12-Hour Fasting – A Key Strategy For A Longer, Healthier Life

12-Hour Fasting – A Key Strategy For A Longer, Healthier Life

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know that if you want to be healthy, you should eat primarily healthy food. But what you might not know is, the timing of what you eat matters just as much as what you eat; and there is growing evidence that 12-hour fasting is so protective of health that it can even attenuate the effects of a high-fat diet. What Is 12-Hour Fasting? Also called time-restricted feeding (TRF), 12-hour fasting confines food consumption to a 12-hour window or – put another way – is the practice of, during a 24-hour period, maintaining a 12-hour window where no food is consumed. In practice this may mean that any and all meals/snacks are consumed between 7am and 7pm, with no food being consumed between 7pm and 7am (or 8am-8pm as another example). Some studies actually define time-restricted feeding as an 8-9 hour period, which also shows benefit although not as realistic or easy to achieve as 12 hours. But Why? There has been a lot of research done on many different types and variations of fasting, but I like this particular type of fasting for both what the evidence says, and the logic behind it. There was a time when, in all likelihood, humankind rose with the sun – and days effectively ended with sundown. With no electricity, and only flame for light, food preparation and consumption would have been mostly confined to daylight hours. Nowadays, with access to electricity, we can make meals in the dark well before dawn, and – especially given the long hours some of us keep – make dinner well...
Alcohol and Weight Loss do NOT go together!

Alcohol and Weight Loss do NOT go together!

Now.. as President of the Chardonnay Fan Club it pains me greatly to say this.. but in the battle of the bulge, alcohol is not your friend. So much so that, eliminating alcohol is one of my top tips if you are following a weight loss program of any sort.   Now this doesn’t mean you must abstain forever but there is no point in eating well, following an exercise program, and doing everything else right – only to undo all your efforts with a glass of your favourite poison. Whilst each drink contains approximately 100-150 empty calories, that’s not the only reason I recommend you opt for an alcohol-free stint in order to get the results you want…   Alcohol Inhibits Fat Burning Studies indicate that alcohol blocks the body’s ability to oxidise (burn!) fat and speeds up its ability to store fat – YIKES. [1] [2] It appears that just over 2 standard drinks down regulates fat burning by 73% which is bad news if you’re trying to slim down. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone So this one is more for the boys, and gentlemen – this is a biggie. In one study alcohol was found to suppress testosterone levels by almost 7% in just 3 weeks.[3] This is bad news if you’re trying to build muscle. In another study testosterone levels dropped, on average, by 23% between 10-16 hours after the guys started drinking. This study also found that cortisol levels were elevated, on average, by 36% and growth hormone was heavily suppressed. [4] This perfect storm sets you up for muscle loss and fat gain. It also appears that if you’ve...
Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate. Yes. CHOCOLATE!

Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate. Yes. CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice Good news for all the chocolate lovers out there (including this one!), new research has found this divine food has even more health boosting advantages than previously recognised. Not only does it enhance both cardiovascular and mental well-being, but it also lowers body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance. However, before consuming chocolate with wild abandon, it’s important to discern between the different varieties – and choose only superfood grades for ultimate benefit.          Food of the Gods (and Mere Mortals too) Relished for over 3,000 years, chocolate (also known as cacao in its purest form) has been used as a potent tonic, aphrodisiac and mighty food across cultures and continents. The ancient Aztecs raised cacao worship to new levels, reserving it for royalty and specific ceremonies. Europeans stumbled upon the delights of this strange ‘almond’ while exploring the New World and quickly adopted it as a remedy for fevers, mental fatigue, tuberculosis, poor digestion and gout. Fast forward to the present day and modern research has uncovered still more health-enhancing features of this magical bean. Live your Bliss with Chocolate Containing a cornucopia of beneficial compounds, cacao has been shown to alleviate a wide-range of health complaints. But to reap the benefits, only high quality chocolate will do. Focus on raw, organic, dark cacao. And remember, the higher the percentage of chocolate, the lower the sugar. Below are some of the perks associated with this tasty superfood. Cardiovascular – Of all the known edibles, cacao ranks the highest in beneficial antioxidant polyphenols that curb heart disease. A study at the University of California Department of Nutrition in...
Want Diabetes..? Have a Sugary Drink!

Want Diabetes..? Have a Sugary Drink!

One sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent, researchers in Britain say. Dr. Dora Romaguera of Imperial College London and researchers from the InterAct consortium analysed the consumption of juices, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks collected in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found roughly one can of a sugary drink drunk per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent. This increase in risk fell slightly to 18 percent after accounting for total calorie intake and body-mass index suggesting the effect of sugar-sweetened soft drinks on diabetes is not purely linked to body weight, Romaguera said. People who drank more artificially-sweetened soft drinks were also more likely to get type 2 diabetes, but this association appeared to be because participants with a higher BMI tend to drink more artificially sweetened drinks and are also more likely to develop diabetes, the study said. However, drinking pure fruit juice or diluted juices, sometimes with additives was not associated with diabetes risk, the study said. “The increase in risk of type 2 diabetes among sugar-sweetened soft drink consumers in Europe is similar to that found in studies in North America,” Romaguera said in a statement. [Source: Sugary drinks may increase risk of diabetes. 26-04-2013. Life...
Avoid Unhealthy Snacking with a Protein-rich Brekkie!

Avoid Unhealthy Snacking with a Protein-rich Brekkie!

A protein-rich breakfast can significantly improve appetite control and help to reduce unhealthy snacking in the evening, new research says. Eating a breakfast rich in protein significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening, according to the first ever study to the impact of breakfast consumption on daily appetite and evening snacking in young people. Led by Professor Heather Leidy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA, the research shows that consumption of high-protein breakfasts leads to increased satiety – of feelings of fullness – along with reductions in brain activity that is responsible for controlling food cravings. The high-protein breakfast also reduced evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to a normal protein breakfast from ready-to-eat cereal was consumed or when breakfast was skipped, Leidy said – adding that such a shift in dietary habits could help to battle rising levels of obesity. “Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks,” said Leidy. “These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.” Research Details Leidy and her team studied 20 overweight or obese adolescent females aged between 18 and 20. Participants were split to either skip breakfast, consume a high-protein breakfast consisting of eggs and lean beef, or to eat a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal. The breakfasts consisted of 350 calories and were matched for dietary fat, fibre, sugar and energy density. The team...