Category Archives: fitness

Exercise won’t save you from a bad diet

woman-at-gym-drinking-juiceSince way back in the 1980s, exercise has been much more than a fad and bigger than a trend. It’s a given for most people. It’s how we believe we stay healthy, thin and fit. wants to start off saying that exercise IS incredibly important for all of us for a myriad of reasons. But we’re learning more and more that exercise isn’t the only thing you need to incorporate into your routine to be living a healthy lifestyle.

In a fascinating and scorching editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three authors argue that the myth that exercise is the key to weight loss – and to health – is erroneous and pervasive, and that it must end. The evidence that diet matters more than exercise is now overwhelming, they write, and has got to be heeded: We can exercise to the moon and back but still be fat for all the sugar and carbs we consume. And perhaps even more jarring is that we can be a normal weight and exercise, and still be unhealthy if we’re eating poorly. So, they say, we need a basic reboot of our understanding of health, which has to involve the food industry’s powerful PR “machinery,” since that was part of the problem to begin with.

The major point the team makes – which they say the public doesn’t really understand – is that exercise in and of itself doesn’t really lead to weight loss. It may lead to a number of excellent health effects, but weight loss – if you’re not also restricting calories – isn’t one of them. “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,” they write. “However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.”

Plus, in the last 30 years, exercise has stayed about the same, while overweight and obesity have skyrocketed. So something else must be at play – like the type of food we’re eating. That part has gotten steadily worse over the years, as highly-processed sugary foods and sodas have taken over as our go-to choices. “According to the Lancet global burden of disease reports,” they write, “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.” This is a disturbing statistic. But it gets worse.

The related and larger issue is that even normal weight people who exercise will, if they eat poorly, have metabolic markers that put them at very high risk of chronic illness and early mortality. “Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”

And the crux of the issue is this: We’re continually “fed” the idea that all that’s behind the rise in obesity is lack of exercise, or sedentariness. There have certainly been a lot of studies and popular articles suggesting that sitting is our downfall. Instead of effective messages about diet and health that science actually knows to be true, “members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting,” the team writes, “and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise. This false perception is rooted in the Food Industry’s Public Relations machinery, which uses tactics chillingly similar to those of big tobacco.”

What we know to be true is much simpler: “Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger,” the write. “Fat calories induce fullness or satiation.” For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, they write, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.

So if this is all true, and research seems to suggest it is, how will it change? It might take quite a lot of work to shift our psychology around food, especially since advertising is so saturated with the message that carbohydrates are good for us. The celebrity endorsements might need to be tweaked, the authors say, and certainly the way foods are advertised and, perhaps, created, need to be shifted. The public should be repeatedly hit with the message that whole, natural foods, where possible and affordable is the best way to go. If you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your calories (especially sugars) – don’t think exercise alone will cut it. And even if you’re normal weight, you can’t subside solely on junk and stay healthy.

The authors end with this powerful finale: “It is time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s Public Relations machinery. Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet.”

Again we see science pointing out the idea that even fit people who exercise regularly who don’t have an issue with keeping their weight in a healthy range can be plagued by the metabolic problems normally associated with obesity. If you’re eating a 2000 calorie a day diet, but those calories are coming from bad food, you can look great but still have a health problem. Those fast food breakfast sandwiches that boast an under 400 calorie count are still fast food. That processed cereal with only 250 calories people are enjoying for breakfast is still processed and contains added sugar. The list can go on. The message is about nutritional quality and where we find it.

Let’s get smarter about our lifestyle. Let’s find nutritionally beneficial foods we like eating and prepare them in our own kitchens where we have control over the sugar, salt and fat we add to the dishes we prepare. And let’s keep right on getting ourselves to the gym and out for a run, understanding that our healthy lifestyle is about everything we do with and for our bodies. It’s not just about the exercise.

Trouble keeping your resolutions? Here are some tips to make them successful!

images-1We’re all getting ready to celebrate the New Year and welcome 2015! It’s an exciting and fun holiday for everyone. And inherent in that celebration is the longstanding tradition of New Year’s resolutions. imagines that the most popular resolutions include weight loss, beginning a workout program, resuming a workout program, giving up soda, cutting out sugar, cutting out fast food and giving up processed foods. We can think of more — but that short list probably sums up the majority that we’ve heard.

They all sound wonderful. And many of us get off to a good start. Statistically, though, we’ve given up on our resolutions about a week after the New Year. It isn’t necessarily that we weren’t invested enough in our resolutions, though. Instead, it may turn out that we expected too much of ourselves too quickly and didn’t leave any room for setbacks. So how can we be more successful in our goals for the new year? Let’s take a look at some helpful ideas.

Set measurable goals
Simply setting a goal of losing weight or working out more isn’t actually helpful. It’s too open ended. On the other hand if you set a goal to lose ten pounds in the next four months, it’s easier to stay motivated. You’ll be able to set interim goals over the four month period, allowing you to enjoy smaller successes along the way.

Be specific
Let’s look at the resolutions surrounding working out. You’ll probably be more successful if the resolution is stated more specifically. It shouldn’t just be about working out more, it should be about how you’ll be doing that. “I’m going to the gym three times a week and I’ll be doing three spin classes and three running workouts every week.” Those are specific goals as opposed to the more vague, “I’m going to work out more in 2015.”

Be flexible and honest
One of the biggest difficulties surrounding resolutions is lack of flexibility and honesty. We all need to understand that at some point, we’re going to need to forgive ourselves for not sticking to it. And then we need to get right back on it. So that one week when life just seems to get in the way of your resolution, you’re going to have to be kind to yourself and pick it up again next week. That’s so much better than throwing the resolution out the window!

Set goals that make you happy
Your resolutions are for you. Make sure you choose things that will bring you joy in achieving. If you know that those 10 pounds are going to make you happy, it will make it much easier to endure what you need to do to lose them. If you’ve always dreamed of running a marathon, the training it will take you to get there will be worth it to fulfill that dream. No joy in the results = no results.

Resolutions are great things. They help us set our sights on our best selves. So let’s make them count!

Happy New Year!

Lower your risk of memory loss, commit to a healthy lifestyle’s mission is to educate consumers about what’s really in the food products available on our grocery shelves. We take great care to inform our visitors about ingredients that may actually be harmful to our health and the real benefits of eating a healthful diet and committing to a healthy lifestyle.

Today we read about a new study out of UCLA that shows a clear and valuable benefit to adapting a healthy lifestyle and sticking with it. It appears that folks with healthy habits are at a reduced risk for memory loss than those whose habits aren’t as healthful.

UCLA researchers teamed up with the Gallup organization for a national poll of over 18,000 people. The survey asked participants questions about their memory as well as their lifestyle.  The researchers then reviewed the results to see if there was any link between healthy behaviors and memory throughout adult life.

Participants were asked five very simple questions:

• Do you smoke?
• Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?
• In the last seven days, on how many days did you have five or more servings of vegetables and fruits?
• In the last seven days, on how many days did you exercise for 30 minutes or more?
• Do you have any problems with your memory?

Of course, the memory question relied on the participant’s own perception of his or her cognitive abilities. The survey showed that healthy eating, not smoking and regular exercise were linked to better memory among the participants.

Those between the ages of 18 and 39 were less likely to report healthy behaviors than those older adults over 60 years of age. Those who reported the healthiest habits were the least likely to report problems with their memory. People who only engaged in one healthy behavior were 21 percent less likely to report memory problems, those who engaged in two were 45 percent less likely, and adults who engaged in more than three positive behaviors were far less likely to report memory problems. Seventy percent of the older adults engaged in at least one healthy behavior compared to only 61 percent of middle-aged adults and 58 percent of younger adults.

It was noted that young adults participating in the survey were the most likely to engage in unhealthy habits. 25% of middle-aged adults participating were smokers compared with only 12 percent of those over the age of 60. Younger adults also reported eating less fruits and vegetables than the older survey participants.

Memory issues were reported from 26 percent of the older adults and 22 percent of the middle-aged adults. The researchers said these figures were expected among adults of these age groups, however, they said they were surprised that 14 percent of young adults reported memory problems too.

Researchers noted that it’s possible that older adults are engaging in healthier behaviors because they are more likely to listen to their doctors’ advice. They also noted that this survey speaks to the need for further research to potentially aid and enhance cognitive function throughout a lifespan.

Fruits. Vegetables. Exercise. No smoking. can get on board with these healthy habits at every age. And as we age, we’d all like to envision ourselves as fully functioning, active older adults. Let’s commit to that healthy lifestyle every single day.

What’s really in Snapple Apple!

snapple-apple looks into what’s really in Snapple “Apple.” Many consumers and bloggers recently took notice that “Snapple Apple” contains zero apples! Instead, this “apple” drink contains pear concentrate. Isn’t this false advertising? The Consumerist recently reached out to Snapple in regards to this matter to receive the following e-mail back:


“Thank you for contacting our Company regarding our ingredients in our products.

Our Company complies with all applicable labeling regulations promulgated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies. Product flavor components that form part of our “natural” or “natural and/or artificial flavors” ingredients are considered proprietary to our Company.
If you have a concern regarding the intake of this product, we suggest that you contact your health care provider. If you have known sensitivities to any substance listed in the ingredient statement, we advise discontinuing use of the product.

Thanks again for contacting us.

Consumer Relations”

So why doesn’t Snapple Apple use actual apple juice in their “apple” drink? The Consumerist points out that a real apple apparently doesn’t provide the same “apple” taste some people expect. However, pears are somehow able to provide the “true apple flavor.”

Apples score very high at Food Facts! They provide plenty of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and lutein, (an antioxidant which promotes eye health in preventing macular degeneration, light sensitivity, and cataracts.) Snapple Apple is missing

Next time you’re looking for an apple juice or any type fruit juice, make sure to look for “100% pure” or “100% fruit juice” to get all the nutrients of the fruit or vegetable.

Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health


Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health is teaming up with our friends over at to give you 5 Powerful Food Types to boost your health! In the effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating food for health is one of the most important nutrition choices. Choosing the right food for health involves both knowing what to look for when you are grocery shopping, as well as what your body needs. There are five important food types that should be taking into consideration. Let’s look at what these types of foods are and the benefits they offer your body.

1. Anti-anaemic Foods

The first food type is anti-anaemic foods. When eaten regularly these foods will help control or even prevent the onset of anaemia, a condition wherein there is a deficiency of iron, an essential component of haemoglobin in our blood. Haemoglobin is a protein molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen. We obtain most of our iron from our diet and therefore need to include these foods in our health meal plan. Some anti-anaemic foods to choose from include pistachios, mustard greens, curry powder, asparagus, green peppers, lentils and liver.

2. Anti-carcinogenic Foods

Anti-carcinogens are substances that can help reduce the risk of contracting cancer. With cancer rates being as high as they are, it’s not difficult to see why eating foods that contain anti-carcinogens is crucial to our overall health and well-being.

As a general rule of thumb when choosing anti-carcinogenic foods, look for those that are low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids. A very popular example is salmon. Also look for foods that are high in fiber as these help to prevent colon cancer, as well as prevent hormonal aberrations that promote the development of prostate cancer in men. Plant proteins and foods with a higher calcium content fall into this category as well. In addition to salmon, some examples of anti-carcinogenic foods include mustard greens, garlic, olive oil, carrots, blueberries, and broccoli.

3. Antioxidant Foods

The third group of foods are known as antioxidant foods. Basically what antioxidants do is help to protect and strengthen our immune system. Everyone has heard of “free radicals” in the buzz about the benefits of antioxidants. Free radicals are molecules that are created when oxygen interacts with cells in our bodies, damaging them and resulting in molecules missing an electron. These highly unstable molecules aggressively seek out electrons from nearby tissue cells in the body, damaging their DNA and killing them. This leads to many ailments and health conditions, including atherosclerosis and cancer. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from attaching to our cells by capturing and neutralizing them.

When trying to eat a diet high in antioxidant foods, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, as these foods contain antioxidants in the highest quantities. Some foods that are high in antioxidants are blueberries, apricots, broccoli, mustard greens, green peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.

4. Diuretic Foods

Foods containing diuretics assist your body with fluid removal. This prevents bloating and water retention in your body, and can also help relieve symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome in women. Diuretic foods can also accelerate with the removal of toxins from our bodies via our excretory system. However, when eating natural diuretics it is best not to overdo it. If eaten in excess, they can result in the removal of nutrients from the body. Examples of these foods include celery, dandelions, parsley, melon, tea, asparagus, coffee and artichokes.

5. Laxative Foods

Lastly are healthy foods containing laxatives. Laxatives enhance our bodies’ ability to excrete stool and relieve and prevent constipation. Nearly everyone has heard of that old constipation remedy of eating prunes. However prunes are not the only type of natural laxative out there, and it’s important to know some of the other laxative food options in order to keep your bowels functioning efficiently. It may seem unimportant, but proper bowel function plays a major role in preventing a host of intestinal conditions. Some natural food laxatives include apples, bananas, broccoli, turmeric, ginger, cauliflower, tomatoes and avocados.

After going through all five of these critical food groups, it’s pretty easy to see the similarities between them. Eating good food for health therefore includes eating a whole lot more fruits and vegetables, and a whole lot less fatty meats. This is the only body you’re ever going to get, so it’s vital to take proper care of it!

Article provided by $50 Giveaway!

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Froot Loops Healthier in Australia & New Zealand

Some American food manufactures make healthier versions of their products in other countries because those countries have stricter food policies. An example of this is Kellogg’s Froot Loops, here is the American version’s nutrition information and here is the Australian & New Zealand version’s nutrition information.

Watch here as we point out the differences:

It’s really amazing to us that the U.S.A. can allow these processed and sugar laden foods with controversial ingredients but it appears that other westernized countries eat a healthier version of the product. And we wonder how our childhood obesity rates are out of control?

Do you eat in your sleep?


For Leslie, it all started around menopause: the fatigue, the weight gain and the eating in the middle of the night. Sometimes she would have absolutely no memory of getting up to eat, but would find a mess in the kitchen. Other times, she would feel half-awake but out of control and compelled to get out of bed and find food.

I had a strong suspicion that Leslie had a parasomnia that we call sleep-related eating disorder. The key features are: 1. Nocturnal eating while asleep or half-asleep and therefore there is no or little recall of the events but there is evidence of eating or there are witnesses. 2. Bizarre and sometimes dangerous things are consumed. 3. Elaborate food preparation often takes place but in a careless, sloppy manner 4. There are often underlying eating disorders and/or a primary sleep disorder. As she continued her story, I became more convinced that indeed Leslie had this disorder.

At first, the episodes occurred perhaps once a week, then it was more frequent and now it was nearly every night. At first, the things that she was eating were pretty normal but rarely very healthy. Carbs, fat and the occasional protein.

She was alarmed by the time that she made a baked potato in the middle of the night. “Do you know how long it takes to bake a potato! It scares me that the episodes last that long and also the reason I know that I baked it in the oven, rather than microwaving it, is because the oven was still on in the morning.”

Then the things that she was eating got a bit bizarre. For example, one time, her husband found her trying to eat a frozen veggie burger. But what brought her to the sleep center was the episode where she found an open, half-eaten can of cat food and she was not sure if she had really fed it to her cat.

As of yet, there is not a lot of research on this disorder. Prevalence rates are estimated to be approximately 4% of young adults which is not an insignificant number. The prevalence rates are even higher among people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Typically, people are in their 20s or 30s when they present with this complaint, but the fact that Leslie was in her early 50s and just going through menopause was a clue that she might have an underlying sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, which often appears or becomes worse when women go through menopause because the loss of estrogen means the muscles in the throat are not as toned as they once were.

Accordingly, the diagnostic workup should include a thorough evaluation for another underlying eating or sleep disorder. An overnight sleep study is usually performed and the person is asked to keep a sleep diary for two to four weeks to document what he or she recalls and what evidence there is of their nocturnal eating.

This disorder should be distinguished from night-eating syndrome, which involves excessive eating between the evening meal and bedtime. This disorder is characterized by complete nocturnal awakenings and fully conscious eating in the middle of the night. No bizarre foods are consumed and the eating behavior/food preparation is not sloppier than usual. In this disorder, it is less likely that the patients have an underlying sleep disorder and more likely that they have longstanding issues with food and weight gain.

That brings us to some of the health consequences of sleep-related eating disorder and night-eating syndrome. People can gain a lot of weight and sometimes over a short period of time. They can develop type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and it can be difficult to manage these disorders with the usual medications if people are consuming excessive, empty calories in the middle of the night. In sleep-related eating disorder, people can ingest toxic substances. They can also leave the stove on, thereby endangering themselves and their loved ones. Patients can have problems in their relationships because they are waking up their bed partners. Some patients even bring food back to bed, so even if it wouldn’t bother you if your spouse got up every night, few of us would want to wake up to find our spouse in the bed pulling apart a greasy chicken and throwing the carcass under the covers. Finally, patients are very psychologically disturbed by how out of control they feel.

There is not much research on what treatments might help these patients. Of course we treat the underlying eating or sleep disorder. If there is none or that approach does not resolves the symptoms, then we try medications such as topiramate or zonisamide, which are anti-convulsants. Other medications that have been given with some success are dopaminergic agents, benzodiazepines such as Clonazepam and opiates. With Leslie we lucked out; she did indeed have severe sleep apnea and when we treated it all her nocturnal eating stopped.

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs on Tuesdays on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

February is American Heart Month

American Heart Month has been around since 1963 the goal is to help raise awareness for America’s #1 killer…Heart disease. A good amount of having a healthy heart deals with nutrition and the good and bad foods Americans are consuming.

Here’s a video of 5 things you can do to have a healthier heart:

To add to that list…
-Control your portion size
-Plan ahead and create daily menus
-Allow yourself an occasional treat

And don’t forget exercise is extremely important in keeping your heart healthy.

Different Types of Sports Drinks: Are They Healthy?

Sports Drinks |

Sports Drinks | has learned that the body sweats in order to maintain proper body heat, and in the process, electrolytes are lost. The kidneys also conserve fluid and electrolytes by cutting back on urine production during dehydration. Water is essential for proper bodily function. Loss of water fact, after 4%, the capacity for muscular work declines, after 5% heat exhaustion, 7% hallucination, and after 10% you experience circulatory collapse and heat stroke. Sports drinks aren’t the only way to consume electrolytes. Eating a normal diet will provide the body with more than enough electrolytes needed for exercising and physical activity. Continue reading