Health, Happiness, Weight Loss, Exercise or Yoga and Real Food:
Take Charge of your Life!
Robert K. Walker
Real food is the antidote to chronic disease, overweight and obesity.
Do you remember the story of the elephant in the room that everybody ignored? (http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/how-to-maintain-motivation-on-your-diet/).
“What elephant in the room?
I just need a fly swatter to hit all the flies that are swarming around!”
Confused about all the dietary recommendations floating around out there? Meanwhile, time is passing, and we’re not getting any younger!
Hint: look for the obvious, but check out the quality of the latest scientific research behind it.
So what’s the elephant? In the United States, and now all over the world, people have been faithfully following the advice of health and nutrition professionals, leading medical associations, and the American and other governments for the past 50 years, and yet are fatter and sicker than ever (http://drhyman.com/blog/2016/02/26/how-our-government-made-us-fat-and-sick/).
What’s the main point of all those recommendations? That “eating fat makes you fat” and causes heart disease.
But the truth is that while butter, salt and egg yolks may or may not be just “flies” for some people, the elephant is what industrial farms, the food and beverage industries and (supposedly to mop up the mess) “big pharma,” as well as most of the medical establishment, have been stuffing down our throats all this time. Other comparatively minor questions include whether to eat exclusively vegetables (vegetarian/vegan), whether they should be only raw vegetables or what we call fruit nowadays (raw vegan, fructivorous), or also (or even mostly) meat, dairy products and eggs.
Are healthy food and healthy eating the same thing as “health food”? What is optimum nutrition? Is the Mediterranean diet (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801) a model? How important is it to lose belly fat (http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/TruthAboutAbs) and what is the best way to lose weight fast (http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/2weekdiet)?
Nutrition data and facts are needed, not just opinions. And how does all this relate to the prevention and cure of cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes (“adult” diabetes – now also rife among children and adolescents!)? See http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/why-focus-on-food-quality-over-food-quantity/.
In 2016 there were three major “summits” related to real food, (http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/summit, http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/foodrevolutionsummit) bringing together some of the top authorities in the field (including Mark Hyman, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, at the Cleveland Clinic – one of the largest and most highly reputed heart facilities in the world – and author of the extremely well documented best seller, Eat Fat, Get Thin (http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/eatfatgetthin).These experts’ contributions are discussed in the free regular newsletters sent to people who sign up at www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com. Several have been made available in the DropBox (see the link in the website or the blog, www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/real-food-blog).
First off, everybody agrees we should be eating whole foods, fresh foods, local foods, organic foods and sustainably raised foods (https://www.dropbox.com/home/Real%20Food/Weight%20Loss%20and%20Diet?preview=Mark+Hyman%2C+MD+-+Foods+That+Harm+%26+Foods+That+Heal+(2016).pdf) Everybody agrees that those are basic foundational principles for our health and the health of the planet. We all agree that we should be eating a very low glycemic diet: low in sugar, flour and refined carbs. We should eat a diet that’s mostly plant-based: very high in vegetables and fruits, lots of colors, more variety the better. That we shouldn’t be having pesticides or antibiotics or hormones or GMO. We shouldn’t be having chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, sweeteners or all these Franken-chemicals. That we should be eating good quality fats, especially Omega-3 fats: olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados. Everybody agrees we should be eating very little refined oils. Many would agree that we should not be having dairy, especially people who can’t tolerate it. All agree that if we do eat animals, it should be in moderation. And they should be sustainably raised so that they are not harming the environment. Fish should be sustainably harvested from the oceans or sustainably farmed.
The areas of a controversy are whether we should be eating grains (especially what is called wheat nowadays – see http://www.ebooksdownloads.xyz/search/wheat-belly), beans, meat and eggs.
Generally, these are the things permitted and recommended for people who want to eat real whole foods (https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/real-food-defined-a-k-a-the-rules/ ):
- Can eat whole foods in their most natural state.
- Can cook your own foods from scratch.
- Can eat as many or as few meals as you like.
- Can drink naturally sweetened beverages in moderation.
- Can use all-natural sweeteners in moderation (honey, maple syrup and fruit juice concentrates).
- Can eat foods high in good fats.
- Can drink whole milk dairy productsrather than reduced and non-fat dairy. Get your dairy as natural as you can find it. Removing the fat from dairy makes the milk’s vitamins harder for your body to digest. Low-fat and skim milk also sometimes contain unnatural additives to bring the consistency back to milk’s natural creaminess.
Here the things you shouldn’t do:
- Can’t eat processed foods.
- Can’t eat refined sugar or unnatural sweeteners (no form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda.
- Can’t eat refined grains like white flour or white rice.
- Can’t eat packaged foods from a box, unless the ingredients list is less than five ingredients long.
- Can’t eat deep fried foods.
- Can’t eat fast foods.
It’s no coincidence that the rapid rise in obesity happened around the same time highly processed foods became more available (http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/real-foods-and-weight-loss).
Although highly processed foods are convenient, they are packed with calories and are low in nutrients, and increase your risk of many diseases.
On the other hand, real foods are very healthy and can help you lose weight.
What Are Real Foods?
Real foods are single-ingredient foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, lack chemical additives and are mostly unprocessed.
Here are just a few examples:
- Chia seeds
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Whole Eggs
- Unprocessed Meat.
There are lots of real foods in every food group, so there’s a vast array you can incorporate into your diet.
Here are 11 reasons why real foods can help you lose weight.
- Real Foods Are Nutritious
Whole, unprocessed plant and animal foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your health.
Conversely, processed foods are low in micronutrients and can increase your risk of health problems (1, 2).
Processed foods can slow down weight loss in several ways.
For instance, a diet of processed foods that doesn’t provide enough iron could affect your ability to exercise, since iron is required to move oxygen around your body. This would limit your ability to burn calories through exercise (3).
A diet low in nutrients may also prevent you from losing weight by making you feel less full after eating.
One study in 786 people compared participants’ feelings of fullness when they were on a low-micronutrient diet versus a high-micronutrient diet. Nearly 80% of participants felt fuller after meals on the high-micronutrient diet, even though they were eating fewer calories than on the low-micronutrient diet (4).
When you’re trying to increase your intake of nutrients, eating real foods is the way to go. They contain a variety of nutrients difficult to find in a single supplement, including plant compounds, vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients in whole foods also tend to work better together and are more likely to survive digestion than supplements (5).
Summary: A diet rich in nutrients may help with fat loss by improving nutritional deficiencies and reducing hunger.
- They’re Packed With Protein
Protein is the most important nutrient for fat loss.
It helps increase your metabolism, reduces hunger and affects the production of hormones that help regulate weight (6, 7, 8).
Your food choices for protein are just as important as how much you eat. Real foods are a better source of protein, since they aren’t heavily processed.
Food processing can make several essential amino acids harder to digest and less available to the body. These include lysine, tryptophan, methionine and cysteine.
This is because proteins easily react with sugars and fats involved in processing to form a complex combination (9).
Whole sources of protein are typically higher in protein and lower in calories, which makes them better for fat loss.
For instance, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pork, a real food option, has 21 grams of protein and 145 calories (10).
Meanwhile, the same amount of bacon, a processed food, has 12 grams of protein and 458 calories (11).
Real food sources of protein include lean cuts of meat, eggs, legumes and nuts. You can find a great list of high-protein foods in this article.
Summary: Protein is the most important nutrient for fat loss. Real foods are better sources of protein since they are less processed and typically have more protein and less fat.
- Real Foods Don’t Contain Refined Sugars
The natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables are not the same as refined sugars.
Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, but also provide other nutrients like fiber, vitamins and water, which are needed as part of a balanced diet.
Refined sugars, on the other hand, are often added to processed foods. The two most common types of added sugars are high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar.
Foods higher in refined sugars are often higher in calories and provide fewer health benefits. Ice cream, cakes, cookies and candy are just a few of the culprits.
Eating more of these foods is linked with obesity, so if weight loss is your goal, it’s best to limit them (12, 13).
Refined sugars also do little to keep you full. Studies show that a high intake of refined sugar can increase production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and dim the brain’s ability to make you feel full (13, 14).
Since real foods don’t contain any refined sugars, they are a much better choice for weight loss.
Summary: Real foods don’t contain added sugar and have other nutrients that are great for your health. Foods high in added sugar are typically higher in calories, aren’t as filling and increase your risk of obesity.
- They’re Higher in Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber provides many health benefits, and one of them is aiding weight loss.
It mixes with water in the gut to form a thick gel, and may reduce your appetite by slowing the movement of food through the gut (15).
Another way soluble fiber may reduce appetite is by affecting the production of hormones involved in managing hunger.
Studies have found that soluble fiber may decrease the production of hormones that make you hungry (16, 17).
What’s more, it may also increase the production of hormones that keep you feeling full, including cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY (18, 19).
Real foods typically have more soluble fiber than processed foods. Great sources of soluble fiber include beans, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes and oranges.
Ideally, aim to eat enough fiber daily from whole foods, since they provide many other nutrients. However, people who struggle to eat enough fiber might also find a supplement useful.
Summary: Soluble fiber may help you lose weight by reducing your appetite. Great real food sources of soluble fiber include sweet potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Real Foods Contain Polyphenols
Plant foods contain polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that help protect against disease and may also help you lose weight (20, 21).
Polyphenols can be divided into multiple categories, including lignans, stilbenoids and flavonoids.
One particular flavonoid that is linked with weight loss is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It’s found in green tea and provides many benefits. For instance, EGCG may help extend the effects of hormones involved in fat burning, such as norepinephrine, by inhibiting their breakdown (22).
Many studies show that drinking green tea may help you burn more calories. Most people in these studies burn 3–4% more calories daily, so the average person who burns 2,000 calories per day could burn 60–80 extra calories (23, 24, 25).
Summary: Real foods are a great source of polyphenols, which are plant molecules with antioxidant properties. Some polyphenols may help with fat loss, such as the epigallocatechin gallate in green tea.
- Real Foods Don’t Contain Artificial Trans Fats
If there’s one thing nutrition scientists agree on, it’s that artificial trans fats are bad for your health and your waistline.
These fats are artificially made by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils, changing them from liquid to solid.
This treatment was designed to increase the shelf life of processed foods such as cookies, cakes and doughnuts (26).
Many studies have found that frequently eating artificial trans fats harms your health and expands your waistline (26, 27, 28).
For instance, one study found that monkeys who ate more artificial trans fat increased their weight by 7.2%, on the average, compared to monkeys that ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil.
Interestingly, all the fat the monkeys gained went straight to their belly area, which increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions (28).
Fortunately, real foods don’t contain artificial trans fats.
Some sources, such as beef, veal and lamb, do contain natural trans fats. Many studies have found that unlike artificial trans fats, natural trans fats are harmless (29, 30).
Summary: Artificial trans fats increase fat gain and boost the risk of many harmful diseases. Real foods don’t contain artificial trans fats.
- They Help You Eat More Slowly
Taking time and eating slowly is a piece of weight loss advice that’s often overlooked.
However, eating slowly gives your brain more time to process your food intake and recognize when it’s full (31).
Real foods can help slow down your eating, since they typically have a firmer, more fibrous texture that needs to be chewed more. This simple action can help you lose weight by making you feel full with a smaller amount of food.
For instance, a study of 30 men found those who chewed each bite 40 times ate about 12% less food than those who chewed 15 times.
The study also showed that participants who chewed each bite 40 times had less of the hunger hormone ghrelin in their blood after the meal, and more of the fullness hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin (32).
Summary: Real foods can help you eat slowly, by making you chew more. This may reduce your appetite and leave you satisfied with less food.
- Real Foods May Reduce Sugar Cravings
The biggest challenge with weight loss often isn’t the diet, but rather resisting cravings for sugary foods. This is challenging, especially if you’re someone who eats a lot of sweets.
Fruits like berries and stone fruit can provide a healthier sweet fix, helping satisfy sweet cravings when you start reducing your sugar intake.
It’s also great to know that taste preferences don’t last forever, , and your sugar cravings may decrease over time, or possibly disappear (33, 34).
Summary: Real foods provide a healthier sweet fix. Eating more real foods may help your taste buds adapt, reducing cravings over time.
- You Can Eat More Food and Still Lose Weight
One big advantage of real foods is that they typically fill more of a plate than processed foods, while providing fewer calories. This is because many real foods contain a good portion of air and water, which are calorie-free (35, 36).
For instance, 226 grams (half a pound) of cooked pumpkin contains about 45 calories, and would take up a greater portion of your plate than a single slice of bread containing 66 calories (37, 38).
Foods with fewer calories and more volume can fill you up more than foods with more calories and less volume. They stretch the stomach, and the stomach’s stretch receptors signal the brain to stop eating.
The brain then responds by producing hormones that reduce your appetite and increase your feelings of fullness (39, 40).
Great food choices that are high in volume but low in calories include pumpkin, cucumbers, berries and air-popped popcorn.
Summary: Real foods typically have fewer calories per gram than processed foods. Great foods that are high in volume include pumpkin, cucumbers, berries and air-popped popcorn.
- They’ll Reduce Your Consumption of Highly Processed Foods
Obesity is a huge health problem worldwide, with over 1.9 billion people over the age of 18 classified as either overweight or obese (41).
Interestingly, the rapid rise in obesity happened around the same time that highly processed foods became widely available.
An example of these changes can be seen in one study that observed the trends in highly processed food consumption and obesity in Sweden between 1960 and 2010. The study found a 142% increase in the consumption of highly processed food, a 315% increase in soda consumption and a 367% increase in the consumption of highly processed snacks, such as chips and candy. At the same time, obesity rates more than doubled, from 5% in 1980 to over 11% in 2010 (42).
Eating more real food reduces the intake of highly processed foods that provide few nutrients, are packed with empty calories and increase the risk of many health-related diseases (43).
Summary: Eating more real foods reduces the intake of processed foods, reducing your risk of obesity.
- Real Foods Will Help You Make a Lifestyle Change
Following a crash diet may help you lose weight quickly, but keeping it off is the biggest challenge. Most crash diets help you reach your goal by restricting food groups or drastically reducing calories. Unfortunately, if their style of eating is something you can’t maintain long-term, then keeping weight off can be a struggle.
That’s where eating a diet rich in real foods can help you lose weight and maintain those benefits long-term. It shifts your focus to making food choices that are better for your waistline and your health.
Although this style of eating might mean weight loss takes longer to occur, you’re more likely to maintain what you lose because you’ve made a lifestyle change.
Summary: Shifting your focus to eating more real foods, rather than following a diet, may help you lose weight and keep it off long-term.
The Bottom Line
A diet rich in real foods is great for your health and can also help you lose weight.
Real foods are more nutritious, contain fewer calories and are more filling than most processed foods. By simply replacing processed foods in your diet with more real foods, you can take a big step towards living a healthier lifestyle. What’s more, developing a habit of eating real foods will make it easier for you to maintain long-term fat loss.
The 2 Week Diet http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/go/2weekdiet
However, for a diet to be successful, it needs to produce visible and significant results FAST. When the dieter sees real results quickly, he/she becomes more engaged; and this produces a “snowball effect,” with the results getting better and better as the dieter gets leaner and leaner, because of the results they are seeing on an everyday basis.
Dr. Michael Dansinger, the doctor who consults with the producers of the NBC hit show “The Biggest Loser”, states that people can lose 20 pounds of weight in a week—if they do it right!
The big question is, how do we break the large gooey triglyceride fats apart, so that they can be used for energy? The answer is simple: significant carbohydrate restriction.
But, since we are “sneaking” small amounts of protein into the body, we end up getting all the benefits of starvation without the loss of our precious lean body mass.
Now, glucogenesis (the formation of glucose by the breakdown of glycogen, which is the chief carbohydrate storage material in the body – http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/604glycogenesis.html ) will be completed by using the protein we are getting from our diet – which spares our lean body mass. Consuming fewer carbohydrates increases glucogenic activity. The presence of glucogenic activity means we cannot store fat, because that activity needs all the fat it can get to be able to fuel the glucogenic process. In other words, glucogenesis requires a lot of energy – and it will burn even more fat to supply that energy.
Following The 2 Week Diet typically results in body fat losses of 3/4 to 1 pound (almost half a kilogram) of fat every day. When you add The 2 Week Workout to the diet, fat loss is typically over one pound per day. Because of this, you will start to see some nice progress in just a couple of days.over 1 pound per day. Because of this, you will start to see some nice progress in just a couple of days.
How to be Less Heavy, Healthier and Happier
What do we really want out of our brief earthly existence anyway? Maybe a learning experience? Most people would probably say a long, healthy and happy life. Well, we’re getting pretty good at living longer, but that doesn’t seem to have made us much happier. As for health, it seems the older we get the sicker we get, suffering from chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes – which just weren’t a very big problem for our ancestors. But is this inevitable?
Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends/en/) But chronic diseases and conditions are on the rise worldwide. An ageing population and changes in societal behavior are contributing to a steady increase in these common and costly long-term health problems. The middle class is growing; and with urbanization accelerating, people are adopting a more sedentary lifestyle. This is pushing obesity rates and cases of diseases such as diabetes upward. According to the World Health Organization http://www.who.int/chp/en/, chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths.
What about happiness? Three-quarters of the variation in happiness
among countries, and also among regions, is accounted for by differences in six key variables, one of which is healthy years of life expectancy (http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/03/HR-V1_web.pdf ).
Is it true what they say about the jolly fat man? Are fat people really happier? Well, the first question to ask is, what is body fat good for, anyway? It turns out it’s good for a lot of things. Our brain, which is a pretty essential part of our body, is mostly fat. In fact, good brain function depends on saturated fats. And for the survival of the human race, the most important role of body fat was probably to keep girls alive long enough to have babies. Remember a key point: when we don’t get enough to eat, we burn the fat stored in our bodies.
There reportedly does exist a gene variant called FTO that is slightly related to both obesity and a reduced risk of major depression (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443914000337 ), but this hardly confirms the myth of the jolly fat man. Remember that our genes mainly reflect what the chances of survival of our remote ancestors were.
Obesity is known to increase the risk of many diseases and reduce overall quality of life. One recent study in the UK examined its relationship with self-reported health and happiness (http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2013/12/13/jech-2013-203077 ). Overall, 4.6% of the participants felt unhappy, and the most obese participants were more likely to feel unhappy. Among women, there was a significant association between unhappiness and all levels of obesity, regardless of health.
It seems that in general, obesity leads to poor health, which provokes unhappiness.
And for women, obesity itself tends to provoke unhappiness, regardless of its effect on health.
In Africa, which seems to be where we all came from, fatter women had a better chance to survive and bear children, so they were (and often still are) considered more attractive. This may even be true to some degree today in the African diaspora: Ray Charles has a song about a beautiful woman where he sings, “She’s got great big legs!” (https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=yset_chr_cnewtab&p=Ray+Charles+great+big+legs#id=1&vid=9568fb55db228bcf9840b27e13d51892&action=click ).
Furthermore, one study found that the relationship between being married and being happier held in 16 of the 17 countries studied (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/243787428_Marital_Status_and_Happiness_A_17-Nation_Study ). Note: none of these countries were in Africa.
Probably for women especially, non-obesity increases the chances of marriage, which tends to bring greater prosperity and health, which promote happiness. In contrast, in the past, being chubbier made it more likely for you to enjoy good health and live longer (because you didn’t starve to death so quickly), which must have made people happy. This is still in our genes, but it’s not so relevant today in most parts of the world.
What can we conclude from all this? Nowadays, for health, happiness and longevity, it’s best to keep your weight in check. Most people will be healthier and happier if they’re a little less heavy. And they will probably live longer too, if they can avoid fatal accidents and infections, war and murder. That is, of course, unless they choose to be martyrs, sacrificing their lives for some higher purpose.
And as we shall see, eating real food is one of the best ways to promote health and weight loss and longevity, and probably happiness too!
Please check out my blog, http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com/real-food-blog/ .
My website, http://www.realfood4healthandweightloss.com, and its Dropbox, are chock full of the latest research-based information about all of this. You can sign up there, and join our community of practice!
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