Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty Sleep

Sleeping too little or too much could pack on the pounds! 

Despite traditional thinking that sleeping too much might cause weight gain, research is showing that sleeping too little can also cause weight gain.  Several studies have been done in this area.  In one particular study, scientists tracked the sleeping habits of 276 adults for over 6 years. 

Compared to people who slept 7-8 hours per night, those who slept 9-10 hours a night gained an average of 3.5 pounds more and those who slept 5-6 hours a night gained more than 4 pounds more.

Undersleeping is probably worse than oversleeping when it comes to controlling body weight, say the researchers.  People getting less than average-length sleepers were at a 27% greater risk of obesity, while extra  long sleepers had a 21% higher risk of becoming obese.  Researchers believe that too little sleep may cause hormonal changes that stimulate appetite, among other factors.

I know when I am short on sleep, I certainly crave carbohydrates....especially those simple ones...breads, candy, crackers, cereal, etc

So...turn off the TV and get to bed!

"There is one thing people like that is good for them: a good night's sleep." - Ed Howe

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decifering Food Labels (Part 2)

NATURAL - May not contain, or have ever contained an added vitamin, mineral nutrient, artificial flavouring agent or food additive.

ORGANIC - Now regulated across Canada, products marked organic or bearing the new Canada Organic label are certified to come from farm systems employing management practices that seek to nurture ecosystems and achieve sustainable productivity.  Animal products marked organic are grown without antibiotics or hormones.

REDUCED - Must contain at least 25% less of a nutrient or ingredient than the regular version of the same product.

REDUCED IN CALORIES - Must provide at least 25% less calories than the regular version of the same product.

SOURCE OF CALCIUM - Must contain at least 165mg of calcium per serving.

SOURCE OF FIBRE - Must provide at least 4g of fibre per serving.

WHOLE WHEAT - Usually refers to a refined grain that only contains the bran and the endosperm, but does not contain, or contains very little of the nutrient-dense grain.

WHOLE GRAIN -  Refers to the entire grain including its nutrient-dense germ.  Whole grain is always a healthier choice than whole wheat.

"American consumers have no problem with carcinogens, but they will not purchase any product, including floor wax, that has fat in it." - Dave Barry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Decifering Food Labels (Part 1)

Food Stores are brimming with products that make all sorts of important sounding claims.  But how do you interpret what the claims stand for?  To help you navigate the aisles, I've compiled a list of the most common food labelling terms and defined what they really mean!

CHOLESTEROL-FREE - Product contains less than 2mg of cholesterol and is low in saturated fat.  However, the product may not necessarily be low in total fat.

FREE - The word "free" on the label means that the associated ingredient or nutrient is not present at all or is present in amounts considered nutritionally insignificant.

FREE RANGE - Hens are raised free from cages and are allowed some access to the outside.

FREE RUN - Hens are raised free from cages and are kept entirely indoors on a barn floor.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED - The product has been changed by way of intentional gene manipulation.

KOSHER - Describes food and practices that are specifically permitted by Jewish dietary law.

LIGHT - "Light" may refer to nutrition or to aesthetics.  When referring to nutrition, light is allowed for foods that are reduced in fat or reduced in calories.  With respect to colour, taste or texture, an explanation of what makes the food light is required on the label.

LOW FAT - Must contain less than 3g of fat per serving.

LOW IN SATURATED FAT - Each serving must contain less than 2g of saturated fat and trans fat combined.

"So my doctor told me to watch what I'm eating - to read food labels. I'm in the store reading the Fig Newtons label: I've always liked Fig Newtons. I'm reading the label to make sure everything's fine: fat content. I looked at the serving size; two cookies. Who eats two cookies? I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve: two sleeves is a serving size. I open them both and eat them like a tree chipper; Fig Newton shavings coming off the side." - Comedian Brian Regan (click his name to watch this)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Exercise!!!

Today is the 4rth and final part of the "easy ways to boost your metabolism" posts...

Of course, the number one way to supercharge and bulletproof your metabolism is through exercise.  Not only do you burn 300-500 calories per hour during the most high-intensity workouts, but you also build calorie-burning muscle, create new mitochondria (energy-burning "power plants") in your muscle cells and increase cardiovascular health and efficiency, which leads to even easier bodyfat loss.  Consistently, daily exercise is a key variable in long-term metabolic management.

So, there you have it.  The foundation of metabolic health and consistency in your body will be laid solidly by your commitment to living out these four habits.  Get busy, lean and healthy - and more importantly, enjoy life!

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.  - Joey Adams

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Eat 6 Meals a Day

It isn't a secret that eating smaller more frequent meals leads to a more efficient metabolism.  Digestion takes energy, as you use calories to digest, absorb and assimilate food.  So, the more often you eat, the more calories you burn through digestion.  That doesn't mean that you're allowed to eat more calories throughout the day - you should split your proper, planned food intake into smaller, more frequent meals.  Munching on snacks during the day (like baby carrots or protein bars) is a good way to avoid overeating at breakfast, lunch and dinner and incorporate more low-carb meals into your diet.

By the same token, the fastest way to slow down your metabolism is by following extreme diets.  Starvation diets (around 500 calories or less) can decrease your metabolism by up to 50%.  Even the most physiologically sound diet will gradually lead to a slow decline.  I encourage a moderate (as in weekly) splurge meal to prevetn this from happening. (YIPEE!!!!)

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of those pieces. ~Judith Viorst

Monday, July 5, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Pump Up The Protein

Today we look at another way to reach your metabolic best....

Making sure you're getting enough protein is the next best way to raise your metabolism.  It takes more energy to digest protein because you burn more calories duirng its digestion than you do after eating other types of food.  It also stimulates the production of glucagon, a hormone that tells bodyfat cells to give up their stranglehold on fat.  This is a key reason why several studies have shown that higher protein intake leads to faster weight loss, even when calories are the same among study groups. 
Good protein options include eggs, fish and poultry, lean meats; along with vegetable sources such as beans, nuts and wholegrains.

"Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!" ~Tommy Smothers

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Take Your Vitamins

Love it or hate it, we all have a base metabolism - the rate at which the body burns calories.  Although our genes place us on a metabolic continuum (ranging from that of a racing greyhound to that of a snail), we do have a certain amount of control over our metabolism.   In fact, how and what you eat, in addition ot your activity level, can either elevate you to the top of your genetic potential or make you plummet to the rocks of yo-yo dieting. 

Over the next few days I will outline some no-fuss ways to reach your metabolic best....

First, you need to make sure you're not deficient in micronutrients that support metabolism, such as the B vitamins.  Eating foods rich in these vitamins - like eggs, poultry, spinach and whole grains - aid in carbohydrate metabolism and energy production.  While vitamin B-1 plays a role in energy metabolism, B-2 helps metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
It is also important to take supplements to boost your immune system, so you can avoid illness and keep your training up to speed.  The immune system is constantly bombarded by free radicals - every cell in the body takes about 10,000 hits per day!  Antioxidants neutralize these assassins and even slow down the aging process, another enemy of metabolism. 
How can you ensure your body is fighting these free radicals?  Try taking a nutritional supplement that provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals - often these can be purchased in daily serving paks, eliminating the need for several different bottles of supplements taking up room in your cupboard. 

"All those vitamins aren't to keep death at bay, they're to keep deterioration at bay."  - Jeanne Moreau