The Dangers of Soy are Everywhere – Do You Know Where Your Soy Is?

You may think that avoiding the dangers of soy is just a matter of not buying soy products. Typical products you may find in your local grocery or health-food store include:

  • Tofu: If you can find the fermented form of tofu, that’s great. But most tofu is not fermented and presents all the problems discussed previously.
  • Soy Milk: Often used by people with lactose intolerance or who are avoiding saturated fats. In addition to the negatives of soy, this is a highly processed product. The processing adds even more dangers to it.
  • Soy Cooking Oil: Another highly processed product treated with high heat and chemicals to make it useable.

Soy nuts, soy nut butter and edamame are other snack-like products you may find in your local health-food store.

Other highly processed soy products are found almost everywhere. From bread to diet protein drinks. These include:

  • Soy flour
  • Soy grits
  • Textured soy protein
  • Soy protein concentrates
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Soy lecithin

Start reading the ingredients list on the foods you buy and you will be amazed! Some ingredients go by other names, but don’t let that fool you. They most likely are from soy. These include:

  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Vegetable oil
  • MSG
  • Lecithin
  • Mono-Diglyceride

If you’re a fast-food junkie, you may be exposing yourself to the dangers of soy and not even know it because most fast-food is made with some form of soy.

Not So Healthy

Those who promote the use of soy often do so with the best of intentions. There are a lot of health claims for soy. Unfortunately, there is little evidence apart from the benefits of fermented soy discussed previously.

Some researchers hoped that soy could help with some of the aging-related problems in women. This study found that it doesn’t. Other researchers hoped that soy could help with breast cancer, but one study found that it could make things worse.

Still Unsure?

Fans of soy may say that there are other studies that do show benefits to eating soy. I often have people comment “Yeah, they come out with a study that says one thing and then a year later, they come out with another that contradicts it!” It is confusing sometimes. But here’s the way I look at it:

Suppose someone tells you to jump over a cliff because there’s a nice pool of water a few feet below. It’s a hot day and it sounds inviting. Then another person comes along and tells you if you jump over that cliff, you’ll fall a thousand feet to the rocks below. Are you going to spend a lot of time contemplating who’s right? Or are you going to back away from the cliff !!

I’m not saying you’re going to die young by eating a little soy now and then. But I don’t think it’s a wise idea to be drinking gallons of soy milk, eating pounds of tofu or pigging out on junk food. It’s not good for your health or for losing weight. There are plenty of healthy and natural vegetables, fruits, nuts, and animal products to choose from and help you stay clear from the dangers of soy.

For more in-depth information on soy, I suggest reading The Whole Soy Story  by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN.

The Healthiest Weight Loss Aids Aren’t Found in a Pill!

Weight loss aids come in many forms. The healthiest ones don’t come in the form of a pill or tablet. Everyone would love a magic pill that melts the fat off effortlessly, but you know that doesn’t really exist. Let me show you some natural foods that may help you reach your weight loss goals without damaging your health.

Diet Pills and Herbal Aids

pillsFirst, let’s talk about why prescription drugs and herbal concoctions shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for something to help you lose weight.

I believe in losing weight the healthiest way possible, which is mostly through proper diet and exercise. Taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug is probably the furthest thing from that mindset. Diet drugs have a long list of uncomfortable side affects and can be dangerous. Remember Fen-phen?

Some herbal weight loss products can have dangerous side effects also. Ephedra (also known as ma huang) was used in many herbal weight loss aids until the FDA banned its use because of adverse side effects, including heart attack and death. Other herbs such as Bitter Orange are used today in it’s place, but may be just as dangerous.

I don’t want to dwell on all the unhealthy ways to aid your weight loss goals. Whether it’s drugs or herbal compounds, the product’s promise is usually either to suppress your hunger pangs or keep fat from being digested.

The latter is ridiculous in my opinion. First of all, it presupposes that eating fat makes you fat. It doesn’t!

Eating low-quality, highly refined fats (typically found in deep-fried foods) can make you fat. But unrefined, high-quality fats (like organic coconut oil) can actually help you lose weight. You don’t need to block fat, just eat the right kinds.

As far as controlling hunger goes, instead of taking a pill to keep hunger away, try these tips:

  • Eat small healthy meals throughout the day (up to 5 or 6), instead of the typical 3 large meals a day. This way, you’re never very far from your next meal. If you know that you can eat in one hour, it makes it easier to ignore any hunger pangs.
  • Include a “cheat” day in your diet plan. If you’re dieting on your own or if your diet program includes one, take advantage of a cheat day or at least a cheat meal, where you can eat anything you want. If you really crave that slice of chocolate cake, just think “I’ll have that on my cheat day!”
  • Use an accountability system. Make a deal with a friend or family member. Have them ask you on a daily basis if you stayed on your diet that day. Agree to pay them $10 (or whatever amount you agree on) if you cheated. Your slimming wallet will help you keep slim by thinking twice about going off your diet!

Healthy Weight Loss Aids

Here are some natural and healthy weight loss aids that are low-cost and you can start using them today:

  • Cinnamon is a delicious addition to many foods. It can reduce the glycemic index of a meal as much as 29% and make you feel fuller. Use Saigon cinnamon if you can find it. Use up to a teaspoon and half per day. More than that can have some unwanted side-affects. I often put some on beans or squash to add flavor.
  • Stevia is a natural sweetener that doesn’t produce the insulin response of sugar. It won’t help you lose weight by itself, but allows you to sweeten foods without the added calories. You can find it at Trader Joe’s and other health food stores.
  • Green and Oolong Teas both have properties that help to burn fat and slow the digestion of carbohydrates. Black and White teas may share some of the same properties. You can brew your own at home or if you’re on the go a lot, pick up a cup at your nearest Starbucks. If you need to sweeten it, I suggest using Stevia.
  • Cayenne Pepper is often listed as a dieting aid, but the active ingredient “capsaicin” is found in any hot sauce. It helps the body burn calories and stabilize blood-sugar levels. So if you don’t mind spicy food, add a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your meals.
  • Coconut Oil is one saturated fat that is actually good for you. Studies have shown that it helps to reduce belly fat and actually lowers the bad cholesterol while increasing the good. I use it for almost all my cooking needs. Just be sure to look for “organic virgin” on the label.
  • Cold Showers are a good way to boost your metabolism and help burn calories. When your body is exposed to cold, it has to burn calories to maintain a normal temperature. Personally, I hate the cold, but I find that I can handle a 10 minute cold shower or a short walk in cold weather and it actually gives me more energy throughout the day.
  • Adequate Sleep is very important for losing weight. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to eat more out of hunger and your body craves more high-carb, sugary foods.

So there you have some natural and healthy weight loss aids to help you with your diet. Instead of reaching for a bottle of pills on the store shelf, reach into your cupboard for some helpful ingredients and look for ways to modify your lifestyle for better fat loss.

Your Own Healthy Diet Plan!

You don’t have to follow any specific diet program for weight loss. You can put together your own healthy diet plan for both weight loss and good health.

Cut Out The Junk!

not-so-healthy

Your first step in developing a healthy diet plan is to cut out the foods that make you fat and unhealthy. Here’s a hint: If you get most of your food from a clown under golden arches or in a box, your eating junk food. I can safely say that pretty much anything you get at a fast-food restaurant is going to be unhealthy for you.

You can add to the junk food list, a long line of items that we often consume at home or the office:

  • Sodas. Even diet sodas aren’t healthy for you.
  • Chips of any kind.
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies, Cake, Doughnuts and other Pastries.
  • Anything that has more sugar and fat in it than nutrients.

If you just cut these junk foods out of your eating habits or at least make them a very once-in-a-while treat, that will go a long way toward losing weight and getting healthy.

Junky Health Food

Beware of many foods that masquerade as healthy foods but are actually just as bad as the junk food. Many breakfast cereals now boast that they’re made with whole grains but they still have loads of sugar in them. Low-fat yogurt is another product that sounds healthy but may have large amounts of sugar and a lot of calories in it.

Margarine is a classic example of a food that was marketed as a healthier alternative to butter. It turns out that it was very unhealthy, loaded with trans-fats.

Soy products are now marketed as the healthier food alternative. The truth is that most soy products have a multitude of unhealthy qualities. I discuss the dangers of soy here.

So What’s to Eat?

healthy-diet-plan

Your best bet for a healthy diet plan is to concentrate on natural, whole foods that haven’t been processed. Eat plenty of:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Fish and Seafood.
  • Lean meat. Even red meat is healthy if you buy grass-fed beef at your local health-food store or online.

Healthy Carbs

Not all carbs are created equal but you definitely want to cut down on and even eliminate if possible:

  • Sugar
  • White pastas
  • White rice
  • Anything else made with white flour

Whole wheat products are a little bit better, but not much. The best carbs are found in whole fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain and sprouted grain products.

More on healthy carbs…

Healthy Cooking

The best way to make sure you’re following a healthy diet plan is to do your own cooking. If you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll need to do some meal planning on the weekend. A lot of food can be cooked at once and frozen for easy microwave meals during the week.

Food Labels

When you’re shopping at the grocery store, you should be buying mostly from the fresh meat, seafood and produce sections. But you may still need or want to buy some prepackaged foods. Check out the label to see if you’re getting unhealthy ingredients like soy, trans-fats, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, etc.

A diet program may be best for you if you need detailed rules to live by. But if you’re a do-it-yourself-er, you can put together your own healthy diet plan and successfully lose weight. It just takes a little time and effort to educate yourself and form new, healthy eating habits.

Meal Replacement Programs Are Fast and Easy – But Are They Healthy?

Meal replacement programs can be a very convenient way to diet. But the ingredients for these products may not be all that healthy.

meal replacement

What Are They?

A meal replacement program uses prepackaged foods. They are most commonly in the form of shakes and bars. Some also come in the form of cookies and soups. The programs are designed to use one of these foods as a replacement for at least one of your meals and in some cases, all of your meals.

Some popular meal replacement diets and products include:

  • The Medifast diet program
  • The Optifast diet program
  • The Herbalife diet program
  • Slim Fast
  • Ideal Protein

Pros:

This type of weight loss program is attractive for several reasons:

  1. You don’t have to cook one or more meals. That’s great if you’re a busy person or just don’t like to cook.
  2. It’s convenient. Again, if you’re a busy person, it’s easy to throw a shake or bar into your purse (or lunchbox) and take it with you to work or a day of play.
  3. You don’t have to think about it. For at least one of your meals, you don’t have to count calories or worry about what to eat.

Cons:

OK, so there’s a lot of good reasons to use a meal replacement diet. But here’s the problem I have with them. These prepackaged foods don’t always have healthy ingredients. Very common ingredients include:

  • Soy
  • Sugar (Not exactly a diet food!)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial flavors
  • Preservatives

If you’re trying to improve your health by losing weight, what’s the point in eating unhealthy foods to do it? The good news is, there are healthy ways to replace a meal. Healthy meal replacement protein drinks and even bars can be made at home.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this; meal replacement diets can be an easy way to lose weight, but check the ingredients of the foods you’re going to eat. Make sure they’re made with healthy, natural ingredients; not a long list of chemicals or even natural foods that are actually unhealthy.

The Dangers of Soy

The dangers of soy make it less of a health food and more of a health problem. “Soy is dangerous? But I thought it was supposed to be a health food!” Yes, that’s what we’ve been sold on, but a mountain of evidence points to the contrary.

The soy bean is toxic in its raw form and has to be cooked to be edible. It wasn’t even used as food until about 2500 years ago. And then it was only eaten in small amounts in a fermented form. It did make a good fertilizer though, so it was grown as a crop to be plowed under to replenish the soil.

Today it’s everywhere. From health-food stores to fast-food restaurants. Even if you think you’re not eating it, you probably are. The dangers of soy include:

  • Antinutrients: These actually prevent good nutrition. Soy contains:
    • Protease Inhibitors that inhibit enzymes that help digest protein.
    • Phytates that cause iron deficiencies, block the absorption of zinc, calcium and other minerals.
    • Lectins, which often cause problems with the digestive and immune systems, as well as blood clotting.
    • Saponins. These break down red blood cells, inhibit some enzymes and can contribute to thyroid enlargement.
    • Oxalates can block the absorption of calcium as well as lead to kidney stones and vulvodynia.
  • Potential Allergic Reactions: Soy is one of the top 8 allergens today. If you’re allergic to peanuts, you’re probably allergic to soy as well.
  • Phytoestrogens: These are plant estrogens that are often seen by the body as Human estrogen and can alter the body’s hormonal balance. Isoflavone (a type of phytoestrogen found in soy) was linked to memory loss, senility and Alzheimer’s in this study.Phytoestrogens can also affect the reproductive system of both men and women. In women, soy consumption can lengthen menstrual cycles. In men, soy can affect fertility, testosterone levels and sex drive. It can also lead to “man boobs.”
  • Goitrogens: These block the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Isoflavones found in soy are also goitrogens. They can cause hypothyroidism (low thyroid), which can lead to goiter. They also can inhibit the action of thyroid drugs.

Is All Soy Bad?

Not all soy is bad for you. The fermented soy foods that have been eaten in Asia for a couple of thousand years now are OK, even beneficial when eaten in moderation. These are:

  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Soy Sauce (when prepared in the traditional, long-fermentation-time way)

In these soy products the dangers of soy are mostly neutralized by the fermenting process when prepared in traditional, non-highly-processed ways. The fermentation increases the levels of vitamin K and produces good bacteria that helps in digestion. These foods are eaten mostly as a condiment with other foods.

More about the dangers of soy here

Make Healthy Carbs Part of Your Healthy Diet Plan

Healthy carbs are complex carbs. Unhealthy carbs are simple. The difference means a lot to your health and weight-loss goals.

Cut Out the Junk

Although I believe cutting down on carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, not all carbs are created equal. You definitely want to cut down on and even eliminate if possible, the simple carbohydrates found in most junk foods. These foods include:

  • Sodas
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Doughnuts and other Pastries

These foods contain loads of sugar and/or white flour, which are simple carbohydrates.

Avoid the White

Although not typically thought of as junk food, white pastas, white bread and white rice are more simple carbs that should be avoided. The problem with simple carbs is that they are highly refined foods that lack the fiber of whole foods. They can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, increasing your risk of diabetes and other diseases as well as make you fat. Whole wheat products are a little bit better, but not much.

Eat Whole Foods

eat whole foods

The best carbs are complex carbs. They are found in whole fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain and sprouted grain products. Complex carbs contain fiber, which slows down the digestion and helps to prevent blood-sugar spikes. They also contain nutrients that are lacking in the simple carbs.

The best carbs to eat are:

  • Raw or cooked vegetables, but limit white potatoes.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits. Just be sure frozen fruit doesn’t have any added sugar. And don’t drink your fruit. Fruit juice lacks the needed fiber.
  • Nuts – Limit these to a couple of handfuls per day if you’re trying to lose weight. They are high in calories.
  • Seeds – Limit these for the same reason.
  • Legumes (beans)
  • Whole and sprouted grains

Check the Label

Whole foods that you prepare at home are best, but if you buy bread, cereal or other processed foods, be sure to check the nutrition label. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a good rule-of-thumb is to look for a carbohydrate to fiber ratio of 10 to 1. In other words, there should be at least 1 gram of fiber for every 10 grams of carbohydrates. They found these foods to have on average; less sugar, sodium and trans-fats.

When choosing a diet program or designing your own, low-carb doesn’t mean no-carb. Carbohydrates are necessary for optimal health. Just be sure you’re including healthy carbs in the form of whole foods and you’ll do fine.

Is a Low Calorie Diet Right For You?

The best diet program for weight loss is the one that works best with your body and your lifestyle.

Since you’re reading this, you’re probably planning to go on a weight loss program or you’ve tried one or more that just didn’t “work” for you, right? We bet your research has turned up dozens of potential diet plans – low carb, low fat, low sugar, etc.. How do you know which one will work best for you? Our goal is to help you figure that out.

Experienced Reviews

You may have read diet reviews on other sites. They may be informative, but what we want to do here is go a step further and give you reviews based on experience. In most cases, we don’t just describe the diet to you, we actually “do” the diet program. That way, I can give you first-hand experience!

A low calorie diet can help you lose weight, but some can be darn-right dangerous! Let’s take a look at which ones can help and which to avoid.

vlcd

The first type of diet you might run into when searching the web is a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD). These diets are sometimes used under a doctor’s supervision for obese patients. They usually consist of a diet of 800 calories or less, combined with vitamin supplements.

A very popular VLCD is the HCG diet. This diet uses a controversial hormone – in the form of drops or injections – that is supposed to curb your hunger. This is combined with a diet of only 500 calories. Besides the questionable safety of the hormone, a daily calorie intake this low is not healthy and can be dangerous if not properly supervised. However, many people are recently using hCG drops for a safer use. What you need to do is to find a respected hCG drops blog which suggests good brands to buy.

A Crash Diet is another type of VLCD, but it’s more of a fad diet. These generally aren’t recommended by doctors.

Other low calorie diets can be very healthy. These diets focus on consuming less calories, but are not so drastic as the VLCD diets. A few of these include:

  • The Truth About Abs diet and exercise program.
  • The Okinawan Diet
  • The Weight Watchers diet program

Why Count Calories?

count caloriesSome experts will tell you that losing weight is just a matter of burning more calories than you eat. This is only partially true. The truth is that not all calories are created equal.

A 2000-calorie-per-day diet of simple carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, sugar) will put more fat on you than 2000 calories of lean protein and vegetables (chicken breasts and salad). Not to mention the difference in nutritional value. I know this from my own experience and I think this would be true for you too.

That said, lowering your calorie intake, say… from 2000 calories per day to 1500, will help you lose weight (or stop gaining), no matter what you eat.

But I Hate Calorie Counting!

I used to say this myself. But once you get used to it, I’m sure you’ll find it’s no big deal. For packaged foods, just look at the nutrition label to find the calories per serving. Once you learn how many calories are in a serving of food, it’s not hard to add them up to see how many calories you’re consuming in one meal.

The new labeling law in the USA makes it easier than ever to count calories when eating out. Most of the big restaurant chains (including my favorite daily destination, Starbucks) now list the amount of calories contained in each food and drink item.

If you do need help, there are tools available to help you keep track of the calories you eat. A calorie tracker or food journal may be what you need. Or, just a simple calculator might be enough.

So, is a low calorie diet right for you? If you like to eat a wide variety of foods and don’t mind keeping track of what you’re eating, then it just might be.

If you’re morbidly obese and have tried everything else, you might want to ask your doctor about a VLCD. Otherwise, stick with cutting back on your calories in a sensible way. There are plenty of diet programs to help you do that.

Don’t Let A Crash Diet Wreck Your Health!

You can lose a few pounds rapidly on a crash diet – but you can also put your health at risk. Is it worth it? It depends on your goal.

If you just need to lose a few pounds to fit into your wedding dress or look good in a bikini on your summer vacation, you could make that happen with one of these diets without too much risk. But a healthier alternative would be to plan ahead for such events and follow a better diet to lose the weight over time. Following one of these diets for long-term weight loss is a recipe for disaster.

What is a Crash Diet?

The definition of a crash diet is not clear-cut. Some websites give examples of these diets that I would label differently. My definition is:

  • Restricts calorie intake to under 1000 per day.
  • Lasts for only a few days to a couple of weeks.
  • Promises rapid weight loss.
  • Usually involves a gimmick like emphasizing a certain food or drink.

These diets are often fad diets, made popular by celebrities. They usually come and go but many hang around for a long time, circulating on the Internet or published from time to time in women’s magazines.

Some examples of crash diets include:

  • 3 Day Tuna Diet
  • HCG Diet
  • Maple Syrup Diet

So What’s The Health Risk?

If you just follow it for a few days to lose a few pounds for a special event, you’ll probably be OK, although extremely hungry. If you think it’s a good way to get started losing weight for long-term goals, think again.

The problem with these diets is mostly the low calorie intake. It isn’t healthy. You will lose weight at first, but after a few days the weight loss will plateau. The reason is your body thinks you’re starving (which you actually are) and will slow down your metabolism to compensate.

A slower metabolism is actually bad for weight loss. It means you’re burning less calories than when you were eating normally. And if you continue on the diet longer than you’re supposed to, your body can actually start to cannibalize itself. You can actually lose muscle tissue when you’re in starvation mode.

The other problem is they often focus on eating one certain food or drink, thereby restricting your nutrient intake. If you’re going to be on one of these diets, you should take a vitamin and mineral supplement also.

Since these diets don’t last very long, what happens when you stop? You usually gain the weight back rapidly. You’ve already taught your body that there’s a shortage of food, so when food is available again, it’s going to start storing it away as much as possible. This can lead to you going back on the diet, or trying another one to lose the weight again. This leads to a yo-yo effect that is dangerous to your health.

My Recommendation

If you know you need to lose weight for a certain event, start early on a good, healthy diet so you don’t have to resort to one of these at the last minute. If you must go on a crash diet, check with your doctor first, only do it for a short period and take a multivitamin supplement. If you want long-term weight loss and health, avoid these diets and try one of the many healthy diet programs like the Paleo Diet.

Do Low Fat Diets Work?

The idea of just staying away from fats at all cost in order to lose weight never worked. A new, smarter approach to low fat diets can help you lose weight and keep you healthy.

During the 80’s and 90’s, we were all told that fat was evil and caused disease. Consequently, food manufacturers began producing low-fat and no-fat versions of many food products. However, since fat adds flavor and consistency to food, it had to be replaced. Often with added sugar and artificial ingredients.

Along with that, we were encouraged to eat more bread, pasta and rice – usually all white. This new high-carbohydrate food supply just made Americans (including myself) even fatter. Along with the additional pounds came additional health problems.

An old idea is that “if you don’t eat fat, you won’t store fat”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Carbohydrates that aren’t used by the body right away are converted and stored as fat. It’s true that fat has a higher amount of calories in a smaller amount of food, so cutting down on fat consumption can lower your daily calorie intake, which in turn can help you lose weight.

But cutting out fat completely is a bad idea. Our bodies need a certain amount of fat in order to function and certain fats are actually good for you.

Are They Healthier?

More recent research shows that a low-fat diet isn’t a cure-all for disease prevention. This study shows that an overall reduction in fat intake doesn’t help prevent cardiovascular disease in women but reducing certain fats can help.

The Good and The Bad

We now know that all fat is not created equal. There are bad fats and good fats. The fats you do want to stay away from as much as possible are trans fats. These are artificially produced fats by means of hydrogenation.

Whenever you see the words hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated on an ingredients label, don’t eat it! Trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. These fats are usually found in fast-food and prepackaged, processed foods.

Saturated fats are another type of fat that we’ve all been told to stay away from. But they’re not all the same. Saturated fats are generally associated with animal products. Foods such as bacon, other fatty meats and full-fat dairy products have a lot of saturated fats in them. If you consume factory-farm produced foods of this type, it’s a good idea to cut back on them because they are often full of hormones, antibiotics and lacking in good nutrition. On the other hand, grass-fed meats and dairy products are actually good for you.

Many sources of saturated fats are definitely good for you. You will still find advice in books or even on the web that is a little behind-the-times.

If you drink milk, you can reduce your calorie intake by switching to non-fat milk but it can be difficult to do it all at once. I recommend doing it in stages. Start with a container of 2%, then go to 1% and finally non-fat milk. Your taste-buds will adjust over time. In any case, try to use organic milk from grass-fed cows if at all possible. Organic Valley is a good brand to look for.

Whole eggs were once demonized as a bad source of saturated fat and cholesterol. More recent studies show that eating cholesterol doesn’t raise your overall cholesterol level (but that’s a discussion beyond the scope of this article.) The fact is that egg yolks from free-range chickens contain a mountain of nutrition and can even help you lose weight. Eating a couple of eggs for breakfast gives your body a good start on it’s nutritional needs for the day, so you’re less likely to over-eat later.

Coconut oil is another source of saturated fat that often gets a bad rap. New research has shown that it’s actually very healthy. Coconut oil contains a type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCT’s help your body burn the fat calories instead of storing them as fat. It also contains lauric acid, which actually raises your good (HDL) cholesterol.

Real butter from grass-fed cows is actually a healthy fat. It contains a type of fat called CLAs, which help burn fat and build muscle. One study also found that CLAs are good for your heart. The trick is, it has to be grass-fed and only use a small amount if you’re trying to lose weight. Kerrygold is a brand imported from Ireland that I use a little of every day. You can find it in most supermarkets.

Other good fats are pretty well known. Olive oil, avocados, nuts and salmon are all fatty foods that are actually good for you.

Balance

As you can see, you don’t want to eliminate all fats from your diet. Eliminate the trans fats from fast-food and processed foods. Just getting these types of foods out of your diet can go a long way towards weight loss. The good fats you can consume in moderation. They do pack in a lot of calories, so go lightly on them to lose weight.

Low Fat Diet Programs

Modern low fat diet programs have adjusted to some of this new information, but not completely. I still don’t think a low fat diet is the best way to lose weight, but it can be done. One low-fat diet program I’ve studied is the DASH Diet. I had some success with it but it wasn’t easy. Check it out for yourself here.

Is a low fat diet right for you? You may want to give it a try, but as always, check with your doctor first. And remember that low-fat doesn’t mean no fat.

Is a Low Carb Diet Plan Right For You?

A low carb diet plan may be right for you if you love to eat meat and are tired of low-fat diets that don’t work. We’ve been told for years to stay away from red meat and fat is evil. Yet, Americans are now fatter than ever. Why?

The Problem With Carbohydrates

In the quest for ridding fat from our diets, we’ve been eating a lot more grains and products that are low/no-fat. The fat in these products is usually replaced by sugar or high-fructose corn syrup to make them taste good. All this adds up to a very high carbohydrate diet. The problem with carbs is that they spike your blood sugar level. This higher level can lead to fat storage and weight gain.

The Advantage of Protein

In more recent years, many studies have shown that a low carb diet plan is healthier and better for weight loss. Now, more and more nutritionists and doctors are recommending it.

For one reason, in a low-carb diet you eat more protein than carbs. Protein boosts the metabolism much more than carbohydrates. This increased metabolism helps the body burn more calories, even in your sleep.

Here are a few low carb diet programs you can try:

  • The Paleo Diet
  • The Slow Carb Diet
  • The Atkins Diet Program
  • Sugar Busters
  • Wheat Belly
  • Protein Power

How They Work…

Most plans restrict carbohydrates in the form of grains and sugars. This includes bread, rice, tortillas and all kinds of sweets. Some plans also restrict starchy vegetables like potatoes. Some allow fruit and some dairy products where others do not.

The Paleo Diet for instance, allows all the fruit you want (limited dried fruit) but absolutely no dairy (except for “open meals”). The Slow Carb Diet restricts all fruit and dairy except for one “cheat day” per week.

A low carb diet plan can be tricky for some families or ethnic groups. Asians for instance, are used to eating rice with every meal and Mexicans usually eat tortillas with a meal. And then there’s my mother who can’t have a meal without some bread to go with it.

It can take a lot of will-power to go against ethnic or family tradition and you may have to compromise in some situations. Fortunately, most diet plans include a cheat day or meals where you’re allowed to eat whatever you want.

All in all, I think a low carb diet plan is a great way to lose weight and it’s usually healthy. It’s the type of diet that I’ve used in the last few years with good success.