diet

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How Healthy is Your Diet? Part 3: Eat More Fruit

Posted by on 21 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: diet

healthy dietDo you eat enough fresh fruit every day? Do you know how much is enough? These days, far too many people don’t eat nearly enough fruit on a week to week basis, let alone every single day. Yet at the same time, ever increasing numbers of people are becoming overweight and obese because they are happily chomping their way through mountains of junk, processed food. What happened to common sense and why do so many people eat such a poor diet?

That’s probably too many questions. But it all boils down to the fact that we seem to have lost sight of what our bodies are telling us they need, while we pay far too much attention to what the advertising media tells us we should buy at the store.

Let’s put things into some kind of perspective. The food industry (and make mo mistake, it is an industry with the primary goal to make a profit) is happy for people to eat whatever can be gotten past the official approval process. As long as there is a market for a food product, the industry will use advertising and promotion techniques to get consumers to buy it. Not that its so difficult to do that, since people need to eat!

TV Advertising and Processed Food

hamburgers bad for youThe problem is that people are influenced by advertising, especially television advertising and the food industry will advertise those products that make it the most profit. The industry is not interested in selling you a bag of apples to make a few cents in profit when it can sell you a pack of frozen junk and make considerably more.

Better still, from the industry point of view, is the fact that people prefer the taste of junk food to fresh fruit not because it really tastes better, but because it is packed full of additives designed to make it seem like it tastes better. Those additives include saturated fat and sugar, both of which are highly attractive to the human sense of taste. What’s more, recent evidence suggests that we can become addicted to these foods, craving more of them the more of them that we eat.

Little wonder that the number of obese people is continuing to rise despite there being so much nutritional information readily available via the Internet and so many really effective diet and fitness programs also readily available.

There is a nasty side effect to eating a diet almost entirely comprised of processed foods, no matter how healthy the label may say they are. The rise in cases of certain cancers seems to be following the rise in the amount of processed food being consumed, but that’s not just any processed food. It seems to be linked with those containing high levels of sugar. A lot of research into the probable causes of prostate cancer in men seems to reveal that high levels of sugar in the diet actually feeds the cancer cells, causing rapid tumor growth and all the complications that go with it.

It seems that there are properties to refined sugar that causes oxidation in our body’s cells and the release of free radicals which cause damage and are also known to promote the growth of cancerous tumors. The sugar itself then feeds the tumors so they can grow faster. In fact, research has shown that cancerous cells need sugar to grow and they consume a lot of it. Source: Food for Thought

Choice

But we are human beings and as such we are the highest forms of life on this planet. We have something no other animal has (as far as we yet know) and that’s free will and the mental ability to choose. We can choose what we eat!

Most people seem to have forgotten that slight detail when they sit through a string of TV commercials drumming into their brains the desire to eat hamburgers, breadcrumb covered chicken bits and pieces, hot dogs, pizza and who knows what else, while washing it all down with one or other popular brand of soda. All that junk is loaded with the sugar that is not only making us fat, it is increasing the risk of cancer! Yet people choose to eat it. Not because its their own free choice, but because that choice has been influenced by clever marketing and advertising.

Of course, no one in the food industry would be so bold as to agree with any of the research on cancer and the recently uncovered links between prostrate cancer and high levels of sugar. They will naturally deny that there is any link between sugar and cancer. They will even deny their products cause people to become obese. This is natural as they must protect their industry.

You should know that this is not idle scaremongering. For more information, please read this fascinating article in the New Your Times from 2011 on the toxicity of sugar entitled: Is Sugar Toxic?

But this is not about what the food industry believes or does not believe. It is not about what politicians say or do not say. It is about your health and your ability as a human being to choose what you eat and do not eat.

Eat More Fruit

eat more fruitThere is one very effective way to combat any dependence on refined sugars and junk, processed foods and that’s to eat more fresh fruit. Not just every once in a while, but every day. An apple, maybe a peach or a pear, some cherries or grapes, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, perhaps a slice of melon or pineapple, or an orange or tangerine. There are plenty of fruit choices you can go for. Even the much maligned (by dieters, at least) bananas are healthier than sugar laden candy bars or cookies!

But there is more to eating fruit than immediately meets the eye.

I already mentioned the risk of getting cancer from eating too much refined sugar. Well, fresh fruits don’t contain refined sugar, but they are sweet to eat because they contain fruit sugars which are less harmful. But that’s not where I’m going with this, apart from the obvious fact that if you have a sweet tooth, then eating fresh fruit is a much healthier way of satisfying it than grabbing a slice of pie or a chocolate bar. Fresh fruit also contains a variety of antioxidants that work to prevent the cell damage that free radicals can do.

So not only is plenty of fresh fruit every day a great, healthy alternative to eating foods overloaded with refined sugars, but it can also go a long way to helping you to enjoy a longer, healthier life with a lower risk of certain cancer. if you need to know what is considered the correct amount of fruit to eat each day, the general consensus is around 5-8 servings per day. You can get more details on how that works out using the Pyramid Servings method.

It’s your choice. Make it a good one!

Terry Didcott

The Effect of Blood Group on Diet

Posted by on 29 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: diet

There has been a lot of interest lately in the effect that a person’s blood group may have on their diet. In fact, a whole new diet program has evolved around the theory that certain foods are metabolized differently by people with different blood groups. This is an interesting idea and one that is based on certain historical and ancestral facts.

Blood Type O

hunter gatherersIt is known that the oldest blood group, Type O was prevalent when our oldest cave dwelling ancestors kept themselves alive but hunting and gathering their food. The bulk of their regular diet was made up of meat, berries and fruits so their metabolism was optimized to cope with large amounts of animal fats, meat protein and fruit sugars to obtain the maximum nutrition from these sources.

Come up to today’s modern human physical makeup and notice how people with blood type O tend to be able to happily eat a diet predominantly made up of meats and meat protein with high levels of fruit sugars without unduly gaining weight. As soon as you add high carbohydrate wheat or other grain based products to that diet, the person’s weight increases when they don’t do enough exercise each day.

This makes a lot of sense when you consider that the ancestral type O blooded hunter gatherers did not eat any wheat or grain based foods and got all their carbohydrates from the fruits they could gather. Their metabolism would not have been able to cope very well with this type of food because it simply was not available. Therefore the cave-dweller’s digestive system was best suited to processing a variety of animal products, fruits and berries.

Blood Type A

harvest by handLater on in the evolutionary process of humans, we emerged from our caves and learned how to grow our own food. This change didn’t happen overnight, but happened gradually over many thousands of years. As we evolved, the blood type A also appeared. Our digestive systems gradually evolved to cope with the newer form of nutrition, made up primarily of vegetable crops, some grains, seeds and dairy products. It still featured animal products, but the balance shifted to a greater reliance on what we could grow, store and make into food without the need for hunting or gathering.

Modern humans with the Type A blood group are better at metabolizing and obtaining the maximum amount of nutrition from vegetable crops, fruits and seeds while relying less on animal products.

Blood Type B

traditional farmerBlood type B is the the most recent evolutionary step in human makeup and stems from the ancestral period when our early farmer ancestors started farming dairy cattle and creating a wide range of dairy products. Farming settlements had become firmly established as a way of life and families grew into small communities that relied on each other to produce food, clothing and tools necessary for the day to day running of those communities.

The ancestral diet from this period therefore was made up of more dairy products and of course farmed vegetables, fruits and other products.

What does all this mean to modern dieters?

Well, the Blood Type Diet is optimized for the three main blood types according to the way in which their bodies metabolize food and the way they handle the agglutinating lectins in certain foods. Each blood type handles these lectins differently and when the wrong foods are eaten, these lectins can cause problems with their metabolizing, from increasing the risk of illnesses, allergies and health conditions to weight gain.

Dieting with Blood Type O

blood type o meat eatersThose with blood type O actually thrive on a diet of high protein meats coupled with a vigorous exercise regime. They don’t get on so well with dairy products but do very well on a diet rich in lean meats, fish and poultry. Body weight can be maintained at the correct levels by avoiding grain-based products such as breads, cakes and pasta as well as legumes and especially beans. The gluten in wheat germ and other grains lowers the metabolism by interfering with insulin efficiency, which leads to weight gain.

It is also true that thyroid function problems tend to be more prevalent in people with blood type O, so it is best to avoid foods that interfere with thyroid function, such as vegetables of the brassica family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard) while increasing consumption of iodine rich foods to boost hormone production such as kelp and seafood.

From a health perspective, it has been shown that foods from the nightshade group of vegetables (tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, peppers and chilies, eggplant etc) can cause lectin deposits in the tissue surrounding the joints. Type O’s also tend to have higher stomach acid levels and so should avoid high acid fruits such as oranges, while increasing the amount of alkali forming fruits and berries. Dairy products such as cheese, butter, full fat milk, full fat yogurts etc should also be kept to a minimum as the digestive system does not metabolize these very well.

Dieting with Blood Type A

blood type a vegetable eatersIt has been shown in the Blood Type Diet for Type A’s that they can eat a diet made up primarily of certain vegetables and lower levels of meats and animal products. Or in fact they can be completely vegetarian and maintain a healthy weight.

Introducing high levels of red meats and food products high in animal fats leads to weight gain as the metabolism is not optimized for processing meats and meat protein very well. Avoiding most meats can result in weight loss, which makes it an important factor for those with Type A. It is also important to get more natural foods in the diet with the emphasis on organically grown crops.

The lower stomach acid levels in Type A’s is another factor in reducing their ability to digest meats. Therefore animal proteins should be substituted with nuts, seeds and soy protein based foods such as tofu. Dairy products are also badly metabolized and should be avoided where possible or kept to a minimum.

Type A’s can metabolize most legumes and beans (apart from a few exceptions, such as red kidney and Lima beans) very well and these should form a staple part of the diet. A diet high in vegetables is vital to incorporate the right enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants. Most fruits can be eaten in larger proportions and aid weight maintenance and health balance. However, there is sensitivity to the lectins found in nightshade vegetables (see above) as well as some fruits such as mango, papaya and oranges.

Dieting with Blood Type B

blood type b dairy eatersThe modern diet recommended for blood type B is low in meat protein and actually prescribes avoiding eating chicken, corn, lentils, peanuts and sesame seeds. Type Bs are better able to resist many of the more severe illnesses that are common to modern life, such as heart disease and cancer as long as they follow the right diet. However, they are more prone to immune-system disorders that include multiple sclerosis, lupus and chronic fatigue syndrome, so it is important to avoid any foods that might aggravate these conditions.

Type B is actually the only blood type where people can fully enjoy a wide variety of dairy foods. Their metabolism is best geared up for processing dairy products and they gain the most nutrition from them. However, the nuts and seeds that better suit Types O and A should be avoided by B’s as the lectins they contain interfere with insulin production.

Most Type B’s do not tolerate wheat products very well as they contain a lectin that reduces insulin efficiency and fails to stimulate the burning of fat. Rye should also be avoided as it contains a lectin that settles in the vascular system, causing blood disorders and can potentially lead to strokes. Major factors in Type B weight gain include corn and buckwheat. These contribute to a sluggish metabolism, insulin irregularity, fluid retention and fatigue.

Conclusions

While these are only guidelines of what should be eaten and what should be avoided according to a person’s blood type, there is a lot of truth in this system as it relies on known metabolic and digestive data taken from a wide spectrum of the populace. Certainly, health improvements can be had from improving your diet no matter what blood type you happen to be, by reducing your intake of processed foods, junk foods and switching to home prepared and cooked meals made from more natural and fresh ingredients.

Terry Didcott

Nutrisystem in 2012

Posted by on 04 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: diet

For many years, Nutrisystem has been providing many thousands of people each year with the means to lose weight through a nutritionally balanced, calorie and portion controlled diet that is both time saving and convenient. Their special brand of weight loss diet program that delivers all the meals a customer requires to their home has proved both popular and highly successful. So how is it faring in 2012?

The program has gone from strength to strength in recent years. You can read about the program overall in our own Nutrisystem Reviews article published on this website. But here’s an update on what has been happening recently.

Although 2011 saw a slight drop in popularity that could be attributed to their marketing strategy change. That saw them drop the famous celebrity spokespeople Marie Osmond and Dan Mareno in favor of ordinary, “real” people who were successful customers to promote their brand. It backfired in a small way as it seems the American public responds more readily to being sold on a product by a big name celebrity over a “nobody”.

Nutrisystem Celebrity Spokesperson

So late in December 2011, the company made a big change to their marketing and promotion machine bringing on board a very big celebrity spokesperson, Janet Jackson. Its a little early to say how much of an impact this change of strategy has had on sales, but the early signs are very good.

But aside from promoting the product, what has Nutrisystem got to offer its customers by way of a better way to lose weight in 2012?

Nutrisystem Success™ 2012

The diet program has changed somewhat from last year’s setup in that there are more meal options to choose from and they have included high protein diet shakes into the menu. They have branded the new diet program Nutrisystem Success™ and there are high hopes from both the company and customers that this latest incarnation of the popular diet food delivery program will be a huge success.

The standard plans all incorporate around 30 percent fresh frozen meals which are delivered separately from the main package. They actually originate from Schwann’s who create the special meals under license and do not sell them separately or as part of their own diet frozen meal range. The Select™ plan is still available if you want a fully fresh frozen meal diet plan. The overall menu has been improved, although most of the improvements went in last year when they enlisted the services of several celebrity chefs to create new meal options and better quality choices.

Losing Weight With Nutrisystem

The bottom line for any diet is how successfully a person can lose weight using the program. You first have to remember that this program is mainly designed for use by people who don’t have time to spend working on a regular diet. That’s where they have to go buy all the ingredients at the store, then prepare and cook the meals themselves making sure they adhere to calorie counts, portion sizes and nutritional requirements.

This is a diet that does all the work for you and you just take each meal as you need it, heat it up and eat. It appeals to people who can’t or won’t cook and those who have busy lives and don’t want to spend any time in the kitchen cooking special meals for themselves and different ones for the rest of the family. As such, the customer can’t realistically expect the meals to be of the same quality as those they home cook themselves.

The meals are what they are, which are creations by a diet company who know how to make low calorie, nutritional meals that help people lose weight. They work as long as you work with the program. They work even better when you put some time and effort into your own well being by getting some exercise each day to help boost your metabolism and turbo charge the effectiveness of the diet itself.

Its all about losing weight and how much you really want to lose it! You get out of it what you put into it!

Terry Didcott

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