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colette_heimowitz's Blog

 

A new study from Tufts University published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that the types of protein and carbohydrates you eat may have a bigger effect on your weight than overall calories. In fact, eating high-fat dairy, cheese and eggs in conjunction with vegetables may help with weight loss.

 

 Researchers came to this conclusion after examining 120,000 men and women in three long-term studies over 16 years. An increased dietary intake of red meat and processed meat in combination with high carbohydrate consumption was linked to weight gain, while a higher consumption of yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken and nuts was linked to weight loss—and the more of these foods that they ate, the more weight they lost.

 

The study also showed that people who ate low-fat dairy products ate more carbs to make up for the lower calories in those low-fat foods, while eating full-fat cheese and whole milk didn’t affect weight gain or weight loss.

 

So, as it turns out, this study supports the premise that counting calories may not be the best way to manage your weight. This is great news if you’re on Atkins, because, as you know, calorie-counting isn't always a necessary component of Atkins unless you hit a plateau—instead, as this study suggests, focusing on protein-rich foods like fish, poultry, nuts and yogurt, as well as eggs and cheese, in combination with high-quality carbs in the form of plenty of fresh vegetables, while avoiding refined grains, starches and sugar, may be the ticket to weight loss and lasting weight management.

 

Now that is a lifestyle target anyone can follow whether you are dieting or not.

 

 

 

More than 60% of Americans have tried to lose weight at some point in their lives, and 29% are currently on a diet. It’s true. Weight loss is big business. In a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine rated the efficacy of commercial weight loss programs, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig came out on top, as you may have seen in the news. Before you get too disappointed , let’s take a look at the facts.

• First of all, this is not a true meta-analysis. The researchers disclose that they did not perform a meta-analysis, yet present as though it were and draw conclusions.
• As with any analysis, the results are only as good as the inputs and if they don't include well-executed studies then the results are going to be skewed.
• Comparisons are misrepresented. Many of the trials listed only include a low-fat diet in addition to counseling. 
• The conclusion doesn’t add up to the findings and the researchers say it themselves, “Atkins showed the greatest weight loss and six and 12 months .”
• The data are presented with multiple time points from same studies, allowing for influence of the readers by giving appearance of more data. Without an actual meta-analysis, this means that they are allowing misinterpretation about the weight of evidence.

What the study does show is that any weight loss program that comes with a price ($50/month for Weight Watchers and $570/month for Jenny Craig) certainly is successful because of the cost of the program and amount of follow-through and accountability that comes with that price. But once you remove the weekly meetings and pre-packaged meals that arrive at your doorstep, how prepared are you with the tools you need to live a healthy lifestyle, maintain your weight loss and/or continue losing weight?

 Atkins is 100% free and its efficacy is proven with more than 80 independent studies, much of which was not included in this analysis because the studies included used counseling. In addition, Atkins has a robust online community of members who motivate and support each other to lose weight and live a low-carb lifestyle. And having that social support is an important component that makes a diet like Atkins, which has been proven to work (and has the science to support it) even more successful.

 

With spring’s warmer weather, it’s time to pack away those layers of winter clothes, but you may also discover that you packed on a few extra pounds that you had been able to hide under sweaters and jeans. Not to worry! Spring is also a time of new beginnings—it’s an opportunity to fine-tune your low-carb eating habits so you can start dropping that winter weight. No matter what phase of Atkins you’re on (or if you’re following Atkins 20™ or Atkins 40™), here are some tips that can help:

Don’t go to extremes. Cutting carbs and calories drastically in the hope of super fast weight loss will only set you up for failure. Think of Atkins as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Focus on optimal protein intake, high fiber food choices and healthy fats. If necessary, you can move to an earlier phase of Atkins or cut your Net Carbs by 10 grams to jumpstart your spring slim-down.

Increase your activity level. Spring’s longer days give you plenty of opportunity to add more exercise to your routine. Biking, hiking, walking and jogging will get your heart pumping.

Make the most of your veggies. Add variety to your meals with spring vegetables that are now in season—artichokes, asparagus, broccoli and spinach will brighten up any meal.

Stock up on some super foods. Many are naturally low in carbs, full of antioxidants, and provide a wide variety of health benefits beyond just weight loss. Here is your super food shopping list:

• Salmon or sardines: Full of satiating protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is low on the food chain and thus less apt to contain heavy metals than their larger kin. If you get it canned, if it’s packed in olive oil, it’s tastier than the water-packed kind. The protein and fat work together to fill you up and minimize blood sugar swings.

• Extra-virgin olive oil: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and, according to research published in Diabetes Care in 2007, help shrink belly fat—the kind linked to heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Extra-virgin oil is made from the first pressing of the olives. Look for cold-pressed oil—it hasn’t been subjected to nutrient-destroying heat.

• Avocados: This fruit that acts like a vegetable is another source of tummy-reducing, heart-friendly MUFAs, as well as oleic acid—shown to lower cholesterol—folate and vitamin E. Select blackish-green, pebbly-skin Haas avocadoes, which are higher in fat and lower in carbs than the smooth, bright green Florida ones. Have half an avocado as a snack, add chunks to a tossed salad or take a few minutes to make guacamole.

• Almonds: Almonds (and most other nuts) combine protein, healthy fats and fiber—a perfect recipe for satiety, so you’re less apt to experience cravings. Eating almonds has also been shown to lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease. According to a 2003 study in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight people who ate almonds lost more weight than those consuming the same number of calories but no nuts (and therefore less fat). Aim for up to two 1-ounce snacks a day.

• Blueberries: Another member of the belly-banishing club is the blueberry—even as part of a high-fat diet—according to a study on rats at the University of Michigan. Researchers say more research is required to confirm these results in humans, but a related study on men with heart disease who drank blueberry juice for two weeks showed improvements in their glucose and insulin levels. Blueberries have long been known as a superior source of antioxidants.

• Broccoli: This member of the cabbage family—known as crucifers, they contain micronutrients that squelch cancer-causing agents—has lots more going for it. Packed with fiber, broccoli is filling, which naturally helps with weight control—and low in carbs and calories. It’s full of vitamins C and A, calcium, potassium and folic acid. Enjoy it raw or cooked.

• Red bell peppers: The sweet red bell pepper leaves its unripe green brothers in the dust. A red pepper contains eight times as much vitamin A, almost three times as much vitamin C and almost four times as many carotenoids— including lycopene—which helps prevent prostate cancer— as a green one. Hot and sweet peppers alike contain substances that increase your body’s heat production after consumption, meaning you burn extra calories.

 Seeds: Chia seeds expand up to 12 times their size in your stomach to help you feel full. Flax seed meal, which has 2 grams of fiber per tablespoon, fills you up at only 37 calories

For more tips on slimming down for spring, check out this article about spring-cleaning your pantry and kitchen.

When you think of inflammation, most likely you think of a wound on your skin that is red, swollen and painful. As part of your body’s natural defense system, a certain amount of inflammation is healthy, especially when it responds to infection, irritation or injury. But once the battle has been fought, inflammation should return to normal levels. Unlike the swelling around a bug bite or the bruise resulting from a fall, you cannot see the inflammation that may be impacting other aspects of your health. This type of inflammation is silent but deadly—it’s causing damage to your organs and can lead to serious conditions like heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases. It can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, high levels of stress, certain medications, leaky gut syndrome and refined and processed foods and sugars, which lead to insulin spikes.

Right now there is no definitive test for inflammation; the best you can do is measure the levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) in your blood through a blood test:

• Less than 1.0 mg/Liter = low risk
• 1.0-3.0 mg/Liter = average risk
• Above 3.0 = High risk

Many doctors consider anything about 1.0 mg/Liter too high. And it’s bad news when inflammation remains chronically elevated. Fortunately a low-carb diet like Atkins has been shown to eliminate those inflammation-causing foods (refined and processed foods and sugars) and focus on foods shown to decrease inflammation:

• Colorful low-glycemic vegetables and low-sugar fruits rich in antioxidants
• Whole food sources of complex carbohydrates and grains
• Protein including eggs, fatty fish such as salmon, legumes, nuts, seeds
• Healthy fats including olive oil and avocado

There are also a few studies that show that a low-carb diet like Atkins is more effective at reducing inflammation than low-fat diets, or even Weight Watchers, the Zone and the Mediterranean Diet. These studies show that dietary carbohydrates rather than fat may be a more significant nutritional factor contributing to inflammation, although the combination of both increased fat and a high carb intake may be also be harmful. Just more reasons why Atkins is good for your waistline and your health.

 

Weight loss is not always a linear process, and it’s perfectly natural for you to lose weight in fits and starts. Usually, if you stick with the program for a few more days—or even weeks, in some cases—your weight loss will resume. You may just need some minor adjustments to get the scale moving in the right direction again.

Here are some things you can do to hopefully push past this plateau:
• Remember to journal. Write everything you eat down.
• Cut your Net Carbs. If you have progressed beyond phase one, decrease your daily intake of Net Carbs by 10 grams. You may have exceeded your tolerance for carbs while losing weight and inadvertently stumbled upon your tolerance for maintaining your new weight. Once weight loss resumes, move up in 5-gram increments again.
• Count all your carbs, including lemon juice, sweeteners and so on.
• Find and eliminate “hidden” carbs in sauces, beverages and processed foods that may contain sugar or starches.
• Increase your activity level; this works for some but not all people.
• Increase your fluid intake to a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water (or other non-caloric fluids) daily.
• Do a reality check on your calorie intake.
• Bye-bye booze. If you’ve been consuming alcohol, back off or abstain for now.

If these don’t make the scale budge for a month, you’re truly on a plateau. Frustrating as it is, the only way to outsmart it is to wait it out. Continue to eat right and follow the other advice above, and your body (and your scale) will eventually comply.

To be a genuine plateau, the pause in weight loss must meet the following criteria:
• No weight loss or loss of inches for at least four weeks.
• You haven't altered your exercise regimen or made any other significant lifestyle change.
• You’re not taking any new medications (including hormone therapy) that may be interfering with weight loss.
• You can honestly say you’ve adhered to all aspects of the program.

How to Handle a Plateau
First, stay calm. Don’t give up and return to your old way of eating.
Remember two things: First, your body is not like anyone else’s. It has its own system, its own agenda and its own timetable. In the long run, your body nearly always responds to consistency and patience.
But in the short run, your body may decide to go its own way, for its own reasons that we may not be able to understand. Be patient; you can afford to outwait it.

Secondly, the number of pounds lost isn’t the only way to measure success. I hope you've followed our advice about measuring your chest, waist, hips, thighs and upper arms. If you’re losing inches, the scale will eventually catch up. Do your clothes feel looser? Have you tried on those clothes that “felt a little too tight” just a few weeks ago? Look at the other markers mentioned earlier. Are you feeling better than you used to? Do you have the energy to do what you want to do? If so, then something good is happening to your body. Be patient, eat right, and you will almost certainly see results before long.

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