Category: Nutrition

Cheating Yourself With Cheat Meals

woman unpacking fast food meal
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I am just going to be blunt and say that if you are enjoying cheat meals while trying to lose weight, you are only cheating yourself. Sure, you may have success with weight loss for a little while, but sooner or later, you are going to put that lost weight right back on. Seriously, if anyone tells you that you should eat cheat meals at least once a week, they do not have your best interest at heart. Or, they simply do not have the knowledge, nor experience to be advising anyone about weight loss.

Successful Weight Loss Requires Lifestyle Change

I will never spare your feelings when it comes to weight loss by telling you what you want to hear. What I will tell you is the simple, hardcore truth that successful and permanent weight loss requires a lifestyle change. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you cannot continue eating as you have while becoming overweight. When you eat cheat meals, what you are doing is an attempt at keeping a portion of your former life that you and I both know was not good for you in the first place.

Alcoholics can’t have occasional drinks. Ex-smokers can’t enjoy an occasional cigarette. Alcohol and tobacco are addicting, and so are a lot of the foods you have enjoyed over the years. Like an alcoholic, if you had no control over certain foods in the past, what makes you believe that you will have any control over those foods in the future?

You’re not, and you know it.

Alcoholics can’t have the cheat drink. Ex-smokers can’t enjoy the cheat cigarette. The obese can’t enjoy the cheat meal. You only cheat yourself when you do.

Doing the Caloric Math of Cheat Meals

No matter what you may think about weight loss, it all comes down to eating fewer calories than you burn.

You might feel otherwise, but facts don’t care about feelings.

You have to eat fewer calories. Weight loss does not work when you enjoy those cheat meals, or cheat days. Just because you ate at, or under maintenance all week, it does not mean that you can splurge for one or two days. The calories in a day are important, but what really counts is the average of how many you have consumed all week. That cheat meal, or cheat day can quite easily push you above the maximum calories you require to lose or maintain weight. None of us are special snowflakes that can change the laws of thermodynamics my friends.

Now for the simple math equation:

If you need to eat 1600 calories a day in order to lose one pound per week, your weekly sum is 11,200 calories. Anything more than this weekly sum will cause you to gain weight.

Now we will throw in a cheat meal and see where it takes us:

You eat 1600 calories per day for six days of the week, then on Saturday you have a cheat meal by going out with your friends for pizza. This should be no big deal since you have done so well all week long. However the math does not add up for successful weight loss.

1600 calories times 6 days equal 9600 calories.

If on Saturday you ate 1000 calories between breakfast and lunch and then consumed another 2500 to 3000 calories while out for dinner with your friends, you have consumed  3500 to 4000 calories that day. Or, for the week you have consumed 13,100 to 13,600 calories.

13,600 calories minus 11,200 calories equal a difference of 1900 calories over your maintenance needs. Or when we consider that it takes only 3500 calories over your needs to gain 1 pound of fat per week,  that cheat meal means you will gain one half pound of fat. Do this cheat meal routine each week for a year, and you will gain 28 pounds in that year when you were trying to lose instead. Now, consider what you are doing to yourself if you have two cheat meals over the weekend.

Facts don’t care about feelings.

You have to do yourself right all the time, or you had better be good at planning in your cheat meals. Since cheat meals are the last vestige of your former obese lifestyle, you really need to quit cheating yourself out of good health altogether.

10 Tips to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau

How I Lost the Weight for Good

Brenda Sue’s Before and After Lost Weight

Lifetime Struggle

By the time that I was 4 years old, my mother was convinced that I was fat. She believed that I would grow into a morbidly obese adult. Although I was not fat as a child, weighing 40 pounds at age 4, my mother took me to the doctor to see if he could “do something”. He said that I would lose weight whenever I felt the need, that he couldn’t put a 4 year old child on a weight reduction program.

Years of diets followed. I lost and regained the weight many times. I left home at the age of 16 and I had probably been on at least a dozen different diets. The worst diet that I was on was the “Low Carb Diet”, which would now be called strict keto. I could only eat 20 grams of carbohydrates a day. By the third day my ears were ringing and I was in a stupor. I felt like I was dying. Since I was in school, struggling with my first Algebra class, that diet was devastating. I couldn’t think and had no energy. I was a straight A student and I made a D in Algebra that Fall. P.E. was horrible because I didn’t have the energy to do anything. Eventually I refused to dress out and sat on the bleachers the entire first 6 weeks of school. I got a D in P.E. too. My life was being destroyed by dieting.

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Upward Trend

After I left home and my eating was no longer being scrutinized by my mother, my weight started climbing. I went from being a normal sized teenager to being obese in about 6 months. I ate huge meals and rich desserts every day. All of the snacks and extra servings that I was not allowed to have growing up became an everyday occurrence. My weight spiraled totally out of control and I found myself a size 22 even though I lost weight at times.

The terrible irony here is my mother had done everything that she knew to help me lose weight. She paid joining fees and weekly membership fees for me to be in a well-known weight loss group. I had literally dieted for 12 years only to rebel against it all and balloon up to the person you see in the picture above on the left. You would think that in twelve years I would have learned something about weight control, especially after having lost weight more than once.

I learned to read by reading medical books. Ignorance was not my problem. I made good grades, especially in the sciences. Biology, Physiology and Anatomy were all easy for me. I am a health freak by nature but all of that knowledge did nothing to help me conquer the beast of obesity. The lost pounds would always return with a few extra.

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Common Thread

One thing that all of the diets that I had been on had in common was they all allowed me to eat the foods that made me fat. Even on the strict keto, I could choose anything that I wanted for the few carbs that I was allowed to eat. Inevitably, that would be something containing added sugar. As long as I ate any added sugars, I wanted more added sugars. As soon as the rush of endorphins that I got from a small amount of sugar subsided, I was searching for more. Eventually, I would abandon any diet because the desire for more and more sweets became overwhelming. Any weight that I had lost would quickly return. When the amount of added sugars that I was eating overwhelmed my calorie or carb allowance for a day or so, I ditched the diet. The cycle repeated itself for so many years and I developed high blood pressure, depression and arthritis throughout my body.

At intervals during those dreadful years I would sometimes quit eating sugar. During those times, my weight would drop, my blood pressure would stabilize and I would escape the mind-numbing cloud of depression that had become my constant companion. Sooner or later however, I would succumb to the lure of a brownie, thinking that I had “learned how to eat” and the next thing that I knew I was drowning in cake frosting and ice cream again and the scale would skyrocket.

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Freedom!

As members of a large weight loss group, David and I began to realize that the yo-yo dieting syndrome that was so common within that group was being fueled by sugar. Other members talked openly about their struggles with the scale week after week. Strangely enough, no one in the group advised avoiding sugar. The addictive nature of sugar has been studied extensively. In a 2007 paper, (1) in the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health the last line reads, “In the aggregate, this is evidence that sugar can be addictive.” You don’t have to read much else to discover the damaging effects that sugar has on our health. Since it can be addictive in nature and it is high in calories, as we eat more and more of this deadly white, crystalline powder, our weight and body fat continually increase. With increased body fat comes a multitude of problems ranging from arthritic knees to a predisposition to cancer. (2)

Before I began eating David’s Way, I  was avoiding sugar most of the time. I knew that it was addictive and that it impacted the scale in a negative way. The problem was, I still ate it occasionally. This behavior kept me addicted to the white stuff and caused me to never truly reach my fitness goals. Although the scale would drop to an acceptable level at the top of the BMI chart, I struggled intensely to keep it there. It was not until I completely eliminated sugar from my diet that I found my inner athlete.

Since I began avoiding it at all costs, I have become a strength trainer and have conquered obstacles that I never dreamed that I could crush. This newfound strength pushed me to recreate my life from a miserable existence to a functional, self-supporting, healthy lifestyle. The addiction to sugar and the resultant bad health that was beginning to develop had destroyed my confidence. I lived in an abusive situation and felt powerless to extract myself. As my strength grew, I became highly confident and coined the phrase, “Create Your Life.” It’s hard to imagine that a love of any (non)food could so negatively impact anyone’s life but since I have lived that life, I can tell you, it did mine.

As my mind travelled farther into health and wellness, I completely changed every aspect of my life. People who have known me since birth are shocked at the person that I have become. Most people my age are retired and live vicariously through their children and grandchildren. That is not the case with me. My life is new every day. If I had not changed my diet, that would not be so. By now, I’m pretty sure that either the high blood pressure or the depression and anxiety would have finished me off. Not to mention that I would most likely be living with an abuser. Better nutrition and strength training gave me a new lease on life.

I changed the direction that I was heading just in the nick of time. The health problems that were increasing could be reversed at that time. There is a point where it becomes much more difficult to turn these things around. I encourage you today to examine yourself. While my path may not be the exact path for you, better nutrition is always the foundation for health, longevity, happiness and true success.

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It’s All In Our Choices

The decision is yours. What will you do?

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/obesity-fact-sheet

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

 

Fruit and Vegetables to Feel Better!

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash vegetables and fruit

Experiments With Fruit and Vegetables

Those of you who have read very much of my writing know that I have run countless experiments related to health and fitness on myself throughout my life. That’s why writing here at David’s Way comes natural to me. I write a lot from personal experience. Since I have noticed specific outcomes from my experiments, when I see documented studies that support my experience, I am duty-bound to report this to our readers. In those cases, I have two separate sources of evidence of the validity of my topic, my experience and the documented research of others. I have noticed that I have much more energy and am in a better mood when I eat my veggies, fruits and berries.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Energy!

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In the three and a half years that I’ve been a strength trainer, I have found that sweet potatoes are the most effective “energy bar” for me. You can spend a lot of money on energy bars but sweet potatoes are cheap. I cook it in the microwave, let it cool just enough that it won’t burn me and slice it into bite size pieces. I carry those “energy shots” to my dungeon and as I approach my most difficult lifts, I begin to eat them. I chew them well to release the nutrients and without fail, I get a burst of energy. A one-cup serving of this nutrition superfood provides about 25 grams of complex carbohydrates and 3.1 grams of fiber. (1) They’re rich in manganese and Vitamin A. Manganese is considered a “helper” nutrient that helps to unlock the potential in other nutrients. Without these “helpers”, or cofactors, your food cannot provide everything that you need. Cofactors work like a key to unlock the hidden nutrition riches in our food. Since the carbs in sweet potatoes are complex, they can fuel a long workout by releasing their energy over time.

 

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Fruits and Vegetables for Minerals!

Bananas are also a good source of complex carbs, potassium and Vitamin B6, providing about 33% of this energy boosting nutrient. They contain about 450mg of potassium which is essential for energy. While bananas are higher than apples in naturally occurring sugars, they still have only about 12 grams as opposed to the 10 grams in the average apple. Bananas are known to give you a quick energy boost for exercise or everyday activities. Apples will also give you this boost so choose your favorite for a mid-afternoon snack when you might otherwise reach for sugar-laden junk foods for that mid-afternoon slump.

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Photo by Bethany Randall on Unsplash

Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Fat!

Avocados are packed full of healthy fats that help you absorb the nutrients from other foods. About 80% of the carbohydrates in avocados exist as fiber. This superfood burns slowly and keeps you fueled for the long haul. Between the healthy fats and the fiber, they are sure to energize and satisfy. Just be careful with this superfood because they are high in calories. One avocado has about 300 calories! While serving sizes keep changing, at this time 1/3 of an avocado is considerd one serving, or 100 calories. The question is, will you eat only 1/3 of an avocado? I don’t, so I don’t eat them. That does not change the fact that they are full of energy sustaining complex carbs and healthy fats that curb the appetite.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Fatigue!

Green leafy vegetables are an excellent choice for an energy boost! They are packed with iron and Vitamin C that helps you absorb the iron. Fatigue is a symptom of iron deficiency. You need a doctor’s approval before taking an iron supplement, although they sell them without a prescription. The iron in foods is safe and convenient. I need iron in my diet and can tell if I’m not getting enough. Romaine lettuce also contains “helper” cofactors that help unlock the energy in other foods. My workouts are better when I’m eating romaine on a regular basis.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Circulation!

Beets contain natural nitrates which athletes use to improve blood flow. With improved blood flow comes more energy. I have a beet powder in my pantry. I don’t like the overly-done flavoring in the brand that I have but I believe that it’s intended to disguise the taste of the beets! Since I like beets, I will look for an unflavored version the next time I buy beet powder. Beets are also high in carbs, fiber and naturally occurring sugar for a sustained energy boost.

Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

When I first began lifting, I was so focused on protein that I neglected fruits and veggies at times. Now I understand that I can lift better with these energy bombs under my belt. I encourage you to experiment with different fruits and vegetables and see how they affect your energy levels throughout the day and in your workouts. While it is protein that builds, we have to have the energy to lift enough weight to do the job. It’s easy to try a piece of fruit but make sure that you explore vegetables for the rich powerhouse of energy and nutrition that they are. You just might find a new energy bar.

Cleveland Kraut Beet Red Review

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/energy-boosting-foods

 

 

The Reason We get Fat

Fat man measuring his belly
Freepik.com

Besides the obvious answer of eating more calories than we consume, what is the reason we get fat? The truth is, we were designed to carry extra fat since our early ancestors lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle – evolution has never caught up to our modern lifestyles.

For thousands of years, our ancestors lived during times when food could be quite scarce. The modern phenomena of overabundance simply did not exist until quite recently in human history. Therefore,  our genes that control our eating behavior were shaped by those times. Our bodies are genetically designed to accumulate fat based on the days when we had to forage for food in the wild.  With an abundance of food today, we can’t ignore this fact. When we do, we experience hazards to both our health and our waistlines.

We can control how much fat we retain in our fat tissues!

To be successful with weight loss, and weight management, we have to know what biological factors regulate the amount of fat in our tissues. Ignorance might be bliss, but it also leads to obesity in this matter. It is imperative that we know how our diets affect our bodies, in order to know what we are doing right, or wrong. If we do not know what we are doing wrong, we will simply remain fat.

Obviously, we know that overeating and being sedentary lead to obesity, but there are more factors that get overlooked. There is a science to how fat tissue is regulated. To get lean, you must understand the science of how we regulate our fat tissue.

Simple Question

If being fat is unhealthy, why do we get that way? Is it a means to insulate our bodies from the cold? Or, is it because we need padding to protect our fragile structures from within? Those would be sound reasons, but why in the world do we get fat all over? Do we really need an abundance of fat around our waistline?

The reason we get fat now is because we have forgotten how to keep ourselves in balance with our needs. In times past, our body fat could be looked at as a savings account to be drawn from in times of need.  Our ancestors would consume more than they needed, and the excess calories were stored away as fat since there was a good chance you could find yourself undernourished. If you lived in a cabin and found yourself snowed in, then your fat was mobilized to provide your body with fuel. In modern times, this is not a worry, therefore it is now incumbent upon us to keep our fat at a healthy level all year round.

However, there is even more to the story than what you have read already. It has been known since the 1930’s that fat is continuously flowing out of our fat cells and circulating around the body to be used as fuel. If this fat does not get used as fuel, it simply returns back to the fat cells. This is a continuous process within the body whether we have recently eaten or not. The German biochemist, Ernst Wertheimer, put it this way: “Mobilization and deposition of fat go on continuously without regard to the nutritional state of the animal”.

During any given 24 hour period, fat from your fat cells provide a significant portion of the fuel that your cells burn for energy. Most nutritionists will say that carbohydrates are the preferred fuel for the body, but this is not entirely accurate.  This belief stems from the fact the body burns carbohydrates for fuel before burning fat. This is actually because your body needs to keep your blood sugar levels in check after you have eaten.  And when we consume a bunch of carbohydrates, there is a lot to be burned before getting to our fat. The carbohydrates actually require immediate action, therefore they get burned off first while the fat is sent to fat cells for storage. If your body does not keep up with the overwhelming rise in blood sugar by burning off the carbohydrates you have eaten, you will experience high blood sugar and insulin levels.

The role of insulin

Insulin is the most powerful hormone in the human body and plays more than one role. But it’s most critical role is to keep our blood sugar under control. As we eat carbohydrates, insulin signals the cells throughout the body to increase the rate at which they are pumping in glucose from the bloodstream.  Some of this glucose is burned for immediate energy, some of it gets stored for later use. Our muscle cells store glucose in the form of glycogen. Our liver cells store some glucose as glycogen, and convert the rest to fat to be stored in our fat cells.

When blood sugar decreases, insulin levels also decrease. In turn, fat gets released by fat tissues to continue giving us energy to function. Our bodies are uniquely designed for optimum performance. Some fat begins life as carbohydrates, other fat begins as fat in the diet.  However, no matter their origin, the fat in the cells is indistinguishable from whence it came.

The more time that passes after a meal, the more fat you will burn instead of glucose. This is especially true when you are sleeping at night. If not, you would find yourself needing to get up every few hours to raid the refrigerator. The fat flowing in from your fat cells keeps you fueled until you rise and get out of bed in the morning.

To simplify our thinking in regards to fat tissue, let’s think of it as a wallet. Like cash going into and out of a wallet, we are continuously doing the same with fat and our fat tissue.  The difference is, we actually end up storing more fat in our tissue than we do cash in our wallets. In a perfect world, our fat reserves would always be in perfect balance. We do not get fatter, nor leaner. Our bodies would always be at a perfect balance of body fat to lean muscle mass ratios. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

How does our body decide which fats will come and go?

If our fat flows in and out of cells all day, which ones get to flow, and which remain stored?

Fat in our body is in two different forms that serve different purposes.  Fat flows in and out of cells in the form of fatty acids which we burn for fuel. The fat we store is in the form of triglycerides which are composed of three fatty acids bound together by a molecule of glycerol.

Triglycerides are too big to flow through the membranes of fat cells, whereas fatty acids can easily flow out. Fatty acids flow in and out continuously and get used for fuel, while triglycerides remain stashed away for future use.  Triglycerides have to be constructed inside a fat cell from their component fatty acids. This happens when a fatty acid either flows into a fat cell, or gets created from glucose, and then gets bound with two other fatty acids and a glycogen molecule. Once this occurs, the triglyceride is now too large to be released by the fat cell.  Eventually, triglycerides will fall apart and then the fatty acids will be able to flow back out of the cell.

What happens when fatty acids keep getting into your fat cells?

Anything, and everything that drives fatty acids into fat cells increases the amount of fatty acids that will get bundled together as triglycerides. This is the reason you get fat. You have to eat in such a manner that you slow this process down. There are several hormones and enzymes that are also involved in this process, and when you disturb their balance through poor nutrition, you are setting yourself up to be fat.

The simple reason we get fat.

We get fat simply because carbohydrates make us so. Therefore it is up to you to be wise in your consumption of carbohydrates. Protein and fat do not make us fat!  Complex carbohydrates are not the problem so much as simple carbohydrates and sugars are.

Most people find success with weight loss on the diets they choose because they are cutting carbs whether they realize it or not. When we go on a diet, or begin a new exercise regimen, we usually eliminate carbohydrates simply because they are the easiest to reduce. When we eliminate added sugars from our diet, it is actually hard to eat enough to gain weight when your foods are all low calorie, and nutrient dense. There is never a reason for anyone to be hungry when losing weight, unless they are still consuming simple carbs and added sugars. And as long as you are still doing this, the processes you have just read about are still in play.

When restricted calorie diets fail you, as they do most people, the reason is you are also restricting foods that do not make you fat. It is a recipe for failure when you restrict the amount of protein and fat you consume.  These macronutrients have no effect on insulin and fat deposition, but they have everything to do with energy and the rebuilding of cells and tissues.

The reason we get fat and remain that way despite our dieting is usually because we do not know how our body operates. We starve our body of nutrients and energy, rather than simply targeting the fat tissues themselves. This kind of dieting only leads to failure every time it is tried.

You can, and should keep eating foods that are complex carbohydrates since they provide you with energy and fiber to keep your body healthy. What you need to dump, if you are serious about weight loss, is simple carbohydrates and foods with added sugars. These foods are calorie dense while providing little in the way of nutrition for the body. The smart thing that anyone serious about weight loss has to consider is they should let nothing pass their lips that does not provide benefit to the body.

Missing Small Details in the Big Picture

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How Long Will This Take?

Protein Deficiency

Photo by montatip lilitsanong on Unsplash protein

Protein Is Necessary to Life

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY LISTED HERE. NUTRITIONAL IMBALANCES CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING. WE CANNOT DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY MEDICAL CONDITION. OUR WORK IS MEANT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

I remember many years ago when liquid diets were the rage, people started dying from a lack of protein. While those liquid “meals” had enough calories, you were supposed to add whole foods to the plan. Of the many people who did not, some died. At first the deaths were a mystery but very soon the reason for those deaths became obvious. The ones who died were not getting  enough protein.

Many people think that if they limit their meat consumption they will lose weight. That may not be the case. Lean meat eaten in moderate quantities is not a hindrance to weight loss. Protein stokes the metabolism, reduces the appetite and  helps to regulate hormones all of which will help you lose weight.

Protein is a source of dopamine in our bodies. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that allows us to enjoy life. Although many people shy away from eating animal products nowadays, animal products are the richest source of protein. Meat, eggs, poultry and fish are excellent sources.

Some of the symptoms of protein deficiency are as follows:

  • Brittle hair, nails and dry skin. Since hair, skin and nails are composed largely of protein, a deficiency will show up here early.
  • Fatty Liver has become all too common. It’s common in obese individuals and alcoholics. Fatty Liver can result in liver failure.
  • Loss of muscle mass… In David’s article, Losing Muscle Mass as We Age he discusses this at length. It’s called sarcopenia and it’s accelerated by low protein intake. I have noticed my entire life that as most people age, they eat less protein! Don’t do that. Older non-athletes still need about 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes need 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Read Protein Supplements to for a comprehensive guide on protein sources.
  • Weak bones! Most of us are aware that a calcium deficiency will cause weak bones but are unaware of the link to protein. A study in postmenopausal women who had recently broken a hip showed that taking a mere 20 gram protein supplement every day for only 6 months slowed bone loss by 2.3%! (1)
  • Slow wound healing… If our bodies don’t have the building blocks to rebuild, we won’t heal. With longer healing time comes a higher risk of infection.
  • Hunger! If you don’t eat enough protein you will never be satisfied. You will keep eating to try to satisfy the need for protein. Protein satisfies and helps you to stop eating when you have reached your calorie allowance.
  • Weakness…one study showed that just one week of low protein intake could affect muscle mass. (2)
  • Getting sick frequently…your immune system  uses protein to make the antibodies that fight diseases of all kinds.
  • Depression…Amino acids that are found in protein are used to make dopamine and serotonin, your feel-good brain chemicals
  • Swelling…although this is seldom seen in developed countries, it can happen. I have known someone who lived almost exclusively on carbohydrates and she stayed swollen all over all the time. She also stayed sick. Protein is used to make albumin in our blood which helps to maintain a proper osmotic pressure to keep our fluid levels in good working order. When the albumin in our blood is off, we swell.

While these symptoms of protein deficiency are well known there are others. Too little protein affects every aspect of our lives. We are omnivores, meant to eat both plants and animals. If you are vegetarian or live some other lifestyle that avoids animal products, be sure to do your homework and get your protein. If you just don’t like meat, which is our richest protein source, the same thing applies to you. Don’t assume that you are getting enough. The results could be disastrous.

If you are trying to lose weight, or even control your weight, enough protein will make it much easier. You will feel and look better and find it much easier to control your appetite and be healthier doing it. Make a conscious effort to be accountable concerning your protein intake just as you are about getting enough water or counting your calories. You can get the free version of  My Fitness Pal and it counts your protein, carbs and fat right along with your calories. We use it every day. It’s easy to get enough protein when you make it a priority at every meal.

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-deficiency-symptoms

https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-not-enough-protein-signs

Weight Watchers and Heinz Connection

Skeptical young man
Freepik.com

Having been on the Weight Watchers program, I always had a lingering thought there was something amiss about their business model.  After learning more about the Weight Watchers and Heinz Connection, now I know why. When a diet company tells you that you can continue to eat the same foods that got you fat as long as you track it, do not trust them. Sure some people find success on Weight Watchers, but the former connection of Weight Watchers and Heinz was nefarious at best. Heinz owned Weight Watchers and was playing both ends against the center. There was no losing to their business strategy.

Heinz capitalized on what we do not know about food!

In the nineteen seventies, the CEO of Heinz, a fellow named Tony O’Reilly, took charge of our eating habits as no company ever had before. He capitalized on what consumers do not know about food. O’Reilly gave us a larger variety of foods and condiments, and also began providing us with foods that we had only been able to get from restaurants. Heinz advertising said they now allowed us to have fast food at home, “without the wait at a drive through window”.

In 1978, O’Reilly discovered another way to take advantage of a new market of people struggling with weight problems. With obesity beginning to surge, there came a market for weight loss products which carved the path for Heinz to enter the dieting business too.

Their first move was to acquire a company that made frozen meals that contained fewer calories than other conventional brands. There was only one problem with the business deal O’Reilly wanted to make. He was wanting to buy Foodways National, but they had a  customer so critical to their success, Foodways had granted them veto power over any change in ownership. That customer was no other than Weight Watchers. This was a huge opportunity for O’Reilly to nail down for Heinz. Weight Watchers reigned supreme in the dieting field.

Weight Watchers conducted meetings, sold advice and assistance to millions of people wanting to lose weight. They also sold prepared meals to support their diet plan. As it turned out, Weight Watchers had already been looking for a partnership with a company such as Heinz. O’Reilly thoroughly understood the potential for this partnership. Weight Watchers had a system catering to women, aged 25 to 55, which were also the prime demographic of shoppers in grocery stores.

Weight Watchers at that time boasted 27 million members and each of them were a ready made customer for ready made, low calorie meals. Were Heinz to buy both the lower-calorie food and the Weight Watchers programs, it would own the full spectrum of the eating habits of millions of people. The Weight Watchers and Heinz merger was a dream come true.

With the  Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, one parent company would now be making the foods that make us fat, and it would also be making foods that were supposed to make us thin. To sweeten this deal was the third market of people who moved between fat and thin. It was a win from all angles for Heinz. This deal was shrewder than if Phillip Morris, the cigarette manufacture also owned the market on nicotine patches. Or if an alcohol beverage manufacturer also owned AA.

In February 1978, Heinz bought Foodways for $50 million, and in May of that year, they also purchased Weight Watchers for $72 million. Heinz was now a full service stop for our disordered eating, no matter where we might be on our journey between failure and success with weight loss.

Heinz was unfamiliar with the dieting business, but…

Heinz was a wholesale producer of food and not of diet programs, but they caught on fast. They moved to remake Weight Watchers in their own image. Heinz realized that selling memberships was the same as retailing.

With the Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, came new marketing strategies. Heinz recruited marketing people from the fast food restaurants such as Burger King and Pizza Hut to manage Weight Watchers meetings. They also revamped the foods being sold. They handed this task over to their subsidiary Ore Ida who began work on making Weight Watcher meals more tasty and attractive. In 1983, Heinz introduced a new line of desserts which soon flopped. Their answer was to add more sweeteners, and a line up of thirteen items such as chocolate mousse, brownies, and strawberry cheesecake. The intent was to make these desserts very indulgent to the consumer.

With the Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, the sale of foods rose from $90 million in 1982 to more than $300 million in 1989, with total revenue hitting $1.1 billion. O’Reilly referred to the merger of Weight Watchers and Heinz as the “McDonaldization of the world”.

Unintended consequences were in order for Heinz.

In 1993, Heinz and Weight Watchers was charged by the FTC, along with four other diet business, for deceptive marketing.  The charge was that they were making unsubstantiated weight-loss claims and used claims from successful dieters without evidence their experience was typical for people using their programs. As a result of this lawsuit, Weight Watchers finally settled the case four years later, and agreed to provide more information on weight-loss results. They also agreed to include this concession in their ads” “For many dieters, weight loss is temporary”.

Annals of Internal Medicine

In 2005, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a review of the trials which had been done to measure the success of Weight Watchers and other diet businesses. It was found the studies were largely paid for by Weight Watchers and the other weight loss businesses in the suit themselves, which runs the risk of bias to say the least. What was found is that Weight Watchers only produced an average loss in body weight of just over five percent.

And it gets even worse, much of even that weight loss is fleeting at best. At the end of two years of study, participants had put back on enough weight that the net loss was barely three percent. In other words, a 200 pound woman could expect to get down to 189, and then bounce back to 194. For evidence to see how true this is, all one has to do is peruse the Weight Watchers social media forum Connect to see for themselves. Many of these people cycle on and off the program, hoping to one day find success.

As former Weight Watchers Chief Financial Officer, Richard Samber comparing Weight Watchers to playing the lottery stated in an interview with the BBC: “If you don’t win, you play it again. Maybe you will win the second time”. When asked how Weight Watchers remains in business despite a high failure rate of dieters, Samber stated: “It’s successful because the other 84% have to come back and do it again. That’s where your business comes from”.

Weight Watchers and Heinz did sort of part company in 2005.

Heinz sold Weight Watchers to Artal Luxembourg SA, a European group of private investors, for $735 million. From the website Industry Week , under the agreement, Heinz, whose products include Heinz ketchup, Ore-Ida frozen potatoes and Star-Kist tuna, will retain control of certain Weight Watchers brands, including frozen meals, desserts and breakfast items, and the UK-based Weight Watchers operation. Heinz CEO William R. Johnson said the services orientation of the weight-control business does not fit with the company’s long-term growth strategy, and that the disposal enables Heinz to focus on Weight Watchers foods and other global food businesses. However, the Pittsburgh-based Heinz said it will use $14 million of proceeds from the sale — in which the division’s management has been invited to take part — to retain a 6% stake in the operation.

The final take away point:

When a weight loss business is telling you that you can still eat the same foods you got fat with, while taking possession of your hard earned money, you need to seriously reconsider their deal. Most businesses have profit as their motive over that of your health and well being. I do not believe Weight Watchers is any better today for their consumers than when Heinz owned them. They say you can still eat anything you want while knowing that will only sabotage your efforts at weight loss.

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we always have been, and always will be free to our readers and followers. We believe your health is more important than profit. Give our methodology a try, you can find it by clicking this link. For even more of David’s Way, you can find us on Facebook. Check out Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way and give us a like and a follow. We truly do have your best interest at heart. With David’s Way, you are treated as a unique individual, and never as a profit margin.

Why to Avoid Processed Foods

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Processed Foods

If we go back in American history to the 1930’s, we learn that our government worried that many citizens were suffering malnutrition as a result of eating too little. Today, the concern is because many of our citizens are malnourished from eating too much of the wrong things. Nowadays, we get far more than enough calories in our diets. The problem is these calories largely come from highly processed foods and are devoid of the nutrients and fiber we require to be healthy. As a result of eating poor diets, we now have an epidemic of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, gout, and cardiovascular disease. Most of these can be directly tied to our consumption of processed foods.

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PepsiCo and Cap’n Crunch Cereal

One of the first processed foods we introduce our children to is breakfast cereals. When you look at the obesity trends over the years, this could be seen as the jumping off point for the slow, swirl around the proverbial drain of life. We are turning our children on to one of the worst offenders for processed foods. Many, if not most of the breakfast cereals which line the shelves in our grocery stores now contain pure sugar for about half the ingredients.

In 2019, the breakfast division at PepsiCo released a new variety of Cap’n Crunch cereal. This new variety was named Cotton Candy Crunch and it contained seventeen grams of sugar per serving. This made up roughly half of the cereal, and my God, who eats just one serving? Just think, we give our kids this much cereal and then might refuse to give them a candy bar which contains just about the same amount of sugar. This is equal to giving them a candy bar for breakfast instead. To add insult to injury, the typical breakfast cereal is also made up of heavily processed corn and oats that our body converts to sugar almost instantly. When you feed your child most breakfast cereals, you are actually giving them a heaping bowl full of sugar.

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Opening the door wide open for processed foods.

When the demographics of our work force began to change when women started leaving home for work also, food companies were ready to assist with processed foods. If a mother was now working, she no often longer had the time for meal prep as mothers in the past. With the introduction of more and better processed foods, the convenience and speed of preparation of processed foods became more attractive. Processed food companies were the first to grasp just how big of an opportunity they had been given by women entering the work force. Speed of preparation made it even easier to get people hooked along with the sugars, salts and fats these ready made foods contained. It was a win for processed food producers.

General Mill’s CEO, Charles Mortimer coined the term “convenience foods.” He had stated in a meeting of  a business group:

“Convenience is the great additive which must be designed, built in, combined, blended, interwoven, injected, inserted, or otherwise add to or incorporated in products or services if they are to satisfy today’s demanding public.” “It is the new and controlling denominator of consumer acceptance or demand.”

And we have been getting more obese with each passing year since.

Processed food producers are giving us what we demand.

To provide us with our demands, processed food producers have given us time saving convenience.  Every aspect of processed food has been engineered to shave off seconds of time. Instead of making your child a sandwich for lunch, you can now hand them a Lunchable. To wash the Lunchable down, they can pop open a can of sugary soda pop, and then enjoy a tube of yogurt for dessert.

None of this is good for your child, but it is good for your convenience, right? You can sit your child down with this garbage and then be able to concentrate on something more pressing for your time. Today, we can do the same for any meal we want to feed our families. Never mind if it is healthy or not when being convenient and delicious is a priority instead.

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The shift to more sugar in processed foods.

As producers of processed foods have brought us convenience, they have been slipping in more sugar while they have been at it. They use more than sixty types of sugar – from corn syrup to concentrated fruit juices – to march around every aisle of your favorite grocer and sweeten products that formerly were not.  Their goal was what food technicians refer to as the “bliss point” for sugar. They understand the addictive nature of sugar in foods to keep us coming back for more!

The bliss point for sugar is when our brain has become so aroused, the brake in our brain has no chance to say “NO!”

Breads, yogurts, tomato sauces and on and on have had sugar added in order to increase their bliss point. To make this worse, “presweetened” has become a selling point on the front of many food labels. Presweetened adds to the convenience of saved time. About seventy five percent of the foods in your store now have added sweeteners. This has created an expectation in us that everything we eat should have some sweetness to it.

man eating while driving car
Man eating pizza and coffee while driving car dangerously

It has become socially acceptable to eat anytime and anywhere.

Processed foods of convenience have now made it possible, and socially acceptable to eat anywhere and anytime. It once as only socially acceptable to eat at meals, now  we snack like never before.

Snacking is now like having a fourth meal for the day. As profits grow for producers of processed foods, so do our waistlines. We just keep getting fatter and it seems no one really cares anymore, as long as they can eat whenever, and whatever they want. We do not snack on foods we have to prepare, we snack on processed garbage that we can find everywhere nowadays. Processed food companies have engineered cheap and convenient snack foods to meet our insatiable demands. We buy this garbage while on the fly.

In order to keep us coming back for more junk food, garbage, food processors give us a large variety to choose from. They do this because they know we can become bored with the same ol’ same ol’. Their strategy to manipulate us is to give us variety. Variety comes by turning a potato chip into ten flavor choices. They give us 200 kinds of breakfast cereals. Ice cream comes in exotic flavors such as Banana Peanut Butter Chip and Brown Butter Bourbon to name a couple. In 1995, Goldman Sachs reported that cereal sales had reached $8 billion and cited how the “constant flow of new products that added variety and stimulated consumption.”

In 2015, it was announced at Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago that 46 percent of consumers now snack three or more times per day. Today, there are variety packs for many snacks.  These packs can be loaded with cookies, candy, or anything the producer wants to market. They do this so that we never feel full. They have researchers who make their living studying how to keep us that way. Sadly, they do this with no regard for how disordered our eating has become over the years.

As consumers, we are manipulated each and every day by marketers of processed foods. They study everything about us, and give us the variety we demand. Researchers have figured out that if you give a person M&M’s with ten colors instead of six, they will eat more of them even though they all taste exactly the same. If you give people a plate of spaghetti, they will stop sooner than if you give them a plate of tortellini made of the same pasta but just a different shape.

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Distracted eating.

Researchers also know that we eat more when we are distracted – as in when we are watching television or on our phones. We sit down with a convenient snack, and then turn our attention away to something as gripping as an electronic device, and our brain forgets that we are eating. Researchers have figured out that when we come back to our food, it looks like it has slightly changed, as if it is something new. This may not be perceptible to you, but it is a real phenomena they know affects our ability to defend against overeating.

Researchers for these processed food companies know that we want convenience, variety, and low price more than we want healthy. This was all on their agenda when processed food manufacturers met in Bermuda in 2014. The occasion was the annual meeting of a group that functions as a research arm of the processed food industry. This group is known as the International Life Sciences Institute.

Suzanne Biggs of the University of Birmingham in England had a presentation called:  “Free Will or Fate: What Drives Our Food Choice decisions.” Biggs noted that variety was one of the things that will cause us to lose track of what we eat, along with other distractions that go far in subverting our free will. Is it any wonder we are getting fatter as a society?

Biggs gave insight to these companies on how they can overcome our free will to control our eating habits. Low price, convenience, and variety get boosted when our memory also gets exploited. She did this by showing how distracted eaters who watched television while they ate, ended up feeling hungry again sooner than if they had not been distracted while eating. In her experiment for the group, she showed that the people who watched television while they ate their lunch, also ate more cookies as an afternoon snack.

Processed food producers know exactly how to manipulate we the consumers.

Through their diligent research, they have seized a firm grip on the biology of our desire. Their path to power over our appetites has been remarkably easy for them to achieve. Companies such as PepsoCo, Nestle, Kraft, Heinz, Coca Cola and Mars now have sales in the double-digit billions of dollars and lineups of huge brands that have become deeply familiar to us. The fast food restaurants who serve us tons of processed foods now rake in $1.5 trillion  from people eating out. They exploit our love for cheap and easy foods of convenience.

In the fight for our appetites, the processed food industry has blurred the lines between eating in and out. Grocers now sell Cinnabon baking kits, Auntie Ann’s pretzels, and Taco Bell sauces while fast food chains have added Doritos and Oreos to their menu boards. And often, even when we believe we are eating at home as we used to with traditional, whole  foods, we no longer cook like we used to.

Is it any wonder we have such a problem with obesity nowadays?

For more of David’s Way to Health and Fitness, check us out on Facebook and give us a like and a follow. We can be found at Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way.

To Snack or Not Snack

 

 

Flavor Manipulations and Over Eating

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The entire food industry works overtime with flavor manipulations designed to keep us coming back for more and more. Is it any wonder that we have a growing problem with overeating and obesity nowadays?

Marketers of snacks, restaurants, and our grocery stores all employ food scientists whose sole function is to create flavors that keeps us hooked like drug addicts and their drug of choice. When you incorporate these manufactured flavors with sugars, fats, msg and other ingredients, the result is a losing battle for those who are fighting to lose weight. The food industry is stacking the odds high against you, but they can be beat. To beat them, you must arm yourself with knowledge, and then be willing to put in the work.

It may appear to you that we live in truly strange times when we have an abundance of weight loss programs, and supplements, yet we keep getting fatter by the day. We live in a culture where thinness used to be prized above most all else, now it almost seems like obesity has become contagious. When you understand that 95 percent of dieters fail, it appears as if we now have a diet resistant form of obesity – we don’t.

Obesity has become a most visible manifestation of a greater malaise where food has become a life threatening indulgence.  The processed foods we are surrounded by are causing our own bodies to continue to grow in girth, while also straining our organs, distressing our bowels and crashing our moods. Adult onset diabetes had to be renamed type 2 diabetes because so many of our children are now being diagnosed with what used to be considered a metabolic disease of adults. Once upon a time, we ate to sustain ourselves – what happened to that?

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Wants over Needs!

People are now turning to food more because they want something rather than because they are truly hungry. We want junk foods, we do not need them. The problem is, the line between good and poor nutrition has become blurred by flavor scientists who develop irresistible flavors that cause us to crave them. Flavor manipulations have led us to overeat all the wrong foods – nutrition has now taken a back seat to wants.

As the world population has increased, so has the science to increase crop yields and meat production. In 1968 Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich wrote a book he titled “The Population Bomb”. In this book, Ehrlich predicted worldwide famine in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals. Professor Ehrlich pushed for immediate action to limit population growth. Population growth and keeping us fed has been a legitimate concern that has existed since the 1950s.

The result of these concerns has been increased yields, while flavor and nutrition have actually decreased. Just ask any elderly family member or friend if food is as flavorful as it was at one time and see what they have to say if you do not believe this. The problem with flavor in foods of today over yesterday is one of flavor manipulation through chemicals and spices that hide the blandness that has occurred since yields have increased. As food has become blander, we now have a plethora of palatants to make it taste just like we want it to. Is it any wonder we overeat when we can manipulate flavors so easily?

There are Consequences!

Through science of flavor manipulations, scientist create flavorings by tons. It is not rocket science that synthetically flavored food is not the same nutritionally as natural, whole foods. Nowadays, when we encounter bland foods, we make them palatable by dressing them up with condiments, spices, and dressings. In the case of processed foods from restaurants and grocery stores, you can bet if not for added palatants, most of them would not be fit for consumption.

As humans, we have been endowed with a sophisticated system that performs the most essential task – getting important nutrients into our body. We enjoy eating. However, by manipulating our richest and most direct source of pleasure, our relationship with food has become warped. Most people now want food because it tastes good rather than eating for basic sustenance and fuel. Evolution may have provided us with an amazing sense of smell and taste, but we were not made for cheap calories and egregious flavor lies. Over the last few decades, we have taken a system designed to bring our bodies to a state of nutritional completion and turned it against ourselves. Look around and see for yourself. Sixty eight percent of western society now have a problem with overeating and their weight.

Apple being injected with chemicals
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Flavor Manipulation Works Against Satiety

When you reach your hand into a bag of chips, are you able to stop with only one? Or do you keep gobbling down more of them? If we are being honest, all of us who have ever had weight concerns have had regret over continuing to eat past the point of satiety. We tend to overeat simply because we can not satisfy our body. It is only when we make healthy food choices that we feel complete by not overeating. Feeling nutritionally complete and properly fueled is different than being stuffed with junk food choices.

Of course eating should be a source of pleasure. Who wants to eat something that does not taste good, right?  The problem is, highly palatable foods have the capacity to stimulate the appetite and prompt us to eat more. They tend to be sugary, fatty, and salty. The better tasting the food, the more we will eat. Palatable food tends to activate the reward circuits in the brain and which stimulates our appetite. Through flavor manipulation, it has become too easy to over eat.

Of course we have a problem with food science and manipulations to increase yields and make blander foods more palatable. But, I do not want to  make anyone believe there is anything malevolent occurring in the food industry. We have a huge population to feed, and as it increases worldwide, the problem is not going away anytime soon. Food growers are not evil, they are dealing with the same problems they always have since the beginning of time. They have to create crops that are hearty and big enough to not get wiped out by insects or crop diseases. But, what we the people also have to do, is quit demanding cheap, processed foods of convenience and get back to the basics of cooking whole foods for ourselves. We have to quit placing our wants over our needs for the obesity epidemic to go away.

What you have to do is to understand the nature of food production and make choices of nutritional foods over those of convenience and perceived affordability. You have free choice, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices.

 

Tips to Stop Overeating!

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Why Are We Nutritional Idiots?

 

apathetic young woman
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Have we as a society become nutritional idiots?

Or, have we just become lazy and apathetic when it comes to our daily food choices?

It really is of no surprise that most people do not eat healthy diets anymore when you look at the abundance of high calorie, low nutrition foods we are surrounded by nowadays. Our grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail outlets almost always have large displays of junk foods to pique our appetites. And this is not by accident. As with flavorings added to alcohol and tobacco products, the food industry is doing the same thing to bring in repeat customers.

Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with advertisements and displays of highly palatable foods that provide little to no nutritional value, yet we still gobble them down. When we encounter highly palatable foods, our appetite instantly kicks into high gear, and this is when we must put on the brakes. Is it any wonder there is such a thing as the Yale Food Addiction Scale, 69% of our population now have a weight problem, and the American Heart Association now recommends bariatric surgery as a viable option for those who are severely obese?

How is all of this happening?

How did we become a society where we now have obese children with type 2 diabetes and other adult onset diseases? Our palates are not just out of tune with our nutritional needs, they are out to kill us. In the U.S. it is estimated that we have 300,000 premature deaths every year as a result of obesity. American eating habits cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking. Our nutritional habits are causing us heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis of the knees. All of these are directly related to our excessive and unhealthy eating.

We often raise hell over the cost of medical care, yet the annual bill for obesity related health problems is about $117 billion as a result of medical bills and lost wages. And this is largely because we have become massive consumers of fast and heavily processed foods instead of low calorie, nutritionally dense foods that actually do us good. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our children. The food industry is not going to change, it is entirely up to you in making healthy changes. You have to become aware of all that you are eating and then leave out the bad. And a part of this equation is that you also need to become aware that a good portion of the foods we eat nowadays are addictive in nature. We really are not nutritional idiots, we are a nation addicted to poor food choices!

Food Addiction

“A repetitive behavior that some people find difficult to quit.”

We have a problem where it has become too convenient to go to your favorite drive through in order to find inexpensive and highly palatable foods. It is not uncommon to see multiple fast food places in a single block in many cities across America. And now, grocery manufacturers are also in a race with the fast food industry to the bottom, that rewards profits over health.

Food addiction is deeply enmeshed with memory. The memories we connect to certain foods are typically stronger and longer lasting than any other substance we might have had problems with. Childhood memories of food can have considerable power over our lives. Is it even possible to forget the yummy goodness of our grandmother’s home baked cookies?

Over the course of the last four decades, food researchers have engineered foods full of  sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt which we find immensely alluring. Through their brilliant marketing, we are now easily manipulated to eat even when we are not hungry.  Because of our addictive natures, we must learn to take control over our impulses to eat. And this all begins with learning as much as you can about nutrition, and then implementing that new found knowledge for the betterment of your health. And no, this is not going to be easy.

But, we can do something!

You are not a nutritional idiot, but you are going to have to be accountable for your health.

Our entire bodies are designed to not only like the taste of foods, but to also to make us want more and more of it. We have evolved over thousands of years to seek out foods that are not only sweet, but which are also loaded with calories. Today, we also enjoy the benefit of finding these foods in relative convenience, at low cost and with a wide variety. From the beginning of time, we have thrived with the nutrition of the time. It has only been  about the last forty to fifty years that being hooked on food has begun to cause us harm. Our food supply has been drastically altered, and now we all are paying the price.

Food companies have learned to exploit our addictions to fast, easy, and fattening foods. but we do not have to resort to eating them. There are still healthy, whole foods that we can cook for ourselves. No one, but yourself, is forcing you to make poor food choices. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, and you will learn how to kick all the poor nutritional practices you have had to the curb. We are always a free resource to all who want to lose weight in a healthy manner and then to keep it off. You are not a nutritional idiot, but you might need a little help.

Sugar Addiction

Are All Calories Equal?

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Are all calories equal?

For the pedantic types among us, the answer is an obvious yes. But for the context of most conversations regarding nutrition, the answer is a resounding no! I believe that 99.9% among us would understand this point, however, there is always one in the crowd. I recently had a reader point out an obvious typo that got past us as if the word “misled” being misspelled as “mislead” made any real difference in the context of the article. So to appease the point one percent who might not understand, I will explain what a calorie is and why they are not quite right in their thinking.

What is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measure defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. However, when we use the word calorie in terms of nutrition, we are actually talking about the amount of kilocalories a specific food item has. This is what we find listed on nutrition labels. One large kilocalorie (kcal) is the equivalent of 1,000 small calories.

When we eat, we are supplying our bodies with energy in the form of heat so that our bodies can function. In essence, the smarty pants among us are correct in that there is no difference in the energy provided by calories from any food. A unit of energy is a unit of energy, no matter where it comes from.

What are we talking about when we ask if all calories are equal?

Obviously, we are actually referring to the source of the calories. When we compare the calories from a chocolate bar against the calories from healthy foods, they are clearly not equal. They are not equal simply because they come from foods that are not equal in nutritional value. We do receive energy from the calories in a chocolate bar, but we do not receive any nutritional benefit from the chocolate bar. Therefore the calorie sources are obviously not equal in quality. Hence the term, empty calories which is commonly used.

Everything we do depends on the calories (energy) we consume.

Our bodies are constantly burning calories, just by being alive. No matter if we sit on the couch all day, or run marathons, we are constantly burning calories which must be regularly replenished. You might require two thousand calories per day to maintain your weight. However, if those calories do not come from nutritious foods, your health is eventually going to suffer. Your health will eventually suffer even if you do manage to maintain your weight. When you consume “empty” calories, you will eventually become malnourished and not even know it.

You can be at a healthy BMI and still be malnourished my friends. Malnutrition happens when you are not getting enough nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, through your diet.

Do you fully understand why we gain weight?

Based on the flawed concept that all calories are equal, you might believe that your sources of nutrition do not matter. I have known people who insist that they do not eat that much, yet still can’t lose weight. They will insist that on top of not eating much, they also exercise regularly. These people often believe there is something unique about themselves to prevent their weight loss. Only on a rare occasion might this be true. The problem is, they are eating too many calories from the wrong sources. Those sources are simple carbohydrates found in high calorie, low nutrition foods that spike insulin.

The most fattening foods we can have in our diet are those that have the greatest effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. These particular foods are those with concentrated sources of carbohydrates that we digest quickly. In other words, we are talking about food and drink that contain added sugars, refined flours such as breads and pastas. These foods flood the bloodstream very rapidly with glucose. When our blood sugar goes up, so does our insulin levels. These actions cause most of us to get fat.

Some of us get fat not solely as a result of eating too much and living sedentary lives…

We get fat because we eat too many foods with added sugars, refined flours and starches. The thing all these bad foods have in common besides spiking our glucose is they do not contain fiber which keeps our blood sugar and insulin in a healthy balance.

Insulin works to deposit calories as fat and to inhibit the use of that fat for fuel. Carbohydrates are required to allow this fat storage to occur. Since glucose is the primary stimulator of insulin secretion, the more we consume carbohydrates, the greater the accumulation of fat. This problem gets compounded even more when the carbs come from refined sources. Carbohydrates drive insulin, which is driving us to get fat. It is for this reason that I do not advocate diet programs that allow the individual to eat as they always have. It is a bold faced lie to tell people it is okay to still eat refined carbohydrates as long as they track it.

Not all sources of calories are equal!

We know that carbohydrates drive insulin which drives fat. However, there is no reason to quit eating all carbs. Our bodies need well balanced nutrition that includes foods that provide us with complex carbohydrates. It is the simple carbohydrates from refined sugars, refined flours and starches that cause us to get fat. Simple carbohydrates digest quickly as they do not contain any fiber which helps to regulate how quickly glucose is absorbed into our blood stream. Calorie count alone does not determine whether a food is nutritious. It is more about the type of calorie, such as whether it supplies vitamins, minerals, and fiber or if it is void of nutrition and more of an “empty calorie.”

Weight loss is a complicated process for almost all who have ever attempted to lose weight.  Factors that matter in our weight management include a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress.

Life is not fair, some people seem to be able to lose weight more quickly and more easily than others. However, everyone loses weight when they burn more calories than they eat. To lose weight, you have to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories or increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity or both. Since not all calories are equal, if you are having trouble losing weight, you need to consider your food choices.

If you feel that you cannot cut your caloric intake enough to lose weight in a healthy manner, then you have to analyze the source of your calories.

Not all calories are equal my friends.

Eating On The Run