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How to Read Food Labels

How to Read Food Labels

Any time you pick up a jar or container of food, you’re sure to see a complex-looking label on the back. It’s the nutrition label, describing the ingredients and nutritional information for the product, which is required by law to inform consumers. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to read the label correctly, the provided information will be of little use.

Nutritional labels on food offer helpful information about what you’re eating. Whether you’re on a diet, have food allergies, or are just paying closer attention to what you’re eating, knowing how to read food labels is a must.

Here’s everything you should know about a nutritional label, from top to bottom.

Serving information

The first thing you’ll see at the top of a nutritional label is the serving information. This tells you what the average serving size is, as well as how many servings are in the container.

Serving sizes vary based on the product. For cooked pasta, it might be one cup, but for sweets, it might be two cookies or pieces of candy. These sizes are loosely based on the average amount people eat of that particular food item.  It’s important to pay attention to serving size, because the rest of the nutritional information is almost always based on one serving, not the entire container. So, if you eat two servings in one sitting, you’ll be getting twice the nutrient content and calories listed on the label.

Some packages include nutritional information based on the full container in addition to or instead of a single serving. Each label will state whether its information is based on a serving or the whole container.

Calories

Below serving size, you’ll find calorie information. This provides the total calorie count per serving. This section may also show how many calories are from fat, which is important if you’re monitoring your fat intake.

Nutrient breakdown

Next, you’ll find a breakdown of the nutrients present in the food. This includes macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).  The fats and carbohydrates sections may also list out the types of each, such as saturated fat or fiber and added sugar. Knowing the difference between these types of macronutrients and what they do is important.

Sodium and cholesterol are also usually included alongside fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Micronutrients are listed below the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

The total amount of each nutrient per serving, calculated in grams, is listed next to the nutrient. Next to that, there’s a percentage. This is the Percent Daily Value (%DV) for the nutrient.  Percent DV tells you what percentage one serving of that food provides of the recommended daily intake based on the government’s nutritional recommendations. For example, if the %DV for protein is 10 percent, it means one serving makes up 10 percent of the protein you should be eating each day.  A low %DV is five percent, and a high % DV is 20 or more. “Low” or “high” could be good or bad, depending on the nutrient and your general dietary choices.

It’s usually recommended you do not exceed 100 percent daily intake of some nutrients, like saturated fats. However, you should aim to reach 100 percent or more of other nutrients, such as vitamin D and fiber.

Percent DV is based on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet and the average recommended value of each nutrient so if you eat fewer or more calories each day these percentages won’t be correct.

Ingredients

Finally, the nutritional label may contain an ingredients list. All food products containing more than one ingredient are required to have an ingredients list.

Ingredients are listed in descending order based on weight. Usually, the first ingredients listed are the most prevalent. Take a close look at the first few ingredients, since these make up the majority of what you’re eating.

It’s also helpful to know how to recognize the “sneaky” names for things like added sugar, which may appear several times in an ingredients list. There are at least 56 different names for sugar that appear frequently in ingredient lists.  Here are a few of the more common ones…barley malt, corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, lactose, fructose, maltose, mannitol, maltodextrin, maple syrup.

Careful observation goes hand-in-hand with education

Understanding how to read nutritional labels means little if you don’t understand how different macronutrients and micronutrients affect your body. Consult your doctor or a dietician to understand what amount of fats, proteins, carbs, and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

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Staying on track with Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Staying on track with Intermittent Fasting (IF)

There are a lot of diet and eating plans out there. One of the most popular and successful is intermittent fasting (IF), but it’s not a traditional diet. Instead, it’s considered an eating plan or “eating pattern,” because it focuses on when you eat instead of what or how much you eat.

IF can be tricky to navigate if you’re new to the idea. Fortunately, once you get the hang of the pattern and find tips and tricks that work for you, you can easily make it part of your daily health routine.

What is intermittent fasting?

IF is an eating plan that revolves around periods of fasting, or not eating, followed by specific periods of eating. During periods of fasting, you’ll eat nothing or just a very small amount of food. IF is often simple, healthy, and sustainable in the long term—which is why we recommend IF as part of the LOVIDIA Way.

There are many ways to do IF, but the most common method is fasting for 16 hours, followed by eating within a period of eight hours, known as the 16:8 method.

The goal of IF is to force your body to rely on stored energy (like fat) for certain parts of the day. This helps promote weight loss and more.

When you follow an IF plan, your body undergoes a few changes. Your stored body fat becomes more easily accessible, meaning it’s burned off faster. Your cells also begin a cycle of intense repair.

Benefits of intermittent fasting

The biggest benefit of IF is weight loss, for a few reasons. First, IF can help you reduce your caloric intake because you are not eating at all times of the day. When you reduce calories, you naturally reduce the amount of weight you can gain. Second, the changes your body goes through make it easier to burn off stored fat for energy. This means that your fat stores deplete faster, resulting in weight loss.

Beyond weight loss, research shows IF may have many other health benefits that promote life-long health. For example, it may help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve heart and brain health.

Staying on track with IF

Although IF is relatively simple, sticking to the eating plan can be challenging. Hunger pains and tempting snacks offered outside of your eating period may force you to break your fast. And, once it’s broken, getting back into the routine can be even more difficult. LOVIDIA can help you succeed with IF by taking the edge off hunger during fasting periods.  Here are some other useful tips to help you stick with IF:

  • Plan ahead: IF is much easier if you take time to plan ahead and work around your fasting windows. Plan to fast when you are most likely to not eat (like when you are sleeping). Many people eat from 1-9 p.m. and fast through the night and into the morning. This period allows you to eat a late lunch and normal dinner, which can accommodate social plans.
  • Plan around your lifestyle: You can also adjust your fasting window to match your lifestyle. If you’re an early riser, you may want to make the eating period earlier to accommodate when you will be awake. Or, if you go to the gym at a certain time, you can plan to break your fast before then, so you have energy.
  • Adjust the method: You also have the freedom to adjust the length of fasting and eating periods to match your needs. If the 16:8 method doesn’t work for you, another IF method like 12-hour fasts or alternating days might work better. Starting small and working your way up to longer fasting periods may be easier if you’re new to the eating plan.
  • Remember to drink: Fasting does not extend to non-caloric or low-calorie beverages like water, coffee and tea. If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a cup of something. Just make sure you’re not adding sugar or creamer that contains calories!
  • Distract yourself: If you’re starting to feel hunger settling in, you might be more likely to focus on the hunger and even break your fast. To help keep your mind off food, find things to distract you, such as work, a hobby, a brief walk, or light exercise. Some people find meditation beneficial in clearing the mind and pushing off feelings of hunger.
  • Make healthy choices: Some people give up on IF early on because they aren’t seeing results just from fasting. Remember, making healthy food choices is still an important part of IF. Loading up on junk food and lots of calories during your eating period may cause you to keep weight on and feel worse. Eat nutrient-dense foods to keep you fuller for longer and prevent nutrient deficiencies during your fasting period.

Fasting is a great way to get your health back on track in more ways than one. Just make sure you’re sticking to a fasting schedule and being smart about what you eat. Keep yourself accountable and your dedication is bound to pay off!

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Jennifer R.

Jennifer R.

My relationship with food is still a work in progress, but I am beginning to take control of how I feel on the inside. I recently began meditating, making conscious food choices, listening to audio books, but since starting Lovidia, it has helped as a catalyst and assistant with my self-control. With Lovidia, I can say I am growing on so many internal levels that it’s impacting me externally, and it shows!

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Danielle G.

Danielle G.

Our health and wellness journeys are unique but at the core of every successful transformation is a loving relationship with our minds and bodies! Lovidia has supported my wellness journey by providing me with the time and space to really connect with my hunger cues – it lets me recognize when I need to fuel my body with food or when I’m in need of a few moments of purposeful reflection because I’m confusing hunger with an emotion, like boredom.

@healthygypsyfw

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If You Want to Control Your Weight, Get Your Hormones Working FOR You!

If You Want to Control Your Weight, Get Your Hormones Working FOR You!

Your weight is largely controlled by hormones.  Here are some of the more important hormones that control weight, as well as some things you can do to get them working for you. This is a quick read to help you stop the “blood sugar overload” and start to lose weight!

Insulin/Glucagon Cycle – The Blood Sugar Balancers

Insulin and glucagon are two hormones produced in the pancreas that work together to balance blood sugar.

Insulin allows your cells to utilize blood sugar (glucose) to fuel your body.  When the amount of sugar in your blood is more than your body needs, the excess is stored in the liver and muscle in the form of glycogen and in fat cells in the form of triglycerides. 

When your blood sugar is low (due to fasting or simply eating fewer carbs), glucagon causes the liver and muscle to convert the stored glycogen into glucose.  Glucagon also acts on fat tissue to stimulate the breakdown of fat stores. 

Insulin and glucagon are critical for maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.  Think of them almost as a see-saw – one rises and the other falls in order to balance your blood sugar. 

Here’s how the see-saw can become unbalanced.  Some individuals who have a condition called Metabolic Syndrome over time develop a resistance to insulin’s effects.  With Metabolic Syndrome, insulin becomes less effective at doing its job.  This leads to the blood sugar rising higher and higher.  Over time, Metabolic Syndrome worsens, and the blood sugar becomes chronically high.   This leads to the serious long-term health problem of Type II Diabetes.  What is even worse is that the increased blood sugar “overflow” leads to excess sugar being stored as fat – so the cycle of worsening blood sugar and weight gain becomes very difficult to stop once it starts.

The good news is that changing a few eating habits can have a big effect.  Avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates and fast food helps reduce the blood sugar “overflow” and reduces insulin levels as well.  When insulin is low, fat storage declines.  And remember the see-saw of insulin and glucagon?  Low insulin and low blood sugar are then associated with a rise in glucagon, causing your body to start mobilizing sugar from stored glycogen and fat – leading to weight loss!

This is the basis for our recommendation to reduce your overall consumption of carbohydrates to approximately 100 grams per day….and try to eat mostly healthy carbs, avoiding the unhealthy ones.  Doing this gets the see-saw tilting in your favor in your efforts to lose weight. 

GLP-1 and PYY – The “Stay-Full-Longer” Hormones

Anti-hunger hormones GLP-1 and PYY are produced by L-cells that line your intestines.  Eating food naturally stimulates the release of these two important hormones.  GLP-1 and PYY delay gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to leave your stomach, keeping you full longer) leading to a decreased desire to eat.

GLP-1 and PYY have other anti-hunger effects, too.  GLP-1 helps reduce blood sugar, decreasing the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.   PYY activates areas of the brain that lessen hunger and increase feelings of fullness.

LOVIDIA’s unique blend of ingredients is designed to increase the body’s natural production of these hormones.   The time-release formula delivers a proprietary blend of ingredients directly to the lower intestine where L-cells are most dense.

Ghrelin – The “I’m Hungry” Hormone

Ghrelin is another important “hunger hormone.”  When your stomach is empty, it releases ghrelin, which sends a message to your brain telling you to eat.   When the stomach is stretched full, ghrelin levels will drop, which signals us to stop eating.  However, studies have shown that when people suffering from obesity eat, ghrelin doesn’t drop as much as it does in people of normal weight.  When ghrelin levels remain high, the brain doesn’t receive a strong enough signal to stop eating, which is why weight gain and obesity can get much worse over time.

How can you reduce your ghrelin?  Studies have shown that protein is probably the most effective nutrient at reducing ghrelin levels.  Therefore, ensuring adequate protein with all meals and snacks can be highly effective.   

Cortisol – The “Emotional-Eating” Hormone

Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands to help your body deal with stressful situations.  Your brain triggers cortisol release in response to many kinds of stress and our levels naturally rise and fall.  But when we are under high levels of stress on a constant basis, then cortisol hurts more than it helps.  Over time, high cortisol levels raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  High cortisol can also disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce your energy level, and increase appetite and fat storage – all negative effects when you’re trying to control your weight. 

Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce your cortisol levels. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Get the right amount of sleep
  • Learn relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing, yoga, meditation)
  • Avoid stressful situations
  • Reduce sugar consumption

Cholecystokinin (CCK) – The Other “Stay-Full-Longer” Hormone

CCK is a hormone produced by I-cells in the upper small intestine.  CCK reduces gastric acid secretion, increases bile acid production in the liver, delays gastric emptying and stimulates digestive enzyme production in the pancreas. When CCK is high, we slow down our eating – so high CCK levels may be a good thing from a weight-loss perspective.     Eating fat has the most powerful effect on CCK, followed by protein and fiber. 

Summary

As you have now learned, the proper functioning of hormones is critical to control your weight and avoid serious lifestyle diseases.  Fortunately, you don’t have to become a hormone ‘expert’ to get them working for you.  The LOVIDIA Way’s unique emphasis on helping your hormones work FOR you can help you lose weight, lower blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure and even avoid lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Live the LOVIDIA Way!

Live the LOVIDIA Way! 

Finally, a sustainable and simple way to manage eating that your body will love!

After years of research and human testing, the LOVIDIA Way has emerged as a clinically-proven way to lose weight. It’s not a fad diet, or a calorie counting diet. The LOVIDIA Way combines the use of LOVIDIA products with reduced-carb eating and intermittent fasting  to help you lose weight and improve important indicators of metabolic and cardiovascular health.

LOVIDIA products are designed to enhance the release of beneficial anti-hunger hormones GLP-1 and PYY.

Understanding how your body reacts to food is a science in itself. Let’s break down how LOVIDIA works on a hormonal level. LOVIDIA is designed to increase the natural production of anti-hunger hormones GLP-1 and PYY.  

These two hormones delay gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to leave your stomach, keeping you full longer) leading to a decreased desire to eat. Along with reducing your hunger, GLP-1 also helps reduce blood sugar, decreasing the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. PYY, in addition to delaying gastric emptying, activates areas of the brain that lessen hunger and increase feelings of fullness.

Amplify your results with a reduced-carb diet to lower blood sugar and insulin levels which helps block fat storage.

In addition to a boost in GLP-1 from LOVIDIA, our bodies’ production of GLP-1 is increased when carbs are reduced.  GLP-1 production is further enhanced by eating anti-inflammatory foods (such as nuts, olive oil, avocados) rather than foods that increase inflammation (such as sugars, processed foods, and white flour).   Research has shown that chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases so eating low-carb, anti-inflammatory foods can improve your overall health.

Additionally, by reducing daily carbs, you’ll naturally be eating more protein and fats which increase satiety.  A reduced-carb diet in combination with the hunger control boost from LOVIDIA means you don’t need to worry about how much you’re eating…in other words, there’s no need to count calories.  Our advice is simple: eat when you’re hungry (during your intermittent fasting eating window) and stop when you’re comfortably full.  Sounds too good to be true, but with LOVIDIA your excessive hunger should no longer be an issue; the biggest potential obstacle to avoid is mindless eating due to emotional and/or social triggers.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) can also lower blood sugar and insulin levels and help you lose weight in an extremely flexible and sustainable way.

Our trifecta is being able to truly adopt intermittent fasting which adds to the beneficial effects of LOVIDIA and carb reduction.  What we love about IF is that it is flexible and forgiving. During periods of fasting, levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) go up (as much as 5-fold) and insulin levels go down.  HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps to regulate your body composition, muscle and bone growth, and fat metabolism.  Additional IF health benefits include reducing insulin resistance, as well as chronic inflammation and many of the risk factors associated with heart disease. Lowering blood sugar, a healthier heart, weight loss, are you seeing a trend here? Well, clinical studies are underway to investigate the potential benefit of IF for cancer and Alzheimer’s prevention.  Intermittent fasting may even help you live longer! 

And it doesn’t stop there, intermittent fasting and reducing carbs both lower insulin and lower insulin drives the body towards fat-burning mode.  Fat burning (i.e., fat reduction), takes place when your body takes fatty acids from your stored fat and converts them to ketones (a process known as ketosis).  Ketones then fuel your cells instead of glucose from carbohydrates.  Fasting also leads to an increase in the hormone norepinephrine in the bloodstream which is an important regulator of fat metabolism.

The proof is not in the pudding but rather in a simple process. In a 13-week LOVIDIA Way clinical study using LOVIDIA in combination with intermittent fasting, the results were outstanding. Participants lost an average of 14 pounds and lowered their blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. And most importantly, LOVIDIA helped participants stay on their IF schedule by controlling hunger during their fasting periods. 

If you are already taking LOVIDIA to manage your daily hunger, we hope we have convinced you to take the next step and try the LOVIDIA Way. LOVIDIA plus a reduced-carb diet, and intermittent fasting are the perfect combo to manage your weight and improve your health.

Live the LOVIDIA Way, and LOV a healthier you!

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The Importance of Drinking Water Throughout the Day

The Importance of Drinking Water Throughout the Day

One of the most common pieces of health and wellness advice you’re bound to hear over and over again is to drink lots of water—and for good reason! There are tons of great health benefits associated with proper hydration. In addition to preventing dehydration, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help you slim down, fight fatigue, elevate your mood, enhance your skin and improve your digestion.

But how much water should you be drinking each day and what can you do to make sure you’re drinking enough? Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of drinking more water, including exactly how much to drink each day. We’ve even got a few quick tips to help you develop good habits for daily H2O consumption.

The many benefits of drinking more water

The benefits of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day are virtually endless. Not only does it contribute to healthy digestion and prevent several adverse medical conditions, you’ll look and feel better too. Grab a water bottle and drink up! Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Prevent dehydration: It may sound obvious but drinking plenty of H2O prevents your body from becoming dehydrated. Beyond avoiding severe thirst, dehydration can be a very dangerous condition, especially chronic dehydration. It’s a problem easily avoided by drinking water regularly throughout the day.
  • Slim down: Did you know water has no calories? Also, drinking cold water can have a positive impact on your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. It can even assist in eliminating waste from your body, contributing to a slimmer physique.
  • Fight fatigue: As mentioned, it’s crucial for you to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. When you’re dehydrated, you may feel tired and groggy, and experience muscle fatigue. Conversely, drinking water can provide you with increased energy levels, along with better concentration and improved mental alertness.
  • Improve mood: Are you the type of person who gets cranky and irritable when you’re hungry? Eating usually fixes the problem. But did you know not drinking enough water can lead to some grumpy side effects, too? Dehydration can contribute to stress, tiredness, lack of focus and a generally negative state of mind. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your “glass half full!”
  • Enhance skin: Drinking water can also prevent signs of aging, improve your skin tone and prevent pimples. Dehydrated skin is more prone to wrinkling. Using a moisturizer is one way to keep it supple but hydrating from the inside out is your best bet for enhancing the appearance of your skin. Drinking plenty of H2O will also increase circulation and blood flow, while flushing toxins out of your body. The result is healthy, clear skin and a beautiful, glowing complexion.
  • Digest better: Common side effects of dehydration are bloating and constipation, both of which are associated with poor digestion. Consuming water can have a positive effect on your digestive tract by allowing waste to pass through your body. Good hydration can reduce constipation, bloating and other inflammatory health conditions affecting your gut and bowels.

How much water is enough?

All these benefits are great, but you’re probably still wondering: How much water is enough each day?

There’s no perfect answer, but there are some great benchmarks. For starters, aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink around 75 ounces of water. There’s also the 8×8 rule: eight ounces of water eight times a day. 

Something else to keep in mind is that if you feel thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Have a glass of water right away to get back on track.

Quick tips for drinking more water

  • Get a water bottle you like! Believe it or not, using a water bottle you like can increase the amount you drink each day.
  • Keep your water bottle filled up and keep it with you at all times––at your desk, in the car and anywhere else you go throughout the day.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or download a water reminder app to remind you to drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Build drinking into your habits. Every time you stand up or send a text message, make it a rule to take a sip of water.
  • Don’t like plain water? Try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime. Drinking tea also counts toward your daily water consumption.
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Don’t Forget to Exercise…even with a busy schedule!

Don’t Forget to Exercise…even with a busy schedule!

With a hectic lifestyle, exercising might be low on your list of priorities. Whether you’re consumed with work, family, travel, a social life, a side hustle, a major life event, or all of the above, finding time to exercise is critical in remaining healthy and happy. But when your schedule is busy, it can be extremely difficult to fit a sweat session onto your calendar.

Keep reading to discover the benefits of working out regularly, including how morning versus night workouts affect your body. You’ll also learn how to stay fit while at your desk, why any movement is beneficial, and how to prioritize daily physical activity!

Make time for the gym, day or night

When is the right time to work out? In general, the best time to sweat each day is when you have the time, whether that’s in the morning, on your lunch break, or in the evening. However, you might yield different benefits with physical activity depending on the time of day. Here’s how making time for exercise, day or night, can boost both your mental and physical wellness.

Advantages of a morning workout

Are you a morning person? It may play to your advantage. For people who don’t totally love working out, pre-work exercise can work well because it allows you to check it off your list first thing in the morning. It makes you feel accomplished and ready to tackle the day ahead, as opposed to dreading an after-work workout. Other benefits to working out in the morning include increased energy and elevated mood throughout the day, as well as lower blood pressure and a decrease in cortisol (a stress-response hormone).

Benefits of exercising in the evening

If you’re more of a night owl and can’t find the motivation to get moving in the morning, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Getting your sweat on in the evening allows you to get a longer workout in if you have more hours to spare. It’s also a superb way to let go of pent up stress after a long day at work. Evening workouts may also help you build muscle faster and get to sleep more easily.

How can you work out at your desk?

When it comes to working out, every little bit of movement counts. You can even make some adjustments and develop certain habits to sneak some exercise in at your desk!

One of the more obvious solutions is to get a treadmill desk or a standing desk. With a treadmill desk, you can send emails and take calls while burning calories as you walk in place. With a standing desk, you won’t burn quite as many calories, but you’ll burn more than if you were sitting all day. Plus, you’ll reap additional benefits such as increased blood flow and better focus.

If you can’t come by a standing desk, don’t worry: Your traditional desk-and-chair setup is a personal gym in disguise! There are tons of discrete workouts you can do in mere minutes to help you stay active throughout the day. Here are a few:

  • Squats onto your chair
  • Triceps dips from your desk
  • Calf raises while holding the back of your chair
  • Glute squeezes while sitting or standing
  • Wall sits
  • Stationary lunges
  • Incline pushups from your desk
  • Various stretches

See daily exercise as a priority

You’ve got a lot of priorities. And while your main focus might be on work, family or other obligations, it’s also crucial to view daily exercise as a priority. How can you hold yourself accountable to working out regularly? You can sign up for an exercise class, meet up with a friend for a walk or jog, invest in a standing desk, or put your workouts directly on your calendar. Just make sure you’re doing something to prioritize fitness each day.

At a minimum, keep your body moving

Even if you feel like you don’t have time to exercise every day, it’s important to keep your body moving. Whether you’re completing a 30-minute workout, running for an hour, exercising at your desk, standing instead of sitting, or walking on your lunch break, the goal is to keep your body moving no matter how busy you are. Every minute counts.

Be adaptable; exercise around life

The best way to make sure you exercise in the middle of your busy schedule is to be adaptable. Exercise around your life. With a hectic calendar, there’s a good chance that no two days will look exactly alike, and the same goes for working out.

You might have time for a spin class on Monday, but on Tuesday, you may only get the chance to take a brisk walk on your lunch break. Wednesday might be filled up with meetings, so you take the stairs and try to sneak in some workouts at your desk.

Prioritizing exercise will look different for everyone––do what works for you! Just make sure you’re making the time for fitness and not giving it a backseat to everything else life throws at you.

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It’s time to bury the world’s most misleading measure…the calorie!

It’s time to bury the world’s most misleading measure…the calorie!

The most common advice you receive when you want to lose weight is to cut calories.  The problem with that simple advice is that all calories are not equal.

The calorie as a scientific measurement is not in dispute. A calorie of carbohydrate and a calorie of protein both have the same amount of stored energy, so they perform identically in an oven.

The calorie counts that you see printed on food labels are based on how much heat a foodstuff gives off when it burns in an oven. But the human body is far more complex than an oven. When food is burned in a laboratory it surrenders its calories within seconds. By contrast, the real-life journey from dinner plate to toilet bowl takes on average about 24 hours but can range from eight to 80 hours depending on the person.

Besides the differing speeds that calories journey through our bodies, each of us processes calories differently.  Research studies have shown that when different people consume the same meal, the impact on a person’s blood sugar and fat formation will vary according to their genes, lifestyle, mix of gut bacteria and even the length of their intestines (shorter intestines absorb fewer calories).  Even the time of day that you eat matters.     

The amount of energy we absorb from food also depends on how we prepare it. Chopping and grinding food essentially does part of the work of digestion, making more calories available to your body by ripping apart the cell walls in the food before you eat it. That effect is magnified when you add heat: cooking increases the proportion of food digested in the stomach and small intestine, from 50% to 95%. The digestible calories in beef rises by 15% when cooked, and in sweet potato up to 40% depending on whether it is boiled, roasted or microwaved.

In addition, the calories in some foods are much more likely to add weight than calories in other foods. A lollipop and an apple may contain a similar number of calories but is there any doubt which is better for us?   While the apple is healthier, both apples and lollipops are types of carbohydrates – as are all sugars and starches.  Carbohydrates break down into sugars, which are the body’s main fuel source. But the speed at which your body gets its fuel from food can be as important as the amount of fuel. The body absorbs the sugar from a soda drink at a rate of 30 calories a minute, compared with two calories a minute from complex carbohydrates such as potatoes or rice. That matters, because a sudden hit of sugar prompts the rapid release of insulin, a hormone that carries the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells. When there is more sugar than the body needs, the liver and muscle can store some of the excess, but any that remains is stashed as fat. So consuming large quantities of sugar and even excess “healthy” carbohydrates is the fastest way to create body fat. And, once the insulin has done its work, blood-sugar levels slump, which tends to leave you hungry…as well as plumper.

The other two macronutrients (protein and fat) have different functions. Protein, the dominant component of meat, fish and dairy products, acts as the main building block for bone, skin, hair and other body tissues. In the absence of enough carbohydrates, it can also serve as fuel for the body. But, since it is broken down more slowly than carbohydrates, protein is less likely to be converted to body fat.

Fat is a different matter again. It should leave you feeling fuller for longer, because your body splits it into fatty acids more slowly than it processes carbohydrates or protein. We all need fat to make hormones and to protect our nerves (a bit like plastic coating protects an electric wire). Over millennia, fat has also been a crucial way for humans to store energy, allowing us to survive periods of famine. Today, even without the risk of starvation, our bodies are still programmed to store excess fuel in case we run out of food. No wonder a single measure – the calorie – can’t capture that complexity.

If these issues with the ‘calorie’ are not troubling enough, the number of calories listed on food packets and menus are routinely wrong.  Government regulations allow food labels to understate calories by up to 20% to ensure that consumers are not short-changed in terms of how much nutrition they receive.  Susan Roberts, a nutritionist at Tufts University in Boston, has found that labels on American packaged foods miss their true calorie counts by an average of 8% and some processed frozen foods misstate their caloric content by as much as 70%.

The calorie system lets food producers off the hook: “They can say, ‘We’re not responsible for the unhealthy products we sell, we just have to list the calories and leave it to you to manage your own weight’.”  Large food companies are obviously driven to maximize their profits and not to optimize your health.  Your answer should be to take charge of your own health!

The more we learn, the more we realize that counting calories will do little to help us control our weight.

The LOVIDIA Way doesn’t focus on calories or calorie restriction.  Instead, our focus is on what foods to eat and when to eat them and making your hormones work for you, not against you.  We believe the quality of your food is much more important than the quantity (calories). The combination of LOVIDIA, intermittent fasting and a reduced-carb diet will not only keep your weight in check but will help you avoid chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

REFERENCE: The Economist

https://www.1843magazine.com/features/death-of-the-calorie

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Should you go low-carb and, if so, how low should you go?

Should you go low-carb and, if so, how low should you go?

Before answering this question, let’s first cover the basics.

What is a carbohydrate? 

A carbohydrate is a type of calorie-providing macronutrient found in many foods and beverages.  Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. They can further be classified as simple refined (table sugar), simple natural (lactose in milk and fructose in fruit), complex refined (white flour) and complex natural (whole grains or beans).  Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, seeds and legumes (beans, lentils, peas).

Food manufacturers also add refined carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of sugar or white flour. Examples of foods that contain refined carbohydrates are white breads and pasta, cookies, cake, candy, and sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks.

What is a low-carb diet? 

Very simply, a low-carb diet involves eating fewer carbohydrates and more healthy fats and protein than the current nutritional recommendations in the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  A low-carb diet limits carbohydrate — such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat. There are many types of low-carb diets such as Keto, Paleo, and Atkins and each has varying restrictions on the types and amounts of carbohydrates you can eat.

There are three levels of low-carb diets

  • VLCK (very low-carbohydrate ketogenic) diets recommend 30g or less of dietary carbohydrate per day (Hallberg et al., 2018).
  • LCK (low-carbohydrate ketogenic) diets recommend 30-50g of dietary carbohydrate per day (Saslow et al., 2017).
  • RC (reduced-carbohydrate) diets recommend 50-130g of dietary carbohydrate per day, a level that is higher than levels listed above and lower than the S. DRI for carbohydrate.

Is reducing carbohydrate intake safe and healthful? 

Carbohydrates are not actually an essential nutrient for human survival – only proteins and fats are essential nutrients.   Our ancestors lived for thousands of years with very little carbohydrates in the diet, simply because of a lack of availability of produce and grains.

However, the body can use carbohydrates as a fuel source. Here’s how it works:  complex carbohydrates (starches) are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They’re then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they’re known as blood sugar (glucose). In general, natural complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and they have less effect on blood sugar. Natural complex carbohydrates can also provide dietary fiber, and vitamins as well in the form of vegetables. 

Rising levels of blood sugar trigger the body to release insulin. Insulin helps glucose enter your body’s cells. Some glucose is used by your body for energy, whether it’s going for a jog or simply breathing. Extra glucose is usually stored in your liver, muscles and other cells for later use or is converted to fat.  Decreasing carbs lowers insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy and ultimately leads to weight loss.  Low-carb diets may help prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Carbohydrate restriction is generally safe, however, if you suddenly and drastically cut carbs without taking in adequate fluids and vitamins, you may experience a variety of temporary symptoms, including headache, bad breath, weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue, skin rash and constipation or diarrhea.  In addition, severe carbohydrate restriction in the long term can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies, bone loss and gastrointestinal disturbance.  It’s not clear what kind of possible long-term health risks a low-carb diet may pose because most research studies have lasted less than a year.  But given that data is showing improvement or even resolution of chronic health conditions like diabetes that shorten life, it’s believed that low-carb diets may be the best option for management of abnormal blood sugar, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome. 

OK, now that you have the background information, should you go low-carb?

We recommend adopting a reduced-carb diet with a daily carbohydrate target of 100 grams as a key component of the LOVIDIA Way lifestyle.  A reduced-carb diet has many of the health benefits of low-carb (VLCK & LCK) eating without the extreme carbohydrate restriction.  A reduced-carb diet is a healthy, smart-eating approach.  It’s sustainable for life…and you don’t necessarily have to give up pizza!

A greater or lesser degree of carbohydrate restriction may be most appropriate for you as an individual since there is no “one size fits all” approach.  Check with your doctor before starting any lifestyle change program, especially if you have any health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

REFERENCES:

Hallberg, S. J., McKenzie, A. L., Williams, P. T., Bhanpuri, N. H., Peters, A. L., Campbell, W. W., Volek, J. S. (2018). Effectiveness and Safety of a Novel Care Model for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes at 1 Year: An Open- Label, Non-Randomized, Controlled Study. Diabetes Therapy: Research, Treatment and Education of Diabetes and Related Disorders, 9(2), 583–612. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-018-0373-9

Saslow, L. R., Daubenmier, J. J., Moskowitz, J. T., Kim, S., Murphy, E. J., Phinney, S. D., … Hecht, F. M. (2017). Twelve- month outcomes of a randomized trial of a moderate-carbohydrate versus very low-carbohydrate diet in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes. Nutrition & Diabetes, 7(12), 304. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41387-017-0006-9