Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Are Cheat Meals Healthy or Unhealthy?

Are Cheat Meals Healthy or Unhealthy?

Cheat meals are a hot topic, and they are always your personal choice, but they show certain health and fitness benefits. Based on studies of leptin, which is a hormone responsible for regulating energy expenditure and hunger, it increases after eating meals with higher calories. Its increased levels help people lose their body fat effectively.

Low-calorie diets are linked to decreased leptin levels. Since this important hormone is synthesized mainly by fat, the human body holds onto it and doesn’t want to give up energy when it’s in a starvation mode. Negative outcomes include reduced metabolism and no weight loss when you have low leptin levels.

The only solution to maintaining healthy metabolism and losing weight healthy is increasing its levels on a regular basis by kicking up your calorie intake. Using cheat meals is a great option to increase this hormone while enjoying your favorite foods.

Cheat Meals Help You Lose Fat

Calorie shifting is a widespread method to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying different treats without feeling deprived. As a general rule, dieters prefer to eat 90% of healthy food and allow themselves to enjoy 10% of cheat meals every week. Basically, it’s a strict eating clean method, but it helps people benefit from some indulgence. They enjoy a number of emotional and physiological health benefits with cheat meals.

Another popular rule says that dieters can consume 80% of good carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats and 20% of snacks and cheat meals. The latter ones are created to promote people’s positive dieting outlook, keep them on track with their important fitness goals and overall health and avoid cravings. For example, if you eat about 1,500 calories per day, but one day you eat about 2,300 calories, there’s no need to worry, because these extra calories won’t derail your nutritional plan.

Are Cheat Meals Your Perfect Fit?

There are different factors that should be taken into account before making a final decision whether cheat meals are your good fit. Those people who have any emotional eating disorders are easily triggered to unhealthy binge scenarios, so indulgence is not the best strategy for them. Some dieters may feel psychological guilt after indulging, so their emotional stress is not worth extra calories.

For newcomers who start adopting healthy lifestyles, it’s hard to define how to moderate cheat meals, and this lack of knowledge results in a downfall spiral and long splurging. You need to cheat smart to boost your metabolism, have normal leptin levels and maintain a fit body.

How Much You Should Eat

The latest discovery of fat loss benefits of increased leptin levels doesn’t mean that people can gorge everything on their cheat days. All you need to do is increase your daily calorie intake up to 20%, and it’s enough to boost your metabolism and leptin levels. This means that over-indulgence is never a good idea. Besides, leptin is a hormone responsive to carbs, not fats or proteins, so you should consider healthy carbs when enjoying your cheat meals.

Best Cheat Meal Methods

Planning cheat meals with your focus on healthy carbs is the best way to stimulate your body to burn fat in a more effective manner. The main idea of cheat meals is placing dieters back into maintenance calories where the human body feels more balanced. Living even one week on low calories take a toll of it, so refueling the body with cheat meals is a great way to maintain and reach any fitness goal.

Healthy Eating

Why Eating Fat Helps Maintain Overall Health

Why Eating Fat Helps Maintain Overall Health

Fats received a negative image lately, because consuming them was blamed for increasing bad cholesterol, causing obesity and leading to other health issues. Many doctors and nutritionists were obsessed with low-fat diets as effective solutions to solving medical problems and losing weight. However, this statement is very far from truth, because fats are important to maintain good health, so they should be consumed every day.

Human Body Needs Fat

The body requires fats to function at its best level, so they are needed to maintain good health. Fat serves many important purposes, such as:
• Growth and development;
• Vitamin absorption and energy;
• Maintaining cell membranes and protecting body organs.

Get a better understanding of the role played by fats in healthy nutrition to stop removing them from your daily diet. They offer a key source of energy and contain active molecules that affect the way muscles respond to insulin.

Good Fats Are Important to Keep Your Body Healthy

Based on the latest research, there aren’t any connections between fats in diets and diseases or weight. Studies reveal that only a total amount of calories consumed by people really matters for their weight loss. Good fats keep your body healthy, while bad ones promote different health issues and high cholesterol levels. This means that they aren’t created equal, so you need to differentiate good and bad fats to stay healthy.

With the hype about fats, many people stopped eating good fats that are quite beneficial for their heart and overall health. Picking healthy fats are good for your heart, but all of them have the same amount of calories when it comes to weight loss. It’s advisable to focus on proper portion control and total intake of fats to lose weight and promote a healthier and longer life.

Useful Information about Good Fats

They are known as:

• Polyunsaturated;
• Monounsaturated.

Some of the main health benefits provided by unsaturated good fats include decreased inflammation, lowered cholesterol levels in the blood and stabilized heart rhythm. They are easily found in such food products as vegetable and olive oils, seeds, nuts, etc. There are two basic types of unsaturated good fats.

Monounsaturated fats are also called heart-healthy. They remain liquid at a room temperature, but they solidify when you refrigerate them. Olive oil is the most popular mono-fat in this list, but there are other products where this fat can be found in high concentrations, including peanut oil, pumpkin seeds, cashews, avocados, almonds, and so on.

Polyunsaturated fats play an important role in decreasing overall triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels. For example, Omega 3 fatty acids provide users with heart health benefits, and their good food sources include walnuts, catfish, salmon and flaxseeds. However, people should get them from different food sources instead of their supplemental forms.

Bad Fats

They are known as trans or saturated fats, and the worst part is that their increase poses a risk of different diseases in the body.

There are many hot debates and controversial discussions over this subject, and the main thing is that all saturated fats must be eaten sparingly to stay healthy. They are available in two basic types discussed below.
1. Saturated fats are connected with such health problems as clogged arteries, increased cholesterol levels in the blood and heart diseases. They are found in such animal sources as poultry skin, red meat, eggs and vegetable fats, such as palm oil. It’s necessary to decrease the intake of saturated fats.
2. Trans fats are made by heating all kinds of liquid vegetable oils during the process known as hydrogenation, which is responsible for creating fake food results and giving food products their longer service life. This process turns something that should be in a liquid form into solid food products, including margarine. Nowadays, trans fats are commonly used in the modern food industry, such as many restaurants, for pastries, frying, processed snacks, baked goods and others. People shouldn’t eat more than 2 g of these fats a day.

Healthy Eating

Top 10 Food Myths Debunked

Top 10 Food Myths Debunked

With so many nutrition and health eating tips, it becomes difficult to understand what to believe. Many people feel confused about different food products and when they should eat them.

Juice Cleanses Can Help You Detox

Many people still think that juicing is an effective method of detoxing their body from different impurities. Is drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juices for a few days a really good idea? If you choose juices over vegetables and fruits, you miss out their fiber, which is an important nutrient that helps the human body to digest food. When you drink juices, you dump a lot of sugar in the bloodstream without enough fat, fiber or protein.

There are no studies and tests that can support the health benefits of juices over vegetables and fruits in a diet plan. The worst part is that juicing even can be harmful, because oxalates in plant food products can be toxic when they’re consumed in high doses. So, juices can be a great addition to your healthy nutrition that includes different food products that have enough antioxidants to detox your body.

People Must Eat Gluten Free

It’s quite a popular diet trend. Wheat contains gluten (protein), and consumers keep shopping for gluten-free products, because they think that they are healthier. This diet choice is necessary for those patients who have celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, so that they could feel much better when they avoid such food products as wheat and whole grains.

Gluten-free diets are not the best way to go for other people, because they often lack essential minerals, vitamins and fiber. Another problem is that they tend to decrease beneficial gut bacteria necessary to maintain the immunity, so going gluten-free is not the healthiest choice.

Fruits Contain Bad Sugar

Fruits have sugar, which is called fructose, and it forms table sugar or sucrose. When consumed in higher doses, it’s also linked with the so-called metabolic syndrome or health issues that increase the risk of heart diseases and diabetes. When drinking such sweet beverages as soda, fruit juices and sweet coffee drinks, people get too much fructose in their diet. When it comes to fresh fruits, there’s no need to worry, because they provide only minimal fructose.

They also have a lot of fiber, which is an important nutrient that slows down sugar absorption in the bloodstream. Besides, there is an inverse connection between body weight, eating fruits and a risk of all kinds of obesity-related ailments, so they are healthy for everyone!

Organics Have Better Nutrients

The organic market is booming, because people are obsessed with food products with organic labels, but they aren’t necessarily healthy. Based on clinical reviews and studies, organic products aren’t more nutrient-dense compared to conventional. For instance, conventionally-farmed pork and chicken are more likely to have essential antibacterial-resistant bacteria. When it comes to organic chips and cookies, they can’t be healthier for consumers. Another problem is that organics are more expensive than conventional food, but there’s no difference in their nutrient value. Organics should be chosen, because they are usually treated with fewer pesticides and other toxic products.

Eating After 6 p.m. Makes People Store More Fat

This statement is wrong! Consuming more calories than the body can burn through different daily activities makes you store more fat. However, late night eating is still a problem if you don’t eat during the day, because you’re more likely to overeat and choose junk foods.

Eating before going to bed can have interesting health benefits, because it supplies the human body with different nutrients and promotes positive physiological changes. These results can be improved even more if you combine this eating habit with regular exercises. As long as you make healthy nutritional choices and exercise regularly, eating before going to bed is not a bad thing.

Chocolate Is Not Healthy

It’s true that not all types of chocolate are created equal. Based on the latest research, dark chocolate has many powerful antioxidants that are good for the human body and must be included as a part of any healthy nutritional plan. Eating it can even decrease the risk of dangerous heart problems, such as stroke.

The chemical compounds included in dark chocolate can enhance your athletic performance and improve overall body functioning. This eating habit also stimulates the release of nitric oxide in the bloodstream, thus, dilating vessels for better oxygen and blood flow to muscles. Eating chocolate is a good choice as long as it’s dark and has a good quality.

You Can’t Eat Bad Foods Any Longer

Bad food can be defined in many ways, but it’s not a realistic or healthy approach. Healthy dieting is a method of eating that should be sustained. Black-and-white thinking is not really helpful when making healthy lifestyle choices. Pick nutrient-dense food products in most cases and ensure that your current diet plan isn’t overloaded when enjoying treats. Make a big part of your daily snacks and meals both delicious and nutritional, but think about saving some room for fun foods that you enjoy.

Carbohydrates Make People Fat

Many people think that they need to stop eating carbs to lose fat, but they don’t make anyone fat, though there can be a difference in their types. Your fat stores are increased when you consume more calories that you burn on a daily basis, while eating good carbohydrates can provide you with such benefits as:
• Losing weight;
• Reducing body fat;
• Supporting optimal fitness levels;
• Decreasing the risk of heart diseases and other health problems;
• Enhancing your digestion;
• Improving your muscle growth.

Carbs are also primary energy sources important for your optimal body function. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent examples of those carbs that should be included in any healthy diet. The good ones contain fiber and essential nutrients, thus, giving the body sustained energy during the day. Consuming bad carbohydrates that don’t have enough nutrient value, such as white bread, sugary drinks, ice cream and processed food, makes people be unhealthy and gain weight. There’s a difference between bad and good carbs when losing fat.

Carbonated Drinks Are Bad

Many people think that bubbly drinks contain a lot of sugar, so they are bad for health, but it’s not true. Some carbonated drinks can be quite healthy and they help people who struggle drinking usual water to meet their daily fluid requirements. Being well-hydrated is an essential part of being healthy.

Pay attention to ingredients to decide if these drinks are good for you. For example, if they contain a lot of sugar, preservatives and additives, drinking them is not a good choice. If they contain water-made bubbly, carbonated drinks are good for you. Mineral and seltzer water is a health alternative to regular one.

Don’t Eat Egg Yolks

Egg yolks contain many valuable nutrients, including fatty acids that are quite beneficial for cells, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Eat whole eggs to increase good cholesterol levels and metabolism and get beneficial nutrients and quality protein.


Protein for Optimal Fitness: General Information and Requirements

Protein for Optimal Fitness: General Information and Requirements

Protein is a macronutrient, where macro means that the body calls for a big quantity of nutrients. It is also a source of various health advantages. However, this doesn’t mean that we have to fill out the fridge with lean meat only or opt for large amounts of protein powder. The intake of protein is different for every single person, and it must be based on age and workout intensity.

Is More Protein Better?

Excess consumption of protein is unnecessary to keep a healthy body. Unfortunately, protein advertising made athletes, bodybuilders and other people to consume more than required for daily use. But it is vital to understand the way protein functions and follow its correct intake for optimal fitness results.

Protein consists of a series of amino acids that provide a wide variety of health benefits. Each protein molecule does certain job inside the body, thus, protein is responsible for the function, structure and regulation of our tissues, cells and organs.

Have you ever thought about protein as a vital component in every single cell of your body? Our nails and hair consist of this macronutrient, moreover, it is a building block for our skin, blood, muscle and bones and needed to repair and build tissues, regulate hormones, enzymes and other chemicals.

Protein isn’t stored by the organism and doesn’t provide the body with energy for life and workout unlike fats and carbs. However, the statement that the more protein you eat, the better the solution for good fitness is totally wrong.
The requirements of protein are not properly understood because of bold statements about its ability to create and promote lean muscle. Instead the emphasis should be put on the quantity and quality of protein consumed individually on a daily basis.

The Committee of the International Society of Sports Nutrition notes that it is important for physically active people and athletes to take protein from 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day and states that they can benefit from this amount and may even add additional protein supplements, if necessary.

In other cases, protein requirements differ for every person, because such characteristic as lifestyle should be taken into account. Though most still believe that eating kilos of chicken, swallowing tons of protein shakes and enjoying meters of protein bars will make muscle on their body appear almost instantly, this notion is incorrect. It is resistance training that is responsible for lean muscle, while protein just repairs the damage.

Final Words

Every person has different lifestyle and habits, when it comes to workout. To find out the recommended dose of protein one should take into account such factors as physical activity and age. The Institute of Medicine claims that the recommended daily dose of protein for an athlete should equal to 1.2-2.0 g per kg of body weight, children require 1.5 g, while the dose for the elderly will range from .8 to 1.5 g.

Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Why Calories Are So Important

Probably, everybody knows that in order to maintain normal weight, it is important to control a number of calories in your body. If you are trying to lose some weight or gain some muscle, you should be very careful with reduction of calories. You should find out what calories are and why your body needs them.

What Are Calories and How Do They Work?

The body needs to use units of energy (calories) to function properly. It consumes them no matter what you do. You spend calories even when lying down in your bed and watching TV. Different types of activities require different numbers of calories. This means that you spend more of them when you work out or run than when you sit at your desk.

We receive calories from foods that we eat, and we use them as fuel for metabolic processes. Also, calories are necessary for our body to become healthier and toned. It is very important to provide quality calories for your body. You should consume healthy carbs, lean proteins and fat. If you want to be fit, you should choose healthy calories. Read further to find out why you may need to consume more.

When Are Calories Burned?

Calories are burned all the time even after you finish your workout. Your body spends calories around-the-clock non-stop through digestive processes, which allows your heart to beat, muscle tissue to rebuild and lungs to breathe. There are so many processes going on in your body all the time that it is even hard to imagine.

In order to make sure that your body will be able to function at an optimal level, you should consume quality foods. Restricting calories is actually one of the most common mistakes. When the body does not obtain enough calories, it starts storing fat deposits for protection purposes.

Probably, you did not know that most of our calories are burned when we are having rest. During this time, we get rid of about 60% of all calories burned per day.

How to Maintain Lean Muscle?

Calories turn into energy, which is needed for hard training and repairing lean tissue that becomes stressed during exercising. It is important to consume the right food in order to obtain nutrients to build lean mass.

When we engage in more intensive activities, our body requires more calories to sustain its work. It is a big mistake when people who wish to gain some muscle mass start reducing calorie intake. If you do not eat enough, this may lead to poor workout results. This means that in order to build lean muscle, you should eat enough good food.

How to Maintain Metabolism?

The healthy metabolic function can only be conducted if your body has enough calories. Metabolism is the ability of the body to produce energy, heal and ensure the growth using chemical processes from the water and food we consume.

If our body does not obtain enough calories, our metabolism may slow down and we won’t be able to burn fat efficiently. If you exercise hard and often, but do not consume enough food, metabolic damage may occur.

How to Lose Some Weight?

Probably, you will be surprised to find out that in order to lose some weight you need to consume a certain amount of calories. Before you start implementing your weight loss plan, you should understand how many calories you need to burn. Otherwise, you may eat not enough, which will result in bad consequences only. For instance, your body may decide that it is in danger and that is why it has to store more fat.

How Many Calories Do You Need Daily?

The number of daily calories should be calculated individually. You should consider your fitness goals, eating habits and other factors. Remember that it is better to consume too many calories than not enough.

Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Nutrient-Dense Foods as Part of Nutrition for People Trying to Lose Weight

Usually, a brave decision to start keeping to strict diets in order to shed some pounds may be challenging, but the results tend to appear unsatisfying. Billions of dollars are spent to be fashionable and follow diet trends to lose weight and gain lean muscle, however, according to numerous studies, a wide variety of diets lack the necessary nutrients.

Instead of tiring dieting and calorie restriction we recommend a different approach. Have you ever considered nutrient-dense foods as a way to lose weight? Forget about diets as this is just a way to change the kinds of food you consume to get closer to your final aim and get a healthy fit body. The idea lies not in dieting, but eating cleaner food products and making it your lifestyle.

Another great piece of news is that with nutrient-dense foods you can eat more and not gain any excess weight, which would be a bit difficult to comprehend for strict dieters used to counting calories. That is because the difference in the quality of the food you eat and the calories they contain, and the way they function in the body.

Nutrient-Dense Food: What Is It?

This food contains macro- and micronutrients that are vital for our health. Among macronutrients are the ones that provide our bodies with enough energy:

• Proteins are necessary for muscle recovery, making it leaner. Opt for healthy products, such as turkey, tuna, fish, chicken breast, etc. over processed foods;
• Fats play a vital role in optimal functioning of our body. Instead of fatty salad dressings and fast food you need to select such heathier options as avocado, extra-virgin olive oil and natural peanut butter. Contrary to popular statements, healthy fats help boost your metabolism and are a great energy source for the body;
• Carbs are primary macronutrients providing us with energy. Nutrient-dense carbohydrates include whole grains, a plethora of fruits and vegetables. However, if you want to gain muscle and lose excess weight, you have to give up pastries and processed foods.

Micronutrients are minerals and vitamins derived from foods rich in nutrients. To live a healthy life people need to consume all types of nutrients in different quantities. Various studies show that nutrient-dense foods boost the metabolism and make us lose more fat.

Way Nutrient-Dense Foods Reduce Body Fat

As we have already stated, real foods or superfoods (common names for nutrient-dense foods) are low in calories and rich in nutrients, which allows us to eat healthier, thus, making our way to a fit body. Moreover, they are digested easier and faster.

Studies show that optimal fat levels are better achieved when we are focused on quality of the food we consume, not calorie counting, that’s why we can eat more, consume fewer calories and still get the necessary elements. To lose excess weight our body needs a good ratio if minerals, vitamins and other useful nutrients, which would stimulate the metabolism, thus, burning excess body fat faster and more effectively. There are several functions using which nutrient-dense foods reduce body fat, and they are the following:

• Boosting the metabolism, thus, stimulating our body to burn fat faster;
• Promoting satiety and stopping additional cravings;
• Providing the needed quantity of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids and a range of other nutrients;
• Maintaining energy levels;
• Regulating blood sugar levels;
• Improving the functions of hormone leptin and regulating fat stores.

What Research Says

There have been many studies conducted to find evidence that would prove the benefits of nutrient-dense foods and their high antioxidant values, and many studies and reports explain that eating healthy helps decreasing the risk of being obese, copes with nutrient deficiencies, improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of heart diseases, thus, promoting a healthier lifestyle and improving health in general.