Sunday, January 24, 2016

Low Fat Diets - Learn About Low Fat Healthy Living

The three key nutrients in our diet are fats, protein and carbohydrates. The villain of the piece has traditionally been fat, as it provides nearly twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrate do. However, fat is an essential nutrient – even the most fit athletes have fatty deposits in their bodies, these are necessary for health and fitness, and help do everything from support the organ system and providing energy for the body to transporting vital nutrients and keeping your skin and hair healthy.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding fat – saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats may be difficult to distinguish for the average person, add that to the mix of weight loss programmes promoted in the media and it is easy to get overwhelmed in the mire of low fat, high fibre, complex carbohydrate recommendations flying around.

Traditionally, it was thought that the less fat one ate, the easier weight could be lost and the dieter would also be likely to reduce their cholesterol and general health at the same time. Mounting research shows that for the majority of people, eating a balanced, low-fat diet is beneficial – the surprising recommendation in the research is that people should eat more of some fats, as these promote health and can actively work to lower cholesterol as well.
The long and short of it is, whether you’re aiming to lose weight or not, following a low fat diet has a number of health advantages. For most of us, it is easy to divide the fats in our diet into two groups, ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Below, we’ve tried to explain the differences and give you a few pointers to getting the balance right for your own low fat diet.

Bad fat
A ‘bad’ fat, is a saturated fat. How can you easily spot one? As a general rule, at room temperature, a saturated fat is solid – good examples are animal products, such as butter, cheeses and lard. There are also a few obvious exceptions, such as whole milk which remains liquid at room temperature, and margarine which is a vegetable product. Other foods that contain higher levels of saturated fat include palm and coconut products. Saturated fats are worse for you because they contribute to higher cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and add to the layer of fatty tissue that your body naturally builds up under the skin as insulation. That’s right, saturated fat can make you fatter.

Good fat
‘Good’ fats are called unsaturated fats – these are divided into two groups, monounsaturated fats, which are actually good for you and polyunsaturated fats, which are even better. Monounsaturated fats are primarily found in nuts and seeds. Good examples of monounsaturated fat are single-source oils, such as olive oil, sesame oil and corn oil. Polyunsaturated fats are the best fats – these include the Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids linked closely to everything from lowering the risk of heart disease and increasing brain activity and concentration in school children.

It shouldn’t be surprising that ‘good’ fats are found in good foods – fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all great natural sources of both mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Healthy low fat diets
In general, you should get no more than one third of your calories from fats – and of those, 10% or less should come from ‘bad’ or saturated fats. Try to get your fat from whole foods, rather than processed foods and the fat you are consuming will be healthier. Also, be sure to read the labels – foods free from ‘transfats’ are generally lower in saturated fats than their competitors on shop shelves.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Low Cholesterol Diets - Lower Your Cholesterol

A lot of products on the shelves of your local superstore claim to help control cholesterol levels. There are advertisements in magazines and on TV recommending people visit their GP’s surgery for a cholesterol check and extolling the virtues of a low cholesterol diet.

That’s all fine and good, but often people are left wondering what it all means. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that naturally occurs in the human body – your liver creates it as it is a necessary component of normal digestive processes. It is also found in a lot of the foods we eat, including fish, poultry, meats, dairy products and even some plants.

If your GP has recommended you lower your cholesterol, it is important to adapt your diet in order to lower the LDL cholesterol. It is also important that your low cholesterol diet doesn’t cut the LDL at the expense of maintaining a healthy level of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Fortunately, there are easy dietary changes you can make to improve your overall cholesterol levels.
Out with the bad
To reduce the level of LDL, or bad, cholesterol, the first thing you need to do is cut back on foods that are full of it. Start by reducing the amount of saturated fat you’re eating – these include full-fat dairy products, butter, cream, fatty red meats, pastries, many takeaways and fried foods. If you use oil, choose one that’s monounsaturated, such as olive oil. Also, it’s helpful if you can decrease the amount of sodium you’re getting every day and remember that if you drink alcohol, you should stick to sensible limits (3 or 4 units a day for men, 2 or 3 units a day for women).

In with the good
To help maintain a healthy level of good cholesterol and help your body reduce the bad cholesterol you’ve got, try making these simple changes to your diet:

1. Increase your daily servings of fruit and veg to get at least the recommended five a day – fruit and vegetables are lower in fat and calories than anything else.

2. Aim to eat more high-fibre foods, such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, brown rice and wholewheat pasta.

3. Try swapping your ordinary yogurt or fruit smoothie for one made with soya - there is a reasonable amount of research supporting the notion that soya products can work to reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood.

4. Swap your fats – wherever possible, trade saturated fats for monounsaturates. Monounsaturates work not only to lower your LDL cholesterol, but they help maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol.

5. Eat at least one helping of oily fish each week – oil fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and kippers, are high in omega-3 fats, which are important for a healthy heart.

6. Try to get more soluble fibre – this is found in beans, lentils, peas, oats, and barley as well as some fruits and vegetables. Researchers think that soluble fibre binds with cholesterol and prevents it from being reabsorbed into your bloodstream, thus lowering the amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Low Carb Diets - Diets that are Low in Carbohydrates

The concept that low carbohydrate dieting is based on is simple: taking in fewer carbs reduces insulin production, which means your body can’t run on sugars - this in turn forces your body to use fat and/or protein stores to fuel itself. This approach to dieting provides the framework for a number of popular diet plans, including: high protein diets, the Atkins diet, the Stillman diet, the Scarsdale diet, the Hollywood diet, a Ketogenic diet, and the Zone diet.

Despite the fad surrounding low carb diets in recent years, the idea of reducing carbohydrates to stimulate weight loss isn’t new – some of the oldest weight loss programmes around focussed on eliminating or reducing starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, bread and rice. The benefits of reducing or eliminating the carbs you consume are more rapidly visible than simply following a low calorie diet – this is because a fair amount of the initial weight loss comes from water loss and even lean muscle tissue loss.

In the short term, many people find low carb diets effective – however, the long term success of a low carb eating plan relies on the dieter having the ability to follow through with the lifestyle changes recommended by most low carb diets. Most dieters, however, do not stick to the plan once they’ve reached their goal weight and end up gaining back significant amounts of the weight they’ve lost. Low carb diets can be useful weight loss tools, when the diet followed is properly balanced and low in saturated fats.
The leading low carb diets, such as Atkins, have come under attack from health professionals, and in turn, received a fair amount of negative publicity for the potential risks that dieters suffer. Those risks include: an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol; development of ketoacidosis - a build up of ketones in the blood; constipation or diarrhoea; bad breath; bone stress; kidney damage; headaches; fatigue; increased risk of heart disease; increased risk of bowel disorders; and, increased risk of cancer.

It is possible to follow a low carb plan and still consume adequate amounts of key nutrients by using supplements, getting your carbs from the ‘best’ seasonal fruits and vegetables available. Most experts agree that to follow a healthy ‘low carb’ diet, a dieter still needs to be eating a reasonable amount of ‘good carbs’ – those complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre and key nutrients and offer a slow-release of energy throughout the day. here source

As more and more research has become available, dieticians and dieters alike have added their support to the notion that a low-GI diet (which is typically lower in carbs overall than the average person’s diet) will generate better results without the associated risks of following a strict low carb plan. There are a number of low carb diets with close links to the glycemic index, these diets usually allow dieters more freedom in the foods they consume and encourage the intake of ‘good’ carbs to promote a more balanced diet.