Saturday, November 21, 2009


Eating just a little bit more fiber could have a big impact in trimming the waistlines of America's young people, new research shows.

Latino adolescents and teens who increased their fiber intake over a two-year period had significant decreases in the amount of fat around their waists, while young people whose fiber intake fell saw their bellies expand, Dr. Jaimie N. Davis of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and her colleagues found.
Davis and her team were looking at belly fat, which is the most dangerous type of body fat. Fatter waistlines increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The investigators had 85 overweight boys and girls 11 to 17 years old fill out a questionnaire on their eating habits, and then report on their diet again two years later. At this stage of life, Davis noted in an interview, the diets of some young people tend to get worse.
Fiber intake fell by 3 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, on average, for 46 of the study participants, while it increased by the same average amount for the remaining 35.
Belly fat increased 21 percent for the study participants who were eating less fiber, but the young people who upped their fiber intake had a 4 percent reduction in belly fat.
The study findings appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Even slight decreases in dietary fiber are having a pretty significant metabolic impact," Davis noted in an interview. The recommended fiber intake for young people, she added, is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, or about 25 to 30 grams daily.
Based on the current findings, Davis noted, increasing fiber intake by six grams a day -- the amount found in half a cup of beans or a single whole-wheat tortilla -- could have a significant impact on young people's belly fat. "That's not an unrealistic goal for kids to set," she said.
People of any age who want to boost their fiber intake need to take a careful look at food labels, Davis added. "Just because it says 'whole wheat' or 'multigrain' doesn't mean it's a good source of fiber," she explained. "People think if it's brown, if it's wheat, it's good, but not necessarily."
Instead, she advised, people should check the Nutrition Facts label to see how many grams of fiber per serving the food actually contains.
Davis said she wasn't sure that the results of her study would apply to young people from other ethnic backgrounds, given that Latino individuals may be more likely to carry fat around their waistlines than white or black people.
"I do believe that increasing fiber in all cultures would have an impact, it just might have a different impact," she said.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2009.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How To Lose Weight

Despite the way it feels, losing weight isn't a mysterious process. It's a simple matter of burning more calories than you eat. But, if it were really that simple, none of us would have a weight problem, would we?

Weight loss can be such a struggle that we start thinking we have to do something drastic to see results -- diets, pills or those weird fitness gadgets on infomercials that promise instant success. The true secret to weight loss is this: Make small changes each and every day and you'll slowly (but surely) lose those extra pounds. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run.

Rules of Weight Loss
To lose one pound of fat, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities. That sounds like a lot of calories and you certainly wouldn't want to try to burn 3500 calories in one day. However, by taking it step-by-step, you can determine just what you need to do each day to burn or cut out those extra calories. Below is a step by step process for getting started.

Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is what your body needs to maintain normal functions like breathing and digestion. This is the minimum number of calories you need to eat each day. Keep in mind that no calculator will be 100% accurate, so you may need to adjust these numbers as you go along.

2. Calculate your activity level. Use a
calorie calculator to figure out how many calories you burn while sitting, standing, exercising, lifting weights, etc. throughout the day. It helps to keep a daily activity journal or you could even wear a heart rate monitor that calculates calories burned.

3. Keep track of
how many calories you eat. You can use a site like Calorie Count or use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink each day. Be as accurate as possible, measuring when you need to or looking up nutritional information for restaurants, if you eat out.

4. Add it up. Take your BMR number, add your activity calories and then subtract your food calories from that total. If you're eating more than you're burning, (your BMR + activity is 2000 and you're eating 2400 calories) you'll gain weight. If you're burning more than you eat, you'll lose weight.
Mary's BMR is 1400 calories and she burns 900 calories in daily activity with regular exercise, walking around and doing household chores. To maintain her weight, she should be eating 2300 calories but, after keeping a food journal, Mary finds that she's eating 2550 calories every day. By eating 250 more calories than her body needs, Mary will gain one pound every 2 weeks.

This example shows how easy it is to gain weight without even knowing it. However, it's also easy to lose weight, even if the process itself can be slow. You can start by making small changes in your diet and activity levels and immediately start burning more calories than you're eating. If you can find a way to burn an extra 200 to 500 calories each day with both exercise and diet, you're on the right track. Try these ideas:

Instead of...
Do this...
An afternoon Coke
Drink a glass of water. (calories saved: 97)
An Egg McMuffin
Eat a small whole wheat bagel +1 Tbsp of peanut butter (calories saved: 185)
Using your break eat sweets
Walk up and down a flight of stairs for 10 minutes (calories burned: 100)
Hitting the snooze button
Get up 10 minutes early and go for a brisk walk (calories burned: 100)
Watching TV after work
Do 10 minutes of yoga (calories burned: 50)
Total Calories Saved: 532 (based on a 140-pound person)

How Much Exercise Do I Need?
Exercise is an important weight loss tool, but how much you need varies from person to person. The
ACSM's weight loss guidelines suggest at least 250 minutes per week, which comes out to about 50 minutes, 5 days a week. If you're a beginner, start small (3 days a week for 20 to 30 minutes) to give your body time to adapt. Don't forget, things like walking, taking the stairs and household chores can burn more calories as well. Learn more about getting started with exercise.

Obesity: in statistics

People are getting fatter almost everywhere in the world.
The World Health Organization predicts there will be 2.3 billion overweight adults in the world by 2015 and more than 700 million of them will be obese.
Obesity is a modern problem - statistics for it did not even exist 50 years ago.

The increase of convenience foods, labour-saving devices, motorised transport and more sedentary jobs means people are getting fatter.
The body mass index (BMI) is the most commonly-used way of classifying overweight and obesity in adult populations and individuals.
BMI is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2).
Each BMI figure is classified within a range, eg 18-25 is ideal and over 30 is reckoned to be obese.
According to a survey of bodyshapes conducted in the UK in 1951, a woman's average waist size was 70cm (27.5in). A 3-D survey carried out by SizeUK in 2004 found the average woman had a waist measurement of 86cm (34in) and a BMI of 24.4, just inside the ideal range.
There was no comparative data for men in 1951, but the SizeUK survey showed the average man in 2004 had a waist of 94cm (37in) and a BMI of 25.2, technically just outside the ideal range.
But obesity is not just a problem for adults - the spread of obesity among children is also alarming experts.
At least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight globally in 2005, according to the WHO.
Measuring children, aged 5 to 14 years, who are overweight or obese is challenging because there is not a standard definition of childhood obesity applied worldwide. Figures for children in England are shown here.
Childhood obesity is a big problem in the United States.

The following graph shows the trend in a number of countries around the world.

Experts are worried that the increase in obesity will lead to more health problems as people who are overweight have a higher risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes and other diseases including some cancers.
As most data sources do not distinguish between Type I and II diabetes in adults, it is not possible to present the data separately. The map below shows the prevalence of diabetes throughout the world in 2007.
Even if the prevalence of obesity remains stable until 2030, the American Diabetes Association, says that the number of people with diabetes will more than double.
It says the increase may be "considerably higher" than this if, as expected, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise around the world.

Spot False Weight Loss Product Claims

You've seen them. Ads in magazines that say, "Eat all you want and still lose weight!" or signs on the side of the road that read, "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Ask me how!". While you may be tempted to believe these claims, no matter how much you want to lose weight (and how quickly you want it to happen), always go with your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that consumers take weight loss product advertisements and claims of effectiveness with a grain of salt. The FTC warns that advertisements promising results such as losing weight simply by taking a pill, wearing a patch, or using a cream are almost always false.
Before you purchase any weight loss products, talk to your doctor -- then be on the look-out for these false claims:
· "Lose weight without diet or exercise!"This is simply impossible. To lose weight, you must burn more (by exercising) or consume
fewer calories than required to maintain your weight. A product that makes this claim is a scam; as the FTC says, "Buy one and the only thing you'll lose is money."
· "Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods!"If only it were true. Eating all you want of any food can lead to weight gain, but it's especially questionable if a product suggests you can continue to eat fattening, high-sugar, high-calorie foods and still lose weight just because you're using their product.
· "Lose weight permanently! Never diet again!"Even if a weight loss product helps you take off a little more weight than diet and exercise alone, the moment you stop using it, the weight is almost guaranteed to start coming back. Successful, long-term weight loss depends on making permanent lifestyle changes -- nothing else works forever.
· "Block the absorption of fat, carbs, or calories!"While the OTC pill called
Alli keeps a small amount of fat from being absorbed by your body, there are no weight loss products that totally keep your body from absorbing fat, carbs, or calories. For Alli to work, you have to follow a low-fat diet. Remember, Alli is the only FDA-approved pill of its kind. And no product will keep you from gaining weight while eating high-fat, high-calorie foods.
· "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!"Unless you've had
gastric bypass surgery, losing a pound a day is impossible. Even it was, it would be extremely unhealthy. Losing weight rapidly -- more than about 1 or 2 pounds a week -- puts your health at risk and ensures that the weight will come back even sooner than it came off when you return to normal eating habits.
· "Everybody will lose weight!"Anyone who loses weight and keeps it off does what works for them. Everyone has their own unique
exercise abilities, eating habits, and health concerns. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all weight loss product that is guaranteed to work for everyone.
· "Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream!"Pretty simple: There's absolutely no product you can put on your skin to cause you to lose weight.
So instead of investing your money in questionable products, invest your time and effort in a slow and steady 1 to 2 pound a week weight loss. The best way to do so is to
eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity so you burn more energy. To lose about a pound a week, begin by cutting about 500 calories a day from your diet and becoming more active.


Everyone wants a tight, toned tummy but few of us were genetically gifted a six-pack. Fortunately, we all do have abs—they're just covered up! It's in your power to create a sexy, sculpted stomach, even if it's not in your genes. The secret? Core-focused, fat-blasting cardio blitzes coupled with muscle-defining strength sessions.
Optimally try to fit in five sweat sessions a week and cut 500 calories a day from your diet to shed about 2 pounds a week, including stubborn belly pudge! Can’t manage to find that much time? Fine! Think of doing half as many workouts while still eating 500 calories fewer a day-you'll lose at least 1 pound a week. Use these 20-, 40- and 60-minute firm-abs workouts to help you reach the magic number and
melt away your middle. Add in two weekly strength sessions designed to reveal sexy muscles head to toe. Grab a pair of 5- to 10-pound weights, do two sets of these simple sculptors, and watch your pooch skooch!
Magic multitasker Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward with left leg as you reach right arm forward, left arm back. Return to standing, twisting torso to right as you drive right knee and left elbow toward chest, right arm extended back, for one rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Waist whittler Start in push-up position, legs together and extended behind you. Rotate and lower hips to left, letting feet shift so they’re stacked, then rotate back to center, then to right, for one rep. Do two sets of 10 reps.
Back strengthener Stand with feet staggered, left foot in front of right, right heel lifted, left knee slightly bent. Balancing on left leg, tilt torso forward until you feel a deep stretch in hamstrings, letting hands hang toward floor for balance. Return to upright position. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Squat supreme Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out; hold a weight in each hand in front of body, palms facing out. Rise onto balls of feet. Squat, then, staying on tiptoe throughout, stand, curling weights toward chest, for one rep. Do two sets of 10 reps.
Lower-body blast Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, arms down. Step left foot back and to right, lowering into a curtsy lunge, until right thigh is almost parallel to floor, as you reach arms across body to right. Return to standing as you kick flexed left foot to left at hip height, reversing arms, for one rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Allover accentuator Start in push-up position. Lift hips to ceiling so body forms an inverted V with legs extended, heels raised and arms straight (Downward Dog). Bend elbows and scoop forward until hovering above floor with back arched and chin lifted (Upward Dog). Return to Downward Dog for one rep. Do two sets of 10 reps.
Tummy tamerLie faceup on bench with legs together and extended toward ceiling; hold bench for support. Contract abs and lower legs until hovering above bench, then raise legs and curl hips off bench as high as you can, reaching toes to ceiling. Slowly lower hips and legs for one rep. Do two sets of 10 reps.
Arm-flab fighter Sit on edge of bench, hands at front of seat, fingers forward, knees bent 90 degrees. Use arms to lift yourself off bench. Place right hand on right knee; extend left leg in line with hip. Lower body until left elbow is bent almost 90 degrees. Straighten left arm for one rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
See the how-to for these moves at
Get the full plan for flat abs in four weeks.
By Lucy Danziger