Control Calorie Intake
As a rule of thumb, if you control your calorie intake and burn the same amount of calories as you consume, your weight will be maintained at the same level. Although this generally makes good sense, there are several problems that may quickly be encountered here. In the first place, counting calories accurately can be complicated. It has been proven in several broad-scale studies that people counting their calorie intake are notoriously bad at getting the figures right. We almost always tend to underestimate the calories we consume and overestimate the amount we burn. Moreover, not all calories are created equal.
Some people will be able to develop a regime of balancing their exercise levels against their calorie intake and then either lose weight or maintain the weight they are targeting. It is definitely a good thing to have knowledge of calorific values so that we can have a rough idea of where we stand in terms of the amount of food we eat. However, it is just as important to reach a point in which we are eating a healthy diet that provides our daily energy needs without having to run through a convoluted calculation as to how much a particular food item weighs and how many calories it is going to provide.
It would be simpler to ensure that you are eating a healthy, well-cooked diet of fresh vitamin-packed food rather than having to start with some grand calculation. Most people our grandparents’ age had no idea what their calorie intake was or even what it should be on a daily basis. Do you know, for example, how many calories you will burn in the course of a normal workday, or how much that figure would change if you were to jog for an hour?
Hopefully, by the time you finish this guide, you will have a clearer idea, but I am still not promoting constant calorie calculation, even with the help of modern calorie counting apps and calorie counting books that are currently available. Instead, I hope that by the time you have finished this guide, you can look at an apple or vegetable and say, “I can eat that,” without worrying too much about what its calorie content is. At the same time, you ought to be staying away from that fast food outlet, except for the occasional odd treat.
If weight loss is your goal, you should definitely focus on burning as many calories as you can to achieve your ideal weight. Take note that it is more important to eat calories from protein rather than from carbohydrates. Your body also converts protein into energy, and this allows you to burn fat while staying energetic. Reducing calorie intake is important, and for your reference, there are a number of calorie counters online that you can download or use to keep track of the amount of calories you eat in each meal or dish.
Also, remember to reduce the amount of calories you consume from added sugars, as these typically cause weight gain. Added sugars are usually found in carbonated drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, desserts, fruit drinks, and candy.
The best and most accurate way to burn calories is by working out. If you work out consistently, then you won’t need to worry quite as much about how many calories you take in. This way, you can stick with just worrying about eating healthy rather than counting your calories. Of course, just because you are burning the calories you’re eating doesn’t mean that you can get away with eating anything that you want. In fact, it’s the opposite. You’ll need to make sure that you only eat healthier foods if you want a better chance of losing weight and being healthy.
There’s one more important thing to remember about calories: not only should you be taking in enough for how much you exercise or move, but you also have a certain amount you should eat each day depending on how tall you are, how old you are, and what gender you are. You should also make sure your target weight is healthy for someone of your particular demographic.
Aiming to be 100 pounds when you are 5’7” or something of that manner simply isn’t healthy. Just make sure to check out what is best for you to become healthier.
I have also reviewed a lot of dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
On the Subject of Sugar
While we are here, it might be a good idea to take a look at some of the bad guys and how they got us into this mess in the first place. We will also look into how to avoid them.
Over the next 10 years, we will see the escalation of the war on added sugar, which is now recognized as a health threat on par with tobacco. The sugar industry is already starting to put up a fight to defend their business in much the same way that the tobacco industry did; only this time, they have been able to learn from the mistakes made by the big tobacco companies.
Experts now believe that sugar can easily become a complete addictive substance in much the same way as drugs are. In an experiment conducted by French scientists in Bordeaux, it was discovered that rats chose sugar rather than cocaine, even when they were addicted to cocaine.
Sugar was first cultivated by man on the island of New Guinea some 10 000 years ago. During that time, it was simply picked and eaten raw. It gradually spread and is believed to have reached mainland Asia about 1000 B.C. It was carried by the conquering Arab caliphs, and as their power spread, sugar use spread, too. Once the British and French discovered it, demand soared, and the slave trade was born.
The reason I have touched briefly on the history of sugar is to show how recently it became a part of the human diet. In the 1700s, the average Englishman consumed four pounds per year. By 1800, that amount soared to 18 pounds, but that was just the start. Come 1870, an English commoner would have been eating around 47 seven pounds per year, which then leapt to 100 pounds per year in just 30 years. Today, the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar.
What is the consequence of this colossal sugar addiction of ours? One-third of adults have high blood pressure, and 347 million suffer from diabetes. Early nutrition experts who were first to start raising the alarm bell about the devastating effects of sugar on our health were simply drowned out by those blaming high cholesterol for the modern afflictions of obesity and heart disease. Over the last 20 years, fat consumption in the U.S. has gone down, but obesity levels are going up faster than ever.
American endocrinologist Robert Lustig says, “It has nothing to do with calories. Sugar is a poison by itself when consumed in high doses.”
Here is the real catch: sugar is really difficult to avoid, especially if you eat fast food and ready meals, because it is an essential ingredient used by the food industry to add taste. Taste is even more necessary if the fat levels of meals have been lowered to persuade people that they are eating something healthy.
Lustig goes on to say, “An analysis of 175 countries over the past decade showed that when you look for the cause of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes, the total number of calories you consume is irrelevant. It’s the specific calories that count. When people ate 150 calories every day, the rate of diabetes went up by 0.1 percent. However, if those calories came from a can of fizzy drink, the rate went up to 1.1 percent. Added sugar is 11 times more potent in causing diabetes than general calories.”
There are complicated scientific reasons for this, and the whole of science will be in dispute for years to come, but reducing sugar intake appears to be crucial not only for weight loss, but for overall health as well. The average 12-ounce can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. If you consider that some people consume two or three such drinks during the course of a day, is it any wonder that obesity has reached the levels that it has?
When looking at foods to eat, it’s pretty obvious that you should find the foods that have less sugar. Any foods that have no sugar added are even better. Anything that you might want to add sugar to should not have any sugar in the first place. This way, you won’t be eating too much sugar.
The Role of the Food Industries
As previously mentioned, the food industry plays a crucial role in what we eat. Between 1977 and 2000, sugar intake in the United States doubled, yet sales of granulated sugar remained the same or even dropped. In short, we have been getting our sugar somewhere else. Eighty percent of the food items for sale in the average supermarket contain added sugar. This may come in one or two different forms, but the most popular is high-fructose corn syrup.
It is the fructose in sugars that our bodies have a problem processing. When you eat an apple, it contains high quantities of fructose, but it is accompanied by fiber, such that it is processed via the stomach. Refined sugars are sent directly to the liver, which soon becomes overloaded and is forced to store those sugars as fat – most commonly, belly fat. With sugar estimated to be eight times more addictive than cocaine, we soon find ourselves in a position in which our craving for sugar skyrockets, and the vicious cycle begins. Our bodies store the sugar as fats. We become less energetic and move less, and as a result, we process the whole food we do eat less efficiently.
The U.S. government has tried to reign in the food industry several times, but every time this happens, companies immediately cry “nanny state” or “government attack on our freedom to choose.” These food giants have a huge amount of clout. They throw huge budgets at advertising campaigns promoting the health advantages of their products, yet they have firmly resisted giving clear labels as to how much sugar our supermarket products contain.
In 1950, the first links to lung cancer were proven, but it took another 50 years of denial on the part of the tobacco industry before we began to see real change in the way cigarettes were marketed. This will be the first generation in the United States where children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents did. Can we afford to wait another 50 years before we get a grip on the amount of additives in our food?
It All Starts with the Kids
A significant percentage of the food industry advertising budget is directed toward our children. After all, if you can hook them and cause them to become addicted while they are young, then chances are that companies will have a customer for life. The food that our children are served in school cafeterias is rarely of the quality that it should be, and the contracts to supply those cafeterias are normally held by big players in the industry.
The ban on tobacco advertising resulted in a 50% reduction in high school smokers over 20 years. Is it not time that the advertising of high-sugar foods to our kids be banned as well? In fact, legislation pertaining to advertising to children is not as strict as advertising to adults. It is in our children that we are seeing the fastest rise in obesity levels, particularly in poorer communities. Several attempts to ban or reduce advertising targeting young people have been overturned. The lobby groups in the food industry know where their long-term client base lies.
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but that term became outdated when an increasing number of young children began to become obese. Doctors understand the methods used to treat diabetes in adults, but treating this new young and obese generation will take them into unchartered territory as they now begin treating people over nearly the entire course of their lives.
As parents, you should make sure to keep your kids as far from those unhealthy foods as possible. They can have candy every so often and have other things on occasion, but it should never be every day. Starting when they are very young, you should aim to have your kids eating healthy foods. It doesn’t have to be the same five foods over and over again, but it does need to be foods that they will enjoy.
Give your children a huge variety of foods to try. Also, you should limit their exposure to ads on TV, especially when they are very young. This will keep their minds off of food that they might see on TV and only on the foods that you make for them. They will be less tempted to try something unhealthy they saw if they never saw it in the first place.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
We may be marketed to very aggressively, but we can still choose to eat healthy foods if we want to. Most of the salt and sugar we eat come in the form of real food that is engineered. If we go back to real food, we suddenly find our sugar and salt levels dropping dramatically, and that is not to say anything about colorings and preservatives.
The food industry would have us believe that buying real meat and vegetables is going to hurt our budgets, but considerable research is now proving that this is simply not true. Where food companies are at an advantage is that they sell convenience. Real food needs to be cooked or prepared in some way, whereas much of the prepared food we are sold simply needs to be popped into a microwave for a few minutes, and a lot of fast food does not even require that.
The single most powerful thing you can do to improve both your health and that of your family is to develop a passion for home cooking. Sure, you are busy, and you have had a hard day at work, but isn’t the health of your family more important?
During the course of this guide, I will show you several ways to make home cooking easier and more fun. We will also give you some easy, quick-to-prepare recipes that are not only healthy, but can also be stored to warm up on those days when you simply don’t want to spend a long time cooking. These are only examples, however, and this is not a cookbook. There are thousands of healthy eating cookbooks on the market, as well as dozens of programs on television.
Why don’t you try eliminating all processed food from your diet for just one week and see how much better you feel? Hopefully, after that, you will be on the road to continuing a healthy lifestyle.
The literal definition of a macro-nutrient is any substance that a living organism needs in large quantities. Animals that are carnivores need more protein, as their diet is primarily meat. For omnivores, they have a plant-based diet. Then, there are omnivores, like humans. They need a mix of both meat and plants to have a healthy diet. Therefore, the macro-nutrients that an omnivore needs will be much more than what other species need, given that they need a mix of plants and meat.
Dogs are another example of an omnivore, as their diet is a mix of plants and meat. However, they can’t be deprived of meat, even if they are an omnivore. This can cause many issues in their body, as the food they should be eating needs to have a balance. Cats, however, are mainly of carnivores. They can’t go without eating meat, as they need more meat than any other food to survive.
Simply put, macro-nutrients are a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you are trying to lose weight, it is important that you eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein, less than a gram of carbohydrates, and around 0.5 to 2.5 grams of fat per pound of your bodyweight per day. As an example, someone weighing 150 lbs would need to eat 150 to 225 grams of protein, less than 150 grams of carbohydrates, and between 75 and 375 grams of fat each day.
Go Easy on Sodium
Salt is another of those additives that are eating way too much of for our own good, but most of what we do eat does not come from that small quantity we choose to sprinkle over our meals. It is recommended that we consume no more than 2.3 milligrams of salt per day. In the US, the average daily intake is 3.4 milligrams. This excessive intake can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and even asthma.
Sodium, as you might guess, holds more liquid in your body. This, in turn, causes a lot of strain on your heart, making it possible for you to suffer from a heart attack. Along with the heart, it can also damage the aorta, which is the major artery leading to your heart, the kidneys, and also the bones. An increase in your sodium intake might not make your blood pressure go up, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. There are many other issues that can arise from a huge amount of salt intake.
In the United Kingdom alone, it is estimated that 85% of daily salt intake comes from that added by the food industry. In the United States, similar figures are showing up. The food industry knows that we like the taste of salt, and they are out to make sure we don’t lose the taste for it either.
Here are a few common food items that add to the excess salt we are consuming:
- Bread: 1⁄2 gram per slice
- Biscuits: 1⁄2 gram per two biscuits
- Canned Soup: 3 grams
- Pizza: 2.5 grams
Many processed meats are high in sodium (1), and those products have now been found to have strong links to cancer. It is important to read labels to see how much sodium you are about to buy, but the best choice are those labels that say sodium-free. You can then add your own salt according to your own taste and in quantities that you know are healthy.
Our taste buds are conditioned for high quantities of salt, which is why we like fast food so much. It is possible to wean yourself off of salt; just do it gradually.
To give food a little bit of extra taste, try adding dried herbs, curry, or ginger.
Some great specific spices or dried herbs to add to your dishes include basil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, rosemary, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and oregano. Basil is more frequently added to pasta sauces. It has a great flavor that will definitely bring out the Italian taste you might want in your pasta. Thyme is often seen as a flavoring on fish fillets, but it also is frequently added to chicken. It has a bit of an earthy taste to it and can really make your dish stand out. Cumin is used in a lot of different foods, including chicken, ground meat, and vegetables. If you’re a big chili lover, then you’ve found the perfect thing to add to your chili dish to make it the best it can be.
Chili powder is frequently paired with cumin in a dish. Of course, you’ll be putting chili powder in chili. It wouldn’t really be chili without it. It gives any dish a nice little kick, so if you ever have a dish that you want to have some heat, sprinkle some chili powder. Rosemary is a great dried herb to use just before grilling or roasting some meat and potatoes. It is frequently seen in potatoes, especially roasted ones. Red pepper flakes are in the same vein as chili powder. If you want a little kick in your dish, you might decide that red pepper flakes are the way to go. If you get a bite with a red pepper flake in it, you’ll know. This is also a great spice to add to any spice rub, as long as you want a little heat. Plus, you don’t need to go overboard to get that kick you’re looking for.
Cinnamon might seem like a strange choice for some people, but it can be that little sweetener you’ve been looking for. It doesn’t even need to be something super exciting. You can add it to yogurt for some flavor, especially if you have some plain vanilla Greek yogurt. Add some fruit chunks, and you’ve got a great snack food. Adding cinnamon to a savory dish is also possible. Maybe you want to make spaghetti that has a little bit of a sweet side. Sprinkle a little cinnamon in, and notice the change. Finally, there is oregano, which is another great Italian dish herb. Adding some oregano to any pasta dish will work out and make it taste even better. Garlic bread can always use some oregano, and the same goes with some vegetables, especially if you’re having an Italian-style dinner.
It’s Okay to Eat Fat
If there is one food source that has been given a bad rap over the last 30 or 40 years, it has to be fat. Sure, too much of the wrong fats – too much of any fat for that matter – can be bad for you, but fat is not the big bad guy it has been made out to be.
We have been fed decades of anti-fat, low-fat, and fat-free propaganda over the years. Much of that propaganda comes via the food industry, which discovered a neat little trick. Knock out the fat, add sugar to give the food some taste, and sell it back to consumers at a higher price as a healthy alternative.
The fact of the matter is that we need fat in our diet. Fat provides us with essential fatty acids, helps keep our skin soft, and provides fat-soluble vitamins. More importantly, fat provides us with energy. Somehow, we have bought into the notion that eating fat and being fat amount to the same thing. We cannot function for more than a few days without eating fat.
Humans have been eating fats for a lot longer than they have been eating carbohydrates, but they have always been lean. It is only the last few decades that there has been a sudden growth in our waistlines. Until recently, the argument has been that the massive global weight gains we have seen came about because of the failure to control our willpower, and the assumption is that if we simply retake control of that willpower, we will become thin again. Anyone who has ever tried to diet and then maintain the weight loss will soon tell you that it is not quite that easy. Something has gone wrong somewhere with the way we eat, and simple self-control is not the answer.
Let’s take a look at the appestat. The appestat is a part of the human brain believed to control body weight. In short, this small part of our anatomy controls appetite, and it does so by regulating food intake. That appestat is sated by clean healthy fats, but it becomes confused when exposed to fats and sugars in processed food that provide calories but no nutrients. In short, it is looking for nutrients, and when it does not find any or does not find enough, you remain hungry. That is why it is so difficult to eat just one chocolate cookie or one potato chip.
As long as you’re eating the right kinds of fat, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats are both good fats, and you should eat foods that are rich in them. Fat is actually an energy source that is good for your body, especially in the absence or reduction of carbohydrates. Fats also make up cell membranes and are important in the regeneration or reproduction of cells, as well as in muscle and joint recovery. The best kinds of fat include those that are full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, such as tuna and salmon, because they activate your body’s fat-burning genes and give your body better fat storage.
You should take note that around 10% of your daily calorie intake must come from fats. This will be easy because full-fat dairy products, peanut butter, and most animal products all have good fats in them.
It’s Okay to Have a Cheat Day
Leptin is something that is produced by your fat cells. When your leptin levels are sufficient for the amount of energy you need, then your brain will be signaled, telling you that you don’t need to eat anymore.
It’s a little different when you are dieting. Many diets restrict calories. This means that every day, you are restricting your body from receiving the leptin that it needs. Your body won’t think you are getting the energy that you need for proper survival, so it can cause you to have a day where you eat a lot more than you should, also known as binging. Even if you’ve been eating a good amount of food and getting the nutrients you need, your leptin levels might not be where they should be. However, if you have a cheat day once a week, then you won’t have to worry about a time in the future where you will be uncontrollably binging.
If you allow yourself a day of eating burgers, fries, pizza, and chocolate, you’ll be keener on making sure that you eat clean again the following days. Just be sure you don’t go overboard with the amount of calories you consume. Having a cheat day will also burn more calories by boosting your metabolism. This is due to your thyroid hormones. The more that you restrict calories, the slower your metabolism will go. With a slower metabolism, the chances of losing weight start to go way down. This cheat day might be exactly what your body needs to keep going and losing weight. As long as you are eating clean throughout the week, this increase in calories will actually burn fat and have you looking forward to the next cheat day again. Remember to do this only once each week!
Don’t Starve Yourself
Skipping meals to lose weight does not work! Some people think that if they skip meals, then they are helping themselves lose weight faster. The thing is, if you skip meals or starve yourself, you’re actually slowing down your metabolism, which means that your body stores fat instead of burning it. If your body doesn’t know when its next meal is coming, it will hold on to the fat it has in case energy is needed. Starving yourself has no fat loss benefits and is not healthy in any way, so just don’t do it.
Doing this a few times might make you think that you’re losing weight, but you really aren’t. It can lead to anorexia or any other combination of eating disorders. Moreover, the more that your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, the more likely it might start breaking down the muscle in your body to give it some energy. Not eating only leads to issues with your body; it doesn’t help you lose weight in a healthy way.
Know More about the Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a means of measuring the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. It’s important to eat foods with low glycemic index because they keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Moreover, the body is able to burn these foods efficiently to give you the right amount of energy.
Meanwhile, foods with high glycemic index cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, thus forcing your body to go into a fat-storing phase.
Read Nutrition Labels
It’s extremely important to read nutrition labels or “nutrition facts” on food packages. Understanding what makes up the food that you eat is important. Knowing if you are eating the right amount of nutrients or if what you’ve bought is high in calories or high in sodium is extremely helpful. Knowing how to read nutrition labels will go a long way in helping you reach your weight loss goals. In the next chapter, you will learn more about reading nutrition labels.
Supplements are not necessary for most people since a healthy, balanced diet provides all of the vitamins and minerals they need. In small amounts, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C are essential to your body’s functioning.
That said, some natural weight loss supplements may help people burn slightly more calories every day, gradually increasing weight loss.
Generally, weight loss supplements work through one or more of the following mechanisms:
- Reduces appetite, making you feel fuller so that you consume fewer calories
- Reduces the absorption of nutrients, such as fat, causing you to consume fewer calories
- Burn more calories by increasing fat burning
Resurge is one of the most popular weight loss supplements that promise to help you shed pounds and sleep better. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.
While other supplements promote nutritional factors, meal replacement forms, appetite suppression, or similar effects, Resurge boosts your body’s metabolism by increasing your core temperature. However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge reviews.
It should be noted that pills or supplements only work when combined with a healthy weight-loss diet. Supplements are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution to obesity.
Besides, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you already take medications, have health concerns or are pregnant.