Sugar: Should We Eliminate It From Our Diets?

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Sugar: Should We Eliminate It From Our Diets?

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In the United States, three out of every five American adults struggle with their weight. Increased levels of obesity especially among the elderly and children have made many within the scientific community as well as everyday citizens ask why the rates are so high. While several different causes are linked to this, including less exercise and more empty calories, no single cause is quite as strong as sugar.

Sugar finds its way into everything from children’s cereals to prepared meals and a wide range of drinks. In fact, over the past half century, the amount of sugar consumed by an individual in the US has increased noticeably. As the trend in sugar consumption matches that of obesity and overweight rates, many are calling to remove as much sugar from the diet as possible. With that in mind, lets take a moment to review what sugar is, what it does, and whether or not we should eliminate it from our diets.

The Role Of Sugar

Sugar is a short-chain soluble carbohydrate that tastes sweet and is frequently added to foods. Glucose, fructose, and galactose are all forms of the monosaccharaides sugar. Other forms of sugar include sucrose, maltose, and lactose. It should be noted that sugar is different then the chemically-different substances that provide a sweet taste, like artificial-sweeteners. While sugars are found in the majority of plants, it usually only exists in high enough quantities in sugar cane or sugar beets to be harvested for consumption. The average person consumes over 53 pounds of sugar every year.

What Limiting Or Eliminating Sugar Does For Out Diet

So, will limiting or removing sugar from our diets make a difference? Well, considering how much sugar we consume, limiting the amount or even trying to completely remove sugar from our diet will make a difference in our health. Consumption of sugar, especially in sugary beverages is directly responsible for increased rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperactivity, and tooth decay.

By limiting our sugar intake, we help our body return to a more natural state it is better able to handle. This means improved health, improved kidney function, more regulated moods, more energy, and more.

Should I Try A Detox Diet To Remove Excess Sugar From My System?

What evidence exists points to detox dieting as not beneficial to reduce or remove excess sugar from your system. Instead of relying on fad diets, work towards lowering your overall level of sugar intake over time, focusing entirely on eating less sugar then you would normally have. With the typical American consuming around 22 teaspoons a day of sugar, you can understand that limiting sugar intake will require being more mindful of what you eat. In addition, when it comes to limiting sugar, what people are talking about is added sugar. A number of natural foods contain sugar like fruits and vegetables. When trying to cut back on sugar consumption, it is important to not stop eating these foods, as they also contain numerous health benefits in the way of vitamins and minerals.


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Why Should You Be On A Paleo Diet?

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Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. As they went about their daily routines in the paleolithic era they only ate what was available to them. At the time lean meats, fruits, and vegetables were the choices of the day. There were no refined ingredients or artificial feds that were given to animals that were used for foods. Our bodies were genetically pre-defined to this type of nutrition and that is what the Paleo Diet is based upon.

New and Improved Foods Have Confused Our Bodies

Refined, synthetic ingredients, grain fed animals and other modified foods of different types were not available when our Paleolithic ancestors were living. It is only during the last few thousand years that our bodies have had to adapt to new ingredients. It is widely believed by many that because our bodies have had to adapt to these unnatural ingredients that many health problems have come to light. Cognitive problems, issues with the immune system, weight gain and inflammation are just a few problems that the medical community have been dealing with for many, many years. Studies have shown that switching to a Paleo diet can help reduce heart disease, reverse diabetes and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and help reduce weight and cholesterol levels. Problems that were not found in our Paleolithic ancestors.

The Point Of A Paleo Diet

A Paleo Diet is simple. Eat grass fed and pasteurized meats, dairy and eggs. Look for wild caught fish instead of farm raised fish that can be full of antibiotics and high fat fed. Vegetables and fruits are key especially leafy green vegetables. Also, add nuts and seeds to your diet as a snack or an add in to a good recipe.

 

Many people go strictly Paleo and they skip dairy products and eggs altogether. Others enjoy the occasional bowl of rice, noodles or potatoes in moderation. A Paleo Diet can be followed easily and is a lifestyle. It is also a versatile diet that can fit many people’s overall needs.

Saturated Fat Isn’t Bad After All

Animal fats have been touted as the cause of heart disease, obesity, and other health issues. We have been told for many years to reduce our saturated fat intake and look for low fat alternatives. We find that red meat that we eat now is grain fed and there are many fats that are used to help those animals yield the most meat. Lean meats such as fish, free range, grass fed chickens and cattle offer a healthier alternative. These animals are more like the free roaming animals that our ancestors hunted long ago.

Overall Health Improvement

There are many people who have adopted ancestral nutrition. They have reported decreased health problems, major changes in their overall weight and body shape, and many have stated that their mind is clearer. If you are looking to begin the Paleo lifestyle start by staying out of the middle aisle of the grocery as this is where most ultra processed, preserved foods reside. Stick to the outside area where fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are prominent. You may also want to look into going gluten free as many people on Paleo diets have. Gluten is a binding agent made from wheat that helps some packaged foods maintain color, shape, and texture. Celiac disease is another food related disease that is caused by an intolerance to gluten. Steering clear of gluten has helped many people eliminate digestive problems that they have had for years.


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Go Vegetarian and Possibly Cancer Free

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Have you been tossing around going meat free lately? Does the idea of eating a strictly plant based diet appeal to you? If it didn’t before, today could be the day you change your mind, especially since there is new evidence to suggest that a vegetarian diet could reduce the risk of cancer. While it may not be the only answer to the fight against cancer, even the smallest of steps help.

Meatless Meals Could Mean a Better You

While the research is just getting started on this study, the reality is eating plant based diets are generally good for overall health. Even more importantly, some studies have suggested that eating a diet rich in vegetables helps significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Loma Linda University in California conducted a study of dietary habits of both people that were vegetarians and people who consumed a diet with meat in it. The study indicated that those who ate a very strict, plant based diet were at a lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who consumed meat on a regular basis.

Many doctors that you talk to who deal with cancer patients on a regular basis will always recommend plant based diets. This is mainly because digesting plant based food and juice is easier on the body than trying to break down the proteins in meat. There are also more vitamins and minerals that are naturally occurring in vegetables that the body uses more naturally and with less breakdown time.

Vegetarian Diet for All Health Reasons

A vegetarian diet may be helpful in reducing the risk for cancer but an even more important fact about this type of diet is that it will more than likely improve overall health. The reality of cancer is that it can hit even the most healthy person you know. Take precautions throughout your entire life, especially where you diet is concerned, is critical in helping to avoid an increased risk.

The reality is that avoiding cancer starts early. Making sure to always be careful about what you are putting into your body is a necessary part of life. Keeping with organic fruits and vegetables is always your best option since they don’t contain harmful chemicals that could potentially cause cancer. Reading your food labels and finding out what they are preserved with it critical in the battle against any type of cancer.

Cancer is an unforgiving disease. While a plant based diet may be able to help fight off certain types of cancer the reality is that if cancer wants you, cancer is going to get you. There is no scientific research that proves that one type of lifestyle is better over another. Staying away from things that are bad for your body and making sure to maintain a proper diet and exercise plan is always your best defense in avoiding serious diseases. Organic is always the way to go no matter what food you are buying. This ensures that cancer causing chemicals are not being put into you body from the foods that you eat.


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Coffee Consumption Linked with Reduced Melanoma Risk

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Excellent news for all of you coffee drinkers out there! Not only is coffee that great pick me up that you enjoy every morning, or evening, it is now linked with reduced melanoma risk! And you thought your daily cup of Joe couldn’t possibly get any better. Well it has and will probably just continue to get better with time.

A recent study was conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health that suggests that coffee can help reduce the risk of melanoma by approximately a fifth! This is excellent new considering melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer in the world today.

How Much Coffee is Enough

According to the research, a couple of cups of coffee a day is a good start. In fact, research is actually suggesting that up to four cups of coffee a day can be consumed to effectively fight off melanoma. This is great new for those of us who get to our third or fourth cup of coffee and suddenly feel guilty about having so much. Now instead of thinking twice we can fill our cuppa and walk away knowing we are doing ourselves a favor and warding off cancer.

All signs and signals of the research conducted suggest that people who consumed larger amounts of coffee in a day were at a 20% decreased risk for developing melanoma. But what is it about the coffee that is helping fight off this deadly skin cancer?

There really are no solid answers for that question. The debate about whether or not coffee is really good for you has been raging for a number of years. Some opponents suggest that coffee is actually bad for you simply because it contains caffeine. Increased caffeine can lead to nervousness, irritability, and restlessness but I know people that are like that even without the caffeine in coffee.

As science continues to advance it is a definite win for all of us avid coffee drinkers out there. Not only are we fighting sleep, now we are fighting cancer as well. Scientists will continue to research what is in coffee that gives it the cancer fighting benefits. Since it is a natural drink it can only be assumed that the coffee bean itself has many more undiscovered health benefits. With a little bit more time and research I’m sure that coffee will soon be considered a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.

Coffee drinkers continue to rejoice and enjoy your daily cup of Joe or four. Now we can rest assured in the fact that the coffee we are drinking every day is actually doing something for us and we no longer have to feel guilty about the amount we consume. Unless coffee makes you feel jittery or gives you an upset stomach keep on drinking! There is no better feeling in the world than knowing that you are doing something great for your body by simply following your daily routine.

 


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Paleo Diet

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Many people are trying to lose weight for various reasons. Whether they just want to look better or they need to lose weight for better health, the paleo diet is one way to do just that.

You may have heard something about the paleo diet online or from talking to others, but you don’t necessarily know what that means. What can you eat on this diet? Do you count calories? How effective is it?

Let’s take a look and find out.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet, or Paleolithic diet, is based on the natural foods that humans would have had available to them during the Paleolithic era. This era ended approximately 10,000 years ago when humans domesticated animals and created agriculture.

During that time, humans had nutritional needs that were specific to the foods that were available to them. The paleo diet assumes that humans today are best adapted to the same diet that their ancestors had before agriculture. It is believed that humans are not well adapted to eating grain, dairy and processed foods, and that lack of adaptation has led to obesity, heard disease and diabetes.

The History of the Paleo Diet

The idea of the paleo diet can be found as early as the 1970’s, but the diet was popularized in 2002 by Loren Cordain’s book The Paleo Diet. In recent years, this diet is considered one of the latest trends in dieting, considering the number of books that are printed about the diet itself.

What’s In, What’s Out

Nutritional requirements of the paleo diet are:

  • More protein and meat from seafood and animal products. These sources are considered to be a common food for those in Paleolithic times, and constitute 19% to 35% of the calories, which come from protein.
  • Fewer carbohydrates are recommended for the paleo diet. Fruits and vegetables that are non-starchy should make up 35% to 45% of the total calories in the diet.
  • Dairy and grain are excluded from the Paleolithic diet. These are a modern day source of carbohydrates, so they must be taken from another source.
  • High fiber intake should not come from grains, but from vegetables and fruits which are not starchy.
  • Refined sugar, salt, alcohol and coffee, dairy processed oils, wheat rye and barley are all excluded from the diet. Advocates of the paleo diet claim that these were rarely, if ever, consumed by early humans.

Debate

There is much debate amongst both advocates and detractors about the paleo diet. Critics say that there is no evidence to support the thought that early humans ate this way and, if there were, the meat and plants would be vastly different now anyway, due to the use of pesticides, farming practices and domesticated animals.

The use of the paleo diet comes down to personal preference, and whether or not you feel it is right for you. If you do as much research as you can, get all the information you need, then make your own decision, you will feel better about following the Paleolithic diet.


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5 Cheap And Tasty Paleo Foods

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Going on a diet usually means you sacrifice all of the wonderful food for bland, tasteless, boring food that’s good for you in the name of health, right? Wrong! Paleo is a way of eating that focuses on genetics and eating foods that are good for your entire body, not just your stomach. It also focuses on exercise, reducing allergies, and consuming foods that have anti inflammatory properties. The bonus is that the food is pretty incredible! Here are 5 cheap and tasty paleo foods that are affordable and delicious.

  1. Lean / Grass Fed Meats

As long as the meat is lean, it’s in play. You can grab lean beef, turkey, chicken – whatever your heart desires. Protein helps optimize immune function and also helps keep you full in between meals.

  1. Salmon, Tuna, and Cod, oh my!

Foods that have good fatty acids from Omega-3’s reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also promote a healthy level of the feel-good stuff in your brain to improve your mood. You can find tuna on sale in just about every grocery store. Salmon will be moderately priced, but it goes a long way.

  1. Avocado

Avocodo – the main ingredient in the beloved Mexican treat guacamole is known as a super food. It’s loaded with healthy antioxidants as well as good-fats from Omega 3’s. You can put avocado on just about anything for a nice, tasty treat.

  1. Almonds, Cashews, go NUTS!

Nuts are another great source of healthy fats and they help with the digestive system too. You can get a number of flavors if you’re not a fan of the plain. Be aware of the sodium and sugar content when you begin incorporating flavors.

  1. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

They might sound boring, but you can really dress up fruits and veggies. Make a fruit salad with a healthy side-dip from some low fat cream cheese and reduced fat whipped topping. Put vegetables together in a pan with a bit of olive oil, another good source of good fat in moderation, and make a stir fry along with some of the grass fed beef. Easy, healthy stir fry. When eating vegetables, going for leafy greens gives you an extra dose of Vitamin K which is great for keeping your vision sharp.

Paleo is one of the most popular diets out there because you don’t eliminate the good stuff. Our ancestors lived quite a long time eating real, wholesome food. You can eat meat. You can have guacamole. The added bonus is that the food even tastes better! If you haven’t had grass fed steak, then you haven’t lived yet. Give some of these foods a try, and watch your all-around health improve. It’s not just about dropping pounds, it’s about keeping your body in optimum condition from the inside out. You only get one body, it’s crucial that you prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity before they start. It all starts right in the kitchen.