Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Calorie is a Calorie? Recent Research Suggests Otherwise.

VM King

For years, nutrition experts have been saying that “a calorie is a calorie” – that as long as you were staying within your allotted calorie goals and exercising enough, you’d lose weight. But new research is showing that this actually might not be as true as once thought. The timing of a meal may be just as important as the amount of calories you’re eating in a day.

Recent animal studies have shown that the body may process food differently at different times of the day. Food eaten late at night can prompt weight gain more than food eaten earlier in the day due to hormone levels, physical activity, changes in body temperature, and the way food is digested and absorbed.

In a 2013 study, researchers found that overweight people who ate their largest meal after 3 PM lost less weight during a 20-week weight loss program than overweight people who ate their largest meal before 3 PM. The amount of calories they consumed, the amount of time they slept, and the amount of exercise they got was the same.

Another smaller 2015 study measured the amount of calories burned following a meal. Women who ate lunch after 4:30 PM burned fewer calories from “resting and digesting” than women who ate lunch at 1:00 PM. The amount of calories eaten and the amount of physical activity was the same. The women who ate later also had more difficulty burning off carbohydrates and had decreased tolerance to glucose – a risk factor for developing diabetes.

It’s just not the timing of the food that makes a difference, though. People who eat late at night tend to indulge in extra-salty and extra-sweet snacks, like popcorn, chips, and ice cream, which tend to be more caloric.

So what can you do to ensure that you’re staying on track at night?

One seemingly obvious answer is to keep unhealthy, tempting foods out of the house. When you’re sitting on the couch craving potato chips at 9 PM, it’s a lot easier to hold off if they’re still on the grocery store shelf, rather than in your pantry.

Another thing you can do is make sure you’re not overly restricting yourself during the day. If you don’t allow yourself enough food to keep you satisfied during the day, you’re more likely to give in and binge at night. Make sure you’re eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few satiating snacks in between.

People often think of dinner as the biggest meal of the day, but don’t fall into that mentality. Instead, make breakfast or lunch your biggest meal and go lighter for dinner. There’s a phrase that says “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. What this means is eat your biggest meal early in the morning, then gradually reduce the amount you’re eating as the day goes on.

Now we want to hear from you! Do you eat late at night? Or do you eat your biggest meal early in the morning? What tips and tricks do you have for staying on track late at night?

The Best Breakfast for Weight Loss?

You’ve heard over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, (we even said it just a few blog posts back), yet there isn’t a lot of research about what type of foods you should be eating to maximize your health and maintain your weight. We know that nutrition can be confusing so we like to do our best to streamline the information for you. Recently, we came upon this study from researchers from the University of Missouri that compared the benefits of eating moderate- and high-protein breakfasts – and we found the results interesting.

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The point of the study was to determine whether the type of breakfast (moderate-protein versus high-protein) eaten had an effect on the weight of young people who habitually skip breakfast (FYI – a whopping 60 percent of young people skip breakfast about four times per week!).

The study participants were overweight teenagers who were divided into three groups. One group of teens was given a normal-protein breakfast, while another group was given a high-protein breakfast. The third group skipped breakfast for 12 weeks.

At the end of the 12 weeks, researchers found that the teens who ate the high-protein breakfasts lost more body fat and consumed 400 fewer calories during the day than the other two groups. This is because the protein-rich breakfast kept them so full that they ended up voluntarily eating less throughout the day. The teens who ate a high-protein breakfast also had more stable blood sugar levels than the other two groups. (Unstable blood sugar is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes).

For this particular study, a high-protein breakfast was defined as one that contained 35 grams of protein. The high-protein breakfasts included eggs, lean meats, and Greek yogurt. The lower-protein breakfast consisted of milk and cereal that had only 13 grams of protein.

While it’s too early to make any definitive claims, the moral of this study is that eating a high-protein breakfast every day may help you lose weight and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

What are your thoughts on the research? Do you eat a high-protein breakfast every day? Do you eat breakfast at all?

 

Childhood Obesity: An American Epidemic

fast foodChildhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in America. In fact, the World Health Organization describes childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. Because of this, Valley Medical offers an effective weight loss program for kids. Over the past 3 decades, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has tripled. As of 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. While different factors – like genetics, amount of exercise, and other environmental factors – play a role in obesity, nutrition – what kids are/aren’t eating – is largely to blame. Before we get into what you can do to help reduce these numbers, let’s talk about the consequences of childhood obesity and why it matters so much.

The Health Risk

Being obese in your childhood has both short-term and long-term consequences. Obese children are more likely to have pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, which are all risk factors for heart disease that were once “adult-only” issues. Obese children are also more likely to develop sleep apnea and have bone and joint problems. It’s not just about physical health though — obesity also takes a toll on a child’s mental health, as well. Reports show that obese children report feeling secluded from their peers and often have low self-esteem.

Children who are obese are also more likely to stay obese as they enter adulthood, which only increases the risk of these health problems – and many others, like stroke and cancer.

What’s to Blame?

It’s impossible to point the finger at just one cause of childhood obesity. It’s a myriad of factors that when combined are a recipe for disaster. Increased consumption of fast and processed foods, a lack of exercise and more time sitting indoors, and increasing intake of sugary beverages like soda are all party to blame. According to a 2003 article in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” 64 to 83 percent of school-age children and adolescents drink soda. The more soda a child drinks, the less water and milk that child consumes. Because milk is rich in vitamin D, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-2, protein, and calcium, intake of these nutrients also falls as soda consumption increases. Children who eat fast food regularly also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables than kids who don’t eat fast food as often. As a result, children who regularly eat fast food gain an extra 6 pounds per year, on average.

What Can You Do?

Combating the issue of childhood obesity starts at home. Sure, there are outside influences, like friends, sleepovers, and school lunches that come into play, but if you do your best to control what you can, you’re off to a really great start. First of all, avoid fast food as much as possible. Yes, it’s cheap, but the nutritional consequences are expensive. A large hamburger packs about 600 calories and 35 grams of fat, while a small order of fries adds an additional 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. Add a small soda to complete the meal and you’ve reached almost 1,000 calories just for that meal. In addition to avoiding fast food, encourage vegetable consumption as much as possible. Offer vegetables with every meal and let your child experiment with different options. Sometimes adults are quick to say “oh, my child won’t eat that” but how do you know if you’ve never given it a chance?

In addition to focusing on nutrition, encourage active play. A lot of children nowadays are glued to video games and social media and tablets and because of this, they don’t get the exercise they need. Exercise isn’t important just for maintaining a healthy weight, it’s also important for increasing self-confidence and boosting mood. Get out there and play WITH your children. Show them that it’s a good idea to take a break from the electronics every once in a while and really get connected with each other.

We understand that it’s difficult to keep up in this fast-paced world, but when you know better, you can do better – and that’s the message we’re trying to share here.

Your Mom Was Right: Breakfast IS the Most Important Meal of the Day.

Breakfast is often dubbed as the most important meal of the day, and rightfully so. Many people on weight loss diets skip breakfast thinking that it will save calories and boost weight loss, but actually, it does the opposite. Skipping breakfast increases your hunger, which can lead to cravings and overeating throughout the day. On the flip side, eating a healthy breakfast can jump-start your metabolism and set you up to be a lean, mean calorie-burning machine. But it’s not just about weight. People who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their needs for vitamins, minerals, fiber, calcium, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. Eating breakfast can also increase energy, improve concentration, boost athletic performance, and improve grades (for all you students out there!).

breakfast

How Breakfast Increases Energy

When you sleep, you’re essentially going through a fasting period, and if your body is functioning as it should, your blood sugar levels drop. When you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels drop even further. Low blood sugar levels can trigger hunger and cause a drop in energy. Low blood sugar levels can also lead to intense cravings, especially for unhealthy foods like pizza, bagels, sweets, and other refined carbohydrates. When you give in and eat these types of foods, your blood sugar levels spike, which gives you a quick boost of energy. While it’s nice at the time, this quick boost of energy is ultimately followed by a crash that leaves you feeling drained and even worse than before.

How Breakfast Improves Your Mood

In addition to making you feel hungry and fatigued, low blood sugar levels can also leave you feeling cranky and irritable. Your body uses healthy carbohydrates to produce serotonin – a neurotransmitter in your brain that improves mood and can have a calming effect on your body – so when you eat breakfast, and include some healthy carbohydrates, your mood becomes more stable throughout the day.

Meeting your Nutrient Needs

When you skip breakfast – or any meal for that matter – you miss out on an important opportunity to get in essential vitamins and minerals. Including a serving of fruit or vegetables at breakfast increases the likelihood of not only meeting your fruit and vegetable recommendations for the day, but also your needs for certain vitamins and minerals.

What Should I Eat?

Eating SOMETHING for breakfast is better than skipping it altogether, but of course, some choices are better than others. For example, eating a carbohydrate-dense breakfast, like a bagel, gives you energy for a couple hours, but can lead to that resulting energy crash. It’s best to have a complete breakfast that contains a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Combining all the food groups will not only optimize the nutrient content of your breakfast, but it will help keep your blood sugar levels stable, which can make you feel fuller longer.

Incorporate whole grains, such as mini whole-wheat bagels, oatmeal or whole-wheat toast, as well as lean proteins, like almond butter, eggs, or even chicken (think outside the box!). Include a low-fat dairy product, like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and don’t forget to complete the meal with some fruits and/or vegetables.

Examples of balanced breakfasts include oatmeal topped with blueberries and a handful of almonds, an egg omelet with mixed vegetables and low-fat cheese and a smoothie made with fruit, leafy greens, yogurt and flaxseed.

What about Cereal?

Because of its convenience, dry cereal is a go-to breakfast choice for many people. While some breakfast cereals can be a healthy choice, others are loaded with sugar and calories and can do real damage to your weight-loss journey. If you like eating dry cereal for breakfast, look at nutrition labels diligently and choose cereals with 120 or fewer calories per serving, at least 3 grams (but ideally 5 grams) of fiber per serving, and fewer than 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Need some more healthy breakfast ideas? Check out these 34 ideas from Greatist.

Chia Seed Porridge: A Hearty, Guilt-Free Breakfast

Okay, based on our last two posts it may seem like we’re a little bit chia-obsessed, but you know what? We are! Chia seeds have SO many health benefits (more on that here) and because they’re so rich in protein, just a couple of teaspoons can keep you full for hours. When you’re trying to lose weight, that’s exactly what you want, right?

The only problem with chia seeds is that sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what to do with them. You hear they’re healthy so you go out and buy a big bag, but now what? It’s easy to throw a couple handfuls in your morning smoothie, but that can get redundant. We wanted to make sure that we don’t leave you hanging by just recommending you include chia seeds in your diet; we want to also provide you with a couple recipes to get you started with this new super food. Last week, we told you how to make a delicious two ingredient chia jam and this week, we’re going to show you how to make a warm and comforting chia seed porridge.

It has the consistency of oatmeal, but it’s grain-free, richer in protein, and lower in carbohydrates, so it will help keep you full for longer. Plus, it’s easy to throw together in just a few minutes and we’re big fans of quick and easy when it comes to the kitchen. This recipe makes two servings.

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Here’s what you need:

2 small, ripe bananas

¼ cup chia seeds

1 ¼ cups coconut milk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Optional:

2 teaspoons raw sunflower seeds

¼ cup blueberries

Shredded coconut

Here’s how to make it:

Mash bananas in a saucepan with a fork over medium-high heat. Add chia seeds and mix until combined. Stir in coconut milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir over heat until all ingredients are incorporated and porridge is nice and hot. Remove from heat and top with sunflower seeds, blueberries, and coconut (or whatever toppings you want!).

Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!

Losing Weight is Sweet: Try This Two Ingredient Strawberry Chia Jam

Even if you’re not a fan of the intense heat of the summer, I think there’s one thing that we can all agree on – the abundance of berries is a definite plus. During the summer, berries are readily available, less expensive, and sweeter than at other times of the year. If you’re like me and like to buy berries in bulk, you may be wondering what to do with all of them. Smoothies are always an option, but sometimes it’s fun to get a little more creative than that. Many people choose to make jam with fresh berries, but traditional jam is loaded with refined sugar and pectin – two ingredients that turn your healthy berries into a not-so-healthy treat.

The solution? This strawberry chia seed jam. It’s made with only two ingredients – berries and chia seeds. Really, that’s it! You can add some raw honey, if you want, but if you’re really watching your waistline, leave it out and you’ll be left with a perfectly delicious fresh jam without any of the guilt.

But it’s not just about what’s NOT in this jam, it’s about what IS in it. In addition to strawberries, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also loaded with chia seeds, which the Aztecs referred to as a super food. In short, chia seeds are about 30% protein and contain essential fatty acids that your body can’t make on its own. They’re also rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, and K and a good source of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, thiamine, and zinc. For a more in-depth discussion of chia seeds, check out our earlier blog post here. For the super simple strawberry chia seed jam recipe, keep reading.

 

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Here’s what you need:

1 pound fresh strawberries (or mixed berries of your choice)

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1-2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)

Here’s how you do it:

Heat up fruit (and honey if you’re using it) over medium heat in a saucepan. Stir occasionally and mash with a spoon or fork until the fruit starts bubbling and boiling. Keep stirring and mashing until it looks like a chunky fruit puree. At this point, stick an immersion blender into the mixture and blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer to a regular blender and puree or just keep mashing with a fork until mixture is smooth.

Add chia seeds and stir until combined. Stir over the heat for another minute and then remove from heat and allow to cool. If after 10-15 minutes, your mixture still seems liquid-y, add another teaspoon of chia seeds. Keep in mind, the mixture will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator and use as you would any other jam!

 

Product of the Month! Skip-a-Meal Meal Replacement Beverage

Because our Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage is one of our most popular supplements, we’ve decided to listen to consumer demand and offer it as our monthly special again for August!

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
Meta-Blast Supplements
Crave-away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, the product of the month ABSOLUTELY FREE!

skip a meal

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Shake is a whey protein meal replacement shake that serves as a high-protein, low calorie replacement for a higher calorie meal. You can replace one meal with a shake each day, or all three meals. It’s totally up to you.

In addition to being low in calories (only 192 per serving!), the shake is also loaded with several vitamins and minerals so it serves as a balanced nutrition source, just like a healthy meal would. One serving of the Skip-a-Meal replacement shakes provides at least 30% (in some cases, it provides 35%) of each of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper. So if you’re drinking the meal replacement three times a day, you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.

A single serving of the shake also provides 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat. The even better news? One tub contains 15 servings and you get it FREE when you sign up for our monthly special. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

If you have any questions about Skip-a-Meal or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.