If your clothes are fitting tighter and the numbers on the scale are
escalating this time of year, you're not alone. Research indicates that
most peoples' body weight and body fat is higher during the winter
months due to increased caloric intake and decreased physical activity.
All those Holiday parties and skipped workouts do take their toll. What
can you do about it? What better way to usher in the New Year than to
clean up your diet? Here are five
healthy diet tips
to jump start your diet and make 2008 your leanest year yet.
1. Control the Carbs.
A preponderance of studies have shed light on the key role of dietary carbohydrates in controlling
for many people. Why carbohydrates and not fat? Because emerging
research has shown that carbohydrates have a dominant effect over fat.
The key is
, a potent hormone that increases
after carbohydrate meals, blocking fat breakdown and promoting fat
storage. So put another way,
tell your body what to do with dietary fat and insulin is the signal.
When carbohydrates are low in the diet, insulin is low and the body
burns predominantly fat from both the diet and from body stores for
energy. When carbohydrates are high, insulin levels are increased and
the body predominately burns carbohydrates. In the last few years, more
than a couple dozen studies have shown that when people are instructed
to reduce carbohydrate they lose more weight and more body fat than
individuals who focus on restricting dietary fat. So
is don't overeat carbohydrates and make attempts to minimize foods that
cause an insulin spike like processed cereals, pastas, breads, any type
of sugar, and high carbohydrate desserts.
2. Add a Thermogenic to Your Diet Plan.
With more than two-thirds of adults classified as overweight in the
U.S., it is not surprising there is a huge market for weight loss products
often referred to as thermogenics. Because a decrease in thermogenesis
has been shown to contribute to obesity, these products potentially
play an important role in fighting obesity and shedding body fat. The
next generation thermogenics with the most promise are formula based
products that contain multiple ingredients targeting various metabolic
pathways involved in weight control. Combining the right ingredients
results in more profound and consistent results than single compound
products. Some of the best products are using high quality ingredients
such as green tea
or green coffee extract, caffeine, caralluma fimbriata, glucomannan, razberi-k, Mucuna pruriens, CLA
, chromium, oolong tea extract, and vinpocetine. Thermogenics
should not replace sound diet and exercise habits, but a good
formula-based supplement can help jump start a sluggish metabolism so
consider this another weapon in your attack on body fat. My personal
choice '" any of the
Tetrazene products from BioQuest
3. Drink Plenty of Water.
On a weight basis, our bodies are about 65% water and our muscles are
closer to 80%. Adequate water intake is an absolutely critical aspect
to a healthy weight loss program. When cells are dehydrated, it can
compromise biochemical reactions necessary for healthy functioning. For
starters, in a recent study in our laboratory we had subjects decrease
fluid intake and exercise until they lost 2.5% of their body weight.
This mild level of dehydration was enough to significantly impair
resistance exercise performance. There is also evidence that drinking
water helps burn calories. In one study, metabolic rate increased
transiently by 30% after drinking 500 mL of water in men, and the
increased calories burned came from fat. The other benefit of drinking
water is that it temporarily fills the stomach and this can help curb
hunger so you eat less. How do you know if you are drinking enough
water? The color of your urine is the best gauge. If your urine is
dark, you need to drink more. If your urine is clear, you are on the
4. Consider a Meal Replacement.
The use of meal replacements
to assist in weight management has been examined in several studies.
Meal replacements can include shakes, powders, or bars that replace a
normal meal. They are easy to use, require little if any preparation,
and most importantly they provide structure to the daily eating plan.
It is estimated that as many as 15% of adults are using meal
replacements as a strategy for losing weight. In the longest study to
date '" 5 years, overweight subjects who consumed a meal replacement
shake lost weight (about 10 pounds) compared to a group of control
subjects who gained about 15 pounds over the same period. Other
controlled studies of shorter duration have also shown that meal
replacements are an effective strategy for weight loss. The value of
meal replacements is that it changes behavior, and for some people the
structure of having a prepared meal provides the needed motivation to
reduce calories and enhance weight loss. The nutrient composition of a
meal replacement is another important consideration. You should look
for meal replacements with a
high quality protein
source such as
and it should contain a good source of other important vitamins and
minerals to ensure you meet all your daily requirements. An effective
meal replacement also has to taste good; otherwise you will never stick
with it. A great meal replacement product that combines superior
nutritional value and exceptional taste is the Supreme Protein Bar
. You won't believe the taste and how easy it can be to lose weight in 2008.
5. Get a Little Protein at Each Meal.
Skipping meals is a common tool for dieters to reduce calories, but it
can backfire. The problem is when you go a long time without eating,
glucose levels in the blood will fall and eventually trigger a cascade
of powerful chemical reactions that stimulate appetite. The strong
drive to eat that ensues is so intense it will often lead to a binge. A
better approach is to keep on a more routine feeding schedule that
includes a little protein throughout the day. This is also the ideal
approach for stimulating muscle growth. A recent study showed that
protein supplementation between meals maximized muscle anabolism
compared to 3 square meals alone as shown by a significantly greater
nitrogen balance over a 16 hour testing period. Protein is also more
thermogenic than carbohydrate and fat. Research shows that as much as
25% of the energy in protein is burned to digest and assimilate the
protein. To boost your metabolism while feeding muscles what they need,
consider adding a protein shake between meals to optimize nitrogen
balance and muscle growth.