Thursday, June 25, 2009

Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

Since we've been talking about the subject of fat, I found myself wondering whether indulging in a huge hamburger dripping in fat makes you fatter. In other words, does eating fat make you fatter, since your body doesn't have to convert fat into anything else? It's already fat. Is a fatty hamburger really an example of:

"An instant on the lips, an eternity on the hips"?

Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fatter
It turns out that the answer is, "No." Eating fat does not, by itself, make you fatter. At least, ingesting straight fat doesn't make you any fatter than ingesting any other kind of food that has a lot of calories.

What makes us fat is eating more calories than we burn, whether those calories come in the form of fat or carbohydrates. Actually, studies have shown that decreasing fat intake actually increases how fat we are. All of this, of course, makes a mockery of the "fat-blocking" diet pill industry, which is flourishing.

Some Shocking Facts About Fat
Studies show that low-fat diets don't actually work. In fact, people who went on low-fat diets do lose weight -- about two to four pounds -- but they end up gaining that weight back, even while they are still on the low-fat diet. Now that's a bummer.

Get this: in the U.S. the average person's fat intake has been reduced, over time, from about 40% of our total calorie intake to about 33%. At the same time, as a nation we've gotten fatter. We've seen a gradual increase in the average weight of the U.S. citizen, and a huge jump in the number of cases of obesity. Yikes!

Finally, the "war on fat" has been a losing proposition in more ways than that. Not only are we fatter, as a nation, but we are also seeing an increase in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, and 30% of the adults in this country are obese.

Don't Eat Less Fat, Eat the Right Fats
So much for the idea that eating less fat will make us less fat. Apparently, that's not going to happen, as the statistics amply prove. Instead, the key is to eat the right kinds of fat while decreasing our net caloric consumption. Basically, the Golden Rule of eating the right kinds of fat is this:

"Eat more mono and polyunsaturated fats, and stay away from trans-fats and saturated fats."

This isn't hard to do. Stop eating doughnuts and French fries, and start cooking with olive oil and eating wholes grains and nuts. Better yet, start eating blue-green algae, which contains some of the highest levels of omega-3 and omega-6, the polyunsaturated fats that are good for you -- and which your body cannot make by itself. Best of all, blue-green algae comes in a capsule so you don't even have to know how to cook to take it. Pop some pills and you are good to go. It's the perfect solution for those who want to eat healthy but either can't or don't like to cook foods with the right kinds of fat!

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Photo credit: Metzis Tasty Takeaway Hamburger with the lot - Australian style!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Eat Breakfast?

If you're short on time and energy, it can be tempting to skip breakfast. But studies show that breakfast might be the healthiest and most important meal of the day. In fact, eating breakfast can help you:

Learn: According to Tufts University, "Children who participated in the School Breakfast Program were shown to have significantly higher standardized achievement test scores than eligible non-participants."

Be Happier: Studies done by the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School show that eating breakfast can prevent irritability, fatigue, and anger.

Be Thin: Researchers from the National Weight Control Registry found that eating breakfast was a successful long term strategy for losing weight and keeping weight off for 78% of the people in their registry.

Plus, breakfast tastes great! To make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need for body and mind, you might also consider adding whole food supplements to your breakfast.  These daily packets of algae, probiotics and enzymes are a simple and affordable way to go.

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Photo credit: Saloop Sausage, Beans & Eggs

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

7 Vitamins for Great-Looking Skin from the Inside Out

Did you know that your skin needs at least 7 vitamins to function properly as an organ? In fact, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and provides many useful functions such as protecting you from harmful bacteria and flushing toxins out of your body.

But for your skin do its job and look great, it needs the right fuel-the right vitamins. Here are 7 vitamins that play a crucial role in keeping your skin healthy, young, and elastic.

1. Biotin
Biotin is a coenzyme that helps build and repair skin cells. Biotin has also been shown to be helpful in reversing eczema, dermatitis, and other skin blemishes. The friendly bacteria in our gut (lactobacillus) is responsible for producing biotin, but is otherwise difficult to get from outside food sources. Biotin is found in small amounts in brewer's yeast, liver, and whole grains. Blue-green algae provides a large concentration of biotin.

2. Folic Acid
Folic acid minimizes wrinkles in the skin and keeps the skin feeling smooth. The name "folic" comes from the word "foliage," so leafy greens and foods high in chlorophyll are excellent sources of folic acid. Unfortunately, most people are deficient in folic acid, and some experts say folic acid is the most common vitamin deficiency in the word. Having healthy bacteria in your gut will help your body produce folic acid.

3. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin is essential for skin repair and support. Niacin is part of more than 50 enzymatic reactions that supply energy to skin cells. You can get niacin from many meats.

4. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin helps the skin breathe by using oxygen efficiently. When you think of riboflavin, think of the ocean. This vitamin is found in oily fish, blue green algae, and nori seaweed.

5. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B12)
Pyridoxine helps with skin elasticity, and is also a key factor in producing many of the amino acids needed by skin cells. In fact, it plays a part in over 60 enzymes systems within the body.

6. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Cobalamin has an indirect effect on skin. Called the "longevity vitamin," cobalamin increases the body's energy and stamina, and seems to motivate people to stay active. This activity causes us to sweat, which in turn helps our skin rid itself of toxins so we look younger. The highest source of this vitamin is blue green algae. It is also found in liver, spinach, and whole grains.

7. Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid is thought to decrease wrinkles in skin, as well as decrease stress. This vitamin is widely available in meats and vegetables. In fact, pantos means "everywhere" in Greek, so this vitamin can be found in many foods.

Your Skin Reflects What You Eat
As you have probably figured out by now, your skin reflects your diet. To have great-looking skin from the inside out, you need to make sure your diet includes these 7 vitamins. Having healthy intestinal flora is also important, since the gut plays in important part in producing several of these vitamins. Adding probiotics to your daily regimen can ensure a healthy intestinal system. Adding even small amounts of blue-green algae to your diet can ensure that you get all of the vitamins your skin requires in a single convenient dose.

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