Tag Archive for 'weight loss plan'

What is the deal with carbs and weight loss

Question: What is the big deal about carbs and weight loss? My friends keep on telling me I must lose the carbs to lose weight, but I don’t know which foods contain carbs.

Answer: In order to perform optimally your body needs a variety of nutrients provided by three main food groups, namely carbohydrates (carbs), fats and protein. Carbohydrates can be obtained from many food sources and can be further broken up into three main categories: sugar, starch, and dietary fiber. Many health experts identified over-consumption of carbohydrates, and more specifically sugar, as the main culprit in the current obesity epidemic facing the developed world. But just before you swear never to touch carbs again – know that your body, and more specifically your brain, really needs carbohydrates to function optimally. You will still lose weight if you indulge in carbohydrate-rich foods in moderation, stick to natural food sources, and learn how to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Newcomers to the low carb diet are often surprised to find out that sugar is also a form of carbohydrates, and even more surprised to find out how many food sources actually contain sugar. Sugar is found in a range of natural foods, including milk (lactose) as well as fruits and vegetables (sucrose and fructose). Sugar in its processed form is used in abundance to manufacture candy, sodas and cakes. It is even used in savory treats and to cure meats. Your body does need sugar, but in small quantities. Food and drinks sweetened by refined sugar should be avoided as far as possible.

Starch is the most important form of carbohydrates and is contained in many staple foods worldwide, such as rice, wheat, corn and potatoes. Many fruit and vegetables contain starch too; for example banana, sweet potato, and yams. Other good sources of starch include legumes such as lentils, peas and beans. Of course all grains and grain products also contain starch, for example flour, bread, pasta, noodles and cereals.

Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods that can be soluble or insoluble. Foods rich in fiber assist you in losing weight because you feel fuller for longer, and end up eating less. Fiber-rich foods also help you manage your cravings by keeping your blood sugar levels more stable. Some of the many other benefits of fiber include improved regulation of your digestive system, reduced of cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, and even prevention of certain forms of cancer. Good sources for dietary fiber include fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes (lentils, beans and peas).

You will notice many low carb diet books or recipes refer to “net carbs” or “digestible carbs”. This simply refers to the carbohydrate content of the food that your body will actually digest. In other words, only the carbohydrates that will contribute to your daily calorie intake. The easiest way to calculate net carbs is to subtract the dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate content of the meal or snack.

Very low carb diets such as Atkins suggest you limit your carbs to 20g per day for the Induction Phase, gradually increasing your carb intake as you progress through the other three phases. Other low carb diets suggest up to 60g of carbs per day. Other more balanced diets suggest you get 40% of you daily calories from carbs, along with 30% from fat, and the last 30% from protein. Low fat diets, of course, will see you get at least 60% of your diet from carbs, with a much reduced fat and protein intake. The choice of diet is yours, and it really depends on your personal tastes and lifestyle.

To summarize. Carbs play a very important role in your diet to ensure sustained energy and health. While it is true that too much carbs can result in weight gain and inflammation, too little carbs will most certainly leave you tired, depressed and vulnerable to all sorts of diseases. Choose a healthy and nutritious weight loss plan that allows for sufficient intake of carbs from natural food sources. Avoid processed foods as far as possible since they most often contain too much sugar and too little nutrients, which is why many of these food items are often referred to as “dead carbs”.

For more information on the main nutrients read this article on the Perricone Weight loss Prescription. If you want to track your daily carb intake (in grams or ounces) along with your calorie intake, or you just want to keep an eye on the percentage of calories you get from carbs, use our free electronic food diary called myOBW. You can also use this food journal just as a data source to see how much carbs (and other nutrients) your food choices actually contain.

What is the recipe for the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet drink

Question: I read your article on the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet and would really like to try it out. What I really like about this weight loss plan is that I can follow it using natural ingredients from my cupboard. I don’t have to buy expensive diet pills or weight loss supplements, nor do I have to invest time and money in a book. It is also great to know that there is scientific evidence to prove that the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet can help me lose weight! Can you please let me have some more detail on the recipe for the Apple Cider Diet drink as well as instructions on how to follow this diet?

Answer: The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet is a rather easy and cheap diet to follow, and has first been described as a safe home remedy for weight loss centuries ago. You need to take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar about 15 minutes before each meal, i.e. three times a day. Obviously, the strong vinegar taste can be very unpleasant, but it can be softened by adding the vinegar to a glass of water or apple juice and then sweetening the mix with two tablespoons of honey. Some of our clients reported that they actually like the taste of the drink! We all have very different tastes, so it would probably be best if you use the recipe described above as a starting point and then play around with the quantities of water, juice and honey until you like the taste of the drink.

The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet does not prescribe a specific menu or meal plan, but it can only help you lose weight if you follow a healthy diet while you take apple cider vinegar before your meals. Stick to natural, healthy foods and control your food portions. Many of our clients on this diet use our free online food diary to track their daily calorie intake and manage their protein, fat, and carb ratio. Most healthy diet plans suggest a caloric ratio of 20-30% protein, 30% fats, and 40-50% carbs. Make sure you obtain the majority of you fat calories from good fats like olive oil, avocado and nuts. Try to stick to fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains as the main sources for your carbs. Avoid snacking between meals and have plenty of water.

Finally, if the taste of the vinegar becomes too much to handle, you can always try apple cider vinegar diet pills.

Is it true that smaller, more regular meals can help me lose weight

Question: My GP told me that if I want to lose weight I should have smaller meals more frequently. How can eating smaller meals more often help me lose weight?

Answer: Gaining control over what you eat, how much, and when, is the key to losing weight and maintaining your goal weight. If you battle to control your weight and your appetite; your biggest problem is most likely keeping your blood sugar levels stable. The level of sugar in your blood tells your body when it needs food and how urgently it needs it. You can never be in control of your appetite until you have your blood sugar levels in check. With blood sugar levels out of kilter you will simply be responding to distress signals sent out by your brain to your body all the time.

How does it work then? When you go without food for more than 4 hours at a time your blood sugar plummets, resulting in a raging appetite that can easily overpower your best intentions to stick your your weight loss plan. When you then eat a large meal (especially one high in refined carbohydrates), it causes a spike in your blood sugar immediately following the meal. You body will use what energy it can from this sugar rush, and store the rest as fat. An oversupply of insulin to cope with these unnaturally high blood sugar levels in turn result in very low blood sugar levels a couple of hours later. You will feel ravenous and tired, and so the vicious cycle continues.

Having smaller meals more regularly (at least every 4 hours) will result in smaller blood sugar spikes after the meals, followed by smaller blood sugar drops, i.e. more stable blood sugar levels. Your body does not need to send out any distress signals, because it has a consistent source of energy. This means that you will finally be in control what you eat, how much, and when. To keep your blood sugar levels even more stable, ensure that each meal contains some lean protein, fiber-rich fruit or vegetables and some “good fats” such as olive oil or avocado. Not only will this combination of macro-ingredients reduce the impact of the meal on your blood sugar levels, but it will also keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Use this free online food diary to capture what you eat and drink. It will also tell you the protein, carb and fat content of each meal.