- Increased total cholesterol level
- Increased LDL (the "bad" cholesterol)
- Decreased HDL (the "good" cholesterol)
- Increased triglyceride level
- Increased inflammation (the source of a host of diseases)
- Increased blood viscosity (increases the risk of blood clots and stroke)
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of Alzheimer's disease
- Increased risk of breast cancer
- Increased risk of kidney disease
- Increased risk of type-2 diabetes
- Increased risk of Multiple Sclerosis
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Increased risk of lymphoma
The typical American tends to eat a diet characterized by excessive saturated and trans fats due to an overconsumption of fast foods and red meat. Foods high in saturated fat include beef, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, butter, cheese, and milk. Foods high in trans fat include crisco oil, margarine, butter, shortening, crackers, candies, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, fried foods, baked goods, nondairy creamers, and meats. This is a recipe for a health disaster! The health consequences of eating this way day after day after day will become apparent soon enough when you go get a medical checkup. Here are just some of the health scares:
Why is the incidence of heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and obesity still prevalent in America in the twenty-first century?
There is a growing body of research that supports the correlation between our food habits and chronic diseases such as obesity, Type-2 diabetes and heart disease. These aforementioned diseases have been, to some degree, attributed to lifestyle behaviors related to not getting enough exercise as well as eating highly-processed foods which contain an exorbitant amount of sugar and salt. There is a real concern among health professionals about the progression and serious complications of type-2 diabetes (i.e., kidney disease, heart disease, etc.) among children in this country. The most contributing factor for the type-2 diabetes trend in children is due to being overweight. The eating habits of those predisposed to type-2 diabetes should be of primary concert in addition to physical activity level.
Humans love sugar and salt and may consume foods containing these substances to the point when narcotic (read: drug-like) effects occur within the body. Yes, sugar and salt may behave like addictive drugs within the body. Blood levels of these substances may develop to a certain point of adaptation when the body needs more and more in order to feel comfortable. Classic food addictions are sodas, ice cream and chips. It's no wonder these substances are ubiquitous in our foods today. We love foods which are sweet and salty because of the taste (pleasurable) as well as the cost (cheap). The problem is that eating foods high in sugar can cause insulin resistance which may develop into chronic diseases (e.g., Type-2 diabetes and obesity). Sugar in excessive amounts in one's diet can become toxic to the body and cause metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. A diet high in salt may cause water retention which may develop over time into health problems (e.g., hypertension, heart failure and stroke).
The majority of sugar and salt consumed in this country comes from processed and fast foods. Adding sugar and salt to foods is standard practice for food manufacturers because they're inexpensive, mask bad flavors, and act as a preservative (in the case of salt).
How can you limit your consumption of sugar and salt? The key is reading and understanding food labels. Learn to decipher sugar by its many names (i.e., corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, and molasses). Learn to decipher salt by its many names (i.e., baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, sodium benzoate, sodium saccharin, and sodium nitrate).
Here are some tips to reduce your sugar intake:
Eating egg whites and throwing out the egg yolks is a big mistake! To wit: egg yolks contain vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), B5, B6, B9 (folic acid), B12, and vitamin D in addition to minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and iron. Egg yolks are an excellent source of protein (8g each), omega-3 fats and antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids.
Cholesterol should not be thought of as a health concern when eating whole eggs. Why? Because food cholesterol is NOT the same as blood cholesterol. That is, getting more cholesterol from food does NOT cause higher cholesterol levels within your body. It is a myth perpetuated by the media that cholesterol is the enemy. For one thing, increased blood cholesterol is associated with higher testosterone levels within the blood--that's a good thing! In addition, the media has continued to propagate the myth for several decades that fatty diets and cholesterol are the root cause of heart disease and obesity. The irony is that since the eighties, the rate of obesity and Type-2 diabetes in this country has actually increased from eating low-fat, low-cholesterol foods. The real culprit is excessive carb consumption, not fats.
BOTTOM LINE: Egg yolks are a healthy source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Egg yolks are also a valuable source of protein to maintain strong bones and muscle tissue. The only caveat is to eat the yolks in moderation--two to three daily is okay. Athletes and bodybuilders alike are ahead of the general public on this issue--eating whole eggs is the way to go to stay strong and healthy!
What I've found with the majority of my clients is that they're not getting enough sleep. It becomes very apparent when, for instance, a client feels sluggish and yawns during the exercise session (!). Not giving your body and mind the needed recovery time via sleep is a recipe for disaster in terms of losing body weight. In fact, I would go so far to say that the time working out in the gym is virtually wasted if there is a lack of sleep. In essence, sleep is what the body and mind need to recover from the day's events and to feel refreshed and more energized upon waking up.
Getting adequate sleep (e.g., 7 to 8 hours) is just as important as nutrition and exercise in staying healthy and fit. There is a growing body of research that indicates that lack of sleep is a contributing factor for the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our country. Hormones such as leptin, ghrelin and cortisol are affected by sleep quality and quantity. Not surprisingly, all of these hormones are also involved in governing appetite. Thus, there is a correlation between lack of sleep and increased appetite. In other words, inadequate sleep makes you feel more hungry, especially for high-fat, high-calorie foods during the evening.
What can you do to increase the amount of sleep you're getting? Start by watching less television at night and restrict the amount of time spent on the computer.
Need more reasons to get more sleep at night? Here's eight benefits of getting more shut-eye:
When you lose bodyfat a whole multitude of positive healthy outcomes takes place including:
BOTTOM LINE: Exercise and a healthy diet can resolve many chronic conditions plaguing humans today. Instead of reaching for quick-fix medications which may have side-effects, reach for a dumbbell and eat your broccoli.
Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide so it's really not at all that surprising that researchers have been studying its effects on the human body. As such, much information has been discovered regarding coffee's benefits and possible negative effects.
The Pros of Coffee Consumption:
* Type-2 diabetes
* Some cancers (e.g., oral, colon, skin, esophageal, pharyngeal, breast, prostate)
* Asthma attacks
* Heart rhythm problems
* Liver cirrhosis
The Cons of Coffee Consumption:
For your information, the following is the average caffeine content per cup (in mg):
Indeed, this trend in eating gluten-free foods is a phenomenon to dieting just as mysterious as the trend in crossfit is to exercise. First a little background. Gluten consists of several proteins present in many grains (e.g., wheat, barley, rye, oats) which provides texture to foods such as breads, cakes, muffins, and pasta but has very little nutritional value. Most people are able to digest the proteins which make up gluten although there are some who either have an autoimmune condition known as celiac disease or have an allergic reaction (gluten sensitivity) to these proteins which prevents nutrient digestion. Celiac disease, an immune disorder affecting about one percent of Americans, causes the development of antibodies which attack the body's intestinal tract, preventing the absorption of the proteins as well as calcium and iron. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Gluten sensitivity has been estimated to affect about six percent of Americans and is due to a lack of intestinal enzymes needed to properly digest the proteins which comprise gluten.
The intention to eat gluten-free foods may be considered smart since most foods which contain gluten are refined-processed foods with very little nutritional value. But I suspect most people avoid gluten-containing foods not because of low nutritional quality but instead due to a psychological phobia towards gluten. In other words, they believe they are allergic to gluten but in reality this is not the case. The media may be to blame for this unnecessary scare because it has perpetuated the myth that eating wheat may become addictive and make you fat. Moreover, eating wheat may cause an increased risk of certain systemic diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, osteroporosis, etc.). There is no conclusive evidence to indicate eating wheat may make you fat and/or cause chronic health problems.
The recommendation is to eat more whole wheat and less refined wheat to lessen any possible risk of incurring chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Good substitutes to gluten-containing wheat, barley, and oat foods are buckwheat, corn, rice, and quinoa. Quinoa, in particular, is a superb substitute since it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa can be cooked just like rice.
BOTTOM LINE: There's no conclusive evidence that eating gluten-free foods is healthier and can effectively cause weight loss. In fact, many gluten-free foods are higher in calories than their regular counterparts. The weight lost from eating gluten-free foods is likely due to eating less refined carbs rather than gluten itself. Since many gluten-free foods are made of refined flour, they lack the fiber found in whole-wheat foods that can aid in weight control. Moreover, wheat gluten may actually have health benefits (e.g., decreases triglyceride levels, provides beneficial intestinal bacteria). Unless you have been diagnosed as having celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, there is no reason to avoid all wheat products. Instead, switch to 100% whole-grain foods and eat less processed foods (e.g., cakes, cookies, pizza, etc.). If you feel better from cutting out gluten foods in your diet, it's most likely due to eating less refined carbs rather than from eliminating gluten.
You should increase your intake of fibrous foods, particularly insoluble fiber. Fiber, a complex carbohydrate which digests slowly, provides satiety so eating foods high in fiber reduces your appetite. Result: You eat less food during the day and lose body weight and bodyfat. Most people do not eat enough fiber to maintain a healthy digestive tract. It is recommended that you should eat at least 25g of fiber daily. Eating adequate fiber will soften your stool (necessary if you're experiencing constipation) and facilitate healthy elimination of waste. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to type-2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and elevated blood cholesterol. The previous statement is a fact. Thus, you should be aware of foods that may contain added sugar. Here are eight foods to watch out for and that you should limit the consumption of:
Does it matter if you get your fiber intake from fortified foods rather than foods naturally high in fiber?
Eating foods naturally high in fiber (e.g., oatmeal, lentils, nuts, broccoli, peas) are considered the best means to obtain its health benefits (e.g., lowers glucose levels, decreases cholesterol levels, boosts bowel function, etc.). Functional foods, foods in which ingredients (e.g., fiber) have been added, are now mainstream and appeal to consumers who may not be able to tolerate or like natural fibrous foods. Functional foods which may make the claim of being "high-fiber" include yogurts, ice cream, sugary cereals, energy bars and even juices. But are functional (fiber-fortified) foods any healthier than natural foods containing fiber?
There's not much evidence indicating fiber-fortified foods have the same effect on the body that naturally-occurring fibrous foods. The reality is that fiber-fortified foods tend to be not very nutritious in other ways (i.e., high sugar). Best recommendation: stick with naturally-occurring fibrous foods which have minimal, if any, processing involved (e.g., whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit).