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How junk food wrecks your body

Junk FoodWe all know that eating junk food can cause weight gain, but the ramifications of a processed diet can have many more effects on health than just growing your waist size. A study done in April 2015 found that just five days of eating processed food was enough to alter a healthy person’s metabolism. That means eating junk food can change the way our bodies react to certain foods. If you are continuing to eat junk food on a regular basis, you may become a lab rat in your own personal health experiment.

Some recent studies have come out linking junk food consumption to conditions like depression and toxicity as well as causing symptoms similar to those of type 2 diabetes.

The first study was published in the journal of Experimental Physiology. One group of lab rats were fed diets rich in sugary and fatty foods like chocolate, biscuits, marshmallows and cheese for 8 weeks. The other group was fed a diet that was 60 percent fat for 5 weeks. Then the blood sugar levels and kidney function of the rats were analyzed.

The group that ate fatty and sugary foods for a few weeks had the same increased sugar levels as diabetic rats do, as well as other negative effects.

Because humans and rats have a different physiology, this small rat study can only suggest what effect junk food can have on the human body. But this research, in context with other research and supporting evidence, certainly shapes a picture of what junk food can do to the body.

Science has already proven that eating a diet high in refined sweeteners can destabilize blood sugar and increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. A 2015 study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that a calorie from sugar is much more dangerous to the body than a calorie from other carbohydrates, like starch. Eating sugar effects insulin and blood sugar and increases belly fat, which leads to inflammation and high blood pressure.

Other studies have shown that junk food can also disrupt hormones, change someone’s sense of taste and raise risk of mental health problems like depression.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at questionnaires from around 70,000 women and found that diets higher in added sugar and refined grains, like white bread, were associated with a higher risk for depression a few years later.

While we know that overeating sugars and refined starches can increase inflammation and risk for heart disease, both of which have been linked to depression. It also can cause insulin resistance, which has been associated with cognitive problems, which are also found among people with depression.

A diet high in processed food can also expose people to chemicals they may not know they’re eating. A recent study found that people who ate at least 35% of their total calories from fast food in the past 24 hours had up to 40% higher levels of phthalates—chemicals that have been linked to issues like hormone disruption and lower sperm count.

Food can be medicine or food can be poison. Eating healthier foods with anti-inflammatory effects, like fruits, vegetables and natural fiber, can reduce the inflammatory effects of eating junk food.

The 21-Day Body Makeover uses wholesome anti-inflammatory foods and nutrient dense shakes to cleanse and rebuild the body after years of damage and abuse. Leave the poor eating experiments to lab rats, cut back on junk food and start rebuilding your body today.

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What's in that Chick-Fil-A sandwich?

batter 1239023 640Did you know that if you eat out at fast food restaurants, you’re likely consuming up to 100 ingredients from each entrée? Many of those ingredients are not even food, but an impressive list of chemicals, food conditioners and preservatives.
 
Recently, a food activist named Vani Hari from Foodbabe.com, exposed the ingredient list in Chick-A-Fila’s popular chicken sandwich. There were plenty of low quality, inflammatory food ingredients to be concerned about like GMO corn, soybean oil, sugar and refined grains. But the alarming part of the ingredient list was the multiple chemicals we were never meant to eat.
 
Among the ingredients listed was monosodium glutamate (MSG), a controversial seasoning often used in Chinese food. MSG has also been associated with causing headaches, nausea and rapid heart beat/ heart palpitations in some people.
 
At least MSG is somewhat familiar. What about that unpronounceable chemical that’s used as an anti-foaming agent for the refined peanut oil? Funny, peanut oil doesn’t seem to need a de-foaming agent when used at home.
 
If you think that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is watching out for our food safety, think again. There are many ways to circumvent the FDA rules. While there's a capped limit of each preservative used, there’s no limit to how many preservatives are used in total. And Chick-A-Fila used about 18 in total in their sandwich.
 
One of those preservatives is Tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ. While it doesn’t sound very appetizing, it’s used as an ingredient in both the chicken and the bun.
 
TBHQ is a chemical made from butane and can only be used at a rate of 0.02 percent of the total oil in a product. It makes sense. Butane is the toxic and highly flammable oil used in lighters.
 
Eating only 1 gram of this toxic preservative has been shown to cause issues like ADHD in children. It has also been known to cause dermatitis and dizziness in humans, as well as stomach cancer in lab animals.
 
Shocked? Don’t be. This is the same FDA that allows a product to be labeled trans fat-free when it still contains 0.5 grams of trans fat. They figure a little bit won’t kill you. But what happens when these toxins build up in the body over time? Many health experts blame this toxic chemical build up for the rapid rise of auto-immune disease and cancer in the U.S.
 
There’s also the less serious health consequences that people may never associate with their fast food meals, like headaches, asthma, allergies, joint pain, depression, stubborn weight gain or uncontrollable cravings.
 
That’s why it’s so important to do regular cleanses to rid the body of the damaging effects of these chemicals.
 
The 21-Day Body Makeover allows you to cleanse those chemicals from your body and fat cells while still eating tasty food with far fewer ingredients. The homemade, real food versions of the Chick-A-Fila chicken sandwich can be made with high quality ingredients like organic, free range chicken, almond milk instead of dairy, almond flour instead of wheat flour, and anti-inflammatory oils like coconut oil. Use romaine lettuce to wrap it up and add extra vitamins.
 
The real food version of the Chick-A-Fila chicken sandwich may not taste exactly like the highly processed original, but it’s also not going to have the negative health effects. And when you make your own food from scratch, you can see exactly what goes into it.
 
You also won’t feel the same after eating the real food version of this sandwich. Instead of feeling sluggish, heavy and sleepy, you’ll feel light, energetic and virtuous. You’ll drop weight, shed toxins and learn to appreciate food that’s been made the traditional way.
 
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All calories are not created equal

toast 1077881 640I’ve been vindicated after twenty years of debating other health professionals on this controversial topic.
 
Current research by Harvard Medical School professor of pediatrics and nutrition, David Ludwig, has shown that not all calories are equal when it comes to weight gain. His studies show that calories ingested versus calories burned is not a straight-forward math equation when it comes to the human metabolism.
 
Of course lifestyle plays an important role in weight management. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, diet and exercise are key but if you ignore hormonal issues, losing weight, even when doing “all the right things”, can be elusive and frustrating.
 
Professor Ludwig, a specialist in endocrinology and obesity, rejects the idea that over eating calories is the cause of weight gain. But rather, while seemingly counter intuitive, having more fat cells is what drives people to over eat. This is due mostly to one hormone, insulin.
 
Studying diabetics prove his point. It’s been shown that excess insulin treatment causes diabetics to gain weight. Conversely, insulin deficiency causes weight loss. Ludwig also points out that highly refined and simple carbohydrates produce the most amount of insulin in our bodies.
 
Therefore, Ludwig concludes that eating a diet that is high in simple carbs like refined sugars and baked goods can lead to insulin deregulation, which is directly connected to a yo-yo metabolism.
 
This is how it works. Eating a processed carb like white bread causes insulin levels to spike, which cause an enzyme called lipase to be turned off. Lipase is responsible for transferring triglycerides from blood lipoproteins into tissue. When lipase is off, it causes more calories to be stored in fat cells rather than in the blood, leading the brain to conclude that the body is hungry. This is the very mechanism that causes people to over eat.
 
When the fat cells take in and store too many calories, there are too few for the rest of the body. The brain compensates with cravings and hunger for additional calories to make up for it. So even though an individual may be obese with plenty of stored energy, the body believes it’s in a state of deprivation or starvation. For this reason, it also slows down metabolism to conserve calories. It’s a great survival mechanism, but totally unnecessary when calories are freely available. The body is in a state of confusion.
 
This rising hunger and slowing metabolism is the likely culprit of weight gain rather than the usual scapegoat, excess calories. This can explain why people who follow a low calorie diet in the long term, have little success in keeping weight off permanently.
 
Ludwig and colleagues published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that backs up his claims. The study followed 21 obese young adults after they lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight on low fat or low carb diets. The participants of these studies consumed the same number of calories, but the people on the low carb diet burned an extra 325 calories a day than the low fat folks.
 
These research findings back up Ludwig’s claim that the type of calories can make a huge difference. The study also observed that high carb/ low fat diets provide an energy boost for the first hour but a few hours later, those calories have been taken up into fat storage and can’t be quickly accessed for energy.
 
Ludwig does not think low fat diets are fundamentally unhealthy, but believes that dietary fat leaves less room for sugar and carbs in the diet. As fat decreases, it’s harder to not overeat grains. Grains can cause a spike in blood sugar if they’re heavily processed.
 
Despite these scientific findings, health advocates continue to promote the health benefits of low fat diets. And the outdated thinking on dietary fat encourages the food industry to produced refined, low-fat grain products instead of alternatives with healthy fat. Successful dieters should avoid refined grains and focus calorie intake on good sources of fat like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
 
Ludwig is continuing to study the effect of low fat versus low carb diets on people in a longer term, 5 month study to gain further insight in the role of the relationship of insulin, metabolism, calories and carbohydrates in weight gain. Hopefully his insights will inform the debate between low carb versus low fat with solid scientific findings.
 
To get a head start on your weight loss goals use our 21Daybodymakeover program.
 
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Metabolic Syndrome

diabetes 1326964 640Managing and balancing your blood sugar is a cornerstone of health and can help manage or prevent several diseases associated with a condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a dangerous condition that can lead to symptoms like high blood sugar, high blood pressure and weight gain around the middle that’s tough to lose. Metabolic syndrome can predispose people to developing conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 
 
The root cause of metabolic syndrome is insulin instability, also called insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone the body secretes to break down and assimilate sugars and carbohydrates.
 
Insulin is made by the pancreas and is the body’s main tool for managing the amount of sugar in the blood. It helps move sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles, fat cells and other body tissue, turning the sugar into useable energy to fuel body and cells. Insulin and blood sugar have a closely linked relationship. When blood sugar rises, insulin levels in the blood also rise.
 
The degree to which insulin lowers sugar in the blood stream is the marker of insulin sensitivity. The more a unit of insulin lowers blood sugar, the more sensitive you are insulin’s effects. You want to be sensitive to the effects of insulin. When insulin sensitivity goes down, it’s called insulin resistance. The body responds much less to insulin’s effects and blood sugar levels fail to decrease properly. In some cases blood sugar continues to rise.
 
Chronically eating too many simple carbohydrates is one of the primary factors that lead to insulin resistance. It is estimated that 32 percent of the U.S. population have insulin resistance. That is why lower carb diets, such as the Paleo, have been growing in popularity. This type of diet emphasizes the right kind of carbs for blood sugar management and excludes carbs that wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin.
 
The carbohydrates emphasized by lower carb diets are also lower on the glycemic index. The glycemic index measures food by the amount they raise blood sugar in the body. Foods like bread and soda, though very different, are both high glycemic foods and have a quick, boosting effect on blood sugar and insulin.
 
To better understand this concept, let’s do a quick lesson on carbohydrates.
 
Carbohydrates are made up of sugars or molecules that break down into sugars in the body. There are two basic categories of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs are categorized as monosaccharaides or disaccharides. Monosaccharaides are made from single molecules, examples are glucose, fructose and galactose. Disaccharides are two sugar molecules liked together, examples of which are lactose, maltose and sucrose.
 
Complex carbs, are made up of 3 or more sugar molecules that are linked together. For example, 3 to 10 linked sugar molecules are called oligosaccharides and 10 plus sugar molecules are called polysaccharides.
 
Both simple and complex carbs break down into their basic monosaccharide component, which is used to fuel cells. The difference is how fast each type carb is broken down and absorbed, which dictates its effect on blood sugar. The way the body breaks down carbohydrates depends on the molecules that bond the sugar cells together.
 
Starch is an example of a simple polysaccharide that is bonded together by alpha linkages. Enzymes in the digestive tract can quickly and easily break down alpha bonds, which absorb quickly and raise blood sugar levels.
 
Fiber is a type of carb that’s joined together by beta bonds, which are difficult for the body to break down and digest. This buffers the effect that complex carbs have on blood sugar, raising it more slowly and steadily versus the overwhelming effect of simple carbs. With complex carbs, that are full of fiber, insulin doesn’t have to work as hard to manage a blood sugar spike.
 
As you can see, not all carbs are bad. Healing your body and managing your blood sugar is a matter of picking the right carbs for fuel. Complex, fiber-rich carbs like fruits and veggies are the best choice. Processed, simple carbs like bread, soda and white rice can destabilize blood sugar.
 
Now you understand which carbs contribute to metabolic health and which carbs detract from it. However, making a transition to a different diet can still be hard and confusing. For example, while whole fruits and veggies have a positive effect on blood sugar, drinking a green juice with lots of fruit juice can make blood sugar rise too quickly.
 
The 21-Day Body Makeover can make your transition much easier. It emphasizes the right kind of low glycemic carbs to increase energy without increasing waist size or insulin resistance. The 21-Day Body Makeover offers meal plans and shakes that are also high in blood sugar balancing fats and proteins. Check out what eating the right kinds of lower glycemic carbs can do to your health and weight with the 21-Day Body Makeover program. You will be amazed at the results.
 
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Fast food eaters show higher levels of chemicals in their bodies

Fast Food BurgerIf you are trying to eat clean and healthy it’s important to pay attention to not just the chemicals and preservatives intentionally put in your food, but also to the ones found in the food packaging and manufacturing materials used to make it.

The problems with some processed foods is that they are made in factories where they come into contact with vinyl gloves worn by workers or can run through plastic factory tubing. This exposes the food to chemicals known as phthalates, which are used to make plastics more flexible and durable. These chemicals can also be found in soaps, cosmetics, flooring, window blinds and other products.

So what’s wrong with phthalates? The health consequences are not fully known, but research in rats have shown that they can disrupt the male reproductive system. The Environmental Protection Agency is concerned about phthalates because of how pervasive they are and the evidence of their toxicity. In other words, phthalates are everywhere, so people need to make extra effort to avoid them.

The Japanese government has banned the use of vinyl gloves in their food prep factories because of their concern about DEHP, one of the common forms of phthalates. The European Union has also limited the use of these chemicals in the production of food and children’s toys.

While the U.S. also limited the use of DEHP in the production of children’s toys in 2008, no such restrictions apply to food. This is likely because agencies like the American Chemistry Council says they’ve thoroughly studies phthalates and they don’t pose risk to human health at typical exposure. But there are other studies that contradict their findings.

One such study found alarming results. This recent study looks at how fast food companies expose consumers to chemicals like phthalates. They analyzed data from 9000 people from federal nutrition surveys. The data used urine samples along with a questionnaire. They discovered that people who ate fast food in the last 24 hours had elevated levels of industrial chemicals in their bodies. The top three chemicals found in their bodies were two forms of phthalates and BPA, a chemical used to line aluminum cans.

The study can’t conclusively say that fast food exposure is responsible for the elevated levels of chemicals in their body but the correlation is strong. So for people who are interested in reducing their exposure to environmental chemicals like phthalates, it’s not enough just to avoid junk foods. They should also be more conscious of how their prepared food is processed and handled.

According to Leo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and population health at NYU School of Medicine, people who are concerned about phthalates should avoid eating highly processed and highly packaged foods. Canned vegetables or organic milk that’s been piped through plastic tubing could carry the same chemical risks as unhealthy foods.

Canned foods should come in BPA-free containers and it’s always best to buy organic foods that are fresh and in their original form, like the kind your great grandparents used to eat. Shopping at a farmers market guarantees your food is minimally processed. Cooking from scratch is the best bet to avoid chemical exposure. And according to the researchers of the fast food study “it’s always best to try to eat lower on the food chain.”

And if you are concerned about your past exposure to chemicals phthalates, it’s always a good idea to do a cleanse to get the toxins out of your body. The 21 Day Body Makeover is a great cleanse to start with.

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