Monthly Archive for July, 2009

Is the new reformulated Hydroxycut Advanced safe

Question: I’ve noticed that Hydroxycut is back on the market reformulated as Hydroxycut Advanced. Is it now safe to use?

Answer: Hydroxycut products were voluntarily recalled by Iovate Health Sciences (the manufacturers) from the market in the beginning of May 2009, following a damning FDA report advising customers to immediately stop using the majority of Hydroxycut products. This warning was issued by the FDA following 23 reports of serious health problems directly related to the use of Hydroxycut. Reported incidents include cases where the use of this popular weight loss supplement resulted in the death of one man and necessitated a liver transplant on a woman. Several lawsuits have already been filed. For more background on the original FDA report see this article on the recall of Hydroxycut.

Barely two months after the Hydroxycut products were recalled, a reformulated version of the popular “fat burner” Hydroxycut weight loss pill is back on the market as Hydroxycut Advanced. Interestingly, it is packaged to look similar to the widely popular original Hydroxycut product. Iovate Health Sciences indicated that, after further analysis of the incidents and the ingredients in the original products, they were unable to isolate the ingredient that may have caused these serious side effects. In an attempt to make the product safer, it was reformulated and many of the ingredients changed. That Hydroxycut Advanced was put back on the market so soon after the recall (2 months) suggests that it may not be properly tested. It is therefor still unclear how safe this weight loss product is. With so many ingredient changes, it can also be argued that Hydroxycut Advanced is a totally different product with an unproven track record as far as effectiveness go. Our recommendation at this stage remains to steer clear of Hydroxycut products until more tests are done.

What is a good diet for me

Question: I have to lose a lot of weight (about 50 pounds) fast. What would the best diet or weight loss plan be for me?

Answer: The right diet for you really depends on your personal tastes and lifestyle. If you chose a diet that is well-suited to your taste in food and your lifestyle; it will be so much easier to stick to it and it will really enhance your chances of success. A healthy diet is one that becomes a new way of eating, so the weight you do lose can stay off permanently. A recent scientific study on choosing a diet suggested that; as long as you choose a healthy and well balanced diet, the actual mix of protein, carbs, and fats is not that important. It is far more important that you are able to stick to the plan and make a permanent lifestyle change.

For example; if you love red meat the Atkins Diet may be the best weight loss plan for you, while the Mediterranean Diet may be just the one if you love fish. Of course, if cooking is your pet hate, something like NutriSystem may offer a better fit to your lifestyle. If you are the type of person that needs more structure and support, Weight Watchers offers a proven approach and support network.

So take your time and choose your diet carefully considering everything you’ve learned from your past weight loss experiences. Whichever one you choose, break that 60 lbs down into mini-goals and celebrate the achievement of each; then the whole weight loss journey will not seem quite so daunting. There is nothing that motivates like success.

And if your first diet choice turned out to be the wrong choice, try something else until you find a weight loss plan that works for you.

Does muscle really weigh more than fat

Question: I’ve often heard people say that muscle weighs more than fat. Can this explain why I haven’t lost so much weight since I started working out?

Answer: Well, yes and no. One pound of muscle and one pound of fat will both reflect a pound of weight on the scales, so in effect there is no difference between “fat weight” and “muscle weight”, as far as the scales go. But all pounds are not made equal. Muscle is more dense than fat; so a smaller volume of muscle will weigh the same as a larger volume of fat. So, if you have plenty of lean muscle mass, you may weigh as much or even more than someone with more fat, but you will be leaner. The other advantage of lean muscle mass over fat is of course that it increases your metabolic rate, which helps you lose weight, maintain your goal weight, and allow you to eat more without gaining weight. The reason for this is that while one pound of muscle burns about 6 calories per day, one pound of fat only burns 2 calories per day! The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while you rest.

In light of the discussion above you may want to change your stated goal to start losing fat (or inches), instead of weight. The last thing you want to lose is lean muscle mass; which is exactly what you lose on the majority of popular crash diets. Follow a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of protein combined with a good exercise program, and boost your metabolism for permanent weight loss. For more information on the different diets see our diet reviews.

How do I lose belly fat

Question: I have some extra fat around the waist that I really battle to get rid of. Any suggestions on how to lose this unnecessary belly fat?

Answer: Most experts agree that targeted weight loss is unlikely on most diets; but there does seem to be some scientific evidence that the Mediterranean way of eating can actually help people lose fat around the waist area. This is most probably due to the high “good fats” or “monounsaturated fats” content in the Mediterranean dishes. Good sources of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) include olive oil, avocados and nuts. These good fats will not only help you lose belly fat; it can also help to protect you against heart disease and cancer. MUFAs make food taste better and helps reduce the glycemic load on most foods, so you stay fuller for longer and have more control over your appetite. In short, a good supply of monounsaturated fats is a critical part of any healthy and balanced diet.

For more information see these articles on the Mediterranean Diet and the Flat Belly Diet.

What is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Question: What is your Basal Metabolic Rate?

Answer: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the daily total number of calories your body needs while you are in a resting state. In other words, it is your daily calorie requirement before exercise. It is really surprising how much energy your body really needs even when you rest. This energy is used to keep your heart beating, your brain functioning, temperature regulated and all other organs functioning. It is interesting to note that muscle requires far more energy to function than fat, even when you are sitting perfectly still. This also explains why it is so important to increase lean muscle mass if you want to lose weight or maintain your goal weight.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, is specifically calculated for you; and takes into account your gender, age, weight and height. To get yours calculated try this free BMR calculator.

Can Diet Sodas actually help you lose weight

Question: I always thought diet sodas are great if you want to lose weight, but someone told me it may actually hinder rather than help weight loss efforts?

Answer: The jury is still out on this question, although there does seem to be at least some evidence that aspartame (the artificial sweetener typically used in diet sodas) can disrupt the balance of the hormones in your endocrine system, which is also responsible for your metabolism. So yes, diet sodas can potentially slow down your metabolism and result in weight gain. Aspertame has also been identified as a potentially carcinogenic substance, i.e. there are evidence linking the use of aspartame to cancer. The best thing to do is switch to water. If you need to use an artificial sweetener, try and stick to sucralose (Splenda), or Stevia. They are both regarded as safe artificial sweeteners, and they can be of great assistance in reducing your daily calorie intake. Continue reading ‘Can Diet Sodas actually help you lose weight’

How many calories should I consume daily for weight loss

Question: I want to lose weight safely and keep it off. How many calories should I consume daily?

Answer: We all have different energy requirements. These energy requirements (referred to as TER for Total Energy Requirements) are calculated taking into account a number of variables including sex, age, height, activity levels, current weight, lean muscle mass, bone structure and activity levels. If you want to lose weight gradually and permanently; ensure that the calories you take in are almost always less than the calories your body requires on any given day. To keep you going as you have been, your body then uses stored fat to make up for the energy shortfall. If you consume about 300-500 calories per day less than your calculated TER, you will lose weight safely at a rate of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. As a general rule, never reduce your total calorie intake to less than 1 200 calories per day, since too little food can be counterproductive. For a free TER calculator and food journal to track your daily calorie intake, try these free weight loss tools.

How do I recover from a diet slip-up

Question: I have been doing extremely well following my diet until last night. I went to a friend’s birthday party, and I just couldn’t stop myself from indulging in all the treats! This morning I woke up very angry with myself for this diet slip-up, and I am so worried that I may have sabotaged my own weight loss effort.

Answer: We’ve all experienced the occasional diet slip-up! You would not be human if you did not occasionally stray from your diet. If you are following a healthy and nutritious diet 95% of the time, the odd treat should not affect your weight loss effort in any remarkable way. One of the biggest reasons diets fail is that people are too strict on themselves. When they then naturally overstep the boundaries, they feel like failures and give up on their diets.

Recognize the fact that you are human, that you need the occasional treat, and that it is important to participate in social events. Plan to overstep the boundaries on special occasions. Just don’t do it too often. Most importantly, even if you have made an unplanned mistake; forgive yourself and just continue with your diet immediately as if the slip-up never happened. You will very soon recover any lost ground and be back on track. The worst thing you can do is to give up.

Make sure the weight loss plan that you’ve chosen suits you and your lifestyle. You have to make it as easy as possible for yourself to stick to the diet. If you find it really, really difficult to stick to your chosen diet, start shopping around for one that is more closely aligned to your tastes, personality and lifestyle.

More weight loss tips.