Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Skip the Pop and Lose the Pooch

It's tough not to crave a soda from time to time. They're refreshing, they give you energy and they don't taste too bad either. The thing is, despite the fact that most people realize there's a bunch of sugar in soda, it's hard to put the amount into context. To make matters worse, it's hard to say how much refined sugar is OK for each person to have each day, and it's more difficult for people to understand that information as it pertains to them. So why not just skip all that nonsense and go for a diet? Funny enough, researchers have found that they may be just as bad for our waistlines as the real deal.

According to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine, aspartame and artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks are associated with expanding waistlines over time. The same has been found in the past with 'diet' snacks like cookies and candies. The researchers suspect that diet beverages in particular may give individuals a false sense of freedom when it comes to food, making them think they can have more of something else in place of a regular soda. They also believe that the sweet taste tricks our brains into thinking we're having sugar, which releases other hormones that may work against us, making us hungrier in the end, causing us to eat more.

While this research raises a very valid point, it is safe to say that the results of the study are not causal. Diet soda, which contains zero calories, does not cause weight gain in and of itself. It is very possible that the issue at hand is a behavioral one, whereby people's attitudes and opinions about food and their diets change by ingesting diet drinks, which leads them to take in more calories than they expend, which finally causes weight gain.

Ultimately, if you want or need a soda and your weight is of concern to you, you're better off choosing a zero calorie beverage over a sugar-laden 100+ calorie soda. If artificial sweeteners give you the heebie jeebies, don't worry - there are plenty of healthy options out there in place of diet sodas to help keep your waistline in check! Try sticking to plain old water,tea or coffee or spruce up your water with fruit or cucumber slices or maybe some mint leaves. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From One to Two

From One to Two
Sarah Reid, RHNC

Being in a loving relationship is a wonderful thing – someone to cheer you up when you’re down, help with all those “little” things that fall by the wayside, an excuse to go for those long walks on the beach, and unfortunately, an excuse to stop for an ice cream cone or share a pizza afterwards. Whether you call it unfair (for the women out there) or poetic justice (some of the more cynical men prefer this), the fact remains that the female body is not designed to eat like men. Keep matching him slice for slice, pint for pint and wing for wing, though, and soon only one of you will start packing on the pounds. You aren’t resigned to this, though, as long as you spot your “cheats”, make a few spot alterations and keep going for those strolls. 

Since men, in general, are bigger than women – taller, heavier and with a higher muscle : fat mass ratio, it’s logical that they need to eat more. It may surprise you just how much more they actually should be getting. Unlike women, who to maintain their weight and health should consume roughly 1600 calories daily, males can need as much as 2800 – letting them have that extra beer with his plate of loaded nachos and a scoop of ice cream with his meal and not feel a thing. The tradeoff for this “eat anything” capability is that men are also inherent speed-eaters, so they often get hungrier sooner and overeat in the long run. While women might not be able to pile their plates with steak and potatoes, they can extend their dining experience by eating mindfully, slowly and – if craving the appearance of “equal plates” – loading up on the vegetables. Eating out, ladies can opt for two appetizers instead of a gigantic entrée, or have one “bulky” appetizer (like the pasta in Italian restaurants, or a bowl of mussels) and still share dessert! Smaller plates at home also help to trick the mind, and regardless of where you eat, a brothy soup and garden salad with dressing on the side is a great way to start into the meal (and helps you eat less overall!).

Women need to watch their glasses more than men too. Whether at a fancy restaurant, a wedding reception or a backyard BBQ, it’s not just by the luck of the draw that the ladies can’t “hold their liquor” like their male counterparts. While body size and composition definitely play a role in how females absorb and distribute the alcohol, they also make less of the liver enzyme that detoxifies alcohol – keeping it in the bloodstream. Being on the pill or PMS’ing can do the same thing, and though men may physically drink more, women are more susceptible to liver damage. The general daily limit for adult women is the equivalent of a single (5-oz) glass of wine – such as a bottle of beer or 1 shot of hard liquor – but around the week of menstruation its safest to stay away from it at all. Calorically, treat alcohol as any other indulgence – that glass of wine has about 120 calories, the beer, 150, and the liquor (without anything else added), 100.  And that goes for women and men.

What if the man or kids in your life don’t want to join your campaign for living healthier? Unfortunately, though it may not be showing up on their outsides yet, the same poor diet and lifestyle choices that sparked you to try a healthier path are still impacting their wellbeing. There is a way to take steps towards your own health goals, improve the health of your family and still keep the peace. Firstly, refuse to cook two or three different meals to try and please everyone – it is more time and stress than anyone should put on themselves! At the same time, a family used to red meat, white pasta and the only vegetables drowned in cheese sauce or creamy dressing will shut right off if subjected to nothing but poached fish, tofu and plain, steamed veggies. Start small for success. Swap regular salad dressing with reduced-fat or homemade oil-and-vinegar, drop the fat percentage of the milk by one (and cut out cream in the coffee) and take a look at incorporating one “meatless” dinner a week. Baking home-breaded chicken fingers and fish sticks (use Corn Flakes for crunch) and making individual whole wheat “tortilla pizzas” on your family’s regular “take out” night are also proven winners. Take a cue from the seasonal availability in your area and rotate the veggies you serve up. Tossed with lemon and pepper, salsa or garlic-herb seasoning instead of a gooey sauce, it’s a fresh, delicious way to appreciate local food. Come holiday time, go ahead and make that famous scalloped potato casserole or cheesy cauliflower and broccoli dish. Not only will you feel like it’s a treat, but your family will appreciate it more too! As long as you keep portions and accompaniments in mind, you can all enjoy yourselves.

Moving to a couples cruise after flying solo is always an adjustment, but it shouldn’t be a trial by fire. Keep yourself at the top of the “importance” list and make the changes you need to for yourself. In the end you will not only be strong and healthy independently, but you and your partner will have a lifetime of wellness to share.

Sarah Reid is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant with her company NEW-trition

Candy in Moderation May Keep Kids' Waistlines in Check

It's almost a rule that kids love candy. Lollipops, gummi bears and gum balls; they're designed for kids' little fingers, wide eyes and healthy appetites. Sadly, however, as childhood overweight and obesity is on the rise, most kids don't look the way they used to in the past and the image of a little kid with a big lollipop is enough to spark outrage. What about their teeth? What about their overall health? Basically, the subject of candy causes a frenzy among parents and health professionals alike. Interestingly, based on new research findings, it turns out that kids who enjoy candy more often actually tend to have smaller waistlines than their non-sweet-toothed counterparts.

The 11,182 kids and adolescents in this study were aged 2-13 and 14-18 years old. The association between candy consumption and total energy, fat, and added sugar intakes, as well as diet quality, weight and body fat (adiposity) measures and risk factors for cardiovascular disease were examined.

Similar to a previous study that was published earlier this year, the researchers discovered that kids who enjoy candy in moderation from time to time tend to have more balanced diets overall and better control over their weights. Whether they understand it or not, they somehow seem to have a better grasp of the concept of energy balance, successfully managing calories in and calories out over time. They did, however, have higher overall intakes of sugar compared to those kids who did not eat candy.

The results of this study, as with those found in the adult group, are not meant to suggest that kids should eat candy, or that they can have as much as they want. This was not an investigation of causation; candy consumption does not make the children less overweight or obese. All that we can gather from this study is the simple fact that foods should not be contraband, especially in children. As we know, placing restrictions on foods, eating or any other behaviour tends to result in retaliation, whether conscious or subconscious, in children and adolescents. When given treats and favourite foods in moderation, with the understanding that physical activity, fruits, veggies, healthy foods, vitamins and minerals are all important, children, like adults, can successfully enjoy all foods without restrictions.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Blame Snacking for Weight Gain

If you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, it seems backwards to eat food more frequently each day. People often think that snacking should be avoided and that consuming three square meals per day is the best way to stay lean and trim. However, there's plenty of evidence to suggest the contrary and better yet, new research defends the fact that snacking isn't responsible for our society's rising obesity rates.

According to U.S. researchers, snacking accounts for 25% of the calories consumed by Americans, which can actually count as an entire extra meal, clocking in at an average of 580 calories each day. Despite this fact, snacking isn't the main culprit when it comes to weight gain. The main offender has been found to be the consumption of calorie-laden beverages.

While it might be intuitive that snacking is a main cause of obesity, professor G. Harvey Anderson from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto has said that this notion is not supported in literature. Quite the contrary, those foods are an "important source of nutrients" and if they are reasonably sized and spaced out, they can help maintain a fast metabolism and efficient use of food energy. This, in turn can contribute to the maintenance of a healthy body weight.

In sum, it's a good idea to avoid excessive intakes of calorie-laden beverages like alcohol, juice or sports drinks and stick to water, black coffee or tea instead. Choose fibre-rich fruit and vegetables along with lean sources of protein and healthy fats as snacks and you may find yourself looking and feeling better than ever.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Moving Past Menopause Weight Gain

Moving Past Menopause Weight Gain
Sarah Reid, RHNC

The most profound weight gain in a woman's life tends to happen during the years leading up to menopause. The hormonal changes of menopause play a role in gaining weight around your belly instead of your hips and thighs, for sure, but that is mostly a fat distribution shift. The actual weight gain, however, is usually related to lifestyle factors. Through changing your diet and adopting a healthy, active lifestyle, you can put the brakes on the “middle age spread” and even reverse course.

A lack of exercise and general activity often plague middle-aged individuals, and the additional demands on parents and grandparents by family, work and household duties tend to put a damper on time spent at the gym. Even the regular gym goers may notice a decrease in their muscle mass and tone – women entering or in menopause don’t build muscle tissue as well as younger women and their metabolisms tend to emphasize the generation of fat cells rather than muscle-feeding glycogen. Less muscle, more fat leads to an overall slower metabolism rate. Keeping the same diet and lifestyle you did at 30 will almost always create more weight. Keep your activity high (at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily) and balance between low-impact cardio, active stretching like yoga or pilates, and strength training. Activity can be anything from power-walking the grocery store with a loaded cart (do an extra lap of the perimeter) and putting the groceries away, to “pumping iron” with your shampoo bottles in the shower and stretching your arms, legs and back while gardening. Once you get into the rhythm of daily activity, you’ll see how much better you’ll feel and how easy it is to maintain.

Maintaining a healthy weight is ¾ diet. Just to maintain a premenopausal weight and body fat percentage (before even considering losing weight) — most 50+ women need 200 - 250 calories a day less than in their 30’s. Pay attention to what you're eating and drinking, and opt for a mostly low-fat vegetarian diet filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. When picking protein, go for beans and tofu (stay away from commercially prepared soy analogues like veggie burgers as a rule), then head to the fish counter and stock up on salmon, halibut, and local, in-season fish. Chicken, when skinless and prepared without added fat or sugar, is another good choice. Make your bread, rice and pasta 100% whole grain (check the label) and try some of the other grains like quinoa or buckwheat. Dairy should be low-fat, but not entirely fat free, so you can absorb the vitamins and minerals. When cooking, choose oils like canola (and use less) while opting for unrefined flax oil for salad dressings. Unlike olive oil, which is higher in Omega-6 fatty acids than the beneficial Omega-3, these have the opposite ratios. High Omega-6 in the diet can lead to worsening hot flashes and headaches because of it’s pro-inflammatory nature.  Be careful with your iron intake once menstruation stops too – post-menopausal women often store more than they should (especially if they’re red meat eaters), and the liver takes a hit as a result.

Anyone carrying extra pounds, especially around the middle, has a higher risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension and most permanently, Type II diabetes. If one of these syndromes develops, especially during pre-menopause and the first two years of “full” menopause, heart disease and stroke risks skyrocket. Being overweight also is a key factor in developing colon and breast cancer – gaining just 5 pounds during this time causes the risk of breast cancer to jump up 30%! Unfortunately, if you do develop cancers of any kind while overweight, you are 34% more likely to pass away from the disease, and with obesity (a BMI over 30) the mortality rate is 65% more. However, physical activity drops your chances by 40% and losing 20 pounds slashes the risk of developing cancer by over 55%. It’s clearly worth your while to make the change for a better tomorrow, today – before your body does it for you. Fill your world with people who support your efforts (or team up!), and enjoy being a vivacious vixen!

Sarah Reid is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant with her company NEW-trition

Will Sugar Make You Fat?

Sugar, particularly in it's refined form, is often painted as the dietary devil and cause of many ailments. There is definitely good reason for the warnings against high intakes of refined sugars, but will consuming a little bit of sugar each day make you fat? Worse yet, will it make you sick?

Sugar, just like any carbohydrate, and also like protein, contains 4 calories per gram. Fat, on the other hand, contains 9 calories per gram. If watching your weight is your main concern, then so long as you manage your caloric intake to suit your personal needs, adding sugar to your coffee each day won't do any more damage to your waistline than any other food or beverage.

But the difference between sugar and real food, like an apple or some pasta, is that sugar contains empty calories; consuming sugar gives you nothing but a rapid burst of energy and nothing else nutritionally. Other foods that contain carbohydrates usually come along with any or all of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Carbohydrates contained in the cells of fruits and vegetables, for example take longer to be absorbed into your blood stream because your body has to actually do work on the food to metabolize those carbs. The same goes for complex carbohydrates, or those individual carbohydrate units sewn together in long strands. In that case, each unit has to be snipped from the last to be used as energy. With plain old sugar, none of that applies.

When simple or refined sugar is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a spike in our blood sugar levels. In response, the pancreas has to quickly pump out insulin to bring that sugar into our cells to allow them to use it. If there is too much sugar hanging around in the blood, beyond the need of the cells, the liver also has to do work to store it away for future use, which can lead to weight gain. Over time, if too much stress is placed on our organs, they can become damaged and stop functioning normally. There are also many associations between simple sugars and cancer, among other diseases.

So ultimately, eating small amounts of sugar may not make you fat, and it might not make you sick, but the key truly is moderation. A better idea than consuming refined sugars would be to get your sugars and carbohydrates from natural sources to maximise the amount of nutrients you get per calorie, rather than 'spending' your calorie budget on nutrient-poor sweeteners.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Potato Chips Pile on More Pounds than Desserts, Watching TV and Alcohol

Potato chips are a staple in the Western Diet. Their crunch is unmistakable and they now come in hundreds of creative and sometimes eyebrow-raising flavours. The thing is, everyone knows that potato chips aren't the healthiest snack; they're usually a guilty pleasure. As a result, we've got all kinds of lower-calorie and fat potato chip copycats out there made from rice to corn name it! That's a good thing, because according to a new study, potato chips might just be the worst snack out there when it comes to gaining weight.

In a study tracking the dietary habits of 120,877 people using data from 3 other long-running studies, doctors found that the study participants gained an average of 17 pounds in 20 years. It was found that dietary choices contributed to weight gains of nearly 4 pounds every 4 years, but the biggest dietary offender was found to be potato chips; they contributed to 1.69 pounds every four years, compared to the 0.41 pounds in 4 years that sweets and desserts added. It was also reported that consuming one alcoholic drink a day added 0.41-pounds every four years, while watching an hour of TV each day added only 0.31-pounds per four years.

As far as other potato-containing foods went, french fries were another big offender, while baked or boiled potatoes weren't nearly as bad. That's because one serving of french fries clocks in at nearly 500-600 calories per serving, which is about double that of a large baked potato.

The report also found that people who ate more fruits and veggies gained less weight overall, but those who were chronically sleep deprived gained even more.

According to one researcher, this report can help people better pinpoint what is contributing to the steady but slow 1 pound weight gain creep every year. Since a pound doesn't seem like much, especially in a year, it can easily go unnoticed . But then 10 or 20 years go by and people find themselves needing to lose 10 or 20 pounds, which is definitely not an easy task! It is much easier to avoid the initial weight gain to start with by managing calories in and calories out through a healthy, balanced diet coupled with regular physical activity.

Not to sound terribly redundant, but you can start by eating your fruits and veggies - they'll keep you fuller for longer and help satisfy that sweet tooth. With one healthy change at a time, the rest will follow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strawberries May Boost Red Blood Cells: Study

There's something rejuvenating about a juicy, sweet, refreshingly cool strawberry in the dog days of summer. The bright, blood-red colour is unmistakable, especially on a perfectly ripened berry. Strangely enough, it turns out that strawberries have more in common with blood than just their colour. According to new research, a daily intake of strawberries can strengthen your red blood cells.

According to new research out of Italy and Spain, consuming 500g (just over a pound) of strawberries every day for just two weeks can make red blood cells more resistant to damage and breakage. The antioxidants in strawberries also improve the antioxidant capacity of the blood's plasma.

The particular type of strawberries used in this study were Sveva strawberries, leading the researchers to conclude that some varieties of strawberries can strengthen red blood cells. They can't be sure that every kind of strawberry will do the same, but there's no harm in enjoying strawberries daily, especially when they're in season.

Not only are strawberries low in calories, they are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. They are also low on the glycemic index, meaning they won't spike your blood sugar or insulin levels and are a super addition to the diets of people living with diabetes.

Regardless of their health benefits, there is something undeniably irresistible about these sweet red jewels that makes them fly off the shelves year round. So what are you waiting for - isn't it about time for a snack?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ditch that High-Cal Cone: Tasty Summer Treats to Keep You Healthy

In the summer, it can be deceptively easy to gain weight fast. Just think about it: you're feeling relaxed, taking a stroll, enjoying the summer breeze and what do you see? A hot dog stand here, an ice cream truck there...the possibilities of cheap, easily accessible treats are endless and equally hard to resist. If it were any other season, a heaping cone of soft serve might not be as easy to acquire nor would it sound like much fun to eat.

If you're thirsty, your favourite drinks have just become much more affordable and easy to grab at most stores and take-out restaurants. Then, when nightfall hits, it has never been easier or more enjoyable to sit outside on a patio with friends and enjoy a few too many beers or spritzers, maybe paired with some loaded nachos. Yup, the calorie-laden snacks are plentiful all summer long and rather incompatible with a toned beach body. So what exactly can be done to remedy this dilemma? Lots.

For starters, even if you want to lose weight, you can have those treats if you are aware of and account for how many calories are in whatever treat you're enjoying. The key, however, is to actually enjoy the treat and not regret it. Treats are usually nutritionally poor, despite any health claims they may make, so you have to know you're downing empty calories. If you feel overly guilty about it, save it for a time when you will appreciate it.

If you're out and about and really want an ice cream, head over to an ice cream shop and ask for a kid's scoop of whatever you like. You will enjoy the flavour just as much, with less guilt as the calories will be controlled a bit more.

If you really want a treat but can't hack the poor nutritional stats, you can also make healthy substitutions for summer treats that are just as satisfying as the real deal. Instead of full-fat ice cream, go for some low-fat frozen yogurt. You can even jazz it up with fresh, seasonal fruit for extra nutrients and fibre, or some sugar-free jam on top for a hit of sweetness. Try crushing up some high-fibre cereal on top for some added crunch. The result is a healthier dessert alternative with extra vitamins, minerals and fibre!

If you like sorbet, why not try some frozen fruit kebabs, low-calorie frozen fruit bars or juice bars? Speaking of bars, there are so many 100-calorie (or thereabouts) desserts out there like those from Skinny Cow or Breyers and even supermarket brands that are both delicious and highly figure friendly!

If you've got to have a soda or beer, go for the lower-calorie kind. There are so many diet sodas out there now, in addition to some really good quality light beers and cocktails. If you like iced coffee, ask for a regular coffee over ice and add in a little skim (or dairy alternative, like soy) milk and maybe some sugar-free syrup or sweetener for an added kick without the calories.

When it comes to savoury snacks like nachos and hot dogs, you're best off making your own at home and watching your portion sizes. In restaurants, the calories, fat and salt are piled on to make dishes more addictive. At home, you can control how many chips you throw on your pan, how much cheese you want to add and what veggies you'd like to include when making nachos. You can skip that added salt and add plenty of nutrients and fibre with toppings like avocado, onions, tomatoes, peppers and black beans. With hot dogs, you can purchase leaner sausages like those made from chicken or turkey, and choose healthier toppings that may not be offered at your local hot dog stand. You could also eat just half the bun if you want to save some more calories.

You can definitely still enjoy your summer treats to the max, even with the occasional 'real deal' indulgence, but moderation is key. The rest of the time, with these tips and tricks, you won't even miss those high-sugar, fat and salt-filled indulgences!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sleep Deprivation Leads to High Calorie Cravings

Do you ever find that after a long, exhausting day, or even when you can't keep your eyes open mid-day, the first thing you want to do is eat...and keep eating? Yup, and if you're like post people, the foods you're most likely to want are what you would consider 'comfort foods'; rich, hearty or decadent foods that hit the spot and make the woes of your day melt away. Well, it turns out there's a good reason for those cravings, and better yet, there's something you can do about them before all those calorie-fests lead to weight gain!

According to researchers from the Harvard Medical School, bodily exhaustion or sleep deprivation actually change the way that our brains respond to food. Similar to what happens with alcohol intoxication, fatigue and exhaustion lower our inhibitions when it comes to being able to resist high-calorie foods like hamburgers, pizza and ice cream.

According to the researchers, if you're sleepy, you're less likely to be able to control how much you eat and you may find yourself more drawn to high-calorie foods because you aren't fighting to resist them the same way you would if you were well rested. In addition, sleep deprivation causes an imbalance in our hunger and satiety hormones, grehlin and leptin, which tells the brain that you need to keep on eating.

Since sleep is such a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight, here are some tips to help you snooze better and be more alert during the day so you can resist all of those high-cal snacks that you wouldn't normally want to eat.

To help you beat the afternoon slump, try getting outside in the sunlight for at least 10 minutes. The dim lights in your office or home contribute to drowsiness while the bright sunlight can help perk you up. For that matter, taking a 10 minute walk is a great and simple way to boost your energy levels. You can also try keeping healthy snacks by your side during the day so that you always have something safe and satisfying to reach for. This can also help keep your insulin and blood glucose levels more balanced so that you don't feel tired when they get out of whack. Make sure to include lean protein with your snacks to help you feel satisfied for longer. Another good idea is to grab a cup of tea mid-afternoon as the natural caffeine in tea perks you up without the same kind of crash as coffee.

If those tips didn't work during the day, try these tips to help you sleep better at night. To help you relax and unwind after a long day, try soaking in a hot bath which will relax your aching muscles. After that, snuggle up in some cosy pajamas which help keep your skin comfortably warm, allowing for a deeper sleep. Just make sure they're not too warm, as you may end up sweating or feeling uncomfortable! Then, right before hitting the hay, you can also try having a warm glass of milk and a banana, which contains tryptophan and melatonin, an amino acid and hormone that make you feel drowsy. Aside from having a comfortable mattress, make sure that you also have a comfortable, supportive pillow to rest your head on. A significant proportion of your comfort while sleeping is thanks to your pillow! All the while, make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, clutter and disturbance-free. No pets, no computers, no noises and no bright lights!

With any or all of these tips on hand, you'll be a sleeping beauty who is rested and ready to tackle anything the day throws at you in no time!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Too Much TV Might Be the Death of You

We've always known that watching too much TV isn't good for our health one way or another. Your mom might have told you it will make you blind. Doctors and researchers tell us that screen time is associated with childhood (and adult) obesity. And now, we're learning that too much TV can be a killer for other reasons. Here's why it might be time to take a vacation from the sofa and start being more active.

According to a new study from Harvard University, a sedentary lifestyle that includes lots of TV time is associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes. While other studies have found similar outcomes associated with TV time, this particular study gives a more tangible time frame that we can wrap our heads around with regards to health consequences. Truthfully, these results can apply to computer and other 'screen' times as well.

According to the study, spending just two hours a day in front of the TV increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 20% and heart disease by 15%! I'm not sure about you, but I can think of plenty of people who spend more time than that watching the telly or working at their computers every day.

This study is not saying that the TV itself is doing something to you that is bad, it's simply highlighting the fact that if you're sitting down for hours at a time, you're not doing other things like being physically active. On top of things, most people eat or drink while watching TV and they're more likely to eat larger amounts of food this way because they're distracted. It's hard to get the message that you're full when you're not paying attention to the signs.

The main message is that if you're a TV-holic, and even if you're not, the less TV you watch and the less time you spend sitting down each day gives you more time to get out and move about. This, in turn, will help slash your risk of a slew of chronic diseases. I'd say it's time to strap on your runners!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quell Those Cravings

Quell Those Cravings
Sarah Reid, RHNC

Cravings are famous for their difficult-to-ignore nature. From alcohol to cigarettes, obsessive indulgences spark 12-step programs worldwide and just as many “quick fix” schemes. But one of the most common yens for people is food. Is it possible that food can overtake those same “addiction” brain processes that fire in other behaviours such as smoking? The “craving centres” are the same on the cortex regardless of the cause, and the sheer inability to control the indulgent behaviour they trigger is one of the root causes of poor, or over, eating. Breaking the cycle of craving-indulgence-guilt is undeniably hard, but there are several proven methods of fighting them one at a time.

Keep a food and mood journal for a few days – document each and every morsel you put into your mouth, and how you were feeling emotionally at the time. This allows you to keep tabs on your triggers, your common comfort foods and “risk times”. Notice that you always gr
ab a latte with friends at 10:30? See if your group can come up with a social “norm” away from food at that time (gab-fest over glasses of ice water, anyone?), or agree to meet once a week for the treat instead of every day. Chances are, they’ll appreciate the reduction in their own trigger situations, and you’ll appreciate that weekly treat even more.

Combat your triggers by realizing what they are and when they occur – and planning for them. Preplanning works to your advantage by either helping you avoid the risky situations in the first place or subconsciously occupying that part of the brain with a “no I won’t” thought. Speak your intention out loud for the maximum impact, and in situations you can’t avoid (such as monotonous desk work at a job), prepare a healthy distraction such as an herbal fruit tea or cut fruit and vegetables. Other stop-eating tips such as brushing your teeth or chewing gum impart a fresh-mouth, minty feeling that deadens the taste of other foods and works as a type of aversion therapy to overindulging. Before digging in, drink 2 cups of cold water – if you’re dehydrated, not truly hungry, it will take the edge off.

Is it boredom, stress, or habit to eat a certain food that’s the problem? Develop a new, non-food ritual that packs a double (or triple) whammy by combining distraction, stress relief and/or exercise. Leave a pair of runners at the office and take a walk outside while the coffee-break snacks circulate, or stretch for two to three minutes along with deep-breathing exercises. At home, flip on your favourite radio station, go out for a walk with the family or the dog, tend the garden or phone a friend (or your parents!) for a chat. Another major stress buster is sleep. Even minor sleep deprivation raises the likelihood of overeating. Ideally a minimum of seven hours should make up your sleep cycle, and unlike a bank account, you can’t count on the weekends to “catch up” on your deficit.

Aromatherapy, acupressure and even flavor restriction have also shown to keep the lid on cravings. Essential oils (or even candles) such as grapefruit, peppermint, lemon and bergamot stave off appetite pangs, while cinnamon, banana and green apple scents work best for sweet cravings. The section of cartilage just below the ears, near the jaw joint, is an appetite control point for acupuncture and acupressure therapy. Pinch the section firmly (but not going into pain) for about 30 seconds, then release. Wait 30 seconds and repeat the process twice more, a total of three pinch-release cycles in all. When you are actually hungry, simply picking the right food can be the difference between success and failure in terms of overeating. A type of therapy known as flavour-restriction has been shown to prevent overindulgence by enhancing the speed of satiety. Allowing yourself one taste at a time (say oranges or strawberries) saturates your tastebuds and stimulates your “fullness” indicator faster than eating a variety (think a fruit salad).

At the end of the day when cravings hit, sit down and write out the top 5 reasons you want to eat. Hunger not the first reason? Get out of the kitchen, brush your teeth and go for a walk.

Sarah Reid is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant with her company NEW-trition

More Olive Oil, Lower Stroke Risk

I think it's safe to say that most people know that olive oil is good for their health. Some people mistakenly think it's the only oil that good for their health, but it is certainly one of the best dietary sources of monounsaturated healthy fats. The healthy fats found in olive oil not only help reduce inflammation within our bodies, among other age-defying health benefits, but new research suggests that consuming olive oil can possibly lower the risk of having a stroke.

The new, just-released report outlines that older adults who cook with olive oil more often and use it in their salads have a lower risk of suffering a stroke. In the adults who were studied, those who used olive oil more often were 41% less likely to have a stroke versus those who used no olive oil.

As olive oil is known to be good for the heart and whole cardiovascular system, protecting it's consumers from heart disease and heart attacks, it makes sense that its benefits can extend to stroke protection as well, as they are related to cardiovascular health. Olive oil has also shown to be beneficial in lowering LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity.

The researchers are not suggesting that we now pile on the olive oil at every chance we get. On the contrary, according to the lead researcher, "We can't infer from our study which aspects of olive oil prevent stroke", adding "it may be a substitution effect." Therefore, what this study tells us is that we should use olive oil instead of unhealthy or less healthy fats, yet still consume it in moderation. A couple of tablespoons a day are all it takes to reap the benefits.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Canadians' Diets are Potassium Poor

In each and every one of the cells that makes up our bodies, sodium and potassium act as a team. These two minerals, if properly balanced, drive the reactions that keep our hearts pumping, muscles contracting and our cells healthy. Start tipping the scales in either direction, however, and you can expect trouble. This is why a new report outlining the fact that Canadians' diets are too low in potassium is particularly disturbing.

We already know that the average North American's diet is too high in sodium. The sodium in our diets is most often added by the food industry and hidden in the processed foods we eat, especially canned foods, where it acts as a preservative. Before the advent of home refrigeration, salting foods was a great way to preserve them. Today, however, we are bombarded with absurd amounts of sodium in the foods we eat, and us consumers take the blame for having high blood pressure. We're told to cut back on sodium, so most logical reaction is to leave the salt shaker behind, but that's not really where the problem lies. With potassium, on the other hand, it's difficult to get enough each day, so in that case, more would actually be better.

Canadian adults are advised to consume at least 4,700 mg of potassium each day, which can help reduce blood pressure levels and help counteract or balance the effects of a high salt diet. The fact that many Canadians are deficient in potassium suggests that we're not eating enough fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes. Some of the best sources of potassium include sunflower seeds and almonds, dark leafy greens including dill, cucumber, avocados, yams and other potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, bananas, squash and broccoli. Fruits and veggies that are brightly coloured, especially those that are red, orange and yellow like cantaloupes and sweet peppers also tend to be high in potassium.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Yo-yo" Dieting Better than None At All

The most sound way of eating for lifelong health is a balanced diet filled with all things natural, in all of the colours of the rainbow, in different shapes and sizes. This includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, healthy fats and lean sources of protein. The trouble is that most people don't eat this way on a regular basis and many overindulge in treats and unhealthy food and beverage options far too often. The result is usually yo-yo dieting; a few weeks on a 'strict', deprivational diet, then back to indulgence and weight gain. Science tells us that this pattern is less than healthy, but new research suggests that it's better than doing nothing at all!

In a a recent study on mice that compared lifelong obesity against the ups and downs of yo-yo dieting, it was found that trying to lose weight, even by yo-yo dieting, is better than remaining at an unhealthy weight.

In the study, 3 groups of mice each received one dietary treatment for their whole lives - either low fat, high fat or a yo-yo diet with fluctuating periods of low and high fat. Throughout the study, their body weight, body fat and blood glucose levels among other indicators were measured. As expected, those mice on the yo-yo diet had large fluctuations in their health measures but the ones on the lifelong high fat diet slowly but surely progressed towards diabetes and other chronic diseases related to obesity and a poor diet. The researchers were surprised to find that the mice on the yo-yo diet had a similar lifespan to those on the low-fat diet and they lived 35% longer than those on the high-fat diet.

So, while it is true that following a stable, healthy diet for life is the most sound dietary option, the researchers suggest that the perils of yo-yo dieting may be overemphasized. According to the researchers, "The fear of negative health consequences due to weight cycling may be overemphasized. From our study, it appears that it is better to continue to encourage weight loss regardless of the number of attempts and failures." So ultimately, any attempt at better health is better than none.

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Apple a Day May Keep Your Muscles Strong

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We've all said it, and can probably think of one or two reasons why this saying rings true, but in truth, the list is rather extensive. Thanks to new research, we keep finding out more and more reasons why apples should be included in everyone's diet, every day. Now, we have yet another reason - they may help prevent age- and illness-related muscle wasting. That is, if you keep the skin on.

Through studies with mice, researchers from the University of Iowa found that a compound in apple skin called ursolic acid was able to help stop muscle wasting in mice who were deprived of food, and helped mice who had food actually build more muscle tissue. This suggests that ursolic acid is able to counteract muscle atrophy (death).

Even more amazing was that the mice who received ursolic acid had lower blood levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides (fats) and they were also leaner over all.

It is not clear yet whether or not these findings will translate to humans, but clinical trials are planned for the future. Also, the ursolic acid that was given to the mice in this study was extracted, meaning they likely got a higher, concentrated dose that is not likely to be found in a single apple. Regardless, since there are so many other reasons to eat an apple a day, it almost doesn't matter and may just be a happy bonus for current daily apple consumers. For those who don't enjoy an apple a day, starting to do so may only bring them the benefits of improved health. So I say, why not give it a try?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Berry Good For You: Get Excited About Local Strawberries!

They're just about here. Yes, they're a bit late this year, but they're that much sweeter as a result -- strawberry season in Ontario is finally upon us.

I couldn't be happier about this news because I have been buying individually quick frozen (IQF) strawberries for the past few months. In contrast to 'fresh' produce that comes from 3,000 miles away which is picked before it has fully ripened, IQF produce is picked when it is ripe and then it is flash frozen to maintain the integrity of the product. I found that that any strawberries that I could find fresh in a clam shell at the store were not only overpriced, but they were also flavourless and colourless on the inside. A total rip-off. And then something amazing happened.

A friend of mine brought some fresh strawberries over and I tasted one - I was absolutely amazed at how sweet and juicy they were! What a difference! After a long winter, I couldn't be happier that it is finally strawberry season and I can get fresh, local Ontario strawberries Heck, I can go strawberry picking!

The health benefits of strawberries, like other berries, are many. Strawberries are bursting with vitamin C and plenty of antioxidants to help fight against cancers, inflammation and diseases related to aging. They've also got a little calcium, magnesium and potassium inside. These minerals are key components of the DASH diet, which has been shown to be effective not only in reducing blood pressure, but also for weight loss and management. Since they are ridiculously low in calories due to their high water and fibre content, strawberries are a great addition to anyone's diet to help them slim down for the summer. Some new research even suggests that certain compounds in strawberries help you curb your hunger and stimulate your metabolism.

Eaten on their own, they are absolutely gorgeous, but there are hundreds of simple recipes you can whip up with these gems. Why not treat yourself to a berry-decorated mimosa or bellini on a hot summer day, or maybe you're feeling adventurous and want to bake a classic strawberry shortcake or a strawberry tiramisu? Slice them into your salad and you've just kicked it up 5 notches!

I strongly recommend getting your hands on some fresh, local strawberries ASAP. Whatever we have been forced to settle for in the previous months simply pales in comparison to the experience of enjoying a perfectly ripe, luscious red strawberry!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plump or Scrawny – You Just Can’t Win

Plump or Scrawny – You Just Can’t Win
Sarah Reid, RHNC

A couple rather depressing stories came through the newswire recently in the field of health and in particular the ongoing weight struggles that us as a society face. One of them, easily the most virulent of them all, was about the Body Shop advertisement featuring “Ruby”, the plus-sized nude mannequin. This ad, which boldly speaks for female empowerment and acceptance of all the shapes they have, was pulled after legal threats from Mattel™ over its defamation of their famous figurehead back in 2006, and the poster has once again traveled through social media. Never mind that in reality the doll could not menstruate (although there is a version where she comes pregnant with twins) , hold up her back and neck, walk due to the dimensions of her legs and feet, and would have many other problems. The 7’4” “perfect woman” is only attainable for an everyday, 5’4” woman if she grows 2 feet, expands her chest size by 5”, and stretches her neck by another 3” (all while whittling their waists down by 6”!). The real defamation of the brand is the hosts of girls and women that grow up idolizing and aspiring to be everything she is and develop body dysmorphia and – unfortunately – eating disorders. While the blame often rests on waifish celebrities and models with God-given bodies, the fact remains that children are first and foremost exposed to the toys they play with. Most young girls are not looking at the pages of Vogue or People, after all!

Then I happened across a wonderful campaign by Fit vs. Fiction that brings to glaring light the prevalence of body dysmorphic thoughts and behaviours by children. Sadly, the trend is toward more and more young individuals developing these self-destructive habits, and poor diet and lifestyle choices down the road (including emotional eating and bingeing on “forbidden food”).  When you consider that a quarter of 7-year-olds (mostly girls) have already dieted – over 80% by age 10 – the vast majority of the youths today have no idea what constitutes a healthy meal. “Eating right” and “moving more” are simply translated to either extreme, while the “kid-friendly” products are now labelled “fat” or “sugar free” and can easily trick both adults and diet-conscious kids alike.

Most recently, and relevant to working women of all ages, was the release of a study correlating appearance of bodyweight and women’s earnings in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Something that many working women have known or suspected for years was eventually published in Forbes: while men can, in general, actually expect a slight increase in pay by gaining a few pounds, but for females (especially very thin women) putting on weight at all negatively impacts their pay scale. Compared to an “average” female worker, those labeled as “very thin” made about $22,000 more, while “heavy” or “obese” women lost between $9,000 over $18,000. In a society bent on equality for all, it would be ridiculous to have an employer deny someone a raise (or indeed, fair pay for equal work) due to their religion or marital status – so why is this still the case? Rather than encouraging women to assert themselves in the workforce, this behavior objectifies and trivializes women to little more than walking, talking dolls, and erodes both the self-confidence and the work ethic of those affected. While being overweight or obese is never ideal, it is not the employer’s job to dictate the preferred physiology of an able-minded, qualified adult.

Where do you stand? What do you think is the biggest poor body-image factor facing anyone (male or female, of any age) today?

Sarah Reid is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant with her company NEW-trition

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Diet for High Blood Pressure Reduction is Also A Weight Management Solution

Those who are familiar with the DASH diet know that it is an effective strategy for blood pressure reduction or management. But what many people do not realize is that it is an extremely healthy way of eating, as part of a healthy lifestyle, regardless of having any health complications. In fact, just like the Mediterranean diet, it might help nip diseases in the bud before they get a chance to develop into something serious. It can also help individuals manage their weight.

Weight management has to do with more than just weight gain and loss. We know that keeping a stable, healthy weight within a normal body mass index range takes long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, which is where the DASH diet comes in. This applies at any age and stage of life. For example, as children have periods of rapid physical growth and development, their dietary needs in addition to the amount of food they consume tend to change drastically. But according to new research published this week, girls who follow a DASH style diet throughout their development can reduce the odds that they will gain excess weight at this time.

The researchers followed the dietary habits and body mass indexes of 2,237 American girls starting from when they were 9 years old, for a total of ten years.The girls were scored on how closely their own diets matched or resembled the DASH diet, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy and nuts, seeds and legumes. Those who had higher scores, meaning their own diets were very similar to the DASH guidelines, had the lowest BMIs by the time they were 19. The opposite was true for those who ate the fewest DASH foods - they were closer to being overweight by age 19.

The foods that make up the DASH diet tend to be water, nutrient and fibre-rich and low in fat on the whole. They also include enough lean protein and healthy fats to support healthy growth and development. Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals who eat this way tend to be the leanest and healthiest, on average. So in case you thought the DASH diet was only something to consider if you got sick or had hypertension, maybe it's time to reconsider that notion!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Your "Refreshing" Iced Coffee May Be a Meal in Disguise

It's finally hot outside (hurray!!) and it seems that everywhere you look, people are cooling off with refreshing beverages, notably iced coffees. Those Tim Horton's Iced Capps are more tempting than ever and McDonald's are offering specials on all of their cold drinks all summer long, including their iced coffees. But if you think an iced coffee is just as innocent as a hot brewed one, you may be sadly mistaken. In fact, it might be better to just go for an ice cream or a cheeseburger! Here's why.

On it's own (black), coffee has a negligible amount of calories - it's fair to say it has zero - and no fat. The trouble is that most people don't enjoy black coffee and find their own way to tweak the normally healthy brew with additives like sweeteners and whiteners. You may not be aware, but just two tablespoons (about the size of your whole thumb) of half and half cream contains 40 calories and 3.5g of fat; 2 of which are saturated. Just one level teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories and honey has about 30. Go for a medium Timmies double double and you're looking at 155 calories and 10.5g fat! That's an astonishing departure from zero calories and zero fat! The same goes for the iced stuff, but it gets even worse.

Just one medium original Iced Capp at Timmies has 360 calories, 15g of fat and 48g of carbs!! To make it a little clearer - you'd have to have a medium hot coffee with 4 creams and 5 sugars to almost get the same result. A McDonald's cheeseburger (300 calories, 12g fat, 7g sugar) might be considered a healthier option.

The reason for this is that our perception of sweetness is temperature dependent - the colder the 'substance' (think: ice cream) is, the more sugar you need in order for your taste buds to detect it. While you might only need a little bit of sugar in order to taste it in a hot coffee, you'll need a lot more in a cold one.

So while an "Iced Coffee" might sound like a great, refreshing option for the summer, it may do little to help you fit into your goal outfit or that brand new bathing suit. A better idea would be to follow the same principles you would for hot coffee - get a freshly brewed coffee poured over ice and add your own whitener, preferably skim milk, and sweetener. If you like it really sweet and want to watch those pesky calories, go for a zero-calorie sweetener like splenda or a natural one like stevia, which is a natural plant extract. Be smart about it and you'll be saying 'ahhh...' both out of refreshment and to the reflection of your fit summer figure!

Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

When considering factors that influence blood pressure, the most common variable that people talk about is salt intake. While it is true that sodium intake is a major predictor of blood pressure, and an easy way to help reduce it, there are a number of other ways you can help manage your blood pressure through lifestyle changes. Here are just a few.

1. Eat less red meat. Research has shown that the consumption of red meat can increase blood pressure levels by up to a third. Choosing lean sources of protein more often, like egg whites, white fish, pork, chicken or turkey breasts is a simple way to make sure you get enough protein each day.

2. Read (and understand) nutrition labels. More and more, people are learning the importance of reading food labels in addition to the meaning of the values. Check the sodium values (you want to aim for 2300 mg or less each day) in addition to the calories and fat.

3. Manage your weight. Checking food labels can really help with this crucial aspect of blood pressure reduction. If there's one thing you can do to significantly lower your blood pressure, it's to achieve a healthy body weight.

4. Reduce your fat intake. Particularly saturated and trans fats. You want to make sure you're getting enough healthy fats, and all fats in general, in your diet, however, you don't want to go overboard. You can help cut back on added fats by avoiding fried foods as often as possible, watching how much oil you use in your cooking and choosing lower fat alternatives for dairy in addition to condiments like salad dressings.

5. Make it from scratch. Preparing meals at home allows you to control exactly what you put in the recipe. This way, you can avoid relying on pre-made or packaged foods that might be high in sodium and unnatural additives.

Obviously, some changes are easier to make and some are more significant than others, but change begins with baby steps. Doing whatever you can do reduce your blood pressure can help you avoid or prevent potentially life threatening future complications, starting today.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

5 New Rules to Healthy Eating For the New MyPlate Guide

In an effort to make healthy eating as simple and painless as possible, the U.S. government has just released their new food guide called MyPlate. According to First Lady Michelle Obama, “When it comes to eating, what’s more simple than a plate? This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating.” This is so true, and to go with the new guide are a set of simple rules we can all follow to help prevent disease and ward off overweight and obesity.

1. Eat the most nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre that are available per calorie in foods. Nutrient-poor or 'empty-calorie' food are foods like cookies and soda, for example, that just contain sugar or fat along with lots of calories and serve no nutritional purpose. These foods should be eaten less often as treats. This means that your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein.

2. Eat fewer solid fats and added sugars. This one is a no brainer - sugars are empty calories and solid fats tend to be saturated and trans fats, which have a proven negative effect on our health. Choosing liquid fats more often, like olive and vegetable oils ensures that you will get more healthy, unsaturated fats in your diet along with the fat-soluble vitamins they carry.

3. Eat more seafood. Fish and seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your keeping your heart and blood vessels, in addition to your brain, healthy. Most people don't eat enough fish, but even 1-2 servings a week instead of meat can make a massive difference to your health. In fact eating a 4 oz portion of fish twice a week has been shown to reduce the risk of having a fatal heart attack by 10 times!

4. Eat more red veggies. Along with orange and dark green ones. All of these veggies are rich in different antioxidants that ward off disease. Red veggies are rich in lycopene and vitamin C while orange ones are high in carotenoids. Green veggies are rich in chlorophyll and lutein among other nutrients.

5. Vegetarianism can be healthy. Just make sure you get enough protein (from sources like peas, beans, nuts and soy) and calcium (from soy, dark leafy greens and some fortified juices) in your diet from plant sources. Another important nutrient that vegetarians are often low in is B12, which can be found in nutritional yeast or from supplements. According to experts, “In looking at a variety of eating patterns around the world, we now recognize that vegetarian diets that include dairy and eggs, and vegan diets, can provide enough of the nutrients we need to be healthy,” .

And there you have it! While there are just a few new simple rules to follow, there is a whole wealth of information on the new website including photos of sample portion sizes for all food groups! This site is really amazing and will hopefully help people all over the world, not just in the U.S., live healthier and disease-free for longer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lose Weight and Have Your Bacon, Too

When most people embark on a weight loss program, whether it be a personal decision or on the advice of their physician, they tend to be under the impression that they have to exclude certain foods. They may think that bacon or steak, for example, are not likely to appear on their menus and that their plates will be full of "grass". While this is a highly exaggerated and negative view of salads, vegetables and healthy diets in general, they are usually pretty accurate. But according to new research, this may not be the case for much longer.

Imagine if you could lose weight, improve your heart and overall health and still enjoy the foods you love. Well - technically, you always could. Weight loss is ultimately about creating a calorie deficit - either by exercising more or by cutting back on your daily calories, but we all know that consuming a large proportion of calories from fat is not generally advisable.

In addition to the negative effects of fats, especially those from meats, on the cardiovascular system, a high fat diet usually means less carbs, which include fruits and veggies, loaded with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This can also mean there will be less protein in the diet over all, and protein is necessary to keep muscles, the immune system and one's metabolism healthy. That's a big trade off.

But new research from Johns Hopkins University has shown that high fat, low carb diets may not have a negative effect on endothelial (blood vessel) function. In the study, one group followed a diet made up of 40% fat from nuts, seeds and meats, (which is higher than the advised 30% max), and 30% carbs (which is far lower than the minimum recommended 45%). Another group followed a low-fat diet of 30% fat and 55% carbs which are both actually at the high end of normal recommendations. This also means that the "high fat" group received 30% of their calories as protein, which is a good amount, but the "low fat" group received only 15% of their calories from protein, which is at the low end. Both groups also did cardio and strength training 3 times a week.

Both groups did equally well on tests of their blood vessel functioning, perhaps as a result of an overall reduction in calories (including fat) and exercising 3 times a week, but the high fat group lost weight faster. There is a pretty simple explanation for this - carbs hang on to water, and consuming 55% carbs and low protein means that there will be more weight on the body as water. The low carb, "high fat" group lost weight faster, but as soon as they start eating carbs again, that water weight will stick right back to them. Their more rapid weight loss is not likely true, permanent weight loss, which is fat loss. Moreover, they were consuming a lot of healthy fats from nuts and seeds and not only meats - it would be unwise for anyone to consume large amounts of saturated fats from meats as there is a strong association between these fats and heart disease.

One of the study's co-authors basically said the same thing in different words, saying ""Our study should help allay the concerns that...a low-carb approach does not seem to pose any immediate risk to vascular health,". The key word here is "immediate". She also warned that high fat meals are usually high in salt as well, which can lead to a dangerous situation for one's health. The bottom line is really about moderation - a moderate to low carb, moderate to high protein and regular to low fat diet is probably the best option, but everyone's body responds differently to various combinations and permutations of macronutrients. In this case, trial and error and balance are what it's all about. And yes, you can still enjoy some bacon here and there.