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Staying Healthy on a Low Carbohydrate Diet

Staying Healthy on a Low Carbohydrate Diet
Marjorie Geiser

It is estimated that about 32 million Americans are following some type of low carbohydrate diet. This is the result of fad diet authors claiming that carbohydrates are the cause for Americas rising obesity problems. The backlash against carbohydrates is a result of the low fat craze that started in the 80s.When consumers started cutting down their fat intake, manufacturers figured out that they could create low fat processed food products that the public would buy. Because these products claimed to be fat free, Americans didnt pay attention to the fact that they were not also calorie free, and as a result, the total amount of daily calories has slowly been increasing. In fact, although the total percentage of calories from fat has decreased, the actual amount of fat intake has increased by 10# per year since 1975! The increase of carbohydrate has also increased, at a rate of 20# per year, mostly as a result of highly processed foods.

It is estimated that 3800 calories are now produced for every American man, woman and child. We have evolved from a world of feast or famine, but were in a state of perpetual feast, although our bodies have not changed. We have no defenses against excess calories: Every year, 300,000 to 400,000 deaths in the US are attributed to obesity.

Meanwhile, Asian and Middle Eastern populations consume 50-75% of their calories from rice and have some of the lowest rates of obesity and heart disease in the world. People living in the Mediterranean also have fewer health conditions commonly seen in the US. This diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruits. Their diets are rich in fish and low in meats and poultry. Although their fat intake is about the same as in America, the type of fat is primarily monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, where Americans eat primarily saturated animal fats.

Regardless of the actual advantage or disadvange to following a low carbohydrate diet, there are three recommendations for maintaining good health while following such a diet. The first is to choose healthy fats over the unhealthy, saturated fats, when considering fat intake. Examples of healthy fats would be plant fats that have not been hydrogenated, which makes the fat more solid at room temperature. It is believed that hydrogenation is actually more harmful to health than saturated fats found naturally in animal products. Plant fats would include nuts, avocados, and olives. Oils such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil are better choices than fats that come from animal sources, such as butter, lard or bacon grease. Multiple studies over the years have shown that excess animal fats lead to higher risks of cancer, heart disease and other inflammatory disorders. Saturated fats have been linked to increased cholesterol, LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well as to increased LDL cholesterol oxidation. In fact, in January 2004, an Atkins representative put out a press release advising the public to decrease their amounts of steak, eggs, and saturated fast to less than 20% of their total fat intake.

The next recommendation to ensure good health is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although fruits and most vegetables are restricted in the initial phase of some low carbohydrate diets, they are then allowed back in limited amounts. The phytonutrients that come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to decrease blood pressure, as well as protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Its easy to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, once you get in the habit. Examples are; add some berries to breakfast, eat a tomato at lunch, include broccoli with dinner, drink some vegetable juice with snacks, and have a large salad with your meal.

The final tip to ensure good health is to eat a diet of whole foods, rather than fall back on the easy snack, convenience foods of today. If Americans had just cut down their amount of fat intake in the 80s, without finding new ways to snack, we may not be seeing the epidemic of obesity we see, today. When people started going on the low carbohydrate diets, they eliminated a large number of calories by eliminating snacking, especially at night, where common snacks are chips, crackers, and other high fat, high refined carbohydrate foods, such as ice cream. Today, though, much like in the 80s, manufacturers are now developing low carb and low net carb snack foods. We can now find low net carb chips, crackers, ice cream, popcorn, even low carb pizza! As Americans start to increase their intake of these foods, we will soon see a slowing of the weight loss many had seen initially. In order to call themselves a low net carb food, manufacturers subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates in the product, rather than produce products without carbohydrate. There is no actual FDA standard for what a low net carb food is, yet, though, so right now its anything the manufacturer wants to say it is. These foods also are very high in fat and saturated fat, usually through hydrogenation. So, not only will calories be added back into the diet through resuming unhealthy snack habits, but they will be calories consisting of high amounts of the unhealthy fats.

So, while following a low carbohydrate diet, in order to ensure continued good health, follow these three recommendations: 1) Make most fats you eat the healthy, plant fats, rather than eating a diet high in animal or hydrogenated fats, 2) Eat plenty of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, which are high in disease-fighting antioxidants, and 3) eat mostly whole, fresh foods and very little processed snack foods, even if they say low carb, in order to avoid hidden and unnecessary fat and calories.

Marjorie Geiser has been teaching health, fitness and nutrition since 1982. She is a nutritionist, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and life coach. As the owner of MEG Fitness, Marjories goal for her clients is to help them incorporate healthy eating and fitness into their busy lives. To order her 30-Day Health & Fitness Challenge e-course and learn more about Marjorie, go to her website at www.megfit.com or email her at Margie@megfit.com


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Making delicious fish and seafood part of your healthy

Making delicious fish and seafood part of your healthy diet
Zaak OConan

Maximizing protein content while minimizing fat and calories is a goal of many people who are trying to lose weight, gain fitness or just enjoy a healthier diet. There are few foods that combine low fat, low calories and high protein the way fish and seafood do.

In addition, the protective oils in many cold water fish are being studied for their possible role in preventing heart disease and lowering levels of cholesterol in the bloods.

In addition, fish dishes are delicious, easy to prepare and often inexpensive. Many people have avoided buying more fish because they were unsure of how to cook and prepare it. While fish dishes can sometimes be a challenge, there are many recipes, both online and in cookbooks, that make it easier than ever to prepare fresh fish for yourself and your family.

Many nutritionists recommend that everyone eat fish at least twice a week. Substituting low fat, low calorie fish dishes for more calorie dense, fatty meats is a great way to lower the amount of total fat in your diet, and this can boost your level of fitness or help you lose weight.

The amount of protein in fresh and frozen fish and seafood is very high, certainly comparable to higher fat sources like beef, pork and lamb. And fish is generally thought to be a healthier choice, since all that protein comes with less fat and fewer calories. Everyone knows about the importance of protein in the diet, for both children and adults. Protein is a vital building block of muscle, and it plays a role in repairing muscle damage, growing strong nails and hair and other important bodily functions.

While protein is found mainly in animal based foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products, there are plant based sources of protein as well. These non animal sources of protein include peanut butter, lentils, peas and nuts. The downside to many protein laden plant based foods, however is their high content.

This is yet another feature that makes fish so appealing as a source of protein. Fish contains just as much protein as many of these higher fat, higher calorie sources. Eating fish provides – shall we say – a greater protein bang for the buck than many other sources.

You may have heard that salmon contains a lot of fat, and it is true that salmon does contain more fat than many other fish. Compared to high fat meats like sausage and bacon, however, salmon is still a relatively low fat source of protein. Like other fatty foods, however, it is important for those watching their fat intake to limit their consumption of salmon.

One advantage fish has over other types of meats is the type of fat it contains. Most meats contain saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature. Unlike cattle, pigs and other land animals, the fat in fish is of the polyunsaturated variety. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, and they are healthier fats for the people who consume them.

Saturated fats are thought to play a greater role in heart disease, stroke and hardening of the arteries. That is why healthy cooking typically involves the use of polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil, instead of saturated fats such as beef lard and butter.

Many people worry about the level of pollution in general, and mercury contamination in particular, in fish. While it is true that polluted waters are of some concern when it comes to fish, seafood products are actually quite safe to eat.

In addition, many types of fish, like salmon and sardines, are farm raised, and their diet and environment is strictly controlled. It is recommended, however, that fishermen and fisherwomen limit the amount of their catch that is eaten if they live near a polluted river or stream. The local fishing and hunting authority usually issues guidelines for eating fish in areas where pollution is a problem.
About the Author

Zaak O’Conan discovers and presents useful information on how to enhance and/or repair your life, body and relationships. You’ll find his other articles on eating better and other ways how to improve your life at http://your-health-center.com


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Healthy Restaurant Eating

Healthy Restaurant Eating
Joe Serpico

Here’s food for thought….did you know the average restaurant meal has over 1,000 calories? That’s enough to blow any healthy eating plan. Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you can dine out without having to sacrifice good taste and nutrition.

1. Avoid ordering an appetizer. It’s not widely known that some appetizers have more calories and fat than the main course. Plus, many appetizers are fried and served with heavy sauces which will add to your intake of saturated fat as well as trans fats and calories. It’s not a healthy way to start your meal.

2. Say “yes” to salad. Salad is a healthy eater’s best friend. Not only will it fill you up so you’ll consume fewer calories overall, but it will also give you a hefty dose of antioxidants which are heart healthy. Be sure to ask your waitress to hold the croutons and cheese which will further reduce your caloric load. Also, choose your dressing wisely. Avoid cream based dressings and go for the vinegar based ones. You also have the option of using vinegar and olive oil which is heart healthy.

3. Make the right entree selection. Go for broiled and grilled rather than fried. Not only will you save calories and fat grams, you’ll also avoid trans fats which are so prevalent in fried foods. Instead, consider asking for a doubles order of vegetables with your entree. Very few Americans are getting the 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for optimal health. Plus, by avoiding the starch, you’ll be reducing your caloric and carbohydrate load. Also, stick to tomato based sauces rather than cream based and you’ll enjoy a considerable calorie savings. Lastly, ask for the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the side so you can control the amount you eat.

4. Think about what you’re drinking with your meal. By not ordering an alcoholic beverage, you’ve saved yourself a considerable number of calories. Try sipping iced tea sweetened with a noncaloric sweetener, a diet soft drink, or water with lemon. You’ll be glad you did when you consider the calorie savings.

5. Indulge your sweet tooth wisely. Many of the chain restaurants now offer a low fat or low carbohydrate dessert selection such as a low carb cheesecake. These are wise choices for the health conscious eater and still allow you to end the meal on a sweet note. If a healthy dessert option isn’t available, try a cup of coffee with skim milk to help satiate your desire for something sweet.

6. Learn to control your portions. Many restaurants are serving larger quantities of food than in the past. If this is the case, put aside a portion of your entree at the beginning of the meal to take home with you. If you remove it from your plate before you start eating, you’ll be less tempted to overindulge.

By following these steps, you can make your dining experiences not only healthy, but enjoyable. Your heart will thank you!

About the Author

Joe Serpico is webmaster at aa-fitness-guide.com. For much more information regarding exercise, health, nutrition, and fitness, visit http://www.aa-fitness-guide.com


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Healthy Fondue A Guide To Making Broth and

Healthy Fondue A Guide To Making Broth and Hot Oil Fondues
Anthony Tripodi

A pot of hot oil that you dip meat into sounds downright barbaric but it can also be heart healthy. Broth and hot oil fondues are much less decadent than their siblings, cheese and chocolate fondue but theyre just as tasty. If a little care is taken when selecting ingredients and overeating is avoided, then both broth and hot oil fondues can become a healthy meal.

Fondue Bourguignonne (also known as hot oil fondue) consists of diners who cook their own food on long forks in a pot filled with hot oil. The oil is heated in a fondue pot to about 325 degrees and guests spike cubes of meat and place them directly into the hot oil. While waiting a minute or two for the meat to cook and also to enjoy some wine and their company (the best part of fondue) the cube is removed from the oil and ready to be dunked into a variety of dipping sauces.

In order to make hot oil fondue healthier you need to start with the oil. Peanut oil is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in monounsaturated fat. This means that that just like olive oil, peanut oil will improve the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.

Next you will need to use lean cuts of meat. Beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin and loin of lamb are good but chicken or turkey breast are your best bets. And keep the portions small. The general guideline is that the portion should be about the size of your palm of your hand.

Dipping sauces can also be made healthier with ingredient substitutions. Try using low sodium soy sauce or fat free sour cream. Take a small dip and dont drown your food in the sauce. Just say no to the barnaise or hollandaise sauce.

Broth fondues are similar to hot oil fondue except they are cooked in broth instead of oil. The benefit of cooking in broth is that it takes on the flavors of the ingredients dunked in it and you can eat it. Often broth fondue (or Shabu Shabu) is followed by a course of noodle or rice soup that is made with the leftover broth.

Start your broth fondue with low sodium chicken or beef broth. Like hot oil fondue you should use lean cuts of meat, small portions and limit the use of dipping sauces. Broth fondues add vegetables to the mix. Try adding mushrooms, green onions, carrots and celery to the broth. Loading up on vegetables will not only fill you but theyre healthy for you.

When running low on ingredients, add the remainder to the fondue pot along with some noodles or rice. Let simmer for a few minutes and serve this wonderfully flavored soup as an after dinner treat to your guests.

Chocolate fondue is delicious but fattening. Cheese fondue is not something you should eat every day. When dieting you should probably skip them both and stick to broth and hot oil fondues. If some care is taken while gathering ingredients, fondue can become a healthy meal.

About the Author

Anthony Tripodi is the webmaster of GoFondue.com – The Home of Fondue. For more information about fondue including recipes, ideas and equipment, visit GoFondue.com


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