Archive for the ‘Paleo Diet’ Category

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Choosing the Ideal Diet for Health and Weight Loss Goals

September 22, 2010

(Article first published as Meat vs. Vegetarian Diet: Your Best Choice for Weight Loss and Health on Technorati.)

Very few topics will spark as much heated debate as those centered on whether it’s best to restrict meat or indulge in that juicy steak for optimal health and weight maintenance. While the question may not be conclusively answered anytime soon, there are distinct differences between the two dietary styles which can have a significant impact on health and weight loss goals.
Man Has Evolved to Eat Meat

Our evolutionary ancestors have eaten meat for hundreds and thousands of generations, and scientists believe that the size of our brain and capacity to think, learn and speak are all due to increased consumption of meat. Unfortunately the meat we eat today is very different from the grass fed free range animals we hunted thousands of years ago. Meat was consumed raw, and we evolved to eat all parts of the animal which were enriched with omega-3 fats and other essential nutrients.

Excess Meat Linked with Weight Gain

Today’s meat bears little resemblance to the natural source of protein eaten by our predecessors. Many animals have been force fed with grains and injected with artificial hormones to make them fatter, reducing the healthy Omega-3 fat ratio in the meat. The hormones end up in our body, wreaking havoc with our own metabolic balance leading to weight gain. The results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that meat consumption is associated with weight management issues due to the excess calories eaten.

Some Meat Necessary for Good Health
Some people restrict meat for ethical reasons, which is certainly their choice. For the vast majority of others looking to improve their health, small quantities of meat are necessary as prescribed by our evolutionary past. In addition to being a prime source of Vitamin B12, meat supplies other essential nutrients which are not present in a vegan style diet. The appropriate question is how much meat to eat, what type and how should it be cooked? 
Meat Preparation and Cooking is Important

Meat should account for no more than 10% of your total daily calories. Fill up on a limitless supply of fresh vegetables and greens and minimize the calories from meat and carbohydrates. When meat is grilled, fried or overcooked, the chemical properties of the flesh are altered and the charred portion becomes carcinogenic and dangerous to your health. Meats should be minimally cooked to avoid this problem.

Whenever possible it’s best to choose organically raised white meat chicken, turkey or grass fed beef which has been roasted or cooked at low temperature. If grilled or seared, cut off any visible charring to avoid the excess toxins. Processed meats such as sausage, bacon and bologna should be avoided entirely, as these have been impregnated with nitrates which are known to cause cancer.
Planning the Proper Ratio of Meat to Vegetables
Each person has evolved with a slightly different metabolism, and will require differing amounts of protein, carbs and fat. Some may need more protein for ideal health, while others are best served on a vegan style menu. Experiment by making small changes to your diet and maintain for a week until you find the best dietary ratio for you.
Many choose a vegan diet thinking that may be best for weight loss and optimal health. A diet centered on plenty of vegetables and greens, nuts, seeds and Omega-3 fats will be ideal for the majority of individuals. It’s important to include a small amount of meat which hasn’t been overcooked or processed to satisfy our evolved genetics and achieve an ideal weight with vibrant health.
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Eating Paleo for Natural Weight Loss

September 4, 2010

(Article first published as Top Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight, Part II on Technorati.)

Food Affects Our Genes and Promotes Excess Weight

Food Affects Our Genes and Promotes Excess Weight

It’s no secret that American waistlines continue to expand, despite regular headlines about the dire health consequences of excess body fat. We eat too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, junk food, fast food and hydrogenated trans fats. Compare our modern diet to that of our evolutionary ancestors and you’ll quickly see why we’re putting our lives in peril every time we eat.

Cave Men Set Our Dietary Genes in Stone

The food we eat every day sends powerful chemical messages throughout our body which directly influence our genes. This happens with every meal, as we switch our genes either toward health or disease with every bite of food. We were never intended to eat massive quantities of processed foods laced with sugar, salt and fat that many people consume throughout the day.

Like it or not, we are a product of evolution and our genes are switched toward health and natural weight loss when we eat a diet similar to our Paleolithic brethren. Information reported in the Chicago Tribune reveals the importance of eating closer to the way nature intended to significantly reduce the risk of disease and drop the excess weight which packs on as a consequence of our poor culinary habits.

It’s important to understand the reasons behind the obesity epidemic which keep us from losing weight. Once we understand the powerful genetic influence our diet exerts over fat storage and mobilization in our body, we can make simple dietary changes to achieve our healthy weight loss goal.

Reason 1 – Too Much Sugar and Fructose

Avoid Sugar and Fructose and Drop Weight Fast

Avoid Sugar and Fructose and Drop Weight Fast

As the genes we carry today were being coded thousands of generations ago, sugar was virtually nonexistent, and fructose from fruit was a rare treat which bore little resemblance to the highly cultivated sweet fruit we buy on store shelves today. From a metabolic perspective, our body has difficulty processing the great amounts of sugar we consume, and most is converted into triglycerides (blood fat) and then stored as fat.

Research demonstrates that fructose, and especially high fructose corn syrup used in so many sweetened beverages, has an even more disruptive effect on fat metabolism. Reading nutritional labels is the best way to avoid added sugar. Cut out desserts, sugary soft drinks and sweet snacks, and be mindful of condiments like ketchup which are loaded with sugar.

Reason 2 – Refined Carbohydrates and Wheat

In between meal snacks and junk food can account for up to 40% of our daily calories, and these are typically high calorie foods with no nutritional value. Chips, fries and breads are immediately broken down by our efficient digestive system into glucose which hits our blood stream hard, and ultimately leads to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes. Wheat has only been in our food supply for the last 5,000 years, and genetically we haven’t yet evolved to eat wheat based foods.

Wheat is foreign to the body, and causes our immune system to spring into action every time we dine on breads or pasta, resulting in systemic inflammation which leads to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Replace wheat with fresh vegetables, nuts and healthy monounsaturated fats which promote health and natural weight loss.

Reason 3 – Hydrogenated and Trans Fats

Artificial Trans Fats Sabotage Weight Loss Efforts

Artificial Trans Fats Sabotage Weight Loss Efforts

Hydrogenated and trans fats are artificially produced substances designed to boost the shelf life of many foods and appeal to our natural taste for fat. Fat is essential to our health, and one of the biggest mistakes many people make is trying to eliminate it from their diet. Our cells use fat to construct membranes which allow nutrients and oxygen to pass freely. Fake fats don’t have the same properties, and encourage disease and weight gain.

Avoid synthesized fats by reading all ingredient labels carefully, and don’t fry anything, as this cooking method produces trans fats from overheated oil. Use healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil and flax seed sources, adding them onto your food after cooking to preserve their natural qualities.

Following our evolutionary counterparts may provide an important insight into how we have evolved to eat, and why our present day diet is largely responsible for our declining health and excess weight gain. Our food has a significant impact on our genes, and by cutting unhealthy dietary options we can regain control of our health destiny and lose weight as a natural consequence.

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Follow a Paleo Diet for Natural Weight Loss

September 4, 2010

(Article first published as Top Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight, Part II on Technorati.)

It’s no secret that American waistlines continue to expand, despite regular headlines about the dire health consequences of excess body fat. We eat too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, junk food, fast food and hydrogenated trans fats. Compare our modern diet to that of our evolutionary ancestors and you’ll quickly see why we’re putting our lives in peril every time we eat.

Cave Men Set Our Dietary Genes in Stone     
The food we eat every day sends powerful chemical messages throughout our body which directly influence our genes. This happens with every meal, as we switch our genes either toward health or disease with every bite of food. We were never intended to eat massive quantities of processed foods laced with sugar, salt and fat that many people consume throughout the day.

Like it or not, we are a product of evolution and our genes are switched toward health and natural weight loss when we eat a diet similar to our Paleolithic brethren. Information reported in the Chicago Tribune reveals the importance of eating closer to the way nature intended to significantly reduce the risk of disease and drop the excess weight which packs on as a consequence of our poor culinary habits.

It’s important to understand the reasons behind the obesity epidemic which keep us from losing weight. Once we understand the powerful genetic influence our diet exerts over fat storage and mobilization in our body, we can make simple dietary changes to achieve our healthy weight loss goal.

Reason 1 – Too Much Sugar and Fructose

As the genes we carry today were being coded thousands of generations ago, sugar was virtually nonexistent, and fructose from fruit was a rare treat which bore little resemblance to the highly cultivated sweet fruit we buy on store shelves today. From a metabolic perspective, our body has difficulty processing the great amounts of sugar we consume, and most is converted into triglycerides (blood fat) and then stored as fat.

Research demonstrates that fructose, and especially high fructose corn syrup used in so many sweetened beverages, has an even more disruptive effect on fat metabolism. Reading nutritional labels is the best way to avoid added sugar. Cut out desserts, sugary soft drinks and sweet snacks, and be mindful of condiments like ketchup which are loaded with sugar.

Reason 2 – Refined Carbohydrates and Wheat
In between meal snacks and junk food can account for up to 40% of our daily calories, and these are typically high calorie foods with no nutritional value. Chips, fries and breads are immediately broken down by our efficient digestive system into glucose which hits our blood stream hard, and ultimately leads to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes. Wheat has only been in our food supply for the last 5,000 years, and genetically we haven’t yet evolved to eat wheat based foods.

Wheat is foreign to the body, and causes our immune system to spring into action every time we dine on breads or pasta, resulting in systemic inflammation which leads to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Replace wheat with fresh vegetables, nuts and healthy monounsaturated fats which promote health and natural weight loss.

Reason 3 – Hydrogenated and Trans Fats

Hydrogenated and trans fats are artificially produced substances designed to boost the shelf life of many foods and appeal to our natural taste for fat. Fat is essential to our health, and one of the biggest mistakes many people make is trying to eliminate it from their diet. Our cells use fat to construct membranes which allow nutrients and oxygen to pass freely. Fake fats don’t have the same properties, and encourage disease and weight gain.

Avoid synthesized fats by reading all ingredient labels carefully, and don’t fry anything, as this cooking method produces trans fats from overheated oil. Use healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil and flax seed sources, adding them onto your food after cooking to preserve their natural qualities.

Following our evolutionary counterparts may provide an important insight into how we have evolved to eat, and why our present day diet is largely responsible for our declining health and excess weight gain. Our food has a significant impact on our genes, and by cutting unhealthy dietary options we can regain control of our health destiny and lose weight as a natural consequence.
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Reduce Calories and Cut Fat to Prevent Cancer

July 23, 2010

(Article first published as Cut Fat, Lose Weight and Prevent Cancer on Technorati.)

There’s now yet another compelling reason to lose weight and cut consumption of unhealthy Omega-6 fats from vegetable sources. Research released from the Institute of Food Technologists indicates that as many as 1 in 3 cancer deaths could be prevented by reducing consumption of corn and vegetable oils and cutting calories.

1 in 3 Cancer Deaths Are Avoidable

1 in 3 Cancer Deaths Are Avoidable

It’s important to understand that fat itself is not the enemy, as it’s an essential nutrient required for normal cellular function. The problem arises when the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are disproportional in our diet.

Humans have evolved with a 1:1 ratio of the two fat sources, yet our modern diet is closer to 20:1 in favor of Omega-6 fats. This causes a hormonal imbalance in the body which leads to inflammation, weight gain and increased risk of heart attack and many cancers. Monitoring Omega fat intake is an important first step which will assist with weight loss efforts and lead to reduced risk from many diseases.

Evolution Controls Our Diet

Balanced Omega Fat Ratios Through Evolution

Balanced Omega Fat Ratios Through Evolution

More than 750,000 people die from cancer annually, and the results from this study indicate that a quarter million lives could be spared with a concerted effort to control calories and Omega-6 fat consumption. Our genes are the product of thousands of years of evolution during times when Omega-3 fat sources such as fish and many nuts and seeds were plentiful. Every cell in our body relies on the critical Omega-3 components, EPA and DHA for replication and cell wall construction.

It’s only been during the past half century that Omega-6 fats from corn and vegetable sources have become an ever increasing part of our diet, and have now distorted the natural evolutionary ratio we require for optimal health. Omega-6 fats are very stable, allowing food to sit on store shelves for extended periods, and are present in virtually all processed foods.

Lower Omega-6 Fats by Cutting Processed and Fast Foods

Omega-6 fats are present in virtually every processed food on store shelves, with up to 90% of fat calories in our diet coming from this health endangering source. Take a two step approach to reduce Omega-6 calories and improve the ratio with Omega-3 fats. Eliminate or drastically reduce foods which are packed with Omega-6 fats, including all commercially baked products, fast foods and vegetable based cooking oils. Be especially mindful to cut any foods listing hydrogenated trans fats, as these increase the risk of heart disease by 25%.

Increase Omega-3 Fat Sources to Lower Inflammation

Nuts and Seeds Are Source of Healthy Fats

Nuts and Seeds Are Source of Healthy Fats

Replace Omega-6 laden foods with Omega-3 healthy options. The best Omega-3 source is fish, as it provides the perfect balance of DHA and EPA, the two primary Omega-3 fats. Fish Oil supplements are a good choice for people who don’t enjoy fish. Nuts and seeds also have smaller amounts of Omega-3 fats, with walnuts, flax and chia seeds rising to the top of the list. It’s important to remember that food from any fat source still contains 9 calories per gram, so be careful when substituting and track your daily calories with nutritional software.

Research is beginning to uncover the hidden dangers in the unnatural processed foods which make up a large portion of the Western diet. We are continually reminded that the foods we eat have a direct and immediate impact on our future health and body weight. Monitor your food choices carefully, paying close attention to the Omega fat ratios and switch to a reduced calorie lifestyle. You’ll enjoy the healthy benefits of dramatically lowered risk of cancer and many illnesses while you naturally maintain a healthy weight.

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Prevent Cancer, Lose Weight by Cutting Fat Intake

July 23, 2010
(Article first published as Cut Fat, Lose Weight and Prevent Cancer on Technorati.)
There’s now yet another compelling reason to lose weight and cut consumption of unhealthy Omega-6 fats from vegetable sources. Research released from the Institute of Food Technologists indicates that as many as 1 in 3 cancer deaths could be prevented by reducing consumption of corn and vegetable oils and cutting calories.

It’s important to understand that fat itself is not the enemy, as it’s an essential nutrient required for normal cellular function. The problem arises when the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are disproportional in our diet.

Humans have evolved with a 1:1 ratio of the two fat sources, yet our modern diet is closer to 20:1 in favor of Omega-6 fats. This causes a hormonal imbalance in the body which leads to inflammation, weight gain and increased risk of heart attack and many cancers. Monitoring Omega fat intake is an important first step which will assist with weight loss efforts and lead to reduced risk from many diseases.

Evolution Controls Our Diet

More than 750,000 people die from cancer annually, and the results from this study indicate that a quarter million lives could be spared with a concerted effort to control calories and Omega-6 fat consumption. Our genes are the product of thousands of years of evolution during times when Omega-3 fat sources such as fish and many nuts and seeds were plentiful. Every cell in our body relies on the critical Omega-3 components, EPA and DHA for replication and cell wall construction.

It’s only been during the past half century that Omega-6 fats from corn and vegetable sources have become an ever increasing part of our diet, and have now distorted the natural evolutionary ratio we require for optimal health. Omega-6 fats are very stable, allowing food to sit on store shelves for extended periods, and are present in virtually all processed foods.

Lower Omega-6 Fats by Cutting Processed and Fast Foods
Omega-6 fats are present in virtually every processed food on store shelves, with up to 90% of fat calories in our diet coming from this health endangering source. Take a two step approach to reduce Omega-6 calories and improve the ratio with Omega-3 fats.

Eliminate or drastically reduce foods which are packed with Omega-6 fats, including all commercially baked products, fast foods and vegetable based cooking oils. Be especially mindful to cut any foods listing hydrogenated trans fats, as these increase the risk of heart disease by 25%.

Increase Omega-3 Fat Sources to Lower Inflammation

Replace Omega-6 laden foods with Omega-3 healthy options. The best Omega-3 source is fish, as it provides the perfect balance of DHA and EPA, the two primary Omega-3 fats. Fish Oil supplements are a good choice for people who don’t enjoy fish.

Nuts and seeds also have smaller amounts of Omega-3 fats, with walnuts, flax and chia seeds rising to the top of the list. It’s important to remember that food from any fat source still contains 9 calories per gram, so be careful when substituting and track your daily calories with nutritional software.

Research is beginning to uncover the hidden dangers in the unnatural processed foods which make up a large portion of the Western diet. We are continually reminded that the foods we eat have a direct and immediate impact on our future health and body weight.

Monitor your food choices carefully, paying close attention to the Omega fat ratios and switch to a reduced calorie lifestyle. You’ll enjoy the healthy benefits of dramatically lowered risk of cancer and many illnesses while you naturally maintain a healthy weight.

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Eat Fat, Lose Weight, Be Healthy

July 6, 2010
(Article first published as Eat Fat, Lose Weight With These Top Foods on Technorati.)

Over the past half century, we have become a fat-phobic nation. This has led to the low-fat diet mentality which is prescribed by the overwhelming majority of medical and dietary professionals. The problem is this diet is the direct cause of heart disease, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

By purging every possible gram of fat from our diet in favor of carbohydrates, we have eliminated one of the most important nutrients required for our health. For decades, saturated fat has been maligned as the most villainous fat of all, purportedly being deposited inside our arteries almost instantly after eating.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, saturated fat is not associated with an increased risk from coronary heart disease or stroke.

Fat is Required for Good Health
Many people still shun all types of fat, in favor of the ‘healthy’ low-fat substitutes. And those same people are still developing heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer which result from eliminating this important food nutrient. Certain fat containing foods are not only essential to good health, but contribute to a healthy weight loss lifestyle. It’s important to combine fat and protein food groups with each meal, and minimize highly refined low-fat carbohydrate offerings to achieve the best weight loss and fitness results.

1. Nuts and Seeds Fuel Weight Loss

Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts and pecans) and seeds (flax, pumpkin and sunflower) have been shown to aid in appetite suppression and weight loss goals. Although nuts are relatively high in calories, those calories are conserved and metabolized differently than the same amount of calories from low-fat carbs. This is due to the perfect distribution of healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats, as well as the low glycemic index of nuts and seeds which prevents blood sugar spikes. Researchers found that eating one ounce of nuts five days a week reduced the incidence of diabetes by 27%.

2. Meats: Turkey, Chicken, Beef and Pork in Moderation
We have evolved over the last 150,000 years to eat meat as part of a healthy diet, and we can use meat as part of a sensible weight loss diet, as well as an important source of Vitamin B-12. Much of the problem associated with most meat is the way it is raised, and equally important, the feeding practices and living conditions of the animals.

Our early ancestors did not eat corn fed beef, which were not permitted to roam freely, and neither should we. Try to find free-range, organic products whenever possible, avoid overcooking the meat, and limit total calories from meat to no more than 20% of your daily total.

3. Fish and Fish Oils Help Burn Fat
The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish each week for heart health benefits. The Journal of Nutrition reports that fish, and specifically the DHA component found in fish oil helps weight loss by preventing fat cells from maturing. Many people have trouble eating fish, but the same benefit can be obtained from 1200 mg of fish oil supplemented daily.

The evidence now indicates that saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease, but the real devil is in trans fats. These artificial fats should be avoided as they increase the incidence of a heart attack by 25%.

Enjoy a balanced diet including different fat containing food groups, but be sure your fat intake is part of a reduced calorie diet full of raw leafy greens and vegetables. Eliminate low-fat and refined carbs and add healthy fats to your diet, as you watch your health improve and ultimately attain your weight loss goal.

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How To Eat A Paleo Diet To Improve Health

April 7, 2010
Most people understand that eating quick convenience foods on a regular basis is unhealthy. The Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of a massive number of calories consumed from refined and processed wheat, corn and oat based food groups. Our genetic structure has been programmed over tens of thousands of years.  Most people understand that eating quick convenience foods on a regular basis is unhealthy.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of a massive number of calories consumed from refined and processed wheat, corn and oat based food groups.  Our genetic structure has been programmed over tens of thousands of years to function optimally on a very different food pyramid than we have been lead to believe is in the best interest of our health.  This ancestral eating style is known as the ‘Paleo Diet’, and is characterized by foods eaten in their natural form, unprocessed by a food conglomerate or consisting of foods which were not readily available as our genes were being coded by natural selection.
Convenience Foods Lead to Disease
Our earliest ancestors lived a much different lifestyle than we do today.  Food was scarce, and much time and energy was spent in the pursuit of the next meal.  Food when found consisted of nuts, berries, seeds, root vegetable and on rare occasions a raw meat feast.  The hunter-gatherer went to sleep many days with an empty stomach, and certainly the consumption of meat was no more than several times a month.  This type of early diet is far from today’s refined, sweet-laden feast which many people eat three or more times a day.  Further, many of the foods which are the core of our diet today did not even exist 10,000 years ago.  Wheat and corn consumption are creations of modern agriculture, and while these foods have fed countless humans over the recent centuries, they are seen as microbial invaders when eaten and broken down by our digestive system.
Eating the Way Nature Intended
The Paleo Diet works in concert with our genes, as the nutrients it delivers are required for proper health.  We understand many of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which are required for cellular health, and there are many other as yet undiscovered nutrients which co-exist in the matrix of natural foods which fuel our bodies.  When we eat a diet which consists predominately of refined foods, these nutrients are stripped away and only the high calorie content remains.  This is not good for our health, and paves the way for many of the diseases we associate with old age such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. To make matters worse, most meat bought in a store today is the product of force feeding with grains.  This refined diet which the animal eats reduces the natural Omega-3 fat which naturally occurs in free grazing cattle, in favor of inflammation producing Omega-6 fats.  When the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats increase above 2:1, metabolic changes occur in the body which lead to systemic inflammation and disease.
The New Paleo Food Pyramid
The Paleo Pyramid represents a very different view from the food pyramid we are used to seeing from the USDA.  Paleo eating encourages all natural and organic vegetables, minimal fruits, nuts, seeds and free-range meats.  It is necessary to eliminate all refined carbohydrates, sweets, breads, pastas and dairy.  While this is a major alteration in the eating habits of most people, the results can be astounding.  Natural weight loss is a significant benefit, as a large portion of the nutrient poor processed foods eaten cause slow weight gain over the years for many aging adults.  Removal of wheat and corn based food items will result in rapid health improvement.  Research indicates that in as little as 30 days, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar and inflammation levels plummet.  Most important is the conversion of LDL cholesterol particles from small and dense to a large, fluffy pattern which is consistent with reduction in heart attack risk.
Genetics is the controlling factor which guides our metabolism and proper utilization of the nutrients we consume.  Hard wired into our genes is a requirement for certain types of foods.  Variability in our individual evolutionary and ethnic origin determine the specific diet we each must follow to achieve optimal health.  This has led to the study of ‘food typing’ in which certain individuals perform better on a diet higher in protein, while others require a more unprocessed carbohydrate type of diet.  Regardless of your food type, following a culinary diet which is closest to that of your evolutionary ancestors will result in a healthy and disease free extended life.