Research is showing that natural appetite suppressants are not a myth. They really do exist!

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Fiber
Foods and drinks that contain soluble fiber form a gel-like material when they make contact with water in your stomach, thereby acting as an appetite suppressant. Soluble fiber is found in prunes, oats, barley, bran, apples, flaxseeds, and citrus fruits.

However, insoluble fiber also was found to decrease appetite in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007. In a crossover design study, healthy men were provided high-fiber cereal with 33 grams (g) insoluble fiber, low-fiber cereal, white bread, and water control after an overnight fast. The treatments had similar energy, macronutrient content, volume, and weight. The high-fiber cereal with 33 g insoluble fiber reduced appetite, decreased food intake, and reduced glycemic response to a meal consumed 75 minutes later.

Low caloric density
Foods with very low caloric density, such as asparagus or loose-leaf lettuce, can help a person to feel full while taking in very few calories. This is the premise that the volumetrics diet plan is based on and is also what the infamous ‘cabbage soup diet’ relied on to spur quick weight loss. In fact, any low-calorie, broth-based soup will help you feel full without many calories.

Acetic acid and cinnamon
In one study, the combination of acetic acid, which is found in red wine vinegar, and cinnamon significantly increased satiety and reduced blood glucose concentration.

Oleic acid
Foods that contain the unsaturated fat oleic acid, which is found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados, help to suppress appetite. However, you still have to keep an eye on portion size because these foods are rich in both nutrients and calories!

Cayenne pepper
Researchers at Purdue University gave 25 people who were not overweight their preferred level of cayenne pepper for 6 weeks (those who did not like red pepper preferred 0.3 g compared to regular spice users who preferred 1.8 g). Red pepper consumption did increase core body temperature and burnt more calories. Those individuals who did not consume red pepper regularly experienced a decrease in appetite for fatty, salty, and sweet foods. The study found that red pepper consumed in noncapsule form was effective. The burn is what leads to the rise in body temperature, increased metabolism, and appetite suppression.

Eggs
Studies show that individuals who eat eggs rather than breakfast cereal or bagels report increased satiety and consume fewer calories later in the day, even if the meals contain the same amounts of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate. It is thought that the protein quality is what matters – eggs are the gold standard for protein quality. When compared to subjects given eggs for breakfast, those who received a bagel had higher plasma glucose, increased ghrelin levels, and increased insulin levels.

Soy
In an animal study done on mice, genistein injections decreased adipose weight and adipocyte circumference at higher doses. Juveniles fed 500 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of dietary genistein had dose-responsive decreases in fat pad weight of 37% to 57%, when compared to controls (300 ppm of genistein did not cause decreases). Some research also has found that genistein decreases appetite and food intake.

Milk
In a randomized, controlled trial, women who generally consumed a low-calcium diet participated in a 6-month energy-restricted program and received either milk supplementation or an isoenergetic placebo. Both groups showed a significant weight loss, but the women who received the milk supplementation had less of an increase in desire to eat and hunger. Milk supplementation attenuates the orexigenic (appetite stimulant) effect of body weight loss.

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How much sugar do you consume? And is this dangerous?

matteo_dark chocolateThe average American consumes nearly 400 calories from added sugars each day, the equivalent of 22 teaspoons (tsp) worth. The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention released a scientific statement entitled Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health in late 2009. The statement suggests that American women should consume no more than 100 calories and men no more than 150 calories from added sugar each day.

Added sugar’ includes sugars and syrups added to foods during processing or preparation, including sugars and syrups added at the table. The recent increase in average sugar intake is largely because of increased consumption of soft drinks, fruit drinks, desserts, sugars and jellies, candy, and ready-to-eat cereals, with soft drinks and other sweetened beverages accounting for the largest source of added sugars in the American diet. Authors of the paper noted that because food labels do not differentiate between natural sugar and added sugar, it is difficult for the average consumer to make wise choices. However, in 2006, the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) created a database listing the added sugar content of food (http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=12107).

Problems linked to a high intake of added sugar
The following are problems linked to a high intake of added sugar, as outlined by the statement:

Insulin resistance: In some studies, fructose was linked to insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes mellitus in humans. Please note that high-fructose corn syrup actually is not made primarily from fructose; it is only 55% fructose and the other 45% is glucose.
Calorie intake: In some studies, soft drink consumption was linked to increased calorie intake, greater body weight, and lower intake of valuable nutrients. The sugar in soda is absorbed very quickly, which might explain why people who consume sugar-sweetened beverages on a regular basis seem to have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Blood pressure: An emerging but inconclusive body of evidence links a high intake of added sugar to increased blood pressure. In the Framingham Heart Study, for instance, people who consumed more than one soft drink/day had a higher chance of developing hypertension and a 44% increased chance of having a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.
Triglycerides and cholesterol: When added fats are replaced with carbohydrate, serum triglyceride levels increase and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decreases. However, this is apparently more substantial when refined carbohydrates are used, rather than the carbohydrates found in milk, fruit, etc. Diets that are high in fructose, sucrose, and glucose are linked to increased serum triglyceride levels, particularly in men, sedentary overweight people, people consuming a low-fiber diet, and people with metabolic syndrome.
Chronic hyperinsulinemia: Chronic hyperinsulinemia may cause people to eat more by preventing dopamine clearance from the pleasure center of the brain, increasing the pleasure caused by eating, even when a person has no physiological need to eat. It also promotes eating as a form of self-medication when a person is stressed.
Vitamins, minerals, and fiber: People who consume a large amount of added sugar, especially intake that exceed 25% of total calories, have reduced intake of calcium, vitamin A, iron, and zinc. Intake of sugar also is inversely related to fiber intake.

Recommendations
The following are recommendations as outlined by the statement:

Limit your discretionary caloric intake (the calories left after you have consumed enough vegetables, fruit, lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and other foods necessary to stay healthy). The USDA recommends that if you consume a 2000-calorie diet, you should limit your discretionary caloric intake to no more than 267 calories, divided into 18 grams (g) of fat and 32 g of sugar (8 tsp). If you drink alcohol, you need to count this as a part of the daily discretionary calories. Currently, discretionary intake is much too high, 30%-42% of total caloric intake.
Move more. If you burn more calories, your allowance for discretionary intake will increase. So if you want to eat more, you need to move more!
Consume no more than 10% of your total calories in the form of added sugar, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Restrict intake of soda and other sweetened beverages.
Choose whole-food snacks, such as bananas, raisins, and peanuts, rather than high-sugar refined-grain snacks, such as candy bars and soda, to reduce postprandial glucose response.
Select low-energy density foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, skim milk, lean meats, and other unprocessed foods.
Use discretionary calories to sweeten healthful food choices, such as plain yogurt or whole-grain cereal.
Remember that sugar is sugar, whether it is from honey, agave syrup, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, etc.
Read labels. If a food contains no milk or fruit, the sugar column on the Nutrition Facts Label is all added sugar.

Reference

Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/125976844640
5CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627v1%20(Added%20Sugars).pdf. Accessed February 10, 2010.
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Does Diet Cause Depression?

Like heart disease, depression is associated with low-grade inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and worse lipid profiles that suggest a poor diet as an underlying cause. Existing research has shown increased fast food consumption is associated with a greater risk for depression. On the other hand, the Mediterranean diet has been observed to reduce depressive symptoms. According to researcher Dr. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, “It is difficult to be sure that the diet is responsible for depression – it could be that depressed people make bad food choices. Other study problems include ‘confounders’ which may influence dietary habits, such as marital status, exercise, alcohol (or smoking), medical conditions and social networks. Or simply genetics. To address these issues we need long-term, randomized clinical studies similar to ones successfully conducted for diet and cardiovascular disease risk. Only then will we really understand the impact of diet of depression.”
BMC Medicine, January 2013

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Cherries as #1 fruit for weight loss

You’ve probably heard the tip that if you’re interested in losing weight, it’s a good idea to eat slowly and chew your food at least 15-20 times before swallowing. Doing so allows your brain and body to actually sense that it’s full, instead of cramming a bunch of food down your throat only to find out 30 minutess later that you’re WAY stuffed.

And for that reason , I’m picking cherries as my #1 fruit for weight loss.

With cherries, you can’t just pop 30 in your mouth in two minutess like you could, and probably often do, with grapes or blueberries. Instead, the pits force you to eat them slowly, allowing your satiation sensors to chime in a prevent you from over-indulging.

So that’s reason #1 – built in portion control.

Reason #2, and it’s a BIG one, is that cherries have the LOWEST glycemic index of all fruits, and one of the lowest glycemic indexes of any carbohydrate source—period.

Scoring at a ridiciulously low 22, you can even snack on cherries in the evening without much detriment as their effect on insulin is minimal at best. Again, it’s not late-night eating that’s the problem, it’s eating the wrong foods (those that cause a substantial rise in fat-loss halting insulin) in evening hours that is.

So next time you’re in the mood for a sweet, satiating snack, reach for a small bowl of cherries and enjoy the goodness.

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How sweet it is

Diet: Four Ways to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet!
Here are four tips from the American Heart Association for reducing your added sugar intake:
1) Try putting less sugar on foods like cereals or in beverages like tea and coffee. When you’re used to it, try cutting back even more.
2) Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water, not syrup.
3) Instead of sugar, add fresh fruit or dried fruit to foods like oatmeal.
4) Add spices like cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg to foods instead of sugar.
American Heart Association, February 2014