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September 05, 2013
Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


When it comes to weight loss, people are often most motivated by physical appearance. It’s true, “looking fit” is a great thing! It helps build confidence and self-esteem. However the benefits of weight loss go so much deeper than what you can see. Here are some other ‘life-altering” advantages to weight loss that far exceed fitting into that smaller size dress or pair of pants.

 1.  A healthier heart:

Losing weight is game-changing for the heart and blood vessels.  Our heart is truly the core of our health; when it gives out, so do we.  In fact, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  Being overweight can increase your risk for a cardiovascular event like a heart attack by up to 75%.  Losing just 5 pounds can significantly reduce that risk. Weight loss lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, two key factors in heart health.  By reducing blood pressure and cholesterol you are essentially decreasing the “water pressure” and “rusting potential” of your body’s plumbing.  Keep the pipes clean and you can bet that your body’s pump—the heart—will thank you.   

2.  A healthier brain:

Recent studies have shown that people who are obese in their 40s and 50s have twice the risk of developing dementia in their 60s and 70s.  Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Dementia--a devastating subtype--increases by 70%.  Why obesity leads to dementia is not clear.  Some scientists theorize that proteins released in the blood during fat metabolism may circulate to the brain and cause damage there.  Others believe that higher associated cholesterol and blood pressure may lead to deterioration of the brain’s vasculature.  Whatever the cause, one thing is clear, losing weight significantly protects your brain in its golden years.  

3.  Healthier bones:

Our bones and our joints were designed to carry a certain amount of weight.  Once our weight exceeds those limits, our joints start to suffer.  Obesity alters the alignment of our hips and knees, putting abnormal strain on our joints and increasing wear and tear that causes arthritis. But this heavier work-load is not the only way obesity damages our joints. “Arthritis” is the medical term for “joint inflammation,” and as it turns out, obesity causes an overall body inflammation.  This generalized inflammation further irritates the joints themselves, destroying their surfaces.  What once was smooth becomes rough.  What was fluid becomes creaky.  You can think of it like hinges beginning to rust in salty air.  Maintaining healthy body weight will help reduce both the work-load on your joints, and the full-body inflammation that leads to arthritis.  You’ll feel better, and will have less creaking in those hinges for years to come.

4.  A healthier mind:

We now know weight loss is good for your brain.  It’s also good for your mind.  Weight loss improves your sense of well-being.  It decreases depression.  It increases energy levels.  Perhaps it’s the endorphins that come with an active lifestyle.  Perhaps it’s feeling better about your physique.  Whatever the reason studies have shown that people who maintain ideal body weight just feel better about their lives and the world around them.  Isn’t it worth it just for that?

5.  Healthier sleep:

Increased body size can cause an accumulation of fat around the neck and throat.  This increased soft tissue puts you at risk for a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the airway closes down during sleep, obstructing breathing and leading to decreased oxygenation of the brain and body.  OSA can increase blood pressure, your risk for a heart attack, and can leave you feeling tired during the day.  Weight loss reduces the amount of soft tissue surrounding your airway.  This means you’ll be less likely cut off your breathing in the middle of the night.  You’ll sleep a lot better, and since weight loss also reduces snoring, your spouse will too!

6.  Reduced risk of Cancer.

There are several cancers that are known to be more common with obesity. Among them are pancreatic, esophageal, colon, and breast cancer.  It’s estimated that up to 40% of these particular cancers are attributable to obesity.  A recent study speculated that if every adult in the U.S. lost only 2 pounds, we would reduce the number of cancer cases by 100,000 per year.
    The reason obesity leads to increase cancer risk may have to due with the higher levels of certain body hormones seen in obesity.  Increased levels of insulin and insulin-like-growth factor may stimulate the growth of tumors.  Higher levels of estrogen which is produced in fat cells may promote the growth of breast cancers.  Additionally, the baseline increase in body inflammation seen with obesity people may speed up the cellular damage that alters DNA and leads to tumor growth.  Reducing your weight by only a few pounds will significantly reduce your risk of developing a life threatening cancer.

By all means it’s great to lose weight to feel better about the way you look.  However if you really look at the rest of the benefits, you’ll see there are plenty of things to motivate you. Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

July 17, 2013
Achieving meaningful and permanent weight loss can be challenging. Sometimes, despite their best intentions, people make little mistakes that have a big impact on their waistlines, or fall for faulty diet strategies that actually make weight loss more difficult. Here are some pitfalls that may be tripping you up on your quest to slim down.

Mistake # 1: Crashing and Burning With A “Crash Diet”

People try crash diets to lose weight fast, perhaps for that upcoming wedding or beach trip. While crash diets might lead to weight loss in the short term, they can have some unintended effects on your metabolism in the long run.

Our bodies require a baseline level of nutrition for healthy function. We need Protein to maintain muscle mass, Fats to produce hormones, Carbohydrates to keep our energy stores active, and the vitamins contained in many foods to fuel our metabolism.

When you cut calories too drastically, you deprive your body of these vital nutrients, so you can actually suffer from effects of malnutrition. From a weight loss perspective, crash diets cause your metabolism to come to a crashing halt. Your body is tricked into thinking it’s starving. It responds by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy.

As your metabolism slows down, that initial weight loss you experienced will level off. Then, when you come off that highly restrictive diet, your body will hang on to every calorie you consume. This is why so many people experience rapid weight gain after crash diets.

Worst of all, crash diets do nothing to address the underlying dietary issues that have lead to weight gain in the first place. Crash diets are unsustainable in the long run, and you need a weight loss plan you can live with.

Mistake #2: Cutting Out Some Foods Altogether

Every few year, the magazines are filled with articles screaming, “Don’t eat this!” Currently, carbohydrates are painted as no-no foods. But there are serious problems with cutting carbs — or any other food — out of your diet altogether.

First of all, not all carbs are created alike. As a Food Lover, you’re familiar with the concept of Fast Carbs and Slow Carbs and understand the importance of understanding how your body processes different types of carbs and striving for balance in your diet. The same applies to other commonly maligned foods, including fats. Your body needs some fat, especially “good” fats like Omega oils, so cutting fat out altogether isn’t a great idea.

But even more importantly, cutting any foods out of your life altogether is certain to lead to uncontrollable cravings. It’s unrealistic and impossible to maintain. A big part of controlling your appetite is making sure that the food you eat is satisfying. This is a medical phenomenon called sensory-specific satiety. Your body seeks satisfaction, so if your senses aren’t satisfied by the food you eat, you are more likely to keep eating!

Mistake # 3: Missing Out on Exercise

Exercise is a vital portion of any diet and healthy lifestyle. The benefits are many. Obviously, exercise consumes calories, burning up those Fat stores you are trying to shed. But the benefits don’t stop there. Building muscle mass through exercise raises your basal metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even while at rest.

Exercise also increases the release of endorphins that promote a sense of well-being and satiety (or fullness). What’s more, exercise decreases insulin resistance, reducing your body’s tendency to store fat and make bad cholesterol.
   
You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise to achieve weight loss. Less intense exercise is actually more efficient at burning Fat than strenuous exercise. For example, if jogging, you should still be able to have a conversation with someone jogging with you.

You don’t need to exercise every day for hours, either. Even half an hour three times a week will make a difference. Food Lovers has some great fat-burning exercise videos that will help you rev up that metabolism in just 12 or 24 minutes.

Mistake #4: Trying to Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

Exercise is important for healthy weight loss. However, it is virtually impossible to out-exercise a bad diet. Anyone who has ever watched the calorie counter on a treadmill will know how frustratingly slow the numbers increase. Ten minutes on a treadmill and you might only burn 100 calories: less than half a candy-bar.

The key is to realize that while exercise is important to weight loss, it is most effective when paired with healthy eating. If you try to out-exercise your bad diet, you might kill yourself trying.

Mistake #5: Falling for the Fad Diet

There are countless fad diets out there promising quirky tricks to lose weight and improve health. Some recommend subsisting solely on lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper: a diet that is certain to cause your metabolism to grind to a screeching halt and deprive your body of protein and necessary vitamins.

Others promise that using certain “pregnancy” hormones will help with weight loss — a theory for which there is little scientific evidence. You may also have seen ads that promote ‘juicing’ food to lose weight. In reality, juicing your food pulverizes out the fiber that helps our body slow digestion.
   
Fad diets are fads for a reason: They do not correctly address a person’s actual dietary problems or deficiencies and, therefore, have nothing that ensures their longevity, or the longevity of your weight loss. So, when one fad diet fails, it’s on to the next one. You know what that means: another failure, and another disappointment.

Mistake # 6: Hoping for a Magic Pill

The diet pill/supplement industry preys on people looking for fast fixes, and often wraps bogus science in slick marketing

The bottom line is, diet pills are a risky business. Many contain stimulants that are intended to decrease appetite, but can actually put you in danger.

Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, most are untested. Only about a third have some level of safety and effectiveness that is supported by scientific evidence, according to a review by NMCD experts.

From time to time, we read about dangerous dietary pills being removed from the market, but they are always replaced by new ones, and the situation is only made worse by easy access the questionable products via the Internet.
   
There are some nutritional supplements that promote satiety (a feeling of fullness), or to help your metabolism run more smoothly and your insulin work more efficiently. However, these supplements are virtually ineffective without a meaningful change to your diet and exercise plans.

Mistake # 7: Forgetting about Drinks

When people think of changing eating habits, they forget about their drinking habits. Liquids can have tons of unnoticed calories. Sodas are packed with sugar. Juices, often thought of as healthy, aren’t much better than sodas. Alcoholic beverages have more calories per gram than carbs or proteins. Coffee itself is a low-calorie drink, but upgrade it to a super-tall mocha latte and you may be getting as many calories as an entire meal.
   
The best drink for our health is — and will always be — water. Beyond that, unsweetened coffees and teas can give you an energy boost, and caffeine can curb hunger. Milk offers vitamin D and calcium, and also has Protein and Fat to help slow the absorption of its sugar.
   
With so many tasty drinks out there, perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect people to stick with just plain water. But if you can drink calorie-dense beverages like sodas and alcohol sparingly, your waistline will thank you.

I hope these 7 helpful hints have given you a little bit more guidance on your quest to slim down. Remember, the best strategy is avoiding processed foods, preparing your own meals, combining your Fast Carbs with Proteins and Slow Carbs for a healthy Fat Loss Plate, and eating every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism burning on high.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

June 24, 2013
When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth.
We live in a world where sugar substitutes have become as common as sugar itself. They come in a variety of colorful packets, pellets, powders and liquids, promising the alluring taste of sweetness without any of the calories of real sugar.

The hope of the consumer is that they will be able to somehow satisfy their sweet tooth without any caloric consequence. The bitter truth: while artificial sweeteners may be devoid of calories, they are full of devastating effects on your metabolism, and “sugar free” doesn’t equal “weight-gain free.”

So how is it that something without calories and still lead to weight gain?

Well, upon first taste, our bodies can’t actually distinguish between real and fake sugar. The receptors on our taste buds and intestinal track are equally stimulated by fake sugar as they are by real sugar.

This stimulation sets off a series of effects. One is the release of hormones, in particular insulin, which is responsible for the metabolism of sugar.

When insulin floods the blood stream, it goes to work doing its job of removing sugar from the blood and moving it into cells, where the sugar can be burned as energy or stored as fat. The insulin released when you consume artificial sweeteners actually leads to more fat storage. So much for a non-calorie sweetener helping you lose weight!

But the problem doesn’t stop there: Tricked by fake sugar, insulin has now removed a substantial amount of baseline sugar from your bloodstream — the sugar needed to keep you functioning.  Your body is then poised and ready to receive the new sugar load it thought was on the way. However, it never comes. By now your body has figured out that those sweet signals it got just minutes ago when the diet soda splashed on your tongue were false.  However, it’s too late; insulin’s work has already been done. Your blood sugar levels are too low, and you’re feeling hungry and shaky and uneasy. So what do you? You eat! And now, due to the hungry, shaky feeling, you are more likely to choose something with real sugar in it!

So your no-calorie drink or snack has two devastating effects. First, it removes your base line blood sugar and causes it to be stored as fat. Second, it leads you to eat even more calories than you originally would have to replace that sugar void.

If a double whammy weren’t enough, there’s a third problem. Artificial sweeteners also change the signaling in your brain. You see, artificial sweeteners are very concentrated. Their ability to over-stimulate your brain is much more potent than that of many naturally occurring foods. When your brain is constantly over-stimulated, it can change your eating habits. You may become less sensitive to natural levels of sweetness, so that you are less satisfied by a piece of fruit, and may even find the taste of vegetables downright disgusting.

When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth. So you end up doing what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

It’s true that artificial sweeteners may be the lesser of two evils — in moderation, they may have less of an effect on your body and weight than the same equivalent of actual sugar. If you do need some non-caloric sweetness, try Stevia, a natural, plant-based, non-caloric sweetener available in many forms.  At least you will be avoiding any detrimental effects from the synthetic chemicals used in other sweeteners.

However, in my medical opinion, your best strategy is to avoid over-stimulating your body, and tricking it with these concentrated sweet-signals, so that you can continue to enjoy the naturally occurring levels of sugar in fruits and vegetables. You’ll get the fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and you won’t have to worry about accidentally sending your body into Fat Storing Mode.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

May 20, 2013
Submit your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-Some weight loss plans that I've been on have cautioned me about expecting results since I'm over 50. Does being 50+ mean that my metabolism is stuck where it is? Can I ever get back to a healthy weight at my age?

ANSWER:

Your metabolism is not STUCK after age 50! Sure, things tend to slow down as we age. There are hormonal changes after menopause that can affect the way fat is burned and stored in the body. There similar hormonal changes in older men. We also tend to lose muscle mass as we age, which can slow our baseline metabolic rate. However, this does not mean that you are stuck at a certain weight, or that your metabolism can’t be improved. Sometimes you may see slower results, and you may have to be a bit more careful about the food choices you make. The bitter truth is that older bodies need fewer calories than their younger counterparts. But you can certainly expect results with FL, especially if you are able to incorporate the suggested exercise routines into your lifestyle. If you find you are having trouble, try to reduce your overall portion sizes and consume less Fast Carbs. Even 200 calories less per day can make a big difference. If your health allows it, increase your exercise routine as well, and you'll be sure to see the changes.

-I am currently using the Food Lovers Community Diet and would like to know, what is the maximum amount of sugar one can consume at a meal or snack before the body kicks into fat storage mode? Is this possible?

ANSWER:

Sounds like someone has a sweet tooth and wants to know how far they can push the limits! Where there is no exact value; it’s very person-dependent. But here are some guidelines:
The secret to minimizing the effect of sugar on your metabolism (and your weight) is consuming sugar in less processed forms and accompanying it with foods high in fiber and protein. When you eat sugar by itself without fiber or Protein it absorbs into the blood rapidly and leads to fat storage. The best way to determine the “sugar rush” effect of various foods is to look at their Glycemic Index (GI). The GI for many foods can be found online, and Food Lovers has a helpful chart that can get you started. Go a step further and look at a food’s Glycemic Load (GL) which accounts for the food’s typical serving size. Foods with lower GI’s and GL’s will be better for your waistline. If these values seem too cumbersome for you, just check labels and try to find foods that have higher grams of fiber compared to their grams of sugar. When it comes to snacks, you don't have to fret too much about Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Enjoy whatever snack you want, from carrots to cookies. Just make sure that you follow the “Between 150- 250 calorie” rule for snacks. At these portion sizes, the effect will be minimal. That being said, FL gives you some “accelerator snacks” that do fall lower on the Glycemic Index scale. These can be used to increase your fat burning and will help you lose weight faster. For meals, follow the Fat Loss Plate portion sizes, and again try to pick SLOW Carbs that have more fiber and you will be more pleased with the results.


-I have a gluten allergy and I'm limited on my choices of foods. Would the Food Lovers Program work for me?

ANSWER:

Absolutely. Gluten is a protein found mainly in products made from wheat and several other grains. FL focuses on getting appropriate quantities of Protein with your Fast and Slow Carbs. Slow Carbs like some fruits and vegetables will be naturally gluten free. Fast Carbs are always optional and can even be left out of your Fat Loss Plate. However there are plenty of gluten-free options for your Fast Carbs. Look for typical gluten-free products in your supermarket and just incorporate them right in. But the bottom line: you don't need gluten to make a Food Lovers Fat Loss Plate or to eat a healthy diet!amount of sugar in that food.


-Dr. Wortham,
Just wanted to know if doing a polyphastic sleep cycle will negatively or positively affect a person's weight loss when doing the food lovers program. while some people have odd sleep schedules due to work, we will have others that voluntarily do these types of sleep patterns to maximize their days.
thanks!

ANSWER:

Good question. Weight loss is related to sleep in several ways. Some simply have to do with energy—you need to get enough sleep to feel rested so that you can be physically active during the day. Others are hormonally based. Our bodies are programmed to "run with the sun," so we do best sleeping when it's dark out and being awake during daylight hours. Our cortisol levels are very closely timed to this, and cortisol can drastically affect metabolism and insulin levels. There are two other important hormones called Leptin and Grehlin which are involved in signaling our satiety and hunger pathways (letting us know when we're hungry, and then when we're full.) Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep, or who sleep during the day, often have abnormal levels of these hormones that can lead to overeating. I strongly believe that 7 to 8 hours of nighttime sleep and an additional 15 minute nap in the afternoon if you're tired is the best rhythm for your body. If work schedules prevent this, then I recommend at least getting sleep in complete cycles (approx. 3 hours to ensure all 4 stages of sleep). This will ensure that hormonal levels give you the best shot at weight loss.

-Hello Dr. Wortham:
I have lost 36 lbs., have another 40 lbs. to go but seem to be in a very slow period for past 2 months. I am ok with that because this is a program that I can live with for rest of my life.
In the past, I had a problem with fluid pooling in my lower legs and feet, especially when sitting with legs down, as well as during high humidity periods in the New England summers. I stopped drinking diet soda several years ago because I recognized that my legs/feet would swell almost immediately afterward. I should note that I am a very healthy woman with no heart issues. Since going onto FL, I wasn't experiencing those painful swelling periods. However, I have noticed in the past few weeks that I am having occasional swelling again and it seems to be related to fairly small amounts of sodium.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your weight loss! So glad it's working for you. Concerning the swelling: Most of the time swelling in the lower extremities is due to a gradual weakening of the valves in the veins. Our veins rely on passive movement of fluid and muscle contraction (which is why sitting makes it worse—your veins are compressed, and your muscles aren't active.) Keeping the muscles in your legs active will help reduce fluid retention. Salt can certainly make this effect worse because salt will pull fluid out of the compromised veins. However, it is possible that you are over-consuming water. Perhaps then when you have any sodium your body is trying to catch up with the loss of sodium from excessive water intake and it just happens to end up in your feet because of the leaky veins there in your legs. I would first try cutting back on your water intake to 8 glasses and see if that helps. Best of luck!
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

April 29, 2013
The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less

Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us. 

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

January 03, 2013
Cutting the fat from your cooking is simple. Small changes in the way you prepare food can make a big difference, and the best part is, you will soon discover that the low-fat food you make using these techniques is just as delicious and satisfying as the full-fat versions.

Use non-stick cookware
You don’t have to spend a fortune to equip your kitchen for fat-free cooking. One good-quality non-stick pan should be more than enough.

With a good non-stick skillet or wok, you can stir-fry or sauté without any oil. Simply heat your skillet before adding the food. You may add a tablespoon or more of water or broth to prevent sticking, and stir often.

Though the uses for non-stick cookware are limitless, you’ll find it particularly helpful for delicate fish filets or egg dishes, both of which are particularly prone to sticking.

Replace butter and oil with cooking spray
First off, we have to get one thing straight — most cooking spray is actually oil. The advantage of using spray is that it lets you control and limit the amount you use. Since you’re trying to restrict your intake of fat, you’ll want to spray lightly and wipe away any residue.

Grill, bake, broil, braise or slow cook meat instead of frying it
All of these techniques free you from having to use butter or oil. For example, coat chicken or fish in breadcrumbs, and bake (“oven fry”) them. Sautéing is fine, too, just be sure to use minimal amounts of oil, non-stick spray or broth instead of oil or butter.

Here are some more tips that are so simple, they don’t even require any explanation!

•    Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk to replace butter and heavy cream in mashed potatoes

•    Try fat-free evaporated milk in creamy soups and casseroles instead of heavy cream

•    Oven-fry potatoes instead of making or buying French fries

•    Use herbs and spices to boost the flavor your food

•    Substitute reduced-fat cheeses for full-fat ones, and reduce the amount you use

•    Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for dips, spreads and dressings

•    Replace some of the fatty ingredients, like eggs and butter, in baked goods with applesauce or plain nonfat yogurt a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline.
January 03, 2013
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We all know the benefits of exercise, yet very few of use exercise as regularly and consistently as we should to really get the benefits.

There are so many reason not to exercise. It takes time. It’s painful. It’s boring.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, hold on just a second, because the problem isn’t exercise itself; the problem is that you’re doing the wrong exercise. And the good news is, it’s an easy probe to fix. All it takes is two simple little steps.

1) Make sure the exercise you do is right for your fitness level
Exercise isn’t a one-size-fits all activity. Your body is unique, so you want to tailor your exercise routine to your body. For example, if you have joint pain, consider an exercise that is “low impact,” such as swimming.
Do an honest assessment of your current fitness level so that you know how hard to go. Start slow and work your way up until you find your comfort level. If you over-extend yourself or push too hard, you may hurt yourself or feel wiped out after a workout, which will make you less likely to keep at it.
On the other hand, once you start working out consistently, your body will adjust and you may find yourself hardly breaking a sweat. When this happens, you run the risk of getting bored or discouraged by not seeing results. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, try pushing yourself just a little harder or mixing up your routine with new movements.

2) Make sure the exercise you do is fun.
The idea of spending hours in a gym lifting weights or running on a treadmill may appeal to some people but not to you. So get creative and think outside the box. Make a list of activities you do enjoy, and make those your exercise.
•    If you love the outdoors, exercise there — jogging, biking, gardening.
•    If you like TV, work out while watching TV.
•    Think of activities you can do with your family, like throwing a ball or playing tag.
•    Make exercise an adventure by trying new things like yoga, Plates, hiking, shadow boxing or kayaking.
•    Make it a game and challenge yourself by training for a charity walk or run.
•    Get a dog — dogs demand attention and love to play, so they help to keep their owners moving.
January 03, 2013
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One of the most frequent reasons Food Lovers give for going off track is sickness. When you’re feeling down and out, you’re likely to reach for convenient, comforting food — the type that’s loaded with the enemies of Fat Loss: sugar, salt and fat. And by the time you recover, your weight loss momentum is gone.  

Your best bet is to avoid getting a cold or flu in the first place. Here are some tips to stay healthy, so you can keep on “living lean.”

1.    Get some sunshine every day. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, catching some rays is good for your immune system because sunshine provides Vitamin D, one of nature’s great immune boosters. As a bonus, sunshine helps to keep your spirits up, which in itself can be critical to fighting illness.
2.    Take a multivitamin. Vitamins C and D are both important to maintain healthy immune function. Fish oil also does wonders to boost immune health.
3.    Stay active. Being active doesn’t just tone your muscles, studies show it also helps to keep your immune system in shape. There are plenty of great ways to get exercise during the winter — sledding, building a snow man, making snow angels. Be creative and have fun!
4.    Eat colorful veggies. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and beets are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
5.    Wash your hands often. The most common way to “pick up” a cold and flu virus is by shaking hands or touching someone who is carrying the virus, especially kids.
6.    Don’t bite your nails. If you do happen to pick up a virus on your hands, the best way to prevent introducing it into your body is by keeping your fingers away from your mouth.
January 03, 2013
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Yes, the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year” … but they can also be quite stressful. You may be traveling in crowded airports with flight delays, trying to put together a party, dealing with family issues. And there’s also the financial stress and pressure to get everyone a perfect gift. Yikes.

If you feel irritable, rushed, lonely or overwhelmed at the holidays, keep these strategies in mind.

1. Learn from the past. Anticipate challenges and have a plan to deal with them.
2. Learn to say no. Just because someone wants or expects something of you, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Life’s short; don’t live it according to someone else’s terms or schedule.
3. Make time to break away from the herd. Give yourself an occasional break from the packed malls and living rooms filled with family and friends. Set aside some alone time so you don’t “lose yourself” in the crowd.
4. Shop early. Nothing is more stressful than trying to find the “perfect” present at the last minute, when store shelves are bare and the lines are long.
5. Stay in control of eating. When the going gets tough, you may be tempted to comfort yourself with a food. But the regret and guilt you’ll feel afterward will just add to your stress level.
6. Get some exercise. You’re being pulled in so many directions at this time of year, and it’s difficult to find time for exercise, but take out word for it — even just 10 to 15 minutes of cardio or resistance training will recharge your engine far better than vegging out in front of the TV.
7. Meditation & music soothe the savage beast. Calm the chaos by putting on a pair of headphones, getting comfortable, and listening to your favorite playlist.
8. Reach out and talk to someone. No one wants to be a complainer, but sometimes you just need to call a friend and vent.
9. When all else fails, learn to let go. There are some thing you can’t control, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to fix everything. slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”


November 21, 2012
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As a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline. Soon enough, you may even need a whole new wardrobe of “skinny clothes.” In the meantime, here are some simple, slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”

1.    Get right-sized. Never wear clothes that are too small for you. It won’t make you look thinner. Instead, it will just draw attention to the areas you’d most like to camouflage.
2.    Lose the Muumuu. We often think hiding our figure under yards of fabric and baggy clothes will somehow make us look smaller. It doesn’t work. Instead, opt for a dress that fits well but doesn’t eat you up.
3.    Mix and match. Use light and dark colors to make your body appear more in proportion. For example, if you are bottom-heavy or “pear-shaped,” try dark (slimming) pants with a lighter-toned top.
4.    Accentuate the positive. If you’re more top heavy or “apple shaped,” v-neck and shirt collars are your most flattering necklines.
5.    Use vertical stripes to lengthen. Avoid clothes with horizontal stripes. Try vertical stripes instead. This will make you seem taller and, as a result, slimmer. Seams and piping also help to stretch you out.
September 05, 2013
Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


When it comes to weight loss, people are often most motivated by physical appearance. It’s true, “looking fit” is a great thing! It helps build confidence and self-esteem. However the benefits of weight loss go so much deeper than what you can see. Here are some other ‘life-altering” advantages to weight loss that far exceed fitting into that smaller size dress or pair of pants.

 1.  A healthier heart:

Losing weight is game-changing for the heart and blood vessels.  Our heart is truly the core of our health; when it gives out, so do we.  In fact, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  Being overweight can increase your risk for a cardiovascular event like a heart attack by up to 75%.  Losing just 5 pounds can significantly reduce that risk. Weight loss lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, two key factors in heart health.  By reducing blood pressure and cholesterol you are essentially decreasing the “water pressure” and “rusting potential” of your body’s plumbing.  Keep the pipes clean and you can bet that your body’s pump—the heart—will thank you.   

2.  A healthier brain:

Recent studies have shown that people who are obese in their 40s and 50s have twice the risk of developing dementia in their 60s and 70s.  Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Dementia--a devastating subtype--increases by 70%.  Why obesity leads to dementia is not clear.  Some scientists theorize that proteins released in the blood during fat metabolism may circulate to the brain and cause damage there.  Others believe that higher associated cholesterol and blood pressure may lead to deterioration of the brain’s vasculature.  Whatever the cause, one thing is clear, losing weight significantly protects your brain in its golden years.  

3.  Healthier bones:

Our bones and our joints were designed to carry a certain amount of weight.  Once our weight exceeds those limits, our joints start to suffer.  Obesity alters the alignment of our hips and knees, putting abnormal strain on our joints and increasing wear and tear that causes arthritis. But this heavier work-load is not the only way obesity damages our joints. “Arthritis” is the medical term for “joint inflammation,” and as it turns out, obesity causes an overall body inflammation.  This generalized inflammation further irritates the joints themselves, destroying their surfaces.  What once was smooth becomes rough.  What was fluid becomes creaky.  You can think of it like hinges beginning to rust in salty air.  Maintaining healthy body weight will help reduce both the work-load on your joints, and the full-body inflammation that leads to arthritis.  You’ll feel better, and will have less creaking in those hinges for years to come.

4.  A healthier mind:

We now know weight loss is good for your brain.  It’s also good for your mind.  Weight loss improves your sense of well-being.  It decreases depression.  It increases energy levels.  Perhaps it’s the endorphins that come with an active lifestyle.  Perhaps it’s feeling better about your physique.  Whatever the reason studies have shown that people who maintain ideal body weight just feel better about their lives and the world around them.  Isn’t it worth it just for that?

5.  Healthier sleep:

Increased body size can cause an accumulation of fat around the neck and throat.  This increased soft tissue puts you at risk for a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the airway closes down during sleep, obstructing breathing and leading to decreased oxygenation of the brain and body.  OSA can increase blood pressure, your risk for a heart attack, and can leave you feeling tired during the day.  Weight loss reduces the amount of soft tissue surrounding your airway.  This means you’ll be less likely cut off your breathing in the middle of the night.  You’ll sleep a lot better, and since weight loss also reduces snoring, your spouse will too!

6.  Reduced risk of Cancer.

There are several cancers that are known to be more common with obesity. Among them are pancreatic, esophageal, colon, and breast cancer.  It’s estimated that up to 40% of these particular cancers are attributable to obesity.  A recent study speculated that if every adult in the U.S. lost only 2 pounds, we would reduce the number of cancer cases by 100,000 per year.
    The reason obesity leads to increase cancer risk may have to due with the higher levels of certain body hormones seen in obesity.  Increased levels of insulin and insulin-like-growth factor may stimulate the growth of tumors.  Higher levels of estrogen which is produced in fat cells may promote the growth of breast cancers.  Additionally, the baseline increase in body inflammation seen with obesity people may speed up the cellular damage that alters DNA and leads to tumor growth.  Reducing your weight by only a few pounds will significantly reduce your risk of developing a life threatening cancer.

By all means it’s great to lose weight to feel better about the way you look.  However if you really look at the rest of the benefits, you’ll see there are plenty of things to motivate you. Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

July 17, 2013
Achieving meaningful and permanent weight loss can be challenging. Sometimes, despite their best intentions, people make little mistakes that have a big impact on their waistlines, or fall for faulty diet strategies that actually make weight loss more difficult. Here are some pitfalls that may be tripping you up on your quest to slim down.

Mistake # 1: Crashing and Burning With A “Crash Diet”

People try crash diets to lose weight fast, perhaps for that upcoming wedding or beach trip. While crash diets might lead to weight loss in the short term, they can have some unintended effects on your metabolism in the long run.

Our bodies require a baseline level of nutrition for healthy function. We need Protein to maintain muscle mass, Fats to produce hormones, Carbohydrates to keep our energy stores active, and the vitamins contained in many foods to fuel our metabolism.

When you cut calories too drastically, you deprive your body of these vital nutrients, so you can actually suffer from effects of malnutrition. From a weight loss perspective, crash diets cause your metabolism to come to a crashing halt. Your body is tricked into thinking it’s starving. It responds by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy.

As your metabolism slows down, that initial weight loss you experienced will level off. Then, when you come off that highly restrictive diet, your body will hang on to every calorie you consume. This is why so many people experience rapid weight gain after crash diets.

Worst of all, crash diets do nothing to address the underlying dietary issues that have lead to weight gain in the first place. Crash diets are unsustainable in the long run, and you need a weight loss plan you can live with.

Mistake #2: Cutting Out Some Foods Altogether

Every few year, the magazines are filled with articles screaming, “Don’t eat this!” Currently, carbohydrates are painted as no-no foods. But there are serious problems with cutting carbs — or any other food — out of your diet altogether.

First of all, not all carbs are created alike. As a Food Lover, you’re familiar with the concept of Fast Carbs and Slow Carbs and understand the importance of understanding how your body processes different types of carbs and striving for balance in your diet. The same applies to other commonly maligned foods, including fats. Your body needs some fat, especially “good” fats like Omega oils, so cutting fat out altogether isn’t a great idea.

But even more importantly, cutting any foods out of your life altogether is certain to lead to uncontrollable cravings. It’s unrealistic and impossible to maintain. A big part of controlling your appetite is making sure that the food you eat is satisfying. This is a medical phenomenon called sensory-specific satiety. Your body seeks satisfaction, so if your senses aren’t satisfied by the food you eat, you are more likely to keep eating!

Mistake # 3: Missing Out on Exercise

Exercise is a vital portion of any diet and healthy lifestyle. The benefits are many. Obviously, exercise consumes calories, burning up those Fat stores you are trying to shed. But the benefits don’t stop there. Building muscle mass through exercise raises your basal metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even while at rest.

Exercise also increases the release of endorphins that promote a sense of well-being and satiety (or fullness). What’s more, exercise decreases insulin resistance, reducing your body’s tendency to store fat and make bad cholesterol.
   
You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise to achieve weight loss. Less intense exercise is actually more efficient at burning Fat than strenuous exercise. For example, if jogging, you should still be able to have a conversation with someone jogging with you.

You don’t need to exercise every day for hours, either. Even half an hour three times a week will make a difference. Food Lovers has some great fat-burning exercise videos that will help you rev up that metabolism in just 12 or 24 minutes.

Mistake #4: Trying to Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

Exercise is important for healthy weight loss. However, it is virtually impossible to out-exercise a bad diet. Anyone who has ever watched the calorie counter on a treadmill will know how frustratingly slow the numbers increase. Ten minutes on a treadmill and you might only burn 100 calories: less than half a candy-bar.

The key is to realize that while exercise is important to weight loss, it is most effective when paired with healthy eating. If you try to out-exercise your bad diet, you might kill yourself trying.

Mistake #5: Falling for the Fad Diet

There are countless fad diets out there promising quirky tricks to lose weight and improve health. Some recommend subsisting solely on lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper: a diet that is certain to cause your metabolism to grind to a screeching halt and deprive your body of protein and necessary vitamins.

Others promise that using certain “pregnancy” hormones will help with weight loss — a theory for which there is little scientific evidence. You may also have seen ads that promote ‘juicing’ food to lose weight. In reality, juicing your food pulverizes out the fiber that helps our body slow digestion.
   
Fad diets are fads for a reason: They do not correctly address a person’s actual dietary problems or deficiencies and, therefore, have nothing that ensures their longevity, or the longevity of your weight loss. So, when one fad diet fails, it’s on to the next one. You know what that means: another failure, and another disappointment.

Mistake # 6: Hoping for a Magic Pill

The diet pill/supplement industry preys on people looking for fast fixes, and often wraps bogus science in slick marketing

The bottom line is, diet pills are a risky business. Many contain stimulants that are intended to decrease appetite, but can actually put you in danger.

Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, most are untested. Only about a third have some level of safety and effectiveness that is supported by scientific evidence, according to a review by NMCD experts.

From time to time, we read about dangerous dietary pills being removed from the market, but they are always replaced by new ones, and the situation is only made worse by easy access the questionable products via the Internet.
   
There are some nutritional supplements that promote satiety (a feeling of fullness), or to help your metabolism run more smoothly and your insulin work more efficiently. However, these supplements are virtually ineffective without a meaningful change to your diet and exercise plans.

Mistake # 7: Forgetting about Drinks

When people think of changing eating habits, they forget about their drinking habits. Liquids can have tons of unnoticed calories. Sodas are packed with sugar. Juices, often thought of as healthy, aren’t much better than sodas. Alcoholic beverages have more calories per gram than carbs or proteins. Coffee itself is a low-calorie drink, but upgrade it to a super-tall mocha latte and you may be getting as many calories as an entire meal.
   
The best drink for our health is — and will always be — water. Beyond that, unsweetened coffees and teas can give you an energy boost, and caffeine can curb hunger. Milk offers vitamin D and calcium, and also has Protein and Fat to help slow the absorption of its sugar.
   
With so many tasty drinks out there, perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect people to stick with just plain water. But if you can drink calorie-dense beverages like sodas and alcohol sparingly, your waistline will thank you.

I hope these 7 helpful hints have given you a little bit more guidance on your quest to slim down. Remember, the best strategy is avoiding processed foods, preparing your own meals, combining your Fast Carbs with Proteins and Slow Carbs for a healthy Fat Loss Plate, and eating every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism burning on high.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

June 24, 2013
When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth.
We live in a world where sugar substitutes have become as common as sugar itself. They come in a variety of colorful packets, pellets, powders and liquids, promising the alluring taste of sweetness without any of the calories of real sugar.

The hope of the consumer is that they will be able to somehow satisfy their sweet tooth without any caloric consequence. The bitter truth: while artificial sweeteners may be devoid of calories, they are full of devastating effects on your metabolism, and “sugar free” doesn’t equal “weight-gain free.”

So how is it that something without calories and still lead to weight gain?

Well, upon first taste, our bodies can’t actually distinguish between real and fake sugar. The receptors on our taste buds and intestinal track are equally stimulated by fake sugar as they are by real sugar.

This stimulation sets off a series of effects. One is the release of hormones, in particular insulin, which is responsible for the metabolism of sugar.

When insulin floods the blood stream, it goes to work doing its job of removing sugar from the blood and moving it into cells, where the sugar can be burned as energy or stored as fat. The insulin released when you consume artificial sweeteners actually leads to more fat storage. So much for a non-calorie sweetener helping you lose weight!

But the problem doesn’t stop there: Tricked by fake sugar, insulin has now removed a substantial amount of baseline sugar from your bloodstream — the sugar needed to keep you functioning.  Your body is then poised and ready to receive the new sugar load it thought was on the way. However, it never comes. By now your body has figured out that those sweet signals it got just minutes ago when the diet soda splashed on your tongue were false.  However, it’s too late; insulin’s work has already been done. Your blood sugar levels are too low, and you’re feeling hungry and shaky and uneasy. So what do you? You eat! And now, due to the hungry, shaky feeling, you are more likely to choose something with real sugar in it!

So your no-calorie drink or snack has two devastating effects. First, it removes your base line blood sugar and causes it to be stored as fat. Second, it leads you to eat even more calories than you originally would have to replace that sugar void.

If a double whammy weren’t enough, there’s a third problem. Artificial sweeteners also change the signaling in your brain. You see, artificial sweeteners are very concentrated. Their ability to over-stimulate your brain is much more potent than that of many naturally occurring foods. When your brain is constantly over-stimulated, it can change your eating habits. You may become less sensitive to natural levels of sweetness, so that you are less satisfied by a piece of fruit, and may even find the taste of vegetables downright disgusting.

When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth. So you end up doing what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

It’s true that artificial sweeteners may be the lesser of two evils — in moderation, they may have less of an effect on your body and weight than the same equivalent of actual sugar. If you do need some non-caloric sweetness, try Stevia, a natural, plant-based, non-caloric sweetener available in many forms.  At least you will be avoiding any detrimental effects from the synthetic chemicals used in other sweeteners.

However, in my medical opinion, your best strategy is to avoid over-stimulating your body, and tricking it with these concentrated sweet-signals, so that you can continue to enjoy the naturally occurring levels of sugar in fruits and vegetables. You’ll get the fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and you won’t have to worry about accidentally sending your body into Fat Storing Mode.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

May 20, 2013
Submit your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-Some weight loss plans that I've been on have cautioned me about expecting results since I'm over 50. Does being 50+ mean that my metabolism is stuck where it is? Can I ever get back to a healthy weight at my age?

ANSWER:

Your metabolism is not STUCK after age 50! Sure, things tend to slow down as we age. There are hormonal changes after menopause that can affect the way fat is burned and stored in the body. There similar hormonal changes in older men. We also tend to lose muscle mass as we age, which can slow our baseline metabolic rate. However, this does not mean that you are stuck at a certain weight, or that your metabolism can’t be improved. Sometimes you may see slower results, and you may have to be a bit more careful about the food choices you make. The bitter truth is that older bodies need fewer calories than their younger counterparts. But you can certainly expect results with FL, especially if you are able to incorporate the suggested exercise routines into your lifestyle. If you find you are having trouble, try to reduce your overall portion sizes and consume less Fast Carbs. Even 200 calories less per day can make a big difference. If your health allows it, increase your exercise routine as well, and you'll be sure to see the changes.

-I am currently using the Food Lovers Community Diet and would like to know, what is the maximum amount of sugar one can consume at a meal or snack before the body kicks into fat storage mode? Is this possible?

ANSWER:

Sounds like someone has a sweet tooth and wants to know how far they can push the limits! Where there is no exact value; it’s very person-dependent. But here are some guidelines:
The secret to minimizing the effect of sugar on your metabolism (and your weight) is consuming sugar in less processed forms and accompanying it with foods high in fiber and protein. When you eat sugar by itself without fiber or Protein it absorbs into the blood rapidly and leads to fat storage. The best way to determine the “sugar rush” effect of various foods is to look at their Glycemic Index (GI). The GI for many foods can be found online, and Food Lovers has a helpful chart that can get you started. Go a step further and look at a food’s Glycemic Load (GL) which accounts for the food’s typical serving size. Foods with lower GI’s and GL’s will be better for your waistline. If these values seem too cumbersome for you, just check labels and try to find foods that have higher grams of fiber compared to their grams of sugar. When it comes to snacks, you don't have to fret too much about Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Enjoy whatever snack you want, from carrots to cookies. Just make sure that you follow the “Between 150- 250 calorie” rule for snacks. At these portion sizes, the effect will be minimal. That being said, FL gives you some “accelerator snacks” that do fall lower on the Glycemic Index scale. These can be used to increase your fat burning and will help you lose weight faster. For meals, follow the Fat Loss Plate portion sizes, and again try to pick SLOW Carbs that have more fiber and you will be more pleased with the results.


-I have a gluten allergy and I'm limited on my choices of foods. Would the Food Lovers Program work for me?

ANSWER:

Absolutely. Gluten is a protein found mainly in products made from wheat and several other grains. FL focuses on getting appropriate quantities of Protein with your Fast and Slow Carbs. Slow Carbs like some fruits and vegetables will be naturally gluten free. Fast Carbs are always optional and can even be left out of your Fat Loss Plate. However there are plenty of gluten-free options for your Fast Carbs. Look for typical gluten-free products in your supermarket and just incorporate them right in. But the bottom line: you don't need gluten to make a Food Lovers Fat Loss Plate or to eat a healthy diet!amount of sugar in that food.


-Dr. Wortham,
Just wanted to know if doing a polyphastic sleep cycle will negatively or positively affect a person's weight loss when doing the food lovers program. while some people have odd sleep schedules due to work, we will have others that voluntarily do these types of sleep patterns to maximize their days.
thanks!

ANSWER:

Good question. Weight loss is related to sleep in several ways. Some simply have to do with energy—you need to get enough sleep to feel rested so that you can be physically active during the day. Others are hormonally based. Our bodies are programmed to "run with the sun," so we do best sleeping when it's dark out and being awake during daylight hours. Our cortisol levels are very closely timed to this, and cortisol can drastically affect metabolism and insulin levels. There are two other important hormones called Leptin and Grehlin which are involved in signaling our satiety and hunger pathways (letting us know when we're hungry, and then when we're full.) Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep, or who sleep during the day, often have abnormal levels of these hormones that can lead to overeating. I strongly believe that 7 to 8 hours of nighttime sleep and an additional 15 minute nap in the afternoon if you're tired is the best rhythm for your body. If work schedules prevent this, then I recommend at least getting sleep in complete cycles (approx. 3 hours to ensure all 4 stages of sleep). This will ensure that hormonal levels give you the best shot at weight loss.

-Hello Dr. Wortham:
I have lost 36 lbs., have another 40 lbs. to go but seem to be in a very slow period for past 2 months. I am ok with that because this is a program that I can live with for rest of my life.
In the past, I had a problem with fluid pooling in my lower legs and feet, especially when sitting with legs down, as well as during high humidity periods in the New England summers. I stopped drinking diet soda several years ago because I recognized that my legs/feet would swell almost immediately afterward. I should note that I am a very healthy woman with no heart issues. Since going onto FL, I wasn't experiencing those painful swelling periods. However, I have noticed in the past few weeks that I am having occasional swelling again and it seems to be related to fairly small amounts of sodium.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your weight loss! So glad it's working for you. Concerning the swelling: Most of the time swelling in the lower extremities is due to a gradual weakening of the valves in the veins. Our veins rely on passive movement of fluid and muscle contraction (which is why sitting makes it worse—your veins are compressed, and your muscles aren't active.) Keeping the muscles in your legs active will help reduce fluid retention. Salt can certainly make this effect worse because salt will pull fluid out of the compromised veins. However, it is possible that you are over-consuming water. Perhaps then when you have any sodium your body is trying to catch up with the loss of sodium from excessive water intake and it just happens to end up in your feet because of the leaky veins there in your legs. I would first try cutting back on your water intake to 8 glasses and see if that helps. Best of luck!
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

April 29, 2013
The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less

Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us. 

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

January 03, 2013
Cutting the fat from your cooking is simple. Small changes in the way you prepare food can make a big difference, and the best part is, you will soon discover that the low-fat food you make using these techniques is just as delicious and satisfying as the full-fat versions.

Use non-stick cookware
You don’t have to spend a fortune to equip your kitchen for fat-free cooking. One good-quality non-stick pan should be more than enough.

With a good non-stick skillet or wok, you can stir-fry or sauté without any oil. Simply heat your skillet before adding the food. You may add a tablespoon or more of water or broth to prevent sticking, and stir often.

Though the uses for non-stick cookware are limitless, you’ll find it particularly helpful for delicate fish filets or egg dishes, both of which are particularly prone to sticking.

Replace butter and oil with cooking spray
First off, we have to get one thing straight — most cooking spray is actually oil. The advantage of using spray is that it lets you control and limit the amount you use. Since you’re trying to restrict your intake of fat, you’ll want to spray lightly and wipe away any residue.

Grill, bake, broil, braise or slow cook meat instead of frying it
All of these techniques free you from having to use butter or oil. For example, coat chicken or fish in breadcrumbs, and bake (“oven fry”) them. Sautéing is fine, too, just be sure to use minimal amounts of oil, non-stick spray or broth instead of oil or butter.

Here are some more tips that are so simple, they don’t even require any explanation!

•    Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk to replace butter and heavy cream in mashed potatoes

•    Try fat-free evaporated milk in creamy soups and casseroles instead of heavy cream

•    Oven-fry potatoes instead of making or buying French fries

•    Use herbs and spices to boost the flavor your food

•    Substitute reduced-fat cheeses for full-fat ones, and reduce the amount you use

•    Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for dips, spreads and dressings

•    Replace some of the fatty ingredients, like eggs and butter, in baked goods with applesauce or plain nonfat yogurt a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline.
January 03, 2013
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We all know the benefits of exercise, yet very few of use exercise as regularly and consistently as we should to really get the benefits.

There are so many reason not to exercise. It takes time. It’s painful. It’s boring.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, hold on just a second, because the problem isn’t exercise itself; the problem is that you’re doing the wrong exercise. And the good news is, it’s an easy probe to fix. All it takes is two simple little steps.

1) Make sure the exercise you do is right for your fitness level
Exercise isn’t a one-size-fits all activity. Your body is unique, so you want to tailor your exercise routine to your body. For example, if you have joint pain, consider an exercise that is “low impact,” such as swimming.
Do an honest assessment of your current fitness level so that you know how hard to go. Start slow and work your way up until you find your comfort level. If you over-extend yourself or push too hard, you may hurt yourself or feel wiped out after a workout, which will make you less likely to keep at it.
On the other hand, once you start working out consistently, your body will adjust and you may find yourself hardly breaking a sweat. When this happens, you run the risk of getting bored or discouraged by not seeing results. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, try pushing yourself just a little harder or mixing up your routine with new movements.

2) Make sure the exercise you do is fun.
The idea of spending hours in a gym lifting weights or running on a treadmill may appeal to some people but not to you. So get creative and think outside the box. Make a list of activities you do enjoy, and make those your exercise.
•    If you love the outdoors, exercise there — jogging, biking, gardening.
•    If you like TV, work out while watching TV.
•    Think of activities you can do with your family, like throwing a ball or playing tag.
•    Make exercise an adventure by trying new things like yoga, Plates, hiking, shadow boxing or kayaking.
•    Make it a game and challenge yourself by training for a charity walk or run.
•    Get a dog — dogs demand attention and love to play, so they help to keep their owners moving.
January 03, 2013
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One of the most frequent reasons Food Lovers give for going off track is sickness. When you’re feeling down and out, you’re likely to reach for convenient, comforting food — the type that’s loaded with the enemies of Fat Loss: sugar, salt and fat. And by the time you recover, your weight loss momentum is gone.  

Your best bet is to avoid getting a cold or flu in the first place. Here are some tips to stay healthy, so you can keep on “living lean.”

1.    Get some sunshine every day. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, catching some rays is good for your immune system because sunshine provides Vitamin D, one of nature’s great immune boosters. As a bonus, sunshine helps to keep your spirits up, which in itself can be critical to fighting illness.
2.    Take a multivitamin. Vitamins C and D are both important to maintain healthy immune function. Fish oil also does wonders to boost immune health.
3.    Stay active. Being active doesn’t just tone your muscles, studies show it also helps to keep your immune system in shape. There are plenty of great ways to get exercise during the winter — sledding, building a snow man, making snow angels. Be creative and have fun!
4.    Eat colorful veggies. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and beets are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
5.    Wash your hands often. The most common way to “pick up” a cold and flu virus is by shaking hands or touching someone who is carrying the virus, especially kids.
6.    Don’t bite your nails. If you do happen to pick up a virus on your hands, the best way to prevent introducing it into your body is by keeping your fingers away from your mouth.
January 03, 2013
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Yes, the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year” … but they can also be quite stressful. You may be traveling in crowded airports with flight delays, trying to put together a party, dealing with family issues. And there’s also the financial stress and pressure to get everyone a perfect gift. Yikes.

If you feel irritable, rushed, lonely or overwhelmed at the holidays, keep these strategies in mind.

1. Learn from the past. Anticipate challenges and have a plan to deal with them.
2. Learn to say no. Just because someone wants or expects something of you, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Life’s short; don’t live it according to someone else’s terms or schedule.
3. Make time to break away from the herd. Give yourself an occasional break from the packed malls and living rooms filled with family and friends. Set aside some alone time so you don’t “lose yourself” in the crowd.
4. Shop early. Nothing is more stressful than trying to find the “perfect” present at the last minute, when store shelves are bare and the lines are long.
5. Stay in control of eating. When the going gets tough, you may be tempted to comfort yourself with a food. But the regret and guilt you’ll feel afterward will just add to your stress level.
6. Get some exercise. You’re being pulled in so many directions at this time of year, and it’s difficult to find time for exercise, but take out word for it — even just 10 to 15 minutes of cardio or resistance training will recharge your engine far better than vegging out in front of the TV.
7. Meditation & music soothe the savage beast. Calm the chaos by putting on a pair of headphones, getting comfortable, and listening to your favorite playlist.
8. Reach out and talk to someone. No one wants to be a complainer, but sometimes you just need to call a friend and vent.
9. When all else fails, learn to let go. There are some thing you can’t control, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to fix everything. slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”


November 21, 2012
Written by
As a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline. Soon enough, you may even need a whole new wardrobe of “skinny clothes.” In the meantime, here are some simple, slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”

1.    Get right-sized. Never wear clothes that are too small for you. It won’t make you look thinner. Instead, it will just draw attention to the areas you’d most like to camouflage.
2.    Lose the Muumuu. We often think hiding our figure under yards of fabric and baggy clothes will somehow make us look smaller. It doesn’t work. Instead, opt for a dress that fits well but doesn’t eat you up.
3.    Mix and match. Use light and dark colors to make your body appear more in proportion. For example, if you are bottom-heavy or “pear-shaped,” try dark (slimming) pants with a lighter-toned top.
4.    Accentuate the positive. If you’re more top heavy or “apple shaped,” v-neck and shirt collars are your most flattering necklines.
5.    Use vertical stripes to lengthen. Avoid clothes with horizontal stripes. Try vertical stripes instead. This will make you seem taller and, as a result, slimmer. Seams and piping also help to stretch you out.
September 05, 2013
Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


When it comes to weight loss, people are often most motivated by physical appearance. It’s true, “looking fit” is a great thing! It helps build confidence and self-esteem. However the benefits of weight loss go so much deeper than what you can see. Here are some other ‘life-altering” advantages to weight loss that far exceed fitting into that smaller size dress or pair of pants.

 1.  A healthier heart:

Losing weight is game-changing for the heart and blood vessels.  Our heart is truly the core of our health; when it gives out, so do we.  In fact, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  Being overweight can increase your risk for a cardiovascular event like a heart attack by up to 75%.  Losing just 5 pounds can significantly reduce that risk. Weight loss lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, two key factors in heart health.  By reducing blood pressure and cholesterol you are essentially decreasing the “water pressure” and “rusting potential” of your body’s plumbing.  Keep the pipes clean and you can bet that your body’s pump—the heart—will thank you.   

2.  A healthier brain:

Recent studies have shown that people who are obese in their 40s and 50s have twice the risk of developing dementia in their 60s and 70s.  Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Dementia--a devastating subtype--increases by 70%.  Why obesity leads to dementia is not clear.  Some scientists theorize that proteins released in the blood during fat metabolism may circulate to the brain and cause damage there.  Others believe that higher associated cholesterol and blood pressure may lead to deterioration of the brain’s vasculature.  Whatever the cause, one thing is clear, losing weight significantly protects your brain in its golden years.  

3.  Healthier bones:

Our bones and our joints were designed to carry a certain amount of weight.  Once our weight exceeds those limits, our joints start to suffer.  Obesity alters the alignment of our hips and knees, putting abnormal strain on our joints and increasing wear and tear that causes arthritis. But this heavier work-load is not the only way obesity damages our joints. “Arthritis” is the medical term for “joint inflammation,” and as it turns out, obesity causes an overall body inflammation.  This generalized inflammation further irritates the joints themselves, destroying their surfaces.  What once was smooth becomes rough.  What was fluid becomes creaky.  You can think of it like hinges beginning to rust in salty air.  Maintaining healthy body weight will help reduce both the work-load on your joints, and the full-body inflammation that leads to arthritis.  You’ll feel better, and will have less creaking in those hinges for years to come.

4.  A healthier mind:

We now know weight loss is good for your brain.  It’s also good for your mind.  Weight loss improves your sense of well-being.  It decreases depression.  It increases energy levels.  Perhaps it’s the endorphins that come with an active lifestyle.  Perhaps it’s feeling better about your physique.  Whatever the reason studies have shown that people who maintain ideal body weight just feel better about their lives and the world around them.  Isn’t it worth it just for that?

5.  Healthier sleep:

Increased body size can cause an accumulation of fat around the neck and throat.  This increased soft tissue puts you at risk for a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the airway closes down during sleep, obstructing breathing and leading to decreased oxygenation of the brain and body.  OSA can increase blood pressure, your risk for a heart attack, and can leave you feeling tired during the day.  Weight loss reduces the amount of soft tissue surrounding your airway.  This means you’ll be less likely cut off your breathing in the middle of the night.  You’ll sleep a lot better, and since weight loss also reduces snoring, your spouse will too!

6.  Reduced risk of Cancer.

There are several cancers that are known to be more common with obesity. Among them are pancreatic, esophageal, colon, and breast cancer.  It’s estimated that up to 40% of these particular cancers are attributable to obesity.  A recent study speculated that if every adult in the U.S. lost only 2 pounds, we would reduce the number of cancer cases by 100,000 per year.
    The reason obesity leads to increase cancer risk may have to due with the higher levels of certain body hormones seen in obesity.  Increased levels of insulin and insulin-like-growth factor may stimulate the growth of tumors.  Higher levels of estrogen which is produced in fat cells may promote the growth of breast cancers.  Additionally, the baseline increase in body inflammation seen with obesity people may speed up the cellular damage that alters DNA and leads to tumor growth.  Reducing your weight by only a few pounds will significantly reduce your risk of developing a life threatening cancer.

By all means it’s great to lose weight to feel better about the way you look.  However if you really look at the rest of the benefits, you’ll see there are plenty of things to motivate you. Losing weight won’t just make you look better, it might also save your life.


If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

July 17, 2013
Achieving meaningful and permanent weight loss can be challenging. Sometimes, despite their best intentions, people make little mistakes that have a big impact on their waistlines, or fall for faulty diet strategies that actually make weight loss more difficult. Here are some pitfalls that may be tripping you up on your quest to slim down.

Mistake # 1: Crashing and Burning With A “Crash Diet”

People try crash diets to lose weight fast, perhaps for that upcoming wedding or beach trip. While crash diets might lead to weight loss in the short term, they can have some unintended effects on your metabolism in the long run.

Our bodies require a baseline level of nutrition for healthy function. We need Protein to maintain muscle mass, Fats to produce hormones, Carbohydrates to keep our energy stores active, and the vitamins contained in many foods to fuel our metabolism.

When you cut calories too drastically, you deprive your body of these vital nutrients, so you can actually suffer from effects of malnutrition. From a weight loss perspective, crash diets cause your metabolism to come to a crashing halt. Your body is tricked into thinking it’s starving. It responds by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy.

As your metabolism slows down, that initial weight loss you experienced will level off. Then, when you come off that highly restrictive diet, your body will hang on to every calorie you consume. This is why so many people experience rapid weight gain after crash diets.

Worst of all, crash diets do nothing to address the underlying dietary issues that have lead to weight gain in the first place. Crash diets are unsustainable in the long run, and you need a weight loss plan you can live with.

Mistake #2: Cutting Out Some Foods Altogether

Every few year, the magazines are filled with articles screaming, “Don’t eat this!” Currently, carbohydrates are painted as no-no foods. But there are serious problems with cutting carbs — or any other food — out of your diet altogether.

First of all, not all carbs are created alike. As a Food Lover, you’re familiar with the concept of Fast Carbs and Slow Carbs and understand the importance of understanding how your body processes different types of carbs and striving for balance in your diet. The same applies to other commonly maligned foods, including fats. Your body needs some fat, especially “good” fats like Omega oils, so cutting fat out altogether isn’t a great idea.

But even more importantly, cutting any foods out of your life altogether is certain to lead to uncontrollable cravings. It’s unrealistic and impossible to maintain. A big part of controlling your appetite is making sure that the food you eat is satisfying. This is a medical phenomenon called sensory-specific satiety. Your body seeks satisfaction, so if your senses aren’t satisfied by the food you eat, you are more likely to keep eating!

Mistake # 3: Missing Out on Exercise

Exercise is a vital portion of any diet and healthy lifestyle. The benefits are many. Obviously, exercise consumes calories, burning up those Fat stores you are trying to shed. But the benefits don’t stop there. Building muscle mass through exercise raises your basal metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even while at rest.

Exercise also increases the release of endorphins that promote a sense of well-being and satiety (or fullness). What’s more, exercise decreases insulin resistance, reducing your body’s tendency to store fat and make bad cholesterol.
   
You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise to achieve weight loss. Less intense exercise is actually more efficient at burning Fat than strenuous exercise. For example, if jogging, you should still be able to have a conversation with someone jogging with you.

You don’t need to exercise every day for hours, either. Even half an hour three times a week will make a difference. Food Lovers has some great fat-burning exercise videos that will help you rev up that metabolism in just 12 or 24 minutes.

Mistake #4: Trying to Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

Exercise is important for healthy weight loss. However, it is virtually impossible to out-exercise a bad diet. Anyone who has ever watched the calorie counter on a treadmill will know how frustratingly slow the numbers increase. Ten minutes on a treadmill and you might only burn 100 calories: less than half a candy-bar.

The key is to realize that while exercise is important to weight loss, it is most effective when paired with healthy eating. If you try to out-exercise your bad diet, you might kill yourself trying.

Mistake #5: Falling for the Fad Diet

There are countless fad diets out there promising quirky tricks to lose weight and improve health. Some recommend subsisting solely on lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper: a diet that is certain to cause your metabolism to grind to a screeching halt and deprive your body of protein and necessary vitamins.

Others promise that using certain “pregnancy” hormones will help with weight loss — a theory for which there is little scientific evidence. You may also have seen ads that promote ‘juicing’ food to lose weight. In reality, juicing your food pulverizes out the fiber that helps our body slow digestion.
   
Fad diets are fads for a reason: They do not correctly address a person’s actual dietary problems or deficiencies and, therefore, have nothing that ensures their longevity, or the longevity of your weight loss. So, when one fad diet fails, it’s on to the next one. You know what that means: another failure, and another disappointment.

Mistake # 6: Hoping for a Magic Pill

The diet pill/supplement industry preys on people looking for fast fixes, and often wraps bogus science in slick marketing

The bottom line is, diet pills are a risky business. Many contain stimulants that are intended to decrease appetite, but can actually put you in danger.

Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, most are untested. Only about a third have some level of safety and effectiveness that is supported by scientific evidence, according to a review by NMCD experts.

From time to time, we read about dangerous dietary pills being removed from the market, but they are always replaced by new ones, and the situation is only made worse by easy access the questionable products via the Internet.
   
There are some nutritional supplements that promote satiety (a feeling of fullness), or to help your metabolism run more smoothly and your insulin work more efficiently. However, these supplements are virtually ineffective without a meaningful change to your diet and exercise plans.

Mistake # 7: Forgetting about Drinks

When people think of changing eating habits, they forget about their drinking habits. Liquids can have tons of unnoticed calories. Sodas are packed with sugar. Juices, often thought of as healthy, aren’t much better than sodas. Alcoholic beverages have more calories per gram than carbs or proteins. Coffee itself is a low-calorie drink, but upgrade it to a super-tall mocha latte and you may be getting as many calories as an entire meal.
   
The best drink for our health is — and will always be — water. Beyond that, unsweetened coffees and teas can give you an energy boost, and caffeine can curb hunger. Milk offers vitamin D and calcium, and also has Protein and Fat to help slow the absorption of its sugar.
   
With so many tasty drinks out there, perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect people to stick with just plain water. But if you can drink calorie-dense beverages like sodas and alcohol sparingly, your waistline will thank you.

I hope these 7 helpful hints have given you a little bit more guidance on your quest to slim down. Remember, the best strategy is avoiding processed foods, preparing your own meals, combining your Fast Carbs with Proteins and Slow Carbs for a healthy Fat Loss Plate, and eating every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism burning on high.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

June 24, 2013
When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth.
We live in a world where sugar substitutes have become as common as sugar itself. They come in a variety of colorful packets, pellets, powders and liquids, promising the alluring taste of sweetness without any of the calories of real sugar.

The hope of the consumer is that they will be able to somehow satisfy their sweet tooth without any caloric consequence. The bitter truth: while artificial sweeteners may be devoid of calories, they are full of devastating effects on your metabolism, and “sugar free” doesn’t equal “weight-gain free.”

So how is it that something without calories and still lead to weight gain?

Well, upon first taste, our bodies can’t actually distinguish between real and fake sugar. The receptors on our taste buds and intestinal track are equally stimulated by fake sugar as they are by real sugar.

This stimulation sets off a series of effects. One is the release of hormones, in particular insulin, which is responsible for the metabolism of sugar.

When insulin floods the blood stream, it goes to work doing its job of removing sugar from the blood and moving it into cells, where the sugar can be burned as energy or stored as fat. The insulin released when you consume artificial sweeteners actually leads to more fat storage. So much for a non-calorie sweetener helping you lose weight!

But the problem doesn’t stop there: Tricked by fake sugar, insulin has now removed a substantial amount of baseline sugar from your bloodstream — the sugar needed to keep you functioning.  Your body is then poised and ready to receive the new sugar load it thought was on the way. However, it never comes. By now your body has figured out that those sweet signals it got just minutes ago when the diet soda splashed on your tongue were false.  However, it’s too late; insulin’s work has already been done. Your blood sugar levels are too low, and you’re feeling hungry and shaky and uneasy. So what do you? You eat! And now, due to the hungry, shaky feeling, you are more likely to choose something with real sugar in it!

So your no-calorie drink or snack has two devastating effects. First, it removes your base line blood sugar and causes it to be stored as fat. Second, it leads you to eat even more calories than you originally would have to replace that sugar void.

If a double whammy weren’t enough, there’s a third problem. Artificial sweeteners also change the signaling in your brain. You see, artificial sweeteners are very concentrated. Their ability to over-stimulate your brain is much more potent than that of many naturally occurring foods. When your brain is constantly over-stimulated, it can change your eating habits. You may become less sensitive to natural levels of sweetness, so that you are less satisfied by a piece of fruit, and may even find the taste of vegetables downright disgusting.

When you crave sweetness in increasingly higher potency, you may end up depriving yourself of many beneficial foods, like fibrous fruits and veggies, and instead turn to sweets containing real sugar in an attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth. So you end up doing what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

It’s true that artificial sweeteners may be the lesser of two evils — in moderation, they may have less of an effect on your body and weight than the same equivalent of actual sugar. If you do need some non-caloric sweetness, try Stevia, a natural, plant-based, non-caloric sweetener available in many forms.  At least you will be avoiding any detrimental effects from the synthetic chemicals used in other sweeteners.

However, in my medical opinion, your best strategy is to avoid over-stimulating your body, and tricking it with these concentrated sweet-signals, so that you can continue to enjoy the naturally occurring levels of sugar in fruits and vegetables. You’ll get the fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and you won’t have to worry about accidentally sending your body into Fat Storing Mode.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

May 20, 2013
Submit your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-Some weight loss plans that I've been on have cautioned me about expecting results since I'm over 50. Does being 50+ mean that my metabolism is stuck where it is? Can I ever get back to a healthy weight at my age?

ANSWER:

Your metabolism is not STUCK after age 50! Sure, things tend to slow down as we age. There are hormonal changes after menopause that can affect the way fat is burned and stored in the body. There similar hormonal changes in older men. We also tend to lose muscle mass as we age, which can slow our baseline metabolic rate. However, this does not mean that you are stuck at a certain weight, or that your metabolism can’t be improved. Sometimes you may see slower results, and you may have to be a bit more careful about the food choices you make. The bitter truth is that older bodies need fewer calories than their younger counterparts. But you can certainly expect results with FL, especially if you are able to incorporate the suggested exercise routines into your lifestyle. If you find you are having trouble, try to reduce your overall portion sizes and consume less Fast Carbs. Even 200 calories less per day can make a big difference. If your health allows it, increase your exercise routine as well, and you'll be sure to see the changes.

-I am currently using the Food Lovers Community Diet and would like to know, what is the maximum amount of sugar one can consume at a meal or snack before the body kicks into fat storage mode? Is this possible?

ANSWER:

Sounds like someone has a sweet tooth and wants to know how far they can push the limits! Where there is no exact value; it’s very person-dependent. But here are some guidelines:
The secret to minimizing the effect of sugar on your metabolism (and your weight) is consuming sugar in less processed forms and accompanying it with foods high in fiber and protein. When you eat sugar by itself without fiber or Protein it absorbs into the blood rapidly and leads to fat storage. The best way to determine the “sugar rush” effect of various foods is to look at their Glycemic Index (GI). The GI for many foods can be found online, and Food Lovers has a helpful chart that can get you started. Go a step further and look at a food’s Glycemic Load (GL) which accounts for the food’s typical serving size. Foods with lower GI’s and GL’s will be better for your waistline. If these values seem too cumbersome for you, just check labels and try to find foods that have higher grams of fiber compared to their grams of sugar. When it comes to snacks, you don't have to fret too much about Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Enjoy whatever snack you want, from carrots to cookies. Just make sure that you follow the “Between 150- 250 calorie” rule for snacks. At these portion sizes, the effect will be minimal. That being said, FL gives you some “accelerator snacks” that do fall lower on the Glycemic Index scale. These can be used to increase your fat burning and will help you lose weight faster. For meals, follow the Fat Loss Plate portion sizes, and again try to pick SLOW Carbs that have more fiber and you will be more pleased with the results.


-I have a gluten allergy and I'm limited on my choices of foods. Would the Food Lovers Program work for me?

ANSWER:

Absolutely. Gluten is a protein found mainly in products made from wheat and several other grains. FL focuses on getting appropriate quantities of Protein with your Fast and Slow Carbs. Slow Carbs like some fruits and vegetables will be naturally gluten free. Fast Carbs are always optional and can even be left out of your Fat Loss Plate. However there are plenty of gluten-free options for your Fast Carbs. Look for typical gluten-free products in your supermarket and just incorporate them right in. But the bottom line: you don't need gluten to make a Food Lovers Fat Loss Plate or to eat a healthy diet!amount of sugar in that food.


-Dr. Wortham,
Just wanted to know if doing a polyphastic sleep cycle will negatively or positively affect a person's weight loss when doing the food lovers program. while some people have odd sleep schedules due to work, we will have others that voluntarily do these types of sleep patterns to maximize their days.
thanks!

ANSWER:

Good question. Weight loss is related to sleep in several ways. Some simply have to do with energy—you need to get enough sleep to feel rested so that you can be physically active during the day. Others are hormonally based. Our bodies are programmed to "run with the sun," so we do best sleeping when it's dark out and being awake during daylight hours. Our cortisol levels are very closely timed to this, and cortisol can drastically affect metabolism and insulin levels. There are two other important hormones called Leptin and Grehlin which are involved in signaling our satiety and hunger pathways (letting us know when we're hungry, and then when we're full.) Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep, or who sleep during the day, often have abnormal levels of these hormones that can lead to overeating. I strongly believe that 7 to 8 hours of nighttime sleep and an additional 15 minute nap in the afternoon if you're tired is the best rhythm for your body. If work schedules prevent this, then I recommend at least getting sleep in complete cycles (approx. 3 hours to ensure all 4 stages of sleep). This will ensure that hormonal levels give you the best shot at weight loss.

-Hello Dr. Wortham:
I have lost 36 lbs., have another 40 lbs. to go but seem to be in a very slow period for past 2 months. I am ok with that because this is a program that I can live with for rest of my life.
In the past, I had a problem with fluid pooling in my lower legs and feet, especially when sitting with legs down, as well as during high humidity periods in the New England summers. I stopped drinking diet soda several years ago because I recognized that my legs/feet would swell almost immediately afterward. I should note that I am a very healthy woman with no heart issues. Since going onto FL, I wasn't experiencing those painful swelling periods. However, I have noticed in the past few weeks that I am having occasional swelling again and it seems to be related to fairly small amounts of sodium.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your weight loss! So glad it's working for you. Concerning the swelling: Most of the time swelling in the lower extremities is due to a gradual weakening of the valves in the veins. Our veins rely on passive movement of fluid and muscle contraction (which is why sitting makes it worse—your veins are compressed, and your muscles aren't active.) Keeping the muscles in your legs active will help reduce fluid retention. Salt can certainly make this effect worse because salt will pull fluid out of the compromised veins. However, it is possible that you are over-consuming water. Perhaps then when you have any sodium your body is trying to catch up with the loss of sodium from excessive water intake and it just happens to end up in your feet because of the leaky veins there in your legs. I would first try cutting back on your water intake to 8 glasses and see if that helps. Best of luck!
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

April 29, 2013
The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less

Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us. 

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.
Sugar — it’s what our bodies run on. We use it to make and store energy so that we can think, move, breath or just exist.

If sugar is our most essential fuel, why is it getting such bad press? How has it come to be vilified as wreaking havoc on our bodies and our health? And why have so many of us become virtually addicted it?

If we take a look at our brains and our metabolism, we can see how something so essential has become such a problem. With a little guidance, we’ll be able to get the best from sugar, without it getting the best of us.  

Our brains are hardwired to crave sugar; from our earliest days of life we respond to it. Newborns spontaneously smile when something sweet is put on their lips. A young child’s food preference is directly proportional to the amount of sugar in that food.

It’s a survival mechanism. Since sugar is essential for life, our brains are programmed to want it. Sugar stimulates the same reward centers of the brain as do sex and drugs. Sugar causes the release of dopamine and serotonin — neurotransmitters that are mood-boosting and reinforce behavior.

The problem is that our brains were hard-wired over years of human evolution, when sources of sugar were harder to come by. If an early human came across a sugar source, they were triggered to eat as much as possible; who knew the next time this compact energy would be available?

Well, today food is available 24-7. Furthermore, with the current amount of food-processing, foods are loaded down with much higher sugar concentrations than occur naturally. The sweet fruits of our ancestors are no match for the chocolate bars of today.

Refined sugars found in sweet snacks and processed carbohydrates like white breads and pasta cause a very rapid rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Not only are they loaded with unnatural levels of sugar, they have also been stripped of their fiber. Fiber is a complex molecule that makes food ‘chewy’ and slows down the digestive process. Without fiber, sugar enters the bloodstream very rapidly. You can think of it like a direct injection into the blood stream instead of a slow drip.

This rapid sugar rush has some significant effects. Firstly, it over-stimulates the neuro-receptors in the reward centers of our brains. These reward centers begin to ‘habituate’ or “get used to” the higher doses of sugar much like what occurs with drug addiction. In response, the receptors begin a process of down-regulation to counterbalance the overload. There are less receptors that are less sensitive to stimuli. This means that more naturally occurring lower sugar levels will not be perceived as sweet or satisfying. The brain then begins to seek out ever-higher levels of sugar to get the response we have become used to.

A second effect of a rapid blood sugar rush is related to Insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that serves as the central regulatory hormone for the metabolism of sugar in the body. Its job is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it can be used as energy. When sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, like after eating a fiber-rich apple, insulin is released slowly from the pancreas. However, when our bodies perceive a sudden rush of sugar, like after drinking a soda, insulin levels increase very rapidly and can reach very high.

High insulin levels have a multitude of adverse effects. They cause our bodies to increase fat storage. They increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). They promote inflammation. They lead to fatigue and feelings of lethargy. They also can “overshoot” and remove too much sugar from the blood stream bringing our levels too low. This is known as the sugar crash. And what do we do in a sugar crash? We seek out more sugar. The cycle repeats itself.

Many of the side effects of high insulin cause weight gain. Unfortunately, as we gain weight, our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin we do make, so we compensate by kicking the pancreas to push out even more. This creates a horrible cycle that can lead to diabetes.

The best way to prevent this vicious sugar cycle is to avoid foods that are high in processed sugar to begin with. Eat whole foods, naturally sweet fruits, and foods without a lot of processing that has stripped them of their fiber. However, with the plethora of sweet and tantalizing options that surround us, it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar all the time. So if you are going to indulge, here are a few things that can help balance out the repercussions your sugar feast.

1. Drink water. This will help your body metabolize sugar in a healthier way. It will also ensure that you are not eating in response to dehydration, which can make you think you are hungry when you really are thirsty.

2. Have fiber or protein with your sugar. As I mentioned, many naturally occurring sweet foods (like fruit) have their own fiber. But if you want a chocolate bar, then have something fiber-rich with it. Vegetables are by far the most concentrated source of fiber. Nuts are also a great option. Nuts are full of both protein and healthy fats, which slow down the absorption of sugar, leading to less of an impact on insulin levels. They will also help you feel full and satisfied longer.

3. Get a little exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin and can help curb the ‘craving’ you are having for some comfort food. Exercise also helps improve muscle metabolism and prevent insulin resistance. Therefore, you’ll need less insulin to do the job. When insulin levels are lower, you get a lot less of the other bad effects of high insulin levels.

If you ever feel powerless to control your sugar cravings, now you know why. And you also have the knowledge you need to gain back control. The most important point to remember is that as you take steps to reduce your consumption of refined sugar, you will gradually begin to crave processed sugary foods less. The neuro-receptors in the reward centers of your brain will begin to normalize, meaning you will get more satisfaction from eating naturally sweet, fiber-rich foods like apples. With mindful eating and determination, you can, and will, break your sugar addiction.

January 03, 2013
Cutting the fat from your cooking is simple. Small changes in the way you prepare food can make a big difference, and the best part is, you will soon discover that the low-fat food you make using these techniques is just as delicious and satisfying as the full-fat versions.

Use non-stick cookware
You don’t have to spend a fortune to equip your kitchen for fat-free cooking. One good-quality non-stick pan should be more than enough.

With a good non-stick skillet or wok, you can stir-fry or sauté without any oil. Simply heat your skillet before adding the food. You may add a tablespoon or more of water or broth to prevent sticking, and stir often.

Though the uses for non-stick cookware are limitless, you’ll find it particularly helpful for delicate fish filets or egg dishes, both of which are particularly prone to sticking.

Replace butter and oil with cooking spray
First off, we have to get one thing straight — most cooking spray is actually oil. The advantage of using spray is that it lets you control and limit the amount you use. Since you’re trying to restrict your intake of fat, you’ll want to spray lightly and wipe away any residue.

Grill, bake, broil, braise or slow cook meat instead of frying it
All of these techniques free you from having to use butter or oil. For example, coat chicken or fish in breadcrumbs, and bake (“oven fry”) them. Sautéing is fine, too, just be sure to use minimal amounts of oil, non-stick spray or broth instead of oil or butter.

Here are some more tips that are so simple, they don’t even require any explanation!

•    Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk to replace butter and heavy cream in mashed potatoes

•    Try fat-free evaporated milk in creamy soups and casseroles instead of heavy cream

•    Oven-fry potatoes instead of making or buying French fries

•    Use herbs and spices to boost the flavor your food

•    Substitute reduced-fat cheeses for full-fat ones, and reduce the amount you use

•    Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for dips, spreads and dressings

•    Replace some of the fatty ingredients, like eggs and butter, in baked goods with applesauce or plain nonfat yogurt a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline.
January 03, 2013
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We all know the benefits of exercise, yet very few of use exercise as regularly and consistently as we should to really get the benefits.

There are so many reason not to exercise. It takes time. It’s painful. It’s boring.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, hold on just a second, because the problem isn’t exercise itself; the problem is that you’re doing the wrong exercise. And the good news is, it’s an easy probe to fix. All it takes is two simple little steps.

1) Make sure the exercise you do is right for your fitness level
Exercise isn’t a one-size-fits all activity. Your body is unique, so you want to tailor your exercise routine to your body. For example, if you have joint pain, consider an exercise that is “low impact,” such as swimming.
Do an honest assessment of your current fitness level so that you know how hard to go. Start slow and work your way up until you find your comfort level. If you over-extend yourself or push too hard, you may hurt yourself or feel wiped out after a workout, which will make you less likely to keep at it.
On the other hand, once you start working out consistently, your body will adjust and you may find yourself hardly breaking a sweat. When this happens, you run the risk of getting bored or discouraged by not seeing results. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, try pushing yourself just a little harder or mixing up your routine with new movements.

2) Make sure the exercise you do is fun.
The idea of spending hours in a gym lifting weights or running on a treadmill may appeal to some people but not to you. So get creative and think outside the box. Make a list of activities you do enjoy, and make those your exercise.
•    If you love the outdoors, exercise there — jogging, biking, gardening.
•    If you like TV, work out while watching TV.
•    Think of activities you can do with your family, like throwing a ball or playing tag.
•    Make exercise an adventure by trying new things like yoga, Plates, hiking, shadow boxing or kayaking.
•    Make it a game and challenge yourself by training for a charity walk or run.
•    Get a dog — dogs demand attention and love to play, so they help to keep their owners moving.
January 03, 2013
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One of the most frequent reasons Food Lovers give for going off track is sickness. When you’re feeling down and out, you’re likely to reach for convenient, comforting food — the type that’s loaded with the enemies of Fat Loss: sugar, salt and fat. And by the time you recover, your weight loss momentum is gone.  

Your best bet is to avoid getting a cold or flu in the first place. Here are some tips to stay healthy, so you can keep on “living lean.”

1.    Get some sunshine every day. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, catching some rays is good for your immune system because sunshine provides Vitamin D, one of nature’s great immune boosters. As a bonus, sunshine helps to keep your spirits up, which in itself can be critical to fighting illness.
2.    Take a multivitamin. Vitamins C and D are both important to maintain healthy immune function. Fish oil also does wonders to boost immune health.
3.    Stay active. Being active doesn’t just tone your muscles, studies show it also helps to keep your immune system in shape. There are plenty of great ways to get exercise during the winter — sledding, building a snow man, making snow angels. Be creative and have fun!
4.    Eat colorful veggies. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and beets are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
5.    Wash your hands often. The most common way to “pick up” a cold and flu virus is by shaking hands or touching someone who is carrying the virus, especially kids.
6.    Don’t bite your nails. If you do happen to pick up a virus on your hands, the best way to prevent introducing it into your body is by keeping your fingers away from your mouth.
January 03, 2013
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Yes, the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year” … but they can also be quite stressful. You may be traveling in crowded airports with flight delays, trying to put together a party, dealing with family issues. And there’s also the financial stress and pressure to get everyone a perfect gift. Yikes.

If you feel irritable, rushed, lonely or overwhelmed at the holidays, keep these strategies in mind.

1. Learn from the past. Anticipate challenges and have a plan to deal with them.
2. Learn to say no. Just because someone wants or expects something of you, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Life’s short; don’t live it according to someone else’s terms or schedule.
3. Make time to break away from the herd. Give yourself an occasional break from the packed malls and living rooms filled with family and friends. Set aside some alone time so you don’t “lose yourself” in the crowd.
4. Shop early. Nothing is more stressful than trying to find the “perfect” present at the last minute, when store shelves are bare and the lines are long.
5. Stay in control of eating. When the going gets tough, you may be tempted to comfort yourself with a food. But the regret and guilt you’ll feel afterward will just add to your stress level.
6. Get some exercise. You’re being pulled in so many directions at this time of year, and it’s difficult to find time for exercise, but take out word for it — even just 10 to 15 minutes of cardio or resistance training will recharge your engine far better than vegging out in front of the TV.
7. Meditation & music soothe the savage beast. Calm the chaos by putting on a pair of headphones, getting comfortable, and listening to your favorite playlist.
8. Reach out and talk to someone. No one wants to be a complainer, but sometimes you just need to call a friend and vent.
9. When all else fails, learn to let go. There are some thing you can’t control, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to fix everything. slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”


November 21, 2012
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As a Food Lover, you’re well on your way to a slimmer waistline. Soon enough, you may even need a whole new wardrobe of “skinny clothes.” In the meantime, here are some simple, slenderizing fashion strategies to help you “fake it till you make it.”

1.    Get right-sized. Never wear clothes that are too small for you. It won’t make you look thinner. Instead, it will just draw attention to the areas you’d most like to camouflage.
2.    Lose the Muumuu. We often think hiding our figure under yards of fabric and baggy clothes will somehow make us look smaller. It doesn’t work. Instead, opt for a dress that fits well but doesn’t eat you up.
3.    Mix and match. Use light and dark colors to make your body appear more in proportion. For example, if you are bottom-heavy or “pear-shaped,” try dark (slimming) pants with a lighter-toned top.
4.    Accentuate the positive. If you’re more top heavy or “apple shaped,” v-neck and shirt collars are your most flattering necklines.
5.    Use vertical stripes to lengthen. Avoid clothes with horizontal stripes. Try vertical stripes instead. This will make you seem taller and, as a result, slimmer. Seams and piping also help to stretch you out.