Category Archives: Fitness

Everything You Wanted to Know About Atkins Diet

Atkins Diet is one of the low carbohydrate popular diets, which were proposed by Dr. Robert C. Atkins. Moreover, the diet was named so after him. It is a lifelong plan for eating. It restricts the amount of carbohydrate in the diet and puts more emphasis on fats and protein. It has various phases of weight loss and its maintenance by consuming very low carbohydrates.  It has been included in many books and has launched a trend.

Purpose

The objective of the Atkins diet is to help you lose your weight and maintain your body weight as well. It provides a healthy approach for eating which is beneficial for lifetime. It boosts the energy and improves health problems like metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure.

Atkins diet is recommended because:

  • You can enjoy variety in amounts and types of food of this diet.
  • It restricts carbs for weight loss
  • It will change one’s eating habits overall
  • Will help to improve health concerns
  • Lifetime eating plan
  • Provision for associated Atkins diet product like bars, shakes, cookbooks etc

You can also take advice from your physician before starting Atkins diet plan so that they can check for any unfavorable health condition.

Atkins Diet

Details about Atkins diet

It focuses mainly on eating a right balance of food comprising of protein, natural fats, and carbohydrates. Due to typical high carbohydrate and low fat some health problems arises like heart diseases and diabetes. It also controls carbs or having natural fats. Eating more carbohydrates such as white flour, sugar, and refined carbs result in imbalance in blood sugar, cardio vascular problems, and weight gain. It does not recommend eating very high protein but high fiber fruits and vegetables.

Carbohydrates

Atkins diet does not require any portion control or calorie counting. This uses a net carb system in which carbohydrate content is taken out from the fiber content. Its approach is to burn off the fat stores of the body and regulating the blood sugar level to achieve standard health without leaving you deprived of food or the feel of hunger. This also helps you to know and identify your carbohydrate tolerance.

Exercise

According to Atkins diet, exercise is not at all required in weight loss, though it is vital to maintain and achieve other various health benefits. You can wait for two weeks for adjusting your body to dietary changes.

Dietary phases

It follows four phases depending on the goals of your weight loss.

  • Phase 1: Initially, you can take out all the carbohydrates from the diet. As most of the nutritious guidelines recommends, you just need to focus on having protein food like from poultry, eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, cheese, cucumber, peppers, celery, broccoli, asparagus, green beans etc.
  • Phase 2: The second phase is ongoing loss of weight. It is a lengthy phase in which you slowly have to add nutrients rich carbohydrates like more vegetables, nuts, berries, and seeds.
  • Phase 3: It is the pre-maintenance stage in which you gradually start increasing the amount of food you intake. It includes starchy vegetable, whole grain, and fruits. You can add on small amount of carbs each week in your diet. You have to maintain this stage for a month after you reach the desired weight.
  • Phase 4: It is the life time maintenance stage in which you finally reach the desired weight. You can continue with this diet for your lifetime.

Menu of the Atkins Diet

  • Breakfast- Steamed spinach, sausages, scrambled eggs, tea, coffee, herbal tea, water, diet soda.
  • Lunch- Roasted beef with bean sprouts, green salad, onions, olives and some allowable beverages.
  • Dinner- Asparagus, salmon steak, arugula salad, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and allowable beverages.
  • Snacks- Two kinds of snacks per day including Atkins diet products, chocolate shake, string cheese, olives, avocados, and granola bar.

Weight loss

In the very first week of phase 1, you will be able to lose around 7 kg though these are not the typical results. You will have to continue phase 2 for further loss of weight. In phase 3, you should not eat more carbs, which your body cannot tolerate.

Generally, weight loss can be gained through any dieting plan, which restricts calories. But for long-term results, one must know how low carbs have more effect in weight loss as compared to the standard diets of high carbohydrate as in most of the cases people start regaining weight they have lost during the diet plan. In Atkins diet, the choice of food is limited.

Down the line, you have to reduce calories to lose weight. By reducing fats and calories, you can emphasize on complex carbohydrates. During weight loss, you should be careful enough not to lose lean tissue or water weight. In some cases, losing weight too rapidly can only be safe if it is being done in healthy way. Exercise and physical activity can help you in burning calories and aiding the loss of weight. Physical activity should be regular to avoid regaining weight that you have lost during the process. It also provides numerous and various health benefits. It recommends to do average aerobic activity for better results.

Health Benefits

Atkins diet can improve or prevent serious health issues like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, cardio vascular diseases. Any other diet can also shed extra weight or reverse the risk factors for such diseases like diabetics and cardio vascular diseases. The diet for weight loss can improve levels of blood sugar or blood cholesterol on a temporary basis.

By eating heavy amount of protein and fat from the animal sources may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. However, no risks from long-term use of Atkins diet have been reported so far, since researches on it have not lasted more than one year.

Risks

Rapid loss in weight can also result in side effects such as

  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation

Restricting carbohydrates too strictly may lead to insufficient fiber or nutritional deficiencies, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. To improve your health profile, you can eat carbs, which are high in fiber, nutrient dense, and whole grain will help.

Weight Loss through Some Herbal Remedies

There are different herbal preparations that play an important role in weight loss, each of them working in its own unique way.

Most of these herbal products helping in weight loss work by increasing bowel motion and urination. These products also play an important role in raising the serotonin level, thus giving a feel of ‘fullness’, and also speeds up our mental and physical actions. Our central nervous system is stimulated by the action of caffeine.


Herbal Remedies –Advantages and Disadvantages:

These herbal preparations or products contain different essential ingredients, which help in the process of weight loss.

Some of these ingredients are:

GUARANA (BRAZILIAN COCOA):

We can obtain this from seeds of a Brazilian plant. It helps to stimulate our central nervous system, having 2.5-5% caffeine, hence having a stimulant and diuretic nature leading to weight loss.

However, there are many side effects associated with the use of Guarana. Since this contains caffeine, it causes high blood pressure. This often interacts with our anti-coagulant and increases the bleeding time. Use of these products also causes dizziness, nausea, and anxiety.

ORAL ALOE:

Herbal products helping in weight loss are often associated with aloe. These are marketed as ‘internal cleansers’ and help in bowel movements. Using aloe is often considered as safe but an excessive use may lead to abdominal cramps, decrease in potassium level, and diarrhoea.

CASCARA:

Commonly known as ‘bitter bark’ and is widely used in these herbal preparations. The common use is in the form of laxative for constipation. Often lactating and pregnant women are prohibited from using these herbs since this can be transferred to their breast milk. Over use of the herb disturbs our electrolytic level in the body, thus hampering normal body functions.

DANDELION:

Often termed as a ‘natural diuretic’, which helps to urinate more often, thus helping in weight loss through a loss of body water. Nevertheless, its overuse causes allergic actions, sometimes leading to carcinogenic reactions.

GLUCOMANNAN:

It is available as capsule and powder form. This absorbs water from stomach and intestine and forms heavy bulky fibre like thing. This causes slowing down of the absorption of cholesterol and sugar from our guts, thus playing a role in weight loss.

The side effects include blockage in intestine or our throat. This also disturbs the blood sugar level, thus its intake must be checked.

GUAR GUM:

This is a dietary fibre procured from cluster bean. This retains water and lessens our appetite, thus giving a feel of ‘fullness’. This causes disturbances in sugar level, hence not prescribed for diabetic patients.

How is Coffee Associated With Weight Loss?

Coffee and weight loss often go hand in hand, so let us do a study on whether coffee really plays an important role in losing weight or is it just another myth.

Coffee is the most widely used beverages among all the people around the globe. There are some ways to show the relationship between coffee and loss in weight:

It decreases appetite:

Because of the caffeine content of coffee, it reduces appetite to some extent, thus may be helping in weight loss. As the desire to have food diminishes, but there is no proper way to measure this and we cannot correctly tell the time period for how long this may continue.

Water weight:

Coffee has a diuretic property that enhances urination and people thus urinate more often and in higher amounts. This reduces our water weight of the body because of the excessive elimination of water from our body that is a temporary loss. However, this is not our actual body weight being lost. The excessive water flow from our body may lead to dehydration some times.

Calorie burning:

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant. This has a thermogenic nature, which helps to speed up the metabolic activities of our body, and thus we burn a larger amount of calories. This boosts up the energy expenditure of our body. Since larger amount of calories are burnt, a lesser amount is left, transformed, and stored as fat. This helps to decrease weight.

Side effects associated with coffee:

Before we include several cups of coffee in our daily schedule just because it plays a role in helping us to lose weight, we should be well aware of the various harmful side effects of caffeine, the most important content in coffee.

The roasting level of coffee beans and the brewing method and the variety of bean determines the percentage of caffeine in a cup of coffee. There is a rule that states that darker the coffee bean more will be the caffeine content. Generally, the espresso coffee drinkers consume the highest amount of caffeine.

Studies state that espresso drinkers’ intake 100mg/shot of caffeine while brewed coffee drinker’s intake varies between 85-135 mg.

There are many other negative effects of over dose of coffee consumption. Overdose of coffee consumption leads to sleeping disturbances or insomnia. This lack of sleep makes us feel drowsy the whole day and thus we cannot concentrate properly and other daily activities, our decision taking capability also decreases. This over dose also causes anxiety, nausea and caffeine content increases the urination amount and frequency, thus leading to dehydration and irregular heart rate, and fluctuation of blood pressure.

This may sometimes cause ulcers. Higher coffee consumption leads to loss of density of bone minerals, thus fastening osteoporosis. People with a higher affinity for coffee are often found to suffer from withdrawal syndromes.

Calorie content in coffee:

Coffee without any kind of additives like sugar or cream is a zero calorie beverage. This is the reason of its high popularity because people often associate coffee with weight loss, but even if we do not lose weight, we will not even gain weight if we consume coffee without using milk, sugar or cream.

Coffee can be a curse for those who are planning for a weight loss if they flavour the coffee with milk and sugar. We should try to get the benefits of coffee as a weight loss remedy by enjoying the simple plain coffee without any milk or sugar.

People often add cream or sugar to add taste and to decrease the bitter taste of caffeine, but these additions increase the calorie content to some extent and thus may not help in our weight reduction method.

Does more amount of coffee imply more weight loss?

Excessive use of anything may prove to be bad for health. Over consumption of coffee may lead to weight gain. Adding extras to our coffee like milk and sugar which in turn adds the calorie value of the coffee and may help in gaining weight.

It has also been observed that people who have stopped having coffee have suffered from weight gain. Caffeine present in coffee often affects insulin resistance, which makes the weight losing process somewhat difficult.

Caffeine also encourages cortisol production. It has been studied that people having coffee throughout the day responds more clearly because of higher cortisol production. This in turn increases the weight and also affects pressure and causes diabetes.

Therefore, it is always advisable to have a moderate amount of coffee.

Does coffee really help in weight loss?

Thus, we have seen that there is a link between coffee consumption and weight loss, although it cannot be stated with certainty. Coffee helps us to lose some weight in some ways, but still we cannot consider it as a healthy substitute for our diet or our regular exercises for losing weight.

So, we should try to enjoy our morning cup of coffee without any additions.

Follow the Best Diet Plan with South Beach Diet

One of the famous diets to lose weight is ‘South Beach Diet’ and it was created by Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist in the year 2003. He has also outlined and described it in his very successful book, ‘The South Beach Diet’. The South Beach Diet is not a medically prescribed by the doctor; it’s just a commercial weight-loss diet program.

The South Beach Diet is named after a charismatic place of Miami and sometimes it is also called as diet of modified low-carbohydrate. The South Beach Diet contains higher proportion of healthy fats and proteins and lower proportion of carbohydrates. In general, it’s not at all a strict diet of low-carbohydrates.

Purpose:

The aim of the South Beach Diet is to bring a modification in the overall food balance that you consume to encourage a healthy and positive lifestyle which will also help you to lose weight. It says that it’s the healthy way to consume food whether one wants to shed weight or not.

Why to go for the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet has different attractive features that one might find suitable. Those features are:

  • Take pleasure of the amount and type of food present in your diet
  • It provides you with a diet that restricts certain fats & carbohydrates and helps you in losing weight
  • Helps you in changing your complete eating habits
  • Its encourages you to stick with this diet
  • Products related to the South Beach Diet are also easily available. Such as diet foods and cookbooks

Refer your doctor before starting any diet for losing weight, especially if one has any health problems.

Specific Aspect of Diet:

The South Beach diet helps in balancing the healthy fats, good carbohydrates and lean proteins and creates fiber-rich, nutrient-dense diet that one can follow to maintain a healthy balanced diet. It effectively teaches you to eliminate “bad” carbohydrates from your food. A diet containing high proportion of glycemic index is known as bad carbohydrates.  These foods tend to increase the sugar level present in blood in a higher and faster rate than foods containing lower index. Some evidences and facts show that the increase in sugar level in blood boosts your hunger which leads in increasing your diet and resulting in gaining weight.

The South Beach Diet teaches about various kinds of dietary fats. It also encourages to limit the use of saturated and Trans fats which is unhealthy and supports you to consume healthy food containing mono-saturated fats. It emphasizes on the benefits procured by whole grains and fiber which includes vegetables and fruits in the daily eating plan.

Carbohydrates:

The South Beach Diet comprises of low carbohydrate compared to any other typical diet. But certainly more than strict low carbohydrate diet as it restricts carbohydrate intake as 50-100 grams per day. By following South Beach Diet, you can also control daily carbohydrate intake which helps in maintaining and losing weight.

Exercise:

The South Beach diet has been evolving over time to provide maximum satisfaction to its users.  But to achieve maximum result one has to do proper exercise. Regular exercise boosts your overall health and metabolism and helps in weight loss. Thus, the South Beach Diet along with proper exercise helps you to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

3-Step Process of the South Beach Diet:

The South Beach Diet consists of three phases.

  • Step 1: This is a two-week long phase that is specifically designed to eliminate the desire to consume food and it is the first step to lose weight. It cuts out most of the carbohydrates, from the diet, particularly sugars and starches, including rice, bread, fruit and pasta. You are prohibited to drink any alcohol or fruit juice. You need to focus on eating low protein foods such as skinless poultry, soy products, lean beef and seafood. You can also have low-fat dairy product, high-fiber vegetables and foods which contain unsaturated and healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, and avocadoes.
  • Step 2: It is a long phase targeted towards further weight loss process. Here you can take some of the foods that were previously banned such as whole-wheat pasta, fruits, brown rice, whole-grain breads, and more vegetables. You have to continue this phase until you achieve your desired weight.
  • Step 3: In this phase, you have to maintain your overall health and eat nutritious food to lead a healthy life. But you have to follow the lifestyle and diet that you have maintained in the previous phases. Now you are allowed to consume most of the food that one wants, including the occasional indulgences.

The Whole Day Menu for South Beach Diet:

Here is the menu what you have to eat while following the Step 1 of the South Beach Diet.

  • Breakfast: Breakfast can contain asparagus omelet fried with goat cheese, coffee or tea, artichokes Benedict, spinach or ham.
  • Lunch: In lunch, one can have beef salad, stir-fried shrimp, iced tea or sparkling water.
  • Dinner: Dinner might contain flank steak or sesame salmon that is grilled along with a vegetable dish and salad.
  • Dessert: This diet allows you to take the pleasure of dessert; it can be custard of chilled espresso or ricotta cheesecake.
  • Snacks: You can have some snacks during this diet, such as Turkey roll-up and Muenster cheese or some mix of spicy nut.

Results:

Weight loss

According to South Beach diet, you can lose up to 8-13 pounds during phase-1 in two weeks. Most of your weight shed from the mid section. During phase-2, you can lose up to two pounds in a week.

Health Benefits

It promotes healthy changes while directing weight loss. According to some research, an eating plan which is long term in nature should be rich in dietary fats and healthy carbohydrates to improve health. Low carbohydrate diets and healthy fats together may improve the level of blood cholesterol.

Risks

If you are following the typical South Beach diet then it is safe for your body. You should not restrict carbohydrates severely to avoid health problem like Ketosis which leads to nausea, weakness, dizziness, and dehydration.