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‘Water Fasting’ Is the Next Extreme Fad Diet No One Should Try

In case you hadn’t heard, humans need food to live.

Intermittent fasting, the latest in weight loss trends, has taken a turn for the extreme. Dieters are attempting long-term versions of intermittent fasting by starving themselves for days at a time, replacing food with excess water to fill their stomachs.

Bloating oneself with water has sometimes been used to stave off hunger pangs by those forced to endure extended periods of starvation. Now, however, this has been adopted into American diet culture, as some misguided dieters use the technique to help deal with starving themselves.

Elan Kels, your classic yo-yo dieter, recently described how he came to attempt such an extreme regimen. “I tried a million diets and failed a million diets,” Kels told the New York Post. “The diets that used to work for me don’t work for me anymore.”

What Kels didn’t know is that diets very seldom work for anyone — according to comprehensive, large-scale studies, the weight comes back for 97 percent of all dieters. Kels’ inability to lose weight is par for the course, since many dieters’ bodies respond to periods of perceived famine (e.g., diets) with rebound weight gain. Their bodies re-gain more weight than was lost in order to prepare just in case another “famine” strikes.

This is precisely what happened to Elan Kels. The man had grown to 285 pounds — his highest weight yet.

In desperation, Kels attempted intermittent fasting, a popular diet trend that involves periods of restricting food intake followed by periods of eating within a discrete time window. Weight loss during intermittent fasting is generally slow — and there have not been adequate studies conducted to evaluate whether weight regain occurs within a five-year period, as is the case with most diets. In many cases, diets are studied only in the short term, creating the illusion that the diet “works” and helps people lose weight.

Kels did not know this, however, and he was desperate — not exactly keen on waiting for this slow weight loss to drudge along. He scoured weight loss blogs and Reddit for something new to try, and found water fasting.

“The idea is: You could do it as long as you have fat on your body, and that’s what gives you energy,” he says. At its core, this is not a novel concept. Your body will continue to “eat” the fat on your body for energy until you run out and die — or until you start eating again, your metabolism adjusts, and you slowly gain the weight back. That’s the rebound.

However, you will likely feel terrible for most of the time you’re not eating food, according to several experts who spoke with the New York Post.

“It can be so bad for your organs,” said Joanne Labiner, an eating disorder specialist. “That’s why people with anorexia can die of a heart attack. Their body feeds on their heart.”

“The longer you [fast], the more risks you take,” Dr. Jason Fung, a kidney specialist who actually advocates fasting in select cases, says. “One is refeeding syndrome, seen in people who are slender already.” Refeeding syndrome is described by the National Institutes of Health as a shift in fluids and electrolytes once eating again commences. This shift is caused by severe metabolic and hormonal disruption caused by extreme fasting, and can be fatal.

Additionally, and perhaps more jarringly, intentional weight loss of over 20 pounds — regardless of whether the patient was initially obese — actually increases mortality risk according to some studies, rather than improving overall health.

Kels attempted a water fast for 47 days. At day 28, he could barely get out of bed, and abandoned the project.

He lost 55 pounds on the diet and has gained back half so far — which Fung admits he often sees with patients who attempt fasting.

Starvation diets should really not be the next big thing people try to lose weight. They not only don’t work, but are really dangerous — the whole “less food, less fat” logic is a myth that desperately needs to be busted.

(Via The Daily Meal)

3 Healthy Ingredients To Add To Your Holiday Dishes

We all look forward to the holidays. However, it is also during this time when we tend to eat more unhealthy food. The cakes, sweets, candies and those deliciously holiday indulgences that are in abundance around the holidays can be extremely bad to our health yet simply hard to resist. So here’s a healthy tip to make sure you get through the holiday season with as little damage to your waistline as possible—just make sure to load up your winter recipes with these three ingredients:

Allspice

Also known as Jamaica pepper, this bakery staple according to some studies has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help mitigate the severity of E. coli. A significant amount of allspice oil however has been thought to actually promote inflammation including induced nausea and vomiting.

Anise

This popular ingredient is commonly used for holiday cookies because of the lovely, aromatic flavor it brings. It is also one of the oldest plants used for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown that it’s a source of antioxidants and could also serve as a muscle relaxant. Plus, there’s evidence that it could even help with hot flashes and digestion.

Cinnamon

This basic baking ingredient, commonly used in Chinese medications is highly recommended for its antioxidants and helps maintain the amount of protein called Glutathione, or GSH which offers protection against free radical damage. It has also shown to help lower the blood sugar levels in diabetics with a study in 2015 indicating it could be used in addition to traditional medications to manage type 2 diabetes. However, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done, particularly on its effectiveness and safety.

Those with high blood pressure could also benefit from adding a sprinkling on their oatmeal, as one study in animals showed that it helped lower blood pressure readings. In humans, a small study of only 59 people indicated that those who supplemented their diets with cinnamon experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure.

Related Article: Cinnamon For Weight Loss

Of course, you will still want to limit how many cookies and cakes you indulge in this holiday season. And much of this research is not indicative of actual evidence, so take everything with a grain of salt, or cinnamon.

Originally posted at Newsweek

Holiday Weight Gain: How Can You Handle It?

Christmas and New Year is just around the corner. It’s the season of enticing delicacies, rich home-cooked food, drinking and being merry. Holiday time isn’t any different from everyday life except that there is more yummy food on the table to tempt you and they can all be hard to resist.

Moderation is key.  It’s the secret to achieving a fun but also healthy holiday time. With a moderate attitude both to what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much physical activity you do (or don’t do), you can avoid holiday weight gain and still take part in all the fun in this time of year.

Here are some tips to help you handle the hectic holiday weeks:

Stay Within Your Calorie Range
Plan your meals and snacks in advance so you can savor your favorites and still stay on ground. Cut back on calories in order to splurge a little more on your holiday meal. Decide which foods you’ll have and how much then use your food tracker to stick within your calorie limits.

Devote To Working Out
Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to dedicate to keeping fit. Schedule your workouts. It may be better to cut your fitness time in half if you don’t have the time than to completely eliminate it.

Restrict Your Alcohol
Alcohol is high in calories.  It can lower inhibitions, making it more likely that you’ll forget about your nutrition plan and overindulge. If you can party hop without drinking at all, you’ll be better off. If you must drink, nurse your glass slowly, choose diet-friendly drinks, and limit the number of servings.

Drink water!
Then drink more water…. and then more! Water keeps you full and it’s healthy.

Another problem is that people tend to get lazy during the winter and are less willing to be active.  As soon as the temperatures start dropping and there’s less daylight in the day, people are less willing to leave the house and tend to sit at home most of the time. This slows your body’s metabolism significantly which leads to putting on more weight during the holiday. If you want to avoid it, there’s a simple solution: get up and go! Mind what you put in your mouth and don’t give up in the process.

Don’t Wait To Lose Weight — Commit To It!

Stay Motivated To Lose Weight

Many of you may already be tired at the thought of weight loss alone. Losing weight is actually a process. When people try to lose weight and do not see the results right away, they often get discouraged which caused them to either stop trying or begin hopping from program to program without giving the diet the time it needs to work.

If you are merely motivated by the desire to “fit in” or to try to look a lot like those perfectly image-edited models you see all the time on television then you can bet you will either fail or your success will be short-term.

So what is the best approach to losing weight? You will need discipline but discipline also requires motivation.

Find Your Motivation

You probably have lots of reasons for wanting to lose weight.  Not all, however, may be good ones. If your decision develops  primarily out of pressure from someone else, your conviction to succeed could diminish over time. To ensure success, you need  to develop the will to improve your life, not someone else’s vision of  it.

The key is to adopt the right attitude before you start your plan.  If you’re really serious about slimming down, you need to think  long-term. That’s why it helps to ready yourself emotionally to take on  the challenge.

  • Start listing all the reasons you can think of for losing weight
  • Characterize them into “have to’s” and must. These words imply obligation, not desire.

Remember that there is no short cut to losing weight. Exercising and cutting calories  are vital, but your mental outlook can also mean the difference between  success and failure.

Choose an Attainable Goal

The biggest thing is to take BABY STEPS.  Don’t make huge weight loss goals. Don’t do anything super out of the ordinary all at once. Make LITTLE changes, slowly.  When you want to make a change, ask yourself if you can commit and be able to keep it up for the next year or so. Count on losing just 10 percent of your weight within six months, and focus on keeping it off for more than a year. But be  careful about relying solely on figures. A number on the scale isn’t a  goal; it’s a measurement of success.

Make ‘Being Healthy’ Your Top Priority

Create habits and eating patterns that will help you preserve your health. Take up a sport or any physical activity, be it running, skipping, weight lifting and get good at it. Educate yourself about how you can perform better physically and mentally.  This is a great way to test your limits and not waste your time looking in the mirror pinching fat from your body.

Find A Proven Weight Loss Program

The program can include resistance training, aerobic exercising, and nutrition. Joining such can be useful if you can follow them correctly and with complete dedication. Some weight loss clinics lets you sign up for a free consultation that will provide you more information about the different weight loss programs and diet plans available.

Each plan includes weekly meetings with your counselor and help with setting up a personalized healthy menu. You weight loss goals combined with your diet and exercise plan will determine how long you should stay with the program.

Weight loss may indeed be a battle. However, once you start doing something, even the smallest of actions will soon give you the inspiration and weight loss motivation to do more and better the next time. Quit waiting around. Instead go out, do something and find it yourself.

6 Weight Loss Myths

6 Weight Loss Myths and Misconceptions Busted

Here are 6 Weight Loss Myths busted and proven. Maintaining a healthy weight is the single most effective thing you can do to protect against chronic disease. Studies show that people who are overweight are more likely to develop high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, heart disease and even cancer.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your risk of disease or improve your self-confidence, however, you should familiarize yourself with the following weight loss myths and misconceptions.

#1) Cardio is the Most Effective Type of Exercise for Losing Weight

Because of its fast-paced nature and ability to increase your heart rate, you may think that cardio is the most effective type of exercise to lose weight. According to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University, however, resistance training is just as effective as cardio for losing weight.

With resistance training, your body burns calories both during the exercise and after, whereas cardio burns energy only during the exercise itself. Additionally, resistance training builds muscle mass, which subsequently burns calories to maintain, even at rest. Cardio, on the other hand, may actually reduce muscle mass.

So, if you want to lose weight, combine both cardio and resistance training into your weekly fitness regimen.

#2) You Can Lose Weight by Counting and Cutting Calories

Calorie counting is often viewed as an effective, time-tested strategy for losing weight. With current dietary guidelines recommending men and women consume 2,000 calories per day, some individuals assume they can lose weight by consuming fewer than 2,000 calories. The problem with calorie counting, however, is that different people process calories in different ways.

People who struggle to lose weight, for instance, typically burn calories from protein and carbohydrates, whereas their slim counterparts burn calories from fat. This has nothing to do with activity levels, but rather our metabolism controls the way in which we process calories. Of course, no two people have the exact same calorie needs, either. A 220-pound man typically requires more calories than a 150-pound woman.

Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows food and beverage companies to mislabel the caloric content of their products by up to 20%. And as you may have guessed, most companies undershoot the caloric content of their products rather than overshooting it. This means a granola bar labeled with 200 calories may actually have 220 calories, which is perfectly acceptable under current FDA guidelines.

#3) You Can Be Overweight and Healthy

Unfortunately, you can’t be overweight and healthy. Even if traditional health markers like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are normal, being overweight still poses a serious risk to your health and well-being.

A study published in the European Heart Journal busted this common weight loss myth, with researchers confirming that you cannot be “healthy obese.” After analyzing their findings, researchers concluded that being overweight but with otherwise normal health markers increases the risk of heart disease by 28%.

#4) Juicing Helps You Lose Lose Weight

Think juicing fruits and vegetables will help you lose weight? Think again. Unlike blending, juicing takes out all the fibrous plant matter. So, instead of having both juice and fiber, all you get is juice — and you might be surprised to learn just how much sugar that juice contains.

A single 12-ounce serving of orange juice, for instance, contains roughly 30 grams of sugar, whereas apple juice contains 40 grams of sugars. To put those numbers into perspective, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 37.5 grams of sugar per day for men and 25 grams for women.

You don’t have to necessarily stop juicing altogether, however. There are ways to juice in a healthy manner that supports your weight loss efforts.

Here are some tips for healthier juicing:

  • Focus on juicing vegetables while keeping fruits to a minimum
  • Avoid adding processed sugar
  • Save the fibrous plant matter for use in soups, stews, smoothies and more
  • Consume slowly throughout the day to prevent blood sugar spikes

#5) Carbs Cause Weight Gain

Contrary to popular belief, adopting a carb-free diet isn’t an effective way to lose weight. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Without carbs, you won’t have the energy to exercise and stay fit.

Several studies have even debunked the low-carb weight loss myth. One study conducted by Foster GD in 2003 found no significant weight loss difference between participants on a low-carb diet and those on a regular diet. The Nutritional Science Initiative (NuSI) conducted a similar study, with researchers concluding that low-carb and high-carb diets yield the same results for weight loss.

There are both bad and good carbs, however, and if you want to lose weight you need to focus on the latter. Good carbs are absorbed more slowly into the blood, allowing for longer and more sustainable energy levels. Bad carbs, also known as simple carbs, are broken down and absorbed more quickly, resulting in blood sugar spikes and ultimately weight gain.

Some excellent sources of good carbs include:

  • Brown rice
  • Fruits
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Black beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain pasta

#6) A Gluten-Free Diet Help You Lose Weight

From Burger King and Carl’s Jr. to Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, countless restaurants throughout the country now offer gluten-free menus. But while often touted as a healthier alternative, gluten-free foods have no impact on weight loss.

Gluten protein is a type of protein that’s commonly found in wheat, rye and barley. Because of its glue-like properties, it’s used as an additive to help bind and hold foods together. When you go on a gluten-free diet, though, you eliminate healthy grains, which are an excellent source of fiber. The only people who should eliminate gluten from their diet are those suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If you don’t fall under either of these categories, you can consume gluten without fear of it promoting weight gain.

Don’t fall for the weight loss myths described here. If you want to lose weight, focus on a healthy diet. Base this around lean meats, vegetables, whole grains and the occasional fruits. Along with exercise, this will set you on the right path to a healthier and more sustainable weight.

Research Manifests Mindfulness Linked To Weight Loss

Lose Weight with Meditation

Recent discovery by a team of researchers from McGill University in Montreal, Canada has shown possible benefits of meditation and mindful practices as a key to weight loss.

An analysis revealed that mindful practices can be a great approach in a way to lose weight with meditation approach to improving long-term dietary routines and keeps the weight off.  Results of this analysis was posted in the journal Obesity Reviews of the World Obesity Federation.

Lose Weight with Mindfulness Thinking

A 10-year study evaluated more than a thousand participants with focus on mindfulness and its significance to weight loss. Three important approaches to mindfulness were looked at:

  • formal meditation practice not lose weight
  • casual mindfulness training targeting eating habits
  • a combination of meditation and mindfulness strategies

Mindfulness turned out to be fairly to highly effective in reducing weight loss and enhances obesity-related eating habits. It failed inadequately as a short term method based only on dietary changes and exercises — which yielded better immediate outcomes.  Researchers however indicate that participants who utilize some form of meditation advantaged from stable long-term results.

Mindful practitioners have lost about 3.3 percent of body weight compared to the 4.7 percent weight loss experienced by participants who only dieted and exercised.  Follow up evaluations manifested a continuing steady weight loss of 3.5 percent by participants.

Research team acknowledge the challenge of limitations they are facing, but are more hopeful and keen in seeing how mindfulness-based interventions can be effectively added to dedicated weight loss programs to further enhance the benefits offered by such techniques.

Reference: Medical News Today

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