Posts Tagged ‘appetite’

What color is Your Fat?

What Color is Your Fat?
By Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, HNC, Natural Solutions

You probably had no idea until right now that your body houses two kinds of fat–yellow and brown. Yellow fat, which serves as an insulator and a warehouse for unused or excess calories, is the type most people want to shed. Brown fat actually burns those excess calories, acting as the furnace and burning yellow fat as fuel. If you have a good storehouse of brown fat, you can seemingly eat whatever you want and not gain a pound, while the “more yellow, less brown fat” folks find losing weight difficult even as they restrict calories. To add insult to injury, being overweight can actually shut down the mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouses) in brown fat, essentially turning it into yellow fat.

Fortunately, many natural remedies can help kick-start fat burning (thermogenesis). First and foremost: exercise. Without enough exercise, it’s difficult to lose and keep weight off. In addition, you can take supplements to boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities.

Essential fatty acids. Many overweight people suffer from chronic deficiencies of essential fatty acids (EFAs), the primary fuels that stoke the body’s thermogenic furnace. When they are in short supply, brown fat becomes inactive, which can make weight loss more difficult. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid, is of particular concern. Normally, the body can manufacture GLA from dietary sources of another omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid–found in safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils. However, a diet high in saturated fats–much different than EFAs–combined with stress, alcohol, aging, or illness, can block this conversion, and you wind up with a GLA deficiency. Take 500 mg of GLA daily; evening primrose, black currant, hemp, and borage oils are all good sources.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs tend to accelerate metabolism while lowering blood levels of cholesterol, which can help you lose weight. Consider adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or organic virgin coconut oil on vegetables or in salad dressings each day. But if you have diabetes or a liver disorder, avoid MCTs entirely.

Cayenne pepper (Capsicum frutescens), ginger, and cinnamon. Used in Chinese medicine and ayurveda, these warming spices help break down fat. Cayenne helps digestion and increases feelings of fullness and satiety.

Ginseng. Studies show this ancient remedy works as a useful antiobesity agent. It decreases the release of free radicals generated by exercise and also reduces levels of appetite-stimulating compounds such as leptin. Extracts of both ginseng root and ginseng berry help stabilize blood sugar.

Green tea (Camellia sinensis). Green tea can increase the metabolic rate and stimulate fat burning. It’s rich in a variety of compounds, including theophylline, theobromine, caffeine, and polyphenols, all of which increase the body’s use of energy, inhibit the absorption of fat, and break down fat cells as they form. Consider drinking one or two cups of green tea per day.

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Derived from the dried rind of the tamarind fruit (Garcinia cambogia), HCA helps clear fats from the liver, suppresses appetite, and slows the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. For best results, take 250 mg of HCA three times daily, along with 100 mcg of chromium polynicotinate or picolinate, 30 to 60 minutes before each meal.

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis). Traditionally consumed as a tea in South America, yerba mate acts as a stimulant to boost thermogenesis. Its stimulating effect comes primarily from a compound called mateine, a close relative of caffeine, plus small quantities of theophylline and theobromine.

via What color is Your Fat? | Healthy and Green Living.

Eat Mindfully to Prevent Food Intolerance

When you eat too quickly, food does not get chewed and broken down properly, so that when it reaches the stomach it is not in the ideal for optimal digestion. This mans the stomach acid and digestive enzymes are unable to digest this food, no matter what it is, and as a consequence intact proteins may be absorbed through the intestinal lining, setting up an immune reaction that can lead to food intolerance. Eat more slowly and chew food thoroughly before swallowing it!

Chewing food well also help stimulate protection within your intestinal lining, in the form of something called Epithelial Growth Factor (EGF). EGF helps support cell growth in the intestines. Chewing also lets your digestive system know that something is coming so that it can prepare itself, whereas scarfing your food can be a shock to your digestive system. Can you remember how many meals you have eaten in the past week when you chewed your food thoroughly?

When your mind is preoccupied while you are eating, your digestive system switches off. Your mind is giving your body the message that it is engaged in something, and this is not conductive to optimal digestion. Remember, if you cannot digest your food properly, it sets the scene for food intolerance. Typical examples are when you eat at your desk while working. [Oops, I’m busted.] Or eating while on the move. Or while watching TV. It is best to concentrate on the food you are eating to help your digestive system work at its best. The ritual of saying grace before a meal, for example, is an excellent means of setting the scene for your digestion. I’d encourage you all to ‘give thanks’ for the food you are about to eat, if only because it is one means by which you can improve your digestion.

via Eat Mindfully to Prevent Food Intolerance | Healthy and Green Living.

The Power of Junk Food

The Power of Junk Food

By Marcy Franklin, Natural Solutions

Last week, I went to dinner with my dad at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We sat down, and almost immediately I felt my mouth fill with saliva as I stared at my favorite item on the menu: chicken chimichanga smothered in green chili. Did I just drool? I could hardly wait for the fiery deliciousness of their famous green chili. Before I knew it, I’d wolfed down two baskets of chips and my smothered chicken chimichanga. Poor Dad didn’t even see what was coming.

Now, I like to think I can control myself when it comes to food. But with certain things, like greasy, deep-fried Mexican food, I can barely stop myself from eating the entire plate–even long after I’m full. But a new book that came across my desk might explain why I can’t bring myself to put down the chimichanga.

David A. Kessler, PhD, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite Rodale, 2009 describes some of the ways that the American food industry and scientists have tricked us into overeating. They create what he calls “hyper-palatable” foods, loaded with high fat, sugar, and sodium. It’s the foods we love–chicken wings, milk shakes, even a Snickers bar–with ingredients designed to hit “the bliss point,” where we obtain the greatest amount of pleasure from the food. The combination of sugars and fats in the food stimulate the endorphins in our bodies, which make us feel good while eating the food, and dopamine, so that we continue to crave it long after we’ve licked the plate clean. Our brains get so over-stimulated and aroused by the food that it’s much like a drug, with the same addictive powers. In short, these foods are like the bad boyfriend you can’t seem to let go. You know he’s bad news for you, but you just can’t stop taking him back and wanting more.

Now that I know green chili is a hyper-palatable food with its high fat and sodium content, I’m ready to fight back. What really hit home for me is that Kessler isn’t blaming my chimichanga binges on lack of will power, but on a society that has conditioned us to “hyper-eat.” Kessler doesn’t say we have to cut back completely on the foods we crave and love, but learn to manage our cravings. One tip he gives is to change how we look at a meal. Instead of looking at my huge plate of chimichangas and feeling excited, I’m learning to cut my portion in half still a lot of food, realizing that glutting myself will only make me feel terrible tomorrow.

via The Power of Junk Food | Healthy and Green Living.