In The Spotlight
There are mixed opinions about snacking.
Some believe that it is healthy, while others think it can harm you and make you gain weight.
Here is a detailed look at snacking and how it affects your health.
What Is Snacking and Why Do People Snack?
Snacking is when you consume food or beverages between your regular meals.
The term “snack foods” is often used to refer to processed, high-calorie foods like chips and cookies.
However, “snacking” simply means to eat or drink something between meals, regardless of whether the food is healthy or not.
Hunger is the main motivation behind snacking, but factors like location, social environment, time of day and food availability contribute as well.
In fact, people often snack when there is appetizing food around, even if they’re not hungry.
In one study, when overweight and obese people were asked why they chose unhealthy snacks, the most common response was temptation, followed by being hungry and feeling low on energy.
In addition, both the desire to snack and snacking’s effects on health appear to be highly individualized. Factors that influence snacking include age and beliefs about whether snacking is healthy or not.
Bottom Line: Snacking refers to eating or drinking outside of regular meals. Reasons for snacking include hunger, food availability and environmental and social cues.
Does Snacking Boost Your Metabolism?
Bowl of Mixed Nuts
Although it’s been suggested that eating every few hours will increase your metabolism, the evidence does not support this.
Studies have found that meal frequency has no significant effect on how many calories you burn.
In one study, researchers compared the responses of people who consumed an equal number of calories in either two or seven meals per day. They found no difference in calories burned.
In another study, obese people who followed a very low-calorie diet for three weeks showed similar decreases in metabolic rate, regardless of whether they ate 800 calories as one or five meals per day.
nterestingly, one study reported that a bedtime snack may lead to a higher metabolic rate the next morning.
In this study, when active young men consumed a high-protein or high-carb snack before bed, they experienced a significant increase in metabolic rate the following morning.
However, this increase in metabolism would be expected, given that the snacks provided additional calories that were burned overnight. The researchers didn’t compare the effect of including these foods at meals instead.
Bottom Line: Snacking every few hours is often believed to increase metabolism. However, studies have shown that eating frequency has little or no effect on metabolism.
How Snacking Affects Appetite and Weight
Studies on snacking’s effects on appetite and weight have provided mixed results.
Snacking’s Effects on Appetite
Hands Holding a Fork and a Knife
How snacking affects appetite and food intake isn’t universally agreed upon.
One review reported that although snacks may briefly satisfy hunger and promote feelings of fullness, their calories aren’t compensated for at the next meal.
This results in increased calorie intake for the day
For example, in one study, overweight men who ate a 200-calorie snack two hours after breakfast ended up eating only 100 fewer calories at lunch
This means that total calorie intake increased by about 100 calories.
In another controlled study, lean men ate either three high-protein, high-fat or high-carb snacks for six days.
Their hunger levels and total calorie intakes didn’t change compared to the days on which they ate no snacks, indicating that the snacks had a neutral effect.
However, studies have also shown that snacking can help reduce hunger.
In one study, when men ate a high-protein, high-fiber snack bar, they had lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher levels of the fullness hormone GLP-1. They also took in an average of 425 fewer calories per day.
Another study in 44 overweight or obese women found that a bedtime snack high in protein or carbs led to decreased hunger and greater feelings of fullness the next morning. However, insulin levels were also higher.
Based on these varied results, it appears that snacking’s effect on appetite may depend on the individual and type of snack consumed.
Snacking’s Effects on Weight
Most research has shown that snacking between meals does not affect weight.
However, a few studies suggest that snacking can help you lose weight.
For example, a non-controlled study in 17 people with diabetes reported that consuming snacks high in protein and slow-digesting carbs resulted in an average weight loss of 2.2 pounds (1 kg) within four weeks.
On the other hand, some studies in lean and obese people have found that snacking may lead to slower weight loss or even weight gain
In one study, 36 lean men increased their calorie intake by 40% by consuming excess calories as snacks between meals. They experienced a significant increase in liver fat and belly fat.
Interestingly, another controlled study suggests that the timing of snacks may be what makes a difference when it comes to weight changes.
This study in 11 lean women found that consuming a 190-calorie snack at 11:00 p.m. reduced the amount of fat they burned significantly more than consuming the same snack at 10:00 a.m.
The mixed results suggest that weight responses to snacking probably vary by individual.
Bottom Line: Mixed results from several studies suggest that weight and appetite responses to snacking vary by individual.
The Effects of Snacking on Blood Sugar
Although many people believe that it’s necessary to eat frequently to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, this isn’t always the case.
In fact, a 2014 study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating only two large meals per day resulted in lower fasting blood sugar levels, better insulin sensitivity and greater weight loss than eating six times per day.
Other studies have reported no difference in blood sugar levels when the same amount of food was consumed as meals or meals plus snacks.
Of course, the type of snack and amount consumed are the main factors that affect blood sugar levels.
Other studies have reported no difference in blood sugar levels when the same amount of food was consumed as meals or meals plus snacks.
Of course, the type of snack and amount consumed are the main factors that affect blood sugar levels.
Lower-carb, higher-fiber snacks have consistently been shown to have a more favorable effect on blood sugar and insulin levels than high-carb snacks in people with and without diabetes.
In addition, snacks with a high protein content may improve blood sugar control.In a study of 20 healthy men, consuming a high-protein, lower-carb dairy snack led to lower blood sugar levels before the next meal, compared to higher-carb dairy snacks or orange juice.
Bottom Line: It isn’t necessary to snack to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating high-protein or high-fiber snacks raises blood sugar levels less than consuming high-carb snacks.
Snacking Can Prevent Ravenous Hunger
Peanuts, Bananas and a Protein Smoothie
Snacking may not be best for everyone.
However, it can definitely help some people avoid becoming ravenously hungry.
When you go too long without eating, you may become so hungry that you end up eating many more calories than you need.
Snacking can help keep your hunger levels on an even keel, especially on days when your meals are spaced further apart.
However, it’s important to make healthy snack choices.
Bottom Line: Eating a snack is better than letting yourself become ravenously hungry. This can lead to poor food choices and eating more calories than you need.
Tips for Healthy Snacking
In order to get the most out of your snacks, follow these guidelines:
Amount to eat: In general, it’s best to eat snacks that contain about 200 calories and at least 10 grams of protein to help you stay full until your next meal.
Frequency: The number of snacks you need will vary based on your activity level and how big your meals are. If you’re very active, you may prefer 2–3 snacks per day, while a more sedentary person may do best with one snack or no snacks.
Portability: Keep portable snacks with you when you’re out doing errands or traveling in case hunger strikes.
Snacks to avoid: Processed, high-sugar snacks may give you a brief jolt of energy, but you’ll probably feel hungrier an hour or two later.
Bottom Line: When snacking, be sure to eat the right types and amounts of food in order to reduce hunger and prevent overeating later on.
Healthy Snacks to Eat
Cottage Cheese and Raspberries
Although there are many packaged snacks and bars on the market, choosing nourishing real food is best.
It’s a good idea to include a protein source in your snack.
For example, both cottage cheese and hard-boiled eggs have been shown to help keep you full for hours.
Furthermore, high-fiber snacks like almonds and peanuts may reduce your appetite and the amount of food you eat at the next meal.
Here are a few other healthy snack ideas:
Fresh vegetable slices
Cottage cheese with fruit
Bottom Line: Choosing healthy snacks that are high in protein and fiber helps reduce hunger and keeps you full for several hours.
So Is Snacking Good or Bad?
Snacking can be good in some cases, such as for preventing hunger in people who tend to overeat when going too long without food.
However, others may do better eating three or fewer meals per day.
In the end, it’s really a personal choice. If you’re going to snack, make sure to choose healthy foods that keep you full and satisfied.
this artcle was found at https://authoritynutrition.com/ as was writen by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
The election of a new UN secretary-general reaches a crucial stage this week.
05 OCT 2016 / BY LIESL LOUW-VAUDRAN
Tensions are rising as the race for a new United Nations (UN) secretary-general, to replace the outgoing Ban Ki-moon, enters a decisive phase. A crucial voting session will be held in New York today, 5 October. Bulgaria also entered a surprise last-minute candidate, hoping that she would increase the country’s chances to clinch the position.
Today’s secret straw poll, which is non-binding, will be the first in which the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) are allowed to indicate a veto for one of the candidates through colour-coded ballots. The previous five straw polls were undifferentiated – they only indicated whether members ‘encourage’ or ‘discourage’ a candidate, and there was no difference in votes by permanent or non-permanent members. These are, however, still preliminary votes before a final voting session takes place.
In the current polarised climate, with the United States (US) and Russia facing off over the war in Syria, the election could be another occasion for a show of force between the world’s big powers. If this happens and the final lap becomes a tit-for-tat exchange between the veto-wielding members, it will deal a heavy blow to an organisation already suffering from a lack of credibility due to the delay in reforming the UN Security Council (UNSC).
For now, former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres, who has just finished 10 years as head of the UN High Commission for Refugees, is the clear frontrunner. Yet he doesn’t meet the two criteria that many nations want to see fulfilled: he is not from Eastern Europe, and he isn’t a woman.
A confrontation between the big powers could lead to a weak candidate being elected
There has never been UN secretary-general from Eastern Europe. Although there is not a written rule, many members – Russia especially – believe the region is now owed a turn. In the last poll on 26 September, the former Serbian foreign minister, Vuk Jeremić came second after Guterres.
An earlier favourite, Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, fell back into sixth position out of the remaining nine candidates. Bulgaria last week fielded another candidate, European Union Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, hoping she would do better than Bokova.
Leading gender activists have been campaigning for some time for a woman secretary-general – which would be a first in the history of the organisation. Last week, the campaign to elect a woman UN secretary-general said the outcomes of the last straw poll indicated ‘disgraceful discrimination against women’. Ban Ki-moon and former secretary-general Kofi Annan have also spoken in favour of a woman candidate.
Guterres might also fall foul of the perpetual stand-offs between the permanent members of the UNSC. If, for example, Russia decides to veto him, the US could retaliate against a candidate backed by Russia, like Jeremić or Bokova.
Even though this is the most open and transparent election of the secretary-general in the 70-year history of the organisation, a confrontation between the big powers could lead to a weak candidate being elected as a compromise, which would be very damaging.
Jakkie Cilliers, Head of African Futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), says if this happened, the election would once again show that veto power is at the heart of the problem of reforming the UN. ‘Everyone agrees in principle that there should be reform, but it is the detail that counts. We need to get rid of the idea that some countries have absolute power,’ says Cilliers.
Gender activists have been campaigning for a woman secretary-general
Cilliers has been driving Elect the Council, a campaign that proposes radical changes to the UN, which does not merely mean enlarging or adjusting the UNSC to make it more representative. ‘It goes beyond Ezulweni [Africa’s call for two permanent members on the UNSC] and other groupings. We have to redesign the whole system,’ he says.
Africa takes up a lot of the UN’s time and resources. More than half of UN peacekeepers deployed around the world are on the continent: yet Africa doesn’t have a big say, or a candidate, in these elections. Currently Senegal, Egypt and Angola serve as non-permanent members of the UNSC.
Anton du Plessis, ISS Executive Director, says the new secretary-general will play an important role in determining whether African issues are prioritised. Unfortunately this is not the case at the moment, given the focus on the war in Syria and the global migration issue. ‘The UN secretary-general should remind leaders that Africa is key to solving the root causes of many of these problems.’
For Africa, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by UN members last year was a huge accomplishment. However, it will be the task of the secretary-general to make sure the focus doesn’t remain only on the concerns of Western countries – like counter-terrorism or migration – but will be recalibrated to focus more broadly on development issues, says du Plessis.
Du Plessis agrees that the transparency of the election process is key in getting the buy-in of Africans and restoring some of the credibility of the organisation. The UN has been the target of anti-establishment movements worldwide, including in Africa.
The transparency of the election process is key in getting buy-in from African states
Many African leaders once again called for reform during the UN General Assembly debates in New York last month. These included Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who criticised the ‘opaqueness’ of the election process for a new secretary-general, and the ‘unfair and unjust’ composition of the UNSC. At a news conference, Mugabe reportedly threatened a withdrawal from the UN by African nations if reform doesn’t happen.
Still, Africa relies heavily on the UN for many things – from conflict prevention to humanitarian aid.
For Africa, a crucial issue currently is whether the UN will cooperate more closely with the African Union (AU) when it comes to future peacekeeping efforts. At the AU summit in Kigali earlier this year, heads of states adopted a plan for Africa to finance 25% of AU peacekeeping operations. For the plan to succeed, the UN will have to guarantee that the remaining 75% is covered by assessed UN contributions. This is far from certain, because many big powers have reservations about giving the AU control over peace operations that are largely financed by the UN.
A new secretary-general should also have to ensure that stronger action is taken against peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse. Blue helmets serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have been accused of sexually exploiting vulnerable women and children – those whom they were supposed to protect.
The current attention on the migration of refugees to Europe is focused mainly on those from Syria – but there are also tens of thousands of Africans who risk their lives to get to Europe every year. Africa should be part of the debate on how to crack down on human smuggling and on ensuring development to help curb economically motivated migration. The position of many African leaders is that migration is a natural, unstoppable phenomenon that should be managed through legal channels, rather than building walls to keep immigrants out.
A crucial issue is whether the UN will cooperate more closely with the AU
Africa’s voice should also be heard when it comes to solving crises like the civil war in Libya. Africa has been largely side-lined since the 2011 intervention in Libya by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and yet it continues to bear the brunt of the fall-out from this crisis, notably with terror networks spreading across the Sahel.
The current secretary-general has been actively involved in trying to solve some of these conflicts, including those in South Sudan, where UN peacekeepers have been accused of standing by while civilians are being slaughtered. He has also spoken out against the extension of mandates by African leaders.
His successor will have to be a strong candidate, elected through a transparent and fair process, in order for him or her to continue with this work and to do even better in ensuring Africa’s voice is heard and its needs are prioritised.
Liesl Louw-Vaudran, ISS Consultant
Wild rice is a whole grain that has been growing in popularity in recent years.
It is very nutritious and believed to have numerous health benefits.
The current research on it is limited, but a few studies have shown great promise.
What Is Wild Rice?
Despite its name, wild rice is not rice at all — it’s a seed from a type of aquatic grass.
The grass grows naturally in shallow freshwater marshes and along the shores of streams and lakes.
There are four different species of wild rice. One is native to Asia and harvested as a vegetable.
The remaining three species are native to North America, specifically the Great Lakes region, and harvested as a grain.
Wild rice was originally grown and harvested by Native Americans, who have used the grain as a staple food for hundreds of years.
It’s only referred to as rice because it looks and cooks like other types of rice.
However, it tends to have a stronger ﬂavor and higher price.
Bottom Line: Wild rice is a species of grass that produces edible seeds resembling rice. It tends to have a stronger taste and cost more than rice.
Heap of Wild Rice
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked wild rice provides 101
This is slightly less than brown and white rice, which provide 112 and 130 calories, respectively.
A 100-gram serving of cooked wild rice provides:Calories: 101.
Carbs: 21 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fiber: 2 grams.
Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI.
Folate: 6% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI.
Zinc: 9% of the RDI.
Copper: 6% of the RDI.
Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
Wild rice also contains small amounts of iron, potassium and selenium.
The low calorie and high nutrient content makes wild rice a nutrient-dense food. It is a very impressive source of minerals, and a great plant source of protein.
Bottom Line: Wild rice contains an impressive amount of several nutrients, including protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
Wild Rice Is Higher in Protein and Fiber
Wild rice contains more protein than regular rice and many other grains.
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of wild rice contains 4 grams of protein, which is twice as much protein as regular brown or white rice.
Furthermore, the protein in wild rice is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids.
This makes it a good protein option for vegetarians and vegans.
Meanwhile, the fiber content of wild rice is the same as brown rice, with each providing 1.8 grams of fiber per 3.5 oz serving. Alternatively, white rice provides little to no fiber.
Bottom Line: Wild rice contains more protein other types of rice, but the same amount of fiber as brown rice.
Wild Rice Is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants
Wild Rice on a Wooden Spoon
Antioxidants are considered to be important for overall health.
They are believed to protect against aging and reduce the risk of several diseases, including cancer.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota determined that wild rice is extremely high in antioxidants.
In another analysis of 11 different samples of wild rice, it was found to have 30 times greater antioxidant activity than white rice.
Additionally, in a 2014 scientific review of wild rice, one of the most prominent findings was its high antioxidant levels.
Bottom Line: Wild rice is very high in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of several diseases.
While research on wild rice itself is limited, a large number of studies have examined the effects of whole grains, such as wild rice, on heart health.
Generally, a higher intake of whole grains is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.
In a large analysis of 45 studies, researchers found that people who ate the most whole grains had a 16–21% lower risk of heart disease, compared to those who ate the least.
in particular, one study found that increasing whole grain intake by 25 grams per day decreased the risk of a heart attack by 12–13%.
Another study found that eating at least 6 servings of whole grains per week slowed the buildup of plaque in arteries.
Lastly, several animal studies have been done on wild rice and heart health. These studies showed that eating wild rice reduced LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and helped prevent plaque buildup in arteries, which should lower heart disease risk
Bottom Line: Eating wild rice has been shown to improve heart health in animal studies, and many studies show that eating whole grains is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
Wild Rice May Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Scoop of Wild Rice
According to research, diets high in whole grains like wild rice can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 20–30%.
This is mainly attributed to the vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and fiber found in whole grains.
In a large analysis of 16 studies, researchers found eating whole grains was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, while consuming refined grains like white rice was associated with an increased risk.
Researchers suggest eating at least two servings of whole grains each day to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Data from six studies, including 286,125 participants, suggest that eating two servings of whole grains per day is associated with a 21% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Although it hasn’t been tested in humans directly, eating wild rice has been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce insulin resistance in rats.
Bottom Line: Eating whole grains is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, and some animal studies show that eating wild rice improves blood sugar control.
Potential Adverse Effects
Wild rice is generally safe for human consumption.
However, in some cases it may be contaminated with ergot or heavy metals.
Wild rice seeds can be infected with a toxic fungus called ergot, which may be dangerous if eaten.
Some side effects of ergot toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, seizures and mental impairment.
Infected grains typically have pink or purplish spots or fungus growths that are visible to the human eye.
Additionally, grain standards and agricultural practices in most countries help prevent contamination, so ergot toxicity in humans is very rare.
Similarly to regular rice, wild rice may contain heavy metals.
Over time, heavy metals can accumulate in the body and cause health problems.
Toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic have been identified in 26 brands of wild rice sold in the US.
These could become problematic if consumed regularly in large amounts, but is probably not a cause for concern in people who eat a varied, real food-based diet.
Bottom Line: Wild rice may contain heavy metals, and sometimes it can be infected with a toxic fungus called ergot. This is probably not a concern for people who eat a varied diet.
How to Eat Wild Rice
Cooked Wild Rice in a Blue Bowl
Wild rice has a nutty, earthy flavor and a chewy texture.
It’s a great substitute for potatoes, pasta or rice. Some people eat it alone, while others mix it with other rice or grains.
Alternatively, wild rice can be added to a wide variety of foods such as salads, soups, casseroles and even desserts.
It’s simple to make, although it can take anywhere from 45–60 minutes to fully cook.
Therefore, it may be a good idea to make large batches and freeze the leftovers for later meals.
Here is a simple recipe:
1 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rinse the wild rice with cold water.
Place the rice in a saucepan and add 3 cups of water and salt. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
Reduce it to a simmer and cover the pan.
Simmer covered for 40–60 minutes until the water is absorbed. You will know the wild rice is fully cooked when it cracks open and curls.
Strain the rice and fluff it with a fork before serving.
Bottom Line: Wild rice has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It can be eaten alone or added to a variety of foods such as salads, soups, casseroles and desserts.
A lot of people eat their food fast and mindlessly.
It’s a very bad habit that can lead to overeating, weight gain and obesity.
This article explains why eating too fast may be one of the leading drivers of weight gain.
In today’s busy world, people often eat quickly and in a hurry.
However, your brain needs time to process signals of fullness.
In fact, it may take up to 20 minutes for the brain to realize that you’re full.
When you eat fast it’s much easier to eat a lot more food than your body really needs. Over time, excess calorie intake can lead to weight gain.
One study in children found that 60% of those who ate rapidly also overate.
Bottom Line: It takes your brain around 20 minutes to realize that you’ve had enough to eat. Being a fast eater is associated with overeating.The fast eaters were also three times more likely to be overweight.
Eating Fast Is Linked to an Increased Risk of Obesity
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems worldwide. It’s a complex disease that is not simply caused by poor diet, inactivity or lack of willpower.
In fact, there are complicated environmental and lifestyle factors at play.or example, fast eating has been studied as a potential risk factor for becoming overweight and obese.
One recent review of 23 studies found that fast eaters were approximately twice as likely to be obese, compared to slow eaters.
Bottom Line: Fast eating is associated with excess body weight. In fact, fast eaters may be up to twice as likely to be obese compared to those who eat slowly.Eating fast may not only increase your risk of becoming overweight and obese.
It may also lead to other health problems, including:
Insulin resistance: Eating too quickly has been linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance. This condition, characterized by high blood sugar and insulin levels, is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Type 2 diabetes: Eating fast has been associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. One study found fast eaters were 2.5 times more likely to get the disease compared to those who ate more slowly.
Metabolic syndrome: Rapid eating may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that may raise your risk of diabetes, heart disease and many other common health problems.
Poor digestion: Fast eaters commonly report they experience poor digestion as a consequence of eating too quickly. They may take larger bites and chew their food less than slow eaters do, which may affect digestion.
Lower satisfaction: This may not be a health problem, but it’s still very important. Fast eaters tend to rate their meals as less pleasant, compared to slow eaters.
Bottom Line: Eating fast may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. It may also lead to poor digestion and decreased enjoyment of food.
How to Slow Down Your Eating
Eating more slowly may provide various health benefits.
It may increase your levels of satiety hormones, help you feel more full and decrease your calorie intake.
It may also improve your digestion and increase your enjoyment of food.
If you want to eat more slowly, here are a few techniques you can try:
Don’t eat in front of screens: Eating in front of a TV, computer, smartphone or other distraction may lead you to eat fast and mindlessly. It can also make you lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
Put your fork down between each mouthful: This will help you slow down and enjoy each bite more.
Don’t get too hungry: Avoid becoming extremely hungry between meals. It can make you eat too fast and make poor food decisions. Keep some healthy snacks around to prevent this from happening.
Sip on water: Drinking water throughout your meal will help you feel full and encourage you to slow down.
Chew thoroughly: Chew your food more often before swallowing. It may help to count how many times you chew each bite. Aim to chew each mouthful of food 20–30 times.
Eat foods rich in fiber: High-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables are not only very filling, they also take quite a long time to chew.
Take small bites: Taking smaller bites may help you slow down your eating pace and make your meal last longer.
Eat mindfully: Mindful eating is a powerful tool. The fundamental principle behind it is to pay attention to the food you’re eating. Some of the exercises above are practiced in mindful eating.
Like all new habits, eating slowly takes practice and patience. Start with just one of the tips above and develop the habit from there.
To learn more about how eating slowly can help you lose weight, read this article.
Bottom Line: Slow eating techniques include chewing more, drinking plenty of water, eating without distractions and avoiding extreme hunger.
Take Home Message
Eating fast is a common practice in today’s fast-paced world.
While it can save you a few minutes during mealtimes, it may also increase your risk of a range of health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
If weight loss is your goal, eating fast may be hindering your progress.
Eating more slowly, on the other hand, can provide powerful benefits. So slow down and savor each and every bite.
this artcle was found at the link below and was written by and the link is https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-fast-causes-weight-gain/
Vegan diets are known to help people lose weight.
However, they also offer an array of additional health benefits.
For starters, a vegan diet may help you maintain a healthy heart.
What’s more, this diet may offer some protection against type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Here are 6 science-based benefits of vegan diets.
1. A Vegan Diet Is Richer in Certain Nutrients
If you switch to a vegan diet from a typical Western diet, you’ll eliminate meat and animal products.
This will inevitably lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole-foods vegan diet, replacements take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients.
For instance, several studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E However, not all vegan diets are created equal
For instance, poorly planned vegan diets may provide insufficient amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, iodine or zinc.That’s why it’s important to stay away from nutrient-poor, fast-food vegan options. Instead, base your diet around nutrient-rich whole plants and fortified foods. You may also want to consider supplements like vitamin B12.
2. It Can Help You Lose Excess Weight
Apples, Grapes, a Fork and a Knife on Scales
An increasing number of people are turning to plant-based diets in the hope of shedding excess weight.
This is perhaps for good reason.
Many observational studies show that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than non-vegans.
In addition, several randomized controlled studies — the gold standard in scientific research — report that vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than the diets they are compared to
In one study, a vegan diet helped participants lose 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg) more than a control diet over an 18-week study period.
Interestingly, participants on the vegan diet lost more weight than those who followed calorie-restricted diets, even when the vegan groups were allowed to eat until they felt full.
What’s more, a recent small study comparing the weight loss effects of five different diets concluded that vegetarian and vegan diets were just as well-accepted as semi-vegetarian and standard Western diets.
Bottom Line: Vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce your calorie intake. This makes them effective at promoting weight loss without the need to actively focus on cutting calories.
3. It Appears to Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Kidney Function
Plate of Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Going vegan may also have benefits for type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.
Indeed, vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and up to a 50–78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Studies even report that vegan diets lower blood sugar levels in diabetics more than the diets from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Heart Association (AHA) and National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).
In one study, 43% of participants following a vegan diet were able to reduce their dosage of blood-sugar-lowering medication, compared to only 26% in the group that followed an ADA-recommended diet.
Other studies report that diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function.
What’s more, several studies report that a vegan diet may be able to provide complete relief of systemic distal polyneuropathy symptoms — a condition in diabetics that causes sharp, burning pain.
Bottom Line: Vegan diets may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are also particularly effective at reducing blood sugar levels and may help prevent further medical issues from developing.
4. A Vegan Diet May Protect Against Certain Cancers
Bowl of Bean Salad
According to the World Health Organization, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet.
For instance, eating legumes regularly may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by about 9–18%.
Research also suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%.
Vegans generally eat considerably more legumes, fruit and vegetables than non-vegans. This may explain why a recent review of 96 studies found that vegans may benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer.
What’s more, vegan diets generally contain more soy products, which may offer some protection against breast cancer.
Avoiding certain animal products may also help reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.
That may be because vegan diets are devoid of smoked or processed meats and meats cooked at high temperatures, which are thought to promote certain types of cancers.
Vegans also avoid dairy products, which some studies show may slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer.
n the other hand, there is also evidence that dairy may help reduce the risk of other cancers, such as colorectal cancer. Therefore, it’s likely that avoiding dairy is not the factor that lowers vegans’ overall risk of cancer.
It’s important to note that these studies are observational in nature. They make it impossible to pinpoint the exact reason why vegans have a lower risk of cancer.
However, until researchers know more, it seems wise to focus on increasing the amount of fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes you eat each day while limiting your consumption of processed, smoked and overcooked meat.
Bottom Line: Certain aspects of the vegan diet may offer protection against prostate, breast and colon cancers.
5. It’s Linked to a Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Bowl of Oatmeal with Fresh Berries
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fiber is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
All of these are generally eaten in large amounts in well-planned vegan diets.
Observational studies comparing vegans to vegetarians and the general population report that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Vegans may also have up to a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
All of these are generally eaten in large amounts in well-planned vegan diets.
Observational studies comparing vegans to vegetarians and the general population report that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
What’s more, several randomized controlled studies report that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels than the diets they are compared to.
This may be particularly beneficial to heart health since reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 46%.
Compared to the general population, vegans also tend to consume more whole grains and nuts, both of which are good for your heart.Bottom Line: Vegan diets may benefit heart health by significantly reducing the risk factors that contribute to heart disease.
6. A Vegan Diet Can Reduce Pain from Arthritis
Cilantro and Rice Salad
A few studies have reported that a vegan diet has positive effects in people with different types of arthritis.
One study randomly assigned 40 arthritic participants to either continue eating their omnivorous diet or switch to a whole-food, plant-based vegan diet for 6 weeks.
Those on the vegan diet reported higher energy levels and better general functioning than those who didn’t change their diet.
Two other studies investigated the effects of a probiotic-rich, raw food vegan diet on symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Both reported that participants in the vegan group experienced a greater improvement in symptoms such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness than those who continued their omnivorous diet.
Bottom Line: Vegan diets based on probiotic-rich whole foods can significantly decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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Shirataki noodles are a unique food that’s very filling yet low in calories. These noodles also contain a type of fiber that has impressive health benefits. This fiber has been shown to cause weight loss in numerous studies.
What are Shirataki Noodles?
They are often called miracle noodles or konjac noodles. They’re made from glucomannan, a type of fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant, which grows in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. It contains very few digestible carbs, but most of its carbs come from glucomannan fiber.
“Shirataki” is Japanese for “white waterfall,” which describes the noodles’ translucent appearance.
Shirataki noodles contain a lot of water. In fact, they are about 97% water and 3% glucomannan fiber. They’re also very low in calories and contain no digestible carbs. There is also a variation of shirataki noodles known as tofu shirataki noodles.
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are a low-calorie food made from glucomannan, a type of fiber found in the Asian konjac plant.
Shirataki Noodles Are High in Viscous Fiber
Glucomannan is a highly viscous fiber, which is a type of soluble fiber, and one of its main characteristics is the ability to absorb water and form a gel. It can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water, as reflected in shirataki noodles’ extremely high water content.
These noodles move through the digestive system very slowly, which helps you feel full and delays nutrient absorption into the bloodstream. In addition, viscous fiber functions as a prebiotic. It nourishes the bacteria living in your colon, also known as the gut flora or microbiome.
In your colon, bacteria ferment fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which can fight inflammation, boost immune function and provide other health benefits.
Since a typical serving of shirataki noodles contains about 1–3 grams of glucomannan, it’s essentially a calorie-free, carb-free food.
Bottom Line: Glucomannan is a viscous fiber that can hold onto water and slow down digestion. In the colon, it’s fermented into short-chain fatty acids that may provide several health benefits.
Shirataki Noodles Can Help You Lose Weight
Shirataki noodles can be a powerful weight loss tool. Their viscous fiber delays stomach emptying, so you stay full longer and end up eating less. In addition, fermenting fiber into short-chain fatty acids can stimulate the release of a gut hormone known as PYY, which increases feelings of fullness. What’s more, taking glucomannan before a high-carb load appears to reduce levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. It was also shown to reduce fasting ghrelin levels when taken daily for 4 weeks.
Bottom Line: Glucomannan promotes feelings of fullness that may cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake and lead to weight loss.
Shirataki Noodles Can Reduce Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Blood Glucose Meter and StripsGlucomannan has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and insulin resistance. Because viscous fiber delays stomach emptying, blood sugar and insulin levels rise more gradually as nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles can delay stomach emptying, which may help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
Shirataki Noodles May Lower Cholesterol
Several studies also suggest that taking glucomannan may help lower cholesterol levels. Researchers have reported that glucomannan increases the amount of cholesterol excreted in the stool, so less is reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
A review of 14 studies found that glucomannan lowered LDL cholesterol by an average of 16 mg/dL and triglycerides by an average of 11 mg/dl.
Bottom Line: Studies show that glucomannan may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Shirataki Noodles May Relieve Constipation
Many people have chronic constipation or infrequent bowel movements that are difficult to pass. Glucomannan has been shown to be an effective treatment for constipation in both children and adults.
Bottom Line: Glucomannan may effectively treat constipation in children and adults, due to its laxative effects and benefits for gut health.
Potential Side Effects of Shirataki Noodles
For some, glucomannan may cause mild digestive issues such as loose stools, bloating and flatulence. Glucomannan has been found to be safe at all dosages tested in studies; nevertheless, as is the case with all fiber, it’s best to introduce glucomannan into your diet gradually.
In addition, glucomannan may reduce the absorption of certain medications taken by mouth, including some diabetes medications. To prevent this, make sure to take medication at least one hour before or four hours after eating shirataki noodles.
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are safe to consume, but may cause digestive issues for some. They may also reduce the absorption of certain medications.
How to Cook with Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles can seem a bit daunting to prepare at first. They’re packaged in fishy-smelling liquid, which is actually plain water that has absorbed the odor of the konjac root. Therefore, it’s important to rinse them very well for a few minutes under fresh, running water. This should remove most of the odor.
You should also heat the noodles in a skillet for several minutes with no added fat. This step removes any excess water and allows the noodles to take on a more noodle-like texture. If too much water remains, they will be mushy.
Easy shirataki noodle recipe containing only a few ingredients:
Shirataki Macaroni and Cheese
Note: For this recipe, it’s best to use shorter types of shirataki noodles like ziti or rice.
1 package (200 grams/7 oz) of shirataki noodles or shirataki rice.
Olive oil or butter for greasing the ramekin.
3 ounces (85 grams) of grated cheddar cheese.
1 Tablespoon butter.
A half teaspoon sea salt.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Rinse the noodles under running water for at least 2 minutes.
Transfer the noodles to a skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the noodles are cooking, grease a 2-cup ramekin with olive oil or butter.
Transfer the cooked noodles to the ramekin, add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and serve.
Shirataki noodles can be used in place of pasta or rice in any dish.
However, they tend to work best in Asian recipes. The noodles have no flavor but will absorb the flavors of sauces and seasonings very well.
Shirataki noodles are a great substitute for traditional noodles. In addition to being extremely low in calories, they help you feel full and may be beneficial for weight loss. Not only that, but they also have benefits for blood sugar levels, cholesterol and digestive health.
Source: Authority Nutrition
Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.
However, there is a lot of confusion about whether oats and oatmeal contain gluten. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but often get contaminated with gluten from other grains.
This article explores whether you should include oats in a gluten-free diet.
What’s The Problem With Gluten?
Gluten-free diets are very popular. Surveys have found that as many as 15 to 30% of people in the US try to avoid gluten for one reason or another.
However, many of those who avoid gluten don’t even really know what it is.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. These proteins give bread and pasta their stretchy, chewy texture.
Unfortunately, these proteins can cause serious health problems for certain people. This may be because its unique amino acid structure can actually make it harder for the digestive enzymes in the gut to break it down.
If you have celiac disease, your body launches an autoimmune response to gluten, damaging the lining of the intestine. In wheat allergy, the immune system overreacts to the presence of wheat proteins. For those sensitive to gluten, even a tiny amount can make them sick. A gluten-free diet is the only way for these people to avoid serious health issues.
Bottom Line: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Most people can tolerate it, but it can cause serious health issues for some individuals.
Are Oats Gluten-Free?
The truth is that pure oats are gluten-free and safe for most people with gluten intolerance.
However, oats are often contaminated with gluten because they may be processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye and barley.
Studies show that most people with celiac disease or wheat allergy can eat 50–100 grams of pure oats per day without adverse effects. Additionally, a few studies found that celiac disease patients in countries that recommended including oats in a gluten-free diet had better intestinal healing than patients in countries that did not. Since pure oats are gluten-free, they’re usually safe for people with a wheat allergy as long as they’re not contaminated with wheat.
Bottom Line: Most people who are gluten intolerant can safely eat pure oats. This includes people with celiac disease.
Oats are Often Contaminated With Gluten
Although oats themselves don’t contain gluten, they’re often grown alongside other crops. The same equipment is typically used to harvest crops in neighboring fields, which leads to cross-contamination if one of those crops contains gluten. Products made with oats are also usually processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing products, and are prepared and packaged with the same equipment.
Therefore, studies analyzing regular oat products found levels of gluten far exceeding the standard for gluten-free foods.
This high risk of contamination means it’s not safe to include conventionally grown and processed oats in a strict gluten-free diet. For this reason, a number of companies have begun to grow and process oats with designated gluten-free fields and equipment. These oats can then be marketed as gluten-free, and must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
Even gluten-free labels may not be 100% reliable. One study found that only 95% of products labeled gluten-free actually had safe levels. However, 100% of the oat products passed the test. This means that certified gluten-free labels on oats and oatmeal can be trusted in most cases.
Bottom Line: Oats are often contaminated with gluten during growing or processing, but many companies are now producing uncontaminated oats.
Oats Contain a Protein Called Avenin, Which May Cause Problems for Some People
Even with contamination ruled out, a small number of people with celiac disease (and possibly other conditions) will still not be able to tolerate pure oats. Pure oats contain a protein called avenin, which may cause problems because it has a similar amino acid structure as gluten.
The majority of people who are sensitive to gluten do not react to avenin. They can eat pure, uncontaminated oats with no problems. However, a small percentage of people with celiac disease may react to avenin. For these few people, even certified gluten-free oats may cause some reaction.
Bottom Line: Oats contain a protein called avenin. A small percentage of people with celiac disease react to avenin and can’t tolerate pure oats.
Oats Have Many Health Benefits
Gluten-free diets are often limited when it comes to food choices, especially with grains and starchy foods. Including oats and products like oatmeal or healthy granola bars can add much-needed variety.
Several studies have also shown that following a gluten-free diet frequently results in an inadequate intake of fiber, B vitamins, folate and minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese and zinc. Oats happen to be a good source of all of these vitamins and minerals. They’re also a fantastic source of fiber.
Should You Include Oats in a Gluten-Free Diet?
There are many benefits to including oats in a gluten-free diet. Oats are used in many gluten-free products, and oat flour is popular in gluten-free baking. Oatmeal is also a breakfast favorite for many people.
However, it’s important to buy only oats and oat products that are labeled or certified as gluten-free. This ensures the oats are pure and uncontaminated. These days, it’s easy to buy pure oats in many grocery stores and online.
The decision to include oats should be made on an individual basis. Since it’s not possible to know who may react to avenin, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian/nutritionist before adding oats to a gluten-free diet.
Source: Authority Nutrition
Regardless of the increasing debate over its necessity, breakfast still holds a mass of advocates. However, eating breakfast wrong could be more harmful than not eating breakfast at all. On the contrary, eating the right foods can give you energy and prevent you from eating too much during the rest of the day.
Here are the 12 best foods you can eat in the morning.
Eggs are undeniably healthy and delicious.
Studies have shown that eating eggs at breakfast increases fullness, reduces calorie intake at the next meal and helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels.
Additionally, egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that’s very important for brain and liver health.
What’s more, three large eggs provide about 20 grams of high-quality protein. Eggs are also very versatile. For example, hard-boiled eggs make a great portable breakfast that can be prepared ahead of time.
Bottom Line: Eggs are high in protein and several important nutrients. They also promote fullness and help you eat fewer calories.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is creamy, delicious and nourishing. It is made by straining whey and other liquid from the curds, which produces a creamier yogurt that is more concentrated in protein. Protein has been shown to abate hunger and has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs, meaning the increase in metabolic rate that occurs after eating.
Yogurt and other dairy products can also help with weight control, because they increase levels of hormones that promote fullness, including PYY and GLP-1. Full-fat yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk.
Certain types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics, like Bifidobacterium, helping the gut stay healthy. To make sure your yogurt contains probiotics, look for the phrase “contains live and active cultures” on the label.
Bottom Line: Greek yogurt is high in protein, helps reduce appetite and may aid with weight loss. Certain types also contain beneficial probiotics.
Coffee is a common choice for many to start a day. It’s high in caffeine, which improves mood, alertness and mental performance.
An analysis of 41 studies found the most effective dose to be 38–400 mg per day, to maximize the benefits of caffeine without much side effects. This is roughly 0.3 to 4 cups of coffee per day, depending on how strong it is.
Caffeine has also been shown to increase metabolic rate and fat burning. 100 mg of caffeine per day helped people burn an extra 79–150 calories over a 24-hour period. Coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk. The healthiest way to consume coffee is plain or with small amounts of heavy cream.
Bottom Line: Having a cup of coffee is a great way to start your day. The caffeine in it may improve mood, mental performance and metabolism.
Oatmeal is the best breakfast choice for cereal lovers. It’s made from ground oats, which contain a unique fiber called beta-glucan. This fiber has many impressive health benefits, including reduced cholesterol.
Oats are also rich in antioxidants, which protect their fatty acids from becoming rancid; they may also help protect the heart and decrease blood pressure.
Although oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains. Researchers have found that most oats are indeed contaminated with other grains, especially barley. Therefore, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should choose oats that have been certified as gluten-free.
Bottom Line: Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan fiber, which lowers cholesterol and increases feelings of fullness. It also contains antioxidants.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely nutritious. They’re also one of the best sources of fiber. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides an impressive 11 grams of fiber per serving.
What’s more, a portion of the fiber in chia seeds is viscous fiber. Viscous fiber absorbs water, which increases the volume of food moving through your digestive tract and helps you feel full and satisfied.
Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, that are produced during metabolism.
However, note that chia seeds provide a low amount of protein- too low for breakfast. It’s suggested to be taken with other food that provides more protein.
Bottom Line: Chia seeds are high in fiber and packed with antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and decrease disease risk.
Berries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Popular types include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
They’re lower in sugar than most fruits, yet higher in fiber. Raspberries and blackberries each provides an impressive 8 grams of fiber per cup. What’s more, one cup of berries contains only 50–85 calories, depending on the type.
Berries have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation, prevent blood cholesterol from becoming oxidized and keep the cells lining your blood vessels healthy.
A good way to add berries to your breakfast is to eat them with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Bottom Line: Berries are high in fiber and low in calories. They’re also rich in antioxidants that may decrease the risk of disease.
Nuts are a great addition to breakfast because they are filling and help prevent weight gain. Even though they’re high in calories, studies have shown that the body only absorbs about 129 calories from a 28-gram (1-ounce) serving of almonds; this may be true for some other nuts as well.
All types of nuts are also high in magnesium, potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Nuts are also beneficial for people with diabetes. In one study, replacing a portion of carbs with 2 ounces of nuts led to reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Topping Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts provides crunch and flavor, while increasing your breakfast’s nutritional value.
Bottom Line: Nuts are filling, nutrient-dense foods that may help reduce heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control.
8. Green Tea
Green tea contains caffeine, which improves alertness and mood, along with raising metabolic rate. It provides only 35–70 mg of caffeine per cup, which is about half the amount in coffee.
Green tea may be especially helpful against diabetes. A review of 17 studies found that green tea drinkers had reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.
It also contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which may protect the brain, nervous system and heart from damage.
Bottom Line: Green tea has many health benefits. It contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which has benefits for the brain and nervous system.
9. Protein Shake
Another great way to start your day is with a protein shake or smoothie. Several types of protein powder can be used, including whey, egg, soy and pea protein, among which, whey protein is absorbed the most quickly by the body.
In addition, whey protein can help lower blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a carb-containing meal. It can also preserve muscle mass during weight loss and aging.
Regardless of the type of protein powder used, a high-protein shake can be satisfying and filling. Add fruit, greens, nut butter or seeds to provide fiber and antioxidants.
Bottom Line: A protein shake or smoothie is a great high-protein breakfast choice that promotes fullness and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
All types of fruit contain vitamins, potassium, fiber and are relatively low in calories. One cup of chopped fruit provides about 80–130 calories, depending on the type. Citrus fruits are also very high in vitamin C. In fact, a large orange provides more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Fruit is also very filling, due to its high fiber and water content. Pair fruit with eggs, cheese, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a well-balanced breakfast that will sustain you for hours.
Bottom Line: Fruit is a good source of vitamins, potassium and fiber. It also contains antioxidants that can help reduce disease risk.
They’re rich in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full for several hours after eating. Flaxseeds may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, as well as protect against breast cancer.
Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds contain 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Try adding flaxseeds to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or a smoothie to increase the fiber and antioxidant content of your breakfast.
Just make sure to choose ground flaxseeds or grind them yourself, because whole flaxseeds can’t be absorbed by your gut and will simply pass through your system.
Bottom Line: Flaxseeds are high in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full. They may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
12. Cottage Cheese
It’s high in protein, which increases metabolism, produces feelings of fullness and decreases the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. Cottage cheese has been shown to be as filling and satisfying as eggs.
Full-fat cottage cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may promote weight loss. 1 cup of cottage cheese provides an impressive 25 grams of protein. Add berries and ground flaxseeds or chopped nuts to make it even more nutritious.
Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is high in protein, which promotes feelings of fullness and increases your metabolic rate.
Take Home Message
While eating breakfast is a personal choice, starting a day off right by fueling the body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods is definitely a good idea.
Source: Authority Nutrition
Eggs are one of the world’s healthiest foods.
They contain numerous important nutrients and can provide you with impressive health benefits.
Raw eggs do have all the same benefits as cooked eggs.
However, eating raw eggs or foods containing them raises concerns about the risk of Salmonella infection.
Also, your absorption of some nutrients may be reduced or even blocked completely.
Raw Eggs Are Nutritious
Just like cooked eggs, raw eggs are extremely nutritious.
They’re rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, eye-protecting antioxidants and various other nutrients.
One whole, large raw egg (50 grams) contains (1):
- Calories: 72.
- Protein: 6 grams.
- Fat: 5 grams.
- Vitamin A: 9% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 13% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 8% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 7% of the RDI.
- Selenium: 22% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 10% of the RDI.
- Folate: 6% of the RDI.
Raw eggs are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These important antioxidants protect your eyes and may reduce your risk of age-related eye diseases (5).
It’s important to note that almost all the nutrients are concentrated in the yolk. The white mostly consists of protein.Bottom Line: Raw eggs are a nutrient-dense food packed with protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect your eyes. They’re also an excellent source of choline. The yolks contain most of the nutrients.
The Protein in Them Isn’t as Well-Absorbed
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein in your diet.
In fact, eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids in the right ratios. For this reason, they’re often referred to as a “complete” protein source.
However, eating the eggs raw may decrease your absorption of these quality proteins.
One small study compared the absorption of protein from both cooked and raw eggs in 5 people (6).
The study found that 90% of protein in cooked eggs was absorbed, but only 50% in raw eggs. In other words, protein in cooked eggs was 80% more digestible.
Although protein is better absorbed from cooked eggs, some other nutrients may be slightly reduced by cooking. These include vitamin A, vitamin B5, phosphorus and potassium.
Bottom Line: Research indicates protein in cooked eggs is much more digestible than protein in raw eggs. If you eat them raw then your body may not be able to absorb all the protein.
Raw Egg Whites May Block Biotin Absorption
Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin, also known as vitamin B7.
Because heat destroys avidin, this is not an issue when the egg has been cooked.
In any case, even if you eat raw eggs, it’s highly unlikely it will lead to actual biotin deficiency. For that to happen, you would need to consume raw eggs in large amounts — at least a dozen per day for a long period of time (11). Bottom Line: Raw egg whites contain the protein avidin, which may block absorption of biotin, a water-soluble B-vitamin. However, it’s unlikely to cause deficiency unless you eat a lot of raw eggs
Raw Eggs May Be Contaminated with Bacteria
Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella, a type of harmful bacteria (12).
This bacteria can be found on egg shells but also inside eggs (13).
Consuming contaminated eggs can cause food poisoning.
Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache. These symptoms usually appear 6 to 48 hours after eating and may last 3 to 7 days (14).
Fortunately, the risk of an egg being contaminated is very low. One study found only 1 of every 30,000 eggs produced in the US is contaminated (15).
Since then, some improvements have been made in the processing of eggs, leading to fewer Salmonella cases and outbreaks.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers it safe to use raw eggs if they are pasteurized.
Bottom Line: Raw eggs may contain a type of pathogenic bacteria called Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. However, the risk of an egg being contaminated is quite low.
Bacterial Infection Is More Dangerous for Certain People
Salmonella infection is more of a concern in certain populations. In some people, it can have serious or even fatal consequences.
These include (20):
- Infants and young children: The youngest age group is more susceptible to infections due to immature immune systems.
- Pregnant women: In rare cases, Salmonella may cause cramps in the uterus of pregnant women that can lead to premature birth or stillbirth (21).
- The elderly: People over the age of 65 are more likely to die from food-borne infections. Contributing factors include malnutrition and age-related changes in the digestive system (22).
- Immune-compromised individuals: The immune system is weaker and more vulnerable to infections in people with chronic disease. People with diabetes, HIV and malignant tumors are among those who should not eat raw eggs (23).
These groups should avoid eating raw eggs and foods that contain them. Homemade foods that often contain them include mayonnaise, cake icings and ice cream.Bottom Line: Infants, pregnant women, older adults and other high-risk groups should avoid eating raw eggs. In these groups, Salmonella infection may lead to serious, life-threatening complications.
How to Minimize The Risk of Bacterial Infection
It’s not possible to completely eliminate the risk of infection from eating raw eggs. However, there are ways to reduce it (24).
Here are a few effective tips:
- Buy pasteurized eggs and egg products, which are available in some supermarkets.
- Only buy eggs kept in the refrigerated food section of the grocery store.
- Keep eggs refrigerated in your home. Storing them at room temperature may induce rapid growth of harmful bacteria.
- Don’t buy or consume eggs past their expiration date.
- Get rid of cracked or dirty eggs.
However, the only sure way to eliminate the risk is to cook your eggs thoroughly.
Bottom Line: Buying pasteurized and refridgerated eggs can lower the risk of Salmonella infection. Proper storage and handling after you purchase them is also important.
Take Home Message
Raw eggs do have all the same benefits as cooked eggs.
However, protein absorption is lower from raw eggs, and the uptake of biotin may be prevented.
Most concerning is the small risk of raw eggs contaminated with bacteria leading to Salmonella infection. Buying pasteurized eggs will lower your risk of infection.
Whether eating raw eggs is worth the risk is something you need to decide for yourself.
Just remember that very young children, pregnant women, elderly people and individuals with weak immune systems should not eat them.
Meat is a highly controversial food.
On one hand, it’s a staple in many diets and is a great source of protein and important nutrients.
On the other hand, some people believe eating it is unhealthy, unethical and unnecessary.
This article takes a detailed look at the health benefits and potential risks of eating meat.
What Is Meat?
Meat is the flesh of animals that humans prepare and consume as food.
In the US and many other countries, the term mainly refers to muscle tissue. It is typically consumed as steak, chops, ribs, roast or in ground form, like hamburger.
In the past, offal such as liver, kidneys, brains and intestines were commonly enjoyed in most cultures. However, most Western diets now exclude them.
Nevertheless, offal remains popular in some parts of the world, particularly among traditional societies. Many delicacies are also based on organs.
Foie gras is made from duck or goose liver. Sweetbreads are thymus glands and pancreas. And menudo is a soup made from intestines.
Today, most meat worldwide comes from domesticated animals raised on farms, mainly large industrial complexes that often house thousands of animals at a time.
However, in some traditional cultures, hunting animals remains the sole means for obtaining it.
Types of meat are categorized by their animal source and how they are prepared.
This comes from mammals and contains more of the iron-rich protein myoglobin in its tissue than white meat. Examples include:
- Beef (cattle).
- Pork (pigs and hogs).
- Veal (calves).
- Game, such as bison, elk and venison (deer).
This is generally lighter in color than red meat and comes from birds and small game. Examples include:
- Wild birds, such as quail and pheasant.
Processed meat has been modified through salting, curing, smoking, drying or other processes to preserve it or enhance flavor. Examples include:
- Hot dogs.
- Luncheon meats, such as bologna, salami and pastrami.
Bottom Line: Meat comes from a variety of different animals and is classified as either red or white, depending
Nutrients in Meat
Lean meat is considered an excellent protein source. It contains about 25-30% protein by weight after cooking.
Animal protein is a complete protein, meaning it provides all 9 essential amino acids.
A 3.5-oz (100-gram) portion of lean beef provides (2):
- Calories: 205.
- Protein: About 27 grams.
- Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI.
- Niacin: 19% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B12: 19% of the RDI.
- Niacin: 63% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 24% of the RDI.
- Zinc: 50% of the RDI.
- Selenium: 28% of the RDI.
The nutrient profiles of other muscle meats are similar, although they contain less zinc. Interestingly, pork is especially high in the vitamin thiamine, providing 63% of the RDI per 3.5 oz (100 grams) (3).
Liver and other organs are also high in vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron and selenium. They’re also an excellent source of choline, an important nutrient for brain, muscle and liver health (4).on the source. Processed products have been modified with additives to enhance flavor.
Cooking Methods and Effects on Carcinogens
Cooking and preparing meats in certain ways may negatively affect your health.
When they’re grilled, barbecued or smoked at high temperatures, fat is released and drips onto hot cooking surfaces.
This produces toxic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can rise up and seep into the meat.
Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are formed when meat is heated to high temperatures and forms a dark crust. HA levels have been shown to rise during extended cooking times and with lengthy cooling down after cooking (8, 9).
Nitrates are additives in processed meats that were formerly considered carcinogenic, but are now considered harmless or even beneficial.
Bottom Line: Cooking food at high temperatures or for long periods of time can increase the production of toxic byproducts capable of causing cancer.
Meat and Cancer
Many people claim that eating meat raises cancer risk. However, this largely depends on the type you eat and how it’s cooked.
Is Red Meat Bad?
However, in nearly every study, the association was between cancer and well-done meat, PAHs or HAs, rather than red meat itself. These studies indicate that high-heat cooking had a very strong effect.
Of all cancers, colon cancer has the strongest association with red meat intake, with dozens of studies reporting a connection.
Aside from a few studies that didn’t distinguish between processed and fresh meat or cooking method, increased risk seems to occur mostly with higher intake of processed and well-done meat (20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25).
In a 2011 analysis of 25 studies, researchers concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a clear-cut link between red meat and colon cancer (22).
Other Factors That May Affect Cancer Risk
While red meat cooked at high temperatures may increase cancer risk, white meat doesn’t seem to. In fact, one study found that poultry consumption was linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer, even when cooked to the point of charring (20, 22, 24).
In addition, some researchers believe processed meat may potentially lead to inflammation in the colon that increases cancer risk (28).
In one study, adding calcium or vitamin E to cured meat reduced levels of toxic end-products in the feces of humans and rats. What’s more, these nutrients were found to improve pre-cancerous colon lesions in the rats (29).
It’s important to realize that because these studies are observational, they can only show a relationship and cannot prove that red or processed meat causes cancer.
However, it definitely seems wise to limit your consumption of processed meat. If you choose to eat red meat, then use gentler cooking methods and avoid burning it.
Bottom Line: Observational studies have shown a link between well-done or processed meat and increased risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.
Meat and Heart Disease
Several large observational studies exploring meat intake and heart disease have found an increased risk with processed products. Only one study found a weak association for red meat alone (30, 31, 32, 33).
In 2010, researchers performed a massive review of 20 studies with over 1.2 million people. They found that consuming processed — but not red — meat appeared to increase heart disease risk by 42% (30).
However, these studies don’t prove that a high intake of processed meat causes heart disease. They only suggest that there may be a relationship.
Bottom Line: Processed meat has been linked to heart disease in some studies, while controlled studies have shown that meat may have a neutral or beneficial effect.
Meat and Type 2 Diabetes
However, it’s entirely possible that the people who ended up with diabetes had engaged in unhealthy behaviors, such as consuming too many refined carbs, eating too few vegetables or simply overeating in general.
Bottom Line: Some observational studies show a relationship between red and processed meats and increased diabetes risk. However, this may also depend on other dietary factors.
Meat, Weight Control and Obesity
A high intake of red and processed meat has been linked to obesity in several observational studies.
This includes a review of 39 studies with data from over 1.1 million people (43).
However, the results from individual studies varied greatly (43).
In one study, researchers found that although there was a relationship between frequent red meat consumption and obesity, people who ate the most also took in about 700 more calories daily than those who ate less (44).
Again, these studies are observational and don’t account for other types and amounts of food consumed on a regular basis.
And although red meat is frequently linked to obesity and weight gain while white meat isn’t, one controlled study found no difference in weight changes among overweight people assigned to eat beef, pork or chicken for three months (45).
Consuming fresh, whole foods appears to benefit weight loss, regardless of whether meat is consumed or not.
In one study, 10 obese postmenopausal women followed an unrestricted paleo diet with 30% of calories as mainly animal protein, including meat. After five weeks, weight decreased by 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and belly fat decreased by 8%, on average (47).
Bottom Line: While some observational studies have linked red and processed meat intake to obesity, overall calorie intake is key. Controlled studies have shown that weight loss can occur despite high meat intake.
Benefits of Eating Meat
Eating meat has several health benefits:
- Reduced appetite and increased metabolism: Many studies have shown that high-protein diets that include meat increase metabolic rate, reduce hunger and promote fullness (48, 49, 50, 51).
- Retention of muscle mass: Animal protein intake is consistently linked to increased muscle mass. In one study in older women, eating beef increased muscle mass and also reduced markers of inflammation (52, 53, 54, 55, 56).
- Stronger bones: Animal protein may improve bone density and strength. In one study, older women with the highest intake of animal protein had a 69% decreased risk of hip fractures (57, 58).
- Better iron absorption: Meat contains heme iron, which your body absorbs better than non-heme iron from plants (59, 60, 61).
Bottom Line: Meat has benefits for appetite, metabolism, iron absorption and the health of your muscles and bones.
Ethical and Environmental Perspectives
Some people choose not to eat meat because they don’t believe in killing animals for food when there are other ways to meet nutrition needs.
This is a valid point of view that should be respected.
Others object to animals being raised in large, industrial complexes that are sometimes referred to as “factory farms,” which is also very understandable.
These farms are overcrowded and often don’t allow animals to get sufficient exercise, sunlight or room to move. To prevent infection, livestock are often given antibiotics, which can lead to antibiotic resistance (62, 63).
The environmental effects of factory farming have also been criticized, particularly the waste produced during raising and slaughtering, as well as the high cost of grain-based meat production (63, 65, 66, 67).
Fortunately, there are alternatives. You can support small farms that raise animals humanely, don’t use antibiotics or hormones and provide their animals with natural diets.
Bottom Line: Some object to killing animals for food, inhumane conditions on industrial farms or the environmental effects of raising livestock.
How to Maximize Benefits and Minimize Negative Effects
Here’s how to ensure you’re consuming meat in a way that’s healthiest for you and the planet:
- Choose fresh products: Fresh meat will always be healthier for you than processed varieties.
- Give organ meats a try: Add these to your diet to take advantage of their high nutrient content.
- Minimize high-heat cooking: If you grill, barbecue or use another high-heat method, wipe away drippings right away and avoid overcooking or charring.
- Consume unprocessed, plant-based foods: These are high in fiber, contain valuable antioxidants and help make your diet well balanced.
- Choose organic meat from small farms: This is more environmentally friendly and better from an ethical perspective.
- Select grass-fed beef: Cattle that consume a natural diet of grass, rather than grain, produce meat that is higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants (68, 69, 70).
Bottom Line: To maximize benefits and and minimize risk, choose fresh meat, avoid high-heat cooking, include plant foods in your diet and choose organic or grass-fed whenever possible.
Should You Eat Meat?
Unprocessed and properly cooked meat has many nutrients and may have some health benefits. If you enjoy eating meat, then there is no compelling health or nutritional reason to stop.
However, if you don’t feel right about eating animals, you can also stay healthy by following a well-balanced vegetarian diet.
Ultimately, whether you consume meat is a personal choice and one that others should respect.
9 Healthy Foods that are High in Vitamin D
Vitamin D is unique, because it can be obtained from food and sun exposure.
However, up to 50% of the world’s population may not get enough sunlight, and 40% of people in the US are deficient in vitamin D
This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.
Here are 9 healthy foods that are high in vitamin D.
Salmon is a popular fatty fish and also a great source of vitamin D.
According to nutrient databases, one 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of salmon contains between 361 and 685 IU of vitamin D
However, it is usually not specified whether salmon is wild or farmed. This might not seem important, but it can make a big difference.
One study found that wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, on average. That’s 247% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Farmed salmon contained only 25% of that amount, on average. Still, that means a serving of farmed salmon contains about 250 IU of vitamin D, which is 63% of the RDI
Bottom Line: Wild salmon is better.
2. Herring and Sardines
Herring is a fish eaten around the world. It can be served raw, canned, smoked or pickled.
It’s also one of the best sources of vitamin D.
Fresh Atlantic herring provides 1,628 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, which is four times the RDI
If fresh fish isn’t your thing, pickled herring is also a great source of vitamin D, providing 680 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. That’s 170% of the RDI.
Sardines are another type of herring that is also a good source of vitamin D. One serving contains 272 IU, which is 68% of the RDI
Other types of fatty fish are also good vitamin D sources. Halibut provides 600 IU per serving and mackerel provides 360 IU per serving
Be warned, these food come with a lot of salt, so definitely limit and watch your intake.
Bottom Line: Herring contains 1,628 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. Pickled herring, sardines and other fatty fish such as halibut and mackerel are also good sources.
3. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is a popular supplement. If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil can be a good way to obtain certain nutrients that are hard to get from other sources.
At about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml), cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D. It’s been used for many years to prevent and treat deficiency in children
However, it’s best to be cautious with cod liver oil and not take more than you need.
Bottom Line: Cod liver oil contains 450 IU of vitamin D per teaspoon (4.9 ml). It is also high in other nutrients, such as vitamin A.
4. Canned Tuna
Many people enjoy canned tuna because of its light flavour and the fact that it can be kept on-hand in the pantry.
It is also usually cheaper than buying fresh fish.
Canned light tuna contains up to 236 IU of vitamin D in a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving, which is more than half of the RDI.
Light tuna is typically a better choice than white tuna.
Bottom Line: Canned tuna contains 236 IU of vitamin D per serving. Choose light tuna and eat 6 oz or less per week
Oysters are a type of clam that live in salt water. They are delicious, low in calories and full of nutrients.
One 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of wild oysters has only 68 calories, but contains 320 IU of vitamin D, or 80% of the RDI.
In addition, one serving of oysters contains 2–6 times more than the RDI of vitamin B12, copper and zinc — far more than multivitamins contain.
Bottom Line: Oysters are full of nutrients and provide 320 IU of vitamin D. They also contain more vitamin B12, copper and zinc than a multivitamin.
Shrimp are a popular type of shellfish.
Yet unlike most other seafood sources of vitamin D, shrimp are very low in fat.
Despite this fact, they still contain a good amount of vitamin D — 152 IU per serving, or 38% of the RDI
Bottom Line: Shrimp contain 152 IU of vitamin D per serving and are also very low in fat. They do contain cholesterol, but this is not a cause for concern.
7. Egg Yolks
Luckily for people who don’t like fish, seafood is not the only source of vitamin D. Whole eggs are another good source, as well as a wonderfully nutritious food.
While most of the protein in an egg is found in the egg white, the fat, vitamins and minerals are found mostly in the egg yolk.
One conventionally grown egg yolk contains between 18 and 39 IU of vitamin D, which isn’t very high
However, pasture-raised chickens that roam outside in the sunlight produce eggs with levels that are three to four times higher
Choosing eggs that are either from chickens raised outside or that are marketed as high in vitamin D can be a great way to help meet your daily requirements.
Bottom Line: Eggs from commercially raised hens contain only about 30 IU of vitamin D per yolk. However, eggs from hens raised outside or fed vitamin D-enriched feed contain much higher levels.
Excluding fortified foods, mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.
Similar to humans, mushrooms can synthesize this vitamin when exposed to UV light
Some varieties contain up to 2,300 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving.
Commercially grown mushrooms, on the other hand, are often grown in the dark and contain very little vitamin D2.
Bottom Line: Only wild mushrooms or mushrooms treated with UV light are good sources of vitamin D.
9. Fortified Foods
Natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially if you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish.
Fortunately, some foods that don’t naturally contain vitamin D are fortified with it.
Cow’s milk, the type of milk that most people drink, is naturally a good source of many nutrients including calcium, phosphorous and riboflavin
In several countries, cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. It usually contains about 130 IU per cup (237 ml), or about 33% of the RDI.
Because vitamin D is found almost exclusively in animal products, vegetarians and vegans are at particularly high risk of not getting enough of it.
For this reason, plant-based milks such as soy milk are also often fortified with it, as well as other vitamins and minerals usually found in cow’s milk.
Around 75% of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, and another 2–3% have a milk allergy
For this reason, some countries fortify orange juice with vitamin D and other nutrients, such as calcium.
One cup (237 ml) of fortified orange juice for breakfast can start your day off with up to 142 IU of vitamin D, or 36% of the RDI
Cereal and Oatmeal
Certain cereals and instant oatmeal are also fortified with vitamin D.One half-cup serving of these foods can provide between 55 and 154 IU, or up to 39% of the RDI
Although fortified cereals and oatmeal provide less vitamin D than many natural sources, they can still be a good way to boost your intake.
Bottom Line: Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, including cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals and oatmeal. They contain between 55 and 130 IU per serving.
Take Home Message
Spending some time outside in the sun is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. However, getting sufficient sun exposure is not possible for many people.
Getting enough from your diet alone is difficult, but not impossible.
Eating plenty of these vitamin D-rich foods is a great way to make sure you get enough of this important nutrient.
Sugary Drinks – The most fattening aspect of the modern diet. As the brain doesn’t “register” them as food, therefore people don’t automatically compensate by eating less of other foods, and end up drastically increasing their calorie intake. Sugar is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and is also associated with various serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease Alternatives: Drink water, soda water, coffee or tea instead.
Most Pizzas, one of the world’s most popular junk foods. The problem is that most commercially prepared pizzas are made with seriously unhealthy ingredients. The dough is made from highly refined wheat flour, and the meats on them are usually processed. Pizza is also extremely high in calories. Alternatives: Some pizza places use healthier ingredients. Homemade pizzas can also be very healthy, as long as you choose wholesome ingredients.
. White Bread, which is generally made from wheat, which contains gluten. All wheat-based breads are a bad idea for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, most commercial breads are unhealthy for everyone, because most are made from refined wheat, which is low in essential nutrients and leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Alternatives: For people who can tolerate gluten, Ezekiel bread is an excellent choice. Whole grain bread is also definitely better than white bread
. Most Fruit Juices are often assumed to be healthy. However, many fruit juices are actually little more than fruit-flavoured sugar water. Juice does contain some antioxidants and vitamin C, however it also contains just as much sugar as a sugary drink like Coke, and sometimes even more. Alternatives: Some fruit juices have been shown to have health benefits despite the sugar content, such as pomegranate and blueberry. Water is still the best alternative.
Industrial Vegetable Oils. In the last 100 years or so, people have increased their consumption of added fats due to a drastic increase in the consumption of refined vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola. These oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, highly sensitive to oxidation and cause increased oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to increased risk of cancer.
Margarine is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to look and taste like butter. It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans-fat content significantly. Alternatives: Use real butter instead, preferably from grass-fed cows
Pastries, Cookies and Cakes - Most pastries, cookies and cakes are made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats, which are often disturbingly unhealthy fats like shortening (high in trans-fats). With almost no essential nutrients, but tons of calories and unhealthy ingredients, they are literally some of the worst things that you can put into your body
French Fries and Potato Chips: Whole, white potatoes are very healthy. However, products that are made from them, such as fries and potato chips, are very high in calories, and it is easy to eat excessive amounts. These foods may also contain large amounts of acrylamides, carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked or roasted. Alternatives: Potatoes are best consumed boiled, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try baby carrots or nuts.
Gluten-Free Junk Foods. There are many glutenfree diets. However, people replace the gluten foods with junk gluten-free processed foods which are often high in sugar, unhealthy oils and refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch. These refined starches lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar, and are extremely low in essential nutrients. Alternatives: Choose foods that are naturally glutenfree, like unprocessed plants and animal foods.
. Agave Nectar: Agave nectar is a highly refined sweetener that is often marketed as healthy. It is extremely high in fructose and can be disastrous for
Low-Fat Yogurt: Yogurt can be incredibly healthy. Unfortunately, most yogurts are loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste that the fats provided. They are made ‘healthy’ by replacing natural dairy fats removed, with much worse ingredients.Alternatives: Choose regular, full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics). If you can get your hands on it, choose yogurt from grass-fed cows.
Low-Carb Junk Foods: Processed low-carb replacement products, such as low-carb candy bars and meal replacements, are often highly processed foods and contain very little actual nutrition. There are plenty of real foods that you can eat on a low-carb diet, most of which are very healthy. Alternatives: If you’re on a low-carb diet, eat foods that are naturally low in carbs.
Ice Cream is one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet. Most commercial ice cream is loaded with sugar, high in calories, and it is very easy to eat excessive amounts. Eating it for dessert is even worse, because then you’re adding it all on top of your total calorie intake. Alternatives: It is possible to make your own ice cream using healthier ingredients and significantly less (or no) sugar.
. Processed Meat. Even though unprocessed meat can be healthy and nutritious, processed meats lead to higher risks of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Alternatives: If you want to eat bacon, sausages, pepperoni and other “processed” meats, then choose wisely and try to buy them locally from sellers who don’t add a lot of unhealthy ingredients. Quality counts
. Processed Cheese. Regular cheese is healthy. It is loaded with nutrients, and a single slice of cheese contains all the same nutrients as an entire glass of milk. However, processed cheese products are mostly made with filler ingredients that are combined and engineered to have a similar look and texture as cheese. Read labels, and make sure that you eat actual not processed cheese. Alternatives: Eat real cheese instead
. Most Fast Food Meals. This is because generally most “fast food” chains serve only junk foods. The majority of the food they offer is mass-produced, highly engineered junk food with very little nutritional value
High-Calorie “Coffee” Drinks: Coffee is very healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants which helps lower risks of serious diseases, like type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s. However, coffee with artificial creamer and added sugar is just as unhealthy as any other sugar-sweetened beverage. Alternatives: Drink plain coffee instead. Black is best, but small amounts of heavy cream or full-fat milk are fine as well.
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Singita Grumeti Reserves in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania was named the best in the world for the second time in a row. It won the coveted title last year.