Tag Archives: Atkins diet

A Stretch to Open up the Hips and Thighs

This is a great stretch for loosening up the outside of your hips and thighs. It you’re not limber enough to hold your foot, you can hook a strap or a towel around it to help you reach it.
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STEP-1. Lying on your back, bend your right knee into your chest. Keep your left leg extended straight out on the floor in front of you. Straighten your right leg, holding the outer edge of your right food with your left hand or using a strap. Press the thumb of your right hand to the top of your right thigh where it meets your torso.

STEP-2. Without allowing your right hip to roll completely off the floor (as you would in a lying spinal twist), move your right leg across your body to the left side until you feel a gentle stretch running from your outer right hip down the outside of your right thigh. Continue to press the right side of your buttock toward the floor (it’s OK if it lifts a few inches). Pause for three to six full breaths. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Good Lifestyle Can Transform Genes

Comprehensive lifestyle changes including a better diet and more exercise can lead not only to a better physique, but also to swift and dramatic changes at the genetic level, US researchers said.

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In a small study, the researchers tracked 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer who decided against conventional medical treatment such as surgery and radiation or hormone therapy.

The men underwent three months of major lifestyle changes, including eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, moderate exercise such as walking for half an hour a day, and an hour of daily stress management methods such as meditation.

As expected, they lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements. But the researchers found more profound changes when they compared prostate biopsies taken before and after the lifestyle changes.

After three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes – including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off. The activity of disease-preventing genes increased while a number of disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down, according to the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research was led by Dr Dean Ornish, head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, and a well-known author advocating lifestyle changes to improve health.

“It’s an exciting finding because so often people say, ‘Oh, it’s all in my genes, what can I do?’ Well, it turns out you may be able to do a lot,” Ornish, who is also affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, said. “‘In just three months, I can change hundreds of my genes simply by changing what I eat and how I live?’

That’s pretty exciting,” Ornish said. “The implications of our study are not limited to men with prostate cancer.”

Ornish said the men avoided conventional medical treatment for prostate cancer for reasons separate from the study. But in making that decision, they allowed the researchers to look at biopsies in people with cancer before and after lifestyle changes.

Sources:
The Times Of India

Healthy Habits

Whole grain

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Have the whole thing.
Instead of eating processed white bread, white pasta, or white rice, opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. “Whole” products are not only high in fiber, but they also keep you feeling full.

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Keep it skinny.

When eating fruits and vegetables, keep the skin intact. The skin of fruits and vegetables contains extra fiber, so keep it on and eat it up to gain the most nutritional benefit. To get even more nutrients from your favorite fruits and veggies, eat them raw. Cooking fruits and vegetables sacrifices some of their fiber and nutrient content, so savor them in their crunchy, au natural form….CLICK & SEE

Boost your breakfast and your fiber.
Start every morning with a healthy serving of fiber to fill you up and energize you for the day. Stock your cabinet with high-fiber breakfast options such as bran cereal and steel-cut oatmeal. Add even more fiber to these healthy diet choices by topping them with fiber-rich fruit. Add fresh blueberries, raspberries, or sliced bananas to your cold cereal. When you don’t have fresh fruit on hand, don’t panic—you can add frozen fruit to oatmeal just before cooking it.

Bring on the beans.
Dry beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fiber to add to your diet. They are protein-packed and delicious, and they can be selected as a meat replacement. Spice up your favorite foods by adding black, garbanzo, kidney, or navy beans..CLICK & SEE

Color your menu.
Ensure that your family is getting a full spectrum of nutrients in their daily diet by including a variety of colors in each meal. Because many nutrients are also pigments, adding colorful fruits and vegetables to entrees means you’re also increasing your intake of powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants…..CLICK & SEE


Snack smart.
Keep high-fiber, nutritious snacks handy at all times. Choose whole-grain pretzels, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or raw nuts when you are craving something salty. Wash pieces of fruit each day so they will be easy to grab when your sweet tooth beckons. Wash and cut carrots, peppers, and raw sweet potatoes for a crunchy, guilt-free snack. For the ultimate high-fiber snack, make a customized fiber-filled trail mix using raw nuts, flavorful seeds, dried fruit, and a few extra ingredients of your own..….CLICK & SEE

Request a healthy option.
When you’re dining out, ask if you can substitute vegetables or fruit for the fries or chips that normally accompany your meal. At some restaurants, you can even ask to replace the croutons on your salad with high-fiber raw nuts or dried fruit. Don’t be afraid to ask for a healthy option—after all, the customer is always right!………..CLICK & SEE

Supplement with Fiber.
To ensure you are reaching all of your fiber goals, supplement with Good Fiber. You may sprincle onto the foods you are already eating, or eat Wafers with fiber for a sweet, fiber-filled snack on the run

Increase your H2O.
As you increase your fiber intake, don’t forget to drink more water, too. Like fiber, water is an important regulator of the digestive system. Wash your fiber down with a refreshing glass of water, and you’ll be well on your way to digestive health….CLICK & SEE

Sources:Los Angle Times

The Perfect Diet

Much has been written about a good diet though we still have some niggling questions on what to eat and what to avoid. Now, finally, we have the perfect diet – one that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate .

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A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is most effective in promoting weight loss, at least in the short term, a new study has found.

Under the study, by scientists at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute, healthy, obese men were given two different diets – both had a high protein content (30 percent of total energy value) but differed in the amount of carbohydrate.

One diet was low in carbohydrate (four percent) and the other contained a moderate amount of carbohydrate (35 percent).

The volunteers, who found both diets palatable, felt less hungry on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet compared with the diet which contained high protein but moderate amounts of carbohydrate, said Alex Johnstone who led the study.

“Weight loss during the two four week study periods was greater on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet, averaging 6.3 kg per person, compared with 4.3 kg on the moderate carbohydrate diet,” said Johnstone.

The study also looked at the physiological mechanisms behind such diets, reported sciencedaily.com.

It is known that when people eat low carbohydrate diets, their bodies switch from using glucose as a fuel to using ketone bodies that are appetite suppressing. It’s also well known that protein itself is good at making people feel full up.

“In this study, we showed that on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet the volunteers became ketogenic within one-two days of starting this diet and so it may be that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are particularly effective because of the combined effect of the protein and the ketone bodies,” said Johnstone.

“We showed that the volunteers on the ketogenic diet reduced their energy intake without increasing their hunger and this was a very important factor in their ability to stick to the diet,” she said.

But Johnstone sounded a note of caution about her findings.

“A paper published last year from the same study showed that low carbohydrate diets may have consequences for the health of the gut by dramatically reducing the numbers of particular types of bacteria.

“So we will be looking in more detail at the complex way in which we respond to changes in our diet before we can say whether low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets are a suitable tool for everyone who wants to lose weight,” she said.

Source:http://lifestyle.in.msn.com/Health/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1177740

The New Way to Lose Weight

Everyone burns fat differently. So how do you know which method will work for you?

The search for the perfect diet has never been more frenzied. Eat low-carb! No, eat low-fat! But beyond the hype, and the billions spent on weight-loss products, a revolutionary idea is catching on with researchers: the notion that no two individuals lose weight the same way. Each person has a hidden key to weight loss.

Some people find this key on their own. Steven Wallach, for example, spent most of his 40s gaining weight after an injury sidelined him from exercise. At 47, he was, literally, fed up — with pasta, potatoes and bagels — and more than 30 pounds overweight. “I didn’t look or feel as good as I wanted to,” admits Wallach, a jeweler in the New York City suburbs. He buckled down to a strict Atkins diet plan, cut out his beloved starches and within five months dropped 30 pounds. Another five came off when he took up running. A year later, his weight has stabilized and he considers himself a lifelong convert. “I could eat this way forever,” he says cheerily as he digs into his scrambled eggs.

For Katie White, 27, a San Francisco bookkeeper, the weight-loss process was entirely different. She didn’t want to eliminate whole food groups, so decided instead to reduce her portion sizes. She swapped fast food for simple home-cooked meals that she’d learned from her mother and grandmother while growing up in Brooklyn. White snacked on fresh fruit and was “religious” about her daily regimen of sit-ups. She dropped 20 pounds her way — a way she could live with and not feel deprived.

It’s possible that neither Wallach nor White would have succeeded on the other’s diet plan. They are living proof of what diet experts are coming to believe: One diet does not fit all. Each of us has markedly different indicators that influence how quickly we gain weight, and how hard it will be to lose it. In addition to the basics, such as height and age, scientists now realize our gender, genetics, metabolism, muscle mass, ethnicity, willingness to exercise, lifestyle, attitude and even where we live all come into play. This idea runs counter to what most diet-book authors or pricey weight-loss centers preach: that their plan is the key to the kingdom of the slim. A custom-fit diet not only makes sense, it’s also good news for the dieter who couldn’t lose weight on this year’s fad, or who took off pounds quickly and then gained them back (and more).

That message couldn’t come at a more opportune time, as Americans continue their climb toward universal pudginess. Since the ’70s, obesity rates have doubled and fully two-thirds of the country is overweight. Even more alarming: The number of fat kids has tripled in the past 30 years. The problem reaches beyond vanity, since diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer are associated with obesity.

Different Strokes
The individualized approach to dieting has powerful proof at the Weight Loss Registry, a roster of successful long-term dieters started 12 years ago. To be included, members must have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year. At 4,800 members, the Registry is now the largest collection to date of long-term weight-loss data, says its cofounder James Hill, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and co-author of The Step Diet Book. The Registry’s key finding, he reports, is that “there are a lot of different ways to lose weight.” The Registry entrants did “low-carb diets, low-fat diets, diets based on the food pyramid, the grapefruit diet, the beer diet … it’s amazing how many different plans worked.”

Even the venerable weight-loss program at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina, which recently had only a single low-fat, low-salt plan consistent with American Heart Association guidelines, now gives patients choices. “As of last year, we offer a wider range of options, including three different versions of low-carb diets,” says Howard Eisenson, MD, the center’s director. “There has been emerging research showing that some people do very well with those plans.”
What Kind of Car Are You?
While all of us require regular fueling and maintenance, just like cars, we’re made to different specifications. Some of us are trim, fuel-efficient Hondas; others are wide-bodied, gas-guzzling Hummers. “Eventually we will be able to identify dozens of different types of obesity, and therefore dozens of ways of treating it,” says C. Wayne Callaway, MD, an endocrinologist and weight specialist at George Washington University. In his practice, he sees people who have insulin resistance (a condition in which the body becomes less sensitive to insulin and begins to overproduce it to compensate); genetic variations in the autonomic nervous system that favor storing more abdominal fat; and people whose metabolisms have temporarily slowed while dieting. While some of these patients might need one of the few FDA-approved prescription weight-loss drugs, many will benefit from a diet that works with their body and lifestyle.

The human machine also contains a computer (otherwise known as the brain) that supplies the other half of the weight-loss equation. Eating is an emotional, cultural and personal experience, not just fuel.

What type of diet should a person choose? That question hit home with Gary Foster, PhD, clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who compared low-fat and low-carb regimens. Though still a firm proponent of low-fat “heart healthy” diets, Foster found, in a recent study he headed, that after one year of adherence, the two diets offered equal benefits in pounds lost — but those on the low-carb plan had greater improvement in some heart-disease risk factors such as cholesterol levels. (Experts caution, though, that the long-term safety of low-carb, high-protein diets is unknown.)

“On a low-fat diet there’s a lot of counting calories, fat grams, fiber, sodium,” says Foster. “But some people like the freedom it provides to choose what to eat as long as they keep track of it. Others would prefer a simpler plan like Atkins, where you just count one thing: carbs.”

7 Tests for the Perfect Diet
How do you find a healthy way of eating you can live with long-term? Experts suggest an inventory of physical and psychological factors, based on the following easy self-exams:

The Glycemic Index
If you tend toward abdominal fat, crave starches and sugars, and have a fasting blood- sugar count of more than 100 (measured in a routine blood test), says Callaway, you may be insulin resistant. You’ll probably respond best to a low-carb diet, because cutting back on simple carbohydrates — especially sugars and starches — can often help stabilize blood-sugar and insulin levels.

The Exercise Equation
Active people, says David Schlundt, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University who specializes in weight disorders, might consider a low-fat diet that includes complex carbs. “You need glycogen for athletic performance, and it’s harder work for your body to take in a lot of protein and convert it to glucose,” he advises.

One thing all researchers agree on, however, is that everyone who wants to lose weight should get some exercise. “In our studies,” adds Schlundt, “people who exercised as well as dieted lost more fat and less muscle.” The one similarity among dieters catalogued in the Weight Loss Registry, says James Hill, is that they all combined dieting with regular exercise.

The Meal Monitor
Do you hate breakfast? Avoid lunch? Skipping meals or undereating slows your metabolism and blurs the chemical signals for hunger and fullness. “You can stabilize your neuropeptide Y levels, the ‘hunger’ chemical, by eating at least a third of your calories at breakfast and another third at lunch,” says Callaway. Complex carbs are good, especially early in the day. They rev up the metabolism, replenish the body’s need for glycogen and they digest slowly, which keeps you feeling full longer.

The Broccoli Barometer
What foods do you love and hate? You can’t disregard this factor or you’ll never be able to live with your diet. Vegetarians, for instance, will have a hard time following Atkins because of its reliance on meat. You’ll do better with a calorie-controlled, low-fat diet that allows for fruits, vegetables and complex carbs. On the other hand, if you’d rather give up pasta than steak, pick a low-carb option.

The All-or-Nothing Question
Some people do best depriving themselves of foods they crave, so they aren’t tempted, which may be why some bread and cereal lovers are converts to a low-carb plan.
The Stress Test
If you feel hungry often and like to snack, or if you tend to use food for comfort, consider a low-energy-density plan like the one endorsed by the Mayo Clinic. Although suitable for anyone, this diet is particularly good for people who are emotional eaters, explains Donald Hensrud, MD, a weight-management specialist at Mayo. “People eat until they’re satisfied or full,” he points out, and you can eat more in terms of volume on this plan. The Clinic has come up with its own Healthy Weight Pyramid, emphasizing fruits, vegetables and whole grains. An emotional eater, says Schlundt, will also do better reaching for low-energy-dense snacks like fresh fruit, a treat that might be off-limits for a low-carb dieter.

The Convenience Quiz
The Mayo Clinic is also studying a Slim-Fast-based diet to see if busy people will do better on a simple, ready-made plan. If you want a no-brainer diet, a meal-replacement regimen or a system like Jenny Craig’s could be right for you.

Remember that gender makes a difference too. “Men tend to have an easier time losing weight because they usually have more lean muscle mass, which means they burn more calories,” says Hensrud. This can be frustrating, Schlundt points out, if a couple diet together, and he loses weight faster. Another truth, Hensrud adds, is that women who are dieting seem to enjoy group support like a Weight Watchers program, while men may prefer being tough and doing it on their own.

The Diet for the Future
Will this new research lead to the end of dieting as we know it? It might loosen the stranglehold of the mega-diets like Atkins and South Beach. In any case, the Weight Loss Registry points out that although people lose weight by all different methods, they tend to keep it off in remarkably similar ways. Overwhelmingly, Hill says, successful dieters follow four rules in their maintenance phase:

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Eat a calorie-aware, moderately low-fat diet that includes complex carbs.
  • Get plenty of exercise at moderate intensity. Walk!
  • Self-monitor through frequent weigh-ins and a food and exercise diary

From:     Reader’s Digest.