusively for people with or without diabetes. If follows basic, medically sound health principles that allow a person to maintain blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, and other basic physiological needs. It’s a basic nutrition plan similar to what a nutritionist might give you.

The diabetic diet revolves around the idea that people are supposed to consume a certain percentage of their daily calories from each of the “macronutrients” – carbohydrate, protien and fat. Twenty percent of the calories go towards protein. No more than thirty percent are allowed to go towards the consumption of fats. The remaining 50-60 percent should come from carbohydrates. The reason for these regimented percentages is that it’s important for a diabetic to have the same amount of glucose released into the blood steam on a consistent basis.

The most important thing to note about this diet is that it involves having a diet plan mapped out by a nutritionist. This, mixed with exercise, can definitely lead to weight loss and health benefits. However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking into this diet as a way to treat your condition, be aware that this specific diet may not in fact meet your needs. It’s important to consult a physician to determine whether or not this specific diet will help you achieve your goals.

About the Atkins Diet

What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins Diet is from a book called Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by the late Robert C Atkins, MD. Dr. Atkins said the way your body processes the carbohydrates you eat — not how much fat you eat — causes you to gain weight.

What will I Eat?
This is a low-carb, high protein diet, so say good-bye to processed, pre-packaged and junk foods (cookies, sodas, etc.) and hello to steaks, burgers, cheese and fish.

How Does it Work?
According to Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution: By reducing your carbohydrate intake to less than 40 grams a day, you will enter a bodily process called ketosis. Ketosis is a state in which your body burns fat as fuel, which the affectes insulin production and prevents more fat from being formed.

What is it Like?
The Atkins Diet consists of the following four stages: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and maintenance. Induction is the first 14 days of the plan, during which Atkins says you can lose up to 15 pounds.

This rapid weight loss is due to limiting your carbs to 20 grams a day. The only carbs you can have are low-carb vegetables like lettuce, broccoli and tomatoes. You are limited to three cups per day.

During the next stage — ongoing weight loss — you can increase your carb intake by five grams. You will eventually hit a plateau and have to slack off your carb intake once again.

How Long will I be on It?
Once you enter maintenance, you can’t go back to eating carbs with abandon. Dr. Atkins virtually promised that anyone who returns to over-eating high-carb foods like pizza or desserts will gain back the weight lost.

Info about Weight Loss Herbs

White Kidney Bean Powder

Phaseolus Vulgaris
Phaseolamin is a derivitive of the white kidney bean that has been clinically shown to reduce the body’s ability to digest calories from starch.

Beet root

Beta Vulgaris
Beta vulgaris encourages and supports liver metabolism, and enriches the blood.

Chitosan

Chitosan is a derivative of chitin, which is a component of the exoskeleton of shellfish like shrimp, lobster, and crabs. Chitosan acts by encapsulating the fat and cholesterol in the food before the body has a chance to absorb them. The body then eliminates the Chitosan with the fatty mass.

White Willow (bark)

Salix Alba
When combined with the other ingredients, Salix Alba is valued for its ability to promote the metabolism of fat and increase caloric expenditure.

L-Methionine

L-Methionine acts as a catalyst for the constituents that are integrally involved in the process employed by the liver to burn excess fat.
Fenugreek (extract)

Trigonella Foenumgraecum
Aids the body in balancing sugar levels, reducing present cholesterol, and supports digestive tract health.

Green Tea (Leaf)

Camellia Sinensis
Recent data indicates strong evidence that Camellia Sinensis may have a stimulating effect upon caloric expenditure and fat oxidation.