How To Make Recipes Healthier?

Making recipes healthier can be easy to do, and you can do it without sacrificing flavor.  Many traditional, high calorie recipes can be made healthier so they can still be part of a balanced, healthy diet.  Making recipes healthier can mean a lot of things.  Here are some categories and solutions for making recipes healthier. See also: 10 easy ways to cut calories from any recipe – How to Make Recipes Healthier?

Cutting down the fat content

  • Some recipes call for a lot of oil, butter and dairy.  There are some easy substitutions for these ingredients that can lower fat content without sacrificing flavor.  You can swap unsweetened applesauce for oil in baked goods like sweet breads or muffins.
  • Swap ½ to the full amount of the oil content for applesauce in a recipe.  It may take some experimenting to determine the right amount for each recipe.  When swapping applesauce for oil, you can also cut down on the sugar amount since the applesauce is giving some extra sweetness.
  • Another example of cutting down the fat in a recipe is swapping mashed, ripe bananas for oil.  Use the same ratios for the applesauce when using mashed bananas in place of oil.
  • When a recipe requires sour cream or mayonnaise, replace these ingredients with plain non-fat Greek yogurt.  Substitute low/nonfat dairy products for the full fat version; no one will know.

Increasing fiber

  • Switching whole wheat flour for white flour is an easy recipe substitution that will increase fiber content in baked goods.  Whole wheat flour is denser than regular flour, so some baking recipes may need to be ½ regular flour ½ whole wheat.
  • Using applesauce or mashed bananas, as listed above, in place of oils will also increase fiber content.  For chocolate baked goods like chocolate cake or brownies, you can substitute the butter with a prune puree.
  • Prune puree can be made by blending together ¾ c of prunes with ¼ cup of hot water.  Prunes are naturally high in fiber, and are a common remedy for constipation.  Use with caution and watch portion sizes in baked goods with prunes: it can have a laxative effect in high doses!
  • Flax meal or chia seeds mixed with water can be a replacement for eggs.  This can help turn baked good recipes that call for eggs into a vegan alternative.  This will also increase fiber content of the recipe because flax and chia seeds are high in fiber.

The ratios for replacing 1 egg are:

  • Combine 1 tbsp of flax meal (ground flaxseeds) with 3 tbsp of water.
  • Combine 1 tbsp of chia seeds in 1 cup of hot water; let sit for 15-20 minutes until a gel like consistency forms.
  • For any savory dish, increase fiber content by adding in vegetables.  Be creative with how you can add in some veggies.  For example, add in butternut squash puree to the cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese.  Add in frozen vegetables to pasta the last few minutes of cooking.

Increasing protein

  • Replacing sour cream or mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt will increase protein content for recipes, as Greek yogurt is high in protein.  Use egg whites in place of eggs in any baked good recipe that calls for eggs.
  • Egg whites are a concentrated source of protein, and using 2 egg whites in place of 1 egg will increase protein amount.  Instead of making traditional brownies, make black bean brownies; no one will be able to tell the difference!  In general, this can work by replacing 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of rinsed, canned black beans.
  • Beans are high in fiber and protein, so replacing beans gets two birds with one stone.

See also: How to cook healthier meals
Gluten Free

  • If you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, changing your favorite homemade recipes into gluten free (GF) can seem daunting.  For baking it is now a little easier, as there are many GF baking mixes available at most stores.  Other GF flours that can be used as a replacement for regular flour include coconut and almond flour. (See also: How to eat gluten free)
  • If a recipe calls for soy sauce, use something instead like liquid aminos.  Soy sauce is a common gluten source, but liquid aminos usually aren’t and have the same flavor as soy sauce.  This can be a handy substitution for your favorite Asian flavored recipes. (See also: Is Soy healthy?)
  • Make gluten free breadcrumbs from your own gluten free bread, or make your own alternative from gluten free oats.  Place GF oats in a food processor and blend until oats are ground up.
  • Using GF rolled oats will also increase fiber content, and they are naturally low in sodium and preservatives, unlike other packaged bread crumbs.

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Healthy Lunch Ideas – Is It Bad To Only Eat Once a Day?

Eating frequency throughout the day has been a long debated issue.  Does it matter if you eat 3 meals a day?  What if you eat the same number of calories in 1 meal instead?  Most research suggests eating once a day is not beneficial.  Here are some reasons why you may want to eat more than just once a day – Healthy Lunch Ideas

Blood Sugar

Eating one meal a day means you’re getting a huge amount of food in 1 sitting.  This will cause your blood sugar to spike after that meal.  A 2007 study from Metabolism- Clinical and Experimental analyzed the effects when subjects ate 1 large meal a day or 3 meals a day.  The 1 large meal and 3 meals per day were the same amount of calories.

Results from this study showed that when subjects ate 1 meal a day compared to eating 3 meals a day blood glucose levels had higher fasting blood glucose levels, delayed insulin response to an oral glucose tolerance test and greater elevations in blood glucose after eating.

Based on this study, eating 1 meal a day can increase blood sugar and possibly blunt insulin response.  This could increase risk for type 2 diabetes and weight gain.  Subjects in this study were healthy and normal weight, and consumed either 1 meal a day or 3 meals a day for 8 weeks each.

See also: How to increase your metabolism naturallyIncreased fat formation

  • As mentioned above, eating 1 meal a day can increase glucose and insulin secretions.  Insulin promotes fat storage in addition to taking glucose from the blood and bringing it into body cells for energy.
  • A huge intake of energy at one time each day causes high insulin levels that can increase fat storage.  A 2008 study from British Journal of Nutrition analyzed the effects on metabolism with varying meal frequencies.  Subjects either ate 3 meals, or only breakfast and dinner.  The 3 meals was equal in calories to the only breakfast and dinner experiment.
  • When subjects ate 3 meals, fat oxidation was increased compared to when subjects ate 2 meals.  Although this was looking at 2 meals not 1 meal, other research studies have shown similar results with eating 1 meal a day.
  • Eating 1 meal a day can increase fat storage and decrease using fat as a fuel.  As mentioned in the 2008 study, eating 3 meals actually increased using fat as a fuel compared to eating 2 meals a day.

See also: How many calories should I eat to lose weightLower satiety

  • Eating only once a day decreases satiety.  Satiety is a measure of satisfaction after a meal, and will tell your brain you no longer need food.  In the 2008 study, subjects had a higher satiety with eating 3 meals a day instead of 2.
  • Higher satiety throughout the day means you will probably eat less throughout the day.  Eating 3 meals compared to 1 meal will leave you more satisfied, meaning your food intake will probably be lower.
  • Generally speaking, eating 1 meal a day could also affect mental health and emotions.  If you’re feeling hungry all day, you will probably be cranky.
    Are more meals per day always better?
  • Eating 1-2 meals a day can increase blood glucose levels, possibly even the day after, and can decrease using fat as a fuel when compared to eating 3 meals a day.  So does that mean eating more than 3 times a day is even better you’re your metabolism?
  • Not necessarily.  Sometimes eating every few hours can increase over all calorie intake and keep blood sugar and insulin levels elevated.  Some people do better with eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, but it may not be best for everyone.

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High Protein Foods : That Are Good For Your Digestive System 2015

The digestive system is a complex, highly organized system that breaks food down into microscopic compounds the body can use for fuel, storage, repair, etc.  However, there are many places the digestive process can go wrong.  Unpleasant side effects with digestive issues include cramps, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation – High Protein Foods

There are many reasons why the digestive system may be off, but here are some general tips for foods that can help keep your digestive system healthy.

Ginger

Ginger has been used as a digestive aid for centuries.  Ginger root is packed with antioxidants, fiber and phyto-chemicals that work against inflammation in the body.  Many digestive issues are caused by or result in inflammation.

Ginger also can help alleviate stomach discomfort and is a common aid for morning sickness during pregnancy or motion sickness.  Fresh ginger can be added to stir fries, baked goods or in ginger chews or teas.

Many cultures suggest having ginger after eating to improve the digestion of a meal.

Peppermint

Peppermint is similar to ginger in that it has a natural calming effect on the digestive tract.  Drinking peppermint tea or using peppermint oil can help alleviate symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion or gas.  However, some people may find that peppermint may exacerbate symptoms of gastric reflux.

Peppermint candy may not have the same positive effect on the digestive tract as peppermint oil or tea, as the sugar in candy may irritate your digestive tract more.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria in your colon.  The digestive tract is home to hundreds of different bacteria strains.  Beneficial bacteria can help fight off pathogens from entering the body, and can affect healthy bowel movements. (See also: Health benefits of yogurt)

A typical Western diet high in processed foods, sugars and added fats will not support beneficial bacteria in the colon as well as a diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and fermented foods (like yogurt).  The bacteria in the colon can get off track with a highly processed food diet.  Harmful bacteria can increase risk of cramping, bloating, flatulence and inconsistent bowel movements.

Eating foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt, can help keep the digestive tract healthy.  Other sources of fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi or other fermented dairy products.

More and more research is being established with the association of the bacteria in the colon and how it can influence the rest of the body.  Gut bacteria can influence digestive health, immune health, possibly body weight and mental health.

There are a wide variety of probiotic supplements available.  Before taking a supplement, research the specific strain(s) in a supplement to see if there is validity to the type of bacteria in the supplement, or talk with a health professional to see if a supplement is warranted for health benefit.

Whole grains

Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which are beneficial for digestive system health.  However, whole grains are also a source of antioxidants, B vitamins, immune compounds that can help lower inflammation and oxidative stress.  These other parts to whole grains can work synergistically with fiber to improve digestive health.

The fiber from whole grains can help alleviate problems with constipation specifically, and may help lower risk for colon cancer.  Increasing whole grains may be contraindicated when experiencing diarrhea.  Examples of whole grains include whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats, barley and brown rice.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are high in fiber, omega 3’s, calcium, B vitamins, iron and protein.  Because they are high in omega 3’s, chia seeds can help lower inflammation in the body in the digestive tract.  Certain conditions like IBS can be sparked by inflammation in the body.  The fiber in chia seeds can also help with regular bowel movements.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, which could help the immune system fight off pathogens in the digestive tract.  Coconut oil has omega 3’s and medium chain triglycerides (MCT).  MCT can be beneficial when the digestive tract is not working right.  Coconut oil can help lower inflammation in the digestive tract from IBS, allergies, colitis or other digestive tract problems.

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How To Get a Flat Stomach In 2 Months 2015

Losing belly fat is a popular physique goal; it seems an elusive 6 pack is what many people want.  However, getting a flat stomach takes more than doing some abdominal exercises every day.  Although there is no magic formula or guaranteed timeline, following these simple steps can help you reach the goal of getting a flat stomach – How To Get a Flat Stomach In 2 Months
What to eat

  • Don’t expect to get a flat stomach by eating whatever you want.  Losing belly fat means taking in less calories than you’re expending.
  • Non-processed whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy should make up the diet when trying to flatten the stomach.
  • Cut out junk food like chips, cookies, crackers and baked goods, as these foods are a source of empty calories.  Trimming excess calories, even if it’s a small amount, is needed for fat loss.  Getting a flat belly means shedding extra fat around the mid-section, and that won’t happen unless the body burns the fat for energy.
  • Avoid going long gaps without eating and eating a large meal at one time.  Long gaps in between meals and then eating a large meal can increase the body’s tendency for fat storage.

See also: Is it bad to only eat once a day?

Cut out sugar

  • As mentioned, excess calories can hamper efforts for flattening the stomach.  Extra sugar in particular can promote fat storage.  Cutting out extra sugar is important for any weight loss efforts, and maybe especially important for cutting down belly fat.
  • Once sugar is in the blood stream, the hormone insulin is released to bring sugar into the body cells so they can use it for energy or storage.
  • Sugar can hide in many foods, especially sweetened beverages.  Other hidden food sources of sugar include some breads, sauces, dressings and packaged, prepared meals.  Check food labels and ingredient lists for hidden sugar before purchasing food or beverages.

Lower salt intake

  • Too much salt can cause bloating in the body, and could cause excess stomach bloating.  Most Americans get too much sodium, and sodium is used widely as a food preservative in processed foods. (See also: 5 simple ways to reduce sodium intake)
  • Fast food, canned soups, frozen dinners, soy sauce, pizza or other food from restaurants all contain high levels of sodium and could be a source of stomach bloating.  To offset bloating from too much sodium, eating or drinking foods high in potassium could help.
  • Sodium and potassium help control fluid balance in the body, and potassium can help draw excess water, from bloating, into body cells.  Foods high in potassium include fruits, vegetables and dairy.

Watch alcohol intake

  • Alcohol in moderation has been shown in many research studies to have potential health benefits.  However, alcohol in excess can have negative health effects and is an excess source of calories.
  • Researchers from a 2010 study from JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed data from healthy women, average age about 39 years, for about 13 years.  Their results found women who drank light to moderate alcohol levels were associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity compared to women who did not drink.  However, this does not mean the more alcohol, the better weight control.
  • Other research studies have shown alcohol in excess may increase risk for obesity and fat accumulation, especially around the belly.  Someone wanting to flatten the belly should cut down on excess alcohol intake.  Moderate alcohol intake is considered 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Increase calorie burn

The way to cut down belly fat is to increase calorie burn through exercise.  Strengthening core muscles is important for muscle definition, but cardio exercise will burn extra fat.  The CDC suggests adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise and muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week.

However, in order to flatten the stomach, more exercise may be needed.Strengthen Abs

Of course the other ingredient to getting a flat stomach is to strengthen the stomach muscles.  It doesn’t mean if you start doing core strength work your stomach will automatically flatten.  But, over time with cardio exercise, core strength exercises will develop muscles and help flatten the core – How To Get a Flat Stomach In 2 Months

How Many Eggs a Week is Considered Healthy 2015

How Many Eggs a Week is Considered Healthy 2015 : Eggs have gotten a bad reputation in the nutrition world.  Eggs are high in cholesterol, and cholesterol was first implicated in heart disease in the 1950’s.  Since then, many government and research studies have suggested limiting egg consumption to decrease risk of heart disease, especially if you already have high blood cholesterol.However, more recent research has indicated that eggs may not be as harmful for heart health as once thought.  There are also many other positive benefits in eggs that may “out-weigh” negative impacts.

Does this mean you can eat as many eggs as you want?  Most health officials are hesitant to give an unlimited green light, so moderation for eggs may still be a good idea. See also: Are eggs good for you?

How many?

Right now, many organizations like the American Heart Association suggests most people can eat up to 1 egg a day without increasing risk for heart disease.  If someone already has high blood cholesterol, a combination of risk factors for heart disease or a strong genetic disposition, they may want to limit egg intake less than 1 per day.

For most people, dietary cholesterol doesn’t strongly affect blood cholesterol levels.  Therefore, eating about an egg a day shouldn’t adversely affect heart health.  Some people may have a genetic predisposition to abnormally high sensitivity to dietary cholesterol, and may benefit from a reduced intake of cholesterol.

A 2013 study from the British Medical Journal also concluded that people with diabetes and a higher egg consumption was associated with a significantly elevated risk of coronary heart disease.  More research needs to be done on egg consumption in people with diabetes, as not many research studies have been done on this.  Diabetics may benefit from a lower consumption of 1 egg/day.

The cholesterol in eggs is found in the yolk.  Therefore, eating only the egg whites won’t add cholesterol to your diet.  For people watching their cholesterol intake, eating only egg whites instead of a whole egg can be a lower cholesterol substitute.
Are there any health benefits of eggs?

In the 2013 British Medical Journal study, researchers also concluded that a higher intake of eggs was associated with a lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke.  This is similar to other studies finding an inverse association between egg consumption and stroke risk.  Therefore, although eggs have been regarded as not heart healthy, some research suggests they may actually reduce risk for stroke.

Eggs are a rich source of protein, with about 7 gm of protein per egg.  Most of the protein is in the egg white, so eating egg whites in place of a whole egg will still give you the protein in eggs.  The protein in eggs are high quality, and the protein in eggs are one of the most digestible proteins for humans.

Egg yolks are a rich source of B vitamins and contain vitamin D.  Egg yolks partially get their rich yellow color from 2 carotenoids, lute-in and zeaxanthin which are beneficial for eye health.
Should you worry about your egg consumption?
Most people don’t need to worry about their egg consumption if they are eating about 1 egg a day.  If you have diabetes or multiple risk factors for heart disease, then limiting cholesterol intake may be more important.

Since dietary cholesterol doesn’t significantly impact blood cholesterol for most of the population, other dietary factors may play a stronger role in negatively impacting heart health.  Other factors to consider for heart health include trans fats intake, fiber intake, antioxidants, monounsaturated fats (heart healthy) and sugar intake.

See also: What to eat to lower your cholesterol

Rarely is one food the cause for increasing risk for a disease.  Remember, your overall diet is more important for health than just one food.  Eggs can be part of a healthy diet in moderation.  Enjoy eggs with other healthy foods like vegetables, whole grains or beans.

Trans fats and excess sugar intake can negatively affect heart health, probably more than the cholesterol in foods.  Trans fats are found in processed foods like packaged baked goods or fast food.  Eating a lot of foods high in trans fats and sugar can increase risk for some chronic diseases.

Eating foods high in fiber can help decrease risk for heart disease because soluble fiber can help remove excess cholesterol from the body.  Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley and fruits.

How do I Stop Eating So Much 2015

Changing the volume of food you eat can be surprisingly hard to do.  Humans tend to get used to the same amount of food intake every day.  Diets can help someone cut down food intake short term, but long term change can be difficult.
If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting down food intake may be challenging but doable.  In order to stop eating so much, a change in habit and routine are critical.  Here are some simple steps to help you stop eating so much.

Load up on high fiber foods

One thing to help stop eating so much is to load up on high fiber foods.  High fiber foods are high in volume, meaning they can help keep you full for long periods of time.  By loading up with high fiber foods you can eat a large volume of food without high number of calories.
High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.  Incorporating these foods at each meal may help you stay full after the meal, and it may therefore help control food intake later in the day.  High fiber foods make you feel full and satisfied, thus you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. See also: Can fiber help you lose weight?

Reach for water first

Sometimes we confuse the signal to eat something when really the body needs water instead of food.  When the feeling comes on to eat something, reach for a glass of water instead.  If plain water sounds unappealing, flavor water with fresh citrus, berries, mint or cucumber to give it some natural sweet taste.
You should drink enough fluids throughout the day so that your urine is clear to slightly pale yellow.  If your urine is darker yellow, you need to drink more fluids.  In order to stop eating so much, make it a habit to drink water before you put food in your mouth.  After you drink something, pause to see if you really need to eat something or if you just needed some water.

Don’t use food to deal with emotions

Humans use food for many purposes besides fueling your body for nutrients.  Often eating habits are deep engrained from childhood years, and food can be used to deal with stress, anger, depression, happiness, etc.
Instead of using food for coping mechanisms with emotions, find healthy alternatives.  Go for a walk, do yoga, dance, talk with a loved one, etc. instead of eating.  This can be the hardest change in habit when trying to change eating patterns.
In order to break the cycle of using food with emotions, it takes a conscious effort to pause before eating and ask yourself why you are eating.  Find the root cause of your eating habits.  Are they tied to emotions?  If so, decide what you can do that’s a healthier alternative instead of eating.

Don’t eat from food containers

It’s very easy to over eat when eating directly from food containers like a bag of chips, box of crackers or pint of ice cream.  Instead of eating directly from a container, portion food onto a bowl or plate.
Eating a portion from a plate instead of a food container can better signal to the brain the amount of food your putting in your mouth.  When eating from a large container, it’s easy to over eat without realizing how much food you’re eating.
Again, this is a change in behavior and habit.  It only takes a few extra seconds to put food on a plate/bowl instead of eating directly from the food container.  It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it can help you naturally control your food portion size.
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Listen to your body

Another important step to stop eating so much is to simply listen to your body.  Your body will tell your brain when to stop eating.  However, it’s easy for adults to lose touch with the signals your body is sending.
Stop when your stomach is full, not when the plate is clean or the bag is empty.  Instead of thinking about being in the clean plate club, don’t push yourself to finish the whole serving.  This is another change in habit that can be hard, but must be shifted in order to cut down on food intake.

Conclusion

In order to change eating habits, it takes a conscious effort to pause before you put foods in your mouth.  You need to change daily habits that may have been engrained for years.  Some daily habits to change include:

  • Eating a lot of high fiber foods.  High fiber foods will fill you up and leave you satisfied, but are low in calories.
  • Drink water before munching on something.  Often your body needs water instead of food.
  • Find out if your eating is triggered by emotions.  Emotional eating can be a big source of extra calories.  Find healthier alternatives to deal with emotions instead of using food.
  • Portion food out onto plates/bowls instead of eating from food containers.
  • Stop eating when you are slightly full, not stuffed.  Listen to your body and stop eating when your body says instead of when your plate is clean or the bag is empty.

What is the Best Exercise for Weight Loss 2015

There are many different types of exercise: running, interval training, yoga, Pilates, etc. and most proponents of each exercise claim theirs is the best for health.  Is there one exercise that trumps all the others for weight loss?A variety of exercise can be beneficial.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise and muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week.  However, exercising more than these guidelines is probably needed for weight loss.

Cardio exercise- high calorie burn

  • When trying to lose weight, increasing calorie expenditure is important.  Certain exercises burn more calories than others.  Cardio exercises that keep the heart rate elevated continuously are considered high calorie burn exercises. Examples of cardio exercise includes walking, swimming, running, biking, playing soccer, dancing, etc. See also: How much cardio to lose weight fast
  • Cardio exercises generally engage many muscle groups, have a high calorie burn and strengthen the heart.  Running is often associated as a high calorie burn exercise, but running is not the only high calorie burn.  Other high calorie burn exercises include kick boxing, biking, jump roping, rowing and aerobics.
  • Interval training is growing in popularity for exercise and weight loss.  Interval training cycles between bringing the heart rate way up through intense exercise for a short period of time, and bringing the heart rate down with rest.  Even though the heart rate is not consistently elevated, like cardio exercise, interval training will also have a high calorie burn.
  • Some research suggests interval type training can increase metabolism hours after exercise.

Muscle strengthening

  • Lifting weights, Pilates or yoga don’t give as high calorie burn as cardio or interval exercise.  Does this mean they’re not important for weight loss?  Weight lifting can help increase or keep lean muscle mass when trying to lose weight.
  • Keeping lean mass is helpful when trying to lose weight because increasing lean body mass can increase basal metabolic rate (BMR).  A combination of high calorie burn exercise plus strength building exercise can have a greater benefit during weight loss.
  • Strength training major muscle groups two times per week is generally recommended, but to get an individual recommendation for your goals talk to an exercise professional.
  • Exercises like Pilates or yoga can offer additional health benefits to an exercise program.  These exercises can also help strengthen muscles, and Pilates focuses primarily on increasing core strength.  They can also be beneficial for increasing flexibility and mental health.
  • Advanced yoga and Pilates that move faster will have a higher calorie burn than beginner classes but need to be worked up to appropriately.  Yoga has many different forms of practice.  Hot yoga will have a higher calorie burn than more meditative yoga practices.

What are you going to stick with long term?

  • One of the biggest factors for considering what exercise is best for weight loss is to consider what program you will stick with long term.  Everyone is unique, and there are many types of exercise to fit individual needs.
  • In general a type of cardio plus strength exercises is a good combination, but there are many types of exercises within the cardio classification to pick from.  If you have issues with your knees, running may not be best long term.  Swimming, Zumba or bike riding may be better alternatives.
  • Weight loss is a long term commitment, so find exercises that you can keep as part of your lifestyle long term.  Add in variety; change up the type of exercise you do so it doesn’t become monotonous.

Intensity

  • In general, the higher the intensity the higher the calorie burn when exercising.  Does this mean you always want to exercise at a high intensity?  Probably not.  Exercising at a lower intensity, often called moderate, will still burn a high number of calories and the body will use a higher percentage of fat for fuel.
  • Both moderate and high intensity cardio exercises are beneficial for weight loss.  With moderate exercise you are still working hard, but you could carry on a conversation.  High intensity exercise you are reaching closer to your max effort, and it is hard to talk in full sentences.  High intensity exercises will burn more calories, but moderate exercise will have a higher percentage of fat burn.

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Why You Should Not Have Empty Calorie Foods 2015

Empty calorie foods can be defined as foods that provide calories but no or too little other nutrients.  Examples of empty calorie foods include soda, sweets, packaged baked goods, ice cream or processed red meats.  The opposite of empty calorie foods are nutrient dense foods meaning these foods provide a lot of nutrients compared to the calories they provide.  Examples of nutrient dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins or dairy.

Empty calorie foods are high in sugar and/or unhealthy fats.  Americans and most first world citizens get more than the recommended amount of empty calories in the diet.  It’s not that you can never eat empty calorie foods, but they should be a minority not a majority in your diet.

Getting too much sugar in the diet can increase risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly other chronic diseases.

Empty calories foods such as sweets, sodas and other sweetened beverages are a rich source of sugar.  These foods also do not provide other nutrients like fiber or protein which can help slow sugar absorption.

Health concerns with empty calorie foods

Since empty calorie foods are a source of added sugar, this is reason to cut down on empty calories to follow recommendation by the WHO.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines in March 2014 recommending sugar intake to be less than 5 percent of total calories.  This was a drastic cut from the previous recommended 10 percent of calories coming from added sugars.  Most Americans get more than the 10 percent recommendation.

If someone is more active, higher amounts of empty calories may be warranted.  Increased physical activity increases calorie needs.

Of those 1800 calories per day, 160 calories can come from empty calorie foods.  A male aged 31-50 years old requires approximately 2400 calories, and 330 of those calories can come from empty calorie foods.  If you get less than this amount, that could be beneficial.  If you get more than this recommendation, consider cutting down empty calorie foods.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the recommended amount of empty calories per day is based on estimated calorie intake for different age and gender groups.  For example, a female aged 31-50 years old requires approximately 1800 calories per day if exercising about 30 minutes most days of the week.

How much Calorie Foods is recommended?

Foods like whole grains or fruits are rich in carbohydrates or sugar but are not considered empty calorie foods because they also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  The fiber in fruits helps delay the sugar absorption from the intestinal tract which helps control blood sugar.

However, sugars from empty calorie foods like candy, soda, energy drinks, sweetened juices or processed baked goods do not have fiber in them.  Therefore, the sugar in these foods gets absorbed all at once from the intestinal tract.

Also, most Americans do not meet the recommended fiber intake.  Eating a lot of empty calorie foods will not provide fiber, and fiber has positive health affects in the body such as decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease and promoting digestive health.

Fruits and grains have antioxidants in them which can help lower inflammation in the body.  Empty calorie foods do not have antioxidants and could actually increase inflammation in the body.  Increased inflammation can increase risk for developing chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease or certain cancers.

Empty calorie foods can be high in saturated and Tran’s fats, which are considered “unhealthy” fats.  Packaged baked goods and processed meats can be especially high in trans and saturated fats.
Choose nutrient dense foods

You should think of what other nutrients a food or beverage is providing you besides calories.  Empty calorie foods provide just calories and little else nutrition.  Packaged foods are more likely to be considered empty calorie foods, but whole, unprocessed foods are more likely to be nutrient dense.

Whenever you have a choice, choose fresh foods like produce, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, beans and natural oils as the majority of your food selections.  Packaged foods like baked goods, processed red meats or sweetened beverages should be limited.

Whole foods are also a rich for a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals necessary for decreasing inflammation, boosting immune health and decreasing risk for chronic diseases.  Empty calorie foods do not have these nutrients.

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Conclusion

You can have empty calorie foods in your diet, but consuming excess amounts will sugar and unhealthy fats in your diet.  You also misplace nutrient dense foods rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.  Empty calorie foods are not beneficial for weight loss and may hinder progress with your goals.

Limit empty calorie foods like packaged baked goods, sweetened beverages and processed red meats.  The United States Department of Agriculture and the WHO have guidelines in place for the amount of empty calories and added sugar in the diet.
Why you should not eat empty calorie foods by Holly Klamer

How Many Milligrams of Cholesterol Should You Have a Day 2015

Having high blood cholesterol increases risk for cardiovascular disease.  If someone has high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes with high cholesterol, risk for cardiovascular disease is even higher.There are 3 main types of cholesterol in the blood:

  • very low density (VLDL) primarily made of triglycerides, low density (LDL) primarily made of cholesterol and high density (HDL) primarily made of proteins.  LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol.  If LDL cholesterol is high, it can cause excess cholesterol to be dumped inside the walls of the arteries forming plaque buildup.
  • HDL cholesterol takes cholesterol from the body and brings it back to the liver.  HDL can lower blood cholesterol, and having high levels of HDL is considered beneficial.
  • Dietary choices can impact blood cholesterol levels.  Genetics can also play a role in determining how much the body produces cholesterol.

Here are some dietary recommendations for blood cholesterol. 

Dietary cholesterol

  • The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends healthy adults get no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.  If someone has cardiovascular disease or has high LDL cholesterol, the AHA recommends only getting 200 mg of cholesterol per day.
  • Any animal food products, like meats, eggs or dairy, will have cholesterol; plant foods do not have any cholesterol.  Eggs, liver and shrimp are examples of foods that are high in cholesterol.  A large egg has about 185mg of cholesterol, which is more than half the recommendation per day for cholesterol.
  • Does this mean you shouldn’t eat eggs?  Not necessarily, as eggs have many other health benefits.  Most researchers agree healthy Americans can have up to an egg a day without increasing risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • For people with cardiovascular disease or high LDL cholesterol, they may need to monitor their dietary cholesterol more carefully.
  • Cholesterol is not essential.  The liver makes cholesterol, so getting cholesterol in the diet is not mandatory.  People who don’t eat any animal products, vegans, get no cholesterol in the diet.

Saturated and transfat

  • There is something else that impacts blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol, and that is saturated and trans fats.  The AHA suggests healthy adults limit total fat consumption to 25-35% of total calories, and saturated fat should be less than 7% of calories.  Limit trans fats to as close to zero as possible.
  • Saturated and trans fats have a stronger influence on blood cholesterol, and can promote LDL formation.  Some recent research has questioned the role of dietary saturated fat and blood cholesterol, but current health guidelines still suggest to limit saturated fat until more clarity is shown in research.
  • Saturated fat is primarily found in animal fat and is solid at room temperature.  Sources of saturated fat include processed red meats, dairy and butter.  Coconut oil and chocolate also have saturated fats, but the type of saturated fats found in these foods may not be as harmful as other types of saturated fat.
  • Trans fats are basically man made, they are almost non-existent in nature.  Trans fats are from hydrogenated oils and are found in margarine, commercially produced baked goods and fast foods.  Trans fats are the worst in terms of heart health and should be avoided.

Mono and polyunsaturated fat

  • Mono and polyunsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on heart health, and they should make up the majority of fat calories.  Monounsaturated fat especially can help lower blood cholesterol and keep HDL levels (the good cholesterol) high.
  • Sources of monounsaturated fat include avocado, fatty fish, olive oil and nuts.  Polyunsaturated fat sources include other vegetable oils and fatty fish.

Know your numbers

Total cholesterol should be under 200 mg/dL, and LDL cholesterol should be under 100 mg/dL.  For people with known heart disease, LDL should ideally be below 70 mg/dL.  HDL cholesterol should ideally be at least 60mg/dL.  Triglycerides, another type of blood fat, should ideally be below 150 mg/dL.

Increasing HDL

  • If the HDL cholesterol is low, there are some things you can do to try to increase HDL.  Exercise is one of the best ways to increase HDL cholesterol.  If your HDL is low, get in more planned exercise!  This can be as simple as walking, jogging, biking or dancing.
  • Eating more monounsaturated fats can also help increase HDL levels.

Conclusion: How Many Milligrams of Cholesterol Should You Have a Day – How many milligrams of cholesterol you can have per day depends on confounding health factors, but most healthy adults can have 300 mg of cholesterol per day.  For people with high risk of cardiovascular disease, that number drops down to 200 mg of cholesterol per day.

Saturated and trans fats also impact blood cholesterol levels; trans fats especially should be kept to a minimum.  Eating mono and polyunsaturated fats can have a beneficial impact on blood cholesterol, and exercise can help increase the good cholesterol, HDL