Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lose Belly Fat “Overnight”

There are two types of fat around the mid-section. The less dangerous fat is called subcutaneous fat or “surface level” fat, which contributes to the love handles you might not love. The second type of fat is called visceral fat, which accumulates around organs making it more dangerous.

Visceral fat wraps itself around the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. This type of fat secretes hormones and inflammatory substances which can impact appetite, weight, brain function, and disease risk. Visceral fat is associated with high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and other health problems.

Measuring your waist circumference can give you an idea if you might be at risk of having too much visceral fat. Place a measuring tape around your waist, level with your belly button. Men should measure no more than 40 inches and women should measure no more than 35 inches. Higher measurements place individuals at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. and should be discussed with your doctor. 

Hormones play a big role in the way fat is stored in the body. People who get little sleep secrete more stress hormone called cortisol which causes more fat to be deposited around the mid-section. One study looking at over 1100 participants found those who slept five hours or less each night gained 32% visceral fat over five years compared to a 13% gain in visceral fat in those who slept six hours or more each night. To help reduce belly fat focus on getting at least six hours of quality sleep each night.

The type of foods and drinks you consume can also impact belly fat; refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pretzels, desserts, juice, and sugar can deposit more readily around the mid-section and should be limited. Healthy eating, regular exercise, weight loss, stress management, and sleep are key components to reduce belly fat and for a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Seltzer

Water is the most essential nutrient, but what else can you drink when you need a change? Seltzer can be a great alternative, as long as you check the product label first.

Pressurized carbon dioxide is added to water to create seltzer. Without added sugar, calories, colors, or alternative sweeteners plain seltzer is a healthy choice.

Carbonation does not lead to dental erosion, but flavoring seltzer with citric acid or phosphoric acid can change the acidity level and damage enamel. Water is neutral and has a pH around 7. When pH becomes too acidic and drops below 4 dental erosion can occur. Adding your own sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, basil, etc. helps to add flavor in less acidic forms than bottled seltzer flavored with citric acid.

Soda, juice, and sports drinks have surprisingly high acidity levels that can damage enamel. For example apple juice has a pH of 3.3-4.0 and Coca-Cola has a pH of 2.4. Colas have also been associated with low bone mineral density, but other carbonated beverages have not show the same association.

Club soda is not the same as seltzer and those drinking it should use caution. Club soda contains sodium to mimic the taste of mineral water. Too much sodium can increase blood pressure. High sodium diets have also been associated with higher risk of stomach cancer.

Bottled seltzer can also lack fluoride, found in fluoridated tap water, which could impact dental health as well. SodaSteam and other in-home sparkling water makers can help retain fluoride.

Plain seltzer is a great hydrator and a great alternative to water. Read food labels carefully to avoid added ingredients such as citric acid or phosphoric acid. And if you drink sparkling water a lot consider an in-home maker to get more fluoride in your beverage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Prevent Obesity and Eating Disorders in Teens...Stop Talk About It

With 34% of kids aged 12-19 being overweight or obese and the peak onset of eating disorders occurring mid-adolescence, The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines on managing weight in teens and adolescence.

Families should stop talking about weight and avoid focusing on body dissatisfaction. Avoid making comments about your teens weight, your weight, or the weight of family or friends. Discourage dieting, skipping meals, and using weight loss pills or cleanses. Dieting is a risk factor for both obesity and eating disorders, as overweight adolescents may develop disordered eating behaviors while trying to lose weight.

Focusing on a healthy lifestyle should be made. Families should encourage healthy eating and physical activity behaviors that are sustainable long-term. Talk openly about clean burning fuel and focus on what makes the body feel better. Provide unconditional love and support regardless of size and appearance.

Provide easy access to healthy foods and water while limiting access to sweetened beverages, refined carbohydrates, junk food, and desserts. Remove TV’s from all bedrooms (including parents bedroom) and plan active excursions such as hiking and family bike rides.

Focus on family meals at the table without distractions (like smart phones). Model positive eating behaviors through leading by example. Strong evidence shows eating family meals 7 or more times each week improves nutrient intake, reduces disordered eating behaviors, reduces binge eating, and reduces frequent dieting.

Involving the entire family in positive ways has been show to be more effective in reducing teen obesity and eating disorders than a teen-only focus. Start making changes today for a lifetime of good health.

Active Family Ideas
Hiking nature trails
Flying kites
Plant a garden
Rake leaves
Shovel snow
Miniature golf
Walking the dog