Scientists Must Speak Out Against Misinformation About Immune Boosting Supplements

The COVID-19 pandemic saw huge increases in searches for immunity boosters, including for things like supplements claiming to improve immune function. But even before COVID-19 scared people into their nearest supermarket aisle, “wellness” through supplements was a multi-billion dollar industry.

Celebrities and influencers across social media platforms regularly advertise and promote a myriad of supplements to improve health and the immune system. However, there are some major problems with these claims — namely, vitamin companies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs, and many supplements don’t work as claimed.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which must undergo clinical trials that are reviewed by the FDA for the product’s safety and efficacy, dietary supplements have a less stringent path to market shelves. Even though they are most often found in or next to the store pharmacy, dietary supplements are regulated as food, not as drugs. This means that they have not been evaluated or proven effective.

Furthermore, while the manufacturer must prove the ingredients are “reasonably safe”, none of these products are formally “approved” by the FDA. But these supplements are not always inherently harmless options for people trying to live a healthy lifestyle. A 2015 study concluded adverse effects from dietary supplements caused an “estimated 23,000 emergency department visits in the United States every year.”misperception

Despite these risks, there has been an unfortunate absence of expert voices contesting supplement company claims with real data. “There needs to be a more robust response from the science community in the face of pseudoscience and misinformation,” says Tim Caulfield, a professor of health law at the University of Alberta, who has worked on studies and books examining ads and posts claiming to support the immune system on social media.

He explains that supplement marketing often builds on the common misperception that if the right amount of a vitamin is good for you, more is better. “That’s not the case at all,” he says. On the topic of supplement misinformation, Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, says, “The main problem is that the law permits companies to promote supplements as if they have important benefits for health even if there has never been a single study in humans to study the product’s efficacy or safety.”

Indeed, dietary supplements are not required to be reviewed by the FDA before they are distributed because they are not considered medications. Vitamins say right on the bottle that their claims “have not been reviewed by the FDA.” Instead, they are predominantly regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, which monitors the claims the labels make; however, this is limited to ensuring that the supplement makers are not explicitly claiming the product can be used as a treatment.

The FTC does allow companies to suggest a range of benefits their products provide, which may be why up to 70 percent of adults in the United States take at least one dietary supplement daily, with the most common reason being to try to maintain or improve their health. While some individuals with specific vitamin deficiencies may benefit from these products (under a doctor’s supervision), most of us do not. However, those marketed as “immune boosters” or “immune boosting” are more problematic.

Despite suggestive labels, there is no way to “boost” the immune system. The immune system is a complicated and dynamic network of cells, proteins, hormones, and other biological components. Even if it were possible to ratchet up such a complex system, you wouldn’t necessarily want to, because the immune system operates primarily by inducing inflammation. This alerts various immune cells to mobilize and fend off danger.

In moderation, this is perfectly healthy, and the system has a braking mechanism all its own. But if a product were to truly “boost” the immune system, this mechanism would be amplified. We know what too much inflammation looks like: autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disease, and allergies.

Ironically, in some cases, products heralded to improve immune function can actually suppress it. Take vitamin D, touted for its ability to enhance “immunity.” While it may increase the inflammatory response, it has been shown to actually reduce the activity of other cell types—namely T cells, which are critical in forming long-term memory. The same is true of many other popular supplements, such as zinc, when a person takes substantially more than the recommended daily amount.

Supplements can be actively harmful in other ways too. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, they aren’t evaluated for safety in the same way as pharmaceuticals. Of course, the manufacturers cannot knowingly use or include compounds that are known health hazards — legislation from 1994 dictates that ingredients used in supplement products must not have been shown to cause harm.

But that doesn’t mean these products aren’t without yet unrecognized risks. “I think one of the biggest things that gets overlooked is the potential for a drug-drug interaction,” says Dr. Kathryn Nelson, a medicinal chemist at University of Minnesota. Physicians need patients to disclose what supplements they are using, including multivitamins, because they might interact with prescribed medications.

From inactivating a pharmaceutical prescription, to dangerously exacerbating its effects, these products can have significant consequences. Yet many patients do not disclose or discuss their supplement use with their healthcare providers, due to their misguided perception that vitamins are safe or not worth mentioning.

Additionally, the active ingredient in vitamins must be either be purified from a natural source or synthesized in a lab, and both methods have the potential for carry-over from compounds used in these methods. Such contamination is called “residual complexity,” Nelson says.

This is particularly concerning when heavy metals are used and possibly present in the final product. In pharmaceutical drugs, these compounds would usually go to clinical trials, and any potential introductions of heavy metals removed in what’s called “process chemistry” to gain FDA approval. But the purification process of supplements are not reviewed by the FDA. This has opened the door for potential contaminants-heavy metals as well as other drugs and even pathogens-into these products.

Given all of this negative and even contradictory information about these products, why is the supplement market a multi-billion dollar industry? Much of the answer lies in its advertising. Companies often collaborate with social media influencers, who talk up how great the product is. And despite thousands of scientists across the country with expertise in nutrition and immunology, experts rarely publicly contradict these statements.

Science communication is an important part in the scientific process. However, more often than not, important conversations happen only with other scientists at scientific conferences, or in journals behind paywalls. As a result, the larger non-expert community is left in the dark. Daniel Pham, the associate director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy, wrote an essay in 2016 which detailed the lack of support for science outreach by scientists, and an absence of communication training.

Almost five years later, he says, “The same issues have resonated with me even more in the times of COVID. I feel like there’s a bigger sense of the need for improved communication of science to the public. But the tools we’re using are just woefully inadequate.” The evidence of his statement can be seen in a recent study by Arizona State University, which showed the majority of scientists believe that it is important to inform and engage the general public about science topics.

However, when asked about their personal interest or intentions of doing this, the answers are less enthusiastic. Often scientists are not encouraged or even rewarded for public outreach, which doesn’t aid securing funding, publishing, or gaining tenure. One possible solution might be to reform the funding and promotion institutions so they reward researchers for this kind of public service.

However, scientists should also not anticipate their feedback will be immediately accepted based on their resumes. As Nelson points out, the first step in improving the public’s access to verified information is building trust with experts. That includes breaking down the stigmas surrounding what it means to be a scientist, and making expertise more accessible.

A recent example is the initiative Science on Tap, where a scientist describes their research in general terms to patrons at a local bar or venue. Pham has also started a similar effort at Johns Hopkins University, called Project Bridge, bringing small, introductory science demonstrations to public spaces such as farmer’s markets. Specific tactics to counter supplement marketers could also include partnering with influencers who are willing to share verified research, as well as lobbying for legislative reform.

The supplement industry is a prime example of the dangers of misinformation, which is damaging to both science and the public at large. Cohen notes that the next steps are to urge the FDA and FTC to enforce existing laws prohibiting the promotion of products with disease claims, in an attempt to get them off the shelves. In the long-term, he notes the existing law on these products needs to be reformed so that “all products [are] registered with the FDA.”

Scientists and researchers have the expertise to get information to the public and enact policy change. But it will require getting creative. “A lot of the misinformation really has become a social media story,” Tim Caulfield says, “so we need to go to where the misinformation resides.” Scientists, he adds, “need to find their own voice.

By Shelby Bradford

Source: Scientists must speak out against misinformation about “immune-boosting” supplements | Salon.com

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4 Japanese Dieting Tricks I Used To Lose 20 Pounds

For someone who played sports throughout the majority of her life, I admit I was never good at portion control or exercising for weight loss. My teammates were extremely lean while I looked — as my brother would say — chonky.

I didn’t have the best relationship with my body so I wanted to slim down and feel better about it, but I couldn’t find anything in the U.S that I felt like I could realistically accomplish. To be honest, the fitness culture in this country scares me. I knew I didn’t want to drink Kombucha every day or attend expensive SoulCycle classes for the rest of my life.

When I lived in Japan for a couple of years, I was shocked by the not-so-intense fitness culture. None of my peers went to the gym, drank protein smoothies, or ate granola bars for meals. Throughout my time learning about their culture, I realized that the health culture in Japan gravitates towards prevention rather than cure, which is different from the US philosophy.

Rather than overworking the body to compensate for the overconsumption of high-calorie food, Japanese people eat balanced meals and walk miles for commute every day. Not many people go to the gym or buy expensive products to sustain their because their daily routine is already healthy.

I’m going to introduce 4 Japanese dieting tricks I’ve picked up while living with my family in Japan for a few years. These were all so easy to implement in my day-to-day routine, and they’ve helped me lose 20 pounds in a year without doing anything rigorous that my peers in the U.S were doing. I also believe these tricks will be helpful for those who can’t exercise due to physical injuries or those who find themselves constantly thinking: “I never have time in my day to do something more.”

1. Relax in a half-body bath every other day

A half-body bath may sound silly, but it’s essentially taking a bath while immersing only half of our bodies. The key is to take a relatively longer and warmer bath, which helps speed up our metabolism. The recommended bath time is typically 20~30 minutes — anything longer than that can burden your body and have counter effects.

A long bath of 20~30 minutes is a similar concept to a spa, which is also a large part of Eastern culture. A longer bath usually makes me start sweating after 5~10 minutes into the process, and similar to a spa, it can start to feel uncomfortable. To make this easier, I take my phone or a book to read to the bathtub so the 30 minutes don’t feel too distressing. Taking a half-body bath has become my favorite part of the day when I get to relax and spend time alone.

Americans tend to prefer showering over bathing, but the opposite is true in Japan. I used to shower every day, but I switched to bathing a few times a week and showering the other days. The trick is to take a bath in 100~106 degrees Fahrenheit water as opposed to the 92-degree bath that is recommended in the U.S.

I immerse half of my body until the water level sits right below my chest. A full-body bath in hot water feels constricting on my lungs and heart, but a half-body bath is comfortable enough to take for half an hour, if not less.

If the temperature goes down during the duration of the bath, I like to add some more hot water to bring the temperature back up to the stated range. Japanese bathtubs typically come with a thermometer that allows me to easily set the water temperature. In the U.S where this isn’t the case, I fill up the bath then add hot or cold water to adjust the temperature.

You may ask, why is this a common dieting technique in Japan? Well, taking a half-body bath makes it easier to stay in the bath longer while the hot temperature of the water heats up the body and accelerates the calorie-burning process. The total calories burned per bath are not high enough to be effective for weight loss on their own, but doing it consistently (like every other day of the week) will speed up the metabolism, improve the skin, and get rid of bloatedness. I’ve found it a great way to detox my body and experienced gradual weight loss after a couple of weeks of consistently trying out this method.

When I first started taking half-body baths, all the sweating made me feel uncomfortable and dehydrated. Drinking lots of water before doing this is important to stay hydrated and avoid passing out in the bathtub!

2. Replace rice or spaghetti with konjac

I learned this trick from my Japanese mom who highly encouraged me to eat konjac, also called yam cake. She herself lost over 15 pounds from integrating konjac in two of her meals per day, which she started doing as she could not exercise due to her asthma. This diet has boosted her confidence as she started to feel self-conscious of her stomach that came with age. To this day, my 52-year-old mom is often mistaken to be in her early 40’s, and she attributes it entirely to her konjac diet.

Konjac tastes pretty much like nothing or just a little bit salty, so it’s easy to cook konjac with pretty much anything as a substitute for rice or wheat noodles and it’ll take on the flavor of whatever you cook with.

When I cook rice, I mix the rice grains with konjac and cook it together in a rice cooker. This has helped me easily integrate konjac into my daily diet. Another option would be to buy konjac rice, which is konjac noodles in the form of rice. Konjac rice is made of , bringing down my daily carb consumption.

Konjac is also a great alternative to wheat noodles, which are high in carbohydrates and eventually get converted to sugar in the body. My personal favorite is containing very low carbs and are rich in glucomannan fiber. Glucomannan is recognized as an solution for patients with diabetes or high cholesterol.

Konjac is widely used in the Eastern world for weight loss and cholesterol management. The reason is that it is rich in water-soluble fiber that helps . Konjac also tends to expand in the stomach, slow down the speed at which the digestive system empties, and keep me fuller for longer. This is similar to the feeling of eating vegetables as they also tend to help us gain the satisfaction of feeling full while also not increasing sugar and calorie intake. Konjac is inexpensive too ($1.69 for 255 grams), which means I can skip out on all the expensive Sweetgreen meals.

3. Chew your food more, almost excessively

This trick is most effective for people who tend to binge eat or struggle with portion control. Chewing a lot helps the feeling of “full” last longer.

Chewing food promotes digestion in a timely manner. If we swallow our food without chewing it properly, there are two side effects: 1) The stomach has a difficult time digesting food, and 2) The saliva cannot break down the food. Saliva has amylase and lipase that help break down food and, on top of that, has an antibacterial effect. Chewing food almost excessively lets our saliva do its job, which can be extremely powerful.

In addition, chewing alone releases histamine to the brain that tricks it into thinking that we’re full. It’s a simple mind trick, but I found myself eating smaller portions when I remind myself to keep chewing. The trick is to chew at least 30 times for each bite of food, alternating between chewing on the right and left sides of your mouth. We tend to have a “favorite” side to chew on, but chewing with only one side is tougher on your jaw and is said to cause an imbalanced body.

In Japan, it’s a common understanding that there are two types of bodies: 1) a healthy body that can lose weight, and 2) an imbalanced body that is more resistant to weight loss. The first step to weight loss is building a body that can easily lose weight. To do this, Japanese people speed up their metabolism by taking half-body baths and chewing at least 30 times.

4. Eat vegetables first

This is ingrained in Japanese culture, in which your favorite aunties will insist that you eat your vegetables before consuming other foods. Japanese meals traditionally come in a healthy balance of grains, protein, and vegetables, and Japanese people always start tackling their vegetables before indulging in the protein and grains.

This trick is partially psychological, as eating vegetables first makes us feel fuller before eating other foods. Again, this helped me a lot with portion control. Vegetables also have a lot of fiber, which is known to help with digestion.

That’s not why Japanese people eat vegetables first, though. They actually eat vegetables first because they say there is a strong correlation between insulin and weight loss. My Japanese mom explained it to me like this:

When the body absorbs sugar from the food that we eat, the sugar level spikes up. Then the sugar that we consume gets converted into energy, helping us get tasks done and go about our day-to-day. Then our pancreas releases insulin into our bodies.

Insulin plays a role in bringing down sugar levels and turning the sugar that hasn’t been converted to energy, into fat. In other words, if the sugar level spikes too quickly and too much insulin is released, it becomes easier for our bodies to build up fat. That’s why when we eat rice, bread, or snacks when we’re on an empty stomach, our sugar levels rise up too quickly and an abundance of insulin is pushed out into our bodies.

This trick works because eating vegetables on an empty stomach, before eating other foods, prevents the sugar level from spiking up and insulin from being mass released. Japanese people say that eating vegetables first helps create a body that is more resistant to weight gain.

Some find it easier to lose weight while others find it more difficult. This was an interesting argument to me because I never thought about how people have different body types. While there are multiple explanations for this, Japanese people say that our habits dictate whether we have a body that is “easy to lose weight” versus the opposite.

Doing yoga, having a good posture, and walking often— these Eastern health habits all play a part in building a body that can lose weight.

What really surprised me the most was that these habits were common sense to people living in Japan. None of my friends or colleagues went to the gym — in fact, none of them carved out a time in their day to become skinny. They all ate healthily, walked a few miles per day, and remembered these simple tricks to maintain their health and wellness.

I didn’t see drastic results in the short term because I wasn’t forcing my body to go through drastic changes. But I trusted the process, focused on consistency, and I feel like I have a much better relationship with my body now.

I think of food and exercise as a way to treat and show love to my body. Eating protein-rich food and drinking lots of water make my body happy. If I start out with a mile and gradually work my way up to 5 miles, my body feels great after the run. I don’t want to make my body go through drastic changes and stress it out too much because it’s the one and only vessel for our soul. So let’s start small and make long-lasting effects through these 4 tricks:

  1. Take a half-body bath a few times a week to speed up metabolism.
  2. Replace carbs with konjac to lower sugar intake.
  3. Chew every bite at least 30 times to make sure the saliva is doing its work.
  4. Eat vegetables first to become resistant to weight gain.

By: /

Source: 4 Japanese Dieting Tricks I Used to Lose 20 Pounds | by Project HBE | May, 2021 | Ascent Publication

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Critics:

Japanese cuisine encompasses the regional and traditional foods of Japan, which have developed through centuries of political, economic, and social changes. The traditional cuisine of Japan (Japanese: washoku) is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth.

Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter, as tempura. Apart from rice, a staple includes noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan also has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga.

Historically influenced by Chinese cuisine, Japanese cuisine has also opened up to influence from Western cuisines in the modern era. Dishes inspired by foreign food—in particular Chinese food—like ramen and gyōza, as well as foods like spaghetti, curry, and hamburgers, have been adapted to Japanese tastes and ingredients.

Traditionally, the Japanese shunned meat because of Buddhism, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1880s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu and yakiniku have become common. Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi and ramen, has become popular throughout the world.

In 2011, Japan overtook France to become the country with the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants; as of 2018, the capital Tokyo has maintained the title of the city with the most 3-starred restaurants in the world. In 2013, Japanese cuisine was added to the Unesco intangible heritage list.

See also

The Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders

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Adding protein powder to a glass of milk or a smoothie may seem like a simple way to boost your health. After, all, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions. And many older adults don’t consume enough protein because of a reduced appetite.

But be careful: a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder can harbor health risks. “I don’t recommend using protein powders except in a few instances, and only with supervision,” says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What is protein powder?

Protein powders are powdered forms of protein that come from plants (soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). The powders may include other ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavoring, thickeners, vitamins, and minerals. The amount of protein per scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. Supplements used for building muscle contain relatively more protein, and supplements used for weight loss contain relatively less.

What are the risks?

There are numerous risks to consider when using a protein powder. Among them:

  • A protein powder is a dietary supplement. The FDA leaves it up to manufacturers to evaluate the safety and labeling of products. So, there’s no way to know if a protein powder contains what manufacturers claim.
  • We don’t know the long-term effects. “There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements,” McManus says.
  • It may cause digestive distress. “People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose [milk sugar] can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder,” McManus points out.
  • It may be high in added sugars and calories. Some protein powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot (as much as 23 grams per scoop). Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.

A new risk revealed

Earlier this year, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project released a report about toxins in protein powders. Researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic), pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. Some toxins were present in significant quantities. For example, one protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA.

How could protein powder contain so many contaminants? The Clean Label Project points to manufacturing processes or the existence of toxins in soil (absorbed by plants that are made into protein powders).

Not all of the protein powders that were tested contained elevated levels of toxins. You can see the results at the Clean Label Project’s website (www.cleanlabelproject.org).

Daily protein goals

Aim for the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein intake: 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. For example:

  • an egg for breakfast (6 grams)
  • 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt at lunch (18 grams)
  • a handful of nuts for a snack (4–7 grams)
  • a cup of milk (8 grams) and 2 ounces of cooked chicken for dinner (14 grams).

What you should do

McManus says that in certain cases, chemical-free protein powders may be helpful—but only with medical supervision. Such cases could include

  • difficulty eating or an impaired appetite (as a result of cancer treatment or frailty from older age)
  • a surgical incision or a pressure wound that is not healing well (your body needs protein to repair cells and make new ones)
  • a serious condition requiring additional calories and protein in order for you to get better (such as burns).

Otherwise, get protein from whole foods: nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), legumes (beans, lentils), fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meat. “You’ll find,” McManus says, “that there are many ways to get protein without turning to a powder.”

Source: The hidden dangers of protein powders – Harvard Health

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Critics:

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and athletics for the purpose of facilitating an increase in lean body mass. The intent is to increase muscle, increase body weight, improve athletic performance, and for some sports, to simultaneously decrease percent body fat so as to create better muscle definition.

Among the most widely used are high protein drinks, pre-workout blends, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, arginine, essential fatty acids, creatine, HMB, whey protein, ZMA and weight loss products. Supplements are sold either as single ingredient preparations or in the form of “stacks” – proprietary blends of various supplements marketed as offering synergistic advantages.

While many bodybuilding supplements are also consumed by the general public the frequency of use will differ when used specifically by bodybuilders. One meta-analysis concluded that – for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks – total protein intake up to 1.6 g/kg of body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, but that higher intakes would not further contribute.

In addition to being potentially harmful, some have argued that there is little evidence to indicate any benefit to using bodybuilding protein or amino acid supplements. A 2005 overview concluded that “[i]n view of the lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, no additional dietary protein is suggested for healthy adults undertaking resistance or endurance exercise”.

In dispute of this, a 2017 meta-analysis concluded that for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks, total protein intake up to 1.6 g per kg body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, i.e. muscle, but that higher intakes would not further contribute. The muscle mass increase was statistically significant but modest – averaging 0.3 for all trials and 1.0 to 2.0 kg, for protein intake ≥ 1.6 g/kg/day.

See also

Can Substituting Sugar With Stevia Benefit Weight Loss?

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The bottom line is that the only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body burns for energy. There are many ways to accomplish this, and targeting added sugars and replacing them with stevia is an easy and tasty fix.

Research has shown that subjects given stevia-containing foods or beverages consumed fewer calories throughout the day. (2,3)

The Truth About Added Sugars

It seems like everything we read talks about avoiding carbs and sugar.In the U.S., the average intake of added sugars reaches up to 270 calories or more than 13 percent of calories per day based on an average 2000 calorie diet.

Not surprisingly, the largest source of added sugars in the typical diet is beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and flavored waters. They account for almost half (47%) of all added sugars consumed by the U.S. population.

The other major source of added sugars is snacks and sweets.(1) Most people don’t realize how much sugar they consume from other sources like marinades, sauces, salad dressings, yogurt, crackers and other items that don’t “seem sweet.”

The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total calories or about 50 grams per day based on 2000 calories.

If your body needs fewer calories based on size, age, and activity level, the gram limits are even lower.

To take it a step further, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 24g grams per day (6 teaspoons) for women and 36 grams per day (9 teaspoons) for men.

It’s obviously an area of concern in our standard American diet as the term “added sugars” appeared 138 times in the dietary guidelines report!

Knowing Your Limit for Added Sugars

Simply put, consumption of added sugars can make it difficult for people desiring to lose weight to meet their nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.

Whenever anyone restricts total calories, everything eaten needs to contain more nutrients to make sure you get what you need for proper fueling while limiting total calories. One of the simplest strategies is to limit added sugars.

Why? Because they are more often found in foods that do not provide quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we look for to help prevent lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers.

That’s where products like stevia fit in.

Can Stevia Help with Weight Loss?

Since stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener with a taste 50-350 times sweeter than sugar, a little goes a long way. By substituting stevia for sugar in your daily routine, there are many ways to cut total calories and sugar grams.

  1. Using stevia to sweeten your coffee or tea (hot or iced), saves 16 calories per teaspoon over sugar. A few cups per day with a few teaspoons each can really add up quickly. Each stevia packet is formulated to equal the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar. Take some with you to your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant and add your own.
  2. Instead of eating pre-sweetened Greek yogurt with up to 20 grams of sugar, start with the plain variety and add your own stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon and fruit.
  3. Swap stevia for sugar, honey or maple syrup in your oatmeal, homemade salad dressings, baked goods and other recipes that call for sugar. Even subbing in ½ the amount in a recipe can make a big difference.

We would love to hear your sugar swap success stories. How do you enjoy Pyure Organic Stevia?

References:

  1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015- 2018, 8th edition, Added Sugars page 54: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
  2. Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, Coulon S, Cefalu WT, Geiselman P, Williamson DA. Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite 2010;55:37–43.
  3. Tey SL, Salleh NB, Henry J, Forde CG. Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake. Int J Obes (Lond) 2017;41:450–7.

Source: Can Substituting Sugar with Stevia Benefit Weight Loss?

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Is stevia dangerous for our health? Can stevia affect fertility levels? If stevia is safe, what amount is safe for us to eat? What other sweeteners are safe to eat? What sweeteners does Dr Greger recommend? Are there any studies on the safety of stevia? Keep listening as Dr Michael Greger answers these questions…….
This is for educational purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended. Videos; Dr Greger’s Q & A https://www.facebook.com/pg/Nutrition… Stevia vids http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search… Erythritol http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eryth… Studies; Gut bacteria and Stevia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8… World Health Evaluation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Effects of stevia on health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Stevia and Fertility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Dr Greger’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Nutritio…
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[…] If you do use sweeteners, choose Stevia. ‘Diet’ and ‘low-fat’ products Most of these are not healthy products at all […]
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Tricks & Tips To Satisfy Cravings
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[…] I really enjoy drinking seltzer water with a little stevia, Diet Hansen soda or Zevia that are colorless stevia sweetened diet sodas […]
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I lost 50 lbs in 90 days, and never stepped foot in a gym! –
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[…] you! Drink: –Water –Tea w/ no sweetener—if you have to have sweetener investigate something like Stevia –Diet soda if you can’t kick the habit Plus you can have 3oz of any of these Chicken Beef Turkey Seafoo […]
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The “Past-urbation” Diet. Paleo Diet (noun): a diet based on the… | by Delaney Rowe
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[…] These people try to eat things like stevia, Diet Coke, Vitamin Water Zero, etc […]
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[…] These people try to eat things like stevia, Diet Coke, Vitamin Water Zero, etc […]

How To Lose Weight Fast

Whatever the latest diet or exercise trend, whatever bullshit lines the personal trainer at the gym is feeding you, and whatever the latest scientific research is telling us, losing weight revolves around one factor and only one… CALORIES. Consume more than your body burns in day, whether through your natural basal metabolic rate, your day to day activities or exercise and you will gain weight. This is known as a calorie surplus. Burn more than you consume and you will lose weight. A calorie deficit. It really is as simple as that.

The more significant gulf between energy consumed and energy used you are capable of generating, the more quickly you will lose weight. Whilst the component parts of the equation are simple, the way you go about solving it is a little more complicated, particularly if it is to be sustainable. It’s very easy to tell yourself to eat less and be more active, but a lot harder to actually do it consistently for long enough to see results.

There are of course lots of ways in which you can manipulate both your diet and exercise regime in order to give yourself the best opportunity to both lose weight and then maintain those losses as part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Why?

You can’t help but be aware of the health risks associated with being overweight. Whether it be online, on the TV or in magazines and newspapers, the information is everywhere. As a society we have become increasingly concerned with healthy living and in particular diet and exercise. And rightly so. These areas represent an enormous challenge to millions of people all over the world.

Excess weight, and in particular, obesity, negatively impacts almost every facet of health. As well as the widely known increases in the risk of life altering and deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers, your reproductive and respiratory functioning, memory and mood can also be severely compromised.

I think the motivation for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are pretty clear.

The How?

This is where we get back to that all important important equation:

Calories consumed – Calories burned = Energy balance

Negative energy balance = calorie deficit = weight loss

Positive energy balance = calorie surplus = weight gain

The two easiest ways to influence your energy balance? Diet and exercise!!

Diet:

There should be little surprise that what you eat (and drink) and how much of it you eat (and drink) determines your calorie intake for a period of time. Consequently, one of the simplest ways in which you can alter your energy balance is by consuming fewer calories. Over an extended period of time, provided the adjustments are significant enough to create an energy deficit, you should lose weight.

Eating less than your body is used to all of a sudden, unfortunately, is easier said than done. There are, however, a few strategies you can implement in order to give you the best chance of success.

  • Ditch the sugar:

Sugar is the devil. It is addictive. Eat more of it than you can burn off and your body stores it as… FAT! Excess fructose (sugar) in your blood causes elevated insulin levels. This prevents the body from accessing stores of fat for its energy demands and results in the brain telling you that you are hungry.

Moreover, sugar also causes leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone which helps us release fat from stores to be used as energy. Ergo it tells the brain that we have enough energy supplies and we don’t need to eat. Increased levels of fructose in the blood raises the level of triglycerides, which block the transmission of leptin from the blood to the brain. The brain thinks the body is starving and tells us to eat more than our energy demands require. Thus we gain weight.

Sugar has also been shown to have very little effect on our feeling of fullness relative to the number of calories being consumed. That my friends is a slippery slope. One which isn’t going to help anyone lose weight, nevermind lose it quickly.

See, I told you sugar was the devil!

The good news is, the less sugary foods you consume, the less your brain craves them and the less you eat. All YOU need to do is break the cycle.

Here are a few top tips to help you cut back your daily sugar intake:

  1. Avoid drinking calories. That means fruit juices as well as the more obvious sodas.
  2. Reach for an apple rather than the candy. Whilst fruit obviously contains sugar, your body responds very differently to fructose in comparison to heavily processed, sucrose rich foods. Fruit can also be a great way of satisfying any cravings for sweet foods you may have without the drawbacks of regular chocolate binges.
  3. Avoid pre packaged ‘convenience’ type foods which are often high in added sugar. The best way of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body is by making your meals from scratch as much as possible.
  • Up the protein, fat and veggies:

When it comes to losing weight, protein is king. Studies have demonstrated that protein may boost the metabolism by up to 100 calories per day. That’s energy you’re burning simply sitting on the sofa twiddling your thumbs.

What’s more, high protein diets have also been proven to reduce cravings and make you feel fuller for longer. All of which are going to help you achieve the all important calorie deficit required for meaningful weight loss.

Low carbohydrate vegetables (normally the green ones), like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cucumber (you get the idea) are a great way of filling out your meals without adding excess calories. Vegetables have a high fibre content which means they not only provide volume but also take longer to digest meaning you stay fuller for longer. They also provide you with some really important vitamins and minerals which will help keep your immune system in tip top shape. It’s a win all round really.

Whatever you do, don’t neglect fat. This is probably one of the most counterintuitive aspects of weight loss nutrition. Eating foods high in fat surely makes you fat? Provided you’re consuming the right kinds of fat (unsaturated and naturally occurring) rather than those found in heavily processed foods then they are a hugely important part of a balanced healthy diet and can help you lose weight.

By upping your fat intake in relation to your carbohydrate intake you can create an environment in which fat loss is actually more optimal. As already discussed, our consumption of carbohydrates releases insulin. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin your body produces and the harder it is for your body to access fat stores for energy purposes. Therefore, by replacing some of the calories you consume through carbohydrates with fat, you will reduce your insulin levels which will in turn make it easier for your body to access fat stores for energy at the same time as allowing fat to enter and fuel your muscles. Winning!

All low fat diets do is reduce your body’s capacity to burn fat and increase its ability to burn carbohydrates. Hormones such as adiponectin, which help boost your metabolism and break down fat cells are also inhibited.

Foods high in fat are also much better than those high in carbohydrates at making you feel full for longer. When the fat you eat enters the small intestine it releases hormones including cholecystokinin and peptide tyrosine tyrosine, which both play a major role in the regulation of your appetite. The more full you feel after eating, the less inclined you will be to dip into the snack cupboard or go for seconds, all of which is going to help you consume fewer calories in the long run!

As with anything in life, moderation is the key. Foods high in fat are calorie dense. So whilst upping your intake in replacement of carbohydrates is definitely a good idea if you want to lose weight, if you don’t take care of the all important energy balance then you won’t see the changes you want to.

Cutting carbs from your diet all together is simply not sustainable. They are after all the most prolific source of energy for our bodies. There are, however, some sources of carbohydrate which will make it much easier for you to lose weight than others. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in foods like oats, beans, brown rice, quinoa and lentils take much longer for your body to breakdown than simple sugary carbs. Whilst all carbs are eventually broken down into glucose, the longer this process takes, the longer you will feel full and the more nutrients your body will absorb from what you eat.

Feeling fuller for longer means you’re more likely to eat fewer calories and thus more likely to achieve that all important calorie deficit.

  • Fuel regularly:

One of the most common mistakes people make when they are looking to lose weight quickly is to adopt a very low calorie diet. Whilst this will obviously achieve the negative energy balance required, there are some significant disadvantages to such a strategy.

Your metabolism goes up for two to three hours after any meal as a result of the extra metabolic processes required to digest food and absorb its nutrients. Consequently, the less you eat the slower your metabolism becomes.

Your body has a tendency to treat huge reductions in calorie intake as a period of food scarcity (that’s evolution for you). As a result your body becomes more efficient at performing the basic functions which keep you alive and thus you burn less energy and your metabolism slows.

Moreover, you hold on to more fat in order to increase your chances of survival. Even worse, as muscle takes more energy to support than fat, your body will break it down before it breaks down it’s stores of fat.

Eating regularly and ensuring your body never enters this survival mode will help to keep your metabolism ticking along at an optimal level.

  • Drink more water:

Drinking more water can help you lose weight in a number of different ways. Most fundamentally, it increases the number of calories that you burn at rest. In fact, energy expenditure has been shown to increase by up to 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water.

Are you hungry or just thirsty? You would be surprised at the number of occasions when you feel hungry but are actually just dehydrated. Next time you feel the urge to eat, have a drink of water and see if it satisfies your ‘hunger’. The signals from our brain which tell us if we are hungry or thirsty can get a little confused, which means we have tendency to eat when we actually need to drink.

As water is completely free of calories, making sure we are suitably hydrated before we resort to grabbing a snack is a great way of reducing excess calorie intake and finding the negative energy balance which is so fundamental to weight loss.

Exercise:

Whilst thinking carefully about what and when we eat and drink should be one of the cornerstones of any weight loss strategy, there is another key way in which you can ensure your body is operating in a calorie deficit. EXERCISE.

Controlling what we eat takes care of the energy we consume, but upping how much exercise we do is the easiest way to increase the amount of energy we use.

  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training):

The more active you are the more calories you burn and the greater your potential calorie deficit will be. This doesn’t mean, however, than you need to spend hours and hours on the treadmill or spin bike each day in order to give you the best chance of losing weight.

In fact, most research suggests that engaging in shorter burst of high intensity exercise is far more beneficial to both overall health and weight loss. Intense activity will increase your basal metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercise; increase levels of fat oxidation in the muscles; and lead to significant jumps in growth hormone levels, which help to burn fat.

As a result, a 20-30 minute HIIT session is actually going to be more beneficial to both your health and weight loss goals than an hour plodding on the treadmill at steady state. Efficiency is the name of the game here.

Circuit based training is a great way of introducing yourself to HIIT based workouts, particularly if you don’t necessarily want to fork out for a gym membership. Click here for a great whole body workout perfect for helping you shift that excess weight!

Larger muscles burn more calories. Simple as that. The more lean muscle you have the more calories your body will burn at rest. In other words, having more muscle increases your everyday base metabolic rate. The metabolic demand of muscle is greater than it is for fat.

Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, all of which requires energy. So not only will you be increasing the number of calories you burn during exercise, but you will also increase your energy demands at rest, both of which will make it much easier for you to achieve the negative energy balance required for weight loss.

The best way of building muscle is to ensure you include some resistance based strength training in your regular exercise routine.

Studies have shown that your metabolism can be elevated for up to 38 hours after strength training, which means you’re energy use will be elevated for the best part of 2 days after your session. Boom!

Key Takeaways:

If it isn’t already clear, the single most important factor in the management of your weight is the relationship between the amount of calories you consume through eating, and the amount you burn through staying alive and exercising.

If you consistently exist within a calorie surplus, you will gain weight. If you consistently exist within a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. It really is as simple as that. If you eat unhealthily but maintain a negative energy balance then you will lose weight just as if you eat healthily but maintain a positive energy balance you will gain weight. It’s all about calories in and out.

However, from a nutritional perspective, you will obviously give yourself the best possible chance of losing weight if you stick with some of the simple tips already discussed like ditching sugar, upping your protein intake and ensuring you drink enough water.

Your calorie consumption is, however, only one side of the equation. For most efficient weight loss results, you should definitely pay some attention to how much energy you burn too. The most efficient way of increasing the energy demands you place on your body? Probably some kind of combination of HIIT and strength training. Remember, this type of training will not only allow you to burn calories whilst you exercise, but will also help you burn more when you’re chilling on the sofa. That, my friends, is what we call a win win! Post navigation

How To Squat ProperlyParkour: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Source: https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com

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BRIGHT SIDE

Are there any ways to lose weight besides diet and exercise? There are many tricks that can help you lose a bit of excess weight in just 2 weeks. We’re going to share with you 15 tips that can help you get rid of excess belly fat. Most people don’t even know about these tricks! Science proves that people burn less fat when they sleep during the day and are active at night. A group of researchers from the University of Colorado studied 14 healthy people for 6 days. During the first 2 days, subjects slept during the night and didn’t have daytime naps. Then they changed their sleeping patterns to imitate owls’ sleeping schedules. It turned out that when people took a nap, their metabolism worsened since their biological clocks didn’t completely flip to fit their schedules.

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