Fiber is one of those dietary needs that always seems to be the last on the list. Part of the problem is that its just darned difficult to eat the amount of fiber you need every day.
The typical diet has a person taking in about 10 grams of fiber a day. The USDA recommendation is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories ingested but for those trying to lose fat, most health experts recommend getting between 40-50 grams a day.
If that doesnt sound like a lot of fiber, go grab the foods you eat every day and check the labels out. Youll soon realize that fiber isnt something that comes in abundance, even for those who overeat on a daily basis.
If you're wondering why fiber is so important, you need only look at the effect it has on fat loss. Fiber is the only carbohydrate source that the body cant use in the way that it uses other carbohydrate sources, those being sugar and starch.
The digestive system cannot burn fiber for energy as it does with sugar and starch carbohydrates. Fiber tends to travel through your digestive tract and leave your body in much the same state it entered. However, during the travel, fat molecules attach to fiber and they stay attached all the way to the colon. Goodbye fat and thank you fiber!
Dont use this strategy for entering a hot-dog eating contest though as the amount of fat is negligible and your body can only stand so much fiber. Youll know if youve exceeded the limit when you make a mad dash to the restroom in an effort to do your business.
Fiber also stabilizes blood sugar which maintains insulin levels in the body, a key element of burning body fat. Stay away from fiber after a hard workout with the weights though, as this is the one time an insulin spike can work in your favor.
There are two kinds of fiber; soluble and insoluble.
Ideally, you want to get a mix of both in your diet. Soluble fiber, as its name implies, dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not.
Soluble fiber slows digestion. Common soluble fiber sources are oat bran, lentils, nuts, beans, some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber helps food to pass more quickly and its great for relieving constipation and it softens the stool. Common sources are also vegetables and fruits as well as wheat bran and whole grains.
While food labels dont distinguish between soluble and insoluble fiber, some labels are kind enough to include Net Carbohydrates, which are those carbs remaining after fiber (indigestible carbs) are subtracted.
Back to the fiber dilemma. How do you get more? Its difficult enough to plan macro-nutrient intake every day for a goal of weight loss, but calculating fiber in on top of that is often just asking too much.
One of the easiest methods of upping your fiber intake is to keep avocados and Navy beans on hand. Both are some of the highest sources of fiber at 13.5 grams p/ avocado and 10 grams p/ half cup of Navy beans. Throw in a medium apple a day for another 4.5 grams and you're close to your daily recommended intake.
But hey.. were guys and were simply not going to cook Navy beans every day right? No problem.
One of the best fiber products to hit the market in recent years is Mission Carb Balance whole-wheat tortilla wraps. They taste great, you can substitute them for bread, eat them with practically anything and they are loaded with a ton of fiber.
The small wraps are only 80 calories with 13 carbs and a whopping 10 grams of those are fiber! Each tortilla also has three grams of protein and two grams of fat. Get these and eat your burgers on them. Youll love them.
Fiber is a great tool in your losing fat arsenal but its also a superb way to ensure a healthy colon so get the RDA and then some.
Food will always bring us together. Its no secret that we love to eat. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to a bit of middle-aged spread (or worse) and there comes a time that we have to reel it in and cut back on our love of food.
you're probably already familiar with our post on what it takes to commit to a diet and from reading that, you understand how many calories you need to lose weight.
But what to do when you have a big upcoming get together and you simply want to eat?
Actually, its no problem at all. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can indulge and eat until your hearts content without gaining any fat at all.
Keep in mind that the result of weight gain or weight loss is caused by an imbalance in homeostasis. Homeostasis is simply maintaining a stable equilibrium through your physiological processes, which are largely controlled by what you eat.
Eating one larger than usual meal isn't enough to throw your hormones out of whack.
Weight gain happens from the continual eating of big meals and encouraging hormonal responses to adapt to these consistent changes.
If you're eating a well-balanced diet and watching what you eat every day, the worst effect one big meal will have is keeping you from dropping weight that week. That's still concerning to some, as they're working out every day and trying to drop weight.
If you fall in the concerned group and still want to enjoy that party, consider a bit of fasting before that big dinner.
Its as simple as skipping the breakfast you normally eat or the evening meal the night before. Your preference might even be to skip the first meal of the next day.
Fasting is a word that still scares some people but don't be put off by it. Its a healthy key to successful dieting that you can incorporate into your lifestyle without worry.
You might be surprised to learn that occasional fasting is proven to improve all your health markers and fasting has no negative effects.
The irony is that fasting, followed by indulging, can actually help you to lose weight if only done on occasion. By incorporating a big meal every couple weeks, you're letting your body know that there's no danger of permanently restricting calories.
If you've been cutting calories for ten days straight, this signaling can translate to a metabolic boost which will in turn, result in more fat-burning.
The next time you fall off the wagon and give in to that all you can eat buffet, you can focus on the positive of what just happened.
While the tendency is the feel bad and eat even more later on (feeling as though you've blown everything), you can now relax and simply skip the next couple meals, knowing that your one cheat meal will ultimately lead to greater weight loss.
By weeks end, the amount of calories remains the same.
If you've been eating at a 300 calorie a day deficit, you're normally eating a 2100 calorie deficit at weeks end. Enter that big meal of 2,000 calories and skip a couple meals as a trade-off and you're back at your deficit by weeks end, with hormones triggered to burn more fat. Its a win-win.
When you cook for better health, its not just what you eat but also how you cook it.
You probably know you should eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat, especially processed red meat. A large study of people aged 50 to 71 found that about one-third more of those who ate the most red meat died within 10 years compared to those who ate the least.
Death rates were also higher for those who ate the most processed meat, like ham, bacon, salami, lunch meats, hot dogs or sausage.
Toxins form when animal foods (meat, poultry, eggs or fish) are cooked and in much higher amounts if you grill, broil or fry them, especially without added liquid or spices. That can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes complications, colon, pancreatic or prostate cancer, and other serious conditions. The hotter, dryer and longer you cook, the more toxins there will be.
We cant say they cause health problems, only that people who eat a lot of them have higher rates of certain conditions. To prove that a food caused a health problem you’d have to control everything people ate and a lot of other things they did for years to see if it changed their health outcomes.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are in many foods, including tiny amounts even in healthy foods like fruits, veggies, milk and yogurt. As foods are cooked and turn brown, the amount multiplies. People who consume lots of AGEs have higher rates of many diseases, including:
The cooking method affects the amount of AGEs in carbohydrates, too. Ounce for ounce, fast food french fries have seven times more than a baked potato.
The American Dietetic Association says that the most practical way to cut down on AGEs is by cooking animal protein differently.
A lot. If you poach a three-ounce chicken breast in liquid over medium heat for seven minutes, it will produce about 1,000 kU (kilounits) of one type of toxin, AGEs. If you bread and deep-fry the same chicken breast for 20 minutes it will produce nearly 9,000 kU of AGEs.
Small changes in the way you cook your food will add up over time so eat healthy and add a little exercise into the equation.
Kombucha diet health tea is nothing new, in fact it has been around for centuries. There are reports of Kombucha tea being used as a health drink or folk medicine as far back as 200 BC in China. Despite its long time use in the east, Kombucha has not caught on as quickly in the United States and other Western nations, although the popularity of this drink continues to grow and forms of it can even be found in bottled form in health stores now.
A major reason this “tea” hasn’t caught on like green tea, and black tea, and other teas you would find in the Ultimate Tea Diet is that this tea involves using a live bacteria that looks like a fungal mushroom. For this reason, sometimes you will also hear this referred to as Kombucha mushroom tea. While this tea is said to have many incredible health benefits, it does involve the growth of live bacteria, so it’s imperative that before brewing your own batch that you have a spotless clean and hygienic space with clean utensils.
This will help to ensure the maximum positive effect that can happen because of the drink and prevent other possible harmful bacteria from growing in the mix. There have been reports of negative harmful effects when this brew was made without hygienic equipment, so always take the necessary precautions before making Kombucha tea.
Kombucha tea is a form of tea, but it is a little different because while green tea and black tea are just regular teas, Kombucha mushroom tea requires tea to be brewed as a base, while the liquid that comes with the Kombucha bacteria is mixed in, as well as sugar, and then the bacteria itself is added to help in fermentation. The tea base can be green tea or black tea, which is brewed normally before the rest is added.
While the tea used is a choice of preference and nothing more, there are slightly more medical and health benefits to green tea then there is to black tea. Also, many people prefer Kombucha with green tea taste wise over Kombucha with black tea, but once again this is purely a point of preference.
Kombucha green tea is going to provide tons of health benefits when brewed correctly, but almost as many are going to be provided by any type of tea that is combined with the Kombucha culture properly in a clean environment.
The important thing to note here is that while there are many reported Kombucha tea benefits health-wise most of these have not been scientifically proven. That said, many of the benefits have been tested on lab animals but not on people to see if the health benefits from Kombucha mushroom tea translate to people.
Since this is a folk medicine and not a drug, it doesn’t have to get tested by the FDA for harmful or helpful properties. This long time Chinese folk remedy has been attributed with a huge range of benefits including:
There are many other claims made as to the potential health benefits that come from drinking Kombucha tea, but once again these haven’t been verified beyond individuals’ personal experiences and tests on lab animals, but not on people. But these are the reported benefits of Kombucha tea.
Kombucha tea recipes can vary greatly depending on how much you’re making, or if you need to use more or less tea according to taste. In addition to this, if the pH count is off early, then vinegar might need to be added to balance everything out.
The most common recipe for making a batch of Kombucha tea involves making a 3 quart batch of tea. The following is probably the most common Kombucha tea recipe:
First of all, you will need several things. You will need:
The 1st step is making certain that equipment is spotless. Since you are going to be handling a live bacteria culture, you absolutely need to have everything clean, including washing your hands with hot water to avoid all contaminants.
The next step is boiling the three quarts of water. More or less can be made, but this Kombucha tea recipe is for three quarts of water.
Boil the water. Add about five tea bags. I actually tend to use six or even seven, but I like my tea very strong (much stronger than most people) and five tends to be the most popular ground for most people.
Once the tea is finished brewing, turn off the heat and add the sugar. Make sure the water isn’t boiling anymore. You don’t want the sugar to caramelize. Cover the pot and wait until the tea cools down to the low to mid 70s in temperature. This takes time, but it’s a very necessary step.
Once the tea has cooled down, pour it into the thoroughly clean glass jar. Add the liquid that comes with the Kombucha bacteria culture. Place the Kombucha “mushroom” into the jar and secure the lid with the linen and rubber band.
You need to now store the jar if an area that is dark and stays at about room temperature. You never want the temperature to fall below 68 degrees, and the ideal range is for it to stay between 74-82. Below 68, harmful bacteria of other kind can invade and ruin the tea. Wait about 8-12 days, and then it is all set to go!
While brewing your own Kombucha tea at home is often the most popular option among health foods and folk lore medicine fans, in a lot of Whole Foods stores and other health food places.
If you don’t want to brew your own, there are many Kombucha green tea mixtures and other types of Kombucha drinks sold by the bottle in these stores. Some people are big fans of these drinks while others don’t like the taste – but it is another option for people who believe in the possible health benefits of Kombucha Tea while not wanting to do the work, or take the chances that can come with, brewing their own batch of Kombucha Tea.
These drinks tend to be a little more expensive, and are not known for great taste – but they can be a much safer alternative for newbies than trying to create your own from scratch.
While the far, far majority of people haven’t experienced any side effects from Kombucha tea, there have been some reports of side effects that are important for people to know. While this has been a folk lore medicine from China for over 2,000 years, and while most of the side effects seem to stem from contamination during improper brewing, but there are reported instances of harm, and consumers need to know the risks.
There have been a handful of people who have felt stomach cramps, stomach pain, diaherrea and those types of side effects. Obviously if you have anything, stop immediately. However, there are also reports of 2-3 deaths that have occurred from respiratory acidosis or metabolic acidosis.
This is the main concern with drinking improperly made or simply tainted Kombucha tea, is that acidosis could occur and cause severe illness or even death.
It’s important to note that these are very rare cases: just as occasionally someone dies from Aspirin, but they do exist and any Kombucha Tea side effects need to be known.
Kombucha Tea has been a folk remedy for such a long time, and although not all of these benefits have been confirmed, the long run of Kombucha as an herbal remedy indicates that there are many, many people who have long believed in the positive benefits of this product.
That said, each individual has to make their own decision about whether or not Kombucha tea is right for them and if the benefits are enough to deal with the often beleaguered taste and long time periods to brew.
It seems that everywhere you go there is talk about gluten. There is gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, and even gluten-free pizza. Many people have found that they have intolerance to gluten so they try to stay away from it. There is an actual condition called Celiac disease that results in serious reactions if gluten is ingested. So what exactly is gluten?
Gluten is a protein composite found in most grains. A protein composite is not a single protein but made up of several proteins such as gliadin, glutenin, hordein, and secalin. They all come from a group of proteins knowns as protamine. Gluten can be found in products containing wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut. Gluten has a component that lets it make products more elastic by binding the flour products together creating a chewy texture.
Many people think that gluten is only used in breads, pastas, and any products that have wheat or flour. But there is gluten in things you may never have even thought of, such as prescription medications, supplements, and vitamins. It is also used in different flavorings and sauces so trying to eliminate it completely from your diet can be very challenging.
There are three different reactions to ingesting gluten: a wheat allergy, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Disease. A wheat allergy is similar to any other allergies in that you will have a reaction right away to anything that has wheat in it. You may break out in a rash or have pains in your stomach. People who suffer from Celiac Disease end up with a rash, severe stomach pains, and diarrhea. This condition aggravates an inflammation in the wall of your intestines resulting in much discomfort. Non-Celiac Disease generates similar symptoms but they are not the same ones as in Celiac Disease or a wheat allergy. It may sound confusing and the symptoms are all in the same area. If you are not sure if you are gluten-intolerant or may have Celiac Disease, check with your doctor and he will be able to confirm your symptoms.
More and more people have found themselves unable to tolerate gluten. Gluten is a protein that can be found in most wheat products, including breads, baked goods, and pasta. The substance actually helps proteins adhere to the wheat giving it more elasticity and texture. But many people have a reaction after eating foods that contain gluten in them.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above you may be intolerant to eating gluten. How can you confirm this? Go to your doctor who will give you a blood test to determine if your condition is due to gluten. You should also rule out Celiac Disease.
Another way to determine if you are gluten intolerant is to go without consuming gluten for 60 days. Because there is so much gluten in the foods we eat it will take a good amount of time to clear out your system so you can get a better idea of what is going on.
Before you begin the diet, write down all of the symptoms that you currently have. List them on a piece of paper and rate the pain level or the amount of discomfort you have on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.
Begin your new way of eating and refrain from the following foods:
Go online to a gluten-free site and find a complete listing of everything you need to stay away from for 60 days. You could check in about half-way through this self-diagnosis and go over your list of symptoms. First check to see if you still have them and if you do, check to see what your pain or discomfort levels are. See if there is any change yet.
At the end of the 60 days repeat as above and check your symptoms to see if you still have them. If you do, rate the pain and discomfort level. You will probably feel better in a number of areas. If you wish to continue, find yourself a gluten-free diet book or cookbook and plan on adapting this type of eating from now on. You will feel better in the long run.
The Leptin Diet is a relatively new addition to the dietary community, tracing origins back to as recently as 1994. While explaining how the Leptin Diet is alleged to work is simple enough, the actual process by which leptin is supposed to work is a bit more complex. Leptin is a hormone, which means that it works in concert with several different biological functions, and according to the Leptin Diet and its founder Dr. Byron Richards, is actually the orchestra leader.
Leptin is believed to be the driving hormone controlling responses such as the sense of hunger and fullness, fat burning, the coordinated release of sleep hormone melatonin (at night) and the release of adrenal hormone in the morning. Additionally, leptin is believed to be responsible for regulating growth hormone, to repair damaged cells during sleep.
Like the conductor of the orchestra, leptin is believed to coordinate the release of these various hormones, listen to their feedback, and adjust accordingly. When these hormones are working in harmony, it is akin to the beautiful music that a master conductor can produce from a talented orchestra.
If leptin is not in control, then the various hormones are receiving poor direction and discord is the final result. Leptin imbalance is believed to yield a number of symptoms including fatigue, lack of desire to exercise, food obsessions, the desire to overeat, lack of fullness, reduced metabolism, increased fat storage, and more.
With leptin run amok, there are fives steps put forth to reverse the damage, restore healthy hormone balance, and naturally boost metabolism.
Step one of the Leptin Diet lifestyle is never to eat after dinner. Dr. Byron contends that leptin works on a 24-hour cycle, and that part of the proper cycle is to allow 11-12 hours to lapse between dinner the night before and breakfast in the morning. Midnight snacks are out. Along with this is the instruction to finish dinner at least three hours before bedtime and not to fall asleep on a full stomach.
Rule number two in following the leptin diet is to eat three meals per day, allowing five to six hours to lapse between meals. Again, no snacking. Snacking in general has its supporters and detractors in the dietary community, and common sense arguments are used to back both sides.
The Leptin Diet puts forth the argument that when leptin is functioning properly, allowing 5-6 hours between meals without snacking will allow the liver to do its job. The liver will pull triglycerides (fat) out of the blood between meals and break them down for energy.
The third rule of the leptin lifestyle is never to eat large meals. The hunger-to-full response is delayed about 10-20 minutes. Frankly put, a person can shovel in food substantially faster than the body can recognize that it is in the stomach.
Eating a little more slowly works in two ways. The dieter is forced to make eating a conscientious task; and two, the stomach has time to communicate to the brain that it is full. Dr. Byron recommends portion control by use of a person’s palms. A palm-sized portion of protein equates to about 4 to 6 ounces for a woman and 6 to 8 ounces for a man. The carbohydrate portion of the meal should also be a palm sized portion.
Rule number four of the leptin diet is simple enough to follow; eat a breakfast containing protein. The Leptin Diet lists several recommendations for breakfast protein, including eggs, cottage cheese, a couple tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter, and combining this protein with a serving of fruit or complex carbohydrate.
By eating a protein rich breakfast, the leptin diet contends that your metabolism can increase by as much as 30% for up to 12 hours, while a carb-rich breakfast yields as little as a 4% increase in metabolism over that same time frame.
The last rule to follow of the leptin diet plan is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates eaten. Dr. Byron poses that people, especially overweight, consume double or triple the amount of carbohydrates their bodies can handle. Until the body can recalibrate the sensation of being full, it is recommended that dieters take a fiber supplement before meals while adjusting to smaller portions.
Under no circumstances does Dr. Byron endorse or recommend a low-carbohydrate diet plan or no carbohydrates at all. He believes that the visualization of the 50/50 breakdown between protein and carbohydrate should be enough of a guide to begin to reset the leptin cycle, increase metabolism, lose weight, sleep better, and ultimately to live better on the leptin die
In contradiction to the best information that science and nutrition has to offer, it is now shown that some patients can lose weight following high fat diets. The basic structure of the high fat diet is an 1800 calorie diet with up to half the calories coming from fat.
The list of acceptable fruits and vegetables are somewhat narrow, the overall amount of fiber in the diet is low, and while it has been clinically shown to induce weight loss, many doctors are cautiously optimistic at best when they view short term weight loss benefits with the potential for longer term cardiovascular risk.
The acceptable vegetables for the high fat diet, as proposed by James Hays, MD, endocrinologist, are any vegetable that are grown above ground such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and peaches assuming they haven’t been processed.
Though the high fat diet is low in carbohydrates, a piece of fruit is eaten at the end of each meal. Those who showed the greatest percentage of weight loss while following the diet were the ones who completely eliminated starch. By and large, dieters managed to lose roughly 5% of their body weight in six weeks. Some patients continuing on with the diet lost up to 40% of their weight before coming off the diet.
The original clinical study group consisted of 23 individuals at risk for diabetes and already diagnosed with heart disease. According to the results of the study, patients showed a reduction of their triglycerides (fat in the blood) while cholesterol (HDL and LDL) remained unchanged. Doctors noted that the size of the cholesterol molecules increased. Larger LDL molecules are less likely to form the artery-clogging plaque, while the larger HDL molecules are capable of removing more plaque.
The basic concept behind the high fat diet in treating patients with heart disease is that cholesterol is removed from the body through bile production, and high fat foods can increase the production of bile.
Since this diet was part of a documented study, many people in the diet community have had a chance to evaluate its merits. It is believed that the overweight patients losing weight on the diet were losing weight because it was still lower in calories than what they were used to, and any calorie reduction will trigger weight loss.
What many doctors specifically did not like about the high fat diet is that, over long term, they believe it can still put a patient at further risk for kidney disease and colon cancer. It is widely believed that many other diet types will trigger healthy weight loss, and unlike high fat diets will not increase the risk for other diet related diseases.
Jay Robb, the author of The Fruit Flush 3 Day Detox, yields a slightly higher mark of approval among some in the medical community in comparison to other “detox” diets.
As a rule of thumb, any diet with the word “flush” or “detox” in the title will not be held in high esteem by anyone medically schooled in diet, nutrition, or fitness. The general consensus is that detox diets are ineffective in the short term and can be detrimental if followed through long term.
And the bane of all detox diets, including the Fruit Flush Diet, is that no diet has ever been proven to increase the detoxifying power of the liver, kidneys, or lymph nodes responsible for naturally flushing toxins out of the body. Furthermore, no detox diet has ever mentioned specific toxins that are flushed out in the process.
All things being equal, however, dieting is still about what works for an individual dieter.
The Fruit Flush diet is a three day diet with very specific dietary standards. It is not a fruit-only diet as the name implies and actually contains an abundance of protein on the first day with a modest amount of protein on days two and three.
While Jay Robb is not a registered dietician, he does adhere to some of the commonly held dietary beliefs. First, Robb admits that 50% or more of the weight lost on his Fruit Flush 3 Day Detox diet is going to be water weight. Second, Robb admits that protein is needed to prevent the body from scavenging muscle.
Third, Robb acknowledges that exercise is not feasible while on his 3 day fruit flush as calorie restrictions may be too severe.
The base of the fruit flush diet is a protein shake (6 oz. serving size). This protein shake must not contain any of the following: sugar, sucrose, fructose, evaporated cane juice, artificial flavors or colors, aspartame, casein, calcium casein ate, sodium caseinate, acesulfame-K, or acesulfame potassium.
This simply means that the number of available protein powders may be limited, and may not be available in the supermarket.
Once this is found, day one of the 3 Day Fruit Flush is to drink one serving of this powder every two hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and chase it down with 8-12 ounces of water. This equates to 30 oz. of protein powder with a minimum 40-60 ounces of water.
Dinner restrictions are also severe, allowing for 3 to 6 cups of a raw veggie salad, 1 to 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat (such as flaxseed oil or olive oil), half a lemon or lime, and 3-6 ounces of lean protein or egg whites.
Days two and three of the fruit flush are identical in structure. Instead of the protein shake every two hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., the shake is replaced by one serving of fruit (roughly 100 calories) every two hours chased down with 8-12 ounces of water. Dinner consists of the 6-ounce protein shake, the raw veggie salad, the healthy fat, and the half lemon or half lime.
Jay Robb argues that the body enters fat-burning mode when consuming fruits, veggies, and lean protein for 36 hours, and that in turn preserves muscle and targets fat. Furthermore this diet (according to Robb) can be followed once a week, once a month, or anytime the dieter believes they need fine-tuned weight loss.
And while much of the weight loss is water weight, Robb contends that rapid weight loss has the psychological boost that can yield greater weight loss.
For every dietary claim, there is a counterclaim. Some experts view such diets as potentially damaging for long term healthy eating by creating a negative association with fruit. Nutrition experts also point out the nutritional deficiencies in this and other detox diets, and preach the approach of nutritional balance rather than nutrient elimination.
When followed for the three days, many experts believe that in reality there is nothing lost, nothing gained. The three days of nutrient deficiency are no more or less harmful than suffering with the flu for a few days and not being able to eat normally.
The number of “scientific” approaches to eating and losing weight are numerous and not every approach works for every dieter. Flush diets provide short term weight loss with the majority of weight loss coming from water.
Though it is not universally accepted, the commonly held belief in the dietary community is that slow and steady wins the race, and that long-term weight loss comes from more balanced diets rather than crash diets like the Fruit Flush Diet.
The Healthy Kidney Diet, like the Healthy Heart Diet, is not an official diet plan but rather provides basic information intended to help a dieter make informed food choices that can benefit kidney health. Kidney disease is a very serious and chronic disease which can be treated and reduced in severity but never be completely cured. Thus, a healthy diet is one key in reducing the risk for kidney disease. A Healthy Kidney Diet, however, is absolutely essential for a patient undergoing treatment for kidney disease. That being said, however, never mistake the information provided in this article as medical advice. Follow all the instructions and recommendations of your primary care provider.
Three key nutrients that patients following a Healthy Kidney Diet keep track of is potassium, sodium, and phosphorus. Healthy kidneys can effectively flush excess amounts of these three from the body, but diseased kidneys need a little extra help from the dieter to keep these levels in check. The following foods are given with these three values provided, but are certainly not the complete nutritional picture.
Olive oil is the preferred additive for healthy fats in the Healthy Kidney Diet. Used in cooking, salad dressing, or marinades, olive oil can be used to enhance the flavor of virtually every other food on this list. Remember that moderation is the key.
One clove of garlic contains 12 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus, and 1 mg sodium, and a ton of flavor to any dish it graces. Add to meats, vegetables, pasta, or roast it and spread it over bread. Garlic is shown to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation; just replace garlic salt with garlic powder for a more kidney-friendly swap.
Onions, while rich in flavor, owe much of its health benefits to a quantity of flavanoids (a type of antioxidant). Antioxidants are the compounds in foods that reduce inflammation, eliminate free radicals and protects against cancer. In the case of onions, they are also a good source of chromium, a mineral that aids metabolism.
Red bell peppers are among the recommended foods. At 88 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus, and 1 mg of sodium per serving, red bell peppers are full of flavor, vitamins, and minerals, among them lycopene and vitamins A and C. The strong antioxidants are believed to protect against certain cancers and heart disease, of which a person with kidney disease is at higher risk.
Cabbage provides its healthy kidney benefits with 60 mg potassium, 9 mg of phosphorus, and 6 mg sodium. Again it’s the phytochemicals (a type of antioxidant) that eliminates free radicals and promotes heart health. It is also believed that certain of these phytochemicals can stop or prevent cell growth and a wide variety of cancers.
Another cruciferous vegetable (like cabbage) linked to the Healthy Kidney Diet is cauliflower. One serving provides 88 mg potassium, 20 mg phosphorus, and 9 mg sodium. Cauliflower provides an adequate substitute for mashed potatoes and there are a number of other ingenious culinary uses and easily absorbs flavorful herbs such as curry or turmeric, for flavor without the salt.
In the case of the Healthy Kidney Diet, an apple a day may actually keep the doctor away. With 158 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus, zero sodium, and a wonderful array of flavors and colors, apples also contain a good amount of fiber and the antioxidant punch found in several fruits and vegetables. Cooked or raw, juiced or whole, apples have also been shown to reduce cholesterol (which reduces risk of heart disease) and aid in healthy colon health.
Cranberries, either juiced, dried, or jellied can make for a healthy snack for anyone following a Healthy Kidney Diet. In addition to the standard nutritional benefits of fruit, cranberries have been shown to protect the stomach against ulcer-causing bacteria and has been shown to treat bladder infections by preventing bacteria from adhering to the wall of the bladder.
While the next three are distinctly different fruits, they still provide the same types of nutritional benefit. These include blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. There is no clear winner as to whether one berry wins out over another in terms of the greatest benefit. As these berries have three distinct colors, so to do they contain distinct combinations of phytonutrients and phenols, and provide a variety of defenses against cancer, cellular aging, inflammation, and free radicals. Additionally these berries are all rich in fiber, and vitamins, B, and C. Rounding out the list of helpful fruits for kidney health include cherries and red grapes.
For extra protein without the excess phosphorus, egg whites reign supreme in the kidney diet. Egg whites are considered by some to be one of the highest quality proteins, since it contains all essential amino acids. At 110 mg sodium 108 mg potassium, and 10 mg phosphorus for two egg whites, this is a more sensible option than meats which can contain more sodium or phosphorus. And while protein is important in the Healthy Kidney Diet, too much protein proves to be too much of a good thing.
Found on more than one healthy foods list, fish including salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, and herring are rich in the Omega 3’s that promote heart health and can balance cholesterol levels, reducing LDL (bad) and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. Ultimately the foods on this list can be found on a broad number of top ten food lists, be it for super foods, heart healthy foods, or in this case a wide variety of foods that may be incorporated into a Healthy Kidney Diet
Diet sodas carry the promise of youth. By giving up those sugary-laden drinks for a cup of aspartame and carbonated water, you'll shed those pounds, get ripped and look sexy.
Buy you should know that If dieting and losing weight are among your fitness goals, diet drinks are a sure-fire way to slow results.
The idea is to replace sugar with aspartame. A mere 180 grams of the artificial sweetener makes your drink taste sweet as cotton candy, and keeps your caloric intake at 0 calories, allowing you to eat that whole pizza for lunch and still look fabulous.
Its a win-win. And since aspartame is roughly 200X sweeter than natural sugar, its a big win for food-production companies, who use aspartame to sweeten just about anything and everything possible.
When you eat yummy, sugary foods or drink real colas, your body creates a crap-load of insulin. As soon as this wave of insulin is produced by the pancreas, youre officially out of fat-burning mode.
Diet drinks attempt to circumvent this by removing the sugar and adding aspartame. Unfortunately, your body isn't too bright in the way of rational and reasoning. You could say its a real dumb-ass. Its a machine built on response and when you ingest something 200x sweeter than sugar, it produces a physiological response in the way sugar does. Its all it knows how to do.
Your pancreas releases insulin to mop the mess up. Insulin is a storage hormone so if youre eating something with that diet drink, insulin escorts it to a storage area in your body. Fat people get fatter.
If that was the end of the problem it would be enough but the aspartame in that soda pop also creates the physiological response of making you crave more food. You gave your body every indication of expecting a sugary feast and then cock-blocked it with some foreign substance thats likely going to contribute to your getting cancer later in life. Your body is begging you to finish what you started and give in to that bag of Doritos.
The best of intentions can sometimes produce the worst of results and diet soda is a self-destructing whore, masquerading as a well-intention lady. Skip the diet drinks, have a cup of coffee and reap the rewards of a slimmer waistline.
When the only positive thing that experts have to say about the cabbage soup diet is that it encourages people to eat more vegetables, it is clear that this diet is one with more than a few short coming.
This restricted food, restricted calorie diet consists primarily of a bottomless bowl of cabbage soup, select vegetables and fruits, and large quantities of protein in the form of lean meat or poultry on select days. The duration of the diet is a rigid seven days.
Since the cabbage soup diet is lacking in both variety and complete nutrition, this seven days is long enough to lose the promised 10-15 pounds. This diet typically restricts calories to 1200 per day or less, placing this in the VLCD (very low calorie diet) range and the strong recommendation that you seek a doctor’s approval before starting this diet.
A good multivitamin can help you get the nutrients you need while on this diet, but from the aspect of calories you may not have the energy to do much. Light-headedness and fatigue with an inability to concentrate are the most prominent side effects reported on the cabbage soup diet followed up with reports of bloating or excessive gas due to the nature of the cabbage and other vegetables in the soup.
The two advantages of the cabbage soup itself is that the dieter should stay well hydrated, and the fiber should prevent any feelings of hunger.
The drawback to this type of diet is that a dieter may simply choose not to eat rather than be limited to the foods allowed on a particular day. For instance, day four of the diet is marked with the cabbage soup, up to eight bananas, and as many glasses of skim milk as you like.
No other foods are listed for this day, and the purpose of this day is to eliminate cravings for the sweets.
Sadly though, deprivation diets such as this can actually trigger their reverse and lead to binging. If the dieter has the willpower to stay on the cabbage soup diet for seven days then they must also maintain their willpower not to indulge when their eating is no longer restricted.
Cabbage soup has not been shown to reduce fat any more or less than any other vegetable in its family. It is a healthy, low-carbohydrate, high-fiber vegetable good to incorporate into any diet, as are the onions, celery and other vegetables to be found in the soup.
What’s not good are the excess levels of salt and MSG that plague most recipes for cabbage soup. High sodium diets have been linked to high blood pressure and while this diet lasts only a week, experts caution the dangers of too much salt.
Because the diet is lacking in protein as well there is a real danger of losing muscle mass. If the body feels starved it will break down muscle tissue for protein. Since muscle is the primary fat burner in the body, sustainable weight loss is not feasible without muscle mass.
Even the marketers of the diet will admit to the shortcomings and recommend that the diet is followed for one week only, allowing two to three weeks between sessions on the cabbage soup diet. This diet is not practical for most people, but if you need to lose ten pounds in a week and only need to keep it off for a couple of days, then the cabbage soup diet may be your temporary solution.
The “healthiness” of cereals and foods is often relative. Same goes for Cheerios.
For example, if you are regularly skipping breakfast and then grabbing a bagel and cream cheese at the office, a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk would be a much better option from a nutrition standpoint than your usual choices in the morning. So from that perspective, Cheerios are a healthy cereal — or at least healthier in comparison to the bagel and cream cheese.
On the other hand, given the choice between eating Cheerios or a whole food, unprocessed source of complex carbohydrates in the morning like oatmeal, oat bran or homemade muesli, the Cheerios doesn’t fare quite as well.
Let’s take a quick look at what Cheerios has going for it nutritionally, and what some of its weaknesses are compared to other whole food sources of breakfast grains.
Cheerios have a several things going for them nutritionally. Cheerios are:
Cheerios also have zero cholesterol and are trans fat free.
The main disadvantage of Cheerios is that they are still a processed grain. Whether that matters to you really has to do with how you feel personally about food processing.
Compared to a lot of other breakfast cereals, Cheerios are probably one of the least processed choices out there.
That said, those little “Os” didn’t drop off the oat stalk in the farmer’s field and march into a box untouched by modern industrial food processing machinery.
So how are Cheerios made?
Cheerios are produced in a factory. General Mills takes whole grain oat flour and then adds in some more oat bran and oat fiber (as well as a little sugar and salt.) The flour is then mixed together in a big vat with water and some “binders” like corn and wheat starch and pushed through machinary (also called “dies”) to create the little “Os”. The “Os” are then cooked in a pressurized steam cylinder, dried some more and sprayed with synthetic vitamins.
Next stop: the box, the grocery store and then your cereal bowl.
Does this really matter? Well, yes and no.
Nutritionally, aside from the added salt, Cheerios are about as a “whole” of a cereal as you can get from a factory. Even cereals that people consider ”healthy” like Kashi are made from grain flours — so the process of making Cheerios isn’t fundamentally different from what Kellogg does with Kashi (yes, Kashi is a Kellogg product — Tony the Tiger just doesn’t want you to know this.)
Also, realize that many of the vitamins in Cheerios are not from the grain itself, but rather synthetic vitamins and minerals sprayed on to the cereal at the plant. So if you are looking for whole food sources of vitamins and minerals, you may want to consider something less processed.
There are some benefits to choosing a whole food, less-processed form of healthy grains like oats over a more-processed version like Cheerios.
If you are trying to follow a clean eating or Whole Food/Slow Food philosophy, then in general you’ll choose organic rolled oats or oat groats over processed cold cereals like Cheerios that are made with oat flour. But this is sort of a philosophical thing and a decision that you need to make for yourself.
From a health and nutrition standpoint, the main reason for why you might want to have that bowl of oatmeal instead of Cheerios has to do with how your body digests carbohydrates from whole food sources versus processed cereals.
The carbohydrates in cereals or grain products made with flours are digested more quickly, which increases their glycemic index rating and glycemic load – a way of measuring how much a food raises blood sugar.
For example, Cheerios has a glycemic index (GI) rating of 74 and a glycemic load (GL) of 12 versus old fashioned rolled oats, which have a GI of 46 and GL of 9. Lower GI and GL ratings indicate that a food has less impact on blood sugar levels.
In general, spikes in blood sugar levels are not considered a good thing (although they can be useful immediately following weight training.)
Rapid increases in blood sugar may lead to increased fat storage under particular circumstances — typically in a calorie surplus – but more importantly, you may experience a quick burst of energy, followed by a crash a few hours later. Refined sugars are the leading cause of this, but highly-processed grains can have similar effects — especially if they aren’t balanced out against a protein and fat. This is especially the case with non-whole grain cereals like Special K or Rice Chex.
When you eat grains in their whole, non-flour form, the carbohydrates are digested more slowly, which can help you maintain your energy levels over a longer period of time, with less risk of “crashes.”
One caveat: It’s important to understand that what you eat with cereals that are made with processed whole grain flours can slow down these blood sugar spikes. So if you eat the Cheerios with a protein like skim milk or yogurt and add a healthy fat like peanut butter alongside the cereal, blood sugar can be evened-out.
I’m not suggesting that you make all of your decisions based on the Glycemic Index rating of foods, since GI is controversial and inexact. However, it can help you better understand how processing impacts the way your body responds to carbohydrates and sugars in processed versus whole food sources of grains.
Another benefit of eating cereals like Cheerios made with whole grain oats is the potential cholesterol-lowering effect of the soluble fiber in oats (and Cheerios.)
The fiber in oats and whole-grain oat products and cereals can help “sweep” cholesterol from the body, decreasing overall blood cholesterol levels and possibly reducing the risk of heart disease.
Cheerios have a comparable amount of souble oat fiber to a bowl of oat meal, so including Cheerios or other sources of soluble fiber in your diet is a good idea, in general.
In terms of cold breakfast cereals, I’d give Cheerios a B+ on the healthy eating meter.
While eating whole food sources of oats would be preferable, some people simply don’t like the texture of oatmeal. If this is the case, you could try a muesli or low-sugar granola, which would give you the benefits of whole oats, but with some of the taste and texture advantages of a boxed cold cereal like Cheerios.
Because eating healthier is really about making better choices, if eating a bowl of Cheerios in the morning helps you eat breakfast more frequently and avoid some of the less-healthy options out there, then I would say go ahead and eat them. They are certainly a better choice than something like Special K — which is not a whole grain cereal — and they are obviously much healthier than sugary breakfast cereals.
If you do decide to include Cheerios in your diet, just make sure to choose the original version, and not the sugary, Honey Nut product.
Also avoid heaping on the table sugar, which will quickly cancel out any of the health benefits of the cereal. Instead, try sweetening them naturally with fruits like bananas or berries. Even some honey or maple syrup would be preferable to digging into the sugar bowl.
Finally, always try to balance each of your meals or snacks by including some lean protein from low-fat, unsweetened yogurt or skim milk and a little healthy fat from nut butters (for instance, some almond butter on whole grain toast.) Eating meals that contain all three of these macro-nutritents can keep your energy levels up and discourage over-eating later in the day.
Whole Grain Oats, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Oat Bran, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Oat Fiber, Tripotassium Phosphate, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) added to preserve freshness.
Serving Size: 1 Cup (30g)
Amount per Serving:
Calories from Fat: 18
Total Fat: 2g 4%
Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg 0%
Sodium: 210mg 9%
Potassium: 200mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates: 22g 8%
Fiber: 3g 12%
Other Carbohydrates: 18g
Protein: 3g 2%
Vitamin A: 10%
Vitamin B6: 25%
Vitamin B12: 25%
Vitamin C: 10%
Vitamin D: 10%
Folic Acid: 50%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
drinking water and weight loss just seems to be one of those things that always get lumped together, although a lot of diets don’t really explain why you should drink more water to lose weight. They just tell you to do it.
While water has all kinds of health benefits, and can certainly be part of a healthy diet (and may assist in weight loss), it’s important to have realistic expectations around the role of water when it comes to losing weight and excess body fat. You won’t simply drink more water and experience dramatic weight loss. I hate to say it, but it’s true.
Remember, when it comes to weight loss, there are no silver bullets — although there are plenty of tactics that you can combine together to be more successful in your goals. And yes, drinking more water can be one of them.
First, let’s tackle why water is important to the body and your general health and well-being. We’ll then address your question about whether water can make you lose weight.
Water is the most abundant substance in the human body. It accounts for 55-78% of your body’s total weight, depending on age and gender. Water plays a critical role in everything from regulating your body’s temperature and supporting metabolic processes to maintaining proper pH balance and carrying waste from the body via the kidneys.
In fact, water plays such a vital role in human life that although a person can survive for weeks without food, they can only survive, at most, 10 days without water.
As a person becomes dehydrated, their ability to perform work and support basic human functions becomes impaired as well.
For every 2.5% loss of water as a percentage of body weight, you lose around 25% of your efficiency. That would be only about 2 quarts for a 175 lb man. As you become dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker, increasing your blood pressure and placing more stress on your cardiovascular system, as well as interfering with your mental and physical abilities.
Drinking more water can help you lose weight, but not necessarily in the ways that many people think.
Water isn’t a drug (although it is a chemical, with solvent properties which are beneficial in the body), so don’t expect to simply add a couple of extra glasses of water in a day, and suddenly see the belly fat start to melt off.
While there is some recent research that shows that increased water consumption may contribute to decreases in body weight, independent of diet and activity levels, you’ll generally experience the best weight loss results when you combine more water with other changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Drinking more water supports weight loss in a number of direct and indirect ways:
Over the past decade, there has been a flurry of clinical research into how drinking more water may help with weight loss.
So far, the results have been encouraging, although researchers admit that they still need additional data to determine the long-term effects of increased water consumption on weight loss and body composition.
A number of recent studies have shown that increased water consumption can lower total energy intake, regardless of diet, by as much as 200 calories day. This is probably due to the satiety and fullness effect of water, although researchers also hint that it may be caused by alterations in metabolism.
A 2006 study by Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that female, overweight dieters who consumed 2 or more cans of soda or juice a day experienced an average weight loss of 5 lbs a year when they substituted the same amount of water for sweetened beverages. Those who drank four or more glasses a day, lost 2 more lbs a year versus dieters who did not drink that amount of water.
Clearly, when people substitute water for high-calorie beverages like soda or juice, they tend to experience weight loss due to decreased energy intake. Drinking water instead of soda or sugary fruit beverages also avoids some of the pitfalls of substituting diet or artificially-sweetened beverages for regular soda, which has actually been shown to increase body weight in a number of studies.
While there is no recommended amount of water that people should drink specifically to lose weight, in general, more water is better. While is is possible to drink too much water (resulting in a potentially lethal condition known as hyperhydration or “water poisoning”), this is rare, and requires a specific set of circumstances to develop.
How much water a person should drink each day continues to be a topic of debate, even within the medical community.
The “Eight Glasses a Day” recommendation that always seems to be thrown around appears to be arbitrary — even experts on hydration aren’t exactly sure of the origins of this recommendation.
While there is no harm in following the “Eight Glasses a Day” rule of thumb, even if you only drink four glasses of water a day, you’ll consume around four additional cups of water just from your food. And believe it or not, even caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee count toward your daily fluid requirements.
Research has shown the diuretic effects of caffeinated beverages are over-stated, and that the body adjusts fairly quickly to them. In fact, a 2006 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking tea may be healthier than drinking water. So if you enjoy a few cups of green or black tea a day, keep it up.
In terms of weight loss and general overall fitness and health, the best approach is drink however much water works for you.
If you find drinking plenty of water across the day keeps you feeling fuller, more energetic and helps you eat less during meals, then don’t change what’s broken. If you aren’t a regular water drinker, start becoming one. Expect that as you increase your fluid consumption, you may also find yourself initially having to make trips to the bathroom more often. Don’t worry — this is common at first and your body will eventually regulate itself.
What if you just find water to be … blah? Consider trying one or more of these five tricks to jazz up plain old tap water and make it tastier and more appealing.
If you wish to live that life to the max, offer your body exactly what it requires, not simply exactly what tastes excellent in the minute.
I am not stating you need to give up taste and fulfillment in your dishes simply to live a bit longer. You can still indulge that side of yourself frequently, however a small sacrifice isn't really too much to request in return for more energy, less anxiety, less threat of condition, and a myriad of interesting colors, structures, and tastes.
Salmon is mostly treasured for its advantageous composition of fatty acids, it likewise packs a huge quantity of other nutrients. A 100 gram piece of wild salmon includes 2.8 grams of Omega-3s, along with lots of vitamins and minerals and high quality protein consisting of huge quantities of all the B-vitamins, Selenium, Potassium and Magnesium. It likewise tends to make you feel complete with fairly couple of calories.
Sprouts are one of the most vitamins and mineral thick foods. Numerous of these nutrients are locked away or kept from being absorbed by unique substances and enzymes in numerous seeds, grains, and nuts. When the seed starts to grow, it has to likewise access these nutrients in order to have the energy required to press its method out of the ground and grow.
Seaweeds It is likewise packed with different bioactive substances, consisting of carotenoids and phycocyanins. If you do not such as the idea of consuming seaweed, then you can likewise get it as a supplement. Numerous sushi meals likewise consist of seaweed in them, along with other goodies.
Not just can it turn all sorts of dull meals into tasty deals with, it is likewise exceptionally healthy. Garlic is likewise packed with another extremely vital nutrient called Allicin, which is the active ingredient in garlic. Garlic is likewise really powerful at eliminating pathogens like fungis and germs.
They are very calorie thick, however the fats in nuts are the healthy monounsaturated kind that lower cholesterol, secure versus swelling, assist the body use fats to slim down, and help in the absorption of lots of useful nutrients. These healthy fats are likewise crucial to brain function, boost energy, and keep the skin young, hydrated, and imperfection totally free.
Oysters are likewise exceptionally healthy with a 100 grams providing 6 times the RDA for Zinc, 2 times the RDA for Copper, along with big quantities of B12 and Vitamin D along with a myriad of other nutrients. Truly, shellfish are amongst the most healthy foods in presence. They might likewise be thought about a terrific food for expert who desire to be as close to vegetarian/vegan as possible, while likewise getting many of the advantages of eating animal foods.
Avocado is a fruit that is likewise complete of incredible excellent fats along with plenty of potassium, fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, a number of B vitamins, and a multitude of carotenoids. It likewise has actually been connected to cancer prevention, blood sugar policy, and stroke prevention.
If theres one high-carb food that I miss on my low-carb diet, its potatoes. They are likewise one of the most satisfying foods in presence. When scientists compared the satiety value of various foods, boiled potatoes scored greater than any other food they determined.
Broccoli has actually been the impact of health food jokes permanently, however it stays one of the healthiest veggies you can consume. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, and calcium.
Offered that the organs are typically the most healthy parts of an animal, it is not unusual to see that entire sardines are unbelievably healthy. They include a little bit of practically every nutrient that the body requirements and are quite close to being ideal from a dietary perspective. Like other fatty fish, theyre likewise really high in heart-healthy Omega-3s.
Exactly what were left with is one of the most healthy foods on the world. Eggs are likewise packed with choline, a brain nutrient that about 90 % of individuals arent getting enough of. Truly entire eggs are an incredible food.
Berries are likewise one of the wealthiest sources of a wide variety of anti-oxidants that secure versus cancer, clean up complimentary radicals, and avoid cellular aging. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, strawberries, and raspberries are the ones you might be familiar with.
Chocolate ends up being unhealthy as we include sugars and animal fats to them, however the initial raw seeds are very healthy. They consist of protein, great fats, carbs, fiber, iron, zinc, calcium, copper, and magnesium. Close to the antioxidant advantages, cacao is excellent for hair, skin, and nails.
Cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C and numerous other phytonutrients that act as anti-oxidants, B vitamins, vitamin K, and lots of important minerals. It likewise safeguards the brain versus cognitive decrease, improves immune function, helps food digestion, and secures the eyes.
When you think of avocados, you typically think of guacamole. Or, if you are me, you think of Kriste at the office who (in her own words) is “totally obsessed” with avocados and will eat them sliced, diced or on the “half-shell” when given the chance.
Once shunned because of their high fat content, avocados have been elevated to fitness food chic over the past few years, thanks to a growing body of research showing that eating more healthy fats from things like avocados, nuts and olive oil doesn’t necessarily translate into more body fat. In fact, studies have shown exactly the opposite: People who eat healthy fats seem to actually be less fat, have lower bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides and are less prone to heart disease and developing certain kinds of cancers.
And that’s great news for avocado lovers, since not only are avocados filled with healthy fats, but they are also loaded with fiber and vitamins and minerals. And, of course, they taste fantastic on everything from healthy tacos to sandwiches to straight out of the shell, like my friend Kriste prefers.
But what most people don’t realize is that avocados can also be pressed to make a delicious, mild vegetable oil that’s among nature’s richest sources of healthy, monounsaturated fatty acids (also known as MUFAs). Even better, if you’re getting bored with the usual olive oil on your salads and crave something a little different, you might consider swapping in some avocado oil.
Avocado oil is pressed or extracted from either the fresh flesh or dried pulp of avocados.
The best culinary grade avocado oil is produced by cold-pressing the oil from the fresh flesh of avocados, in a manner similar to how cold pressed olive oil is produced. Avocado oil can also be extracted from the dehydrated pulp of avocados, either through pressing or chemical/solvent extraction (which is typically employed for avocado oil used as a base in cosmetics.)
The vegetable oil in culinary avocado oil typically comes in one of two forms: refined or unrefined.
Refined avocado oils will have a lighter color and a more mild flavor with a very high smoke point that makes it ideal not only for salads, but especially for light frying or sautéing.
The unrefined versions of avocado oil will be more cloudy, have a deeper green color and a deeper, more intense avocado flavor. Because unrefined avocado oils have more solids in them, they also have lower smoking points than refined avocado oils. This makes them ideal for salad dressings where a more intense flavor is desired or around other uses that don’t involve heating the oil — for instance as a dip for bread or as a finishing oil vegetables.
Avocado oil has a mild, subtle scent that some people have described as similar to artichokes and celery, with the rich, persistent flavor — not surprisingly — of avocados. Again, the less refined the oil is, the more intense and deep the avocado flavor will be.
100% pure avocado oil can be used in all kinds of ways, including:
Why would you choose avocado oil over olive oil in dishes?
The first reason relates to the relative smoking point of avocado oil.
Smoking point is a measure of how quickly an oil “burns” when heated. Smoking point is important, because as oils are heated the volatile compounds in the oil become oxidized, not only tainting the flavor, but also producing compounds in the oil — also known as free radicals – that make them less healthy.
However, certain monounsaturated fats — like avocado oil and tea oil – are less prone to heat-induced oxidation, making them an even better choice than olive oil in dishes where the oil is heated to high temperatures. In fact, avocado oil won’t begin to smoke or burn until it reaches 520°F (271°C) – which is highly unusual. Extra Virgin Olive oil, for instance, has a smoking point of 405°F (207°C)
Second, avocado oil has one of the highest concentrations of monounsaturated fats — beating out even olive oil. So including a wide variety of MUFAs in your diet, from different sources, including olive oil and avocado oil is a great way to make sure you are getting plenty of these healthy fats.
Like olive oil, avocado oil also has a good Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid profile, making it slightly anti-inflammatory and helping balance out American’s tendency to consume too many Omega-6 fatty acids, which may contribute to the increase in inflammatory disease. Avocado oil also has a zero impact on glycemic load.
Finally, avocado oil provides a slightly different flavor from olive oil, which can offer more variety to the palette. Eating foods that offer variety of taste — especially as part of a Clean Eating Diet – can help people stay on track with their healthy eating and lose more body fat.
So should I just eat avocado oil instead of avocados?
Not so fast.
First, avocado oil (like all oils) is extremely calorie-dense. That means that two tablespoons of avocado oil have nearly the same amount of calories and fat as one large, whole avocado. And because the whole avocado contains all of the flesh, fiber and vitamins and minerals of the whole fruit, not just the oil, it’s more nutritionally-dense (and more filling.) In fact, a single avocado has 33 percent of your daily recommended Vitamin C.
Avocado oil, on the other hand, is just the fat from the avocado fruit. So while it does contain the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, it doesn’t contain the vitamins, minerals and fiber of the whole fruit.
In other words, avocado oil isn’t a substitute for eating whole avocados. However, it is a good alternative when you are trying to swap-in more sources of healthy fats, want a change in flavor or just get burned out on always using olive oil.
One of the other great properties of avocado is for skin care. So while 100% pure avocado oil is great on a salad or veggies, it can also be used as a massage oil for sore muscles after a strenuous workout, a moisturizer for wind-burned or chapped hands or skin, and even as a homemade avocado oil hair conditioner. So the uses of avocado oil extend far beyond the kitchen and Clean Eating pantry.
Serving: 1 TBS (14g)
Total Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Monounsaturated Fat: 9.9g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.9g
Trans Fats: 0g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 134mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids: 1754mg
Estimate Glycemic Load: 0
Inflammation Factor: Mildly anti-inflammatory
It’s 9 pm and you’re getting the those evening snack cravings. You feel like breaking out the nacho chips, but your fitness sense tell you to find something healthy that will carry you through the rest of the evening.
What do you do?
You reach for the cottage cheese.
There’s a good reason that the refrigerators of healthy, fitness conscious-people usually have at least one container of lowfat cottage cheese. It’s one of the most filling “diet” foods you can eat, and it’s loaded with protein and calcium. It’s also extremely versatile, and can serve as a healthy cheese substitute in all kinds of recipes, from dips to enchiladas to lasagna.
But before we talk about all of the uses of cottage cheese, let’s take a look at what it is, how cottage cheese is made, and it’s nutritional profile.
Cottage cheese is basically milk that is curdled by adding an enzyme like rennet or by the addition of edible acids like vinegar or lemon juice. The action of these enzymes and acids cause the milk to clump. After the enzyme or acid is added to the milk and curdling takes place, the liquid whey is drained off and the curds are left. These curds are primarily made up of slow-digesting dairy proteins called casein, which are high in protein and low in fat. When low-fat or skim milk is curdled, you get an even lower fat product than regular cottage cheese.
Although most of the whey is drained off, some still persists. Whey is very fast digesting protein (it is absorbed typically within an hour of consumption), while the casein in the curds can take up to seven hours to digest. This isn’t a bad thing, since there are certain times when you want both types of protein.
Low-fat cottage cheese is nutritionally dense ounce-for-ounce.
A typical half-cup of cottage cheese (113 grams) has:
It also provides about 10% of your daily calcium requirements.
In terms of calories and fat, it’s one of the lowest fat dairy or cheese products you can eat. And because it’s high in protein, it’s an ideal food for people who are trying to add muscle and minimize body fat.
The only downside to cottage cheese is that it is fairly high in sodium. Depending on the brand, a single 113 gram serving has about 16% of your daily recommended intake of sodium, so if you are watching your sodium intake, you may want to opt for one of the lower sodium brands on the market or moderate your consumption.
Low fat cottage cheese is an ideal addition to a healthy diet, especially for people who are prone to evening snacking or who are looking to add additional lean body mass.
Because cottage cheese is made up primarily of slow-digesting casein protein and has very few carbohydrates, it’s an excellent evening or late-night snack. The slow digesting proteins can keep your amino acid levels up during the night, which discourages muscle breakdown during your eight hour sleep “fast.” And because of the high protein content, cottage cheese is very filling — the perfect food to stop that evening craving for junk food dead in its tracks.
In fact, cottage cheese is a great snack no matter what time of the day. It’s a great protein side with that healthy salad at lunch, and makes a good in-between-meal the rest of the day.
Cottage cheese is also an extremely versatile food, and can be a great substitute for higher-fat, higher-calorie cheeses in a number of recipes and dishes.
For example, instead of ricotta cheese in lasagna, try using cottage cheese between those layers of whole grain lasagna noodles. Cottage cheese has a very similar texture to ricotta cheese when melted, and you’ll never know the difference (although your abs will.)
You can also make cottage cheese into a creamy veggie dip or sandwich spread by blending it in a blender with herbs and spices like cumin, thyme, dill or even a packet of ranch dip.
Put a container of low-fat cottage cheese in the blender with the herbs or spices of your choice and pulse until it’s smooth and creamy. Fold in some chopped green onions and a little fresh garlic and you’ll quickly forget that you are eating something that is good for you.
Craving enchiladas, but not the fat and calories? Try mixing a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped green onions, garlic and cumin and use it as a healthy cheese filling in corn tortillas.
Cottage cheese also makes a great, low-fat sour cream substitute heaped on top of baked potatoes.
Finally, don’t rule out dressing up your cottage cheese with other healthy ingredients like almonds, walnuts, chopped pineapple, peaches, strawberries or even blueberries. A bit of honey and cinnamon can also make cottage cheese into a tasty breakfast.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy the health benefits of cottage cheese. There are a number of lactose-free cottage cheese options on the market, including Lactaid Brand Lowfat Cottage Cheese. So eat up without the worries!
First, let’s understand exactly how we are determining “highest protein content” of a given food.
To determine how much protein content a food has, you have to look at the percentage of total protein in relation to the rest of the macro-nutrients in the food (carbohydrates and fats) and things like fiber, water and vitamin and mineral content (yes, vitamins and minerals weigh something — just not very much.)
This will give you the “absolute” percentage of protein in a food and let you compare apples-to-apples … sort of.
Let’s look at a few of foods with reputations for having a high protein content.
In all of these cases, we’ll be using a 50 gram serving or sample of the food to determine its percentage of protein. I’ll also use the raw form of the food, since the amount of water in a food can change its percentage of protein by weight after cooking. The goal here is to keep everything as equal as possible.
I’ve only included one non-animal source of protein (soy isolate), because in general, plant sources of protein don’t rank as high in total protein as animal or seafood/fish sources. So we won’t even bother with them (although they are still good for you.)
The key metric to look at with each of these foods is the percentage of total protein by weight, which is the last figure given for each food.
Eggs are one of those foods that always makes the top five list when it comes to high protein content. Here’s what eggs look like from a nutritional standpoint:
One large, whole raw egg (50 g) has the following nutritional profile:
Protein Percent by Weight: 12%
Chicken breast is a staple of bodybuilding building diets because it’s considered very high in protein. Here’s what a 50 gram serving of chicken breast looks like from a protein perspective:
Protein Percent by Weight: 23%
Lean beef is another food that is considered very high in protein. Here’s what 50 grams of extra lean ground sirloin looks like:
Protein Percent by Weight: 25.8%
Among fish, tuna is one of the highest protein foods:
Protein Percent by Weight: 23.4%
Soy beans, in particular the concentrated powder form, are plant source of protein that also has a reputation for being high in protein:
Protein Percent by Weight: 80%
Finally, let’s take a look at a 100% whey protein powder (I used Iso Pure Whey Protein Isolate for the comparison):
Protein Percent by Weight: 78.6%
Okay, so it looks like you win.
Compared to the eggs, the whey protein has the highest percentage of protein by weight (although technically, the soy isolate has the most.)
But before you declare outright victory, let’s take a closer look at some other factors you need to consider when determining which food really has the highest protein content.
Here’s where things get a little trickier.
First, the whey protein is the highest in protein by weight because all of the water and most of the fat and carbs that are in the liquid dairy whey have been removed through filtering and drying. If you removed the fat and water from the other foods, including the eggs (which have a very high amount of water content), you’d start to see their protein percentages by weight start climb.
So it’s a little unfair to compare a concentrated protein product like whey isolate powder or soy protein isolate to eggs or whole food sources of protein. They will always win out, because they’re more concentrated.
Second, you also need to look at the quality of protein in a food, not just the quantity.
In the past, protein quality was measured using something called biological value (BV.) However, in recent years, nutritionists and scientists have started to use something called the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDAAS). While there are still a few kinks in PDAAS, in general, it’s recognized as the most accurate measurement of overall protein digestibility in foods.
PDAAS uses a 0-1 point scale, with 1.0 being the most digestible protein and zero being the least. You can roughly translate this into a percentage of protein digested. So if eggs have a PDAAS of 1.0 and wheat gluten has 0.25, then 100% of egg protein is absorbed by the body by weight, versus only 25% of the protein in wheat gluten.
Plant sources of protein like wheat gluten, vegetable proteins, and nut proteins usually have the lowest PDAAS and milk, eggs, whey and soybeans have the highest.
Practically speaking, this means that even though a 50 gram serving of extra-lean beef may have more overall protein than the same amount of egg, the actual amount of protein that gets absorbed by the body is very different.
To illustrate this let’s compare beef and eggs. According to the PDAAS, 100% of egg protein is digested by the body, while only 92 percent of the protein in beef is absorbed. So for that 50 gram serving of eggs, 6 grams of protein are actually usable by the body, versus 11.8 grams of the beef’s total 12.9 grams of protein.
If you adjusted the total amount of protein consumed to be equal between the two (disregarding the weight), gram-for-gram your body would utilize more of the egg protein than the beef protein.
What about the whey?
Whey protein isolate is more or less equal to eggs and soy protein in term of protein digestibility. It has a PDAAS of 1.0 — placing it on par with both of those foods. Milk and casein protein also have get a 1.0 score.
This is an important distinction from both a nutrition and economy standpoint — since it’s not how much proteinyou consume that’s important, but how much of that protein your body is able to use that matters.
Also, when making decisions about where to spend your money, knowing the actual efficiency of the protein you are eating can change what you buy.
For example, meat tends to be more expensive than eggs, so you can actually get more overall protein for your money if you buy eggs instead of things like chicken breast or beef. When you do the math, you’ll actually find that whey isolate or concentrate is actually the most cost-effective of all sources of dietary protein.
The biggest issue with this bet is that you are comparing a dehydrated source of protein (powdered whey) against a fully hydrated food (eggs.) This will effect its total percentage of protein and can be misleading. You run into the same issues with meats, since they also contain some water and fat — which the powders don’t have.
If you compare dried eggs to whey, the picture changes. For example, a standard scoop of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder has 24 grams of protein. A scoop of the same amount of ON 100% Egg Protein powder has 22 grams of protein. So it’s almost a wash.
I’m going to call this a draw here, because you are both kind of right.
In terms of whole-food, non-concentrated sources of protein, the highest protein content food gram-for-gram that’s also highly-available to the body would be eggs.
Now, if you included concentrated forms of protein like whey isolate or soy isolate in the mix, the whey and soy win gram-for-gram compared to the whole food source. They have the highest protein content, since their percentage of protein by weight is 78.6 percent and 80 percent respectively, and both are 100% bio-available to the body.
One more note: Even though this comparison showed the soy protein having slightly more protein by weight than the whey, it’s important to understand this will vary from product-to-product. The two are so close, that I would consider whey isolate and soy isolate more or less equal.
So if you simply wanted to bet on which food — eggs or whey powder — had more protein content by weight, then you would win, Josh. But it’s not really a fair comparison and I don’t think that’s what you guys were actually trying to determine here.
Now that you know why, my advice would be to shake hands, split the $25 dollars and go buy some protein.
Healthy, whole foods get a bad rap when it comes to flavor.
“Eating clean” often gets associated with eating “bland” — especially among fitness buffs, bodybuilders and athletes who think that a good “training diet” consists of meal-after-repetitive-meal of oatmeal, boiled chicken breast, yams, steamed broccoli and green side salads with some kind of fat-free liquid on top that calls itself “dressing.”
The good news is that there is actually a simple solution to making clean eating not just tolerable, but enjoyable — and it’s as close as your grocer’s baking isle: Herbs and spices.
Any cook worth their salt knows that a recipe or dish isn’t complete until it’s been seasoned.
“Seasoning” could simply mean adding some salt and ground pepper, but more often than not, it includes the use of all kinds of other herbs or spices to either layer additional flavor on top of a food, enhance or complement an existing flavor, or provide a contrast.
While it’s pretty hard to screw up a dish or recipe by adding the wrong herb or spice, it does pay to know your seasonings ahead of time to avoid some funky combinations that might send that brown rice to your dog’s bowl, versus your plate.
Herbs and spices also have an additional role in healthy, clean eating beyond simply seasoning foods, recipes or dishes.
Nearly all herbs and spices have very high concentrations of healthy phytochemicals and antioxidants. Scientists believe that these naturally-occurring plant compounds work together in the body to protect tissues and cells from damage and may help prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease.
When you combine herbs and spices with other antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, their protective properties may be enhanced even more, similar to The Portfolio Diet approach to cholesterol-reduction observed by researchers like David Jenkins at the University of Toronto.
Just how much antioxidant punch do certain herbs and spice have? Plenty.
In fact, oregano, that ubiquitous herb found in nearly every batch of pizza or spaghetti sauce is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of antioxidants, having four times more antioxidants than blueberries. Just one tablespoon of dried oregano has the antioxidant content of a large apple.
Herbs and spices can also have beneficial medicinal uses, in addition to simply making your food taste better.
For instance, ginger aids digestion and can calm nausea and even alleviate motion sickness. Fennel and juniper berries can help with fat digestion, and cinnamon has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity, helping people better digest sugar. It also may lessen the symptoms of certain inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
So herbs and spices don’t just make your food taste better, they’re good for you as well.
Herbs and spices are derived from plants that have medicinal properties, or flavor or scent qualities.
There are some herbs that are used exclusively for medicinal purposes, but many herbs have both medicinal and culinary uses. Strictly speaking, cooking herbs (also know as “culinary herbs”) are usually either the fresh or dried leaves of certain plants, such as basil, thyme or oregano. Spices are typically made from the seeds, berries, bark or roots of select plants, shrubs or trees, for example cinnamon, nutmeg or fennel.
Herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years to season and preserve food.
Some spices, because of their scarcity or because they needed to be shipped thousands of miles from far-flung corners of the earth, were literally worth their weight in gold and became a kind of currency.
Their ability to make bland foods taste better made them highly prized — especially in Europe – and an entire industry (the spice trade) emerged in the 8th Century to ferry spices from India and Asia back to the continent. It’s estimated that by the Late Middle Ages, nearly 2,000 tons of pepper and other spices were being shipped back to Western Europe each year.
The trick to successfully using herbs and spices in your clean eating diet, cooking and recipes is knowing a little bit about these seasonings, and the foods that they best complement. Over the centuries, certain herbs and spices have come to be associated with different styles of cooking (for example, Italian, Mexican or Asian) groups of foods (poultry, vegetables, rice) and even individual dishes or specific types of meat or vegetables.
The easiest way to start using herbs and spices in your clean eating recipes is to understand the main groupings by style, which will help you choose which seasonings are right for your dishes.
The traditional Italian seasonings are:
Oregano, basil and fresh parsley all go very well with any type of tomato-based pasta sauce. Adding marjoram or rosemary can also give a unique flavor to tomato sauces. With the exception of fennel, almost all of these herbs can also be used as coatings on meats, pork and chicken. They can also be used to season marinades and homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
Use these herbs and spices alone, or together, to bring an Italian flavor to your foods.
The French use a wide-range of seasonings in their dishes, and the actual herbs and spices that you’ll find in French cooking vary greatly from region to region. For example, in the north of France you’ll find seasonings that have more in common with German cooking, and in the south, Italian.
The traditional French seasonings include:
Tarragon goes especially well with chicken and carrots. Thyme, rosemary and sage are also great on poultry and lean cuts of pork. Marjoram is a staple in potato-based soups. Most of these herbs and spices also taste fantastic on steamed veggies and can be used to season oil and vinegar dressings.
Both Oregano and Paprika are very common in Greek and Eastern European dishes. Oregano and garlic are the base for most traditional Greek seasoning mixes, and Paprika finds its way into lots of Eastern European foods, especially the famous “Hungarian Goulash” which is loaded with Paprika. Paprika comes in different “heats” called “sharpness” in the spice industry. Sweet paprika is exactly what the name implies, with “sharp paprika” being hotter and more pungent.
The main seasonings in Mexican cooking are:
All of these seasonings can be used on meats and poultry, in beans and even in rice.
Asian cooking uses a lot of “savory” spices and seasonings that give heat. Again, Asia is a huge continent and there is a lot of variation in seasoning depending on region (for example South East Asia compared to China or Japan.) A typical Asian spice rack would have the following:
If you’ve ever visited Jamaica or the Carribbean, you’ll be familiar with the region’s signature dish: Jerk.
Jerk is a style of barbequing that uses a distinct spice mixture to season all kinds of foods, including chicken, fish, pork, goat (yes, goat), and vegetables.
Jerk seasoning is a combination of herbs and spices, that are common in Caribbean cooking, including:
India was one of the earliest sources of exotic spices. Indian cooking is famous for its curries, which are really just different combinations of spices used to flavor vegetables, rice and meats.
Curries are often family recipes handed down from generation-to-generation. While you can purchase already-blended curries, you can also try making your own by combining the following spices and herbs:
Curries can be used to season all kinds of meats, as well a vegetables and especially rice dishes.
The main ingredient in curry is Turmeric, a spice that has been shown to have extremely high antioxidant properties and the active ingredient in turmeric — Curcumin — is being studied as a possible treatment for a number of diseases, including inflammatory disease and certain types of cancers.
Certain herbs and spices complement or enhance different types of food. Knowing which seasonings go with which foods can help you make the most of herbs and spices in your clean eating diet:
Cleaning up your diet and eating healthier is often just a matter of knowing where to start.
Unfortunately, many people think that a healthy diet is only about removing foods, not adding them in.
This list of the 10 Best Foods to Eat focuses on what you should be eating, not on what you shouldn’t eat.
All of the foods below are nutritionally-dense and are loaded with either antioxidants, lean protein, fiber or heart-healthy fats. In some cases, they’ll have all four.
Even better, most of the foods on this list are low in calories compared to their volume, which means you’ll feel fuller and more satisfied after eating them.
Remember, this list is intended as a starting point — there are tons of other healthy foods out there that could easily have been included. Share your best healthy food choices with us in the comment section below.
Egg whites are one of the most concentrated, easily-absorbed forms of lean protein on the planet.
Low-in-fat, but high in protein, egg whites can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Whip them up into omelets, scrambled eggs or even fold them into your morning oatmeal for a protein booster.
To get some of the health benefits of the egg yolk, without too much additional saturated fat and cholesterol, try using one whole egg with three to four egg whites. Egg whites are not only high in protein, but also riboflavin and micronutrients like selenium which may have anti-cancer properties.
Speaking of breakfast, oatmeal, oats or oat bran are one of the best food choices to start your day off right.
Oatmeal is high in fiber — including the soluble form of fiber than can help sweep cholesterol from the body. It also has plenty of slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates that keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar stable.
Oatmeal is also one of the four foods included in the Portfolio Diet, an approach to eating that has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels as effectively as statin drugs.
Avoid the pre-flavored, pre-packaged instant varieties (although regular instant oatmeal is fine in a pinch) that contain lots of added sugar.
Opt instead for quick oats, old fashioned oats, steel-cut or boxed oat bran. Each of these varieties will have a slightly different texture, so experiment around to see what works for you.
Also, don’t forget that granola is made from oats and makes a great cold breakfast cereal when paired with skim milk. Again, try to choose low-sugar varieties of packaged granola (like Bear Naked Fit) or make your own low-sugar homemade granola at home.
Canned, dried or re-fried, it doesn’t matter, beans are wicked good for you.
Like oatmeal, beans are extremely high in fiber, which keeps you regular and may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Beans are also very versatile and come in a wide range of varieties, all with slightly different textures and flavors.
The best approach is to eat a variety of different beans, including black beans, pintos, kidney beans, cannellini beans and Garbanzos (chickpeas).
Because along with that protein and fiber, beans are also very high in antioxidants, the chemicals which give beans their distinctive color and may help neutralize free radicals that can cause cellular damage in the body. By eating plenty of different colored beans, you are taking advantage of the full spectrum of phytochemicals unique to each variety.
Beans are very versatile and can be added into all kinds of recipes. Including them alongside grain-based foods (like pasta) or rice results in a complete protein. Beans can be added to pasta dishes, rices, soups and even made into salads.
This ancient staple of the Inca Civilization is one of the healthiest grains you can eat.
Not technically a grain, but rather a seed, Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has started to pop up in cookbooks and on restaurant menus, thanks to it’s broader availability in grocery stores. Look for it in the rice or organic/natural food isle at the grocery store or health food store.
An excellent substitute for brown rice, quinoa has a light, fluffy texture that makes it a great base for cold salads and tabbouleh, or as a warm breakfast cereal or a side pilaf.
It’s relatively high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and is one of the only plant-based foods to have all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s available in red, black, white and yellow varieties and there are even quinoa flakes available that make a tasty and creamy breakfast cereal.
Fish has always been a great source of lean protein for people who are fortunate enough to live near water.
However, aside from canned and frozen fish, fresh fish wasn’t widely available to landlubbers until a few decades ago, when improvements in shipping made it possible for even people in Kansas to get fresh fish at the grocer.
What’s so great about fish?
Fish is high in polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids — specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)– a class of healthy fats that research has shown may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. These healthy oils in fish can also improve circulation, discourage blood clots, reduce blood pressure, alleviate some symptoms of acute and chronic inflammatory disease, as well as possibly improve mood.
While fresh fish is preferable, don’t forget about frozen fish as well as canned varieties like salmon, tuna and mackerel which can make it easier and more convenient to include more fish in your diet. Canned fish is higher in sodium, so if that’s a concern go easy on the canned, and opt instead for frozen or fresh.
Almonds other nuts like walnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts consistently make the cut for one of the 10 best foods to eat thanks to their high levels of antioxidants, healthy fats and high mineral levels.
Regular consumption of nuts, especially almonds, has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, certain cancers and possibly Alzheimer’s Disease.
While nuts have a reputation as a “fattening food”, research indicates they may be getting a bum rap. Population studies show that nut eaters tend to weigh less than people who don’t eat nuts, or at least do not cause people to weigh more.
So what gives? Aren’t foods that are high in calories and fat usually a recipe for fat-gain?
Nuts are nutritionally very dense, containing a high-level of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. They are also good sources of fiber, protein and heart and brain-healthy MUFAs.
This makes almonds, walnuts, pecans and other nuts very satisfying, which may cause people to be less prone to overeating later. This effect is even more pronounced if you substitute in almonds and other nuts for nutritionally-empty snacks like potato chips, corn chips or pretzels.
Almonds, walnuts and pecans also consistently rank in lists of high-antioxidant foods. The types of antioxidants very depending on the nut, so including a wide-range of them in your diet can ensure you get the most antioxidant bang for your buck.
Watch out for sodium, however. While a handful of salted almonds every now and then is fine, try to find other ways to include unsalted nuts in your diet, including adding them to salads, granola or oatmeal.
Cruciferous vegetables are a class of vegetables that include things like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale and radishes.
These vegetables make our list of the 10 Best Foods to Eat because they are high in Vitamin C, soluble fiber and numerous nutrients that may have anti-cancer properties, including compounds like diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium.
Research from the University of California – Berkeley has indicated that one of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, 3,3′-Diindolylmethane may have potent anti-cancer properties and suppresses cell proliferation in prostate cancer cells.
These vegetables can be eaten raw with healthy, low-fat dips or in salads. They also are great additions to stir-fry or as stand-alone side-dishes.
Yes, an apple a day might really be able to keep the doctor away. And that’s why they earned a place in the 10 Best Foods to Eat Hall-of-Fame.
Apples are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.
High in fiber — especially soluble fiber and fruit pectins — and also high in antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals, apples are a great daily addition to a healthy, clean eating diet. And because they are portable, they make a great, easy-to-transport snack.
Research indicates that regular apple consumption may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. They also contain phytochemicals such as quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
Even better, they are relatively low in sugar, calories and contain no fat or cholesterol. While apples are great whole, don’t forget that they make an excellent, crispy addition to salads or your morning oatmeal, cold cereal or muesli.
Berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries all make the 10 Best Foods To Eat list because like apples and cruciferous vegetables, they are all extremely high in antioxidants, low in fat, and are good sources of fiber.
Berries are also relatively low in sugars compared to other fruits like bananas, which make them ideal for people who prefer to keep their carbohydrate intake lower.
They also freeze very well, making them a great “fresh” frozen fruit to keep on hand in the freezer to throw into smoothies or on your cereal or oatmeal in the morning.
Last, but not least, are salad greens.
While green leafy vegetables are a great low-calorie source of antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals, those greens can be ruined by slathering them in heavy mayonnaise or cream-based dressings.
Opt instead to dress them with lighter vinegerettes that use cold-pressed healthy oils like olive oil, nut oils or avocado oil. These oils are high in heart-friendly MUFAs, which may actually discourage fat storage and have additional health benefits.
Also, encourage yourself to eat more healthy greens by getting a salad spinner and preparing and bagging your own lettuce at home. Not only will this ensure you always have lots of fresh, crisp salad on hand, but it’s also more economical than buying the pre-bagged stuff at the grocery.
Don’t forget heartier greens like kale and spinach, which can be eaten mixed in green salads, or are great additions to soups. Dark, leafy vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals and can provide a flavor boost to all kinds of soups and dishes.
You’ll get the most nutritional punch by combining the foods from the list above. This is known as a portfolio approach to eating.
By including a wide-range of different sources of antioxidants, healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates, you can “super-charge” your meals and diet.
There is mounting evidence that phytochemicals, micro-nutrients, and certain vitamins and minerals work together in the body to fight disease, maintain energy and regulate key metabolic functions. This is one of the reasons that supplementing with isolated vitamins or antioxidant extracts doesn’t seem to produce the same results in the body that whole food sources do.
So try to include all of these healthy foods into your diet on a regular basis for the best results.
Most kitchen gadgets are purchased on impulse, used once for the novelty of them, and then quickly buried
in a cabinet or drawer. You know that drawer: The land of Misfit Kitchen Gadgets filled with everything from fancy garlic peelers, apple corers, electric can openers to the Miracle Chef veggie chopper.
But one addition to your kitchen which won’t be banished to the gadget cabinet is a good salad spinner.
And if you don’t own one, it’s time to change that. Prepping healthy salads economically and quickly is simple and easy with a good spinner on hand.
The best way to describe a salad spinner is to think of it as a colander inside a bowl that can spin around.
You place chopped salad greens into the inner bowl, rinse them with cold water a few times, drain out the water and then spin the greens around inside the contraption. The centrifugal force of the spinning action sucks the remaining water out of the salad, leaving it dry and crisp.
Salad spinners use a variety of different mechanisms to actually propel the inner bowl around, from simple circular hand-cranks, to plungers, to pull-strings to ratchets. The only real difference between them is how easily they spin, durability, and most of all, which method extracts the most water out of the salad.
The advantage of a good salad spinner is that it allows you to easily wash, drain and crisp large amounts of salad greens.
We all know the health benefits to eating plenty of fresh greens and lettuce, so a salad spinner helps you more easily prepare salads, and keep plenty of greens on hand to throw together dinner or lunch salads across the week.
While pre-packaged salad greens that you buy at the store are convenient, they aren’t particularly economical. So if eating healthier on a budget is a concern for you, it makes sense to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen rinsing and bagging your own salad.
Spinning and crisping your own salad is much more economical than buying the pre-rinsed, pre-bagged salad mixtures you find in the refrigerated produce section. A bag of Dole pre-packaged romaine lettuce can cost up to $4, but you could prepare almost four times that amount of salad yourself at home with a salad spinner, all for the same cost.
The salad will also be fresher, since you won’t be eating soggy greens that sat in a bag for a week. You can also customize your salad blends, adding in baby spinach, leaf lettuce, romaine, kale, whatever.
You’ll also have a tendency to eat more healthy greens and salads, because you’ll always have a bag of pre-rinsed, pre-spun salad on hand in the fridge. And while I can’t quantify the amount of calories you’ll burn spinning salad, I can say that it’s more than if you bought them pre-bagged.
The secret to successfully using a salad spinner is to get the lettuce or greens as dry as possible before bagging it in gallon ziplock bags or a seal-able crisper.
This is where the salad spinner that you choose to buy matters.
The main goal of a good salad spinner is to extract as much water from the lettuce and greens as possible. If the spinner is too flimsy and can’t spin the salad around with enough force to suck the water out, you’re going to end up with a brown, wilted mess within a few days of storage.
Also, the drier the greens, the more easily they will take up the healthy dressings and vinaigrettes you put on them. Water on the leaves repels the oil in the dressing (remember, even healthy oil and water don’t mix), which will interfere with the texture of the dressing and salad.
So drier is always better.
When you shop for the best salad spinner for your needs, get one that is sturdy and free of too many gimmicks like “pull” or “zip” strings that are supposed to spin the inner bowl around. If you choose the right salad spinner the first time, you’ll probably never have to buy another one again.
If you do a survey of the most talked-about and reviewed salad spinners online, you’ll find a handful that seem to always rise to the top. These range from less than $30 to over $100 dollars for gourmet, heavy-duty spinners.
Let’s take a look at the top brands as well as some of the more interesting “upscale” salad spinners out there:
The OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($29.99 – $33.99) consistently ranks at the top of people’s list when it comes to salad spinners. It operates using a “plunge” style button. To spin the salad, you just push down repeatedly on the pump and the salad inside goes ’round and ’round. Not only is it well-constructed, but it also lets you remove the basket, which helps when doing the initial rinses. It’s dishwasher safe as well.
OXO also offers an OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner ($49.99), which is a little more durable and better looking, especially if you want to serve the salad directly out of the spinner. They also have a mini-version of the standard OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($24.99-$27.99) product for spinning herbs or single-portions of salad.
The Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner uses a “pull-cord” to whip the salad around inside. Overall, it does a very good job of getting the greens nice and dry. However, the pull-cord has been known to break after repeated use, which means eventually you may end up replacing this one. However, at $19.99, this is still a good bargain. It comes in two sizes.
Like the others, the Kitchen Aid Fruit and Salad Spinner ($34.99) operates on a plunger. It’s claim to fame is that it has three separate compartments that allow you to wash and spin more than one item. Online reviews of the product are mixed — and it seems like the cons of this salad spinner outweigh the pros. Reports of broken plungers are common and the most frequent gripe is around the difficulty of cleaning the salad spinner due to it’s design.
The Softworks Salad Spinner ($29.99- $37.50) is another “plunger” type salad spinner that gets great overall reviews from it’s users. It basically has all of the features of the OXO product, at a comparable price point.
Okay, if you are really into salads and salad spinning, the Eruodib Professional Salad Spinner ($138.50) or Dynamic 5 Gallon Commercial Salad Spinner ($119) might be the one for you. It’s a crank type salad spinner, but it lets you do up to two gallons of greens or salad. Probably over-kill for most people and it’s not particularly easy to store, but it is industrial-strength.
It does, however, have to be hand-washed and dried. Only for the biggest salad freaks … or aspiring chefs.
Rubber Maid used to make a popular salad spinner, but has since discontinued the product. If you hunt around enough, you may still be able to find one online at close-out stores or on ebay.
If manual labor isn’t your gig and you are simply an electronics freak, there is an electronic salad spinner available.
It’s called the Dynamic EM98 Commercial Electric Salad Spinner With Stabilizer Base.
Yeah, I know — very original, sexy name. The EM98 Electric Salad Spinner seems to be the only one out there, which may explain why it costs over $500.
It will let you do up to five gallons of salad, but unless you are planning on opening up your own salad bar or get off on having really expensive professional-grade kitchen equipment around to impress friends and co-workers, you’ll probably want to pass on this one.
In one of the more strange twists to writing this salad spinner review, I stumbled upon a little known, potentially untapped market for salad spinners: camouflage colored salad spinners.
Yep, you heard that right. Camouflage.
Everyday online there are at least eight people who type the words “camouflage salad spinner” into Google, Yahoo or MSN. Could there really be such a thing? And for what purpose? I tried to find this elusive camouflage salad spinner, but by the 20th page of Google results came up dry.
If such a thing exists, I’d love to see it. Otherwise, the product development team at OXO might have a new market opportunity on its hands.
Had to throw this one in because it was just too bizarre not to.
You can buy salad spinners at places like Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond or online at Amazon.com, which seems to have the largest selection of salad spinners on the planet – almost a hundred in all by my count.
Again, prices will vary, but you should be able to get a solid salad spinner for under $30 bucks. Expect to pay considerably more if you want to go for the “limousine” versions like the Dynamic EM98 Commercial Electric Salad Spinner With Stabilizer Base.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your salad spinner:
We’re all busy, so making healthy choices with the many activities that stake claims to our time can be a challenge.
We’re told to exercise, get enough sleep, eat healthy and minimize stress. With all the responsibilities we have, attempting to do all that can be daunting, but it can be done. The trick to conquering these key areas of health is to focus on one area at a time. Right now, we’re going to focus on healthy eating — specifically, building a healthy “starter” pantry specifically for people who are busy because of family, career or both.
A proper diet plays a vital role in preventing a host of issues, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Healthy eating can also give you more energy and help to keep your body strong, so that you don’t get sick as often or for as long. But, in order to eat healthy, you need to have the right food available when you prepare meals — which is why stocking a healthy pantry is so important.
While there are many foods that are essential to a healthy diet, there are a few healthy pantry staples that you should keep on hand as the cornerstones of your meals. Here are the top five items I keep stocked in my “healthy eating pantry” (and refrigerator!)
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use. It is very high in monounsaturated fat and has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels. According to some researchers, it might have even more heart healthy benefits than regular olive oil. So, try to substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter or margarine.
Beans provide a multitude of nutrients and antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol, fight infections and diseases and may even lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Beans are also a great, low fat food that contain no cholesterol, little fat (except soybeans which are high in unsaturated fat) and have a low glycemic index. That makes beans a great choice if you are diabetic or trying to lose weight. So, try incorporating beans into your meals. Not only are they tasty, but they are also very filling. And because dried beans have a long shelf-life, there’s no excuse for not keeping some around in your healthy pantry!
Whole grains are a better source of fiber than refined grains, because their bran and germ haven’t been removed. Millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, and quinoa are some wonderful grains that are low in fat, high in protein and fiber and full of vitamins and minerals. So, eat brown rice instead of white rice and go for whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
Teas come in many varieties, but the true teas all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The most popular of these include white, green, oolong and black teas. These teas are full of potent antioxidants that may help prevent certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and impaired immune function. As an ultra low calorie drink, usually between 0-3 calories a cup, they are also a great substitute for sodas, coffee and energy drinks. As long as you don’t load them up with milk and sugar, they are a much healthier alternative.
Okay, you’re not literally going to keep most fruits and vegetables in your healthy pantry (except maybe the dried ones), but fruits and vegetables are an important part of every meal. They are a great source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are also high in fiber, low in calories, full of vitamins and minerals and very filling. So, definitely keep some around and incorporate them into all your meals.
Diet plays such an important role in overall health. Unfortunately, our lives are ultra busy with work, family duties or both. Often we just eat whatever we have in the house. That’s why it is so important to keep these healthy items stocked in your healthy pantry. If you don’t have them, you will eat other less healthy items. So, make sure your kitchen is packed with the necessary items to help you to eat healthy. Your body will thank you for it!
In the drug store, the pills come in many types: Fish oil, krill oil, and general omega-3 supplements. While there are many names and types of omega-3 supplements, many are often left wondering if these purchases are right for them.
Several years ago, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied omega-3's in a population of at-risk cardiovascular patients. Any link between taking thesesupplements and several common health problems, such as heart health issues and strokes were de-bunked.
Without severe health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, omega-3's are known to improve bad cholesterol in adults, as well as potentially aid in weight loss. Although there are many who say there is no health link between taking omega-3 supplements and more healthy living, the evidence seems to suggest that there might be a slight health benefit to taking these for the mostly healthy.
The key to maximizing the benefits of omega-3 supplements is taking the type that is most absorbable in the body.
Fish oil supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, and aren't always the easiest or most efficient for the body to process. This could decrease their efficacy, and indeed lead to a placebo effect, if any. Krill oil came on the market soon after fish oil, and may have the same processing issues.
It's always best to consult with a doctor or nutritionist before adding a supplement into your daily routine. Even if you think you need omega-3 supplements, it's always advantageous to know what certain levels are in your body.
If you're going to take a supplement without medical advice, however, fish oil, krill oil, or other omega-3's will be either harmless or slightly advantageous.
In moderate amounts, of course, these supplements can't hurt you! There is evidence, however, that high doses of fish oil can be disadvantageous to your bodily systems and levels.
Importantly, those with metabolic syndrome are likely to have symptoms of heart disease and diabetes. Triglycerides and bad cholesterol have been significantly decreased in recent fish oil supplement studies for those with this health issue.
The key difference here? The fish oil supplements had an added element: Olive oil. For overweight men in a different study, eating salmon (which is high in fatty acids such as omega-3's) and supplementing with fish oil pills has been shown to increase insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is key to preventing the symptoms and problems associated with diabetes, especially Type II diabetes.
Although the medical research is neutral or varied at best, and not encouraging at worst, omega-3's remain some of the most purchased and opined upon supplements on the market.
Those who claim it helps in the treatment of cancers will be disappointed: There is absolutely no hard evidence to support that fact.
In fact, for men that suffer from prostate cancer, an increased concentration of omega-3's in the blood has been found in many cases.
Although there are likely few correlations or causations for these facts, you may run across "fish oil causes cancer" articles when researching omega-3 supplements. These aren't supported by scientific fact, but neither are claims that fish oil or other sources of omega-3's decrease one's risk of any cancers.
For all the back and forth, omega-3's themselves are important to have in the body and blood. The most effective way of getting omega-3's into the body is through whole foods.
The fatty acids in foods like salmon are easily absorbed by the body, and are an excellent source of omega-3.
You can also find this compound in nuts and seeds. For those who follow a Mediterranean style diet, omega-3 consumption should come fairly naturally.
Especially because these supplements are not regularly evaluated or regulated by the FDA, it's best to be skeptical of health claims about and ingredients in over the counter fish and krill oil supplements.
The age of the supplement and its oxidation level can impact the quality of the lipids within. Oxidated or expired supplements might contain potentially dangerous lipid compounds, and could have adverse health effects.
It's important to work with a nutritionist or doctor when trying to balance the body's levels, eat right, and increase your overall health -- especially as we age. While omega-3 supplements may help some, their efficacy could be overrated. It's best to get these compounds from the foods you eat, and to maintain a balanced diet overall. Here's to your health!
Believe it or not, completely flawless skin is nowhere near as difficult to pull off as a lot of people are led to believe it to be.
In fact, you might not even have to use any weirdo (or expensive) skin care products to get the kind of blemish free and crystal clear complexion you’re after – especially if you focus on all of the inside information we’re able to share with you below.
Yes, this might sound a little crazy at first.
We get that.
All of the major cosmetic companies hammer you with advertising and marketing that tricks you into thinking that perfect skin is impossible without their products.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
All you have to do is corral your daily diet, add a couple of tasty (and inexpensive) super foods we outline below, and you’ll soon have the kind of super smooth and blemish free skin you’ve always wanted – all without any real extra effort whatsoever.
Salmon has always been regarded as a bit of a super food when it comes to protein sources, and folks looking to lose weight (and keep it off forever)
have been turning to salmon for some time now.
But salmon also has the ability to really improve your skin, all be adding essential oils, vitamins, and minerals into your body that are used to fuel the healthy regeneration of your skin.
Both of these vegetables are flooded with Vitamin A, a compound that is a major building block for healthy skin cells.
By adding more of these veggies to your diet you’ll be able to improve the health of your skin, build new healthy skin layers faster, and recover from blemishes with lightning like speed!
Not only will you feel a lot more energetic when you eat watermelon and mango in the morning, but you’ll also push more carotenoids into your body in the process.
This is going to protect you from UV light (the sun), help you repair wrinkled and aging skin a lot faster, and generally make your skin glow without any chemical compounds required.
Nature’s powerhouse aphrodisiac, oysters also have the ability to improve your skin dramatically – almost overnight!
High in zinc (more zinc per serving than almost any other food, for that matter), you’ll give your skin and hair everything it needs to look amazing. This is going to improve your skin health, make your hair shinier and longer, and even out your skins moisturizing levels as well.
Say goodbye to acne!
Dark chocolate has a tremendous amount of health boosting properties, and it is a powerful weight loss aid for folks that are looking to get in better shape in a hurry.
But what a lot of people don’t know is that they’re also able to improve their skin with dark chocolate as well. Flavanols in chocolate improve skin cell regeneration rates, which means your dead skin cells slough off all on their own to give you a beautiful glow (and top layer of healthy skin) every day!
many doctors and organizations around the world do believe today that there are Foods that can help cure diabetes and diabetics are advised to consume those kind of foods that can alleviate/reverse their condition for a better healthier life.
Here is our pick for
Avocados have a lot of health advantages for diabetics. Richly packed with amazing quantities of monosaturated fats, avocados decelerate digestion and thus prevent the usual spiking of blood sugar levels after meals. For an appetizing daily dose, many top nutritionists advise you to put mashed avocados on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or butter.
Apples, just like the time-honored adage goes, have a magic way of keeping the doctor away. These legendary fruits are singularly great for diabetics as they blunt blood sugar swings and eradicate excess cholesterol.
By the same token, apples contain a host of wholesome antioxidants that slow down several diabetes symptoms. In fact, taking an apple each day is a fantastic way to meet the customary meal-time fruit requirement and kick diabetes out of your body at the same time.
Individuals battling diabetes are advised to eat beans at least twice a week. The soluble fiber in nearly all types of beans puts a tight lid on high blood sugar levels. Given the fact that beans are also a principal source of protein, they may even take the place of meat in main meals. Credible clinical studies have shown that regular consumption of beans slows down diabetes and its accompanying symptoms.
Replacing white rice with barley reduces after-meal spiking of blood sugar levels by a whopping 70%. As such, eating regular amounts of barley lowers and steadies sugar levels for many hours.
This is majorly because its high fiber content and other useful compounds slow down both digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
Nonetheless, the truth that barley alleviates diabetes is not an endorsement for the consumption of beers or any other alcoholic beverages that have barley as one of their ingredients.
Berries are colorful, sweet, and satisfying to all, and essentially helpful for individuals who have blood sugar problems. Berries fight diabetes and its manifestations due to the fact they are rich in natural fiber and some vital antioxidants. The essential compounds in berries include anthocyanins which accelerate the production of insulin.
Despite being an excellent diabetes cure and are in the of the list of foods that can help cure diabetes.
berries also counteract several cardiovascular complications to which people with diabetes are mainly predisposed. According American Diabetes Association, people who frequently eat berries report near-nil blood sugar issues throughout their lives.
Unlike the popular myth that beef is not good for people with diabetes, leading medics maintain that it greatly alleviates the condition. However, they prescribe that you pick the leanest cuts and eat beef moderately. Full of protein, beef helps you keep your muscle mass intact and lifts your metabolic rate. Nevertheless, you are not supposed to eat beef more than twice a week. Again, remember to boil instead of frying your delicious beef cut.
Many of the vegetables below can be juiced and you might want to look at these Masticating juicers for some of the best options on the market.
While you may have heard the false claims that carrots increase one’s blood sugar level, the truth is that they help suppress it. Although it’s undeniable that carrots indeed contain some sugar, the quantities are too low to trigger any meaningful health concerns.
What many people may not know about carrots is that they have ample amounts of beta carotene – a natural compound that is universally linked to reduced risks of diabetes. For the best results, experts advise diabetic patients to eat raw carrots rather than cooked ones.
This is because uncooked carrots have higher percentages of essential natural components that combat diabetes and its health-related signs.
Besides being full of rare antioxidants, broccoli is also filling and fibrous. Chromium is just one of the numerous broccoli components that play a vital role in long-term sugar control. Although some individuals may brave the unsavory taste of uncooked broccoli, others find it quite unpleasant even when cooked. If you don’t like this food, you may “hide” it in pasta dishes and casseroles. Whether raw or cooked, broccoli remains one of the most acclaimed natural panaceas for diabetes out there.
While both chicken and turkey meats can be high-fat no-go zones, choosing the leanest cuts and meticulous preparation makes them an absolutely healthy fare. As you do the selection, note that breast chicken/turkey meat is leaner than drumsticks and thighs.
If chosen well, these low-calorie meats are a fantastic source of proteins to maintain your muscle mass and boost your metabolic rate – two great ways to beat diabetes and its major symptoms.
Diabetes and cardiovascular complications are variously interconnected. In fact, heart disease is the deadliest complication associated with blood sugar imbalances. However, eating fish at least two times in a week reduces heart-related complications by more than 40%. The wonderful fatty acids and antioxidants in fish are a perfect diabetes cure, with absolutely no accompanying risks.
You will hardly go wrong with nuts if you have diabetes. First, its copious fiber content is a great plus as it slows down digestion and absorption. This reduces the dangerous shooting of sugar levels immediately after eating. While most nuts contain fat, it’s the healthy monosaturated type that fights diabetes symptoms and poses no harm at all. To make them more palatable, you may roast your routine bite of nuts.
Olive oil has been likened to liquid gold, with several anti-inflammatory components that renowned researchers compare to those of aspirin. For many decades, olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. Particularly, olive oil combats inflammation, slows down diabetes, and reverses insulin resistance. According to the British Diabetic Association (British Diabetic Association (November 2009).
Festive Foods and Easy Entertaining. British Diabetic Association. ISBN 9781899288878.), olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean Diet – a profoundly helpful lifestyle associated with near-zero cases of diabetes. As such, a regular touch of olive oil twice every week will counter blood sugar complications and the associated symptoms.
More and more people are waking up to the powerhouse health boosting benefits of coconut oil, and frankly, it’s about time!
Considered to be one of the true “super foods” out there on our planet today, this oil has the potential to completely transform your life.
Sounds too good to be true?
Like marketing hype?
Like everything you’ve ever heard about all the “latest and greatest” health boosting fads before?
Maybe. But unlike those other products, coconut oil actually is the real deal, and you’d have to be a little bit crazy not to take advantage of all the scientifically proven benefits it brings to the table.
Let’s dive into some of the benefits right now!
Believe it or not, coconut oil actual has the ability to speed up the healing process of the human body – and sometimes dramatically so.
Because it is a powerful source of saturated fats (good fats) and tons of medium chain triglycerides, you’ll be able to flood your body with plenty of easily absorbable fuel to speed up natural health processes.
Cuts and burns health faster, you’ll fight back against infections sooner, and you’ll generally be able to enjoy much better overall health across the board.
It doesn’t get much better than that!
Millions and millions of people all over the world are waking up to the real health epidemic that is obesity. People are getting heavier and heavier on a daily basis, and now we fully understand just how dangerous this lifestyle can be.
Thankfully though, with the help of coconut oil, you’ll be able to speed up your weight loss journey significantly when you start supplementing with this substance.
Because of the natural compounds found in this oil you’ll kick your metabolism into high gear. You’ll crank up your fat burning furnace, literally turning you into a fat melting machine almost overnight – and best of all, you won’t have to do anything else to see these weight loss results.
Sure, your weight loss results will be even better if you supplement using coconut oil with a proper weight loss plan and workout program. But coconut oil on its own will help you lose weight, too!
When the fatty acids included in coconut oil are digested they actively work to fight back against hunger.
This is going to kill off hunger pains immediately, help you feel full faster, and on top of that, you’ll find that your desire to eat heavier and calorie loaded meals fades almost completely.
This is effortless portion control all day long, a big piece of the weight loss puzzle. And when you’re able to kick overeating to the curb you’re able to control your weight – and that’s when magical things start to happen health wise.
At the end of the day, you’d have to be at least a little bit crazy to even think about skipping out on all the health boosting benefits coconut oil has to offer!
What Is Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) And Where Does This Mysterious Vegetable Protein Come From? We Unlock The Secrets of This Common High-Protein Food Ingredient
Textured vegetable protein is generally used as either a meat substitute or meat extender. It’s actually not made out of vegetables like carrots, broccoli or corn, but from soybeans. So technically, the term “textured soy protein” more accurately describes TVP.
Textured vegetable protein is made out of defatted soybean flour, which is a bi-product of the process of making soybean oil. The defatted soybean flour is mixed with water and formed into a dough, and then pushed through an “extruder” where it is heated and emerges as a spongy, fibrous food.
The TVP is then sliced into different size and shapes depending on what type of meat it’s intended to substitute for.
Textured vegetable protein is very versatile in terms of shaping and texturizing, so it can be cut in a way that produces a texture and characteristics that mimic of a number of cuts of meat, include ground beef, bacon or beef strips, steaks, cubes, chunks and even flakes or granules.
Textured vegetable protein, not surprisingly, is very high in protein, low in fat and relatively low in carboydrates. It is also considered one of the few non-animal based sources of complete proteins.
The actual protein content of TVP depends on the type of soy flour used to produce it. When made from standard soy flour, it contains about 50% soy protein by volume. However, if soy protein concentrate is used to create the TVP, protein content climbs to about 70%.
In terms of it’s characteristics, textured vegetable protein tends to maintain its spongy, meat-like texture even after heating. It cooks quickly, and similar to tofu, has very little flavor of it’s own. This actually makes it ideal for use as a meat substitute, because TVP tends to take on the flavors of other foods and seasonings that you add to it.
As I mentioned earlier, TVP can be used on it’s own to create vegan or vegetarian meatless dishes at home, but it’s most commonly found as the main ingredient in pre-prepared meatless foods like Boca Burgers, meatless breakfast sausage or chicken patties, or meatless ground “beef” like you find in the frozen food section.
Textured vegetable protein also finds its way into dry mixes for things like veggie burgers, and may appear in small amounts in non-vegetarian prepared foods as a meat extender or as a way to boost the protein content of a food.
In fact, anyone who had the pleasure of eating that monstrosity of a “meat” product called the “hamburger” in the high school cafeteria probably got a taste of the wonders of TVP as a meat extender.
The U.S. government and its vast network of food contractors is one of the biggest buyers of textured soy/vegetable protein, using it to boost the protein content and lower the price of beef in school lunches, meals for the military, as well as to feed prisoners.
Prisons love TVP because it’s a cheap source of protein, although the prisoners themselves probably aren’t so keen on it. The government also loves TVP because it gives them something to do with all of those surplus soy beans that result from federal farm subsidies.
Again, textured vegetable protein itself has a fairly neutral flavor. On its own, it doesn’t taste like meat like beef, lamb or chicken — it just has a similar texture to those foods. To get a similar flavor, you have to try some seasoning tricks.
The palatability of TVP really depends on how you flavor TVP, whether that is by the manufacturer or at home yourself.
In dishes with a lot of additional, flavorful ingredients such as chili, goulash, tacos or spaghetti sauces, textured vegetable protein actually can be pretty good stand-in for more expensive, fattier meats like ground beef. TVP tends to soak up the flavors in these dishes, and really just provides a meaty texture to the food.
If you are buying dehydrated TVP in bulk and trying to make your own meatless dishes at home, you’ll want to flavor the TVP by combining it with herbs or spices, seasoning mixes or packets or even things like onions, garlic, soy sauce or eggs (if you aren’t a vegetarian, of course.)
Texture vegetable protein has come a long way over the past four decades as a main ingredient in meatless food like meatless bacon or beef strips or meatless chicken patties from manufacturers like MorningStar Farms or Boca.
Many of the meatless products now available in the frozen section of the grocery taste surprisingly good — especially compared to the first generation of meatless foods that began to hit shelves in the ’70s. From a nutritional standpoint, they are considered healthy, primarily because they are high in protein and very low in cholesterol and fat — especially saturated fat.
Soy protein is also one of the four foods that Dr. David J.A. Jenkins of the University of Toronto recommends as part of his Portfolio Diet approach to naturally lowering serum cholesterol levels without the use of Statin drugs. Meatless foods are often one of the main sources of these soy proteins for people on The Portfolio Diet.
While clearly there are health benefits to substituting something like TVP for higher-fat sources of protein like beef, there is a fair amount of debate around how much soy protein a person should be including in their diet.
In 1998, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) granted a health claim that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Twenty five grams of soy protein is about four glasses of soy milk, three MorningStar Farms Chik Patties or about 1/2 cup (50 grams) of dried TVP.
However, a 2006 study by the American Heart Association and published in the journal Circulation challenged this health claim.
The review took a look at a decades worth of research around soy protein consumption and heart disease and anti-cancer claims and found that soy isoflavones did not reduce “hot flashes” in post-menopausal women and did not reduce the risk of certain cancers, as previously claimed. Based on this, the study recommended that women not supplement with soy isoflavones.
However, the review did state that including non-supplemental sources of soy protein, such as soy burgers, butters, tofu or soy nuts could be beneficial to cardiovascular health, especially when substituted for higher-fat and higher-cholesterol foods.
Soy protein, especially soy protein isolates, are also high in two estrogenic compounds: genistein and daidzein.
This has led to some speculation that it could actually raise estrogen levels in humans, perhaps increasing the risk of certain estrogen-related cancers in women or reducing testosterone levels in men.
However, even here, the research around estrogenic effects of soy protein in men and women is conflicting.
Most of the research to-date around estrogenic effects of soy protein in males has focused on supplementationwith soy protein — not necessarily the inclusion of food sources of soy protein like TVP. One study found soy supplementation decreased testosterone levels in men by 4%, while another study from the Nutrition/Endocrinology Division of the Miami Research Associates found no decrease in testosterone.
So the debate continues.
Some people also may have or develop allergies to soy products, including TVP.
Next to peanuts, soy is rated the second-most allergenic food to humans and some people find TVP difficult to digest. In those individuals, it may cause gas or bloating, and in some people, more serious reactions similar to peanut allergies. So if you experience any of these side-effects, you might want to find another source of meatless protein.
Many vegans and vegetarians rely on TVP as a major source for non-amimal based dietary protein.
Because vegetarianism is closely tied with “health” and “health food” or “healthy eating”, TVP has by association been often classified as a “health food” — making its way into the bulk isle at natural food stores.
Yet, textured vegetable protein strictly speaking doesn’t really qualify as a “whole food” — since it’s created through a fairly elaborate industrial process. For this reason, whether TVP is truly a “clean eating” food is questionable. TVP doesn’t grow in the field, it has to be produced in a factory.
For this reason, many vegetarians or even omnivores who are trying to practice a clean eating-style diet will choose less processed, more whole food sources of soy protein — things like edamame, tofu or tempeh.
That said, a few Boca burgers here and there — especially in place of less lean cuts of meat — can support a healthy, clean diet. As always, moderation is the key. Living off from meatless chicken patties probably isn’t a good idea, but eating a few of them during the week is certainly preferable to downing an Quarter-Pounder with Cheese.
A 1/4 cup dry serving of textured vegetable protein or TVP has:
You can usually buy textured vegetable protein in bulk at health food stores like Whole Foods, or prepackaged at many grocery stores. You can also buy bulk and organic TVP online at Amazon.com.
A complete protein is a protein source that contains all eight essential amino acids in the sufficient proportions to support normal biological functions. In adults, the eight essential amino acids are:
These amino acids are called “essential” because the body cannot make them, so they have to be supplied through diet. Recently, histadine has been added to this list as well, as scientists discovered that adults cannot synthesize it.
Incomplete proteins are proteins that lack one or more of the eight essential amino acids. Most plant-based proteins will meet the criteria for an incomplete protein, while animal-based foods are considered the primary sources of complete protein.
The most common examples of complete proteins are foods that come from animals. These sources of protein include things like:
When you consume these foods, you take in all eight essential amino acids in a single food source. There is generally no need for additional amino acid supplementation.
There are only a handful of plant-sources of protein that provide all eight amino acids in the necessary proportions to qualify as a ”complete protein.” These sources of complete protein include:
Most people who eat a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods typically do not have to worry about whether they are consuming complete proteins — the variety in their diet will typically take care of that naturally.
In terms of complete proteins for vegetarians, conventional wisdom has stressed protein combining of certain foods together in the same meal to ensure that a person is receiving adequate amounts of all eight essential amino acids. Examples of complete protein food combinations include consuming beans and rice in the same meal or eating corn and wheat together.
The idea here is to combine a food that is lacking in one or more amino acids with another food that contains those missing essential amino acids. In doing so, you create a complete protein.
However, recent research has indicated that it may not be necessary to consume complementary proteins in the same meal. A small amount of amino acids are ”pooled” by the body – so for most moderately active people eating a variety of plant-based proteins across the day should suffice. For very active people, athletes or even fitness buffs who are trying to add lean mass, protein combining may be more desireable.
While protein combining may be unnecessary for the average vegetarian, there are some exceptions: If a person is on a vegetarian diet that is heavily dependent on fruit, tubers or is high in junk food, they may not be consuming sufficient amounts of essential amino acids. In these cases, diet modification may be necessary.
While protein deficiency in vegetarians is generally rare — especially for people of average activity levels –vegetarian or vegan athletes may need to pay extra attention to the amount of protein they consume, even if the protein combinations are less important.
Because protein requirements are typically higher in athletes or very active individuals in general (regardless of their type of diet), if you are focusing on building additional lean tissue, you may need to up your protein slightly on a plant-based diet to ensure recovery, muscle growth and support the added demands of your sport or physical activities.
Many plant-based sources of protein such as certain types of beans, pluses and grains (for example wheat) are not as easily digested as animal-sources of protein, so you may require a slightly higher RDA of protein versus a person who includes meat, eggs, milk or seafood in their diet.
Even this is a bit controversial, since scientists continue to debate whether the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) accurately measures true protein digestibility in humans – especially since there are a number of variables that can influence how much protein from a food is absorbed by your body (including cooking methods, other foods consumed alongside it, your age and even flora and fauna in the gut.)
While the USDA and World Health Organization (WHO) does not differentiate between athletes and non-athletes when it comes to recommended daily allowances for protein, a good rule of thumb for endurance and strength athletes in good health is to have a protein intake of around 10 – 20% of your total calories.
Recommended ranges are typically out 1.4 – 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight per day, or roughly 150 grams of protein for a 180 lb male, or about 110 grams of protein for a 130 lb female.
Depending on the type of vegetarianism that you follow, you may already be consuming plenty of sources of complete proteins.
Lacto-Ovo vegetarians who eat eggs and/or dairy products should have few concerns about complete proteins. Vegetarians who only eat plants probably have little to worry about, but there are many vegetarian athletes and body builders who choose to protein combine just to be safe.
Whether this is necessary is open to debate. The belief among these individuals is that protein combining may give them a performance and recovery edge — especially immediately following weight training when complete proteins may be more vital to recovery and growth. There is very little direct clinical research around this, however.
The research that does exist has looked not specifically at protein combining in vegetarian athletes, but rather at the use of sources of complete protein — typically whey and/or casein protein from diary products — as a post-workout recovery meal. In these cases, individuals consuming this combination of protein and carbohydrates have shown increases in lean body mass over those who consumed only whey or carbohydrates.
The reasons for this are still open to interpretation. It may be simply that whey protein is quickly digested by the body, making it more readily available for recovery. Or it may be that consuming a complete protein itself assists with protein synthesis. More than likely, it is a combination of the two.
If muscle building on a vegetarian diet is one of your goals, go ahead and protein combine — especially immediately following your workouts. It won’t hurt, and may possibly help. While this is a bit easier and more convenient for Lacto-Ovo vegetarians, if you are on a strictly plant-based diet, you can always try soy protein isolates or grains like quinoa.
Lets start with saying that - Fast Weight Loss Is An Illusion
I’m not naive enough to believe that there aren’t crash diet techniques (which are very popular among anorexics, by the way) or pills out there that could cause you to drop another five pounds of scale weight in the next day or two.
But remember, that fast weight loss is an illusion. And it’s a very short-lived one at that.
These types of crash diets result in weight loss because they cause you to lose water or cut your food intake back to the point that you lose several pounds simply because you don’t have the weight associated with food running through your digestive system. Eat a meal, or drink some fluids and you’ll watch the scale weight bounce back up again within hours.
Think of it this way: Maybe you lost three or four pounds for the plane ride — but no one sees you in a bikini in coach (or First-Class, for that matter.) Hit the ground, have a couple of cocktails and a bucket of shrimp and you’ll be right back to the scale weight you are today. And that’s not going to do anything for your beach body. Trust me on this one.
And before you think about just starving yourself through your vacation, I want you to consider something else: Extreme, rapid weight-loss can be dangerous.
Radically-restricting your food, taking diet pills, using chemical laxatives, or fasting can cause serious electrolyte disruptions, which can lead to a host of acute health problems, including sudden cardiac arrest.
Fasting can also result in abnormal blood sugar levels and hypoglycemia, a condition when your blood sugar levels drop too low from a lack of carbohydrates. This can make you dizzy, disoriented, foggy-headed and ultimately, blow your vacation or put you in a Banana Republic hospital.
Finally, crash dieting is counter-productive because the extreme calorie deficits that these diets place you in cause your body to start feeding on its own lean tissue for energy.
The result is that you lose muscle, and end up flabbier than when you started. Even worse, when you lose muscle, you lose tissue that consumes calories even at rest. So you could be actually setting yourself back by crash dieting.
My advice would be to quit focusing on the weight you might lose in the next day or two, and instead focus on what you’ve accomplished over the last 30 days.
I do have some concerns that you focused so much on cardio and calorie-restriction, but I’ll trust that you know better and have read all of the reasons why you need to eat and exercise to build muscle and burn fat, and not just do endless bouts of cardio in an effort to lose scale weight.
Instead of fretting over those last couple of pounds, enjoy your vacation and try to find some ways to keep healthy and fit while you’re there. For example:
Above all, just relax, enjoy life and come back healthier, happier and charged up.
When get back, if you still want to lose a few more pounds of fat the right way, you can try these healthier, longer-term tactics for breaking a weight loss plateau. Until then, just have fun on your vacation.
If you take this approach, verses stressing yourself out over numbers on a scale, you might actually find yourself coming back from your vacation in much better shape than you left.
And isn’t that the whole point?
Navigating the sometimes contradictory research and information around dietary fat can make a person’s head spin. Should I eat more fat? Less fat? A different kind of fat? Here are the five most common myths around dietary fat:
Eating more calories than you burn makes you gain fat.
Whether those excess calories come from protein, carbohydrates or dietary fat, any calories that you eat above your daily energy requirements will get stored away as body fat.
The issue with dietary fat is that it’s extremely calorie dense, meaning that it contains more calories per gram than other macro-nutrients like protein or carbohydrates. This means that gram-for-gram, foods with a higher fat content contain more calories (9 calories per gram of fat versus 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates and protein.)
So if you aren’t careful, you can end up eating more calories in foods with higher fat content, even though you are eating the same amount of food.
Many pre-packaged foods that are marketed as low-fat and fat-free are extremely high in sugar, as well as preservatives and additives.
Why? Because when food manufacturers remove the dietary fat to make low-fat or fat-free foods, the foods themselves lose much of their flavor and texture. To make up for the bland taste, they load them up with sugar, as well as add fillers or fat-substitutes to improve the “mouth-feel” of the food.
Also, because people are in the mindset that “fat-free” means “low calorie” (it doesn’t), people tend to over-eat on fat free foods.
When people think they are eating healthier, less calorie-dense foods, they allow themselves to eat more of those foods. The problem is that most fat-free foods – because of the higher sugar content – are still high in calories. So while you may be reducing your calories from fat, you are not necessarily reducing your overall calories. In fact, you may be increasing them.
Wrong again. The fat-free craze that started in the 80s resulted in most people lumping all fats together under the term “bad.” But research over the past decade has indicated that not all fats are created equally.
For example, fish is high in polyunsaturated Omega 3 fatty acids, which may be beneficial for heart and cardiovascular health. Research indicates that this particular type of “healthy” fat can decrease the risk of coronary artery disease, as well as lower blood pressure.
There is also mounting evidence that Omega 3 fatty acids may help keep the brain healthy as well, acting as a mild anti-depressant, improving mood, memory and concentration and decreasing the risk of certain brain diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
These healthy fats also seem to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen and aspirin, without the possible side-effects.
Lowering dietary fat consumption can help people lose fat when dieting, but this is usually because reducing fat consumption also reduces calories (remember that fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrates and protein.)
However, if you are substituting pre-packaged fat-free or lower-fat foods into your diet — instead of foods that are naturally low-in-fat like vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources – you may actually find yourself gaining weight because of the high sugar content in store-bought fat-free foods.
Pre-packaged fat-free foods are also frequently high in processed carbohydrates, which combined with the sugar, can spike blood sugar levels. Frequent spikes in blood sugar can cause hunger later in the day (which can spur over-eating), sap energy levels and encourage (gasp) the body to store excess sugars as body fat. There is also evidence that diets high in processed carbohydrates and sugar can speed the onset of Type 2 diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
Ironically, because the fat has been removed from these foods, the impact on blood sugar is even more pronounced than if the fat had been left in. Dietary fat, because it takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, lowers the glycemic load of carbohydrates on the body, which in turn can actually stabilize blood sugar levels. So while pre-packaged fat free foods seem like a great alternative, they may actually be hurting, more than they are helping.
Wrong. Fat is an essential macronutrient that your body needs to function properly. Aside from being a source of energy, dietary fat is a nutrient that is required for proper cellular function in the body, and is used to produce hormones that regulate things like blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting and the central nervous system. Dietary fat is also necessary to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Fat also is used by the body to maintain hair, nails and skin as well as to provide padding for your internal organs. Finally, fat not only improves the flavor and texture of foods, but moderate fat consumption can increase a sense of “fullness” or satiety (being satisfied after eating.)
Reducing dietary consumption to extremely low levels for prolonged periods of time can cause a wide-range of health issues, including lowered immunity, difficulty recovering from injuries or wounds, and vitamin deficiencies. Also, when you cut out all fats, you are typically cutting out the healthy ones as well, which means you won’t get the health benefits of things like Omega 3 fatty acids.
Still not convinced?
A 2006 study of women conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that low-fat diets did not protect women against heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer or colon cancer.
Just another reason not to jump on the no-fat bandwagon.
The trick here when it comes to dietary fat is to focus on consuming the majority of your daily fat in the form of healthy fats. These include polyunsaturated fats from things like fish, walnuts and flaxseed, as well as monounsaturated fats from olive oil, avocados and tea seed oil.
In terms of saturated fat, you should still aim to consume no more than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fats. While there is some debate over the role that saturated fat plays in heart disease, there is a statistically significant correlation between high consumption of saturated fats and coronary heart disease and elevated total cholesterol levels (including “bad” LDL cholesterol.)
The best way to get the right mix of dietary fats is to shift your focus from sources of saturated fat, like meat, full-fat dairy and butter, to healthier s
Given the choice between eating no oatmeal, and eating instant oatmeal, I would say the instant oats are still a good breakfast choice (with some caveats.) Maybe not ideal, but eating healthy is a matter of degrees.
The reason oatmeal consistently makes my top 10 list of clean eating foods is two fold:
I mention these two benefits because when you compare instant oatmeal to things like slower-cooking rolled oats because the way the oat is processed does have some impact on how the body digests them. This can effect the second benefit — slower digestion — but generally doesn’t negatively impact the first, cholesterol-lowering benefit.
But before we get into that, let’s understand exactly what instant oatmeal is and compare its nutritional values versus old fashioned oatmeal (rolled oats.)
Instant oatmeal is simply thinly rolled oats which are then cut into very small pieces and pre-cooked by steaming.
The oatmeal is then typically “enhanced” with natural or unnatural flavorings, salt, sugar, and in some cases, preservatives. It’s then stuck in little 1 oz serving packets for convenience. This is the Maple and Brown sugar stuff you find in the box in the cereal isle.
Most instant oatmeal also comes in a “regular” flavor, which doesn’t have all the sugar and preservatives added, although it will often contain some added salt. For the sake of your question, we’re going to look at the regular, unsweetened variety. If we compared the flavored stuff, the old fashioned oats would win hands down.
The advantage of instant oatmeal over other forms of oatmeal like old fashioned oatmeal or oat groats, is cooking time. Thick cut or old fashioned rolled oats will typically take about ten minutes to cook on the stove top (less in the microwave); quick oats take about two minutes, and instant oats … well, you just add hot water and you’re all set.
Some people obviously also enjoy the added sugar and flavor in things like Raisin and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal, but the flavored varieties are where you start running into the nutritional problems — especially around sugar and sodium — so stay away from them.
Surprisingly, if you go with the natural, unsweetened and unflavored variety of instant oatmeal, the basic nutritional values of instant oats are not all that different from slower cooking old fashioned oatmeal.
Here’s what a 1 oz packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (regular flavor with no added sugar) looks like:
Fat: 2.0 grams
Saturated Fat: 0
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 80 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Calcium: 100 mg
Now, let’s look at a 1 oz dry serving of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the stuff that takes 10 minutes to cook):
Saturated Fat: 0.4
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 3.5 grams
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 19.1 grams
Fiber: 2.9 grams
Sugar: 0.7 grams
Calcium: 0 mg
Surprise! Aside from the higher sodium content, the regular Quaker Instant Oatmeal actually has a marginally better macro-nutrient profile.
Why is that?
Well, the Quaker Oatmeal has the addition of oat flour added to the packets, which increases the fiber and protein content slightly. The higher calcium content is due to the addition of calcium carbonate to the mixture. Quaker also fortifies the instant oatmeal with a number of vitamins as well.
Now, you can get into philosophical and nutritional debates around whether these added vitamins and ingredients are good or bad, but from a basic nutrition perspective, instant oatmeal has gotten an undeserved, bad rap. It’s actually just as nutritious as old fashioned rolled oats.
Food purists often criticize instant oatmeal because it’s “pre-cooked.” The argument is that this pre-cooking reduces the natural nutritional values of the oat compared to thick cut rolled oats or oat groats.
But here’s a little secret:
Unless you are eating raw oat groats straight from the field, almost all oat products, including steel cut oats, thick rolled oats and Old Fashioned oatmeal are “pre-cooked” to some degree through the standard steaming process that’s done during milling. If they didn’t do this, it could literally take an hour to fully cook the raw oat.
Even raw oat bran is only marginally more nutrition ounce-for-ounce when you look strictly at the macros.
Now, could there be benefits to eating a less processed or uncooked form of oats, especially in terms of heat-sensitive vitamins? Perhaps. But when you compare instant oatmeal to old fashioned oats using the standard macros, they are pretty much equal.
The main difference between instant oatmeal versus old fashioned oatmeal is in regard to how rapidly the carbohydrates in instant oatmeal are digested and impact blood sugar levels.
In general, more finely chopped a food is, the more quickly it’s digested. Cooking also makes carbohydrates more easily digested.
The conventional wisdom around instant oatmeal versus old fashioned oatmeal is that instant oats spike blood sugar levels more dramatically than slower cooking rolled oatmeal varieties.
One of the ways this is measured is by looking at the glycemic load of a food, which measures how a particular food impacts blood sugar and insulin. The higher the glycemic load (GL) number, the more impact a food has on insulin release.
Unsweetened, instant oatmeal has a glycemic load of 17 versus 13 for regular oats. The scale goes from 1-50 — with pure glucose having a glycemic load of 50. To provide some perspective, brown rice — that staple of clean eating — has a GL of 18 and whole sweet potatoes (another bodybuilding favorite) have a GL of 17: In other words, on par with instant oatmeal.
So even here, while the instant variety of oatmeal does have more impact on blood sugar levels, it’s not nearly as dramatic as people often think — especially compared to other whole food sources of complex carbs that are consumed every day as part of a healthy diet.
It’s also important to remember the GL can be effected by the other foods you eat with the oatmeal, so if you are adding things like almonds, whey protein or whole fruit, the GL will typically decrease.
Provided you are just talking about plain, regular instant oatmeal without the added sugar of things like Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal or Cinnamon & Spice Instant Oatmeal, instant oatmeal is still a solid breakfast.
You’ll still get the cholesterol-lower benefits of the soluble oat fiber — and while instant oatmeal does have a slightly higher glycemic load — it’s not nearly as bad as people think. So if the convenience of instant oatmeal helps you eat more of this healthy food, then go ahead and eat it.
In terms of sodium, even here, instant oatmeal isn’t terrible. There are other sources of food you probably eat daily with much more salt. So I wouldn’t over-focus on this unless you are on a sodium-controlled diet.
At the end of the day, the biggest difference between instant oatmeal and things like thick rolled oats or Scottish oats is the texture, flavor and how satisfying and filling they are.
Instant oatmeal is very mushy and its flavor can’t really compare to something like thick rolled oats. But many people like instant oatmeal just fine.
Also, oatmeal that takes longer to cook tends to absorb more water, and increases in volume much more than instant oats. Eating old fashioned or thick rolled oatmeal can help you feel fuller, for longer and makes the non-instant variety of oats more satisfying for many people. So that definitely can be an advantage.
If you want to have the convenience of instant oatmeal but with some of the flavor and texture benefits of a slower-cooking oatmeal, you can always prepare a large batch of oatmeal the night before and simply warm it up in a microwave the next morning. You will probably have to add some water or skim milk to it to make it creamier, but this is one way to get the time saving benefits of instant and the flavor benefits of slow-cooked oats.
Oatmeal prepared ahead of time can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to four days.