Category Archives: Diet – General

How to beat Emotional Eating

Are you an Emotional Eater?

Do your feelings drive your appetite and your eating behavior?

Do you eat when you are not hungry?

Do you continue to eat when you are full?…stuffed?…about to explode?

Do you ever find yourself on the couch with your hand at the bottom of a LARGE bag of chips?

Do you eat like this while you are alone?

When you are bored?

When you are stressed?

To take your mind off of your problems?

Do you feel guilty about this behavior?

YES

Then you are an Emotional Eater.

You’re not alone.

Janet Jackson and Britney Spears are celebrity examples of Emotional Eaters

So What Do I Do?

If you think that your manner of eating may constitute a threat to your health, please contact your doctor.

And here is some solid reference info:

What Do I Do Right Now?!

One tool you should look into right away is Mindful Eating.

Here are some links to mindful eating sites. TCME CAMP System Dr.Susan Albers Amazon book list

In the past few years, the practice of mindful eating has grown out of the more generalized psychiatric practice of Mindfulness Meditation, made popular by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

It finds it’s origin in Buddhist teachings. The Buddhist practice of Mindfulness can be defined as “awareness of one’s thoughts, actions or motivations”.

A similar practice is currently being espoused by Oprah’s protege, Mr. Eckhart Tolle.

TLC’s – I Can Make You Thin with Paul McKenna employed mindful eating in it’s weight loss plan.

In the 1920’s, Horace Fletcher was the diet guru of the day with his theory of Fletcherizing.

Mindful Eating – The Basics

Eat consciously. By this I mean:

  • Take a bite of food
  • Put down your implements/sandwich/glass/etc…
  • Chew your food
  • Taste your food
  • Enjoy your food
  • Repeat until you ‘think’ you are starting to feel full
  • Stop Eating
  • Eat again when you are hungry – not bored or nervous – listen for a ‘grumbly tummy’

That’s It.

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News Flash! Caveman Diet Good…Your Diet Bad

Swedish scientists have just published a research paper that indicates that eating a diet rich in lean meat, vegetables, berries and nuts is effective in lowering YOUR chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Keeping in mind that it was only a three week study, and additional long term research will be required, scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that the volunteers reduced body-fat, lowered their blood pressure and slashed levels of a blood-thickening agent (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) known to cause deadly clots.

The results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, support earlier scientific and real world findings that praise the health benefits of the Paleolithic/Caveman Diet.

The theory behind this way of eating is that prior to the advent of agriculture (10,000 years ago) our ancestors lived only on foods that could be speared or picked from trees and plants.

Some scientists argue the human genome has been unable to keep pace with our advances in agriculture and food preparation. The theory is that the modern human body is not genetically programmed to thrive on our modern diet. Our technology may be modern, but our bodies haven’t fully caught up and chronic ailments like obesity and type 2 diabetes are the result.

To that end, following the Paleolithic/Caveman Diet means no cereals, bread, milk, butter, cheese or sugar but plenty of lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

To test its effect, the Swedish researchers recruited 20 healthy volunteers and put them on caveman rations for three weeks.

Each patient was assessed for weight, body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol at the beginning of the experiment.

They were then given a list of stone-age foods they could eat, including fresh or frozen fruit, berries or vegetables, lean meat, unsalted fish, canned tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, spices and coffee or tea without milk or sugar.

Banned foods included beans, salt, peanuts, dairy products, pasta or rice, sausages, alcohol, sugar and fruit juice.

However, they were also allowed up to two potatoes a day and a weekly treat of dried fruit, cured meats and a portion of fatty meat.

After three weeks, the volunteers were tested again.

Among the 14 who successfully completed the diet, the average weight loss was around five pounds. BMI dropped by 0.8. Systolic blood pressure fell by an average of three mmHg. And the levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 dropped by 72 per cent. Other favorable effects were the increase in antioxidants and a healthier potassium-sodium balance. One potential negative was the reduction of calcium. This effect should be addressed in further studies.

Official Scientific Conclusion:

This short-term intervention showed some favourable effects by the diet, but further studies, including control group, are needed. blah,blah,blah

My Conclusion:

Fruit, vegetables, lean meat good. Bagel-Fuls BAD

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Breaking News! The government thinks you’re fat!

Jeremy Sammut of ABC News (Australia) has written an article claiming that government sponsored programs that promote public health don’t work.

While his focus is specific to the Australian experience, his claim that Australia’s government has squandered public funds on advertising campaigns may be applicable to both Europe and North America. The fact is, obesity is on the rise in the ‘developed’ world. Attempts by national or regional governments to promote a healthy lifestyle have been unsuccessful in reversing this trend towards obesity.

Sammut makes a few very interesting observations.

First, he claims that when government assumes the role of health nazi/nanny, it absolves the individual of “their primary responsibility for the unhealthy lifestyle decisions they continue to make”, and as a result, “the lifestyle disease ‘epidemic’ is blamed on a lack of government-funded entitlement to preventive primary care”.

This takes us to the second point; “the limits of government authority over individual behaviour, and the importance of personal qualities in regulating it – why nearly 40 years of health promotion has coincided with ascending rates of lifestyle disease”.

And if we are going to allow government to assume authority over our behavior, we have to question the motivations behind this program.

Quite often, “advocates of more spending on lifestyle disease prevention often draw false parallels with the success of the campaign against tobacco smoking”. This argument is specious in that smoking bans and the ‘sin’ taxes applied on tobacco products are examples of public health regulation, not health promotion.

You would think that applying this model to public exercise and nutrition would be near impossible. Smokers were a minority group and their behavior was found to be less than enchanting by a large portion of the population. Simply put, the majority ganged up on them and enacted laws that made smoking a financial and logistical pain in the butt.

How would government apply this strategy when the majority of the population does not exercise, eats junk food and has no intention of changing?

They would start with the children. Apply a little parental guilt. Ban junk food from school (already happening). Slap a sin tax on ‘junk food’. Expand that tax to include bacon, eggs, cheese, filet mignon, etc…

Wow! Big Brother wants to tax my bacon & eggs.

While that is unlikely (I hope) to happen, Sammut’s argument is that the health promotion programs advocated for by certain lobby groups, prepared by marketing companies and approved by governments have not been successful.

In Canada, advocates of the ParticipACTION program (historical info) have considered it a success due to it’s longevity and the fact that “two years after the agency had ceased to operate in 2001, almost 80% of Canadians still recognized the ParticipACTION logo and message”.

No mention of it’s positive impact on the health of Canadians. Wasn’t that the point of the program?

Nope, cheesy commercials that you can’t get out of your head. Like this ,this, this, and check out this spoof. Classic fromage.

My Two Cents

As much as I appreciate the light that Dr. Sammut has shined on this subject, I was a little disappointed by his conclusion.

“It is therefore timely to review the evidence. Because when the assumptions are questioned and the evidence examined with a clear eye, what is revealed is that there is actually slim support for the belief that preventive public health policies – be they ‘community-wide’ or ‘high-intensity’ lifestyle interventions – have in the past brought obesity and lifestyle disease under control, or that they are likely to in the future”.

Review the evidence?

Do nothing?

While I agree that most if not all governments have a great talent for throwing great big bags of money at problems that they have no hope of solving, does that mean that as a society we are doomed to accept gluttony and sloth as our birthright?

Here are two possible solutions.

In the U.K., doctors are able to write prescriptions for exercise.

Personally, while I believe that this plan is flawed due to the fact that when the government is looking to spend public dollars, there will always be bureaucrats and service providers ready and willing to overcharge and under-deliver. However, to be fair, I should mention that this program has not been in operation long enough to show whether it is successful or not.

Another possibility would be to offer tax refunds to those individuals that can prove that they are pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Instead of demonizing the couch potatoes amongst us, reward the energizer bunnies.

What do you think?

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Atkins Diet v.s. Epilepsy

Just a quick post.

A study, published by the Lancet Neurology, on-line May 3, 2008, showed that children following a ketogenic diet, suffered fewer seizures than the control group children. (62·0% vs 136·9%, 75% decrease, 95% CI 42.4–107.4%; p<0·0001)

The ketogenic diet has been widely and successfully used to treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s.

The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of the ketogenic diet in a randomised controlled trial.

Like most Atkin dieters, the most frequent side-effects reported during the study were constipation, vomiting, lack of energy, and hunger.

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To diet or not to diet

The debate rages on:

In one corner, we have the current champion: The Atkins/South Beach/Abs/Fat Smash/ You on a Diet KID.

In the other corner, we have the challenger: Healthy Lifestyle

And the winner is…..

With sales of $58 billion in 2007, the diet industry kicks butt. Healthy Lifestyle butt.

But maybe 2008 is a comeback year for Healthy Lifestyle.

Here is some more research showing that a health focused lifestyle is the better way to a trim waistline.

The focus of this study was the effect that stress had upon the health of obese women in New Zealand.

They found that obese women can improve their health and prevent further weight gain by ditching their diets and learning to deal with stress.

The study encouraged women to break free of chronic dieting and make lifestyle changes, including listening to their feelings of hunger and fullness rather than focusing on weight loss.

Following a group of 225 women, the research showed that the women who lost weight by dieting often regained the weight they lost, and more, within five years.

The researchers found that “the most successful intervention involved providing intensive training in relaxation techniques while equipping the women to recognize and avoid stress-related triggers for eating.’’

“Many overweight women had a fearful and guilt-ridden relationship with food, and their eating was often emotionally triggered”.

Additionally, the research showed that this lifestyle approach resulted in “significant improvement in reducing psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and medical symptoms including headaches, fatigue and lowered blood pressure”

The study can be found in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

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Nutrition, Environment and Epigenetics

Take a look at the ‘About this blog‘ page: you will see that I close out my intro by saying that Genetics is Not Destiny.

I truly believe that. I have to believe that.

As a kid, I was always ‘husky’.

Through research, discipline and hard work, I was able to transform my body from fat to fit.

During the past 19 years, I have given my knowledge and perhaps more importantly, my confidence in that knowledge to the people that came to me and asked me to help them re-shape their bodies.

While most of them already knew what they had to do to become physically fit; they just couldn’t do it.

But they had seen their friends / my clients sculpt lean, strong, fit bodies out of the over-sized lumps of clay that they had previously called home.

So they came to me for the secret. Even after I told them there was no secret, and even after I had helped them transform their own bodies, most of them believed that I was responsible for their transformations.

Years of being fat and out of shape had become normal for them. They were fat. Even when they had lost the weight, there was still this little voice in the back of their heads telling them that this was just temporary. If they stopped working with me, they would re-gain their original shape.

It was their genetics.

How wrong they may have been.

Ever since Darwin‘s Survival of the Fittest theory of evolution became accepted as truth, genetics and in particular our DNA has shaped the progress of human biology.

Science searched for a genetic answer to every human ailment. It even spawned a genetic ‘gold rush’ called the Human Genome Project.

But recently, that absolute faith in genetics as fate has been shaken. So

Epigenetics.

Epigenetics looks at the impact our environment has upon our genetic coding.

How is it that one identical twin can develop cancer while the other twin does not?

Was the life-long smoking habit of one of the identical twins responsible for their diagnosis of cancer? Did the healthy lifestyle of the second twin prevent their potential diagnosis of cancer?

While the science is still new, I think down deep, we all know that how we live our lives has a strong impact on our health.

Where we live. Our friendships, or lack thereof. The air we breathe. The water we drink. The amount and type of exercise we perform. The food we eat.

Nature v.s. Nurture.

Bruce Lipton is currently the biggest ‘name’ in Epigenetics. The following two video clips serve as an introduction to Lipton and the science behind Epigenetics.

Like most scientific endeavours, epigentics seems to result in more questions being raised rather than answering the ones that we already have.

For those interested, I will report back with new & interesting research into this field of science and how it applies to health & nutrition.

Remember, genetics is not destiny

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Walmart: Your First Choice for Organic Food???

Diets explained has moved!

Hey everyone,

I have recently decided to transfer the content of my fitness site (http://fitnessmadesimple.wordpress.com) and my diet/nutrition site (https://dietsexplained.wordpress.com/) to my new blog:

http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/

I was getting a lot of questions on topics other than diet and fitness training. With a more general health blog, I can focus on topics not specifically exercise or diet.

I hope everyone enjoys

DR

p.s. This particular post is available here.

.

There was a time in the not so distant past, when organic food was a niche market. Organic products were bought and sold by the same ‘crunchy granola’ demographic.

Not any more.

In fact, since 1990, organic food sales in the United States and Canada have been growing at approximately 20% per year. In 2006, sales of organic food in the United States and Canada topped $18 billion.

These numbers have caught the attention of the mainstream agri-business industry.

As you can see in the chart below, the growth in organic food sales is being driven by mainstream supermarkets.

Over the past decade, the growth in organic food sales from natural food stores and the ‘direct to consumer’ route has been increasing at a moderate rate.

The same can’t be said for sales made at supermarkets. In 1998, organic food sales in supermarkets are half the size of the sales in natural food stores. However, in 2006, supermarket sales have grown to be neck and neck with the natural food stores.

There is money to be made. And big business is good at making big money.

The following charts illustrate how North America’s largest food processors have increased their share of the organic food market.

Organic Industry Structure: Top 30 Acquisitions – pdf

Organic Industry Structure: Top 30 Introductions – pdf

Organic Industry Structure: Significant Acquistions and Introductions – pdf

The following chart highlights the major independent organic food processors and their brands.

Organic Industry Structure: Major Independents and Their Brands – pdf

This chart illustrates the Private Label organic food brands available in North America

Organic Industry Structure: Private Label Brands – pdf

This chart presents a time line of the acquisitions and mergers of the 4 major organic food retailers.

Please note that on August 27, 2007, Whole Foods officially completed their buyout of Wild Oats.

Organic Industry Structure: Retail Acquisitions and Mergers – pdf

Organic Industry Structure: Whole Foods and Wild Oats Locations – pdf

This chart illustrates the concentration of the organic food market at the distribution level.

Organic Industry Structure: Distributor Acquisitions and Mergers – pdf

All of this data was originally organized by Dr. Philip Howard. I was introduced to it via this post from Lucas @ wwje.

The purpose of this post is not to disparage any of the players involved in growing, distributing or selling of organic food.

My goal is to raise awareness in consumers to the fact that as the organic food industry grew, it changed.

The whale swallowed the minnow. Organic is now a marketing term. And the practices that endeared organic food to the early adopters may becoming endangered.

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